TEST YOUR SELLING SKILLS
BREAKING THE PRINT SALES BARRIER
9 COSTLY MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
STOP SENDING SALES LETTERS
AVOID THIS COSTLY PROSPECTING MISTAKE
DIAGNOSE BEFORE YOU PRESCRIBE
STOP LOSING JOBS TO LOWER PRICES
THE SECRET TO CLOSING THE SALE
HOW TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL SALES MEETING
THE NEW AUTHORITATIVE SELLING APPROACH
TEST YOUR SELLING SKILLS
Slick is a seasoned salesperson who has been selling printing for over 4 years, but like many of us he often makes costly, yet avoidable mistakes. Unfortunately, Slick makes these same mistakes over and over again, because he's not even aware of his errors. As you join Slick on his sales call, see if you can identify at least 15 places where Slick is going wrong.
As Slick walks door to door at a row of industrial units, looking for new prospects, he mumbles to himself. "My territory is useless, I must have knocked on 20 doors this morning, but no one is buying." Discouraged but not defeated, as Slick enters the office of his next prospect he is confronted by the receptionist.
Receptionist: "Good morning, may I help you?"
Slick hands the receptionist his business card.
Slick: "Good morning, I'm with Lucky Printing. Could you please tell me who orders the printing for your company?"
The receptionist reads Slick's business card and then ponders for a moment.
Receptionist: "That would be Mr. Elusive. Do you have an appointment?"
Slick dreads this question and his facial expression show it. But being a professional he does his best to hold his composure.
Slick: "No I don't. I just happen to be in the area and I was hoping to take a moment to introduce myself to Mr. Elusive and tell him briefly about our services. Is he in?"
Receptionist: "I'm very sorry Mr. Slick, but Mr. Elusive can't see you at this time. He is in a meeting. You can phone to make an appointment, but I really don't think he'll be interested since we already have a printer."
Slick: "I understand so I'll call him later. In the meantime can I leave him one of our brochures and pricelist?"
Receptionist: "That will be fine, thank you."
Slick hands these to the receptionist and leaves. It is now late afternoon and Slick can still be seen walking door to door. Although he has made several more attempts to reach Mr. Buyer he's been unsuccessful. Tired and worn he looks down at his watch and decides to make this his last call of the day. As he enters the office he is approached by a well dressed woman.
Woman: "Good afternoon, may I help you?"
Slick reaches into his pocket and hands her his business card.
Slick: "Hi, I'm with Lucky Printing, could you please tell me who orders the printing for your company?"
Woman: "I'm Ms. Buyer, the company's purchasing agent. What can I do for you?"
Slick's face beams with joy. He has finally reached the person he has been hoping to meet all day. Fearing that she might brush him off at any moment, Slick begins to speak quickly.
Slick: "Ms. Buyer, at Lucky Printing we provide our customers with fast, quality printing and copying, at very competitive prices. Here's a sample of a job we've recently run." With eagerness to impress his new prospect and hoping to keep her attention, Slick quickly reaches for his portfolio and removes a beautifully bound, four color catalogue which he hands to the buyer.
Slick: "As you can see, our staff is committed to quality. I'd very much like the opportunity to quote one of your next jobs."
Ms. Buyer gives the catalogue a quick inquisitive glance and hands it back to Slick.
Woman: "Mr. Slick, thank you for dropping by, but we've been dealing with the same printer for the past 5 years. We are quite happy with their quality and service."
Poor Slick knows he's in trouble. He had heard this same objection hundreds of times before and it usually means leaving empty-handed, but luck was on Slick's side that afternoon. As he packed away his sample he saw his golden opportunity. On a rack beside Ms. Buyer was what appeared to be the company's sales brochure.
Slick: "Ms. Buyer, this a very nice brochure, may I take a look at it?"
Slick picks up the brochure and quickly flips through its eight pages. He takes a deep hopeful breath in preparation for his next question.
Slick: (almost begging) "Ms. Buyer, could I take this brochure with me? I'd really like to show it to our estimator and fax you a competitive quote."
Woman: "Sure take it"
Slick: (with a tone of excitement) "Thank you. If I could just get your business card, I'll fax you the quote tomorrow. By the way, how many of these brochures do you usually order?"
Woman: "I think, the last time we ordered 20 thousand."
Slick: "Ms. Buyer, thanks again. I'll leave you our brochure and price list. If there is anything you need please give me a call."
Slick turns and leaves. True to his promise and in an effort to show that Lucky Printing provides fast and efficient service, Slick faxes Ms. Buyer a competitive quote early the next morning
To find out exactly where Slick went wrong, simply email your request to email@example.com and we'll send a free report.
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BREAKING THE PRINT SALES BARRIER
Only in our imagination do we meet the perfect prospect that welcomes us into his or her office, embraces our services, and places an order without resisting the price. In reality the sales process is a bumpy, twisted road where prospects put up barriers that hinder and often prevent our success.
The most recognizable Sales Barriers are those expressed in the form of an objection, condition or concern. For example:
You're prospecting for new business but instead of listening to your presentation your prospect quickly ends the conversation by saying "I'm not interested, I'm happy with my printer."
The prospect has asked you to quote a job. Upon reviewing your competitive price, he says "I can get the same job elsewhere for less."
