Sales Superhero Secret Number One
The great sales trainers and business consultants know this and have given it their own name such as:
- David Sandler called it "up front contracts."
- Steve Clark calls it "close first, then present."
- Alan Weiss calls it "conceptual agreement."
- SPI (Sales Performance International) calls it "sales reengineering."
- Ray Leone says "the sale is made before the presentation begins."
- Jeffrey Gitomer says "Ray Leone eats dessert first."
Since I'm a dessert guy I'll go with the Ray Leone / Jeffrey Gitomer phraseology.
After running some analytics on my site and seeing how popular my earlier post about a superhero salesman, I decided to incorporate the word "superhero" in this post as well. (I'll write more about internal linking and SEO later.)
The reason salespeople don't last at a job isn't because they are lazy or don't know how to close, it's because they run out of money from lack of sales because they are providing free consulting and hours of education to prospects who either cannot, will not or are unable to buy what they have to offer.
Since closing a sale is dessert to a superhero salesman, why not have it first?
While it sounds like fun it actually takes some guts, some research and getting out of your comfort zone since you will have to turn your prospecting / selling / closing funnel upside down to make this work.
It will feel like brushing your teeth with your opposite hand for awhile but it will be quite invigorating once you see the (immediate) results.
The process is simple but not easy.
- Know your stuff.
- Know your prospect's stuff - at least what keeps him awake at night.
- Remember that the one asking the questions is in charge of the conversation.
- Have a list - a long list - of damned good questions.
- Inform the prospect that you will be the one asking the questions.
- Inform the prospect that either of you can end the meeting at any time for any reason.
- Direct them to your website or a competitor that drops their pants to win any sale if the prospect wants a free education or "your best price."
- Once they agree to meet confirm what the decision-making process is including who is involved and what their time frame looks like.
- Confirm that all decision-makers will be present for the meeting.
- Reach a mutually-agreed upon agenda for the meeting.
- Send the agenda in writing so there is written evidence of your agreement.
- Review the agenda as soon as you arrive.
- Begin asking questions.
- Continue asking questions until the prospect is squirming, sweating, crying, bleeding from the ears and/or begging for you to help.
- Reassure them that you can help.
- Begin your presentation.
- Gain a commitment to either buy or move to the next step in the buying process with a clearly defined timeline.
- Do the Happy Dance in the parking lot.
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.