Sometimes nonexistent answers are the best ones.
Answers. Salespeople want answers. Here are a few of the answers to questions I get in the mail (fax, e, and snail). The purpose of this column is twofold. First to give you a sampling of what people ask, and second to assure you that you’re not alone in experiencing the weirdness that everyday selling seems to breed.
And by the way, in case you forgot the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.
Jeffrey, While you are obviously a fan of Napoleon Hill, I wonder if you can recommend a “best practice” book for professional services I’m a banker. This is a bit different “product.” It requires consultative selling. As a famous banker once said “we’re not selling soap.” Can you think of anything? William
Bill baby, Money is the easiest product in the world to sell everyone wants it however, they may not want it from you. The secret to your business and ALL other professional sales is “relationship.” Lucky for you there is no “best practice” book for banking or any other service business. If there were such a book, your competition would own it as well. Rather there are books that will lead you there Napoleon Hill “Think and Grow Rich” is one of them. Dale Carnegie’s immortal, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is another. Regards, Jeffrey
Jeffrey, What continues to elude me is getting a true “sales cycle” worked out, and being able to “forecast” my business in any really meaningful way. Both those terms are loosely quoted since I am reporting on this only in order to have a workable, accountable plan for myself, and I am hoping to expand enough to hire more sales people. I’d like something worked out that I know is effective. Sandy
Sandy, The reason the standard “sales cycle” has eluded you is because it doesn’t exist every situation is different and requires it’s own cycle. The only “standard” problem is that most salespeople prolong their cycle by not asking for the sale soon enough. Regards, Jeffrey
Jeffrey, I wonder if you have heard of anything specific to selling consulting services that I might research to pull up some answers for myself. I only ask because I have read your stuff, I have been trained ad infinitum in sales skills, and have taken Neil Rackham’s course, and worked through his books as well. That is all too quantitative, without being direct enough (I hope I am explaining myself). I need resources to help me get down to the “trenches of salesmanship.”
Frank, Dig ditches. Why don’t I just send you a list of people who want consulting services right away? Quantitative selling (how to) only leads to qualitative selling (why me specific niche) with application and practice. The easy answer is to visit fifty customers who just bought, and ask them why they did. Those are the real answers. Your customers are better resources than every sales book in the universe put together. Regards, Jeffrey
Jeffrey, Six months ago I accepted the fact that 20% of my time as a sales professional will be spent “cold calling” via the telephone. I know this is a numbers game and if I get “x” number of appointments from “x” hours on the phone, it’s that much more than if I did not make the calls in the first place. Still however, in the back of my mind, I feel that my time is not being used to best advantage. I can’t justify high priced talent (me) doing the same thing that a telemarketer can do. In your heart of hearts what is your feeling on this subject? Regards, Bevan
Bevan, If you double your sales quota no one will care if you ever make cold call again in your life. What they are looking for is sales numbers not cold calls. If you spend as much time building relationships as you do bemoaning the fact that you have to make cold calls your problems would be solved. Get one existing customer to recommend one new customer once a week. Don’t look for the company to end your misery, end your own misery. Regards, Jeffrey
Jeffrey, why do you say that asking for the sale in their office is the worst place, worse than at your office? I know the traditional knowledge about territoriality but isn’t it better if the client feels comfortable (ie. on their own turf) rather than vulnerable (in your office)? Tamara
Tamara, Why do sports teams win at home and lose on the road? The home team has the advantage. Play at home as often as you can and make your prospect “feel at home.” Regards, Jeffrey
Send me your sales questions, and you’ll get answers. If your question (or sales tip) is answered in print, you get a free copy of my new book Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. Go to www.gitomer.com find: Sales Help I need Jeffrey’s help I have a question and ask away.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org