Exceptional Selling Principles: Nine Secrets of the Successful Sales Pro


What does it take to be an exceptionally successful sales professional? After working with more than 250,000 salespeople, I have found that those who excel at selling share the same practices and characteristics. These 9 Secrets of the Successful Sales Pro will get you to the top of your sales game. 1. Tap into your customers’ emotions Successful sales-pros know what makes their customers tick. Uncover their business motivations. Do your customers want to save time, minimize risks, reduce headaches, seek out recognition, or increase profitability? Ultimately, it is not products, services, or solutions that drive the sale. Customer emotions drive the sale. 2. Ask questions that engage Successful sales-pros show a genuine interest in their customers. Develop a repertoire of open-ended questions. Use these questions to get customers to open up about their problems and goals, their past vendors, their future worries, and their current needs. Inquire about the team, the company, the compe  Read More

Effective Sales Calls: Avoid Just Checking-In and Touching-Base


A common question I ask my sales training clients during a workshop is whether they have ever picked up the phone, or stopped by a customer or prospect’s office and said, “I’m just checking in” or “touching base” or “following up”? I’m always surprised with how many raise their hands. We have all done it. Unfortunately, this is not the best technique to use when making effective sales calls. You Must Have at Least Two Reasons to Call When you call a customer or prospect, you need to have at least two reasons for your call. The first reason can be to “check in” or “touch base” and see how things are going, but the second reason must be something of value to the customer. This helps you position yourself as an expert and trusted advisor, instead of an annoying “fly buzzing in your customer’s ear.” Have Something to Bring to the Conversation A few months ago, I went shopping for a new car. I discovered, in order to test-drive a car, the dealership requ  Read More

Motivate Your Sales Team by Creating Competition

motivate your sales team

To motivate your sales team through competition, sales leaders must discover their team’s motivations and needs, then put what was learned into practice. Knowing these will help boost your company’s bottom line. The “one size fits all” approach Many otherwise good sales managers do not succeed in motivating the members of their sales team. Why? Because sales managers often take a “one size fits all” approach to motivation. They assume that whatever motivates them (money, prestige, or praise) will motivate everyone. Sales Contests Some sales managers assume (because they personally like contests) that holding a sales competition each quarter and awarding the top seller with a bonus is the best way to motivate the whole team. While this type of competition might motivate some salespeople, it will turn others off. Even those who might initially have enjoyed it might turn sour when they do not win. If a sales manager relies on the quarterly competition to motivate   Read More

How to start a successful sales lead conversation – Determining your prospect’s pains and needs


Jill, one of my sales rep clients called the other day and asked… “I get calls from prospects once or twice a week saying they are “interested” in learning more about my services. The problem is that I tend to freeze up on these calls, because I don’t always know which direction to take. I either start giving an overview of my services or I jump into asking the prospect questions about their interests, timeline and specs. Unfortunately, sometimes neither tactic works. The prospect either gets impatient with my questions or bored with what I have to say. How can I get a better handle on these conversations so that they lead to sales?” I told Jill that I had faced a similar dilemma a number of years ago when I was a novice sales professional. I was working for a company bogged down with too many potential sales leads and not enough time to handle the high volume of inbound calls assigned to me. To solve this dilemma, I developed a one-single-question technique that woul  Read More

Sales Questions to Engage Customers on Value, Rather than Price


Avoid getting the “brush off” from your customers and prospects I got a lot of great feedback on the last blog, Your Sales Proposition – Shift the Conversation from Price to Value. Many readers had encountered similar sales challenges and objections, customers pushing to get a price without knowing anything else about the products or services offered. One reader in particular stood out… Ted sells IT equipment to companies throughout the Midwest. He contacted me because he kept running into the same problem. Customers would get his number or email address and then contact him with the same type of question over and over. For example, here’s what one of his customers asked, “What is the price on 20 phones and 20 computers for a small law office?” Ted found that if he just gave the price, the conversation would end there. He would try to engage with these customers, but Ted kept getting the brush off. Most of the time, he never heard back after sharing t  Read More

Your Sales Proposition – Shift the Conversation from Price to Value


When you encounter pushy prospects who demand to know your price, what do you do? You need to redirect them, by asking them to talk about what they value. This allows you to uncover their buying criteria, whether it is Profitability Ease of use Quality customer service Doing this allows you to regain control of the sales conversation and present your value proposition! Salesperson Getting Stuck on Price Recently, I worked with a salesperson who asked me: “Paul, what do I do when I have a customer who is very direct and wants to get into the price discussion right away? I sell a premium product, and I like to be able to build a rapport with a customer before I discuss price. I have found that this takes the “sting” out of the sticker shock that inevitably occurs when I disclose our prices. Lately, I have encountered several prospective customers who were insistent that I disclose my price upfront. I tried to steer the conversation in another direction, but they kept coming back  Read More

How Are You? – Three words to avoid when cold calling a new prospect!


Here’s a common real-life experience I often ask my sales training participants to imagine: You’re shopping at a retail store, and a salesperson approaches you. She asks you these three words, “How are you?” What is your reaction? Are you going to share with her that you overslept this morning or that you are worried about your father’s health? Of course not! You are going to say, “I’m fine,” or “Just looking, thanks,” and then walk away… SALES OPPORTUNITY OVER! The same is true in business When cold calling on the phone, NEVER start the conversation by asking, “How are you?” You’re probably thinking “How are you?” is an icebreaker, just a friendly way to start a conversation. Unfortunately that question just pushes the prospect away. They do not know you and therefore, have no reason to trust you. To the prospect, it feels artificial, a contrived question to get their guard down. So what what is the best way to get a new prospect’s atte  Read More

Selling Customers on Value – Not Price


Sometimes it can seem like we live in a price-obsessed world, where the company that can produce the cheapest product, or offer the most discounted service, wins. This can make it tough when you are selling a product or service that is not the cheapest option on the market! Wyatt sells security systems to offices, banks, and government agencies. You might think that people would not want to skimp on security systems, but as Wyatt has found out, that is not the case. Wyatt came to me because he was getting beat up on price. No matter what he did, his customers seemed to be stuck on the fact that his security systems were more expensive than the competition. He was losing business because he could not get past this roadblock. I agreed to accompany Wyatt on a sales call so I could witness this problem in action. Wyatt was scheduled to meet with the operations manager at a company that had just moved into new offices downtown. The meeting started off well with Wyatt asking some open-ended   Read More