Integrity Leads to Repeat Business

A sale is an extension of trust.  The proof is in the delivery, the fulfillment and the follow-up.  When a sales person and the organization they represent deliver exactly as promised, the trust extended by the customer is proven.  When promises are proven, satisfied customers become ambassadors for the sales person both internally to their own organization and outside of their organization to a larger circle of influence.

Satisfied customers also become a reference source to future suspects who are invesigating  the claims you make.  Integrity leads to more business in several ways: satisfied customers buy again, they provide proof statements for use with new suspects, they refer new business opportunities to you, and they become a reference source for new prospects.

Selling is an honorable profession.  Unscrupulous sales people who use slick and sleazy practices harm the reputation of all sales people.  Most of all, dishonest sales people do themselves a disservice because integrity leads to more business.  

November Theory Day

On February 24, 2009, BYU hosted Arthur C. Brooks at their weekly Forum. Much of our theory day discussion for November will be based on his remarks. Feel free to watch Arthur C. Brooks discussion.

Don’t Fight Objections

A prospect that has a concern or an objection during the sales process is nothing new. We have all worked with an individual or company who brought up a concern when we thought we were on the verge of closing the deal.  How we handle this concern will greatly impact our ability to overcome this obstacle and get the sale.

When a prospect initially comes out with their concern we need to be ready for it.  I’m not saying every prospect will have an objection, but we must be prepared for any situation. Not being prepared could affect the way we handle the situation.

Let’s suppose you are in a Solution Presentation and have just gone over service levels and pricing when your prospect tells you he needs to talk with his business partner before making a final decision.

If you are not ready for this objection you may be tempted to pounce on the suspect and fight his objection, which most likely would cause you to lose this prospect forever. Or, you may take your prospect at his word and try and schedule another time to come back after he has a chance to visit with his business partner.

In either instance the conversation is wrapped up quickly after the objection and the odds of closing the deal are very small.  In a recent blog Skip Anderson talked about why sales people often struggle with handling objections.

“One reason sellers fail at handling objections from customers successfully is that they aren’t able to extend the conversation long enough to adequately deal with issues in the objection.”I’m going to hold off,” for example, begs for a response, but you only have the opportunity to provide a response if you’re able to engineer enough hang time into the sales interaction.”

This is a brilliant statement by Mr. Anderson.  Extending the conversation helps our prospects think about what their real objection is. By figuring out what the prospects real objection is helps us focus on it and solve it.

In the Griffin Hill Integrity Sales System we extend the conversation by using verbal judo validation.  Looking back at the example of the prospect needing to talk with his business partner we could use verbal judo validation by saying, “It makes perfect sense you want to make the best decision possible.  Help me to understand what concerns your business partner may have.”

Using verbal judo validation keeps you from attacking your prospects objection, and it gives you a smooth transition into asking good open ended questions. By asking open ended questions it allows the prospect to time to think critically about what their real objection is.

Ask the Right Questions

We are all aware of the importance of asking good questions. But many sales professionals might not know how to create them. In the Needs Audit we have the opportunity to ask our prospects status quo queries. The purpose of these questions is to create an epiphany of value in the minds of our prospects so that status quo is no longer acceptable.

In a recent blog Michael W. McLaughlin wrote about how we can create effective sales questions.

“You can design perfect sales questions every time with the right advance preparation. The quality of work you do before a sales meting determines the quality of your questions during the meeting. Great reparation will free up the mental bandwidth you need to focus on nuances about the client’s needs that will elude the less-prepared seller.”

What an insightful comment by Mr. McLaughlin. In order to develop appropriate and effective status quo queries you need to take some time and ask yourself some questions about your prospect. You need to consider your own hypothesis about why a specific prospect would be interested in what you have to offer.

A way to figure out what benefits you can offer to a specific prospect is to look at the benefits you provide to a similar client. Ask yourself what organizations do I have experience with that look like this prospect. Look back and see what questions were effective when closing the deal with your current client.

While creating your hypothesis you could come up with some ideas about why your prospect is dissatisfied with their current situation. Perhaps they are paying too much for a particular service, or maybe they aren’t pleased with the customer service they are or are not getting. Whatever the case, consider the prospect and define your hypothesis that suggest they will want to do business with you.

