Ethical sales training part 3.

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FIVE STEPS PARTIAL,    CONTACT THROUGH QUALIFYING

Five steps:

  •  contact 
  • qualifying
  • presentation
  • demonstration
  • handling objections
  • closing – asking for the order.

ONE – CONTACT: So the first step is contact. This contact, first impression can mean a lot in the person-to-person face-to-face selling realm.  It can also mean a lot if the first impression is a website, a newsletter or a Facebook ad. 

 A lot of this is so ingrained in our society that we don’t think about it too much. But it’s things like why do you wear a shirt with the company logo on it? Well, that instills confidence in people at various levels. It probably means the company didn’t just start yesterday and there is some experience involved, that there’s an investment, there’s a commitment to the business. And people aren’t thinking about it consciously, but they see it. They see a truck that’s got painted logos on it, and it’s subconscious. People go, oh, they’re real, they’re legitimate. 

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Of course, in today’s world, particularly since the internet everything is exaggerated.  I mean, people have been trying to appear trustworthy for a long time.  Some people are trustworthy and their appearance, reputation and so forth reflect this, but some people make great efforts to simply appear trustworthy, as the markers, or indicators of legitimacy are well known.  Websites and online advertising is a place where there is a huge amount of effort put into APPEARING to be trustworthy.  People can spend large amounts of money to appear trustworthy, as it is still WAY cheaper than actually taking the time and doing the work to truly be worthy of trust.  

TRUST. Is still worth more than almost anything.

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You can learn to sell. You don’t have to decieve, trick or manipulate people

We’ve gone crazy in the past 15 years. People can create an impressive website, but there may be little or no company behind it.  But the website can look as if the company is more substantial than Google or Tesla. So they put all the effort into the website because there’s nothing behind it.

So this topic is about Contact  the first step in the sales process, not about websites but a website can be the first point of contact so I am using it as an example. 

On the other hand, there could be a significant business behind a crumby looking website. If you have a great business, but your website and other promotional material looks like it was produced by an amateur company, some people won’t trust you even though you are actually very worthy of trust. 

So back to the first impression or contact.

First contact could be in-person or it could be by some other means. So for instance, if someone called you because they saw your website and your website looked amateurish, or even questionable, you may already be fighting and uphill battle in the trust department.  But we will get back to in person selling. 

 When you go up to a home or enter someone’s office, and you’re getting out of a truck that’s got logos on it, or you’re getting out of a car that’s at least a recent model, and it’s not a rust bucket. You show up, and you’ve got your company shirt on with a logo, or you are dressed appropriately for the type of business you are doing you have a good appearance. Your demeanor is appropriate for the situation. So this is all part of the first impression.

This is sales training, sales techniques.

If you come up to the door, and you’re glum and irritated, that’s not so good. But if you’re cheerful and smiling, show a sense of confidence and have a bounce in your step (so to speak) that’s good. 

 So let’s get back to always tell the truth before he go into this next section. There a many ways to present information and interact with people within the bounds of being truthful. You can still put things in their best light or emphasize the positive. without misleading people.  When you meet the people at the door there are ways you can start to move into the sales process that are better than others. 

In your industry people will  generally have nice homes and yards,  so it is an easy thing to say something like.  “what a beautiful yard you have” AND MEAN IT! You knock on the door that people open the door and you say hello I’m from (your company) and we’re following up on your call.

And then at some point you just, you know, you look around, and you go, what a beautiful yard you have. Now it may seem like one of those things where you’re tricking people, but really they probably do have a beautiful yard or at least a nice yard. 

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Now  if you pull up to some house, and it’s a property that’s falling apart, maybe the people just bought it, and now they’re going to bring it back into nice condition, and they want to do some work on the yard. Maybe you don’t start with “wow, this place looks great”, but in most cases you can inject a compliment of some kind. So that’s something you can do, something you can say which is true, and it’s a compliment, and it gets you off on the right foot. So you say it’s a beautiful yard. 

 I’m not suggesting that you lie to people. I’m suggesting that you emphasize things that are going to foster and further communication.  

Things that are going to open people up, things that are going to get people to trust you. So the key in something like that is that you mean it. And it’s easy to mean it because it probably is a beautiful yard.

Am I being clear there? Is there any question about what I’m saying in that area? 

