Planned Pauses

Planned pauses make excellent additions to your presentation tool kit. They will help you control the sales process and control your own enthusiasm at the same time. Using planned pauses is nothing more than a matter of pausing at appropriate times during your sales conversations. These pauses, however, are a little longer than your typical conversational pauses.

There are a couple of good reasons to use them:

  1. Planned pauses create a noticeable silence that draws the buyers’ attention back to the sale (in cases where you can tell their minds have wandered). If you just stop talking, they’ll notice and wonder what’s going on. Hence, you gain their attention back again.
  2. Planned pauses allow you to slow yourself down and use the appropriate pace for each sales conversation. This is especially important if you normally talk at a somewhat fast pace (perhaps because you’re excited about your product). If your buyers speak more slowly, pauses will help you to converse at a slower pace that’s more comfortable for them.

The pause has been recognized as having a high value ever since the early days of human communication. Even Menander (342 BC) is quoted as saying, “Silence is often advantageous.”

Planned pauses are also helpful to use after hearing the answers  to questions you have posed to your buyers. Rather than jumping right in with another question or presenting a point based on their answer, build in a pause. If your buyers are like most people, your silence will be deemed a “thoughtful” pause. You will be giving yourself a moment to gather your thoughts — evaluating what the buyer has said before making the next move. And the buyer won’t feel like you’re rushing them.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. For permission to reprint this post, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com) at Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

The Seven Selling Basics That’ll Make You as Great as You Want to Be

selling basicsWhat so few of us are willing to accept is this fundamental truth: Great salespeople, like great athletes, simply do the basics very well. Some of us would like to believe that there’s a shortcut around the basics; that, if we could only find it, there’s a secret formula out there somewhere for just sitting back and letting the money roll in. The sooner you get rid of that illusion, the sooner you can get on with reaching the heights you want to reach through effective use of the basics.

1. Prospecting. If you’re like most of the people in my seminar audiences, just hearing the word prospecting makes you a little nervous. Don’t think that way. If you don’t like to prospect, it’s because no one has taught you the professional way to do it. I’m going to.

2. Making original contact the professional way. We all meet new people all the time—in social situations, at events for our children, at church, in non-sales business settings. The key to success in selling is to refine your skills during these initial contacts to become memorable to the other folks and to remember as much about them as possible so you can impress them even more on your second meeting—which, hopefully, will be a selling situation.

3. Qualification. Many salespeople spend most of their time talking to the wrong people. If you do that, it doesn’t matter how eloquently you present your service or product. Your earnings are going to be low. I’ll show you how professionals make sure that they invest their time with the right people who can make yes decisions, instead of expending it on the wrong people who can only make no decisions.

4. Presentation. After you qualify and know that this person has a need for your product or service, it’s now time to move on to the fourth basic which is the presentation or demonstration. You must present your product in such a way that they see that it’s just what they had in mind all along.

5. Handling objections. The fifth basic method of developing your competence is to learn how to handle objections effectively. Maybe you’ve had prospects who want to wait and think it over; prospects who already have one of whatever it is you’re selling; prospects who’ve been doing business with your competitor for years. Have you ever heard any of these things? If you’ve been in sales longer than a week, you undoubtedly have. Read on. You’ll find material that’ll make you smile the next time you hear these objections. You’ll smile, bore in—and close a delightful number of such sales. But there’s a price to pay for that smile: You’ve got to learn the concept, adapt the idea to your offering, and learn the words that make it work.

6. Closing the sale. Many average to good salespeople prospect, make contacts, qualify, present, and handle objections so well that they manage to get by without learning to close competently. And that, of course, is what keeps them from being great. Closing contains elements of both art and science, and those elements can be learned.

7. Referrals. After you’ve satisfied the needs of your client and closed the sale, you have earned the right to your next prospect. By that I mean getting referral business from each and every client. That is the seventh and final basic. If they’re happy, they’ll want someone else to be happy, too. I’ll teach you simple steps to getting solid, qualified referrals every time, if you’re willing to learn.

But many of us have forgotten how to learn, so let’s quickly review the steps to learning that apply not only to everything in this book, but to anything you choose to study.

Excerpt from How to Master the Art of Selling – get your copy here to get more selling strategies.

The Uh-Price Nontechnique

Some of us go shuffling into a meeting dreading the moment when we have to get down to the hard facts of money. So we uh-price them.

“What’s the cost?” the customer asks.

“Well, that one is-uh-it’s about-let’s see, with tax and freight and the small installation charge we have to make-uh-its going to run you right at-well, maybe just a shade under, tuhthzzert. Um, yeah that’s about it.”

“What? I didn’t catch the price you’re quoting me.”

Tom Hopkins

“Ten thousand.”

“Dollars?”

“Yes, ten thousand dollars, more or less.”

“Well, which is it, more-or less? It better be a lot less if you expect me to buy it.”

“Uh-let me double check my figures.”

While the hapless salesperson frantically adds and subtracts, the buyer sits back and calmly plans his next move to keep him off the buyer sits back and calmly plans his next move to keep him off balance and drive a better bargain. Or his next phone call-to the competition.

Never uh-price a possible client. Control the money issue by facing it squarely and boldly. The triplicate of choice for money allows you to win every money vote that can be won. Use it. This technique is a reliable workhorse-if you know your figures, adapt the phrases to your offering, and practice them carefully.