When you have your hypothesis figured out you then need to generate questions that will lead your prospect to discovery. Let’s suppose you are an insurance agent wanting to win a large property and casualty account. You might ask the prospect, “How have your quarterly reviews with your existing agent helped you to make good decisions that have saved you money?” This question stimulates discovery on multiple levels. The prospect is left wondering when the last time they met with their existing agent. They may even realize that they never have a quarterly meaning. So the first thing he notices is that there is real service being offered. The question also suggests that the agent is a good insurance analyst and that he is going to help the prospect analyze his current coverage and make sure it is the correct one.

By asking the right questions you will help your prospect come to an epiphany of value. They will realize specifically what they want, and discover that you understand their goals and priorities.

Asking the Right Questions is one of many topics that will be discussed at the 2009 Griffin Hill Sales Summit. Be sure to register for this free event. The Sales Summit will take place Thursday, October 22nd at the Salt Lake Community College Miller Campus.

See You at the Top!

It’s called a Sales Summit for a reason, and you don’t want to miss it.

The topic is sales and selling, and the word “summit” implies a deep and intense discussion about the topic. Summit means the most relevant voices on the topic participate. Summit indicates the TOP people are all in attendance. The relevant voices participating in this year’s Summit include leaders from business and government. Presenters will share best practices, strategic tools and the most powerful sales technology in existence. When you join your voice to the conversation you demonstrate your own sincere interest in being a world class sales performer and leader. The 2009 Griffin Hill Sales Summit is October 22nd.

2008 was the inaugural year for Griffin Hill’s Sales Summit and it was a smashing success. Lew W. Cramer from the World Trade Center Utah, greeted the crowd on behalf of the Governor of the State of Utah. Mr. Cramer underscored the importance of events that improve these skills. His enthusiasm demonstrated why he was selected to be Utah’s international business ambassador. Following Mr. Cramer, I was honored to be the keynote speaker. My remarks focused on the essentials of having a strong will and a quality selling system. Break-out sessions were lead by skilled consultants, coaches and expert sales people. Topics included:

  • How to use Metrics to Power Increased Performance
  • Using Plays to Put the Odds in Your Favor
  • How a Systematic Process Builds Confidence in Sales People
  • Choosing and Using Coaching Professionals to Maximize Sales and Commissions

The big finish was astonishing. We concluded with a Presidents/CEOs panel that responded to audience questions. Their insight was compelling. Every sales professional in the State of Utah should have heard their advice.

I expect the 2009 Sales Summit will be similar in format and quality. I hope so; it was brilliant. I had at least two sales people approach me during the Summit and indicate they came to the event seeking connections and employment—both were successful in landing prestigious sales positions directly as a result of their attendance! Participants indicated they came away from the event with greater commitment to excellence, better tools to improve their results, and improved motivation and confidence because of their experience.

If you are a sales professional, you can’t afford to miss this event. Solve sticky problems that plague you. Protect your productivity and stave off obsolescence. Fill your emotional gas tank with motivation and hope. Be connected with top sales thinkers and performers–keep yourself relevant! Be a hero in your organization as you increase sales and earn higher commissions.

Here’s what you do. Click here and fill out the registration form at the bottom of the page and get signed up. I hope to meet you at the TOP—the Griffin Hill Sales Summit.

Griffin Hill Training Camp

Wednesday, August 12th
Utah Career College
898 North 1200 West Orem, Utah
8:30 A.M. Room 214

mapdata

Don’t Close and Walk Away

One of the most important steps in the Griffin Hill Sales Process is the Fulfillment and Follow Up Routine. This routine comes at the conclusion of the sales process, but we also like to think of it as the beginning. If executed successfully this play closes the door to the sales process and opens the door to new business.

I was reminded of the importance of the Fulfillment and Follow Up Routine while reading a blog written byJonathan Farrington. In his post he mentions that referral business closes and converts more than 70% of the time.

We all know that a referral is much easier to work with than a prospect found through networking or by cold calling. But sales people frequently shy away from gathering referrals because they lack confidence that it will turn out well. That discomfort can be alleviated by following a simple and honest process that generates excellent referrals. That process is what we at Griffin Hill call the Fulfillment and Follow Up Routine.

Mr. Farrington brings to light an excellent point as to why many sales people hesitate to ask for referrals.

“For many sales people asking for referrals is uncomfortable because they feel unsure about how to do this effectively, and they aren’t confident they will get their desired response. If people don’t know how to do something and they believe that what they are doing will damage their existing relationships, then it’s better to avoid it all together. Additionally, if sales people make the common mistake of asking for referrals too early on in the relationship this can result in more refusals that further erode sales people’s confidence.”

