The Selling Newsletter
*A free monthly newsletter of ideas to help make your selling easier*
Selling is the easiest job in the world…Just ask anyone who is NOTin sales!
My mission is to help make it easier for you to sell.
Best wishes for YOUR successful selling—Maura
“Give me a stock clerk that has a goal and I’ll show you an individual who will make history. Give me a salesperson without goals and I’ll show you a stock clerk.”
Legendary entrepreneur, J.C. Penney
As the year is moving along, do you set goals for yourself? How many sales calls do you want to make a day or week? How many phone calls do you need to make? How many proposals do you want to write in a month? If you set goals, you have a target to aim for. Without goals, you’ll aimlessly sell and deprive yourself of the sense of satisfaction when you achieve your goals.
THE SELLING IDEAS FOR THIS MONTH
Expect the Unexpected
I blew it. I knew it and this is to help you avoid doing it. You probably know that to be great at selling you’re going to work hard on preparation and planning for each sales call. You might even try to get referrals to more quickly reach your prospect. Then what sometimes happens is that the sales call unfolds and it’s totally different than what you expected. Here are some thoughts about what you can do when nothing goes right. Trust me – at one sales call this will happen to you. Despite your disappointment, it can turn out better than you think.
The Plan. I met with the Director of Marketing of a major hotel. We had planned on working together to help improve the staff’s sales performance, but budgets got cut. The Director suggested I speak with her group Vice President. This Vice President did have a budget and an immediate need, since her job responsibility included scheduling quarterly meetings. My contact also thought my work would match the Vice President’s needs for the type of performance improvement she would need in her area.
It’s heading south… I called the Vice President and started the telephone conversation by mentioning that I was referred by the Director of Marketing. I said, “Gretta suggested I call you to discuss my work with sales professionals to improve performance.” The response was simple and direct. The Vice President said, “We have no plans to include sales training in our budget this year.” I was unprepared for this very unexpected response. Instead of responding with a question to start a conversation, I was caught off guard and responded (sounding somewhat confused), “No sales training this year? I was told that you were.” Of course, my prospect thought that I was accusing her of lying. The Vice President said, “We’re focusing on branding issues this year” and I could tell from the flat tone in her voice that she was not interested in continuing the conversation. I was frantically trying to think of a question where we could begin to have a conversation. I could have said, “Branding is a very common need this year. How did you decide to focus on this as a priority now?” It never came to me. Instead I fumbled on. I got no further than an agreement that selling issues might be important at a later time and she would consider my work.
Let it happen only once. I never thought about what I would do if the referral information I received was inaccurate. It never occurred to me to give it a second thought because a manager was providing the information. I was totally unprepared to respond. After rethinking what happened, I decided I had to do something different in the future so it would not happen again. I called my initial contact to get her interpretation of what happened. She too was surprised at the Vice President’s response. Next time I get a referral, I’ll also ask my contact to call the person in advance to prepare them for the call. If the referral contact isn’t made, I’ll be prepared to expect the unexpected. I’ll also be prepared at all sales calls with a generic response that would fit most unexpected situations. I will say, “That’s interesting. And why is that?” in a tone of voice that sounds non-threatening. I may not get the information I need. At least it’s an attempt to start a conversation rather than being left stumped and speechless.
Total Preparation. Part of selling is preparing for what you expect to happen during the sales call. Selling also includes preparing for what you least expect. The unexpected can happen. Prepared sales professionals have an advantage in selling. Your ability to be flexible and to respond to unexpected situations will make you a better salesperson. The irony is that as you plan for the unexpected, you’ll have fewer unexpected situations to deal with as you sell.
SELLING ACTION ITEM
Prepare your opening question to begin the sales conversation. What answers do you expect to hear? What answers do you think could be totally unexpected? Prepare responses to these unexpected answers.
I’m always looking for success stories and other tips from sales professionals. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas that have worked for you. To thank you, you’ll receive a free subscription to The Selling E-Letter™, a bi-monthly selling newsletter. ($50 value)
You may have noticed that the format of the Selling Newsletter is different this month. I’m using a new selling tool. Email is a very effective selling tool to keep in touch with prospects and customers. ExactTarget makes it easy to use email to sell. =============================================
UPCOMING PUBLIC PRESENTATIONS
Allen Chamber WISE Presentation: Secrets of Persuasion
April 29, 2004 11:30AM-1:00PM
Hilton Garden Inn
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Maura Schreier-Fleming works with business and sales professionals to make it easier to sell more and be more productive at work. Her clients want to create long-term client relationships. They include Fujitsu, Fannie Mae and Dr Pepper/7UP. She has an M.S. in Textile Engineering from Georgia Tech and was Mobil Oil’s first female lubrication engineer in the U.S. With over 20 years of sales experience, she teaches the art and science of selling with a unique hands-on perspective and a great deal of real-life insight. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results. Her business column ‘Selling Strategies’ appears in the Insurance Record magazine. You can contact her for seminars at company or trade association meetings at 972 380 0200 or info@BestatSelling.com
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