You've just impressed a new prospect by sharing some great ideas that enhanced her brochure and saved money but instead of rewarding you for your efforts, she says "I like your ideas but I need 3 quotes before I make a final decision."
While it's the prospect that actually builds the barrier, in the majority of cases it's the salesperson that provides the construction materials. Poor presentation and probing skills are the brick and mortar that most sales barriers are made of. In fact, 80% of all objections stem from a lack of selling skill and are therefore preventable.
Although you could use the powerful responses, which you'll find in this book, to overcome the prospects' objection, objections often create battle lines because prospects will frequently defend their position; so it's always better to prevent, than it is to overcome, an objection. Prevention simply means putting into practice some basis selling skills that eliminate potential Sales Barriers before they occur. So let's go back to the above three scenarios and see how they could have been prevented.
"I'm not interested. I'm happy with our printer."
A receptionist's job is to screen incoming calls and she does this by listening for key words that tell her what you are selling. The moment she hears give-a-way words like printing, graphics, or copy she'll instantly prejudge the value of your services and most likely say "I'm not interested. I'm happy with our printer." So here's a simple prospecting rule that will eliminate this Sales Barrier forever; never tell the receptionist what you are selling. If your company name includes these giveaway words, drop them or use an acronym.
"I can get the same job elsewhere for less."
When you quote your prospect's exact specs you are forcing the prospect to make a buying decision based on price and as you already know there is always someone who will offer to print the same job for less. But you can prevent this common Sales Barrier by implementing this all-important quoting rule; always look for ways to change the specs. By changing the specs you are preventing the prospect from comparing apples to apples which means that your presentation can now justify your higher price. But keep in mind that any changes you make must be in the prospect's best interest.
"I like your ideas but I need 3 quotes before I make a final decision."
Many of us have been taught the best way to impress a new prospect is by submitting a quote as quickly as possible, when in fact this practice creates a number of different Sales Barriers. To start with the first quote becomes the yardstick that everyone else quotes against; secondly if your quote contains new ideas, the prospect may share these ideas with other printers and thereby eliminate your competitive edge. Lastly placing an order without seeing all the quotes would be a poor business decision so most prospects will be reluctant to take this step. Once again these Sales Barriers are preventable by implementing this simple quoting rule; always ensure that you're the last to submit a quote.
While employing proper selling skills will remove most Sales Barriers, there are circumstances where prevention is impossible. Conditions such as "All our suppliers must be ISO certified" or "I only deal with local suppliers" are beyond your control. They stem from company policies and from the prospect's previous experience not from your presentation. Since you can't evade these conditions you'll need to address them head-on. But conditions and concerns only account for about 20% of all Sales Barriers.
Order Breaking the Print Sales Barrier today and you'll learn how to overcome your prospect's resistance and turn their objections into sales.
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9 COSTLY MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
Every year, hundreds of jobs are lost, because salespeople make basic selling mistakes. Here are 9 common mistakes and how to avoid them.
CALLING ON THE WRONG PERSON
When prospecting for a new account, top income earners always start at the top of the corporate ladder and work their way down. Not only is upper-management often easier to reach then a lower subordinate, but more importantly a "No" from a low level employee may block you from contacting the real decision maker. Remember, many have the authority to say "No" but few can say "Yes." So if you are not certain who the decision-maker is, start at the top.
CALLING ON LOW VOLUME ACCOUNTS
Your income is affected more by the size of your accounts than by the number of accounts that you have. In fact, chances are that 80% of your income is now being generated by just 20% of your clients. When you consider that it takes no more effort or skill to call on a volume account than it does to contact a marginal account, your prospecting time will be better spent pursuing high volume accounts. As a rule of thumb, only call on accounts that spend at least $25,000 a year on printing.
Literature does not sell; if it did there would be no need for salespeople. We would simply mail a few thousand brochures and we would end up with all the business that we could handle. In fact, handing-out literature can reduce your chances of landing the account. If your brochure is extremely informative, your prospect will believe that he has all the information that he needs, so he won't need to talk to you. On the other hand, if your brochure is vague, he'll feel that your services are of little value and again he won't want to talk to you. With few exceptions the only time to hand-out literature is after you've made a complete presentation.
SHORT CUTTING THE PRESENTATION
Are you losing sales to lower prices?
Are you losing sales to prospects that say, "I'm happy with my present supplier"?
Are you finding closing difficulty?
Are you finding that clients often procrastinate?
Are you hearing the same objections from different clients?
If you've answered "Yes" to any of these question, chance are that you're not making a complete presentation. The #1 reason for lost sales is lack of presentation.
FAILING TO CREATE A SENSE OF URGENCY
If you don't give your prospects a reason to order today, they won't and time quickly kills desire. Your presentation must always create a sense of urgency.
QUOTING YOUR PROSPECT'S SPECS
Without doubt, this is one of the best-kept secrets of top income earners. If you are quoting your prospect's exact specs, you are forcing the prospect to compare apples to apples, because the only distinguishing feature between you and the competition will be the price. But, the moment that you change the specs, your prospect can no longer compare quotes and price becomes a secondary issue. Whenever possible, change your prospect's spec, but keep in mind that any changes that you make must benefit the prospect.
PAUSING AFTER STATING THE PRICE
It is an all too common scenario that the salesperson says, "Your total investment in this job is only $12, 000" and then waits for his prospect to say, "I'll take it." But, by pausing after stating the price the salesperson is in fact asking the prospect for his opinion; "What do you think about my price?" and chances are that the prospect will respond with a price objection. So never pause after stating the price, instead ask a closing question or immediately continue with your presentation.
