Posts Tagged ‘sales conversation’
Have you ever given thought as to your own sales cadence? Probably not, but you more than likely have it.
Cadence according to dictionary.com is the “flow or rhythm of events especially the pattern in which something is experienced.” The site provides the example of a slight decline or elevation in the pitch of one’s voice at the end of a declarative statement.
When we do not recognize our own cadence, this suggests we do not recognize the cadence of others. In sales, not recognizing the flow or rhythm of events can lead to a no sale situation.
My sense is there is a strong correlation between sales cadence and emotional intelligence because of this key word – recognize. When we recognize and then attempt to understand the emotions of others while at the same time recognizing and attempting to understand our own emotions, we then can manage both. How well we manage both sets of emotions speaks to our level of emotional intelligence.
How often have we heard salespeople rattle off their unique selling proposition statements like a Gatling gun? One could almost hear the rat-a-tat-tat as the barrel spins around and around.
Have you even been in a sales conversation where the sales prospect is very slow and deliberate in his or her responses to your open ended sales questions? Possibly you thought the individual was “not getting what you were saying?” and so you repeat yourself or attempt a different sales question?
Maybe the answer is just as simple as his or her cadence was different than yours?
When to learn to actively listen, we can better understand the cadence of others. Active listening is essential if your goal is to increase sales.
Possibly these words of Mark Twain may help you discover your sales cadence:
“If the good Lord wanted us to speak more than to listen, he would have given us two mouths instead of two ears.”Share on Facebook
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just one question that could boost your negotiations and sales results? No longer would you have to remember all those other opened ended sales questions that have you so focused on remembering what to say next, you lose sight of the desired end result – successfully negotiating or closing the sale.
In a conversation with one of my colleagues, Viveka von Rosen, she shared how this article, Women Make 87 Cents on the Dollar! Seriously? at LinkedIn was creating a plethora of private messages from women seeking a negotiation specialist. Many of these women recognized they were not as successful as they thought they could be in negotiating and closing sales.
Nearly 20 years ago I learned one powerful question that has continued to increase my negotiations and sales results. I wish I could say it was my creation, but is wasn’t. My continued thanks to Tammy Kohl who is now President of Resource Associates Corp for sharing this simple question.
The reason this question is so powerful is in its simplicity as well as how it subtly changes the dynamics of the sales conversation. Additionally, this question is quite emotionally intelligent in that it is incredibly authentic by being sensitive to the sales prospect’s thinking process.
This question does presume you have asked the right questions up to this point. The question also presumes you have done your research and your questions showcase you as the Red Jacket not all the other gray suits who have asked those common open ended sales questions that potentially reveal their sales training program.
Of course, there is one behavior that must accompany this question or the question will fall flat on its face and leave you pocket poor.
Can you be silent?
I mean can you remain totally silent for 5, 10 to even 20 minutes after you ask the question because the next person to talk must be your sales prospect. Silence in this instance is very green.
So the question to boost your negotiations and sales results is simply:
Where do we go from here?Share on Facebook
What would happen to your ability to increase sales results if you just remembered three (3) words in all your interactions with sales prospects, sales leads, colleagues and clients? Do you possibly think you could change your sales results?
Sales Coaching Tip: Feel
When you meet with someone because people buy from people they know and trust, what do you what them to feel because trust begins with an emotion, a feeling. Trust does not begin from a point of logic. Knowledge, facts or logic support the building of trust.
People are human beings who are emotional creatures first and foremost. Our feelings are innate within us. People buy on emotion first, justified by logic. So why wouldn’t you think about this word “feel.” What do you want others to feel about you?
Sales Coaching Tip: Know
Once the feelings are in place, then what do you want the other person to know about you, your company and if you have enough time your solution. This “knowing” continues to build the relationship that came from the feelings. Remember your first to third meetings may just expand your buyer knowing about you and continuing those positive feelings of trust.
