Part 2 Skill Set
The journey through personal development is critical for a saleswoman in order to reach mastery!
A lot of tendencies of a successful salesperson are deemed male qualities, such as: competitiveness, strong assertiveness, relentlessness, etc.
This is intriguing because females have just as many ingrained successful traits necessary to be naturally successful in sales as well. It was indicated in part one of this post that sales mastery comes with mastering the ‘mentals’ of our career. Namely:
Clarity and Toughness, which are both gender neutral.
Part 2 will delve into the next phase of sales mastery: Skill Set. You’re catching on that this is also a neutral territory when it comes to skill development, but I will point out where we as women have a natural advantage.
We will break skill set down into two sections:
Section 1: Technique
You know you’ve mastered selling techniques when they become reflexive when you’re in the field. It is not different to master sales as it is to master any other career. Just like certain careers require more time and training to dominate, so do different sales roles.
If you want to move out of entry level sales roles, then mastering techniques will not only help you close more where you are, but it will be the catalyst to get you into a better role.
Even seasoned saleswomen need to focus on mastery as there is no level of sales career where increasing technique isn’t critical. No matter how high you’ve scaled the sales ladder, there is always more to learn, even if it means making just one tweak in an already successful sales process.
So, what technique specifically should you work on and how do you find the resource to improve?
Here is a Birds-eye view of 7 techniques (outside of mentals) to work on mastering for success in sales:
4. Overcoming Objections
6. Closing & Upsell
7. Follow up
A lot of salespeople are outgoing action-oriented personalities. (Stay tuned to a post coming soon to understand how your specific personality can be harnessed for sales success) While taking action is paramount to sitting around and talking about success, if you go out into the field blindly, you’ll only catch what flies in your mouth.
Let’s be intentional instead.
Successful saleswomen need this reminder more than newer ones. The better we get at our craft, the less we pay attention to the fundamentals, which can cause a slip in our production over time.
So, even if you’re already closing regularly, planning your work before taking action will keep you on track.
1) Stay on track with your time by planning your day the night before. Some advice might be so simple it can be easy to ignore. Before you clean your desk for the day (please clean your desk for the day! It’ll give you a fresh outlook before beginning work the next day!) take out a piece of scratch paper or your planner and brain dump all the things in your brain.
· People to see
· Follow Ups to clients or home office
2) Select the top 3-4 tasks from the dump that you would feel will make you successful the next day.
3) Take a day view on your paper by listing out times from your start to finish – or use a pre-printed calendar that has the hours broken down into half or quarter hours.
On that paper you will time block your plan for the day. Here’s how:
o First – place your prospecting time. This is the most vital activity you can perform daily in order to stay on top of your goals. Even a strong closing day cannot compensate for a weak prospecting day. The sale will eventually fizzle if your pipeline isn’t fed.
o Second – Designate a time for those top 3-4 tasks from your dump.
o Third – I highly recommend using a digital calendar to type in these due dates and set vibrational reminders for the times you selected.
It will be tough for you to ignore “Call Mrs. Smith back about the list of properties” if your phone vibrates while you’re taking a little too long perusing the latest cat video on Facebook.
o Lastly – Keep the rest of your dump list handy in your planner or on top of your desk in the odd chance you have extra time after completing your daily activities or as a memory jogger for you when you complete your planning process the next day.
“The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
– Stephen Covey
Break prospecting down into 3 steps
1) Your prospecting Ratios
Chances are that your company provides training for you to learn to prospect. DEVOUR THAT TRAINING! In that training process you’ll surely be given ratios of what is typical when turning over leads into clients.
Those ratios are great benchmarks, but they aren’t your ratios.
At different points in your career you’ll see your ratios fluctuate. In the beginning you may have worse ratios than the company average while as an expert you can bust through company averages without breaking a sweat. That’s why it’s just a company AVERAGE.
So, monitor yourself for a few weeks.
· How many numbers lead to a contact for you?
