There is strength in numbers but what is the application of this statement when selling? In this episode, Donald will be offering some great advice around this concept.
Jared, Donald’s friend, worked in a software company where Jared was the project manager. The company CEO had a philosophy that he used to apply: He would tell Jared and another team member to go to the conference room with him for a demonstration. The CEO explained that bringing an additional two people into the conference room would help balance out the power. The prospect was with three other individuals and the CEO brought in more people to add to the influence of choosing their services.
Jared realized this was an interesting philosophy. It created a huge change in the dynamics of the meeting. While he and the other team members didn’t do anything except sit back and watch the demonstration, to the client, their team as a whole sent a different message. It gave the perception that the company had a plan in place. It was a huge win and had a great impact on the sales team. Jared has carried this strategy through his career and shared it with Donald. When meeting clients and doing demonstrations, they do it as a group because there is strength in numbers. It gives the client the message that this isn’t just the sales rep talking, but a whole professional team.
One gentleman came to Donald’s office to be interviewed for a paint job and brought someone with him. As a salesperson, Donald always looks for ways to negotiate a win-win deal. The painter coming in with someone brought a different dynamic. It was a great strategy because Donald relented and paid a little bit more than what he was willing to pay in the beginning. Two people made him less willing to push back. They were ultimately hired because they were a referral and Donald believed in their capabilities but there was also the added pressure when there were two people involved. There was a perceived strength when two people came rather than one. It showed a team, not just an individual.
You may be one of those salespeople who have to work on their own. Rest assured, you can still make use of this technique:
Sending an email
Consider tagging a team member when sending out an email to your prospect. Because of the additional name, the likelihood of the buyer opening the mail increases significantly. Tagging somebody else on your team changes the perception of importance and causes the prospect to want to investigate the information within the email.
When you are trying to close a deal that’s significant to your organization, it’s best to bring someone with you to balance the power. While you aren’t forcing your prospect to take the deal, you have another person with you who can help with questions.
Absolutely do not do a demonstration by yourself. Make sure you have someone with you. Let somebody without a stake in the game do the demo. You want to send a strong message to your prospect in showing there are people in your company who are assigned to product demonstrations. Having other people with you also disperses the pressure to field any questions and objections.
Donald has your best interest at heart. These tips and suggestions will be helpful for you as a salesperson.
This episode is brought to you in part by Crmble, the easy-peasy CRM for Trello that helps you manage your contacts and leads without investing in complicated solutions, sync all your data, manage custom fields, and get powerful reporting on your sales. Try Crmble now for free at www.crmble.com/tse. This course is also 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. It will help them elevate their sales game. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can go and visit www.thesalesevangelist.com/closemoredeals also call us at (561) 570-5077.
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Building value is one of the most essential tasks we have as sellers. In order to do that, you have to make sure the discovery part of your sales meeting is done perfectly. Today’s guest is William “Skip” Miller and he shares with us great tips and strategies you can use during the discovery phase of prospecting.
Skip is the CEO of M3 Learning, a proactive sales management and sales training company that helps companies make their salespeople and sales managers better, qualify and disqualify better, and listen to customers better early on in the sales process.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Skip:
Lesson from Skip’s coolest sales experience when he was the customer:
During discovery phase, stop talking about what you’re selling and focus on the buyer.
What is Discovery in Sales?
Discovery is active listening. It is really understanding, from a mutual standpoint, what is it that the customer wants and here is what you have to offer and how that is going to fit the organization. And finally, realize if there’s a reason for both parties to continue the process.
The buyer/seller process is a mutual process. We talk about what the customers look for and what we do. Then if we agree, let’s take it to the next step.
Why is Discovery Important?
During discovery phase, you’re trying to find how much energy is really behind it. Sales is like a roller coaster. Be able to build up enough energy early in the part of the deal. Find the motivation why they’re calling or taking our calls or answering our emails. If there is a high degree of energy, the deal is going to come to a yes or no.
The “Cause ” Strategy
“Cause” is a nasty word to ask because when you use this word, you will find out somebody’s motivation. So start modifying that word in your early sales pitch and you will find out how much energy this deal has got.
The Biggest Mistakes During Discovery Phase
Most of Skip’s clients have 80-90% forecast accuracy in Stages 4 and 5 because they’ve done good stuff in Stage 2.