Sales Coaching Tip: Do
Finally before you conclude the sales conversation, what do you want the person to do? A call to action from a simple “Let’s get together for coffee” or “Let’s connect on LinkedIn” allows you to continue making contact with the individual. Given most sales are earned after 4 contacts, then possibly the reason your sales results are languishing is because you aren’t making enough contacts?
Remember these three words are not just about your sales leads, your prospects, but are equally about you.
What do you feel when meeting a new person?
What do you know about yourself and know about that person?
What do you want to do regarding this sales conversation or sales appointment?
Yes Feel, Know and Do are three action verbs that can truly improve your sales results.
If I asked what what do you do well, what would you tell me. Here are 78-core-talents-self-eval-dl. Identify your first one and then take this special opportunity to confirm your own beliefs. What I have learned is over 98% of the salespeople and executives I have assessed, do not know what they do well. Then two questions are:
“How many sales opportunities have you lost?”
Can you continue to lose sales opportunities?Share on Facebook
One of the most important sales skills top sales performers can have is to bring clarity to sales objections. This lack of clarity by the buyer is usually evident when stalls surface during the sales conversation. For example a sales stall could be “your price is too high” without any supporting rationale or facts.
Sales Objections Surface Because Many Buyers Lack Clarity As What Is Truly Important to Them
Sometimes buyers do not have crystal clear clarity as to what is important to them. A recent commercial for financial investing demonstrated how to bring clarity this sales objection of “I don’t have time.” The salesperson asked if the buyer was available at 10 am the next day and she responded no and offered what was happening. Then the salesperson continued to ask about different times of the day and each time the buyer said no and shared what she was doing. Finally, the salesperson said (I am paraphrasing) “Wouldn’t you like your investments to work for you as hard as you work each day?”
The buyer physically stopped to indicate she was processing the question and then said “yes.”
Of course this is a commercial, but probably one of the best examples to show how to bring clarity to those sales objections we all experience.
In many sales training programs to sales training books, sales objections are covered. Yet I have not heard or read where this term “clarity” or the “lack of clarity” is included in these resources.
Much of our sales lives and even personal lives revolve around clarity or the lack of clarity. When people have crystal clear clarity about what they believe, they know and they expect sustainable forward progress is possible. Unfortunately, the lack of clarity is truly one of those shadows in our lives, in the background, obstructing our view and hence our thinking and doing.
Speaking of clarity, do you know what you do well? Do you know how you communicate or how your behaviors are viewed by others? Do you know what motivates you to move forward? If not, take advantage of this special opportunity until 2/28/2017 by experiencing these three (3) dynamic psychometric assessments (Attribute Index, DISC Index and Values Index) that will begin to bring clarity to you.Share on Facebook
Sometimes those in sales look for complex solutions to improve sales results. I realized this recently when listening to a Sunday homily and my pastor referred to the Lord’s Prayer as our Father’s Prayer.
In sales, there are a plethora of words that can be changed to improve sales results. What would happen if we changed the following words?
Need to consider – The word need implies judgment. This word conveys negative emotions. However, the word consider is not only more emotionally intelligent it also works with the Theory of Self-Determination. Now the listener has the opportunity to make a choice where the word “need” removes all choice.
Sell to buy – No one likes to be sold, but everyone loves to buy so we are continually reminded. With decision makers being more educated, by redirecting the focus to the buyer changes the dynamics of the relationship.
Think to sense – Again, the word think may imply judgment as well as authority. When exchanging the word think with the word sense creates completely different dynamics. Now the salesperson is working with emotional intelligence instead of working against emotional intelligence.
Have to Great – Do you tell people to have a great day? What would happen if you said “Make it a great day?” By changing this one word again, you have changed the behaviors from inactive to proactive.
Words do have a powerful impact within our SMB sales conversations as well as our internal thoughts. Additionally people become inoculated to certain words and ignore them. How many times do we hear the word “help” as people share their 30 second introductions or value proposition statements? Do you mentally turn out when you hear the word “help?”
Of course to change your words require you to actively listen wit your ears, your eyes and your heart. Did a certain word create a positive or negative reaction? What word would have made your communication more effective?
