Category Archives for Asking Thought Provoking Questions

TSE 1203: One Major Closing Question Youre Neglecting to ask

TSE 1203: One Major Closing Question You’re Neglecting To Ask 

 

There are times when the sale is almost a done deal but at the end of the day, it’s not pushing through because there’s that one major closing question you’re neglecting to ask. This can happen to everyone, not just for the new sales reps. 

That one closing question you’re neglecting to ask

Let’s take Dave as an example. Dave is a seller who is wrapping up things with Bob in a phone call. Dave gave an amazing demonstration but Bob is being wishy-washy in his response and told Dave that he is still going to analyze internally first before moving on with Dave’s deal. Now, Dave is upset, furious, and blurted out some things. 

Dave could have done things differently by asking follow-up questions. Seeing it from Dave’s perspective, his outburst was understandable. He’s been working the deal for three months and he thought that he already got everything right. He already told his manager about it and he’s pretty excited for it to officially close. He needed this sale to achieve his quota. 

If he remembered to ask the closing question that many neglects to ask, the result would have been different. 

“Would I make  this purchase based on the same information I know if I were the buyer?” 

Based on the things you’ve shared with the buyer, would you have made the decision to make the investment? Many take this for granted because oftentimes, salespeople are shortsighted. 

Focusing on your pipeline 

Having focus is a great characteristic, however, focusing on the wrong thing isn’t. As salespeople, we need to shift the focus from ourselves and our pipeline, rather, we need to focus on our clients and our prospective clients. 

Going back on Dave, he was too focused on himself and the need for impressing his manager. He is a rising star in the company and the deal would be 25% of his quota. Everything was about Dave. Sometimes, a similar thing happens to us. 

We tend to focus on ourselves and fail to show empathy toward the clients. Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People states that the fifth habit of becoming effective is to seek first to understand then to be understood. 

The outcome would have been different if Dave asked himself the closing question mentioned above. Dave was in a difficult situation. He just got promoted and he’s now in the big boy’s league, this means that he’s afraid. The thing is that all these situations that Dave is facing don’t help his potential client solve his problems. Bob has nothing in him to consider shifting to Dave’s offer. If you were Dave, you would have gone a different path. Instead of looking at your fears, you instead looked at what Bob’s company needs. 

Perhaps you’d look at some studies and do some homework about Bob’s industry in relation to the software that you’re selling. 

Reality in sales 

Not every deal is going to close, that’s a universal fact in sales. But when you try to ask the closing question mentioned earlier, you won’t get in an awkward situation. Take for example the close rates, it’s the sales rep’s number of prospects to the number of deals converted. A 25% close rate means closing 10 deals out of your 40 prospects. The average close rate is between 15%-23%. Some people have higher close rates and others have a lower close rate. 

The close rate would increase if we work a little more in asking the tough questions. Salespeople must analyze the situation from the buyer’s standpoint. You can start the conversion process after every call, ask the buyer the same closing question, “Based on what you know, do you feel comfortable moving forward with us to a demonstration?” “Based on what you know, do you feel comfortable moving forward with us toa proposal?” Do this in every step of the process. 

The closing question you’re neglecting to ask should be given priority now. Ask yourself and the buyer that question. Find more of your ideal customers and have more meaningful conversations with them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

“One Major Closing Question You’re Neglecting To Ask” episode resources

Go ahead and hit me up for concerns and questions about sales. You can also reach out to me via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Use these practical sales tips and let me know how it works for you. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

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Listening, Meetings, Donald C. Kelly

TSE 1185: Why Do Salespeople Talk So Much?

Listening, Meetings, Donald C. KellyWhen I asked The Sales Evangelist community what they wanted to know about sales, one of the questions that emerged was, “Why do salespeople talk so much?”

It annoys a lot of people, primarily because if you talk too much, you’re probably listening too little. 

Persuading people

Somewhere in the growth of the sales industry, sellers convinced themselves that talking would persuade buyers to make purchases. We believed that if we talked more, they’d hear us more and they’d more likely believe us. As a result, they’d say “yes” more. 

Unfortunately, that just isn’t true. 

Many people don’t realize that the greatest salespeople listen more than they talk. You’ve likely heard the adage that you have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you talk. 

If you pay attention, you’ll likely discover that the best salespeople are those who use their speaking opportunities to ask questions. They seek to understand their buyer’s perspective and to stimulate conversation that helps them gather important information. 

Stimulate the buyer

Let’s go back to the scenario we discussed earlier in the week. If someone owns a car that costs them a lot of money every month for repairs, you could ask that person questions to help him realize that he has a problem. If you walk him through the math and help him understand how much that amounts to every year, he may find that he could be driving a much newer car for the same price.

Good sales reps will ask questions that will help him realize the problem on his own. 

  • Why are you spending that much money on your car?
  • If I could show you how to spend one-fourth of that amount and get a reliable vehicle and still have money to save, would you be open to learning more?

He’ll likely be willing to at least learn more. 

Features and benefits

Without even discussing features and benefits, you’ve inspired him to consider his situation. You said nothing about the radio, or the seats, or the transmission, or the exterior of the car. You helped him persuade himself to explore the possibilities.

Many sellers dislike the awkward moments in meetings when things get quiet. Each side wonders what the other is thinking and, as humans, it just feels wrong for us to sit in silence. We assume the buyer is thinking something negative. 

A Harvard study found that when people talk about themselves, it triggers the same pleasure sensations as food or money. The study also found that volunteers who were offered a chance to earn money by answering questions about other people passed up potential earnings in exchange for a chance to talk about themselves. 

Why do salespeople talk so much?
We’re more comfortable talking about ourselves because we’re confident about it. The conclusion is that sellers who want to fill an awkward silence will likely talk about themselves.

Meeting prep 

Sellers who prepare for meetings would more likely understand the situation and the buyer and his company. As a result, they’ll be more confident in their understanding of the customer’s challenge. They’ll ask appropriate questions that help the buyers travel down the path to making a decision. 

Write some thought-provoking questions prior to the meeting. Challenge your prospects’ way of thinking. If you feel awkward about a specific question, you should probably ask it anyway. 

If your prospect seems to be avoiding a topic, see if you can find a way to bring it up anyway. The conversation will either progress toward conversion or your prospect will decide he isn’t ready for change. 

Study the customer and his company. Learn about the potential problems they are facing and figure out a way to solve them. 

“Why Do Salespeople Talk So Much?” episode resources

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

You can also connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com or try our first module of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free. This episode has been made possible with the help of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. We want you guys to go out each and every single day to find more ideal customers and do big things.

I hope you like and learned many things from this episode. If you did, please review us and give us a five-star rating on Apple podcast or in any platform you’re using – Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify.  You can also share this with your friends and colleagues. 

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Outbound Sales, Alex Berg, Curiosity

TSE 1114: Assessing Curiosity To Optimize The Performance of Outbound Sales Reps

Outbound Sales, Alex Berg, Curiosity

 

Asking questions and learning about the client is an accepted part of sales, but the key is assessing curiosity to optimize the performance of outbound sales reps.

Alex Berg, who has a consultancy in curiosity quotient selling, focuses on leveraging mutual curiosity. He said it isn’t so much the case that sellers aren’t thinking about curiosity, but rather that they are thinking about it too tactically.

Learning about clients

Most sales methodologies are a bit too complicated and don’t really require that much detail. Sellers don’t need to write down 27 questions before they sit down with clients. They simply need to learn enough to ask intelligent, informed questions.

Stephen M.R. Covey wrote a book called Speed of Trust that reports a significant correlation between the development of trust and the pace of decision making. In other words, if you really want to accelerate your sales cycle, build trust. And the fastest way to build trust is to demonstrate curiosity.

Types of curiosity

Alex distinguishes between social curiosity, which is about people, and technical curiosity, which is about how things work.

If you’re in a transactional sales environment, you must focus on getting a decision made quickly. So too much open-ended curiosity could be detrimental.

Begin by assessing what kind of sales organization and what kind of sales process you’re engaged in. You also must know what sort of clients you’re selling to.

Then, assess your individuals and your organizations to determine whether you have the right characteristics to thrive in a particular sales environment. From there, you can assign or hire people based on their ability to deliver on those requirements.

Assessments

As an individual, a certain degree of introspection will help you determine whether sales even makes sense for you as a career. There are many assessments available that can help you determine whether you’re epistemically curious with a general thirst for knowledge or perceptually curious with a desire to solve problems and fix things.

If you’re epistemically curious, you’re well suited for long sales cycles, complex selling, and larger deal size. If you’re more focused on getting it done today, you’ll benefit more from a transactional sales environment. You’ll get more satisfaction from quick decisions.

Leverage strengths

Once we understand where people’s strengths lie, leverage this information in the sales environment and then coach your team accordingly. The most important part of the sales process is the initial discovery. That’s where you’re qualifying the prospect.

The thing you have the most control over is how you spend your time.

Determine whether you even have a solution that makes sense for the prospect.

If we can get a little better at driving rapport and a little better at collecting information, we can reduce the sales cycle. Imagine what it would do to your bottom line if you could shorten it from 6 months to 3.

Creating questions

You must begin by learning enough about the client to ask intelligent questions. Your leadership must also have a mindset that encourages curiosity.

Make appropriate risk-taking acceptable. Many companies will say they want to develop a curious organization, but then they don’t act that way. They focus more on mitigating risk than on allowing reasonable risk.

