The Three Legged Sale

February 28, 2007

That’s an interesting title.

Hi everybody! Lets talk about the three-legged sale. First you ask, what is it? Well those of you that are in sales have missed many opportunities to close a sale because that extra person or persons that came along with your prospect just has to throw in their two cents worth. The beginner will try to sell all three or four people and end up with none of them simply because their lack of experience has not allowed them to be proficient at controlling groups of people. I hear all of you veterans out there grinning because you think you know how to do it. Conventional wisdom tells you that if you can sell the leader you will sell the rest of them. That works SOMETIMES. What do you do if the leader isn’t interested in your product or already has something similar? Aha! Now comes the real artist.

“The Specialist” does not put himself in the position of hoping the leader wants the deal. Instead, what I do is find out is who the leader is and regardless of his interest level I make sure he becomes my new best friend. Now, either way I win! If he likes the product he will influence his friends to go along as well. That’s the easy situation. Where it gets complex is if the leader does not have an interest in your product regardless of the reason. If he has become my new best friend the effect will be exactly the same! He will influence the crowd on your behalf, just for a different reason.

So as you progress in your sales career start seeing more then just the sale. Again, go back to basics and practice closing everyone all the time. In other words, start making yourself a more likeable person by pointing out the good in others and building other’s self esteem. If you work on this concept you will find that making the sale will become secondary and you will feel much more rewarded in your career because besides having more sales then you can count, you will also feel a lot better about yourself. Isn’t that what a career should be about anyway, personal growth? I will be anxious to hear your responses.

“The Specialist”

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Small Talk

February 27, 2007

Well, how is everybody today?

Today’s subject is about “small talk”. I could go on forever about this subject. This blog is going to be for the beginner as well as the advanced.

For beginners, small talk is for two main purposes. One to relax yourself and the second is to relax the prospect. In theory it sounds pretty simple but like anything else it is a learned skill. Regardless where the prospective sale is to take place, a business, some one’s home, a car lot, a bank it really is academic, the key is to find some common bond or something you know something about so you can relate to them and they can begin relating to you.

I happened to be observing this salesperson the other day and the salesperson just went into the business and just tried to talk about the purpose of why they were there. No small talk, no nothing! Needless to say the results were not exactly what they were looking for. It could be something as simple as an article of clothing, jewelery, shoes etc.. I have also found it extremely helpful to add a sense of humor to the mix. It seems ironic that in a recent poll women were asked what characteristic attracted them to a man? Answer…If they make me laugh, sense of humor, if their funny. Sense of humor is not only one of the Eight Basics of Success, but I found it to be a salesperson’s best friend! Imagine, if you were in someone’s business or home. If you are studious you would never run out of things to talk about. Never forget, people never get tired of talking about themselves or THEIR interests. Now lets go a little deeper.

A trained professional salesperson uses small talk to try and qualify the prospect and make sure they are indeed a prospect. Real estate agents are notorious for it. They slide in things during the small talk like “Oh, where do you work?”, or “What do you do for a living?”, or “How long have you been doing this?”, that it sounds exciting?

The problem with most sales persons is that they do all the small talking and forget “The Specialist’s” golden rule of sales, you must be a good listener! To the really advanced salesperson the relaxing and qualifying takes but a few seconds even for the most standoffish prospect. What my small talk is about is closing the sale. I am listening and searching for clues on how to close this prospect. What will it take? If I am a good listener the prospect will tell me exactly how to sell them. I have proven that thousands of times in front of trainees and experienced sales persons alike. I also use the small talk to give the prospect time to like me. When I am done with my small talk the sale generally is already closed! The presentation is just a formality.

I have seen countless times the salesperson talk the client out of the sale. Over and over again. I once saw a very nice young couple come onto a car lot and the young wife kept telling the salesperson how her dream since she was little was to have a cute red car. The salesperson showed her everything on the lot BUT a red car. He was too busy “selling” her, his idea of what she wanted instead of picking up on the GIGANTIC KEY she gave him in the small talk! Cute RED CAR! I heard it, her husband heard it…Why didn’t the salesperson hear it? Needless to say he didn’t get the sale.

This next statement is for another post. Then he blamed it on THEM that he didn’t sell the car! Imagine that! As you get more advanced you will also use small talk to overcome objections that haven’t come up yet, but because you are really good only you can anticipate. You can even use small talk to plant seeds that later on during the presentation you want to harvest. Now that’s really advanced! As you can see small talk is a very intricate part of the closing process. It surprises some people, here we are talking about the initial contact with the prospect and we are already closing them. It just reinforces an earlier blog where I mentioned that the close is not at the end of the presentation but a process that starts the minute you meet the person, and never ends.

“The Specialist”

Pre-selecting

February 26, 2007

Hello everybody,

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! By the way, I felt so bad, you all know by now that Saturdays are open forum day and I answer everyone’s questions that I didn’t address during the week. Also the best question of the week wins a special prize from “The Specialist”. The only snag was that I left out one question last Saturday and I thought about it all day Sunday! I am going to answer it now. Ms T. asked, “When do I know I have made the sale?” Great question. That question differs upon the level of your expertise. I don’t want to discourage anyone, but usually I know whether the prospect is a sale or not within seconds of meeting them.

