In the process of selling, there are several steps
that the sales person must take before he or she closes. The first step, of
course, is qualifying through effective communication.
You cannot sell a product until you have thoroughly qualified the prospect. The single biggest error sales people make. Take a breath..
Every one of us has been in a situation where we have walked into a store or onto a garage, and somebody comes up and says, “Why don’t you take it?” Or “Are you going to buy it today?” They try to close you without ever asking you what it is you want or what you need. They forget to qualify.
Four Questions Every Top Sales Person Must Answer for Qualifying
To qualify effectively, the sales person has to find the answers to four questions.
Question number one; does the prospect need what you’re selling?
Question number two, can the prospect use what you’re selling?
Many people may need a piece of high tech equipment, but they may not be able to use it because of the people or the structure of the organisation.
Number three; can the person afford the product?
Number four; does the person want the product?
Through effective communication and learned listening skills you are four steps closer to closing the sale.
Listening Skills: Find Out What They Want
Before the sales person can close, the prospect has to have demonstrated that he or she has a desire to enjoy the benefits of your product or service.
Once you’ve given your presentation, qualified the prospect in all four of these categories and determined that he/she wants to buy it, you’re in a position to begin closing.
Much of the sale is made in the presentation. In some products, especially in real estate, the close is largely determined by how well you present the product to the prospect.
Closing The Sale Requires Effective Communication
The moment of closing is always difficult and requires excellent listening skill s . There is always a moment of tension. There is always a feeling of stress on the part of the prospect. This is a form of buyer’s remorse, in advance.
Whenever a prospect reaches a point where he has to make an important decision, whenever he has to spend money, tension wells up inside of him. He experiences the fear of failure.
Every one of us, as human beings, experiences this fear of failure. The tension in the closing moments of the sale is caused by the fear of making a mistake, the fear of buying the wrong thing, the fear of paying too much, the fear of being criticized by other people.
What happens when a person feels this fear? It is very much like having a spear in the stomach.
What do they do as a result? They back away.
Whenever they experience this fear, they retreats. They says things like, “let me think it over,” or “can you leave me some material,” or “could you call me back next week, I have to talk it over with someone else,
I have to check it out first, I can’t afford it,” and so on. These are all different ways that the prospect tells you that, “I don’t think if I make this decision it’ll be the right thing for me.”
The Fear of Rejection
The second major stumbling block at the close is the fear of rejection. It is the fear of the prospect saying “no.’’
Each of us, deep down inside, has a fear of being told “no”, a fear of being rejected of not being enough.
Because of this fear, we very cleverly organise our lives in such a way that we don’t put ourselves in front of people that say “no.”
One of the key factors in successful selling is to be prepared to hear a no and continue. When the prospect says, “No I don’t think so,” you must be able to just let it roll off your back like water off a duck’s back.
Rejection Is Not Personal
You must realize that a no is not personal. It is not aimed at you as an individual. When a person says no to you, they’re not saying no to you in most cases, they’re saying no to your offering, for a series of reasons, most of which you can do nothing about. Your job is to face your fear, confront your fear, do the thing you fear, and ask for the order.
Expect Sales Resistance
Sales resistance is normal and natural in every sales conversation. At the moment of making a buying decision, this fear, this uneasiness, this tension starts to build up. Your job is to get through that moment of tension as quickly and as painlessly as possible through effective communication and great listening skills.
That’s what good closing techniques are for. Just remember that closing techniques are not ways of manipulating other people. They are not techniques to get people to buy things they don’t want, don’t need, can’t use, and can’t afford.
There are techniques to help get people past that moment of tension. The professional sales person takes the prospect smoothly past the point of closing, making it easy for the prospect to buy. The unprofessional salesperson sits there wishing and hoping, and at the end of the presentation, he says, “Well, what do you think?”
To be a great sales closer, you must be enthusiastic with exceptional listening skills. You must love your product. You must believe in your product. You must have confident expectations, and you must persist.
Persistence is to the character of man and woman as carbon is to steel. If you will persist, if you will keep on keeping on, no matter how many times people tell you “No “you must and will eventually succeed.
No matter how many doors you knock on, no matter how many times you get turned down, if you will keep persisting and persisting and persisting, you will succeed, and you will become one of the great sales people of your generation.
Thank you for reading this article about how sales people can use listening skills and effective communication to qualify potential prospects.
Finding new people to buy your product or service is an important part of the entire sales process. Do you have a great product but aren’t gaining the right customers to buy it?
Are you not sure how to approach your customers or have a confusing sales message?
Use these 14 sales tips to gain more of the right customers who WILL buy your products.
