52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 7 – The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure – by Grant Cardone

10xruleI once had an English teacher inform me that in order for my audience to actually receive and retain any kind of message I would need to tell them what I’m about to tell them, then actually tell them and finally tell them what I just told them. I had to hear this several times before it actually sunk in. Go ahead and  re-read that now a few times to get it out of the way.

 

 52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 7 – The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure – by Grant Cardone

 

I find that the more I read these kinds of books the more that they blend together. If  you only worked harder and smarter than everyone else you’d be vastly more rewarded. That seems like basic common sense doesn’t it? The person that figures out a way to way to be more efficient and then ALSO out works you, well that person deserves massive success right?

Cardone talks a lot about the effort piece of the puzzle in this book, by the very title he wants you to work 10X more than the other person, but do it in the same amount of time everyone else has. It’s simple, yet tough to achieve otherwise there would be a ton of Grant Cardone clones running around. Well, there are probably a ton of Grant Cardone wannabe clones running around, but none have rivaled him yet today.  It’s easy to read the words and I can actually attest to the fact that doing just some of what Cardone talks about will change your life significantly. Why don’t more people take his advise at 100% or 1000% if we want to stick to the 10X rules?  I guess most of us just don’t want what he has bad enough, we are content to  keep the same social circle and status and we have adapted our lives to our income and tricked ourselves into thinking that’s all we need.  Most people earn what they need, not what they want.

Cardone goes strong in this book, but it’s palatable and not crass so it appeals to the masses. New salespeople and  those stuck in middle management for the past 20 years have all got a reason to read this book. The best part is that this guy really eats, sleeps and breathes what he preaches, he’s a product  of himself.   I’d have to imagine that he’s baffled that not everyone is as successful as he is. I truly believe that he intends to share every secret he has in the hopes that it helps the world and he can’t believe that the world is not literally knocking down his door for this info. It does seem that more and more of the world is taking notice.

Grant seems to write in a flurry, it’s well thought out but you can tell that he is a force to contend with and his willpower is a force to be reckoned with.  He says exactly what he means and then he tells you 29 more times because he’s passionate about success and what it takes to get there. It seems to be working. He 10X’d my English teacher, that’s for sure. Buy this book, but be warned, you’ll want to buy his other books and download his audio books and then watch him on Youtube and then go to his website and watch the 100’s of hours of video he has posted there. If you are going to pick a Mentor from afar, and basically that’s what you are doing when you choose to read a book like this you could do worse. If you go in though, be prepared to go all in, otherwise this is a useless addition to your book shelf. You buy this book to start the 10X system and way of life, not to pick up and put down again to get dusty.

 

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 3 – 3 Sales Tips from “THE ART of WAR” – Sun Tzu

There are very few books that are so sparse but have inspired so much commentary. The book itself was written more or lessThe Art of War about 2500 years ago and the first English Language versions didn’t show up until the early 1900’s. For roughly 2400 years this book was known in China but in very few other locations, now it’s virtually a household name in America.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #3 “THE ART of WAR” – Sun Tzu

 

First things first, I’m a Sales guy. I’m not a business mogul or Wall Street type. I know the book has been read and recently, (the last couple of decades are recent for a book that’s 2500 years old), The Art of War has been associated with ruthless business practices and the cold hearts of the corporate takeover world. I would like to think that today’s world has a lot more empathy than Sun Tzu’s time, but I grant you that the world is allowed to have a lot more empathy today due to progress and quality of life. Sun Tzu lived in a world where the End Justified the Means, we wouldn’t stand for that now. I’ll try to pull out some relevant bits for the Sales professional though, and there are some golden nuggets to be had.

