Tag Archives: pitch

Stop Pushing

by Kelley Robertson, www.fearless-selling.ca

A few weeks ago a participant in a sales training workshop I recently conducted asked, “How do I convince someone to buy from me?”

This is the same as asking, “How can I force someone to buy from me?

You can’t force or push someone into buying your product or service.

Actually, I take that back.

You CAN coerce people into making a buying decision but it tends to happen more in a B2C setting (think time-share) {{{{shudder}}} than a B2B situation although I have encountered situations where someone made a business purchase because the sales person was aggressive, pushy, and forceful.

BTW: If you need to resort to using this type of approach I suggest you find another way to earn a living. Just saying…

I have always believed that you shouldn’t have to convince someone to buy your product, service or offering. If you have been effective in asking high-value questions to determine the other person’s buying criteria, motives, needs and wants; presented your offering in a manner that resonates with your prospect and properly addressed their concerns and possible objections, you seldom have to convince that person to buy.

However, if you short cut the process and deliver a well-rehearsed pitch without taking the time to adapt that presentation so it addresses the prospect’s key issues and current situation, you will always encounter resistance and reluctance.

And, if you start to push harder when you meet that resistance, the other person will naturally resist even more.

It’s human nature.

When people feel threatened their natural instinct is to defend themselves. And when people feel that a sales person is trying to push, coerce, or convince them to buy, they will become defensive and less inclined to buy from that sales person.

The key is to engage people in a conversation. A natural conversation. A conversation that includes everyone people involved in the buying decision.

Having said all of this, there is a difference between assertively responding to a ‘no’ or ‘not interested’ and aggressively pushing someone into making a decision that they simply do not want to make.

So what do you do when someone obviously has no interest in buying what you are selling? Move on!

Stop pushing and start looking for people who have a need and desire for your product, service and offering.

Kelley Robertson is president of the Robertson Training Group. Kelley is the author of two sales books, Stop, Ask & Listen-Proven Sales Techniques to Turn Browsers into Buyers and The Secrets of Power Selling. Both sales training books provide practical insights to improving your sales results. Visit his website at www.fearless-selling.ca or call him 905 633 7750
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How to “Pitch’ Your Pitch

Here’s a nifty little way to position your presentation and your close: tell your client that you’re going to pitch them before you pitch them.

Much like a batter in baseball who is awaiting a pitch, your client knows your pitch is going to come at some point. The trick is to make  it easier for the client (and yourself) by giving your client a ‘verbal wind up’ so they are prepared for it. When they can ‘see’ the pitch coming they are more tuned in and listen more closely.   As such,  your client tends to better understand and evaluate your offer which in turn, reduces sales resistance in the form of smokescreen objections.  Of course, what it really does is increase your odds of making the sale.

So, like a pitcher on the mound, the idea is for you to go through a routine so that your  batter (client) know the ball is about to be thrown . The verbal wind up is easy and  consists of two elements.

Part I: Summarize & Verify

First, summarize the client’s situation and pain points that you uncovered in your questioning phase, and then verify summary to ensure that  the client agrees. For instance,

“Sandi, let me summarize your situation as I understand it .  You indicated that _______ (list your findings).  Is that correct?

Part II:  Tell Them You’re Going to Pitch

Second,  literally tell the client you’re going to pitch them  by using this trigger phrase:

“Okay…based on what you’ve told me here’s the pitch …<pause>.

Use these precise words.  Because it uses the baseball pitch metaphor, it tends to sound a little more casual and easy going; less business-like.  This tends to reduce buyer anxiety and makes the client a little more receptive to your message.  Be sure to pause for a second or two so your client can digest the thought.  Then present your product offer  and ask for the sale or appointment.

Too Simple?

Don’t be deceived by the  simplicity of the technique.  The verbal wind up is one of those persuasive and influential phrases that work exceedingly well  in any situation particularly in tele-sales.

Not only does your client benefit from its use but you do as well.  For most reps, there is a degree of anxiety at the moment of closing.  It  stems from a variety of reasons not the least of which is the fear of rejection. Using the pitch  as a quick preamble to your offer and close often helps relieve the anxiety. It removes the pretence of ‘selling.’   It provides an easy-going, no-nonsense method of letting the customer know what’s coming next. They know. You know.

Give it a shot!

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How to Create the Ultimate Sales Message

How effective is your sales message?

Chances are it might not as scintillating as you might think. Many buyers complain that sales reps fail to provide them with clear, concise sales messages that help them buy or help them take the next step in the buying cycle. In fact, just the opposite occurs: the confused buyer takes no action at all.

