Apple in calss

Educate To Sell0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

I was in the audience for a panel looking at sales, and the future of sales (yes, another). What made this a wee bit more interesting is they actually had some buyers on the panel, bringing a level of reality often absent from such affairs. One CEO made a comment that at first seems basic, but when expanded on his experience, it was easy to see why we as sellers think we are doing something, the buyer completely misses, or misinterprets.

He spoke of how he measures a good meeting, a simple measure, but as he says often not achieved by sellers. He feels that is a meeting with a sales person makes him think, look at something in a tangibly different way as a result of the meeting with the rep, and best of all, if he learned something new. If the seller was able to challenge some of his assumptions, and preconceptions, it often led to one or more of the above measures. He was asked if he had heard of the Challenger Sale, and if those were the type of sellers he was looking to work with? He said he was aware of the book, and as he said he has had “the pleasure of participating in meetings where sales professional challenged in the way the book spells out, and others, where the sales people just play point-counterpoint, the only challenge there is making it through the meeting.”

Many in sales will agree that it is the role of a seller to educate their buyer, the question is how that is done. Think back to school, who were the best teachers, the ones that made you think, reconsider your view, and help you take on new concepts and practices? While there is a Madison Ave image of the teacher, a lecturer dispensing information and lessons. These are the ones where you sat in class and asked if it was on the test, if so you retained it, if not, why take up storage space.

However, most people remember those teachers who left a lasting mark or impression; more importantly, taught them how to think about a scenario or situation, in a way that leads to analysis and understanding. These educators, the best educators, start with engagement. Engagement is more than just being present, many executives sit through meeting, nod politely, but not be engaged. No engagement = no understanding = no purchase.

Apple in calssTo engage, you have to get them to think, as Gerald Bostock told us, “I may make you feel, but I can’t make you think”. Getting them to think takes questions, planned, scripted questions based on experience, and expertise. The right questions interrupt a racing mind; while they may be in the room, most busy buyers are thinking about the next meeting, or the one after that. Good strategic questions, based on your 360 Deal View work, keep the buyer present, and open to ideas they would miss when drifting in though. At the same time, as Dorothy Leeds explains in her The 7 Powers of Questions: Secrets to Successful Communication in Life and at Work, questions get people to think, and that’s always good, especially these days.

Evidence of engagement is when they are not just willing to share info, but crucial information about gaps in their thinking, and how they can address the issues you are exploring with them. Meeting that advance the buyer’s knowledge, also advance their confidence, and willingness to buy something other than what they thought at the start of the meeting. We have all been to meetings where there was a lot of information exchanged, but no one left any smarter, or more willing to buy. As with most good education, it has a purpose and a destination, so should your sales meetings.

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Honestly

Lie To Me Like Everyone Else Does0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Revenue, finding it, winning it keeping it, is more than sales, and certainly more than just one says. Winning growing and retaining clients (the source of revenue), may be centered around sales, but involves other key groups. Some like marketing, may not have as much direct contact with prospects/clients as customer support, implementation and others. All have an opportunity to reinforce the relationship, or blow it, making each and every interaction and exchange with a client. I know there were a number of accounts I lost because of an experience a client had with support; just as have landed bigger deals and kept them because of things others did for my clients. All this makes each encounter key, and makes one wonder why some companies have their representatives say some of the things they say to customers, and to know that they actually paid someone to teach these mistakes to their teams.

One challenge arises when there is a disconnect between what people say, and how they act, I guess one can call it incongruity

Empathy Is Not Just A Word

We all know empathy is central to interactions and by extension sales. But empathy is more than a word, it is more than an ingredient you measure and add in the right amounts at the right times during a conversation. It is very much the behavior that defines the word, not just saying it. You can’t say you are empathetic to a buyer or their concerns, and then behave in an opposite manner.

We have all had the opportunity to be screwed by a provider, I am not saying wireless, but as an example. Instead of dealing with the issue at hand they always apologize and empathize, I am sure it is like pages 27 to 32 in the work book.

“no matter what the prospect/customer says, just say ‘I apologize Mr. Shanto, I am sorry you feel, I can understand you feeling that way’ and then let them continue.”

You know they don’t mean, only because they don’t take any action to change things, just agree with your feelings, and apologize for how you feel, but not what they did to make you feel that way.

This is a challenge for sellers, because they too say things the prospect does not see them act on, which just confirms the whole mess.

