Thursday, November 11, 2010

Business Day Thursday: Do You Wait For The Sale Or Ask For The Sale?

Good Morning Everybody,

OK, when on vacation you just have to do at least one of the big touristy things in the area.  Maybe it’s a Ripley Believe It Or Not Museum, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Graceland, etc. – you get the idea.

Winchester HouseYesterday we headed over to the Winchester Mystery House, so named by Harry Houdini on his visit to the mansion in 1923.  The mansion was under continuous construction as directed by Sarah Winchester (Winchester rifle fame) for 38 years till her death.  She thought it was the only way to ward off all the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester rifle.

$71,000,000 (in 2010 dollars) later she was still building.  Wouldn’t you love to have been the contractor on that job? The tour was a little hooky, but still fun. The house is much more beautiful on the outside than on the inside.  We didn’t tour all 160 of the small rooms inside but just enough to get a flavor Mrs. Winchester’s eccentricities – like I said, all in good fun.

Hey gang, we are heading to the airport shortly, so let’s get right on with today’s post.

Business Day Thursday: Do You Wait For The Sale Or Ask For The Sale?

Your business success depends on how you answer the question. I was recently having a conversation with the sales manager of a fairly large company and we soon found ourselves discussing the effectiveness of salespeople - What makes a good sales person and what does not?

Frank BettgerI have been a student of "sales" for many, many years. I have always enjoyed reading books or listening to audio tapes on the subject. I still remember the first book I ever read on sales. It was entitled, "How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling" [link] by Frank Bettger [link], a 1930's insurance salesman.

That book was the beginning to many more I read on the subject of selling. I was hooked and I'm glad I was - my new found knowledge played a large part in  building my business into a successful enterprise.

Waiting For The Sale

Lets get back to my conversation with my sales manager friend. We began discussing his sales team and he mentioned one person on his team couldn't sell his way out of a wet paper bag. He was very quick to point out that this person had a great personality, was a very loyal employee, offered great customer support for the company, but when it came to booking more business for the company, he simply couldn't close the sale.

I was talking with another person recently who thought they could be a good salesperson because they can relate to the customer so well and converse with the customer easily and endlessly. While definitely an asset, is that what it takes to be a good sales person? Not really.

Hit the “read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

Traits Of A Good Sales Person

Focus On SuccessOne of the key traits of a good sales person, must include the ability to engage the customer easily, but more importantly it’s about not taking your eye off the goal of closing the sale. That is indeed the end result every salesperson should be targeting in every sales encounter with the customer.

I'm not suggesting "going for the jugular" in a sales situation. I'm simply saying that if our business success depends on us being good sales people - and in reality, ALL success depends on being a good sales person, then we need to know when to stop waiting for the sale and start MAKING the sale.

I think in both instances above, the salesperson who was very personable and could visit with his customers all day and the second person who could engage a new customer easily are both, in essence, waiting for the sale. But waiting for a sale is really no sales strategy. It puts up a serious road block for the sale to complete itself.

So what do each of these two individuals need to do to become better sales persons? As I said earlier, the first thing is to never take their eyes off the mark. Always know that the reason for the easy conversation is not just to be friendly, which is OK, but it's engaging the customer with that easy manner that builds their confidence in you and makes them want to do business with you.

The Most Powerful Sales Words

Magical - PowerfulIn building my studio's success over the years, I have found that the most powerful sales words I ever learned were, "I recommend...". Yes, it's true, but why? As a new client engages with us they want to feel comfortable with the person they are doing business with.

It's up to us to strive to build that level of trust between ourselves and our clients. It's also up to us to NEVER lose that trust that we have spent so much effort developing with our client. It's about developing an authentic relationship with your client so that an atmosphere develops that your client really does trust you. It is only then that you have earned the right to use the most powerful sales words of all, "I recommend..."

Building That Trust

Trust - HandshakeThe job in building trust between you and your client begins with the first email or phone call contact. It depends on how you respond to that email or phone call. Are you engaging the customer to learn more about you? If so, your next contact with your potential customer may be an appointment. At this meeting too it is important to work on building that customer trust.

Most folks get to this point fairly easily. They may present their various wedding products and services, talk about the types of coverages they offer, and then make the FATAL sales mistake - they keep TALKING!  They often think that somehow that talking will seal the deal. It won't. There comes a time to simply SHUT UP, and ASK for the sale.

After a cordial meeting with my potential clients, after I have discussed all of our products, prices, and services, after I feel we have generated a level of trust between the both of us, I know it's time to close the sale.

Asking For The Sale

If I’m selling wedding coverages, which is mostly what we sell at my studio,how do I do it? I simply point my client to my best coverage first and SHUT UP and see how they respond to that offer. If the price is well beyond their budget, I point them to our next level of coverage mentioning that this level of coverage is also our most popular implying in the remark that this is the least they should settle for.

SalespersonIf the pricing is still over budget for them, I quickly review our next three levels of coverage with them pointing out that each of those coverages are really reserved for much smaller events than what they are planning. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to sell them something they don't need. More importantly, I want them to purchase the appropriate size coverage for the event they are planning. This is a fine distinction that you need to understand if you want to be a successful sales person and continue building your business into an ongoing successful enterprise.  Remember, an undersold coverage for a big event will become a reflection on you and your studio.

Again, I'm trying to give my client all the necessary information so that they can make an informed decision about what level of coverage is right for them. If I have done my job and engaged my client, listened to their questions and concerns, handled any objections, it's now time to use the most powerful sales words of all and make the sale.

It’s at this point that I assure the client that our second level of coverage is perfect for the type of event they are planning and that this is the level of coverage I would recommend. It's now up to the client to make the final decision about that coverage.

If you have done your job of building that customer trust, it will be much easier for them to reach a buying decision, most of the time they will take your advice.

It Doesn’t Stop There

This is only the first sales encounter you will have with your client over the proceeding months leading up to their wedding. After the wedding you will be engaging your client several more times as they make decisions about final album selections, photos for family and friends, etc.

In each of these instances you need to continue to build that authentic trusting relationship with your client. It is in that atmosphere of trust that you can continue to recommend to them what you think works best for them. People enjoy buying based on recommendations from their trusted friends. And, all good salespeople, if they have engaged their clients successfully are just that to their clients, a friend, a person they can trust and whose recommendation they can take.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. We head back to home at noon today, landing about 7:30 p.m. this evening. It's been a great time in California but LaDawn and I both looking forward to touching down back in Northern Kentucky. Friday we head to Detroit, MI for a wedding and they back to work next week.

How about I plan to see everyone right here at DPT tomorrow. Please plan to stop by because I’ve got something I want to ask you.

See ya' then, -David

1 comment:

  1. David, the "I Recommend" sales statement is one of the easiest, low pressure words. Easy, as you say, "I recommend..." when you are not as confident-nor need high pressure- in your sales abilities.
    I also have found, as you well know, you have to be convinced in the value of your product or service you offer.