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Test your sales approach — then change it

We’ve been exploring about how to deal with change, and in that context I want to ask you this: What does your approach look like? Specifically, what questions are you asking in your sales process?

Are the questions you ask getting you the desired answers? Are you getting information, or are you actually getting an understanding of where the customer is coming from?

Because that’s the difference between just getting data, and actually knowing the motivations they have.

What do those questions sound like? How do you ask them? Because you might need to enhance them slightly. Because we don’t want to ask a question without a purpose.

If you’re getting a bunch of information, but it’s irrelevant, then re-evaluate. Reassess your approach.

If I challenged you and said you cannot go out on a sales call unless you’ve got 20 solid, impact questions, the answers to which you are going to use to build your case, could you do it?

This is not just a good idea, it’s an absolute strategy you need to pursue.

Have you thought about where you meet your customers, and why you meet your customers? What are the things you’ll do to get together with your customers? Most importantly, how do they value it? Is meeting with you once a month a lesson in misery for your customers, or is it something they look forward to doing?

If they look forward to doing it once a month, would it be possible that they might look forward to it once a week?

Where do you meet? What’s the purpose of the meeting? I understand that getting together with somebody with the effort to drive a relationship through a luncheon, well that’s important.

But is it as important as possibly meeting in an area, like possibly one of their customers? Reassess what you do. It’s easy to get into a rut in this business. It’s really easy to get into “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

I’m always asking:

  • Why do you do it that way?
  • Why not this way?
  • Could this work?
  • Would it work?
  • Where would it work?
  • How would it work?
  • What if you tried this?

You can do this yourself. Throw some of these “what ifs” and “whys” out there to reassess yourself. Think about all the offers that you have out there in the marketplace. Do all these offers make an impact? Are they time wasters? Do they commoditize you, or throw you in the same bucket as everybody else?

Does the customer value them? Because that’s what’s important.

How often do you find yourself going through the motions? So then what’s your take at work at what you do and how you approach the marketplace, and say what’s new out there that’s going to add to my approach. What’s new that I can add to my presentation?

I got salespeople flipping through that same worn out PowerPoint presentation over and over and over, making sure that their customers are either bored to death or they as a salesperson, or as a company, are commoditized and thrown in the bucket with everybody else.

This stuff needs to stop, and we need to look at how we can effect change. I want you to remember this statement: Change is a door that is opened from the inside.

If you want your customers to change the way they look at you, it starts with the way that you look at everything about you, your marketplace, your approach, your questions, the way that you open a conversation, how you network, generate referrals, everything.

I’m not saying go out and change everything. But every sales person could advance their career by taking a solid look at everything they do, and sharpening the axe in a few different areas.

Photo by Manchester Library, via Creative Commons 2.0