Prospecting

As we focus on the topic of sales this month, one way to increase results is to become a product of the product. When we are benefiting from the product we are marketing, we begin to create our own story, which lends credibility to us and our product and creates a curiosity about what it can do for our prospect or possibly someone they know. We should leave a trail of testimonials behind us and use them for each sales call. People remember stories, even if they might not remember facts and figures. The first testimonial, of course, should be our own.

Lets keep growing and learning. I hope everyone has a great week!

The N.J.W Blog

Selling and Negotiation Skills, Part Two—Prospecting

This is what we are covering on the topic of Sales this month:

1. Attitudes of Successful Salespeople: The profession, setting your goals, the attitudes of successful salespeople, and getting and staying motivated. This is the basic overview of the profession of selling. Selling is a noble occupation, even though some people think otherwise. In fact, we are all in sales every day. We sell to people all the time. In addition, our attitude and getting and staying motivated are vitally important and will either make or break a salesperson. We covered this in last week’s edition.

2. Prospecting. Because sales and success are a numbers game, this week we will cover how to look at sales from this perspective in order to be successful. We will look at how to get in front of a large number of people so that we can close a higher percentage of sales calls. We also show you the importance of knowing your stuff—what you need to know about yourself, your prospect and your product. Then, we will look briefly at the importance of understanding how to sell to different personality types.

3. Building relationships that position you as an educator/consultant to your clients. We will touch on listening skills and making the sale. Here, we will also take a look at the all-important issue of relationships. In selling, as in life, relationships are the most important factor. We don’t sell to companies—we sell to people! People always make the decisions. We will take a look at how to be a great listener, and we’ll also discuss how to reposition yourself from being known as a salesperson to becoming seen as an educator and consultant who helps people make the best buying decisions. We will look at this next week.

4. Getting referrals/Negotiation skills. In two weeks, we will take a look at how to get referrals so that your business becomes ever-expanding. Creating an ever-expanding network of people to draw sales from is the key to a successful sales business. We will also cover the basics of negotiation, with an emphasis getting both sides into a winning position so they can be happy with the sale. We will give you specific skills to get into win-win negotiations.

The Boy Scouts have a motto: “Be prepared.” No matter what situation a Boy Scout finds himself in, he is to be prepared. If a Boy Scout gets lost, he should know what to do. In other words, he needs to know his stuff. This is why the young men practice all the different skills they need and earn their badges as they go. All of this practice culminates in becoming what the Boy Scouts call an Eagle Scout. The Eagle Scout is fully prepared, and he’s certainly the guy you want with you when you get lost!

So what about salespeople? Shouldn’t we learn something from the Boy Scouts and their philosophy of preparedness? I am fully convinced that the average person would become much more successful if they simply prepared more and knew their stuff inside and out.

Here are three areas that I believe are key for any salesperson knowing their stuff:

1. Themselves
2. Their prospect
3. Their product(s)

Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas.

What you need to know about yourself:

Your strengths. When you are selling, you need to know and use your strengths. Each person is different and possesses unique strengths. When you know what you are good at, you will want to focus on that. For example, you may be very good at connecting with people relationally. If that is the case, then you will want to spend as much time as possible, or needed, to make a connection that will serve you well and enable you to make the sale and earn a customer. Don’t try to jump right into the facts and figures—go with your strengths. If you are good verbally, spend time describing the products. If you are good at answering questions, spend time letting the customer fire away! Go with your strengths.

Your weaknesses. Just as you need to know your strengths, you also need to know your weaknesses. What are you not particularly adept at? Stay away from those things, because they may become a hindrance in your ability to sell. If you aren’t a particularly relational person, do your best, but then get down to business. If you aren’t particularly well-spoken, then use PowerPoint presentations or brochures as much as possible. Stay away from your weaknesses and steer the person toward your strengths.

One last word on weaknesses: Just because you aren’t very good at something doesn’t mean you can’t improve. Work on yourself to overcome those weaknesses!

Your potential. Do you know what your potential is? It is limitless! You can become anything you want to become. You can choose your destiny and achieve it. You can sell anything you like, and you can be successful doing it. Did you know that? Are you constantly aware of that? Do you remind yourself of that? If you know your potential and decide today to act based on what you know you can and will become, you will elevate yourself to another level, and that will reflect itself in the success of your sales career.

Your goals. What do you want to achieve in your selling? Only you can decide what you want. Yes, your sales manager, if you have one, can give you goals, but if you don’t buy into them, you will never hit them. You have to own what you want to achieve. When you know what it is that you want to achieve, then everything else comes from that, including how many people you need to meet, how many you need to close, etc.

What you need to know about your prospect:

Their personality. You’ll get more in-depth information later in this edition, but I wanted to mention it here as well. The personality of your prospect is very important because all people are different. The day of the one-style-fits-all sales call and close is over. It is extremely ineffective. To be successful, you have to know what your prospect is like and how to best make a connection with them and sell to them. Take time to know who they are and what makes them tick.

Their goals. You know what you want, but do you know what your prospect wants? That is key. If you can figure out what your prospect wants—what their goals are—and can deliver it, then you will be able to get what you want, which most likely centers on making the sale! Take the time to understand what your customer’s goals are.

Their needs. There are things that your prospect wants and there are things that they need. One of the keys is to discover—and sometimes even help them discover—what their needs are. (Sometimes they don’t even know what they need, so it’s your job as an educator to help them discover that.) Once you have established what their needs are, you can then show them how your product or service meets those needs. Robert Schuller says that the key to success is to find a need and fill it.

Their history. People are significantly shaped by their history. A prospect may meet with you out of courtesy, but if they have a bad history with a similar product or with salespeople in general, they may predetermine that they simply aren’t going to buy. Also, knowing their history may help you make a connection. Maybe you were both born in the same city. These kinds of things are good to know because common ground helps create a relationship.

