Article by Richard Geller
If you find selling is too hard and your results are too low, let me show you five ways to make it much easier, and take in a lot more money. What I’m about to tell you has helped hundreds of salespeople and entrepreneurs I have personally trained to increase their sales substantially.
The key is to become an entrepreneurial salesperson – one who makes things happen. Here are the five secrets:
1. Entrepreneurial salespeople position themselves
as expert consultants.
Have you heard the one about the woman with a sore shoulder who went to the doctor’s office? The moment the doctor saw her, he immediately ordered surgery.
Silly joke? Of course. There are several things wrong with this picture, and they illustrate common mistakes you may be making.
If you are selling anything, you are exactly like a physician. You must build your credibility. An important way to do that is to thoroughly “examine” your prospect – with intelligent questions – before you make a “diagnosis” – suggest a solution.
Remember, your prospect is overwhelmed with a barrage of information from the Web, email, magazines, TV, and more. They don’t want mere information from you. What they really want is an expert they can trust.
As an entrepreneurial salesperson, do everything you possibly can to win your client’s trust, by positioning yourself as an expert consultant.
2. Entrepreneurial salespeople realize that the lazy way is the best way – 20% of their efforts will create 80% of their results, so by working smart – and working less – they can actually achieve much more.
After working for someone else, Ted started a business selling telephone systems and services to banks, brokerages, insurance agencies and city agencies.
Ted worked ten hours a day, to fill a pipeline of sales prospects, but it was tough. One day we talked and he realized that the way to turn the corner was to work a lot less. He stopped trying to find prospects who wanted bids on new equipment. Instead, he concentrated on finding prospects who needed servicing on their current equipment and who were dissatisfied with their present vendor.
This was much easier, and he soon was very busy turning these small sales into larger ones. In a few months his income had shot up from a few thousand a month (in a good month) to a steady five figures a month. And instead of 60-hour weeks, now he works 25 hours a week and takes frequent vacations to Hawaii with his family.
He credits his success to the 80/20 rule: find the “lazy” way, the 20% of your efforts that account for 80% of your results, and just focus on this.
3. Entrepreneurial salespeople understand that every call is one of a series of small steps, and they focus on reaching a small milestone on the step they are on, rather than the overall result.
Ted had been trying to sell $50,000 systems like he did when he worked for his old employer. But the economy had changed. Besides, Ted’s new start-up did not have the credibility of the large company Ted used to work for.
So Ted broke his sale into a series of steps. His first step was to find prospects experiencing difficulties with their present vendor. Ted could offer those prospects services such as on-site repairs. These were small sales for Ted, but they transformed the prospects into customers.
Those new customers quickly grew to trust Ted, and they turned to him when they needed to replace their current equipment. So Ted was positioned to get those $50,000 sales that he really wanted.
By breaking his sale down into a series of discrete steps, and reaching milestones for each of those steps, Ted made very large sales and built his own business. You need to do the same thing for your selling process: break it down into small steps, and focus on reaching an easy milestone in each step.
4. Entrepreneurial salespeople do things differently than others in their field.
Recently, one of the companies that I co-founded needed to purchase an expensive type of software – average price, $60,000. We called the leading firms and tried to get salespeople to visit us. We found it very hard to get a phone call returned. What was worse, the salespeople who eventually came out were poorly prepared and lacked product knowledge. And when they promised us references and proposals, they rarely followed up.
But one salesperson broke the mold. He followed up. He spent time with us. He was knowledgeable about his competitors’ as well as his own product.
One day when our company had announced a major positive event and was in the news, he sent us a bouquet of flowers and a nice card. We bought from him, simply because we did not have the time to figure out what the “best” solution was for our needs, and we trusted him. He did things differently from the rest and he got a major sale as a result.
In my work with hundreds of start-ups and entrepreneurial salespeople, I find that the best ones ALWAYS do things differently than the rest. They get prospects differently, they network differently, they make their calls differently. In today’s world, doing things differently will prove to be a major ingredient in your success.
5. Entrepreneurial salespeople are master listeners, PULLING information and feelings from a situation and use their intuition, rather than always PUSHING.
Here it is: The more your prospect talks, the higher your chances are of making a sale.
It’s that simple.
On the other hand, people who let YOU do most of the talking will usually not buy from you – and the irony is, you will never know why because you were too busy talking to find out!
It’s a mistake to think of listening as a passive activity. It is not – it’s very active. And listening is not an easy habit to acquire, because we are all so preoccupied with our own concerns that we find it hard to shut our minds down and really listen.
But if you learn to listen, it will pay huge dividends, both in higher sales and in a better life.
The way to listen is to pay close attention to what is being said by using your whole body, not just your ears. You direct your full consciousness to the persons or people who you are with. When your mind occasionally wanders onto what you will do tomorrow, or what you did yesterday, or on some fantasy or problem, you simply direct your focus back onto what your prospects are saying.
There is a lot to listening and if you become a master listener you will become a master entrepreneurial salesperson.
I’ve identified other practices, methods and techniques that you can learn to increase results further, or to implement the above secrets in your specific situations. But really understanding these five secrets and acting on them, you will achieve significant increases in your results, starting today.