An effective selling message has three fundamental components. They’ve been around since the time of the ancient Greeks. Perhaps because they not ‘new and sexy’ they are increasingly being forgotten, misused or ignored. That’s a real tragedy because when your sales message is not clear and convincing, your sales will suffer.

This article will show you how to create the ultimate sales message that gets your prospect to turn their head, listen and take action.

What is a Selling Message?

First off, a selling message is any message where you try to persuade a potential buyer to do something. Getting your prospect to agree to the next follow up call or to agree to a face-to-face visit can be as much of a “sale” as getting them to purchase a product or a service.

Creating the Ultimate Sales Message: The OEB Process

An ‘ultimate’ sales message is one that provides a convincing and compelling rationale for the client to take action of any sort. Creating an ultimate sales message is a 3-step process called O.E.B. (offer, explanation, benefit).

Part I: The Offer

The first part of an ultimate sales message is the clear articulation of precisely what you want to ‘sell’ or ‘promote.’ It is your offer.

Defined, offer means, “to present for acceptance or rejection; to present for sale.”   Based on that apt definition, an offer might be a specific product like a pallet of chainsaw lubricant, or it could be a face-to-face appointment to discuss retirement planning. It could be a webinar on your personnel evaluation software or it might be a conference call with your head technician to discuss your ‘specs’. An offer might be as simple a sales proposal or a quote.

Recommendation Trigger

Your offer is what the buyer must make a decision about.  One of the best ways to convey your offer is to use the “recommendation trigger phrase.”  For instance,

“Audrina, based on what we’ve discussed  so far, I would like to recommend…( that we get together; that you attend our webinar; that I get a quote into your hands; that you speak with one of our techs)”

Positioning the offer as a ‘recommendation’ has a less ‘salesy’ feel about it. The prospect doesn’t feel like he or she is being ‘sold.’  This simple phrase reduces buyer reactance and makes them more receptive the explanation.

Part II: An Enticing Explanation

Most reps ‘get’ the offer part of a sales message.  What most reps don’t ‘get’ is that the offer must be accompanied with an enticing explanation.

The enticing explanation explains why a webinar, visit, trial demo or purchase is significant and important. It provides the meat of matter.  It is not enough to recommend attending a webinar. You must delineate what the webinar will cover. Create value.  It is not enough to say, “Let’s get together for a cup of coffee to discuss your financial future.” What the heck does that mean? You need to add some ‘oomph and pizzazz’ to that offer so that it feels worthwhile. A trial demo must have a sense of weight and scope that screams to the prospect to try it immediately.

Don’t skimp on the explanation.

Part III: The Ultimate Benefit

An ‘ultimate’ sales message needs one more element, a benefit. A benefit is why it is personally significant and important to the potential buyer. The explanation tells a prospective buyer what they will get out of taking action but benefit explains what they will ultimately achieve from your offer. The benefit answers the classic question ‘what’s in it for me?’

Everyone knows the WIIFM formula. Benefits vary from client to client but typically, they describe the intrinsic value that buyers derive from the offer. This include things like saving money, making money, saving time, reducing risk, providing peace of mind,  creating status and so on.

Putting OEB Together: Example

“_____, to get you started I would like to recommend a “test drive” of our EM Program.

In other words, I would like to recommend that you give the program a ‘spin’ around the block with three or four patients so you can get a feel how we work, how we work with your insurance providers, how your patients respond and how the program benefits your practice. You can assess our effectiveness, see how things operate, compile any questions and evaluate it from bumper to bumper.

At the end of day, this ‘test drive’ will not only show you how our program can generate additional revenues for your practice but also give you peace of mind knowing regarding our company and our program. And, should the program not appeal to you, no problem, you have risked nothing.”

In this example, the doctor is offered a no cost trial of a particular program. The sales rep has used the simple but powerful metaphor of a test drive to explain what the trial would accomplish. Finally, the sales rep provides three benefits to the doctor (generating revenue, peace of mind and no risk).  Used consistently, this message creates powerful and compelling reasons for the prospect to take action.

What Most Sales Reps Usually Do

As powerful as this 3-Step process may appear, many sales reps have difficulty applying it. They skimp on the explanation or they ignore the benefit.  Perhaps this is because the explanation and benefits are so obvious to the sales rep to lives and breaths the product every day. The trouble is your offer isn’t always so self evident to your prospect. They don’t think webinars, products, trial demos and appointments very day of the week

Consequently, the buyer is left with an incomplete or diluted selling message. You have not given them a reason to take decisive action. By harmonizing these 3-parts of your sales message, you make it easier for the client to evaluate and respond accordingly.

Summary

The 3-Part sales message is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s been around for thousands of years. However, that doesn’t make it any less effective. A true ultimate statement is one that is used consistently, time and again, to persuade clients. For every offer, you have available, create an enticing explanation and top it off with a benefit or two. Do it now and watch what it does to your sales results.