What’s funny about the whole thing, is many companies, for example wireless, will do this to “how can I help – I apologize and see why you feel that way”; then do nothing, you bring up your next point, and they go right back to “yes, I can see that – I apologize and see why you feel that way”, and keep it going for a long time without resolution, until you drop the F-Bomb. Then it all becomes about that, the F-Bomb. So, it is perfectly fine for them to do it to you, but not for you to talk about it.

Honestly

The other words that cause prospects and buyers to be cautious is when a sales rep or support rep, says in response to a question the prospect/customer has says “Well to be honest,…” Hang on a minute, does that mean everything you said prior to this was not honest?

I know it is just a turn of phrase, but buyers hear these things over and over, and have come to take the words at face value, with the expectation that nothing will result of the conversation.

Why not just leave these expressions out? You want them to feel they are being empathized with, show them, act the part, don’t just talk to it because it is on page 27 of the work book. Align you actions with your words and people will see you are honest, you may not always be perfect, you may not always be spot on, but you will be perceived as being a lot more honest and customer focused, then just talking about it and then walking another way.

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lincoln five

The Levers Of Sales Success0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Proactive Prospecting Summer – Part 3

Last week in Proactive Prospecting Summer, we looked at time, and how the way high performers look at and utilize time, gives them an advantage in winning, just as the also-rans are limited by their view of the very same thing. But time is just one of five levers a seller can focus and to continuously deliver more wins, but more importantly as a means of continuous improvement. The challenge for the masses, more than anything else is the need to continuously improve, they see it as a chore, high performers see it as a never ending and highly rewarding journey.

The trick is not focusing on all five at one time, but instead focusing on one at a time, achieve improvement in that area, go back and look at the impact it has had on the other levers, assess, and focus on the next one, which will vary from rep to rep.

The fact that it does vary rep to rep, is a challenge for many managers, because they feel they have to come up with multiple coaching plans for each of their reps. It’s much easier to approach things from a one size fits all lens. The way we help our clients balance the playing field is two-fold. First, we start with accountability, mutual, what the manager brings to the mix, and the specifics the rep is accountable for. Second, is the introduction of our Activity Calculator tool, and the people who say sales is not a numbers game will hate this (and probably fail to hit quota), because it requires you to know your numbers as good or better than you know your favourite athlete’s numbers. But it is the tool that allows us to take a standardized approach to a very individual coach and execution experience.

The five Levers:

  • lincoln fiveQuota – While you may not be in control of this number, it is a key factor in how you plan your execution, use of time and other resources, and how you pull it all together.
  • Deal Size – This is variable you can directly impact and move. Unless you are specifically assigned to certain size accounts, you can choose to pursue accounts that will yield more per cycle. Mentally, it is like taking the cheaper options of the shelf; by not pursuing account under a certain threshold. Even if you are locked into a size of account, there are ways to have an initially larger sale, and to continue to upsell the opportunity.
  • Proposal to close – While this one sounds simple, it is not, usually because there are different ways of improving this ratio, and usually people are overwhelmed by choices, and just resort back to what they always do, and end up with the conversion rate they always do. One counterintuitive way to improve this is to reduce the number of proposal you put out there that you know won’t close, you know spaghetti proposals.
  • Discovery to Proposal – Probably the place you can have most impact in a number of ways, each leading to more improvement across the cycle.
  • Initial meeting to Discovery – this is all about that first meeting, where the ground work for the cycle is laid, a good initial meeting can facilitate all the other variable, a bad one, just leads to more unnecessary work.

As you enter or change any of the above, the tool will not only show you the change in the other levers, but allow you to adjust your execution to play to your strengths. This will all make sense when you download the tool. Some will have less choice than others, but again the tool will help you adjust for that.

Success with the tool is over time, pick a lever, pick a specific element that impacts that lever, set a goal: destination and time to achieve, make an action plan, break it down to bite size pieces, and then execute. Work with your manager (or call me), to keep you honest and on track.

Here’s the deal, whether you want to do this or not, at the start of your next fiscal year your quota will go up, and as that lever is pulled, you need to have a plan for the effect on the other four.

For those asking what all this has to do with prospecting, simple, the better you are at getting that initial meeting, the more choice you retain in how you approach the five levers above. If you struggle in prospecting, never setting aside enough time to master it and just do it, the more difficult all of your levers will be.

Don’t forget, to make full use of the Activity Calculator, and take your overall prospecting to the next level, check out the Proactive Prospecting Program on Sales Gravy University.

