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The basis of this book is to give salespeople the tools necessary to create and sustain a positive sales environment for the seller and buyer in any transaction. The ability to connect with people and inspire trust is the foundation for the sales process. This book is for the new sales person as well as the advanced. The tips described will give a new salesperson a road map to follow, the experienced some insight into where they may be able to improve and score even higher returns for the time and effort spent in trying to achieve a closed deal. The book is written in easy to understand every day language. No mnemonics to remember, no technical jargon, just straight honest information to help close more sales, retain more customers,and be seen as a credible advisor, not just another salesperson trying to get in the door. Hopefully you will gather nuggets of knowledge to carry with you the rest of your career.
Creating a Plan
Knowing your product/service
Who is your audience?
Getting past the gatekeepers
Cold Call 101
Finding decision Makers
How to follow up
Asking the right questions
Selling on value, not price
Listening,an art form
Becoming a trusted advisor
Connecting with the decision maker
Who has veto power
Finding the right solution
Selling the benefits
Whats in it for them
Look before you leap
“If it’s too good to be true”….
Letting go of losers
How many encounters before the close
Story Telling vs facts & figures
What could go wrong?
Don’t cash the check before the ink dries
Relationship based selling
Closing Killers & How to overcome them
Inactivity- creating a sense of urgency
No $$$- selling value to make the dollars flow
Not the decision maker, then ask who is?
happy with the current service/product, why, what features? if you could change one thing?
Actions Speak louder….
Know,like and trust rules
DISC Personality test
Know thy customer & thyself
Power behind positivity
Looking through their eyes
Being a Trusted Advisor
Shooting yourself in the foot
Talking over the prospect
Not speaking their language/ technical jargon
Selling too quickly
Not being punctual
Not following through
Selling at them
Making that annoying pushy, pleading noise
Sales Quota’s , The Side Effects
talking yourself out of the sale
Learning the art of shutting up when the client say YES!
Credibility worth more than commission
Life is a circle
Promises made, not kept
Selling to your team
Bad news travels
Making a good name
Never go negative
Always bring your A game
Never speak poorly about your competitor,company,co-workers
Sell your positives, not the competitors negatives
What to remember,what to forget
Like your self, love your customers
Convey empathy when needed
Take the high Road
Value your relationships
Remember to use your ears 80% of the time
Be Professional, physically & mentally
Credible Statements,words that work, words that don’t
have a plan
Carry your road map with you
Manage time wisely, your most valuable asset
Low hanging fruit
Being a hunter,not a farmer
The hybrid reps
Why strong relationships are key
Who has it
How to develop raw talent
What single characteristic makes a good salesperson
How to go from good to great!
If you don’t truly have it,get out now
Putting it all together
“Bring your road map”
Have a plan
know you decision maker
build the bridge
listen to discover
sell the benefits
ask for the sale
close the deal
Create A Plan
Creating a plan is one the most overlooked tools in the sales process. Not having a road map will result in lost opportunity, revenue and confusion for both you and your potential new client.
Many of the best sales people still have problems sticking to a plan. As a result, they forget to ask for the sale,and many other mishaps, starting a descent into a failure. To increase your chances to win, stick to the plan.
What is the plan? the following chapters will go through the steps to take that I guarantee ,if you follow, will increase your sales. Sometimes prospects will screw you up, get you off subject and take you for a ride. If you keep your focus and learn to shift and move with the rhythm of the sales process, always keeping your plan moving forward, you will achieve your goals.
No one ever said sales is easy, if that were true everyone would do it. As it stands, only 3% of salespeople are truly great at their profession. These professionals efforts result in 97% of all sales. Don’t you want to be in that 3%, or even the top 20%?If you have the ability to develop relationships that are truly good for both seller and buyer you are well on your way. Sales is full of emotionally charged experiences. You may have many letdowns, confidence busters, and seemingly unbeatable odds at success. Persevere ,remember you mission and look through your prospects eyes. These are some of the tools in your toolbox that will help you find your way.
So what is the best way to start your plan? Decide what your goals and objectives will be for the first week, month, quarter. Some sales organizations will develop a plan for you. This is your quota.While I understand the need for a quota, who works well with a loaded gun to their head? Sales is an organic environment filled with human emotions. Having the pressure of meeting quotas makes some good sales reps take shortcuts that lead to disaster. So if you can, develop your own plan, if you have a sales quota, still develop your plan. There is something about being in control of your destiny that is empowering.
First Things first.
Look in the mirror and tell me what you see. Are you someone that you would make a major purchase from? Sorry, but first impressions are still one of the most revealing ways for prospects to judge whether you have what it takes to do business with them. This should be a no brainer, but people will still show up with wrinkled clothes, messed up hair, body piercing, etc. You get the picture. There is some good news, you don’t have to wear Armani, or look like a super model, just look professional. Remember to bring your most impressive accessory , your smile.
Know your Product/Service
If you are new to your industry, or just new to selling, master the knowledge of your product,industry,or service. Nothing is worse for you ,or your prospect than not having answers to basic questions regarding your product/service. If you don’t know ,don’t fudge it. Just say “That’s an excellent question! Le t me write it down, and get back to you in the next day or so with an answer. If you think you can,later this afternoon is even better. However never make a promise you cannot keep. What makes your product the best fit for this potential customer? How will you describe it in a way that the Light bulb goes off? If you don’t have something great to state, chances are you won’t get that follow up appointment. Think about this and have a plan before you meet with this person. Get inside their world and try to visualize what might be an important aspect to improving their business?
Having a clear understanding of what you are selling and how this is a benefit will feel more like educating than selling.
Knowing Your Customer
So, where would you like to start? Small accounts are good if you are new to your job, or new to selling. If you are more experienced, challenge yourself. Make a list of your dream clients and rank them in priority. Don’t forget your competitors accounts. Just because they are with them today, does not mean they will be happy tomorrow. Figure out how you will connect with these decision makers? You will not make money sitting at your desk! Unless you are one hell of a cold caller of course. There are many facets to getting to know your customer but finding them and making a connection is the first.
Some companies provide leads for their salesforce , but in most cases, it is your responsibility to find them. These are people who may or may not be your future clients. Some will turn out , some not so much. But the more irons you have in the fire, the higher your success rate.