When I say that the book is sparse, I mean it. It’s pretty much written in bullet point format. It’s more like an outline to a book, maybe that’s what makes this book so adaptable to other industries and situations. There is so much to fill in between the lines. I have to imagine that in 500 B.C. there wasn’t a lot of paper floating around. I would bet that writing material from something like bamboo would have been used and that the actual writing would have been painstaking to complete. The efficient use of words was likely essential to keeping the work accessible, transportable and replicate-able.  No matter the reason, the book is a quick read and that alone probably helps. That leads me to tip #1 today-

TIP #1 from the ART of WAR.  DON’T INFO DUMP.

It’s easy to consume some ideas which could easily have been made over complicated. The bullet point presentation reminds me that we don’t need to use flowery language or long drawn out scenarios to get our point across. If the point is valid, people will get it. Don’t tell a 30 minute story when a 3 minute bullet point presentation would have done the trick. People have been sold on Sun Tzu for centuries, follow his lead and give clear concise messages with functional examples.

TIP #2 from the ART of WAR. PLAN AHEAD RELENTLESSLY.

Sun Tzu basically lays out a contingency plan for every scenario. Based on his teachings, there were no tough decisions to make in the heat of the battle. There was a simple plan with slot closed options. Were the enemy troops garrisoned heavily or lightly? The answer didn’t matter so much because there was a solution to both options. The only thing that really mattered was accurate information and timeliness. Sales calls and presentations should be this well thought out. Whether or not you anticipated the objection or avoided it all together doesn’t really matter because you have a solution to every scenario. What matters is that you listen, observe and accurately assess the prospect, their problems and their ability/willingness to buy. Have a plan and selling anything to anyone is easy, unless it’s time to pack up and run to see another day. It’s OK to do that too if it’s the right choice. The trick is to plan ahead, so that you KNOW when it’s the right choice.

TIP #3 from the ART of WAR. CONSISTENCY IS BETTER THAN CHAOS.

It seems like a good portion of the book is dedicated to breaking the consistency of the enemy troops, while maintaining the consistency of his. He wants to create the right habits and practice like they battle. He wants a routine so that in times of War, his people are cool headed and able to follow commands. At the same time he wants to create chaos in his enemies troops to break their habits and force them to make a mistake. As long as Sun Tzu doesn’t make a mistake, he wins. If I’m in a sales environment I need to practice my sales techniques under all conditions to avoid getting flustered by a question at a crucial time. Consumer’s have skills too and they will use them to try and find out if your product or service is faulty.

There you have it, 3 sales tips from the ART of WAR. Now go read the book yourself! Click here to check it out.

52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #1 “Selling 101″ – Zig Ziglar

As part of my New Years Promises this year I promised that I’d read at least a book a week for the entire year. To help me keepSelling101ZigZiglarCover that promise I’ll post a quick review of each book here on this SalesFu Blog. I’m don’t have one of those fancy Amazon affiliate accounts, but I should probably look into that and see if i can link it up.

The first book we are going to talk about this year is short and sweet- Zig Ziglar’s Selling 101.

To be honest I had no idea what I was buying. I didn’t realize that this was more of a Pocket Version than a full fledged book on it’s own, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. You should be aware that this book is indeed small, it fits into my inside jacket pocket and into my Levi’s back pocket. That being said, it’s like the Mighty Mouse of sales books, it packs a decent sized punch and can save the day if you give it a chance, plus it’s kind of nostalgic.

I’m in my 40’s and I’ve been reading Ziglar’s stuff for my entire adult life and it still rings true. This book will do 1 of 2 things for you, it will either remind you of all the basics that you already knew or it will open your eyes to how much more there is to this business than just offering a product. I’m OK with either outcome actually. The principals that Zig outlines in this book are just the tip of the ice berg, it’s like the CliffsNotes version of all of his other works. The title says it all actually, this is indeed Selling 101, a basic foundation to build upon.

There are many people in the Sales Industry that got there by accident. These are the people that just lucked out, maybe weren’t the best students and maybe haven’t read a book in years. This is a good little book because it’s not intimidating, you can get through it in a couple of lunch hours and pull some useful info out of it. The best part is that even though Zig passed away a few years ago, he is still selling. This book is designed to Motivate you to better yourself, and with that desire you’ll want to go further on the journey with Zig. Luckily his legacy is carried on by his family and you can buy all of his other books, his certifications and classes online. This book makes me want to buy more from him, and it’s a win-win.

