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we can all use a friendly reminder to keep us from backsliding
into old ways of thinking about selling that lead us down
the wrong path with potential clients.
I was inspired to write this article after a few coaching
sessions with a client named Michael, who sells a technology
solution. Michael had been struggling with a mental block
about how to detach from the traditional sales thinking
he had learned from old-school sales "gurus".
You know who they are. You may even have some of
their books or tapes. And you know their sales messages
too: "Always be closing," "Think positive,
and you'll overcome all your cold calling fears,"
"All you need to boost your sales is a few new sales
But all these outdated sales messages fail to address
the core issue of how we think about selling. And unless
we get to that core, and change it once and for all, we'll
go on struggling with the same counterproductive sales
behaviors. We'll go on experiencing the same difficulties
And we'll continue to believe that we're always just one
new sales technique away from the breakthrough we're looking
New Thinking = New
Maybe it's time to take a different approach. Maybe
we need to seriously analyze our sales thinking so we
can identify why we're not making more sales. Take a look
at the table below and think about your current selling
mindset. How would your selling behaviors change if you
changed your sales thinking?
- Traditional Sales Mindset: Always deliver a strong sales
- New Sales Mindset: Stop the sales pitch -- and start
- Traditional Sales Mindset: Your central objective is
always to close the sale.
- New Sales Mindset: Your central goal is always to discover
whether you and your potential client are a good fit.
- Traditional Sales Mindset: When you lose a sale, it's
usually at the end of the sales process.
- New Sales Mindset: When you lose a sale, it's usually
right at the beginning of the sales process.
- Traditional Sales Mindset: Rejection is a normal part
- New Sales Mindset: Sales pressure is the only cause
of rejection. Rejection should never happen.
- Traditional Sales Mindset: Keep chasing every potential
client until you get a yes or a no.
- New Sales Mindset: Never chase a potential client --
you'll only trigger more sales pressure.
- Traditional Sales Mindset: When a prospect offers objections,
challenge and/or counter them.
- New Sales Mindset: When a potential client offers objections,
uncover the truth behind them.
- Traditional Sales Mindset: If a potential client challenges
the value of your product or service, you must defend
yourself and explain the value.
- New Sales
Mindset: Never defend yourself or what you have to offer
-- it only creates more sales pressure.
Let's take a closer look at these central concepts
so you can begin to open up your current sales thinking
and become more effective in your selling activities:
Stop the sales pitch -- and start a conversation.
When you call someone, avoid making a mini-presentation
about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer.
Start with an opening conversational phrase that focuses
on a specific problem that your product or service solves.
If you don't know what this is, ask your current customers
why they purchased your solution. One example of an opening
phrase might be, "I'm just calling to see if you'd
be open to some different ideas related to lowering the
risk of any computer downtime you may be having in your
company?" Notice that you are not pitching your solution
with this opening phrase.
Your central goal is always to discover whether
you and your potential client are a good fit.
Let go of trying to "close the sale" or "get
the appointment"-- and you will discover that you
don't have to take responsibility for moving the sales
process forward. If you simply focus your conversation
on problems that you can help potential clients solve,
and if you don't jump the gun by trying to move the sales
process forward, you will find that potential clients
will actually bring you into their buying process.
When you lose a sale, it's usually right at the
beginning of the sales process.
If you believe that you lose sales because you make a
mistake at the end of the process, take a look back at
how you began the relationship. Did you start with a presentation?
Did you use traditional sales language like, "We
have a solution that I believe you really need" or
"Others in your industry have bought our solution,
so you should consider it as well"?
When you use traditional sales language, potential clients
can't help but label you with the negative stereotype
of "salesperson." This makes it almost impossible
for them to relate to you from a position of trust. And
if trust isn't established at the outset, honest communication
about the problems they're trying to solve, and how you
might be able to help them, becomes impossible too.
Sales pressure is the only cause of rejection.
Rejection should never happen.
Rejection happens for only one reason: Something you said,
as subtle as it might have been, triggered a defensive
reaction from your potential client.
Yes, something you said. To eliminate rejection, simply
shift your mindset so that you give up the hidden agenda
of hoping to make a sale. Instead, everything you say
and do should stem from the basic mindset that you are
there to help potential clients. This makes you able to
ask, "Would you be open to talking about issues you
might be having affecting your business?"
Never chase a potential client--you'll only trigger
more sales pressure.
"Chasing" potential clients has always been
considered normal and necessary, but it's rooted in the
macho selling image that, "If you don't keep chasing,
it means you're giving up -- and that means you're a failure."
This is dead wrong! Instead of chasing potential clients,
tell them that you would like to avoid anything that resembles
the old cat-and-mouse chasing game by scheduling a time
for your next chat.
When a potential client offers objections, uncover
the truth behind them.
Most traditional sales programs spend a lot of time
focusing on "overcoming objections." These
tactics only put more sales pressure on potential clients
and also fail to explore or understand the truth behind
what the potential client is saying. When you hear,
"We don't have the budget," "Send me
information," or "Call me in a few months,"
do you think you're hearing the truth, or do you suspect
that these are polite evasions designed to end the conversation?
Rather than trying to counter objections, you can uncover
the truth by replying, "That's not a problem"
-- no matter what clients are "objecting"
to -- and then using gentle, dignified language that
invites them to reveal the truth about their situation.
Never defend yourself or what you have to offer
-- it only creates more sales pressure.
When a potential client says, "Why should I choose
you over your competition?," your first, instinctive
reaction is probably to start defending your product
or service because you want to convince them to buy.
But what do you think goes through your potential client's
mind at that point?
Something like, "This 'salesperson' is trying to
sell me on why what they have to offer is better, but
I hate feeling as if I'm being sold." Rather than
defending yourself, try suggesting that you aren't going
to try to convince them of anything because that would
only create sales pressure.
Instead, ask them about the key problems that they are
trying to solve, and then explore how your product or
service might solve those problems --without ever trying
to persuade. Let potential clients feel that they can
choose you without feeling "sold."
With a Masters Degree in Instructional Design and
over a decade of experience creating breakthrough
sales strategies for global companies such as UPS
and QUALCOMM, Ari Galper discovered the missing
link that people who sell have been seeking for
His profound discovery of shifting one's mindset
to a place of complete integrity, based on new words
and phrases grounded in sincerity, has earned him
distinction as the world's leading authority on
how to build trust in the world of selling.
Leading companies such as Gateway, Clear Channel
Communications, Brother International and Fidelity
National Mortgage have called on Ari to keep them
on the leading edge of sales performance. Visit
http://www.unlockthegame.com to get his free sales
mailings, click here