There are several ways to find leads. The easiest is referrals. Existing customers that have a good relationship with you. Always ask for them to promote you and your services when you close the sale. Keep asking them after the sale, and on occasion use them as a credible witness to instill trust with a potential new client. The next easiest way to find leads is through social contacts. People you know that attend your church, civic group, and other outlets. Social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media can produce some leads, but only if you are actively contributing to these sites. Cold calling by phone is probably the most difficult way to connect. It is much easier to hang up with someone, than it is to send them away. There are ways to make an instant connection. It is not impossible, and can be very lucrative if you can master it. The face to face cold call is also difficult. What makes it even harder is that they want you to make an appointment. However they would have to take your call for that to happen, wouldn’t they? If you can get a face to face cold call, be prepared. The stage is set and you are on it. In thirty seconds or less, give them a compelling reason to want to continue this relationship.
Getting Past The Gatekeepers
The gate keepers,these are the secretaries, front desk, and other types of employees designed to filter the amount of interruptions decision makers have in their busy day. These people can be your best friend ,or worst enemy. It’s really up to you, if you want to recruit them in your sales efforts, learn to connect with them as well. They can also be a valuable asset for gathering needed information about your prospect. If you adopt the rule of treating everyone the same, people that are often overlooked by other sales people will find you very attractive for spending the extra time to get to know them. If possible , a little humor ,empathy, or common ground goes a long way. A great way to connect is to address them by name, make eye contact, and inject a little humor in to their otherwise stressed filled day.It will get you closer than you think. Sometimes, it is the decision makers wife, daughter, or someone else close to them sitting in the reception area. They just may have the influence to get you in the door.
Cold calling 101
Cold calling can be fun. Some sales people would rather chew their arm off than to cold call however, nothing ventured, nothing gained! On my worst days in sales, I often made cold calls. The sales profession can be an emotional roller coaster, with ” I’m on top of the world days,”and “I cannot take it on the chin one more time” kind of days. If you have ever sold anything, you understand the concept. There are several different ways to connect with these possible leads. One way is to seek them out through phone calls. This is probably the most difficult way to cold call because it is easy to avoid you, or just give you the brush off. If you cultivate their interest in the the first thirty to sixty seconds, you have a shot at a future appointment. Prepare very careful and do not sell to them in this initial contact.It can be challenging, but if you can develop this skill you will increase your chance of making the sale. It helps to prepare by knowing something about the company, their goals, and the persons role you will be speaking with. Research on the internet can provide you with nuggets of knowledge that will make that first conversation a little less awkward. One technique used to start the conversation with “Is this a good time to for you to talk?” I like to start the conversation with, “Thanks for taking time to speak with me today”. Less chance they can answer with “I am just too busy to talk with you , can you call another time?”If they do, make sure you ask when might be a better time. Also always ask for the follow up appointment before you let them go.Remember, this is a” getting to know them “call.
Face to Face cold calls
Sometimes you just have to go right in to a company, ask for the decision maker and start a dialogue with them. Depending on the size of the company , you maybe successful at a meeting like this with the decision maker. If you have tried to make the appointment by other means unsuccessfully , this can also be a way to connect.These meetings are also situations you want to prepare for as much as possible. Know some background regarding their industry, company and the role of the decision maker you are meeting. This is not only an icebreaker, it shows a sincere interest in them. This will start a dialogue where they feel important. You may want to have a sixty second summary of why they should be interested in meeting with you again, however it is not the time to go into full blown sales mode. Whatever the situation, do not stay longer than a minute or two at most, and never forget to ask for a follow up meeting.This is also a time when you may want to ask a few discovery questions. This will help prepare you for the next time.
These are calls you make where you were referred by an existing customer, social contact, family member, or friend. These are typically easier calls because you can namedrop to get in the door. “John from ABC warehouse sent me over, he thought you might be interested in this product/service.” You still have to prove yourself and inspire them to want or need your product/service. A tip to use when getting a referral is to learn what you can from the referral source about the person you will be meeting. This will give the prospect a sense of comfort that you know something about them, and you were thoughtful enough to share it.If you have helped this referral source, don’t forget to tell your prospect how, and once again only stay a minute or two, learn what you can, and ask for the follow up appointment.
Social Media Contacts
LinkedIn, Facebook,Twitter and other social media outlets have been a useful way to interact and connect with other professionals in your industry. The use of advertising and promotion through groups, blogs and email blasts are an effective tool in the world of sales.The key to effective use of these tools are engaging in blogs and groups.The give and take of information in your industry can create relationships beneficial in your sales contacts. For more information on the how to’s of social media.The linkedIn site and other sources are abundant on the web.
Relationship based Sales
There is a special type of connection that occurs with great salespeople and their clients. The professionals that can master this skill, or have natural born talent can gain the trust of people within the first few minutes of initial contact and continue to carry this feeling into the close.I like to call this intangible talent “Sales DNA”. If you don’t have it , don’t worry. Development of this skill is possible , however if you do not have a sincere desire to help others, run for the door and find a new career. Sales people that try to sell and are not sincere in their intentions to help others often find they struggle and fail often. There is an unspoken behavior between buyer and seller that lays the foundation for trust. This usually occurs in the first few minutes of initial contact. So how do you find this magic bullet? The key is to be sincere and really believe you have a benefit to offer.There are other tips as well, we will review later in the book.Over time , you will develop a certain style, occasionally it pays to review your style to see if tweaking here and there may increase your chances of success. The golden rule is people do business with people they “know, like and trust”. It really is that simple.
These are low hanging fruit in your sales career. They are your friends, family, social contacts, and existing customers. Over the years of selling to healthcare professionals and real estate clients ,one of the most successful tools I have employed is the strength of referrals.If someone thanks you for doing a good job. Ask them to refer you to someone who is in need of your services. You will be surprised how many people will.If you really think about it, the company you are trying to grow is “You incorporated”. Having people root for your success is like having your own sales force working just for you.What a great way to increase your sales.
Always remember two things, if you know about this new referral. ask a few questions so when you meet you are not total strangers. This will give this new person an immediate sense of ease dealing with you. An example “John said you might need a condo, I understand your children have left for college and you are looking to downsize, How many children do you have? It seems simple , yet it is very effective in endearing the customer to you , that you took the time to ask something personal about them that is not related to the sale.This is also the beginning of the “know, like and trust” development. It does not hurt to share a brief personal vignette about your self if it is appropriate for the conversation. If you can make them laugh a little ,better yet. Most of us encounter many people in our work lives, most want something from us, and have little to give. Building rapport by giving, a story, a laugh or caring to ask about their lives will go a long way in them wanting to help you succeed in your goals, whatever they may be.
