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Shut Up. You're Not Paid By The Word In Sales.

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Know Your Place In The Buying Process

Four score and seven years ago...well, actually, it was 1993, I was a new Lieutenant in the Air Force stationed in South Korea as a meteorologist.

Yes, I was a WEATHER MAN.

No, I didn't look at the stars. (That's an astronomer.)

No, I didn't look at the moon. (That's still an astronomer, but more specifically, it's a selenologist.)

No, I didn't study meteors. I REPORTED ON THE WEATHER! Can I get back to my story now? Thank you!

Where was I? Oh yeah, South Korea doing the weather.

Like anyone passionate about what they do, I was surrounded by what we affectionately labeled weather geeks.

How To Control Every Sale

These people loved—LOVED—the weather and they could go on for an entire weekend as to why those puffy clouds that looked like wiener dogs chasing each other would be at 3,152 feet between noon and 3:46 PM instead of 3,100 feet after lunch and they'd get quite upset if you didn't want to listen to it ALL!

(Does this sound like you covering all 87 slides prepared by your marketing department or your VP of Sales that says "You need to give more presentations!"?)

When I arrived in Korea, the officer I was replacing warned me about how tough it was to go brief the squadron of F-16 fighter pilots each day.

These guys wanted to go strap themselves into a 48,000 pound rocket with wings and shoot stuff but military regulation mandated they sit through a weather briefing before every mission, so I was standing in the way of them doing what the U.S. taxpayers invested over $1,000,000 to train them to do.

In other words, I was a necessary evil. (Kinda like sales people today, which I'll get to in a moment.)

How To Handle People Who Think They Don't Need You

I prepared two versions of my presentation each day.

  • The full-blown, analytical, detail-oriented dissertation in case a more-discerning VIP happened to find his way to the briefing room and he was the curious type.
  • The presentation the normal pilots needed—and wanted—to hear, which was about 2% of the first one.

The result?

The pilots appreciated my approach.

They loved the fact I didn't waste their time.

They loved the fact I gave them what they needed and nothing more. And before long they took me in as an adopted member of their squadron, despite being a weather geek.

Why?

Because I didn't try to increase my importance by hogging the spotlight when I could tell them what they needed to know in minutes.

However, when the weather was not cooperating or they needed more details I had the information they needed and could go deep into the weeds to address their concerns. But that was the exception, not the rule.

Eat This To Sell More

 

How To Shut Up & Sell

With today's ever-present, always-connected internet, your prospects and clients can find the technical answer to any question they may have about any gizmo or widget within minutes, and most do.

But there is still the need—thank God!—to speak with someone to confirm their findings and to give them that last vote of confidence that they are making the right decision. 

Not only that, but we as professional salespeople can provide the customer with relevance and insight, which is best done by asking them questions to issues they may have overlooked or not considered at all.

You see, selling has always been the transference of a feeling—confidence—from one human being to another. The way you transfer that feeling today is by controlling the the sales process (which is best done by following a good Sales Agenda).

That requires that you arrived with a list of great questions prepared in advance.

That you answer the questions your prospects may have in a succinct manner, confirm that you have addressed their concerns, then ask another great question.

You will know you are losing control of the sales situation—and possibly boring, maybe even irritating—the prospect when you find yourself talking more than you are listening.

The more you ramble the more you actually reduce the confidence of your prospect because we all love to hear ourselves talk and the more you know about your offering, the more likely you are to confuse your prospect.

  • "Wow. Your inbound marketing software sure seems expensive."
    • Professional salesperson's response: "Compared to what?"

    • Wimpy salesperson's response: "Well, actually, in a survey of 6,219 CMOs, VPs,...and according to the Dewey Decimal Document...and...and...and..."
  • "Wow. Your inbound marketing software sure seems expensive."
    • Professional salesperson's response: "Is that a question?" (Don't attempt to answer un-asked questions.)
  • "Is your inbound marketing software compatible with my shopping cart software?" 
    • Professional salesperson's response if it is: "Yes." (Done. Don't go into a demo or dive into how the API or the SSL or the CSS or the PDQs all work. Just say yes."

    • Professional salesperson's response if it is not: "No. How big of a problem is that? How long have you used your current shopping cart software? How many SKUs do you have? Would you prefer to look at another inbound marketing tool that is compatible with your shopping cart, look into custom coding to make the two work together, or look into another shopping cart that is compatible?" Let the customer tell you how to proceed.

When you use prospects and clients as your sounding board to ramble on and bounce ideas off of and "bend their ears" as you try to convince yourself that you offer something of value, you are not helping their confidence. If you're not helping their confidence you are hurting your chances to sell.

To Be A Professional Salesperson

The New ABCs of Selling include "Always Be Concise."

Get to the point. 

Answer the question asked quickly. 

Make the prospect feel smart for asking the questions they ask. 

If they have more questions or want more information they'll ask and by being there for them you'll transfer your confidence to them and you'll end up making the sale.

Selling in 2020 and beyond is different than selling 20 years ago, but sales professionals are still needed.

If you need more help growing your sales, check out this private sales training program. 

Join The Private Sales Group

Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.