FAILING TO MAKE THE JOB SEEM AFFORDABLE
What would you rather pay 5 cents per brochure or $20,000 for the job? Although the total dollars spent are the same, 5 cents per brochure is much easier to accept and therefore much easier to sell. So, whenever you present your prospect with a price, break the price into a unit cost and you'll find yourself landing more jobs.
FAILING TO ASK FOR THE ORDER
Here are the hard facts. If you do not ask for the order, 8 out of 10 prospects - even though they are sold on your ideas - will not buy. Instead they'll say, "Let me think it over and I'll get back to you." But, asking your prospect to order once is not enough, since most orders do not occur until the 3rd closing attempt. Unless you know 3 different closing techniques you are losing sales.
Order Earn over $100,000 a Year Selling Printing – Guaranteed today and you'll discover over 100 tips that will supercharge your print sales.
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STOP SENDING SALES LETTERS
The appeal in sending a prospect a sales letter never ceases to amaze me. In fact, hardly a week goes by that some sales manager or salesperson doesn't ask me to critic a letter that they have just spent days, if not weeks, writing. For some reason they believe that sending their prospect a letter will make selling easier or better still that they won't need to sell at all; the prospect will respond to their letter by placing an order. Unfortunately, both are wishful thinking, because in most cases, sending a sales letter is a complete waste of time.
The following dialog is a discussion I recently had with a sales manager. It clearly reflects the universal problems that sending a sales letter creates.
ME: Looks like a well written letter. What are you planning on doing with it?
SALES MANAGER: We're going to use it to introduce our services to new accounts.
ME: Do you expect the reader to place an order based upon the information that you've provided in this letter?
SALES MANAGER: Well no, my sale staff will call the prospect about 5 days after we've mailed the letter and try to make an appointment to tell him more about our services.
ME: So even though you've sent the letter your salespeople will still need to make a strong telephone presentation?
SALES MANAGER : Yes, of course they will.
ME: But, what if during the follow-up phone call the prospect says "I didn't get your letter." Will your salespeople still ask for the appointment or will they hang-up and mail another letter?
SALES MANAGER: They'll try for the appointment.
ME: So once again your salespeople will need to make a strong telephone presentation.
SALES MANAGER: I guess so.
ME: It seems that their success at landing an appointment will depend more upon their telephone skills than the sales letter, so why bother sending the letter in the first place?
SALES MANAGER: Well, the idea of the sale letter is to break the ice. By telling the prospect a little bit about ourselves it will make it easier for the salespeople to get in contact with the decision maker.
ME: But, this letter doesn't list all of your services, does it?
SALES MANAGER: No, it's just a brief outline.
ME: But, if the sales letter is vague, the prospect may conclude that your shop doesn't offer what he's looking for. In that case, he'll avoid taking the salesperson's call because talking to a salesperson would be a waste of his time.
SALES MANAGER: Good point, in that case I'll enclose an extensive list of all our services.
ME: Well that won't really solve your problem, because if the sales letter is extremely informative, that is to say it outlines all the services you provide, the prospect will believe that he has all the information he needs to make a buying decision, so once again talking to your salesperson would be a waste his time. It seems that in either case, your sales letter will not make it easier, but rather more difficult to reach the decision maker.
SALES MANAGER: So what do you suggest I do?
ME: I suggest that you don't use sales letters to generate leads.
SALES MANAGER: But doesn't a sales letter convey a sense of professionalism that can turn an otherwise cold call into a warm call?
ME: No, in most cases a sales letter does little more than warn the prospect of a pending sales call. For example, which of the following telephone call would you be more likely to accept? A call from a complete strange that just might be calling to inquire about your services or to place an order or a call from someone that you know is trying to sell you an investment portfolio, because they announced their intentions in a sales letter?
SALES MANAGER: Well that depends on what the sales letter said. If it offered something I was really interested in I would look forward to the salesperson's call.
ME: You are absolutely correct. In fact, if your sales letter offered your prospect exactly what he was looking, you wouldn't even need to call him - he would probably call you. But, as you know different prospects have different interests and identifying their individual needs and wants is the essence of making a sale. How can you ensure that your sales letter is addressing the prospect's specific interests?
SALES MANAGER: We could identify groups of prospects that have similar needs and then design a different sales letter for each group.
ME: That would certainly increase your sales letter's effectiveness, but there are several other obstacles that your letter must overcome. For example, every prospect that reads your letter is already dealing with a printer and chances are that their present supplier is doing an adequate, if not an excellent job. So why should they bother talking to a new supplier? In fact, most prospects have learned that adding a new supplier is usually more of a headache than it's worth.
SALES MANAGER: You certainly don't expect our sales letters to address every possible question and concern that the prospect my have, do you?
ME: As you already know, if you expect to land more jobs, that's exactly what you'll need to do.
SALES MANAGER: But, that's impossible. The letter would need to be at least 30 pages long and know one would read it.
ME: That's exactly my point. A sales letter cannot make a complete presentation, it can not address your prospect's questions and concerns and it will not overcome his objections - only your salespeople can do that. In fact, sending your prospect a letter of introduction is not only a complete waste of time, effort and money; in most cases this letter will do more damage than good. Your salespeople would achieve better and faster results by making their first contact by phone instead of sending them a letter.