In the mean time I’m going to listen more, sell with integrity and proceed with a couple of simple plans.

 

4.5 Steps to know- When to ask for the Business.

Last week I was asked by an up and coming salesperson, “So, when would I know what Closing technique to use?”.  I dug a little deeper on this question and he wasn’t really wondering which close to use and how, he was really asking a much more fundamental question- “When do I Close?”.103764377_400x400_pad

 “The Buying Sign Close”

It seems that many of us are info/benefit dumping until we hear this line from the customer- “OK, so what do we do next?” and then we get the credit card or signed purchase agreement. Now lets be honest, the products or services we are presenting aren’t exactly new right? You probably have some competitor though it pains you to admit it and that competitor at least has a product or service in your same category. The customer isn’t giving you that massive buying sign because you didn’t ask them to. In answer to the salesperson’s question above I said, “I close when the conversation gets to the natural end. I prep customers and let them know that if I find a (product or service) that fits their needs I’ll ask for their business. In addition I also close whenever I hear the 3rd buying sign”. I realized we hadn’t covered the Buying Sign close or talked about when identifying when you’ve EARNED the right to close, so read below and Close more deals!

 

STEP #1 Listen and Identify Buying Signs. Buying Signs to me are any type of questions from a customer, even objections are buying signs to me. If someone is asking me questions about my product/service it usually means that they intend to BUY, even if it’s not from me. IF the customer didn’t want to do anything they wouldn’t prolong the conversation with questions. They’d try to get off the phone, elevator or whatever meeting I pinned them down to as quickly as possible, sometimes they don’t want to be rude but they still just want to get out of the room. Typical Buying Signs- So do you guys service your own product? Do you use local providers? How long have you been doing this? Can I fax you documents or do I need to mail them? How can I do business with a company or person I’ve never done business with before?

 

STEP #2 – Track the Buying Signs. I usually keep an internal count of the buying signs I’ve heard and depending on how strong they are I typically jump straight to this close after the 3rd buying sign. If the customer asks 3 serious questions about the service or product it’s time to ask for the business.

 

STEP #3 – Close. “I think it’s obvious we are going to do something here for you here today. While we are figuring out what fits your needs let’s agree to something. I’ve got to jump through a few hoops to get you the best (product or service), we’ve got to ask some Formality Questions, Put a Credit Card (or billing dept contact) on file and then confirm some more of your information while we tailor this order for you. What’s the card number or billing address? (Bridge Close works well here the key is the first 20 words which transitions to a close of choice).

 

STEP #4 Finalize App Details.  After I get the deposit I verify a few items like contact info and fill out any other details I may have missed earlier. THEN we go back to the structure of the product or service and I typically make a STRONG recommendation.  “So Mr Customer, no matter what we do today we are going to get something better than your current situation. In my professional opinion I recommend the XYZ for you, it has the better features, more for your time, money, ROI or offers peace of mind. I think that’s what you were looking for right?” Or “I’ve done enough files of this nature to be considered an expert here so I’m confident that we should move forward. I would like to wait to determine the exact amount of service you need until we have the appraised the situation. We typically start with  ABC  but let’s be conservative and say we’ll start with X amount of service. Can we start with this amount of service and then adjust it up or down after the test period?”

When I work a Buying Sign Close I frame the initial trial as a joint production with lots of feedback from the customer. The least amount of  service and the possible need for much for allows us to adjust things, typically for the better. Since we are happy with the worst case scenario that means we’ll be giving good news through the process and you’ve started the buying relationship.

