One of the absolutely best parts of the web is the wealth of articles available on a vast array of topics. Until recently I have not consistently reached out to other blogs and that was a mistake. The mistake I made is the same one that many senior salespeople make. We all tend to act and think within specific comfort zones. The more experienced we are the more we beleve that we’ve seen or heard it all. And let’s face it, there are times when the lazy factor sets in.
In the article I read, David Palmer suggests that there are 10 areas where senior salespeople could use some “refreshing”. The three areas were:
- Reps don’t ask enough questions
- They don’t have dialogue friendly responses to objections
- They are industry ignorant
Number 3 takes work but there is a handy reference tool that makes the task a whole lot easier. Sam Richter wrote a book called Take The Cold Out Of Cold Calling, which takes the reader through simple processes that make researching companies and industries easier. It is worth the buy!
I honestly believe that questions are the bane of the sales call for most salespeople. One of the reasons is that the questions are inane and lack substance. Questions need to be “layerized”. The first questions salespeople need to ask are more general in nature but “tell me about your business” is too general. What’s wrong with saying something like, “I’ve done some research on your industry and found that…..” Issues and problems exist in every industry and company. I’d bet my next consulting gig that at most a good salespeople needs no more than 5-7 questions during most sales calls. Those questions should be built around industry challenges. Problems lead to pain and that’s the level at which people buy.
Responding to objections is an art form. If you’ve read enough of my posts then you know that I am not a proponent of “overcoming” objections. As soon as the prospect senses an “us vs. them” dialogue they will mentally check out. Whatever you say after that is just more landfill. Our brains have to recognize that objections are another form of interest with the difference being that there is a negative tone to them. Any time we, as people, hear a negative phrase or sense a negative tone we get defensive. If we follow that path it’s either flight or fight after that!
The article that Palmer wrote suggests that salespeople should document all the typical objections they hear and then document how to respond to them. I cannot stress enough that this is the only way to prepare yourself to deal with objections. Your preparation should include responses that fit into a normal dialogue. Keep in mind that your tone of voice and body language need to be in sync with the words you use. If your words are dialogue friendly but they’re coming through clenched teeth then the effect is lost.
The Final Thought: “You had better live your best and act your best and think your best today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow” Harriet Martineau