This is brilliant insight offered by Mr. Farrington. It is important to have and implement a system to harvest referrals. This is exactly what the Fulfillment and Follow up playset can do for you. This routine helps you develop the right questions that will stimulate the mind of the person you are gathering referrals from. The Fulfillment and Follow Up Routine also allows you to ask for referrals with confidence knowing that if you follow the playset you will walk away from your appointment with a handful of names.

Getting a close is the desired outcome of the sales process but the close is not the end of the sale. The Fulfillment and Follow Up Routine is where you strengthen your relationship with your client. Doing so helps you multiply and replenish your pipeline.

Griffin Hill Congratulates . . .

Mike Madsen of BidSync. BidSync provides a software solution to municipalities and other government units required to purchase through a bidding process. Their software makes the whole process easier to manage. Mike approached me after our last coaching session in July. He had a great opportunity to secure introductions to new potential customers. Existing customers were so pleased with the BidSync solution that they invited Mike and his team to present ideas to an Allied group of cities and counties. We considered some plays that would put the odds of success in their favor. As a result Mike’s customers shared proofs with other conference attendees. The proofs demonstrated cost savings of managing the bid process and securing successful bidders at a price substantially below expected costs for various projects. Not only that but the other government representatives were so impressed, they asked Mike how he could help them.

Great success, Mike.

If you would like to share an achievement story about yourself or someone you work with, we want to hear from you. Please e-mail us so that we can recognize the great achievers in the Griffin Hill System.

Griffin Hill Congratulates . . .

Elmer Patterson of the Utah Career College started working with Griffin Hill in January of 2009. At the time he was the Director of Admissions at the Orem, Utah campus. After two months, their enrollment shot up to 83%. In May his role changed and he was named the Director of Career Services. The Utah Career College Orem campus is the newest school among a group of 24 and ranked at the bottom in total business to business development when Elmer started with Griffin Hill. In just two and a half months, Patterson says Griffin Hill helped him become the #1 performer out of the other 24 schools.

If you would like to share an achievement story about yourself or someone you work with, we want to hear from you. Please e-mail us so that we can recognize the great achievers in the Griffin Hill System.

Give Your Sales Process Direction and Momentum

The manufacturing process takes raw materials and converts them into a valuable finished good. Each step adds value or builds a small component to the completed product. Like manufacturing, selling is also a process. Carefully following each step makes the process smooth and effortless. Griffin Hill’s Integrity Sales System is made up of six steps or “routines” that offer the most psychologically efficient means of guiding a prospect through the selling process.

The routines are steps appropriate to the level of the developing relationship. When the steps are effortless, the buyer does not feel any difficulty or clumsiness. Additionally, the selling process provides direction and system cohesion.

A major benefit of the Griffin Hill Sales Process is that it provides direction and momentum. The sales process is a journey with a starting point, a destination, and milestones along the way. Once the sales journey is begun, the milestones become highly anticipated goals that keep attention focused on each successive step. The passing of each milestone sets up an expectation of reaching the destination of a close.

In a recent blog, Skip Anderson talked about how having a sales process helps take the randomness out of sales.

“Buying is like walking up a flight of stairs. Each step gets you closer to the top. Walking stairs is not a random act. It’s a strategic act. If you want to get to the top of the stairs, get more strategy, and lose any randomness.”

“If you want to sell more, get more strategic about it. Lose the randomness.”

Just like Newton’s laws of motion, the role of each routine of the Griffin Hill Sales Process is to break inertia and build momentum toward the close without introducing the discomfort that would tend to interrupt momentum. The natural result of establishing and maintaining that momentum is  a higher percentage of closes. As an example, lets assume a sales person currently closes 20% of the cases that schedule a first time appointment. That means, of 10 people that schedule a first time appointment the sales person closes 2 deals. Consider what happens when the forces of direction and momentum are introduced using the six routines of the sales process. If the sales person could close 10% more of the cases that scheduled a first time appointment, instead of closing 2 deals out of 10, they would close 3 deals out of 10. A sales person earning $100,000 in sales commissions would increase his commission income to $150,000.

The six routines of the Griffin Hill Sales Process parse the problem of getting a sale into solvable units. These routines ask for relationship-appropriate commitments and are the most psychologically efficient way to move toward the close. The step-wise approach develops momentum that naturally leads to the close. The process builds confidence and trust between the sales person and the buyer that shortens the sales cycle and enhances the likelihood of winning the business in a highly competitive environment.