The role of a Salesperson can be challenging and because of this, desired results aren't always achieved. Could these insights be your secret weapon to mastering the art of sales?
Handling objections effectively is a crucial skill for sales people. Objections can arise at various stages of the sales process, and how you respond to them can determine whether you close the deal or lose the opportunity. Here are our quick tips to handling objections:
Training and Role-Playing: Regularly practice objection-handling scenarios with colleagues or mentors.
Questioning to understand the requirement or challenges: Before you can handle an objection or resistance, you need to be sure you understand their requirement or challenge. If not you won't be able to offer the solution they require, hence resulting in objections.
Creating Value: If your customer doesn’t recognise the value in your product/service, they will struggle to justify the cost or investment required to proceed. Make sure you are clear on your Value Proposition, and this has been communicated to the decision-making unit.
Offer Solutions: Focus on providing solutions and addressing the prospect's needs and concerns.
Learn from Rejections: Treat rejections as opportunities for learning and improvement.
Closing deals is the ultimate goal in sales, and it requires a combination of strategy, relationship-building, and effective communication. Here are our top tips to help you close deals as a salesperson:
Sales Training: Invest in sales training programmes that teach effective closing techniques. Sales training won’t only help you to close deals, but it will improve your overall performance – equipping you with the skills and techniques necessary to excel in your role, such as effective prospecting, objection handling, overcoming sales inertia, and closing deals. It can also teach you how to identify opportunities for cross-selling or up-selling, boosting average deal sizes and profitability.
Identify Decision-Makers: Ensure you're speaking to the right person with the authority to make purchasing decisions, sales professionals often have limited time and resources. Identifying the decision maker allows you to focus your efforts on the person who has the authority to make purchasing decisions.
Multi-threading: There will likely be more than one decision maker involved in the process, however they may not all be present during your meetings. Identify who they are, what role they play, and what their personal requirements and expectation are from the deal.
Overcome Price Objections: Firstly, acknowledge and thank them for sharing their feelings with you. Make sure you understand why they think the price is high and what they are comparing it with. Investigate this with further questioning. Emphasise the value and benefits of your product or service to the customer, explaining how it helps to overcome their pain point – this will then help to justify the price.
Follow-Up: Consistent and timely follow-up is crucial. Many deals are lost due to lack of follow-up.
Using Sales CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools effectively can enhance a salesperson's productivity and success. Read our tips to ensure you are making the most of CRM tools in your sales role:
Training: Invest time in learning how to use sales tools and technology effectively. And ensuring you stay up to date - technology evolves rapidly; stay informed about the latest tools and trends.
Integration: Ensure that the tools you use are integrated seamlessly to avoid data errors and streamline your workflow. Provide feedback to your employer about the tools you use, helping improve their usability and effectiveness.
Time Management: Efficiently manage your time by using productivity tools and setting clear priorities that align to business goals.
Managing and maintaining customer relationships is crucial for long-term business success. Here are some tips on how you can effectively manage and nurture customer relationships.
Communication: This is key. Actively listen to your customer, understand their needs, preferences, and pain points. Show genuine interest in their concerns. Keep your customers informed about relevant updates, product/service enhancements, and industry trends - consistent communication builds trust.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service: Respond to customer inquiries, concerns, and issues in a timely manner. Swift resolutions show that you value their time and satisfaction. Go the extra mile and offer personalised solutions and assistance beyond what's expected. Surprise and delight your customers with unexpected gestures of goodwill.
Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools: Invest in CRM software to track customer interactions, manage contact information, and set reminders for follow-ups. CRM tools can help you stay organised and provide a holistic view of your customers.
Segment Your Customer Base: Divide your customer base into segments based on factors like purchase history, demographics, or behaviour. Tailor your communication and offerings to each segment's specific needs.
In addition to these tips, maintaining a positive mindset, resilience, and a willingness to learn and adapt are crucial for overcoming sales challenges. Remember that rejection is part of the job, and each set back is an opportunity for growth and improvement. Continuously refining your sales skills and seeking mentorship or coaching can also contribute to your success as a salesperson.
Keen to find out how BMS Progress can help elevate you and/or your sales team? We offer a wide range of training, from Commercial to Apprenticeships. Explore more here, and get in touch!
ChatGPT is powerful, it can help sales professionals accelerate growth, revenue and ultimately gain greater insight into what’s working in their sales process, and why.
ChatGPT is a large language model-based chatbot developed by OpenAI – the GPT stands for ‘Generative Pre-trained Transformer'. It is trained on large datasets of code and internet information. ChatGPT interacts in a conversational way, the dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge, and reject inappropriate requests. It is capable of responding to questions and composing written content such as, articles, social media posts, essays, code and emails – it is similar to the automated chat services found on customer service websites.
ChatGPT has soared to popularity in recent months, with its versatile capabilities – from learning anew language, scripting social media posts, planning and writing content, designing games, summarising research / case notes, writing code, to acting as your very own virtual assistant, the tool is almost anything you imagine it to be. And, unlike other chatbots, ChatGPT can remember various questions, so you can pick up where you left off in a more fluid manner.
So, how does this make your life as a sales professional easier? It can be used for a variety of purposes; lead generation, lead qualification, customer service, content creation, research, and training to name but a few.
ChatGPT serves as a fantastic research tool, and we know how big of a role this plays in a sales role. The AI tool can help sales in providing a holistic view of a target persona, within a target industry – at greater speed than you doing it manually. This is an excellent feature for those new to a company. It helps you to gain a better understanding of who you’re selling to and what they care about, as well as the market they’re operating in.
You can ask questions like:
1. What are the top three things [job title] cares about?
2. What are some common personality traits of [job title]?
3. What are the top trends in [industry]
4. What companies are top players in [industry]
It is important to note that you can’t ask ChatGPT for information about the company you are trying to sell to, as it is only trained on information up to 2021 – any updates to a company since then won’t be captured. But, it’s not all a loss. You can input a company’s website URL and ask for a summary of what they do - as long as the link is publicly available.
