Sales Winners Know You Are What You Think1 Sep, 2012 By: David M. Fellman, David Fellman & Associates imageSource
It may seem like a simple concept and we’ve heard it before, but I’ve come to realize over the years that one of the keys to success in sales is to stay positive and simply remember to think like a winner. Easy enough, right? Well, too many salespeople forget this confidence booster when sales rollercoaster down, thus questioning their ability; wonder negatively if they’re losing their touch, or even blame the product or service. They forget the basic mindset that winning doesn’t happen every day—but thinking like a winner does. Notably, prospects & clients gravitate to winners!
Positive affirmation thinking is alive and well, and is a confidence booster or reminder that a winning frame of mind does create spontaneous energy that not only draws people in; is healthier emotionally for the sales rep conveying it while enjoying the work process overall. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard salespeople talking about their method of approach and wondering what they are doing wrong or should do better; even seeking a new excuse or reason to call on a customer. You don’t need an excuse. Granted, you do need a reason, but as I tell my clients and prospects, “I want to sit down and talk with you about growing your business” - which, for any C-level executive, is reason enough.
Of course I’m looking to secure their business to result in a “win-win” contract for us both, which is my mission or end goal to accomplish. My attitude going in conveys “I’m a competent, positive salesperson expecting to do business with you; I have what you need, let me help you succeed.” With that thinking I’ve enticed them on various levels; be it product, services, solutions or knowledge while conveying a persona that indicates that doing business with me/and or my company will lead to their own success. End result is the win-win.
Know Your Objective
The starting point to this sort of confidence is to always know your objective—your true, specific objective. Obviously an office technology salesperson’s general objective should be to sell a lot of office equipment and supplies and/or manage their print and IT networks, basically to make a lot of money. But there are specific things you need to initiate and accomplish along the way.
For example, in the early stages of prospecting, your specific objective is to find companies that seem to be worth pursuing, which means that they buy, want or need exactly what you sell, and enough of it to make the pursuit worthwhile. The winner goes into this stage of the selling process thinking, “OK, I’m going to evaluate five or 10 or more companies every week, and I’m going to be very pleased if one out of every three or four of those companies looks like it’s worth pursuing.”
Winners know not every single person is a viable prospect so they don’t waste their time and effort on people or companies that are unlikely to provide a solid return on investment. Therefore, be selective on who you unfold your talents on. Winning salespersons realize that it’s important to be looking at new “suspects” every single week, but use discernment, putting effort into prospecting but focusing on a credible target, as well as seeking the key decision makers who can pull the trigger on a deal. They also keep current client relationships healthy because A) They don’t want to make less money but more and renewing business is easier than acquiring new; and B) They know how fragile customer relationships can be so continue to hold their hand in support. Winners know that it’s possible to lose a sale or a customer for any number of reasons, ranging from quality or service failures to pricing situations, or even things that are absolutely out of their control. They take it in stride. It’s normal to occasionally lose an account or battle, but winning sales pros rarely lose the war when keeping vigilant in their pursuits.
Middle Stage Objectives
I think salespeople would agree that the most important middle-stage objective is to get that first appointment or scheduled call or meeting. The winners tend to approach this objective differently than the others less motivated. Winners don’t beg anyone for “just a few minutes of your very valuable time.” Instead, when a prospect says they are too busy to meet or talk, a winner says, “I understand, I’m up to my ears in work this week, too, but I do have a morning available next week. How does your schedule look for next Thursday?” Chances are that the answer will be, “Okay, I guess that could work for me.” This move is just another example of how a rep’s visible confidence breeds a positive response from a client, while subtly indicating that your company must be good at what they do in order to be so busy.
That’s Why, Etc.
Winning salespeople are typically prepared to specifically tell the buyer why he or she needs to agree to the meeting. “Mr. Jones, I see you’ve been in business 11 years, and I have 15 years in your market, so it’s pretty reasonable to assume that I can help save you money, time and aggravation with your printing needs. Let me explain how.” Good companies are always looking for new ideas or answers to their problems or how they can grow their business, so are likely to hear you out or give you an appointment if you seem credible. You’ve grabbed their attention so can now move forward.
Another area in which winners operate differently is when a customer or prospect raises a price objection. I believe there are three things up for negotiation any time that happens: value, cost and price. The adept sales pro or winner addresses a negotiation in exactly that order, and the first thing they do is explain them each—confidently on why something is worth more money.
“Sure, there are suppliers with lower prices,” a winner might say, “but you and I both know that price is only one component of a sale, and doesn’t reflect on true value, quality, and service, along with consistency, reliability, and doing business with a reputable company who stands behind all that.” After that, good salespeople go on to discuss specific ways in which the customer or prospect may see the value regardless it costs more, using real examples of why value outweighs the lowest cost. Another of the things that winners do is to ask questions of the client or prospect and with bold confidence. They’re not in a hurry to make a presentation; they’re much more interested in a conversation—pace is key here, and the goal of that conversation is to learn about any aggravation the customer or prospect has encountered with printers or copiers, etc., in the past. “I see you have real challenges, Robert,” says the winning sales rep, acknowledging the client’s need, followed by “There are other, better opportunities to consider and my company has solutions in place to correct those problems.”
Working Hard & Smart
We’ve been saying all along that sales winners are generally hard workers, and they’re generally smart workers, too. A winner’s attitude goes like this: “If I work smart, there are ways to accelerate the decision-making process. If I work hard, too, I’ll find even more opportunities than my competitors have.” In fact, a good sales winner once told me that, “There’s no way to work so smart that you don’t have to work hard as well—at least not if you want to make a lot of money!”
That tandem relationship appears indelibly linked.
So, do you really want to make a lot of money? Grow your sales margins; find new business? If your answer is yes then you can take a giant step towards that realization— by daily thinking—and responding—like a sales winner!