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Sales Strategies

Sharon Day is President of Greenville-based Sales Activation Group. They help companies who are frustrated with their current team’s performance and/or turnover, teaching a strategic process for revenue generation and employee development.  For more information call 864.293.6633 or e-mail: sharon@2activatesales.com
http://www.2activatesales.com/services.html
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What Excuses Are You Making or Allowing?

Disguised as their reasons for why something is or isn’t happening, many sellers offer explanations that are actually excuses.   Be careful to identify when this occurs so you don’t fall prey to them and can provide coaching on the importance of taking responsibility and being accountable.  Those two values make up the foundation of true empowerment.

Here are a few examples of the reasons I hear most often:
No one returns my messages
The president killed the deal at the last minute
I sent a proposal and now they aren’t responding
They keep pushing back the start date

I assure you that in each of these instances, the seller has been misled or missed something important early on.  Let’s take a look at each example individually.

No one returns my messages
It’s true that everyone is more mobile today and harder to pin down.  That said it’s the seller’s responsibility to prospect; it’s not the prospect’s responsibility to reply.   If you’ve left voice mail and e-mail messages that go unanswered either a) you haven’t discovered the best way to reach them yet; or, b) you’re not leaving an enticing message.  Try something else.  Half the fun of prospecting is figuring out how to ‘catch’ and meet new contacts.  Make it a game – give yourself a goal for the day of how many new people you can reach and see if you can ‘win’.

The president killed the deal at the last minute
Sorry, but when this happens you’ve not been working with the decision maker.  No matter what your contact may have led you to believe, the president had the final say so they were the decision maker you should have been working with all along. Ask more questions to uncover your prospect’s decision-making process before you come up with an idea or send a quote.  Understand what you’re getting into before you get into or involve your team in it.

I sent a proposal and now they aren’t responding
Although hard to hear, it’s likely that they weren’t really in the market to buy.  They were either shopping price, making sure their current supplier was their best choice or they wanted some information, which was likely provided at no charge.   Again, get better at asking more pointed questions upfront so you can more quickly disqualify those that are just ‘kicking the tires’.   Ask why they’d consider purchasing from you when they’re already working with a good supplier.  Make them get ‘real’ with you in the first conversation.

They keep pushing back the start date
Similar to the example above, it’s likely there is no planned start date.   If a date keeps getting postponed let that be a red flag for you that it’s not a high priority for them.  As a rule, if a start date is postponed twice or more, there’s no planned purchase.  Ask your prospect outright specifically when they plan to buy.  Then ask them why that date is important.  Then ask them what might get in the way of their making a purchase at that time.  Understand upfront what roadblocks you might encounter so you know how to prepare and predict.

We’re all in business to grow and succeed.  Let’s make sure we’re spending our valuable time with the most valuable prospects.   And, let’s commit to not making or allowing any more excuses.  When we hold ourselves, and others, to higher levels of responsibility and accountability we conduct better business.




 
04/30/2013 9:43AM
What Excuses Are You Making or Allowing?
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