Learn how to Sell with Passion and Creativity. Discover the Secrets of Highly Successful Sales People and how You can become a Professional Sales Warrior and Increase Your Sales and Commission Checks!
* Communication & Listening Skills
* Prospecting Techniques
* How to Open Effectively
* Time Management Skills
* Cold Calling Techniques
* How to Handle Objections
* Goal Setting and Achieving
* The Top 10 Closing Techniques
* How to be an Effective Sales Manager
Only a small percentage of Sales People become Highly Successful. This book gives you a Blueprint on how You can Achieve Elite Status in the Selling Profession and how You can become a Top Performer and a Professional Sales Warrior!
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The Professional Sales WarriorLearn How to Sell with Passion and Creativity and Discover the Powerful Secrets of Highly Successful Sales People
By Gary P. Landreman
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Gary P. Landreman
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIt's a War Out There
Selling is a highly competitive profession and it is a war out there on the street. There are many losers and very few winners, and there are many salespeople and very few professional salespeople. There are many order takers in the sales business; however, there are very few true salespeople. If you are currently in the sales profession or work for a company that employs salespeople, think for a minute of your company, and now, think to yourself how many salespeople in your company you would consider to be highly successful sales professionals. If your company is like most, only a small percentage qualify as highly successful. Perhaps a mere 2 percent of your sales force is of the highest caliber.
Being in a highly competitive profession, those top performers that you thought about are professional sales warriors. They are fighting every day to be the best in their profession and to be the best in the company. They understand that in order to stand out, they must be on the top of their game day in and day out. They know that they are only as good as what they do today. They cannot and do not try to hold past success as proof of their current greatness. They go out every day with ferocity and passion and prove that they deserve to be in the elite group known as professional sales warriors.
But what do these people do differently than the "normal" salesperson? Why do they perform at such a high level on such a consistent basis? How do they maintain their competitive edge?
These are some of the questions that we will answer in this book. The sales techniques that are outlined in this book are not new; they are not revolutionary or groundbreaking, but they are all contained in one format that is easy to read and understand. By reading, understanding, practicing, and implementing these techniques, you will be on your way to joining the top 2 percent of salespeople and eventually earn the title of professional sales warrior. Once you have mastered these techniques, you will be ready to battle the best in the business and bring your income to a level you never even imagined.
The History of Sales
Salespeople have been stalwart in American culture. Tales of Yankee peddlers going from farm to farm and selling their goods have appeared in books by Mark Twain, Herman Melville, and many other nineteenth-century writers.
It commonly accepted that John H. Patterson, the founder of the National Cash Register Company, was the first to establish a national sales force. Although the art of selling was around for thousands of years in open-air markets, Patterson was the first to have written scripts, exact sales territories, and different payment methods for salespeople, and he started the first sales training school. Patterson was so influential that it is estimated that in the 1930s, one sixth of all the executives in the United States had worked for National Cash Register at some point in their careers.
In the 1920s, salesmanship began to play a more important role in American business, and sales management began to play a much more significant part within corporations. Soon, many of the executives of the major companies had come from the sales segment of the company.
The major role sales played in building profit for a corporation was in the ability to show a prospect the difference between products. Many companies had similar products; the salesperson could point out sometimes minute differences between theirs and the competitors' products, and sell the prospect on the benefits of buying their offering. The abilities to target the prospect's buying motivation and add repeat customers to the company were the most important benefits that the salesperson provided to the emerging business boom in the early twentieth century.
The stereotype of "Willy Loman" as the typical salesperson blaming the company for using his talents and then shuffling him out is history. Today, salespeople are responsible for much of the technological revolution. Salespeople have marketed and sold to the world: computers, cell phones, satellite TV, software, life-saving pharmaceuticals, genetically altered seeds, healthy foods, and countless other products that have benefited humankind. Without salespeople, it would not have happened!
Are You Ready to Be a Professional Sales Warrior?
You may be in sales, but are you prepared to become a professional sales warrior? Do you have the competitive spirit of a gladiator? It doesn't matter if you have the muscular body of Arnold Schwarzenegger or a geek body like Bill Gates. What does matter is that you have the passion that both of them possess. You must have the desire to succeed, so much so that it is almost an obsession.
In the sales field, most of the people are going to be average. They are going to take orders, have the orders processed properly, and service the accounts to the relative satisfaction of most customers.