1) People Buy Benefits
People don’t buy products, they buy the results that product will give. Start your process of identifying your ideal customer by making a list of all of the benefits that your customer will enjoy by using your product or service.
2) Clearly Define Your Customer
Who is the person who would most likely to buy your product and buy it immediately? Create an avatar of that customer.
Ask Specific Questions
3) Identify Their Problem Clearly
What kind of problem does your customer have that you can solve? If you have identified your customer correctly, these people will pay you to solve their problem.
4) Develop Your Competitive Advantage
You define your competitive advantage, the reason for buying your products or services, in terms of the benefits, results or outcomes that your customer will enjoy from purchasing your product or service that they would not fully enjoy from purchasing the product or service of your competitor.
Focus on the benefits of what makes your product better than others.
5) Use Content and Social Media Marketing To Your Advantage
There are so many more ways to get your product to your customers than ever before. What’s the best part? They’re all free. You can use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and your blog to your advantage. By building relationships with your customers through these channels you can access more people than ever.
Some of the benefits of content marketing include:
Here is a graphic of how quickly data is generated across the internet. Take a look at social media websites. Wouldn’t it be amazing to leverage this audience? You can!
6) Sometimes, You Will Have to Cold Call
Cold calling potential prospects can be frustrating and hard. Whether you are doing it in person or on the phone, it is your job to warm up a potential customer. Especially if your product is new, you may have to generate interest by calling your customers.
7) Try The 100 Calls Method When You Start Selling
This is a method I developed when I first began selling to overcome fears of being rejected. Reach out to 100 customers as fast as you can. You don’t really care about your sales results, only the number of people you contact. You will become fearless when selling your product.
8) Pick The Right Price
Do market research on your competitors to determine the right price. If you have a high-priced product, be prepared to over-deliver quality to your customers. Price can be determined by “perceived value” of your product. If you can make your product seem superior to your competitors, you can charge a higher price.
9) Learn Proper Negotiation Techniques
Skilled negotiators are usually quite concerned about finding a solution or an arrangement that is satisfactory to both parties.
They look for what are called “win-win” situations, where both parties are happy with the results of the negotiation.
The Best Negotiators Have These 3 Qualities
10) Make Effective Presentations
In selling it is important to make a creative and compelling sales presentation to your customers. One of the many ways is to create an effective presentation by using PowerPoint.
11) Focus on Keeping Your Customer For Life
“Once a customer, always a customer.”
Once a customer has purchased your product, this should not be the end of your relationship with them. Focus on keeping a strong relationship with your customer. This will only create more trust and add value to your product.
12) Offer Potential Customers Something Great, For Free
Your ideal customer is far more likely to buy your product if you give them a preview to try out. Shoot a short video of your product in action, give them a free piece of really great content and get your customers excited for what’s next.
13) Give Your Customers the Inside Scoop
If you are going to have a sale on your product soon, tell your customers about it. They will be happy to hear about it, and it will build trust with them. They may even buy more because of it.
14) Your Sales Message Should Be Clear
Pick out one or two benefits of your products and state those clearly in the sales headline. Make it clear to your customers EXACTLY what your product is going to do for them.
Be specific. If your product has multiple benefits, create sales messages for different customers that they can relate to.
Is cold-calling a thing of the past? And if it is, how else do you find new customers?
Prospecting is often considered the top challenge when it comes to growing a business.
If you’re relying on cold-calling, it can be awkward and unproductive.
Fortunately, I have several sales prospecting tips to help avoid this.
A new way of looking at cold-calling is not doing it at all. Instead, marketers are warm-calling.
Research the prospect before you even pick up the phone so that you can really find a problem they have and offer a solution.
In addition to personalization, use these prospecting tips to help you succeed at acquiring more customers.
Here are 15 sales prospecting tips to help you acquire more customers.
Confidence is Heard
Prospects will notice confidence in your voice and it will directly affect the success of your call. When making calls, keep in mind that the person on the other end can’t see you and can only develop their trust in you based on the way you sound. If you’re confident in yourself, they will become confident in you, too.
If you are beginning in a new role, you may not know all the answers and may make some mistakes. Use the calls you fumble through as learning tools to improve your skills.
Know When It Isn’t a Good Fit
Determine whether your product is a good fit for the potential customer. If what you are selling isn’t a good fit for the needs of the prospect, know when to back off and not push it.
Don’t Be a Salesperson
If you take on the role of a consultant, rather than a salesperson, you will be able to honestly analyse the prospect’s particular needs and make a recommendation based on that. Be helpful and friendly.
