Sales Moves

What are you thinking? Here are a few of my thoughts

November 22, 2013
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The minute I get a thought, I capture it. For the past year or so, I've been texting myself through voice dictation. It works. It's the same way I am writing this column — voice to text. It works.

I'm about to share with you some of those random thoughts. They are in no particular order, and as I paste them into this document, I'm reading them aloud and altering them. (That’s how I edit.) I’m expanding them on the spot so they become even more valuable and applicable to a salesperson. 

On questions:

When someone asks you a question, ask yourself, “Why are they asking this and what does it mean in terms of this person moving toward a purchase?”

There's a motive behind every question a prospect asks, and that motive is the sales driver. In reality, they're thinking to themselves, “If this function works, I can increase my sales.” That's the motive, not the function.

For example, they may ask you, “Can this function take place?” If you answer yes, then you've gone right past sale. If you answer yes and then ask, “What will this function lead to?” or “What makes this function important to you?” you will uncover the real buying motive. In sales this is known as the hot button. The reality is: It's your money.

What are you thinking?

  • In sales, the largest chasm is the difference between knowing and doing. You already know everything; the problem is you’re not doing it.
  • How many of you cannot afford to buy what it is you are selling? And how does that affect your belief system? And how does that affect your passion to close the sale?
  • Whoever said, “Thoughts are things,” only had it partially correct. The better statement is, “Thoughts become things when plans are made, belief is strong and action is taken.”
  • In a game of “sales chess,” you have to be thinking at least two moves ahead, or you’ll likely lose your queen. 

What do customers really want?:

Your customer doesn’t want to buy a ball bearing. They want to keep their plant producing. Customers want outcome, not product. Your customer does not want a can of paint, brushes and rollers. Your customer wants a beautiful room or an updated look to the exterior of their home. Sell outcome, not product.

Be specific:

Is your presentation full of generalizations, or is it full of customizations? If you only generalize for the enterprise and generalize about the business, you will lose. But if you customize for your customer, or their customer, they can visualize what’s in it for them, and they will buy.

Show me the money, not the percentage:

Don't give me a percentage. Give me a dollar amount. Example: You say, “We lost 7 percent of our customers this year.” Really? How much is that in dollars? That will make you mad. 

Large companies refer to this as “churn.” I define churn as management's inability to keep customers loyal. And these same companies who call it churn only present it as a percentage: Our churn rate is 3.2 percent. 

Why doesn’t management have the intestinal fortitude to present that as a dollar amount? Answer: They don't want anyone to know, and it places the burden on salespeople to replace the 3.2 percent in order to get to last year's numbers. Not good.

What’s the real challenge with CRM? 

Customer relationship management is the most purchased, least-used and least-adopted software in the history of computers. Why? The salesperson looks at it as management’s tool for accountability. CRM adoption rates would triple if salespeople viewed it as something that could help them make a sale.

If you have CRM software for your sales and service people, and you have a 72 percent adoption rate, that means 28 percent of your sales team and/or your service team did not adopt it — and most likely hate it. I feel reasonably certain that of the 72 percent that did adopt it, a high percentage look at it as something they “had to do” rather than something that would help them.

On imagination and wow!:

Salespeople are missing huge opportunities for engagement and opportunities to gain response from customers by not being imaginative or creative in their communications.

  • Show me a sales script, and I'll show you a boring message.
  • Show me a slide deck prepared by marketing, and I'll show you a boring message.
  • Show me an email prepared by a salesperson, and I'll show you a boring message.

Where’s the value? Show me the value. Where's the wow? Show me the wow! If you show me wow and value, I will respond, I will engage, I will connect and I will buy.

Those are my thoughts and ideas of the moment, all captured the second they occurred to me. Hope they get you thinking, taking action and capturing your own thoughts and ideas.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 books. For information about training and seminars and how you can become a Gitomer Certified Advisor, visit gitomer.com or email Jeffrey at salesman@gitomer.com.

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