Posts Tagged ‘sales objections’

Sales Is All About Facilitating the Angst of Change

Sales is all about change.  You want your sales prospect to change by buying your solution.

How will you facilitate that change will speak to your sales success or failure.

Facilitate is an incredibly powerful word and one that many salespeople tend to ignore. The roots of facilitate are Latin in origin (facere) and translates as “to do” or “to make.”  From facere, the word evolved to “facilis” or translated to “easy.”  In other words, facilitate is simply “to make easy.”

How can you as a salesperson make the change transition to buy your solution easy?  Does this question change how you think about sales obstacles?

Aren’t sales obstacles resistance to change? Possibly you viewed sales obstacles are objections to your solutions?  Yet if you dig a little deeper, they are objections to change and with that change is a lot of angst.

Sales stalls are the surface angst to change. These are usually easy to see and with a little practice can be turned into real sales objections which are deeper reactions usually negative to change.

When we understand we as salespeople facilitate the angst of change, we can then also increase our emotional intelligence because we are now even more aware of the emotional exchange happening or not happening between our prospects and ourselves.

There is enough research about how people react to change.  A good read is Change or Die by Alan Deutschman to understand the far reaches of change.  Our experiences many times reveal change is good, you go first.

The angst of change helps also to explain why some people are risk takers.  Their angst is far less than those who are reluctant to take risks.

And as we enter sales conversations with the goal to make this interaction as easy as possible for the sales prospect, we indeed differentiated ourselves from all those other grays suits.

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So Many Sales Conversations Singing the Same Old Song

Be honest with yourself right now.  Are your sales conversations like all those other salespeople?

Maybe the reason for your inability to increase sales is because your words are dust in the wind.  What you are saying has been said before.

Your words are singing the same old song. 

And you have refused to see how ineffective your words truly are. Then as the lyrics go to Dust in the Wind, “we crumble to the ground.”

People buy from people they know and trust.  Great salespeople understand how to build knowing and trusting relationships through the power of the spoken and written word. This is why content marketing continues to grow as a marketing channel.

Sales prospects have become inoculated to all the typical sales conversations.  They want to hear something different, something that connects to them emotionally first and foremost. This connection goes beyond that dribble of building rapport because you can build rapport with a dog and how does that increase sales?

Your sales leads want a for real, honest to goodness, ever present person first.  They want someone who will listen and provide them with insight they have not heard from others or through of by themselves.  In today’s world, we call this being an authentic thought sales leader.

Ask yourself what makes you buy from others?

  • Is it their great open ended sales questions?
  • Is it their ability to overcome sales objections?
  • Is it their price or their delivery?

No probably what matters first is their ability to relate to you as a person.  More than likely this relating to you is mostly subconscious as 80-90% of all our thoughts are subconscious.

Maybe the person smiled or just quietly listened to you.  Possibly he or she directly answered your questions without any additional hyperbole.

How many sales conversations are not really conversations but more like one way communication with the salesperson continually flapping his or her jaws?

If you truly want to increase sales, then invest some time to listen to your sales conversations so they are not the same old song and do not turn to dust in the wind.

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Are Sales Negotiations Overlooked Sales Objections?

Sales negotiations are part of earning the sale.  Yet I am beginning to question if in some instances the reason for the negotiation is because specific sales objections were never reconciled. For example if price requires negotiation, then this might suggest the salesperson failed to do all of her or his homework regarding the budget, the return on investment, etc.

Sometimes to earn the sale or close the deal does require an adjustment to the delivery of the solution.  Had the salesperson explored the urgency dictating the consideration of his or her solution possibly there would not be a need for any sales negotiations?

Of course not all sales negotiations happen because of unreconciled sales objections. Yet I believe the reactionary behavior to engage in negotiation may reflect some miss steps in the selling phase of the sales process.

If for example a new decision maker enters into the sales conversation and starts requesting changes to the offered solution, my question would be “Why didn’t you know about this person?”  One of the most basic questions to ask is “Is there anyone else involved in this buying decision?” Yes sometimes there are surprises, changes within the organization.

