Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Getting From "Hello" to "Sold"

In last week's post, we talked about the first step in your 3-step marketing plan, which was getting prospects to raise their hand and say, "I'm interested. Tell me more." In effect, that steps ends, and this one begins, with "Hello."

I can't turn you into a professional sales person in one post. What I can do is give you some rules of the road to help you be more effective at moving prospects from Hello to Sold. 

None of these ideas is original to me; I don't know for sure where or when I learned them.  I wish I could give credit where it's due. The odds are pretty good that the idea, hint, or knowledge came from: Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone, Jay Abraham, Bob Proctor, or Brian Tracy.

10 Rules of the Road to Bring Prospects from Hello to Sold
  1. Spend $100 and get a couple of professional sales training programs from Nightingale Conant. I'd start with The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy; and Your Secret Wealth by Jay Abraham. They have different styles. Brian is more systematic in his sales training. Jay likes to tell stories and uses them to teach his points. 
  2. Stop listening to your car radio; and don't play music in your office. Instead, listen to the sales training material you just bought. Play each set 10 times. You'll always hear something new. Or something that went over your head or made no sense all the other times will now sink in.
  3. Telling is not selling. People listen to about 40% of what you say. But did you know that if you ask someone a question, you have 100% of their attention? Teach yourself to ask one question after every two sentences or statements.
  4. Get comfortable with silences. When you ask that question, stop talking and wait patiently for the answer. At first, the silence will kill you. The prospect is thinking about the answer to your question. If you break the silence, you will break your prospect's train of thought and you will never get it back. The thought you lost is always the one you needed to close the sale.
  5. Build rapport. Establish a connection with the prospect. Be interested in them, instead of trying to be interesting. People buy emotionally, and they are more inclined to buy from someone with whom they find it pleasant to work.
  6. Discover the True Need. Prospects raise their hands so you can solve a problem or give them a benefit. They don't need to buy a jet, or a jet card, or book a charter flight. What they need to do is go somewhere to do something. Find out where and what and you've got the true need. (By the way, unless and until you've built rapport, they won't tell you their true need.)
  7. Suggest Solutions to Satisfy the True Need. Paint a word picture. (If you get Your Secret Wealth, listen to the story about the pony.) Your natural inclination will be to tell the prospect the features of your service.  Don't make them figure out the benefits. Tell them! {Feature}  Our jet flies 400 MPH so that {Benefit} you can be home in time for dinner.
  8. Ask for questions and concerns. At this step in the sales process, they need facts, data, and information to justify the emotional decision. Questions and concerns mean you've MADE the sale! Tell them the truth, and panic not. They are talking themselves into it.
  9. Ask for the order. Incredibly enough, sales are lost because the sales person never asked for the order. If you want to eat, pay your mortgage, cover payroll, and put the kids through college, get over your fear and ask for the order.
  10. Never tell them how much it costs until they scream, "I want it, I need it, I've got to have it!" Well, perhaps not literally scream it. But if you discuss price before you've: built rapport; discovered the true need; and suggested solutions to satisfy the true need, you will lose the sale. Guaranteed. That's because the price must be in relationship to the benefit. And if you haven't got the true need, and haven't been able to suggest solutions to meet the true need, you can't possibly have shown the benefits in relation to the investment.
On point number 10, I know what you're thinking. You want to know how to handle the situation where the customer wants to know how much it costs and I won't let you tell them. The way you handle that is to say, "I don't know. I can't tell you what it costs because we haven't yet figured out the solution to your problem. But if you will spend just a few more minutes with me, once we are in agreement on the best possible solution to your needs, and the benefits you will receive, I can give you a definite price so you can evaluate it against the benefits."

These 10 Rules of the Road are the second step in your 3-step marketing plan. Copy and insert these rules into your plan. Then make sure everyone in your organization reads, understands, and follows them. I'd recommend you review these steps at each staff meeting until they become habits. And I'd print them out, laminate it, and carry a set all the time at the office. Spot check your staff throughout the day to be sure learning has occurred.

If you'd like some coaching along the way, give me a call at 800.769.6082. Thanks! Mike Ryan.

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