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“I am Not Interested” Dealing with the Ultimate Brush Off Objection

Nothing, absolutely nothing, cuts a conversation shorter with a prospect than a brusque, “I am not interested.”

The selling arena across North America lies littered with “dead and wounded” sales reps that were slashed by these four words.  Knowing how to how to respond to this objection can make your sales life a whole lot easier.

Why Are They Not Interested

When a prospect says, “I am not interested” (IANI) do they really mean it?  Perhaps in some cases this is true but what prospects really might be saying is:

“I might be interested …but I have been inundated with sales reps who have wasted my time and I suspect you are yet another …so, I am not interested now!” or,

“I might be interested… but I have something more pressing on my plate and I don’t want to be bothered right now… so I am not interested now.” or

“I might be interested … but I am getting ready for vacation and I want to be out of here by 2:00 …so I am not interested now.” Or

“I might be interested … but on my own terms…so I am not interested now.”

The IANI objection is not so much that they are not interested but rather that you caught them off guard and they are not prepared for your unsolicited call. Their objection is not grounded in anything real or rational. Their objection is a “knee jerk” reaction which means it is automatic or spontaneous; an automatic reflex brought on by your unsolicited call.

By way of comparison, think of the times you have been to a retail store and a sales clerk comes up to you and asks “May I help you today?” The vast majority of us automatically respond by saying, “No thanks, just looking.”

Why? Because we don’t want our space invaded; we are not ready for a pitch; we don’t want to be sold. The same holds true for the unsolicited calls you make.

And the trouble is: we as sales reps tend to reward our prospects by murmuring an apology and hanging up. Prospects have learned that the IANI objection is a fast, easy and highly effective way to brush you off and if you continue to reward them, your days in sales will be agonizing.

What Not Say

Of course, not every sales rep gives up so easily. A few manage rebuttals like:

“How can you say you are not interested when you haven’t heard what I have to say?” or

“What are you not interested in?” or

“Fine. If you don’t want to save money it’s up to you!”

While these remarks may make YOU feel good for a moment or two, they won’t do a thing for the prospect. Let’s face it, they are confrontational.  You might win the verbal battle but you lose all opportunity to sell. These statements do nothing for you except annoy the prospect. They will either give you an earful or hang up; probably both. They don’t work. Don’t use them.

What to Say

Assuming you have a decent opening statement and it is delivered well, here is an extremely effective template that you can use with some minor tinkering. There are several examples to illustrate the point. Suppose you sell to IT directors, your reply to the objection might look like this:

“Oh, I am sorry. I was given to understand that you were the person in charge of reducing IT costs and ensuring software compliance. Can you tell me who I should speak to?”

Suppose you sell safety or health programs to manufacturers and distributors:

“Oh, I am very sorry Mr. Jones.  I was given to understand that you were the person in charge of reducing death and injury on the job site. Can you please tell me who I should speak to?”

Suppose you are speaking with an office manager in a professional office:

“Oh, I am sorry to bother you. I was given to understand that you were the person in charge of reducing operating costs and improving efficiencies. Could you tell me who I should be speaking to?”

Why it Works

This reply is absolutely and positively brilliant and ingenious because it is rich in psychology. The reply works extremely well because it subtly and politely shames the prospect. It indirectly reminds the prospect that one of their key responsibilities is to reduce costs, or eliminate injuries or improve efficiencies or minimize risk or whatever the benefit might be. The reply suggests and hints and alludes to the fact that they are shirking their responsibilities. It’s a wake up call and you delivered it. Powerful stuff, here!

Because your reply implies that you are talking to the wrong person, it doesn’t look or sound like you are chastising the prospect. It sounds like you made a genuine mistake and that you are sorry for interrupting but you would like to find the person who IS responsible for these major benefits. In effect, it looks as though you blew it … rather than the prospect.

Dozens of sales reps who have used this technique have reported to me that the prospect typically murmurs something like, “Ah…er…what’s this about?” When that happens, you have won. It doesn’t mean you will get a sale but it does mean you can move further into the sales call.

Delivery

NOTE: The words are clever and compelling but what really will make this response work for you is your delivery and the tone of your voice.  When you apologize, your tone must be sincere. You must sound like you too were caught off guard.  Butter must melt in your mouth when you ask for the “correct” decision maker. In effect, you are in the spotlight and you must deliver your lines well. If you don’t, you can sound sarcastic and flippant. Needless to say, the response will then back fire.

What this really means is that you must practice your lines. Practice being sincere and contrite. Have some fun, practice a little quiver in your voice. Practice pausing and sounding like you were caught unaware. Practice. Practice is what makes this work.

