The Twelve Days of Selling

Dec 11, 2018

Ever get a cool marketing idea from a client? It happened to me. Thank Christy Seitz (Paragon Laboratories) for this one if you like it. If not… it’s all on me.

On the first day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, get to reality.

On the second day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the third day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the eight day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, stop talking to Carl the Clerk, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, get comfortable talking about money, stop talking to Carl the Clerk, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, please leave the office, get comfortable talking about money, stop talking to Carl the Clerk, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, ask for the sale, please leave the office, get comfortable talking about money, stop talking to Carl the Clerk, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, get out of your own way, ask for the sale, please leave the office, get comfortable talking about money, stop talking to Carl the Clerk, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

Songwriters: C Seitz / D.Tear

It’s the Holidays, I’m a Salesperson… Nobody Wants to See Me. 5 Reasons That is Total B.S.!

Nov 27, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would the holiday season be without the “It’s the Holidays blog…?

It’s that time of year. Time for a reality check.

How many salespeople do you know that go on cruise control between Thanksgiving & New Year’s Day? How many companies do you know that will actually admit to winding things down right about now?

It happens every year. So common. We could call it an epidemic at some companies & an easy way out for many salespeople. Saying things like, “Nah… they don’t want to see salespeople… it’s the holidays. Or, “I’m sure they don’t want to see us over the holidays”. Or, “Nobody’s even there, they’re all off, it’s the holidays”. Total B.S. 

Here’s an idea: Why don’t you play your cards right & get in to see some decision makers between now & the start of 2019? Make it a point to capitalize on your competition’s weakness – laziness! Epidemic laziness!

It’s time to buckle down & do the one thing that you actually control in your daily selling lives. Pick up the phone & call prospects.  Go see prospects & customers. Yes, you control that activity. Nobody else will be doing it so you will stand out automatically. Nobody else thinks anyone is “in” – so I like your chances.

Strong salespeople don’t go on cruise control – ever.  Successful companies don’t wind down during the holidays. They make things happen.

The holidays are great times to see prospects & current clients & customers.  Here are 5 reasons to keep prospecting for new business & keep seeing current clients during the holidays:

  1.   It’s your job
  2. Companies review current year incumbent products & services & decide what to do for the next year
  3. Prospects will see you – it’s their job
  4. It’s a great time to plan new programs for 2019 with current clients (your competitors won’t be there)
  5. As my mother always said, a Thank You is never inappropriate – thank your clients for their business

Business does not stop between Thanksgiving & New Year’s Day. Some salespeople do. Don’t be one of ‘em!

Drop the Sales Lingo: 10 Ways You’re Sounding Like a Turkey in Sales

Nov 13, 2018

 

Sales is hard enough on its own. Prospecting. Rejection. Scheduling appointments. Researching the prospect. Understanding the competitive landscape. Knowing your prospects PAIN points. Uncovering budgets & spending patterns. Manipulating the decision-making process. It’s a tough game.

There’s no need to make it even harder by saying stupid things. But, some salespeople do. Oh, do they ever!

We’ve all been there. It’s as if you can see it coming … like a train wreck about to happen.  Here it comes… he’s gonna say it… OMG… he did… what a tool! The salesperson took all this time to get invited in, has the audience, makes a first impression & then lays an egg when he opens his mouth.

All because he’s not thinking. Not thinking about what he is saying. Not thinking about how to differentiate himself from all the other salespeople that call on this prospect. Not thinking that this prospect doesn’t need another “salesperson”. Not thinking that this prospect needs a solution to a business problem.

Here’s a list of 10 Ways You’re Sounding Like a Turkey in Sales:

  1. I’d like to connect.“I’d like to meet.” I wanted to…” “I need to…”

Stop it with the word “I.” Any sales phrase, sentence, or conversation that starts with what you want is wrong. Sales isn’t about you, it’s about what you can do for your prospect or customer. Take the focus off yourself & make sure that you engage into questions about what they want or what problems they have.

  1. Is it a good time to connect?“Is it a good time to talk?”

Too easy to answer NO to. Most people “buy the fight” & will respond negatively to the question.  If you haven’t established value, it’s a waste of your prospect’s time. Instead, ask, “Did I catch you at a bad time?” Let them “buy the fight” & disagree to that. See the difference?

  1. Just checking in …

Do you know how many salespeople use this line to open every phone call they make or email they write? Every one of them. Stop it! Now! If you want to separate yourself from your competition this is where you start.

