The job of a top professional is doing what seems impossible, on a regular basis. While there might be a few truly unworkable situations, the vast majority of the time solutions to the most difficult, stress-inducing obstacles really do exist- and we see evidence of this all around us.
When’s the last time you had occasion to hire, say, a great mechanic or a computer tech? You know, the type that remain cool under fire in the most seemingly “throw-up-your-hands” predicaments. The kind that patiently, methodically pokes around under the hood of your broken down car or zips through the operating system and file registry of your crashed and buggy laptop. When either machine is finally, magically restored to its perfect working order your sense of relief and appreciation can hardly be described by words.
The best performance-delivering professionals almost never make excuses, almost never give up and almost never put the problem on insurmountable external issues. It’s always on themselves. Although the problem may a challenging doozy, it’s always “What am I not thinking of?”, “What am I not seeing?” or “What angle or tool have I not yet employed?”
By the time we encounter any top professional, no matter the field, they have equipped themselves for the challenges to be faced and brought the precise tools for success. They have the discernment to know that perhaps not every single challenge can be won, but the vast majority of important ones can be, if one is prepared.
This principal of professional preparation and high self-expectations also applies to representing a company’s products or services in the field. A sales professional shares a thing of immense value – be it a product or a service- with individuals who have a need so that both sides can ultimately gain from the exchange. It’s truly a win-win scenario. But twists and turns often get in the way during a sales call. Which should be viewed as momentary obstacles- rocks and pebbles in the road- not as giant, insurmountable boulders! What makes a sales professional a true professional is taking the utmost responsibility for all their actions and reactions during a customer interaction.
Similarly, if you are a sales manager, attributing your sales staff’s lack of performance to external factors out of their control will ensure that your organization doesn’t improve and that your sales people will never get to experience the pride that comes with achieving peak performance.
Messages & Methods Usually Flow from the Top Down
When I’ve spoken to sales managers whose organizations are hurting, I notice that they focus in on very specific factors pertaining to sales call and want me to help analyze and instantly fix everything based on these micro observations. Somehow these managers are not considering one constant and very large influence on their team- themselves and their own behavior and attitudes!
These managers want a magic lightning bolt solution from me. But what they need, and what they are going to get, is a lot less flash and a lot more substance. That means training their team in a foundational way, from the ground up. It doesn’t take that much time and effort- but it is incredibly important to achieving peak performance and results.
Don’t Blame The Buyer!
It’s easy sometimes to view the buyer as a mortal enemy, sent by the hounds of hell to mess up our day, our week, our year! But really, they’re only a person who needs a product or a service. They’re not coming in with bad intentions, most of the time. It’s just that they’re nervous, agitated, pressured, bored- and they’re trying to protect their own interests. They’re thinking of themselves. Too often salespeople obsess and become upset over an issue with the buyer when, in fact, the sales person created or contributed to that problem in the first place! In more cases than not, the ball is in your court and you can change the entire transaction in ways you probably had never thought of.
EGO Stands for Erroneous Generator of Obstacles.
Our ego is behind so many of our thoughts and actions, and mostly the ones that derail us! Think of the word ‘EGO’ as standing for Erroneous Generator of Obstacles. Just as ego screws up the perception and decision making abilities of all people, ego makes sales people operate from an incorrect viewpoint, defending their actions to the end instead of taking (self) blame out of the game and seeing all of the possibilities in the interaction. This requires really listening and offering options and solutions that best address the person’s wants and needs.
“Your prices are too high for me.”
“I completely understand. It is a significant investment. Can I ask you a question- when was the last time you bought the finest quality service and product and it was cheap?”
“Um… I can’t think of it right now.”
“Exactly. It’s pretty rare. So what should we do?”
“Alright, I’ll take the second to highest option.”
Look Inside, Not Outside, for the Problem
All the great philosophies in the world tell their adherents to first look inward and see how adjusting their own thoughts, actions and attitude can improve a situation before they even bring the actions of the outside world into it.
For a true sales professional, much of the work is done on our end, before we even meet with our potential customers. That’s why it’s so important for a sales manager to make sure their sales staff has internalized the principles of responsibility, adaptivity and creative problem solving when it comes to answering objections.
“I need to talk to my husband.”
“I understand and agree that your husband should give his input here. So can I ask you a question? If he were here, do you think he would favor the premium option or the more economical one?”
“The one in the middle.”
“So what should we do?”
“Yeah, let’s go with that one for now.”
There Is No ‘Smart Bomb’. Only Smart Sales People.
Many of the old school, shoot-em-up arcade video games (the kind that cost a quarter) had a button called ‘smart bomb‘. You only had a few of them in each game and they were reserved for the most impossible, backed-into-a-corner situation. Swarmed by enemy ships and under a constant hail of fire, you’d press ‘smart bomb‘ and BLAM! KAPOW! every bad thing on the screen would disappear- at least for a few seconds.
In real life there is no such thing- no ‘smart bomb‘, nor should there be. Sales people too often expect there to be a magic SHAZAM-like action that will close any difficult buyer instantaneously. Each buyer is unique and special, that’s why it’s important to listen to and find out information about each one. Each buyer has their own psychology and potential obstacles to purchase. They can very often be overcome if the sales person really speaks to them on their own terms, and makes them feel heard, understood and taken care of. A properly trained and coached sales person is a smart sales person. And that’s what creates a successful, high-performance organization- smart people not smart bombs.
“Your competitor’s price is lower than yours.”
“You are right. A premium company like ours is a higher investment, but that’s because we give higher quality work and yield a higher return for our clients. Can I ask you something? What corners are our competitors cutting to make their price so low?”
“Hmmm. I’m not sure.”
“So what should we do?”
“Go ahead with your best recommended option.”
If you now understand how each correctly trained, coached and supported sales person is the only “smart bomb” that actually exists, you really should take a serious look at our Total Immersion Program.
We’re currently accepting reservations for our 2017 Total Immersion Sessions. There are several dates available, one of which is bound to work for your team.
To get all the details on the Total Immersion Sessions coming up, and to save your spot, click here.
And if you have any questions about the program, please call us today at 877-764-6304.
Let’s make 2017 your biggest earning year ever!