 

STEP #4.5 ** BONUS TIP. The Strong Recommendation. I first learned this technique many years ago while working at a restaurant in Hawaii. Tourists would come in and they’d often ask about what Wine to order with a particular food. I was 21 and really had no palate or experience with wine but I asked a lot of questions of the bartender and people more familiar than I was. I made friends with a Sommelier and asked him how he handles this question. He said he makes a recommendation, backs it up with a few good reasons and sticks with it like it was the obvious choice. Pretty soon I was expertly recommending the Pacific Rim Riesling because the Sweet Flavor offset the Spicy Asian Fusion, the body was light and didn’t weigh down the experience and the acid cleansed the palate for the next bite of flavor. I soon found that no matter what I recommended, as long as I had a few good reasons for making the recommendation my customers went with my recommendation 90% of the time. The point here is that when we make a strong recommendation and back it up with a few good reasons our customers will listen to us, 90% of the time. Sometimes this is called the Law of Authority in Psychology circles, it’s scientifically proven to work!

 

Happy Selling and if you have any questions about this feel free to reach out to me!

SalesFu – Character and Integrity

Character and IntegrityKicktras

 

       Who are you when no one is looking?  What do you do?  I’ve met people of questionable moral fiber; unfortunately some of them have had immense wealth and success.  I’m just not sure how they sleep at night.  I find that it’s much easier to be authentic and treat others how I’d want to be treated, or at least how they would want to be treated.

My wife just asked me about one of my morning routines.  Every morning I write 4 words on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker – Write, Right, Health and Wealth.  These 4 words have driven me for the past year but she asked me specifically about the word, “Right” and why I feel the need to actually include it here.  She’s wondering if I really need to remind myself to do the right things, shouldn’t people just do the right things all the time?

Well, yes we should do the right things all the time.  It’s not always easy though.  I think that the people with strong Character and Integrity face the same challenges as everyone else; they just make the decisions that may not be as popular or easy but have the better long term outcome. Should I read to my children when I get home from work or should I turn on the television and zone out with them in the same room?  I think that the right thing to do is to make sure I spend time reading to them and showing the discipline to finish a longer chapter book and to help them create strong positive habits.  Sometimes I still turn on the TV though.

I believe that having good Character and Integrity is integral to being a great salesperson.  True professionals help their customers and feel good about it.  If your customer gets off the phone with you and instantly thinks that they just got “Sold”, then you are doing something wrong.  The customer believes that you are the swindler, the charlatan, the guy that says whatever is needed to get them to open up their pocket book, you aren’t authentic and your customers believe you are peddling snake oil.

Human beings aren’t great lie detectors, but we know when something just doesn’t feel right.  You know it.  I’ve heard salesmen say things over the phone that were blatantly false to try to earn rapport.  Movies like Boiler Room and The Wolf of Wall Street make it seem like it is common practice to deceive a customer over the phone and say whatever it takes to earn a deal.  I have watched both of these and I love some of the dialogue, it still gets me pumped up and excited to be a salesman today, but I know that I can only sell something I actually believe in.

If you want to impose your will on the world, then ultimately you need to be responsible for what you are asking for and how you accomplish your goals.  Be honest with yourself, those around you and your customers.  Acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them and take responsibility for them.  When you are right, don’t gloat.  Just keep moving on.  You don’t have time for games; you’ve got a mission to accomplish.

 

        Don’t lie.  Don’t steal.  Don’t cheat.

Fess up when wrong and don’t rub it in when you’re right.

SALES MO

Sales Momentum, what I call the SALES MO, is just like physical momentum.  It’s easier to keep it going than it is to start frKicktrasom scratch.  When I was 17 years old I went away to college, my family wasn’t particularly well off but I had a scholarship and a part time job.  My father bought me an old 1984 Chevy Luv pickup truck and that little truck got me back and forth to more than a few places.  I was not particularly mechanically inclined though and had no idea how to fix it when things went wrong.  For the better part of a year the battery was dead and I just dealt with it.  The truck was a manual stick shift, so I would just “POP” the clutch to get the motor running.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of “Popping” the clutch, it basically entails you getting the vehicle moving fast enough to slam the vehicle into 2nd gear and the engine would magically start running.  The truck made a few noises when it ran, (we named the truck Gabby because she talked a lot), but it basically got my friends and I where we needed to go.  I learned to park the truck on a hill backed into a spot.  This way when it was time to go I’d just put it in neutral, release the parking break and wait until I had some speed before putting it into gear to start her up.  More than a few times though I’d let a friend borrow Gabby and this friend would find a much “better” spot right in front of our building and would manage to parallel park Gabby.

