Part two of our top tips on overcoming sales obstacles…

Following on from part one on this topic, these guidance points are designed to identify and overcome sales obstacles in our day-to-day working lives. In part one we talked about a closing ratio of around 50% and what it takes to achieve this and higher rates.
We talked about:
#1 – Smart Phones/Social Media
#2 – FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
#3 – Lack of Commitment
#4 – Prejudging Your Prospect
So we pick up the journey with points five, six and seven, to move us nearer to closing that sale.

If this isn’t the deadliest obstacle, it is certainly the most painful. The objective of any sales presentation is to engage with the prospect. A boring presentation signals a complete lack of effort and preparation and negatively impacts a prospect’s perception of a company and its product offerings.

A lack of engagement results in a lower retention of what information is provided and almost guarantees a low prospect of success in closing a sale. Boring equates to uninteresting, unprofessional and uninformative creating a lack of trust toward a salesperson and their company. No Trust, No Sale.

Creating an engaging, interesting and effective presentation is one of the most worthwhile efforts a salesperson can exert for sales success. Here are Principles for an engaging presentation: *Enthusiasm and Honesty Enthusiasm comes from the Greek word meaning “the God within,” because if YOU aren’t excited about your product – how can a prospect be?

Honesty, because we understand the bias towards Salespeople and that trust is the most important virtue to pursue for a sustainable career in sales. *Focus on the Prospect It’s really not about “us” or our company, or our products (though all critical for building value) – it is 100% about the prospect standing in front of us, and the only way to put the focus on them is with genuine curiosity to uncover the “what” the “why” the “when” and the “how” of the sales equation.

*Make things Simple Einstein said that the highest form of cognitive ability is making a thing simple. We sometimes assume our prospects have a working knowledge and understanding of what we sell, that is another deadly aspect of prejudging a prospect. The safest assumption is that whatever they know is wrong, and that our presentation is designed to take anyone from A-Z regarding our company and products, in an engaging and easy to understand format.

Einstein also said you should make things as simple as possible – but no simpler, meaning don’t gloss over something that is complex like it doesn’t matter, just don’t get bogged down or confusing with the information. Clarity and Simplicity improve every presentation.

*Be Personable We like to buy from people we like, and as salespeople the easiest way to accomplish this is to ask for and call prospects by their name. Be unflinchingly honest, if you don’t know the answer to a question say “good question, I don’t know the answer but will find out and get back to you,” then make a note and do exactly that – after the presentation, and next time the question is asked you will know the answer.

Being an Active Listener, showing Empathy, a Positive Attitude and staying Open minded are also important aspects of being personable. *Be Aware of Body Language 80% of communication is from Body Language. Read that again. How we stand, speak, and convey our messaging has a profound affect on how we connect with others, conveying competence, confidence, and credibility – or the opposite.

Also, effective presentations utilize visuals whenever possible, and incorporate interactive elements so that the prospect stays involved in the entire process. Everything in a presentation is designed to maximize engagement and to set us apart from our competitors. It takes a lot of Effort to create a winning presentation, and more often than not, the best presentation wins.

Hubspot reports that 44% of Salespeople do NOT ask for the order with a Sales Presentation. Beyond the incredible negative impact this has on sales revenue (the lifeblood of all business), it also generates frustration with the customer, plunging their satisfaction level with our company.

The BIG question is why? Asking for the order is a crucial part of the sales process, and yet… The easy and obvious answers are the fear of rejection and a lack of confidence, and I would propose that both of those are wrapped up in a much larger issue; that we haven’t EARNED the right to ask, so it is out of place, inappropriate, so we don’t do it. Obstacles #1-5 all contribute to arriving at this point, leaving us ill prepared and ill equipped to successfully close the sale.

We have to prepare for the ask, from the minute the sales conversation begins, until successful conclusion by: Developing a strong understanding of our features and benefits. Be the SME!! (subject matter expert). Expertise is exactly why we need competent salespeople.

This will instill the confidence we need to ask great questions, overcome objections and to build rapport and develop trust with our prospect. We also have to prepare for the objections, they are basically the same handful of objections every single time, and effective presentations eliminate 80% of them on the front end. Then we have to do what all great leaders of any profession do; we have to practice.

No one is great without practice. No one is even very good without practice, and here is a critical point, probably no one is going to make you practice so the poor results compound and become normalized and we blame the job, or the industry, or the economy instead of identifying and correcting the real problem. Every obstacle is a great opportunity to improve.

This self-inflicted Obstacle hasn’t changed in 30 years. Studies have shown that Follow-Up efforts can significantly increase the likelihood of closing a sale, however, some interesting statistics: 48% of Salespeople never even make a single Follow-Up attempt. According to Hubspot data, 49% of sales are made after the initial contact and 51% are made after the second contact.

You see the problem. Of course, our goal is to make the sale on the initial contact, and that becomes more likely as we remove these obstacles, but we all know that isn’t always the case, as 60% of customers say “no” 4 times before they say “yes”, and hopefully we have gotten some of those “no’s” out of the way, so if the customer hasn’t bought from us, then we have to keep selling. Follow-Up means “I care” and caring is a very, very powerful selling proposition.

Some of the reasons Follow-Up isn’t occurring:
• Lack of time management skills
• Fear of rejection
• Lack of Motivation
• Poor communication skills

Follow-Up is a continuation and critical component of the Sales Process, and the next step if our Presentation didn’t result in a sale. We have to prioritize the task as critical or important as any other item on our calendar. Change our perspective of rejection. Instead, view it as a fact-finding mission (which it is – there is no better improvement mechanism than finding out why you lost a sale) and an opportunity to learn and grow.

Without follow up we never know for sure why we lost the sale. We have to stay engaged and motivated by focusing on the benefits to the customer, and not let the outcome be decided by our lack of motivation. Again, practicing is the way to improve communication skills (all skills), working on active listening and asking open ended questions, as well as personalizing our follow up to the specific customer and situation.

Until a customer has made a purchase, they are still a prospect, and the mantra of “until they buy or until they die” is a great way to view how long you work for a prospect. There is also another component to implement besides Follow-Up, and that is Follow -Through, when a customer has purchased from you. Follow- Through is another critical component of the Sales Process that can have significant impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Follow- Through after a sale ensures the customer is satisfied with the purchase and address any concerns or issues that might arise. Follow -Through demonstrates our commitment to providing excellent customer service and support, further builds trust and rapport for the all-important word of mouth referrals, and establishes us as a critical asset in the sales process. A great experience they weren’t expecting.

If we can identify areas where we can improve, we are half way to solving them. As the Stoics point out; “the Obstacle is the Way.” These 7 Obstacles can then become 7 Opportunities for us to enhance our effectiveness in our sales careers, benefitting ourselves, our companies, our customers and our families. The global Pool and Spa Industry is a $23B enterprise, filled with plenty of successful sales opportunities for those willing to do the work, to embrace and make the effort.

Keynote Speaker, Sales Trainer & Author has spoken to companies worldwide on all topics regarding effective selling, motivation and leadership.

Effort Today Enterprises