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sales training

love getting objections

Why I love Sales Objections and you should too!

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Why I love Sales Objections and you should too.

As a sales trainer, one of the things that I get asked about probably more than any other (with the possible exception of how to close better) is overcoming objections.

There is something about an objection that can strike genuine fear into the hearts of salespeople – particularly if they are less experienced – but it really shouldn’t be like that.

 

Now, I do accept that part of the mindset of being in sales is that thrill you get from moving a prospect on towards becoming an actual paying customer (yes, you’ve guessed it, when I was in direct sales, I was a ‘hunter’!), but what if sales isn’t your natural world and you find elements of it a real struggle? If that is you, then here are some practical things you should consider, which will hopefully change your perspective a little bit – or maybe even a lot.

 

  1. You can prepare for objections in advance. It is likely that most customers will broadly be worried about similar things, so do your homework, make a list of possible objections and work out what you can say to overcome them.

  2. Make sure you have lots of reviews, testimonials and case studies from happy customers. If a potential customer objects to something specific, it can be very powerful to say “Well my customer AAA had a similar concern, so we did BBB and the results were CCC.”

  3. Don’t rush to answer objections with tons of facts. It can be a lot more powerful to ask probing questions instead, such as “why is that important to you?” or “tell me a bit more about your concerns”. By encouraging potential customers to explain in more depth, you may find that the objection they stated was actually secondary to something else, which is fantastic, because now you can address the genuine objection.

  4. It might sound strange, but when a customer gives an objection, it can often mean that they are very close to buying. An objection means that they are considering using your product or service and are just checking that everything fits properly. If they have a genuine concern, then it makes sense to air it and make sure that it is not a deal-breaker.

  5. Some customers can just throw in an objection to put you off – so getting an objection can sometimes have absolutely no bearing on whether or not they are going to buy from you. Just as in life, customers come in a whole range of personalities!

  6. Once you have dealt with an objection, it is useful to ask a follow up question (known as a confirmation question), such as “has that answered your concerns?” or “is there anything else you would like to know?” By doing this, you find out whether you have dealt with their objection to their satisfaction and it allows you to move onto the next stage of the sale. After all, if you don’t deal with their objection properly, then there probably won’t be a next stage of the sale!

I hope these simple strategies will help you worry less about getting objections. Instead, acknowledge that objections are simply part of the sales process and can be a great way of cementing that sale.

 

Happy selling!

 

Janet is based in Enfield, north London and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. She has recently reached the final of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s national awards (BESMA 2016) in the category of Sales Trainer of the Year and, in November 2015 won ‘Start up Business of the Year’ at the Enterprise Enfield Business Awards.

 

 

If you enjoyed this article and you would like to receive a free download: Janet’s 8 Proven Sales Tips, please click on this link now.

Click Here for 8 Proven Sales Tips

 

selling the unfamilar

How to sell the unfamiliar (or “there is a reason people are afraid to buy”)

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How to sell the unfamiliar.

Research shows that customers are unlikely to choose an unfamiliar brand over one they know and recognise – even if there are clear or obvious shortcomings with the known brand. That can even extend to using a dangerous brand. In a fascinating article in The Harvard Business Review, it is explained thus:

Consumers in a recent study believed that airlines whose names they recognized were safer than unrecognized carriers. On the whole, this belief persisted even after participants learned that the known airlines had poor reputations, poor safety records, and were based in undeveloped countries. In other words, a lack of recognition was more powerful than three simultaneous risk factors.

There is a name for this interesting behaviour; Neophobia.

Wikipedia defines it like this:

“Neophobia is the fear of anything new, especially a persistent and abnormal fear. In its milder form, it can manifest as the unwillingness to try new things or break from routine. In the context of children the term is generally used to indicate a tendency to reject unknown or novel foods.”

So what has this got to do with sales?

