At FocalPoint Business Coaching of Arizona I believe in a system that anyone can follow. One of these systems is the 18 Disciplines of Selling. Whether you like it or not, you are a salesperson. We all are. And the basic skills are essential to master. Whether you’re just realizing the fact that you sell or you’re a seasoned veteran, you still must continually remember and hone your BASIC skills in addition to new ones. This is the last of five articles discussing the 18 Disciplines. Previous articles covered what I believe to be the fundamental building blocks of a successful businessperson who must understand selling skills in order to survive. In our last article we covered the skills necessary in selling with Disciplines #7 through #11. In Part 5 we’ll finish with disciplines #11 through #11.
Selling Discipline #12: Be consistently Persistent! Once you find a prospect that’s interested and willing to take the necessary steps to be your customer NEVER let them off the hook, be consistently persistent in everything that you do. And it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, from financial services; insurance or business coaching services. Most salespeople quit too early through fear, assumptions or sheer laziness. Fear in that you’re just afraid to go out and look for customers. Assumptions are ones where you’re making decisions for your customer and judging how they will react before you even speak to them. Today time is your enemy and you cannot be the conscience of your prospect. Never get into the mindset of “I’ll call them back next week. If I call them back this week, they’ll think I’m bugging them.” It’s not your job to guess what they’re thinking it’s your job to sell them your goods and services. Here are the facts:
- 48% of all salespeople NEVER follow up with a prospect
- 25% of all salespeople make a 2nd contact and stop!
- 12% of all salespeople only make three contacts and stop!
- Only 10% of all sales people make more than three contacts.
Here is the bottom line;
- 2% of all sales are made on the first contact
- 3% of all sales are made on the second contact
- 5% of all sales are made on the third contact
- 10% of all sales are made on the Fourth contact
- 80% of all sales are made on the Fifth to Twelfth contact
So if the prospect is in your target audience and they’ve given you the buying signs, stick with them because the odds are your competitors won’t.
Selling Discipline #13: Understand the Customers needs from the Customers point of view ! In other words, become a master of the art of listening. Shut up and listen. Shut up and listen to your prospect and customer. Ask them lots of questions and shut up and listen. If you can master this simple act an amazing thing happens. Your prospect or customer will tell you how to sell them! Very few people today listen to anyone else. And that my friends is a killer for people who sell. If you’re perceived as not listening, then you’re perceived as not caring. I hear it all the time while working with my business coaching customers. If you become the one salesperson that does listen, then your prospect or customer will tell you things about their business and themselves that will earn you the right to do business with them. Then you simply satisfy their needs (not always problems) from a unique perspective. You satisfy their needs from their point of view which makes the solution remarkably powerful.
Selling Discipline #14: Close early and often! What’s so hard about asking a prospect to buy? Or, asking a customer to buy more. Understand that closing is NOT a big event. Closing a sale is very incidental. If you’ve earned the right to get to this point by asking questions and listening; If you’ve tied your USP to the prospects specific and exact needs then you have earned the right to simply; casually and logically ask them to buy. It should just make sense as a natural progression. The problem is that many salespeople do the work but many also never ask the prospect to buy. When this happens it’s the first salesperson that walks through the door with a similar logical solution that gets the order.
Selling Discipline #15: Understand clearly what you’re willing to give up to get what you want! It’s the first rule of negotiation. There’s negotiation in every selling situation. You negotiate with your kids; friends; parents, relatives, potential employers, employers and of course business prospects and customers. So be prepared. Don’t walk into any situation without clearly knowing what it is that you are willing to give up to get the deal. Is it price; is it time; is it scheduling or payment terms? Whatever it is know what you’re willing to give on before you ever get into a situation that could cost you money. You can build your conversations around this knowledge, just as you can build your presentations around this knowledge. When you clearly know what you’re willing to bend on then you’ve instantly got the upper hand in the deal and can then move to a ideal win/win situation.
Selling Discipline #16: Track everything! Every truly successful salesperson can tell you their KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and where they currently are against them. This begins with goals that are clear and precise. With some very simple charts and graphs you can track the goal and your progress, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. It’s imperative. As the wise man once said, “How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re at?”
Selling Discipline #17: Work really, really, really, really, really, really hard! Don’t listen so some of the new age blather that says that if you just clearly understand what you want that you can simply sit down and wish for it and it will happen. It just doesn’t happen that way. Yes you must clearly understand what you want in your life (goals) but once you know, you must work for it and work hard. Particularly in sales, your report card comes out every week. If you want to earn more, go out and sell more. Planning, goal setting, working the phone, working prospects, networking, marketing, workshops, sales calls all take time and effort and planning. Nothing replaces hard work. Nothing! I’m often asked why I’ve been so successful as a business coach. It really comes down to the basics. The same people who ask me that question are the same ones that won’t believe me when I tell them that I work the Disciplines of Selling every day. But its true. I had a call last month where we went through this scenario. The bottom line was that this fellow had conducted over the course of a year about 50 closing presentations. In the same years period, I had done 186. That was my “secret”. I had conducted over three times more selling presentations asking people to buy something. My odds were just higher than his of finding a prospect to say yes.
Selling Discipline #18: Repeat Discipline 17! Once again, nothing replaces hard work and focused effort. What you put into it is what you will get out of it, so get to it!
In closing, let me share with you the bottom line that I offer to all of my workshop attendees; all of my customers and every prospective business coaching client that I’ve ever had. There are three things that I know to be true:
- This is the best time in history to be in business and be in sales
- This is the best time in history to maximize your potential, whatever level your are at. I truly believe that.
- And….If you’re passionate about the success of your prospects or customers, you will sell them and work with them forever!
Good Luck! And as always….