Whilst on the topic of research, ChatGPT can provide quick competitive research. Ever been on a sales call and a prospect brings up a competitor you haven’t heard of? You’ve not got time to review the entire competitor website or figure out the selling solutions they offer, but you want a high level understanding for your sales call, ChatGPT can provide this.
Ask questions like:
1. What does [competitor website] do?
2. What individual selling solution do they sell?
Using ChatGPT as a research tool is a great way to begin integrating it into your sales process.
In the fast-paced world of sales, any opportunity to effectively save time is going to make your life easier. By automating certain parts of your sales process, ChatGPT can save you and the rest of your sales team a significant amount of time. Delegating routine tasks like lead qualification, product education, email writing and research to the AI tool, frees up more time for you to focus on what is important, and what humans do best - building your network and nurturing strong relationships, understanding body language and tone of voice and adding personalised touches to your outreach. All of which require emotional intelligence to be truly effective, something ChatGPT is not capable of.
You can also ask it to summarise your notes from a sales call, or even the call transcript itself –giving you a clear summary, next steps and actions, it essentially acts as your own virtual assistant. Excellent, I know!
ChatGPT can be used to support sales professionals, those being onboarded, or those that just need are fresher with real-time coaching and training. Whether it is a quick fix for definitions, more in-depth product/service knowledge, or you’re just after more personalised feedback and training, ChatGPT can provide that. It can offer you ways for you to improve your sales calls, emails, recommend new sales techniques, and suggest areas to improve as well as providing recommendations on content to support those improvements. It can work as simple as you providing it with your problem and asking for a solution – you can also tell it your preferred method of learning (podcasts, videos, text) in your prompts to encourage different outputs that work for you.
Although ChatGPT is an incredibly intelligent tool, it is important to note its limitations. It cannot substitute the valuable abilities of sales representatives – including relationship building and strategic thinking. The human element in the sales process is imperative for building trust and developing relationships with customers. Although ChatGPT is a great tool for writing your content, it’s crucial to adapt the output - don’t just copy & paste, edit and personalise. Whilst ChatGPT does give closely accurate responses, it can only pull data from the internet up to 2021, meaning you won’t always be able to get an up-to-date response, important to note if you’re using it for a market analysis.
In short, ChatGPT is powerful, it can help sales professionals accelerate growth, revenue and ultimately gain greater insight into what’s working in their sales process, and why.
ChatGPT works most effectively with high quality inputs, it is essential you add enough detail that it can fully answer the question, here are some tips you can make use of:
1. Be clear and specific
2. Provide context
3. Use the right language and terminology
4. Be concise
5. Provide examples
6. Test and adjust
It's a challenging time for sales right now, with a difficult economic landscape making businesses and people more cautious with their money. Add the arrival of ChatGPT into the mi
Salesforce’s State of Sales report has revealed that salespeople spend almost 10% of their week researching prospects. That’s a lot of time that could be spent elsewhere!
With AI tools like ChatGPT, salespeople can gain a quicker and deeper understanding of their target audience. Their natural language processing features can analyse customer reviews, social media posts, and other sources of unstructured data to identify sentiment, pain points, and preferences. The technology can also identify how a particular customer likes to communicate – and even what tone of voice or language to use with them. This can lead to more meaningful conversations and improved engagement.
In a similar vein, whilst you’d think ChatGPT’s non-human approach would lack personalisation, it in fact does the opposite. Drawing on an extensive amount of customer data (such as previous interactions, demographics, purchase history and website behaviour), it can summarise their preferences and produce more personalised communication.
Salespeople can use this AI-produced communication as a starting point for their own personalised approach, or the tool can be integrated with chatbots and other technologies to find out the nature of a customer’s query before they speak with a sales representative. In this way, ChatGPT can also help salespeople tackle any customer issues in a timely manner, which in turn further improves their experience.
Competitor research is incredibly time-consuming – and sometimes, a salesperson may end up having to do it during a sales call. A potential customer may mention a competitor that they haven’t come across before, and it’s challenging to prove that your business is better then and there.
ChatGPT can help here too. You can ask questions like, ‘what solutions do they offer?’ and quickly find your answer.
Responsibilities such as research aren’t the only ones that take up salespeople’s time – or the only ones that can be assisted by ChatGPT. Other processes that the tool can streamline include identifying potential customers who are more likely to convert, responding to basic queries, inputting customer information into CRM systems, and following up with prospects.
This frees up salespeople to instead focus on higher value-add tasks – the kind that made them want to pursue a career in sales in the first place. Your business benefits from better employee satisfaction, efficiency and, in turn, higher profitability.
ChatGPT can also keep you updated on trends related to your customers’ behaviour. For instance, it can tell you which products or services they favour most, specific concerns they often raise, and triggering points that lead them to purchase.
On top of this, you can even train ChatGPT to upsell – by recommending suitable products or services to the ones the customer has already bought.
Whilst AI tools such as ChatGPT can come in useful, they aren’t a magic bullet. Humans are still very much required, but perhaps just need some up-skilling or training in order to succeed in today’s tough climate. For this, we recommend the Level 4 Sales Executive Apprenticeship Standard.
It provides learners with training on the end-to-end consultative sales and account management process, equipping them with the skills, knowledge, and behaviours to excel in their careers. To learn more about how this programme could benefit your organisation, and why BMS Progress are the ideal training provider, get in touch with our friendly team today.
