Maybe you’re the superstitious sort, and maybe not. However, it seems appropriate to address some common superstitions, limiting beliefs, and ideas I’ve dealt with in working with salespeople.
1. There is a magical place where all my best customers congregate, I just have to find it.
Yes. It’s called “in your dreams.”
The reality is, there may very well be key places with large concentrations of your ideal customers, however don’t expect to find lots of decision makers at networking events. Even if you do, realise that you have to do more than find it. You have to become part of it. Chances are, it may very well be hiding in plain sight. You’re just not at the level to be given access.
You’ve got to grow your capacity, your game, your self-concept to get in and make sales. You may even be invited at that point.
2. Don’t let them know you’re in sales.
Huh? What’s the big secret?
If you get freaked out when someone asks, “are you trying to sell me something?” you’re doing it wrong. Instead of coming up with some BS about, “gathering information,” or the like, just be direct. They’ve asked you a yes or no question, so go for it.
“Yes.” And then pause and wait for the more direct objection to handle.
“No. I don’t know anything about you or your company yet.” And again, wait for the direct objection.
“I don’t know. Would you benefit from (Insert key benefit you know they would benefit from).”
If someone is still hostile, and hangs up, call right back and apologize for getting disconnected. They’ll either continue being hostile, in which case it’s probably not worth your time to try and calm them down (call back later in the week), or they’ll actually be impressed with your persistence and give you an opportunity.
3. People have to like me to buy from me.
No, they have to trust and respect you.
Trust comes from shared belief. Respect comes from integrity and congruence. I may think you’re a total douche, however if we believe the same things about the topic at hand, and you’ve stood by your word, not wavered from what you’ve said, and followed through on your promises, (and I need and want what you’re selling) I will buy from you.
On the other hand, I may want to grab drinks with you, however if we have different philosophies on, say, Social Media marketing, I’m not doing business with you. Or, if you bring me a contract with different terms, or don’t follow through on your promises at a demo… you’re done.
4. Never say anything to make someone feel uncomfortable.
Ummm, that’s the only thing that gets people to act.
Aspiration is great. It builds awareness and goodwill for your brand or product. It just doesn’t sell things. At least not alone. People (in a broad, sweeping, general sense) won’t give up something they are familiar and comfortable with for something better, unless the disparity is so great, people don’t feel comfortable with the old one any more. You have got to ask them to do something.
People’s discomfort usually comes from their inability or unwillingness to make a decision. Confronted with that decision, and the unknown consequences, they may start acting out in ways to make you uncomfortable. It often works, and we retreat. If you can ask the tough questions, and then stand in the heat with their discomfort, you can help people make better choices.
Just make sure you use your powers for good, instead of evil. Else you’re a prick and part of the problem.
5. My product sells itself.
Then what does it need you for?
Seriously. If that was true, you wouldn’t be reading this blog right now, you’d be out on the beach sipping mojitos. Even if it’s the most obvious thing in the world and people can appreciate the benefit, if you don’t tap into a felt need (even if it has nothing to do with your product), they’re not likely to buy.
Go sell something. If it’s employee vaccination tracking or it’s a toaster. Just get out there and do it.
6. Everybody can use my product.
And yet, nobody does.
Go watch this video. Until you reach about 16% market penetration, that mass market majority will not accept and try your product. They have to see someone else do it first. And who are those 16% you reach first? People that don’t want to be treated like they’re everybody else. They set themselves apart in some way, and create the sales of products and services that help solidify and strengthen their identities.
Instead of “Everybody can use my product,” make it, “People that (believe a certain thing/way) use my product).” Look at how you do your advertising with Google Ads and other platforms. What can you learn from it?
7. Never promote sales of an imperfect product.
Because they got the iPhone right the first time.
Don’t misunderstand. If you’re promoting crap as air freshener, you’ve got a problem. However, you don’t have to have it all figured out. Your product or service needs to stand out, and create amazing added value, however it need not be perfect. If it’s too far out in front of the pack, it may be ahead of its time and take too long to be accepted. Besides, perfection is subjective. Your idea of perfection may be your target audience’s nightmare.
If people get value from it the way it is, let them have it. You can always sell them the upgrade later.
8. Never call on a Monday morning.
Why not ? They’re going to be ignoring your call the rest of the week, too.
Calling before 8 AM may be the best time in the world to call. Chances are a dedicated business owner or executive is already there, unguarded by the gatekeeper. And do you know who they may just have the respect to listen to? Someone dedicated enough to be on the phone at 7:34 AM.
What’s the worst thing that could happen? You have to leave a voicemail?
Which brings us to the next silly idea.
9. Never leave a voicemail.
Because it’s better that they don’t know you called?
You have the opportunity to leave a quick, crisp, uninterrupted audio commercial custom tailored to your prospect that creates awareness of you and your brand after you’ve already spent all the energy and time to get there in the first place, and you’re going to just hang up? Really?
10. If I practice my presentation it will sound canned.
And if you don’t practice it, you’ll sound like a dolt.
Your presentation will probably not go off like you practiced, however the more you do it, the more natural it becomes. Don’t try to memorize the whole thing. Know the component parts, and know the “why” behind what you’re talking about.
Know your product. Know your customer. Be prepared to piece the value-puzzle together.
11. I have to have a rebuttal to every objection.
And by the time you learn, catalog, and memorize them all, they will be irrelevant.
You need to know the answers to your customer’s concerns. For sure. However, if you practice objection handling like a tit for tat tennis match, you’ll eventually lose. You’re better off learning a system for staying cool in the moment, blowing past smoke screens and other BS, and getting to the real objections.
I could explain such a process here, however my marketing directors are already going to give me grief about writing 7 blogs in one. Just watch my mentor, Blair Singer, explain it.
12. There is a perfect moment to close.
Yes. It’s called Always.
Do you need something else to watch? Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross. I’d give you the link, however you wouldn’t know what to do with it. No, I’m not advocating that your focus should be to, “get them to sign on the line which is dotted.” Focus on adding value, and creating win-win. Don’t be a prick. You may need to develop brass balls, however.
There are always questions to ask, always agreements to be made. That’s what closing is really. Reaching agreement. So start creating agreements every step of the way.
Always Be Closing. Always Be Closing! = Create the Agreement. Create the Agreement!
13. People will love my product/service and naturally give me referrals and testimonials.
So… does your product suck?
By that logic, if you don’t already have a ton of referrals and testimonials, people don’t love your product. So which is it? You can get unsolicited testimonials (and referrals) and that’s awesome. Celebrate them wildly. Just don’t expect them.
Like every other step in the sales process, you have to ask for someone to give you the time and energy to write one. Just make sure they felt they received more value than they paid for. Otherwise, now you owe them something.