Wiping the Slate Clean in Sales

clean slateAs part of the sales process, you might need to resort to a strategy of wiping the slate clean with your potential clients. Much of the decision process is based on past buying experiences. If your buyer made a purchase of a product similar to yours and was unhappy with it you face a double-edged sword. On one side, they are unhappy with your competitor’s product which makes them a pretty good candidate for yours. On the other side, their bad past experience may make them hesitant to even try your type of product again. [Read more…]

Low Profile Selling

35312closed saleWhat do salespeople really do when they close sales?

When I wrote the book Low Profile Selling, I wanted to get away from the term “closing” because it’s considered by some as too hard-sell. So, I decided to use the word “consummate” instead. In the dictionary, the word “consummate” means “perfect ending.” I like the sound of that and the image it brings to mind. It’s the perfect ending. Everyone is happy. The new client is happy with the benefits they’ll receive. You’re happy because you now have a new client. Your manager will be happy because you moved product. Everyone is happy. [Read more…]

Closing Tough Sales – Put the Shoe on the Buyer’s Foot

42209 Put the ShoeWhen it comes to closing tough sales, it’s wise to mentally walk the proverbial ‘mile in the other person’s shoes’ so you can gain a clear understanding of their feelings about your company, your brand, or the specific product you market. In order to lower their defenses and open their minds to allowing you to serve their needs, it’s also critical that you put the shoe on the buyer’s foot.

This strategy is particularly helpful in situations where you are calling on a client who had a bad past experience with another representative of your company. You will have to work twice as hard to earn their business as you would with a buyer who has had little or no experience with your company.

This buyer will have built a pretty high wall of sales resistance, but just the fact that he or she has agreed to meet with you speaks volumes. Perhaps they love the product but just didn’t like the previous representative. You will have to sell yourself first.

This potentially tough conversation might begin like this: “The last guy from your company sold us the product then never called again. We had an issue with it right after installation and he wouldn’t return my calls. I have to tell you I was pretty fed up with the whole thing.” Ouch!

Even though you weren’t the “bad guy” in this situation, you are there to represent your company well. Start by apologizing for how the client was treated. “Let me begin by apologizing for how you were treated in the past.” It’s really that simple. Most people just want their discomfort or unhappiness acknowledged.

Then, to break down that wall of resistance, say: “Just for a moment, would you please pretend that you’re the owner of my company. You’ve just learned that one of your representatives has damaged your relationship with a valued client. How would you handle that situation?” This allows the buyer to envision the challenge being resolved. They might say, “I’d fire the jerk.” They might say, “I’d send that guy back through training or get him out of customer service all together.” It doesn’t really matter what they say. Just listen. Let them get it all out.

Then, take charge of the remedy yourself by saying, “That’s might very well be what happened because I’ve been assigned the task of resolving any past issues you had with our company and to provide you with excellent service going forward. Help me understand your needs so we can determine how best to serve them.” With those words you’ve just hurdled that wall of sales resistance and landed softly on the same side as your buyer.

If you never address that “elephant in the room” — the other salesperson or the bad equipment or poor service — the buyer will stay ever vigilant for the moment you prove yourself to be just like that other guy and provide disappointment. Would you rather help your buyers to be watchful for how great your service is?

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. For reprint permission, please contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).
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Understanding Your Potential Client’s Fear When Selling Financial Services

     Think for a moment about what the greatest enemy is to the process of helping people come to a decision that’s truly good for them. What is it that jumps in and brings presentations that were previously sailing smoothly along to a screeching halt? You may think it’s the financial aspects of your offering. Perhaps you think it’s the prospective client’s inability to make a decision.

     Well, if you think any of those things, you are right. But, with selling being what it is — a bottom line business — let’s dig deeper and find the bottom line of what lies between you and your ‘future client’ coming to an agreement.

     If you look at all the enemies to the sale that you and your associates can come up with, you’ll find they have a common denominator. That common denominator is a thing called FEAR. Fear is the greatest enemy you’ll ever encounter as a financial services professional. This includes your fear, the potential client’s fear, market and trend fears and so on. [Read more…]

Selling Real Estate When They Want to See More Homes

It’s bound to happen. You’ll have buyers who are so afraid of making a bad decision that they’ll want to see every home that comes close to meeting their criteria. If you don’t know how to handle this concern, you’ll waste hours of your time and theirs. As a real estate professional, you need to know how to control the sale. You do this by understanding their fears, having empathy for them, and being the expert advisor. Once they learn to rely on your advice, those fears about missing out on the perfect home will dissipate greatly. [Read more…]

