Editor’s Note: Today we welcome Hunt Big Sales to our family as a strategic partner — and we welcome their CEO, Tom Searcy, to our blog contributor community. Tom is one of the most respected, most prolific, and most amiable voices in sales today. He has an impressive history of growing corporations, he is a columnist… a sought-after keynote speaker…he has authored several best-selling sales books…and his advice is respected by hundreds of the Fortune 500 list of companies. To say that we are proud to deepen our alliance with Hunt Big Sales is an understatement. We are truly honored to be able to share his insights and expertise with all of you.
One of my mentors is fond of saying, “Big changes in diet and exercise don’t change your life, they change your moment. Little changes executed every single day will change your life.” The same thing is true for selling. Brand new brochures, a re-done website, a new offer or package will have an impact on sales…in the short term. However, if you want to change your career, implement a few little changes every day and you will change your life.
1. Set a maximum number of contact attempts.
I see salespeople chase a prospect with a barrage of emails, mail and phone calls hoping to get connected. This is demeaning to you and possible grounds for harassment charges from them. Set your number of attempts, and if you can’t reach that person, set that prospect aside for 120 days before you start again. Or better yet, write them off and focus on someone who’s more interested.
2. Ask for action from your prospect at every contact.
Nothing shows engagement better than action. If you want to know if you’re gaining in the sales relationship, ask that person to do something every time you connect. It doesn’t have to be a big request; in many ways, it’s better if it’s small. Examples include asking them to:
- Take a quick assessment
- Introduce you to someone
- Look at an article
- Provide you with a phone number
- Give you a piece of information
The point is that you want to make certain that they are making small investments in the relationship through demonstrated interest as you’re going through the sales process.
3. Secure a commitment at the end of every call or meeting.
So simple, yet when I work with salespeople around the country, I get fuzzy answers to the questions, “What have they agreed to do next and when will it be done by?” or “What are they expecting from us and when is it due?” Without firm commitments from each side and clear expectations, there is no measurable progress.
4. ABC — Always Be CLARIFYING.
You have heard the old saw, “A-B-C of selling, Always Be Closing!” I think you should change that. There are many places in a sales process during which Closing is not appropriate. However, every step in the sales process requires Clarifying. Some examples of Clarifying questions:
- What do they understand about how we can and will serve them so far?
- What of the things described so far match up with your needs?
- Which of the scenarios and case studies most closely match your circumstances?
These are just examples of clarifying questions that ensure alignment with the buyer in the process. Too often we’re selling so hard that we’re down the path a mile before we realize that no one is behind us — specifically the prospect.
Implementing these small changes into your sales skills will pay off in every sales conversation, regardless of the new big things you are adding to your process.
More Posts About Sales Effectiveness:
- 13 Startling Sales Stats
- 5 Common Myths About a Prospect’s “No Decision”
- Would Mr. Spock Make a Great Sales Rep?