Sales Coaching: Frustration in the Sales Process Indicates a Struggle in Leadership
Any time a salesperson or business owner works with a sales prospect someone ends up taking the lead. If the prospect takes the lead the interaction will be fraught with frustration and indecision for both of you. When they lead the probability that they will make a successful purchase will diminish greatly and the amount of time you spend to get them to sign the deal with increase significantly. The end results will have you working longer, for less profit and greater frustration. Eventually you will become financially stressed and emotionally wore out wondering why everything seems so difficult and time consuming. Most business owners know what this feels like.
Sales Leadership is Related to Your Business Income Capability
Even though you have knowledge and understanding of the sales process you may still be struggling with moving the prospect forward in the sales process. If you do not display a strong leadership demeanour your prospects will push up against you and they will not move forward. It is for this reason that you need to realize how your leadership level is directly related to your income capability. When we work with our sales coaching clients we can really show them how much this is costing them. When they realize that a lack of leadership directly causes them to lose sales, they pay attention.
The good news is that when you make small changes to your leadership presence you will begin to see improvements in your income capability. Why? This happens because when you lead effectively people will follow more willingly. One of those changes would be to display confidence as you take charge of the process. Your sales prospect needs to see you as the specialist, the authority in the product or service and the one who can answer all their questions with integrity and honesty. The more confidence you project the less resistance you will get from a sales prospect and the less resistance you encounter the faster you will move forward.
It’s that simple.
The Most Powerful Leadership Tool is Powerful Questions
One of the first concepts we cover in our business growth coaching programs is the first rule of sales leadership; “whoever is asking the questions is the leader”, and it does not matter what business it applies. Your ability to ask question will determine how the sales interview will go. When you ask open ended questions (questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no) you will discover that the sales prospect is more willing to follow your leadership. Open ended questions also have the added benefit of providing you with more information to help you understand exactly what the prospect is looking for.
When you ask these types of questions they also help the prospect discover and redefine what their needs and desires are. Questions like “do you have a need for…” or “have you ever thought about…” will assist the prospect to become clearer about what they really want or need. They will begin to see you as a valuable asset in their decision making process. To get even clearer about the value you offer, ask questions that point to the value of the service or product you offer like,
“what would be the one thing you would like to accomplish this business year that when you look back you could say it was the best year ever?”
“If you knew that by having a clear financial plan you could hit your goal of early retirement 10 years earlier, how much would that interest you on a scale of 1-10?”
Prospects may resist your questions at first for the fear of being ‘sold’ something they don’t want. If this happens, slow down and ask the same question in a number of different ways during your conversation. If they are going slow, you are wise to take a step back and work on building better rapport and trust.
Simple Actions to Establish Leadership in the Sales Process
At some point your prospect will look for your leadership. Inform them about the sales process that you have developed and what it entails. When you let the prospect know that you have a plan and you tell them about the steps you follow it will pay dividends because it will set a positive tone for how the interaction between yourself and the prospect will go as you move forward in the sales process. You can have them participate in this process by completing information forms and ‘doing things’ such as research or gathering information. You need to get their commitment on the small things before they make a bigger commitment, which is the purchase of your goods or service.
Give them a vision of what will happen. Tell them that you have a proven and highly effective system that should have them making an informed/easy decision in a reasonable period of time. Discuss how you will maintain follow up and how they may reach you. Make sure they understand how to maintain contact with you if the sales process is more than a one step process. That way they won’t feel that they have mistakenly lost touch with you as your dealings progress.
By completing these simple actions you will find that your client is more satisfied at the end of your interaction and that is a great step to getting future referrals.