Keep in mind I am “The Specialist”. If it were any other way you wouldn’t be reading MY blog.

A beginner salesperson knows when he or she has made a sale only after the paperwork is complete. Some sales persons know after the small talk, others know at different intersections throughout the presentation. The beauty of sales is that, as you progress, you will watch yourself slide up the scale and your ability to recognize the sale will continue to grow. Having said that, I have seen countless sales persons prequalify prospects and jump to erroneous conclusions about who IS or IS NOT a sale! A dangerous trap to fall into. Beware, never predetermine your prospect. Give every potential prospect 100% of your ability and give everyone your best presentation as if it were your last presentation. I was very fortunate, I learned this lesson at a very young age because it happened to me. I went to an expensive car dealership when I was only 24-years-old and I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. I had the money to buy the top-of-the-line model. I asked a salesman if I could buy this particular car and the salesman just laughed at me. His exact quote, and I will never forget it because it had a profound affect on me…he said and, I quote “Sonny if you can buy the tires I”ll give you the car”! Talk about pre-selecting! I very calmly asked him to introduce me to the newest salesperson on the lot and preceded to pay cash for the car! I took it a step further and brought my partner to the lot and the same rookie salesperson sold him one too!

It is a lesson I never forgot and I hope through this story you will never forget! By not preselecting prospects you will get to enjoy one of the great thrill rides of sales. The ones you think are sales turn out sometimes not to be sales and the ones you think cannot possibly be sales turn out to be your biggest and best sales!

Keep those comments and questions coming. I certainly do enjoy hearing from you.

“The Specialist”

Questions and Answers

February 24, 2007

It is Saturday night and I decided to make Saturdays “open forum day”. Every Saturday my blog will answer any questions I did not address during the week. I will also select the best question during the week and if you leave an e-mail address, “The Specialist” will contact you and send you a special FREE gift! We have some good questions so let’s get started.

Bob wanted to know if everyone was suited for sales or was it about the situation they were in and the management that surrounded them? Great question! First off the simple answer is YES, everyone can be taught to sell. I personally have trained heroin addicts, 79 year old people, 15 year olds, white, black, Asians (that had no command of the English language), shy people, people with speech impediments and even a person whose whole body had been burned and was just one big scale. Male or Female The list goes on. So again the simple answer is yes.

However, I think what the real intent of the question was can anyone be trained to have a career in sales? Based on the philosophy of “The Specialist” the answer is a resounding NO! Like any other profession one must have an aptitude for the position. More importantly, one must possess certain unique qualities like in any other profession, like a love for interacting with people and helping others, a tremendous sense of humor and such passion for the work that they are willing to work on all of the specifics to make it come to fruition. If you don’t have the physical attributes of a world class athlete no matter how much you love sport it’s just not going to happen. Remember, just because you don’t go to school for 8 years for selling it is still one of the most technical professions in the world and takes years to become a TRUE PROFESSIONAL!

The second question is from a regular. JD wants to know if “The Specialist” does any personalized training? Just go to STRANGER AT THE DOOR you will see what’s available. Thanks for asking.

Jeremy has perhaps the most interesting question of the week. Jeremy, if you will leave your e-mail address, you have a free gift coming. Jeremy wanted to know what he could work on each day to improve in sales. To answer your question I believe with all my heart that if you spend each day practicing saying nice things to people and making them feel good about themselves (sincerely), and I mean from the maintenance man on up I feel you will see a dramatic change not only in your relationships with others but also in your salesmanship. It may seem fake at first but soon it will become a habit. I guarantee you will also feel terrific inside. What a feeling! An advanced tip for everyone that reads these blogs is that when you do say something nice about someone BE SPECIFIC!!!. All the amateurs and fakes say things like “Oh you look nice today” Pick something specific out and the recipient will see that you really had to mean it to notice something that specific. It takes work and it is a learned skill that becomes part of your life. Soon you will be on your way to becoming a REAL professional salesperson! I will do my best to try and keep track of you so good luck!

That’s all the time I have tonight. Thanks again for your input.

“The Specialist”

I want to thank everybody for the tremendous participation you have given my blog. Despite what you may think, your replies and comments are an intricate part of what I do. As some people have shared with me, that they cannot wait for my blog each day. I want you to know I wait just as eagerly for your comments and responses. Not only do they give me material for future blogs but I find some to be very inspiring. Thanks again. Since my life has been dedicated to sales and management it is not far-fetched to believe that I talk to quite a few sales persons a day. One subject that keeps coming up is “closes”. It seems that sales persons are fascinated with all the different types of closes. Closes like the 3 point close, the automatic close, the Ben Franklin close, the assumptive close, even to the absurd, the hard of hearing close.

I hear you laughing.

