Buying Signals

Buying SignalHow would you describe a customer’s “Buying Signal”? Is it the same for all customers? Is it a tool that all salespeople use universally?

The sales technique for finding a customer’s buying signal can be unique to different salesperson. What one salesperson thinks is a buying signal can be different from what another salesperson thinks. Because product and services are different I know that one customer’s buying signal would be different from another. Selling a customer that consistently continues to buy a product or service versus selling to a customer that buys just once also has a different kind of buying signal.

One time I tried to help a fellow salesperson (a friend) land an account. I could not sell to this account because I already had a local customer. Both these customers would not like me selling to both at the same time because they competed in the same business in the same area. This particular account was based on selling our products on a consistent basis which means they buy from their sales rep every month. My friend and I were sales reps that worked for competing manufacturers and the customer was the retailer that sold our product.

I had known this customer for a number of years and knew what it takes to get his business. This customer did not buy just because he believed in a particular product but because of the deal he makes with the sales rep and the manufacturer. Both our products were good and they did not warrant any reason to pick one from the other besides the relationship built with the sales rep and the deal that needed to be made. I explained this to the salesperson I was trying to help.

A week went buy and this customer called me just to vent. He said, “I know another salesperson I do not like and I hope he never come back!” I asked who it was and he told me. It was the salesperson I tried to help. This customer did not know that I was trying to help the other salesperson get the business. If you are thinking this salesperson was a newby, he wasn’t. In fact he has been selling the same product for 20 years. Because of the last few years, it has been tough since the recession. The last few years sales has dropped in the industry I had worked for. I have several friends at competing companies that are having a hard time. Their bosses are on them everyday to get a sale and the competition is fierce. This is where persistence must take over.

My friend (other salesperson) had did what I call an absolute No-No. The customer said he talked bad about the product the customer was currently buying at the same time telling (not selling) how good his product would be. This salesperson actually insulted this customer because there was a reason this customer picked out & bought the product he was selling. So basically the salesperson indirectly told the customer the choice he was currently making was bad and his product was the saving grace of products.

I know for a fact that this customer buys for 2 reasons. A rebate deal made with the manufacturer and a lower (not better or cheapest) priced product that fit well within the market he was in. If this salesperson had asked questions, even if it took several visits to get an answer, he would have heard the buying signals. In relationship selling it is very hard to get a sale the first time out. If your product is not the cheapest in your market it takes other things to get the sale, especially when you are taking another competitors place at as retail center.

I have always believed that patients and persistence was a key that every salesperson needs because getting a buying signal may take more than one visit to a customer. Especially if you are in a face to face business.


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The Profit – Selling or Telling!

Marcus Lemonis The ProfitMarcus Lemonis of “The Profit”, a new TV reality show, is a cool customer. Reading about his rise to fame and success was very interesting. He is definitely a go-getter and has a unique approach to business. I have been hooked on the show ever since its launch. His three rules to a successful business model is People, Process & Product but not in that order. It seems as if Marcus Lemonis looks for only failing companies that have a potential to make millions and can go nationally as a franchise business.

The last few weeks have not turned out like he expected and has cost him some money. Normally you would expect him to worry about losing thousands of dollars but he banks on finding companies that will make him millions and will go national. Because he uses his own money and invest hundreds of thousands into making a business profitable he is a bull. I can understand his bullish behavior because of the opportunity he brings to turning a company around but this attitude he exerts does not seem to give a win-win situation to the owners of these failing companies.

Looking at it as a sales situation makes you wonder what kind of salesperson Marcus Lemonis would make. He seems more of an accountant or GM than a salesperson. He offers owners of these businesses a black or white situation with no grey areas. There are no emotions and it is a take it or leave it mentality. We all know in sales that you ask the right questions and then listen to the answers. This will give a salesperson an opportunity to know what is needed in order to make a sale. Because a TV program gets edited to make the show only an hour long I know there are a lot of discussions and things that happen that gets edited out. This takes away some of the things Marcus Lemonis may be doing correct to get the owners to say yes to his offer.

From my experiences of selling to a high volume repeat customer I know that deal making is crucial for success. The customer may like and trust you but it does not mean they are willing to buy from you without a deal (Benefit) that is over and beyond me having a good product or service. This show airs eastern time at 10 PM in my city.