ChatGPT has caused quite a stir. It quickly surged in popularity, and the old ‘robots will replace us all’ saying soon followed. Whilst we can’t deny its value, it’s definitely not
What’s astounded people most with ChatGPT is that the copy it produces is often incredibly accurate, and it reads and flows well. In fact, it’s almost indistinguishable from content written by humans. For sales, it saves so much time writing the likes of introductory and nurturing emails. But whilst this is certainly a benefit, it isn’t without its downfalls…
ChatGPT’s level of personalisation is better than expected. It uses data like prior interactions and customer information to provide more tailored responses or give salespeople insights to inform their own messages. Yet the text it produces still lacks that human touch – so it may miss the mark when emulating a business or individual’s tone of voice, or it might not mention something key from an offline interaction like an event.
The tool’s ability to write copy isn’t the only way it saves time. It can also carry out numerous sales-related tasks. These include data entry, qualifying leads, and dealing with simple customer queries. As these are all repetitive tasks which generally don’t motivate salespeople, individuals can instead be deployed to tasks of higher value. This should improve morale as a result, especially if it leads to progression opportunities.
To get ChatGPT to automate tasks, you need to instruct it. With something like data entry, this will be very straightforward. But when it comes to things like writing emails to customers, you’ll need to program it with the right information. Collating this will take time – and in some cases it might be quicker to not use AI at all, especially if it’s a one-time job. If you then need to review ChatGPT’s output for inaccuracies, that’s additional time as well.
You can upload data sets which ChatGPT can analyse to give you incredibly valuable audience insights. This includes any trends related to your customers’ behaviour gained from things like their feedback and social media activity. You can then act on this to enhance your customer experience – boosting the chances of sales success.
Again, you need to pull together these data sets, which places the onus on the user to ensure they’re accurate. As is often the case, data collated over a significant period of time can be very messy – often duplicated, missing entries, or attributed to incorrect labels. That’s when analysis errors occur. What’s more, by giving an AI tool like ChatGPT access to customer information, you’re exposing yourself to privacy issues. In the long run, it could trigger more problems than it solves.
It’s clear that ChatGPT won’t be replacing salespeople anytime soon. So, although AI tools certainly can complement their efforts, you’ll still need to ensure your team has the right skills and knowledge to succeed in their roles – and progress in their careers. That’s where we come in.
We have a variety of programmes available, including our Level 4 Sales Executive Apprenticeship Standard and Sales Excellence course. To discover how our training could benefit your business, speak to our team.
Many UK businesses face a difficult road over the next 12 months. Developing and refining your sales strategy is vital to meet targets while motivating employees and battling other
You need to think outside the box. There’s a fine line between creativity and wasting resources. Yet, staying afloat during economic challenges can drain funds and much-needed energy. So, it’s time to work smarter.
Getting ahead of the competition means devising innovative techniques that meet and exceed customer expectations. You need to take risks, and use unconventional methodologies and approaches – get the first mover’s advantage if you want to thrive. Ultimately, businesses need to wow leads more than the world around them shocks.
As consumers’ spending habits become more cautious, businesses must focus on the value of their products. It’s not enough just to put the features in front of customers – you need to understand your target market’s wants and needs, their pain points, and the implications of not making changes. How can your product or service help them? Conveying its relevant value will better entice them to consider and commit.
And don’t make the mistake of offering discounts too readily. This puts your business in a vulnerable place; it devalues your offer, and conditions the buyer to expect such discounts. Instead, position yourself as a necessity for the customer, and highlight that your product or service is worth the investment. Introduce variables other than price to heighten value and dependency.
For further insights into your target market’s mindset, you need to take social selling to the next level. With the digital world dominating our lives more and more, it’s no surprise that sales teams have similarly shifted their strategies online.
Through digital marketing and social listening, businesses can better connect with their customers to understand what makes them tick. And you can place your brand under your audience's nose with targeted ads.
Plus, it provides opportunities to share and post relevant material, meaning increased brand exposure. Answer relevant questions and demonstrate your industry expertise with newer tools like the LinkedIn newsletter feature.
Falling short with an unsatisfactory customer experience is the last thing a business wants – especially in the current challenging climate. But what does this look like in 2023?
Your sales team lays the foundations for an effective customer success strategy. They must go beyond simply selling to actively engage target audiences with your brand.
Putting a foot wrong can ruin customer loyalty. Up to 32% of customers walk away from a brand they love after just one negative experience. So businesses must consider a much more holistic sales approach, especially for B2Bs. Try pushing beyond the point of sale, and show your customers that you genuinely care about their success. Remember, it’s not all about your product or service – it’s about how your product or service can help customers be the best they can be.
When facing financial anxieties, your instinct may be to cut costs and streamline processes. Yet, providing your sales team with relevant tools and knowledge during a turbulent economic climate is vital.
As things stand, the recession isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Therefore, businesses need to adapt and work smarter to come out the other side unscathed. By upskilling your sales team, you’ll find ways to thrive despite economic challenges.
The BMS Level 4 Sales Executive Apprenticeship equips decision makers with the skills and knowledge to take their sales team to new heights, making 2023 as successful as possible.
BMS Progress works with organisations across the UK to further workforce development. To discuss training for your team, get in touch with us today.
In today’s uncertain economic climate, many businesses are bracing themselves for the bumpy road ahead and rethinking their current approach. Do financial forecasts need to change?
At the end of the sales funnel, customers usually feel the biggest impact of unsteady markets. To curb the ripple effect, look more closely at your sales pipeline – consider what your business can do to bring more prospects in before driving them further along towards a purchase and, ultimately, retention.
In a challenging climate, practising empathy and understanding is crucial to winning over customers. Tapping into their fears, suggesting they’re missing out, or positioning your offering as a luxury might not work as well anymore. Therefore, you must review your messaging. Are you asking the right questions and providing the much-needed answers?
Follow up with potential customers and focus on quality leads first.
Drop leads that haven’t taken off after a certain period to avoid sunk costs.
Monitor pipeline metrics, such as lifetime value and acquisition cost.
Review and adapt your pipeline process on a more regular basis.
