Whether I’m addressing a team of 5 sales people or 500, I’m always surprised how sell without fully covered sales insurance policies. Meaning, you give of your time, your energy, and you pursue with your resources, both personal and business.
Clearly, you don’t want to waste even one of those valuables, so given the potential consequences and costs if you were to lose all of those, you would think giving yourself “full coverage” would be a no-brainer, right? That’s why I’m surprised.
You all take measures to make sure your homes, cars, lives, jewelry, even appliances are insured. If you pay money to insure those items in your life, what would it be worth to you if you could have insurance on your time, your ability to persist and follow through effectively and on closing your next deal?
What if fully insuring your sales efforts cost you nothing and your only investment was to learn a few simple questions? Would you be in? Good. Let’s write you up a policy right now:
Sales Insurance Policy #1: “If I, Will You?” (Insurance on Your Time)
An easy way to gauge your clients interest is by checking how willing they are to invest in the process of getting you what you need to help them. Think about it like this:
Client #1 calls you and their machinery is stopped until they get the correct part. As long as their machine is stopped they’ll give you their ATM card and pin in 2 seconds because every second down represents money lost!
Their interest will equal what they will do to get that part.
You’ve been calling on client #2 for 6 months who is happy with their current supplier. They continue to tell you “yes”, but you never see what you need. Again, their desire to help you is equal to their interest and need.
You see the obvious difference in the two scenarios: the need for what you are offering. You either need to try and create more of a need, or ask them if they are truly interested. If not, let your competition waste their time.
Here is a little trick you can use to probe how much they are willing to do to help. If they aren’t very helpful in what you need, then that tells you their interest level is low. That doesn’t mean I don’t take further action, it’s just a mental “heads up” which you should collect for further down the road if you have to make that tough decision to keep going or cut bait. Basically, I use it as evidence to make a decision later on the reality of landing them.
That brings us to the question that I’ve shared with thousands of sales pros that has paid off BIG TIME and that you will now ask to insure you are not wasting your time.
It plays off the “Law of Reciprocity.” The LOR states that if I do something for you, you will naturally be inclined to return a favor.
Is it selfish? Not if I give you something you want.
Is it manipulative? Not if I give you something you want.
Is it unfair? Not if I give you something you want (ok…I’ll stop there).
It really is just a play on human nature and the fact that we all like to reciprocate and give when given to.
You continually want to know that you are getting a good R.O.T. (return on time), and the safest way I have seen to do that is by asking your client “If I, will you?” questions. Here are some examples:
“Mr. Stevens, if I can show you savings on your top 3 items, will you give me just 10 minutes to come by and shake your hand?”
“Mrs. Clark, if I can provide a payback on your investment of less than 3 years, will you jump on a quick webinar with me so I can show you how this solution has done the same for their competitor 1 and their competitor 2?”
“Jack, if I show you a solution that increases your operating efficiencies by 20%, will you be willing to jump on a quick 10 minute telephone call with me?”
The time to ask for what you want is after you give them something they want. At that time, not only have you earned the right to ask, but you are more likely to get the outcome you want.
If after I offer up my, “If I, Will You?” and the answer is “no,” then I immediately know I need to be very careful with my time. The beauty of this question is you can use it in so many different situations. Just be creative and enjoy the results.
Sales Insurance Policy #2: “If I don’t hear from you (or receive ‘x’) can I follow up with you on ‘x’?” (Permission to persist)
Three very interesting points I’ve discovered around this issue of persisting:
Many more sales people than I originally thought quickly back away if a prospect doesn’t return their calls or requests as they said (the reason is next).
A high number of sales people don’t want to “offend” by being a pest.
Research shows sales people quit to early, and that the ability and choice to persist is vital (notice the action of persisting is an ability and choice, not a gift, or a natural genetic trait).
Yep. I couldn’t believe it myself! I’m not including all the details of the study because you don’t need them. All you need to know is research indicated that it took sales people at least 5 touches to land the majority of new clients. Interestingly, the study revealed that only 6% of sales people actually stay in the process that long to get the deal! In fact, only about 50% of sales people made more than 2 calls.
3 critical points:
- Sales people need to be prepared to persist.
- Sales people need an organizational system that allows them to persist when they need to.
- Sales people need to give themselves permission to persist as they long as they think it is worth pursuing.
So, let’s break down the issue here with some solutions for you:
THE PROBLEM: PRESENT INTENTION vs FUTURE REALITY
You’re with a friend you haven’t seen for over a year. Before you leave, the conversation goes like this:
You: “OK, we have to do this more often. I had a great time.”
Your friend: “Definitely. I’ll call you in a couple weeks and we’ll get together again!”
You both leave thinking that you had a great time and that you’ll get together again, and the funny thing is, both of you actually, at that moment, do want to get together again. But, the future reality of that happening is about as likely as me dancing with the Jackson 5.
