Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Main reasons to get objections

The following was forwarded to me by our new superstar salesman for Italy, Nicola d'Amato, and I think this is great material to share:

Let's have a look at the main reasons you get objections so we can lessen the chances of getting them in future.

Reason No. 1: A Poor Opening to Your Calls
Many companies will record the calls of their salespeople in order to determine areas for improvement. I'm sure if the salespeople actually listened to these recordings on a regular basis, they'd be horrified at what they actually say on the phone!

Remember, the first 15 seconds of your outbound "new business" calls are crucial. This is where the prospect on the other end is forming their impressions about you, your company and whether they can do business with you.
How many people do you think create a positive first impression in this situation? The answer is not many. Far too many salespeople stumble over their words, deliver their opening statement half-heartedly and then wonder why decision makers are not engaged or interested in their product or service.

Reason No. 2: Lack of Motivation
I've lost count of the amount of sales calls I've heard where the salesperson sounds despondent, de-motivated and, quite frankly, disinterested. How they expect that type of call to motivate the decision maker to buy, or even consider them as a credible value-added supplier, I'm not quite sure.

Reps can be de-motivated for any number of reasons, but it probably has something to do with a lack of results from their prior sales calls. This, however, is a "catch 22" situation their results won't get better until their motivation and their call strategy improves. Can you see how this results in a negative, downward spiral of both motivation and outcome (and, therefore, their activity levels and sales figures?)

If you're looking for decision makers to feel confident in you, feel comfortable with you as a potential supplier, and feel passionate and enthusiastic about the prospect of doing business with you, guess who has to display those traits first? That's right, you do. If you sound as though you'd rather be doing anything besides making that sales call, how on earth can you expect any kind of result?

Reason No. 3: Suggesting Your Own Objections
Now this may sound a little strange to you at first, but you'll soon notice just how many salespeople actually suggest objections for clients to give them. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but it's absolutely true.

Let me give you some examples of things I've heard salespeople say, and the effect it has on the customer:
"Well, with the economy the way it is at the moment, I expect you'd be looking to cut back on your spend in this area, wouldn't you?"

What kind of a question is that? In the first place, how arrogant of that salesperson to presume what the client is going to do, never mind the fact that he just gave the client a really easy way out of the call - all the client has to do is agree with him and say, "Yes, you're right. We won't be doing anything for at least 12 months. Call us back then."

"You probably get a lot of calls like this"

If any of you out there are saying this sort of thing, stop it right now. What kind of response do you think that will elicit from the decision maker?

You're opening the prospect up to another easy way out "Yes we do, and we're not interested in this one either. Goodbye!" Now how do you feel?

"You probably won't be interested, but we have a special offer on xyz at the moment" These examples get worse, don't they?

Again the salesperson opens himself up to the typical response, which will be something like, "You're right, I wouldn't be interested. Goodbye!" Hmmm.. not the sort of response you were looking for, was it?

Reason No. 4: Talking Too Much About Your Product or Service
This is probably one of the most common problems. It's far too easy to fall into the trap of talking too much about your product or service too early in the call.
If you're looking to be more persuasive, get more buy-in and be considered a consultative supplier, you should be asking questions to elicit needs and wants before you position your product or service.
In addition, talking too much about you or what you offer early in a call will usually result in you getting objections that you wouldn't have had if you'd been asking questions, such as "We have no need for that at the moment" "We're happy with who we use" or "We're under contract for that at the moment."

However, if you start by asking questions about your prospect's current situation and potential future needs, you can then position your offering based on those needs, be far more persuasive and have a far better chance of converting the prospect into a client.

Happy selling everyone!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Key Performance Indicators

Today's exercise is meant to be interactive...

The question at hand is:
" What are a salesman's Key Performance Indicators?"

In other words: how can sales management objectively assess one salesman's performance?
While wondering:
What factors are crucial?
How are they measured?
Does sales management typically fail to see factors that are of importance?
Is revenue the only real indicator?

Here are some that I consider to be important:

External factors:
  • Revenue
  • Gross Profit per deal
  • Delivery performance to customer
  • Quality performance to customer
  • Market share development
  • New business revenue (hunting)
  • Customer retention rate / loyalty
  • Target versus Actual performance
  • # of new customers created
Internal factors:
  • Level of knowledge (products, sales, business environment)
  • Job satisfaction / motivation / attitude
  • Training / learning opportunities
  • Input to internal team / culture
  • Education / training attended

What are your thoughts?

Your input is much appreciated!!