What do you think?

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Tom Hopkins implied you’re not a real salesperson unless you work for 100 percent commission

Tom_HopkinsThere is no argument that Tom Hopkins is not only a good sales person but also a great sales trainer.  I was listening to one of his older recordings when I heard him mention about you are not really in sales if you are on 100% commission. I can understand his thinking but just because you are not on 100% sales commission doesn’t mean you work less hard, put less hours in or try less hard to get a sale. In fact because the cost of living is much higher than it use to be and the economy is out of sorts you need a little salary just to keep your family fed while you are traveling on sales calls.

I have worked both with and without a salary and both have their own pressures and benefits. If you are on salary and commission you constantly feel you owe the hours and work to the company you work for and therefore can work many more hours than you normally would. Instead of 100% focus on sales you are sharing the focus on making your boss happy. A sale does not increase from the more hours you work but rather the quality of your work. Not all companies are marketing and sales driven but rather production and operation driven. What makes them go is the ability of the salary and commission sales people to do what they do best, sell.

If you are going to have a career in sales and are working on 100% commission then I suggest you sell something you know about or are excited about, then the opportunity to have a great career will be there.

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Selling, is there a difference?

differnceAbsolutely yes! Let’s take a look at the differences.

Online Selling

Offline Selling

Person to Person Selling

Low cost Selling

High cost Selling

Relationship business selling

Intangible Selling

Tangible Selling

Small cost Selling

The list can go on and on. If you want to be in sales then you need to find what you are passionate about and sell the damn thing! It is okay to start off in an industry you may not be passionate about and it is not uncommon to keep going from sales job to sales job until you find what it is you want to sell.

Anyone that applies and lands a sales job is a born salesperson. You would not apply to be a comedian unless your heart and passion persuaded you to. Your inner self is what makes you. You can be the prettiest or ugliest in the world but your inner self is what makes you who you are.

Too many people with the passion to sell give up only because the company or product they sell for does not fit them. I know you want to provide for yourself and/or your family but you need to keep on trying. When you give up with excuses then you are doing you and your family no good. Many people turn to drinking, smoking or drugs because they are unhappy with what they do.

If you are driven toward selling something then Quit and Quit again until you find what you are looking for. There is a difference in selling and it is not one size fits all. There are so many choices out there that if you take a leap of faith and have a passion for what you are doing then I know you will be successful.

On the other side of the coin if you give up everything for the sales then you will find misery in what you are doing. I know a salesperson that had been through a few divorces because he put selling ahead of his family. He had a territory that went through his home city and he would purposely choose not to stop and visit his wife and kids for selling. He would drive right passed his home to continue unto his customers. You have got to have a balance in life to enjoy your success.

As you can see selling can be different depending on the type of sales you are in. If you want to be successful you need to find the type of sales that compliments who you are. There is a difference in selling.

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Make it you identity!

identityYou want to be good at selling? Make it your Identity! You want to know how Steve Jobs & Bill Gates became successful. They made what they were doing their identity. There is no way that Paul Allen or Steve Wozniak (Woz) could have made it without the other partners but I do know that the other partners (Steve Jobs & Bill Gates) would have made it without their partners. That is because they made what they do their identity.

You become what you think about. Some of the most successful sales people like Tom Hopkins made what they do their identity. If you ask a successful sales person what she or he does they will say they are in sales. You can make up all the 20 second elevator pitches you want for what you do but the bottom line is you’re in sales. Period! People and companies respect when you tell them you are trying to sell them.

I remember the one scene when Jack Lemmon’s character in Glengarry, Glen Ross movie told the person at a home that requested information on buying property that he was not there to sell anything. I actually was very embarrassed at that point of the scene. Everyone knew he was there to sell.

Selling is a respected profession but not everyone is comfortable with it. If you are one of the lucky ones that has a product or service that they believe in that they can offer to people who will benefit from it then make it your identity.

This knowledge came from a moment that I had with a salesperson (and a friend) at a time that was unexpected. This terrific salesperson and I was in a conversation that led to what you would do if you were not in the industry you are currently in. He was the top salesperson at our division and in the whole state we lived in. I had asked what he would do if he were not selling the product we sold. He said, “I do not know”. It caught me by surprise. I said, “What do you mean you do not know”? And he said this is my identity. It is all I know.