Ask the tough questions that aren’t always comfortable. Don’t necessarily show up with a list of 15 questions. Instead, develop a list of the five most important questions and then focus your attention on those.

Mindfulness

Before you get on the phone with your clients, eliminate all distractions. Turn off your notifications on your phone so you can really listen to what the other person is saying.

Don’t simply go through the checklist. Focus on asking better questions.

Realize, too, that if you learn from situations that you view as a mistake, then they aren’t truly mistakes. They are learning journeys, and they aren’t negative experiences.

By demonstrating your interest in your prospect, you develop rapport, make the sales cycle more efficient, and hopefully shorten it.

Injecting curiosity

Individual sellers can begin by learning the tools to become more curious. The big win, though, is when companies try to inject more curiosity into their organizations.

Companies that are too internally focused and not client-centric make poor decisions. Alex recalls working for a company who sent a rep to get a deal signed by a prospect who was in the hospital following a heart attack.

The key to long-term success is delivering great value to your clients. In order to do that, you must conduct yourself in a way that communicates your intent to deliver the best possible outcomes.

Arm your people with tools to conduct themselves that way. Leverage technology to make sure your reps have the information they need at their fingertips.

Judging intelligence

People judge our intelligence and empathy by the questions we ask. As a seller, it’s better to approach a client and ask about the issues that are most critical to the company’s growth.

Communicate to the client that you aren’t throwing out a blanket solution. Base your proposed solution on what the expressed needs are.

Come prepared. The primary reason clients become dissatisfied with sellers or that they don’t buy is because the seller didn’t care about them or their businesses. This seller deficit disorder happens when we propose solutions that aren’t informed by knowledge about the client.

We must make it painfully obvious that we understand the client’s perspective so our solution feels like something uniquely designed to solve their problems rather than something off-the-shelf.

If you’re a sales manager working inculcate more curiosity into your sales organization, offer tools that help your client and your salesforce be more curious. Then, when your people use them and find success, celebrate that and give them the opportunity to share their stories.

Embed ambassadors in your sales organizations. Don’t forget this is about mutual curiosity.

When you think you know enough about your clients, ask one more question.

“Assessing Curiosity to Optimize the Performance of Outbound Sales Reps” episode resources

You can connect with Alex via email at alex@cqselling.com or on his website at www.cqselling.com where you can schedule an interview or a phone call. You can also call him at (770) 330-6221. Check out his article, Crushing Quota: Why Curiosity Matters.

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you.

Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, Sell Me A Pen

TSE 1112: Sell Me This Pen!

Donald Kelly, Sell Me A Pen
You’ve likely heard the scenario before where an interviewer asks a seller to “Sell me this pen,” but how much value does this approach offer??
This scenario will likely throw your prospective sellers into a nervous panic because you’re asking them to sell something they know nothing about. So how much will it really tell you about your seller?

Features and benefits

Sellers who don’t know much about the product they are selling or the audience they are selling to usually revert to features and benefits. They sell the aspects of the product that they can see.
“It’s comfortable.” “It has a good grip.” “It has a clicky thing and even a laser pointer. That’s great for folks who do presentations.”
“It writes smoothly and it isn’t too expensive. In fact, it’s cheaper than many of the pens on the market. And if you buy it today, I can throw in a notepad and a pocket protector.”
Why would people even do this test in the first place?

Quick thinking

People often conduct this test to see how well you think on your feet and how you perform under pressure. And though I can understand those motivations, this test won’t truly work unless you’re selling something that might be a consumer sale.
Typically, sellers aren’t selling simple products like pens. Rather they are selling something like a software solution that is much more expensive and has a much longer sales cycle. In those cases, it won’t matter as much how good you are with your words. You won’t be able to persuade someone within one minute to buy your expensive product.
If you’re selling inexpensive trinkets on the side of the road, it might just work. But if you’re selling something with a significant price value, it won’t.

Reviews

This idea to “Sell me this pen,” might have provided a good judge of a seller’s abilities in the 80s and 90s, but today’s buyers rely on reviews.
So as a sales leader, what if you stopped using this unrealistic test and offered a better one? What if you gave your sellers a scenario and ask them to prepare for it?
Test your sellers to see whether they can find true problems or interesting facts, figures, or statistics that will help you win the deal. Determine whether the sellers will try to “wing it” instead of coming prepared.

Sales scenario

You want a sales rep who is prepared, so use your interview opportunity to determine their ability to prepare. Ask your receptionist to send a scenario to the interviewees. Let them know they will be asked to role play a selling scenario like this.
Present a scenario in which a particular business owner has a certain set of challenges. He is already working with a particular vendor. The sellers’ job is to show up prepared to understand the product and services and have a meaningful conversation selling this service to the business owner.
If the sales rep shows up with information about the company in-hand and prepared to have a meaningful discussion, you’ve likely found a good seller. If the seller shows up with the intention to “wing it,” you’ll know what you’re up against.

Selling pens

The secret to successful selling lies with asking appropriate questions, even in the case of selling a pen. If you do use the pen test, expect your sellers to begin by finding out whether the buyer even needs a pen.It doesn’t matter how much ink it will hold or how great the cap is if the seller doesn’t need it.
Instead of spending the time pressuring the buyer to spend money on a pen, expect your sellers to begin by asking questions.
Meaningful questions about the buyer’s situation will either qualify or disqualify the buyer. It will also communicate that the seller understands the buyer’s actual situation. The seller will demonstrate a desire to identify the pain point and solve the problem.
Maybe the customer needs a computer more than a pen. Don’t waste your time pitching a product the customer doesn’t need.

Consultants

Seek sellers who will serve as consultants rather than those who will try to trick the customers. Help the buyer feel like he is making a buying decision rather than being sold to.
Jeffrey Gitomer said that people love to buy but they hate to be sold to. Help your customers understand the true pain that exists and then help them solve it. If you do this, they’ll evangelize about you and ultimately help you get more business.
Empower your sales reps to sell on their own. Teach them to become consultants who ask meaningful questions to identify challenges that the buyers may not even realize they have.
He’ll be successful and he’ll have great clients who love him.
If you create a meaningful scenario for your interviews, you’ll have more meaningful discussions and dialogues and both parties will enjoy the process more.
Besides, we probably already have enough pens.

“Sell me this pen” episode resources

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Oscar Trimboli, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Prospects

TSE 1096: How Do You Listen To What The Prospect Isn’t Saying?

Sometimes we lose out on promising deals because our prospects are giving us indications that all is not well but we’re failing to listen to what the prospect isn’t saying.

Oscar Trimboli is a deep listening expert who is on a quest to create 100 million deep listeners in the world, and he starts by helping us understand what we should be listening for when we interact with our prospects.

Taught to speak

We all learned to speak, to do math, and to study literature, but none of us can remember our listening teacher. As sales reps, we spend a minimum of 55 percent of our day listening, but only about 2 percent of us have been taught how to listen.

Remember these two bits of statistics as you listen to the information in today’s podcast.

  1. The 125/400 rule. I can speak 125 words per minute, but you can listen at 400 words per minute. You’re programmed to be distracted and filling in 300 words. You’re contemplating what to have for dinner or what to do over the weekend when you realize you have to get back into the conversations.
  2. The 125/900 rule. Your prospect can speak at 125 words per minute but you can think at 900 words per minute. The likelihood that the first thing your prospect says is actually the thing he means is about 1 in 9 or 11 percent. If you had 11 percent chance of a successful surgery, you probably wouldn’t proceed without a second opinion.

Most likely, your prospect is well-rehearsed and is speaking like a well-oiled machine. The most powerful thing we can do is explore the other 800 words per minute that are stuck in their heads.

Unblocking pipeline

When we grab on to those unspoken words, we can unblock pipeline and begin to understand our prospects.

We must be mindful to ask our prospects what they are thinking and to listen for the things the prospects aren’t saying. Oscar spends his days teaching people to be obsessed about the cost of not listening.

We often don’t do this because we assume our competition is those people we normally compete against. Many of us are listening for code words that a prospect might say that would link to a product or benefit.

The really skillful sales reps focus on the customer’s customer’s problem. Instead of thinking about the person in front of you, think about the customer that this person must go speak to.

The pipeline becomes shorter and more qualified, and you avoid unexpected surprises.

Change the question

We should consider the power of asking the question, “How does a business case like this get approved in your organization?” We’re good at asking who approves deals without asking how they get approved. Once we ask how it gets approved we will understand who else we’re being compared against.

Many large organizations have a project management office that filters the funding for all new projects. If you don’t know when that group meets or who participates or what other projects you’re being evaluated against, you may find your deal slipping away.

  1. Understand the 125/900 rule.
  2. Help the prospect sell the business case rather than what you’re actually selling.
  3. Help your prospect orient on the customer rather than on your offering.

If you do these things, your pipeline will look very different.

Help your team

Build some muscle around listening for what isn’t said.

Find the organization’s website and determine what matters to them. Use the words the company uses in your selling process. Don’t use your language rather than their language.

If the CFO can’t read and understand the first page of your proposal, you’ve failed.

Help your reps become fixated on their customers’ customers’ problems. It’s the difference between good and great.

Teach in a way that can’t be misunderstood and figure out how your clients make money.

Listen in color

Many of us listen in black and white. Oscar is trying to teach the world to listen in color. How do we notice the energy of the person across from us?

Oscar also asks his client, “If this organization was a movie or an actor or a book, which one would it be?” Many people listening might call it Titanic.

The question gives them a permission slip to tell the truth in a different way. Use a metaphor to figure out what the prospect is thinking in a different way.

