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What is your sales pace? Four critical things the tortoise can teach us.

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

tortise vs hare

I was doing my regular run pacing myself to my music at 142 beats a minute. All of a sudden this young man, well young compared to me, rushed by making me feel like I was barely moving.

I had to remind myself I was in this for the exercise and duration training – not to show off. If he wanted to rush on at full pace that was his prerogative.

I rounded the next corner and there he was. Obviously he had been running too fast and run into the young lady he was exchanging phone numbers with. I wondered which insurance companies covered crashes of runners in the park.

Telling the whole story

I have gone back to my roots and doing  a bit of ‘one on one’ selling these last couple of months. As a part of the sales process I have a standard pitch I make and if I do the job well I close most of the opportunities.

I have pitched the same product over a hundred time this month. The discipline of listening to the same questions, patiently answering them, telling the whole story beginning to end is one I have to work at all the time.  The most common reason I miss a sale is if I do not listen to questions patiently, respond  properly, rush through the presentation or leave things out thinking they are not so important.

Your product is brand new every time you present it

I recall the first time I presented the product. I was enthusiastic, excited to be presenting a really interesting environmentally friendly idea with a compelling financial story. The prospect purchased the product, had a good financial win and I banked a good commission. It was a good day.

Today when I tell the same story I remind myself of that first day. I recall the feeling of enthusiasm and the love of helping people take advantage of a compelling financial story. You see, no matter how many times I tell the story, and how bored or uninteresting I think it may be, it is the first time for my customer and they deserve the full treatment. By speeding through the presentation there is every chance I will end up crashing and burning.

There are four things which are critical to every sale pitch

1. Enthusiasm

You need to totally believe in your product or service. When you ooze confidence and belief in your company or person you represent this rubs off on your prospect who will naturally believe you have the answer to their needs. This could be a belief your Barista makes the best cappuccino or your project team will deliver a $500M IT solution.

2. Listening

Even the most mundane and boring questions you have heard a thousand times are critical. Questions mean your customer is interested. Taking the time to carefully listen to questions and answering them fully, no matter how dumb you think they are, builds rapport and establishes you as an expert.

3. Information sharing

Telling your story reflecting the needs of your customer and the questions they have raised. Your story is an enthusiastic telling of the critical elements of your product or service focusing on the areas which make you unique.

4. Asking for the order

This may be as simple as saying something like “Brenda, what we normally do now is take a 25% deposit with the balance due when we install the new system. How would you prefer to handle that?” Depending on the situation you can develop your own method. Even in large sales I have the habit of asking for the order using questions like “Peter, if you were making the decision on your own would you be ready to make a commitment?” or “Based on our discussion today do you think you are closer to making a decision

Today’s question and actions

The story of the Hare and tortoise teaches us the importance of belief,  persistence and finishing.  Here are a couple of things you can do;

  • Recall your first few days on the job and your first sales calls. Bring back the enthusiasm and joy you experienced relating your story.
  • The next time someone asks you a ‘dumb’ question pause and silently say ‘thank-you’ as you have a prospect who is interested.
  • Prepare a few strong closing questions. Even if they say ‘no’ now be prepared with something like “What can I do so you can make a decision?” to move forward.

Your product might be the same. For this prospect it is a whole new story. Tell it with enthusiasm beginning to end and you will be surprised how your close rate goes up.

Have a great week!

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