The Non-Verbal Advantage

Sometimes successfully closing a sale comes down to slight advantage. One of the overlooked aspects of selling is communication, specifically nonverbal communication.  I get the chance to discuss this topic with salespeople often…and often it is overlooked.  This Inc.com article provides a good reinforcement to nonverbal communication’s importance. Consider this fact: …there are three elements that account for how well we receive someone’s message and they impact us differently: 7 percent words 38 percent tone of voice 55 percent body language I’ve read articles recently that bring up these topics in different forums.  Smile while you record your voicemail greeting, tell your story to your prospects to connect on a… Read More

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Oddities That Make Strong Salespeople-Noncompliance

I’ve been assessing salespeople since 2001 which, as you can imagine, has provided some unique experiences.  These experiences have revealed some odd factors that seem to be supportive of sales success. The oddity is that there seems to be a yin and a yang to abilities…a give and a take.  Here are just a few: Fearlessness vs. Compliance This oddity might be the most common.  There is a component to successful selling that involves a fearlessness to adroitly ask difficult questions to qualify prospects.  Many (most) people are uncomfortable asking these questions. For instance, it is “impolite to discuss money” is one of our social mores.  However, you will not… Read More

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Positive Prospects Are Trouble

Prospects have many moves they learn at prospects’ school, but one of the most lethal is the positive move.  The positive move is when the prospect appears to be eager to purchase your solution, especially early in the sales process. Don’t get me wrong, there are always “blue birds” that fly in to a salesperson.  Blue birds are minimal qualifying, quick-closing deals that close so fast that they may not even make it onto the forecast.  They are extremely rare…but salespeople are always entranced by them.  Prospects seem to be aware of these blue birds and will sometimes use a mechanism that mimics a blue bird. The prospect becomes overly… Read More

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2 Habits That Undermine Salespeople

Supposition – something that is supposed; assumption; hypothesis Think of supposition, in sales parlance, as being synonymous with stereotyping.  This is a dangerous approach to sale in that once you start making assumptions, you start derailing your qualifying skills.  In most prospect situations, once you stop truly qualifying you are headed towards prospects that are welded on your forecast 90 days out.  Eternally. Proposition – the act of offering or suggesting something to be considered, accepted, adopted, or done I suspect you are thinking of value proposition which makes sense.  I read an interesting post that turned that term upside down.  The author suggested selling to the customer’s value expectations… Read More

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Silence Kills Deals?

My mouth is still agape after reading this article in the MSP Business Journal – How to close a sales more effectively. The first howler: Anyone involved in sales knows silence can kill deals. If you present your best recommendations to a prospect and stop talking, he might say, “That’s food for thought. Let me think about it. I’ll get back to you.” What?  No, not true.  The problem the vast majority of salespeople have is the inability to use silence.  A pregnant pause is a powerful tool that helps bring forth information.  It is important to remember that the person asking the questions is actually the person controlling the… Read More

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Interrogating A Prospect

Questions are the backbone of qualifying any sales opportunity.  Yet, many salespeople seem to flounder with this approach and I believe it comes from over coaching/training.  Ask this series of questions, use this linguistic trick, turn the tables on them…improper use of these “moves” stands out to every prospect. To that point, here is an excellent excerpt from a recent Eye on Sales article: We’ve all been taught the difference between closed-end and open-ended questions. We’ve been given instructions on when to use which type question.  Some trainers have given us formulas; others have given us specific questions to ask. It’s these detailed guidelines that seem to get many sellers… Read More

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Selling Experience

I have been swamped in sourcing activities recently and have decided to push some random thoughts up to the blog.  Here they are: -Selling for modern-day monopolies (like utilities) is far different than selling in the highly competitive, cost conscious marketplace.  Sales candidates with these backgrounds must be screened for their ability to qualify money.  I have found that skill set lacking in these candidates. -Why are candidates turning into stalkers?  I realize the job market is still incredibly tight, but I have come across many candidates who simply overdo it.  Sense of timing is an aptitude we assess and I am convinced it is more important now then ever.… Read More

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Failure

Here is a great Nike commercial via the JustSell.com website:  http://www.justsell.com/michael-jordan-on-failure/ The point of the commercial walks right over to the sales world.  Michael Jordan’s closing statement from the commercial: I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Here is what sales managers need to understand, some times you need to let a salesperson fail.  Now, I’m not talking about a large, important prospect, but rather a prospect that you may know is not going to close or is misaligned in some other way.  I’ve come across many sales managers who want to consistently step in and help a struggling salesperson. … Read More

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Emotional Decision Making

This excerpt is from the Herman Trend Alert and it highlights a very important fact for all salespeople (emphasis mine): "Loyalty will focus more on emotions than on rational, incentive-based initiatives." According to behavioral economists, economic decision-making is 70 percent emotional and 30 percent rational. Thus, the loyalty programs that touch us emotionally will work the best; those that focus on the emotional side of the decision making process will create connected, passionate, and engaged customers. Expect to see more emotional appeals that involve our families, relationships, those in need, etc. I’m going to breeze right past the “behavioral economists” title (sounds like a great description for a salesperson) and… Read More

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Sales Dumb

This is from the JustSell.com crew – it is a description of things salespeople do to upset prospects.  I found it quite comprehensive: They (Ed.-prospects) don’t like it when… we’re pushy we call too much we’re “just checking in” we’re unprepared we’re disrespectful of their time we keep calling if they say they’re not interested we don’t respond fast enough we appear not to understand them, their industry, their situations, and their challenges we don’t work in their interest we don’t listen we don’t know about our own products/ services we’re rude, arrogant, or inattentive we’re vague or unclear they’re made to feel like they’re interrupting us we seem like… Read More

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