Well, simply put, if your customers don’t recognise you or your brand, then you could face a harder sale. Let’s look at the airline example again. Even if the known brand:

  • had a poor reputation
  • a poor saftey record
  • was from a undeveloped country

Customers were more likely to use them. Now it doesn’t seem logical does it?

So let’s explore some practical things you can do if you are not as well known as your competition:

Do a comparison

Literally list, side by side all your features and benefits compared to theirs. This is useful for the customer, who, let’s face it, is probably not aware of what you can offer. It makes it easier for them to make a decision

Take the Long Term View

If the potential client doesn’t know you, then they are unlikely to just drop everything and go with your offering. This is where, as a salesperson, you should keep in touch, follow up, send samples, share reviews and make the unfamiliar much more familiar. Make sure you involve all the key decision-makers and stakeholders too, otherwise you will be back to square one. Remember that (depending on your industry) you may need to ‘touch’ your prospects at least 10 times before they are ready to buy. This figure could be higher if you are completely unknown. Check out this post on following up

Build Trust

If you say you will do something, then do it. If you can prove a great statistic, do it. Have fabulous customer reviews ready.This blog will help you: Are you using the power of case studies in your business If it fits your offering, can the customer ‘try before they buy’? Do all you can to show that you can deliver.

So don’t let neophobia stop you getting the sale!

Happy selling.

Come and have a chat about how we can grow your sales. Here’s a link to my calendar

5 star tadpole training

Are women better at selling than men?

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Are women better at selling than men? This is a tricky one.are women better at selling than men?
In my role as a sales trainer, I probably train roughly 60% women to 40% men. Now this is interesting. Does this mean women are worse at selling than men, that they ‘think’ they are worse at selling than men, or just that men are simply less inclined to go on my sales training programmes? I suppose any of these could be true, but without a proper study, any response I make will be extremely unscientific.

However, about a year ago, I did undergo a very interesting bit of research (again, not rigorous in any way, but nevertheless the results were fascinating). I posted this on LinkedIn:

“I didn’t know there was a difference, but I went to an event yesterday (women only) where we were encouraged to be feminine and let the business ‘flow’ to us, as well as using masculine techniques like actually ringing people up and making appointments. I must admit, I’m a bit sceptical about all this! 

What does everyone else think?”

Well, I got a big response. From both men and women. Some of the best ones are reproduced below:

  • Assuming you and a male competitor are both proactively pursuing the same opportunity, and that you both are equally professional, I think you, as a woman, have several decided advantages. Women sales professionals tend to listen better, read body language and non-verbal ques more accurately and develop personal rapport faster than men.
  • Women are much better at everything. They listen. They learn. We suck. A woman can learn a smooth golf swing in an hour – we spend 20 years trying to kill the ball. Women just make sales “look” easier because they are smarter and they listen better.
  • As a marketing Director I use a program that records incoming calls and allows me to listen to the sales reps speaking to leads interested in our services….. The women dramatically out sale the males. After listening to calls for months, I noticed the female will quickly determine what the customer wants to hear and how they need to be sold. Women can change tone, aggressiveness, and her overall persona within 30 seconds of speaking with the potential client. Males seem to stick to what has worked in the past. They don’t seem to listen or ask as many questions as females do at the beginning of the call.
  • Janet, none of us in sales can sit and wait for business to come to us. As xxxxx points out, we sell differently and very successfully.
    We are exceptional at making connections and building and nurturing relationships.That’s one of the reasons we gravitate to referral selling. Our clients and peers look for opportunities to refer us. But again, we can’t just go with the flow. We must ask for referral introductions from the people we know well. It’s important to stay true to our style and to be authentic.
  • Most people are afraid (or at least wary) of being scammed or tricked by a “shady salesman”. Notice the word “man” is in the word “salesman”. When they think of a “shady salesman”, they stereo-typically think of a man. So naturally, when they are dealing with a strange man in a selling situation, customers have their guard up right from the get-go. But most of the time they don’t have a stereo-typical picture in their mind of a “shady saleswoman”. That means customers are often noticeably less guarded when dealing with a strange woman in a sales situation. So a female salesperson often has a much easier time building trust in the earliest stages of the first customer contact. This, of course, tends to make the entire sales process easier for the woman.
  • Janet, great topic. My two cents, your a woman, just be yourself, if your a man, just be yourself. Lots of great input. Most significant is do LESS talking/selling and more listening.
  • The “male and female” concept in selling refers to the style, method, technique or approach.For example, women are noted to be a nurturer and a softie. Having said that, it connotes the traits of being patient, persevering, accommodating and supportive. Being masculine means strong, forceful, dominant in nature and vigorous. Implementing those qualities (women’s plus men’s) create powerful sales tactics and strategies with strong sales execution.
  • For sure, you need to be aggressive in sales, but there’s also a place for letting the business come to you. In this day and age we’re ‘all’ so inundated with marketing messages that we either tune them out or react equally as aggressively (and in a non-sales-conducive manner). Sometimes at a show, I just talk to people without trying to sell them on my products or services…usually what we’re doing there comes up in conversation and by talking to them and listening I can get a better idea of whether I should push them or not. Even if you can connect with this person on LinkedIn or other social media, the opportunity to sell to them (or for them to sell to you) might come later. You just never know!

