Read an Excerpt
Smart Prospecting That Works Every Time!
Win More Clients with Fewer Cold Calls
By Michael D. Krause
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Michael D. Krause
All rights reserved.
HOW DOES A PROSPECT THINK?
The value of identity, of course, is that so often with it comes purpose.
THE STORY OF PAT
When I was a financial advisor, I was promoted very quickly to territory manager. While in that position, I met Pat (not his real name). Pat had been laid off by an engineering firm and had decided to become a financial advisor.
Pat was a sweetheart and very analytical, just as one would expect an engineer to be. He took meticulous notes and rounded to the tenth of a cent on his financial plans. On the surface, he and the job seemed to be a great fit. However, over time, it became apparent that Pat could not get out of his own way and perform the steps needed to succeed in selling.
I tried and he tried for months, and frankly, it was painful for Pat, his clients, and me. No one wanted Pat to fail. Especially me.
Long story short: Pat was very C with very little D, I, or S. (You will learn in a minute what this means.) He was a get it right person and prided himself on his ability to analyze. However, he could communicate effectively only with other C people, and that limited him in his sales and approach.
He would come into an appointment with a mountain of paper before each meeting, armed with every word, note, slide, and chart he could assemble. Sadly, there are only a few people who liked and appreciated all his data—and who were able to comprehend it. By the end of the appointment, he had scared most clients off by making his process appear too complex and too numbers-driven.
Pat was an engineer through and through. He was not a sales professional. He could not adapt his selling process to each prospect and navigate through the process by which the prospect needed to be sold and serviced.
I remember clearly the moment when we sat down in his office and I asked him the following question:
"Pat, how do you like sales?" (I deliberately omitted the words financial advisor from our conversation because financial advising was and still is a sales career.)
"Mike, I don't think sales is for me. I'm more of an engineer."
"I agree, Pat."
There are two morals to the story of Pat:
1. Sales is not for everyone.
2. You must always adapt to your client's style, not expect them to adapt to your style.
Let's get started with some important definitions:
Sales clown. A sales representative often has poor follow-up, dresses like a slob, cares about himself or herself more than the client, is commission-driven in a bad way, uses poor English, always looks for the easy way out, is focused on the negative, works a strict nine-to-five schedule, makes excuses rather than sales, has no written goals, and lacks a well-considered sales process.
Sales professional. Anyone can be a sales professional. It takes more effort to be a sales professional, but it is definitely worth the extra work. Sales professionals think about solving the client's problems in the most clear and efficient way possible. They are always on. Their responses are quick and to the point. Sales professionals are not BS artists. They practice their messages regularly to master their craft and then communicate in a clear and concise manner. They work to make sure they never sell the wrong product to the wrong prospect. They are focused on the long-term relationship, stay positive, and are always value-driven. They are nurturers.
Before you can begin connecting with prospects successfully, you need to spend a bit of time and introspection figuring out who you are, who they are, and what approaches and techniques will work best for you and for them. After all, the entire objective of a sales process is to create a win-win situation for you and your customers. Before you can get started, you have to know who the players are: the people you will be contacting and yourself.
"Know thyself" was Socrates's guiding principle. There has been no better advice in the history of humanity. As Dr. Anna Spencer of the Infinity Institute observes, knowing thyself "makes unhappiness, fear, sadness, doubt, and all the negative emotions meaningless."
Without a firm command of your personality style and a solid assessment of your prospect's personality style and learning style, your prospecting process and sales cycle have a poor chance of success. In other words, you're gambling with your income.
DiSC BEHAVIOR ASSESSMENT
There are a number of popular psychological and personality inventories that help people discover their particular behavior styles. One of the most popular is the DiSC assessment, which was developed by John Geier and was based on the 1928 work of the psychologist William Moulton Marston, the behaviorist Walter V. Clarke, and others. The DiSC Assessment is owned and managed by Inscape Publishing, which commercialized the assessment and transformed it from a textbook theory to a workplace tool more than 30 years ago.
The DiSC assessment looks at how individuals act in their accustomed environment or in a specific situation such as a sales call.