When salespeople understand how to change just one word, they will be surprised by the results. Years ago I adopted this personal mantra:
Change your words; improve your results
Today this is so very true especially if you want improved sales results.
Click HERE to schedule a complimentary sales conversation with Leanne if you truly want to increase sales and improve your SMB sales results.Share on Facebook
Buyers are cost driven because the word cost has been in front of them since grade school. This mindset limits your sales behaviors and your results. However by replacing the word cost with invest or investment you can redirect and change the tone of the sales conversation.
Sales Coaching Tip: People hear words, but think in pictures.
Words do matter. Cost has a negative connotation. People hear or read the word cost and they see money leaving their pocketbooks, their cash flow never to return.
The word invest has a positive connotation. People hear or read the word invest or investment and they see some money leaving their bank accounts, but with the knowledge some of it will return.
Additionally the word invest creates a greater emotional response. There is an implied sense of spirituality not in the truly religious sense, but of something positive in the future.
Also when sales behaviors begin to replace the word cost with invest, the salesperson has demonstrated more research and the ability to connect to the value drivers of the sales lead or buyer. People buy on value unique to them. Top sales performers know how to discover and then connect to those value drivers.
For example, if selling a solution, the salesperson can demonstrate her solution increases business results by 20%, wouldn’t that have far greater impact on connecting to what the buyer values? Of course, there is a presumption the salesperson has already discovered it is important for the buyer to increase business results.
Our sales behaviors reflect our own personal philosophies, beliefs. I personally believe when we change our words, we can dramatically improve our results especially when we engage in those crucial sales conversations.
You may find these other postings on New Sales Behaviors for 2017 of interest:
- 2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Building Rapport with Building Trust
- 2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Create with Connect
- 2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Obstacle with Limitation
- 2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Help with Facilitate
- 2017 New Sales Behaviors: Replace Plan with Campaign
How many times have you heard this word “obstacle” in many sales training programs or books on sales fact finding? This word makes you sound like all the others salespeople out there peddling their solutions. Considering changing your sales behaviors by replacing this overused and now almost trite word with this word – limitation.
When the word obstacle is heard, many people receive a visual in their heads because we hear words, but think in pictures. This visual may be so large, so filled with a lot of hidden emotions, it possibly can shut down the sales conversation or make further sales conversation even more difficult.
Now speak the word limitation to yourself. Do you see in your mind’s eye some foreboding potentially humongous obstacle? Or do you see something much smaller, something that may have been consistently ignored?
Possibly there are far more limitations keeping the sales prospect from moving forward than one or two major obstacles?
These limitations may have been ignored by other salespeople because their sales training told them to look to the obstacles.
One obvious but often overlooked limitation is alignment. There is misalignment between the various leaders, managers or departments. Rarely in my nearly 20 years when speaking with sales leads rarely have I heard any mention of misalignment until I bring up this limitation.
Check out Fail-Safe Leadership to better understand how misalignment can easily happen.
Our sales behaviors when they are aligned to the emotional, neuro pathways and experiences of our sales prospects can literally propel the sales conversation forward far faster. Of course the challenge is to go with the flow of the sales conservation and not stick to some sales script that is several paragraphs behind.
Unfortunately many in their daily sales behaviors are so busy thinking what we are going to say next, they fail to actually listen to what is being said. The good news is everyone has the capacity to change provided they are willing to do so.
If you are not happy with your sales results in 2016, then consider scheduling a free 30 minute conversation (CLICK HERE) to learn how to close the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals.Share on Facebook
Socrates as many know was a Greek philosopher. He created the Socratic Dialog which many in sales find very effective during exploring sales meetings and fact finding sessions. Socrates also developed the Three Filters which is just as important. However living by these three filters does present an ongoing sales challenge.
Is What you Say Kind?
We know words can hurt people feelings and create an atmosphere ranging from hostility to resentment. In sales especially when we are out and about, remembering to be kind in our remarks is essential. Kindness reflects emotional intelligence.
Is What You Say Truthful?