Ever have a customer that you think you have closed and find out while you are waiting for final signatures on the contract, they have decided to go shopping around? This is the hardest thing to take in sales. You are now left to wait until they have went through the process.The saying “Time kills all deals” comes to mind when this happens. Sitting around waiting is not a fun thing to do, especially when you have a verbal agreement with the buyer. What went wrong? Well it could be a number of things. You may not have covered your bases with all of the decision makers, the competition may have caught wind, and decided they are throwing their hat in the ring, or there may be concerns you did not cover that they are now mulling over. Sometimes you can ask all of the questions upfront and still not have addressed all of their concerns. It is difficult not to reach out or sound desperate when this happens. However what do you do to convince them you are the right choice for their needs? You could address them during this period and try to uncover their concerns, wait, or develop a strategy for closing the deal. Whatever you choose you must be careful not to let your emotions get the better of you. Also not to appear desperate. This will most certainly stack the deck in the other vendors favor..Psychologically, they have to want the partnership with you as much,or more than you do.
Ever have a prospect tell you they will make the change and then just sit on it? You can reach out to them several times only to hear, I am waiting until this project is finished, try back in a few months, etc. You get the picture, these are closing killers as well. So how do you move them off the mark? Try to get them to visualize the benefit, or loss that waiting will cost. Ask some benefit/impact questions.Examples include ” what will it cost to wait the next six months? Did I hear you say you would save you 20,000$ a month? That’s 120,000$! What impact do you think this will have on your company if you can tell them you have saved the company this money, and improved customer satisfaction? Will making this change provide more ROI for your company than the other projects you are working on? These questions can be effective in bringing the reality home of making the switch a priority.
Prospects will tell you they do not have the funds in this years budget. It could be true, but maybe not. When confronted with the cost factor, Always try to sell the value. If you lower the price , they may not make the move anyway. The value you bring is why they buy in the first place. The benefits it will bring to your customer can be realized by giving them a vision of what this change will mean. Maybe greater productivity, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, cost savings, less headaches for the decision maker,etc. The more real it becomes for them, the more likely they will begin the steps to close the deal.
The Decision Maker
There are many circumstances where the decision maker will send their top management to handle the details of a major purchase, The person may tell you they are in charge , however at the end of the day, they report back to the person who is really in charge. It is important to know all of the players on this team.The smart question upfront to ask is ” who else might be involved in the decision to to go forward”? Is there a chance we can meet to discuss any concerns they may have? The person delegated to handle this decision needs to be your advocate.Building rapport with all parties involved is key to achieving your goals.Try not to sell to anyone except the decision maker, however if you are left to sell to someone below them in the food chain. Make sure they really like you as well as what you are selling. The decision to make the purchase will be filtered through their eyes.
Happy with current vendor
This closing killer can intimidate some sales people from moving any further. This type of rejection can be difficult to digest.”We are happy with the current vendor and have no intention to make at change at this time”. I have heard this more than once. The truth is your instinct is to say ” ok thanks for your time” and scoot on out of there. However, if you can make a statement that will turn their head, you can still make your case as to why they need to reconsider their position.This is where you need to know your competitive advantage over their current vendor. Perhaps it is price, ease of use, compliance, or giving the decision maker a reason to look good to their boss or employees. Some examples of breakthrough questions may be ” Would it be helpful if you did not have to scan documents any more?” How much time would that save calling for results?” If we could reduce the amount of time it takes to get your product, would that help in your overall sales projections”?”Don’t you want to know all of your options, just in case”? “I know how busy you are and don’t want to waste your time, so I promise to keep it short.”Thanks for your time.
Actions Speak Louder Than…..
The old saying ” Actions speak louder than words” is old for a reason,it’s true. If you say you will do something , do it. This includes appointments, resolving problems, returning calls, etc. Some salespeople are responsible for existing accounts as well as attaining new accounts. I like to call these people hybrids.They may have support associates that handle problems, but they are the key ” go to”person for new and existing accounts. If you are one of these individuals you know how important getting back with your clients and delivering on your promises can be. This is an important part of the relationship building process. I have often called my existing accounts just to check in on them. You will be surprised how far this little gesture goes when there is a problem, or the competition comes knocking with their latest,greatest reason why your clients should switch to them.Make the time to tend your garden, and you will reap other benefits as well. They will be an excellent source of referrals, and you won’t hesitate to use them for a reference when you are in need of one.
Know, Like and trust rules
“People do business with people they know ,like and trust”. This is a easy thing to establish for salespeople that have this personality trait in their DNA. For everyone else this can be challenging. Some individuals develop an instant rapport, while others are rejected before they can even start a conversation. So what causes this to happen? I don’t have a clinical explanation for this phenomena, but I have seen it with some “want to be” salespeople who suffer every day they stay in this profession. I think we are all programmed with a little filter and know who we can trust and who we cannot. How does this happen? Sales people need to know the body language of their prospective clients and adapt to it. They also need to know what kind of body language they are exhibiting. The initial contact can make or break the entire sales process. So lets discuss some of the tools to help you discover whats’s on your customers mind before they open their mouths to speak.
Mirroring is a way to build instant rapport with the buyer. Its is a universal way yo to connect and tell the other person “I am like you” it can provide in an instant a sense of comfort, and give the buyer a sense of trust. It can be an effective tool to instill the trust needed to take you to the next step in the sales process. This tool must be used in moderation. I suggest that you mirror a persons behavior only when appropriate, and no greater than 50-65% of the time when making that first contact. So what is mirroring and how and when do you know to use it.This is discussed in the next paragraph on body language.
It is estimated that we gather information about a person we meet in the first sixty seconds. We look at their face, clothes, body and stance to make determinations whether this person is trustworthy,smart, friendly, hostile and much more. Non verbal communication accounts for 93% of overall communication. The breakdown is 55% body language, 38% vocal representation, 7% words. While these numbers have been debated ,one thing is certain, non verbal communication adds flavor to a otherwise flat dialogue. So lets discuss 5 types of body language and some indicators based on these postures. After all, wouldn’t it be great if you could read a potential buyer before they even speak a word? The sex of the individual also has a bearing on their body language. It is estimated that women display 6 facial expressions commonly when listening. Men only show a third as many facial expressions. The difference between these two sexes may be a by product of evolution.So in theory if you are a women speaking to a man, you are far better using a serious posture to appear more credible. if you are a man speaking to a women it may be to your advantage to be more tuned in to the emotional climate.