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Lawyer

Stop Leading The Witness0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

One of my favourite genres is court or trial based stories, could be a movie, play, TV program, but especially novels, where the author has room to fully explore elements and take one to unexpected places. These are usually larger than life, and even when the plot is viable, the settings, are exaggerated, full of symbolism than reality, all with the goal of drawing in the audience. You gotta love it, all the fantasy, all the pomp, and of course, all the dram, just like sales.

In these dramas, you inevitably run through the usual clichés, (just like sales), one of them being the usual set of actions by one attorney leading to an objection by the other, at least one for every five minutes of courtroom sequence. The one that reminds me most of sales is when one party objects to the other’s line of questions by suggesting that they are “leading the witness”.

Sales people get caught in this trap regularly, but often the prospect does not object out loud as they do in the movies, they just don’t buy, and usually we really don’t know why, because we think we asked the right questions, feel (rather than know) we got the right answer, only to be left asking in the end “what happened?”

LawyerThis happens when we ask questions that we are hoping to get an affirmative response to, and when we do we feel we are progressing, and we keep piling on these questions, realizing too late that prospect was giving us the answers we wanted, rather than what they would say if the question were put differently.

We have all been on the receiving end of this experience, it usually sounds like “wouldn’t you agree that it would be ‘good’ if you could ‘do ___________’?” Sure, prospects will agree, it would be almost illogical to disagree, as the questions are usually routed in some logical premise and phrased in a way that you are forced to say yes, but how sincere is that yes? How many times have you said yes to move things along, feigning to agree, but with zero or less conviction?

Prospects know when they are being led, and don’t often like, and reward it even less frequently. They know that the questions are delivered in a way to limit the discussion to those things that highlight your product. Problem is that often the difference is sales success is not the product, but the sales experience, as I have stated in the past, how you sell is the last differentiator. So if the prospect does not see a different sales experience, they will see little difference, and every other seller trying to lead them down a self-serving path. While the questions may make sense, they also clearly demonstrate that you want to sell things based on your view of the world, not their specific priorities.

You can take the same thought process, but deploy a different set of questions to engage the prospect and encourage them to open up and share things with you that they would not when they are being led. Rather than you painting the end state you think they need based on your quota and you needs, ask them to pain the end state they see. If you feel based on your experience that they may have overlooked something, or are making an erroneous assumption, you can still share alternative. The best alternatives are not questions that put them back on “your track”, but alternatives based on what you have seen clients do differently to achieve that outcome or objective.

Asking questions that lead to discussion, an opportunity for you to demonstrate you expertise and value, and help the prospect consider alternatives based on client experience is a good thing, because again, it provides the prospect with a different experience. But asking questions that lead to the prospect being boxed in, may lead to answers you want to hear, but not sales.

 

Bottom

 

Biz On The Beach 3

Proactive Prospecting Summer – Part 10

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Many in sales look at summer as a time where they can slow down a bit, reflecting what they believe to be the pace of things around them. That’s just wrong on so many levels, that we’ll leave it to others to analyze, our focus is Execution, improved Execution. So rather than following the 80% of your peers who go into summer mode, I instead invite you to use the summer to improve your prospecting skills so can remain in that 20% that drives the economy, the 80% is piggybacking on.

Every Thursday in July and August, the posts in the Pipeline will focus on a specific element in Proactive Prospecting. While this in itself will put you on the path to better prospecting, meaning a fuller pipeline of better opportunities, you can take it a step further by enrolling in the Proactive Prospecting Program on Sales Gravy University. Consisting of instruction by me, exercises, and tools, the same program clients have used to increase conversions and pipeline by over 25%. Enroll in the program today, and use the Thursday Proactive Prospecting Summer series to keep you on track, and filling your pipeline. By the end of the summer you will have both more opportunities in your pipeline than the 80% who “took the summer off”, but the skills that will keep you ahead.

Today we will look at two important sometime related often confused fundamentals, Objectives and Execution.

Objectives

As you know I am not a big fan of pain in selling, not because I am squeamish, but because buyers in pain are a small part of the overall opportunity, they are pursued by everyone and as such feel entitled to “a better deal” instead of the right deal. The largest pool of opportunity professional sales people have are those buyers not impeded by pain, but are focused on achieving their business Objectives. If you change your narrative from pain to Objectives, you will be communicating to, and heard by a greater segment of the market, a segment ignored by the 80% who are “jonesing” for pain; let’s look at that for a sec.