SALES MANAGER: Are you saying that we should never send a sales letters?
ME: No, I'm not suggesting that at all. A well written sales letter can be a powerful marketing tool, but when measured against the impact of a live telephone presentation, the sales letter always comes in a far second. Just consider this fact; if 2 out of 100 responded to your sales letter your mailing could be considered a success, while a successful telemarketing program will generate 2 to 3 appointments from every 10 contacts. So your salespeople should always try to make their initial contact by phone. Only when this proves unsuccessful should they send out a sales letter.
Order How to Market your Printing Business today and discover which marketing programs generate great results and which to avoid.
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AVOID THIS COSTLY PROSPECTING MISTAKE
It's 7:00 p.m. and you're about to sit back in your favorite chair when the phone rings. As you pick up the receiver this is what you hear. "Good evening, my name is Peter and I'm with Lucky Carpet Cleaning. How are you tonight?" How would you respond to this call? If you're like most people you would probably respond with three simple words. "I'm not interested" .
Why would most of us react in such a negative manner when we don't even know what the call is about? In fact, had you listened to the rest of the presentation this what you would have heard. "The reason I'm calling is to offer my congratulations. As a promotion by a local carpet manufacturer your house has been selected to receive FREE wall-to-wall broadloom. This top of the line carpet, is available in a choice of ten different colors and includes installation and taxes, so it won't cost you a cent."
It's Saturday morning and you are busy working around the house when the front door bell rings. As you open the door a well-dressed lady hands you her business card and says "Good morning, I'm with ReMax Real Estate." How would you react to this intrusion? Once again, most people would simply say "Thank you, but I'm not interested" and swiftly close the door. But, why would we desire to end this conversation so quickly? Had Susan been given the chance to talk this is what she would have said. " I represent a corporation who is transferring one of their executives into this area. As such they are willing to pay a large premium for your house."
In both of these examples, getting the appointment would have been easy had the salesperson not been the master of their own demise. They destroyed their chance of landing the appointment by breaking a cardinal prospecting rule. They told their prospect what they were selling.
The moment that you heard the words carpet cleaning and real estate you stopped listening to the presentation. Instead, you began to prejudge the value of the call, so when you are prospecting for new business keep in mind that the person on the other end of the line is going through this same mental evaluation process. For example, you've decided to grow your client base so you begin to phone local businesses. When the receptionist picks up the phone and hears "Good morning, it's Peter calling from Lucky Printing. How are you today? Could you please tell me who orders the printing for your company?" she will likely react to your phone call in the same way that we do. She'll say "Thank you for calling, but we're not interested. We're happy with our supplier?" because she's been listening for and has just heard the key words that allow her to screen the call. The moment that you said "printing" the sale was over! When you consider that many receptionists have clear instructions to block salespeople, it is crucial that your initial telephone presentation denies her this screening opportunity.
So here's the most important prospecting rule of all: when making a cold call never tell the receptionist what you are selling . Instead, use one of the following techniques.
- Don't mention your company name . Instead just ask for the person you want to speak to. "Good morning, could I please get the correct spelling of your marketing manager's last name?
- Use an acronym. Instead of saying "It's Peter from Lucky Printing" use the first letters of the company name and say "Good morning it's Peter from L &P."
Consider the huge difference this small change can make. Since the receptionist doesn't hear the key words that identify your product and service she cannot screen your call. Although she may ask some probing questions, if she's busy she's just as likely to answer your question and put your call through. In fact, by making this small, but all-important, change you will dramatically increase the number of appointments you land, while making fewer cold calls.
Order A field-tested Prospecting system that will Land 100's of New Accounts today and learn how to grow your client base while making fewer cold calls.
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DIAGNOSE BEFORE YOU PRESCRIBE
Without question digital printing offers a plethora of advantages - and we don't need to look far to find hundreds or even thousands of companies that would benefit from our services – in fact many of these companies have already heard that digital printing could reduce their printing costs, eliminate inventory and even increase their direct mail response, yet all too often they continue to run their jobs offset? Why do they hesitate to take advantage of this new technology?
As Daniel Borrstin said in The Discovers, "The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents and the oceans was not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge." Although digital printing may have many advantages, offset printing has been the industry standard for so long that many companies still believe that offset is the only way to go. "Our color requirements are far beyond the capabilities of digital printing" is an argument that our prospects often use to justify their position and although, in some cases this may be true, usually they are merely under the illusion that only offset produces quality printing.
The solution to the quality concern seems simple enough - all you need to do is show your prospects samples of our work and they'll see for themselves that digital printing is often indistinguishable from offset. If you then continue to present the additional benefits that digital printing has to offer the job should be yours. Although in theory this sales formula should result in a large number of jobs, in practice your prospects are more likely to say "Let me think it over and I'll get back to you" then they are to give you the order. Not because they're not interested in the digital advantage but, rather because they are skeptical about your claims. They are unwilling to give a commitment to a salesperson who prescribes the benefits of digital printing, before making a proper diagnosis.
Here's what I mean. Imagine you're driving to work when suddenly your car starts to sputter. As the situation gets worse you pull into the service department of a large dealership. After briefly explaining your problem to the service manager he hands you a work order.