Keep it updated with contact details and notes to maintain good organisation.
It’s no secret that businesses and consumers prefer to hold on to their cash during economic uncertainty. But as the old adage goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money.
That’s not to say that you can’t make smart switches when it comes to budget allocation. Take investing in your talent, for example – recruiting new staff is both time-consuming and costly, but upskilling your existing team can often yield the same boost in performance.
Not only is upskilling more cost-effective than hiring (the Financial Services Skills Commission recently reported that firms could save up to £49,100 per employee), but it enables your employees to grow with your business, improving their satisfaction and retention rates.
Many businesses face a turbulent road ahead. However, there are plenty of opportunities to grow your organisation.
We believe long-term investment in your employees will allow you to thrive despite economic challenges. And at BMS Progress, we ensure our training programmes meet the needs of both the business and the individual to maximise that investment.
If you would like to learn more about our available courses, contact us today.
The pandemic caused a huge shift towards training. It wasn’t just a case of employers using their team’s furloughed hours as time to improve their knowledge and skill sets. Even si
First, let’s take a closer look at some key statistics. Back in march 2020, just 24% of global learning leaders were on the executive table. Fast forward to june 2020, this was at 62% – and by march 2021, it had risen to 63%. What’s more, almost 60% of HR professionals feel that there’s a long-term requirement to reskill employees, giving them the capacity to thrive within the workplace.
It’s evident that the last couple of years have triggered a realisation surrounding the value of training. And with half of current employees worldwide needing to be reskilled by 2025, it looks like bespoke training has never been important.
Ultimately, there were winners and losers in the pandemic. Many of the organisations that managed to recover (and in some cases experience extreme success) were the ones that had the agility to.
Training helps a business to evolve. It equips staff with the skills necessary to prepare for a crisis, and to react quickly if – or when – it happens. Whatever the challenge, they’ll be able to overcome it through personalised learning.
And surviving a crisis isn’t the only benefit. Training has endless advantages that would prove your company’s worth even if the pandemic hadn’t happened.
Whether it’s improving employee confidence, increasing motivation or boosting engagement, it creates a positive culture where staff are more dedicated to their roles, and more productive as a result. You’ll experience a greater ROI, and they’ll feel valued, as your interest in their progression shows that you trust them.
Linked to this is the value of investing in your employees. You’ll provide them with continuous professional development, something many desire in their role. Not only will this help to retain your current team, it will attract future employees to the company too.
Specifically, the more bespoke it is, the better. For instance, almost half of HR professionals plan to focus on ensuring employees have content that meets their specific needs. This helps individuals to learn their way, have a say, and achieve their best results.
If you want to reap the rewards of tailored training, look no further than BMS Progress. All of our courses are designed to meet the needs of the individual learner, enabling them to take control of their own continuous professional development. From apprenticeships to management and leadership programmes, our aim is to improve performance and progress careers. Keen to discuss your training needs?
Since the pandemic, an increasing number of businesses have turned to bespoke training programmes. It’s clear that tailored learning has many benefits, so in this blog, we’ve outli
A tailored programme allows your organisation to prioritise any areas that require upskilling or reskilling. You’ll be able to fill gaps, and develop your team with the relevant capabilities and know-how.
All the content will be applicable to your business, incorporating examples and case studies that address the problems impacting your organisation. Plus, the information you’re given will be up to date and relevant, so it will be much easier to get employees on board and engaged.
If you want to ensure that every team member receives the same training, a bespoke programme allows for that. Whilst there will be more individualised elements, through 121 coaching and feedback, you can guarantee that each employee will develop with the same skills and knowledge.
This has been proven to benefit many of our clients – Spitfire communications, Tactical solutions, Westland horticulture and Straumann all reaped the rewards.
Bespoke training programmes don’t just meet your present requirements – they adapt to those in the future as well. This way, when change happens or is necessary, the course can move with it.
The pandemic was a great example. When lockdowns occurred, we successfully brought our training into a virtual environment, and this flexibility really resonated with our clients. It’s now become a permanent part of our hybrid delivery model.
Given that your team will have the right skills, these can then be used for a specific campaign, project or strategy. Consequently, they’re more likely to accomplish the results you want to see. From productivity to hitting targets, you’ll definitely get a ROI on the bespoke programme.
It goes beyond meeting business ambitions too. By giving your team access to relevant content, their performance will improve, and morale and job satisfaction will increase. This could even help with things like staff retention levels further down the line.
Retaining staff – rather than spending time and money on a new recruit – is one such way bespoke training can cut your costs. It’s also designed specifically with your business in mind, so there’s no pointless tools or techniques to deal with.
With tailored learning developed from a TNA and design work, you’re guaranteed a programme that will meet your needs, allowing you to proceed with confidence.
Here at BMS Progress, we design and deliver bespoke training programmes for sales teams, managers and leaders. Our team will listen to your requirements, develop the brief, then deliver world-class training that meets every single one.
For us, it’s all about helping your business improve performance and progress careers. Want to know more?
How do you explain why some people ooze charisma, status and energy when they present, whilst others cringe their way through a slide deck before apologetically shuffling off stage
And how is it that Tony Robbins fills huge arenas, just with his words? How can he speak from early in the morning, often until midnight, with people cheering right up until the final minute, while other presenters put you to sleep in seconds?
Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King and Tony Robbins all have one thing in common; they knew how to ‘hook’ an audience, create emotion around a problem and then reveal their solution to ‘heroes’ applause.
And the good thing for us humble mortals is that not one of these great public speakers was born with a power point clicker in their hand.
Even the multi billionaire Warren Buffet states, “Up until the age of 20, I was absolutely unable to speak in public”. Even Buffet had to do years of public speaking training to make him a great leader.
In this article we are going to have a look at how to make yourself a great presenter and how you can use this to boost confidence, certainty and ultimately convert more quality clients.
