Advancing The Sale…NOT Continuing It!–May 2012

–sales–  Coach’s Corner

May, 2012


Advancing the sale…NOT continuing it!


Ever wonder what separates the top 10% of high performing sales people from everyone else when it comes to sales over $100?  Many would say top producers adopt the attitude of “ABC“ (always be closing)—bombarding the customer with closing statements regardless of perception of value, others believe that in order to be the best you need to know how to “handle objections.”  Still others would say that sales success hinges on being able to ask open and closed questions.


All of the above is important to some degree but if not used strategically can actually hurt sales involving higher value.  The fact is that the top sales producers do not heavily rely on the above measures to make sales but rather top producers are simply great INVESTIGATORS.  Investigating is the most important of all selling skills, and it’s particularly crucial in larger sales—like anything over $100!


Investigating—learning the situation and mission of the customer and using that information to uncover a need for what you offer is imperative to sales success.  As a result of the questions top performers asked; customers came to realize that they had an urgent need to buy.  Top performers understand that as the size of the sale increases so does the need to build perceived value and value is built over time within the mind of the customer. 


So here is the trick…here is the big difference between the best versus average sale professionals:  top performers understand that value is built over time but to assure things head in the right direction (the right direction is when decisions are made leading to a close) they have clearly defined how to measure the success of the process.  SUCESS within the value building process is any event that takes place that moves the sale forward toward a decision.  We call this an “advance.”  FAILURE is when the sale may continue but where no specific action has been agreed upon by the customer to move it forward.  We call this a “continuation.”  Note the difference because it is huge! 


Every successful event, call or interaction at the end needs the customer to agree to some kind of action that moves the sale forward to a decision.  An example of an “advance” would be:  A customer agrees to come back to visit at an agreed date/time.  Or, a first time caller agrees to come to the Open House on Saturday.  Or, the customer agrees to complete a residency application and provides you with sensitive financial information.  All this is good because it advances the sale forward to a decision.  Examples of “continuation” (which is failure for sales people) would be:  “We liked what we saw and we’ll be in touch if we need to take things further.”  Or, “Thank you for coming.  Why don’t you visit us again the next time you’re in the area?”  Or, “We love everything about the houses and lifestyle but we have to get our current home listed first.”  In these examples the buyer did not agree to a specific action and there was no concrete sign that the sale progressed further.  Top performers know this is failure in the value building process.


Top salespeople consistently have a clear understanding of these different outcomes mentioned above and use this understanding to help them close calls more effectively by turning “continuations” into “advances.”


If you are unable to close your customer on the first visit do not settle for a “continuation” but rather work hard for the “advance.”  Last tip…plan your investigation and questioning ahead of time and carefully prepare and script out transition statements that lend themselves towards getting the customer to agree to a NEXT action…an advance!


Good luck!