I am a salesman because I had to be, not because I wanted to be.
Truth be told I hated sales when I got into it.
I hear people say, “you are a natural salesman.”
I am the most unnatural salesperson you would ever meet and hated sales for the first 8 years I was in it. At the age of 17 on my first sales job in a clothing store, my card said, “sales associate” and I hated it.
I hated talking to strangers, “is there something I can help you with?”
I was awkward, often tongue-tied, scared to approach people, hated rejection and my results relied purely on luck.
My results relied on whether I met the right customer or not — or so I thought.
I got in sales because my survival depended on it not because I wanted to.
The career that had been set for me didn’t pay any money.
Sales was the only job offered to me and I hated it. I told my uncle, “I didn’t go to college to become a salesman.” And he said, “You didn’t go to college to be out of work either.”
So, I took the sales job and for the next two years I hated it. I hated building rapport with a customer, asking probing questions, and hated asking for the sale.
Hate is not too strong of a word.
I hated the ups and downs, the commission only, the rejection, appointments not showing, customers lying to me…and the begging and follow up it seemed I was expected to do.
Fast forward 35+ years. I was doing an interview with NFL Hall of Famer and entrepreneur Fran Tarkenton who said, “You own the sales niche man. How did you do that?”
Good question, how does an average sales guy go from hating sales to being the leading authority in the industry writing a dozen bestselling sales programs and five business sales books?
When I realized my life depended on sales and decided to quit moaning and groaning and made a commitment to being great at sales, well, everything changed.
A guy named Ray told me one day, “You hate sales because you don’t know anything about it. Listen to this tape.”
He gave me a cassette by an old sales trainer who talked about sales like it was a formula for selling step by step from the moment you met the customer to the close.
It was amazing, so I called the company to ask about what else they had and invested $3000 in a 12-tape training program in 1983.
Every day I invested 30 minutes to one hour watching video footage of this guy explaining sales step by step. Within 30 days my production had doubled and, interestingly enough, what I had been hating on for 8 years I now started to enjoy.
Within nine months I was in the top 1% in my industry and had fallen in love.
Within five years I started a business where I would teach salespeople and sales organizations a new way to sell.
Over the years I have talked to tens of millions of professional salespeople from every industry.
I was speaking to a thousand insurance agents in Scottsdale, where the average earner in the room makes $970,000 a year. I asked them, “How many of you got into sales because you wanted to be in sales?”
Almost no one raised their hands.
I was speaking to three thousand network marketers in Vegas and asked, “Who likes sales?”
Almost no one raised their hands.
The point is you don’t need to like sales — you need to understand your entire future depends on it and quit fighting it.
Very few people inherently like sales.
Everyone I know who loves sales love it because they are successful at it.
In 25 years I have never met a person in sales who loves it that is failing at it.
I have met a lot of salespeople that do love their profession and they all have two things in common — they make money and they KNOW what they are doing.
I’ve met thousands of greats:
…all the varying different personality types, I’ve seen them. From the very competitive, direct, and results-driven to those much more reserved, modest, low-key and cautious.
I have helped thousands of salespeople over the years learn to fall in love with their career and it is my experience that to really love sales and make a lot of money doing it, two things must happen.
#1 Commit to it as your survival
You don’t need to want to do it, love to do it, or even like to do it — that will come when you get results. You must commit to it with no other options.
#2 Learn how to do sales
If you were not born a salesperson, whatever that means, then you will have to learn it step by step. By the way, I know lots of people I grew up with who felt like they were born salespeople and I sold circles around them once I learned the game.
Once committed, there is so much to learn.
- Right Attitude
- Meeting a customer
- Putting them at ease
- Differentiating yourself
- Making a lasting impression
- Building Rapport
- Effectively qualifying
- Determining motivation to purchase
- Identifying reasons to create urgency
- Presenting your solution
- When to talk and when to listen
- How to build value
- How to Create excitement
- How to present your offer
- How to negotiate
- How to Close
- How to Press for the Close
- When to Back off from the Close
- When to Lock a deal down
- How to handle influencers
- How to Determine Decision maker
- How to Handle Long Sales Cycles
- How to Handle Multiple Decision Makers
And that is just the sales cycle, that doesn’t include prospecting, follow-up, cold calls or how to stay motivated.
So, are you ready to get in sales yet?
Before I committed to sales I was broke. Once I committed and started learning everything I could about sales, I began making real money for the first time in my life.
I’ve mastered sales and now I’m a hecta-millionaire. You can have anything you want in life if you learn how to sell.
People go to school to get a “good job” paying 60–80K a year. In sales, you can start doing 60–80K a month, but you have to learn sales.
