Qualifying Sales – Stop Wasting Your Customer’s Time

stop wasting your customer's time

Stop wasting your customer’s time. As a sales training consultant, during the discovery process, when trying to qualify a sales opportunity, I’m shocked by the number of times salespeople mention “wasting time” to customers. “I don’t want to waste your time.” “I don’t want to waste my time.” What do our customers think? Let me share a personal experience from a customer’s point-of-view. I received a phone call last week from a sales professional who wanted to sell me software solutions. After a few minutes into the conversation, he says, “Look, I don’t want to waste your time or mine. Do you think you would be interested in what I have to offer?” I told him, “No,” and ended the conversation. The truth is, I was looking to upgrade my software, but his approach immediately turned me off. His method backfired, and he lost me as a potential sales opportunity — Sorry Charlie! I understand that this sales professional and others like him are trying to qualify the opportunity. They want to know if a prospect is serious or not. As salespeople, […]  Read More

Getting Better Buy-in
Discover What Your Customer Really Needs


Dear Paul, One of my challenges is getting better buy-in from my customers. Several times a week, I host “lunch and learns” at various client locations. During these 30-45 minute sessions, held over the lunch hour, I give a presentation about my company’s products. However, as much as I try to ask thought-provoking questions and lead interesting discussions, I feel that my efforts fall short. Too often they are more interested in the menu than in what I am trying to convey. I want to get better buy-in. How do I make my presentations more impactful in order to discover what my customer really needs?  Sincerely, Out to Lunch Open up the dialogue before your presentation – Dispelling participants fears and hesitations Dear Out to Lunch, I always tell salespeople that they need to make their presentations about the customers, not the products. The same is true in your case. It’s difficult to get people to open up and share their thoughts in a group setting. Too often there is the fear of saying the wrong thing, or worrying about the awkwardness when disagreeing with a boss or peer.  The way […]  Read More

Nine Secrets of the Successful Sales Pro

successful sales pro

What does it take to be a successful sales professional? After working with more than 250,000 salespeople, I have found that the top sellers 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 – A successful sales pro knows 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 – A successful sales pro shows 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 competitors, the customers, the vendors, and the market share. High-value customers, especially, love to discuss the big picture and where they see themselves and their organization […]  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 required my contact information. Ok, it’s now three months later, I’m […]  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 her sales team, she might end up very disappointed. So how do you motivate your sales team members to work harder and achieve better results? Create multiple winners […]  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 would help me quickly cut through (in less than thirty seconds) […]  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 the price. What could he do differently, Ted wondered? What to do about customers boxed-in on price I […]  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 to- ‘What’s your price?’ How do I handle this […]  Read More