These changes can be addressed by this two-fold question during the presentation of the sales proposal. “Has anything changed since we last met or are there any changes coming that may impact this solution?” Usually buyers have a good idea of what is happening within their organization.  If the buyer responds yes, then the salesperson returns to sales fact finding to determine if said change will affect the offered solution.

Depending upon the new facts, the salesperson has the opportunity to reschedule the sales presentation so he or she can address these new facts in his or her sales proposal.  By taking this action reduces future sales negotiations.

From a sales coaching perspective, maybe it just may make sense to revisit past sales negotiations and determine the why behind the negotiation.

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When Your Sales Tank, What Do You Do?

sales-tahkMany tines when sales tank salespeople have a tendency to blame the economy, the marketing department (no sales leads), sales management, competition or even the potential customers? Yet maybe this is the time for inward reflection and realize they have potentially violated the first sales buying rule.

People buy from people they know and trust.

Possibly, your sales leads do not know you and do not trust you.  Yes this is a rather simplistic answer to when your sales tank because the focus is now on the buyer and not you the seller.

Yesterday I received a follow-up call from a webinar I attended. To say the seller was a bit aggressive is an understatement.  Since I did not know her and truly did not know the presenter, I did not trust her.

When I politely told her I was not interested in what she was offering, she said to me “So what is standing in your way?” My response was “You are.  I don’t know you and therefore I don’t trust you.”  This was not a sales objection she had heard before due to her immediate silence.

Attending one webinar that I left after 20 minutes because of the numerous “minnie sales pitches” as well as the ongoing “look at me (self promotion)” comments did not build my knowing of this person and my trusting of this person. In reality, this webinar diminished any potential trust I had for this individual.

Sales Coaching Tip: Self promotion comments do not build trust.

If your sales have tanked, maybe the issue is not your lack of sales skills, but you are rushing the knowing and trusting aspect of the buying process.  Sales research suggests it take five to 12 touches before someone is ready to make a buying decision and that is provided they meet the sales buying criteria so these sales objections are avoided.

Sales as Zig Ziglar stated is “the transference of feelings.” This is the foundation for building a sense of knowing and trusting. Maybe it might be wise to reconsider your own behaviors before you start blaming everything and everyone else for when your sales tank.

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The Lack of Clarity Is the Unseen Shadow Behind Many Sales Objections

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.

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What Is Sales Truly About?

The marketplace is filled to the brim with sales training, sales books to sales coaches.  Yet at the end of the day, what is sales truly about?


Credit www.

My father taught me sales was about buying.  You as the salesperson had to build a relationships between you and the prospective buyer or even center of influence to be successful. He believed focusing on selling was a big error and allowed the ego to interfere in the buying/selling bridge.  Maybe that is why he shared these two buying rules with me.

#1 – People buy from people they know and trust. 

#2 – People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.

In the ensuing years I added a third buying rule based somewhat on the Theory of Self Determination (Deci and Ran) along with the works of Dr. Eduard Spranger and Dr. Gordon Allport that being:

#3 People buy on value unique to them.

The reason I asked the question of “What is sales truly about”  is because there is so much focus on the behaviors of the salespeople, the behaviors including motivation of the buyers are often ignored.  What happens is the seller gets fairly wrapped up in his or her own ego, the mind is filled with a lot of next step triggers and the actual buying process takes a backseat to the selling process. When this happens, earning the sale becomes far more difficult.

Here is where some sales objections happen as well as where stalls pop up. Now the seller must work far harder to convert the reluctant buyer.

This is why I believe top sales performers naturally know to stay quiet and to focus on the prospect.  These individuals also appreciate the autonomy within the Theory of Self Determination and then leverage their knowledge of DISC theory as developed by psychologist William Moulton Marston.

Zig Ziglar recognized what sales is truly about when he said “Sales is the transference of feelings.” That transference always begins with the buyer.

