Recently during several coaching calls I heard a common theme and the trend of hearing these comments always occurs during the last month of each quarter. What were those comments? Either the prospective client was asking for some kind of discount or the salespeople were asking for some sort of promotional discount so “I can close the deal”!
Generally this occurs because:
1) You have conditioned your customer or prospects to expect these kind of end of quarter promotion.
2) Your vendors want to achieve their numbers (public companies) and they have conditioned your salespeople to expect their spiffs or coupons.
3) Your sales team has not been trained to effectively sell the value of your firm or the value of the impact of your products/services on your prospects business! HINT: this needs to be done early and continually through the sales process.
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First: if you hear the word “deal” even spoken by one of your salespeople-you have failed, in hiring that kind of salesperson or your training program has failed to set the standards. Doing “deals” is simply a bad mindset for professional salespeople and leads to discounts, coupons, lower margins. We work “opportunities” not deals.
Second: What can you do to reset this mindset? You need to build the mental toughness of your sales team. In both cases I recommended that each salesperson should watch two episodes of Pawn Stars, a popular show on the History Channel. They then need to discuss at the next sales meeting what they observed. If you have not watched it, the show covers the daily issues in a Pawn Store in Las Vegas, people bring in items to sell to the store and the store buys them and hopefully resells for a profit. There are four characters the reality show follows.
What I want the salespeople to see is the owner; Rick, review the items people are bringing in, determine their real value to him, sets a price in his mind that he will pay and then begins to negotiate with the person selling the item to the store.
In some cases he brings in an “expert” to help he set that value. He then asks the person what they want in terms of money for the item, he proposes a price and banter between salesperson and customer (Rick) continue until they settle on a price. In almost every case the seller caves in because Rick knows how to negotiate better and eventually holds firm on his price and knows his business. In some situations the seller walks away for another opportunity, feeling he did not get his/her price.
In our world today, the salesperson must be the “expert”, and understand the value they are bringing to the buyer (Rick) and are mentally tough enough to handle the negotiation discussions and reinforcing the value they bring.
With too few opportunities in a closing mode, salespeople become weak minded. Your hiring must focus on testing that attitude, your activity management must be focused, your sales training must include skill building and your sales management coaching must help build this facet of their professionalism.
There is always something to learn from any life experience-even from the Pawn Stars.