Perfect example of what I call, “PRESENT INTENTION vs FUTURE REALITY.” We all agree to do things when we are, “in the moment” and our clients are no different. If we take their word at face value and forget about PI vs FR then you’ll have to deal with being a pest (I just consider it following up)…..unless you use ‘‘THE ANSWER” and sell using “THE RULE.”
ANSWER: ALWAYS GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO PERSIST
I don’t care how much you trust them, ask the question:
Client: “Sure, Mark. I’ll have the product you can quote on to you by Monday.”
Me: “I appreciate that Mike, and if I don’t happen cialis online samples to see it, say by Tuesday, I’ll give you a quick reminder call on Tuesday afternoon. Is that OK?”
Remember: PI vs FR. They are in the moment with you, so the odds of them saying “no” are less likely, but you still have to protect yourself.
RULE: ALWAYS ASSUME PEOPLE WON’T DO WHAT THEY TELL YOU THEY WILL DO.
That’s the ONLY way I know how to protect myself from never forgetting to get my insurance. Many sales people I’ve shared this with laugh at me and say, “Man, you sound jaded. You must be from New York!” No…but I have sold there.
It’s not about a lack of trust in other people, rather, it’s about living by a rule so you always protect yourself. If you make this question a “negotiable” for you, you leave yourself susceptible to burns. However, if you always do it, regardless of how “sincere” the client seems, you’re always covered. So if what they committed to doesn’t happen you still plow forward without worrying about being a pest.
Then you follow up call sounds something like this:
Me: “Linda, you asked me to follow up with you today if I didn’t see the list of products to bid on. I know you have nothing else to do…”
Now it’s on them not getting me what they committed too, and NOT about me being an annoying sales person.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be retired in Jamaica right now if I had .07 cents for every time someone told me I’d have something by…
MARK HEEREMA IS CALLING A “TIME OUT!”
Is it me or is it weird that sales people are worried about being a pest, being annoying, calling too quickly after a voicemail, calling too often, or showing up too often when that is http://santamonicaskin.com/online/ what you have to do? I think it is, because that’s what your profession requires. SALES REQUIRES PROFESSIONAL, PERSISTENT FOLLOW UP (notice I said professional persistence).
But, if you are a bit weary of persisting and being too aggressive, it’s OK. It’s not your fault and you’re not alone. You just haven’t been shown how to get rid of that yet.
Lack of persistence, a lack of confidence, and all of the other “internal junk” you carry that literally keeps you from making gobs of more money is NOT the problem, although it does appear that way. The REAL problem lies deeper, below that, and if you want to know more I have a free offer for you (No obligation. No commitment). Let me explain:
The majority of what I show sales people has NOTHING to do with special techniques or strategies or how to become persistent: because that’s NOT the most important part of a sales pro’s arsenal AND that’s not where your fix is. THE most powerful gift you could ever give yourself is the skill of learning how to build and use the drivers that dictate if you win or lose the internal game, because, the main ingredient in winning in sales, is first, winning the internal battle. When you do, skills like persistence and follow through become effortless.
Sales Insurance Policy #3: “What happens next?” (Insurance against the unknown closing stall)
What clients think they will do versus what they will ACTUALLY need to do are sometimes two completely different things. Give me a “yep” if you’ve ever thought you had the deal wrapped up to only hear, “I just need to get buy-in from my boss.” I heard a lot of “yeps.” Or, “I just need to check our current contract and make sure there are no binding legal obligations for us to move forward.” WHAT? Why didn’t you tell me that 4 weeks ago! I feel your pain.
As sales people there’s nothing more frustrating than the “hidden objection” and a very effective and simple way to help protect against that is to have the client actually think through what they will have to do towards the end. Believe it or not, putting them in that position will give you insight into not only what they are thinking, but what actions they will also need to complete. So often, there’s additional, uncovered, and unknown hurdles, and this question helps them tell you what they might not be thinking about.
“So, Jennifer, If the pricing proposal meets the expectations we just outlined, what happens next?”
“Ben, if the proposal does return your money in 6 months, what’s the next step for us?”
Basic? Yes. Commonly done? No.
Making the prospect actually think through the process is magical, and it will show you how close you really are, and if this is truly an opportunity you want to keep pushing and how hard. Because at the end of the day who cares how many prospects you have – it’s about how many deals you close so you can make the type of money you deserve for bringing your clients the great service you do.
ABOUT MARK HEEREMA
At 21 years old Mark’s life consisted of packing boxes making minimum wage. Out of desperation he reluctantly tried sales. Starting from absolute scratch with no sales experience, no sales training, zero accounts, and zero leads, Mark shattered company sales records before he turned 24, and soon found… more