This can be a gray area or a tricky area because you can also be completely patronizing and completely fake.  It can be a complete tactic of conman ship OR it can simply be a genuine expression of appreciation and just an aspect of how humans can relate to each other in a decent and kind way. AND if working with your company really is the best thing for them, there is absolutely no contradiction.  

You can appreciate things that people have, and you can compliment them on them, and it’s not fake, it’s not particularly manipulative, it’s just being a human. If you pay attention, and it comes from a place of genuinely wanting to help people, well then you’re kind of protected from manipulating someone, right?

There are many ways you can start off on the right foot. You only get one chance to make a first impression. 

 This was about “Contact”, the first of the 5 steps in the sales process.  So now we will move on to Qualifying.

So then there comes qualifying.

TWO –  Qualifying.  Very important.

Each step has its own importance. But Qualifying is reall a pivatol step, a decision step. This where you’re making a fundamental decision. Is this a good fit for the company and for the customer?

You’re determining whether you’re wasting your time or you’re wasting their time, OR wasting both your time. In your particular situation and the way the sales workflow works at your company, people are already prequalified at this point, by the time you get to the front door, the people are already prequalified.

But that is not always the case and it may be good to check on some critical aspects in any case. 

But still you could confirm, do they own the property? Is this a rental property? You really can’t cut these trees down on the say-so of someone who is renting a property.  You probably should not paint the house or put in a pool if they are not the property owner. 

How we can ask qualifying questions is beyond the scope of this particular presentation, but I want to make sure you understand the concept of what qualifying is. 

 So,  things like: can they afford it? Do they need it? Can they make the decision or the commitment?  Should other people be involved?  

I remember being in the car business and somebody would come in, and they’d want to buy a car that was way out of their budget range. And so realizing that based on talking to them as part of this qualifying process, I might try to gently guide them to something they could afford.   Which may have meant less commission, but it was what was best for them, the customer. Also, it does no good to go through the whole sales process and get them to say yes, only to have the financing rejected. 

 I once did a large project for McKinsey & Company in New York.  They hired me as a project manager because of the specific technical skills and experience I had. This project turned out to be worth over $400,000 to me. But at the early stages of analysis, I realized that the technology they wanted to use, the one I was expert in, was really the wrong route to take.  At that point with almost $400,000 on the line, I presented my assessment that I was probably not the right choice, or at least the technology I was proficient in was not the right choice. After about 3 days of wondering. They told me they would use a different technology, as I suggested, but they still wanted me on the project. I suppose this has to do both with QUALIFYING and TRUST.  The “qualifying” part was that in good faith I needed to point out, there was not a good fit, between what I could offer and what they (thought) they wanted.  The “trust” part is apparently feeling I was trustworthy was worth rethinking the methods they would use to accomplish their objective.  

These are some aspects of the qualifying step of sales training.  Maybe you realize that  you could steer them towards the car they should have. It makes more sense for them than the car they want but that they’re going to default on the payments. okay, so this is a big topic. I’m just trying to plant little seeds of what it might mean in different circumstances. You might be qualifying for a budget, for specific usefulness, scheduling, availability. location or a dozen other factors.  It will vary by your business and industry. 

Can they afford it? Is it worth trying to sell them the Deluxe Service when they can’t afford it? They’re never going to buy it. They’re going to say no at the end of the sales presentation. So you might be qualifying many factors and for different reasons. 

Maybe the lease they currently have, they can’t get out of. They don’t know that. But because you’re in this particular business, all you have to do is look it up on the computer, and you realize they can’t buy from you right now anyway. Can they afford the mortgage payments now? A lot of these things, they may not apply to your type of sales, but these are the kind of things that you want to qualify for.

You are deciding if it’s worth moving forward with the presentation, but you may decide that it’s not worth moving forward. Maybe the sale could be good for them, but they are  way on the edge of your service area and, you know, that the price you’re going to quote time and everything else is going to be higher than a more local competitor.  Maybe the best thing for the customer is to let them know that.  Maybe they still decide to use you, at the higher price, because they trust you. 

I’m talking hypothetically about examples but that might be a case where you say, you know, I think you’d be better off calling XYZ Company because I think you’re going to get a better price and better service down the road. So right there, you’re making the decision this isn’t the best fit for both us and the customer. Right. So am I being clear there?

Next up is “Presentation / Demonstration”  another critical aspect of sales training


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