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.
If you’re in sales, public speaking skills matter. Now, if you do your selling one-on-one, you may think this doesn’t apply to you. But we’re always presenting, even if we’re selling to just one person. Besides, at some point you’ll need to lead a meeting, accept an award, or give a presentation.
When I was 20, I had to give a speech to an audience of 3,000. I thought I was prepared (I wasn’t) and that my speech was fully memorized (it wasn’t). Suddenly, 5 minutes in, I went absolutely blank. I still remember it vividly: a pounding heart, two sweaty palms, and a sea of blank faces. After the event, I vowed to never step on stage again.
I often tell my coaching clients there’s only one way to get over call reluctance or master their sales pitch: you have to write it down and put some deliberate practice into it. If you want to get good at something – anything – you have to do it over and over again. Makes perfect sense, right?
Pretty much everyone agrees with all of this. Until I ask them to practice, right now… on me.
“But, Dew… I hate role-playing!” Or, “It feels like such a waste of time when I’ve got so many other things to do.”