Excuses abound for failing to achieve sales results, such as, “I have a lousy territory. We aren’t well-branded. My competitor has a lower price point.” When salespeople make excuses, they also give in to thinking that psychologists define as “external locus of control” -- they believe that success is due to factors beyond their control.
One excuse that I’m tired of hearing is, “The buyer is more educated.” Translation: “The prospect has already made a decision by the time he reaches out to me. Nothing I can do but take the order and offer a discount.” It’s time to eliminate this excuse by applying the EQ skill of reality testing, which is the ability to look at things as they are, not as you wish they would be.
Here’s the reality: The buyer is more educated and so are you! Salespeople have access to more information about how to succeed than ever. I am a baby boomer salesperson, so I remember the days when you showed up to appointments without the luxury of reviewing the prospects LinkedIn profile, websites or Google.
Puh-leeze, quit your whining about the buyer being more educated.
Use the plethora of information available and better prepare, get educated, for new sales conversations. Study your competition and know the gaps in their offerings so that when you do connect with the prospect, you know how to position your product or service in the best light. This means developing meaninful value propositions or questions that point out gaps in the competitor's services, without ever mentioning their name.
Get educated and get rid of wing-it prospecting calls that go nowhere and lead to the, “The buyer is just more educated” excuse.
Here’s a quick example. We recently worked with a management consulting firm that knew its competition assigned high-priced consultants to do work that lower-priced associates within their firm could do equally well. Our client developed a value proposition that pointed out this gap and moved the sales conversation to one that favored their approach to working with clients. “Clients come to us because they’re tired of being charged high-priced consulting rates for associate work.” This well designed value proposition focused on a pain point, started a good sales conversations AND converted business.
Do what top salespeople do: Focus on what you can control instead of making excuses. Today’s prospects are more educated. Are you?
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