"I just had the same problem with my car" he says "You need to replace your fuel pump and your car will run fine. If you would just sign here, we'll get started on your car right away."
"But shouldn't you run some tests before making this repair?" you ask.
"No need to" he replays "As I've mentioned a new fuel pump solved my problem so I'm sure it will solve yours."
Would you sign the work order? Probably not; but why would you hesitate? The service manager is an experienced professional who knows what he's doing so replacing the fuel pump may well solve your problem. The reason you'd be reluctant to okay this repair is because the service manager failed to gain your confidence - it's difficult to believe someone when they don't diagnose the problem before prescribing a solution. Had the service manager taken just a few minutes to look at your car, you would most likely be receptive to his recommendation.
The diagnostic stage is a vital part of any presentation. It is during this stage that you gain your prospect's trust and confidence, by showing him that you truly understand his particular needs. So even though you may realize, within the first two minute, that switching from offset to digital printing would be in the prospect's best interest you must resist the urge to make this recommendation until after you've asked a series of probing questions that show the prospect that you clearly understand his unique business situation.
Order Breaking the Print Sales Barrier today and you'll discover dozens of proven and tested presentation skills that make landing the job easy.
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STOP LOSING JOBS TO LOWER PRICES
Imagine for a moment that you are looking to buy a new house. You phone Clone Real Estate and the agent shows you a house in a subdivision full of identical model homes. Each house in this subdivision is built on an identical lot and is located on the same street. The only difference between these homes is that the price varies and the house your agent is trying to sell cost $20,000 more than other homes in this subdivision. Would the real estate agent have difficulty selling this house? Of course he would, after all how can he justify the difference in price when everything is the same? If you decided to buy one of these homes, you would choose the one with the lowest price, but what if the more expensive house was built on a slightly different lot or if it was located on a different street? What if the more expensive home, although having the same square footage, was a different model? Could these differences be used to justify a higher price? The answer is obviously "Yes," a strong presentation could turn these differences into benefits that could make the more expensive house a better investment.
Unfortunately, many of us are selling printing in the same way that Clone Real Estate is selling homes. When our prospect says, "I need, 10M brochures, 11" x 17", 12pt.Conwall, coated, 2 over 1, final art supplied" we give these exact specs to our estimator and ask him to work out a competitive price. But keep in mind, that there are probably two or three other printers following this same procedure so the prospect will be comparing several identical quotes, where the only distinguishing feature is the price; which beckons the question "Why would anyone order from us when they can get the same job printed elsewhere for less?" As we already know, in most cases, they won't; just think back to the number of times you've heard your prospects say "Thanks for quoting, but your price is too high".
But you can consistently land the job even when yours is the lowest quote. Keep in mind that in order to compare prices your prospects must compare apples to apples, in other words they must compare identical quotes, so the secret to getting top dollar for your jobs is to deny your prospects this opportunity by never quoting their specs. So before quoting a job, ask your prospects probing questions to identify their wants and needs and then offer to show them a better way to achieve their objectives. For example, if your prospect is very concerned about quality, you could say "Mr. Prospect, based on what you've shown me, I can see several ways of enhancing the quality of your brochures. Would you mind if I submitted a few suggestions?" Likewise, if during your probing period you discovered that your prospect was interested in reducing the cost you could say "Mr. Prospect, based on what you've shown me, I can see several ways of reducing your cost per thousand. Would you mind if I submitted a few suggestions." If he says "Yes" to either of these questions he has just given you permission to change the specs.
When you change the specs everyone wins. Your prospects are rewarded with new ideas that will help them reach their business goals, while you are given the opportunity to submit a quote that cannot be compared to the competitions. In other words, by changing the specs you are differentiating your services; you are no longer competing on price alone and as a result you'll find yourself consistently land the job even when yours is the highest quote.
Order Stop Losing Jobs to Lower Prices today and you'll learn how to out-sell the competition on every quote.
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Even though, I conduct about 200 seminars, workshops and meetings each year, and I've trained over 60,000 salespeople during the past 24 years, I continue to be amazed at the lack of professionalism that surrounds print sales. I can state with absolute certainty that 80% of all salespeople are selling by the seat of their pants. For some reason they believe that the ability to sell is a god given gift and that personality and wit is all they need to land a job. Yet these same people are often struggling to make a living, while top income earners continue to search for ways to improve their performance.
Everyone in sales knows that objections are part of the selling process. After all, we hear them every day. You offer your services to a new prospect and he says "We've been dealing with the same printer for over 5 years, so we don't want to change suppliers" you making a powerful presentation, but the meeting ends when the client says "Let me think about it and I'll get back to you” or you follow-up on a quote only to hear "Thanks, but your price was too high." We know that objections are costing us sales and we even know which objects are causing us the most problems, then for goodness sake, why don't we do something about it? Why do most salespeople continue to lose job after job to the same objections? Why don't they take the time to learn the proven responses that overcome these objections and turn them into sales?
It is fair to say that in sales objections are the cause of all evil, because the amount of business lost each year to the same old objections is astounding. For example, it is an accepted fact that salespeople do not prospect enough, but few managers recognize that this lack of effort stems from a fear of objection not a fear of rejection as many have been lead to believe. Likewise, most salespeople are poor closers; instead of asking the prospect to buy, they wait for the prospect to say, "I'll take it," because they "fear the objection." But objections should not be costing us sales, they do not mean that the prospect is not interested in our services nor does it mean that he or she won't place the order. In fact, you should welcome objections, because they are excellent closing opportunities. When your prospects objects, they are telling you that they are ready to buy - if you can overcome the objection.
