Sellers: A Basic List of 5 Tactics Preventing You From Closing
Sep 05, 2019
The word 'salesperson' has become a dirty word these days. As a profession, we are embarrassed to own up to who we are and what we do. The outside world (anyone not in sales) almost reels in disgust when you tell them that you're a salesperson for X company, right? So what have we done to alleviate this? We've come up with fancier titles: business development representative, account executive, product expert, they all mean salesperson.
Why do we have such a bad reputation? It's our own fault. For years, selling has been an abusive process. It's abusive for the customer and it's abusive for the salesperson. It's been seen as combat, as a battle between them and us. In fact, in my first sales job ever on a car lot in 2007, my manager told me this: "Your job is to sell that car at the highest price possible. The customer's job is to buy it for the lowest price possible. The thing he doesn't know is that we hold all the cards here..."
Look I'm not against making a profit, even a high profit, as I believe that an item is worth in any given moment exactly what someone else is willing to pay for it. What I'm against is the belief that as sellers we are doing something to someone. That we are in some way supposed to manipulate and force them to buy. Make no mistake, your job as a professional seller is to make an impact on your customer's buying decision. We've just lost our way as a profession and the following are five habits that are contributing to our bad reputation and ultimately costing you sales.
Reading From Tired and Outdated Scripts
I have news for you: the classic scripts your sales manager told you to use like feel, felt, found and 'what do you need to think about' do not work. In fact, they never have. Talking at someone does not close a deal. Rattling off an overused and ineffective script to try and close a deal is only going to escalate to an argument and make your customer look elsewhere for someone who is a true professional. If you want to learn how to overcome objections like a boss, download my free guide at the end of his article.
"Knowing" What the Customer Wants
Your customer does not want to buy your product. No amount of selling will make them want to buy it either. The lowest price, the most features, the best in class UX and all the support in the world will not make them want to buy it. Nobody wants to part with their money for a product. They want to part with their money to solve a problem. If you don't know what problem they want to solve using your product, then you have no idea what they want and therefore will be ineffective at building a case for them to move forward.
You Talk Too Much
The team at Chorus.ai shared an interesting stat with me recently: while salespeople know they should only talk 50% of the time in a sales interaction, they actually end up dominating the conversation by talking 70% of the time. Even better, if you asked them, they'd tell you they're skilled at conversation switching and that they are able to get their customers talking 50% of the time. It's not true. I know it from stats and I know it from experience. Nobody wants to hear you monologue about features and benefits, your competitors, your product, your company's history, or anything else. They want to hear how your product can solve their problem - in as little words as possible. Just think about Brad Pitt from Ocean's 12: "Don't use 7 words when you can use 4".
You're not a savant. You're not a fortune teller either. You will not know who can buy and can't, who will or who won't, until you try. When I worked in auto refinance, many of my colleagues would get bent out of shape when someone with a rate that was below market would apply to refinance. They would bitch and moan about how ridiculous it was that this lead thought they could get a lower rate. And inevitably, when they got on the phone with that person, they would disqualify them immediately by telling them they couldn't lower their rate. Boo-hoo.
On the other hand, I would get excited when I saw something like that come into my queue. If someone is looking to refinance their loan knowing they'll walk away with a higher rate, that means there's a big problem to solve elsewhere that they're trying to pay for. And so I would go in with that mindset and find that problem. While my colleagues are bouncing these customers off to the next refi company - I was closing them left and right. You can solve all of this in one day. All it takes is a mindset shift from thinking you know, to knowing you don't. When you know you don't know, it's easier to create a hypothesis and test it:
What do they need? Ask
Can they buy? Ask
Will they buy today or in time for me to hit quota? Ask
Not Following Up
You are not excused from follow up. I don't care how good you think you are, you will be better if you follow up. Salespeople don't follow up because of one reason and one reason only: we're embarrassed. We're embarrassed we even have to follow up because some sales manager somewhere told us that we have to close every sale the day we meet the customer. Or we are embarrassed that we sent them the Magna Carte of emails crafted from the fire of our souls and got ghosted anyway. Stop letting your ego keep you from following up with your customers. 80% of sales is just being there. If you follow up relentlessly with a smile on your face and even a little humor (never guilt!), you'll close more sales than any of your peers and be on your way to that five or six figure commission check.
When it comes to bad habits we salespeople develop over time, these are as common as popcorn in a dealership. If you want to be a top performer, then take these to heart and start working on working these out of your process. Your customers will love you for it, your sales will increase, and you might just be asked to share this info with the rest of your team.
Speaking of which, do you think your team could benefit from more info like this? If so, reach out and let me know. I'll do a free lunch and learn with them and help your whole team close more deals!
Did you find this article useful? I like to write about topics that intersect what I find interesting and what salespeople like to read and will benefit from. If I'm hitting that mark, let me know! And if I'm not, let me know that too - and what you'd like to learn about sales from me. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
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