When you don’t know the answers, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Not only will you learn more about the product you’re selling, but you will appear more genuine and honest when you seek out the correct answers rather than giving the wrong ones.
Don’t Give Up at The First Objection
Prospects will provide objections like need, authority, and budget. Use this as an opportunity to learn more about their needs and offer assistance based on that.
Being energetic and upbeat will come through your voice, and your prospects will sense that positive energy when speaking to you. Check out my 10 Ways to Stay Positive
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
It’s always a great idea to look up the person you’re prospecting via social media first. Not only will you gather insight on the person, their company, and their interests, but you can also reach out to them through those forms of communication as well. Share posts, favourite tweets, and reach out on social media before calling.
Do Your Research
Just to re-affirm this - Do Your Research - Along the same lines of social media, make sure to check out your prospect’s company website to gather insight on their business. Understanding your buyer helps you sell them a product that correlates with their needs.
If you schedule an appointment with a prospect, make sure you keep it. Keep a calendar and set up alerts to remind you of calls a few minutes before they are scheduled. Outlook, Salesforce, Mobile, iPhone, iWatch. Effectively organise documents and notes on conversations you have so that you can easily come back to them another time.
Be Efficient and Effective with your Messaging
Often, your first contact with a prospect will come via voicemail or email. Make sure to remain upbeat in your messaging, and keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Ensure the subject lines of your emails are effective.
Know Your Product
Research your product or service to be able to effectively and clearly explain its advantages. However, don’t overwhelm your prospect with information about the product. Listening to what they need will help you explain how your product can assist them with their needs.
Be A Person
Remember that your prospects want to talk to an actual human being, not a person reading off a cold calling script. Bring some personality into your conversation and interact in a manner that proves to the prospect that you are committed to helping them.
Follow up with prospective clients and follow through with what you say you are going to do for them. Have a system in place for how you will follow up with your prospects and provide a personal touch to prove you understand their needs.
Challenge Yourself and Use These Sales Prospecting Tips
Set goals and outline paths that you can take to attain those goals. This will not only help you acquire more customers, but it will help your entire team as well.
To book your Sales Training Programme contact TeamNeill@NeillWalker.com
Have you ever taken an online survey to see what your personality type is? Then received an email from the company that hosted the survey on their website about how they could help you find the career path that is right for you? That’s all part of the company’s marketing strategy. In fact, it’s a critical component of any business’s growth model – it’s called lead generation.
Lead generation is all about building your customer base, which is absolutely vital if you want to grow – and as you know, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Here why: Customers are not inherently loyal – there are simply too many other options in today’s highly competitive market. So you have to work to keep your existing customers, while constantly striving to create new streams of customers. This allows your business to keep evolving, and, ideally, to keep expanding.
But how do you go about developing a lead generation strategy for your business? And what type of lead generation is the best avenue to pursue?
Here is what you need to know in order to establish a top-notch lead generation system:
DISTINGUISH YOUR LEADS
The first thing you need to understand is that every lead is different. Someone at the top of your sales funnel, for example, will require an entirely different marketing approach than someone closer to the bottom. The goal is to distinguish where each customer is on their unique journey and the best way to reach them.
Too often, sales and marketing teams decide to cast a wide net and hope for the best. In fact, most businesses fail to recognise that only 5-15% of leads are sales-ready initially. So why waste time, money and your own energy targeting someone who has very little potential of converting to a high-value client – or even a client at all?
Reference your user personas to figure out exactly who your ideal client is, then allow your marketing and sales teams to come up with strategic ways that you can target them. Remember, someone who fills out a form once may not necessarily be someone who has any intention on further engagement with your company. And if you don’t realise that you have to set benchmarks to determine the “quality” of a lead – then you will be running a fool’s errand.
Take the time to implementing a level of focus and strategy that will allow you to run more efficiently and also allow you to fine-tune your approach towards growing your customer base.
Once you have determined who your leads are, it’s time to narrow it down and distinguish which leads can be classified as Marketing Qualified Leads, or MQLs.
An MQL is someone who has expressed some interest in your company. Perhaps they signed up for your newsletter or mailing list. Perhaps they commented on or shared some of your content. Or maybe they took a quiz and filled out a form in order to get the answers. They essentially have met some benchmark that warrants them attention from your marketing team. And while they likely aren’t ready to buy, they will respond favorably to the right approach.
YOUR BREAD AND BUTTER
Now let’s move further down the sales funnel to the prospects that have not only shown interest in your product or service, but have shown interest in purchasing. These are your Sales Qualified Leads, or SQLs.
