Even if the thought of selling makes you want to book a one way ticket somewhere else… anywhere else… sales trainer Kelley Robertson says you can sell well and even learn to enjoy it.
The trouble most people have is that they rush the process. Robertson says that with the right preparation and enough practice, even a novice will be more successful.
You may think you have to be ‘born’ with the ability to be good at sales, but that’s not true. You don’t need to be a ‘natural’. What you do need is to know what you want to get across to your prospect and you must be able to adapt your presentation to address what’s important to them.
Robertson says that the biggest mistake we make is to “show up and throw up.” Having a canned presentation which you insist on delivering verbatim no matter what the prospect’s reaction, is a sure-fire way to kill the sale. So is talking exclusively about your business, products or services. The prospect cares about what they want, not about you. They really don’t care how long you’ve been in business, or how big your showroom is, or what awards you’ve won.
Robertson suggests you begin your presentation by asking questions. This puts the meeting on a different level and achieves the following:
- It allows you to identify what’s really important to your prospect
- You can then frame your presentation so that your products or services are presented in a way that gives your prospect what they want
- It allows you to develop rapport with the prospect and begin a dialogue rather than just deliver a one-sided presentation.
Even if you really hate selling, your dislike is probably based on the kind of sales presentations everyone hates. You know the kind… where the sales person tries to bully, blackmail or bamboozle the prospect into buying something they don’t want, they don’t need and they can’t afford.
You do not want to be that kind of sales person. Successful sales people with loyal long term customers don’t do it that way. Really good sales people help their prospect fill a need.
The biggest challenge for most people who hate selling, is ‘how do I make a great presentation and avoid making silly gaffes that will have me cringing later?’
It’s all in the preparation, says Robertson.
Give yourself enough time. Begin by outlining the points you want to make.
Then, determine the questions that will put the prospect at ease and begin building rapport. Asking the prospect about their business and challenges yields information you can use to tailor your presentation so that it solves their problems.
The next step is to rehearse. Practice makes perfect in salesmanship, just as it does in athletics or any other skill.
Robertson suggests that you video tape yourself while practicing. You’ll quickly spot where your presentation needs improvement. It will probably be painful, but it’ll be very helpful.
You’ll be more articulate, more responsive and more confident.
When you’re with the prospect you’re bound to be nervous. Robertson says even he, a trained, experienced professional, feels nervous before a big presentation. This can be helpful, adding a little extra ‘energy’ to your delivery.
To minimize nervousness, Robertson advises “Pretend that you’re an actor playing yourself. That removes ‘you’ from the responsibility of making a perfect delivery. Instead the ‘actor’ can deliver on your behalf. You’ll soon find your rhythm and relax.”
Don’t try to be anyone other than yourself or act as someone you think you should be. Just relax and be genuine. Most people are forgiving if they sense your sincerity.
- Find out what’s important to your prospect
- Make eye contact
- Smile when appropriate
- Don’t worry about forgetting something.
- Concentrate on developing a rapport
Be sure to keep lining up prospects. When you only have one prospect a rejection is devastating. With a full pipeline you have the confidence of knowing you have plenty more good prospects to see.
If you’ve approached the process as suggested, with plenty of questions and dialogue, the close will come about as a natural progression that begins with identifying the need and ends with presenting the solution.
Finally, don’t be afraid of objections. Prepare a list of all the likely objections and the answers to them. Then they won’t catch you off guard. Objections are a natural part of the sales process.
If there’s an objection you haven’t thought of, or haven’t heard before, don’t panic. Be honest and give yourself time to think – don’t brush it off. Ask the prospect why that’s a major concern for them. It can get dialogue going again and give you insights into the prospect’s point of view.
About Kelley Robertson
Kelley Robertson, President of The Robertson Training Group and Fearless Selling, helps people master their sales conversations so they can win more business and increase their sales. He does this by conducting sales training workshops and delivering keynote speeches at conferences, sales meetings and other events. Increase your sales with a FREE audio program, Sales Blunders That Cost You Money and two other sales-boosting resources by subscribing to Kelley’s newsletter at www.Fearless-Selling.ca. Contact Kelley at 905-633-7750 or Kelley@RobertsonTrainingGroup.com.