Now I ask you, have you ever tried to move a truck that won’t start-up out of a parallel parking spot?  Can you imagine having to push a truck 6 inches forward, stop it completely then crank the wheel and push it 6 inches backwards?  Not only is it hard to push a truck when the wheels are cranked, but it’s almost as hard to stop it once it’s going!  In those days bumpers were still for bumping,  at least that’s what I told myself and the body builder guy who drove that little white Geo Storm.

My point is this- Don’t parallel park your prospects.  If you block them in with nowhere to go it’s awfully hard to get your Sales Mo moving again and there is bound to be a few bumps and scratches along the way.  Harness the Sales Mo and you won’t have to worry about stalling out or getting run over.  Always say YES before you say NO.  Keep the conversation positive. No matter what a customer says, objects to or implies just start the next sentence with something spectacular like “GREAT!”, “PERFECT!”, “I LIKE IT!”, “EXCELLENT!” and keep the conversation moving forward.  If you try to correct the customer’s preconceived notions or convince them that their request is wrong you’ll be setting your self up for disaster.  Sales isn’t about getting into a verbal boxing match and seeing who the winner is, it’s not a debate or a competition. You don’t get paid to win the argument or to be “right”. You get paid to close deals, whatever you are selling needs to get sold. You do that by keeping the forward momentum, if a customer wants a blue suit give him a blue suit. Keep the SALES MO going!

Defusing vs Overcoming Objections

Defusing vs Overcoming Objections

Defuse the Objection

Defuse the Objection

“Closing” sometimes has a negative connotation, primarily because no one likes to be “Sold” except for sales people. The rest of us don’t want to be “Sold” something, we just want to “Buy” a product or service worth having. Sales professionals who consistently find themselves having to use Hard Sell techniques and aggressive closing tactics often have to do so because they have missed the subtle art of building a relationship and actually finding out what would be the best option for this customer. Customers only say “No” when we haven’t given them enough reasons to say “Yes.”  Luckily, it’s actually fairly easy to avoid objections when it comes time to ask for the business. I’ve heard this general practice called Objection Mining, Objection Avoidance, I like Objection Defusing, but mostly it’s just called Good Service and actually getting to know someone. It’s called Being Helpful and here is how you do it-

 

#1 Accept Responsibility

  • Why do good sales people always appear to have the lay down deals? – Hint, It’s probably because they are good and make it look easy!!
  • Great sales people defuse the situation, everyone else loses control and places blame. – In 20 years of sales I’ve heard all the excuses. The product is bad, the price is off, the leads are horrible, the time shift or region is terrible, my assistant ate my homework, by dog booked the appointments after lunch, you name it. What I’ve never heard is a Salesperson who said, “You know what, that customer wants to wait and it’s 100% my fault.”  I get it, it’s a defense mechanism, as people we want to deflect failure and pretend that it’s outside of our control. It’s easier that way. No one said Sales was an easy profession though, it’s like living off the land, we only eat what we kill. Accept that you and your family need and rely on you to make a good living and that you alone are in control of your success.
  • I read a book about 5 years ago that really nailed this reality and opened my eyes – Larry Winget’s “Success is Your Own Damn Fault” , check it out.

