Life presents us with the opportunities to make choices.
Some are ‘world saving’. (Like having the choice of taking a blue or red pill a la The Matrix.)
Most are fairly innocuous.
Or are seemingly innocuous.
Some have more of an impact than we could have imagined on us and our surroundings. Something that falls in this category is the choice you have for how you/your business controls the sales process.
Three Perceptions of Sales
Last week I was conducting a sales training session with a team of tech engineers. This scenario is always interesting to me as I like to understand their perception of sales based on their experience(s). Three of the team offered:
- Exchange of goods/service for money
I was hoping at least these three descriptions would have been offered and in particular the last one.
The Manipulative Salesperson
Generally, in my training, I include a section about the make-up of a sales professional. Why? because most of the time buyers anticipate the sales person has their own agenda and isn’t interested in what they (the buyer) really want/need.
My ‘favorite’ sales rep calls me every couple of months and has done for at least a year. He is special. (If special means that he is the perfect example of what not to do!)
Here’s the scenario; I bought something from this company 18 months ago and they exert their right to call on me periodically to introduce offers and new products/services.
Just to let you know, if I had recorded those oh so special calls we have had together I would have enough material for a days training program.
We don’t have the time for that now. Unfortunately.
However, the last call we had together (cue music a la Je T’aime Moi Non Plus) that was particularly relevant.
After the usual 5 minutes of being spoken to (I’m being polite here) I was asked if I would be interested in taking a free trial for the product he was pushing. Long story short, I said yes.
The next thing he said was ‘Excellent, what card would you like to pay with? Visa…Mastercard…?’
How do you think that made me feel?
Tips For Controlling The Sales Process
When the engineer in the sales training I was conducting responded with ‘Sleazy’ as his perception of sales, I couldn’t fault him. The manipulative approach taken by a number of representatives today is on the decline, but it IS still prevalent.
The fact of the matter is that in a sales conversation, or series of, the seller needs to retain control of the sales process.
Why? To help guide the prospective buyer through the sales process in a collaborative manner.
If you are not in control of the sales process it is likely to derail and is less likely to end in a positive outcome.
Control DOES NOT = manipulation.
Control DOES = adding value and helping.
Here are three tips for controlling the sales process:
- Outline what you would like to happen, when you want it happen and why. (The phrase “At this stage…” is a great asset to you.)
- Share related value (Every touch point counts. However, it is not ideal to have every touch point being related to the sale. If the sales process stalls or has a long period of time in between stages share a whitepaper or something that can help you keep front of mind.)
- Ask what you can do to help. (There is nothing wrong in outlining your ideal outcome. Ask what you can do to help that possibility become a reality. For example, is there anyone you can talk to on their behalf?)
Sales IS a tactical game.
People ARE people. They like to pose objections and they have their own agenda.
Always be helping the buyer evaluate their options on the investable opportunity that you are presenting.
What are your experiences with controlling the sales process?