Five Types of Body/ Voice language
Eyes that are looking down, or away can reveal certain emotional aspects. The person may be lying to you. may feel uncomfortable, or be disengaged in the conversation. Some of these gestures can be recognized early and you can adapt your style to them. For instance you may be in the other person’s personal space. Most people are comfortable with you 3-5 feet away. If you are a close friend they may let you closer. If the conversation turns to them being inattentive,(distracted) pull them back in by asking open ended questions. They are forced to focus on the topic at hand. Don’t take their inattentiveness personal.In this world of electronic devices talking, beeping, buzzing and ringing at us.I think we are all coming up a little short in the attention span area. The flip side is eyes can also relate positive buying signs. When they widen they can convey , I am excited about what you are saying. When people give you full eye contact,however brief, it is a sign of trust and that they are interested in what you are saying.
If the eyes are the windows of the soul, are the brows the shades,or maybe the the sills? When you look at a persons face you can see many facets to what is going on inside.A scrunched brow can represent anger, confusion,or frustration. A raised brow can exhibit suspicion, excitement, interest and hope. These signs are used in conjunction with other body language, but are valuable in determining a persons demeanor.
The mouth is a signal of positive and negative emotion. upturned corners of the mouth exhibit positive emotions. It is often the first indications of a smile. A universal sign of approval.However a mouth with downturned corners can be sign of unhappiness, displeasure, and anxiety.
Torso and Arms
This can be a sign of low self confidence,depression, fear, and stress. It may be caused when the nature of the topic is threatening or uncomfortable. if you see this try to engage the buyer in a more relaxed discussion, topics might include items totally unrelated to the current discussion.This may make them more relaxed and receptive to listening when you come back to the topic you want to discuss.
Crossed arms can be interpreted in a number of different ways. The person may be defensive, unconvinced,unwilling or just cold. When this happens it is best to lean away from them and give them plenty of personal space.Once again, look for other signs to indicate what they are experiencing.
Some people are fidgety. it could be the expresso from this morning, a ADHD person, or maybe they have something to say. You can always stop what you are doing and invite them to the conversation. A good opening would be ” what are you thoughts on this?’ you will also find out if they heard a word you said. If you engage them, you will keep them in your arena. Many driver type personalities have this quality. They are impatient and want you to get to the point.
These are positive signs.they may indicate that the buyer likes you, what you have to say, and most importantly, trusts you. Some open postures include leaning forward in the conversation. means they are actively engaged. Another posture is fingers crossed behind the head, usually leaning back. This means they are comfortable with you and feel they can relax in your presence. This is a good thing.
It is more about the way you say it, than what you actually say. The tone of your voice, inflection, pace and emotion are just as important as what you have to say. Have you ever been on the phone with someone and you are both speaking at the same time. Slow down, let the other person get it out. Being a good listener is more important than you think. Follow your buyers lead. They may be a quiet person of few words,or a chatty person. Whatever their style adapt to them and you will find they want to get to know you better.
DISC is a behavior assessment tool based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Marston. Marston’s theory centers on four different personality traits: Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance. This theory was then developed into a personality assessment tool (personality profile test) by industrial psychologist Walter Vernon Clarke (July 26, 1905 – Jan. 1, 1978).
There are many different versions of the test; the most prominent is probably DiSC (distinguishing itself with a lowercase “i”) marketed by Inscape Publishing (subsequently acquired by John Wiley and Sons). Other DISC tests are marketed by The Institute of Motivational Living, PeopleKeys, Axiom Software and by Thomas International as the Thomas Personal Profile Analysis (PPA).
Marston was an accomplished man who was not only a lawyer and a psychologist; he also produced the first functional lie detector polygraph, authored self-help books and created the Wonder Woman comic. His major contribution to psychology came when he generated the DISC characteristics of emotions and behavior of normal people. Marston, after conducting research on human emotions, published his findings in 1928 in his book titled Emotions of Normal People. In this book, he explained his theory that people illustrate their emotions through behavior using the four behavior types called Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Submission (S), and Compliance (C). Also, he argued that these behavioral types came from people’s sense of self and their interaction with the environment. He included two dimensions that influenced people’s emotional behavior. The first dimension is whether a person views his environment as favorable or unfavorable. The second dimension is whether a person perceives himself as having control or lack of control over his environment. His work was the foundation of the DiSC assessment that has been used by more than 50 million people since it was first introduced in 1972.
Perceives oneself as more powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as unfavorable.
Perceives oneself as more powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as favorable.
Perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as favorable.
Perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as unfavorable.
Although William Moulton Marston contributed to the creation of the DISC Assessment, he did not create it or even intend to use DISC as an assessment. In 1956, Walter Clarke, an industrial psychologist, was able to accidentally construct the DISC assessment using William Moulton Marston’s theory of the DISC model. He accomplished this by publishing the Activity Vector Analysis, a checklist of adjectives on which he asked people to indicate descriptions that were accurate about themselves. This assessment was intended for use in businesses needing assistance in choosing qualified employees.
His assessment was later amended by Walter Clarke Associates and called a self-description. Also, it no longer required a checklist. Instead, test takers chose from two or more terms. Even with all of William Moulton Marston’s and Walter Clarke’s developments, the DISC assessment still had further developments to undertake. John Greier contributed to this assessment by producing the DISC personality profile in 1958 based on the works of Marston and Clarke. Greier conducted hundreds of clinical interviews which assisted him to further progress the fifteen patterns which Walter Clarke had exposed. In 1984, using Greier”s Personality Profile version of the DiSC, Dr. Jack Morrison conducted a correlation study of the DiSC with the 16 Personalities Factors Questionnaire (16PF). Dr. Morrison found enough significantly high correlations between the 16 PF and the DiSC to conclude that the DiSC measures certain dimensions of personality held in common with the 16PF. In laymen’s terms, it measures what it purports to measure.
Since then, a number of publishers have updated and/or generated their own versions of the DISC assessment. These have had varying degrees of validity and reliability; it has been questioned, however, whether DISC assessment in general has more than a degree of scientific validity as a psychometric instrument.
Use of DISC Assessment
The DISC assessment can be used for a variety of real-life situations. Many companies use it as a way to screen potential employees, with the thought that a certain personality type would be better or worse in certain jobs or positions.
Another field in which DISC assessment can be used is leadership. There are different leadership methods and styles that coincide with each personality type, which could help leaders be more effective. DISC has also been used to help determine a course of action when dealing with problems as a leadership team–that is, taking the various aspects of each type into account when solving problems or assigning jobs.
The DISC assessment tool is used to identify 15 patterns:
(content taken from wickipedia online description) A free DISC personality test is available at
http://discpersonalitytesting.com/free-disc-test/ This test is a great to know yourself , and to asses others as well.