Wow!

So what are the conclusions? Well, having gone through this little lot, the main themes seem to be that women are:

  • Better listeners
  • Better at reading body language
  • Develop rapport faster
  • More customer focussed
  • More flexible
  • Ask more questions
  • Good at making connections
  • More authentic
  • More likely to be trusted
  • More patient
  • Better at nurturing
  • More supportive

However, ladies, don’t let yourselves pat yourselves on the back just yet. If you are in selling:

  • You do still need to approach people
  • You need to try to close
  • You need to be persistent

All of which, it would seem are slightly more masculine traits.

So what is my conclusion? Simply this – I’m not brave enough to start a gender war. So just make the most of your natural abilities (whether you are male or female) and remember that ultimately, selling should be about helping people.

Janet is an award-winning sales trainer based in Enfield, North London and specialises in teaching small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. For some great free resources, head over to the Tadpole Training website and pick up some more sales tips: Click here

Are you giving good follow up?

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Are you giving good follow up?

I ask because you don’t have to be a sales expert to use this very simple strategy to increase your sales.

If you take a look at this chart* then you will see that the majority of sales are not closed on the first, second, third or even fourth contact with the customer – rather they are closed somewhere between the fifth and the twelfth. Although this statistic will, of course, vary between sectors and markets, it’s not a bad average to be working with.

So what counts as follow up? Well the main choices are: Read More

Sell well

Are you giving a great buying experience?

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Are you giving a great buying experience?
When I run one of my sales training courses, I usually do a bit with the class at the beginning about ‘what makes a good sale’. I ask delegates to think about a time when they had an outstanding buying experience and to share it with the group. The results are often a surprise to participants and really get them thinking about what it feels like to delight customers. It also shows them in a very real way that not all buying decisions are based on price. So what exactly goes into creating a great buying experience? Well, in no particular order, these are the things that usually come top of the list:

“They took time to listen to me” – the salesperson listened attentively, asked questions, showed they understood the answers and tried to find out what was really important to the customer. Read More

sales training - sales funnel

Do you use a sales funnel?

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Do you use a sales funnel?colourful tunnel
Do you even know what a sales funnel is? Perhaps you have heard the term ‘sales pipeline’ – well they are pretty much the same thing.

In my view, they are one of the most effective tools you can use to help you win more sales and the good news is that you don’t need a complicated system – a piece of paper, pen and some post-its are really all you require. So let’s have a look at what a sales funnel is and how to use it:

Look at the diagram below. The top of the funnel is wide and, a bit like a sausage machine, this is where you feed in all your potential customers. As you go down through the funnel, your potential customers drop out the side (not interested, no money, something changes) and eventually you are left with a smaller number at the bottom who convert into actual paying customers.