Unfortunately, many of us believe that learning to overcome, each and every objection, would be an over overwhelming task. During my sales training workshops, I often ask the attendees "How many different objections are there?" and the response is usually "Hundreds" or "There are as many objections as there are people." Well, the fact is that every objection you will ever hear can be counted on one hand - there are only four types of objections! All objections fall into one of the following categories.
NO MONEY, NO HURRY, NO INTEREST, NO NEED "It's too expensive" "I can get the same job elsewhere for less" "I want a discount" "Let me think about it and I'll get back to you" "I need three quotes before I decide" "Not now, see me in 3 months" "I want to talk to my partner first" "I'm not interested" "I'm happy with my supplier'
In other words, you only need to learn and practice the correct answers to four different types of objections and you'll instantly increase your sale. The reason I stress learn and practice is because, only the best possible answer will motivate the prospect to buy now and the best is not likely when a spontaneous response to an objection comes from the "top of your head." Without practice, the mind is not programmed to produce the very best response, especially at the spur of the moment, and anything short of the best response will result in lost jobs.
However, of the thousands of salespeople making presentations every day most of them are relying on their own imagination and experience to answer the objection. Although some of these responses are excellent, the overwhelming majority are mediocre at best and are completely ineffective. While, trying your best, is an admirable trait, when you consider that your income depends upon your ability to overcome common objections, trying your best is not good enough; especially since the most powerful and motivating responses to all objections are readily available for anyone to use. In fact, salespeople that use carefully planned answers to each possible objection close on average 4 times as many sales as those the use spontaneous response.
While it could take a salesperson years of trial and error to discover an effective response, and even then they often end up using tired and worn closing clichés, the most effective responses are no further away then the nearest library or seminar. So, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, why not profit from other salespeople's experiences by using a proven and tested response that easily overcomes the objection? Why would anyone try an unproved response, at the risk losing the job?
Unfortunately, no matter how adamant I am about, using time-tested response, many salespeople will not heed my advise instead they'll continue to rely on their personal selling experience, so here two simple techniques that will make any response more effective.
- Your response should never be a rebuttal, nor an argument, but rather a common sense answers, where any pressure is on the benefits and advantages, never on the prospect. So regardless of the prospect's objection, always begin your response with an agreement; "Mrs. Prospect, I understand, but..."
- Always end your response with a question. This technique keeps you in control of the sale; by encouraging the prospect to answer your question you are evading any further discussion about the objection.
Order Breaking the Print Sales Barrier today and you'll discover 100's of field-tested responses that turn all objections into sales.
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THE SECRET TO CLOSING THE SALE
Of the five selling skills (prospecting, presentation, overcoming objections, handling price and closing) none is more misunderstood than closing. For years, closing gurus like Zig Ziglar (Secrets of Closing The Sale), Tom Hopkins (How to Master the Art of Selling) and Don Sheehan (Shut Up And Sell) have been preaching the virtues of closing. Leading us to believe that closing is almost magical, that this skill, in-it-self has the power to dramatically increase our sales. Hogwash!
The truth is that even the best closing techniques are powerless. They can't persuade, motivate or entice a prospect to buy. In fact, the story about the master closer who had the ability to pressure his prospect into buying is nothing more than an old wives tale. For example, if I were to gather ten of the world's best closers together in one room, do you believe that these experts could use their finely honed closing skills to sell you a vacuum cleaner or a cellular phone if your didn't want these products? Of course not. Because, irrespective of how masterful they are in the art of closing, closing only works when the prospect is ready to buy. Let me stress this point again, closing only works when the prospect is ready to buy! But most sales trainers won't tell you that because it takes the hype out of their books and seminars. In other words, contrary to what many sales trainers would lead us to believe, the sales is made or lost in the presentation. If you've made a powerful presentation that solved the prospects business problem, you've got nothing to worry about - closing will be easy, but if you haven't made a great presentation all the closing techniques the world won't land you the job.
Although I've made closing seem somewhat trivial, let me assure you that developing your closing skills is vital to your success. In fact, nothing you do will have a greater, immediate, impact upon your sales than honing this skill. Here's why. Human beings are procrastinating creatures: we're always putting things off until the last minute. It could be because our parents have conditioned us to carefully think before we act or maybe it's just that we've been taken in the past so we don't want to be taken again. Whatever the reason, when it comes to making a buying decision we all do it, so don't expect anything different from your prospects. Irrespective of how impressed they are with your presentation when it comes to placing the order they will most likely say "Let me think it over and I'll get back to you" unless you give them a reason to order today. Closing is nothing more than helping our prospects overcome their procrastination.
Although, most salespeople know how to close - they don't. In fact, studies have shown that 63% (I believe its closer to 80%) of all prospects are not asked to buy. The sale just ends as the salesperson waits patiently for the prospect to say I'll take it . What a terrible waste of time and effort. You could easily increase your sales by saying nothing more than "Can I go-ahead with this job?" at the end of every presentation. But even then you'll still lose a large number of sales to prospects that say "No". Not because they're not interested in buying but rather because people give responses appropriate to the questions being asked. This is best illustrated by this old fable.
