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Two wrongs make a sale go away

Sometimes sales go wrong, and when they do, salespeople blame someone or something.

“He wouldn’t return my call.” “He took the lowest bid.” “He bought from the competition.” “He said my price was too high.”

Blame. Anything or anybody, save for one: themselves.

Amazing, isn’t it? No salesperson ever loses a sale and takes responsibility for it.

Even you.

You know the old adage, “knowing right from wrong.” Well, you can prevent sales from going wrong by doing right.

Here are the 11.5 right things to be, have and do:

1. The right prospect. Someone you met at a networking event, someone you connected with on LinkedIn, someone who connected with you. A referral, not a cold call. Cold calls are wrong.

2. The right strategy. Create questions that engage the prospect about them and that also solicit information to help you, questions that differentiate you from your competitor and questions that prove you’ve done your homework. Create a question-based strategy, not a statement-based one.

3. The right preparation. Research the prospect’s company, uncover the prospect’s past history and find facts that will help you understand the prospect’s present situation. All these will lead to questions, ideas and a customized presentation, not just a brochure and your pitch.

4. The right approach. Approaches are always awkward unless there’s already some kind of introduction or previous dialog. The approach I recommend is relaxed. Build rapport, find things in common, then start your presentation.

5. The right communication. Your presentation skills, your compelling message and your unspoken (but obviously present) attitude and enthusiasm create a buying atmosphere.

6. The right message. Prospects want to know how they can succeed, how they can win and how they can profit from owning what it is that you sell. They don’t care about you, unless they’re certain what you sell helps them.

7. The right value. Most salespeople don’t have a value proposition. They have a sales pitch. And be aware that value is what a customer perceives, not simply what you offer.

8. The right motive. Unless you uncover your prospect’s motive (prime reason) to buy, you’ll be stuck in “selling” mode. My first rule of sales is people don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy. Once you understand this, you’ll exert your effort trying to uncover buying motives rather than making a bunch of statements that fall on deaf ears.

9. The right urgency. Once you have uncovered your prospect’s motive to buy, you will automatically reveal their need to own and the timeframe in which that must take place.

10. The right fit. Fit is defined as the unspoken comfort that a prospect feels as they’re thinking about owning what you’re selling. You’ve experienced it yourself when you’ve purchased things. The more comfortable you are with what the product or service is, the more likely you are to move forward.

11. The right relationship. If you’re just trying to make a sale, you may in fact be successful in the short run. But then you have to go out and hunt another one. The right relationship is value-based, long-term-oriented and has a possibility of a referral and a reorder as a reward.

11.5 Do the right thing. If you leave out Old World tactics, sales manipulation and aiming for the close, you’ll be on the right track. If you’ve done the right thing, a testimonial can follow, a referral can follow and repeat business can follow. Those three elements are your measuring stick and your report card.

Might makes right. Lincoln said it. Churchill said it. It’s a war-like phrase. And, yes, you must be somewhat of a sales warrior to win.

But to win the sale and the relationship, reverse the statement: Right makes might. It’s a much more powerful process in business. It’s ethics-like, value-like and mission-like.

Identify all of your “right” thoughts, ideas and strategies. For each one, you must say it, understand it, write it down, intend to do it, implement your thoughts and strategies and silently reap the rewards.

To have things turn out right, you must believe in your company, your product, yourself and your ability to differentiate yourself from your competition, and in your heart you must believe the customer is better off having purchased from you.

At the basis of doing right and being your best, attitude will help you prevail or prevent you from winning. It depends on your state of mind. Believing you will win stems from your positive attitude.

If your enthusiasm is natural, it will be perceived as sincere and will become contagious. To transfer your enthusiasm, your attitude and belief must be firmly in place.

These three elements will determine sales outcome more often than a presentation, a slide show and/or a closing technique.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. They lose the sale.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.

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