Let’s look at the stages, starting at the top:

Tadpole Training Sales funnel done at MBN

SUSPECTS
This can be pretty much anyone – at this stage you haven’t had any contact with them and you may only know their name or the name of the company.

PROSPECTS
This is where you start to interact with your potential customers. Perhaps they have visited your website, shop, or seen a leaflet. You may have had a conversation with them and know a bit more information. When a potential customer is in the prospect stage, you really want to find out as much as possible about them so that they can move down into the next stage, which is:

LEADS
These people or companies have a genuine need for your product or service. Perhaps they have asked for a quote, or have indicated that they want to go ahead and buy. They may not be ready to buy now, but within this category you can then subdivide them into ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ leads, depending on how close they are to making a decision.

CUSTOMERS
Customers can be defined as anyone who has either actually paid you or committed to purchase from you. Once you have got someone to convert to a customer, you should ensure you maintain high levels of service as these are far more likely to use you again than anyone else.

Final note. I use post-it notes because they can be instantly moved around the funnel as you lose them or develop them through the stages. The best tools are simple to use and this is a perfect example. Good funnelling!

 

Janet is based in Enfield, north London and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. She has recently reached the final of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s national awards (BESMA 2016) in the category of Sales Trainer of the Year and, in November 2015 won ‘Start up Business of the Year’ at the Enterprise Enfield Business Awards.

If you enjoyed this article and you would like to receive a free download: Janet’s 8 Proven Sales Tips, please click on this link now.
Click Here for 8 Proven Sales Tips

What’s on my selling wish list for 2016

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What’s on my selling wish list for 2016?night-1077855_1280
Why not dream for a bit? I may be a sales trainer, but I still need to sell, so if I was in ‘sales heaven’ and I could have whatever I wanted, I think this little list would cover it:

1. No one will ever ask for a discount. In fairness, they rarely do now, but it would just be nice not to get asked at all – I am good at what I do you know – and if you work with me, you will recoup the cost many times over. So don’t insult my expertise by devaluing it.

2. Every time I try to make an appointment, the prospect will say ‘yes’. In fact, they will ask me for appointments. It does happen sometimes, but oh, think of the extra time if you didn’t have to do all that legwork!

3. The amount of ‘perfect fit’ prospects exactly matches my ability to work with them. Self-explanatory really – busy enough to earn a good living Read More

How to massively improve your sales conversions (and it’s easy)

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How to massively improve your sales conversionsfun-1012681_1920
This is such an easy thing to do, but so few people do it. What am I talking about? Following up.

‘80% of sales require 5 follow up calls after the meeting. 44% of salespeople give up after 1 call.’ Source: The Marketing Donut

These are professionals – people who are paid to sell. Not very impressive is it? However, you can use this information to help you. Obviously this is an average figure, so that means some sales will need less than 5 calls and some will need more, but at least you know what is required. As a sales trainer, this is one of the most common issues I have to deal with in the classroom, so here are some practical things you can do to help you follow up better.

1. Be aware. Now you know you might have to do a lot of calls, get your head round it and just see it as part of the journey to your sale. That means you need to accept the unanswered calls, the Read More

How to keep selling during the holidays

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How to keep selling during the holidaysjanet's tadpole training mug
I’m going to keep this brief (because I bet you’re sandwiched inbetween buying presents, going to parties and watching school nativities right now!). 

However, the fact remains that for a lot of businesses (retail excluded) Christmas can be a difficult time to get customers to buy. The good news is that there are techniques you can use to get yourself in front of customers and keep that cash flow ….er ….flowing:

1. Don’t convince yourself that people won’t buy. In other words don’t get all negative. People still need goods and services, whatever the time of year. Just because what you sell isn’t seasonal, doesn’t mean that people won’t still need it. So keep plugging a Read More