Coaches Corner Newsletter - Issue #969
 
February 13th, 2020
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Words of a Champion...

One of the most challenging aspects of any sales job is rejection.  Rejection becomes more damaging the more we have invested in the prospect.  Rejection on an initial call is easier to take than rejection after you have prepared and researched for your presentation, made your presentation, sent additional value to the prospect after the presentation if you didn’t get the contract signed that night.  Most salespeople are highly optimistic when they have taken all of these steps in the sales process.  Some salespeople are counting the sale as made at this stage, and they experience the ultimate rejection when they hear the word no.

I believe there is a mindset that each salesperson needs to adopt to achieve long-term success in sales.  I describe it as not being attached to the outcome.  Not being attached to the outcome allows you to better handle the times when you don’t land the sale.  Not getting the sale happens to every salesperson.  The question isn’t what if you don’t land the sale; the question is when and what do you do then?  How will you respond?

Being more focused on doing the steps in terms of practicing your skills, preparing for the call, building and delivering great openings, delivering dynamic presentations, overcoming objections, and effectively closing is more important than making one sale.  Perfecting your skills, mindset, confidence, conviction, product knowledge, and questioning will lead to countless sales, rather than one sale.  Being unattached to the outcome allows you to scream the four-letter word of sales and mean it.  The four-letter word being . . . NEXT!

Read this week’s Coaches Corner to learn, the seven-step process to end the stage of the relationship when you don’t land the sale. These steps are discussed in detail to help you feel better, ease concern on your prospect’s part, and create opportunities and openings for the future.

To Your Success,

Dirk Zeller

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Moving Forward When You Don't Land a Sale
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One of the most challenging aspects of any sales job is rejection.  Rejection becomes more damaging the more we have invested in the prospect.  Rejection on an initial call is easier to take than rejection after you have prepared and researched for your presentation, made your presentation, sent additional value to the prospect after the presentation if you didn't get the contract signed that night.  Most salespeople are highly optimistic when they have taken all of these steps in the sales process.  Some salespeople are counting the sale as made at this stage, and they experience the ultimate rejection when they hear the word no.

I believe there is a mindset that each salesperson needs to adopt to achieve long-term success in sales.  I describe it as not being attached to the outcome.  Not being attached to the outcome allows you to better handle the times when you don't land the sale.  Not getting the sale happens to every salesperson.  The question isn't what if you don't land the sale; the question is when and what do you do then?  How will you respond?

Being more focused on doing the steps in terms of practicing your skills, preparing for the call, building and delivering great openings, delivering dynamic presentations, overcoming objections, and effectively closing is more important than making one sale.  Perfecting your skills, mindset, confidence, conviction, product knowledge, and questioning will lead to countless sales, rather than one sale.  Being unattached to the outcome allows you to scream the four letter word of sales and mean it.  The four letter word being . . . NEXT!

When a prospect informs you that you did not get their order, you want to avoid the typical mistakes that most salespeople make at this stage.  The first mistake is reloading their sales pitch.  They figure that the prospect didn't hear their sales presentation well, or they would be saying yes.  So, they reload the features and benefits and try to throw the Hail Mary pass of sales, hoping for a completion.  It takes a full court press in selling mode to try to change the prospect's mind and make a sale.  This type of approach shows little respect for the prospect, yourself, and the sales process.  It smacks of desperation and a focus centered on your commission earned.

The second mistake often made by salespeople is the silent treatment.  The salesperson shows a little of their emotions, frustration, and disappointment publicly or vocally to the prospect.  That is followed by the obligatory "fine".

Being in sales for more than twenty years has taught me a lot about this.  The truth is, however, I learned what the real meaning of fine is after being married for twenty years now.  When my wife, Joan, uses the word fine, I can assure you that whatever I said or did not say, did or did not do is most assuredly not FINE!

The third type of mistake is the retaliatory salesperson.  Their approach is to go negative on the agent or company the prospect just selected to do business with instead of you.  All this does is cement the prospect's resolve that they made the right choice.  If done with too much aggression, it will ensure you never do business with this prospect.

When you don't land the sale, there is a seven-step process to end this stage of the relationship with dignity.  The steps are discussed here in detail to help you feel better, ease concern on your prospect's part, and create opportunities and openings for the future.