  1. Touching base

Like “just checking in,” “touching base” is brutal! Completely unnecessary. If you aren’t providing new information or following up with new information, there’s really nothing for you to “touch base” about.

  1. Are you the decision maker?

With this question, you are practically asking your prospect to lie to you. If she is not the decision maker, it is often hard to admit it – makes people feel less important. If she is the decision maker (or a part of the process) you may miss out on that valuable piece of information – she is a part of a process – involving others.

  1. To be honest …

Maybe the worst 3 words anyone could ever say – let alone a salesperson.  Does this mean everything up to now was not honest? Lose it.

  1. Trust me.

“Trust me” is almost as pathetic as “To be honest.” Your prospects will trust you if you give them a reason to. Prove yourself. And another thing, if you say this in response to a prospect question, it can also come off as condescending, evasive, deflecting. Again, lose it.

  1. “Let me tell you about our product…”

Here we go again. It’s not about you. It’s also too early to talk about your product. Make it about them. Their problems. The problems that are costing their company money.

  1. You should know X about [competitor] …

Don’t you get a bad feeling when salespeople bad-mouth their competitors. Everybody does. Never bad-mouth a competitor. It may be tempting. Fight the urge. Take the high road. Always pays off.

  1. “Any (Jargon)”

In order to travel through time, the vehicle integrated with the flux capacitor needed to be traveling at 88 mph (140.8 km/h) and required 1.21 gigawatts of power (1,210,000,000 watts), originally supplied by a plutonium-powered nuclear reactor. Huh? A fun reference to the movie Back to the Future. Fun in the movies. In life & on sales calls this “Jargon” could make your prospect feel uncomfortable because they don’t know what you’re talking about. Leave the Jargon in the office. Don’t ever assume your prospect knows what you’re talking about.

Relying on jargon & acronyms makes you sound not human. Use real words to explain what you mean.

Think it through. Less is almost always best. Less sales lingo is absolutely best. Leave that to your competitors. You’ll mop up their mistakes & start having record sales quarters.

 

 

 

7 Examples of how Your Business is No Different Than All the Others

Oct 30, 2018

“You don’t understand, Dave, our business is different.”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that over the last 30 years, I’d have a stack of nickels this high! (it’s a pretty high stack).

Nineteen out of twenty times when a business owner or VP or Sales Manager says this about their business they go on to explain the same things many of our clients explain to us (often it’s verbatim).

If you think your business (& the sales problems associated with it) are different, that’s ok – it’s perfectly normal. It means your business is important to you, it’s serious to you & you care. All good.

Sometimes, a look from an outsider provides a new perspective, a different perspective, a perspective that gets you to reality. We’ll provide that perspective for you. Here goes:

7 Examples of how Your Business is No Different Than All the Others

  1. “We have a really long sales cycle – it’s very relationship-based.”

There’s not a business that we work with that isn’t relationship-based. As for the length of sales-cycle, yes, long would describe them all. The longer, more comprehensive, enterprise sales take time. They’re not transactional. There is a strategic approach that needs to be taken to these deals. Expectations must be managed every step of they way or deals could fall right off the tracks. 

  1. “Our prospects are looking for the lowest price – that’s all they care about.”

 Who’s NOT looking for the lowest price? They must say this. It’s their job. Whenever we hear this, we ask our clients to take a deep breath & think of the last deal they closed that was not at the lowest price. They always come up with an answer – & it never takes that long. You know as well as we do, people say they want the lowest price, but what do they really want? The best value. Two different things.

  1. “Our salespeople have to prospect for new business AND maintain the business they have (hunt & farm).”

A common business model these days. Gone are they days where the inside team schedules sales appointments for the outside team to qualify & close. Some companies use this approach. But most employ people that must have hunting & farming skills. Truth be told, when we hear this, what they are really saying is, “our salespeople don’t have time to hunt & farm for business.” And when they say this, what they are really saying is, “our salespeople don’t have a prospecting system that works for them.”  Simply stated, “our salespeople don’t prospect. They hang out in the office or at the current customer where they are known.” (I know it hurts, but you have people on your team right now that fit this description).

  1. “Our business is very technical – our salespeople need that technical experience – not everybody can do it (sell it).”