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Please Be Careful if You Call Yourself a Salesperson

One of the lessons I have recently relearned is there are a lot of people who believe they are salespeople. For me, a salesperson actively works to sell something be it a product, service or a combination of products and services. He or she does not rely on others to sell his or her solutions.

salespersonFor anyone to actively sell something, he or she must know what he or she is selling. The more knowledge a salesperson has about the solution being offered, the greater likelihood the sale will be successfully completed aka closing the sale.

What I have found is within some industries sales means letting other people sell your solution while your goal is to market your solution.  Since marketing is part of the sales process, I can somewhat understand this interpretation. However, this is not my definition of sales.

I guess what I don’t understand is when the sales commission is the same amount, there is a reluctance to actually engage in selling.  Instead it is easier to take the path of least resistance and let someone else make the sale.

For example in the real estate industry depending upon the research source, anywhere from 80-90% of all home sales, actual closings, are not made by the listing broker.  The real estate broker relies on other people from other brokerage firms to sell the home.  In this industry, the sales funnel is all about listings and not actually selling homes.

There are other industries where people believe they are salespeople when in actuality they are either paid marketers or order takers.  There are no sales skills being demonstrated such as:

  • Overcoming sales objections
  • Connecting to the value drivers of the buyer
  • Highlighting additional value or cost savings

Being a professional salesperson is a great role and one I totally enjoy.  However, I am quite disappointed by the failure of so many people engaged in selling who are really not salespeople.

What is even more discouraging is these individuals resent not being viewed as salespeople.  I truly do not understand how anyone can say he or she is a salesperson when others actually sell the solution and “close the sale.”

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The Human Desire to Control the Sales Closing Question

So you reached the end of the sales conversation and now, drum roll, comes the ultimate sales closing question. This one is a sure fire winner. You speak and nothing happens. No reaction, no comment. Now you are scrambling as to what to say.

closing-questionWith today’s buyer’s being far more education,, possibly the tried and true closing question requires a little adjustment?  What worked yesterday may not work today.

For me, I unknowingly applied the Theory of Self Determination within my executive coaching and sales coaching practice. This intrinsic motivational theory developed in the 1970s by Deci and Ryan has three 3 elements. The most important one is autonomy or choice. Mastery and purpose as it relates to other people are the other two.

When we provide our potential ideal customers or qualified sales leads with a choice, there is a greater likelihood for the internal motivational driver to kick in. Of course, this does presume we as salespeople have addressed all  sales objections and uncovered as many stalls as possible.  We have also emotionalized the pain for not taking action.

Now with multiple decision makers within a complex sale this may not be the best sales closing question. However with single decision makers in the SMB marketplace, I have consistently applied this question for over 10 years with a 90% earn or close rate.

What concerns me is the more we attempt to control the end of the sales conversation, the greater the chance of the all knowing ego taking over.  If “sales is the transference of feelings” as noted by Zig Ziglar, then controlling the feelings of others suggests an overly strong ego or even insecurity.

Salespeople who have dotted their “i”s and crossed their “t”s with authenticity should not fear allowing their sales leads to have control.  This attitude works with the “pull sales strategy” where the ideal customer continues to pull you close to them.

If you are having unsuccessful sales efforts, schedule a quick call with Leanne by clicking HERE

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Reading the Sales Objections Along the Sales Process Path

The sales process is much like a walking path.  There are signs informing you of sales objections just ahead.  How you handle your behaviors before reaching those potential barriers to your sales success is up to you.



If the first phase of the sales process is marketing, then probably your first warning sign is “You.”  Your potential sales lead does not know you enough and therefore does not trust you to warrant even talking to you less along considering your solution.  This is not the time to speed up, but rather slow down.

Your next warning sign is “Your Company.”  Does your company have the credibility to warrant further discussion?

The third sales objections warning sign is “Your Solution.” How does your solution fit the sales lead’s wants and needs? This begins the second phase of the sales process – selling.

Next is sign is “Price.” Now some believe price is the first sign, but they are in error. What has happened is they walked too fast and ignored the first three sales objections signs.  Within price, there also exists this known fact.

People want excellent quality, good price and fast delivery. Usually they can only get two of these three “wants.”  What they are willing to give up is price before quality and delivery.