  1. Listen intently

    We can secure additional valuable information and sales opportunities even in the face of defeat.  Some of your prospects will realize all the hard work you expended in preparation, communication, and presentation.  When you have a prospect who recognizes this, you have a significant opportunity to learn.  You will learn more from your defeats than from your victories if you are willing to take the heat of exploration.

    Ask permission to ask a few questions, so you will be able to do a better job in the future.  Most people will respect you for your willingness to look at this situation as a learning opportunity.  Then ask some of these questions:

    • Where did we fall short in securing your business?
    • Was it anything that I personally said or did that influenced the sale away to XYZ Company?
    • If you were me, what would you have done differently?
    • Do you see an opportunity where we might be able to work together again in the future?  What would that be?
    • Is there anything that I can do for you?

    The more information you can secure about your performance, your company's performance, your services, how the prospect makes decisions, and what they might need in the future, the more you will be able to invest this no sale situation in the future for your career, company, and future dealings with this prospect.

  2. Convey disappointment professionally

    I believe that it's advantageous to express disappointment constructively.  I am not talking about whining to them.  To tell them that you are disappointed that you didn't earn their business or that you won't be working together is valid.  If done well, it can convey a level of caring and commitment to your company and prospects that is admirable.  You must have grace in this step, or you can sound too much like a toddler wanting something and threatening a tantrum if you don't get it.

  3. Wish them well

    Be encouraging about their choice.  Be positive about the other company and salesperson.  That is easier to say than do, especially if you have strong conviction about your service.  The truth is all salespeople should believe they are the best and what they are selling is the best, as well.

    If you wish them well, it still leaves the door open for future business, or if the company selected doesn't perform, you still might get a call back.  The ultimate in this approach is to tell the customer they have made a good selection, and XYZ Company will do a good job for them.  It might be hard to many of you to squeeze a compliment of another agent or company out of your mouth, but it's the pinnacle of professionalism.

  4. Before you hang up the phone, make sure you open a window

    As a telephone salesperson coming off of a non-sale, you must make sure you prepare for the future.  The future is brighter with a window open . . . the window of opportunity to make a future sale.

    Ask permission to check back with them in a few weeks.  I have made a lot of money in my sales career by checking back in a few weeks and finding out that the prospect is now dissatisfied with their choice.  What they have received up to this point was far less than promised.

    Ask permission to contact them periodically over time.  "Can I call you periodically just to see how you are doing?"  Tell them the door or window is open to them.  "If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please don't hesitate to call."  You want to convey that it wouldn't be a problem for them to come to you in the future.  You respect and understand their decision, so they shouldn't feel uncomfortable coming to you for anything.

  5. Send a personal note

    One of the most powerful techniques to use after you don't make the sale is a personal hand written thank you note.  It reeks of professionalism and courtesy.  The salesperson who won the business probably won't send a note, so your note will look even more powerful.

    A simple note expressing your appreciation in meeting them and being able to learn about their needs is perfect.  You should further thank them for the opportunity to vie for their business.  Then express regret in not being able to service them on this occasion.  Closing with that fact that you will follow-up with them in the future and hope for the opportunity to serve them is powerful and professional.

  6. Send them something that adds value

    If you have done your job right in preparation, you should be able to send them an article of personal or professional interest.  Recommend a book or a couple of books you read recently or in the past that might help them.  We must constantly look for ways to differentiate ourselves from the competition.

  7. Just do it!

    If you tell them you are going to do something (call, send them an article or information on a new product), do it.  I find that the majority of salespeople fail to do what they say they will.  Too many salespeople don't follow through on their commitments.  They get busy, forget, or neglect to schedule it.  My advice is set a time in your CRM right now to follow-up with them.

 
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Prospecting - A Little Goes a Long Way
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You don’t need to make fifty cold calls a day to achieve prospecting success.   In fact, if that is your primary method, I would question your decision-making ability.  We need to do enough prospecting activity to drive the business.  Picking a more effective medium than cold calling is the mark of a successful businessperson.  When we prospect consistently, which is the key, it doesn’t take much.  I caution you; it is also easy to think we are making progress and be merely treading water at best.

