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Gerry Weinberg & Associates, Inc. | Southfield, Michigan

Sandler Briefs

"I Need More Time"

Bert’s major frustration was dealing with prospects who couldn’t seem to make a decision.

During a weekly coaching session, he told his manager, Elaine, that one of his biggest difficulties was dealing with prospects who indicated the desire to make a decision, and who pledged to do so by a certain date. When the date rolls around, though, they invariable needed more time. “They’re driving me crazy,” Bert said.

Elaine asked: “Bert, are they driving you crazy? Or are you?”


How many times have prospects told you, “I need more time to make a decision?” Too many?

Pain or Pleasure

When you first meet with a new prospect, how do you position your product or service? How do you characterize its various feature, functions, and advantages? Which elements do you emphasize as having the strongest potential appeal to the prospect?

It’s difficult to determine which aspect of your product or service will hold the most meaning for the prospect until you understand the prospect’s motivation for the potential purchase. Once you’ve discovered that, you’ll be able to position your product or service as a best-fit from the prospect’s perspective.

So, what motivates people to buy? There’s been a lot written on topic. The prevalent theory is that people buy to either gain pleasure…or avoid pain. Broadly speaking, that’s absolutely correct. In fact, psychologists suggest that those are the two reasons that drive people to take any action.

The Reverse

Jane was having problems uncovering accurate information during her discussions with prospects. Her conversations during sales calls tended to be unfocused, and she spent a lot of time pursuing options that her prospects ended up rejecting. Her manager suggested she try something called Negative Reversing.

Negative Reversing is a “reverse psychology” selling technique. It helps you steer a conversation in a particular direction to explore another avenue or test a prospect’s reaction to a particular aspect of your product or service.

If the prospect responds favorably, you continue to explore the topic. If the prospect is cool to the topic or reacts unfavorably, you move to another topic.

Curiosity Didn't Kill the Cat - It Won the Sale

Jack lost a huge deal because of a sudden, ill-conceived emotional response.

After spending weeks preparing a presentation for Ryan, his biggest prospect, Jack was dumbfounded to hear Ryan say, five minutes into the talk, “The assumptions are all too simplistic here. This slide deck looks like something a five-year-old could have put together.”

Jack’s response to this strange remark was instant – and ill-considered. Intent on proving himself right, and his potential client wrong, he said, “That’s an odd thing to say, Ryan, considering that you and I have met four different times about this project…and there’s not one single syllable in this presentation that you didn’t personally sign off on last week when we went out to lunch to discuss it. Actually, there’s a lot of very hard work here from both sides.”


Anita asked her manager to take part in a “ride-along” on her first sales call of the New Year… so he could offer her some constructive criticism on the best ways to improve her selling technique. Anita was out to fulfill a New Year’s resolution: she was eager to identify one specific best practice that would help her improve her closing ratio. Her goal was to identify her greatest selling weakness early in the month of January, and then work to turn that into her greatest selling strength by the end of March. Her manager, Mike, thought this was a great way to start the New Year, and agreed to sit in on her next face-to-face meeting with a prospect.


The Email Trap

Eileen, a brand-new sales hire, found herself struggling during her first week on the job. At her initial coaching session with Juan, her supervisor, she asked for some guidance on identifying promising lead sources. Instead of making suggestions about that, though, Juan decided to begin the process by asking a few basic questions.

“Just out of curiosity,” he said, “how many face-to-face meetings, phone appointments, or videoconferences are you aiming to set each week?” Here’s a little background: The recommended daily target for such discussions at Eileen’s company was twelve; the onboarding process urged new sales reps to use this as a guideline, and to work with their manager to set targets with which they were personally comfortable.


The Art of Qualifying For Decision

Myra, a sales manager, scheduled a meeting with George, a salesperson who reported to her to discuss his closing ratios. She was concerned about the high number of presentations George was making that were resulting in a “let’s think it over” response.

After a little discussion, the two were able to identify the problem. George wasn’t qualifying his prospects on their decision-making process….and as a result, he wasn’t actually connecting with decision makers. He was spending a lot of time spinning his wheels with people who couldn’t actually move deals forward for him, he wasn’t getting the information he needed, and he was closing far fewer sales than either he or Myra wanted.

Myra came up with some questions that she suggested George ask before agreeing to deliver a presentation to anyone; George agreed to practice those questions and ask them during his discussions with prospects.

Setting A Goal? Visualize It!

Once you’ve identified a goal that really matters to you, you’ll be more likely to attain it if you put the power of visualization to work on your behalf.

Visualization is only one part of the goal-setting process. But it’s a vitally important part. It makes a goal seem much more real and attainable and harnesses the extraordinary power of your subconscious mind.

It’s important to make the visuals you use powerful and impossible to miss. At Sandler Training, we like to call the process of taking visualization out of the theoretical realm, and into the realm of pictures you can actually see, the “cut and paste” phase of any goal-setting session. Cutting and pasting can be as simple as taping a picture of something that represents your goal to the bathroom wall – but in most cases, we recommend creating a more sophisticated approach known as a “dream board.”

