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Strategic Sales Training Solutions, LLC | Shillington, Pennsylvania

Qualifying

Mike Montague interviews Brian Jackson on How to Succeed at Your 30 Second Commercial. Brian is an award-winning Sandler Trainer in San Diego, CA.

 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve done a thorough job of uncovering the prospect’s problems, frustrations, issues, and concerns...you’ve put together a great presentation based on what you’ve learned...you’ve nailed every single point, and you felt certain the prospect was ready to buy from you...and then you “improvised” your way into a disaster? You introduced a brand-new topic, something you had never discussed with the prospect, and suddenly the opportunity was lost. What you thought was a slam-dunk turned out to be anything but.

 

Your box of candy is your knowledge, your expertise.

When first meeting a sales prospect, salespeople are often “too eager” and launch into presentation mode and stop asking questions that uncover the problems that need to be addressed and the goals that need to be achieved.

Characteristics of top sales performers is the ability to avoid two common, self-imposed mental handicaps: reachback and afterburn. Reachback is what happens when an impending event begins to have a negative influence on our attitude and behavior. Afterburn is what happens when a past event has a lasting negative influence on our present behavior.

If you lose a sale or something goes wrong in your life, who is at fault? When you blame others, you give outside people and events control over your life. When you take personal responsibility, you put yourself in a position to fix the most important thing you can ever fix—yourself.

Discover transactional analysis, a human relations model of three ego states; Parent Child, and adult.

If you lose a sale or something goes wrong in your life, who is at fault? When you blame others, you give outside people and events control over your life. When you take personal responsibility, you put yourself in a position to fix the most important thing you can ever fix—yourself.

Discover transactional analysis, a human relations model of three ego states; Parent Child, and adult.

Too often, we box ourselves into situations when we fall into the trap of answering questions a prospect poses … and we quickly find that we have reached a premature, and usually unnecessary, dead-end in the conversation. The key to avoiding this outcome lies in recognizing that prospects rarely ask the "real" question up front. In order to understand the true intent behind the question, it is usually necessary to ask several questions. In general, it takes about three questions to uncover what’s really driving what we’re being asked.

Determine a prospect’s budget using a questioning technique called “bracketing.” By suggesting a dollar range such as between $30,000 and $45,000, you can identify what amount the prospect is willing to pay for your product or service. With a range in mind, you can continue strategic questioning to uncover the real number and what the solution is worth to the prospect.

The “stripping line” is a sales technique taken from experienced anglers. They understand that they’ll have a better chance of hooking the fish if they don’t yank the line at the first nibble. Instead, they strip some line from the reel and create slack. The fish then pulls the bait deeper in the water and, feeling more secure, swallows it—and the hook. You can use this technique to get clarity on what’s really happening in the buyer’s world. Here’s how.

Troy Elmore, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful at dealing with the competition and selling a crowded marketplace. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

Listen Time: 21 Minutes

How many times have you thought a sale was closed only to have the prospect call you, or leave you a voicemail, text, or email message, cancelling or delaying the order? All that hard work … and at the eleventh hour the prospect backs out of the deal. Another commission killed by buyer’s remorse!

Uncovering the prospect’s budget is crucial before preparing a proposal or presentation. Here are six budget questions to determine if you should move forward or move on.

The technique of answering a question with a question, or reversing, is particularly effective in the early phases of a discussion with a prospective buyer. Keep yourself out of conversational boxes and gain a much clearer understanding of the emotional intent behind prospect’s questions.

As a salesperson, your job is to do a reality check - to go for the no. Give the prospect permission to say ‘No,’ if that’s what he wants to say. If you’re on the receiving end of ‘Play It Safe’ words, that’s probably not a great sign. Before you invest any more time in this lead, to find out what’s really going on. Go for the no.

Excellent salespeople recognize that stellar results are only achieved by implementing their well-honed skills within the framework of well-designed systems. They continually strive to improve and perfect the strategies and processes they employ. For them, nothing is left to chance. They have elevated the tasks of initiating relationships, supporting relationships, asking questions, analyzing customers’ and prospects’ requirements, and crafting and presenting best-fit solutions to an art form. And they are all about process improvement.

The easiest way to avoid wasting time with questionable opportunities is to be more selective about which ones you allow to enter your pipeline. A more stringent “pre-pipeline” screening step may be worth considering.

Salespeople often feel they must present complex solutions & proposals believing the perceived valued is greater or to justify to cost. Not necessarily so. Simple, well-organized, and concise solutions are easier for the prospect to connect with.

Why do salespeople cling to opportunities that drag on or become stalled? Part of the answer is culture. In many organizations, a packed pipeline is considered a sign of success—tangible evidence that the salesperson is “working.” This may not always be accurate.

 

For some salespeople, the vagueness of their initial prospect meetings carries through to their eventual presentations. They fail to establish clear connecting links between the elements of their proposed offer and the specific aspects of the prospect’s requirements. Instead, their presentations focus too narrowly on their product or service, their company’s capabilities, and in some cases, on themselves.

If prospects don’t learn anything new by meeting with you, are you contributing any real value to the meeting? No. And, if you’re not contributing any real value to the meeting, will prospects have compelling reasons to do business with you? Again, the answer is “No.”

Having a big pipeline of “prospects” is typically seen as desirable. The more prospects you put into the pipeline, the more will eventually emerge as customers. At least that’s the theory. And the theory is partially true. Some of the people you put in the pipeline will become customers. The question is, “How many will be customers and how long will it take for them to materialize from the other end of the pipe?”

At Sandler Training, we believe in not solely talking about features and benefits during your sales call, but rather focusing on the prospect’s needs. However, there is a time for presenting, once you have qualified the opportunity. Once a prospect is fully qualified in Pain, Budget, and Decision, then it is time for you to make the presentation, and you want to make that presentation as persuasive as possible.

If your goal is to find more prospects, get more and better referrals, and make more commission dollars in 2016 than you did in 2015, consider upping your social selling game. Here are four quick tips that will help you to avoid some common mistakes online.

Creating an effective sales pipeline can be a massive headache for sales leaders because reps have been known to stuff the pipeline with opportunities that have zero chance of closing. In a previous life, I took over a product specialist role selling a web-based media monitoring and crisis communications program. My first six weeks in that role was spent culling a $3 million pipeline down to $160,000 of real, qualified opportunities

Does this sound familiar to you? Prospect A says, "This looks very good. I think there's an excellent chance we'll do business." The salesperson thinks, "I've got one." Prospect B comments, "Your price is higher than we expected." The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to cut the price to close the deal." Prospect C reveals, "We were hoping for a shorter delivery time." The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to push this through as a rush order to get the sale."e