Every business and business person has Objectives. Some will run into a problem along the way, usually about 10%, and they will seek to relieve that pain, but then get back on track to achieving their Objectives. So to engage more meaningfully with a greater segment of the market, you need to forget pain, and embrace Objectives. The best way to do that is to actually set your own Objectives, and experience the opportunities and challenges in achieving them. This will give you the ability to empathize with others who are focused on Objectives, not just pain.

Here’s what you do, right now: write down your objectives for this program, no more than three, you gotta be real. Make them specific, “I want to be better at starting the call”; “Communicate value more effectively”; “Have my voice mails returned”, you name it, but set a clear, realistic Objective based on where you are now, and where you’d like to be by Labour Day.

Execution

We all know success in sales is all about Execution, everything else is just talk; so while setting Objectives is a step in the right direction, actually doing it is another. Some of you may be familiar with the old riddle:

Five frogs sitting on a log – four decide to jump off, how many are left on the log?
While most answer one, the answer is five.
Deciding to do something and doing it are two different things!

You Have To Jump

No matter how good a set of Objectives we set, they are worthless till executed. I’ll challenge you with an Objective: Focus on correcting what you did wrong, rather than waiting for perfection to try.

Feel free to e-mail me directly as you take advantage of the many things you’ll learn in your Proactive Prospecting Summer and the Proactive Prospecting Program on line.

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Hypos

Hypothetically Speaking2

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

It is easy to understand why some, especially in business, don’t like hypotheticals, they want to deal with facts, and tangible things that impact their business. Many view hypotheticals as just a distraction from things they need to deal in the real world. But it is precisely because it is a distraction, something that takes them away from the challenges they are dealing with that make hypotheticals a good tool for sellers.

Often, especially early in discovery, it takes a bit of an effort to pull back the layers and get to the substantive issues that can impact a prospects business, due to previous “abuse” by lesser sellers that preceded you, prospects may be a bit guarded. They may be reluctant to share key information that could actually help you formulate the right plan for them. A bigger challenge can be to take them in a direction they had not considered, may have misconceptions about, or areas they have avoided due to perceived risk, even if we do see it as such, the prospect is driving this process.

Hypotheticals allow you to engage around these areas without the associated risk. Some sellers, firm in their conviction that they have a great “solution” for the prospect, will ignore the buyer’s reluctance, hoping the strength of their solution will prevail. It may, but only if the prospect is open to the topic, but if not, as is the case for most buyers, their solution does not see the light of day, and it’s all for not. Framing the discussion in a hypothetical, especially a hypothetical outside the company, allows they buyer to tip their tows in the water without the sense of commitment of a head on question presentation. They don’t have to own a hypothesis, the sellers does, if they don’t agree, no harm, if it starts to resonate, all the better.

Hypotheticals are also a great way to get people to think outside their current lane. This is especially powerful if you are dealing with a buyer who has traveled all alone the first “57% of their buying journey”. By the time they get to you (I know you think you got to them), they have firm impressions if not opinions or more; to change their direction, to get them to take an alternate path to the one they are down, you’re much better off using hypothetical than facts. This is not to say we ignore the facts, but if they are not willing to have the discussion, the facts as you see them may or will not see the light of day. Starting them off with a hypothetical allows them to step outside their lane without all the associated risk.

HyposHypotheticals will get the prospect to share facts (pains if you like that type of thing), you otherwise would not have discovered. One of mu favourites is to ask a prospect a forward looking hypothetical. Placing the scenario into the future allows them to escape the shackles of today, and go to a happier place in the future, a future that is sunny and bright. I start by asking:

“I am curious Julie, if we were meeting here, 18 months from now, and you were happily telling me that your team had hit a Grand Slam, what would that look like?”

It may take them a minute to get going, as they start their journey to feeling what a Grand Slam feels like, but if you don’t interrupt, they will get going, and tell you all the things they want to be real 18 months from now. You’ll be amazed what they will share, as long as you let them. When they have shared their vision of a Grand Slam, I follow with:

“That’s a great vision Julie, and I can see why that would indeed be a Grand Slam; so help me understand why we are not there now?”
And that is when they will share with you all the things they see being in their way. I find that they usually share a number of things I have a “solution” for. This is when we move from the hypothetical to the real world, to the sale.

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businessman on the beach

The “Dog Days” Of Sales0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

There is no denying that summer brings a different rhythm, energy and cadence to sales. Vacations, kids out of school, longer sunnier days are but a few contributing factors. Unfortunately, this just feeds in to tribal notions about selling the summer; no doubt helped by prospects and customers using “summer” to hold sellers at bay and fend off making decisions.

