If you've ever tried to sell anything, you've heard one of these comments—either from your own prospects or via your sales people:
- "It's not in the budget right now"
- "I have to speak with the owner"
- "It's not our No. 1 priority"
- "We will get back to you ..."
Or maybe they just don't call back at all.
These are all known as "stalls"—and if you can't figure out how to get past them, your deal is doomed.
A good portion of my business includes getting my clients into meetings with key contacts that can move forward and make decisions. I've learned that in any economy, getting in the door and closing business is a challenge when any of these five fundamental elements are missing:
1. Passion and Enthusiasm
You see in so many examples of sales success ... and there is a reason. Enthusiasm is contagious; it affects everyone around you—including customers. It helps you through the rejections, objections, setbacks and everything else that affects attitude and approach.
Dig deep into the solutions and benefits that you offer your customers. That will strengthen your beliefs in your business, and that transfers to your actions.
2. A Solid Plan
Having an efficient process to manage your sales cycle keeps you focused and on track. Every day you need to have a clear map of activities laid out. Break down your yearly and monthly goals into daily activities. I actually keep a sales cycle checklist on my office wall, so I can track every stage of the sales cycle (out of sight, out of mind).
If you can't bounce back from setbacks and rejection with a positive attitude it becomes more and more difficult to break through to new business. People can sense your confidence level, whether high or low. Resiliency also improves when you focus on qualified accounts--and walk away from the ones where the return on investment is low.
Try asking your reps, or your prospects: "What's our next step?" Often the prospect can give a better way to move through the sales cycle. Don't be afraid of rejection--that's important information to understand.
4. Added Value ... at Every Step
Each time you make any type of follow-up call with a prospect, make sure you have a new idea or information that will be valuable to the contact. Becoming a pest—say, by calling every week and asking for your purchase order—does more damage than you think.
Throughout every stage of your sales cycle—down to every phone conversation—you should be focused on how you, your product and your company provide value to your customers.
5. Hard Work
One of the biggest reasons you break through the door: You earn it. Tenacity and hard work with a purpose wakes people up. In a study from the National Association of Purchasing Managers, buyers ranked "Hard Work" as one of the top 10 things they found most helpful in salespeople. Customers appreciate sales people who put in long and hard hours, even occasional weekends. They want to know that they will get 110 percent effort from a rep who cares about them and their business.
Passion, planning, resiliency, adding value and hard work are the keys to opening doors and building your business and will be the foundation in helping eliminate many sales stalls.