The sales process is really your process for making money
This is real information you can use to get real money. All sales start with a process.
How many of you have a sales process that you use? The process must be simple and short; it must be duplicable, fit all personality types, and fit all scenarios.
The bottom line is that the best sales process is what works.
Keep it simple, honest, and never disagree.
If you can’t advertise and promote how you sell, don’t do it. Here are some different parts to a sales process you can possibly use to get you on the right track:
To greet means to address with an expression of kind wishes upon meeting or upon arrival. It’s about trying to make people feel welcome.
This is the first purpose of greeting a customer, but it’s also your first chance to make a great impression on them. What you say and how you say it will set the tone for the rest of the deal.
You need to nail the greeting. Those first seconds of meeting a customer, those first moments, can never be changed.
Use a firm handshake, not a dead-fish handshake.
Wear a name badge because people will forget your name. Make eye contact, be present, listen for their name, and pay attention to their name.
Duplicate their name because you will use it over and over again. Don’t be offended by brush-offs.
After making a customer feel welcome, you want to put them at ease so they start dropping their guard.
You want to get on a common ground and differentiate yourself from others.
You also want to differentiate from any experience they’ve had in the past with your product or service.
Anyone can say, “Hi, my name’s Grant.” After that, if you can’t build trust, you’re not going to put them at ease, and you’re going to struggle to get on common ground.
If you don’t differentiate yourself, you’ll never control the process.
So, the greeting is to…
- make yourself known
- put people at ease
- differentiate yourself
- grab control of the process.
The person that controls the sale is not the person asking the questions but the person that gets answers to their questions! Far too often a salesperson will go down a path of determining a client’s needs and never get an answer.
You must get your questions answered even when the customer appears closed off and resistant to providing information.
Here are some bad questions: “What is your budget?”
First off, most people have no clue and secondly, when they give you an answer it will always start your discovery process with you chasing a number that is unachievable.
As a buyer, my budget is determined once my problem is solved. More often than not, I exceed my desired budget range by many times.
“Are you the final decision-maker?” This causes people to think that if they are not then you are not interested in them and many will answer this question “yes,” even when it’s not the case. That’s because the question challenges the person’s ego.
“When are you thinking of buying?” The customer translates this to mean that you are only concerned with yourself and your commission.
“What would it take for you to do business with me today?” The ultimate stereotypical salesman question that even the salesperson hates to ask.
If you want to be more effective and increase your closing ratio you have to ask great, professional questions that demonstrate that you care and get the answers to those questions.
Your presentation of your product or service is where you build value and desire for ownership.
This is where you have to paint the picture of ownership and create the “must have this” because they love your solution or because they are certain it will solve problems for them.
The presentation of your product or service should handle every concern, build value and motivate your prospect to ownership.
You need to tailor the presentation to your prospects dominant buying motives.
If you give a standard, one-size-fits-all presentation, hoping that something you say will be relevant and hit a hot button, chances are your prospect won’t be listening.
If you are giving a standard presentation, you are leaving it up to your prospect to work out what is relevant and most prospects simply can’t be bothered.
Assume that 20% of your product will sell 100% of it; find out what the 20% is and hammer it home.
In companies that hire me to provide them with training, increasing the number of proposals written is always one of the top priorities.
The more deals that get to a proposal, the more deals you will win, PERIOD.
Many people suggest not presenting all buyers with figures, but I believe that if you do not present them, you can never come to an agreement. Our goal is that 100% of those prospects that we come into contact with are presented a proposal and in many cases multiple proposals on different products or packages.
People cannot make a decision if they do not have the information.
My company did a mystery shop with a Fortune 500 company and found that customers were only being made a proposal 37% of the time. That means that 63% of the time, the company never had a chance at the business!
The diminishing production numbers for salespeople starts with the inability to close the sale. This is the harsh, cold, stark reality; when you don’t close, you lose.
If you only have 3 or 4 closes to use on the resistant buyer, you cannot stay in the transaction long enough to close.
Closing the customer is like taking a trip: you are limited by the amount of gas you have in the tank. The close is where the salesperson gets paid. You don’t get paid to call people and sell; you get paid to close.
Remember, a good sales process will help you become a multi-millionaire.
A bad sales process will put you out of business.
Know Your Competitors
I went to a very high-end retailer the other day and when I asked about their competitor’s products, they said they didn’t know what their competitors offered.
What do you think I immediately did after leaving that place? I went to their competitor’s store to shop.
I’m always up to date on my competitors and so are the people in my office who are selling my training materials.
We frequently get asked about how our products compare. The reason we know our competitor’s products just as well as ours is because I want to be able to show how I am better by using direct comparisons.