A monk who had just joined the monastery asked the Abbot for permission to smoke his pipe when he prayed. The Abbot responded by telling the new brother that he felt it was inappropriate and would have to refuse the request. The brother went out to the courtyard only to see an old monk walking on the other side smoking a pipe. He quickly approached the old monk and told him that he was confused. "I asked for permission to smoke my pipe when I prayed and was not granted permission. Yet I see that somehow you got permission to smoke your pipe. Please tell me how you did it." The older monk smiled as he pulled the pipe from his mouth and blew some smoke. "Well brother" he said slowly, "I asked the Abbot an entirely different question. I asked if it was permissible to pray when I smoked my pipe. He told me that any time was a good time for prayer."
When you ask your prospect "Can I go-ahead with this job?" you are asking them to make a major decision and as we know major decisions require careful consideration.
Is your price fair?
Will his boss support his decision to change suppliers?
Do I really need to place the order today?
Are your recommendations really the best way to run the job?
Will you deliver on time?
Am I making the right decision?
If your prospect can't answer "Yes" to each and every one of these questions, he'll need to think it over before giving his final okay. The secret to closing the sales is to ask a question that is easy for the prospect to answer; a question that requires little or no consideration. So instead of asking your prospects to give you their approval on printing the entire job; get the go-ahead on a minor, insignificant portion of the job and the rest of the job will follow. For example, instead of asking for the order, you could say "Mr. Prospect, your job will be on press next Monday. Did you want to come in to see a press proof or should I proof it for you?" Although a $30,000 job could be on the table, the decision to buy comes down to whether or not he wants to see a press proof.
Although closing in-its-self does not have the power to land more jobs, selling is a complete waste of time and effort unless you follow through with the final, all important, step and ask for the order. Keep in mind that prospects don't buy from the salesperson that sold them – they order from the person that closes them.
Order Secrets of the Master Closer today and discover the time-tested closing skills that make landing the job easy.
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HOW TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL SALES MEETING
Running a successful sales meeting requires no special skills or talents, nor does it require years of sales management experience. In fact, anyone can run an effective meeting by following these three simple steps.
Acknowledge that the primary objective of every sales meeting is to develop great salespeople
Although there may be other business on the meeting agenda, you must accept that the meeting's primary objective is to develop your salespeople's selling skills. Listen to their presentations; are they selling benefits or features? What qualifying questions are they asking? Do these questions reveal the prospect's wants and needs? Are they helping the prospect solve his business problem or are they just selling printing? Can they justify a higher price? So don't just tell your salespeople to land more jobs, show them how and the sales meeting is the ideal platform for this exercise.
Use the questioning technique
Lecture style sale meetings are the least effective because salespeople are continually being told what to do and many resent the fact. Although lecturing may dispel volumes of information it is not what you say the influences your salespeople, but rather what you ask.
The average person speaks at the rate of about 300 words per minute, yet the average listener can comprehend at the rate of about 1,200 words per minute. So your staff is listening to and scrutinizing your statements four times faster than you are talking - no wonder scepticism abounds. But when you ask a question, the listener's mind is locked; they must think of an answer. Now you have the advantage of thinking four times faster then they can talk which is ample time to think of an appropriate answer or another question.
Don’t be dissuaded from running sales meetings by the fear that you cannot answer all your salespeople’s questions. If a question arises that you can’t answer you can handle it in one of two ways. For example, if one of your salespeople says “What should I say to the prospect when he says that he can get the job printed elsewhere for less?”
Let your salespeople answer the question
“That’s a good question, why don’t we all take a minute and think of some different ways that we could handle this situation.”
Show the person who asked the question where to find the answer
“That’s a good question and I really would like to know the answer. Why don’t you look in our library to see if you can find a solution for next weeks meeting.”
Always prepare the meeting's agenda.
While no respectable sales manager would ever consider meeting a new client without preparing a presentation, after all winging-it could cost him the sale, these same managers regularly make presentations during a sales meeting, where they influence the outcome of not one but hundreds of sales with little or no preparation.
This haphazard approach rarely gets favourable results, because these managers fail to recognize that every time they run a sales meeting they are selling their ideas and demands to their salespeople and if they expect them to buy what they have to say, the meeting's agenda must focus on their salespeople's individual needs.
So always prepare an agenda.
1. Use the Tracking system to identify your salespeople’s weaknesses.
2. Focus the meeting on one specific topic.
3. Announce the sales topic in advance so your staff can prepare.
4. Prepare 5 questions that you can use to get the meeting started.
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THE NEW AUTHORITATIVE SELLING APPROACH
During the past 30 years print sales has undergone a number of changes and the industry is about to undergo the most dramatic transformation yet. As in the past, those shops that embrace change will flourish, while those that try to hold on to traditional selling models will quickly find themselves struggling to retain market share.
Selling is show and tell
“Anyone that can sell, can sell printing; after all, sales is sales” was that mantra of the 70’s and thousands of printers proved it correct. Any shop that was fortunate enough to employ a skilled pressman gained instant success. During this period there was no need to train salespeople because selling was little more than a show and tell activity where salespeople could land a job by simply showing a sample of their high quality work. But by the 80’s things had begun to change. Better presses meant that more and more shops were producing excellent work, so quality was losing its competitive edge. Furthermore, the advent of new digital technologies brought about the realization that the show and tell approach to selling was inadequate; print sales now required a specialized set of skills. Printing had become more than putting ink on paper; it had evolved into a diversified and complex procedure and shops quickly realized that they could gain a competitive edge by ensuring that their salespeople were knowledgeable and had a full understanding of the printing and prepress process.
