Answer these questions:
How much is a lot of money for a vacation? House? Car? To loan friend?
How much is a lot of money to bail a spouse or child out of jail or trouble?
How much is a lot of money to you? How much is a lot of money to your prospect?
The answer to the last question is that you do not know if you do not ask. The learning point is that money is a conceptual thing and everyone has a different perspective. Be careful to not take your own perceptions about money to the sales call and superimpose them onto our prospect. Everyone has different perspectives about “a lot of money.”
Discuss budget and the required investment with your prospect after you have a clear understanding of their ‘pain’ and the implication of those perceived problems. Relate value to the consequences of their situation.
“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”
By believing what is not true and not believing what is true! Avoid letting your belief system fall into two common traps.
Assumptive beliefs are untested and don’t have to be true. The more you tell yourself something or the more you hear something, the truer it becomes to you.
Fixed beliefs occur when you stop seeking, receiving, or processing new information. Fixed beliefs usually come from parents, newspapers, authority figures, bosses, culture, friends, family, and the general sense of rules in our society. Perhaps your skill level inhibited an action two years ago, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it today.
What you believe can be internal or external. Internal beliefs are about you, your career, personal ability, money, selling, etc. Learning to “hear” and “program” (or re-program) your internal radio station (self-talk) is critical. External beliefs relate to others, such as your company, products, market, and competitors, etc.
Some reports say that seventy to ninety percent of thought is negative and counter-productive. Can you imagine knowing the thought process of an airplane crew was wrong on the navigation system? What would you do? Most likely get off! Likewise, don’t let your own programming limit your journey.
“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.” – James Lane Allen
Beliefs are like gardening. Have you wondered why you can develop new, positive thoughts, and then old behaviors and outcomes reappear? It is like getting a second crop in your garden. You plant new seeds but old stuff from last season comes up again. Beliefs are like thorns, they are hard to remove, and the roots grow in new places. Thoughts create feelings—old thoughts often bring more intense and better feelings than new thoughts because we don’t have enough positive outcomes yet to create a new feeling. You must consciously reward the new belief. For example, if you think skipping the gym or not consistently prospecting is a bad thing, but you continue to do so you haven’t gotten to the root of the problem. Somewhere there is a belief that missing a couple days doesn’t matter. Removing self-limiting mental baggage is like weeding a garden—it takes constant effort.
“I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.”
– Abraham Lincoln
Persistence is defined as, “Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty, fatigue, frustration, or opposition.” Because there is a point when return on the investment of energy, time and resources diminish, and the loss of other potential sales can be high, how long is long enough to pursue a prospect? Start by reviewing your qualification process. Have you documented evidence of their stated reasons of need? Have you identified their internal decision process, their criteria for making a decision, and all involved decision makers? Has there been a discussion of the investment required, and the prospect’s ability and willingness to make the investment if they ‘believe’ in your solution or product? If something is missing, go back and get the answers. If all are in place and you continue to receive stalls, think it over; it is probably time to take them to a ‘no’ decision and move on.
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
Prospects have antennas that are always on alert, enabling them to pick up any sign of wavering confidence in an instant. Without confidence your success will be limited. Two ways to build confidence are using courage and reviewing past experiences. Courage means moving forward in the face of fear or doubt. Confidence is the result of successfully overcoming obstacles. Second, you have a history of past successes. Create a personal fuzzy file containing records of achievements, rewards, accolades, prizes and past successes. Reviewing these can help you reclaim confidence and belief in yourself. You must first believe in yourself before the prospect will believe in you or your offering.
“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
The result of negative self-talk is increasing self-doubt and diminishing confidence. Listen to what you are telling yourself. Immediately stop saying to yourself things such as, “I can’t do this,” “I am not good at this,” or “I am in the wrong career”, etc. Another destructive form of negative self-talk is “I should” and “I need to” because they are not solid commitments for change or moving forward. Keep your self-talk positive and in the present tense. For example, say, “I am good at finding new opportunities,” “I am capable of making up my shortfall,” or “my technique is improving.” Another way to accomplish positive self-talk is by asking yourself ‘why’ questions. “Why am I getting better at prospecting?” or “Why do I have such a good territory?” These strategies will keep your subconscious from fighting you. Your mind is like software. You have to program and direct it. Remember that even with the right programming you still have to take action.
“Our best friend and our worst enemy reside within us. Unfortunately, most of us access the latter far more often than the former.” – Maddy Malhotra
Universalizing is an internal thinking pattern that turns an isolated incidence into a general rule. Every prospect doesn’t buy from you, love you, or treat you with courtesy, much less keep their word. When you have a negative personal experience, it is easy to project that experience into the future. You would not assume all people behave alike, so avoid assuming one experience is typical of all. Just because one person is rude does not mean everyone will be rude. Keep negative events in perspective. Beware of the way you talk to yourself and eliminate the use of all-inclusive words like, “everyone,” “always,” and “never.”
“It is a universal principle that you get more of what you think about, talk about, and feel strongly about.” - Jack Canfield
Saying or thinking, “It is the market,” or “My territory has no potential,” or “Our prices are too high,” are examples of externalizing. Blaming outside conditions or others is not the answer. Taking personal responsibility is the first step in getting out of this trap. Repeatedly thinking such thoughts becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Break the cycle by writing down any solid evidence you have regarding such claims. Observe if others are being successful with the same challenges. Ask yourself, “Do I have competitors who sell for more or who have the same market and are still successful?” Chances are high that you will find little or no evidence to support externalizing.
“Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you.” – Aldous Huxley
Even sellers generally have more buying experiences than selling experiences. Unfortunately, everyone experiences the hawker on the phone or in the buying clubs who mistakenly believes everyone is a prospect for their offerings.
In addition, they can’t wait to tell you all about them, even before they know if you need them or are willing and able to pay for them. It is easy to fall into the same incorrect belief that, “If they (the prospect) understand the product as well as I do, they will want it too.” Remember you will always get more rejection when trying to sell too soon. Real pros know how to engage with questions and other techniques to help prospects discover how much more they need their offering than initially realized. Uncovering and developing need is the real key to sales success.
“Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.” — Harvey Mackay
Sellers with smaller geographic areas may tend to dismiss the importance of planning weeks ahead. Here are three reasons to organize your prospects and clients into a consistent workflow.
First, by assigning prospects and customers into a four-week geographic or zip code rotation, stress is reduced, daily, and weekly goals and priorities become clear.
Second, you will reduce the length of your sales cycle. If it takes three calls on average to close a sale, theoretically seeing someone once a week means a three-week sales cycle. However factor in meetings, conflicts, vacations, and other interruptions and three weeks becomes three months. Without a consistent rotation or call cycle three months can become six or eight months, assuming you remember to follow up.
Third, you will be more productive. You cannot manage time, but you can learn to manage the events the come in and out of your daily activities. Without a plan, someone else will engage you and you will be working on his or her goals instead of your own. It makes it easier to say, “I can’t today, but I can help you tomorrow (or next week).”
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
― Yogi Berra