Summary

Of course, there will always be prospects who will simply hang up after uttering IANI objection. There will be others who listen to your reply and hang up regardless. So it goes. The point is this technique will salvage some prospects. It will temper their knee jerk objection and give you another opportunity to sell. Finally, ask yourself this: what is the worst that can happen?  The prospect can hang up on you but he or she was going to do that anyway. So give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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7 Cold Call Opening Statements From Hell

When cold calling, the opening statement is THE most critical element to your success. If you don’t nail the opener and get the prospect’s attention, you needn’t worry about the rest of the call. In short, you can’t afford to make a mistake.

Regrettably, mistakes are made but the troubling fact is that the SAME mistakes are made repeatedly, every day, by thousands of sales reps.  Here are seven cold call opening statements that illustrate the typical blunders tele-prospectors make.  Are you guilty?

Example #1: “Hey Pete, How are you today?  This is Jane Seamore calling for H8 Enterprises. Have you heard of us?”

Two points here. First, “how are you today” is insipid, trite and wastes precious time. Prospects don’t like it so don’t use it. Secondly, the hope is the prospect will say, “Why no, tell me more about your company because I have loads of time on my hand.” Of course, they don’t. They don’t have time for idle chit chat and irrelevant questions. Cut to the quick. Get to the point.

Example #2: “Katie? Henry Eighthly calling from Tower Transport Logistics in London.  Katie, the reason for my call is to follow up on an e-mail I sent you on how we can reduce your long halls shipping costs.  Did you get it?”

In this example, Henry just handed the prospect a bona fide objection on a silver platter. About 95% of the time the prospect will say “no” and ask you to send it again. They get rid of you in a New York minute and then  they’ll avoid your call like the plague when you follow up. Never ask if they got something or read something.

Example #3: “Oh hi. Is this the safety manager? Good. I’m Justin Kovalev calling from Senator Safety products. We specialize in safety communications programs. Did I catch you at a good time?”

Notice, the rep did not use the prospect’s name. Using the name helps get the prospects attention. Not using a name screams that you haven’t done your homework. Next, nothing will stop a cold call faster than asking if you have caught them at a good time. Sure, it’s polite but it’s never a good time. They’re busy and you’ve given them a great way to blow you off. Instead,  use this handy trigger phrase:  “If I have caught you at a good time, I’d like to ask you some questions to get a feel for your situation…”

Example #4: “Ms. Harris, my name is Mary Worth and I’m a financial adviser who works with single moms who struggle to plan their financial future.  Let me ask you, what are some of the personal challenges you’re experiencing when it comes to planning for your kids’ education?

Aw shucks, this started so well! The unique proposition statement is great. However, the following question is a real cold call killer. Who in their right mind would open up to such an intimate and personal question in the OPENING statement? Never, ever make your first question something that is challenging, embarrassing, personal or awkward.  Sure, it’s a bold and enticing question but you haven’t earned the trust or the right to ask it at this moment. Start with an easy question to get a wedge in the door.

 Example #5:  “Hi, this is Mark Major from Mensa Medical. We specialize in a variety of hospital supplies.  I was wondering: what would it take to earn your business?”

This opener has been around since 1953. It was cheesy then and it is cheesy now. Translated, it is saying is this: “I don’t want to earn your business the old fashioned way through a needs analysis. I want you to make it easy for me, a stranger, and just tell me.” There is no attempt at rapport and there is certainly no benefit to the busy prospect.

Example #6:  “Antonio? My name is Brandon Mirovich calling from Vaststar Software.  We work with HR professionals helping them streamline their personnel review processes. Antonio, if I could show you a way to reduce the time it takes to write, conduct and complete a personnel review by 50%, would you take a moment to listen?”

This opener seems to offer a rich benefit. You’d think the prospect would be salivating. The trouble is, this opener has been overused for 27 years.  Every prospect has heard it at least seventeen or eighteen times in their career. And this has made them skeptical and cynical. High falutin’ promises and benefits are seen as slick and untrustworthy. So, when you offer your benefits, make them reasonable, not ridiculous.

Example #7:  “Dr. James, this is Tracie Hardie calling from Orbital Dental. We’re the dental specialists. Dr. James, we offer a wide range of  (insert a 600 word pitch) blah, blah, blah.”

Sadly, this is STILL the most common cold call opener: The telemarketing pitch. The idea is to vomit and spew out information and hope that something sticks. No one wants a monologue, sermon or speech. Your cold call opener must have your full name, company name, a reason for the call, a benefit as to why they should listen further, and finally a question that gets a dialog going.

Cold calling doesn’t have to a hellish experience. Give yourself an edge and make the process easier by avoiding these seven blunders.

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