Creating a Consultative Environment in Selling

Once all of the rapport-building is done and you’re ready to get down to business, it’s important to set the tone for your time with these clients. I suggest creating a consultative feeling by using a legal pad to make notes. In some types of selling, this doesn’t make sense, but it is helpful if you can do it. When you make notes of their concerns or other details they are sharing, the potential buyers feel that you’re truly interested in them. They feel you care enough to pay attention to their pain points. [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 8: Act Relaxed

If you have a nervous or stilted manner when trying to establish rapport with clients, instead of relaxing them, you’ll put them on edge. If you’re nervous, they’ll get nervous and start raising their walls of sales resistance. They’ll question your reasons for wanting to talk with them. They’ll become suspect of your every move.

In selling situations, many of your clients will respond to your demeanor in kind. What that means is that if you come across friendly and non-threatening, they’ll feel friendly and not threatened by you. In other words, you get what you give. That’s why it’s so important to be well-prepared before meeting with your clients. [Read more…]

What you should know about building trust

During one of the most brutal battles of World War I, the fighting stopped for one particular evening. Christmas Eve. Men on both sides of the battle lines hunkered down in their cold fox holes for at least one night of peace.

Soon, a Christmas carol was heard floating on the cold air across the contested ground. The language was different, but everyone knew the tune and soon both sides were singing together. Before the evening was over several of the men emerged from their muddy trenches, met in “no man’s land,” and exchanged greetings and even humble Christmas gifts with their enemies.

If battle-hardened men who were in the midst of trying to conquer each other’s territory can find common ground in no man’s land, then certainly we salespeople can do the same thing on the showroom floor, at the executive desk, or the dining room table.

Finding that common ground is critical to building a level of trust that lowers sales resistance. During this early segment of the sales process, you should search for areas of interest you share with each new person you meet. The supply of topics is practically endless. For example, family, the weather, sports, hobbies, or current events are natural choices in consumer sales. If you’re in business-to-business sales, you can always ask those questions as well as questions about their company, products or industry. [Read more…]

The Feel, Felt, Found Strategy

The Feel, Felt, Found technique is an age-tested, proven strategy of moving your customers gently to a new way of thinking. There are three separate parts to Feel, Felt, Found: “I understand how you feel.” This wording lets a customer know that you heard him or her and can relate. “Initially, other (top purchasing agents

The Feel, Felt, Found technique is an age-tested, proven strategy of moving your customers gently to a new way of thinking. There are three separate parts to Feel, Felt, Found:

  • “I understand how you feel.” This wording lets a customer know that you heard him or her and can relate.
  • “Initially, other (top purchasing agents, CEOs, mothers…) felt that way.” You are letting him or her know that this initial thought is common, meaning that the situation can change.
  • “What they found, however, was that after doing ‘X’ was that ‘Y” happened.

‘X’ is what you want your customer to do (purchase your product or put a deposit down now…).

‘Y’ is something positive your customer will receive that he or she cares a great deal about.

This other group of people changed their minds, did what you recommended they do, and were very pleased with the outcome.

Phraseology: “So, Steve… tell me something you would like right now.”

Steve responds, “I want to be as successful as you, Tom.”

“Steve, I understand how you feel. Initially, other ambitious salespeople felt the same way. What they discovered by staying positive and working hard at their craft each day was that they were very pleased with their own success.”

, CEOs, mothers…) felt that way.” You are letting him or her know that this initial thought is common, meaning that the situation can change. “What they found, however, was that after doing ‘X’ was that ‘Y” happened. ‘X’ is what you want your customer to do (purchase your product or put a deposit down now…). ‘Y’ is something positive your customer will receive that he or she cares a great deal about. This other group of people changed their minds, did what you recommended they do, and were very pleased with the outcome. Phraseology: “So, Steve… tell me something you would like right now.” Steve responds, “I want to be as successful as you, Tom.” “Steve, I understand how you feel. Initially, other ambitious salespeople felt the same way. What they discovered by staying positive and working hard at their craft each day was that they were very pleased with their own success.”

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Use an Intent Statement

I recommend the use of intent statements to set the stage for every presentation. An intent statement is designed to reduce sales resistance that is created by the unknown. When potential clients don’t know what to expect next their minds tend to wander and their anxieties build.

Your intent statements tell your clients clearly what they can expect from your time together and relieve any sales pressure they are imagining. It accomplishes two very important tasks:

1. It introduces an agenda of sorts so everyone has a clear picture of what to expect.

2. It lets your potential clients know that it’s okay to say “no.” (No, I’m not crazy…read on!) [Read more…]