Know Thy Customer and Thyself
If you know yourself, you are ahead of most people. If you can become self aware you will be able to adjust your behavior to certain environments allowing you to become more in tune to your surroundings and your audience. A prospects surroundings may include their office. This is a indicator of personality type. For instance a office full of family photos may suggest that this person is a amiable personality type. They may also have expressive qualities. They are usually people pleasers , not wanting to say no, and usually saying whatever they think the other person wants to hear. Their eyes may say yes, but their lips may never. They avoid conflict, and may have a difficult time making change.
Another personality is a driver. This person may be very short, wanting to know all the details in thirty seconds or less. If you have a driver that you are presenting to, keep it short hit the tops of the waves and have some visuals to keep them involved in the conversation.
The analytic is a personality that is focused on the details. often they are most concerned with the financials aspects. They want to see the numbers, know what is involved in the change and the benefits and costs associated with the decision to make the change. If you find yourself in front of a analytical person. Bring the numbers, show the benefits and focus on the value, process, and how the workflow may be impacted by this change.
Power Behind Positivity
The power behind positivity is the inside lining of your sales magic. This power requires your focus, belief and confidence. This is probably the most important asset you can have in your career. If you believe you can , you will! In sales you will meet all kinds of people , most will inspire you, some will disappoint, some will discourage, and some will just be a drag.Never let these not so great days define you. There will be times you will take it on the chin. This to shall pass if you persevere. There are many ways to handle the anxiety associated with sales.Some drink their troubles away, not a good idea. Exercise is also a good way to release tension. Retail therapy can be helpful, but try the discount stores, based on your level of anxiety, you could get yourself in trouble! Finally what I like to do when I have one of these days, is to go right out and do one of the most difficult sales functions, cold calls. Maybe I’m crazy, but it usually pulls me out of a funk, and reminds me there are always more fish in the sea. Whatever the case may be, if you are in sales you will experience one of these days. No matter what sales gurus tell you.This is the real world of sales, if it were easy, everyone would do it.
What if I came to you and told you all about my product and service and how great it is? Would you want this product? maybe, however if I educate you on the benefits of the product/service and how this might be of use to you, would you then be able o see the benefits, and be more likely to visualize how this product/service might be of value to you.It is much more probable that the prospect will purchase if they feel they are in control . So how do you create this environment? It is very easy to get caught up in the moment when you have a prospect in front of you,but you must back up, take a breath and gather some information on what is important to them and how your product and service fits in their picture.If you give them the wheel, the pressure is off, they will ultimately loosen up, then you can begin the conversation and build a bridge of trust.It is also very good if you can do some research and discover some relevant news pertaining to,their industry. The internet is a wonderful tool, they will be impressed that you cared enough, and it might just give you an extra boost n the credibility department.
Looking Through Their Eyes
If you can, try to see the world through your prospects eyes. It is not about what’s in it for you, it is however about what’s in it for them. This is commonly referred to in the sales field as “The WIFM theory”. They may want to purchase your product/service, but there may be many obstacles in their way, or fears that stand in the way of their decision making process.Knowing what these triggers are will give you the information you need to address the objectives and move forward with the sales process.This is when the relationship side of your transaction becomes so important. The prospect has to trust you enough to confide in you.There are many reasons that building a solid foundation is vital to a successful sales process from the beginning.This involves more listening than talking. Be conscience of your actions and responses when you first interact , you will learn more about their motivations in the first contact than any other meeting. This is because you are not the only one who may be nervous at your initial contact.The natural inclination of most people when they first meet is to fill the spaces with conversation, sharing information that you can draw upon later to bond with them.
The role of a sales person should not be to focus only on closing. Your reputation is the most important asset you can have. It can be the source of a lifetime of Referrals. How do you get past the salesperson with the low threshold for their trust to their advisor. Know their industry and what tools will help them. Find out what motivates them, what their goals are and align yourself with them. Play on their team, find solutions to their problems or advantages that will improve their company in some way. How do you achieve this? Know your own industry just as well. You will feel more competent, they will see you in a much higher regard if your knowledge base is higher than others in the same field. Research Trade magazines, blogs, any news you can find concerning their industry as well as your own.Sharing these highlights will give them the perception you are more than just another salesperson trying to sell to them.They will refer you to their colleagues in the field as well.
Shooting Yourself in the foot
Ever get so excited to gain the sale that you shoot yourself in the foot? This occurs when you talk right past the client explaining why you are such a smart choice after they have already said yes. I have watched this happen to one of my colleagues that offended the client. He shared all of the negative attributes of the other guy and went so negative it turned the client off. The next day a call came in to tell my friend they had changed their minds and would call them when they are ready.Needless to say they never did. Lesson learned, never use the negatives to gain the sales,and know when to shut up.It can be hard to turn it off, however be aware of yourself, and learn to apply the brakes when necessary.
Talking Over Your Prospect
Another big turn off is talking over your client. Once again we can get so caught up in describing all of the benefits of using our product/ service that we do not pay attention and listen to the client.This can happen in the initial meeting( cold call) when anxiety is high on both sides.The last words you want to hear are “not right now”,”we are happy with our current choice”,etc.So if we can talk over the client we can prevent these words from leaping out.While you do need a hook statement to give them a reason to listen , try to restrain from going into “sell mode”. Now is the time to be a gatherer of key information and building a relationship.
Talking Over Their Heads, Technical Jargon
Some salespeople think if they can only show the prospect their in- depth knowledge of their product/ service they will impress them so much they will have to sign! They typically start off with as much technical jargon as they can muster. They can display their neumonics like a peacock displaying color in all his glory.They usually lose the prospect, or worse turn them off completely. The initial contact may not be aware of the benefits and attributes of the product/ service. There may be several layers in the sales process , and the salesperson may be at the first layer.A good example of this would be the purchasing department at a hospital. Chances are this person does not know or care about the medical technology and advances for the next cardiac defibrillator. This ties into the statement “know your audience”. Soon you will be able to display your knowledge,just not yet.
Selling Too Quickly
There are steps on the road to success in sales. You can get there in different ways. Sometimes you hopscotch across. walk sideways. Hop, etc. The prospect can throw you curve balls that you have to adjust, bob and weave, etc in your steps in sales process. However the one thing you can not do, is skip over the road completely. This occurs when you try to sell the prospect right up front, without the initial relationship phase. This first stage is where you will develop the holy grail of sales,”trust” . You will also find out what’s important to them, only then can you meet their needs and make the sale.