There are a number of benefits from using the DiSC profile to better understand your actions and behaviors and those of your prospects, including the following:
Discovering your behavioral strengths
Learning to value the strengths of others
Discovering ways to deal with conflict effectively
Cultivating teamwork and reducing team conflict
Developing strategies to meet diverse needs
Improving communication skills by determining communication styles
Increasing sales skills by understanding client or customer behaviors and decision-making styles
Improving customer relationships and customer satisfaction
Reducing personal and organizational conflict and stress
Enhancing and developing coaching and mentoring skills
THE DiSC LEARNING MODEL
The DiSC Profile is a nonjudgmental objective tool for understanding behavior types and personality styles. It helps people explore their behavior and the behavior of others across four primary dimensions. The Everything DiSC® Sales Profile is just one of the specialized profiles produced by Inscape Publishing to assist professionals in connecting more effectively with their customers.
Dominance. Ds are direct, to the point, and decisive. As customers, Ds have a strong drive to get immediate results and accomplish their goals quickly. Their focus on the bottom line and decisiveness may appear intense and even blunt. They tend to be strong-minded and strong-willed, and they enjoy challenges, taking action, and immediate results. In working with D people, get to the point quickly, summarize rather than explain, keep questions to a minimum, and exhibit your best "can-do" attitude.
People with low D scores want to do more research before committing to a decision. They are typically conservative, low-key, cautious, cooperative, undemanding, cautious, mild-mannered, and agreeable. Here's where your lengthy explanations and myriad questions are appropriate and appreciated.
Influence. Is tend to be optimistic, outgoing, accepting, and warm. They are social people who prefer being on teams, sharing ideas, entertaining, and energizing others. I customers tend to see the sales process as another opportunity to socialize and establish a personal relationship with their salesperson. Customers with high I ranking often enjoy or start off-topic conversations that encourage a friendly, informal atmosphere.
Low I scorers are more convinced by facts and data, not with feelings and hunches. They are factual, reflective, skeptical, matter-of-fact, critical, suspicious, logical, and more pessimistic. Stick to the facts, data, and basics with low I prospects.
Steadiness. Ss are empathetic, cooperative, accepting, and warm yet cautious and reflective. They tend to be supportive, helpful team players and are often good listeners. While S customers are self-deprecating and soft-spoken, they also tend to be careful or reluctant decision makers. They prefer being in the background, working in consistent and predictable ways. They also tend to be uncomfortable with change. You will want to make sure your S customers have all the facts and figures at hand to make their decisions.
Low S scores are found in people who like change and variety. These people could be described as restless, impatient, impulsive, demonstrative, or eager. The S buying style is the polar opposite of the D buying style.
Conscientiousness. Cs tend to be concerned with details. They are reflective, questioning, and often skeptical. They focus on quality over other values. They plan ahead, check for accuracy, and act systematically. Even if they like what you are selling, they may not display much enthusiasm or animation. Stick to the facts and avoid small talk or personal anecdotes with Cs. C buying-style customers are in stark contrast with I style customers.
As you read these brief descriptions, you probably recognized a couple of your own traits in each of them. That occurred because nearly every person is a composite of the four behavior styles. But you will probably find that one or two of the styles dictate more of your actions and tendencies than the others.
Similarly, your prospects and customers will be some combination of the four behavior styles as well. In your first interactions with a new prospect, develop some casual questions of your own to help determine where they fit on the DiSC circle. This will pay dividends throughout your sales process by helping you to keep the sale moving forward at a reasonable pace.
If you are interested in taking the DiSC Profile online, go to http://www.discprofile.com/products.htm.
Always remember to make a connection in every personal interaction with your prospect or client, whether it be name-dropping, sharing information, connecting on social media, relating a brief story, or sending a personal item to that prospect or client. It's the little things that add up BIG! I always send a handwritten thank-you note to every person I meet in the sales process to start to grow the relationship. I sent a note to a gatekeeper once, and you would have thought I donated a kidney to her. For months my name was in the lobby where she sat, and my card was in view so everyone in the building, including competitors, knew that Michael Krause sent her a handwritten note.
Every client and prospect I meet receives an invitation to connect with me on LinkedIn. I always look as well for a newsletter to sign up for, Twitter account to follow them, YouTube channel to subscribe to, I want them to know that I care and I want to grow the relationship with them and be here for years to come.
Bottom line: You, as a sales professional, need to connect the dots throughout the maze of selling. Even if you're not, guess who is actively working the selling maze? Your competitors.
