In my 50 years of sales experience, in over 45 countries, I have most definitely learned some key lessons. A lot of them deal with behavior–ineffective methods that need to be replaced with effective ones. These are the things you must STOP doing, replacing them with things you need to START doing, if you wish to increase sales. This is particularly important in today’s buyer-centric economy.
To start with, you need to quit falling into the buyer’s system. If you are doing so, it means that you are not following a sales process and, bluntly, you are wasting your time and losing sales. Margins and profits are evading you. You’re experiencing longer sales cycles. You’re also not obtaining introductions, referrals or repeat business–and these are all things you vitally need in today’s competitive sales environment.
While sales is history’s oldest profession, it is also the least respected. Why? Because salespeople don’t follow a sales process, and instead cling to traditional sales techniques. Meanwhile, buyers protect themselves from salespeople by utilizing a buying process which they follow, and are therefore in control. Take a good look: who is doing the qualifying, and the rejecting?
Isn’t it your job and responsibility as a sales professional to qualify buyers and to reject them if they are not qualified?
Do you want to know why and how the buyer is in control?
The answer is simple—buyers follow a system, just like you do when meeting with a salesperson. Salespeople assume they are in control by answering all the questions, but in reality it is the buyer who is in control by asking the questions. In the end, who rejects who? The buyer does the rejecting, not you.
In most cases, buyers see more salespeople in a day than salespeople see buyers. Buyers see the same techniques over and over again. Over time, salespeople have educated buyers and they know exactly what the salesperson is going to say or do next. If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting the same results.
Take the following scenario. You’re a buyer. You want to buy a blue shirt and your budget is $50.00.
You walk into a retail outlet and in typical fashion the salesperson approaches you and says, “Hello, can I help you?”
How do you respond?
The common answer is, “No thank you, I’m just looking.”
Buyers lie to salespeople.
So the first step in the buyer’s system is to mislead the salesperson. Why do they do that? Is it because the salesperson hasn’t yet earned their trust? Or is it because buyers know that salespeople lie and are just trying to stay one step ahead of them?
You find what you are looking for, call over the salesperson and begin to ask relative questions.
Buyers use you for free consulting.
The second step in the buyer‘s system is to get free consulting. The salesperson falls into your trap and you receive free consulting because they are willing to share all they know. The buyer asks, and the salesperson replies.
Now, as a buyer, what do you say to the salesperson once you have gained all the necessary information? Likely, “leave it with me to think it over and I will get back to you.”
The third step in the buyer‘s system is to mislead the salesperson again. Most salespeople fall into this trap every time. As a salesperson, has this happened to you?
The fourth step in the buyer‘s system is to hide. This comes into play when the salesperson makes a follow up call and leaves a voice mail or sends an e-mail. After all, the buyer did say he would think it over and get back to them. Buyers never get back to a salesperson, nor do they answer their calls or reply to voice or e-mail.
Your job as a professional salesperson is to:
STOP falling into the buyer’s system and START to follow a sales process, which puts you back in control.
You want a proven sales process that will allow you to quickly build rapport to gain necessary trust, set parameters to eliminate surprises and establish a clear and concise process that will allow you to move forward. At the same time, you must qualify the buyer with respect to buying motivators, financial ability and decision making.
When this process is complete and everything is summarized, you will be in a position to determine if the prospect is qualified or not to allow for your time, products or services. Then and only then, you can decide to proceed with a prescription or simply walk away from the buyer, while maintaining a relationship for future business.
Is it time for you to learn a non-traditional sales process that will put you back in control while letting the buyer feel that they are in the driver’s seat—a sales process that will build trust and long-term relationships, shorten sales cycles, improve margins and profit, while giving you a better R.O.T.I. and improved bottom line?
Want to know more about R.O.T.I. and how to make the most of it in your prospecting? Get a free excerpt from my new book, Velocity Selling: How to Attract, Engage and Empower Buyers to Buy.
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