Once he said that I started to think back at all the times we were together at restaurants, functions and sales meetings. He was so sure of himself in these environments and threw his weight around and being cocky. Because of his forwardness he did not have many close friends. Also because of his age most of his friends had passed away. I knew him for almost 18 years and was one of the few people that he got along with at our company. He did not have time or patients for anyone that hindered his sales.

His identity was being a salesman. If you are in sales and not making the progress you expected then look at your career and see if it is you identity. It is not always about the money, it is about who you are.

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There are no secrets to selling

secretSales training seems to be a billion dollar business. It comes in the form of seminars, books, CD’s, online videos, articles and more. So many of these information sources use the word “secret”  to peak interest in sales people looking for information that will enable them to sell more. But the question is, is there really a secret?

I say a big NO! If there is such a secret it would be disguised as what you would call hard work, lots of patients and a passion for what you do. And really it isn’t disguised at all, it is out in the open, you just need to open yourself up to it. I do know there are certain techniques that can be learned to improve your selling but I think most of the problem with sales people is the down talking they do to themselves. Many think they are not born with sales skills and it has to be learned. I also think (Actually I Know) that a person can be put in a situation of selling for a company or a product that does not fit them.

The bottom line is everyone sells all the time. Prove it! I will. Every time you talk with your child, a coworker, a spouse, a girlfriend or boyfriend or even a stranger behind the counter at your local convenient store you are trying to sell your story or idea. During these talks you are selling your side of the story, listening to their side of their story and coming up with a conclusion. Selling!

The next time you see an ad online or off trying to sell you on the Secrets to Selling I have one word of advice……………RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do Not Waste Your Money!

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What am I NOT doing to sell more?

im not lazyI hear many times sales people asking the question, “What can I do to sell more?”  or I don’t know what to do?”and my mind is totally blank.” Well I’m here to tell you that if you ask yourself “What am I NOT doing to sell more”? it will give you a more honest answer to why you are not making more sales.

Because there can be many obstacles to selling, a sales person can get mentally burnt out and confused to what they need to do to keep that funnel filled with potential customers.  I once was caught up in doing a lot of grunt work to help my current customer’s be successful in selling their product. I was a wholesale sales person that sold to customers (Retailers) who in turn sold my product to the end customer. I had the idea that if I can put together a way that my customers (The Retailers) could sell easier without having to call me for every option price or customer questions then it would free up more of my time to where I could prospect or interact with my other retailers more.

That didn’t work out. I had just found myself doing more busy work and less prospecting and selling. When my sales started to dwindle down I finally asked me, “What am I NOT doing to get more sales”? The answer was simple. I was NOT making a select time of day that for 1 hour I would call on potential prospects and/or retailers I serviced. That is just one of the things I was not doing. The grunt work, as I call it, kept me busy so by the end of the day I did not make a single call. Was my retailer’s better for it? No! In fact they kept on calling me as if I did not make anything for them that they could use to make their sales.

By asking yourself what am I NOT doing to make more sales opens up a more creative mind set that can enable you to get more focus on what you need to do. I had watched a movie called, The Magic of Belle Island in where a neighbor, who was a writer, was teaching a child how to have imagination for writing stories. He told her to look down the empty street and tell him what she saw. She said, “Nothing but an empty street” and he said, “Now, tell me what you don’t see”. As you can guess an influx of things came to her mind and she was telling a story of what was not really there.

Another thing I was NOT doing is making sales calls during my peak hours. I don’t know about you but I seem to have certain hours in the day that I have more energy in mind and body than other parts of the day. If you think about your daily activities you will see how you may have more energy at certain times of the day like I do. During a time when I sold magazine advertisement I figured out my peak times were from 7 am to 2:30 pm. After 2:30 I seemed to be mentally spent. At these peak hours I would cold call and work hard to sell advertising and then after 2:30 I would put them all together and do the work needed to put them together. I sold a lot more ads working this way just by figuring out my peak time.

So if your sales are down don’t ask yourself what more can you do but rather what am I NOT doing to get more business.

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