The other night my wife Gracie, and I were discussing sales & business like we so often do, and she made a comment that inspired me to write this series. “It is crazy” she said. “How much money companies lose due to lack of confidence from their sales people.” So true!
Over the course of the last 15 years working intimately with sales people I have found that one thing dictates the success, or failure of a sales career. Some will be shocked, but it has nothing to do with the amount of talent or charisma an individual is blessed with, nor does it matter the level of knowledge, experience, or any other intangible that listed. The success of a person’s career in sales or with a particular organization comes down to the belief that person has in themselves, and the product they are selling.
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right” -Henry Ford
In this blog series Lions Mindset I will provide strategies to overcome the Fears that limit sales people, management, and business owners every single day. These limiting beliefs in turn have a dramatic negative impact on profits, and long-term success of any business or career. It is my mission to guide sales & leadership professionals as well as business owners through the pitfalls of the wild jungle in order to develop a true Lion’s Mindset. Then they will take their place as King/Queen of their domain. In this first edition I will tackle the #1 Fear in the hearts of sales people, and entrepreneurs of all experience levels across the world. Making prospecting/sales phone calls!
3 Tips to Develop a Lions mindset & make impactful Sales Calls:
-Sell Your Biggest Client 1st!
Am I saying you need to have an impressive list of customers, or reel in that big fish before you have earned the right to pick up the phone? Not exactly. You see the most important client is the one that sits tightly between your ears, and you will need to convince the Chairman of Your Board before selling any customer on your products and services.
As a young salesperson I avoided making phone calls at all costs. I was afraid of being told no, I was afraid I was going to bug the person on the other line, and I was certainly afraid of being made to feel like a plague because my job was to make sales calls. However I also understood that if I was going to have a successful career that I had to make the calls, and so I plugged away against every force of my being. It took making call after call, and repeating my mistakes for years before I discovered that the reason I dreaded calls so much was because I had ZERO belief that I was providing any value to the poor soul that was fortunate enough to answer my call. So I threw out the cheesy & robotic scripts that were handed to me over the years, and asked myself the following questions in order to sell myself on my perceived value:
What is my value to the client, and why would they want to hear from me? Think of the pain points your clients experience by using, or not using your product/service. Then think how can I proactively solve those issues before they arise? For example at the time I sold Verizon Wireless, and my clients had issues such as 1 year warranty or protection plan expiring before they could submit a claim, battery performance declined over time, and a steep learning curve to use the ever-changing technology. By being aware of the pain points of my clients instead of making the typical “I want nothing more than to sell you something” approach that my competition was making, I focused my call in offering a solution to prevent a possible pain point from occurring. Naturally, when you can provide your client with the value of proactively helping them to avoid pain not only will your confidence grow, but you will also establish yourself as The Trusted Professional within your industry.
Prepare for the Hunt
While lions are not very fast animals, the animals they hunt are some of the fastest on the planet. Consequently in order for a lion to succeed in capturing a wildebeest she must stalk it in order to understand the wildebeest’s habits, as well as adversity she may face during the hunt. A lion is also not discouraged by failure because she understands that a missed opportunity is just practice for the next hunt.
Like a lion it is crucial to prepare for the hunt. So many times I have witnessed sales people start dialing with nothing in mind except “I gotta make a sale because rent is due.” Those calls typically end up a little something like (in a “I would rather be chewing glass” tone) “Hello Mr/Mrs Customer, I am Jason from XYZ Corp and I wanted to see if you were interested in our XYZ product that is on sale…Oh I am sorry I caught you at a bad time call me back if you would like to buy something in the future.” What happens next 80% of the time is the discouraged sales rep takes a well deserved break from calls in order to repair a bruised ego, and convinced that sales calls just do not work.
Instead of reeling from failure. Plan to dominate your calls like a lion by asking yourself the following questions:
1. What is the outcome I desire when making calls? The desired outcome can differ by industry, or by the type of calling campaign. For example, my desired result most of the time is to set an appointment to meet in person. I am more comfortable when we can meet face to face in order to develop a rapport, which has greater chances to lead to a long-term relationship. However you may have a goal to sell your product over the phone today or you may want to invite to an event your company is hosting. The only matter of importance is to identify the desired outcome for you.
2. What obstacles stand in my way of achieving my desired outcome? The outcome you desire was identified, however it is important to understand that like a lion’s prey your potential customer is not going to just lie down because you want it. It is imperative to understand what obstacles stand in your way in order to plan to overcome them as they occur. Is your customer busy? Have they had a bad experience with your company in the past? Is the product is too expensive? Or is the client angry over receiving a sales call during lunch? All these objections are possible, and so much more. Until you are aware of the hurdles in your way it is impossible to overcome them consistently.
Lastly always remember that not everyone is your customer, and that is ok. The quicker you accept that the quicker you will rebound to make the next call. As a result you will learn from mistakes, and develop more resilience.
To this point you have sold yourself on your value, and prepared for the hunt. Now all that is left to do is POUNCE! As easy as that sounds the fear of the dial can be just as debilitating as attacking a wild animal in the jungle. The longer you think the more your brain is convinced of the near, and present danger. The fear turns to paralysis, which results in losing your opportunity to close in on your prey. Or worse you could be become the prey!
One day towards the end of the month I got a lead from a friend that his son in-law was in town for the holidays, and wanted to upgrade his phone. I gave the lead to one of my sales reps that was driving towards a goal, and told him everything I knew about the lead. The rep proceeded to ask me additional questions(that I of course did not know), looked the potential customer up on social media, and wondered out loud what he could need instead of just calling to ask him. He hesitated to make the call, and then got busy. When he finally got around to calling the customer it was too late as the customer had already left town. Opportunity lost!
Learn from this mistake made by many, and Do Not procrastinate when making the dial. It is important to identify your goal for the call, and be prepared to overcome obstacles. However over preparation is just as dangerous as no preparation. At the end of the day there is way too much competition in the market to sleep on calling your prospects.
Hopefully this article will guide you in your pursuit to making dominating sales calls! Need some additional help? I work with individuals and organizations interested in growing their profits. Email me at email@example.com to learn more.