As part of our bi-weekly Sandler training, we reviewed and discussed a video from Simon Sinek, leadership expert and author of several best-selling books, including Start with Why.
One of the key takeaways in our class was that when most businesses describe their mission, they describe ‘what’ they do and ‘how’ they do it, but they rarely touch on ‘why’ they do what they do. When we address our ‘why’ and our ‘how,’ we access the feeling part of our brain. As Simon Sinek described it, this is the limbic brain, the most ancient part of the brain – the part of the brain that controls our feelings, our behavior, and our decision-making. Speaking about ‘what’ we do does not address the most important part of the brain.
What does this mean for salespeople?
We know that prospects are motivated to purchase based on “pain.” The feeling part of the brain is moving them to take action (behavior) and ultimately, they will make a decision. When we share a mission that starts with our ‘why’ we’re already addressing the pain that our customers experience. We are, according to Sinek, “talking to the part of the brain that controls behavior.” Our ‘why’ becomes the hook that attracts a customer’s attention and brings them toward us.
Simon Sinek’s research led him to conclude that organizations that lead with their ‘why’ are best positioned for success in the marketplace because they speak to the portion of the brain that controls decision-making.
After our training, we looked closely at our mission statement and realized we also focused heavily on the ‘what,’ but not the ‘why.’ Our ‘what’ includes lead generation and sales training our ‘how’ is described as unique lead generation techniques with highly trained, highly motivated sales professionals. We decided to tweak our statement to incorporate a ‘why,’ and we believe this makes our mission statement stronger. Our revised mission statement is:
Our goal at One of a Kind Sales is to help businesses stop leaving money on the table. We do this by PROUDLY delivering unique lead generation by setting qualified appointments and providing top-of-the-line sales training for our clients and their employees.
If you’d like to explore opportunities to leverage our capabilities on behalf of your organization, we’d love to talk to you. Give us a call at 908-879-2911.
I’m feeling revitalized! I just returned from the annual Sandler Sales Leadership Summit in Orlando. I’ve been a proponent and student of the Sandler Selling System for the past 10 years. Each year I have attended this particular summit. Why? Because I always come away inspired and motivated having learned something new and having interacted with many other highly motivated sales professionals.
What Impressed Me?
The “BAT” Triangle. This is a foundational Sandler concept that describes three elements required for success in any activity. BAT stands for “Behavior,” “Attitude,” and “Technique.” David Sandler believed that the most important of these is Behavior. Engaging in the right behaviors can favorably impact your Attitude, and as you use these behaviors, your Technique will improve. David Sandler said, “You cannot manage results, only behavior.”
This makes sense to me. If we focus on results and have no supportive behaviors directed at achieving those results, we end up frustrated about our performance. This brings to my mind a scenario in which a sales rep is worried about achieving her sales plan, but not making any sales calls.
At One of a Kind Sales, we see daily proof that intentional, consistent deployment of key behaviors or practices drives our results. And those results support our positive attitude (team morale). As a leader, I reinforce those behaviors with training focused on honing our technique.
And Next Year?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, ‘I’ve been doing this for my entire career, so I don’t need to go to a conference where I will hear something I’ve possibly heard before.’ But I know I will gain a different way of seeing things, reinforcement of best practices, and a strong commitment to continuing this proven approach. As a result, I will continue to attend these Sandler Leadership Summits. (I’ve already reserved my spot for next year!)
My team and I engage in weekly Sandler training sessions. The Sandler Selling System has contributed directly to our success and I believe it sets us apart from the rest. You need to invest in yourself so that you can utilize your best skills on behalf of your clients. As my team and I work with our clients, we know that we are using best-in-class approaches and we can consistently get results, even in an increasingly competitive environment.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love selling. We are experts at cold calling, in particular. If you want to discuss how we can help you and your team, please contact us at 908-879-2911.
“Answer a question with a question” is a Sandler Selling System rule that is sometimes controversial. Sales teams I’ve worked with often express the concern that using this approach could lead to them appearing evasive or “too salesy”. But as with all “rules” you have to apply them with skill and understand the objective.
Why ask so many questions?
‘Question asking’ is how we salespeople gain a true understanding of our prospect’s needs. The objective is not to avoid answering questions but to avoid shutting down the valuable conversation that leads to a deeper understanding of the prospect and their specific situation. Without this understanding, we may not really know whether our solution is a good fit for their problem and we may misunderstand the value that our solution holds for this prospect.
I think that we should think of ourselves as diagnosticians when we have a sales meeting. Consider this: If you go to a doctor with a headache, she will ask questions to identify the cause. Sometimes the cause is not obvious. If the doctor just treats the symptom, it is possible that the symptom might not go away, or it could disappear in the short term, but return because the underlying cause wasn’t addressed. Likewise, we have found that what is first expressed by some prospects as the reason they might need your solution, may only be the visible expression of a deeper issue. Solving this deeper issue is where our value lies.
So the message in this rule is that ‘question asking’ is integral to the sales process and we ought to focus on asking questions and having a conversation rather than showing that we have all the answers. It’s good for the prospect to know that we have the expertise, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of learning as much as we can about our prospects.
Apply this rule with skill
Always use your good judgment to assess whether you have learned enough about your prospect. Take your cues from the information that you’re receiving and from how your prospect is responding to you. Open-ended questions are key to uncovering hidden problems and key motivators that may be important to your ability to successfully close the sale. For example:
- Why is this important to you?
- Can you tell me more about this?
- What else happens when this problem crops up?
- Why do you think this is happening?
If we focus on the conversation first and foremost, we will learn enough to know when it is the right time to ask our favorite question, “What would you like to have happen next?”
