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Steal These Four Secrets To Sell Like A Pro

Jan 11 2014, 11:51pm CST | by

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Steal These Four Secrets To Sell Like A Pro
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Steal These Four Secrets To Sell Like A Pro

“I can help you if you want my help. Do you?”Paul Lemberg, author, speaker and Fortune 100 business coach

I met Paul Lemberg, world-class business coach, and Rhonda Anderson, sales analyst, at the December 2013 CEO Space business growth conference event. They were presenting a session on sales acceleration. What individual (or company) couldn’t benefit in the coming year from a giant increase in sales? The two both serve as CEO Space faculty. They have been a couple for two years, and in a more recent development, since 2013 have been blending a number of their business resources for clients as well.

Separately and together, these two individuals represent a veritable sales turbocharge for entrepreneurs. Lemberg offered the comment above, one of his most famous, to CEO Space attendees for free (and now, of course, I am offering it further, via Forbes). In a private interview after their presentation they offered Forbes’ Entrepreneurs readers the following tips:

Secret #1: It’s all in the close

Said Lemberg, “Have you noticed the phenomena of stage sellers, life salespeople, in action?” He remarks that as an observer, it is easy to note the inevitable and even palpable change in the skill sets as the presenters shift from presentation to close. “Stage sellers are generally very good at presenting. Their energy flows. They build rapport. Then, as they move towards the close…there’s a shift.”

The audience feels the shift. The presenter feels the shift (generally into a locus of fear). What just happened? According to Lemberg, the presenter is suddenly in unfamiliar territory, because they know their presentation, but they don’t know how to close. A great close is scripted. Verbatim. The fear goes away because the individual selling knows just what to do. Lemberg’s line above is his own closing statement and is his personal favorite, that he uses again and again. Rather than sweating, wheedling, talking down his price or worrying about his negotiation he says simply this: “I can help you if you want my help. Do you?”

This strategy alone has been instrumental in helping his clients, ranging from Accenture and Adobe Software to Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase, increase their sales by more than $1 billion (and more than $350 million in additional profits) within the last several years.

Secret #2: Structure and Process: What is it you are paying your sales people to do? No matter what you think it is, they will figure it out.

According to both Lemberg and Anderson, salespeople will always do what the commission structure incents them to do. Is it showing up every day? Securing repeat customers? They will work hard at the things that push them into profitability, and at that point they will mentally calculate the easiest things they can do to produce additional income. If a task is hard to do and nets them not much more than the easier task… you get the drift. So make sure that your commission structure is designed to drive the individual strongly to want to hit profitability so they are able to reach the “free money” zone where there is high incentive to accomplish the additional tasks that are not too difficult for them and that produce a great deal of additional profitability for you.

Anderson notes as well that when you have the owner of the business closing deals, the individual will have high passion and understanding of the product and the market they are selling into—which is good—and will generally be strong enough in these unconscious abilities to carry themselves through. Then the owner hires others and assumes they are similarly wired to exemplify the owner’s passions and skills. They are not.  A solid and consistent structure and process for your sales function is key.

Secret #3: Everybody Needs Training

Everyone in a sales function, and even the owner of an organization, needs training, Anderson says. And generally the owner isn’t the best person to give the training, she observes. For example, in a realty organization she counseled, the owner of the business was a masterful recruiter, but was very poor at bringing people into the process. As 35 new people would join the company, inevitably all 35 would break, creating a great deal of wasted effort and churn. As Anderson observed the phenomenon, she took over the recruiting process directly, and implemented a process of daily trianings that was conducted by the training reps themselves. Sales increased by 480% in a period of less than 9 months.

Secret #4: Create Self-Sustaining Organizations

A great sales process should be systemized and structured, Anderson notes, but it should also be able to modulate itself on a continual basis, like a living organism would, in order to ensure it’s ability to perpetuate and survive. Market shifts, economy shifts—every member of the team should be striving to find the ways to make the basic structure and process just a little bit better and a little more effective at all times. When team members know the structure and process within a culture of excellence they can then continue to leverage every advantage they can continue to develop and find of their own volition—the way they answer the phone, the wording they use in an ad—by instilling the concept of perpetual improvement and excellence into the culture, you teach the organization to continue to improve on its own.

To connect with Lemberg and Anderson directly you can go to www.paullemberg.com or can reach Anderson’s organization Proven Sales Performance here. />/>

And for good measure, I invited several sales experts from my own Salt Lake City and social media networks (disclosure: none are agency clients) to weigh in with their favorite sales secrets as well:

Writer and content developer Ranjith Kumar of India, @CopyWonk, notes the sales strategy of entering a market with a “lowball” price and offering; then making the resource purposely scarce as customers develop a continued need and desire. As a case in point he mentions Ubunto Edge, which established its price and presence through word of mouth, with a mobile crowd sourcing campaign.

Travis Cella, a Global Alliance Manager for Accenture, employed at AppDynamics, notes the advantage of going directly to an executive buyer, and to competently speak that person’s language when you arrive. “Don’t dabble around about the issues that aren’t in his or her domain of responsibility,” he says. “Most ‘EB’s’ are myopically focused on delivering revenue and are held to that accountability by shareholders. You should find their vector of pain and speak to their language within that vector, directly.”

Writer Deb McAllister recommends an app called “MeAgain ” that automates the process of writing and sending follow up emails to contacts and prospects that can be scheduled and sent automatically or that you can click on and edit to your liking and then send.  “I’ve always been bad about following up, but this is the first app that has gotten me to do it in an organized fashion,” she said. “It does what some of the bigger marketing automation apps do, but with out the complexity and price tag.”

Finally, David Muecke, a SCORE Mentor for the Utah SCORE organization (a resource of the Small Busines Association), with a specialty in marketing, social media and relationship management, notes the increasing importance of relationship marketing through vehicles such as social media. “For decades, the ‘ABC’s’ of selling were ‘Always Be Closing,’ but over the last decade the environment has shifted dramatically to ‘Always Be Charming’,” he says. “Just like the old town-square where you knew all the merchants, today people prefer once again to do business with people they consider friends, only now our town-square has greatly expanded with technology.’

‘The Rolodex strategies Harvey MacKay wrote of in ‘How to Swim With the Sharks Without Getting Eaten Alive’ back in the 70′s are more valuable than ever and made more potent with the dawn of internet tools like Facebook and other Social Medias, SendOutCards (the very personal very inexpensive online Rolodex and Snail-Mail follow up system powered from ‘the Cloud’) and of course increased personal interaction: Phone calls, face-to-face meet-ups, lunches, milestone recognition like birthdays and anniversaries, and events allowing friendly interaction.

“If done properly (and those are the techniques I teach to companies), prospects who consider you their friend won’t typically go to Google to do business with a stranger, they’ll call you. Or they’ll refer you. Or you’ll be close enough to the situation to know when to call them. People today love to buy, but hate to be sold. They prefer to do business with friends and will even pay a bit more for products and services from friends.”

What are your own favorite strategies that have helped you to sell like a pro? With my thanks to all who participated in the development of this article, I welcome your additions in the comment section below.

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