Like sport, sales is a game played primarily between the ears. It’s your mindset as much as your actions that will determine whether you enjoy sales success or rejection.
This week we take a look at the first 7 of the 21 Greatest Sales Stoppers and provide you with a plan to overcome or avoid each one of them.
Over the course of the next 3 blogs, we will identify and eliminate each one of these to ensure you and your team enjoy greater sales success.
If you are serious about boosting your sales results, read this post carefully and apply what you learn to your next sales opportunity.
21 Greatest Sales Stoppers – Stoppers 1-7
- Negative Self-Talk
Few things will diminish your sales results more than negative self-talk. If you walk around telling yourself you’re no good at sales, that you’re not a natural sales person (whatever that is), then you have doomed yourself before you even start.
If marketing is the heart of your business, sales is the oxygen. No sales equals no business. If you have a negative image of what selling is or has to be, then being able to sell will be almost impossible for you.
One great way to eliminate negative self-talk is to re-frame what sales is and is not. It is NOT about trying to convince people to buy or justifying your price or comparing yourself to your competitors!
The first step is to remember selling is not about you, it’s about your prospect. You are there to serve them, not sell to them. Shift from a selling mindset to a serving mindset and you will be a long way towards eliminating this sales stopper.
- Doubting Your Product
If you harbour any doubts about the value, quality or benefit of your products or services, then it’s likely your sales results will suffer.
It’s less likely that this is a factor for the business owner, but it is often an unspoken belief among members of a sales team.
If you don’t believe in the product you sell, my advice is simple – stop selling it and go and find a product or service that you do believe in.
By its very nature, if you persist in selling something you know is inferior, then you are wilfully and deliberately deceiving the prospect and damaging your own integrity in the process.
Life is too short to spend it selling products you don’t believe in.
- Filling the Airwaves
Without doubt the greatest myth in the world of sales is the idea that great sales people have the gift of the GAB!
We of course know this to be nonsense. The truth is great sales people don’t talk, they listen. Prospects don’t want to be convinced, manipulated or talked into buying. They want to be heard, understood and respected.
One great way to ensure you shift the focus from the sales person to the prospect is by applying what we call the SPOTLIGHT Technique.
Imagine that you are sitting in a room with a prospect and there is one light and the light shines on whoever is doing the talking. If that’s you, where does that place the prospect? That’s right… in the dark.
But the fact is that the prospect is the star of this show – not you, so make sure you button your lip and listen at least twice as much as you speak. If you do that, you will enjoy many more positive sales results.
- Lack of Empathy
Empathy is one of the most important but under utilised skills in selling. The word empathy comes from the Greek empatheia, meaning to feel with.
One of the greatest needs of ALL human beings is to feel understood. There is a big difference between Sympathy, Empathy and Apathy.
Sympathy is when you feel sorry for someone, while Apathy is where you don’t care one way or another. Empathy, however, is the feeling in between where you will take the time to understand what a prospect is saying but not feel either way about it.
If you’ve ever had a conversation with someone, perhaps your significant other and you’re trying to explain something to them and they don’t get it, so you explain it a second and third time, but they still fail to grasp what you’re saying.
What happens to your emotional state?
You start to feel frustrated.
The same is true in sales. A prospect will become quickly frustrated if the salesperson fails to understand their fears, concerns or questions.
But once a prospect feels understood (because empathy has been displayed) they can relax.
Make sure you are taking the time to ensure your prospect feels heard and understood.
- Trying to Convince People to Buy
Selling can be divided into two simple categories: Convincing Selling and Discovery Selling, with most people dropping automatically into convincing mode.
But I suspect like most of us, when someone is trying to convince you to buy from them, what do you tend to do?
I suggest it’s likely the more they speak, the less you listen.
You are not there to convince ANYONE of ANYTHING.
Good selling, or no pressure selling, is a process of discovery. If you fail to take the time to understand what a prospect wants, then it’s likely that you will fall into the trap of being prescriptive.
To avoid this sales stopper, avoid the temptation of offering solutions before you know what the problem is. The key to no pressure selling is to ensure you first identify (fully) what the need is and ONLY when that is clear, do you offer a prospect a potential solution.
- Rushing the Sales Process
A common sales roadblock occurs when the salesperson doesn’t pace the prospect correctly. Typically, this happens because the salesperson knows the process so well that they begin to anticipate the customers needs.
By trying to cut to the chase and wrap things up swiftly, the customer can often feel rushed, as if the salesperson is pushing them to seal the deal. Even if this was not the salespersons intent, the result is the same. The customer becomes defensive and walks away.
It’s important to remember that while you may have explained the benefits of your product and service a thousand times and you have become an expert at assessing that the prospect will find real value in your offering, they need the time to discover that fact for themselves.
If you rush people through the discovery process (even when you know what their answers will be) you run the real risk of losing the sale.
- Asking the Wrong Questions
In his fantastic book, SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham discovered that the primary difference between an average and outstanding salesperson was determined by the quality of the questions that they asked.
If you ask poor quality questions, you get poor quality answers. SPIN is an acronym for the four primary types of questions you can ask.
S – Situational. Situational questions can be helpful to you as the salesperson, but they do little for your prospect because they already know the answers. Examples would be things like, “How many staff do you have?”, “How long have you worked here?”, “Who is responsible for that task?”.
Asked quickly enough and situational questions will feel like an interrogation. These types of question should be used sparingly.
P – Problem. Problem based questions seek to understand the issue that the business or individual is trying to solve. The goal of the salesperson is to get an accurate overview of the size of the issue, how long it’s been a problem and what type of things have been tried up until now to fix the issue.
Problem based questions when asked correctly, help to start building a business case for why your product or services are needed.
I – Implication. Implication based questions are described by Rackham as the most powerful of all sales questions. These questions help to quantify the size of the issue and often help put a dollar value on the problem.
Once a prospect is able to see the size of the issue and what it’s currently costing them, and compare that number with what your solution will cost, they can then make an educated decision about what they need to spend to eliminate the issue.
N – Needs Payoff. Needs Payoff questions are future focused and help the prospect paint a picture of what life will look like when the problem is eliminated and they are reaping the rewards of the work you have done with them.
This type of question provides a strong image of a brighter future, free from the current stress and strain,and is a powerful tool of persuasion when used correctly.
Okay, there are the first 7 sales stoppers. Keep your eyes peeled for next week’s blog where I’ll show you how to overcome the next 7 on the list.
Until then, happy selling.
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