Being on time shows you respect your prospects time. Something they have agreed to give you freely.If you can get a cold call to agree to a meeting you have made it further than 80-90% of other cold calls. Always be on time or 5-10 minutes early better yet. If you find yourself running
late ,even if it is only 5 minutes, call ahead to let the person you are meeting with know. They will appreciate this consideration. Never stop doing this even with established accounts. It shows you care about their time and the consideration will not go unnoticed. Sometimes it is the little things that count big.
Not Following through
If you say you will do it, then do it. It maybe whatever follow up plan you have with the prospect.Make sure you demonstrate you are reliable right from the start.
Have a plan on what to do next in the sales process.The important thing is to have a plan, be willing to change the plan when necessary, but keep in mind, there is usually five different touches,connections, or attempts to turn your prospect into your customer before you achieve you goal. This is average, meaning sometimes it will take more, hang in there and you will increase your chances of success.
Selling At them
Some Sales people will bull rush the prospect giving them the 101 reasons they should choose their product/service. They arms are flapping around with their visual guides, information and pricing, This is not how you sell to anyone. it feels like a full on assault to the person you are doing it to. Get to know them and they will listen when the time is right. Slow down and tkae the necessary steps before jumping in the stage.
That pleading,pushy noise
The noise that turns 100% of prospects off is the needy sell. If you would only sign here, I could send my kids to college, I am getting fired if I do not make my quota, you can prevent that, if you go with me. Sorry ,but this is the bottom of the barrel for sales tactics, even if it is true. Desperation is a very unattractive feature, and will repel most people away from whatever you are offering. If things are slow and you are having financial difficulties, be creative, or find something where a stable check is offered. Sales is a lot like gambling, the difference is if you do it(sales) right, you should be able to increase your odds over the casino’s.
Sales Quota’s and the Side Effects
The high pressure sell is often seen where there is a quota to meet. This is the very reason I think quotas are an outdated, non motivating, demoralizing way for companies to increase or maintain sales. Why would you expect anything but trouble, when you put this kind of pressure on your sales team? The product/service should be good enough to sell with the proper sales techniques, without a quota. I have seen the damage done in sales when this magic number is elusive. High turn over and customer dissatisfaction are two immediate side effects,not to mention other negative effects. Please, people,change the culture of your sales team by giving a proper burial to the sales quota.
There will always be a day when you are not on your game. The reasons can be many. Maybe you were sick that day, or your audience was just not engaged. Whatever the reason, make a point of remembering what went wrong so you can alter your presentation to prevent a future fumble. That being said, everyone has a bad day, and you will find after hundreds ,or thousands
of presentations, sometimes it is easy to check out mentally. Tips for preventing this is, keep you devices in their case, make eye contact, and get your client engaged in the conversation. Sometimes, you will be surprised, and will have made a greater impression than you had originally thought . Good luck with this one, it happens to the best.
Taking yourself out of the sale
There are times when you will find yourself totally immersed in your product or service. This is a good time examine why you would hold your buyers attention. It is not about you, it’s about them. I really don’t know any other way to communicate the importance of making your product or service second to meeting their needs. Take the time to discover the needs and desires, then tailor your sell to that need or desire.Some of the best presentations can be ruined by the over enthusiastic sales person. The sale has been made, however the only person in the room that hasn’t notice is the one who made it. Sometimes this mistake can cost you the sale. I have seen buyers reconsider the purchase, questioning why the salesperson is so eager? Could there be something I did not see? Is there a credibility issue with this service or product? Be aware and take a deep breath when you feel the second cup of expresso kicking in.
There are many sales people in the profession that give the rest of us a bad rap.These are the less than honest ones, that really don’t care about anything other than meeting quota, getting paid, or keeping their jobs. They usually put a bad taste in any buyers mouth with their tactics. Do not be one of these people. I tend to blame quotas for some of these actions.The pressure to meet them can cause people to become very desperate and resort to doing things they may not have otherwise done. It is a new day in selling, I believe you can hold your sales people accountable without quotas. Be creative, inspire , and get results. If the job is not a good fit, you will find out soon enough. The other beef I have with quotas is it usually results in high turn over. The timeline for dismissal can be as short as two months. Keep rotating new sales people into a position and you will find your credibility as a company will go down the drain with the sales reps.
Credibility Last Longer than the Sale
Be a trusted advisor. Not a pushy, pleading, know it all sales person. If you can cultivate a relationship, it is usually based on mutual trust. So how do you get people to trust you? Show them you will be there when they need you, give them what they need ,and put them in an overall state of comfort when they are in your presence. How do you do this, time and getting to know their needs. When you understand their needs, and can help them solve their problems , they will in turn be willing to help you solve yours as well.
I once worked for a manager that thought that it was a good idea to go after the a companies customers because they dumped us to our competitor. I know this sounds complex. I was in an industry where we provided services to companies that we had verbal non-compete in their area. The strategy was to provide a service that enhanced their service. A partnership, not just an account was our tagline. I was told to go after their market share and take what I could. I silently refused to do this, and told my old account while I was sad to see them go, I would still be available if they should need me. I told them I respected them and would like to maintain a professional relationship with them. By the way, they left based on a lower cost competitor.I kept in contact and still stopped in to see them when I was in the area. I always called in advance, brought treats for the staff and only stayed for a few minutes to see how they were doing and drop off any materials relevant to their business. After several months with their new vendor, they discovered the service was not as good, they did not have their needs met in a prompt way and they called to let me know that they would like to return when they could get out of their current contact. They came back with no cost reduction, and the CFO wrote a letter of recommendation for our service that I used to get new accounts. This is why you never burn your bridges.
Life is a Circle
Ever hear of the story/play ” six degrees of separation.” The theme of this story is that each of us knows someone who is connected by someone else we know. The average number of people to get to this other person is six. Thus the name “six degrees of separation.” It really is a small world , and with technology is getting smaller every day. If you have a Facebook page you will notice there are people that you know connected by other people you are friends with that you had no idea knew each other? See what I mean? The point of all this is that the actions we take , be they good or bad tend to spread through contacts like ripples in a pond. So what does this mean? Be good to others, even when you do not really fell they deserve your kindness. You will feel better at the end of the day, and you will show you are a true professional.
