- Knowledge Center
It was a little more than three hundred years ago when the only way of communicating with each other was face to face or with elaborate hand writing. In the late 1600’s the United States Post Office was created and now people could mail letters to each other, even though it would take a long time to get to each other. In the past we usually communicated to each other face to face. Business was done at lunch meetings and we flew or drove to meet our clients in person. In this way we felt we really knew each other and could maintain our business relationship.
Fast forward to today, and you can surely see the benefits of our communications advancement with the emergence of the internet and mobile technology and this will only continue to grow. There are good benefits as well as problems that come from this advancement, but whether we like it or not, we all must learn to use the new technologies well if we want to keep up and communicate with others.
Obviously, the introduction of the new technologies, including; cell phones, the ability to text, social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter has altered the way we communicate with each other greatly as well as the speed in which that communication takes place.
An additional problem the technology has brought upon us is the ability to use it anywhere. I am sure you have all experienced meeting someone for the first time, only to have them be immersed in their cell phone, talking, texting or emailing on it. This exasperates the problem because of the constant interruptions making it all but impossible to have a real communication with each other. Even the face time that we supposedly have is not really quality face time because it is a continually distracted face time.
In the end, there really is no substitute for real live communication between two or more people. However, if the user of the technology controls his use of it well, he can reap the benefits of it without causing or allowing interruptions and/or distractions to enter into his conversations making the one he’s in that much more effective.
Implement a system where you put importance on each one of your communications, whether it is a conversation over the phone, in person, a meeting, a seminar, event etc. by not allowing any distraction or disruption to occur during each of your communications. Insist on this with others as well and get it being used within your entire organization for more effective communication and overall productivity.
Every day, salespeople deal with resistance because the sales process is an emotional one. I would like to help mitigate and make less of that resistance and possibly even make the whole sales process enjoyable! Here are a few actions you can adopt, make your own and work into your sales selling habits to help you turn your prospects resistance into a desire to purchase.
It’s hardly a shocking revelation to say that sales people are an independent-minded lot. Being able to determine your own income directly through your own efforts is one reason people gravitate to sales as a profession, but self-determination requires self-reliance, and self-reliance, as observation of any 2-year-old will demonstrate, can sometimes be taken a little too far. We can all use a bit of help now and again. Now, if those artsy types over in marketing would skip the fancy stuff and just bring in better leads, we’d be fine, right?—We’d make our sales calls and that would be that.
Meanwhile, over in the Marketing Department, people are scratching their heads wondering how it is that their latest campaign brought in more leads than ever before, but the complaints from the Sales Department are as loud as ever. Sales doesn’t talk to Marketing and Marketing isn’t talking to Sales other than the occasional meeting to brief them on the latest campaign.
Sound familiar? You bet it does. We find some variation of this scenario every time we’re called in to turn around a low closing ratio or boost a company’s bottom line. It’s a damaging state of affairs for any business, because Marketing and Sales are not independent departments, they are both part of a single process whose only purpose is to persuade more people buy from you than from the competition. Marketing grew from advertising, and advertising is a direct descendant of salesmanship; all three are different views of the same subject.
Marketing Collateral and Sales
The seminal book on advertising, Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins, was published in 1923. It’s not in print any more, but you can find it online in various places such as <ahref=”http://scientificadvertising.blogspot.com/”>this website. It’s worth your time to read, whether you’re in marketing or in sales. Advertising legend David Oglivy has this to say:
“Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times. It changed the course of my life.”
Chapter Two of Scientific Advertising is called “Just Salesmanship.” It opens with: “To properly understand advertising or to learn even its rudiments one must start with the right conception. Advertising is salesmanship. Its principles are the principles of salesmanship.”
Printed Marketing Collateral.
