How do you help people buying solutions to problems when they don't even realize that they actually have a problem?
It's one thing to be able to sell to someone when we know that they're coming to us with a particular problem, but as Daniel Kink wrote in his book, To Sell is Human, our job is really helping them uncover those problems that they don't know that they have. So how do we do that? What are some of the questions that we can ask to help uncover those particular problems and the impact of those problems?
When I was about 9 years old, I watched the Dracula movie for the first time, and hence, became obsessed that Dracula himself was living in my mother's basement.
When my mother would ask me to go down into the basement to get something from the pantry for dinner, I found ways to stall, or delay it, or just get out of it altogether. Until, eventually, my mother made me go down there, in which case, I would turn on every single light in the basement because I was convinced that they couldn't see me if it was light out.
Until one day, I ran so fast up the basement stairs that I slipped and fell and slammed my shin into the stair. Tears came to my eyes as blood came out of my leg, and I'm like, great, now they're really gonna get me.
I ran the rest of the way up the stairs, and I was so mad at myself that finally I decided, you know what? I'm gonna go downstairs, and I'm gonna turn off all of the damn lights and I'm gonna sit on this step. I even said out loud, "Okay, Dracula. If you're here, come and get me now, 'cause I'm not falling down the stairs again."
Now, that didn't completely erase my fear of going downstairs in the basement. Every time my mom asked me to go get something I got that nervous and tight feeling in my chest, but I took that as my cue to purposely walk slower, not only because I wanted to not fall on the stairs, but I was trying to convince myself that maybe Dracula wasn't living in my basement anymore.
This is what happens to salespeople who are afraid of rejection, or upsetting someone, or even being seen as "that annoying and needy salesperson". They avoid it. Until they can't anymore.
In the very first Live Sales Management Lab, we discussed how to go above and beyond quota, which means helping our salespeople to identify those personally meaningful goals that are going to stretch them outside of their comfort zone, so that they can accomplish things they've never accomplished before.
Why is this so important?
And more importantly, why do we put it off? Why do we avoid these kinds of the conversations which are so crucial to change?
It’s been a busy end of year... last year I spent nearly 800 hours watching recorded demos and listening to client sales calls. From discovery calls to demos, I have heard some good, a lot of bad, and some just downright… boring.
Through that experience, I have developed some pet peeves. I am going to call these PSAs’; Potential Snore Alerts.
Richard Smith is the Head of Sales for conversation intelligence and coaching platform - Refract. He is passionate about developing sales people, analyzing the science behind sales conversations, and changing the broken culture and mindset towards sales coaching.
As part of any Sales 101 course, we are forever being told about the importance of ‘getting next steps’. Getting next steps from our prospect to assist with our sales process, is almost too obvious that for me to be writing an article on this topic, may appear to be patronizing to the naked eye.
Yet incredibly, time and time again, it is a key aspect of a sales conversation which is sadly missing.
And often the concept is so incredibly simple. So incredibly simple that I bore myself as I harp on about it so much. The simple concept of ‘getting the next meeting’.
Objections are one of those things that we all encounter as salespeople, within every conversation that we have. How we handle them varies. Few do it well. Even fewer are able to turn objections into value-add statements and questions.
And like most things in sales, handling objections takes a framework that you can customize to each conversation, and practice the hell out of until it becomes second nature.
Check out the video for how I coach salespeople to handle objections, or read the 4 part framework.
How do you add value to a conversation with anyone? If value is in the eye of the beholder, and you aren’t a mind reader- how do you do that?
This is made even more difficult by the fact that selling today isn’t face to face, so the clues we get when in person as to how someone is thinking are lost.
And oftentimes buyers have a negative viewpoint going into conversations that makes it difficult to communicate value to them. (This is called the Theory of Reasoned Action, we behave according to our attitudes and beliefs). This means they will reject your ideas, products, and services with phrases like; “It costs too much.”