6 Risks You Need to Learn in Sales

23 May


Bill Clinton was a bad public speaker in the 1980’s. He forced himself to learn how to master this craft. Use inflection, get comfortable with long pauses, sync hand movements with his words, build the speech around a bigger idea, create and direct it to his specific audience, and make it his own. Love him or hate him, he knows how to give a good speech.

I had to learn to sell. Out of school, I took a sales job and walked around downtown Minneapolis cold calling on prospects with a falsetto pitch and a clammy handshake to offer them. Believe it or not, I landed a lot of business but that was mainly due to my efforts and effective targeting. The rest I had to learn the hard way, but figured it out getting comfortable with sales being a game. It’s nothing personal. Use the sales techniques below and become a better salesperson today.

Six risks you need to be taking as a salesperson:

    1. Sell to fewer prospects.

Choose a narrow niche and be perfect there. Too many of us are selling to anyone who will buy our products and services. Not specializing means you aren’t special. I started Blue Octopus and assumed recruiting sales and marketing people was a narrow enough niche. Now I only sell to companies under 100 employees which are usually growing rapidly and involved in technology. If they don’t fit your ideal specs and aren’t urgent, call them next month.

    2. Ask the prospect to say yes or no.

Agree on a next step AND specify follow through on a particular date. “I’ll send you a proposal this afternoon and will check in next Monday” or “Can we do a demo this Friday?” or “I will call you Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 after your board meeting if that works for you?” If they don’t agree to these terms, then you probably can’t sell to them. Call them next month.

    3. Sell your company to the entire team.

Keep your owners, managers, and operations people involved in the sale(CC’ing in emails works great). Sell to more than one person inside their organization. Know their organization chart. You will be better informed and have more allies within your prospective target. I once had a prospect get the measles. I had no other relationship there. Guess what? I lost the deal. I had no one to call a month later because she was still out and the others inside her company weren’t responding to my emails and calls.

    4. Questions, questions, and more questions.

The only way you control a sales call, is by asking pre-planned, open-ended questions. Prepared questions sound boring to every other salesperson, but it works better. You steer everything if you are asking questions and they are talking. If they won’t answer your questions, you can’t help them. Call them next month.

    5. Don’t lower your price. Do you want to be Wal-Mart?

The pricing game is an easy trap. I believe I offer a great service in comparison to my recruiting competitors. On rare occasions, I will negotiate, but lowering the price isn’t usually the answer. Be willing to walk away from companies that ask you for a deal. Don’t call them next month!

    6. Discuss their budget.

Get comfortable talking about it. If you don’t fit into their budget, call them back next month, not tomorrow. Don’t waste YOUR time beating your head against the wall.

I grew up learning how to be a great customer service person. I believed if you over-deliver and work hard, you’ll get paid. I started to realize that these customer service laws didn’t always work in selling. Don’t get me wrong, work hard and over-deliver! Yet, really learning how to sell well was something I had to learn. Don’t consider any of the above rules sales “tricks”. They are rules of engagement in business. First and foremost, always be authentic, honest, and open. Sell a great product or service!

Make it a great day~ Drew Schmitz



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