Streetfighter Selling

for Sales Professionals

  • Mar

    Success Dial
    The difference between good and great is not huge. The difference between being good and great comes from the little things.

    Tweak this…. and sell more.

    Here’s a great example: in the 2014 Winter Olympics, US downhill skier Ted Ligety won the Gold Medal in the grueling Giant Slalom (an extremely intense race). Meanwhile, Italian skier Davide Simoncelli finished less than two seconds behind Ligety. Two seconds! About the time it took you to read that last sentence. But those two seconds left him in far down the leaderboard. All the way to17th place. (*I’m using this as an illustration only, as I believe that anyone who even attempts to make their team is a champion over most of us couch-sitters).

    The point is: the extra mental preparation and the subtle moves you make in sales can be the difference between winning Gold (getting the order) and out of the running (the one they don’t even call back).

    This is by no means a complete list, but here are three tweaks that can energize your sales right away. See if any could apply to you:

    Escape the Office
    Problem: too many salespeople spending too much time on the computer.
    Outcome: very limited face-to-face connection, resulting in low closing ratios.

    You can’t win the race if you’re not on the slopes! Unless all your business is long distance or in-store, don’t expect a decent call-to-close ratio if you make most of your contacts by email. Driven by comfort with technology, and the perceived reluctance on the part of customers to meet, there’s an epidemic of ineffective activity happening. I know email is fast and intrusive, and prospects stay hidden behind voice mail. But an email or text message can’t read the customer’s eyes, make a connection, carry on a conversation or uncover deeper needs and concerns. All it can do is tell. And, as the saying goes: “telling isn’t selling.”
    Some sales are made this way. But those are a minority. Most (and I’m referring to ‘outside’ sales here) are still completed with face-to-face contact. Old school? No, just under-used. It’s easy to get too caught up in electronic contact, like email and social media. I know I do, and sometimes I have to hit myself in the head to remember those tools are great for contact, but terrible at uncovering needs, making presentations or closing. Sitting at a desk all day while reaching out by keystroke is an extremely inefficient way to build sales. Face-to-face will consistently produce the greatest closing ratios and strongest relationships, hands down.

    Which leads us to….

    Talk Less, Listen More
    Problem: the sales profession attracts outgoing people
    Outcome: it’s easy to talk your way out of a sale

    Having the ‘gift of gab’ is not always a good thing. One of the best salespeople I ever knew (who I was fortunate to have as a manager) spoke little and listened a lot. He was skilled at asking ‘open ended’ questions….the kind that can’t be answered “yes” or “no.” Consequently, he understood them and their needs so, when he did talk, he was always right on target with what they wanted.

    Always have a plan for meetings or phone calls. Have a (short) list of questions. Ask questions that uncover deeper thoughts or needs (i.e. “that’s interesting, tell me more about that”). Ask. Listen. Take notes.
    Don’t get me wrong, you’ve got to talk. But there’s a difference between communicating and talking too much. What a customer has to say is far more important than what we have to say.

    But before you do….

    Do Your Homework
    Problem: calling prospects without a purpose
    Outcome: calls and messages remain ignored

    Time is a 21st century currency. People will protect their time as much as they protect their home, car and savings. When a salesperson calls, a prospect will subconsciously reject it, whether it’s by phone or email. They put up that imaginary force field to block any attempts to steal even a small slice of their time.

    (*There are exceptions, of course. You can give on-going customers a basic quote when asked. BUT…do this too often or for too long, and you’ll lose them to a competitor who have gotten themselves in the door and been selling them. Complacency kills)

    Basic ‘must-do’ homework includes:
    • Look at their website (especially the “news” or “what’s new” pages
    • Check ‘google news’ for recent changes or announcements
    • Find out if they have a company LinkedIn page
    • Does the company have a YouTube page? A growing number of business-to-business firms use them for company tours, new product or service demonstrations, etc.

    Your initial goal is to know what’s happening at the company and names/titles of decision-makers. This will help you having to ask the main desk: “who handles your xxxxx?” A question that’s sure to position you as a peddler and, all-to-often, sent to a non-decision-maker.

    I do make a big exception to this rule: if you can’t find anything online, go ahead and make the call anyway….even if it means asking the “who handles” question. Any action is always better than none.

    Again, these ‘tweaks’ are obviously not advanced strategies. But that’s the whole point. The root of all success is in the basics and, in our hurry-up-and-get-it-done-now world, it’s those very basics that are most often neglected…and are the difference between good and Gold.

    Have your own tweaks you’d like me to share? Send them to

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