You can carry the metaphor forward and discover who the villain of the movie is.

If we talk in this colorful metaphorical language we can quickly get much more from our prospects. Listen to what your prospect isn’t saying.

Get to the truth

Your prospects will tell you as many lies as you think they will. They aren’t doing it intentionally. It’s just that your questioning isn’t helping them get to the truth.

You can help them bring their truth to life using these techniques. Make it as conversational as possible.

If the person you’re talking to is a jock, ask which sporting team the organization would be. If he’s a nerd, ask him what character on The Big Bang Theory the company would be. They won’t suspect where you’re headed with that question.

The art of selling is your ability to be in the moment.

Ping pong questions

Don’t go into the room asking, “What keeps you awake at night?” Oscar calls it a disrespectful question and says that if you ask it, you haven’t even earned the right to be in the room.

Try to ask more how- and what-based questions rather than why-based questions. People may perceive your why-based questions as judgemental. People often feel more defensive with why-based questions.

Instead of “Why is this project being funded,” mention that you’re curious how projects like this are funded. Just by changing the language, you make it more comfortable for them to explain.

How-based questions

How-based questions move conversations along more quickly. This truth emerged with suicide counselors who discovered that why-based questions slow a conversation down and buy them time with people who are in danger of making poor decisions.

Hostage negotiators also stick to when, how, and what-based questions.

Listen for what’s unsaid and remember the difference between how quickly the prospect can think and how quickly he can speak.

Help them explore their thinking rather than helping them explore what you’re selling. You’ll become a trusted advisor.

“Listen To What The Prospect Isn’t Saying” episode resources

Connect with Oscar at his website, and if you visit oscartrimboli.com/listeningmyths, you can find a hack sheet with five tips that explore the things we’ve discussed here. It will help you listen beyond the words.

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

Tools for sellers

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

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Troy Rackley, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Water

TSE 1090: I’m Selling More Than Water

Troy Rackley, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, WaterHearing from other sellers can help us improve our own techniques, and today Troy Rackley shares his own killer message and how he communicates that he’s selling more than water.

Troy grabbed my friend Stephen Hart’s attention and Stephen told me I had to interview him. Big shoutout to the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council for connecting us with entrepreneurs like Troy.

Water problems

Troy’s company, The Next Level of Performance, operates everywhere water flows: residential, commercial, or agricultural.

He always begins by asking people what problem they are having with their water. They usually say it tastes bad or smells like chlorine.

Troy customizes his solution for the problem the prospect is having.

He then asks, “Do you drink out of the tap?” to which most of his customers say no. Troy challenges that answer by pointing out that because our skin is the largest organ of our bodies, taking a 15-minute shower is the equivalent of drinking 8 glasses of water out of the tap. The water is absorbed into your skin.

So whatever you’re avoiding out of your tap is being absorbed into your body anyway.

Educating customers

Troy educates his customers through a questioning process. It pulls the customer in and they naturally want to close the story loop. They want to know how they can fix this problem.

Troy starts by administering a third-party test to the customer’s water. He insists on a third-party test for integrity purposes. He figures if he’s the one providing the solution, he can’t also be the one telling you what the problem is.

When water companies claim to have tested water for their clients, it’s akin to the fox guarding the henhouse. They can literally tell you anything. Troy offers an independent, third-party assessment of what’s wrong with the customer’s water.

Custom filtration

Troy educates his customers about the undesirable things in their water and then describes the custom filtration system that will address those problems.

Troy calls it water math. The municipalities add all kinds of chemicals into the water to kill bacteria. Troy’s company works to subtract those things so it doesn’t get to the customer.

Troy personalizes the message. Unlike big box companies who want to push a single idea or product, Troy offers unique solutions to his customers. He’s selling more than water.

Not only does it help the customers, it helps his business. He hasn’t done any marketing in his business since he started. All of his growth has resulted from word-of-mouth growth. His attention to detail has built a great reputation for him.

Selling more than water

Troy’s focus isn’t simply on customer service; he strives for customer success. If he can make his customers more successful in their health and finances because they aren’t having to buy bottled water, the service becomes secondary.

By making sure that the customer is educated moving forward, he distinguishes between customer service and customer success. Troy eliminates the number of problems that families have to worry about.

If, for example, a customer falls under a boil water advisory, the system eliminates the need to actually boil the water. The company designs the system to create minimal disruption because he says you never know what will happen with municipalities.

His ultimate goal is to make sure that your family never has a disruption to its water supply.

Company growth

Troy’s company operates in about 15 states as well as Canada, Amsterdam, Sweden, and Australia, because water is a global issue.

Water touches everything in life.

The company installed its system in a fish farm it owns and they reduced the harvest time by three to five months. The water is so clean that the food is more bioavailable for the fish.

Troy is doing something the industry hasn’t even seen. It’s an example of disruptive technology.

They moved into residential work because the consumer must be educated. Municipalities will say that your water is clean when it leaves their plants. As a result, it’s the customer’s responsibility to address any water problems that exist.

Troy wants to help the customer make an educated decision.

Clear or clean

Troy is fond of the phrase, “Just because it’s clear doesn’t mean it’s clean.” There are things in water that you can’t see that can hurt you. Often, the things you can’t see are the greatest threat. Cruise ships are notoriously dealing with norovirus, which originates from the water.

Troy said they have answers to every water issue because they study it and design amazing solutions.

He points to the fact that only one man made minerals, and those are the natural minerals they leave in the water. He’s selling more than water.

Sell on value, not expense.

“Selling More Than Water” episode resources

Connect with Troy at nlpaqua.com. There’s a contact form you can use to initiate the water testing process on your way to restoring your water.

Learn more about the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Brian Robinson, Donald Kelly, Sales Malpractice

TSE 1084: Sales From The Street – “Sales Malpractice”

Brian Robinson, Donald Kelly, Sales MalpracticeWhen we convince ourselves that we have nothing more to learn, we fail to ask enough questions and we sometimes even commit sales malpractice.

Brian Robinson has been in sales for more than 20 years, but he said that he only thought he knew how to sell while he was in corporate America. He calls his plunge into entrepreneurialism the hardest thing he has ever done, and while it was successful, he said his eyes were opened when he entered the world of “you don’t sell, you don’t eat.”

Brian is the author of the book The Selling Formula, which codifies the steps he used to succeed in that venture.

Intentional questions

Many salespeople do the old “show up and throw up.” We’re so anxious to get to the presentation that we neglect to ask the very best questions we can ask to uncover the needs. We’re seeking sincere engagement from our prospect, so this is the most critical component.

Brian noticed that the best physicians diagnose illness with a list of carefully-crafted questions. That information became especially important when he worked for Johnson and Johnson selling internal devices for laparoscopy. Though the device was clinically superior to anything on the market, he wasn’t getting any responses for trial evaluations.

He knew the device was superior, so he combed through the features and benefits and put together a list of questions related to them. He structured them in a specific order and the wording of each was intentional as well.

Asking questions

He tested the questions, and within about 30 days his trial evaluations doubled because of that list of questions.

When word got out that he had produced those kinds of results, people started asking for his list of questions. He passed it along and found that when people followed the questions exactly, they got the exact same results: they doubled their results.

Brian grew fascinated with the whole idea of going deep on questions. He even developed a personal mantra that questions are the key to life.

Although it took several iterations for Brian to get the list and order of questions exactly right, he stuck with it and he achieved success. There’s still an opportunity to make it even better, but it’s working very consistently now.

Malpractice

Brian defines sales malpractice as providing a diagnosis before you really understand the underlying issues. You won’t be able to give your prospect the best possible answer, and until you’ve uncovered a need, you won’t be able to proceed to the sales conversation.

You have to earn the right to have that conversation. If you rush too quickly into the presentation, your sales presentation won’t be nearly what it could have been.

The key to all of it is how you create your questions.

Get started

Begin by making a spreadsheet with three columns. The first is your features, the second is the benefits related to the feature, and in the third column write down every question you can think of related to those features.

Then take an 80/20 approach. Of the questions you’ve written, which 20% of questions will elicit 80% of the most critical benefits of your product? Start with general fact-finding questions and move into those 80/20 in the most appropriate order to identify the needs.

Imagine you’re selling premade home-cooked meals. What are two benefits to that service?

One is that you’re saving about 60 minutes per meal on grocery shopping, food prep, and cooking time. The other is simplicity. Now generate questions from those benefits.

  • On a weekly basis, how many dinners do you cook for your family?
  • How much time does it typically take you to make dinner?
  • If all you had to do was move something from the freezer to the oven, how would that affect the frequency of your family meals?

Now order the questions from general fact-finding to more specific. Then place the most compelling ones at the top 20 percent of the questions you ask.

Emotional level

Get down to an emotional level. We unfortunately avoid this, often because we aren’t comfortable going that deep into our conversations. We also tend to approach these conversations with a transactional mindset instead of realizing these are human beings with deep emotional and physical needs.

Go the levels that can motivate us to change. We’re trying to make a difference as salespeople. Approach each situation with the mindset that you want to go deeper and ask heart-level questions.

Strive to be seen as a trusted advisor instead of as a sales rep. You’ll have a connection at the human level.

Selling the concept

If someone is willing to grab this idea and test it in their own sales conversations, the proof is in the doing. People have been shocked at the effectiveness of this practice because, shockingly, people don’t think this way.

Brian said he camped out on the questions because that’s where the gold is.

Sometimes management and metrics prompt us to rush the sales process. That causes us to focus on the wrong things. As a result, we end up working twice as hard with less impressive results.

