Brilliant on the Basics 2

UPDATED: February 1, 2008
PUBLISHED: February 1, 2008

There are seven key result areas in selling. Your weakest key skill sets the limit on your sales and determines the height of your income. Fortunately, all sales skills are learnable. You can learn any skill you need to achieve any level of sales and income that you desire.

In the April/May issue of SUCCESS, we discussed giving yourself a grade of one to ten in each of these key areas. We covered the first three skills of Prospecting, Establishing Rapport and Trust, and Identifying Needs Accurately. Now, give yourself a grade on the next four skills.

The fourth key result area of selling is the presentation. In reality, the presentation is where the sale is made to a qualified prospect. Every part of your presentation must be thought though and planned in advance. Nothing must be left to chance. You must make every effort to make sure that your presentation is effective, believable and persuasive.

A score of 10 in presenting skills means that you have carefully thought through and prepared and practiced your presentation. You move smoothly from one step to the other, asking questions, showing how your product or service works, and how the prospect can most benefit from owning and enjoying what you sell. At the end of your presentation, if you are a good salesperson, the prospect will be completely convinced and ready to buy, even without asking the price.

At the other end of this scale, a 1 in presentation skills means that you walk into sales meetings unprepared and say whatever occurs to you. You do little or no preparation and are more concerned with talking faster and louder in a vain attempt to convince the prospect that he should buy than you are with following a professional sales process. At the end of your conversation, the prospect looks at you with some confusion, shakes his head and says, “Well, it sounds very interesting. Let me think it over.”

However, the fact is that nobody thinks it over. Nobody thinks about your product after you leave. The words, “I want to think it over” is a polite way of asking you to leave. As soon as you are out of sight, the prospect forgets that you ever lived. The first thing he does after you leave his presence is to throw your sales materials in his wastebasket

The fifth key result in selling is answering objections effectively. As it happens, there are no sales without objections. Objections indicate interest. All top salespeople have carefully thought though every objection that a qualified prospect is likely to give them as reasons for not buying at this time. They have then developed a powerful, practical and persuasive answer to that objection. 

On a scale from 1 to 10, you would earn a 10 in answering objections if your pre-prepared answers were so clear and focused that as soon as you gave your answer, the prospect immediately dropped his opposition and was open to buying.

A score of 1 in this area would mean that you have given little or no thought to the objections you might receive, and whatever the prospect says, as part of natural sales resistance, causes you to become angry and defensive. Sometimes you get red faced and argue with the prospect. Sometimes you start to question your own quality or ability and wonder whether your product or service is any good in the first place. If you get too many objections, you would probably think about quitting. The feelings of rejection triggered by objections are the primary reason why people drop out of the selling profession each year.

The sixth key result area of selling is closing the sale. In golf they say that “You drive for show, but you putt for dough.”

A score of 10 in closing the sale means that you have carefully thought through how to ask for the order in a variety of different ways. You know how to assure that the prospect knows you and likes you, that the prospect wants, needs and can afford your product or service, that the prospect has no further objections and you know how to ask the proper question at the correct time.

A score of 1 in closing the sale means that when you reach the end of the sale, you start to go into a state of semi-panic. Your heart rate increases. You begin to perspire. You feel nervous and uneasy. You feel like a trapped rat unable to go forward or backward.

The customer senses your level of stress and unease, and begins to wonder if something terrible is about to happen. As a result the customer tenses up as well, folds his arms, and goes into a defensive position. He is ready to protect his wallet against your request, whenever it comes. Finally, you say something like, “Well, what would you like to do now?” and the customer says, “Well, let me to think about it.”

The seventh key result area of selling is getting resales and referrals. For you to move into the top 10% of your field, you must develop the skill of generating resales and eliciting referrals to a high level. Fortunately, this is a learnable skill as well. All the highest paid sales people, in every field, have become artists at getting their customers to buy from them again and again, and getting qualified referrals from satisfied customers.

A score of 10 in getting resales and referrals means that you have what is called a “Golden Chain” of referrals from happy customer. Because you take such good care of your customers, and continually ask them for the names of other people that may be interested in what you sell, people are opening doors, making telephone calls and introducing you to prospective customers day after day.

If you have a score of 10, you are so busy calling on referrals that you no longer have any time to prospect. You have so many referrals that you probably need a sales assistant to keep your appointment book straight. You have a waiting list of customers who want to buy from you, if you have an opening. From morning to night, you are calling on qualified people who are eager to buy and are just waiting for you to give them the number to fill in on the check. That’s a ten.

A score of 1 in this area means that you seldom get a resale or a referral. Once you have sold to someone, you quickly forget about them, throw their name over your shoulder to the company, and go on finding new customers.

You don’t know how to ask for referrals, and you are terrified of rejection so at the very most, you will say, “Do you know anyone else who may be interested in my product?” Because of this phrasing, the prospect or customer says, “No, not right now, let me think about it.”

Wherever you have given yourself the lowest score is also your greatest opportunity for rapid improvement in your sales results. No matter how nervous you are, no matter how much fear you have of failure or rejection in this particular skill area, remember that it is learnable. As you learn and master this skill, all your fears will go away, and be replaced by confidence, courage and a feeling of personal power.

Resolve today to make the next year the very best and highest paid year of your life. Resolve today to fulfill your potential in selling, and become all that you are capable of becoming. Resolve today that you are going to become “Brilliant on the basics” and never stop improving.

In subsequent columns, I will share with you the very best methods and techniques used by the highest paid salespeople to achieve extraordinary results in each of the seven key result areas of selling.

Brian Tracy is a top sales experts and trainer. He has taught more than 2,000,000 sales people in 46 countries. He is the President of Brian Tracy University of Sales and Entrepreneurship.