The Quantified Cause
Get QC or Quantified Cause because most senior level executives talk numbers all day long. Find the QC and you get a great discovery call because you’ve understood what’s behind the buyer and by how much. Get numbers early in the sales process otherwise you’d be excited doing presentations and then all of a sudden what’s “super” in Stage 2 just turns “okay” in Stage 4.
Quantifying makes the buyer think and it gives you an idea of how much energy there is for this.
Get QC by ranging it.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being great and 1 being near “we’re closing the doors”), how would you rank it now…
Questions During the Discovery Meeting:
Stage 2 has two value flags which you need to capture:
This is where you ask the feeds and speeds because if they want A and B and you sell D and C then there’s no use of you talking. Ask the feeds and speeds to make sure there’s a competitive fit.
This is where you find out energy and cause. Ask cause.
Skip’s Major Takeaway:
Discovery is about asking, not telling. It’s about showing and giving. Ask great questions. Prepare your questions upfront. Know your audience. Prepare below and above the line questions otherwise you’re going to start telling and talking and showing and that’s not discovery. Ask and really care about this profession in sales. Listen. Really care and ask.
Know more about Skip on www.SellingAdvantage.net/tse and check out their special offer.
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Today, we’re going to talk about the power of qualifying, which means asking questions and asking the right questions so you become more efficient and you save much wasted time out of failing to ask. I’m bringing in Benjamin Brown on the show. Benjamin is the owner and CEO of 360 Sales Consulting where they teach small businesses and entrepreneurs how to create and generate more funds by selling more effectively. He is a coach, a keynote speaker, and author of the book Master the Art of Closing the Sale.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Ben:
Ben’s biggest sales struggles:
What Ben did to overcome his struggles:
Many people do not ask enough questions. But you have to drill the questions.
Sales is a skill and any skill needs to be practiced. Practice not just by reading it but practicing it with someone else like a co-worker or a boss or a spouse or record yourself on your phone. Don’t practice on your customers.
Make sure the person you’re pitching to is a decision-maker. Do not assume. Have a checklist as you’re doing it.
Check out Ben’s book Mastering the Art of Closing the Sale
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What do you do if your prospect is only willing to communicate with you through email? No phone, no in-person meeting. Now you’re preparing a proposal when you haven’t fully understood any of their core challenges. While this may not be the best situation, there are always ways to go about this stuff.
First, this person may probably just be shopping around considering they don’t want to take the time to sit down with you and go through the whole thing. Or the prospect is just too busy. They don’t have much time and email is the only thing they think they can do to communicate with you.
What do you do?
First things first. You have to set up a phone call for at least 10 minutes and make the prospect understand that the purpose of the call is to better understand what they’re looking for and to see exactly if both of you are fit or not or you wouldn’t want to otherwise waste each other’s time.
How big is the client? How big is the company? How big is the opportunity? Do initial research online to check out their company and whether they have need for your product or service. If they really want to gain your product/service, they would take some time and effort to really want the details from you and communicate with you even if it is just a 10-15 min phone call. If they’re not willing to do this then it’s probably not that big of a deal to them.
What’s the worst that can happen? Don’t even worry about it and don’t let this stress you out. Just be bold in the situation.
If you think this is going to give you a headache and you might not really be able to help the prospect to progress then just let it go. It’s time to go after other prospects.
Strategies you can pull off if your prospect is just really busy to meet up with you:
Explain to them that you understand they’re busy and you’re willing to work around their schedule and make sure to get at least 10 minutes to talk. And give them options as to what time will work for them.
Tool recommendation: assistant.to
This is a Gmail plugin that allows you to embed specific times they can get on a call with you. All they have to do is simply click on one of those times and then it gets embedded on their calendar and yours. Specify that the meeting will only be 15 minutes.
If it’s not a fit then you wouldn’t want both of your times to be wasted. If it’s a one-man team, go back to making sure you set up a time.
You’re not a pushover. Ask boldly through email which of these options apply to them or the situation – whether (a) it’s not a big deal for them right now and not ready to move forward; (b) they’re not familiar with your company and don’t know if they want to waste their time talking to a sales rep, or; (c) they’re just really busy and don’t necessarily think they have time to take care of the project effectively right now.
One of the key traits of a successful salesperson is being flexible, which means you’re able to pivot as needed to suit your customer’s needs… not yours.
This means being able to read your prospects and be willing to change under whatever circumstance. Flexible individuals are the ones who excel most at selling.
