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ACCELERATE THE SALE
KICK-START YOUR PERSONAL SELLING STYLE TO CLOSE MORE SALES, FASTER
By MARK RODGERS
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2011Mark Rodgers
All rights reserved.
Excerpt<h2>CHAPTER 1</h2> <p><b>The Checkered Flag LESSONS FROM YOUR VICTORY LAP</b></p> <br> <p>I'm going to see what the other guys have."</p> <p>The customer, in his early 20s, had brought along his father for reinforcement. Dad didn't say anything. He didn't have to; his facial expression said it all: Don't mess with us.</p> <p>If you've spent two minutes in the profession of selling, you've probably heard customers threaten to go somewhere else, to compare you with others, to see what else is available. This causes fear and panic in most salespeople, dejection and depression in others. But not in motorcycle sales manager Ken Fisher.</p> <p>"Hang on one second," Fisher enjoined. "I have an idea."</p> <p>He proceeded to the dealership locker room and changed out of his logoed staff shirt with nametag and into his street clothes—so he looked like any other person who might be running errands. When Fisher rejoined his stunned prospects back on the showroom floor, he announced, "I'll go with you."</p> <p>"They looked at me like I was crazy," Fisher remembers. "I told them if the boy found a bike he wanted, who better to help him than a sales manager at a motorcycle dealership."</p> <p>Fisher drove father and son down the street to the next motorcycle dealership. After five minutes in the store, no one had acknowledged them, so Fisher started to talk bikes using the <i>other</i> dealership's inventory. Ten minutes passed and still no one had acknowledged them. At the 15-minute mark, the son looked at Fisher. "Let's go back to your place," he said. "We want to buy from you."</p> <p>Fisher didn't get frustrated. He didn't get angry. He used the natural flow of the sales exchange, more than a little creativity, and some chutzpah to win the business. He was confident he knew the product, secure in his relationship with his buyer, and, best of all, had no fear of failure. He had nothing to lose, so why not? He was unconventional and assertive while not aggressive.</p> <p>What a great sales story.</p> <br> <p><b>Your Greatest Sale Ever</b></p> <p>Think back to your greatest sales success.</p> <p>What were the circumstances? Were you in your place of business or at your client's workplace? How did you comport yourself? What did you say, and how did you say it? In what manner did you represent yourself and your organization? What do you think ultimately compelled your customer to buy? And how did you ask for his or her business?</p> <p>Maybe it was your first sale, or maybe it was your biggest. Perhaps it was the one for which you had to work the hardest or were forced to overcome the most daunting obstacles. Or maybe it even required a bit of serendipity.</p> <p>Regardless of the circumstances, take a minute or two to jot down the following:</p> <p>>> What strategies and tactics did you employ?</p> <p>>> What were you feeling at the time you made the sale?</p> <p>>> What did you learn from the process?</p> <p>>> How did that sale compare to your other sales experiences?</p> <p>>> If there had been more money on the line, would you have handled the interaction in the same manner? What if there had been less money involved?</p> <br> <p>Whatever your specific sales success, chances are you're smiling right now, recalling that triumph. And you should be grinning. It's important to celebrate your achievements. (To listen to more great sales success stories, or perhaps even share your own, go to <b>www.AcceleratetheSale.com</b>, and click on "enhanced content.")</p> <p>The problem is that most sales managers—in an honest attempt to improve their own skills and their organization's performance—focus almost exclusively on those sales situations in which they <i>weren't</i> successful. This follows conventional wisdom: When you make a mistake, scrutinize it and fix it.</p> <br> <p><b>Focus on Your Success, Not Just Your Failures</b></p> <p>What if you concentrated your energies on those times you actually were successful? After all, that is the type of sales behavior that you're trying to understand and replicate. What if you reviewed both what you did well and what you could improve upon? And what if you did all that in the context of your successes, not your failures?</p> <p>In 2005, Tel Aviv University professor Shmuel Ellis conducted a revealing study of after-action reviews with two companies of soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. He demonstrated that soldiers performing successive navigation exercises learned at a significantly higher rate and improved their performance when thhey were debriefed on their failures <i>and</i> successes following each day of training. By comparison, soldiers who reviewed only their failed attempts did not perform as effectively. In a follow-up study in 2006, Ellis and his colleagues discovered that the group of soldiers who learned from their successes also developed richer "mental models," likely the reason for their increased performance improvement.</p> <p>In a second study, Ellis similarly found that individuals who have experienced success also are more comfortable discussing their mistakes. Learning from mistakes after a successful experience is much more effective than learning from mistakes after a failed experience. People learn more from their mistakes if they feel psychologically safe.</p> <p>In my work with thousands of salespeople over the past two decades, I've found Ellis's theories to be quite accurate. If you frame the examination of success and failure within the context of a winning sale, people are willing to speak more freely and probe more deeply, thereby discovering higher leverage and more meaningful revelations. ("I responded in this manner because I was afraid the customer would find out I didn't know more about the product," versus "I should have asked better questions.") But framed within the context of an <i>unsuccessful</i> sale, that examination will lead individuals to become defensive or create a revisionist view of what actually happened, neither of which is helpful.</p> <p>Many times when I ask sales workshop participants to remember details of a glory sale, I see a roomful of smiles. Then, when I ask them to describe those success stories for others, their pride swells and the emotion rises in their voices as they recount the circumstances like a dramatic reading of "Casey at the Bat"—only this time with a happy ending. (For those of you unfamiliar with "Casey at the Bat," by Ernest Thayer, you should really look it up; it's a great poem.) They vividly describe the setting, everything from who was sitting where and to who was wearing what. They mention the objections the buyer raised and how brilliantly, confidently, and artfully they countered those objections—ultimately enabling the buyer to see things th
Excerpted from ACCELERATE THE SALE by MARK RODGERS. Copyright © 2011 by Mark Rodgers. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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