The difference between a REAL professional in any occupation and those who aspire to this status is not the talent level or even any of their great achievements.
The main difference in my opinion are the times when they struggle or find themselves in a slump. The true professional does not lose their enthusiasm when faced with a setback or challenge. On days when the normal person would rather call in sick, the professional shows up and gives the same effort they would give on their best days. What then do professionals do when they go into a slump or suffer a poor performance? They always go back to the fundamentals and remember the little things that mean a lot when the pressure is on.
Think about what you or your sales team do when you are faced with tough times when you struggle to gain even modest results. Do you “not show up?” Or, do you go back to the basics to “stop the bleeding” and turn your sales results around.
Here are some things that you should consider when you are stuck in a rut of poor performance:
#1 – Are you customer focused or self focused?
You should focus 90% of your energy on getting information about the buyer and reserve 10% of your energy on giving information about yourself. “Brag-books,” Presentation binders and literature can kill a sale fast. Sales is about finding what the right answer is from your buyer and then passing the test during your presentation. Ask yourself how well you knew these people?
Did you even know their first name? Are they married? how many kids are there? What are the names of everyone in the home? YES even the dog! Knowing your buyers perception of important factors like the “green” movement are essential before you start to prescribe any solutions for them.
#2 – Be different than your competitor
Differentiation is one of the key foundations to any sales situation. In effect if all of you line up and essentially give the same presentation the buyer has no way to tell who is better other than price.
Use different verbiage, services, warranty and solutions than your competitor. Also, make sure that in every presentation you are telling your buyer something that no one else has told them. Never present “apples to apples” to your buyer. Include some oranges, grapes and bananas too.
#3 – Get buyers to commit before giving prices
Do you feel pressure when you are presenting your options? Selling is a series of commitments followed by an agreement at the end. There should be no pressure at the end. If you fail to get the necessary commitments up front then you will have to deal with all of them when you attempt to close.
Always ask “what if?” questions before you decide to give people solutions. Questions like, “What if I put together some solutions for you today. what would happen then?” are great ways to predict the outcome of your interaction. What good are your solutions if the buyer is not committed to purchasing them?
#4 – Deal with perceptions of your competitor
Although you should never talk bad about the competition, you DO need to find out the buyers perception of them. Have they used other companies before? If so, why did they switch. You must find out how others have failed or you are doomed to repeat the same mistake they have made.
Remember that success leaves clues and so does failure. It is much more fun in sales to learn from the crash and burn stories of others rather than learning from your own setbacks.
#5 – Be a system renovator not a fix it man
In today’s uncertain economic times buyers are not going cheaper as you may think. Instead, they universally want the problem to be completely over and done with after you finish. Small, cheaper solutions are temporary fixes that lead to lost customers. Include complete overhauls or renovations in your presentation and your buyer will discover the value in your services.
Don’t be afraid to take what seems like a small opportunity and create a major event out of it. Bigger solutions equal larger purchases in one chunk. It is simply better service to get everything done today than make your buyer wait until tomorrow.
#6 – Do you sell tomorrow’s solutions today?
Can any of us argue that your services won’t cost more five years from now? With the rising cost of transportation, labor, insurance, energy, gasoline, copper, steel and brass the price of what you are selling now is sure to rise. Your customer would appreciate if they could buy tomorrows service at today’s prices.
Always offer multi-year follow-up service, warranty and maintenance plans with your best options. Think of it as an “inflation buster” package. It’s a simple investment in their comfort and peace of mind that they will thank you for.
#7 – Show buyer’s their best & worst options
I know that top professionals present what they think is the best option for their customer. What if you suspended your judgment and got out of the way to let your buyer decide what is right for them? If you fail to offer your buyer the worst thing they could do, then they feel compelled to look elsewhere for a point of reference.
First offer your buyer the premium solutions with a system renovation, multi-year warranties and services and at then take away the quality and services in each subsequent solution until your sixth option at the bottom is a band-aid with no warranty. Stop assuming that you know how they will buy and let them choose for themselves.
#8 – Present to the right person at the right time
How many calls have you gone on where you painstakingly diagnosed the problem and created a “bonzer” solution only to find out that you were not talking to the buyer at all? Or perhaps the buyer was not ready to decide today.
Always make sure you align the time you present with the day people will decide. By all means also make sure that this is the person who can make the final decision as well. Just ask who owns the home and what they are hoping to accomplish today and the answer will reveal itself.
#9 – Let your buyer choose what’s best for them
You have no doubt heard the phrase, “Silence is golden” before. In selling nothing is more true that that simple axiom. Listen to your buyer and then diagnose the problem, finally create a presentation with all your solutions. After that just ask, “What should we do?”
Then remain silent and let your buyer make their decision. Many times the best way to handle an objection is to just let the buyer handle it themselves.
Stop trying to over-convince your buyer to purchase from you. Just stand there after your presentation and wait without talking. Your silence will be interpreted as confidence. The best thing to say is often nothing at all.
Stop Amateur Night On Your Calls
Vince Lombardi once said, “Being a champion starts with the ability to take a hard look at yourself.” Try to remember than even the most seasoned professional baseball players always take batting practice before every one of the over 200 games they play from spring training through the world series. Don’t you think that someone at that level know how to bat already? How much “batting practice” are you taking or skipping before each day starts? My advice to bust a slump is to get in the cage and practice your fundamentals every day and you will always win.