Most all of the successful businesses are technical these days. Some have salespeople (Account Managers) & Sales Support (Engineers or Application Engineers). This makes two key people with direct access to the customer or prospect. Then, there are the businesses with in-house design, project managers, program managers – all with customer interaction. There are not many people in your company that don’t “touch” sales in one way or another. Yes, your business is technical, & you have the technical experience. Question is, are they skilled in communicating with prospects & customers? Can they take off their technical hat & put on a sales hat when needed? Those that can do it are stealth bombers – under the radar. Those that can’t are costing your company money. Lots of it.

  1. “We have lots of competition, lots!”

The funny thing about this, when we hear it, is that most people say it as if it we’re a “bad thing”. It’s a good thing. Unless you are polluting the market (selling for less) you have the opportunity to capitalize on the poor selling skills of your competitors. And they are out there. Think back to the last deal you won based on the errors of your competitor(s). You want competition.

  1. “We’re at the higher end of the pricing structure (our products are high-priced)”

Good. You should be. We’ve just addressed polluting the market with lower pricing. You know how long that strategy lasts. Somebody will always be lower. Kmart found that out. Find better salespeople who are able to qualify opportunities. Who understand value vs. cost. Who are proud of their products. Who are completely comfortable selling in this environment. Remember: Price might be higher, but cost (total value) will be lower. Should not be a foreign concept to anyone on your team.

  1. “We’re not guaranteed the business. We must fight for everything we get. They put us out to bid on all projects.”

That’s the way of the world. It’s called professional selling. Nothing is guaranteed anymore. This requires your sales team to be ultra in-tune with current accounts, prospected accounts & the industry in general. A crazy reality is: Every day you have a piece of business you are one day closer to losing it. If you don’t think your competition is creeping at your door-step you’re fooling yourself. Just like you are creeping at their doorstep (or should be). If you have salespeople who think their relationship with the Account is so strong that they can just “rest on their laurels” & wait for the phone to ring or wait for the email request, find new salespeople. It’s 2018, the rules have changed.

The products are different. The services are different. The people are different. The business itself (relative to sales challenges) same. Always has been. Always will be.

4 Ways My Mother thinks this Sales Business Has Hardened Me

Oct 16, 2018

“Hardened me” may be strong words – we’re certainly not making any comparisons to Stoneman. But, ask my mom & she will tell you that the last 30 years in sales has definitely toughened me up. And that is not entirely good news… to her.

Some people need to be toughened up. Some need life’s experiences. Others could use a dose of reality. That’s all fine. What we are talking about here is the way the business of selling has made you see things differently – not through rose-colored glasses at all. On the contrary – through reality-colored glasses.

If you have a few loved-ones in your life that share my mom’s sentiments, you’re right where you should be. Perfectly normal. Walking around life with a dose of reality on your shoulder will never be one of your biggest problems – promise! There’s nothing wrong with being real.

So, let’s take a look at things through mom’s eyes.

Here are 4 Ways My Mother thinks this “Sales Business” Has Hardened Me:

  1. He’s so skeptical

She’s right. Spend 30 years listening to people tell you one thing & then do the other thing & you’d be skeptical too. Or, you wouldn’t. You’d be a push-over that believes everything he hears. How far would that get you in sales? Never forget a client back in the mid 2000’s. At the time Charlie was a 20-year retired military guy (Army). First job out of the military was in sales. He was struggling at the time. His biggest problem? Civilians. I remember it like it was yesterday. He said, “Tear, you know what bothers me the most about civilians now? They lie. Back when I was in the Army, if people lied, people got hurt. 

  1. He’s so impatient

Two for two! A top 3 trait for successful salespeople is their own impatience. Having deals move through the pipeline successfully must be a natural feeling. Any monkey-wrench in the plan & all heck breaks loose.

  1. He’s so competitive

Forget top 3! Competitiveness is a top 2 trait for successful salespeople. Don’t you love a guy who hates to lose? Me too!

  1. He’s so direct

Sure, directness can be a turn-off. Not talking about that. Direct to the point of not being wishy-washy. To the point. On task. All good traits for sales pros.

Can you relate? Good. Mom still loves you. You’re making her proud every single day.

E.Q. vs. I.Q. (the difference is HUGE!)

Oct 2, 2018

OK, bear with me. This one starts off a bit technical – then it’s all practical.

EQ vsIQ. Emotional Intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ), is defined as an individual’s ability to identify, evaluate, control & express emotions. IQ, or intelligence quotient, is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess an individual’s intelligence.

Bottom line: EQ = Your ability to understand & relate to people. IQ = How smart you are.