If you set a goal to make ten contacts a day, and on Monday you do ten, Tuesday three because of an office meeting, Wednesday another ten, Thursday eight, and Friday you did four because it was beautiful outside and you wanted to play golf; was that a good week of prospecting?  When most Agents are asked that question, they say yes.  The truth is that week repeated for a year would be the equivalent of fifteen weeks in the year of zero prospecting or almost four months.  Now how do you feel about that week?

If you have some name recognition or market presence, a little prospecting will generate explosive growth. Established Agents and Champion Agents receive more benefit from prospecting than new or low producing Agents.  The reason is your sphere of influence, past clients, and other sources know that you are busy.  They are not expecting a call because of the volume of business you do.  When you do make prospecting calls to them, it carries more of a “wow” factor.

This is also true in the more competitive forms of prospecting.  If you have good market share in an area, and you decide to make calls to expireds or FSBOs, you will hear frequently from the prospects that they see your signs everywhere.  You can parlay that position into a huge advantage in securing a listing presentation.  Don’t make the mistake that most Agents do when they achieve a little or even a lot of success.  They stop doing what brought them to their success.  The time to increase is at hand; do not cut back.

One of my coaching clients once said, “On the road to success, you have to chop wood and carry water.  When you become successful, you still have to chop wood and carry water.”  The need for your daily prospecting doesn’t change when you are a Champion!

 
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Two Champion Rules for Objections
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Champion Rule #1:  Objections are a gift.

When a client or prospect objects, it is merely a request for more information.  It’s not a “no” but a “not yet” or a “maybe”.  The client or prospect is telling you exactly what they want and need.  All you have to do is listen, not panic, probe, respond with an answer, and ask for a commitment.  If we can show that we can meet their expressed needs, we are more likely to close the sale.

If you view objections from that angle, you will stop fearing them.  Objections are really just another rung on the sales ladder of success.  They are the final sales rung before securing the client or prospect’s commitment.  You only have two choices when they come up.  You can either climb up the ladder to the completion of a sale thus earning a commission, or you can fall off the ladder and start over with another prospect.

Champion Rule #2:  Objections are an offensive opportunity in sales, not defensive.

Too many salespeople automatically start playing defense when faced with an objection.  The natural tendency is to take a step back, rather than a step forward.  An objection brings an opportunity to resolve an issue in the prospect’s mind and then ask for the order.  It’s really an offensive moment to step boldly forward and make the sale.

A Champion Agent starts their objection handling process at the time of qualifying the prospect for an appointment.  This effective qualifying process enables the Champion Agent to determine what objections they will likely have at the appointment.  When qualifying to uncover objections, there are a number of questions you can use accomplish this in advance.

  1. How is the prospect going to make their decision?
  2. When is the prospect going to make their decision?
  3. Do they have the capacity to move forward (financially)?
  4. What do they want?
  5. What do they need?
  6. What is their ability to move forward?
  7. Is their desire and motivation great enough?
  8. How will they evaluate a successful relationship and outcome with you?
  9. Who else are they considering?
  10. What are the possible threats or reasons for a stall?
  11. What are the possible objections you will receive?
  12. How important is communication to them?
  13. What are the top three factors that will be weighed to arrive at this decision?

These questions and thoughts will help you uncover the challenges that will await you at the appointment.  They will also help you determine if any conditions exist that would prevent the prospect from moving forward.  There is a clear difference between an objection and a condition.  The definition of an objection is the prospect wanting or needing to know more before a decision can be made.  In an objection, a decision can be made affirmatively if all the roadblocks are removed.  The more uncomfortable or insecure the prospect is, the higher the probability of objections - even multiple ones.

When evaluating human beings, based on behavioral style, you will see a greater volume of objections coming from people who are behaviorally high Steady or high Compliant.  These people move slower and require more information to make a decision.  They are less optimistic than a high Influencer and much less results-oriented than a high Dominant.

These high S and C behavioral styles have their emotional battle going on inside of them.  They want what you are offering if you have given a good presentation.  The logical self is saying slow down; check it out, which they will do naturally.  Throughout the road blocks, especially, they are thinking, “I want to think it over.”  They use minor objections to merely slow the decision train down to a comfortable level.  These are the people who often contract buyer’s remorse.

 
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