#2 Setup for Success

  • Ask Questions to uncover the objections before they happen. – Ask about the decision making process, ask about how they have made decisions in the past, ask what criteria is important, ask why, ask, ask ask and uncover the “Why”. There is an Art to asking questions, the first answer to a “Sales” type question is always the social nicety or what they think they should say, something like “I’m fine, just looking. I don’t need any help.” The second question is typically answered with what they think they should be shopping for, something about a budget, rate, cost, or some feature. The problem is that now we’ve asked a couple of questions and have absolutely no idea what this customer wants or needs, the third question typically needs to find out why these features would help. The best way to understand the “Why” is to check out the Golden Circle Ted Talk by Simon Sinek. Just search for it, it’s a great way to spend 20 minutes.
  • Listen More – Ask your questions and then shut up. The problem with sales people is that we love the sound of our voice. Who wouldn’t? We have great things to say and we are very persuasive right? The problem is that we aren’t comfortable with silence and we tend to dominate the conversations instead of letting our customers get comfortable in the conversation. Listen twice as much as talking and you customers will  like you twice as much as long as you are asking the right questions.
  • Non-Business Relationships – NBR – CLICK with your Customers, use personality types to bond, read about How to Win Friends and Influence People, study social graces. I don’t know a successful sales person that isn’t likable, but I do know a couple of arrogant sales people who are diligent $30,000aires. You know the type, the sales guy or gal that has no business driving that car or wearing that watch. I’m all for looking the part and those things represent success for many in our business, but if you aren’t humble and likable, it will always be a show. Those guys lease the car, you want to own it free and clear.
  • Uncover Need – Throughout your conversation keep notes of what the “Need” is. This person doesn’t need to save money, this person needs you to change their life in some way. How can you help?
  • Gather up Benefits – As you are gathering up the information you’ll have an idea of what the objections will be to making a purchase now. Make note and stack up reasons why they should move forward anyway. Those reasons are called Benefits.

#3 Defuse the objection

  • Don’t be caught off guard. – If you get surprised with an objection you failed in the first part of the call.
  • Anticipate the Objection and Frame your Benefit statements to address it. – If you anticipate a Cost Objection heavily outline the recoup cost and the cost of doing nothing if that’s applicable. Talk about the savings. Talk about the long term savings, talk about the value of time.
  • Use “The Agreement” – Confirm that your solution addressed the concern in question. “That solves the problem of paying for the program right?”
  • Do this properly and you wont have to overcome objections, the customer will overcome the objections themselves and choose to move forward.

 

2 BONUS TIPS –

 

                BONUS TIP #1  – Defusing and Uncovering Objections is NOT the same thing as CREATING Objections. If you suspect that you are going to get a Spousal Objection, don’t say “Hey, so earlier in our conversation you mentioned your spouse wasn’t here to help with the decision, maybe you should go home and talk to them and come back next week. I wouldn’t want to make a decision  like this without my spouse”. Defusing the Objection is about addressing this concern so that the customer CAN move forward today. Remind the customer that there is a guarantee or that they would be accomplishing exactly what their spouse asked them to.

BONUS TIP #2 – We still overcome objections.  Don’t kid yourself, even if we do a good job of addressing the issues and framing the benefits, sometimes we still need to ask for the business multiple times. Don’t use this technique as a way to opt out of asking for the business a couple of times if that’s the right thing to do. Sometimes we have to make it so uncomfortable for a customer to say NO, that they say YES. Often those customers are the ones that call me back and thank me for forcing them to make a decision, they were just too scared for their own good.

 

Invest in Yourself & Improve your “SweatAbility” Factor!

Invest in Yourself & Improve your “SweatAbility” Factor!cropped-Kicktras.png

 

This week we are straying from the normal sales tip regarding technique or skill. Instead I want to give you a tip about time management and encourage you to be selfish every now and again. I encourage you to all draw your own chart with your own daily/weekly activities in between phone calls this morning, at lunch or when you get home tonight.

 

Think about your day and the activities you complete. We all tend to be creatures of habit and in sales we are often very reactive instead ofactive. In our positions, it’s easier to react to a phone ringing than it is to actively make outbound dials and make it ring. We are also creatures of habit in that we tend to approach our sales calls the same way, we all have our standard presentation lines. The truth is that we all have our own systems for obtaining and tracking business, right? Every system works a certain percentage of the time. Some systems are just better than others. For example- If all we did was answer the phone and ask for credit cards within the first 30 seconds, that system would work, just not very often.