Instead of focusing on outcomes, focus on being so connected to the prospect that the outcome will take care of itself.

We get comfortable where we are, so we live in ignorance. We are amazingly connected to our comfort level. We’re addicted to it. But in order to grow, you have to embrace struggle.

“Sales Malpractice” episode resources

You can get the first three chapters of Brian’s book, The Selling Formula, by going to brianrobinsonbook.com. He also has content associated with the book available at thesellingformula.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, Sales Coaching, Sales Training

TSE 1080: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Discovery Meetings”

Donald Kelly, Sales Coaching, Sales Training

Building value is a critical part of any sales process, and the discovery meeting is an important step in that process.

How much should you prepare for the discovery meeting beforehand? What should you know? What should you do?

The insights I’ll share come from the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, designed to help sales reps perform to the best of their ability, find more ideal customers, build strong value, and close more deals.

What is discovery?

The discovery meeting is an opportunity to learn about the challenge your prospect is facing. It’s a chance to go a little more in-depth.

It’s not necessarily a chance to get all the information about the company or about its history. That’s boring for the client who doesn’t want to have to educate you. The client is likely meeting with other sellers and they aren’t interested in working to educate all of them.

Do your research beforehand so your discovery meeting can focus solely on understanding the prospect’s true problem and understanding how you can bring value and help them learn more about what you have to offer.

Research

You can easily find information about the company and its history on the Internet or the company’s website. If you show up to discovery seeking this kind of information the prospects will likely think less of you.

I’ve said it before, but you also have the option to call into the company and ask the receptionist for more information. The organization may be able to share an information page or other company literature. The PR department may be able to provide the information you’re seeking as well.

This information is vital to the discovery meeting because it will help you have a meaningful discussion when you meet with the prospect.

Understand the industry

Make sure you also understand recent developments related to the industry and the company’s role within the industry.

If the company is in the housing industry and I discover that the housing industry is booming in states like Arizona, California, and Florida, then that will impact my presentation.

If I’m selling marketing services to companies in the housing market it will be important to know that the market is growing. I’ll also need to know the top challenges that companies within the housing market are facing.

Then, determine how those trends will correlate to your product or service.

Case studies

If you have a previous or existing client that is similar to your prospect, consider sharing that information. Has one of your clients faced the challenges of growing in a high-growth market? Have you helped a client tackle some of the issues inherent in that situation?

Is there a business case study I can share that helps my prospects understand the challenge they are facing?

I did an episode some time back about case studies and the folks over at Gong outlined four main steps that should exist within every business case study.

  1. Identify the problem. What is preventing the client from growing? What challenges are hindering the company from accomplishing its goals?
  2. Develop a measurement. How can you measure the challenges the company is facing? How can you quantify the issue the company is facing?
  3. Determine the consequences of the company losing those deals or opportunities. Did they have to let people go or close their doors? Make a dramatic point without going over-the-top.
  4. What transformation did your product or service cause in this company?

Prepare questions

What things did the company try previously that didn’t work?

The more questions you ask the more you’ll learn about them. Go deep. Ask them to tell you more.

You may discover that they are currently working with a company that isn’t providing the kind of results they need. Why don’t they like the current company? Incorporate those facts into your own presentation so you can address their challenges.

Find out who will be making the decision and how they will decide. Find out what their budget will be and when they are hoping to make the change.

Is there an unconsidered need they aren’t aware of?

TSE Certified Sales Training Program

This stuff works. We teach it in TSE Certified Sales Training Program and we’re seeing fantastic results.

If you or your team want to check out the program, we’ll let you try the first module risk-free. If you love it, we’d love to have you join the TSE Certified Sales Training Program to improve your selling skills.

I share this because I want to help you find more ideal customers, have more meaningful conversations, build stronger value, close more deals, and I want to challenge you each and every day to do big things.

“Discovery Meetings” episode resources

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

 

Donald Kelly, Building Value, Selling

TSE 1067: 5 Things You Get Wrong When It Comes To Building Value

Donald Kelly, Building Value, Selling

If you’re giving your customers things that you value instead of focusing on things that your customer needs or wants, you should be aware of the  5 things you get wrong when it comes to building value.

We’re dedicating the month of April to a discussion of building value, and we’re starting with the fundamentals of building value.

1.  We fail to solve the problem.

People will only change if they see a distinct need for it, and sometimes our customers don’t even recognize that they have a problem. Or, in other instances, they may have found a solution or a band-aid to the problem that seems to be working.

People don’t fix things that seem to be working.

Your job as a seller is to ask the right questions to help them consider or see the importance of addressing their challenge. Once you’re able to help them identify the problem, we must provide a clear solution to help them address it.

Donald Miller has a wonderful three-step process that lays out exactly how you can move through the process.

If the buyer doesn’t have confidence in your ability to guide him through the solution, you’re likely going to lose the deal like I did when it happened to me.

2.  We focus on what we like. 

I’ve taught this principle over and over again as the platinum rule: treat others the way they would like to be treated. It’s a step up from treating people the way that you’d like to be treated.

Don’t focus on features or benefits that you like. Focus on things that the buyers like.

Buyers may choose to work with you for a variety of reasons, but not all of your product’s features will be important to the buyer. Not all of your service’s benefits will matter to him.

Once you’ve identified the problem that the buyer needs to address, and you’ve given the buyer a clear plan, avoid the urge to give the buyer things he doesn’t need. Give him the things that are important and necessary for him and nothing more.

You may have 100 features, but the buyer likely has one problem that is costing him a lot of money. He needs the feature that will solve that problem. Yes, he’ll get much more than that with your product or service, but focus on his main problem to start.

Over time you can educate him about additional features.

3.  We don’t listen to the customer.

This ties closely to number 1 because we often continue talking even after the buyer has agreed to buy.

Our conversations and discovery meetings are intended to help us discover things about our prospects. It’s not intended to be a lecture.

Sometimes sellers believe that if we’re talking, we’re winning, and that simply isn’t true. Think of it like dating: you want the other person to perceive that you’re interested.

Studies indicated that you shouldn’t talk more than 30 percent of the time, and that will only happen if you come prepared with meaningful questions. That will help the buyer express himself and his challenges.

Once you’ve listened, you can pitch to the one thing he needs the most.

4.  We think we must have the lowest price.

This issue emerges frequently with sellers who think that value means having the lowest price, but it simply isn’t true. I’ve lost deals before to companies that were bigger and more expensive than my own product or service.

When I looked back, they didn’t care that we were cheaper. They were concerned that I didn’t focus on their problem and show them a clear path to solve it. They didn’t have the conviction that I was the one who could best help them.

If you’ve done a fantastic job of identifying their problem and you’ve helped them find a solution, they’ll see the value in what you’re offering. If, for example, their problem is costing them $50,000 a year but your solution will cost them $5,000 a year, that’s a good saving for them.

Show me that you understand my problem and that you have a solution. Then show me that you’ve solved this kind of problem before. That will give me, as a buyer, confidence in you as a seller.

5.  We believe that more is better.

We often mistakenly believe that offering our customer more is better because it’s a way to increase value.

You might be giving away so many add-ons that your company loses money. In the future, your customer will likely expect the same kind of discounts and bonuses. If the customer stays with you for only a year, you will have lost the client before you could recoup your losses.

Resist the urge to give away everything for free. Enjoy the silence in your conversation. Don’t jump out and start talking too quickly.

They may not be looking for more value but rather just contemplating the purchase.

Keep things simple for your buyers and remember that less is often more. We know a lot more than our buyers about our product, and they don’t need to know everything that we do.

Avoid these mistakes and you’ll have much better success building value.

“Building Value” episode resources

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Value, Bob Britton, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Ppodcast

TSE 1063: How to Instantly Increase the Perceived Value of Your Offer

Value, Bob Britton, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist PpodcastThe marketplace is crowded, so if you understand how to instantly increase the perceived value of your offer, you’ll be better able to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Bob Britton got his start in business as an auto mechanic and he had an opportunity to buy an existing business. He figured owning a business couldn’t be that hard, so he jumped in, assuming he could do a better job than the people he had been working for.

He endured a season of failure but eventually started to improve as he learned the sales game. He realized that auto repair involves selling something that no one wants to buy, that no one is prepared to buy, and that no one ever has the money to buy.

He grew the business from a one-man show to a multi-million dollar business and then went on to other things.

Communicating value

If you can’t clearly communicate your value and what sets you apart from everyone else, you’re competing constantly on price. It’s the only way people know how to measure. But if you’re a value proposition, people will focus less on price and more on what they’re getting. It’s up to business owners to figure out what those value propositions are.

Begin by understanding what value really is. What you think is valuable is probably 27th on your prospect’s list of what’s valuable.

Consider even the smallest thing that might be considered valuable. Look beyond the obvious things like saving time or money because everyone claims to offer those.

Starting point

Understand that perception is everything. When you’re creating your value proposition, if your prospect believes it’s important, it is. Perception is everything.

That determines how we start. Begin by looking at the business drivers which are often saving money and making money. But drill down deeper.

  • Why would a customer use your offer?
  • What does the customer really care about?

Think of things like operating cost, downtime, uptime, labor cost, customer retention, market share, productivity, profitability, time to market, lifetime customer value, and any number of other concerns.

Asking good questions

Too many salespeople “wing it” when it comes to this process. They don’t think about the questions they ask and they rely on general ones instead of working to be specific.