When speaking with others or even making comments, is what you say truthful. This filter returns to the human nature of gossiping or even not validating what has been said. Additionally by applying emotional intelligence we can be truthful without being judgmental. Some people view telling the truth as being judgmental as “You should not say that.”
Is What you Say Necessary?
Probably for many, myself included, this third filter is the most challenging. How many times do we speak too much during a sales conversation instead of actively listening?
We all enjoy getting our two cents in whether it is a professional or personal conversation. Here is where our ego sometimes takes over.
Socrates Three Filters is one sales challenge we confront every day. Living consistently by these three filters is not easy.
Yesterday I had remembered Socrates wise words when being confronted by a very rude commuter passenger. Instead of engaging in non-productive conversation, I removed myself to another seat. This particular individual was 100% clueless about professional etiquette. She believed a particular train seat had her name on it along with her two companions.
In this world of people meeting people because people buy from people, one never knows who is watching. By understanding the depth of this particular sales challenge can only strengthen one’s professional and personal business ethics, emotional intelligence and ultimately sustainable business growth.Share on Facebook
Selling is not easy especially with more and more entries into the SMB world. Sales research of key executive decision makers revealed they believed only 1 out of 3 salespeople could confidently engage in value articulation.
A recent article about technology and sales suggested defense is the better sales strategy in today’s digital world. The article highlighted the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft.
This particular article started me thinking even more. Value articulation is really an offensive position because the salesperson is connecting to the value drivers of the sales leads or prospects. If key decision makers want salespeople to articulate the value of their solutions, then it makes sense to go with the sales research.
Additionally SMB owners and salespeople should be aware of the competition, why focus any unnecessary energy on the competition? If the salesperson has engaged in efficient and effective research (fact findings), then any sales conversation should be directed to confirming that research.
Another thought is value articulation could be considered strength. Talking defensively in the sales conversation suggests a weakness. Your position is not strong enough so a defensive sales position must be taken. Does that sales strategy make sense? Put yourself in a defensive position?
Finally, why in any sales conversation would a competent sales professional bring up the competition? The only time the competition has entered a sales conversation is when the prospect brings it up. My response is to never demean the competition, but rather discover why the prospect likes a competitor.
Many in sales confuse value articulation with features and benefits. Value articulation goes way beyond the standard sales conversation. The goal is to connect with the decision maker’s unique value drivers. With multiple decision makers, those value drivers may be entirely different. By not listening to what is actually being said, the salesperson may miss those unique value drivers and ultimately lose the sale.Share on Facebook
Today’s decision makers in the B2B industries and even now extending into the B2C markets are becoming far better educated buyers. This change in education is starting to sprout the opportunity by decision makers to ask more sales sucker questions.
Novice salespeople may bite on these questions and then become easily derailed by these sales sucker questions. Sales sucker questions may even temporarily stymie more experienced salespeople. I realized this emerging sales conversation trend when I heard this question being asked by a corporate decision maker interviewing a young college graduate for a position in his company.
The college graduate had indicated in his resume and during the sales conservation he was very well versed about the corporate structure and market events. Then interviewer acknowledged the young man’s due diligence and then asked this sales sucker question: “So what was our price stock share this morning?”
As one can imagine, the young man had no idea. He was not prepared for today’s educated buyers. After all, those who interview potential job applicants are buyers. They are buying the person in front of them.
Recently, in talking with a real estate agent who stated “the real value of a realtor comes at closing with all the details that must be handled.” My question in response was: “Since we have already hired a real estate attorney, what can you do that he cannot do?”
A sales sucker question is one that cannot be easily answered. The question also creates confusion on behalf of the salesperson leaving the individual looking perplexed and unprepared.
Not all decision makers will ask sales sucker questions. However, it make sense for salespeople to be prepared for them just in case.
Possibly the best preparation in meeting with educated buyers is to be careful of what is said during the sales conversation. Start making a list of possible sales sucker questions. Invest some time to research possible responses so that you as a salesperson do not intentionally or unintentionally step into that sucker hole.Share on Facebook