Simon Naudi CEO of Answers Training International, talks sales approach, best practice techniques and making conversion rates soar.
Having survived one international trip after another, a sales pattern is emerging. Sure there are cultural differences in approaches and techniques that work or are more acceptable in one culture or another, but overall there seem to be some commonalities that are noteworthy.
It seems to be that no matter where in the world you are selling or actually to be fair, what you are selling, most sales people behave in patterns. It would be hard to find a pattern of what works because of these cultural variations.
Some cultures need relationships; social and then business sneaked in at the end, whereas others are reversed. To this end I believe it would be hard to compile a list of ‘things that always work’ but I think we can go some way to identifying why most sales fail to materialise.
What I think I can share with you are the two most common faults sales people often make on a global basis. When I look at the reasons why sales don’t progress to a close, two distinct areas seem to be responsible. Firstly, sales people generally do not seem to ask enough questions. Secondly when they hear an objection they fail to test it and handle each objection they hear as if it is gospel.
Starting with the questioning process, I think there are two major reasons for this lack of questioning; the first is down to enthusiasm on the part of the sales person. “If you knew as much about my event I do, then you are bound to want to participate, so pin back your ears and here it comes!” The vomit that follows does not really persuade.
The second reason is that not enough questions are asked is due to embarrassment and an increasing sense of suspicion on behalf of the prospect.
We all know that feeling where we have asked four or five questions and now feel the prospect is thinking, “where is this all leading, why do you want to know, what will you need to know that for, how long is this going to take..?” so we feel compelled to start vomiting facts and figures about our event.
The solution is to insert an agenda so the client knows what’s coming next and why you wish to ask questions. With permission gained it’s much easier for both parties to have a sensible conversation.
The objection issue is more straightforward. The expression exists ‘buyers are liars’ - sadly not all buyers lie all the time so we need to establish whether it is a gentle fob off or a genuine concern.
On a Saturday night when we encounter objections we don’t handle them as soon as we hear them do we? Many are familiar with the “not tonight I am washing my hair” objection. We don’t respond by addressing the objection without testing it.
That would be the equivalent of saying; “Yes, you’re right, it does look skanky. I will come round and help you wash it!”
Why is it then, in a business situation that we accept and often try to address the first retort? The solution here is to learn how to test the objection, making sure it is the true objection before attempting an answer.
If all you do is ask more questions and test each objection your conversion rate will soar.
Correct these and you are onto a winner.
This article was first published in the May issue of EN. Any comments? Email Jamie Wallis