People will give us a limited amount of time and effort. Ask specific questions that move people in a distinct direction.

Many sellers will ask about concerns, but that’s too general. Limit the question instead. What is your number one concern? Being specific will give you a lot better information from the customer because they’ll talk about the thing that is top of mind.

Then, flip that around. Ask your prospect the one thing that he hates about your industry. It takes some guts to ask this, but the information you get back will be the most valuable feedback you’ve ever gotten.

Bob asked people the number one thing they hated about auto repair on his way to building a million-dollar company. He used all that feedback to differentiate himself from his competition.

Digging deep

Your clients can give you information that will help you tweak your business and increase your revenue. You won’t have to push harder. Your clients will give you a to-do list that will help you improve.

Be willing to ask what your current clients dislike about working with your business. It will feel intimidating but they won’t crucify you. They’ll help you identify the things that are keeping them from buying more.

You may not need to dump more money into your business. You may not need to increase your leads but rather to just improve your close rate.

Next steps

Once you’ve identified the business drivers, identify some sort of movement. People won’t change unless your offering is significantly better than the status quo. People don’t buy offers; they buy new things.

What’s your movement? Increase, improve, accelerate, reduce, enhance, balance, free up, eliminate, minimize, revitalize, shrink, maximize. What kind of movement can you offer your clients?

Then add metrics to your value proposal to make it stronger and more believable.

Avoid using round numbers which sound less credible. When Bob was running the auto repair business, while everyone else was charging $87 an hour, he charged $98.68 an hour. When people asked how he came up with that number, he said that he figured out with his accountant the exact minimum he could charge to deliver the best service.

It’s a psychological effort that will surprise your customers and shift their thinking. It will position you as different than everyone else.

Do your homework. Don’t wing it because it won’t give you the results you desire.

Prepare

People may throw little tests out at you to see how you’ll respond. If you aren’t prepared, you’ll end up losing credibility because you don’t answer well.

Business drivers, movement, and metrics are the three things that create a tremendous amount of value for your business.

Do your homework. Position yourself as different, new, unique, and special.

Be creative. The competition has never been greater and the market is shifting. More people are becoming salespeople so you have to do everything you can to differentiate yourself.

“Increase the Perceived Value of Your Offer” episode resources

You can connect with Bob at his website, marketingautomationgroup.com and opt-in for a free 7-day course. He constantly produces new content designed to help you increase your perceived value.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Paint a Picture

TSE 1050: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Paint A Picture”

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Paint a PictureIf you paint a picture for your customers of where they are now versus where they want to go, you can help them make a buying decision.  Show them how the positive change will happen, or what might happen if they don’t change. It will allow them to logically justify an emotional decision.

Jeffrey Gitomer was my first ever guest and he taught us something interesting on that very first podcast: People love to buy but they hate to be sold.

Think about that.  Nobody wants to feel tricked or manipulated. That is the last thing that you want to do as a sales rep. You want to help them to buy.

Your job is to guide clients through a process that educates them.

Become an artist

The key is to paint amazing pictures that feel so real and so vivid that your clients can see the value being offered.

Imagine we have presented our business case and the prospect is loving it. They know it is amazing but they will naturally start to compare it to their current situation.

What are we doing? What are our sales reps doing? How much time are they spending? Are we wasting time?

It is time to paint the picture for them.

Asking ‘why?’

Toyota once used the ‘Five Whys’ concept to get to the root of a problem; to fix the real issue of any problem instead of the surface-level problem. As an example, suppose I take my car into the shop because I have a flat tire from hitting a pothole.

As a sales rep, there are many things you could sell me. I need a new tire, for sure. Do I also need glasses so I can see potholes in the future? Maybe I didn’t see the pothole because I was speeding. Perhaps I was late and I need to buy an alarm clock.

What if I was running late because I am not disciplined enough to properly prioritize my day? Will a new tire or a pair of glasses help with the root of my problems? No.

When it comes to your prospect, once he agrees with your business proposal and realizes that he is in the same scenario you’re describing, that is the time to share with him how you can deliver.

Paint the picture that directly represents his business and his situation. Ask him what you need to know.

Do you feel the scenario that I’ve presented fits your situation? Why do you think that is the case? What have you tried before to address this same problem? What are your goals?

Become a consultant

Become a consultant that will help solve their problems. You’ve already painted a picture with your business case. Once you have your answers – once you have more details – you can effectively execute the demonstration.

Know your client’s timeframe and budget.  Go over who will be involved in the process and the criteria for future decisions. Everything discussed during the buyer’s journey needs to be referenced during the discovery call as well. It helps make the closing that much easier.

Underpromise and overdeliver

If I know I can deliver 4x, I often promise 3x because it is a simple fact that my clients will be much happier if they accomplish more than they expected.

You can help the prospect realize that the decision is theirs. It is not being forced upon them and it is not manipulative. Rather, with your help, they realize where they are and the challenges they face in moving forward. We have had meaningful and educating dialogue that provided solutions and opportunities for change. The buyer’s decision is now up to them.

“Paint a Picture” episode resources

We are currently in the Beta portion of our new TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The first section is about prospecting, the second is all about building value, and the third is about closing.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

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Asking more questions, Listening, Fear

TSE 1047: Start Asking “Stupid Questions”!

Asking more questions, Listening, FearThe more information we have about our clients, the better we’ll be able to serve them, and we can begin by asking “stupid questions.

In 2013, I was working on a speech for Toastmasters and I wanted to talk to everyday people to find out whether or not they think the American Dream is dead.

What better place to find everyday people but on the train?

I was nervous. I didn’t want anyone to yell at me or be rude to me and I certainly didn’t want to get into a political debate.

Eventually, I mustered the courage to ask the guy sitting closest to me for his thoughts. I prepared for the worst but got the exact opposite instead. He answered my question and gave me the insight I needed to put together a great speech.

In today’s episode, I will share ways to overcome the roadblocks we create in our minds so that we can get the information we need to best help our clients.

Dumb, stupid questions

We tell ourselves that our questions are dumb and stupid. When we think that way, we end up with dumb and stupid results. We need to present our questions well so that we can get the right information from our clients.

When we ask only surface-level questions, we get surface-level answers in return.

When we then use those answers to create a quote, we find that the client is not interested or ready.

It is the same situation every time. We worry and feel like we suck at our job. Other people selling the exact same product to the same type of client are performing so much better.

How does this happen?

Clear and meaningful questions

Too often, we are so focused on how we come across to others that we don’t ask the right questions. We don’t want to appear rude or pushy.

Or, we worry that we might embarrass ourselves by asking a question that everyone else already knows the answer to. We also hesitate to “bother” an executive, or challenge the way he already does business even though our suggestions could benefit his organization.

Push the norm

We are afraid to push the norm.

Many executives are surrounded by ‘yes people.’ This creates a void that, as a consultant, you could fill.

To prepare for more clear and meaningful questions, you need to first understand where the questions will lead.

As an example, the brake light on my car went out. I did everything I knew to try to fix it without success. A mechanic, on the other hand, would have the experience and the knowledge to ask me the right questions about my problem in order to isolate the best solution.

I would not assume that any of the questions he asked me were stupid even if I already knew that, of course, I should check the bulb before coming in.

He would be viewed as an expert because he would ask all the necessary questions in order to fix my problem.

The more confident you are on a topic, the less stupid the simple questions will seem in your mind. You will know and understand that people who are not as well-versed on the subject will make mistakes with the small things.

Asking clear and meaningful questions will get you clear and meaningful results.

Know the landscape

Read industry magazines and trade journals of your targeted clients. Know why they need what you are offering.

Study and prepare so that your questions are clear and meaningful. Understand the intricacies of their business. It will make you more effective in presenting your case.

You will be able to ask questions with confidence.

When you know where the questions might lead, and you won’t be afraid to ask them. You will be prepared. Keep the questions simple and clear.

Don’t ever assume that any of them are stupid.

Start Asking “Stupid Questions” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

If you’re not familiar with the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, it’s a program designed to help brand new sales reps, as well as those who have been selling forever. The 12-week module offers videos you can watch at your own pace, as well as the option to join a group discussion. It’s broken into three sections: finding, building value, and closing. It’s amazing and it’s fun!

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

The episode is also brought to you by prospect.io, a sales automation platform that allows you to send cold emails in a personalized manner. To find out more about how it can help you automate your sales process, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never be the same.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share with your friends!

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Kory Angelin, Motivational Speaking, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Sellout

TSE 968: How To Ask A Potential Customer The Right Questions That Make Them Feel Comfortable And Not Pushed

Kory Angelin, Motivational Speaking, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, SelloutOn today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we talk to Kory Angeline about the right questions, and how you can help your customers feel comfortable without feeling pushed.

No matter what industry you’re in, you’re probably going to find yourself selling. And truthfully, a lot of us aren’t good at it.

Kory offers the idea that perhaps we sell too much, so we’ve trained our customers to immediately put up a sales wall.

No skillset

So why do salespeople immediately ask, “How can I help you today?”

We don’t have a skillset. We aren’t aware of the different tools we can use at different times.

Most sellers don’t even have an effective elevator pitch in which they can build interest in their product within about 10 seconds. We don’t know how to distinguish ourselves from everyone else.

If we can’t distinguish ourselves, we’ll sound pretty average.

Instead, salespeople should learn to ask great questions.

Great questions

If it’s truly a great question, it should be able to do three things:

1. Plant seeds

You should be able to plant a seed without selling because once you’ve moved into selling, you’ve crossed the line. Since a sale is a transaction of money, it should only happen at the end.

