Technique is not enough
In the movie “Million Dollar Baby” Clint Eastwood plays a hardened boxing trainer. Above his office a sign reads, “Tough is not enough”. “Show me a fighter with nothin’ but heart, and I’ll show you a fighter who is about to take a beating.” His point is that boxing is an art. Being tough and having heart are simply the buy-in money to the fight game; a boxer must train in the art of boxing to stand a chance against anyone who is a real pugilist, not just a tough-guy swinging roundhouses in the air.
This concept is also true for us as salespeople. “Show me a salesperson with nothing but technique and I’ll show you a frustrated, underperforming salesperson.”
What do I mean? I work with many salespeople who have a handle on the techniques of selling, who are mentally and emotionally unprepared for the work of the professional seller. Sellers often go into sales calls with product knowledge and techniques at the ready, but never get to use them. Why?
Many sellers do not mentally prepare before going into battle. These sellers enter their customer’s office and sit down as if they were plopping down on their best friend’s couch.
What are our pre-call mental preparations?:
1. What is the purpose of the call? The purpose of our call must be crystal clear to us before we will be able to communicate it to our customer. For example, if we are there to €˜touch base’ instead of €˜To Close’ it will come across in every word we say. (And will not lead to orders.)
2. What will be the customer’s number one objection and what will be our response to that objection? In the best of worlds we think through all possible objections, problems, and negotiating points before we enter Closing conversations with our customers. We are as thorough as possible in these mental preparations, but for Pete’s sake, we must at least anticipate our customer’s first objection or the call will end before it starts.
3. Five Closes. How will we ask for the order? How many times will we ask for the order? We sometimes get business with one Close. Often it will take more. We can’t thump away at the customer with the same Close over and over. This is boring and irritating to customers. We must ask for the order (Close!) in different ways to find the one that will engage the customer and ultimately get the business. As professionals we develop five Closes for every Closing situation. This habit, over time, will take us to the level of the top Closers.
While mental preparations are important, even more essential to Closing success is the emotional fortitude of the seller. Many sellers are not emotionally prepared for their sales calls. If we do not prepare emotionally for each call, we will crumble, wobble or give away profit as soon as our customers begin to pick away or totally reject our proposal.
What are our emotional preparations?:
1. What is the personality of my customer? This question is especially important when dealing with someone who has a different personality than we do. We must calibrate our approach to the personality of our customer. Only an amateur expects the customer to calibrate to them.
2. The customer is going to say no. Not in a negative, I’m-not-going-to-get-the-order way. Just as a boxer knows he will get hit and still plans to win the fight, we prepare ourselves for no’s but still plan to win the business. We project the attitude, “I thought you might say that, let me tell give you more information to consider.”
3. Self talk works. We tell ourselves we are going to get the order. Our subconscious mind does not know the difference between what we tell it and the truth. So let’s psyche-out our own psyche. Telling ourselves we will win is an emotional must in our business of (some) rejection. When we motivate ourselves it comes across in what we say as well as our body language.
We must prepare our presentations. We must know our product. To get the business we must also prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally to Close! Happy Closing!