Direct Marketing Article
How to Close the Sale in the Google Era
By Marc Wayshak
In today's technology-driven world, information is cheap. The internet has
changed everything for prospects. No longer do they need the big sales pitch
explaining all of the features and benefits of a product. There's a website
for that—and probably many of them. Prospects are savvier than ever now that
they're armed with so much information. They are also more guarded because
of the way sales people have been portrayed over the past 50 years in the
media. Finally, prospects are also busier than ever in history—the average
corporate employee has well over a full week of work piled up on her desk
right now. Times are different in the twenty-first century—sales people and
business owners must adapt or die.
A sales person's job now entails helping prospects identify whether they're
the right fit for a particular product or service. Most importantly, the
ability to close a sale in today's economy depends more one's mindset than
his specific closing technique.
Bill was the sales manager at a mid-sized construction firm that struggled
with sales despite having an intelligent and charming sales team. The team
had been trained by an old-school sales trainer to smile a lot, turn on the
charm and give rehearsed pitches based on some preliminary probing
questions. The result was that they were simply not closing deals—and the
deals they did close were won through very competitive pricing.
Bill didn't understand what the problem was. His sales people would often
get positive feedback from prospects about how they were treated, and people
always mentioned how his sales team had "the gift of gab."
By giving rehearsed sales pitches based on little information, being
insincerely smiley and friendly, and trying to persuade prospects rather
than understand them, Bill's sales people were acting like all of the other
sales people the prospects had ever met.
It's not that this stuff is inherently wrong; it's just extremely common.
When the sales people were perceived as like every other sales person out
there, they instantly appeared lower value to their prospects.
The New Mindset
In order to close sales in today's economy, sales people must be different
from the rest of the pack. By being authentic and aiming to understand your
prospects, you come off as unique from the majority of sales people out
there. Think of yourself as a doctor, rather than a sales person.
When you go to the doctor with a problem in your elbow, the doctor doesn't
say "Well, I have a solution for YOU! You are simply going to LOVE this
fantastic arthroscopic surgery that we can offer. It is so great!"
That would be ridiculous and insincere, but that is what most sales people
are doing right now.
A good doctor asks you where it hurts, what it feels like, and what you've
been doing that might have caused the pain. Mirror the doctor-patient
dynamic in your selling life. Replace all of that enthusiasm with a genuine
desire to understand where prospects hurt and determine whether you can help
People open up to those that they perceive as a real person that understands
them. A connection with a prospect is ultimately created when they feel that
you seek to understand their situation.
That is why sales people must change their goal when with prospects. The
entire focus of sales meetings must be on the prospect and his situation.
This is achieved when you ask questions that begin to dig into where the
prospect hurts about his current situation.
For example, rather than begin a sales meeting by talking about the benefits
of your product, begin with one of these questions:
1. "Tell me about your challenges with regards to...(your category of
service or product)"
2. "Give me an example of that challenge."
3. "Tell me a little more about (prospects challenge)"
It goes back to that doctor's mindset. A good doctor will thoroughly examine
a patient before telling the patient if there is a solution. Only a quack
doctor will offer a solution without identifying the real problem. Sales
people must have this same mindset with their prospects. Realistically,
about fifty percent of your prospects will not be a good fit for buying from
you. This could be for a wide range of reasons from, they don't need your
stuff to they don't have any money.
Whatever the reason, it is your job to discover as quickly as possible
whether they are or are not a fit for you and your company's product or
service by using your doctor's mindset.
As life has become more complicated, many sales people have sought more
complicated solutions to their selling problems. However, the solution is
not complicated. In fact, it is as simple as a small shift in mindset.
Vince Lombardi once said, "Some people try to find things in this game that
don't exist but football is only two things—blocking and tackling."
The same is true for selling. By changing your mindset to think more like a
doctor, rather than like the traditional sales person, you immediately move
into an elite group of sales people that stand out from the pack. This is
the difference required to close the sale in the new economy.
About the Author:
Marc Wayshak is a sales coach and the author of two books on sales and
motivation: Game Plan Selling and Breaking All Barriers. He has combined his
experience, research and years of training organizations with his deep
understanding of sports achievement, as an All-American athlete, to create
the revolutionary Game Plan Selling System. Marc has a Master's degree from
University of Oxford and a Bachelor's degree from Harvard University. For
his free sales eBook or to learn more about Marc's training, coaching and