Carl Davidson is president of Sales & Management Solutions, which provides sales and management training designed exclusively for the water equipment industry. For more than 13 years, he has helped more than 1,400 companies in seven countries. For a free demonstration tape and catalog, contact the company at 800-941-0068; www.salesco.net.
Sometimes we all do things that snatch failure from the jaws of success. Sometimes we are so close to the sale we can taste it until we do something that kills it in its tracks. To prevent us all from doing this, here are the top 12 things we all do sometimes to kill the sale.
12. Not Believing Enough
Unless you sell yourself until you believe in your product, your company and your self so much you really feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have your equipment or who buys from another company, you will never be able to hang on for the close. Your prospects are going to say, "No." When they do, if what goes through your mind is, "There goes another waste of time." you will never make as much money as if what goes through your mind is, "I have to help these people make the correct decision." Not believing enough kills the sale, so sell yourself every day to make sure you are sold before hitting the pavement.
11. Setting Goals Too Low
It’s sad to me that so many of us are content to settle for what we currently earn per year. I think a reasonable goal for water equipment salespeople is to do three full demos per day and close 45 percent. That would mean about 900 demos per year and about 405 sales per year. If you sold at that level, how much would you make? It can be done and it is being done by the super stars around the country. Why should you settle for less? Set your goals high, break them down into daily goals for demonstrating your products. Low goals mean many of us miss lots of closing opportunities because we are not in the home selling.
Never argue with a customer. It’s how the customer sees the situation that matters, not if he is right or wrong. Try using nonconfrontational techniques to change his view such as "feel, felt and found." You say, "Bob, I understand how you feel. Many of our customers felt that way when they first saw our products, but they have found... ." Also, never argue about anything that does not have to do with the sale. We don’t care about his religion, politics or sports preference, we are there only to improve his water.
9. Personal Opinion
Remember that he who pays has an opinion worth hearing. Don’t clog up the sale with what you personally like. You’re not buying it.
8. Knocking The Competition
Never knock the competition. It creates distrust of you in the customer’s mind. However, don’t let them get the sale. I suggest if a customer says, "I’ve decided to go with Acme Environmental," you say, "Acme is a good company but I am surprised with your particular needs you chose them. For a family of your size, we have a few big advantages. Let me show you."
In sales, it’s easy to sell more than you can deliver. Remember that you don’t have to lie or exaggerate to get the sale. Your equipment is great, your company is honest and the customer needs improved water. Stick to the absolute truth. Check if you don’t know. Don’t assume you can do things, it kills the sale when you have to call back to say you can’t do it.
6. Talking After a Closing Question
When you ask the customer to buy, be quiet no matter how long the pause is until he answers. The purpose of the pause is to build pressure until they sign. The first person who talks loses, so start checking to make sure that when you ask for the order with a question such as, "Shall I start the paperwork now?" you don’t say another word until the customer answers your question.
5. Not Being Prepared for Objections
You are going to get the same objections night after night for the rest of your career. Be prepared. Start a page in a notebook for every objection you get. Write out 10 or 20 ways to overcome the objection. Ask all the other salespeople, your manager and factory reps, what they use. Practice, drill and rehearse until you are confident. Not being ready kills the close.
4. Not Having Everything Prepared
Many sales are killed in the final quarter by being unprepared. Saying things such as these will kill your close: "Sorry, I don’t have an order form, I’ll come back tomorrow," "I’d take that deposit on your credit card, but I don’t have the slips," or "You should see how great this test looks when I actually have liquid soap."
Remember that everything that happens at the sale counts. Your customer is counting on you to keep him happy for years to come. If you blow his trust through lack of preparation, you blow the sale. Apologizing doesn’t change anything.
3. Not Getting a Strong Immediate Commitment
Don’t leave the home without a signed contract, delivery date, all the details as to when the equipment is going, pipe size and type, etc., and a big deposit. Get used to saying, "I’m going to need a deposit, most people give 30 percent." Until they give you a serious deposit, in their mind they have not made a deal. It is better to find out they aren’t committed while you are still there and they are still hot by asking for a serious deposit with the signature.
2. Worrying The Customer
Don’t say anything after the sale to worry the customer. Some of us say dumb things like, "Geez, I hope our service guy can install the equipment where you want without any extra cost," or "I’ll see what I can do about your financing but where can I call you if we have any trouble." Remember that after the sale, the customer expects everything to go smoothly, so don’t bring up any possible problems.
1. Talking Too Much After the Sale
After you get the sale, the signatures and the deposit, get out. If you stay long enough, you will say something that kills the sale. (See #2.)
Go over this list occasionally and check to make sure you aren’t killing sales that you could be getting by doing any of these sales-killer activities.
If you have questions or a topic you would like to see addressed, please e-mail [email protected]; 847-390-0408.