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Kill the Deal

Too many sales people are content to throw away good money for bad money, resulting in lower self-esteem and confidence. They can easily get locked into uncompromising beliefs and attitudes. They keep fighting the odds–bad odds at that. They have bad math and accounting skills. They don't run practical time/value calculations in their head as to who truly represents a high probability opportunity.

In sales, necessity (efficiency) is the mother of invention. Because of out-of-control persistence, traditional sales people often spend twice as much time to not sell someone, or they chase twice as many opportunities to make up for poor selling skills. It's a lot of work and energy for such low returns. And as Neil Rachman said; "There is no prize in sales for coming in second." Sales people know that at least half of their persistence and chasing is being wasted, they just do not know which half.

"The key to success in selling is not only the ability to sell well, but the ability to predict what and when you are going to sell something," says Mike Nick. A fair amount of sales people are persistently pursuing customers who have a clean bill of health. These traditional sellers do not think twice of trying to push options for serious, expensive operations on customers who are not the least bit sick, injured, or unhealthy–at least from their esteemed opinion and perspective.

Traditional sales people believe too much in the old adage, "It isn't over until it is over, or until the fat lady sings." So they keep on trucking until they hear her sing (decide). Yet in today's world, few sales people get closure, because prospects have so many ingenious ways to not respond to them. They can easily keep them on terminal hold, where the only decision that they get is a "no decision," because they can never get hold of the prospect again – AWOL.

Too many sales people are easily encouraged to persevere with trite promises from prospects that they will reach out again to them soon, that they will circle back with them, close the loop with them, and run parallel paths as they put all their ducks in a row. I have actually been told all the above nonsense many times.

To cut through the aforementioned corporate BS you should not be afraid to ask showstopper questions, or kill the deal questions to get customers to fess up to their real intent and motivation. Not doing so is the equivalent of a moral failure, or as I would say a "failure of pragmatism." Questions with a dose of truth serum and nurturing tough love are critical to minimize customers waffling and continuing kicking the proverbial can down the road while wasting everyone's time.

Conventional sales people operate under the tenet that the sales process will move as quickly as the fastest participant at the selling event. So they get out in front of the situation and try to be the fastest player out of the gate.

A change agent sees the obvious folly in this strategy. They operate under the pragmatic premise that a relationship will progress at the speed of the slowest participant and that is almost always the customer.

A change agent doesn't see anything as simply black and white. They're the masters of the subtle art of reading between the lines and asking questions to confirm their suspicions about the real psychological and emotional triggers of change for their customers. When something is fishy, when something is wrong with the opportunistic picture the customer is painting, they professionally and politically bring up unrealized hurdles and challenges that the customer has hastily overlooked in their rush to find an easy solution.

Decisions to change for customers are often more about "why " instead of "how "and "what."

The sales profession is under attack by digitized artillery. The Internet is truly becoming a game changer, customers are more frequently trading up and getting their information from more convenient and unbiased resources such as social media and Google, and circumventing the hassle of meeting with pesky sales people.

Sales people are responding by getting out their message even more loudly than ever, and customers are returning the favor by ignoring them.

Sales calls today so often are like speed dating on steroids. Traditional sales people are too busy running their mouths, customers are resistant to share information, and calls end in a flash with little accomplished by both parties. Most sales strategies are for the greater glory of their product and company and have little street value for their customers.

Information selling is flawed because it seems like you are doing so much, yet you are actually doing so little. It is such a bloody infuriating task, because as long as you are vocalizing, you are learning very little and acquiring very little knowledge about your customer.

Information product pushers are essentially saying; read my lips, we offer a superior service that can help you sight unseen. They do incalculable harm to their case by rushing to judgment with their parade of information.

As sales people enthusiastically hype and blue sky their offering, not once does it cross their mind that their claims could be perceived as too good to be true. This is the height of sales self-absorption. "Most solutions share one problem; they are narcissistic, leading the sales person to believe it's all about them," says Paul Flory.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com