Sales is everything you do to convert prospects into paying customers. Phenomenal sales converts the highest number of qualified prospects into customers. A phenomenal sales system is a group of working parts that duplicates results consistently.
It is very sad to see so much work go into marketing, only to see the sale blown. Small business owners must understand that the sale is not automatic (even when you deliver the perfect prospect in your marketing). You’ve got to make sure your sales process lives up to your marketing efforts.
A few years ago, on a Saturday afternoon, my wife and I were in the market for our son’s first car. As I was browsing a local Honda dealer’s Website, I noticed a contact form on the site. I put in my phone number and they called me in less than two minutes. I was impressed.
The woman who called was very professional and courteous and invited me to visit the dealership the same day. Once I arrived, I was told that the person I spoke to over the phone was in the “Internet Department” and did not actually talk to the customers at the dealership. Okay, fair enough, I thought to myself.
At that point, the worst sales process you can imagine began. These folks had phenomenal marketing, but their sales department needed help! I bought a brand-new Honda, but not from that dealership. Because their marketing didn’t work? No, because the salesperson wasn’t trained. You must train yourself in sales and you must train your people.
When you work hard to generate a prospect or client, don’t get lazy when it comes to sales and service! Tis is where you are going to prove that your marketing message was true. International branding expert and number one New York Times best-selling author Dr. Joseph A. Michelli, says, “A brand is nothing more than what people say about you when you’re not around.” In essence, your brand is your reputation. If you make a good impression in marketing, you’ve got to confirm it once you generate a prospect.
Avoiding the Silent Kiss of Death
Every day small businesses are suffering from what I call the “silent kiss of death.” The silent kiss of death is when a prospect tries to do business with a company and the owner doesn’t even know it! If someone calls your company during business hours and gets voicemail rather than speaking to a person, you’re taking a chance of losing that prospect. Many prospects (like me) will hang up and forget about it or call someone else. It doesn’t matter if you have Caller ID. By the time you call me back I’m probably off to other things.
If I walk into your store or restaurant and no one is there to greet me, guess what? Some customer types are going to turn around and walk right out. The sad thing is that many times these are the types of clients you want. People who are decisive.
I was reading one of John Maxwell’s books, and he shared a story about a time when he and Margaret were in the drive-thru at Krispy Kreme. They love Krispy Kreme when they’re hot, but when they drove by the “hot light” wasn’t on. They decided to drive through anyway; and to their surprise, the doughnuts were piping hot. When he asked the person at the window why the light wasn’t on, she replied, “We get too busy when the light is on, so I didn’t turn it on.”
If you’re like me, I can’t imagine how people could think that way, but they do. And it is up to us to train our people. We must train them why it is important to capture as many customers as we can when things are hot. Tis gets us through the lean times.
Profitable sales cure all other business evils. We need to close as many sales as possible because we are not only squandering the time, energy, and money that was invested in marketing, but we also want to make sure we have reserves for the “evils” that come our way—when we have to pay more tax than planned, something gets damaged, an employee costs us money, someone doesn’t pay his bill, the economy tanks, or any other number of things that are completely out of our control. As my friend and author of The Facts of Business Life Bill McBean says, “Planning is not predicting the future, it’s preparing for it.”
Have a Phenomenal Greeting
When people walk into your practice, your store, your restaurant, or call your company, you want to have an enthusiastic greeting that demonstrates you are excited to hear from them. And you should be!
So have a phenomenal greeting when people enter your facility or call your company.
I learned from Zig Ziglar many years ago to answer the telephone with “It’s a great day at…” Of course you might want to update that to “It’s a phenomenal day at…” (smile). Remember that your callers make several important assumptions about your company when they call.
They are listening to confirm that you will live up to the marketing message. They are making judgments about the value of your service, whether you know what you are doing, and whether you can be trusted or not. When the telephone is not handled properly, you can needlessly create a negative impression that now has to be overcome. More telephone answering tips:
• Speak slowly and clearly. Your caller may not be listening closely.
• Never answer with “hello” (even your cell phone). A friend may have given a prospect your cell phone number (and why do we answer so negative when it is a family member?).
• Never allow a child or a family member answer your business phone unless they are properly trained.
• Never, ever answer with “Can you hold please?” This tells callers they are not important.
• Be upbeat and positive always!
• You may want to use a mirror. A smile comes through the phone.
• Eliminate background noise, music, dogs, kids. Tis can be distracting and takes away from the experience for the client.
• Ask the caller his or her name, write it down, and use the name from that point on.
Sellin’ Ain’t Tellin’
Do you know about the power of the question? Did you know that “tellin’ ain’t sellin’”?
Have you heard that asking questions during a sales presentation is much more effective than talking about your product or service? Have you noticed that most sales people break that rule on a regular basis? The last time you bought something, did the sales person ask good questions or did he or she do most of the “telling”?
What about you? How are you doing in that area? Have you practiced the skill of asking questions? Have you discovered the power behind asking the right questions? In fact, have you discovered the right questions to ask for your industry? Would you be surprised to find out that the questions are very similar for any product or service? What are the best questions to ask? What about asking a new prospect:
• “Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?” (By the way, have you heard that someone’s name is music to their ears?) Wouldn’t it be a good idea to use their name along with all of the following questions that are directed toward them?
• “How were you referred to us?”
• “What prompted you to call us instead of someone else?”
• “What did (the person or company that referred them) say about us?”
• “What was it about the ad, letter, etc. that got your attention?”
Do you think asking those questions might give you insight into their reasons for choosing you? You don’t want to miss that, right? What if you followed that with, “Would you mind if I share a little bit about how we do things here and how we can be of benefit to you?”
What if you then took about 60 seconds to share how you help them solve the major challenges that you know they have based on your industry research? Do you think this might help you connect with them emotionally and to position yourself as the credible source? Have you crafted a compelling UEP™ (Unique Experience Proposition) that will accomplish that? Is it memorized or written somewhere you can access it whenever you speak to a prospect?
What if you then followed that with a series of pre-planned questions that would not only help you discover their needs, but also help them discover what their true needs are?
Did you know that most people don’t really understand what their true need is and how not solving it is hurting them worse than they realize? Do you think you could improve the questions you ask? What if you followed the discovery questions with some possible solutions, but you put the solutions in the form of a question? What questions could you follow a statement with? What about, “Does that make sense?” Or, “Does that sound like what you are looking for?”
Did you know that by slowing down and asking confirming questions that you can uncover more objections than you would by just running through your benefits? Do you realize that by getting them to say “yes” throughout the process, that they will be more likely to say “yes” when you share the investment? What if you could overcome all objections before you quoted the investment? How cool would that be? By the way, what do you do when you get an objection? What if you asked a question? What kind of question? What if you simply repeated the objection in the form of a question? For example, what if when the prospect says, “It’s expensive,” you simply repeat it in the form of a question: “So you feel the price is too high?” Does it make sense that when you simply repeat the objection, they are likely to tell you what the real objection is?
Have you heard that when you quote the investment, the first person to speak is usually the one who buys? Do you make it a habit of becoming silent after quoting the investment? If not, is it because you simply have not disciplined yourself, haven’t understood the importance until now, or is it because you don’t believe in your price?
Finally, does it make sense that getting really good at asking good questions will help you sell more? And how will selling more benefit you? Do you now realize that sellin’ ain’t tellin’? Do you now know that the more you tell, the less you sell? Do you now know that the more they tell, the more you sell? Did you notice that there isn’t one single statement in this section? Do you know and understand the power of the question?