Some snow is still on the ground, but it won’t be too long before it all melts. As spring approaches, opportunities for seasonal companies will be plentiful. For others, it never stopped. In either case, and although regular customers may naturally continue to use your organization, others will “get three quotes”. It’s inevitable. As much as you may not want to participate in situations like these, for many, these are still opportunities. For those prospects that aren’t simply shopping for lowest price, these are opportunities to sell…if you can. Unfortunately, many salespeople are unable to win on a regular basis in these situations. They give ideas, they quote, they educate, they follow up and…nothing. Or, they go through meetings with the potential customer, quote and follow up and…nothing.
If you find yourself sometimes in this category, maybe it’s time to sharpen up your sales process. Said another way, implement more systems into your sales approach and you could find yourself winning more. What’s the advantage of a systematic approach for selling? Here are but a few reasons why implementing selling systems can help you.
- They help you better understand where you win or lose a sale
- They help make your approach more consistent
- It builds good habits that are repeatable
- It becomes teachable to new salespeople you hire
If you’re in agreement about having stronger sales systems, then the time to begin is now. It will take you or your people a while to develop and get better at each of the systems you’ve decided to implement.
Systems to consider for spring
- Your introductory message system
- Your follow-up system
- Your attitudinal system
Introductory message system
When you first meet that person that is considering multiple bids, it’s time to ramp up your message. You can differentiate yourself literally at the beginning of the meeting, or when first on the phone with how you deliver your message. We have a saying in our training about just this. We say, “Don’t tell them what you do, how you do it or anything about your company”. Why? Because we can’t assume what is important to them. And, they probably don’t believe you either. Not to mention, with this approach, you’re making it all about you. Think about it. If you lead with statements like, “We’re the biggest”, “We’re the most experienced” or even, “One thing we really take pride in is….”, do they really believe you? Fair to say that everyone talks like this? And when we say everyone, we mean, literally, everyone. Additionally, how do we know that what we are saying is even important to them?
Instead, we teach to tell them about the issues you can help with. They could be issues that you have experienced with prior customers, issues that others have shared with you in your office or issues you have heard about on various job sites. Those issues are typically issues with the site itself or issues with the competitor. As example, someone might be having an issue with drainage on the property, unhappy with how their property looks or how it is not functional. It could also be that who they’ve used in the past is late, not transparent enough or not professional. Use these as examples of the types of issues you can help with, then discuss what is important to them.
In our weekly training sessions with regular clients we talk about dozens of ways to follow-up with prospects who are not returning phone calls or emails. The art of “following-up” is frankly more of a science when you understand what works and what doesn't. For the purpose of this article we’ll give a single but highly effective strategy for “following-up”. Although, I am reluctant to even call it “following-up” up because of how stereotypical it makes a salesperson looks when they use a phrase like this. In other words, “I’m just following up…” belongs in the trash with the other 50 statements stereotypical salespeople say on a regular basis. Just look at the first starting letters in the phrase, following-up: f.u. Get it?
Kidding aside, try this: before you leave your meetings or hang up the phone with a prospect have an established date and time of when you will speak next. It’s an agreed upon date and time where you will call. Just like an appointment, they are less likely to cancel this than they are to simply blow you off leaving a voicemail of, “just following up” (again, yuck). If they aren’t willing to do this with you, what have you figured out? Exactly. Not interested. At least you know and save time in the process.
Your attitudinal system
Sadly, I feel compelled to put this third system in the article because we still see it running rampant amongst salespeople. That is, salespeople still feel rejected when they lose. They are uncomfortable meeting with strangers. They don’t like asking for the business or saying “no” to discount requests. They lack closing urgency because they don’t want to be perceived as being pushy. And, they don’t ask for referrals from their good customers because they are concerned with being judged or don't want to risk embarrassment. For all of these reasons, the third system is your attitudinal system. Some of us work every day on our physique. We go to the gym and lift weights, get on the treadmill or do the pushups and sit-up routine. Some do this 3-4 times a week, some every day. Why? Obviously, it is good for us – it keeps us healthy. Working out with your mind should be the very same thing. Working on your attitude is critical. Unfortunately for many, they don’t know where to even begin.
To start, monitor your attitude. Every morning decide on a scale of 1-10 where you want to be with your attitudes toward discounting, rejection, and the like. And, every night evaluate yourself again. Where were you? Did you make the number that you planned for that morning?
You can also reduce the amount of time you suffer through an experience. Lose a sale that you wanted and it ruins your weekend? Next time allow it to only bother you for a day. Then, learn to only allow it to bother you for a half a day, then a few hours and so on until finally, it only bothers you for a few minutes.
You can read books to protect your mind, do breathing exercises or even journal to protect your mind. The key is to learn to do it every day and never stop. Work on your attitudinal side just like you do with your physical side (the parallel may not make any sense if you aren’t currently working out at all.
Armed with these simple tools, you will be on your way to a much more productive year. So, thaw out your sales process, sharpen your selling tools and make 2020 one of your best years yet!