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Hit or Miss Does Not Work in Selling

By Alen Majer

Many sales are lost because salespeople assume they know what the customer wants. Sales people like to made assumptions of knowledge about what the buyer wants and needs, or sometimes more important why the buyer might be motivated to buy. Using one’s instincts and sixth sense is fine in the equation of success, but it should be only part of your expertise.

Consequently, through unorganized, hit-or-miss methods, his cost of selling is high simply because his methods are not as efficient as they should be. This does not mean you shouldn’t use your instincts and training well. But it does mean that your sales assumptions must be based in a finding of facts, not guesses.

Using the dart game in the sales profession can lead to failure. You have limited time on your sales call to a prospective buyer and your darts must hit their mark. It’s even more crucial when you use the phone for your sales prospecting activities: many telephone sales calls miss their mark as being off-the-shelf calls that aren’t developed with a specific buyer in mind. Dartboard selling is a quick way to go broke.

Top notch salespeople advise that 75% of a successful sale is due to the pre-flight work. You must make sure you know what direction you want to go in, and you have to ask precise questions that will lead you to confirm needs you recognized through trigger events. You must know what direction to fly before your takeoff.

Most sales people out there are making a huge mistake meeting (or talking over the phone) with their clients unprepared. They think it is enough to schedule the meeting and they will work their magic and close the deal. They will try to break the ice with the customer by talking about the stuff in his office. Then the next misstep is to ask a few questions and not even wait for the answers, but to start with the same old sales pitch.

This kind of salesperson knows all the answers and few features and benefits later they will ask for the business. After hearing few “No’s” from customer they may give up and leave the office with the promise of a follow up a few days later. Unfortunately, the down side is that the customer will probably never return their calls.

Big number of sales people does not take the time to have a conversation with their customers, because they assume that every other customer is like all the others. You will discover that your previous assumptions in sales were fatal many times. Keep those times in the past. It was necessary for you to learn a lesson every salesperson needs to learn, and now is the time to grow and develop your skills and knowledge. You will do so in developing your knowledge about trigger events. It is time to replace assumptions with research.

When you start learning how to recognize trigger events, rather than trying to assume or guess at them, will not only enhance your professional sales career and knowledge, but will increase your sales savvy to what the customer needs.

It is mind-boggling to receive a sales telephone call and the caller spits out a menu of mechanical words. The customer isn’t even, it seems, invited to be part of the conversation. It’s all about the need of the seller. Now when you contact your customers with information collected from recognized trigger events, you will have right questions to ask them, and all you need to do is listen to their answers and reshape your presentation accordingly.

Start with understanding customer’s actual situation and have their needs on your mind, but also find the way to put them on the market by making them realize their yet uncovered needs.

I hope you realize how often you barked up the wrong tree in your prospecting activities, talking to companies without the real need, following up and leaving numerous messages to someone who doesn't see the value in your product. It is time to move on. Of course, at one time when we were starting sales, we all may have wasted our time that way, calling people from the long list of unqualified prospects we got from our manager, simply because they were in our territory or vertical market.

Now you will have a very powerful tool to change your approach to selling. You have to understand the positioning of the company, what are they needs, does not matter if they are hidden or visible to public eye.

You need to do this ahead of the first contact as part of your trigger events research. You have to know the customer’s situation better than perhaps they know it, because at the time of presentation of your product, you will have their needs on your mind and prepare your sales presentation accordingly to information you hold.

Think value. Give to the customer what they ask for; give them what they need and more, drive the conversation to the customer's wants and needs. Impress them with the depth of your understanding of their position on the market and recent events that can trigger buying process, and they will sign on dotted line.

Very often you can hear how selling is a form of art, how sales people need to be creative and use their imagination, but I am not agreeing with that – sales is more science than anything. Yes you can use imagination and creativity, but after using tools available to you. With the proper tools and techniques you’ll replace guesswork with success.

Even if your company does not have automated system to generate new leads for you, when you learn more about trigger events from this book, you will be able to find your next customer by your own. This will send the message to your manager that you care about your job and you really want to develop your career further, without waiting for someone.

Becoming best in team is an achievable goal and your self-confidence is growing as you establish a competitive advantage towards your colleges and towards your competition.

You don’t need to use old sales excuses anymore, like “territory is too small”, “need more training”, “inadequate sales tools”, “marketing provides no leads”, “we are over priced” etc.

Numbers of sales people who lose their jobs or miss their quota each year are not really important to you anymore, because you are more confident that you know what you doing in your sales role and all thanks to getting new customers from trigger events. Now you are becoming a real Sales Professional. And it is a good feeling having control over your sales career, isn’t it?

Read other articles and learn more about Alen Majer.

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