This five-step model approach in responding to objections and questions: Explore, Listen Well, Restate (if appropriate), Respond, then Move on.
1. Explore. Ask questions to get the person talking about what they really mean by the objection, and why it's important to them. (Why do you feel that way? will do if nothing better comes to mind.)
2. Listen well to their response. You may have heard this objection a dozen times already this week, but this person may put a different twist on it. Don't be too quick in cutting off the
Continue reading 5 steps in responding to sales objections and questions
Amazon has recently upgraded its Kindle software, so what appears on the Kindle comes out closer to the visual quality and layout of the printed version.
I took advantage of that opportunity, and cleaned up the electronic typography of SELLING 101, and at the same time entered it in the Amazon Prime program. Here's the link: Selling 101: Essential Selling Skills for Entrepreneurs, Consultants, Free Agents
What Amazon Prime means to you as a reader is that you can borrow it free, from Amazon, for however long you want. As I understand it, if you're a Prime member, and own any version of Kindle, you can borrow up to 12 books each year. Only catch, only one book at a time.
And if you borrow a book and find it so indispensable that you just gotta have it? Just "return" it, virtually, buy it, and borrow another.
If just want to buy Selling 101 in e-format, not borrow it, same link gets you there.
As I mentioned here recently, this Selling Face to Face site is aimed at new business start-ups as much as at the sales training needs of experienced sales teams.
In that regard— new business start-ups and how-to — here's an interesting link to an article on
Wicked Start a free site designed by an experienced entrepreneur and management consultant. I haven't personally checked it out yet, just read the article and looked at the Wicked Start website, but it seems definitely worth your taking a look.
As I understand, when you sign up you get access to a series of how-to checklists and templates to hold your hand through each of the major steps of a new business start-up from scratch.
It's free, so I'm not at all clear on the business model.
Here's the article I read, which came to me via the "Small Business from the New York Times" weekly e-mailing.
A Start-Up That Automates the Process of Starting Up — NYTimes article
When I was starting-up on this blog, I expected the main readership would be among new business start-ups, consultants, new free-lancers, people new to selling and sales. Why? Mainly because the economy was begining to slide down, and a lot of people were going off on their own— some as involuntary entrepreneurs, others as self- reinventors in advance of getting laid off.
It hasn't been that way, so far as I can tell: most of the readership seems to be professional sales people, folks who already know their way around a sales call, and were looking for fresh ideas.
Yes, that kind of info is here, but also here are a lot of the basics of getting started in sales, or starting up a new venture, finding prospects, and making a convincing case. There are also a lot of free sales training articles drawn from books (Selling 101, How to Sell Face-to-Face Survival Guide, Sales Training Tutorials, and Sales Presentations and Demonstrations.
In any case, for the "reinventors" out there, let me recommend the article, "pulling off the ultimate career makeover" in Fortune, issue of July 4, 2011. Case studies include,
- An owner of franchises who sold them off and is setting up his own franchise operation, Yogurt Mountain. (Full disclosure: I have not, repeat not, received any free samples!)
- A sales executive formerly with the likes of Intel, Dell, and NetApp who, after being down-sized, first became a free-agent, then was hired as director of marketing of a social media operation.
- A lawyer, downsized after the media burst bubble burst in 2000, who turned around to become a contractor with the same firm. That led to a further reinvention as she set up what's best described as a legal firm of part-time lawyer contractors, many of them women juggling work and school-age kids.
- A director of strategic development and communicaitons who got cut when that company was acquired. He then did what any good consultant and strategist does, develop his "brand" after an analysis (which makes very good reading) of his passions and skills. Now he's consulting full-time.
- Another lawyer who left the practice (good for him!) to become an author of mystery novels. (First reinvention.) Then when the market for paper books started sliding, he moved into the e-book field and took on self-publishing his backlist for Kindle and the like. (Second reinvention.) By the way, as a "reformed" lawyer myself, I can't resist giving a plug to another lawyer who found "real work," hence this: his name is Paul Levine and you can read more about his mysteries at Website of Paul Levine
Fortune article: Pulling off the ultimate career makeover, by Douglas Alden Warshaw
Sales tip: silence is one of the essential communication skills . . . and a powerful selling skill, as well.
Think of the questions you ask in a sales call as seeds. It's crucial to give the questions time to grow, and the power of silence gives that time. After you ask, be silent, even if it means letting the silence hang in the air. That gives the prospect time to think and respond.
Ask a question, then let it "grow" in the silence and listen closely to the response. In some cases, you'll need to rephrase the question so it's clearer, or to focus the Decision Maker's response so it's more on target.
But those are exceptions. As a rule, once you've asked the question, bite your tongue and let the prospect talk. Listening well is at least as important a communication skill as speaking confidently.
There are other good reasons to ask fewer questions and allow more silence: constant interruptions to ask new questions may irritate the prospect.
Besides, if you let the prospect go at her own pace, and in the general direction she thinks best, you may find other potential needs opening up in ways that you wouldn't have anticipated.
Above all, don't be so busy asking questions (and thinking of what your next questions will be) that you neglect to listen to the answers you do get. That's another benefit of the power of silence: silence gives you time not just to listen, but also time to think ahead.
"OVERCOMING OBJECTIONS: WHY PROSPECTS DO NOT BUY" is now a short E-book, available via Amazon.
You can read it on a Kindle, or in various other E-reader formats, including your PC. Amazon offfers free apps to enable you to do that.
Order e-edition of Overcoming objections: why prospects DO NOT buy
In sales skills terminology, "prospecting" often means looking for industrial parks and the like, then doing a quick sweep in order to rapidly scan and flush out potential prospects.
In those sweeps, you speak briefly with the receptionist or secretary to make a quick determination of whether it is worth calling back to see the Decision Maker.
Just what information you are looking for at this early stage of your search for viable leads will vary with your product and the market. The checklist below is a starting point; adapt it to your own uses.
Checklist: The Kinds of Information to be Looking for When Cold Calling
Continue reading Prospecting for leads and other useful information via cold calling: essential info to be looking for
Cold calls as a sales method
Good sales can flow from cold calls. While cold-calling should NOT be your primary way of approaching new prospects, there will be times when it is appropriate as a selling tool.
For example, if you have open time between scheduled calls, consider using it to "smoke-stack" for other leads. (The term arose when sales people would drive around looking for factory smoke-stacks to guide them to industrial prospects. Now most smoke-stacking is done by scanning the list of tenants at the elevators of office towers and entrances to commercial parks.)
You may spot a possible prospect, and knock on the door in the hope
Continue reading Cold calling: when you CAN use it as a way to make the sale