By the end of this article you will know the following three key points to naturally enhance your presentation skills:
1. Develop a strong mindset.
2. Use a powerful structure.
3. Communicate with charisma.
There are many ways to develop a strong mindset and we have hand picked three to share with you here: Have good intent, expect success and power pose. Lets have a look at these in more detail:
Have good intent. Look at the last slide deck you created. Was it 10 slides all about you, your company and how great you are?
If you are thinking about what you want (make the sale, get the client, take the order), you have made the first presentation faux pas.
Shift your mindset to a position of good intent: how you can help the audience. Great presentations start with the audience in mind and specifically to do three things: They educate, entertain and/or inspire positive action.
Show the audience you understand their problems and show them how to overcome them. By doing so you will help them, you will prove your expertise, and they will remember you every time they put it into action.
Forgetting your words, the difficult questions, the dreaded mind blank.
Before you stand up to present it is common to visualise all the things that could go wrong.
Great presenters however visualise all the things that could go right.
If you think “i’m nervous”, your voice becomes nervous and people see you as being nervous.
If you think “i'm confident”, your voice becomes confident, and you get the very outcome you are expecting.
Thoughts become words, and words become outcomes.
Expect the outcome you want, and you are far more likely to achieve it.
Power pose (like you’ve won gold).
Often, in the build up to a presentation we are crouched over our notes, before realising in our panic we have forgotten everything, including our entire capacity to read and speak.
The form of the physical body is closely linked to the strength of our mindset.
Harvard business school professor Amy Cuddy discovered that holding a “power pose” for two minutes creates a higher level of testosterone and a lower level of cortisol in our body. Increased testosterone results in the feeling of power and reduced cortisol results in the feeling of less stress.
So by simply going somewhere quiet and power posing like you have just won gold at the olympics (hands above head stretched out, chest out, head up, massive smile) you will physiologically trick yourself into feeling and acting like a winner.
The second part to developing your presentation skills is to use a powerful structure. Let’s have a look how to do this:
Hook, line and sinker. The audience will naturally judge you within a few seconds of hearing you speak.
A powerful hook grabs attention from the outset and makes the audience sit up and take note. A great way to do this is to start with a series of trhetorical questions, as in the beginning of this article (inspired from Simon Sinek’s TED talk, getting to WHY). Or you can actually ask a question to the audience to get their attention and encourage participation.
Practice your opening until you don’t have to think about it, aim to entertain, surprise or arouse curiosity right from the word go.
Three is the magic number (yes it is).
The greatest presenters do not talk in twos or fours. They understand the power of three for impact and clarity, each presentation you create should have three key points. Three. Key. Points.
Practice your “call to action”
What is it you want your audience to do after your presentation? Practice confidently telling the audience what the next steps are if they would like to take action.
Improve your status, there is no “correct” body language, as everyone has their own natural style and what looks great for one can look false for another. However it is possible to naturally build your status on stage.
The thing that makes people seem unconfident on stage is when their hands, legs or head moves involuntarily.
However you decide to have your hands, head and legs, they should look as if they are supposed to be there. Tony Robbins has huge gesticulations, but they are all there on purpose.
The more control of the limbs and the more still the head, the more status on when presenting.
Speak twice as loud and twice as slow.
In the hundreds of people we have coached to increase their public speaking skills, this is advice that comes up for pretty much every person. It will sound unnatural and it will sound deafening at first. But to others you will sound clear, confident and much higher status.
Ensure you are using dynamic words in your presentation. Don’t talk about reducing costs (negative language). Talk about increasing profit (positive language). Remember that the words you say influence the outcome. So make sure you are saying words that lead the customer to the outcome you desire.
In summary, we have looked here at three key points to develop strong presentation skills: develop a strong mindset, use a powerful structure and communicate with charisma. Add these techniques into your presentations to enable you to boost confidence, certainty and ultimately convert more quality clients.
If you truly want to improve, you can’t just read articles and hope you will become a better speaker. Practice putting these techniques into action, set your webcam to record, stand up and deliver your opening using the techniques in this article. Watch, repeat and tweak until you are happy with your pace, tone and body language.
And if you are committed to becoming a powerful presenter, sign up to our presentation skills course where you can learn more techniques like this to turn you into a certain, charismatic and confident public speaker.
Cassette tapes, shoulder pads and extravagant perms. Although some things (thankfully) were left in the 1980s, there is one thing that still remains as fashionable and important as
In this blog, we share how to create a winning elevator pitch: the do’s and don’ts.
Before you start your pitch, put yourself in the shoes of the customer. What is their main buying driver for your product? What do they value most? What language do they use? Work this out and then adapt your pitch to talk directly to them and their needs.
Take the example of a salesperson selling packaging solutions. A prospect who needs to keep their products frozen in transit will be interested in the quality and reliability of specialist packaging. A prospect who packs mass quantities of books will be interested in reducing the costs of simple packaging.
Create one elevator pitch and use it for every customer.
Use business language and jargon.
Think about the buying drivers for the decision makers in your target markets.
Tailor your pitch to each individual.
Talk to them as if they are human (they are).
The number one rule of elevator pitching is this: don’t talk about the features of the product; talk about the specific benefit to the customer. To demonstrate benefits ensure you show the prospect how their situation will improve as a result of your product/service. How do you help people like them to solve, increase, save or improve something important?
Once you have your benefit, the next step is to make it world-class. Use statistics, numbers and proof sources to quantify how you help.
“We sell packaging for dangerous goods” (feature).
“We sell packaging that saves customers money” (vague benefit).
“Pharmaceutical companies use our packaging to stop frozen shipments perishing in transit, with a 100% success rate.”
“We work with companies, such as Amazon, to increase their savings on packaging by 15%”
As we saw in the last point, vague claims destroy a professional and effective elevator pitch. Why? Because everyone, including your competition, is saying the same thing. You have very little time to impress, so get straight to the point.