Selling Skills Assessment

StrengthDiagnose Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Salesperson

As a corporate sales trainer, I am often asked about the traits and characteristics salespeople should develop in order to increase sales.  Here’s a personal inventory test for you to determine how you stack up against a top champion sales closing professional. How many characteristics and traits can you say that you have? [Read more…]

The Buyer Interview in Automotive Sales

00014502The phrase “buyer interview” may not be one you’ve heard, but it’s one I strongly recommend you understand. Conducting an effective buyer interview is similar to what a good journalist does when interviewing someone for an article. You ask questions that get them talking about their situations, their needs, their desires, their concerns. In other words, you get them to tell you what they want to own. It will also help you realize those situations where what the buyer is telling you they want may not be what they truly need. [Read more…]

Be Proud to Be a Salesperson by Robert Terson

A few months ago Nicki and I went looking at exercise equipment. I was experiencing sciatica in my left leg (I didn’t know it at the time, but it was caused by a synovial cyst pressing on the nerve between L4 and L5; after an MRI revealed the problem, microsurgery provided the cure), was getting physical therapy treatments at the hospital, and needed to purchase an item for my home exercises. We went to a number of places, including two sports-equipment stores, finally found what I needed at a top-of-the-line exercise-equipment store on Golf Road in Schaumburg.

Author of Selling Fearlessly

Author of Selling Fearlessly

There was only one salesperson in the store—a tall, lanky young man in his mid-30s. It took only a few minutes for me to realize I was in the presence of a real pro; I thought he was a terrific salesperson for the following reasons:

1. He was incredibly knowledgeable about every product in the store; the man knew his stuff.  He answered every question like the late Ted Williams talking about the fine points of hitting a baseball; it was impressive.

2. He asked a number of excellent questions directly related to my condition; he wasn’t about to proceed without getting the information he needed to do his job properly.

3. When I asked about a $2,000 piece of equipment (a similar piece of equipment I was using during my sessions at the hospital), he smiled, extolled its virtues, and then told me a $15.00 exercise rope would do the job for me for a heck of a lot less money. He wasn’t interested in selling me something he didn’t think was in my best interest. He was far more interested in establishing a long-term relationship with us than making a specific high-dollar-amount sale. [Read more…]

Using Phone and Email for Sales Conversions

phone email iconsAccording to Leads360’s latest report, The Ultimate Contact Strategy – How to Best Use Phone and Email for Contact and Conversion Success, “Lead response persistence is critical to maximize conversion. Making more than one call and sending even just one email can have a positive impact on lead conversion, yet 50% of leads are never called a second time and 59% of leads never receive an email.”

When leaving a voice message for a new lead keep it simple. Leave your name and number twice – once at the beginning of the message. Again at the end. Refer to the fact that you’re calling about the information they requested. Then, state a benefit of your offering to pique their curiosity to learn more (thus increasing the chances they’ll either return your call or accept your next follow up call.) [Read more…]

Time Planning is Worth Your Time

Most people don’t set out to waste their time. They want something for it. In fact, all but a few of us want every nickel we can get for our time when we’re selling it. This is as it should be. But most of us are less determined to wring all the other values from our time that are there for the taking. In other words, most of us don’t work as effectively as we could at the business of becoming more productive.

The way to change this is through time planning. Let me give you some reasons why this is so important. [Read more…]

Real Estate Concerns: “We wanted another bedroom.”

Real estate agent with coupleWhat do you say when you hear this one? “The home is very nice, but we  really wanted another bedroom.”

When they say this, what does it really tell you? They don’t need that extra room. They were really hoping for it, but the odds are good, since you did a good job of qualifying that both you and they know they can’t afford a home with that extra bedroom.

Your job now is one of asking questions to help them gain a more realistic view of their situation. Try these words, “John and Mary, I know when we first talked you were hoping to find a home in this neighborhood where you could possibly have an extra bedroom. Knowing inventory the way I do, I’m afraid there just isn’t one available in your price range. If you’re open to considering a different neighborhood, or school district for the children, I might be able to find a nice home with the extra bedroom. I would be happy to research that for you, but have to ask, what will you base your final decision on: having that extra bedroom or having your children attend the schools you (and they) prefer?”

In most cases, the quality of the children’s education will far outweigh having that extra room that they were “hoping” for. Of course, if you work in an area with an open enrollment, perhaps the parents would be happy to drive their children to the better schools and live a little farther away in order to have that extra room. [Read more…]

Arouse Emotions in Auto Sales

What is the emotional process that leads to the purchase of a new vehicle? It begins with a new development in the buyer’s self-image. That is, the buyers see themselves in a new way — as the owners of that new car, truck, van, or SUV and all the status it affords them.

If the projected vehicle purchase is small in relation to the buyer’s income, the self-image change need only be small. But if the purchase is a large one, the change in self-image that makes the purchase possible will be large. Such a change can come about very quickly. It can take place within a few minutes, or even within a few seconds.

Champion automotive salespeople are adept at spotting these changes in self-image as they occur during sales presentations. They are quick to reinforce the buyers’ realization that they can have, enjoy, deserve, need, and are worthy of the marvelous new vehicle they like. Do that, and they won’t just like it; they’ll want it, need it, and realize they can’t get along without it — then they’ll buy it. [Read more…]