Think about the steps you take when you buy a pair of sneakers. Something in your world gets your attention and you come to the conclusion: I need a new pair of sneakers. In that process, you remove doubt because you’re actively looking. Then you start to consider your options, lay them out and say, “Jeez, do I really need these? What pair do I want?” Ultimately, you buy a pair. That’s a simple buying process.
I remember attending a sales call with one of my salespeople back when we were expanding our performance sales training organization. He had landed an opportunity for a sizable, in-house training deal and he knew he was going to get some resistance with a deal of this magnitude. He wanted me to join him and give him some coaching on handling sales objections during a presentation.
In a previous post, we outlined a process for resolving sales objections. It’s a way of adding some stability, scalability, and repeatability to the sales process. In other words, all members of your sales team, from the freshman sales rep to the seasoned saleswoman, now have a way of producing repeatable results when resolving common sales objections.
In one of our sales training sessions, a participant asked me for ideas on how to avoid some of the objections she was getting from her prospects. Now, in these situations, my experience is if one person asks a question, then there are at least 5 other people with the same question simmering just below the surface. And for a hot topic like this, the majority of salespeople want some way to resolve their prospects’ sales objections that not only makes them look good and helps them get to close deals faster.
Here’s a quick story that highlights the difference between a high performance sales team and one that needs your constant supervision.
One warm summer day a few years back, I was driving along the interstate heading up to Cleveland. It was one of those days where everyone was at an optimal cruising speed that was about 10 MPH above the posted speed limit.
In the original version of the Magnificent Seven, Yul Brenner and Steve McQeen spend the opening scenes recruiting men to, “shoo some flies away from a little village.” In one scene, they come across Robert Vaughn who is on the run and now looking for work. When Vaughn agrees to join the team, Brenner holds up seven fingers indicating that they now have seven men on the team. McQueen, however, waves his hand as if to say, “hold on.” He has reservations about Vaughn. That’s when Brenner says, “No. No. He’s a good gun. And where we’re going is no church social.”
One of the things that I talk to sales leaders about is the difference between a thermometer and a thermostat. A thermostat can set the temperature and manipulate the climate to get to the desired temperature. A thermometer can only take the temperature. With the business uncertainty in today’s climate, we can only take the temperature and react minute-by-minute to this uncertainty.
When I started assembling my current crew, my current Vice President told me a remarkable story about opening a sales call, displaying exceptional sales acumen for someone who was just starting her sales career.
When we conduct our sales training, a fast rule we follow is that there are no special skills in closing. In a different article, the Myth of the Perfect Closing Script, I conveyed my dismay at salespeople’s adherence to those relics. Those sales closing tips are a part of a different era, a different environment, and different customer culture.
Lance Tyson is an industry leader in sales training, development, and management. Selling is an Away Game is a must read for any sales professional, sales leader, or aspiring candidate in the industry.
Chief Revenue Officer, Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment