We all know it, and we all dread it: the lost sale. They said they wanted to buy, and now they don’t. Or a current client wants to cancel. And you can feel all the time and effort you spent going down the drain.
The knee-jerk reaction here is to immediately defend our products or services and talk about how great they are. We try to “fix it” and convince them to stay with us or to stay and buy. But what’s even more important than that is that we learn how to listen.
We’ve all heard that “time is money,” right? Well, it’s true. And most of you probably know that determining the value of your time can be the first step in becoming a more effective professional.
You may have even tried using your hourly rate to make better time management decisions. But if you are a salesperson, you’re selling yourself short when you calculate the value of your time using the traditional “hourly rate” formula. There’s a much better way.
Like most salespeople, I suffer from a total squirrel mentality. I’m always going; always trying to do a million things at once. If not properly managed, this can obviously lead to an extraordinary amount of stress—and stress is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to success.
Meditation has long been recommended to reduce stress levels and increase focus. That didn’t prevent me from thinking it was entirely too hokey and a total waste of my time, though. I tried it for two whole days in a row before making up every excuse in the world about why it wasn’t going to work for me.
No matter what field you’re in, there’s an established flow on how to best land a sale. You can tweak it to fit your particular industry of course, but there are seven essential steps to success, known as the Sales Cycle.
Like the circle of life, you should look at your sales cycle as a never-ending loop; new leads converting to contacts that turn into closed deals who refer more new leads. But over time, even really good salespeople tend to focus more time and energy on the tasks they excel at while paying less attention to other, equally important aspects of selling.
To be a master salesperson, you must master the entire process! Let’s take a look at the seven steps of the Sales Cycle and see if you can spot one you may be neglecting in your business.
There are plenty of everyday tasks you do for your business that are important. But does every single thing you do actually generate income? Of course not. Learning to distinguish between what actually makes you money – your Income Producing Activities – and what doesn’t is key to maximizing your earning potential.
Income Producing Activities (IPAs) can fall into one of three levels.
So you’ve landed a meeting with a new prospect. You’ve fostered an environment of mutual trust and respect and created a buying atmosphere. How do you move forward with the needs analysis in a way that gives your prospect confidence that working with you is the right decision? Well, by identifying the pain, of course.
Most salespeople know that they need to identify the pain, or “find the pain.” But that’s just scratching the surface of an effective needs analysis.
I developed the P.A.I.N. technique to show salespeople how to go beyond just finding the pain. It’s an easy to remember approach for deeply understanding your prospect’s needs while setting up the next steps of the sale.
I have a friend who’s attentive, asks great questions, and always makes me feel important. She’s an amazing listener. I think about her often when I find myself intentionally trying to be a better listener. A little voice says, “What would Leah do?” in the back of my mind.
That may sound strange since (as a coach) I listen to people for a living. But like most salespeople, I love talking! For most of us, listening takes a lot of practice.
That’s why I’ve created a whole set of rules and guidelines for myself so that I’m always working to become a better listener.