 

I propose that we all take action to shake up our systems from time to time.  Are you where you want or need to be right now? What action can you take to effect change yourself? I suggest that you think about your business and reinvest in yourself. Spend some time everyday improving your sales skill, listening to calls, breaking down your own systems and building them back up. Read some sales books: Gitomer, Ziglar and Tracy are all at the library and easily on Amazon. and Do you want to be a leader? Read some books on the subject from Jack Welch or read articles from Harvard Business Review. In order to become better than you are now and to maintain long term success it’s important to be selfish every now and again, lock yourself in a room for 30 minutes a day and improve your long term success factor exponentially.

 

The Equation for Success is your SweatAbility Factor. Sweat X Ability = Success.

 

Sweat refers to your Effort and Willingness to Work Hard. It’s easier to increase this factor, just make a few more calls or work more hours. But that isn’t very much fun is it? Eventually this Factor runs out, we get burned out if we rely on hard work and Sweat to make up for Ability. See Quadrant I Below.

 

Ability refers to your sales skills and how efficiently you perform your job. It’s your sales IQ among other things like organizational skills. Most people think that their Ability is capped at the current level, but it’s actually easier to improve your Ability and takes less time than just working an extra 4 hours every week. See Quadrant II below for long term success and growth.

 

What activities do you currently have that fall into each category below? Are you spending the right amount of time in each? What will you do to invest in yourself today? How will you improve your Ability Factor?

 

SweatAbility Efficiency

SweatAbility Efficiency

What is SalesFu? – Capturing the Energy

vintage morse telegraph key with white background

Practice the MORSE Code of Success

What is SalesFu?

Sales Fu = The Art of Identifying & Capturing Customer Energy and using it to Persuade & Influence a purchase decision.

We’ve found that there are different personality types and we have an idea of how those personality types impact our communication. Now what? Now we talk about Capturing Customer Energy via Sales Momentum, Control and the MORSE Code to success.

 

SALES MOMENTUM

All too often I hear salespeople getting ready to do “Battle”, getting set to “Take another one down” or getting into a “Verbal Jousting Match”. All of these terms create the image of an adversarial approach to sales. We are one side of the war, and the customer is on the other. Is this how we really see our jobs and is this a healthy approach? I believe that at it’s highest level, Great Salesmanship is the same as Great Customer Service. We ask our customers to move forward because we strongly believe that it’s the right thing to do, we will meet and exceed their goals and have the right product at the right time for the right price. Instead of thinking of this transaction as a boxing match in which we beat our opponent into submission, let’s think of this as a chance to work together and move in the same direction. Some quick tips to make this a habit and make your sales calls continually move closer to the point of sale.

#1  DISARM – Never tell the customer that they are wrong or become confrontational. Instead, when a customer has a false assumption or becomes confrontational themselves, disarm them with moving phrases – “Great, I believe I can clarify this point so that we can move forward”, “Ah, I see the misunderstanding. I think that moving forward you will be happy to learn that…”, “Yes, we should be able to overcome this obstacle by,,,”. These phrases start with a positive sounding word, (Great, Yes, Ah) and then create a vision of motion actually moving forward.

#2  IDENTIFY THE DIRECTION – Based on the personality type already observed use language that will connect with the customer. If the customer has just given us an objection take the objection and turn it into a buying sign. If the customer objects to the Cost of your product/service then confirm their intent to buy once this issue is cleared. “Great, I’m glad you are giving this some thought before jumping ahead (or diving in) because that means you are serious about this transaction. So if I’m understanding this correctly, I think we just need to make sure we have enough value here before moving forward right?

