5 Ways You Can Quickly Derail a Sale

Over the past month, the CONNECT2Sell blog has focused on how and why to inspire your buyers. As we wrap up this series, consider the opposites of inspiring… If you are not inspiring your buyers, chances are that you’re making one of these five mistakes that derail sales.

The antonyms of inspire include bore, deaden, depress, discourage, dissuade, and stop. These words are cues about how sellers derail sales when they fail to inspire their buyers. Are you making any of these mistakes?

1. You bore your buyer with irrelevant data. You recite a canned product pitch and load up your presentations with lots of features just to be sure you “cover all the bases.” You rely heavily on market research and analysis to prove your case for a buy. You drone on and on, aiming to include everything you know. You don’t customize every presentation to laser in on what a specific buyer values. You don’t edit to omit what the buyer already knows or has no interest in knowing. Instead of galvanizing your buyers to act, you put your buyers to sleep.

2. You discourage your buyer by offering too many choices. We all get inspired by what is clear and simple. We can respond readily when the path is straight forward. That’s why buyers get confused and annoyed by too many choices or too many open-ended variables. You discourage a buyer — meaning you deprive your buyer of courage — if you make the choice too daunting, too difficult or too fraught with uncertainties.

3. You stop your buyer from saying “yes” by offering a continuance. You do not need to offer a buyer time to “think about it.” Buyers who need time will ask for it. When you respond to a buyer’s silence, fearing that a “no” is about to be uttered, do not try to buy time by offering a continuance. Chances are that the buyer was about to say “yes” and  now has second thoughts because you were not confident enough to close the sale. In addition to adding to your own workload (checking back, rebuilding the awareness of benefits, etc.), diminishing the likelihood of a sale and looking unprofessional, you just confused your buyer. Never, ever stop a sale in progress. A “no” is actually better than a continuance. Inspiring a buyer includes mobilizing the buyer to act, not stalling or stopping the purchase.

4. You dissuade your buyer by demonstrating a lack of credibility or trustworthiness. Your actions speak louder than your words. No matter how much persuading you do verbally, your behaviors will dissuade your buyer if you don’t deliver what you say you will deliver. That’s why even the little things matter. You said you’d call back on Friday morning? Then call back on Friday morning. Not Friday afternoon and not Monday morning. You said you’d make sure the credit went through as promised? Then check and check again if needed to be sure it happens. You said you’d get an answer to a buyer’s question? Do it right away. Your credibility is vitally important to your long-term success. Don’t let it get damaged by carelessness.

5. You deaden or dull the impact of what you’re saying because you are not dynamic or enthusiastic in your delivery. If you aren’t excited about the solutions you offer, why should anyone else be? Your buyer doesn’t care if you’ve recited the same information 12 times already today. You have to make sure you are fully engaged in every conversation, keeping it fresh and genuinely caring enough about each buyer to muster contagious enthusiasm. Your words need to spark interest and spur action. They won’t if delivered in a monotone fashion.

To inspire means you are breathing life into your buyer. To inspire you need to be activating, energizing, mobilizing, motivating and stimulating. Check your sales presentations and customer-facing meetings against these five mistakes so you won’t derail a sale by failing to inspire.

Connect 2 Sell Graphic smallThe CONNECT2Sell Blog and training programs are products of People First Productivity Solutions. We build organizational strength by putting people first. Visit our website for more sales and leadership resources and tools. To learn more about our sales training and leadership development programs, take a look at our 2015 course catalog

Want to Inspire Your Buyer? You Can’t Do It Alone

The authors of “The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value with Customers” nailed it in their 2004 book when they said “We’re entering a ‘bottom-up’ economy in which consumers will migrate to businesses that allow them to be participants in the process of creating what they want.”

Buyers today will barely tolerate sellers. They duck and dodge sales meetings. They refuse to be pitched, opting instead to do their own legwork and research. According to the Corporate Executive Board, buyers complete 67% of their buying process before engaging a seller.

It gets worse. Forrester’s 2014 research reports that only 19% of buyers rate conversations with sellers as “valuable.”

That’s why sellers are unable to influence purchasing decisions with much more than a price discount or marketing gimmick. It’s why sellers must scramble to meet buyers’ demands. It’s why Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter at the Harvard Business School says that we are in a time of one the most significant shifts in economic history, experiencing “an enormous global power shift from producers to consumers, from those who make to those who buy.”

Sellers have lost a lot of power. They are left with only two choices: being first or being better.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, private equity partner Michael Dart said it this way: “If you want to win their pocketbooks, you have got to figure out how to get to them first, faster and more often ahead of all your equally compelling competitors OR have such an awesome connecting experiences that they will go out of their way to come to you.”

I don’t know about you, but most of the sellers I work with are simply not able to get there ahead of their competitors often enough to bank on Dart’s first strategy. Since buyers are doing their own research and refusing sellers’ calls, the sales tactics of yesteryear no longer work.

Which leaves us with strategy #2 — make sure buyers have an awesome connecting experience with you…

What would be included in an awesome connecting experience? Adding up the clues from the sources cited above, we can identify three elements buyers want from sellers:

– They want to participate in co-creating solutions offered for them.

