A note to your inner salesperson: experience doesn't (necessarily) make you better!

A note to your inner salesperson: experience doesn't (necessarily) make you better!
December 4, 2023

We provide training for people who work with customers. Be it selling, customer service, leadership, emotional intelligence, or many other capacities. We often encounter objections: "We've got experienced people." or "I don't have any new people." When a manager says this to me, I want to shout, "I am experienced too, but I still make mistakes and can get stuck in a rut. Sometimes, I miss opportunities to be the solution for a prospect because of my listening skills, or maybe I don't ask questions but instead rely on assumptions."

Does this sound like someone on your team, or maybe even you? If you have been selling for a long time, when did you last try a new strategy or tactic with a prospect or customer? Do you repeatedly do the same things, hoping for different results?

Sales Concepts has coached and trained new and experienced salespeople for over 44 years, and we believe the following advice may be helpful for even the most experienced salespeople!

  • FUD | All prospects have FUD, which kills sales without addressing – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Get underneath this by asking questions and conveying to your prospects that they can trust you, that you can help them, and that you care for them.
  • Listen | Listen not only to what your prospect or customer says but also to what they mean. Sometimes, they don't know how to articulate their thoughts in a manner that is easy to comprehend. Listen to understand, and wait to reply. Silence is okay. They want to know you are listening to them. Take notes. Think before you speak. Check for clarification to make sure you heard what they meant. Don’t interrupt!
  • Look at Things from the Prospect’s Perspective | Create value statements regarding how your company, products, and services might help them when you leave messages, send texts, or email. Practice saying them out loud. Work on understanding the value your company offers. People buy what something does, but salespeople tend to focus on what something is.
  • Ask Questions | Develop questions to understand your prospects' needs and wants. Before any sales call, write at least ten questions to ask during the call. The first few will be easy. Salespeople need to stop telling and start asking questions.
  • Sell Value | If you make a statement about your company's services or products, be aware of what your prospect is probably thinking: So what? Every time you say something, ask yourself, So What? Keep going until you can no longer ask, "So what?" anymore. Now, you are getting to the actual value!
  • Join the Digital Age | Use the tools available on the Internet to connect, stay in touch, find, and research your customers.
  • Confirm Assumptions | What you don't know about a customer or opportunity may be more important than what you know. Assumptions limit the alternatives for solutions and impede the search for facts. Listen to the way you speak. Catch yourself saying things like I think, I'd imagine, probably, they usually, I believe. If you say these when thinking about or discussing an account or opportunity, then alarm bells should ring and remind you to ask questions.
  • Embrace Objections | Ask questions to determine why the customer has an objection. Make sure you understand the reason for the objection. Think about the objections you hear most often. Plan ways to reduce risks for your customers. Ask your coworkers what they do when they hear specific objections.
  • Pay Attention to Your Customer’s Behavioral Style | Determine if your prospect is task-oriented or people-oriented. Determine if they act slowly or quickly. Treat everyone in different ways. Some prospects value rapport more than others. Some need to know the price first. Some require all the details and then even more information! Be aware! Everyone is different; don't treat people all the same way.
  • Understand the Financial Impact of What You Sell | Learn financial concepts and how to use them to uniquely cost-justify your products and services. What do your prospects care about? Develop questions to find out. Is it ROI, cash flow, payback, or maybe it is the cost of ownership they care about? Find out what is important to them and act accordingly.
  • Close | Ask buy-in questions throughout the sales process, such as: What do you think? How do you feel about this? What are your concerns? How does that sound? Close for the next step – can we schedule a time and date to talk again? May I send you an invite? Earn the right to ask for the business! Keep the process moving with closing questions, and they might ask, "When can we get started?"

The best athletes have coaches. Many careers require continuing education certification. Would you want to visit a doctor who has not had any training or education since 2006? What about your experienced salesperson? Aren't they worth the investment?

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