Would you rather have a customer leave your store without making a purchase to go shop around or would you rather have done the shopping around for them?
That’s exactly what you need to do for a customer. You need to show them that you know every aspect of your product as well as all your competitors.
Then you can sell them on how yours is the best.
With the internet at our fingertips, customers have gotten spoiled into thinking that they can always get a better deal somewhere else. You need to be able to not only help them feel as if they’ve already shopped around, but that you are indeed the best deal!
If Price is an Issue…
If the person I’m working with can afford the product, but isn’t buying and continues to focus on the money, I realize this buyer has other concerns.
While your customer may be objecting to price, know there is something else you might not know. He or she is thinking…
- Is this the right product?
- Is there a better product?
- Is this the right proposal?
- Will this solve our problem?
- Will I use it?
- What will other people think about my decision?
- Am I going to really use and enjoy this?
- Will this company take care of us?
- Am I better off buying something else?
- Will something better come out next week?
- Do I know enough to make a decision?
- Is this going to be a mistake?
- Is this person going to let me down?
When these other questions are handled, the price will no longer be the issue.
Let’s say a man is buying a birthday present for his girlfriend. He finds something he thinks she will love. You tell him the price and he says it’s more than he can afford.
What he’s actually saying is that he’s not completely sold on that product. If it’s too much for that ring, he either doesn’t love it himself or is not sure she will—or both.
You have to get the right product that solves all of his problems. Address other concerns and price won’t be the big issue.
You can justify the price with other inventory
Don’t make the mistake of offering something with a lower price when you get a customer making price objections. This is not a way to resolve the money problem.
When you move the customer down to offer something cheaper, they are actually more likely to like the product even less than the first one. This will cause your buyer to believe you don’t have a solution.
Instead of moving them down, try moving them up. This will get the customer thinking in terms of value, not price.
This will also determine whether the price objection was even valid or not. If a guy is looking at a $6,000 ring and objects to the price, show him a $9,000 ring. The $6,000 ring may become more attractive to him.
Buyers are more concerned about making a good decision than how low the price is.
What’s the worst that can happen by moving someone up in inventory?
- He will look at something more expensive, which means he wasn’t committed to the original product.
- He needs to move in the other direction, something cheaper. That makes the price objection valid.
- He looks at the more expensive item but sees value in the original item.
Exhaust your inventory, not your price. You are losing just as many customers to more expensive products as you are losing to less expensive products. Your buyer would rather pay more and make the right decision than pay less and make a mistake!
GREAT Salespeople don’t see themselves selling as much as they do serving.
Everyone in sales has had this experience. You are meeting someone for the first time and they ask you what you do. When you respond that you’re in sales, they immediately hesitate and become a bit guarded.
We all know that feeling because people think that sales is a dirty word.
They immediately picture someone in a bad checkered polyester suit trying to manipulate them.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The greatest salespeople I know hardly even consider themselves to be salespeople. They think of themselves as people who are there to serve the customer.
A customer is coming to you because they have a problem. Make no mistake about it. There is something that isn’t working right that they need fixed and they have come to you because they hope your product or service will solve their problem.
But more often than not, a customer doesn’t correctly diagnose or know the proper solution to their own problem. That’s what you as the salesperson are there for. You are there to serve.
You listen, analyze and serve the client by providing the best solution for their particular problem. It’s not about manipulation, it’s about being there to provide a solution.
Customers are naturally scared of making a decision
It’s like a swimming coach working with children. On dry land, they explain what to do, but it isn’t until that coach convinces that kid to actually get into the water that he’s made any progress.
Imagine your customer as one of those children.
They may “know” that your product or service a good thing, but taking that first step of actually buying it is scary for them.
That’s why they need a great salesperson; someone to show them how much better life can be and to actually get them into the water!
CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE
Outstanding products can attract business, but your attitude will ultimately determine whether customers buy from you or not.
In sales, you must have a positive attitude before process or product. I want to share with you a stellar example of a great attitude.
I saw a beautiful jacket on display in a store window and was so intrigued by it that I went inside to have a closer look. The jacket literally stopped me and pulled me into the store.
I asked the lady about the price, and she told me as she helped me slip the jacket on.
I stood there admiring my great reflection in the mirror, and I started protesting that the price was outrageous and added that I didn’t even need the thing.
With an understanding and beautiful smile, she said, “Nobody buys a jacket like this because they need it. They buy it because it’s beautiful and it makes them feel good.”
I knew she was right and immediately asked, “Do you take American Express?”