Also, there are going to be some people in sales that are terrible, and a few of them seem to somehow hold on to their jobs for quite a while, but most go from company to company, always blaming someone else for their failures. They cause problems between departments. They are lazy, open very few accounts, and have constant customer complaints, but they manage to stay in the sales business.
Then, you have the outstanding salespeople. They service their customers to a fault. They win a lot of the sales contests. They open new business, sell profitably, and increase their sales every year, and customers love them.
Finally, you have the professional sales warriors: they are the smallest part of the sales force but the most productive. In your company, you may not even have one. Their customers constantly give them referrals. They are experts in their product line. They are continually yearning for new information and attend sales seminars on their own time to learn new concepts so they can have the edge on their competitors. Their customers can't wait to talk to them because they help their customers make money. They not only increase their business every year; they increase it by double digits every year. They not only have the highest sales; they also are the highest profit producers. They always are on top in sales contests. They are extremely busy, but they always have time to help a new salesperson. They have a great attitude and never cause problems between departments because they know that they cannot succeed without the support from all areas of the company. They are aggressive but not obnoxious. They are always trying to help the company grow, and they always have kind words for everyone. But most important, they have overriding passion for what they do. They cannot wait until Monday morning comes so they can get out and sell. They have a high rate of vibration, and when they are around, everyone pays attention because people feel their passion. Now, that's a professional sales warrior!
So, the question is this: do you fit the description of a professional sales warrior? Probably, right now, you don't fit that description, but do you have that desire and passion to become a professional sales warrior?
The following chapters will provide you with some of the knowledge you will need to be a professional sales warrior. Learning in the sales profession never ends. Once you have attained warrior status (you will know you're there when you feel the ferocity, passion and taste the obsession), it will then be your responsibility to help newer salespeople by teaching them the skills that you have mastered.
Chapter TwoCommunication and Listening Skills
Quite often, we get excited and engage our spouses, friends, coworkers, or customers in conversations without thinking of what we want to convey. Without planning and visualizing the outcomes of what we want to accomplish with our words, chances are that we will be misunderstood or, worse, confuse the people to whom we are talking and perhaps lose sales. It is very important, therefore, to think and visualize the results we want before we engage in conversations.
"A day that will live in infamy": these are perhaps the most important seven words spoken in the twentieth century. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose those words to inspire a nation to fight a world war for which it was not prepared.
"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." With these words, President Kennedy initiated the largest volunteer program in the history of the world, the Peace Corps.
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" President Ronald Reagan said those words, and two years later, the wall was down!
Words are powerful; use them wisely!
Planning in advance the needed result of your conversation is only the beginning. Carefully constructing the conversation to yield the desired result is the most important step. It doesn't matter if you have all the sincerity in the world; if you cannot express your thoughts and ideas in a clear and sincere manner, you will not be an effective communicator. Because it's not what you say that's important; it's what they hear.
Quite often in sales, we have opportunities to handle problems. If you were the customer in the following scenario, which way would you prefer the following delivery problem be handled?
Example: Two ways to handle a recurring delivery problem.
1) I'm sorry your delivery was late; I'll make sure it doesn't happen again.
2) I'm sorry your delivery was late; I will speak with our transportation manager, and I will be here at the time of your next delivery.
Perhaps both responses would have taken care of the problem, but if you were the customer, which one would make you more comfortable?
In selling, finding out what your customer or prospect needs is the most important communication. Asking questions designed to get the needed information necessary for the sale is the heart of selling. There are two basic types of questions.
1) Open-ended questions
2) Directive questions
An open-ended question makes the responder answer with a statement.
Examples: "Why are you using that product?"
"Where is your new location?"
"Who is currently supplying you with that product?"
"When is the decision going to be made?"
This is very simple. Just ask a question beginning with "who," "why," "what," "when," "where," or "how," and you have the start of an open-ended question. These questions elicit an answer in the form of a statement rather than a yes or no. They provide you with more information, and they move the selling process along. The key is to formulate the proper question at the proper time. To do this, you must have a plan and a goal for each selling situation.
A directive question is one that directly tells you how you are proceeding in the selling process.
Examples: "Do you understand the process?"
"Am I explaining this clearly?"
"Would you like delivery tomorrow?"
Directive questions are used to take the pulse of the presentation, to make sure your ideas are being communicated properly, and are usually used when you are confident of a positive response.
"Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never harm me." I don't know who spoke these words originally, and perhaps he or she was using them to sound cute or to be defiant to those doing the name calling, but I'll tell you it's not true. Words can instill fear, words can cause anger, and words can destroy lifelong friendships. Just imagine your closest friend saying something devastating about you or someone you love. No matter the intent, it still takes a long time to get over the feeling those words caused.
Equally, positive words can be used to create instant relationships. All of us know people who, no matter whom they meet, treat others as if they knew them all their lives. We say of those people, "Man, they know everyone!" Why? Because people like to talk to those people because they say positive things regarding them and the things they have interest in. Those people also have a high rate of vibration. People feel their energy and passion and can sense in those people positive power that attracts people to them.
In everyday selling, words can make the difference between making the sale and losing the sale-forever. As an example, I will relate a real life experience. In the late 1980s, I was working at a very large food distributor as a street salesperson, selling food to the restaurant industry. One very large account of mine was a fine dining restaurant that specialized in steaks and prime rib. The restaurant opened in about 1945, so it was very well established. For the entire time they were open, they cut their own steaks. In other words, they bought, for example, whole tenderloins and then cut them into ten-ounce or twelve-ounce steaks for their filet mignon.
For many years, I attempted to get the owner of the supper club to buy my precut filets. The owner of the supper club was an older gentleman whom I considered a friend, and he was an excellent businessperson that wanted only the best for his clientele. So, he was skeptical to say the least about using precut steaks. I gave him samples several times, and over the course of a year or so, I had him ready to give them a try. There were several reasons that I wanted him to start using precut steaks. First, I knew that the precut steaks would improve consistency because each one was cut by a professional meat cutter. Second, I knew they would improve his profit because it would drastically cut down on waste. Third, his purchasing my precut steaks would take away the bidding process each week with my competition, because he would want to keep the same quality every week.
So, the week I believed we were going to get the first order, I brought with me our company's meat expert. This guy's name was Scott, and he was a former butcher and was an expert in beef. Everything went very well, and the owner decided to give our steaks a try and ordered a large quantity. I was very grateful and thanked the owner for the order, and we were ready to leave. It was just then that everything went wrong. Scott, the expert in meat, but an amateur in salesmanship, was so excited that he kept talking. He said something to the owner like, "I'm so glad that you are trying our steaks, and you're really going to like the fact that they are 'Jaccarded.'" The owner said, "What, they are Jaccarded? I don't want any Jaccarded meat in my restaurant." He went on to say that the word "Jaccarded" meant to him that the meat was tenderized. Scott tried to explain that almost all cut steaks are Jaccarded and that the process is just needles breaking up the tissues of the meat, and they were not being tenderized with any solution.
But, it was too late for explanations. The sale was lost and lost forever. It's now decades later, and this restaurant is still cutting their own steaks, and the distributors are still bidding against each other every week. Words do matter, and they can cost you sales and commissions.
Ten Ways to Improve Verbal Communication Skills
1) Practice your presentation. 2) Add new words regularly to your vocabulary.
3) Understand the power of words. 4) Practice asking questions. 5) Before engaging a customer, have a plan. 6) Socialize with positive people. 7) Take all the blame, give all the credit. 8) Think like your customer. 9) Read at least one book on sales per month. 10) Know when to use silence, which is very effective communication.
The salesperson who reads the customer correctly and establishes relationships the quickest will be the most successful. In a selling situation, the customer is constantly giving signals about how he or she wants to be sold. Mannerisms, movements, the type of people he has working for him, and pictures and plaques on the walls are all telling you the history of your customer and how to approach him or her. You may be able to use the same story for most customers, but you must learn to tell it a little differently for each one. With some customers, you must be direct and aggressive; with some, you must be reserved and move at a slower pace. You must pick up these clues quickly and use them to your benefit.
Excerpted from The Professional Sales Warrior by Gary P. Landreman Copyright © 2010 by Gary P. Landreman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 It's a War Out There....................1
Chapter 2 Communication and Listening Skills....................5
Chapter 3 Opening Effectively....................21
Chapter 4 Prospecting....................35
Chapter 5 Benefit Selling....................43
Chapter 6 Time Management....................51
Chapter 7 Making Phone Appointments....................59
Chapter 8 Cold Calling....................61
Chapter 9 Service....................67
Chapter 10 Sales Presentations....................73
Chapter 11 Handling Objections....................91
Chapter 12 Goal Setting and Achieving....................99
Chapter 13 Closing Techniques....................117
Chapter 14 Getting Back the Customers You Lost....................125
Chapter 15 Sales Management....................129