What's In It For Them?

Tim, a new sales hire, was having trouble setting appointments. Miguel, his sales manager, wanted to know why.

After just a little one-on-one role-play, one of Tim’s challenges became clear. During his discussions with potential business partners, Tim was focusing almost exclusively on the features of what his company offered: in-house recycling equipment for users of manufacturing-grade solvents.

Having passed his firm’s product training program, Tim was ready, willing, and able to tell potential customers all about the design specs of the recycling units, their power source requirements, and even the details about ordering their replacement parts. What he couldn’t yet do, Miguel realized, was explain why the company’s customers had opted to pay a premium price for the equipment in the first place!

Miguel set aside a half-hour on his weekly calendar to work with Tim on becoming more familiar with the company’s success stories. He also helped Tim create and memorize a concise, powerful, user-friendly explanation of the problems that the company’s products had a demonstrated track record of solving: high solvent costs and burdensome record-keeping requirements.

Expanding and Extending Business with Existing Clients

Mario was well ahead of his monthly quota, so he was surprised when Jane, his sales manager, asked him to set a higher sales target for the quarter.

During their meeting, Mario smiled and said, “I thought I’d get a gold medal after the good month I just had – not a higher target!”

“You know what they say about ‘good’ being the enemy of ‘great,’” Jane answered, smiling back. “And what I’m proposing is well within your reach. In fact, if it makes sense to you, I think you’ll find it a lot easier than hitting the monthly target you just hit.”

Is It Time To Clean Out Your Pipeline?

Mark’s sales manager, Irene, asked him to forecast the number of sales he would close over the coming month. Mark came up with his best guess. Unfortunately, Irene didn’t find his best guess very helpful. As it happened, the new monthly forecast was identical to Mark’s previous month’s “best guess” – a figure he had failed to come close to reaching.

In a private meeting, Irene asked Mark to be candid with her. Was the number he’d provided based on something more concrete rather than wishing and hoping? Mark thought for a moment and had to admit that it wasn’t.

“Maybe the problem we’ve got,” Irene said, smiling, “is that we have people in the pipeline who aren’t qualified. Let’s take a look at how to fix that

Client-Centric Satisfaction

You just received an email from the chain hotel where you stayed last night. Along with offering its gratitude, the hotel is seeking your feedback through a survey–offered in the interest of continuous improvement. You’re asked to provide satisfaction ratings for some very important categories the hotel has chosen. Listed are food quality, staff friendliness, Wi-Fi dependability, room cleanliness, durability of shower cap, and other aspects of your stay that you’re supposed to rate from one to ten. It’s a comprehensive list, but there’s a problem.

Generate More Revenue – With Email Referrals

Bill, a veteran salesperson with a deep hesitation about approaching prospects online, had been trying to gain traction for months at a company called Acme Logistics. A competitor had won all of Acme’s business, but Bill felt certain that if he could secure a meeting with the company’s CEO, Mary Moore, he could make a powerful case for winning Acme as a client.

Don't Take A Shot In The Dark

Ken’s closing ratio had been the lowest on the team for four months running. Juanita, his manager, asked him to meet with her privately so they could figure out, together, what the possible obstacles to better performance might be.

Juanita said, “Can I ask what kind of strategies you’re using to identify the pricing and product offerings?”

“What do you mean?” Ken asked.

What Do You Say When Someone Asks What Your Company Does?

Sam was surprised when his boss, Juanita, called him into her office, closed the door, sat him down, and asked him:

“So what is it you guys do?”

Don't Take A Shot In The Dark

Ken’s closing ratio had been the lowest on the team for four months running. Juanita, his manager, asked him to meet with her privately so they could figure out, together, what the possible obstacles to better performance might be.

Pain or Pleasure?

Betty’s quarterly numbers were low. Her manager, Milt, asked her to do some role-plays so they could identify potential areas for improvement. They spent about 20 minutes roleplaying through various scenarios – at which point Milt called a time-out and asked, “Betty, do you realize you’re positioning us in exactly the same way with every person to whom you speak?”

Betty looked at her boss quizzically and asked: “Is that a bad thing?”

Communicating Your Sales Message

The first few moments of interaction with prospects are the most crucial. It’s in those instants that prospects form an initial opinion about the value of investing time, any amount of time, to speak with you. In the first 10 seconds of your interaction, prospects decide if you have something worthwhile to offer that is relevant to their goals or challenges...or if you are “just another salesperson” attempting to sell a product or service—someone most often dismissed with a “send me some literature” request.

Disqualify! Disqualify! Disqualify!

Rosita had been behind quota before, but never by this much and never for this long. When her manager, Sam, offered to take her out to lunch, she figured she was either looking at very good news ... or very bad news.
“There’s no easy way to say this first part,” Sam said quietly once they were seated at their table, “so I’ll just say it. You’re on probation. You’ve got sixty days to turn things around or we’re letting you go.”