What to Say When Customer Says “I’m NOT Buying Today”
Think about when you go into a dentist for the first time or a lawyer’s office, you probably don’t feel comfortable, right?
What about when you go to a party and don’t know anyone?
It’s human nature to feel more comfortable with the familiar.
A customer in your store is a lot like taking someone into your home. First, you have to make them comfortable, introduce them, and handle their fears. Unless this person visits you every day they won’t be in their comfort zone.
Even if you were in their home, they’d be a little uncomfortable. People are “guarded” when they meet new people.
The first step to making people comfortable is the greeting. It sounds simple, but go out today and keep track of how many people say hello to you when you walk into their business.
When a person is guarded, you can’t get on common ground. You have to assure your customer, address their fears and beliefs, and put them at ease.
Remember that you are not in the product business, you are in the people business.
A “guarded” customer to me indicates a good thing—not a bad thing—because the more guarded a customer shows they are likely a buyer.
Customers will often have complaints like, “I’m just looking,” when greeted by you. Don’t take it personally.
Be positive when you hear these things.
Acknowledge them and disregard them. Continue to show interest regardless of what you hear. You have to learn to handle these complaints, which are born out of the buyer’s beliefs and complicated by their fears—do not handle them like objections.
Often, a customer’s thinking goes, “I can’t trust him,” or, “He won’t tell me the truth”, but it actually has nothing to do with you.
If you are telling the truth and they don’t believe you, it’s about the receiver, not the giver. Even though it’s about them, it’s my problem so I need to be responsible to have control over the process and solve this problem of distrust.
- The customer is thinking, “If I show interest they will pressure me to buy”, so they are protecting themselves.
- They are thinking, “it will take too long,” and that they don’t want to be stuck for 2 hours there in the store.
- They think, “I will feel obligated,” if they spend 2 hours with you looking at a product that they will have to do something with you.
Until you handle these complaints you won’t be able to handle your customers.
You need to know that buyers fear making a decision, often more so than spending the money.
Buyers fear getting ripped off, making a bad decision and feeling like a fool later.
- Your buyers fear financial insecurity as if they can’t afford your product when they really can.
- Your buyers fear pressure, and they don’t want to be pressured.
- Buyers fear it will take too long.
- Buyers fear they will be obligated to reciprocate.
- Buyers fear they can’t say no.
As I mentioned, your responsibility is to make people comfortable, introduce them, and handle their fears. This means you will need to find common ground.
The dictionary defines common ground as, “the basis of mutual interests or agreement.” The key word is agreement.
You can’t get on common ground if you disagree with people. Forget this idea that opposites attract. In selling, opposites never attract.
It’s vital to gaining trust and control that you take the time to get on common ground.
Your big challenge is to get on common ground without wasting the customer’s time. Most salespeople go out of their way hunting for this thing called common ground.
“Where do you live?”, “Where do you work?”, “Nice kids you got there.”—these are all hit or miss because they are not reasons people came.
People don’t come in to talk about their kids or where they live.
It’s not authentic.
You must be authentic and genuine.
Think about what you have in common with everyone.
Common ground can include:
Wanting Information—They want it, you have it.
Getting in and out—you want that too.
Making a good decision—You also want to be sure they don’t make a bad decision.
Not being pressured—You don’t want to pressure them either.
Don’t want to waste time—You don’t want to waste yours either.
Make the Most Out of Sales Rejection
Rejection has probably destroyed the careers of more salespeople than any other single thing. No one likes rejection and only a very few get to a point where they are not affected by it. But in sales, you will need to learn out how to constructively handle rejection.
These are a few techniques I use to get through it:
#1 Be rational about your rejection
Stay rational, not emotional when you hear “no.”
Convince yourself that it doesn’t mean you or your offer are being rejected, but that the customer merely needs more information.
No doesn’t mean you are deficient or personally being rejected. There is zero value in getting emotional about a client’s rejection. Instead, find out what the no means.
#2 Figure out what they don’t like
When clients say no, find out what they are rejecting specifically. Ask them: “What is it about my proposal you are saying no to?”
Most people assume a rejection is about everything being offered when it’s really only a small part your client doesn’t like.
Break down the no to clarify what exactly your prospect is rejecting.
#3 Don’t take no for an answer
People often say no as an automatic reaction. You could offer more than your client wants and still be rejected.
My first high rejection sales job was cold calling multimillionaires.
They were telling me no before they even heard my offer, just to get rid of me.
Keep a positive attitude, smile, get the buyer’s full attention and say, “I appreciate your position, but I refuse to allow you to not take me up on my offer.”
#4 Be persistent with strong personalities
Strong personalities tend to be the most loyal customers. When you hear what feels like a serious rejection, bone up for the challenge.