An SQL is someone who is inquiring about a product, or who has taken that extra step that lets you know they are “ready to buy.” If you are an online retailer, for example, this isn’t just a person who browses your website and perhaps signs up for your newsletter. This is the person who has placed items in the cart. But perhaps they need an extra little push to become a real customer. That’s why it’s on you and your team to create an optimal customer experience. Because if they are a first-time buyer, they will want to know that they are in good hands. Remember, your brand identity begins the moment someone hears of your business.
Take the time to deepen your relationship with the SQL, because the quality of their experience at this point could make or break their decision of whether to become a customer. So be sure to give them the customer experience of a lifetime. While that may mean something different for each individual company, the idea is the same – to not just meet expectations, but to exceed them.
GENERATING MORE LEADS
Now that you see why “not all leads are created equal,” you can use that information to reverse engineer your lead generation strategy.
Think about your customer and who they are. Then, based on where they are in your sales funnel, design the most strategic and powerful ways of reaching them:
SEO – Did you know that Google gets over 100 billion searches a month? That’s why 61% of marketers say that improving SEO and growing their organic presences is a top priority. Whether they implement relevant content, or simply focus on SEO keywords, this is an important component of bringing in new potential leads.
Paid Advertising – Paid media allows you to create relevant and actionable ads that target potential customers through digital marketing campaigns. And with the advent of geolocation, you can create a more customised approach that feels less intrusive and more enticing to your audience. Simply direct them to a dedicated landing page and then start to nurture these MQLs.
Social Media Marketing – Did you know that revenue increased for 24% of businesses when they utilized social media for lead generation? Leverage platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to reach your target audience and bring them into your ecosystem. Each channel must have a unique strategy, and content should be geared towards the specific audience you are connecting with. But if you can actively engage users on social media, you can generate more leads that could become MQLs and potentially SQLs.
Content Marketing – From webinars and podcasts to ebooks, white papers, videos, blogs and guides – there are a number of ways you can use content to generate more leads. How does content generate leads? As Tony says, when you provide more value to your client than anyone else, that’s when they’ll become raving fans. And high quality content is one excellent way of adding value, because you’re giving your customer relevant information, what they need to succeed or to make the right decisions. With the right techniques and strategies in this area, you’ll build an enduring customer base that you can nurture and then move further down the sales funnel.
Email Marketing – Easy to customise and relatively inexpensive to implement, email marketing is one of the best ways to directly connect with your customer. This is one of the most efficient and effective means of turning leads into MQLs because it is a personal, one-to-one communication with a client that you know is already interested in you. That’s why it is so critical to build your client database early and always continue to grow it – and to be strategic in how and when you communicate with this audience. Provide your leads with value-add content that they can’t get anywhere else. Include “best offers” that will drive them to action, and be sure to test your CTAs to discover which are the most effective.
Referral Programs – By leveraging the power of your current customer base, you can not only increase your numbers of sales leads, but also improve the quality of your sales leads. Think about it: every single customer you have has a built-in network of trusted friends and colleagues. So by implementing a referral program, you motivate your existing customer to make the introduction and you make it easy for your sales team to approach new customers.
While there are many ways to generate leads, the best method for your business depends on your unique business model. That’s why it’s imperative for your sales and marketing teams to come together and determine just who your customer base is, what you define as an MQL and an SQL, what the best methods of reaching those customers are, and your strategies for moving leads down the sales funnel. The goal is to find the highest potential ROI, and to constantly be focused on innovating. Because if you’re not growing, you’re dying. So get smart, get strategic, and start generating leads.
Why do we hold on to the past? Why is it so
difficult to let go of the experiences that have caused us pain and suffering?
For many of us, we get stuck in the past because of our need for certainty. Certainty is fundamentally about survival. We all need to feel certain that we can avoid pain, and, ideally, find some comfort. Continuous pain means continuous damage, and that eventually leads to our demise. It’s frightening to step into the unknown. It’s difficult to be vulnerable. And it can be overwhelmingly uncomfortable to have that sense of uncertainty about what lies ahead. So we hang on to the past – because even if it’s steeped in pain, it’s what we are familiar with and what we have certainty about.
The other reason it is so difficult to let go of the past has to do with the way we link emotion to information. Consider, for example, a woman who has a feminine core. If her partner does something that causes her emotional pain, she may have a tendency to bring it up over and over again throughout the relationship. And her partner feels like it’s impossible to win because no matter how much he does to amend the situation, the past will still be brought to attention.
But there is a very real reason why she has trouble letting it go.