Here’s a concrete example:
I sat down with one of these organizations that recruit students. So I figured I’d reach out to them and connect with them until I realized during the process that they weren’t necessarily interested in getting sales training for their admissions staff. Instead, they’re more concerned about keeping the one they already have.
A lot of schools out there have a populace of first generation college students, and they tend to have more challenges when getting started.
So first off, the pain point of this particular organization was not getting more people.. but keeping the ones they already have.
Now being a 1st generation college student myself, I had a first-hand experience of seeing how it’s possible to be in this place where I’m at now with The Sales Evangelist brand. So these students can definitely do it as well.
As a result, I came in to help them with retention, give motivational speeches and eventually worked something out to help all of their campuses in helping students stay in school and overcome their many challenges.
Got the gist of the story here?
You have to be nimble. You have to be quick. Nimble and quick enough to identify and understand your customer’s true pain point. Understand your client’s pain first. Listen to them. Then articulate your message appropriately towards their need.
As a result, a second opportunity opened up to me because I was flexible enough to go according to what the customer needed.
Again, listen to your prospect.
Listen to what is going on. Ask to know more and get deeper to uncover the true pain. It’s like Toyota’s “5 Why’s” where you get down to the fifth “why” in order to find the true issue. Listen to be able to get to the core challenge they have.
Listen to TSE 282 where I talked about the Dream 100, having 100 ideal customers you can focus on as well as campaigns and strategies.
Today I have the opportunity of interviewing The Three Value Conversations: How to Create, Elevate, and Capture Customer Value at Every Stage of the Long-Lead Sale“. Tim is the Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of Corporate Visions. Tim has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and sales. He was a co-founder of Customer Message Management.
He has also worked with LLC, where he was the CEO until it was acquired by Corporate Visions in 2008. Before CMM Group, Tim was CMO and VP of Strategic Services for Ventaso. Tim is also an author and has co-authored serval books. He brings a lot of great insights to a sales conversation and during this episode, he offers some great thoughts relative to his book.
Here are some of the takeaways:
“Value is created when a salesperson’s lips move.” – @
Salespeople are still needed when a solution is complex and difficult to make a decision on. As a sales professional, it’s your responsibility to educate people and offer value to the prospect.
Most salespeople get stuck creating enough pipeline. They also get stuck at the proposal stages because they don’t establish enough value. Another place is getting caught up on margins and prices.
How to create enough pipeline:
Whiteboard vs. PowerPoint
People will follow the visual whiteboard stick figure story more than the clicker with a PowerPoint. This makes you have more credibility.
Learn How Your Prospects Make Money!
Great conversations can purposely move people. It is way more science than we think.
Stay in Touch with Tim:
Why am I sharing this opportunity to listen in to our discussion? Simple. I want to bring value to my audience. And while I’m trying to help out Bill here and walk him through the road to customer discovery, I want you to learn and pick up some takeaways from this episode that you may apply to your own business or practice. Here it goes…
A little background about Bill…
Bill Nowicki is an engineer by trade with over 20 years of experience. Realizing he didn’t actually love his job, he decided to transition into starting an online business. He initially created a podcast, Submarine Sea Stories that features submariners and has now gotten around 70,000 downloads. Bills loves things that involve media, video, and storytelling. A year after his podcast launch, he created Nowicki Media in the hope to monetize and generate a revenue stream from it.
Now let’s move on further to the coaching process…
Bill’s biggest challenge: How to monetize from creating videos and getting that first paying customer
Here are the strategies I’ve pointed out to help Bill get started:
The more you understand your ideal customer, the more you’ll be able to present value to them and speak the language towards them.
It is also important to understand how to approach your customer. Find out the best time to get access to your customer. Finding out their lowest days could be an opportunity for you to provide value to them.
Craft a message in a way that gives value to them. For instance, offer a 2-minute video presentation that gives value. Go to one of their meetings. Do a presentation. Help them find their ideal customers and why people are not buying from them. Tell them the “what.” Then they’re going to want to find out the “how.”
How to pull this off naturally?
Provide your customer education and value then it becomes easier to “close” in the end. It then becomes easier to grow the business because you will eventually get referrals from them.
Here are some major takeaways that Bill will start practicing as he leaves this conversation:
What about you?
I will be following up with Bill in a week and see how everything goes. Meanwhile, I want you to do the same too and apply the things you’ve learned from this episode to your own practice.