Remind yourself you have a great opportunity to show that you are a truly exceptional professional who doesn’t take rejection personally or quit in the face of it.
#5 Keep track of your rejections
When I get shut down by a buyer for what appears no apparent reason, I will put them on a help list. A help list is comprised of those people in a market I’m unable to sell to or even get in front of.
I keep this list with me everywhere I go so I can ask a client to scan the list and see if they can help me with anyone on it. This has resulted in many more deals for me.
#6 Get great at closing
The best way to handle rejection is to turn rejection into a closed deal. Most salespeople never become great at closing and quit selling because they don’t like rejection.
The close is where you will experience the most rejection and the single area of sales most responsible for your compensation.
HERE ARE SOME OF MY PERSONAL NOTES ON SALES
The exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something.
Facts on Sales:
- Everything in life is a commission.
- Your pay will eventually go down if you don’t get better.
- You must be fast.
- You need to follow-up.
- You better be the best in your space.
People must be looking for more sales instead of missing sales.
IF YOU’RE TIRED OF MISSING SALES KNOW THAT:
Anyone can learn to sell and anyone can sell more.
Opportunity is out there.
You are missing deals and opportunities.
You need more money.
Excuses won’t make you money nor pay the bills.
Sales are the only way to grow your business and finances.
Most companies have terrible conversion rates.
SUCCESSFUL COMPANIES AND PEOPLE:
- Figure out what their competition won’t do
- Look at what they can control
TOP MISTAKES OF SALES ORGANIZATIONS:
- Fundamentals are missing
- Sales approach hasn’t kept up with technology
- People are not properly motivated.
Sales affect everything: every person, every company, every industry, and entire economies.
EVEN KIDS UNDERSTAND HOW A SALE WORKS
Sales are not complicated—it’s fluid cycle, not a bunch of steps that you have to take.
First, pick the people you know. Lean on them. I expect my family to buy from me. Everyone should work their power base. If your own family or friends won’t buy from you, how are you going to close somebody else?
DON’T OVERCOMPLICATE SALES.
Close the Proximity Between You and the Target.
Just like when you were a kid you said you wanted something from your momma—you closed the distance by coming over and grabbing her leg.
You didn’t ask for a new puppy from across the room. You closed the distance.
That’s how you need to approach your customers. The closer you get, the more deals you’ll close.
ASK HARD QUESTIONS
The #1 reason you don’t make the sale is that you didn’t’ ask for it.
When you’re a kid you say, “Why not momma? Momma. Momma. Momma.”
You asked for what you wanted and you didn’t stop asking…until she said yes and told you to go bother your sibling.
A lot of you think you are asking for the close but you aren’t.
It’s like scratching a car—that’s not a wreck. Mentioning that you might do business in the future is not asking for the sale. “BUY IT NOW” is asking for the sale.
SALES AS AN INTROVERT
If you saw me on YouTube, Twitter, Google Hangouts, in a TV interview or at one of my sales seminars you would never know it has never been easy for me to start a conversation with people I don’t know. After college I was terrified to go on a job interview, until I realized employers weren’t going to come to my house and hire me.
I had been selling cars for seven years and still never got comfortable saying hello to a customer. Yet I still reached the top 1% of all the salespeople in the auto industry.
You can adapt, and be an introvert or an extrovert, depending on the situation.
If you are hosting a party you appear to become an extrovert to keep things going and keep the guests happy, but when you’re a guest at a party you appear to become an introvert.
As a professional speaker and educator, I become an extrovert in order to deliver information. But when I attend seminars as a guest I am much more introverted.
So how do you become an extrovert in sales situations when you are naturally comfortable being an introvert?
I USE THESE 4 TIPS TO STEP OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE:
- Get passionate. I get so excited about what I’m selling that I’m compelled to share it with the world! When you are passionate about your product, idea or service you pay less attention to how you are perceived.
- Get out of your comfort zone once per day. It is very important for me to do things that make me uncomfortable. The single scariest thing for me was visiting my customers or prospects in person. So that is the first thing I did every day to get over my fear, which instilled me with courage.
- Say hello to everyone you pass. I refuse to walk past any person without acknowledging them. I force myself to look everyone in the eyes and say hello. This is like exercising, it builds a muscle that enables me to decide at will when I want to be extroverted, whether I’m on a sales call or any other situation.
- Keep busy. When you are constantly on the go you don’t have time to be uncomfortable or doubt yourself. If you’re busy you are always asking people for help, getting help, and talking to people because you are running from one sales meeting or event to the next—so get out and get moving!
Hope that helps!
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