Think back to the tragic day of 9/11. Chances are you can probably picture who you were with and what you were doing when you heard about the terrorist attacks. But if you had to think about 8/11, your memory is likely very blurry when it comes to those details. This is because we do not retain information that does not have an emotion attached to it, that is, an associated feeling. But, information with emotion makes an indelible impression. A highly feminine woman will attach emotion to anything that impacts them in a significant way, especially if it causes her pain or suffering.
Compare that to a masculine force. Why does a man not attach emotion to everything? It’s not that a highly masculine man doesn’t care. It’s because masculine energy is about breaking through and letting go. Feminine energy, on the other hand, is not about letting go – it’s about filling up and gathering up. And when there is still emotion tied to a memory, it becomes increasingly difficult to let go.
But what is this all costing us? How is it impacting our relationships, our lives and our happiness? And how do we learn to loosen our grip so we can move forward in a healthier, happier way?
WHY IS THIS A MUST FOR YOU?
The first step is to determine your reason for wanting to let go of the past. Ask yourself: “What are the reasons that you absolutely must move beyond this? How will your life change? How will it change the trajectory of your relationships? And how will you feel in this new chapter of your life?”
This is one of the most important parts of the process because it will help you stay motivated. It’s going to be your emotional drive. You are inevitably going to have setbacks and challenges, but if you have a strong enough reason and a strong enough purpose, you will stay focused and dedicated.
IDENTIFY YOUR EMOTIONAL HABITS
The next step towards letting go is to identify your emotional habits. How do you live your life? What are your tendencies? Where do you live emotionally?
When we grow accustomed to certain emotions, we don’t really notice how they impact us on a daily basis. But our emotional habits can have profound influence on the way we look at life, the way we carry ourselves, the way we speak, the words we use and the way we act. So why settle for a life where we empower the negative emotions and disempower the positive?
By identifying your emotional habits, you can start to make the shift towards actively conditioning yourself towards a more positive experience. Because your emotions are like a muscle – you can train yourself to feel frustrated, sad, stressed or even depressed. Or, you can train yourself to feel passionate, joyful and strong. The more you condition yourself, the more wired those emotions become.
CONDITION YOUR BODY & MIND
The ultimate breakthrough happens by conditioning your mind every single day. If you don’t make the conscious effort to decide what you allow into your mind, then you are allowing weeds to grow and to spread. Life just starts to happen to you. No matter how smart you are, how savvy you are, how inspired you are – if you don’t stand guard at the door of your mind, then you are giving the tacit approval of the disempowering, disenchanting and the disillusioning.
Feed yourself empowering stories, surround yourself with people who make you better, put yourself in peak state. It’s the small rituals that you do every day that build momentum and, ultimately, lead to massive change.
Lastly, find something you want to serve that is greater than yourself. Live for your family, for community, for humanity. Motive does matter – so find motives that go beyond yourself. No matter how broke you may be or how broken you feel, you have something to offer others. And when you finally make that realisation and start giving, you will see your life improve dramatically. Because you now have another level of purpose and meaning in your life.
Your life matters – and if you align yourself with the truth that you’re here not just to “get” but to give, then other people will feel your authenticity and they will open up to you. Giving back reminds you what you’re made for. Focusing on the needs of others has a way of motivating you to do more than you thought possible. You feel the benefits immediately. You become more productive. You find creative solutions to problems. You find strength when you’re exhausted. And you’ll be better able to let go of the painful past, and step forward into the future in a more loving and compassionate way.
If making a difference in this way sounds appealing to you, you just might have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. But here’s a secret: to be a successful entrepreneur you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
To start your own business, you need specific disciplines that are practised by all entrepreneurs and self-made business millionaires.
One of the fastest ways to develop these disciplines is to think like an entrepreneur. And perhaps the two most important habits you can develop are those of speed and flexibility.
Speed – To move quickly on opportunities or problems
Large companies tend to move slowly, but entrepreneurs have the advantage of speed. In today’s busy world that always seems to be filled with unnecessary but time-consuming tasks, time can be more valuable than gold. The faster you can make decisions, adjust strategies, get to market… the greater the edge you’ll have in whatever market you enter.
Flexibility – To try again and again. Then be willing to try something else
Most things that you try in business will not succeed the first time or even the second or third time. As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” So, while all your plans may fall through in some way, keep planning and attempting new endeavors because experience can be your best teacher.
There are seven more habits that all entrepreneurs regularly work on. They think in terms of:
Again, after years of personal experience and coaching, I’ve discovered that it is up to you to carefully examine your strengths and dedicate yourself to learning if you want this rewarding career path.
Find our about Business Results Coaching and how we can help you get to where you want to be that much faster.