The moment has arrived when you take a deep breath, pick up the phone, and start to dial. As a salesperson, we must accept in our mind that there are only three possible responses by the prospect. They are yes, no, and maybe. Any of them are fine. I am not attached to any of those responses. If there is one I would like to avoid, its maybe. Give me a yes or no, so I can move on to another prospect.
The gatekeeper is the person who guards the decision-maker. You must be able to get past the gatekeeper to have any hope of making the sale. The gatekeeper could be anyone, but it's most likely the assistant of the decision-maker.
If you are selling to a high-level executive and can't seem to get past the gatekeeper, try these approaches. If you have the prospect's extension, try calling either before or after close of business. The gatekeeper will be gone, but the high-level executive will often be in early or staying late.
You might also call another person and apologize that you got transferred to the wrong extension, but you were trying to reach the key executive. They will often transfer you straight to your intended department.
If you don't have the decision-maker's extension, find out the extension of the gatekeeper. The key executive's extension will usually be a few digits off because telephone systems are set up in grids. This way you can get to your intended party.
The opening, your initial statement or phrase, is the most important moment in the life of this sale. The first seven seconds will determine whether you get the sale or not. The reason why is because, if your first seven seconds aren't good, you won't be granted another seven seconds. It's hard to sell anything in less than seven seconds, so you should execute a plan to be granted more. You must hook their interest or even just curiosity in your opening. If you can get that, you have an opportunity to hook the sale.
Having properly prepared and formatted questions is the lifeblood of sales. If there is one underlying problem for the vast majority of salespeople, it is that they talk too much and ask too little. They believe that, because someone said to them years ago, "You are such a smooth-talker; you should be a salesperson," that is the essence of sales success.
A masterful telephone salesperson focuses on the questions. Well-crafted questions elicit answers that can be used to guide the successful sale. Without an effective questioning process, you won't be able to determine the desire, motivation, needs, wants, expectations, ability, authority to decide, other decision-makers who have influence, time frame, competition for the business, priority of needs and wants, and a host of other factors that influence the buying decision of a prospect.
With the herd of most salespeople talking, the net result is that we are often poor or ineffective listeners. We might not hear the prospect out completely because we are trying to leap into the void of silence or are interrupting them before the conversation even gets to the point of silence.
Salespeople are an emotional lot. When most salespeople feel the sale or prospect slipping away, their palms start to sweat, their heart rate quadruples, and they become nervous. They combat that with more talking, more assertive behavior, or more social behavior (depending on their behavioral style). The bottom line is they listen less. We need to avoid the temptation to exhibit those behaviors when we start to feel the lump in our throat of a lost prospect or lost sale.
Take a few deep breaths to calm down. Focus on listening at a high degree because the prospect is probably leaving clues that are being missed because of your stress. Focus on asking questions rather than making statements. That will force you into a pattern of listening for their response.
Nothing attracts a prospect to becoming a client more than a well-constructed, powerfully-delivered presentation. Your ability to present your recommendations, services and products, and why the prospect should take action now will dramatically change your income.
When you can convey to the prospect your reasoning, the value, and your benefits clearly, you will be in the top level of sales. When you can do that with the utmost conviction, confidence, enthusiasm, and assertiveness, you will be in a class by yourself.
Closing is really the easiest part of the sales process. You read that right . . . it's easy. Too many salespeople (and even sales trainers) make closing more difficult than it really is. If you have done your homework, prospected consistently, circumvented the gatekeeper, qualified well, and presented effectively, the close is merely the natural ending to a great sales and presentation process. The question with the close is did you make a definitive statement of your belief in your product's or service's value and did you ask the prospect to move forward now with you? Did you ask more than one time for them to decide? In fact, did you ask more than four times? If you took those steps, you will close a large number of sales.
Too many salespeople panic when an objection is raised by the prospect. Treat that objection as a request for clarification or a request for more information because that is all it really is.
To reach the top level in sales, one must understand that objections are a wonderful part of the sales process. If a prospect lacked objections, they would also lack interest and desire for what you are selling. Have you ever seen a kid turn his nose up at eggplant? Their reaction isn't an objection; it goes far beyond that. They have a complete lack of interest and desire. That lack of interest and desire translates into a knock down, drag out to get them to eat it.
Closing successfully encompasses a number of factors like preparation, qualifying, presentation, behavioral style of the prospect, motivation of the prospect, trial closes used in the presentation. If you have approached the sale in a complete manner from step one all the way to the step of closing before servicing kicks into high gear, you won't need 21 different closing techniques. You won't need the time-warn strategy of telling about your great grandfather who came over from Ireland and passed down this pearl of wisdom for you that you decided to share right now. The pearl of wisdom sounds something like, "Take action and buy my stuff now, Bub!"