Specific examples provide hard facts as to how you have helped others in the past, and pre-suppose that you will do the same for them. Find specific examples to add power to your elevator pitch.
“We have the highest quality packaging, and are the most reliable in the market” (who says?).
“We will save you more money than the competition” (vague claim).
“For example, Pharmos uses our packaging to send frozen samples to Africa and in 2 years has seen temperature fluctuations of less than 0.5’.”
“For example, Bookworm.co recently moved over to our flat book boxes and saw a saving of over £200,000.”
At this point, you may have sparked enough interest for the customer to be asking you questions about how you can help them. If so, great, ask a few probing questions to explore their problem and then go for the close. If not, use this opportunity to find out if they have a need for your solution.
“What’s your role in the company?” (changing the subject).
“Let me tell you more about how the company was founded…” (irrelevant).
“Have you heard of our company?” (irrelevant).
“How are you finding your current packaging solution?”
“What challenges are you facing with your current packaging supplier?”
“How would you improve the way you currently package your products?”
Once you have identified a need, don’t oversell or take up too much of their time. Go in for the close; in this case, book a meeting in with them, or a longer phone call. Make sure you get the time and date booked in the diary… or it may never happen.
“Great, I’ll send you over some information” (they won’t read it).
“I’ll give you a call next week to discuss” (you will get the gatekeeper).
“If you’re interested you can call me on this number” (they won’t call).
“From what we have discussed, I can see a similar solution working for you. When would be a good time to discuss this further?”
“I could certainly see if a similar solution would be a good fit with your company. What’s your diary looking like for a call next week?”
Elevator pitching in this decade is still as relevant as it was in the 80’s. However, crafting a pitch that cuts through the noise, and connects with the customer becomes harder and harder every year.
Take the time to plan a number of pitches for your different prospects. Learn them so well that next time you are asked, “what do you do…”, you don’t mumble something about your company and let the conversation drift away. Instead, you clearly demonstrate the value you bring, and search for opportunities about how you can help.
Losing a key account can be a painful experience. The threat of lost income, shattered relationships, as well as a huge revenue gap to fill, will put the fear into even the most se
The number one sign that a customer is going to leave is ongoing negative feedback. If your customer is reaching out to customer service and seems more and more disgruntled, this is a sure-fire indicator that your product or service isn’t meeting their needs, or that their needs have changed.
When an account is on the way out, contact with you and the company may dry up. They may miss scheduled phone calls or call backs, stop engaging with you online, or stop responding to personal emails.
Review meetings are important with any key account. However, if customer requests a review meeting out of the blue it could mean they are experiencing reservations. Make sure you bring along the account history, figures and performance stats to demonstrate the value you have provided them in your time working together.
Sometimes an account will ask you to send them details of the account history and performance stats via email. This could signify low confidence in the value you are providing or an indication that they are considering a switch of supplier. Use this as an opportunity to visit the client to understand their concerns.
Listen out for new requests from your customer. If they start enquiring about services/innovations that you are unable to provide, this may be a sign they have had a recent meeting with a competitor who can provide the service.
Watch out for small goodbyes. Maybe your customer stops ordering a certain product or service, or reduces their order volumes. This is a sign they could be trailing another company or have changed supplier for a specific product.
Finally, social media can be a great way to find out how your customers are feeling. Closely follow your key accounts. Look out for customers who re-tweet or like competitor products or services. Keep your eye on your competitor LinkedIn and twitter accounts. Are they commenting, liking and sharing your customer’s posts?
Ideally you don’t want to experience any of the above tell-tale signs. It is a lot more effective to be proactive, rather than deal with issues when they occur.
Here are some ideas to build a portfolio of satisfied accounts, and prevent issues from happening in the first place.
Map your customer accounts.
Don’t make the mistake of only having one contact in the organization. The ideal account is where you are in a solid position of trust with multiple people within the organisation.
Map your key accounts. Who are the decision makers? Who are the influencers? Who are the end users? And very importantly, what level of relationship do you have with them? In addition, include other key stakeholders from your company to strengthen peer to peer relationships.
Deepen your relationships.
I know about their goals and long-term strategy.
I have a good track record with them.
I am in contact with them regularly (not just to sell).
They contact me regularly.
I continually add value and share insight with the stakeholders.
They accept new products and price changes with no hassle.
I have been to more than 1 of their offices.
I have more than 5 good contacts within their organisation.
I know personal details about them (family, birthday etc).
I know who is the latest competitor in their industry.
I know how that competition is affecting their business.
I am familiar with their industry trends and challenges.
What areas are you strong and where can you deepen the relationships?
Schedule 90:90 meetings.
Instead of usual firefighting and update meetings with your customer, 90:90 meetings are an opportunity for you to meet your customer every 90 days for 90 minutes to discuss long term goals, strategy, and future opportunities.
On average, it costs 7 times more to acquire a new client than it does to retain an existing one. It is common to spend a lot of time and money finding new business, whilst neglecting what is already there. Instead, invest in your key accounts. Take them to lunch, invite them to an event, send them marketing materials and check in regularly to make sure they are OK.
Building strong relationships with, and providing value to your key accounts is integral to long term success. Prevention is better than cure, so ensure your customers are satisfied by investing in deeper relationships. Finally, keep your eyes open for tell-tale signs and when you see them, make it your priority to find the underlying cause of the issue and ensure it is fully resolved.
Competing on price is easy. Well, competing on price is easy if you have the lowest price. In fact, even a computer can give details about their offer and then agree the lowest pri
The secret to succeeding at this is biting your tongue, putting your pitch to one side and asking the following 5 golden questions that are guaranteed to improve your sales skills.
If you only have 5 questions, do not make “did you see the game last night” one of them. Instead, zone in on the challenges.
“what challenges are you facing in regards to X”
Get the customer talking about the issues they are facing. Start to understand how you can help.
