Fines are doubled in a work zone!


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This month’s edition of A Chip Off the Block newsletter and Coaching over Coffee posts use lots of construction metaphors. To wrap up the month, please remember: Fines are doubled in a work zone!

 

If you’re not helping traffic move along smoothly by letting people merge (even if it is slow going) your prospects and customers will see you differently.

 

When sales are shifting lanes WHY ME is an easy mindset to fall into.

Remember most of your prospects and customers feel exactly the same way you do. They want to move forward as quickly as you do to finish their projects and tasks.

Make sure you don’t enter the Whining Zone yourself, but be there to listen when THEY need you to.

This is where you position yourself as part of their team vs. just another salesperson trying to sell something. You have a fantastic opportunity to work WITH them and be positioned as the right partner when you, your prospects, and customers see everyone’s favorite construction sign.

 End Deour

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Decision by Committee (blech)


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 More and more often purchasing is done by a committee. There are two problems for salespeople that come along with The Committee:

 

Your main contact is one of many vs. the one.

 

In the past, your main contact was the be all and end all decision making vehicle. Today, there are lots of people working together.

The new team might even be made up of people you have never met.

 

Before you start reading the rest, here are a few definitions:

Advocate – love you, your company, and the products/solutions you’re recommending.

Neutral – don’t know you or your product and haven’t formed any opinions about the “right way” to accomplish the committee’s goal.

Unfriendly or Enemy – this is the person who might have a different solution or vendor as their preferred option for the project/purchase.

 

Learn more, get introduced, and be sure to understand your main contacts position within the committee. Onto the players on the committee…..

 

§  Orange Cone – the person on the committee that wants everyone to know how important they are so they keep popping up with opinions.

 

Be inclusive: figure out a way to have the Orange Cone believe in your solution. If you can’t bring them over to advocacy, can you at least make them a neutral party?

 

§  Slow/Stop Sign – someone who flip flops from stopping the process completely, then lets it move forward until BAM they flip back to stop again.

 

Here is the perfect example of what some people’s behavior looks like when they are in the risk and fear zone. It isn’t even that they are unfriendly to you or your solution; they haven’t been convinced that making any decision is a good idea. How can you reduce and hopefully eliminate the fear?

 

§  Steamroller – comes with their own agenda (perhaps even another vendor) and tries to drive over everyone else.

 

The problem with a steamroller is that you can’t stop it. Instead learn more about what their actual authority levels are within the committee PLUS see how other members take their behavior. You may be pleasantly surprised when you begin to figure it all out.

 

§  Line Painter – makes sure that everyone knows the direction of traffic and how things are “suppose to” go. Don’t try crossing their wet paint.

 

This is another player that you will need to find out how their piece fits into the committee puzzle. Don’t play inside their lines if no one else does, but if the other members defer to their direction – find out how to create a proposal that fits.

 

§  Road Closed – this is the person on the committee who believes that doing nothing is less risky than taking any action at all.

 

See slow/stop sign above – remember this is the extreme version, so extreme measures may be necessary to eliminate their feeling of risk.

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: find out how often your main contact gets their way!

 

 

Now for the second scary part of decision making by committee:

 

Someone else may be presenting your solution, product, company

and they’re not a salesperson!

 

This doesn’t mean you don’t need to work hard on being the person who presents to the committee!

Rather this is when that just isn’t an option at all.

This detour to the sales process is frightening because you have no way of knowing what the terrain looks like or how much longer it might take.

Instead of being hands off: work with your main contact to ensure they have all the skills they need to drive your solution through the work zone. Create the proposal they are handing out, give them enough copies for everyone on the committee.

Make it as easy as possible for them to convince everyone that you are the best solution!

 

C-Level Sign Off


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In the current economic times, purchases that our prospects and customers used to make without getting anyone else’s approval now need a boss.

Consequently, those that use to need a boss – now need a director.

You see where this is going right? The fear of delays and stops hold many salespeople from asking about process early. Especially with existing customers.

UpYourTeleSales.com believes that not asking is more frightening.

There is nothing worse than believing an order is coming in… counting on it even… then having it pushed out because of a missing signature (or three). That doesn’t even take CHANGING anything once the process has begun.

Even worse, is seeing your sure thing canceled because someone wouldn’t sign off on the expense.

 

So what do you do?

 

Talk about PROCESS early and often. If you’re a new reader of the Coaching over Coffee blog (or need a refresher) – you may want to check out “Process vs. Power in Decision Making” from March 12th.

 

Since most salespeople have trouble asking new and different questions of their existing customers – here is my tip on how to bring this up with them (of course insert a realistic spending limit for your business after the dollar signs).

“_____, almost everyone I talk with has had their personal approval limits changed. One of my customers who could spend up to $2500 without talking with anyone else – now has to get approval at $500 – what does it look like there?”

 

Want to see more UpYourTeleSales perspectives on the economic detour and sales work zone we’re in. Check out September’s Construction Edition of A Chip Off the Block.

 

 

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Risk and Fear over Risk vs. Reward


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Risk vs. Reward use to be the way prospects and customers would make decisions.

 

“Does the reward I’ll get outweigh the risk (perceived or real) of doing this?”

 

Now instead many buyers are deciding which holds less risk; purchasing absolutely nothing or doing something.

 

In a world where people are concerned that making the wrong decision will cost them their job, don’t underestimate the power of risk over the sales process. What you, as a salesperson, see as indecisiveness may instead be fear.

 

NO ONE wants to make a decision when they are afraid, plus they are certainly not going to come right out and say “I’m afraid to make this decision” (well, I take that back, that depends on the type of relationship you have with them – but it is less likely ESPECIALLY if they’re a prospect and not an existing customer).

 

Change

Anytime a person has to make a change, there is going to be underlying risk – so what changes are you asking your prospects and customers to make?

·         New Vendor

·         Different (or Additional) Product

·         Payment Terms/Method

 

Now it is up to you to create a reality for the prospective buyer where these changes don’t create fear and doubt in their mind.

Don’t miss the signs, ask the prospect if that the decision they are being asked to make has a level of fear attached to it – because that isn’t how YOU perceive it. Instead talk about it openly with them.

“_____, many of my customers seem to be in position where they are choosing between the risks of doing something vs. doing nothing, is that true for you?”

 

If it is, a great follow up question could be “my experience shows that there is typically someone in the organization who questions every change that people want to make – who is that in your organization?”

 

Feeling brave? “How will we overcome that so you can move forward?”

 

Want to see more UpYourTeleSales perspectives on the economic detour and sales work zone we’re in. Check out September’s Construction Edition of A Chip Off the Block.

 

Fines Double in a Work Zone

As I sat stuck in traffic due to road work (don’t get me wrong, the road I was on needed paving for YEARS and the end result will be fantastic) I began thinking about how individual sales sometimes end up in work zones of their own. Not to mention prospects and customers!

Detour

Here is the crazy thing; it isn’t like we don’t have warning – both on the road and in sales.

Like the economic detour we are currently on.

It isn’t new anymore, we’ve known about it for over a year – yet when talking with salespeople, many don’t take it into consideration when they are working on their opportunities.

Check out the top 3 UpYourTeleSales.com tips about the economic detour in the latest newsletter