So here’s a radically new, old idea: why not have printed marketing collateral that directly aids the sales person and guides the prospect through the sales process for that product or service? Pipe dream? Not at all. One of the key pieces of the sales puzzle is the marketing collateral we create for the sales force, and the training we provide in its effective use. Properly done collateral makes an immediate emotional impact on the prospect, engages their attention, and keeps both the prospect and the sales person focused on the essential steps of the sales process. It “amplifies” the sales presentation, making it more effective and making it harder to be lured into interesting conversation that doesn’t move toward a close. (Admit it; we all let ourselves get side-tracked, so something that gently guides us in the right direction is a Good Thing.)
Sales Feeds Back to Marketing
One of the biggest things that Marketing people need to know is how the public react. They sweat over a new campaign, they survey and re-survey, they run focus groups and they test-market and then they survey some more. All that surveying is expensive, but surveys are essential if you want to be effective in your advertising. “Advertising is salesmanship.”—That is a clue. What marketing departments the world over constantly overlook is that they have an army of surveyors constantly in contact with new and existing customers: the sales force. Nobody knows how customers and prospects react better than sales people. Nobody knows what customers are vitally interested in better than sales people. A bit of quality time spent with each member of the sales team can give a marketing manager live, up-to-the-minute intelligence on his or her public. Marketing based on good feedback from the sales team is more productive because it addresses the exact things that the sales team needs.
The Bottom Line
When Marketing and Sales realize their kinship and start to work more closely together, the inevitable results are higher closing ratios, smoother sales presentations, better leads created by more on-point advertising, and happier (and wealthier!) sales people. If you’re not talking to your marketing people, start today. You never know how good things can get until you try.
Whether or not you enjoy talking to people, if you don’t have well-rounded communication skills, you will never achieve what you set out to. The ability to communicate well with almost anyone is universally agreed upon as a key element of both successful selling and success in general.
You’ve probably been in a conversation with someone who didn’t really care if you understood what he said or not. There was no intention behind the words for the communication to be understood by you. Therefore, the one doing the communicating didn’t get his message across and the communication cycle broke down.
Not having the intention for a communication to be received and failing to notice if the other person was ready to receive a communication in the first place are two of the biggest causes of communication breakdowns which result in a failure to sell.The salesperson is so busy talking that he never realizes the prospect tuned out a long time ago.
It is not a coincidence that the top salespeople in any industry are also good communicators. They have the ability to listen to their prospects and not just aimlessly speak. And when they do speak, they do it very well and are able to communicate their ideas and the solutions that their product or service will bring to the prospect’s lives.
Your communication skills determine your chances of a sale – from the initial contact to the closing of the deal. Developing your conversational skills will help you build on a strong first impression by gaining trust and establishing credibility.
Sales training should help to learn key communication skills such as listening to the prospect to gain an understanding of what he or she truly needs and wants as well as the art of asking the right questions during the presentation. Training should also involve learning how to effectively communicate with all types of personalities and diverse populations.
Here are a few tips to improve your communication skills:
One of the most important steps to improving your communication skills is to understand that listening well is far more important that speaking well.Practice the art of listening by controlling your desire to talk, care enough to pay attention so you don’t have the prospect repeat himself, take short notes and make sure you ask questions to clarify anything that needs deeper understanding.Always look at your prospect in the eye and always summarize the conversation to ensure you understand.
But most of all, master the art of listening.
There are many myths about selling, and one of the most common is that a salesperson is born with the ability to sell: “you either have it or you don’t”. For many salespeople success is a hit or miss proposition; some weeks are good, others poor, and many don’t have a high degree of confidence or security in their job. It is commonplace for an organization to have one or two successful sales reps and a revolving door for all the others.
Why? What are the missing ingredients?
Without question, communication is the heart of life, and the key to success in all areas of it. But what isn’t well known is that communication can be vastly improved with the proper training! In fact, simply by learning the basic principles of communication, one can markedly improve his or her communication skills. But while good communication is essential to selling success, there is much more to the technology of selling.That technology includes understanding the principles of effective control, the laws of interest, the fundamentals of human emotions, and the ability to apply management by statistics. Effective selling also requires a good knowledge of one’s product.