Discuss price at the end. Planting a seed is understanding their needs and wants.

2. Overcome an objection.

A great question overcomes objections before they even come up; common objections like, “I’ll think about it.”

A great question is this: “Other than yesterday, when would you really want to start using this product or service?” If your customer says, “Now,” you’ve already overcome an objection.

3. Activate emotion.

The emotional part of the brain makes decisions. Tap into that part of the brain using really great questions that are intentional and that tap into our feelings.

Developing great questions?

Compare these two scenarios:

If I ask a customer to rate his commitment to buying a new product on a scale of 1-10, and then I ask him why he isn’t a 10, I’m going to get negative answers.

If I ask a customer to rate his commitment to buying a new product on a scale of 1-10, and then I ask him why he isn’t a 2, I’m going to get positive answers.

You’ve flipped the script and asked him for positive answers. It’s a philosophy.

You have to be relatable. Relate why you do what you do. Don’t forget to tell why you do what you do because it levels the playing field and makes you more personable.

Build an experience

1. Build rapport with your customer.

Use great questions to accomplish the three objectives above.

2. Talk about goals. 

The goal is the most important thing. You have to understand why your customer is looking to buy software.

Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action teaches that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. The goal should always be to get the customer to believe in what you believe in.

Understand why the customer walked in the door that day.

One-minute drill

Kory uses an active listening drill that pairs two people up for 60 seconds.

One person talks for 60 seconds about something she’s really passionate about. The speaker can’t stop talking and it has to be something she is truly passionate about.

The partner is encouraged to do everything but listen. He can get on Instagram, take a selfie, browse on his phone. He isn’t allowed to listen.

That one minute teaches how bad it feels to speak to someone who isn’t actively listening.

Closing

Kory realized the key to selling when he asked a waitress in a restaurant for a recommendation. When she suggested a certain menu item, he asked her why, and then he went with her choice based upon her answer.

The key to asking for a sale is to give a recommendation and then share why you think it’s the right one.

We do it when we try to encourage a friend to try our favorite restaurant or when we try to convince him to see a movie with us.

At the end of the experience, you’re the subject matter expert. Recommend a product that you want to sell that meets the customers’ needs and then back it up with a reason.

Then close with, “Can you see how that would work for you?” and let the customer answer.

You must have a skillset and you must practice. There’s a lot of good material out there, and you can’t just show up on gameday and expect to succeed.

Practice every day until you feel really comfortable and confident.

“The Right Questions” episode resources

Connect with Kory at KoryAngelin.com and grab a copy of his book #Sellout: How a Great Experience Can Help You #Sellout of Your Product. You can also find him on Instagram.

This episode is brought to you in part by Maximizer CRM, personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. To get a demonstration of maximizer, go to the sales evangelists.com/maximizer.

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. Maximizer is intuitive, simple, and personable. Maximizer integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM, and it works whether you’re a small organization or a large one. It works throughout the whole organization and it’s customizable to the way you sell.

This episode is also brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach and it allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

We’ll use prospect.io in the upcoming semester of TSE Hustler’s League to focus on prospecting. We’ll give you insights and tools that will help you gain new customers and provide training and strategies that you can implement today to ensure constant flow in your pipeline.

Check out TSE Hustler’s League and apply to see if it’s a good fit.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share it with someone else you think might benefit.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Trust, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

TSE 937: The Questions You Ask Are NOT Building Trust

 

Trust, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist PodcastSometimes as sales professionals, we unintentionally erode the trust we have with our clients. The way we pose a question or the way we treat our clients can prevent us from closing a deal. Sometimes the questions you ask are not building trust.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we continue our month-long discussion about closing, and how the questions you ask are not building trust. Many of us make common mistakes that keep us from closing.

Trust

Trust is truly valuable. If you don’t have trust as a sales professional, your clients will never buy from you.

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. You’ve probably also heard that it’s not what you know, but who you know.

The truth is that closing begins early in the sales process.

We have to realize that the questions we ask our prospects will determine whether they trust us moving forward. When we don’t ask them well, they’ll cause our prospects to see us as superior or misleading.

They’ll perceive that we have an agenda and that you’re using your questions to frame your plan. If, for example, we ask questions that we already know the answer to, it erodes your trust because it’s not genuine.

Manipulation

Asking a question isn’t bad unless you’re asking a question in an attempt to get your prospect to give you a specific answer.

Imagine your prospect runs a print shop and has a printer that is down.

“What do you think will happen if you don’t get it fixed?”

Clearly, the salesperson knows the answer to this question. If the printer doesn’t work then the company won’t make money.

Asking that question will likely make everyone involved feel stupid because both parties already know the answer to it. Instead, I’ll ask something more specific that helps me learn more about your situation.

“Clearly it’s not good for business that your printer is down, but how much would you say you guys do on a day-to-day basis?”

Fears

If you’re talking to a prospect about changing from a current supplier and the prospect insists on staying with the current provider, you can safely bet that fear is the driver.

They’re probably afraid of your price. It’s possible that they’re afraid of changing to a new company. They may fear setting up a new process or going through the process of canceling services.

Instead of asking if they think it’s a good idea to stay with the current provider, ask if you can share your own observations. Your prospect usually won’t say no, and if you’ve built a good rapport, they’ll usually be willing to hear what you have to say.

When the prospect sees that you have no hidden agenda and that you’re being authentic, it builds trust.

Authority

We had a client in a similar circumstance who didn’t want to switch from his current vendor because he had been with the vendor for 10 years. Although there were problems with the vendor, it was easier to stay than it was to change.

The decision to stay cost them a lot of money, and eventually the prospect changed to our company. Because he knew that we cared about his business and we were trying to guide him, he trusted us.

They need you to help them make a good decision, and when you ask for permission to share your knowledge, they’ll give it to you.

Questions

We can become top-performing sellers if we use questions and psychology to make our buyers feel comfortable. We can help them recognize their true challenges and guide them toward the decisions that is best for them.

The Sales Evangelist is building a new course this month and we’d love to have you take part in it. Email me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com for more information.

“Questions You Ask Are NOT Building Trust” episode resources

Check out the video of Jean being set up by his girlfriend.

You can read the article by Dr. Rom Brafman here.

Even if you don’t buy my course, if you don’t engage with our business, we’re glad you’re here listening to the podcast. You’re taking advice and you’re applying it to your own situations. That’s what we care about the most.

This episode is brought to you in part byMaximizer CRM, personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. To get a demonstration of maximizer, go to the sales evangelists.com/maximizer.

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM.

This episode is also brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Sales Questions, Paul Cherry, Ultimate Sales Pros, Donald Kelly

TSE 906: Questions That Sell-The Powerful Process to Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants

The Sales Evangelist PodcastSelling is always a challenge. When sellers are confused about what they’re selling or about what their customers want, selling is impossibly hard. Learning to ask questions that sell will absolutely make a difference in your sales process.

Paul Cherry talks to The Sales Evangelist audience about identifying the customers’ pain issues and getting them to verbalize and vocalize their concerns. He helps us understand how to craft questions that sell.

A veteran of sales for more than 20 years, Paul has written a book called Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants, and he’ll share a bit of his wisdom here today.

Revamp your questions

Paul’s experience suggests that the more seasoned we are at sales, the more likely we are to fall into the trap of talking, telling, educating, or solving problems. We want to get to the point.

Empathy and building relationships won’t go away, no matter what century we’re in.

The biggest mistake sellers make is failing to understand the customer’s business. And because it’s such a common problem, it can become a differentiator for sellers who are willing to take the time to discover what their prospects are looking for.

Whether they’re brand new or highly experienced, 87 percent of sellers ask questions that deal in the present state:

  • What projects are you working on?
  • What problems are you facing?

Ten percent of sellers ask questions dealing in the future:

  • What are your goals?

About 3 percent ask questions related to the past:

  • How has our service been in the past?

If you want to change your sales approach, get out of the present, because you’re boring people.

Don’t overlook the past

The secret to selling, though, is getting into the past, but sellers overlook it because we assume it’s dead; there’s no money there.

The truth is that the past is where experiences, challenges, frustrations, and hurdles reside. People are often willing to disclose past issues because it’s done. They feel more comfortable talking about it now that it’s over.

A key indicator is this: what challenges would you share with other people to enlighten them to your industry?

Paul points to two main reasons that salespeople won’t discuss the past.

  1. They don’t want to dig up pain issues that their company has caused the customer.
  2. They want to be respectful of the customer’s time by getting to the point.

The truth is that this conversation isn’t about the seller. Furthermore, Paul says that sellers routinely waste time talking about things like sports, hobbies, and other chitchat for 20 minutes.

If you want to stroke someone’s ego and really get them to develop a connection, start in the past.

Ask questions in a better way

Instead of the usual who, what, when, where, why questions, develop more engaging questions.

If, for example, you want to know if the person you’re speaking to is the decision-maker, how do you ask that? It’s an important question, but it’s a risky one because you chance offending or belittling the person.

Could we ask that same question in a more comfortable way with a descriptive opener, like “describe” or “tell me.”

Describe your decision-making process for me.

By asking descriptive openers, you address multiple questions with one question. In this case, you might find out who’s involved, how decisions are made, what priorities are involved, and when decisions are made.

I get more insight asking a single question, and it doesn’t feel so much like an interrogation.

In the case of disrupting an entrenched competitor, we tend to ask questions like these:

  • Who do you use now?
  • What do you like about them?
  • Is there an opportunity there?