Their fears. What are they afraid of? Often, people buy out of their fears. This is not to say that we should play to their fears, just that we should know what they are and try to help alleviate them if we can. Certainly knowing someone’s fears can help you position yourself as one who can help. If you are a financial salesperson, you should know if they have a fear of having too little at the end of their life. You may ask them to define “too little,” and if they reply $5 million, you will know just what kind of financial vehicle you need to sell them as opposed to someone who would be content with $1 million.

What you need to know about your product:

Its strengths. What are your product’s strong points? Of course, this is what most people do know about their product. We can talk all day about how great our product is. We know what it does well.

Its weaknesses. Also important is to know the weaknesses. I think knowing your product’s weaknesses is imperative if you want to maintain your integrity. Now, I wouldn’t recommend that you spend an inordinate amount of time on the weaknesses, but honestly disclosing them to your client (if applicable) will certainly be disarming and let him or her know that you are honest, that you are an educator and that you aren’t a “sell them at all costs” kind of person.

Its place in the market. Where does your product stand? Don’t position it as a market leader if it isn’t. Is it the best quality? Or is it the best price? Maybe your service is what will distinguish your product. It is important to know these things and to then accentuate them to your customer. This will help them compare you with your competitor and come up with the best solution for themselves. And if you can help them do that, they will be happy. And you know what happy customers mean—repeat business!

Its uniqueness. What makes your product unique? Know your product well enough to be able to describe in detail the unique aspects that set it apart from the rest of the field.

All of these things—what to know about yourself, your prospect and your product—should be internalized. They should be a part of you. To be the best, you need to drill these things over and over so that you know them, as they say, like the back of your hand. Do that, and you will be light years ahead of the average salesperson who is just out there hoping to make the sale.

Until next week lets do something remarkable!

-Nickolas James Whitmore

Supplemental Notes

Selling to different personality types.
People are different (thankfully!). What would the world be like if everyone were the same? Boring! But everyone being different does make the selling game a bit tricky. A great way to be more successful is to know the kind of person you are selling to. It is also fascinating to learn about what makes people go. There are a couple of different theories out there that are helpful. This is not an exact science, but both certainly can make a difference for you.

Birth order. This theory says that people have different personalities based on where they are in the birth order of their siblings. Oldest or only children are one way, while middle children are another, and youngest children are still another. Here are some interesting facts:

– Did you know that certain professions are dominated by oldest and only children? Accountants, airline pilots and astronauts are almost always oldest or only children.

– Did you know that middle children are most likely to move away from their families when they get older? It’s true.

– Did you know that the best marriage situation—most likely to succeed and be happy—is one where an oldest girl marries a youngest boy? It’s true (no jokes about mothering)!

This isn’t a hard science, but it does make sense that these tendencies can play out in the selling situations. There are some general guidelines to follow. Now, you certainly want to perceive the person while you are with them, but this will give you a general idea. For example, oldest children are most likely to want the facts (remember, they become accountants). So if you are selling a car to them, you want to talk about gas mileage, torque, mileage on the warranties and the like. Youngest children, on the other hand, want to hear the engine roar, smell the leather, know what colors the car comes in, etc. These are things to keep in mind.

The best resource we’ve found on the subject of birth order is Kevin Leman’s book, The New Birth Order Book, which tells all about the different orders and includes a section on marriages, as well as a section on selling to different birth orders. His book is worth the price and is a very interesting read with an abundance of stories and examples.

Personality types. You have two ways to look at this: the simple way, which would be through profiles like the DISC profile, or the complex way, like the Myers-Briggs profile. The DISC profile—and others like it—focuses on four personality traits, while the Myers-Briggs gives 16. It would be great for you to familiarize yourself with personality traits at least at a cursory level, because it certainly does affect how you sell to people. Just do an Internet search on either of these, and you will find more information than you will ever need.

Now, how to win the numbers game…

They say it’s a “numbers game.” And it truly is. Because there are enough people in this world, you can sell anything to at least someone. What makes it even better is if you have a great product, because then lots of people will want that!

Here are a few tips on getting visible and winning the numbers game:

Get visible at community events. Help out with Little League or at the community center.

Volunteer. There are tons of opportunities to do a good deed and meet people.

Join a group. Kiwanis, Rotary Club, Lions or the Chamber of Commerce. You get it.

Check the library board. There are all sorts of meetings happening. Go to a few, introduce yourself to some people, and learn a thing or two.

Join a health club. Meet people and get in shape at the same time—what a deal!

Attend a house of worship. Attending worship services provides another opportunity to be around and meet people who may share your values.

Give a speech. Offer to talk anywhere, any time. We know a photographer who does local library talks on how to take pictures of your children and walks away with leads from parents who are looking for someone to do the family portraits!

The idea is to get out there and be where the people are so you can meet them!

OK, so now you’re out there—now what?

Well, assuming you have honed your sales pitch, you need to make as many as you can. If you ask enough people to buy, a certain percentage will take you up on it! And if you have a great product, such as one that will improve people’s health or help their finances, you are going to get a much better return, but you will always get some return! Let’s say you close five out of 100 pitches. That’s not great, but if you make $1,000 per sale, then you would want to present to 200 or 300 people a month, right? It is just a math game. Figure out how much you make per sale, how much money you want to make a month, and what your closing percentage is, and do the math and then work the plan.

The secret is to get out and about. You aren’t going to make money by hiding in your office, unless you are on the phone dialing for dollars.

Get in front of as many people as possible—pitch ’em and close ’em!

So I hoped this helped. I wish you the best of luck. Always remember to never quit.

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