Posted: July 25, 2011
Selling strategies for today’s economy
Enthusiasm is out, serious buyers are inBy Gary Harvey
The old saying, "When prospects are enthusiastic, they are buying" does not hold true in this marketplace. Enthusiastic prospects may be focused on the exciting possibility of your product or service because they either don't have any money or cannot or will not make a decision. Window shopping and tire kicking is fun for the buyer becomes it costs the buyer nothing. If individuals are getting ready to invest money, they seriously consider cash flow, potential value, potential loss, security, trust and many other emotional issues.
If you're still selling the way you sold before the recession, odds are you are not getting the same results you used to get. The idea of presenting in hopes of enticing the prospect doesn't work anymore. Instead, you may be giving "free consulting" and million-dollar presentations to people who can't or won't buy. These are not real "prospects," but what I call "suspects."
Try to start the process differently by getting your prospects comfortable telling you their concerns. Part of this initial process is to stop "handling stalls and objections." Allow your prospects to bring up and fully explore their objections. Then allow them to discuss potential resolutions of their concerns. If you are the one trying to overcome their objections, then the wrong person is working too hard to solve their problem. The art is to let your prospects overcome their own objections. This is not going to be easy, but the key is asking lots of questions without providing them with the answers so readily and freely before qualifying them. Just because they appear to be interested, does not mean they are a viable prospect.
Only after prospects have convinced you they have compelling reasons to engage in the process, should you discuss money, budget, cost of doing nothing, etc. Prospects must convince you they can make the necessary investment and are willing to pay your price if they have conviction in your solutions. Come to an agreement about money. Don't allow your prospects to "blow smoke" and don't get caught in the "negotiating down" loop after the presentation.
Openly discuss the decision-making process. Tell them you are seeking a win-win and honestly want what's best for them. Let them know that you are very comfortable if they decide that it's not a fit. A "no" from the prospect is OK. After all, when would you rather know? Now, or after weeks of chasing and buying "them" lunch? Also, discuss the prospects' required steps for coming to a decision: Who has concerns that need to be dealt with? Who will this decision affect? Who may not be enthusiastic about this purchase? Who is enthusiastic? Have them convince you they're able and willing to make a decision in an agreed-upon time frame. This must be done before making a presentation.
Make sure you give fluff-free presentations. Your presentation should be focused on what's important to your prospects, not what you think is important.
Avoid back-outs by allowing your prospects to feel comfortable talking about potential pit-falls as you move forward. Don't get excited about a commitment and forget to "post-sell." which is another way of "cementing" the deal against back-outs. That way the next day you don't get a voice mail or email message, that the deal is off!
These are just a few key tips that will enable you to sell smarter. In today's competitive marketplace it is important to use low-key, non-aggressive, yet assertive and straight-forward sales methods to increase your selling success.
Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners and is the recipient of the David H. Sandler Award, awarded to the top Sandler trainer in the world. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the World. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or email@example.com .
Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or firstname.lastname@example.org.