If the prospect is fairly content, you will get pushed out. You’re wasting time.

Instead, try this:

  • Tell me about some of the changes going on in your marketplace.
  • Tell me about the criteria that was important when you chose this vendor. Has that changed?

When you ask about change, people won’t give you a knee-jerk response to stay where they are. If you can get them to talk about change, you can address voids or disparities that the current vendor isn’t addressing.

Thoughts for new sellers

New sellers are often in a great position because they don’t know what they don’t know.

Begin by asking about the challenges the customer is facing, as well as what’s working and what’s not. Realize that where there are problems, there are opportunities.

  • What changes is your organization experiencing right now?
  • How are you looking to differentiate yourself from the competition?

Start at 10,000 feet before you dive deep and start asking your prospect how you can help. Salespeople want to go right to 500 feet but the customer isn’t there yet. It feels like you have your hand in their pockets.

Avoid the temptation to ask a question and then zone out when your customer starts talking. It’s tempting, after we’ve asked a question, to focus on the next thing we’re going to say or ask instead of hearing what the customer has to say.

If you’ll simply listen, the customer will give you the next question to ask.

If the customer mentions he’s thinking about pursuing new projects. Paul suggests using what he calls lock-ons. Which word will you lock on to? Listen to the verb.

In this case, he is thinking of pursuing new projects. Lock on to that word and structure new questions around it.

  • Describe your thought process.
  • What criteria are you considering?
  • What are you hoping to see?

Your whole job as a sales professional is to understand emotional drivers.

Remember the following three things to make selling work:

  1. Ask the right questions.
  2. Engage the right people.
  3. Qualify the right opportunities.

Focus your energy and resources on people who are receptive and motivated for change.

If the customer did most of the talking, it’s a great call. If you did most of the talking, not so great.

“Questions That Sell” episode resources

Grab a copy of Paul’s other book, The Ultimate Sales Pro: What the Best Salespeople Do Differently for more wisdom from Paul’s long history in sales.

Connect with Paul Cherry at his website, and download his 75 Best Questions to Close More Business. You can also request a 20-minute consultation at no charge.

Buy a copy of Neil Rackham’s book Spin Selling for more information about getting into a customer’s pain issues.

Maximizer CRM allows us to mold and personalize our CRM to our needs. Customize it to your needs and focus on helping your sellers close more deals.

 

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Donald Kelly, Sales Coaching, The Best Sales Podcast, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 897: 15 Great Sales Coaching Questions You Should Ask

Donald Kelly, Sales Coaching, The Best Sales Podcast, The Sales Evangelist

As a sales manager, your focus must rest largely on your sales reps rather than your customer. You must win your sales reps over in order to get them to perform at their peak. Do that asking great sales coaching questions and building strong relationships.

On today’s episode, we’ll discuss how to help your sales team perform to the best of its abilities. We’ll cover 15 great sales coaching questions you should ask.

Questions to ask

1. Which part of the sales process is most challenging?

If you’re setting a lot of appointments but not a lot of demos, something is falling short in your process. Maybe you aren’t building value. If I can sit down with a sales rep and discover where the issues are, you’ll help your sales rep perform better.

2. What inspires you?

A leader knows what inspires his team. If you aren’t sure, ask.

3. What are the specifics of this particular deal?

Seek the specifics of every deal. Find out the challenges and the criteria in order to find out how great the deal really is. If you train your sales team to seek specifics, they’ll learn early to ask the important questions.

4. What have you tried so far?

When a sales rep comes to you with a challenge, don’t get into the habit of solving their problems for them. Don’t give him the answers. Help him solve the problem himself and teach him to be a problem solver.

5. Why do you think that didn’t work? 

Teach your sales reps how to evaluate a problem and determine why the solution didn’t work. Don’t let them just walk away from a failed attempt. Determine what went wrong.

6. What led to that assumption?

If your seller is assuming he lost a deal because the buyer didn’t have money, find out what led to that assumption. Teach them to go deeper.

7. Why do you think that happened?

8. What could you have done differently?

Give your sales rep a chance to do a post-game review, and give her an opportunity to be a leader who analyzes the process to figure out what went wrong. Help them take ownership so they’ll find a better option next time around.

8. Why?

If your seller tells you that a prospect is ready to buy, ask him why he believes that. If he tells you what he believes the customer’s issue is, ask why he believes that. Teach your team the 5 Whys to get to the heart of every issue.

9. What do you need to do to achieve this?

10. What are you willing to commit to?

During a one-on-one meeting, when a rep tells you her goals, ask for the long-term strategy that will get her there. Help her realize that she may have to come in early or work late to accomplish the goal. She may have to be creative.

11. When should we reconnect to see if you accomplished this?

Just as we follow up with our customers, we must follow up with our sales reps to make sure they are on track. If we check in regularly, we can keep them from straying from their mission.

12. What will keep you from your goal?

Help your sales reps anticipate the obstacles they might encounter. Especially when they report crazy numbers they are trying to achieve, help them be realistic by guiding them to predict struggles they might encounter.

13. Which metrics or KPIs are you working on?

When you know what your sales reps are working on, you can identify the places they excel. If one rep excels in prospecting and another excels in demos, put them together so they can help each other in the weaker areas.

14. What did you learn from the deal you lost?

We all fail sometimes. It doesn’t mean we’re a failure. It simply means we have some learning to do in one particular area. When we honestly address the core challenges, we can truly learn from our mistakes moving forward.

15. What successes did you have this week?

We need to celebrate wins with our team, but it seems that not enough sales managers do this. They need to know that we value their wins and that we care about their careers and their progress. They need to get wins and then celebrate them.

When you can teach your team to take ownership of the sales process, they’ll have more buy-in and they’ll be more committed to success.

When the team knows that you’re invested in their success, they’ll feel valued, and it will create the same bond that it does with a traditional customer.

Keep an open mind and an open door with your sales reps so they’ll feel comfortable coming to you.

“Sales Coaching Questions” episode resources

The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League is our online group coaching program designed to help sellers who have been selling for years as well as those who are new to sales.

Last semester, we focused on building value, and we’re beginning a new semester in the fall. To find out more or to apply, visit the Hustler’s League.

If you’d like to learn more about video and how to include it in your sales process, check out the Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and selling your brand using video. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy. You are a brand, and video can help you set yourself apart.

Leave us a review wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe so you won’t miss a single episode.

Leave us a comment about the questions you use when coaching your own sales team.

The book Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen from our sponsors at Wiley provides a fantastic blueprint of all the things buyers say they expect and want from sellers. I’m offering a free excerpt of the book so you can learn how to sell by leading rather than supplicating yourself to the buyer.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Donald Kelly, TSE Hustler's League, Asking Questions, Sales

TSE 760 -TSE Hustler’s League-“Don’t Forget to Ask”

Donald Kelly, TSE Hustler's League, Asking Questions, Sales

Today’s snippet is taken from one of the training sessions at the TSE Hustler’s League, where we discuss yet another challenge of forgetting to ask for a referral and how you can overcome that!

Steps to Help You to Remember to Ask for a Referral:

Set weekly goals.

Make it a habit to set a goal of asking for three referrals per week.

Have accountability.

Get an accountability partner or ask your boss.

Join a mastermind group or our Facebook group The Sales Evangelizers, and someone’s going to follow up with you on that goal.

Set calendar invites.

Set time of your day focused on this referral project. Then send a calendar invite to your accountability partner and try to spare a few minutes to just check on your progress.

Episode Resources:

Check out the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

Facebook group The Sales Evangelizers

TSE Hustler's League, Sales Questions, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 745: TSE Hustler’s League -“Start…Stop”

TSE Hustler's League, Sales Questions, Donald Kelly, The Sales EvangelistOne of the reasons people have a difficult time asking questions is they don’t feel confident they’re able to do it.

They feel they’d come off as too disrespectful or they’re not worthy enough.

They feel like they’re on a lower level to the prospect so they don’t have the right to ask them questions.

So what kind of questions should you ask your prospects?

Business-related questions:
Examples:

  • What’s your business goal?
  • What are your plans to achieve that?

Challenging questions

This kind of questions will help the prospect think. It also shows you’re well-prepared, you’re listening, and you’re mindful of their needs. You’re showing them that you’re not just shooting in the dark. The better you understand them, the better your presentation is going to be and the better chances of closing the deal.

The Start-Stop

Start to answer a question they have but then stop to get clarification from the buyer or reposition the sales process.

For example, if they ask how much your product costs at the beginning of your presentation, this could mean they’re just fishing.

What you can do is begin to answer by saying, “Great question, but first…” Naturally stop and try to clarify by asking, say how many customers they have or why is xyz so important to them.

Now, you have become the consultant. You take control of the situation.

Episode Resources:

Check out the TSE Hustler’s League.

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TSE 660: TSE Hustler’s League-“The Reverse”

This is episode is part two of the discussion we had last week on Episode 655 where we talked about how you can create an experience for your customers, specifically around the idea of asking powerful questions.

Last week, I discussed how to do the start stop question. This week, I’m going to teach you how The Reverse actually works and how you too can use this strategy to help you create more powerful experience for your customers.

The Reverse

This involves answering the question with a question.

Example:

Customer asks: “What kinds of features does your system have?”

Then you answer this with:

“Well, it depends. What kinds of features do you want to see? “

Take control of the meeting.

One common mistake I see from sellers when they encounter a question like this is they immediately jump out and use everything.

You have to take control of the meeting. Take control of the conversation.

