I was just looking back at some written audience responses from a workshop I gave a little while ago, and I noticed a theme popping out at me:
I should be getting yeses, but I keep getting nos.
This was expressed as not being able to develop new business, getting a lot of rejections, not closing enough sales, worrying about making or hitting your numbers, building a new clientele, loan growth, clients not keeping appointments, etc.
That’s a lot of nos. How can you turn more of those nos into yeses?
Here’s what has worked for me and helped me to be a #1 and award-winning salesperson for multiple companies. Let’s start with a quiz:
How many steps are there in the sales process?
- …There’s a process?
- Got me.
B, C, or D are correct. Depending on from whom you learned to sell and what method your teacher followed, the sales process can have up to eight steps. There are even a couple of ten-step versions out there. Choose one that resonates with you.
As a young salesperson, I was a student of Tom Hopkins, author of How to Master the Art of Selling. I still love that book. The stories in the original book were antiquated when I read it (actually, part of its charm), but all of the principles still apply. I began to implement them. I quickly became the #1 or #2 salesperson every month, battling with my friend Peggy. (Who still kicks it, sales wise, BTW.) (Also, good looking as heck.) I remember that when I had the presence of mind to use a skill I learned from Tom’s book, the results were scary good. It seemed like magic. When I had studied and practiced enough, I knew when to bob and when to weave, and soon I was avoiding more knockout punches, getting more prospects to say yes, and closing more sales.
When I moved up from a sales rep at my first job to sales manager, I trained my team using Tom’s process. Our numbers began to climb. Your numbers can, too. Here’s how I did it.
First, preparation. Sales is a skill. You need to study the process, practice the process, and memorize the process so that it becomes not second but first nature to you. For example, if you have drilled so far into your head that after you ask a closing question you shut up, you will hear in your head right after asking the question, the first one to speak loses. And then, of course, you must not part your lips under any circumstances until your prospect speaks first. The first time is the hardest, and it will feel very unnatural to you, but once you get it down, it’s absolute gold.
Review what just happened. You didn’t get the yes. What could you have done better? Where did you lose control of the process? Did you not ask a closing question? Did you forget to elicit objections, or were not brave enough to? Did you elicit objections, and then not answer them adequately? Are you dropping the ball in the same place time after time because of fear? These are all fixable things. When you have run the same process over and over again, correcting your errors, you will become a machine. No matter what they say or do, you will know where to go next for success. That’s a beautiful feeling.
Review what just happened. You got a yes! What did you do right this time? Did you truly qualify to make sure this was indeed a prospect that needed your product or service and could actually pay for it? Did you ask the perfect closing question? (P.S., the perfect closing question is the one you ask.) Did you answer all the objections perfectly? Had you really listened and knew where the prospects pain points were and how your offering would definitely solve that pain? Knowing where you rock is just as important as knowing where you’re off. Take your strengths and build a solid process around them.
More preparation. Write down a list of possible objections to buying your product or service. Write down all your best answers to each one. When you hear a new one, add it to your list and come up with your best answers. Regularly study your list. When a prospect raises one of your listed objections, you will know exactly how you will respond. Hearing those negative words come from your prospect’s lips will elicit a rush of relief ever after. Yes! I know the answer to that one!
Believe. If you don’t believe in the value and power of your offering, no one else will, either. But you also have to believe in the value and power of yourself. You’re not a salesperson. You’re a problem solver. A solution provider. A pain reliever. If you are in front of that prospect, it’s because you want to help. Show her exactly how you will save her money, or save her time, or grow her business, or eliminate her headaches, or all of the above, and she will buy from you.
WARNING: You will always get nos. There is no world in which you will not be rejected. (Well, there is, but it’s in a parallel universe, and you don’t live there right yet.) It’s part of the game. You will likely always get more nos than yeses, if you’re really out there hunting for business. By putting in place some good, solid selling and closing foundations, you will turn more of those nos into yeses.