· How many contacts lead to an appointment? How many appointments show?
· How many shows lead to a close?
By knowing YOUR exact ratio, you can then understand your prospecting level and style. This eliminates frustration and increases earnings because you can now work based off your personal levels.
2) Know the types of effective prospecting for your business.
Not every form of prospecting is effective for every industry. If you are working with a sales coaching professional, make sure they don’t just give you cookie cutter advice because it can harm your efforts if you spend time in the wrong areas.
If you receive company leads be grateful and use them. But remember, nobody will be upset if you talk to even more people. So, determine what type of lead generation could work for your industry.
Here are some areas that will help you in prospecting efforts:
· Networking events
· Social Media networking
· Current Clients
· Your warm market – branch it out
· Clubs and organizations
· Sporting Events
· Previous Employees
· Previous Employers
· Your circle of business (drycleaner, hair stylist, etc)
(So much to delve into here, stay tuned for a prospecting class coming soon!)
Notice, I don’t put cold prospecting methods on there. Door knocking, cold calling, cold emailing are viable techniques, but they’re last on the list. Anytime you have common ground or an introduction your time will be rewarded more favorably. Spending 80% of your time in warm prospecting zones will keep you closer to staying on track.
3) Organizational system for recording the relationship
CRM! If your company provides a CRM delve into it and become an expert. You may choose to purchase your own, or you may have to if you aren’t organized enough to create your own spreadsheets. Sure, if you’re a paper and pen planner, maybe an index card CRM system could work for you. The fact is, whichever method you choose you must be strict to follow up with it.
Many times, you’ll be calling a potential client several times and you don’t want to appear to have forgotten all about your last conversation. While you may be on the phone all day, your potential client likely isn’t and they’ll be turned off if you must ask, “What’s your daughters name?” every time you talk on the phone.
Also, jot down commitments, plans, needs, purchases, competitor information, etc. Keep a detailed record so that you can be more professional and ready for each call.
Become a master presenter!
There is a difference between presenting to a group of people and presenting one on one. So, you may be good at one and average in the other. Know your areas that need improvement.
· Public Speaking is critical in sales. Whether or not you may find yourself often presenting to a group it’s a skill that translates well into communication and leadership.
Tangible areas such as cadence, volume, hand gestures, and foot movement make such a big difference in the feel of your presentation. After a talk you want people to say, “Because of your message I’m going to implement…” instead of just, “Great talk!” A compliment feels good, but a promise to take action is what you’re looking for.
· One on one presenting is your bread and butter. Have your presentation down cold! Make it a practice to role play your presentation every night before going to bed until you know it in your sleep. It’s not enough to know what to say, but it’s critical to also know what to ASK and when.
Use a template presentation that you build your skills form. Write in where you’ll insert questions, where you can foresee an objection that you can bring up and overcome before the client can, etc.
· Record yourself doing your presentation. Listen to yourself the next day as you drive from one appointment to the next. By listening to your own voice, you may cringe when you hear your crutches, and phrases that you know you need to remove or enhance right before you see your next client.
BONUS TIP: As you perform more and more live appointments with clients in the field use your practice time to see where you may be inserting trigger words or statements if you find that you get similar objections at the same points of each presentation.
Also consider joining a public speaking group to help you get more practice speaking out loud to groups!
4. Overcoming Objections
Mastering this one skill could mean the difference between your continued success in a lucrative sales career and you bailing out to find something “less stressful”.
· Anticipate objections. The more appointments you witness or perform will give you a glimpse as to where and when people tend to react in certain ways. You may find that similar objections come up often. If they do, then it’s your presentation that creates them.
If you find that you get to a point where objections become fewer and fewer, you’ll still notice that as they do come up, they won’t be a surprise. There really aren’t that many objections ladies! There are a set of categories that a client can object to such as, price, time, ability, belief, etc. and your job is to have a solid understanding of those ready to reflexively work through with the client.