At One of a Kind Sales, we love selling and we are experts at cold calling, in particular. If you would like to discuss how we can help you and your team please contact us at 908-879-2911.
I was recently at a meeting about sales efficiency where a debate broke out about what salespeople should do when a prospect says, “I’ll think about it.” Participants were divided. Some felt that this meant that the selling process was not complete and they should continue to engage the prospect. Others strongly believed that once a prospect tells you “I’ll think about it,” they should move to the next prospect. I firmly believe you should move on.
As a professional salesperson, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with prospects over the years. Because I’m focused on my sales objective and the need to be efficient with my time, it’s critical to know when to move on. We all know that we should not rush to close a prospect. We all know that we should be looking for signs to disqualify a prospect throughout the discussion. When these signs appear early, perhaps it’s easier to recognize that the prospect is not a fit for our solution and end the discussion. But when the signs show up later, they can be more difficult to recognize, perhaps because we are more emotionally invested. But that verbal message, “I’ll think about it” is a clear red flag to me. To confirm whether it’s really time to move on, I might ask, “Is there anything else I can tell you?”, and if the prospect says “yes,” I will address the question. But if the answer is “no,” then it’s clearly time for me to move on.
Why move on? Continuing to sell to a person who is telling you that they need to think about it after you’ve had robust discussions delays you from moving to a prospect that you might be able to more readily convert. Frankly, “I’ll think about it” is really the kiss of death. Experience tells me that this prospect is not likely to make a positive decision and I would be wasting time continuing the conversation.
You may be thinking, ‘well I’ve spent all of this time getting to know this prospect and I hate to let it drop.’ But that is not what you should do. You should move the prospect into a nurturing program with a plan to revisit them at some point to see if conditions have changed.
It might be very attractive to continue discussions with someone with whom you’ve already developed a relationship in the hope that they will convert. But you really are fooling yourself. We need to be clear-eyed about what’s going on in a sales engagement. Ideally, we never ask for the sale until the time is right. At that point, if they say they still need to “think about it,” it’s time to gracefully move on.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love selling and we are experts at sales and cold calling, in particular. If you would like to discuss how we can help you and your team please contact us at 908-879-2911.
A quiz for you:
Communicating your expertise and product knowledge to your prospect leads to a successful sale:
I came across this question in a session with a world-class expert in the Sandler selling method. This is one that can spark a lot of debate.
I’m aware that many salespeople are trained to be product experts. In fact, product or service training may be the lion’s share of the formal training that they receive from their company. Often, salespeople are coached to share their knowledge in order to establish their expertise with a prospect. This might be because the business perceives that the offering is so differentiated that once a prospect fully understands it they will jump at the opportunity. So, an encyclopedic knowledge of the offering and the ability to communicate it is often perceived as a major sales success factor for a salesperson.
However, consider the problems that could arise with this approach. What if we miss something critical because we are so busy “communicating” about our offering? When we first meet with a prospect, I believe it’s important to let the prospect communicate with us. What are their current issues? Why are they even talking to us about our offering? What problems are they trying to solve? If we move into “presentation mode” without knowing the answers to these questions, we risk losing the prospect’s attention by not addressing their core concerns. In order to get at these concerns, we need to take the time to ask the right questions and then engage in active listening so that the prospect can communicate with us and so that we can internalize what they are saying. We need a two-way conversation and, particularly early in the discussion, it’s ideal if the prospect does most of the talking. This is where we learn what we need to know in order to confirm if they are a good fit for our solution and then close the sale.
So what’s my answer to this question?
False: I’ve concluded that product knowledge and expertise aren’t enough to close the sale.
- Avoid getting into the “nuts and bolts” of a product presentation immediately with a prospect.
- Slow down and take the time to get to know prospects in order to learn what motivates them.
When you truly understand their situation, you can then start to use your understanding of your offering to highlight how your solution will make a real difference for them. In my experience, taking this approach will improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love to sell and are lifelong learners when it comes to selling. Cold calling is our specialty. If your business needs help with getting appointments with qualified prospects, give us a call at 908-879-2911.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended Outbound 2022 in Atlanta. Outbound is self-described as “the biggest, baddest conference in the Sales Profession.” Outbound is unique because it’s the only conference focused exclusively on “sales prospecting, pipeline, and productivity.” I always make it a point to attend.
Some people are amazed that I would take time away from my business to go to a conference with other salespeople. But in my view, I’m not taking time away from my business, I’m investing time in my business because, as the owner of a business whose primary focus is outbound cold calling, attending Outbound is continuing education for me.
A conference like Outbound gives me the opportunity to be surrounded by and interact with individuals who believe in outbound activities. These are people who strive to be the best professional salespeople every day. While there, I’m able to explore new ideas and develop relationships that have led to growth for my own business. My experience at Outbound allows me to be a better leader of my own organization and inspire my team to do their best job.
I also invest in my own people. We have weekly Sandler training attended not only by my sales specialists but my admin team as well. As a result, my admin team has a deeper understanding of our business and they have become better communicators as a result. This investment pays off with greater efficiency and productivity for my business.
My Love of Learning
If you’ve followed my blog and my social posts for any length of time, you’ll know that I have a strong thirst for learning. Attending Outbound helps satisfy that need. But another way that I address this is through my Conversational Selling podcast. A recent conversation with my colleague Liz Wendling, President of Liz Wendling Business Consulting and Sales Coaching left me considering her wise words: “Selling is the only way to stay in business.” Given the truth of this statement, the need for good sales skills is inexhaustible. One of a Kind Sales will continue to hone these skills to meet the needs of our clients.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love to sell and cold calling is our specialty. If your business needs help with this, give us a call at 908-879-2911.