You can give them some answers but you still have to make sure you’re in control. Otherwise, the buyers want to take you every which way and it’s not going to work.

When the Price Question Comes Up

When this question comes up in the very beginning, you know they’re just trying to fish you out. So try to turn the question to them.

Sample answer: How much do you print everyday? (If you’re selling copiers)

Slow down. Get composure. You don’t have to answer all the questions right away.

Situations where you can use The Reverse:

  • When people are trying to throw you off.
  • When people are trying to dominate the conversation.

Going Beyond Surface-Level Questions:

The reason for asking questions is for you to be able to dig deeper into the issues of your customers.

Surface-level questions will only give you surface-level answers. This does not bring enough value. Go deeper down into the process.

This allows you to share something that they may not have considered. Help them recognize a problem other companies might have which they may not have thought about and which poses them to think.

Episode Resources:

The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld

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TSE 065: Learn Why Human Relationships Are At A Premium Today!

TSE 65 Jeb BlountDuring this episode I had the great opportunity of interviewing Jeb Blount, Mr. Sales Gravy himself. Jeb founded SalesGravy.com in 2006 as a portal for all things sales. Over the next five years he and his dedicated team of sales professionals grew Sales Gravy into the most visited sales employment website on the planet. Thousands of employers connect with hundreds of thousands of top sales professionals.  

Today Jeb is a highly sought after speaker and corporate consultant. He is known for  his ability to inspire his audiences to action and keep them on the edge of their seats.

Jeb is also an author; having written five books including his bestseller People Buy You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Business and his newest release People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership.   

Jeb has a passion for growing people and the unique ability to see potential in everyone. Over the span of his career he has coached, trained, and developed hundreds of Sales Professionals, managers and leaders.

Here are some of the major takeaways from our discussion: 

  • The way we sell has not changed, but the tools that we have to interact with each other has evolved. The sales process may be different, but we are still applying the basic things of finding pain and providing a solution for the buyer.
  • Listen to your clients and don’t try to “pitch them”. If you listen to your clients, they will teach you how to sell to them.
  • Pitching your product will make you look like everyone else.
  • People will buy on emotions and then justify later with logics.
  • “The most insatiable human need, is the need to feel important”.
  • Have a list of Go-To-Questions that you can fall back on. Practice them over and over again so that they become internalized and become apart of you.
  • Focus on what is most important to the buyer. Remember, “People Buy You”!

Jeb’s Books:

“People Buy You”


Stay In Contact

LinkedIn

Facebook

Twitter: @Salesgravy

Email: Jeb@salesgravy.com

Jeb’s Podcast: SalesGravy

www.Salesgravy.com

 

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The Sales Evangelist

TSE 064: Don’t Let Your Prospects Do Mental Gymnastics!

Mental GymnasticsPicture this, you are at a trade show or networking event and are having a really good conversation with a sales professional. You find out that her kids go to the same school as your kids and you were able to connect. Then out of curiosity you ask her, “Mary, tell me more about what you do.” Just then in a instance it seems as if this once down to earth human being transformed in to corporate robot who spews out a rather lengthy, technical, buzzword filled riddle that leaves you with a headache truing to decipher the meaning of what the heck she just said. It’s as if you just did some mental gymnastics and after you are done, you are left confused as ever. You are so confused that you don’t know what to say next and just say, interesting and then you quietly excuse yourself. What could have been a cool networking experience turned totally south!

But imagine, if you were a prospect? Think of how many people Mary was pushing away because she was totally confusing them? As a buyer we have all experienced this before and because we are too embarrassed to ask and not wanting to reveal our ignorance we leave confused! Many sellers are doing this today, heck I know I have done it before in my early days of technology sales. I had to learn the hard way, but I want to hep you circumvent the pitfall of putting people through a confusing mental gymnastics riddle.

There’s a Problem

Many sellers, especially in the technology space think that if they use big buzz words they will come off more educated on their product/services and it will impress their prospects. Well, 99% of the time that is not the case. It ends up leaving them worse off than before they spoke with you. It actually damages the relationship because it causes the prospect to feel uncomfortable and not okay. Hint, people will buy from those that make them “feel good”. They buy from those who they know, like and trust. Since you made the prospect feel uncomfortable, they are less likely to engage with you again.

If they are not likely to engage with you, how in the world can you build a trusting relationship? It will not happen. Besides, the prospect would not want to encounter with you again because of the fact that they were embarrassed that they can’t seem to understand you. Think of it from the side of a potential business partner. If we were to refer back to the scenario at the beginning on the top of this page, what if the this lady speaking to Mary knew folks in search of Mary’s company’s product? That is a lost opportunity for Mary because people can’t understand the words coming out of her mouth.

Many sellers like Mary may not really understand what they do or are capable of doing for the prospect so they memorize their company’s or corporate’s jargon. The problem with tying to sound sophisticated by using big words or company’s jargon, is that you are not speaking for understanding for the prospect. You are doing it for yourself. You are doing it not to reveal your lack of knowledge or to impress and boost your own ego. The prospect and you both loose in the end.

Solution

The first thing to do is to recognize you have a problem. But how? Well, for one if your conversations are not developing after you tell people what you do or they are leaving looking confused, that’s probably a sign. Another way  to evaluate if your message is causing people to do some mental gymnastics is to get a family member or friend who is not familiar with your industry and share with them what you do. Have them promise to be honest before hand (family members usually are the best for this) and tell you if they understand what you do. If they can’t understand what you do, then that’s a likely sign you need to come up with a simpler message.

But, if you are like Mary or many others, here are a few things you can do to prevent the mental gymnastics routine:

  • Recognize that it is not about you! It is about your potential client or business partner. They are the ones that need to understand what you do. They don’t need or want a dissertation that is designed to boost your ego. They want to hear your value and if it can benefit them!
  • Find a 10 year old (preferably someone you know) a child, niece, nephew, cousin or family friend and explain to them what you do. Keep changing  your message so that they can understand.
  • Do the opposite of the “golden rule” and treat others the way that “they would like to be treated” and not “the way that you would like to be treated”. Every prospect or business partner are different, so treat them as unique individuals by adjusting your message according to practical terms/examples they can understand. Make it relevant to them.
  • Try not to use industry buzz words unless it is someone in your industry and would understand/appreciate them.
  • Keep it short and not a long drawn out message. If you can’t tell someone what you do in a few sentences, you probably don’t know exactly what your true value is.
  • Practice by recording yourself telling your imaginary friend what you do and listen to it over and over again. Make sure you are not speaking too quick or regurgitating big complex words from your company’s marketing material.

The great news is that the method works! Mary applied these soultions and is now happily engaging with others and finding meaningful business partnerships.

I too have found that the clearer I can explain what I do the more I have meaningful conversations which leads to more business opportunities. I learned the art of putting others first and speaking to their needs will always make me look more educated than if I was to blabber corporate jargon.

Mental gymnastic is tough stuff, lets all promise to stop dong it to our prospects. I hope that you enjoy this and that you see a difference as well, but most importantly, I want you to go out and DO BIG THINGS!

 MUSIC PROVIDED BY FREESFX

TSE 060: You Are A Sales Professional….Stop Trying To Be A Psychic!

TSE-Slide-With-MegaphoneOkay, I got to admit something to you. At one point in my sales career I thought I was a psychic! Well, not exactly, let me explain further. As a new seller I always assumed and tried to predict what I thought my prospects were thinking or going to do. As a result, I lost a lot of money and wasted tons of time. If you are experiencing these “psychic” problems, I want to help you over come it and make more money. Here are some of the takeaways from this episode.

  1. DON’T assume! You are a professional seller, not a psychic!
  2. Ask specific questions that probes and reveal the reality and not vague assumptions.
    • Ex. “No two organizations are alike, can you explain to me what your “take it to the board” process is like exactly?
  3. Keep asking them to tell you “what happens next?” Keep going till you get to the root of the situation and have a crystal clear understanding of what is to come.
  4. When you get vague answers from prospects, if you feel that they are going to get offended that you are probing, try adding a softener before your questions. Something like “If you don’t mind me asking”… or “Just so that I understand”…Try them, they are fun!

Here are a few common unclear comments that I hear from prospects, where probing questions can be used.

  • The project is on hold…
  • This is not the right timing…
  • We have to wait for it to go to the board…
  • We have to get our lawyer to review the contract…
  • Call me back in 6 months and we will have a better idea…

You get the picture. Well, listen to the episode and hear my personal story in details.

MUSIC PROVIDED BY FREESFX

 

TSE 046: How To Ask Questions To Gain Trust

The Sales Evangelist Podcast. Launching Dec 2014!

Have you ever been asked a very thought provoking question that really grabbed your attention and made you think? Or, have you ever replied to a question “that’s a great question, I have never thought about that before?”. As a sales person these are the types of questions that YOU should be asking.  

Now, there are many other qualities that indicate if someone knows how to effectively sell (share value), but for some reason a thought provoking question does a pretty good job. In this episode I share some thoughts on this topic and offer some ideas on how you can incorporate this in your daily work.

Here are some of the major take aways:

  • Asking thought provoking questions that are resourceful and engaging, they will consider you a person of value.
  • Gain more trust from your prospects when you ask detailed questions.
  • Using your experiences with prior prospects will make it easier for you to ask those detailed questions to new prospects.
  • Build a list of key questions that  you can ask prospects when cold calling so you can make a good first impression.

Come listen to this episode NOW!

MUSIC PROVIDED BY FREESFX