231 ENCORE-Ask for the NO

Ask for the NO

Ask for the “NO!”

Probing the customer for negative feedback seems counter-intuitive, but a key part of opportunity qualification is to find out if your prospective customer will verbalize that they do not want to begin or continue working with you. Rather than blindly proceeding down a path that may lead to nowhere (no deal), ask for the “NO” throughout.

Salespeople are trained to ask—to ask for executive access; to ask for agreement to proceed with specific actions; to ask how things can be moved forward; to ask for the order. This means they should also be able to ask for the “NO” as well. To ask for the “NO” is a way to flip the conversation so you can get answers to key questions that will help you judge whether you are engaging with a good prospective customer or whether you should move on to better and more lucrative deals.

Here are examples of appropriate ways you can ask your customer for the “NO”:

If you are shown that the benefits we discussed are achievable, what are your thoughts on working with us to initiate a project where you can begin realizing these benefits in three months?

How do you envision completing evaluation of candidates, selecting one, and entering into a contractual arrangement with the selected supplier by the end of this year?

As part of our customer success process, we use an Action Roadmap that helps us jointly advance through the major evaluation and contractual steps. We are asking for you to commit to work with our team jointly to create and maintain this roadmap. Will that work for you?

It is important for us to engage with your executives who will sponsor the project so we can begin to forge a great business relationship. How can our team gain an introduction to them?

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com

230 ENCORE-Bad News Early is Better Than Bad News Late

Bad News Early is Better Than Bad News Late

It is important to qualify sales opportunities throughout engagement with your customer. Identifying the right sales opportunities frees up time and resources so that instead of wasting time on sales cycles where the customer’s eventual answer will be “NO!” you can focus on customers, opportunities, and strategies that will result in winning a higher percentage of deals.

Good qualification allows you to avoid investing significant time on opportunities that are hanging by a thread.

You know those situations:
– You rack your brain trying to figure out how you can move your opportunity forward, but your prospective customer is not really engaged and seems to be uninterested in solving real business issues.

– Your customer isn’t placing a high priority on your project because they are distracted with other, seemingly more urgent projects… I mean, what could possibly be more important than your project, right?

But why drag things out? Wouldn’t it be better to learn sooner than later that the deal isn’t going to happen? When you can’t seem to advance an opportunity, keep the following in mind:

Bad news early is better than bad news late.

Let’s say you are pursuing a deal that has involved several detailed steps. Your effort has consumed valuable sales resources only to find that the customer has selected your competitor’s solution.

Losing a deal at the eleventh hour is an example of receiving bad news late. It is the worst-case scenario. You and your selling team have expended all the time and energy to win the deal, only you don’t get to claim victory. You have just wasted precious time and resources. There is no silver medal for finishing second, and you certainly are not rewarded with sales commissions. Second place is the absolute worst place to finish in a selling competition.

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com

229 ENCORE- Determined Leader

Determined Leader

Are you considered a Determined Leader among your colleagues?

Part of having a champion mindset means you will be a leader among your peers.

Even if you don’t directly manage salespeople, you still want to be considered a leader on your team. Leaders aren’t only found at the top of an organizational chart—they can exist anywhere along the way, performing leadership tasks and mentoring others wherever they reside in the organization.

Why is being a determined leader such an important part of a sales team?

Leaders make every other team member better. They raise all who are around them to higher levels of achievement. Other team members want to follow leaders because they create a path of success for them. Sales professionals who want to strive to achieve greatness learn from the leaders who came before them.

Leaders show gratitude. Be sure to thank those who helped you along the way. It is the right thing to do—and you may be in a situation someday where you need their help.

Leaders give back. They do this by mentoring other sales team members and helping them achieve their professional and personal goals. They also give back to the community by supporting service organizations.

Leaders understand that giving back will repay dividends tenfold and reinforce their purpose.

Pick some areas where you have experience or can develop expertise and build your capability as a Leader. You can help others in your organization achieve greater success in those areas.
Even if you do not aspire to a management role, you can still contribute significantly to your organization by serving as a Determined Leader.

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com

228 ENCORE-Proactive Advisor – Part 2

Proactive Advisor – Part 2

The prior flash briefing introduced the Proactive Advisor. This is Part 2 which gives an example of how an outstanding Proactive Advisor built her personal brand. 

Laura was a rising star in the sales profession. Her peers called her “wonder woman.” She possessed boundless energy, successfully balancing a fulfilling personal life with a productive occupation. While she was dedicated to her family and community service, she still carved out the time necessary to have a successful sales career. 

Her services were in high demand and, after achieving success with one company, she made a set of strategic career moves to other companies—not because she was forced to, but because she believed climbing the steps to more responsibility was required to build her personal brand. Each new sales role presented an opportunity for growth and for gaining expertise in a new segment of the market. 

Laura called on the same companies in the same industries. She leveraged her connections to gain access and to advance major selling opportunities. Doors were opened because Laura was trusted in prior dealings. In multiple cases, she sold similar solutions provided by different vendors to the same company.

This would not have been possible had Laura not earned the trust and respect of her customers. Her conversations were consultative, and she proactively advised her customer in areas that could improve their business even if the solution was not one that she sold. 

Naturally, additional interactions gave her the opportunity to introduce new solutions and explain how they could address new areas in better and faster ways. Laura knew her customers’ needs very well, sometimes even better than their own employees. As a result, this wonder woman achieved sustained success and commanded a premium position in her industry. 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

227 ENCORE-Proactive Advisor – Part 1

Proactive Advisor – Part 1

Zig Ziglar, the great author, salesman, and motivational speaker, said this: 

“You can have everything in life you want if you

will just help other people get what they want.”

The most valuable and trusted salespeople are those who become “proactive advisors.” Here are the steps they take: 

 

1) Give value first… solve a problem or make a recommendation, even if doing so does not involve anything you can sell. This is an excellent way to demonstrate that you are committed to engage with your customer as an advisor for the long term, not just for a quick transaction.

 

2) Become the subject-matter expert of your company and solution and of the business value you can help generate for your customer.

3) Hold the key to unlocking the unique and substantial business value you can help deliver to your customer. 

4) Proactively bring innovative ideas to the table where your customer will gain market share, expand regional presence, improve their competitive position, and increase their brand reputation. Maybe your solution does not have the broad reach to greatly impact every one of these areas, but even at a departmental or divisional level, you should be able to find a couple of areas where you and your solution can have a substantial positive impact on your customer’s business. 

5) Plan to find areas where, in the mind of your customer, you can make the impossible truly possible. You will find yourself in discussions where you unveil a capability and your customer will say, “WOW, I didn’t even know that was possible!” Never assume that your customer understands every capability available in the marketplace. Take every opportunity to “WOW!” them. 

This is Part 1 of a two Part briefing on the Proactive Advisor.