At this point, you may think you know how to help. It may take every ounce of energy not to jump in with a solution. Hold fire.
“what specifically is the issue around X”
Keep drilling down to the root of the problem. Here you will find out about the time they are wasting or the hassle it is causing. It opens up things you would not have known and allows you to see the issue from the customer’s point of view.
At this stage you often have a good idea of how you can help.
Maybe you can save them time, save them money, increase efficiencies or offer them peace of mind. You have a rational solution for their rational problem.
But people don’t just buy for rational reasons. They buy for emotional reasons as well.
“what is the impact of this issue?”
Find out how that problem impacts their world. How it impacts their business, their team, their customers or them personally.
Here you will find out about the stress they are feeling, the moaning staff they have to deal with and the customers they are losing. You uncover the real emotional problems they are experiencing.
Every single thing you see in this world (including you), has been created twice: First in the mind and then in reality. Everything starts with an idea.
“what would be a good solution for you?”
Encouraging the client to paint a picture of a good solution does not only allow you to deeply understand what they are looking for; it also allows your customer to visualise it. Once they have visualised it, they have created it in their minds. They have taken the first step. They own the idea and so are far more likely to make it happen.
Once you have fully explored the issue and they have painted a picture of what they want then ask this final question:
“how can I help?”
1) They will know about your offer and how you can help and start telling you exactly how you can help them.
2) They will not know how you can help and say, “I don’t know, how can you help?” This then provides a perfect transition into the solution part of the sales process.
You: “what challenges are you facing in regards to your sales training?”
Customer: “mmm, we are experiencing a few issues training our new hires”
You: “what specifically is the issue around new hires?”
Customer: “it’s really getting the new hires up to speed quickly as we don’t have the time to train them”
You: “and what is the impact of that on your business/ team/ customers/ you?”
Customer: "well, it impacts:
My business: because it is taking over 3 months to get your salesperson up and running, with no new revenue generation.
My team: because they are covering the open territory and won’t stop complaining.
Me: because I am trying to manage all of this, as well as training the new hire and a creating peace on a demanding team.
You: “OK so what would be a good solution for you?”
Customer: “what I need is a structure in place to ensure that all new hires get exactly the same training and they are and seeing great results within a few weeks of joining the company.”
You: “so how can I help?”
Customer: “well actually I have heard a bit about your graduate training programme… I think it may be good for my new hires, can you tell me a bit about it?
In summary, although it can be hard to continue to ask questions when you think you have a solution that is perfect for them, follow the process: bite your tongue and ask another question.
You have the wonderful opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives by selling value.
Drill down to both the rational root and the emotional heart of the problem. Understand what the ideal solution looks like for them, and ask them how you can help.
Through doing so you will improve your sales skills, uncover greater value, create better solutions and serve happier customers… and all at the premium prices your offer deserves.
As great salespeople, we need to be excellent at finding the right solutions for our customers. A quality solution is when you help your customer do one of the following four thing
The problem is that many salespeople focus too much on the solution. They try to solve problems too quickly, and offer solutions before the customer is fully bought in. In fact, the art of delivering a quality solution starts way before the pitch. It comes from first taking the time to clearly define the customer’s problem. “If I had an hour to save the world, I’d spend 59 minutes defining the problem, and one minute coming up with the solution” – Albert Einstein.
In this blog, we share with you a questioning process called DRIIIL.
DRIIIL is an advanced questioning technique, for face to face solution sales. DRIIIL helps you define the customer’s challenges so that when you present the solution, you are certain that you will have 100% buy-in from the customer.
Let’s have a look at each part in a bit more detail.
“What do you want to get out of this meeting?”
“What’s the most important thing you want to achieve today?”
Most salespeople will start the meeting with their own objectives. Asking the customer to state their objectives is a professional and assertive way to start the meeting. It allows you to tick off all of their agenda points. And, interestingly, the customer almost always replies with their biggest problem, need or pain point. A great gateway into your subsequent questioning.
“Tell me about your current set up in regards to...”
“What challenges are you facing, in regards to…”
Asking leading questions about their current issues (specific to areas you can help), allows you to quickly pick up on any challenges, problems, or needs they have. It allows you to quickly understand how you can best help them.
“Tell me more about that…”
“Explain to me how that...”
“What specifically do you mean by…”
Ensure that you focus on using open questions a this stage of the process: “Who… what… when… where… why… how….etc “
Often a surface level complaint is not actually the real problem. These questions help you dive deeper under the surface and define the customer’s real issues.
These questions also create trust and rapport as the customer feels listened to and understands that you care.
“How does that affect your business?”
“What impact does that have on your business?”
“How does that impact you - your team, your profit margins, your customers?”
These questions are some of the best questions in sales. This is because they shift the conversation away from the problem (the rational business issue) and towards the impact (the emotional, personal impact). Talking about the impact allows you to fully understand the bigger picture and open up the emotional side of the brain; a key influencer in all purchasing decisions.
“In your mind, what would help to resolve these issues?"
“What does a good solution look like?”
“How could you see us working with you?”
“What return on investment are you looking for?”
If a customer tells you exactly what they want then you know exactly what to offer them as a solution. Plus, if a customer starts to visualise your solution in their head, they have already started to imagine working with you. They are bought into the idea as they helped to create it.
“So, how can I help with this issue?”
Although this may seem like a strange question to ask at the end of the questioning process, it really works. This is because customers tend to respond to this question in one of two ways:
They tell you exactly how you can help (i.e. pitching your solution back to you).
Or they say, “I don’t know, you tell me”, (leading you nicely into the presentation of your solution).
Both outcomes allow you transition naturally to your proposal, and present a quality solution you are confident is exactly what the customer desires.
In summary, DRIIIL is an advanced questioning technique that can be used to support high value solution sales.
