Browse Tag

consultative selling

When and How to Use Your Sales Collateral Material

Problem:  Early on in my career, I was the king of sales sheets. That was the term we used for all our marketing material.  I made sure before I left for the day my briefcase was loaded with all the latest material. I wanted to be armed for anything a prospect would throw at me. We had a file cabinet in the back of the sales room where all the collateral sales material was stored; each with its own labeled slot.  One day I was excited because I had a full day of sales calls with prospects I’ve been working to get in front of. Excited, until I went to our marketing cabinet and found the slots empty! Checking in with the sales secretary, she informed me that the copier was broke and she would not be able to print more until later that day. Now panic set in. I had my presentation all set around these materials and now I was armed with nothing! read more

Can You Play Doctor on a Sales Call?

The other day I met a delightful lady, Wendy.  Wendy is a doctor who consults other doctors on infections.  When they can’t figure it out or when they don’t know what they are dealing with, they call on Wendy.  It is her job to determine what is killing the patient and to stop it.  As she explained to me what she does and how she does it, I realized she applies one of the most effective sales techniques in her job that enables her to be very good at what she does. read more

Closing Deals In Complex Sales

SQC smallProblem:  Mark was a high tech salesperson, selling complex hardware and software solutions to distribution companies.  Relatively new to the job, his ability to close was frustratingly poor.  But he was in good company, as the other salespeople in the company suffered from the same problem.

Analysis:  Bernie was Mark’s sales manager, and was “old school.”  He was a disciple of J. Douglas Edwards who, along with Dale Carnegie, were early pioneers in sales training.  Bernie has been in sales for 30 years and had learned his craft well.  He was proud of the fact that he had been successful selling a variety of products, starting with vacuum cleaners and progressing to aluminum siding, and then retail computer parts before landing a job with a hard drive manufacturer.  Recently, he convinced the president of this company to hire him to manage the sales effort.  He loved to regale his troops about his closing prowess, telling them that the best salespeople were the ones who could sell something to someone who didn’t need it.  Of course, his techniques were highly manipulative but they worked well in vacuum cleaners and aluminum siding (remember the movie Tin Men?) He subscribed to many sales technique blogs and required his people to memorize the closes.  The sales trainers he hired to train his people reinforced these manipulative techniques.  “Tell them our story and then go for the close,” exhorted Bernie as he rehearsed his people in selling features and benefits.  Of course, Bernie was the problem. read more

Qualifying Proficiency Determines Closing Efficiency

SQC smallProblem:  Salespeople spend far too much time preparing proposals and close far too few.  Of course, closing rates vary but closing only 15-20% of the proposals is not uncommon.  This is obviously very inefficient and causes time management problems as well as feelings of rejection, futility and despondence.  Furthermore, it results in reduced sales and lower commissions. read more

The Price Trap

SQC smallProblem: One of the most frequent complaints we hear from business owners, sales managers and salespeople is the following: “Price is the primary focus of the sale these days–all of our prospects want the lowest price.” It starts out innocently enough. Buyers lead with questions and comments like these: “How much is it? Can you give me a quote?” As the sales discussion proceeds it gets more intense: “That seems like a lot.” or “Why is it so expensive?” or “I saw it for less.” Salespeople often respond by cutting price thus giving away margins and commissions. read more

Leave Your Agenda at the Office

SQC smallProblem:  Alligator Software had just introduced a major revision to their software but, in spite of tremendous initial enthusiasm, sales fell far short of expectations and management started to receive complaints about the conduct of their overzealous salespeople.

Analysis:  Alligator was proud of their latest upgrades, so much so that management was convinced that they were finally in a position to overtake their primary competitor who owned 60% of the market.  A national sales meeting was held and the entire forty person sales team converged on San Diego for a quick one and a half day meeting to introduce the “new product.”  After the proud techies got their chance to demo the software, the marketing department spent a half-day helping the salespeople understand all the features and benefits and how the new product would help their prospects reach new levels of efficiency. read more

The Sales Professional vs. the Professional Pretender

SQC smallProblem: Have you ever heard the term “sales profession?” How about “medical profession?” Which one do you think has the most credibility?  Admittedly I’m biased; I am a “professional” salesperson.  Which would the general public—the people who are our prospective buyers—give the most credibility to as a real profession? My guess is medicine. read more

“We Like You the Best, But We Are Staying Where We Are At”

SQC smallProblem: Recently a sales engineer called for some coaching.  He had been having a dialogue with his prospect for several months and had offered several proposals for the business, all of which had been rejected as “just not compelling enough” for them to change.  He complained he was getting a little frustrated especially since the prospect had said to him on several occasions that they “liked him the best.”  When I heard that, I knew he was in trouble. read more

Get The Prospect On To Your Playing Field

SQC smallProblem:  95% of salespeople are at the prospect’s mercy.  That’s right, the prospect is in control because he’s got his rules, and he gets you to play by them.  He’s like the all-powerful conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, and you’re playing the tune HIS way.  And it’s costing you money, not to mention how it’s messin’ with your head. read more

Are You Delivering Value, or Just a Proposal?

SQC smallProblem: “I’m afraid that I’m not going to get a decision when I make my presentation to the fitness store owners next Monday,” Kelly lamented. “I’ve put together a great proposal. I think I’ve covered all the bases and have given them three terrific options for advertising in our newspaper. Surely one will work for them. But something tells me they won’t make a decision, and I don’t know why.” Kelly was on target about one thing. She didn’t get a decision. The fitness storeowners thanked her for the proposal and told her they needed some time to “think it over.” read more