Having Trouble With Your Closing Numbers? Try "Stripping Line"

Melody was feeling unmotivated.
Carlos, her sales manager, was pressuring her once again to improve her closing ratio …but as usual, he wasn’t giving her much guidance on how she should go about accomplishing this goal. Yes–her numbers were bad. Melody knew that. But after three months on the job, she was tired of being lectured about the numbers and didn’t feel supported in her efforts to turn things around. In fact, she wasn’t even sure she wanted to continue in sales.

How Qualified Is Your Best Prospect?

Jane was struggling. Most of her deals weren’t moving forward, and her quarterly income target seemed well out of reach.

Jane’s manager Mario sent an email asking her to identify her top three qualified prospects; he also asked Jane to be ready to discuss each prospect with him. For her session with Mario, Jane brought in information on three companies with whom she had scheduled upcoming meetings: Acme, Betterway, and Century.

Indecisive Prospect? Try This

Juanita, three months into her first sales job, was having problems with her closing numbers. Her ratio was the lowest on the team, and she was far behind her quota for the month. She asked her boss Cliff for help.

At about the forty-minute mark of a productive coaching discussion – a session in which Juanita had addressed many tough questions – she found herself face to face with what Cliff called “the last difficult question of the day.” Here’s what it sounded like.

Six Ways To Be A More Effective Manager- Free White Paper Download

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Forget About 'Turning Around' Stalls And Objections

After three months on the job, Myra checked the weekly spreadsheet and saw that her closing rate was abysmal. In fact, it was so low that she had landed at the bottom of her company’s sales rankings. She met with her sales manager and asked for a list of “turnarounds” to the common objections she reported hearing from her prospects.

Your "Prospects" May Not Be Prospects

Jane was in trouble. After a stellar year as an inbound salesperson for her company, she had committed herself to the challenge – and the dramatically higher income potential – of a sales career where she was responsible for developing her own leads. But after 90 days on the job in her new role, her closing ratio was anemic.

Go For The 'No'

Grace is a new salesperson, recently hired by a major software firm. She’s three months into her first year on the job, and she’s in trouble.

At the weekly sales meeting, Grace has plenty of “good discussions” to talk about. She’s very eager to share all those stories with her sales manager, Ben, and with the other members of the sales team. In fact, Grace looks at each sales meeting as an opportunity to prove just how good her discussions are with potential buyers. Yet her closing numbers are the lowest in the company, and she’s in real danger of losing her job. Ben recently had a meeting with her to discuss the best means of turning her situation around.

When Not To Answer A Prospect's Question

Anne is a partner in a small consulting firm. During a recent meeting with a key prospect, a senior decision maker at a Fortune 1000 firm, she handled the presentation. Juan, her mentor and coach (and the founder of the practice) watched and took notes.
After the presentation – which ended inconclusively– Juan and Anne did a “parking lot debrief” about what went well and what could have been improved upon during the meeting. As part of that debrief, Juan mentioned that he felt Anne had done a great job of establishing rapport early on, and also of setting a clear agenda for the meeting.

Presentation Under The Weather? Take Your Prospect's Temperature!

Have you ever been in the middle of delivering a presentation to a prospect … when you noticed that he or she seemed to have completely tuned out of whatever it was you were saying? If you were delivering the proposal in person, maybe you noticed that the prospect’s gaze was elsewhere, or that his or her body language was closed-off. If you were talking to someone via Skype or, perhaps you noticed that the prospect didn’t pick up on your persistent verbal cues to join the conversation, or only offered short, polite responses.

Five Things Sales People Should Never Do

Here are five things that sales people should never do.

What Happened To The Motivation

Why is it that so many salespeople start their selling careers with a great deal of enthusiasm—truly motivated to grow, to succeed, and to advance their careers—and then, somewhere along the way, the motivation fades, and the “career” becomes little more than a job…a way to make a living?

Seven Selling Mistakes That Cost You Sales

1. You don’t tightly target your prospects. When business is slow, the temptation to tell your story to whomever will listen is great. After all, talking to someone—anyone—is more productive than sitting at your desk waiting for a potential customer to call. Right?

5 Things Salespeople Must Have

While there are several factors that contribute to success in the sales arena, there are five things you must have in order to maximize your potential and the results you achieve.

Can You Shorten Your Sales Cycle?

Almost all salespeople will agree that the shorter the selling cycle, the better. Why? Because long selling cycles have two negative consequences:

The Most Difficult Aspect Of Selling

What is the most difficult aspect of selling? Accurately analyzing the growth potential of customers, Creating an effective territory plan, Developing an appropriate prospecting message, Formulating meaningful qualifying questions, Preparing responses for the inevitable stalls and objections,or Developing an effective plan to meet sales goals? While all of these represent a challenge of one sort or another, the most difficult aspect of selling isn’t included in the list

Success...It's All In Your Head

Your mindset has more to do with your success than almost any other single element. There are plenty of salespeople who possess extensive product knowledge, have numerous influential business contacts, are well-spoken, and have appealing personalities, yet their sale performances are average… sometimes, only marginally acceptable