"Your competitors have virtually the same solution as you. It's YOU the prospect is buying!"
WORKING WITH PERSONAL BEHAVIOR STYLES
The chart on the next page shows you the top-level behaviors from each of the quadrants of the assessment. As we work through the later chapters in this book and SMART Prospecting approaches, we'll return to this model to find ways to adapt your voice mails, e-mails, and telephone scripts to each behavioral style.
How to Interact, Persuade, and Sell Effectively with Each Quadrant
Here is some advice on ways to deal with people who fall into these quadrants:
D: Get It Done
Be clear, specific, brief, and to the point.
Stick to business.
Focus on the logic and practicality of ideas and approaches.
Present the facts concisely.
Ask specific—preferably "what"—questions; avoid "and" questions.
Talk about the probability of success or the effectiveness of options.
Agree or disagree with the facts and results, not with the person.
After talking business, depart graciously.
Don't ramble, waste time, or ask useless questions.
Don't try to build a personal relationship.
Don't direct or order.
Don't leave loopholes or cloudy issues.
Don't come with a ready-made decision and try to get the prospect to agree.
Don't offer multiple alternatives. Focus on the best idea that gets results.
Don't speculate wildly or offer guarantees and assurances when there is a risk in meeting them.
If you disagree, don't let it reflect on the prospect personally.
If you agree, don't reinforce it by saying, "I'm with you."
I: Get Appreciated
Plan interactions that support their dreams.
Leave time for socializing.
Talk about people, their goals, and topics they find stimulating.
Put details in writing or structure the task for your prospects.
Ask for their opinions and ideas about people.
Provide ideas for implementing action.
Plan for enough time to be stimulating, fun-loving, and fast-moving.
Provide testimonials from people they see as important.
Offer special, immediate, and extra incentives for their willingness to take risks.
Focus on the positive consequences their actions will have for others.
Don't be cold or unfeeling.
Don't focus on facts and figures, alternatives, and theories.
Don't leave decisions hanging in the air.
Don't try to be task-oriented.
Don't dream with them.
Don't stick too closely to the agenda.
Don't talk down to them.
Don't be dogmatic.
S: Get Along
Start with a personal comment. Break the ice slowly.
Show sincere interest in your prospect as a person. Find an area of common involvement.
Patiently draw out personal goals and work with your prospects to help them achieve those goals.
Listen and be responsive.
Present your case softly in a nonthreatening manner.
Present ideas in an organized manner by listing specific steps and items in sequence.
Ask "how" questions to draw out their opinions.
Watch carefully for possible areas of early disagreement or dissatisfaction.
Act in a casual, informal manner.
Show that their decisions will minimize risks.
Give assurances that you will provide them with benefits.
Provide personal assurances and specific solutions with maximum guarantees.
Don't make promises you can't keep.
Don't rush headlong into business or the agenda.
Don't stick coldly to business.
Don't lose sight of goals.
Don't force them to respond quickly to your objections.
Don't be domineering or demanding.
Don't debate about facts and figures.
Don't manipulate or bully them into agreeing even though they probably won't fight back.
Don't be abrupt or rapid.
C: Get It Right
Prepare your case in advance.
Stick to business.
Approach them in a straightforward, direct way.
Support their principles by using a thoughtful approach.
Build your credibility by listing pros and cons for any suggestion you make.
Make an organized contribution to their efforts.
Do what you say you will do.
Take your time but be persistent.
Draw up a scheduled approach to implementing action with a step-by-step timetable.
Assure them that there won't be surprises.
Give them time to verify the reliability of your actions.
Be accurate and realistic.
Provide solid, tangible, practical evidence.
Don't use the testimonials of others, particularly those of unreliable sources.
When appropriate, give them time to be thorough.
Provide exact descriptions of expectations and plans and show how they fit into the overall plan.
Don't be disorganized or messy.
Don't be casual, informal, or loud.
Don't ramble, act in a disorganized way, or leave things to chance or luck.
Don't rush the decision-making process.
Don't push too hard or be unrealistic with deadlines.
Don't be vague about what's expected of either of you.
Don't fail to follow through.
Excerpted from Smart Prospecting That Works Every Time! by Michael D. Krause. Copyright © 2013 by Michael D. Krause. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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