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If You’re Not Selling … By Michael Dalton Johnson

Are you working hard, but not getting the results you want? If you’re a professional salesperson and you’re not selling, it could be because:

• You are boring. Do customers cut you off in mid-sentence, or jump in when you pause for breath? Chances are, you’re boring them. Paint a vivid picture and put them in it; use an example or interesting case history to illustrate your point. Whip out some visuals to show them how much they will save.

• You insult their intelligence. “Mr. Jones, would you like to save money on your long distance phone bill?” Polling prospects with lame questions in an attempt to get them to say yes is manipulative and insulting. Instead, ask open-ended questions to elicit their needs. Treat them with respect by tailoring your questions to their company, industry and circumstances.

• You are uninformed. Take time to visit the website of your prospect’s company. Check out their competition, industry association and trade journals. Remember: the more you learn, the more you earn. If you do not understand what your prospects do, and what issues they face, how can you expect to determine how your product or service can best help them?

• You are talking to the wrong person. Oops! Once again, you have not done your homework, and end up pitching someone who has no decision-making authority. This hurts, because it’s usually hard to get a second bite of the apple.

• You do not listen. Pay attention to what your customers are saying and how they are saying it, including their non-verbal communication. Effective listening will provide you with most of the answers to your qualifying questions without even asking them. You will learn about your customers’ needs, what their hot buttons are, and how to convince them. Simply put: when your customer talks, you sell; when you talk, you lose.

• You talk about features, not benefits. You are crazy about all those neat bells and whistles your product offers, but you do not let the buyer know how they will directly benefit him.

• You do not understand their needs. In the world of sales, one size rarely fits all. Find out your prospect’s special needs and concerns, and show how your product or service can help. Again: listen and he will tell you.

• Buyers do not like you. You have heard it a million times: people buy from people they like. If your prospect doesn’t like you, he’s not going to spend time getting to know your product or service. Investing some time in your rapport-building skills will pay big dividends.

• They do not know you, and have never heard of your company. All things being equal, who do you think your prospect is going to buy from: the company he has known for years, or you, the new kid on the block? Allay his fears by providing him with current customer lists (including contact names and numbers for some of your accounts), testimonial letters on your customers’ letterhead, documented case histories, and press coverage. A referral from someone he knows and respects will swing doors wide open.

• Make your buyers heroes. Even in a business-to-business sale, you need to show your prospects what’s in it for them personally. How do they personally gain? Will they look good to their boss? Will they save time and effort? Will they make their customers or employees happy? There’s an important difference between, “Your company will save over $50,000 a year with our product” and “You will save your company over $50,000 a year with our product.” People want to be heroes. Make it so.

It’s the little things that make a difference in the sale. Pay attention to these ten factors, and make more sales.
Michael Dalton Johnson is the Editor & Publisher of “Top Dog Sales Secrets“, the best-selling sales book featuring advice from 50 renowned sales experts. He is the Founder and Publisher of SalesDog.com, an education resource for sales professionals. Johnson is a successful entrepreneur with over 30 years of business leadership. For a free subscription to his weekly sales tips newsletter, visit his website at www.SalesDog.com.

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