The following is a good starter list to finding resources to master objections:
o Audio supplements
o Video training
o Index cards
Treat this area as your ongoing learning zone. Master an objection every week. If you do that within 3 months, you’ll have more than 80% of the objection arena cornered and will be virtually unstoppable.
Without the intentional determination to get good at referral systems, it simply WILL NOT HAPPEN. In fact, you must decide to become obsessed with referrals. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself cold calling and at approaching strangers most of the time.
Unless you plan on staying in your exact current position for the long haul, do not depend only on your company leads. Otherwise you’ll become paralyzed if you leave to another opportunity that won’t do that for you.
A big reason to be in sales is usually to have freedom of time and control over our income. If you do not know how to STAY in business without having to dump funds into advertising (which isn’t necessarily effective) then you will soon be out of business by default.
Points to consider when building referral systems
· Who is the strongest referral generator that you know? Copy their system exactly.
· Start out your presentations with the expectation of getting referrals. Never wait until the end just to act shocked that you’ll be denied.
· Get the clients involved in the referral process to make it feel more cooperative.
· Set a new target in your office or on your team to see who can get the most referrals from one appointment. Make it a culture in your environment.
6. Closing and Upselling
Many saleswomen are great at communicating throughout the presentation. We get our empathy antennae raised and we can help feel our way through any sales conversation. But then, it comes as a surprise to a lot of saleswomen when at the end of the presentation the client doesn’t offer their money voluntarily to seal the deal.
In order to get the check, you must ask for it. Bluntly. Simply. Directly.
To do that, it’s imperative that you ask closing questions throughout the presentation and build up your YES momentum. Without throwing in questions that help the client give off small YESes through your communication, you will hardly be able to get the BIG yes at the end.
During the application process of the close, keep presenting! Don’t get too wrapped up in the sale that’s about to happen that you forget to help the client add on additional features and benefits.
· Does your policy offer additional riders?
· Does your home offer an upgrade option?
· Does the car you sold offer extra warranties?
· Does your product have a buy 3 get one free choice?
· If your product doesn’t outwardly have an add on feature – then get creative and ask yourself how you can add one.
While the client is in buying mode, your chances for upselling will be highest. If the client buys more than one product from you, there’s a higher chance of them remaining your client for a longer period. So upselling isn’t just about making a slightly higher commission, it’s about maintaining a longer and more satisfying client relationship.
Most salespeople will be so excited to close a transaction that as soon as they shake the client’s hand, they stop the relationship with them. Don’t be most salespeople.
With our access to social media it’s simpler than ever to create a community and maintain relationships. Create a separate account on your social channels that you will use to keep up with your clients, but make sure to add a bit of personal touch to it so they see you as a person, not just a robot of your product.
Other ways you can maintain relationships:
· Always send handwritten thank you notes for any transaction that gets completed.
· Email the client articles you come across with topics of interest to them.
· Shoot text messages saying hello every couple of months (with their permission of course)
· Ask them if it’s okay to follow up on certain dates, and then be a person of your word and pick up the phone and call like you promised you would.
It’s critical to maintain open communication lines in your relationship because when your company offers new features, or you find yourself moving to a new role, you’ll easily be able to contact the client without trepidation because you’ve been in touch all along.
This alone can save you from chargebacks, place more products in the client’s hands, and keep the lines open for you to gather more referrals in the future.
Yes, there is a lot to learn to complete your sales career. That’s why it’s called MASTERY. However, there is very little to learn to start your career.
See the only way you’ll ever become a master, is if you first let yourself be a disaster.
It’s okay to start where you are. As you stumble, take note of what worked and what didn’t, and then improve on the next attempt.
By the time you’re nailing all these concepts perfectly, you’ll look behind you to see a new wave of women leaders coming up needing your guidance. That’s why you’re doing all this. Not just for you. Not just for your clients. But for all of them.
You got this!
Your challenge for this week…
Choose 2 of the tips from this article to master by the end of this month.
Stay tuned for next week’s 3rd and final part to this post: People Skills.