The greatest secret to closing more sales is always different for each person. My secret to selling success will probably be different from your secret to selling success because my weaknesses are different than yours. However I have noticed two weaknesses that keep many hardworking sales people from closing more sales. Fixing these two problems will make a big difference in helping you close more sales. Let me share with you a quick story about two of my sons to illustrate how these two common problems sabotage your sales success:
The Fateful Pokémon Trade
Not long ago I came home from work and heard my boys arguing in the downstairs playroom. I went down to see if I could break up an argument before it became too heated. I learned that two of my boys had been trading Pokémon cards. My younger son, Max, was upset because he wanted his card back that he had just traded. Spencer, the older son, said no. He explained that the card now belonged to him and an argument soon broke out.
Knowing there was probably more to the story, I took Max upstairs to talk with him. I asked him, “Did you want to trade cards with Spencer?” With tears in his eyes, he said “Yes”. I asked him, “Did you like Spencer’s card?” “Yes”, he replied. I asked, “Did you want Spencer to keep your card?” “No”, Max answered.
At this point I started putting the puzzle pieces together. Typically when Max trades cards with his friends they trade for fun and everyone gets their cards back when it is time to go home. Max was not expecting to actually have Spencer keep his card forever. I asked, “Did you know Spencer was going to keep you card?” “No”, he replied. “Did you think you were just trading cards for fun?” “Yes”, he said.
With that new understanding, I brought the two boys together and explained to Spencer the misunderstanding. Spencer returned the card to Max, everyone was happy and yet another Hansen family crisis was averted. The End.
Two Important Selling Lessons
There are two important lessons sales professionals can learn from my seven year old son, Max. However, learning and understanding them is one thing. Implementing and applying them is another. The real secret of closing more sales is how well you put these two lessons into action this week.
Lesson #1: Assume You Are Not On the Same Page
It is clear when Spencer and Max began trading Pokémon cards, they were not on the same page about what the outcomes would be. This also happens when buyers and sellers meet to discuss the possibility of doing business together. It is important to recognize that our priorities, as a sales person, are most likely not the same as the prospects. As we have heard for years, people buy for their own unique and individual reasons. Those reasons, however, are typically not the same reasons as ours.
To establish a solid mutual agreement with our buyers, we need to take a few minutes at beginning of each sales conversation to discuss the purpose of the meeting and the possible outcomes. You’d be surprised as what this does to increase our trust and credibility in their eyes, as well as, removing high pressure from the selling situation. Once mutual agreement has been established we are free to continue the sales process. But, always assume we are not on the same page as the prospect.
Lesson #2: Be Careful About What You Think You Know
With the little information I had, it would have been easy for me to say to tell my son Max, “Sorry buddy, you traded cards. It doesn’t belong to you anymore.” I would have been wrong. I did not have the full picture. All too often we gather bits of information from our sales prospects and draw some conclusions that later turn out not to be accurate. Examples are details relating to their budget, current vendor, buying interest, timing, etc. Sometimes we hear what we want to hear. Sometimes we think we have all the facts, when in reality, we don’t.
Sales people must slow down during the Needs Analysis Phase of the selling process and not only identify the buying need, but also what the prospects budget and decision making process looks like. We must understand who is involved in the prospects decision making process and when they plan on making a decision. We must understand the real problems and issues they are trying to fix so we can customize our products and services to help them. Far too many of us skimp on the Needs Analysis step or skip it all together and rush to the Presentation Stage (proposal). Be careful about what you think you know.
The Secret to Closing More Sales
The real secret to closing more sales is putting what you learn into action. It is implementing the time tested principles that we know work. It is doing what you know you should do instead of wimp out in the moment. However, assuming you and your sales prospect or not on the same page and being careful about what you think you know are two important lessons that when applied can take your sales to the next level.
Let me know how it is going for you. Until we meet again, don’t just sell. Create value, do work that matters and make a difference for your clients.
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