Sales Tips: Do You Have the Courage to Say “No”

Sales Tips: Do You Have the Courage to Say “No”

Great article by Jill Harrington about NOT chasing every opportunity – instead finding your ideal opportunities: you know the ones where you actually make money and effortlessly show how awesome you are!

check out

  1. the opportunity is not winnable
  2. the prospect is on a shopping expedition
  3. this customer is a “resource sucker”
  4. the “pay you later” customer

Stuck in features instead of problem solving?

Whenever salespeople talk about features (what it is) and advantages (why it’s good) of their product they are forgetting that the prospect ONLY cares about what it does for THEM.

Unfortunately most product training only gives us features and advantages – oh sure they call it “value proposition” or “benefit statements” but that really isn’t true! If it is talking about YOU instead of the prospect/customer it isn’t going to fit into the puzzle they’re trying to solve.

This isn’t an easy habit to break – I find myself falling into it too. Here is one suggestion:

  • take out a blank piece of paper
  • on the left side in a column, write down all the features of your product (if you have more than one, pick the one you talk about most with people to do first)
  • in a second column, write why someone might think that was a good thing
  • in a third column, list all the problems that might solve for your prospect.

need an example?

feature = lifetime warranty

advantage =if it stops working, you get a replacement at no cost

problem solved (think of increasing and/or decreasing) = decreasing repair costs, increasing available money for other purchases

advanced advantage = putting a lifetime warranty onto a product means the company doesn’t think they will ever need to replace it.

advanced problem solved = reduce potential issues caused by product failure

Not an easy thing to do I know, keep it up and then start talking about problems solved, if they are interested THEN talk about how you do it!

You can’t spell ideal without an idea!

Puzzled? Are you puzzled by the “smile & dial” prospecting method? Me Too!

Don’t  get me wrong, I am a firm believer that in TeleSales – if you don’t call people, you will never be able to earn their business  (more about that in my Inside Sales Behavior Pyramid post from 2009-04-08).

I also believe that NOT knowing what you’re looking for makes it very difficult, if not impossible to find.

Just think, you walk through a door and your best friend is frantically searching the room. Picking up chair cushions, opening every drawer, sorting through papers – it looks like a crime scene on NCIS.

Instead of taking a moment to ask any questions – you start looking as well: you look in the same places, different places, under, over, inside…. after 20 minutes all of the sudden you look up and ask;

What are we looking for?

Yes I know that sounds silly, even ridiculous – in truth ever day there are salespeople who are doing that. Picking up the phone – hoping beyond hope that when someone answers they will find what they are looking for.

My question is – how will they know?

Before you start calling today – take a deep breath and think about what makes your BEST customers great? List out 5 things about your top 10 customers (if some of those 10 aren’t your idea of “ideal” (hey I just realized you can’t spell ideal without having an idea and I’m changing the title of this post).

Next call your best contact at the customers you would label ideal – ask them what it is about you and your company, product, service, etc that makes you a good fit to work together.

NOW: translate that into customer speak “how does that potentially help me” is the answer they are looking for.

Need an example – I work with salespeople who are good at what they do and want to be FANTASTIC. (what I do or how I do that isn’t really relevant until I’m in a conversation).

OR – Are you stuck in the middle of the pack? Salespeople who participate in my coaching program saw 19% increase in their sales over people who didn’t participate. That was in the 6 months after the program.

Now it’s your turn – who are you looking for AND why do they care about working with you?

Ooops – I’m off the beaten path

Some times technology is my friend, at others I’m challenged – last week was a challenge! I was out of town presenting training on ballparking and chose “save” vs “publish” on the blog before I went.

Plus I just noticed that I never posted A Chip Off The Block’s Puzzled Edition on my website OR here.

Today is time to regroup and refocus; which means you will be getting a few posts this week instead of just one!

If you are feeling like your life, career, month… whatever,  is off track – take a moment to breath – figure out where your path diverged from the one moving you toward your goal.

  • Reevaluate the goal: before you change course, is the original goal still one you’re interested in?
  • What has your “off track” experience taught you? Plus how will those lessons enhance your ability to reach your goal?
  • Can you get there from here? Now map out the way to get from where you are to the path toward your goal. Remember that you don’t have to go BACK, you can figure out how to make it there while moving forward too.

Many of life’s detours are fun, but it may be time to take a side road back over to the trail moving you toward your goals. Have a great week!

Sales = Competition?

Today’s Question: if sales is a competition…

  • who are you competing against?
  • what are the rules?
  • where do you end up?
  • when is the contest over?
  • why is it a competition?
  • how do you know if you won?

Yes I know those are questions not a question. So instead, let’s make it easy: Is sales a competition?

The answer to that question is a very personal one. It is one that no one can answer for you… you have to answer it for yourself.

Instead of sharing my answer to the question, I am hoping that you will start to explore what the question means in your career. Instead of rolling your eyes (you know who you are), take a step back for just a moment.

Competition isn’t about sports, sometimes it isn’t even about winning *gasp*, it may be about:

  • being part of a team
  • a sense of accomplishment
  • recognition
  • economic security
  • and yes sometimes it is all about winning

I love Lily Tomlin’s quote “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” When viewing sales as a competition – never forget what your Personal Values are, if you’re not completely sure what they are, try playing The Values Game to help figure it out.

Remember it is critical to end up where you want to be. If sales is a competition for you and you win, wouldn’t it be a disappointment to not even want to be there?