Promises Made, Not Kept
Follow through on your promises. If you say you will call on Thursday, do it. Show up on time and deliver what you say you will. This is part of the process that develops a long lasting relationship with your buyer, gains their trust in you, and shows the buyer you have credibility. Don’t blow it, always deliver the goods, if you can’t ,say so, and give a reasonable explanation why. Better yet, if you are not 100% sure , don’t make a promise your are not absolutely confident you can’t keep.Some examples are start dates, deliver dates, contract approvals, prices, etc. You get the idea.
Selling to your Team
The operations of the company you sell for can make or break the sale. They are the backbone of the process. The secretary,management, the warehouse, purchasing,finance,etc. These people will go out of their way to help you, or not. It is up to you to treat them with respect and dignity. They can be your advocate, or enemy. It is really all up to you.
Bad News Travels Far
I once sold against a competitor in my field who was known to be aggressive. He would challenge, intimidate, lie and steal to get the sale. (By the way he was on a quota, that if he did not meet the numbers, he would be dismissed in two months.) He took supplies from my company and replaced them with his, all without the customers permission. He knew the gatekeeper and got access to the supplies. He would tell the customer we could not participate in certain insurances, this was not true. He even went as far as to say our products were dangerous to patients. After awhile, no office would let him in the door, and the gatekeepers told me the doctors told them if he comes in get rid of him fast. All these shortcuts caught up with him and he eventually lost his job. Bad selling never pays.Selling at the cost of the competitor will cost you in the end. Don’t spend time talking about what your competition can’t do, spend time telling your buyer what you can do. Why would you give your competition all that free air time anyways, even if it is negative, they are thinking of them, not you…..
Making a Good Name
Making a good name for yourself is golden. No matter what industry you are in, the customers you work with probably network with each other. They will provide you with referrals, suggestions, tips, or leads, etc. Your credibility can travel into your next career, if it is in the same industry, or even if not. Once your become a name people can trust, selling becomes a whole lot easier.
Never Go Negative
Being a positive person should be a requirement for anyone who sells.There are days when even the most positive salesperson can go negative. If this happens to you, go figure out your fix. Hopefully it will be a healthy one.When I have a less than stellar day, I go buy some new shoes, or sometimes I dust myself off and go do some cold calling. I know I am a masochist, but it works for me!
Always Bring Your A Game
Sales is a skill. There is rarely any formal training, the best one can hope for is the more seasoned rep to let the new kid shadow. That is even not really a good idea, if the rep has bad habits, you just passed them on to the new sales person. The sales profession should have an apprenticeship with a formal training certification.A year,at least in how to interact and the necessary steps to achieve greater outcomes in sales . If companies ,or salespeople were willing to invest in this , imagine the quality of sales, the efficiency in the sales pipeline, the increase in revenue, the reduction in turnover, it would be amazing ! This has not yet caught on, but I hope that someday it will. This leads me to the idea of bringing your A game. This is the culmination of preparedness to give you the greatest chance of success. Do your homework, know your product, develop a relationship, be ready to offer something of value. Be prepared to counter the No’s that you will most certainly get. Ask relevant questions that put the buyer in the mindset that they need your product. All of this and more is “bringing your A game”. Most salespeople do not really learn all of these skills and hone their craft of message delivery for some years. Practice makes perfect, When you find what works ,try to duplicate it.If you are the manager, pull your sales people together and ask what works, then make your sales play book for every new hire. Rehearse what you will say in your cold call, discovery phase, presentation, and closing. If you practice, you will perfect your skill.Nothing will work every time, but I can guarantee you will experience greater percentage of closed sales if you follow this advise , and after all isn’t that why we’re here?
Never Speak Poorly about your Competitor, Co-worker, or Company
The day has been pretty bad, and now you just found out Suzy from customer service was rude to one of your biggest accounts.Tom in accounts payable just invoiced your client for six months worth of payments that were already paid. The guys that takes the orders screwed up and ordered ten times the amount the customer wanted, and now they are denying any wrong doing and blaming the customer. How frustrating is that? Pretty bad, the temptation to tell the customer what a bunch of dummies you work with is pretty strong right? You don’t want them to think you had anything to do with these mistakes right ?Wrong! You are the face of the company. They don’t care about any of these people, all they want is their problem solved fast, and you are just the guy to do it. If you start to trash your operations, you eat away at the credibility of the company you work for in the eyes of the customer. You also lose some credibility yourself. I know there were days in my previous career when nothing would have made me happier, but resist the temptation. The customer does not want, or need to hear it.
You are the face of your company, don’t enlighten your customers to it’s imperfections.
Selling your positives, not the Competitors negatives
Why not emphasize your competitive advantage? Many sales people will take the weakness of the competition and throw it out there to their prospects. It can have some positive effect in differentiating value.If not done correctly, it can make you sound like an arrogant ass. If you come out punching, it is usually a big turn off, and how do you know they don’t have a strong bond with their current provider? Keep it focused on what you can do to meet their needs, not the other guys shortfalls.
What to remember, what to forget
If you have had a series of rejections, there may be a nugget of knowledge that you can use to not repeat the pattern. Try to think of when you had a stellar day in sales and what you did with each interaction. Sales skills are a learned behavior. Most learned behaviors take at least 28 days to become a retainable skill. Even if you have developed a series of actions that work well in your sales, you should still stay current with new information to sharpen your saw. Conferences , books, articles, and blogs all help to keep you informed on new tools to use in becoming the best you can be at your craft. If you are really committed to learning and understanding yourself as well as others, you will find this gets easier. What to forget? the bad deals, the rude people, the ones who did not play fair, but still won. Learn, but move on, dwelling on the negatives never does anyone any good and in this profession, and it is toxic to your career!
Then, and Now
The sales industry has changed dramatically since I first began. I am really going to sound like a dinosaur, But there were no computers, we had a listing book in real estate that came out every two weeks and that is how you searched for houses. There was no e mail to contact them, no advertising, other than a homes magazine that came out every two weeks and ads in the local newspaper.The buyers and sellers were much more dependent on the sales person, and while you had to worry about them not being loyal, they did not have the advantage of the internet.They relied on you ,the sales person to guide and direct them. Now, they have done their research in just about any type of sales, and they are mid way through the selection process when you are involved in the process.This is a good and bad thing for the sales person, on one hand they already pretty much know what they need, on the other hand, you will have difficult time closing them if you are not as prepared as they are when you meet. You need to come out of the gate strong, informed and clear in how you are the best choice for their needs. It has been stated in a recent Harvard Business Review study, that in todays market, the buyer has made their decision in the middle of the sales process 58% of the time. And often before they even start the “request for pricing” process.(RFP) This puts most salespeople at a serious disadvantage. However, if you can identify a need or advantage they have not already identified, and present it in the middle of the process, they may rethink their decision and you may become their first choice due to your knowledge of their business.