No, It Can’t Wait

While on the surface some of the reasoning presented by prospects (and often accepted at face value by some reps), may sound reasonable, they are not. When looked at in the cold light of time and quota, one can never take their eye off the prize, or assume that time somehow ticks away differently on the summer. A simple litmus test next time a prospect brings up summer, is to explore how tolerant their company is of seasonal short falls or slackness in effort.

Seasonal Adjustments

businessman on the beachOne benefit that the relaxed pace of summer brings, is people’s propensity to do mid-year reviews and status checks, and then adjust course accordingly. If you have dealt with a specific vertical, or set of buyers, you could be in a position to add to this process. Being that you have had greater exposure to best practices, you are in a position to offer value without talking product or sales. Having seen how different people and organisations approach similar opportunities, you should always be in a position to introduce new lines of thinking or tools that will help them complete their task, or enhance the effort. More on another way this can be handy in a minute.

Given that the cast of players in decisions is increasing, used to be 5.4, now it’s 6.7. Given that some of the players will be on vacation, others may be reluctant to make decisions. But that should not prevent you from going full speed into education and influence mode, using their relax stated to introduce elements into the discussion that will rekindle their enthusiasm, revive their energy to levels when they started their journey.

With the pressure gauge down, you will find it easier step back and refocus on things that precipitated the journey. We have had experiences, where mid-way through the year the focus and energy dips to where the project is abandoned, which explains the almost a third of deals that go to no decision. This is your opportunity to not worry about the ultimate decision, and have them emotionally recommit and reinvest in the project, which is an opportunity to review and learn what has changed, what would they do differently if they were to start over again, or at least based on their journey to date.

You must remember that some of these will in fact get back on track this year, others, while they may see merit again, will slip into next year, better than no sale at all.

Taking advantage of the mood of summer also allows you to explore the dynamics internally, and those that will have to be in place to ensure a decision coming out of Labour Day. How and who makes the decision, who can and has killed projects in the past, and other important facts that are much better exchanged in the Dog Days Of Summer.

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deadline

Deadlines Drive Deals0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

People generally have one of two relationships with deadlines, they either love them, and use them to be more productive. Or they hate them, ignore them, avoid them, or are terrified by them. The former is usually the more productive group. While productivity is normally defined as more units of output with the same or less units of input, the only thing we’ll mess with or alter in this post, is we will look at the units of input as being time.

I have spoken about time in the past, time being the only non-renewable resource we have in sales, squeezing more out of each second, leads to more sales success. The other things I have spoken a lot about here is the importance of next steps, real next steps, not wishful planning. Think of these two critical elements as the two lines you want to paint your sales between.

While there are the obvious deadlines that sellers deal with, month, quarter or year ends. I think it is important that sellers set more immediate and shorter deadlines. Many will worry about the whole sale, which often prevents them doing all the things or key things that need to today, now (as soon as you’ve read this). Break down your sales to specific points that have to be accomplished along the way, things without which there will be no sale, not big things, but things that have to be in place.

This is where next steps are key. They allow you to break down big steps, into much more bite sized, read doable steps, without the distraction of what’s looming beyond the next step, because let’s be real, if you don’t achieve this immediate next step, there ain’t no sale beyond. While there should always be an overarching strategy and plan for the opportunity/account, there should also be one for each step along the way. Most sales people find it easier to articulate their big plan, but find it difficult to articulate what HAS to be done next, and how the will actually do to make that happen.

deadlineDeadlines force you to focus. Setting deadlines for small incremental steps, lead to not only an action plan, but an execution plan; and we all know that success in sales is all about execution, everything else is just talk, and in the absence of action, there is always a lot of talk. The ticking of a clock does amazing job of either turning talk in to action, or missing the deadline when time rolls over you.

Once you master self-imposed deadlines, you will see that they not only are effective for the driving success in individual sales meetings, but you’ll begin to actually set deadlines within meetings. If you know you need to have three things in place with a prospect for them to agree on your next step, and you have a 60-minute meeting scheduled, set deadlines for that within the meeting. You’ll find that this will help you focus on only those things that drive that point, and usually makes your prospect much more engaged because you are focused forward looking, and forward moving.

Deadlines drown out distractions. It is amazing the clarity of thought many experience when they set specific timeline and deadlines. While deadlines imposed by others are not always pleasant, self-imposed deadlines, will make you more productive in the way outlined at the top of this post.

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Sitting

Don’t Just Do Something – Sit There!0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

All too many people confuse activity or action with productivity or results. Think of how many times the best thing you can say about a movie or a game is that it was “action filled”. In sales, many often confuse activity with moving the sale forward or execution, bringing to mind the saying about the deck chairs on the Titanic. And while action is at times better than no action at all, it is not always the case. The difference would be in the intent and purpose.

