Salespeople have questions, Gitomer provides answers

March 29, 2010
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I get a ton of emails asking to solve sales dilemmas. Here are a few that may relate to your job, your life, and most important, your sales thought process right now:


Jeffrey:

I’m struggling terribly with constant requests by my prospects to “interview” my current subscribers to see if my program works. It’s the old, “Can you give me the names of three references?” question. I struggle with this request because I’m quite sure my existing clients do not want to do my job for me, and I honestly don’t trust that they will actually answer the call or return a message.

Am I off my rocker in not wanting to provide references outside of the written testimonials that are posted on my Web site? If so, what can you tell me about the best way to go about providing references? And if not, how can I move beyond this part of the sale quickly and effectively without losing the prospect altogether? Heath


Heath:

Try it! Shoot a few informal video conversations with current clients that love you and your service. See how that goes. Ask them if you can have an occasional prospective customer call them for a reference. And, before you ever give someone as a reference, let them know what you'll be doing — followed up by an e-mail saying "expect a call from ..."

Important: Every time you give out a reference, make certain you also return the favor by giving your customer a referral as a "thank you for helping me.” Do that enough and he or she will look forward to you giving their name as a reference. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey:

I'm involved in a network marketing business. My No. 1 challenge is to overcome the fear of a scam in a pyramid scheme. So far, the training I've received revolves around not telling my prospect "too much." Instead, I'm instructed to ensure them all of their questions will be answered at a presentation. The goal is to get as many people to attend the presentations and play the numbers game.

What advice do you have for bypassing the 1-in-20 numbers game? Brian

Brian:

The key to network marketing (or direct selling, as it is now called) is to first love the product, use the product and believe in the product. That will allow you to answers anyone's question about anything. If someone is telling you to avoid answering questions, those are people to avoid.

Network marketing is a good thing IF you have a good product and if the people above you are willing to help you rather than manipulate others. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey:

I’ve been in the sales profession for many years and I have never been able to rid myself of cold calling as a primary prospecting tool and time-wasting activity. For the most part, our customers are very loyal and give us referrals, but there is not enough referral volume to meet my business goals. I am involved in several industry associations but I’m still left with plenty of time to make those dreaded cold calls. I’ve never found enough productive activities to keep myself in customer buying situations without going back to cold calling.

Do you have any suggestions for reallocating time from cold calling to, as you put it, “addressing the real goals of the process?” John

John:

Cold calling is easy because you can do so many so quickly. Cold calling is hard because most of the calls are rejections. My belief is, if you spent one day a week earning referrals, not asking for referrals, you would be ahead of the game by percentages — appointment percentage, closing percentage, commission percentage — and no one would be angry with you.

My recommendation is to take your top 10 customers and begin referring people to them. That will be encouragement for them to refer to you more often. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey:

I love the idea you suggest of volunteering in a customer's place of business to gain a better customer relationship. I'm just wondering how this would work in my situation. I work with residential flooring as well as commercial flooring.

How do you go about asking the customer to work for a day at their business? Should I say,"I'd like to take a day from my business and give you a day of my service at your place of work.” Rachel

Rachel:

Obviously, unless you’re actually laying down the floor, it’s difficult to work with your customer on your product. However, everyone is walking on your floor. Some people are cleaning your floor. And spending a day at the customer’s place can help you understand why they bought it and how they feel about it.

Take your Flip video camera with you and ask people for their impressions. Sometimes simple cleanliness can create a great mood for the people who work there and a great impression for the people who visit there. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail salesman@gitomer.com

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