What do they have in common? Nothing. Why do we discuss the two in a Sales blog? Because it makes complete sense. We all know smart people. We know smart salespeople. You may be one. That’s great. The challenge is knowing when to use your smarts – knowing when to show your IQ.

The temptation to prove how much we know is gigantic in sales. Let’s face it, when we get somebody to raise their hand & agree to meet with us (when the “hard’ part is over) the urge to talk about our company, our products & our services takes over – completely natural. Also, completely wrong in sales.

Prospects & clients do not buy from you because you are smart. As a matter of fact, that may be the reason they don’t buy from you. You’ve seen it yourself. A salesperson can’t wait to prove how much he knows. He talks on & on & on. Never asks a question. Never gets to know you let alone your challenges. It’s ridiculous.

We think to ourselves, “Wow, enough about Charlie… let’s talk about Charlie some more!”

Most companies perpetuate this problem by providing an over-abundance of “product training”. “We need to make sure our Sales Team is up to speed on the new version of the Binford 5000 Series. Get them in for a day of product training.” Happens all the time. And it works. The Sales Team leaves a hell of a lot smarter than before – & they can’t wait to prove it.

Guess what? Your competitors are providing the same product training. Making their Sales Teams smart. They can’t wait to talk about it, too. And they do. Now, you & your competitor say exactly the same things. Exactly. The prospect sees no difference in the two products. Sees no added value. You are reduced to a commodity. Prospect buys the lowest price. Sound familiar?

A vicious cycle isn’t it? Give a salesperson a chance to show her IQ & she is all over it:

Examples of IQ:

  • Complete understanding of your products features & the benefits they provide
  • Knowing where every screw, nut & bolt goes
  • Memorizing all practical applications from previous clients
  • Not only do you know the specs… you wrote the specs!
  • Anything & everything technical

Let’s be crystal clear about something right here: You must have IQ & all of this knowledge in sales. It’s an entry-level requirement. Your prospect expects you to know these things. Without it, you are not even in the game!

Enter EQ. Your ability to relate to your prospects & customers. Some people call it “people skills”. That’s a great way of putting it. Show me someone who has the IQ required in sales coupled with the EQ we will discuss now & you have a rock-solid, superstar Salesperson.

Examples of EQ:

  • Knowing how to read the room (head on a swivel)
  • Knowing how to read between the lines (what are they really saying?)
  • Knowing what’s important to people & steering the conversation that way (very important)
  • Knowing who makes things happen (decision makers) & getting to them appropriately (professionally)
  • Anything & everything about people & their feelings

You may not ever convince your company to stop the product training programs at your company, but you’d do well to suggest & support your Salespeople working on their people skills. Two examples: Their ability to help people be comfortable with them & understanding what motivates people, what drives them.

A wise person (named Kate Tear) said, “A person who can’t relate to the person they are selling to will never close a sale.” Truer words have never been spoken.

22 Reasons You Wouldn’t Even Buy from Yourself

Sep 18, 2018

 

Might seem like an odd question to ask yourself: Would you buy from you? Most salespeople will answer (without thinking), “Of course I would.” “Why wouldn’t I?” “Sure would… I’m good… really good.” It’s natural. What salesperson, who makes her living selling, is going to admit that she wouldn’t even buy from herself?

OK, so let’s attack this from a different angle. If you were being ridiculously honest with yourself, in a room by yourself, with nobody listening… would you buy from you? Would you?

Let’s do a quick survey:

  1. Would you buy from someone who doesn’t do his homework?
  2. Would you buy from someone who talks 80… 90… 100% of the time on sales calls?
  3. Would you buy from someone who can’t wait to tell you how great his products & services are?
  4. Would you buy from someone who can’t wait to tell you how great she is?
  5. Would you buy from someone who doesn’t ask you questions?
  6. Would you buy from someone who follows up with you like a stalker?
  7. Would you buy from someone who had the audacity to drop his price as soon as you objected?
  8. Would you buy from someone who just waited & waited for you to send her an order?
  9. Would you buy from someone who took forever to return calls or respond to your emails?
  10. Would you buy from someone who isn’t the least bit curious about you & your business?
  11. Would you buy from someone who bad-mouths his competition?
  12. Would you buy from someone who lacks charisma, passion & desire?
  13. Would you buy from someone who shuts off her cell & email at 5 or 6 PM (& on weekends)?
  14. Would you buy from someone who doesn’t prospect or hunt for deals on her own?
  15. Would you buy from someone who does canned quotes/proposals for everyone that wants one?
  16. Would you buy from someone who thinks they are always right & the customer never is?
  17. Would you buy from someone who sets meager goals for herself & blames others when he misses them?
  18. Would you buy from someone who stays in the office & would rather be there than engaging a prospect or client?
  19. Would you buy from someone who thinks working hard means putting in 40 hours per week?
  20. Would you buy from someone who disrespects her sales manager?
  21. Would you buy from someone who doesn’t have 20 years of experience but 1 year 20 times?
  22. Would you buy from someone who spends more time planning her winter vacation than her sales career?

