What is the single dumbest question in sales?
You ought to know it, you ask it all the time. It’s, “What will it take to get your business?” or stated intelligently, how low do you want me to drop my pants (er, I mean my price) to get your business. This is the highest form of sales stupidity. And it’s usually asked at the end of the presentation, so no matter how smart you looked at the beginning, that’s all erased when you drop that bomb.
I mean, shouldn’t you KNOW what it will take to get their business? Is this your first week on the job or something? Shouldn’t you walk in the door KNOWING what it will take to get their business? Salespeople never cease to amaze me when it comes to blowing the sale.
For the past two weeks I have been talking about “intelligent engagement.”
It’s a sales process I came upon while teaching a class. I stunned myself with its simplicity, its effectiveness, its applicability to any sales situation, and most importantly — its transferability (ie: your ability to actually use it)
In past weeks I have covered two of the 4.5 parts:
1. Your preparation — the science of getting ready
2. Your questions — the science of engaging by asking
(Missing the first two parts? Don’t panic. Go to www.gitomer.com and look around. You’ll find the entire series)
Here are the other elements of intelligent engagement:
3. Your Ideas. The creative side of the process. Or better stated, what you bring to the table. If you bring in an idea about how the other person can profit you will immediately boost your credibility, separate yourself from the competition, and earn the prospects respect. You will also be in the top one percentile of all salespeople. 99% of all salespeople bring their sales kit, their business cards, and their brochures (and a bunch of time worn sales tactics) but zero ideas. Why? Good question. Because ideas require work, the study of creativity and preparation. Most salespeople are busy watching television the night before an important call or working on their power point slide if they work at all. When in fact his customer, or should I say his prospective customer is looking for an idea, not a sales pitch. Here it is in a nutshell, if you walk in with information about you, they consider you a salesman, if you walk in with ideas and answers, they consider you a resource. People are willing to PAY for ideas. How much would they pay for your sales presentation?
4. Your communication skills and your presentation skills. Better stated as your ability to convey your thoughts and concepts in a persuasive and compelling manner. As you know, one of the biggest fears in the world is the fear of speaking to a group and the only reason this fear exists is because the people presenting either have low self esteem or have not properly prepared. Preparation includes not just having the knowledge but also having studied communication or presentation skills. In your town, there are several Toastmasters groups (www.toastmasters.org). It’s a weekly meeting dedicated to bettering your presentation skills. But your probably too busy watching TV. In your community there is an office of Dale Carnegie, (www.dale-carnegie.com) For 90 years his courses have been taught all over the world and his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” is second in number of copies sold. “The Bible” being first. If you want to get good at communicating, if you want to get good at presentation skills you first must study them. If you want to get great at communication skills, if you want to get great at presentation skills, then you must combine study with practice. Salespeople make cold calls. Smart salespeople make 15-minute speeches to civic groups during breakfast or lunch and collect 50 leads. Oh, I apologize, did I say smart salespeople? I meant to say smart salespeople who have studied presentation and communications. You see even if you are smart, you may still be unprepared.
4.5. Your positive attitude combined with your enthusiasm. The combination creates your passion. Attitude and enthusiasm are contagious, either by presence or absence. If you look at any personal development master from the last 100 years Hill, Peale, Carnegie, Nightingale, and Ziglar, they all begin and end with the power of positive attitude and the transference of enthusiasm. These two elements when combined will provide enough electricity in a room to transform anyone into a more willing listener and a more acceptable buyer. You’ve all experienced it. Someone who captures your imagination because they are so positive and enthusiastic that you can’t help but be drawn towards them. The reason I have called this 4.5 is that attitude and enthusiasm integrate and infiltrate all of the other four parts. If your attitude is great and your enthusiasm is evident, then your preparation, your questions, your ideas, and your presentation are compelling enough to create a buying atmosphere.
The concept is “engage,” and it’s one of those aspects of selling that is so obvious, that no one focuses on it. And the more you focus on “intelligent engagement” the easier the sale will be. Or should I say, the faster the prospect will want to buy. Engagement sets a buying atmosphere.
This is not a system I’m describing here. I’m against systems. It’s a philosophy. A strategy that says if I am ready, I can engage. If I ask great questions I can engage. If I bring ideas to the table I can engage. If my presentation skills and my communication skills are superior, I can engage. And if my attitude is positive and my enthusiasm is high, I can engage. Is that simple or what?
Free GitBit… Want a list of places you can gather information about the sales call? Sure you do. Go to www.gitomer.com (register if you’re a first time user) and enter the word RESEARCH in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org