– They want conversations with sellers to be valuable to them, worth the time they’re investing.

– They want sellers who can offer something more than they can find on their own from other sources.

If you read last week’s CONNECT2Sell blog post, you got the full definition and nuances of what it means to inspire a buyer. The remaining question is HOW to inspire your buyer, and the most important aspect of inspiring buyers is that it can’t be done alone.

Buyers want and need to be involved. Think of it like this: you can “breathe life into” a buyer, but it won’t make any difference unless the buyer is responding — metaphorically inhaling, exhaling and transporting oxygen to every cell throughout the body. There’s a difference between blowing a lot of hot air and truly breathing life into your buyer.

The best way to involve a buyer in a way that inspires him or her is to personalize your interaction. Instead of a generic pitch, ask questions to truly understand what this specific buyer wants at this specific point in time. Create a unique and engaging experience for the buyer so their time with you is well-spent. By tapping into what the individual buyer cares about, you will also  be offering something that no other source can provide — what’s online and in reviews and in your marketing materials is about your company and products.

This is the essence of value creation that involves the buyer. In the MIT Sloan Management Review, it was described this way:

“Value creation is defined by the experience of a specific consumer, at a specific point in time at a specific location, in the context of a specific event… The experience space is conceptually distinct from that of the product space. In the experience space, the individual consumer is central, and an event triggers a co-creation experience… The involvement of the individual influences that experience. The personal meaning derived from the co-creation experience is what determines the value to the individual.”

The personal meaning is what makes this inspiring. As a seller, strive to get your buyers participating in the process of creating what they want. That’s how you’ll breathe life into every sales conversation and close more sales.

Connect 2 Sell Graphic smallThe CONNECT2Sell Blog and training programs are products of People First Productivity Solutions. We build organizational strength by putting people first. Visit our website for more sales and leadership resources and tools. To learn more about our sales training and leadership development programs, take a look at our 2015 course catalog

Sellers: Do You Have Questions about Asking Questions?

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A lot can happen in just two years.

When DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected was published nearly two years ago, sellers were just beginning to realize that buyers wanted something different from them.

The empowerment of buyers had, by then, been well established and researched. It’s just that sellers were catching up, as is the natural course of change. This book, based on field research with sales professionals and their buyers, helped to explain the shift. More importantly, it offered a simple solution to the myriad of changes buyers were demanding.

The speaking tour and book sales are still going strong. Sellers want to get in on the secret that distinguishes them from other sellers in exactly the ways that buyers desire.

More research from more sources continues to demonstrate the need for sellers to be collaborative, for sellers to create value and co-create insights, and for sellers to generate demand instead of waiting for empowered buyers to call them first. There’s only one way sellers can do all this (and more!) effectively and efficiently.

DISCOVER Questions® work to advance the sale and to change the ways a buyer sees a seller. Take a look at the book reviews, speaker reviews and testimonials that have been flooding in about this approach. This is an easy shift to make, and it’s one that will radically improve your sales results. Before you dive in, take a look at these video FAQs — the author is answering questions asked by sellers like you, sellers who wonder if it could really be that easy.

What Does It Really Mean to Inspire Your Buyer?

In last week’s blog post, we talked about the prerequisite. Before you can inspire your buyer, you have to establish and maintain credibility. Then — and only then — will you be positioned to inspire your buyer.
But just what does that mean? What does it entail? How is that different from selling or persuading? Why bother?
Let’s start with the last question: Why bother? Because modern buyers do not want to be sold or persuaded. They avoid sellers whenever possible to dodge the experience of being sold to. Today’s empowered buyers are looking for something more.
Sellers who see themselves as leaders do things differently and deliver something more. They inspire their buyers instead of making ho-hum sales pitches. They ignite enthusiasm in their buyers. They differentiate themselves and their products so buyers no longer make comparisons and are, instead, compelled to take action.
To inspire means:
1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence;  
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.);  
3. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.;  
4. to influence or impel.

In its simplest form, from Latin word origins, to inspire means to “breathe life into.”
An important distinction must be made. This is about inspiring your buyer or “breathing life into” your buyer. It’s not about delivering an inspired presentation. You can try all you want to breathe lots of life into a presentation, but it will never come to life they way your individual buyer might. An over-reliance on slick presentations may, in fact, suck the life (or at least the energy) right out of a buyer.
Inspiration is all about emotional connections and personalization. The facts and figures and rationale in your presentation can’t arouse a feeling in your buyer. The generic pitch you deliver with gusto will never, on its own,  animate or engage your buyer fully.
To inspire, you need to get past the pitch. You have to stretch beyond the data and the business case. You need to connect, human to human, around the things that matter most to the buyer.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can do that, be sure to read next week’s CONNECT2Sell post with new research on what modern buyers really want from sellers. (Hint: they want to be inspired by you!)

Connect 2 Sell Graphic smallThe CONNECT2Sell Blog and training programs are products of People First Productivity Solutions. We build organizational strength by putting people first. Visit our website for more sales and leadership resources and tools. To learn more about our sales training and leadership development programs, take a look at our 2015 course catalog

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