Me neither.

STOP Feeling Like a Stalker in Sales!

Sep 4, 2018

 

Here’s the set up: You met with your prospect. Doesn’t matter how many times. You did your needs analysis.

You developed the solution & it’s great. You deliver your quote or proposal. The next day you call to follow up. Voice mail. A few days later you send an email. No reply. In a couple days another call – crickets. Another email in a few days. Now you’re starting to feel like a stalker. All of a sudden, it seems as if your prospect has entered into the witness protection program!

Stinks doesn’t it?

So, what do you do? Truth is there is no magic bullet that will easily cause your prospect to answer your call or reply to your email. She might answer. You might even close this deal. But what happens the next time? What do you do to get out of this rat race – to get off this hamster wheel we call “chase mode”?

How about this – start it off better so you never end up in chase mode.

Most salespeople deliver quotes & proposals & sit back & wait for decisions. Wrong idea. Again, sometimes they come, sometimes they don’t. Too much hope with this strategy. From now on you need to set crystal clear expectations of what happens after you quote or propose.

Sounds like this: (speak to them in person or by phone)

Here is the outline of deliverables we discussed. OR I will be sending the outline of deliverables we discussed by C.O.B. today.  Can you tell me what happens after you get it?

(if they say anything other than “YES” or “It’s yours” or “Lets move forward)

OK, thanks… when is the best day & time for me to call you to follow up on this to determine next steps?

Write down the day & time, put it in your smart-phone calendar & be anal-retentive in your follow up. If it’s important enough, you can even send them a calendar invite for that conversation. Make sure you call them back on that day & time.

Now you have a day & time on your calendar for the follow up call that YOU WILL BE MAKING. Your control. Will they be waiting by the phone for your call? No. It’s not about them waiting. It’s about you having an appointment to call them, under your control – & feeling good about it. This takes away that awkward “I feel like a stalker” feeling & does wonders for your ego.

Will you do it?

Hunting. Prospecting. UGH! Whatever you Want to Call it – Do it!

Aug 21, 2018

 

A mentor once told me, the moment we stop prospecting for business is the moment we are out of business. Hurts. But it is so true. He went on to say that we didn’t have to like it – but we did have to do it. Stinks. But, also so true.

Let’s get the crappy part out of the way right now:

  • Prospecting is not fun
  • Prospecting takes time
  • Prospecting has a high failure rate
  • Prospecting can be the most humbling experience you as a salesperson will ever encounter.

Doesn’t matter. You still have to do it. You don’t have to like it – but if you want to be successful, you have to do it.

Are we talking about cold-calling? Not necessarily. We’re talking about reaching out to people that may not want to talk to you about something they may not want to buy. A risky proposition for some salespeople. Some salespeople would rather wait for a HOT internet lead. Wait for the phone to ring. Wait for an email from a prospect in desperate need.

OK, how many times have any of those things happened for you this year? Exactly. Maybe once. Twice, tops? You had your “lay-down” this year. Now it’s time to go out & talk to people that may not want to talk to you about something they may not want to buy.

Let’s review ways to prospect:

  1. Referrals & introductions. When was the last time you asked a good client who they knew that could use what you sell?
  2. Current clients/customers. Bet you are not 100% entrenched in all of your current accounts. Find out who else (in other departments) you should talk to (& get introduced)
  3. Networking events, Organizations, Associations. Where do your prospects hang out? Go there. Most industries have organizations that are target-rich in prospects for you.
  4. Linked In. It’s expected. Find prospects. Engage them. Get invited in to have a discussion about their issues. Your competitors are. 
  5. Stop in. Stop driving by facilities that you know by your products & services. Pull in the lot, get out of your car, & do your thing. It’s your job.
  6. Targeted emails. To the right audience. With the right message. It can work. And another thing, make sure your Subject Line is compelling (so important).
  7. Cold Calls. Believe it or not there are salespeople that still open wonderful opportunities by cold-calling over the phone. There are more lists of prospects than you can imagine.