Salespeople are vital to an organization success.
It is often their energy, skill and intention that keep the machine running. There can be a vast difference between a person trained in the technology of selling and one who is not. A properly trained salesperson will earn considerably more money and enjoy greater job security than one who is untrained. For an organization, the difference between a trained sales staff and an untrained one can mean the difference between failure and success. Selling is a technology, and you can master it!
“Great Salespeople Are Not Born, They’re Trained”
“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” Lee Greenwood
From a Marine (Once a Marine always a Marine) to my fellow Americans:
Having served my country for 8 years, I have a perspective that is unique it seems in this modern time.
I would like our politicians to set aside their differences and remember what we (those who actually served) fight for. Some of my brothers have given their lives for it. FREEDOM. The constitution as it applies to all Americans. If you have not read it lately, read it. That is why brave men and women serve.
Those who would seek to twist the constitution or go against freedoms, should not be modern leaders. Those in the press, not fighting for the bill of rights, should not be in positions of power.
On this day of remembrance, remember the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and our Freedoms! Then ensure they are protected with your heart and soul.
This Marine did and WILL always.
Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) on this Memorial Day
This is summed up in one word: “Scarcity”.
Scarcity is defined as: The state of being scarce or in short supply; shortage. A lacking, undersupply, insufficiency, scarceness.
If there is one thing that can demoralize a sales force faster than anything else, it is a scarcity of leads. Scarcity puts intense pressure on the entire sales process because it makes every lead precious. The sales person who feels he can’t afford not to close every prospect (there being too few to start with) will start to short-circuit the sales process. You see this with sales people who are constantly trying to get to the “Close” from the moment they meet the prospect. The prospect is resisting and the stressed-out sales person is trying to get to a quick close, which only causes the prospect to resist even more.
Let’s take a look at how scarcity affects each step of the sales process:
Initial Prospect Contact: Scarcity causes the sales person to try to make a “Close” starting with the initial contact. At this point, the prospect does not yet trust the sales person. The pressure the sales person feels is then transferred to the prospect, causing further resistance to the sale. Having an abundance of leads to contact takes the pressure off.
Qualifying the Prospect: Once the prospect trusts the sales person, the qualifying step will be effective. Having an abundance of prospects to qualify allows the sales person to truly complete this step. Pressure to get the sales closed causes the qualifying process to be weak. This results in sales getting stuck and not moving forward, prospects not returning calls or staying engaged, and salespeople hanging onto unqualified prospects. Unqualified prospects clog up the sales process. You can see this by salespeople wasting tons of time on “prospects” who never seem to close, instead of devoting that time to genuinely qualified prospects. Again, this is solved by a consistent, abundant flow of leads and a clear definition of a “qualified prospect” for your company.
Education step: This step is done AFTER qualifying the prospect. If the qualifying step was weak or incomplete, the Education step ends up being a “canned presentation” that does not focus on the individual prospect needs. This should not be underestimated. The idea that “I already know” what the prospect needs is a common mistake. Each prospect is important and has individual needs. Those needs can only be understood by a thorough qualifying process. When this is weak, the prospect loses interest in the education step as they do not see how it applies to them.
Solution: Abundance of prospects that are properly qualified and then educated based on what was found during the qualifying step.
The problem of scarcity can show up in other ways, too:
1. Sales that are supposed to close don’t close on time.
2. Having to give deep discounts that you wouldn’t normally give, just to get a sale
3. Salespeople make mistakes in estimating, leading to unprofitable contracts.
4. Sales people holding on to the few potential deals you have instead of closing them
5. Sales people skipping or rushing through the steps of the sales process, trying (and failing) to close as quickly as possible.
The best solution is to take the unnecessary pressure off the sales force by creating an abundance of leads. That one action can, all by itself, increase closing rates!