Like yourself, Love your customers
We all need to have a healthy dose of self confidence to be in the sales profession. If you doubt your abilities, strengths, and credibility, the customer will not believe it either. Your body language , ease of conversation, knowledge base and charm , all contribute to the strength on your ability to succeed. There are times when you have to let go of the wheel and let the customer drive. Depending on their personality, they may feel the need to be in control, and this is when you stand on the sidelines and let them justify buying from you.It gets amazingly simple when you allow the customer to describe how you can fit into their picture. The best way to do this is to ask the right questions and engage them in the process. Even though you have great information to share, you need to get them involved in the discovery process. Buyers want a trusted advisor, not a walking talking brochure. As I mentioned in the last chapter, they probably already know what you have to offer, they want to know if you are the right fit.If they don’t know, there will be opportunities to provide this information at times that you can weave it into an existing conversation. It feels a lot more like teamwork, than selling this way, and you will probably learn to like it. It is a skill you have to practice to become proficient at it. This is one of the learned behaviors.
Convey Empathy when Appropriate
Sometimes we all just want to vent. The boss is a jerk, the cat died, or you just backed you car into someone in the parking lot! What a sucky day, then in comes this guy who wants to sell you something.Maybe you as a salesperson will be well received , but probably not. When you find yourself in this scenario, the best thing you can do is anything but sell. Give them an ear, lend them some empathy, ask if there is anything you can do, and tell them you will touch base with them at a later date.Your consideration will gain a friend in the process. Next time you visit , acknowledge their feelings and ask if it is a good time to call? If they have shared their problem with you, remember to ask how things are going.They will have a wealth of appreciation, and most importantly, value your recognition of their feelings and your ability to look at them and treat them as more than just the next sale.
Take the High Road
Most would assume people do the right thing. I have worked in several sales careers where making the sale was so important that doing the right thing was not really considered. No sales career, commission, or client is worth destroying your most valuable asset, your credibility. I have watched competitors tell half truths, mislead, and outright lie to the prospect in hopes of discrediting the other company. I sleep good every night, knowing I may not have won them all , however the sales I did get are there for the right reasons.If you follow this advice,over time, you will enjoy a career where you will be thought of as a credible advisor that can be trusted . The other guy, not so much,if he is still around at all.
Value your Relationships
Bringing value to your prospect is key to getting the sale. But what about bringing value to the person behind the sale? Once you have gotten the sale how much time do you invest in the follow up? I am not just speaking of the usual making sure the mechanics have been worked out, I am talking about the rest. The contact that said yes to the sale is important as well. The garden that is not watered will whither and die. I am sure you get the message. A special thank you and stopping in occasionally just to say hi, goes a long way when the competitor comes knocking on their door. It is the trust they instilled in you in the first place that will ultimately keep you there. I know we are all busy getting to the next sales, but do not forget the loyalty your present customers show you.
Remember to use your ears
It is easy to get caught up in trying to present to the customer before you have thoroughly completed the discovery phase of the sale. The impulse to show and tell when they may hit on a need you can fill is truly hard to resist. To this day I catch myself doing this occasionally. The best laid plan for your sales process is not always the right one. Sometimes you have to bob and weave with the prospects whims.However the use of your ears are very important for several reasons. The first reason is how will you be able to help, if you do not know what they need? Another reason to listen more than you talk,everyone likes to be heard. We are a society of non attentive, ADHD individuals who have the attention span of a flea. Sound harsh? Do your own experiment and let me know how it goes, the person you are speaking to will probably look at their device no less than 5 times during your conversation, and possibly respond with a text as well. This is the age we all live in. If you can listen attentively ,you will be ahead of the game when engaging with your next prospect. Discipline yourself to listen, and if applicable, take notes
Be Professional ,Mentally and Physically
Sounds like common sense, but not for everyone. Speaking intelligently will instantly boost your credibility. So what does that mean? You thought you already did that? Well, when you speak with your potential prospect, remember to use language they will understand and key words that resonate value to them. If you develop an introduction which presents the value a potential partnership can bring , you will distinguish yourself as a professional they will want to do business with.As far as physical appearance, think about who you are selling to. Is it a farmer? Jeans and a white shirt may be appropriate for the meeting. Is it a hospital? Understated,yet professional clothing with minimal make up and jewellery may be the right fit. If you are selling to a bar and restaurant industry, you can probably go with snappy casual. If you are in the healthcare field, watch your clothes, make up, jewellery and perfume. Many people they see have allergies to cologne, and you want to send a message of credible advisor. No matter what industry you are selling in.
Credible Statements,Words that work, those that don’t
The Following are a list of words and phrases used in the sales process that evoke different emotions in the prospects mind.Keep in mind, your goal is to be looked upon as a credible advisor that can be trusted with their business.
Words that build credibility
Decision Making Process
Thanks for your time
Words that lower credibility
You know Really
Know what I mean?
Is this a good time?
I just called because…
I’m checking in to see…
Who is your boss?
Keep these words in mind on your next call.
Have A Sales Playbook
When a football team has a game, they make a playbook. So why do we not in sales? Every planned event is likely to have a better outcome than one that is not. When presenting to a potential prospect, do you plan the rehearsal of what objections, derailments, time constraints, and delays could come up and knock your sale out of the game? If not, it is not too late to change your play. The inevitable objections are just players on the field of sales that need to be removed in order for you to reach your goal. The best and brightest companies arm their sales force with a guide to selling their product or service. This guide should have all of the aspects of selling the product or service. This guide should include prospecting, discovery questions, solution or benefits statements, closing techniques, overcoming potential objections, and of course, the elevator speech. Some companies use their best sales executives to develop the playbook, and rehearse and role play from this book at sales meetings. There is more to new employee orientation than a week at the main facility learning about product or service, an employee handbook, and the grand tour of the main office and executive suites. It has always fascinated me that in today’s age of technology large companies may have one day of sales orientation, that is usually not relevant to their product or service, and four days of everything else, then dump the new guy out on the street to sell to or exceed quota. If they don’t make it in 90,120 days or six months, next comes the performance improvement plan, then the sound of the door closing behind them. This approach affects the bottom line by increasing employee turnover, lower customer retention, cost of new hires, and last but far from the least damaging company credibility with the customer. The cost and development of sales training is so minimal, cost effective and just plain smart, why doesn’t every company make a good playbook?
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