How do you take down an oak tree?
You hit it in the same spot day after day. Getting the next sale is the same thing. You can have to consistently do the same thing over and over again, even when it feels like you are making no headway toward the tree toppling over.
Do you feel like you have read every book ever written on sales? You will read many different approaches but generally, there are a couple of KEY things that you will read in every book, article or sky writing about sales that are the same. The reason that those couple of principles are static through everything you see and read is because it is the proven recipe that means success. The other pieces are just the fluff that different authors add to make themselves seem new or special. It comes down to these two fundamentals:
- Get to know your prospect.
- Follow-Up – Everyone says do this but few ever really do.
Building a sales system that gets new business is double faceted. There are two separate parts but both are integral. One is not good without the other. The other is a waste of time without the first one. If you will approach sales with a keen awareness of BOTH prongs of sales, you will see your business grow. It is a fact. The tree will come down. With patience and tenacity, you can sell more.
If you go to the gym every day and exercise but eat fast food and sweets every moment you are away from the gym, you will not get healthier. It takes both pieces of the health equation to reach success. You need exercise and healthy eating. This is not an “or” situation. Sales is not an “or” mission either.
Get to know your prospect. Before you even cold call, do some research, know something about their business. If you are lucky enough to get a face-to-face meeting scheduled with a prospect, do your homework prior to sitting down. Use social media as a research tool. Look your prospect up on Facebook and LinkedIn. Knowing that the person you are meeting with just celebrated their 10th anniversary with the company they work for can open up a fantastic conversation. To anyone who would say looking up people on social media is “stalking”, I argue that anything that anyone posts on a public media profile is meant for the world to know and see. Use the information that is out there to open up personal conversations.
While you are talking with your prospect, really get to know them. Particularly, try to find out what is causing stress to this person. Your greatest value-add is going to be if you can do anything to alleviate or minimize that stress. In this chaotic world, the common thread among everyone is their desire for happiness. People don’t necessarily tell themselves, “I want this salesman to make me happier in my life”, but it is human nature to long to feel better. When someone hears of something that can make them feel better and make their life easier, they will go toward it naturally. It is instinct.
If you are able to sell a product at such a good price that the prospect is going to have more money, that is great. But if you can position that idea with them after knowing what their stressors are, you then make a new level of contact with this person. You can increase the value of even money with the fringe benefit of less worry.
Example: During your initial sales intro meeting, you realize that one of the biggest things that stresses your prospect is making payroll every week. Cash flow is a huge problem and you can tell that he/she worries often that there will be enough money to pay the employees. If you can position your product as being great quality and a better price while also reminding of the net benefit: Saving money (by buying your product), cash flow improves and makes payroll every week less of a burden. Less of a burden equates to personal happiness for your prospect.
Certainly getting to know your clients for the ability to sell to them more efficiently is important but I will also tell you to get to know your prospects or clients just for the benefit of getting to know another person on this earth. I am the happiest when I can meet someone new everyday. God created us as social beings and He means for us to socialize together. There is a huge net benefit in this deal for you. Relationships make us better. Make more relationships. More friendships. This is a bonus value-add for you. You will be happier.
The second facet of effective selling is FOLLOW-UP. It gets left out of the equation most often. The most impressive thing you can do for a prospect is show him you are willing to take your time to follow up with him. Impress him/her with your attention to details and with your desire to work for or with them. Let them know you are patient and you are willing to do whatever it takes to earn their business.
The biggest inhibitor that keeps this second, required step from happening lies totally within ourselves. It is the self-fear of rejection. You don’t want to be told, “No.”. You don’t want to actually have to hear the person say, “I went with someone else.” because internally you translate that to them saying, “You were not good enough for me. Someone else was better than you.” This fear has to be dealt with by you alone. You have to make the decision whether you are willing to give up the chance to succeed for some temporary feelings of failure.
I can tell you that the ones who have succeeded the most have made the most attempts. They have failed more possibly but they had to keep going. Being told, “No.” does not define you. Quitting after being told, “No.” definitely defines you.
Thinking back to our oak tree that needs to come down, will it come down with one swing of the ax? No. Four? Not likely. Ten? Possibly. It takes as many as it takes but it will come down as long as you are swinging the ax.
Take this challenge:
Select 10-20 of your last prospect appointments that you have not closed and build a follow up system where you touch base with them via multiple methods 2-3 times per week. Keep this system going for 12 months. I anticipate some significant results. Keep swinging.