Or you can sit back & blame marketing for the lack of leads. Blame your company for your “crappy territory”. Blame your competition for having better relationships than you. Hell, blame the economy – remember when that used to work? Not in August of 2018!

4 Signs You’re Taking Short-cuts in Sales

Aug 8, 2018

 

The best thing about a superstar salesperson? Her competitive spirit. She loves to win. But, more importantly, she hates to lose. Can’t stand it!

We love competitiveness. A top 3 quality for sales studs & studettes. Show us somebody that abhors losing a game of cards, a game of racquetball, a game of corn-hole (or a parking spot for that matter) & you can be sure that person will do her damnedest to not lose the deal. We’ll take her on our sales team any day of the week. That’s a winner.

The salespeople that hate to lose will do what it takes to win deals. They fight. They dig. They’re impatient. They have that figure-it-out-factor that we wish we could teach.

But, wait. Impatient? Yes, impatient. A fine quality in rock star salespeople. Unless that impatience causes them to take shortcuts. It happens often. Short-cuts can be the death of a deal & ultimately the death of the salesperson’s career.

If you have been in sales for longer than a month, then you know that time kills deals. It does. Superstar salespeople know this, too. They don’t want anything to get in the way of them & the finish line. Sometime this comes at the expense of dotting all of their i’s & crossing all of their t’s. They rush, take short-cuts & try to out-smart the process. When that happens, the deal can de-rail. You’ve seen it happen – some all-too-often.

You know the feeling when your competitor “steals your deal?” The feeling when the rug is pulled right out from under you? The feeling when you ask yourself WTF? That’s the time to ask yourself the question: Did I take any short-cuts? It takes a strong person to admit it as most would make excuses. Here are 4 signs:

4 Signs You’re Taking Short-cuts in Sales:

  1. You feel the urge to hang up the phone before “they” do (rushing)

How often do you rush on the phone? Sometimes you feel like you are being rushed by your prospect or customer. Other times it’s you doing the rushing. Either way – not good. Your ability to hang in there, ask all the questions & give your prospect the feeling that you “get them” is critical. This is where true solution-providers separate themselves from the pack. Anyone can rush. You need the discipline to hang in there & learn.

  1. You set very weak Ground Rules (expectations)

If you are not crystal clear about what’s happening every step of the way during your sales process, you may be taking short-cuts in the Ground Rules department. You should always know the answer to these questions:

  1. What is my prospect doing next?
  2. What am I (we) doing next?
  3. When is our next meeting or phone call?
  4. What is the purpose of that meeting?
  5. Who will be in attendance at that meeting?
  6. Wh0 is calling who back? (& the answer is you are making the call)
  7.  What happens after we prepare a quote or proposal?
  8. Are they making a decision & when will they be making it?

3. You rush through the Qualifying Questions (if you ask any at all)

  1. Problem/Pain Point: This is by far the biggest short-cut taking area. Many salespeople fail to ask all the necessary questions to uncover the prospect’s real problem or pain. Most stop at the first sign of a problem, brush it with broad strokes & think they have pain. Not pain. Usually, it’s barely a symptom, let alone compelling pain.
  2.  Budget (money conversation): When a prospect says, “we have the money’ or, “don’t worry, money is not an issue” that’s the time to worry. That definitely does not mean they are “qualified” for budget. You need to find out 2 things relative to money. One: Is there money to pay for your product/service? Two: How are you going to get it?
  3. Decision making process: Just because your contact is Carl, & he returns your calls, & says he’s “the man”, does not mean he can say YES to the deal. Often, Carl can only say NO. No short – cuts here. You must ask this question, “How do decisions like this get made here, & who is involved?”

4. You ask for the business before its time

There is nothing worse than working with a desperate salesperson. Desperate salespeople rush to the close. Desperate salespeople ask for the business far too early in the cycle. Desperate salespeople follow up like stalkers. The cause for such desperation? Taking short-cuts earlier in the sale. Think about your business. Is it a “closing” problem you have? Good chance, if you think it through, it’s not a “closing” problem at all. Could be that you have an “opening” problem. You may not have all the information (short-cut). You may not be managing expectations or Ground Rules appropriately (short-cut).      

You have permission to slow down. The deal will still be there. Trust the process. You know what happens when you take short-cuts. No more of those!