The fifth and final warning sign is “Delivery.”  Can you deliver your solution within the sales lead’s time frame?

Unfortunately, many sales experts have complicated the simplicity of the sales process.  With multiple decision makers, you must address all five sales objections.

However for over 97% of the U.S. businesses with 20 or fewer employees, selling is fairly simple. These sales are not complex, multi-billion dollar opportunities.  No, they are fairly simple and can generate sales success provided the sales leads are their ideal customers and the salespeople understand these five basic sales objections.

Want more sales CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


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How to Improve Your 2016 Real Estate Marketing Messages

For those selling their homes, they receive a plethora of real estate marketing messages. Sometimes these direct mail campaigns can last for a week or several months.

real-estate-marketing-messagesHere is one recent direct mail piece I received.  Overall this direct mail postcard had a few pluses, but far more negatives.

The goal of this specific direct mail piece appears to be three-fold:

  • Attract attention, hopefully positive attention
  • Showcase the Realtor’s qualifications – Pick Me Mentality
  • Imply value by “selling home asap!”

Goal #1 – Attract Attention

I actually read the postcard more out of curiosity than actual positive attention. This is the fourth direct mail marketing postcard I have received from this particular Realtor without any sales follow-up.

Goal #2 – Showcase Qualifications

The second goal of this postcard is to showcase this Realtor’s qualifications.  My colleague Jim Keenan in his book Not Taught suggests success is more about expertise not experience.  Qualifications return my brain and the brain of many others back to educational and work experience.  He or she did not really educate me about his or her expertise.  For me expertise is results and preferably using real sales results numbers.

For example, the second “Must” is about this realtor’s experience in selling homes.  Being a somewhat educated seller I know this may mean price reductions to get the home sold or homes listed at under value because homeowners are in a hurry to sell homes.

The third “Must” tells me the Realtor is using the Internet.  Given 3 sites gather the most traffic and one site takes most of that traffic, he or she is again showing me his or her experience and not expertise.

“Must” number four really had me concerned when I read the word programs.  This could be a catch all for anything.  Again, I have a negative bias about the word programs because programs do not sell anything.  Now processes do sell. Programs are also geared to a particular buyer. In this instance I am not sure who the Realtor believes is a buyer for our home.

Goal #3 – Implied Value or Need

As our home listing had expired, this particular realtor presumed we must sell our home asap.  A very big and false presumption on his or her end.  The marketing message was geared to this implied value or need.

In sales when decision makers see or hear false presumptions especially around value and need, this creates at least one sales objection if not a cascade of sales objections. My selling brain when to what other presumptions is the Realtor making? Do these presumptions extend into how the real estate agent will market and sell our home?

The Dark, Deep Hole of Marketing Messages

The back of the postcard reminded me of someone digging in a very dark, deep hole and forgetting the number one rule when in a hole, stop digging.  I found this statement a big turnoff  “I’d like to interview you for the job of selling your home with 12 years of experience..”

First, as the decision maker I would be do the interviewing.  What this tells me is your sales ego is in hyper drive as reaffirmed by your retreating to “12 years of experience.” Big whoop! I have 40 years sales experience, two degrees including a Master’s and a plethora of certifications. I’ll raise your 12 years by my 28 years.

The marketing messages continued without any real specifics such as “98% of the homes sold by this office within the last 3 years were within 2-3% of listing price.” I truly do not care how many homes your office sold in the last 3 years.  You may have had a lot of desperate sellers who had to sell their homes for a variety of reasons.  We are not desperate, but you don’t know that because you have never made a sales follow-up phone call or face to face visit.

Finally there was some marketing copy about this Realtor’s guaranteed sales program. Personally, programs turn me off. However if he or she included an actual quote from a satisfied home seller such as ” we sold our home at the agreed listing price without a price reduction” I might have been inclined to call this Realtor.

Effective real estate marketing messages can attract positive attention and prompt sales leads to pick up the phone. However ineffective real estate marketing messages can do just the opposite as well as make for some quality content marketing copy for a blog devoted to leadership and sales.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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