Ten Ways To Take The Fight Out Of The Sales Process

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Dave Anderson - Also by this author

Without meaning to, you can create a fight in the sales process from the moment the prospect sees you (or hears your voice on the telephone) until the time you try to close the deal. Being aware of and acting to eliminate these flaws will shorten the sales process and make it more profitable. At this week's meeting, make sure everyone is focused on the following to remove the fight from their own sales process:

1. Look/sound like you actually want to be at work.

Prospects are irritated early on in the sales process by salespeople apparently indifferent as to whether or not they make the sale. If you tick them off early on, they will not buy from you out of spite, even if they really need or want what you're selling.

2. Avoid too much hype in your presentation.

Prospects are insulted by exaggerated and general claims. Once they begin to doubt your integrity and grasp of facts early on in the sales process, they will continue to doubt you all the way up until they leave without buying what you're selling.

3. Don't trash the competition.

Learn enough about your product and the competition's product to intelligently answer questions and provide comparisons. Again, avoid using exaggerations or generalizations: “They make very unreliable cars.” Or “No one listens to their radio station.”

4. Don't talk down to anyone in the buying party.

This especially includes women, children and gatekeepers. When you alienate these influencers early on in the sales process, stick a fork in you because you're done. Put a “10” on everyone's forehead and treat them accordingly. Make good eye contact, and speak from your heart.

5. Don't sprinkle your presentation with profanity, off color stories or remarks.

Profanity, sex, politics, jokes and any potentially offensive anecdote should be left out of your conversations with your prospect; even if you think they feel the same way you feel. These are emotional issues and once you trigger them your prospect is likely to become so distracted or get so worked up they can't concentrate on the sales process

6. Don't begin your investigative questioning sequence too soon; too soon is before you've established enough common ground and trust so that the prospect feels comfortable opening up to you.

By jumping into your investigative sequence too soon in the presentation, you can give the appearance of “going for the throat” and caring little for the prospect. This doesn't mean you engage in lengthy, trivial small talk, wasting your time and the prospect's. Build rapport by getting the prospect to talk about him or herself and their business.

7. Don't argue with prospects; even if you're right.

There's a difference between arguing and persuading. Arguing is when you get defensive and go on the offensive too far, too fast. You can win every argument, be 100% right and still get 0% of the sales because ultimately the customer gets to win every single argument by leaving without buying.

8. Avoid the words, “that's not my job” or any variation thereof when explaining to a customer why you cannot accommodate their request.

Customers want to do things their way; not your way; and quite frankly, they don't want to hear your excuses. They just want results. Thus, you must skillfully handle requests that are not within your realm by bypassing or handing them off without uttering the sales-killing phrase. “that's not my job” or “that's my manger's job,” etc.

9. Don't talk bottom dollar price until you've had a chance to build value in the product/service.

Until you've established value, you cannot justify the price and will resort to having to defend your price to the customer in the absence of value. Bypass price concerns with key phrases until you've had a chance to build the value: “Mr. Prospect, until I've had a chance to show you what you're getting for your money, no price I mention will seem fair. After you see how our product stretches your dollars, we'll both feel better about transaction. So let me ask you…….” And then proceed with your investigation.

10. Plant seeds early on in the sales process that lower the customer's defenses and show the prospect that you're different.

Adapt the following words to fit your style and situation, and use them early on in the presentation: “Mr. Prospect, during the presentation if you have questions, please ask. If I don't know the answer, I'll find out. Also, if I'm going too fast just tell me, and if I show you something you're not interested in let me know and I'll move on.”

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