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Trained salespeople may already have 99%of what it takes but when a sales needs 100%, it’s just not enough
Selling has got a bad reputation and that’s a shame. Most sales interactions have a structure that starts at zero and ends at one hundred percent when the sale is confirmed. That’s hard work, is stressful and from the point of view of a skilled coach, unnecessary. A skilled sales coach knows that if when meeting a client for the first time there’s just the final one percent to cement the sale, then selling is a lot of fun. Yet on the whole salespeople are suspected of being insincere and having an agenda of their own before they’ve even opened their mouths. Sales training typically tries to equip the sales person to be ever more manipulative and to use ever more complex psychological jiggery-pokery to get the ‘prospect’ to sign on the bottom line. The supposedly clever salesperson will attempt to build a relationship with their apparently unsuspecting source of revenue in the hope of selling more and more product, and the annals of sales training manuals are packed to the gunnels of examples of how wonderful their approaches are and how successful the fully trained salesperson can be. However there is a problem. If these techniques are so good how can it be that another salesperson steals a client away, or that a long established client suddenly decides to buy elsewhere even though you could have offered just a good a deal? 99% readiness for a 100% deal won’t cut it.
The ‘never leave the scene of a sale without a signed order’ style of selling techniques is on the one hand very effective at making sure that short term opportunities are not missed and on the other is crude and short term. In the world where a person is judged only as good as their last month then short termism can feel like a necessity. The problem with that of course is that once a short term strategy is in place, it never goes away. It’s always short term. Relationships are built and may last for years but they are always built on the premise of a short term arrangement – you provide a product or service and I will pay you for it. Well, many might consider that this is exactly what sales is. Which is precisely why they have to keep going back to the well, hoping that there will be more water, rather than settling down next to a stream where the water always flows.
When sales flow, the salesperson just needs to settle in and dip in – that takes long term ‘partnership’ thinking
There are examples of selling for the long term and of building genuine long term relationships. Rarely in those cases is there the need to follow a sales methodology or make sure there is a signed order before leaving. These customers don’t require cold calling, clever techniques to overcome objections and insincere methods to ‘align with the prospect’. They are much more like partnerships, genuine relationships in which both benefit from ensuring that the match between the service or product on offer and the apparent need are a match. But here’s the thing that makes it happen. It’s the preparation and thinking that happens way before the seller and client even know each other exist that causes the relationship to blossom and the sales to be made again and again.
The sales coach knows that they are an architect of not only their own future but those who step onto the stage of their awareness. So like an architect constructing a building they begin with a specific result in mind. Their short term sales colleagues think they have a specific result in mind but inevitably it’s presented as x volume of sales in a given period or y number of units of production to z number of customers. This is fuzzy thinking pretending to be clear. It’s the equivalent of putting a ball-park destination into a sat-nav and hoping that it will get you exactly where you want to go. It won’t. Worse still it’s like putting in that ball-park destination when you are on a deadline. Imagine the stress you’d feel knowing that you must get to a meeting at a specific time but your sat-nav only gets you to the general area and the rest is up to you. That’s similar to how a sales person feels when facing their next targets. Somehow the best of them find their way through, do their short-term thing and achieve the required sales, only to find that next month’s sat-nav destination is as fuzzy as the ones that have gone before. Is it any wonder that stress is so prevalent in sales?
It’s unlikely you’ll get where you’d like to go if you are vague about where you’re going
Coaching approaches are the equivalent of entering a postcode and street number into the sat-nav. Like the skyscraper building architect the sales coach knows that taking action without knowing clearly what’s expected as an outcome, not for them but for the eventual client, is going to be wasted action. Therefore the sales coach asks better questions. They do not ask ‘How might I best sell this month’s quota?’ They ask ‘Where will I find someone who will appreciate what I have to offer so much that they will want to be my friend?’ With absolute clarity regarding what they have to offer they ask ‘Who can I help achieve their goals with what I have to offer?’
These are hard questions. It’s much easier to think in the short term and widen the net as it will almost always be true that there are more opportunities to snare a short term sale than connect with a long term partner. The benefits however are massive. A business owner that had been struggling for two decades to stay afloat believed so firmly that ‘if only she could find the right salesperson’ the business could fly, and had spent most of those twenty years searching for this elusive character. After taking on board a sales coaching approach she let go of chasing sales and instead put herself into the shoes of just one client with an ongoing and repeated need for their services. At first she fought hard against the ‘fact’ that sales to this client may potentially be ongoing but were not enough for them to survive with because those sales were cyclical. Yet the more questions she asked and answered, the more she recognised that she could become a genuine expert in the supply of services to this type of customer. She kept on asking and answering questions with the support of the coach and with each one gradually built up her own belief in their ability to be of exceptional value to this type of client. She spent hours and hours of focusing and refocusing, questioning and re-questioning all with one goal in mind, to be of ultimate service to this type of client. Then something strange happened. She reported having a conversation with a prospective client that was very different. This client did not need to be sold to. After chatting with them about their needs they were keen to buy.
This client was of course a match to that which she had been focused on. It was not a spooky coincidence, these calls happened all the time. The difference was that this time she had responded differently. She knew so much about their business and how to be of help that it instantly resonated. Without trying they were indeed in a kind of partnership from the get-go. Without really trying she attracted more and more clients from this sector and became the go-to people for them. She learned that a super-salesperson was not necessary, she just had to be really clear about her destination before entering into her own mental sat-nav. Most important of all she realised that the sale to that first customer wasn’t made in the moment of the call, but had been 99% there before the call was ever made. Connecting was just the 1% left to confirm the sale.
Martin Goodyer is director of coach training at the iABCt www.iabct.org and author of ‘How to be a Great Coach: Brilliant Coaching Conversations’[/fusion_text][fusion_code]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[/fusion_code][fusion_pricing_table type=”2″ backgroundcolor=”” bordercolor=”” dividercolor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” columns=”2″][fusion_pricing_column title=”SPONSORED BLOG POSTS” standout=”yes”][fusion_pricing_price currency=”” currency_position=”left” price=”£65.00″ time=”one-off fee” ][/fusion_pricing_price][fusion_pricing_row]For a one-off fee, you are able to submit your own post on the worlds’ largest coaching blog. [/fusion_pricing_row][fusion_pricing_footer][fusion_button link=”http://www.coaching-blog.com/contacts/” title=”Sign Up” target=”_self” alignment=”” modal=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” color=”default” button_gradient_top_color=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” type=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” size=”” stretch=”default” shape=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]Contact Us[/fusion_button][/fusion_pricing_footer][/fusion_pricing_column][fusion_pricing_column title=”WEBSITE ADVERTISING” standout=”yes”][fusion_pricing_price currency=”” currency_position=”left” price=”£250.00″ time=”three month slot” ][/fusion_pricing_price][fusion_pricing_row]Above the fold rotating banner/box. Price is for a 3 month slot.[/fusion_pricing_row][fusion_pricing_footer][fusion_button link=”http://www.coaching-blog.com/contacts/” title=”Sign Up” target=”_self” alignment=”” modal=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” color=”default” button_gradient_top_color=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” type=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” size=”” stretch=”default” shape=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]Contact Us[/fusion_button][/fusion_pricing_footer][/fusion_pricing_column][/fusion_pricing_table][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]