The print sales professional
The 80’s and 90’s was the era of the print sales professional. Print buyers were in the dark; they didn’t understand the application of new digital print technology; it seemed like the whole process had changed. Prepress had gone from paste-up to computer generated graphics, jobs could now be run offset or digital, short runs, print on demand and variable data were all options to consider. Print buying had become complicated and confusing and the print sales professional was perfectly positioned to clarify the process and help the buyer make the right decision. Print sales had become synonymous with print knowledge and shops across North America quickly realized that they could gain a competitive edge by getting their salespeople up to speed. Training was the order of the day and salespeople flocked to technical and production seminars.
By the turn of the century, the industry was not only over crowed with print sales professionals, these salespeople had exhausted their usefulness. Digital printing had lost its mystic, it had become main stream and print buyers no longer needed the help of a salesperson to explain the process; they were familiar with digital applications and were capable of writing their own specs.
The Consultative sales approach
Since the existing sales strategy could no longer sustain current sales targets, a shift to the consultative sales approach offered a viable solution. In fact, consultative selling appeared to be the silver bullet, the goose that laid the golden egg and the Midas touch all wrapped into one and any salespeople that embraced the consultative approach flourished. While the print sales professional, was busy quoting jobs and competing on price the consultant offered alternative print solutions. This new breed of salespeople was able to differentiate their services and gain market share by changing the specs.
While the consultative approach appeared to be the ultimate solution for competing in a crowded market place the strategy was short lived and by 2004 was beginning to show serious signs of failure because the consultative sales approach has an inherent flaw; it focuses on printing. This sales model was build on the misguided belief that prospects are looking for solutions to their printing problems.
Consultative selling is founded on old, outdated sales theory which states “If the salesperson can identify a problem and offer a solution, the prospect will buy from that salesperson.” And although the “finding a problem and offering a solution” methodology sounds correct, in practice it fails miserably. As most print salespeople have already discovered, uncovering a problem is not a challenge because 90% of all jobs can be improved. So offering the prospect new ideas that enhance quality, reduce cost and increase efficiency is easy. But these solutions usually fall on deaf ears because contrary to accepted sales theory people don’t fix problems; they only fix big problems and printing is rarely, if ever, a big problem.
Furthermore, the consultative sales approach has lost its uniqueness. While, as little as 5 years ago it was refreshing to meet a print salesperson that did more than quote the job, nowadays asking probing questions and suggesting print alternatives is common practice. In fact, it is so common that price has, once again, become the primary point of differentiation. As a result the consultative sales approach is dying a slow death and any salesperson that clings to this approach will suffer the consequences.
The Authoritative sales approach
The print sales model is once again undergoing a major change and the emerging authoritative sales approach is unlike anything the industry has seen before. Although the progression from show and tell to print sales professional to consultative selling showed some remarkable advances all three sales models collapsed for the same reason – they were built on the misguided belief that printing can be sold, when in fact nobody wants printing. Here’s what I mean. Prospects do not want brochures, business cards, catalogues or product labels; they only invest in these products because they believe that they (printing) will help them gain market share, increase sales, generate leads, improve brand recognition; in short they want to reach their business objectives. Without the benefit of these business solutions – no one would order printing!
Unlike previous sales models the authoritative selling approach focuses on offering business solutions and in order to provide these solutions salespeople will need to transform themselves into industry or product experts. Which means that authoritative salespeople will not offer their prospects brochures, catalogues, labels, mailers and general commercial printing - because diversity dilutes expertise, instead they will focus their efforts on a niche market and become the recognized authority in that market. Here’s an example of what I mean. Direct mail is a 60 billion dollar industry and thousands of printers are clamoring to get their share of this lucrative market. But competition is tough because printing has become a price sensitive commodity were pencils continue to be sharpened every day. Even so, the authoritative salesperson will make huge inroads into this market by positioning himself as a direct mail expert. This new breed of salesperson is not only familiar with the printing processes he also has an in-depth understanding of direct mail. He knows which color sells best; what type of envelope is most likely to get opened; how to use postscripts to increase direct mail response; which type of postage to affix and which type face to avoid. He’ll be able to answer questions like, “Should I save money by printing on both sides of my sales letter? Which pulls better a two-page or a one-page sales letter? When writing an offer which gets a better response, half price, buy one get one free, or 50% off?” He’ll also be familiar with the latest postal regulations and he’ll be able to advise his customers on how to manage their mailing list. Not only will the authoritative salesperson outsell the competition, selling will become easier then ever before because positioning yourself as an industry expert creates a paradigm shift. Instead of being viewed as an adversary, who is trying to get top dollar the authoritative salesperson is perceived as a business partner who can provide valuable solutions.
The winds of change are already blowing and within a short period will turn gale force as more and more salespeople turn to the authoritative sales approach. Those that embrace this coming storm will find print sales more lucrative and more enjoyable then every before while those who resist will watch their commissions erode as they struggle to maintain market share.
Order Get as much Direct Mail Printing as you can handle today and learn how North America's most successful salespeople are using Authoritative selling skills to capture a lion's share of the 60 billion dollar direct mail market.
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