Most sales people think that the close is a certain part of the presentation, normally at the end when they go for the final commitment. “The Specialist” does not agree! The close is not a part of your presentation. It is not an interchangeable part that you plug in and out with different customers. If, and I mean IF, you are a professional salesperson you already know that closing a prospect is a PROCESS! Now this is where the ultimate closing technique varies from level to level. Even the most professional salesperson believes that closing the prospect starts the minute you meet the person until they leave. That’s fine and dandy, however if you are ever to reach the ultimate level you will see that, unlike my peers in the industry, “The Specialist” starts closing the minute I leave the house to work and I don’t stop closing until my car enters my garage at night. You say why? It’s simple even though the lessons weren’t.

I hope we have all come to agree on the fact that a large part of sales is making people like you and making people feel good about themselves. Many times in my career someone I came into contact with during the day whether in a restaurant, gas station, convenient store etc. became my sale later that day, week, or month.

Last month I was in a restaurant and the young waitress really botched my breakfast order. Not once but three times! She just couldn’t get it right. I told her it was fine and left her a nice tip and told her just to keep on and she’d get it. On my way out I told her manager what a wonderful waitress she was and how great the service was. Later that week I was in a business helping a young man make a sale and just as we were at the end of the presentation a young girl came from a room in the back and excitedly shouted to her father who happened to own the business, Daddy, that’s the man I was telling you about that was so nice to me and probably saved my job! Needless to say the sale WAS MADE! Need I say more? What I enjoy the most about being a real closer is that the more I practiced being nice to people and making them feel good about themselves the better I felt, and it became a way of life! That’s why a lot of my friends call me “The Closer”. I leave you with this thought…”So a man thinketh, he becometh.”

“The Specialist”

Overcoming Objections

February 22, 2007

Hi everybody,

I was recently giving a class to the top sales persons and sales managers for a National sales company and one of the top sales people asked me how I overcome objections? Well I thought for a minute and simply stated that with that question the salesperson was implying that the prospect and myself were in disagreement about something.

Wrong position to be in! “The Specialist” in his entire career only had to use rebuttals or overcome “objections” when I was a beginner. The last 15 or more years I never had to sell under those conditions. When I am selling a prospect it really is about me listening to them and AGREEING with them in their positions. You would be amazed how receptive people are to YOUR ideas when you take THEIR side on issues that mean something to them. Everybody in life wants to be right. It is a real art form to be able to perfect this technique. Only someone with advanced skills can pull this off and the rewards are GREAT! Not only will this increase your closing percentages but will trickle down into your family life, and your relationship with your wife and children will certainly be enhanced! I as always look forward to your replies and comments.

“The Specialist”

Management tips for beginners

February 22, 2007

I thought I had it today. I was all prepared for today’s blog and then on the way home something happened that made me change courses. I am going to try to address both issues tonight. Lets start with what happened on my way home. My loving wife called me and asked me to pick up some milk at this high end grocery store known for outstanding customer service. Not uncommon when I arrived at the store my wife called again and asked me to also bring home this special kind of band-aid for blisters. I went over to the medical counter and there were tons of band-aids. Well with my old man eyes I enlisted the help of these two bag boys that were nearby and asked for help. With my wife on the phone helping to describe the special band-aids the two young men were unbelievably helpful in our quest. We finally found the elusive product and I thanked the two young men very enthusiastically. After I checked out I saw two women that looked like they were possibly management…I stopped, introduced myself and started to mention the two young men and their above average performance. As soon as I started to talk and mention these boys the lady cut me off, introduced herself as the customer service MANAGER and blurted out “were they acting weird to you”? I was taken back by her response and told her in no uncertain terms that it was not the case at all. Quite the contrary, I found them to be unusually helpful and tremendous ambassadors of their store. The manager’s face turned red and she realized the enormity of her mistake.

The reason this story is under the heading of “Management tips for beginners” is because she broke some of “The Specialist’s” basic fundamentals. 1st, she didn’t listen or even give me a chance to finish my sentence! 2nd, instead of thinking positive of these young men and catching them doing something right, she was all too anxious to TRY and catch them doing something wrong! Remember what “The Specialist” says… To be good in sales you HAVE to be a GOOD LISTENER! And by the way if you are in a leadership role you are selling. Not only yourself. but more importantly the goals you want your team to achieve. It is also a lot easier and a lot more effective to catch people doing things right so you can build their self esteem. It is a fact people perform better for you if you make them feel good about themselves. I will elaborate on this and many other management tips in future blogs.

Now, my good friend, Mr. Anonymous. I agree with part of your comment last night. However, you asked for my thoughts so I am going to tell you. Sometimes we forget our roots. No one just woke up one day and was a great professional salesperson. Never happened. We all learned from someone or many others. Yesterday’s blog in regards to budgeting your money in the sales industry was critical. One of the greatest tragedy’s in the sales industry is that literally thousands of people have gotten out of the industry because no one and I mean no one took the time to teach the hotshot new guy or gal how to prepare themselves for the slower times while their knowledge catches up to their work habits. Most people that have blown out of our great industry refer to sales as “Feast or Famine”. It doesn’t have to be that way. All I try to do is share my knowledge and experiences. Thanks for your comments. Keep them coming.

“The Specialist”