Guest Post by Ari Galper, Founder of Unlock the Game.
- Stop the sales pitch. Start a conversation.
When you call someone, never start out with a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer.
Instead, start with a conversational phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves. For example, you might say, “I’m just calling to see if you areopen to some different ideas related to preventng downtime accross your computer network?”
Notice that you are not pitching your solution with this opening phrase. Instead, you’re addressing a problem that, based on your experience in your field, you believe they might be having. (If you don’t know what problems your product or service solves, do a little research by asking your current customers why they purchased your solution.)
- Your goal is always to discover whether you and your prospect are a good fit.
If you let go of trying to close the sale or get the appointment, you’ll discover that you don’t have to take responsibility for moving the sales process forward.By simply focusing your conversation on problems that you can help prospects solve, and by not jumping the gun by trying to move the sales process forward, you’ll discover that prospects will give you the direction you need.
- When you lose a sale, it’s usually at the beginning of the sales process.
If you think you’re losing sales due to mistakes you make at the end of the process, review how you began the relationship. Did you start with a pitch?Did you use traditional sales language (“We have a solution that you really need” or “Others in your industry have bought our solution, you should consider it as well”)?
Traditional sales language leads prospects to label you with the negative stereotype of “salesperson.” This makes it almost impossible for them to relate to you with trust or to have an honest, open conversation about problems they’re trying to solve and how you might be able to help them.
- Hidden sales pressure causes rejection. Eliminate sales pressure, and you’ll never experience rejection.
Prospects don’t trigger rejection. You do — when something you say, and it could be very subtle, triggers a defensive reaction from your prospect.Yes, something you say.
You can eliminate rejection forever simply by giving up the hidden agenda of hoping to make a sale. Instead, be sure that everything you say and do stems from the basic mindset that you’re there to help prospects identify and solve their issues.
- Never chase prospects. Instead, get to the truth of whether there’s a fit or not.
Chasing prospects has always been considered normal and necessary, but it’s rooted in the macho selling image that “If you don’t keep chasing, you’re giving up, which means you’re a failure.” This is dead wrong.Instead, ask your prospects if they’d be open to connecting again at a certain time and date so you can both avoid the phone tag game.
- When prospects offer objections, validate them and reopen the conversation.
Most traditional sales programs spend a lot of time focusing on “overcoming” objections, but these tactics only create more sales pressure.They also keep you from exploring or learning the truth behind what your prospects are saying.
You know that “We don’t have the budget,” “Send me information,” or “Call me back in a few months,” are polite evasions designed to get you off the phone. Stop trying to counter objections. Instead, shift to uncovering the truth by replying, “That’s not a problem.” No matter what the objection, use gentle, dignified language that invites prospects to tell you the truth about their situation without feeling you’ll use it to press for a sale.
- Never defend yourself or what you have to offer. This only creates more sales pressure.
When prospects say, “Why should I choose you over your competition?,” your instinctive reaction is to defend your product or service because you believe that you are the best choice, and you want to convince them of that. But what goes through their minds at that point?Something like, “This ‘salesperson’ is trying to sell me, and I hate feeling as if I’m being sold.”
Stop defending yourself. In fact, come right out and tell them that you aren’t going to try to convince them of anything because that only creates sales pressure. Instead, ask them again about key problems they’re trying to solve.
Then explore how your product or service might solve those problems. Give up trying to persuade. Let prospects feel they can choose you without feeling sold.
The sooner you can let go of the traditional sales beliefs that we’ve all been exposed to, the more quickly you’ll feel good about selling again, and start seeing better results.