Friday, June 26, 2009

Sales 101: How to Close a Deal in "Downomics"

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of salespeople singin’ the blues. The whole, “well, if the economy was better I’d sell…” C’mon guys, enough Weather Reports. From a very wise former employer…we don’t need to know it’s raining. Just sell something…capitalism might be moving out, but entrepreneurship is King these days – and SALES is at the very heart of it all!

TOP 5 WAYS TO CLOSE THE DEAL IN "DOWN TIMES" (BEST TIME EVER)

1) Quit seeing people as dollar signs. Most prospects aren’t stupid – they are under the gun Marketing & Sales VPs who are doing more with less (people and budgets), and they get an average of 5 sales cold calls a day. When you DO get them on the phone, don’t instantly hit them with your pitch – ask them about their brand goals and how YOU can help THEM. Don’t be afraid to use humor – I once gave a guy an offer of $5 Starbucks just to listen to my elevator pitch. Why he emailed me back – he was laughing because he was 80 miles from the nearest Starbucks but loved my enthusiasm. Don’t think I didn’t find his local coffee grind and send him a custom basket.

2) At the end of the day, it’s not about YOU. Hate to bring this up, but remember “Death of a Salesman?” If you hate what you’re doing, it becomes all about you – and this is about the brand and/or company that you’re selling (ie, it’s about them). Remember to keep your phrasing and your end action point about what THEY need, not your commission or your new client win. People might not be in business to be friends, but high level VPs buy & sell with people they like…hands down.

3) Marketing Directors can smell fear – are you scared? When salespeople don’t get paid, they panic and it shows all over their face…it’s well known from the marketing side that it’s “smellable in an office.” Don’t show your poker chips, it will kill the deal every time…calm down, relax and walk into each meeting thinking you’re going to meet a new contact – not finally feed your 3 kids and husband or pay your mortgage with this deal.

4) Numero Uno rule – DO YOUR RESEARCH before picking up a phone. I used to get tons of cold calls a day, many times people mispronouncing my name (yet they wanted $50k in business). Think about how you feel when you get that dreaded 6pm telemarketing call from someone completely unrelated to your buying habits – you cringe and make up an excuse to get off the phone. Don’t be “that guy” with a Marketing Director – if you get them on the phone, you’re already past the hardest hurdle…you better know what they do, what their business stands for and how you can solve their pain with your product or service.

5) Find out how to best reach your contact – and respect that they are busy. Phone calls are the old standby for sales, but today’s generations have grown up sans phone (yes, folks, there are 30-year old marketing directors who like to text or email). It’s not about being antisocial, it’s about being busy with 3 peoples’ jobs on their plate – learn how they like to be best contacted, and you’re that much closer to getting a response. Many dread coming out of a meeting to see "22 Voicemails" on their Avaya phone - but they can shoot off email responses in meetings. Again, just be courteous and be a friend with respect!

At the end of the day, Aretha said it best. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what that means to me.” Respect your prospects and the door will open wider, not just that crack you’ve been waiting for – and when you find out what it means to them, you just might close that golden deal.

Good luck and GREAT weekend, ROCK STARS! DKC

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