Execution should be the tactical manifestation of a strategy, or more accurately strategies. An overall corporate sales strategy, territory and account strategies, and then a strategy for every encounter with a laser focus on logical next steps. Execution is not, or should not be, a means of formulating your strategy by trial and error. It is often those sales leaders who rely on the trial and error method that complain that their sales cycles are too long, and are looking for a way to shorten the cycle. Well, start by not doing unthought-out things that don’t directly support your goal, and more importantly that of the buyer.

Now don’t get me wrong, more often than not, it is good to put (new) skills into practice or action. This way we can review and adjust, and bring improvement over time. The key is the action being taken is in context of specific goals, one supported by a strategy (or at minimum a plan), and the execution is driven by a clear process.

Now before your roll your eyes – Anderson Style, like many do at the mention of process, consider how a dynamic process can make selling, if not easier, more straight forward. The challenge is that most confuse process with a series of predesigned steps.

While there may be a logical path or sequence in well thought-out sales processes, it is not the end all and be all, but a start. A process should allow you to best engage your buyer around their objectives, leading to the business impacts they were looking for, or more when they deal with a good sales person.

A good sales process is one that evolves with your market, one that is dynamic and reflects the market, rather than a static process that expects the market to bend to your view, which it usually does not.

As such, a key feature of a process, is not in telling you exactly what to do in each circumstance. This leaves one exposed when circumstances change, which is daily, or when we encounter circumstances our process, and the folks who designed it, did not take into account.

SittingThe best processes are those that encourage people to think about the specific situation they are facing. The means and steps with which to evaluate, and then respond or act, rather than many of the processes that send people off to do something and then try to figure out why things went wrong, after the fact.

The best sales processes are those that encourage you to stop, step back, evaluate, come up with a course of action based on the here and now, and then act. Ones that allow you to not do something for the sake of doing something, and instead execute those actions that drive value for the buyer, and move the process forward. It’s OK not to do something, and sit back and think instead.

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Make you own path

Objections Are Only Negative IF You Allow Them To Be4

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Not everything prospects say that does not align or agree with your view is an objection, and more importantly, you shouldn’t react to everything as if it was. On the other hand, you also know that there will be some specific objections that are going to come up, and how one deals with that often separates the high performers from the also-rans.

One advantage of reviewing deals, as we do with our 360 Degree Deal View, is that you become much more aware hot how things turned out, why they turned out that way, and what you need to change in your approach to change the results in your favour.

As you continue to make the review central to sales approach you will also better understand which “objections” tend to come up at specific points in the cycle, and you see the impact those objections and how you handle them, have on the turn out.

As you begin to accumulate data, you will be in a much better position to know which are real objections, potentially derailing the deal, and which are not objections, as much as say questions the buyer has that are not well articulated, the prospect thinking out loud, almost reassuring themselves in the process. Other times, especially when the individual you are dealing with is part of a buying group or committee, they think through the reaction they anticipate from others on the team, and as they work through them, they may come across as an objection.

Some objections/questions, especially when you know when and where they will appear, are actually good. Yes, good, because as you get better at anticipating them, you can begin to leverage your response to move the sale forward further than if the objection had not come up. If you know that most new buyers don’t fully understand how something works, handling their objection and giving them knowledge goes much further to lower resistance than if they had not come up. Knowing this, you can steer the conversation in a way that almost forces the objection to come up. When it does, look at it like a fastball down the middle, you just need to hit it out of the park.

Make you own pathKnowing which objections/questions are going to come and when, allow you to elevate your status as a subject matter expert. Again, with the most common objections, some are best when left to the prospect to throw out, but some you should put out before the prospect does. Doing this will right off the top confirm that you are a pro and have does this before, validating your status, and allowing you to set expectations. While most of the also-rans try to avoid or hide from specific hard objections, thanking god when they don’t come up.

But you know the bridge will have to be crossed if you are going to make the sale. It has come up in every deal, when managed well, you have won, and when mismanaged you’ve lost. With that reality, it best to get it out, and over with. Timing is crucial, but again, with reviews you can quickly know when to put the objection out there before they do. It does not have to hard or dramatic. It can be as simple as “in my experience, most prospects are thinking about (insert topic), which makes sense in light of the facts, so here is what you need to know/consider/explore/change….”

Objections are only negative when you allow them to be.

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