#3  RE-CLOSE – We’ve successfully transitioned an objection back into a buying sign and the customer is still focused on moving forward somehow instead of how to get you out of the office or off the phone. We’ve kept the momentum of the call moving forward and can now ask for the business. Perhaps through this process we’ve realized that the goals we had outlined for the customer were wrong, or that product will need to be modified somehow. Instead of stalling the process we’ve shifted gears on the fly with feedback from the customer and kept the flow of the call moving towards a sale. Once we have redetermined the goals it’s time to Re-Close. Mention the customers buying sign and guide them to the point where they are comfortable saying Yes. “So I know that Cost is a major determining factor for you, so you’ll be pleased with this because…(insert benefits), which makes this all worthwhile. It’s safe to say we can get the process started now right?

 

CONTROL FROM THE TOP

Sales Momentum is key, but a measure of control must already be in place to work a conversation in this manner. Control is easier to maintain than you think. Visualize control in a conversation as a Baton that gets passed back and forth through the dialog. Every time a customer asks an unprompted question, gets sidetracked on a long story or tells you they have to go, you have lost control. Start with asking basic SLOT CLOSE questions, THIS or THAT type questions to narrow in on the product or service type needed. Then move on the POSITIVE AFFIRMATION questions, repeat goals back to the customer and ask for approval. “This is what you want, RIGHT?” , “It’s safe to say you need this ISN’T IT?”. “ISN’T IT safe to say we’ve met or exceeded all your goals?” , “Help me understand this, we need to offer you X,Y and Z, CORRECT?”. These phrases all maintain control of the conversation. Last but not least ask open ended questions, this will give the customer the sense of being in control, the more they talk the more they like you and at the same time you’ve still maintained control of the Baton. You gave them direction for this part of the conversation. I’ve even heard the phrase “Now this is the part of the conversation where we talk about…. ” this clarity gives a customer comfort. When a customer knows what their role is in the conversation and what comes next they will be at ease. It’s easier for them to let their guard down when you provide clear direction during the conversation. Give time limits, “This will only take another 10- 15 minutes. I have another appointment after this one.” This sets the customer at ease because they know they won’t have to beg you to get off the phone, you have defined the conversational limit. You have the control.

 

MORSE Code to Success

We have captured the energy, controlled it and funneled it into a positive experience for both parties. Energy like this becomes more powerful the more focused it is, so if we can direct that focus onto 1 or at most 3 objectives that we know we can satisfy we can earn the business and help that customer. Sometimes we need to help identify that focus though, we need to help define the problem so that we can create the solution. I call this the MORSE Code of success.

M.anufacture

O.pportunity.

R.ealize it.

S.hare it.

E.xecute

 

Very often our potential customer comes into contact with us without a firm goal in mind, or at least not with one they are sure about. We can use the tools of control to uncover a need, to Manufacture an Opportunity that the customer didn’t even know was there. Once we have identified the opportunity we need to help the customer Realize the need. You will know that your customer recognizes the need when they Share that need back to you, often prompted by us. Then, it’s just time to take action and Execute.

Imagine this scenario- The customer calls in and thinks you can help save them money somehow, they already pay for this service or product but perhaps you can provide it for less money. It turns out that you can’t really save them that much money on a monthly basis, but you can save them a lot of money in the long run, your product pays for itself faster or has a shorter payment plan. The customer wanted to save money, but was probably thinking it would come in the form of monthly savings. Instead, you Manufacture the Opportunity to save money in the long run. You plant the seed with a  control question- “So what I’m hearing is that you can afford your currently monthly payments without any problems, but you think you can save a significant amount of money over the life of this product with an upgrade right?” Then a little later in the conversation ask for the customer to Share this opportunity back with you, “So can you imagine what you’ll do with your extra money once you’ve paid this off? What will you do with the extra money then?” The customer starts to Share their plan for the additional funds that will come in the long run, this creates ownership of the decision in their mind. This goal is now theirs and luckily you can provide the solution. All that’s left to do now is to Execute a little more control and get to the point where you can ask for the business.

 

Next post we will talk about SalesFu Persuasion!