PRECISE: Demonstrates exactness right through the sales process
The Sales Coach is here to share his hard won lessons from a life-time spent in sales. He will highlight overarching, higher order positive behaviours that bring resilience to your sales.
If you are a new comer to sales, these lessons will give your sales career a running start and become a GPS to set you on the course to sales success.
In case you’ve been around for a while, the insights will make your core even stronger and help internalize positive sales behaviours
Let’s listen to the Sales Coach ...
The Sales Coach asked the Sales Enthusiasts on the weekly video call …
“Covid has hit the reset button on all industries. Tell me what’s the new sales challenge you face today?”
And the Sales Enthusiasts responded:
| “Customers are resistant to prospecting” | “Even if you managed to speak to prospects, they are impatient and unwilling to listen to you” | “Too many doubts and questions about products sold. Possibly post pandemic reluctance to spend manifesting as doubts” | “Mechanical insistence on linking purchase decisions to ROI”
The Sales Coach said:
"Interesting. These problems are nothing uncommon or special. In fact I can’t see how they would even be connected to purchase behaviour post pandemic. I invite you to explore if you are externalizing the issues you are raising.
A Sales Enthusiast (SE): What do you mean?
Sales Coach (SC): I mean are these issues created by the Customer? After all why should he or she? They agreed to talk to you, and so, they have a purpose. Would you like to explore how much you succeed or fail in being fit for that purpose? Can you look at those three fingers pointing inwards, when right now the attention is to that finger pointing at the Customer? I mean, you may be sort of right in your own way.. Is that being right enough from a Customer point of view?
SE: Hmm… Can you help us with this?
SC: Sure. Let’s begin. What was the first scenario you mentioned?
SE: “Customers are resistant to prospecting”
SC: Give me a good reason why someone will resist exploring a solution to a problem or an idea to encash an opportunity? Will you refuse? (Several chat messages saying ‘No’) See, that's my point. Now ask yourself if you are seen as taking the trouble to understand their need. If not, why should they not resist ? Prospecting breaks down quite often because the salesperson is not able to precisely spot and preempt the standard sources of resistance to a new purchase experience – (i) No need (ii) Loyalty to existing brand (iii) Hassle of shifting (iv) Habit (v) Experience . So, who sparks that resistance?
SE: The Seller! We get it, Sir! But what about the next scenario - “Even if you managed to speak to prospects, they are impatient and unwilling to listen to you"
SC: "Would you talk to someone you don’t want to listen to? (Again more ‘No’ messages hit the chat) Isn't the Customer also like you? Why would he listen to you if you are making him switch off? Like, if you ramble on and on about something he may not want to buy? How many of you remember to always begin presentations with a promise that you will keep it short, sharp and to the point? Do you use the rule of three?"
SE: "Please tell us, Sir!
SC: "The Rule of Three for sales works like this. Upfront give them 3 good reasons for “Why you?” and 3 more on “Why this solution?”. Try that, and then let me know if you find someone who won’t listen. What was the next challenge you talked about?"
SE: “Too many doubts and questions about products sold”
SC: “Ah yes ... That's even simpler to crack. How exact are you in matching how perfectly your product features and benefits meet Customer’s needs? If you aren't, then, isn't it fair for the Customer to raise questions and doubts? When he does, he is actually giving you a chance to clarify. If he doesn’t you stand to lose the opportunity. So here again, who does the finger point to?"
SE: "At us, Sir! Thank you! Can we now look at an answer for “Mechanical insistence on linking purchase decisions to ROI?”
SC: "How strong are you on numbers that show how your product or service can lower costs or boost revenues or do both? If you are, you will see that such an approach always tips the chances of the sale happening in your favour. Now, does that cover all your scenarios?"
SE: "Yes, Sir! Thank you so much. It’s all entirely up to us now! The question is, is there ONE thing we can do, that can help us get better at all these?"
SC: "I love that question. To those who know it, it is very simple and easy. To those who don’t, it can be a challenge. The good news is, it is learnable by all. It is about training yourself to be ‘PRECISE’"
SE: "How do we begin?"
SC: "Learn to be Real in your approach. Stay focused on the Customer’s reality. Many times you must understand it better than they do!"
SE: "What if they don’t know as much?"
SC: "Good question. Then you learn, you get better Decoding their needs for them. You can go back to our previous session recordings where we have discussed being ‘Real’ and how best to ‘Decode’. These are the bedrocks of being ‘Precise’
I will share a story to make a final point. Years back, when the sales world had no laptops or tablets or even overhead transparency projectors, as a young salesperson I went to a Customer armed with just a flip chart board, flip charts and markers. Those were my presentation tools for prospecting. This Customer was an affable, elderly gentleman who said he would give me just 10 minutes and not more. I quickly showcased my product and how it would precisely fulfill his company’s needs of the time. He said, sorry we cannot buy this now. But can you supply another product line that we want immediately? I told him “Sir, I don’t have any precise understanding of that product. So I’m unable to take that order”. The meeting ended there. A year later, I got a call from the same gentleman with a giant order. Reason? He said, I liked how precise you were in knowing exactly what you can and cannot deliver. I respect that kind of precision and I think it should be rewarded"
So, friends, be precise in every detail of your sales activity. Precision is the mother of perfection. And perfection born of precision wins sales and overcomes all competition. You must have the passion for precision that a colour-matcher in a fabric shop brings to his job. Any questions? How are we on time?"
SE: "Thank you for giving us enough to chew on until the next session, Sir! You are precise, as always Sir, it is time to close. We are exactly on the 30th minute. Thanks again!"
Pause to reflect: Precision is the mother of perfection. And perfection born of precision wins sales and overcomes all competition.
Action Question: Where all in your sales activities can you become even more precise?
Related Readings: Mercuri Sales Resilience Behaviours Real & Decodes
Takeaway Quote: “Precision is, after all, not only a form of responsibility and a kind of pleasure, but an instrument of compassion. To be precise requires care, time, and attention to the person, place, or process being described” - Marilyn Chandler McEntyre
About the series: This is the 92nd in a series of 100 Posts that seek to build your Sales Resilience ... as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.