Tag Archives: sales training

Why smart people should go into sales — from Fast Company

If you're thinking of going into sales, if you're already in sales, if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up (no matter your present age!) there's a top-rank article you need to read in the magazine FAST COMPANY.  

It's "Why smart people should go into sales," by Andrew Yong, and among his  accomplishments include authorship of the book, SMART PEOPLE SHOULD BUILD THINGS.

I'll leave the article to you, but add that "selling" is not just selling products or services, but it's also persuading, reading body language and other buying signals, pulling out objections  and hesitations, presenting concepts, learning to find and fill needs (needs that often the other person isn't really aware of, so part of "selling" is showing the need and how you can best fill it).  All of these abilities pay off many times over if you move from sales per-se to management, customer service — even to setting up your own business and marketing your skills, perhaps as  part of career reinvention, or electing for self-employment as your new career option.

 Link to article in Fast Company

Sending sales proposals: key tips

Turns out we need a new roof over the sunroom, so  Susan started calling around for references, then invited contractors in to look it over.  It's not a busy time of the year here, so most came within a week or so.

They all brought ladders and climbed up on the roof, then climbed down and gave us their initial thoughts.  I think we've had five come by now.  One we crossed off almost immediately because of some intangibles.  I'm not really sure why, maybe it was something in his non-verbals. In any case, his price came in close to double the average.

Bear in mind that the estimators dropped by over something like a ten-day span. All but that one I mentioned seemed credible candidates to get our business. 

But then not much happened for several more days; we waited for them to send their estimates.  Now they are finally coming in. But it's hard for us now to put a face with the paper estimate.  Was AlphaBeta Roofing the guy who suggested . . .    Was Aaardvark Roofing the guy who pointed out . . .

On that, these thoughts.

1.  Put your mug shot on your business card, and leave one of those cards  when you make the first call.  Doesn't matter if you're not movie-star handsome or any of that. It's just to help the prospect remember you.  Send another photo business card when you send the proposal (even if that second one is just copied in and attached to the email). 

I first saw photo business cards when I did a couple of consulting projects with Kodak (obviously that was a while back, long before family friend Kodak started the final fall!), and everybody had a photo card.  Even now, when I look at those old cards and  see the faces,a clear memory of the person and how we worked together comes up.

Most of these contractors left us business cards, but generic ones from Staples or Office Depot with their name and maybe an image of a trowel or hammer or ladder– instantly forgettable.

2.  Get that proposal out ASAP.  If you promise "by the weekend," mean it. First, the prospect is paying attention to  your credibility–do you follow through as promised? If you're poky just in getting a one-page estimate off on time, what does that suggest about your follow-through if you get the job?  I've seen neighbors tied up for weeks when the workers leave the materials in the yard and cut off to do another job somewhere.

Another good reason to be fast in sending the proposal: a prospect with a leaky roof may not wait.  By the time  Pokey Joe finally faxes his estimate Speedy Pete may already have gotten the work permit and delivered the shingles.

Yeah, you're busy running around making those sales calls, but maybe it'd be best to pass on one of those calls at the end of each day and use that time more productively. 

Just my thoughts from the perspective of a prospect.

Sales tip: tap the power of silence

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.

Responding to objections and questions: why prospects DO NOT buy, Part #2

"COLD CALL SALES AND PROSPECTING CHECKLIST: 14 PRACTICAL STRATEGIES WHEN COLD-COLD CALLING"  which had been here in four parts 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

When it IS good sales strategy to begin with the purchasing department

Last post, we explored why it's usually not a good idea to begin with the purchasing department.

But there are situations when purchasing is the place to begin.  Here are some considerations.

Continue reading When it IS good sales strategy to begin with the purchasing department

Cold call sales: best uses

First, what is cold-call selling?

Cold calling can be by phone, as you telephone prospects for appointments, or maybe to do some early research. (Telephone cold calling is a topic we'll be dealing with another time.)

What we'll be speaking of here are cold-calls made in person.

Continue reading Cold call sales: best uses

When and when not to begin your sales contact with the training or personnel departments

Suppose you're a consultant looking to sell your expertise as a trainer in a certain field— perhaps how to comply with new federal regulations, or how to improve the effectiveness of customer care departments.  Since it's about training, you might think that the training department is the place to make your first contact.

Well, maybe.  But, then again, maybe not.

Continue reading When and when not to begin your sales contact with the training or personnel departments

Telephone sales training: if you encounter voice mail

Considerations before you make that call:

1. If you encounter voice mail, will you leave a message, or keep trying to reach the prospect directly? If you leave your name, then you leave it in  the prospect's hands to respond, and you lose control.

Continue reading Telephone sales training: if you encounter voice mail

Non-verbal selling skills: “screen test” checklist

Check out your non-verbal selling skills by doing a videotaped run-through before important demos and presentations. 

Here are some key elements to attune to as you check the quality of the non-verbal selling skills you project on your taped run-through:

Continue reading Non-verbal selling skills: “screen test” checklist