Are You Sabotaging Your Sales?Aug 18, 2022
Learn the new ABCs of sales with sales & business development expert Merit Kahn.
There’s so much bad sales advice, like “Always be closing” and asking questions just to get yesses. The ABCs of sales has changed, and so should your sales framework. I sat down with sales and business development expert and CEO of SELLect Sales Development, Merit Kahn, to learn how we can overcome common mindset challenges around sales, the formula of the perfect sales conversation, and what to do instead of trying to handle objections.
Most business owners and entrepreneurs think you're open for business because they think, “I have a website, I have a storefront, I'm open for business.” The truth is, they’re open to conducting transactions. You can be available to do a transaction, but that is very different from being truly open for business, which is an action and an attitude.
Are You Open For Business?
An open-for-business mindset means you are open to the possibility that you can expand your business. The first thing we need to do in a sales conversation is open the other person’s mind to a new possibility. They can’t see or understand the value of what you offer without opening their mind.
An excellent analogy for a typical sales conversation is a closed fist. Make a fist with your left hand and hold a dollar bill or credit card in your right hand. The closed fist represents your prospect's closed mind, and you're waving your value around talking about all the fantastic things you offer. Until the prospect's mind is open, they can't receive your value.
The first step to a closed deal is always an open mind, and we can't sell more or help our prospects and customers beyond an initial transaction if we don't open their minds to the possibility that there are additional ways we can work with them.
The New ABCs of Sales
The ABCs of sales used to be “always be closing,” but that’s no longer effective because consumers don’t tolerate pushy and aggressive sales. The new ABCs of sales is all about having authentic business conversations. Authentic business conversations are based on your ability to ask good questions to see if you're a good match.
Are You Open To
There was a study done by Pepperdine University several years ago on open-mindedness, and 95% of respondents rated themselves more open-minded than the average person. Now, 95% of us can't be better than the average. What's fascinating is that we all want to be perceived as open-minded.
You’ll commonly hear salespeople ask, “are you interested in?” That's not getting us anywhere because it's effortless for someone to say “No thanks” without looking or feeling closed-minded. The moment you ask, “are you open to learning more” it becomes hard to say “no” and still identify as an open-minded person. We don't have an automatic conditioned response to “are you open to,” and those four words can transform your sales and communications.
Objections & Questions
When answering questions and handling objections, the typical question is, “how long have you been in business?” Now, think about that for a minute. Why does somebody care how long you've been in business? Rather than answer the question and move on, we need to investigate why they asked the question because the reason they asked is always more important than the actual answer. You can respond with something like, “I’ve been doing X for # of years, and most people who ask me are concerned that I might not have enough experience in the industry. But, tell me why that's important to you?”
Here’s an example. A prospect walks into a shipping store to rent a business mailbox. When they ask, “How long have you been in business?” they're asking, “If I get a mailbox here at your store and I print this address on all of my business materials, are you going to be around for a long time?”
If the person working at the shipping store responds with “We just opened,” they might have just killed the deal. Instead, they could answer with, “We're so excited; we've been here six months, but tell me why that's important to you?” The prospect will likely respond with “Well, I want to make sure you're going to be around in 90 days.” The person working can now say, “Oh, no problem. We signed a five-year lease.” The prospect can then have confidence in getting a mailbox with them.
Sometimes we answer questions and think we're crushing the sales process, but we're actually killing the deal, and we don't even know what happened. If you just remember that core principle, that the question that the prospect asks is probably not the real question, that will lead you to the correct language.
Making Appropriate Offers
Sometimes we jump to present offers to prospects, but what distinguishes something as an appropriate offer is a prospect qualifies in a few different categories. They have to qualify with their budget, be willing to invest and have the prerequisites needed to make the most of your offer.
You can be able and unwilling; you can also be willing but unable–If the prospect is not both able and willing to invest the money to solve the problem, then you don't have a qualified prospect, and it's not appropriate to make an offer.
If a prospect is willing and able to buy a high-level package but doesn’t have the prerequisites to make the most of the offer, you must ensure they choose a lower-level package that suits their needs. Ask yourself, “what's the thing that somebody needs to have in place before they can truly benefit from this offer.” There may be an entry-level offer that you can provide to prepare them to qualify for the next appropriate offer. You can use a survey or questionnaire to help identity what offers would work best for a prospect.
Stop Sabotaging Your Sales
Becoming effective at sales begins with a mindset. Instead of focusing on closing deals and overcoming objections, look at sales conversations as an opportunity to uncover if you and a prospect are a good match. Be authentic, ask good questions, and only make appropriate offers to qualified prospects.
- Hey Mickey Anderson
About Merit Kahn:
Merit has coached & trained entrepreneurs and sales teams for more than 20 years... and people are always surprised when she reveals that the secret to sales success is to "Stop selling... and start getting SELLected."
Be sure to snag Merit Kahn’s Free resource:
Head over to https://meritkahn.com/podcast/ and snag The Open For Business Framework and take the Sales SWOT analysis to learn what you can do to improve your sales!
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