Perhaps it’s the fact that I work at a sales training company, but I have a soft spot for salespeople. Whether it is a pushy door-to-door salesperson trying to sell copying machines to our office, or a telemarketer droning on and on about his or her product, I always try to give salespeople my full attention and let them sell.
Sometimes we have problems, but we don’t do anything about them. Other times our problems are so urgent we take immediate action. Consider, for example, a slow dripping faucet versus a flooded basement. For sales professionals, however, the reality is almost never so extreme. In most cases, assuming you are meeting with a qualified buyer and ask enough questions, you can help the buyer identify a problem.
Sales people rarely have enough time in the day to manage all of the activities expected of them. Whether it’s making prospecting calls, going on sales calls, creating proposals, or manage existing accounts, sales people are busy. But being busy doesn’t necessarily translate into better sales results. The difference between high performing salespeople and average performers often comes down to basic time management skills. High performing salespeople are able to consistently allocate the majority of their time to the most promising sales opportunities, while average performers invest too much time in bad opportunities.
When I speak with sales leaders about improving sales performance, one of their most frequent comments is that they need their team to become better at closing business. This need is typically amplified at the end of a quarter or fiscal year as sales organizations feel increased pressure to close deals.
Sometimes sales training opportunities appear in the most unlikely places. Last weekend I was walking in my neighborhood and came across a garage sale. Among the old exercise equipment, children’s toys, and patio furniture, I found something surprising: a sales training course from 1980. That’s right, ten cassette tapes promising to make me a master closer.
Asking great sales questions is an essential selling skill that all sales professionals must master to accomplish an efficient sales strategy. No surprise here since questions help us identify customer needs. Discussing customer needs and how our solutions addresses those needs is the foundation of a successful sales conversation. But what happens if a customer decides to live with their current situation?