As with any questioning process, the 6 steps are not set in stone, and it is common to move around the steps to fit in with the natural flow of the conversation.
However, using these questions will allow you to clearly define customer problems, increase customer desire for your offer and ultimately enable you to close more high-value deals.
We hear, on average, 25,000 words every day. But how many do we actually listen to? Research suggests that it is only a tiny percentage. This is particularly true is sales. We thin
This is because listening is a powerful selling tool. It gives us clues around our customer needs. It builds trust and rapport. It allows the customer space to talk deeply about their situation. And, done well, it will give you everything you need to build a compelling solution, that recognised the needs and challenges of the customer.
In this blog, we are going to share with you three tips to allow you to develop these important listening skills so that you can transform your sales conversations into stronger, interdependent partnerships.
Often customers will not tell us specifically that they have a problem and, instead, hint at it through the things they say. For example, at BMS Performance, we hear our prospective clients say phrases like this:
“I’m so busy”
“The team just seem so demotivated”
“Half the team haven’t hit target"
These clues hint that there is a deeper problem underneath. Something that we can help with.
Sometimes, however, clues may be more subtle than actual words. It could be the way they sigh, the anxious tone in their voice, their body language, or if you feel the words they say do not match the tone in which they say them.
Have a think of the problems that you can solve with your product, service or solutions. How may your prospects hint that they are experiencing a problem? What clues should you listen out for?
A big challenge when it comes to listening is that often we think we are listening when, in fact, we are not.
This is because, in the words of Stephen Covey, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
There are three levels of listening: hearing, linking and active listening. Only with “active listening” do we listen with the intent to understand.
When we are in ‘hearing’ mode, we hear a problem but are not really listening. We are thinking about our own agenda, our next question and steamrolling the conversation to where we want it to go.
Customer: “Most of our team have already been trained”
Salesperson: “OK, so have you heard of our company? We have 50 offices worldwide…”
When we are in ‘linking’ mode, we hear a customer’s problem but instantly link it to a solution we can provide. Although on the surface it seems we are trying to help, we are actually making assumptions and jumping in too soon with our proposed solution.
Customer: “we have too many people under performing at the moment ”
Salesperson: “OK, well we have some great training courses that could be perfect for them…"
When we are in ‘active listening’ mode we hear the customer’s problem and really concentrate on understanding the whole situation. Our focus is on the customer and we are curious to know more.
Customer: “we can’t get people to hit target this quarter”
Salesperson: “oh really? tell me about it…”
Who… what… when… where… how… why…?
Imagine that you are painting a picture in your head about the customer’s situation. Fill in any gaps, colour it in, until you can really visualise it and even feel what they are saying. Only when you understand the situation, and you are certain how you can help, should you offer your solution.
Many salespeople are scared of silence. We like to fill gaps and keep the customer talking. But silence is a powerful tool.
Once you have asked a question, remain quiet. If they are taking time to answer your question, it is probably because you have asked them a good question and made them think, be courteous of them. Don’t interrupt them, talk over them or fill the silence.
Instead, hold your nerve for a few seconds, pause, allow more space in the conversation and they will feel more inclined to open up, fill the silence themselves, and give you the piece of information you really need.
Next time you have a sales call take a second to reflect on the situation.
Are you doing all the talking? If so, then you are working too hard!
Take a step back, pause and listen to the customer. Everything you need to know is inside of the customer. Start actively listening to them, understand their situation, and you will soon find you uncover bigger, better and stronger solutions for your customers.
Sam picks up the phone for what feels like the 100th time. “Here we go”, he thinks. “How many people can I annoy today.” With a sigh, he dials the number. “Hi Andrew, it's Sam,” h
Check out our telephone selling course to build your confidence and develop the right mind set to succeed.
Here are 5 telephone sales tips to make you mentally strong and keep you bouncing back when on the phone.
Expect failure and you stand a higher chance of creating the very outcome you’re worried about. Expect success and you are already on the path to making it happen. This is because whatever you expect to happen becomes a ‘dominant thought’ in your head. These dominant thoughts then impact the way you speak, the way you hold yourself, your confidence and naturally how you are perceived by the prospect (and thus how likely they are to buy).
If you call a prospect whilst you are expecting failure, you become apologetic and disheartened, and when the “no” comes you accept it. After all, you were expecting it. If you call a prospect whilst feeling certain you can help and with good intent, then your voice is positive and helpful, and your confidence gives the prospect confidence in what you are selling.
When you are selling on the phone the most important tools you have in your toolbox are the words you choose and the way you say them. Language can plant either a positive or a negative impression in the prospect’s mind. Compare these two examples:
“I’m sorry to bother you”
“Could you bear with me a second” “Unf
ortunately we can’t do that but”
“OK, no worries, no problem”
“Thank you for taking the call”
“Yes I will get those details for you”
“At present, we can do”
“Great, I am confident”
Which caller would you have more confidence in, which caller would you be more likely to stay on the line with?
Become aware of the language you are using. Are you helping the customer see you in a positive and confident light? Or, is the conversation building a negative impression purely by your choice of words?
The best salespeople have genuine belief in what they are selling. When talking to your prospects, your voice needs to overflow with confidence and belief in what you are selling. True belief speaks from the heart, you truly believe what you are offering will drastically improve the customer’s life.
Some people have difficulty believing in the product. Some people just cant get excited about selling (for example) the latest pro 760 eco boiler with increased hot water flow rates. However, what they can get excited about is the warm home their customer will enjoy for the next 25 years and the fact they can go on holiday twice a year with the money they save from their heating bills.
To develop belief, ask yourself, “what is the big end result that my product brings,” and get excited about that.
Learn to separate yourself from what happens when you are on the phones. People can be rude, people may tell you to go to hell. They are not having a go at you personally. You play many roles in life, you may be a son, a daughter, a mother, a father, a friend, a footballer, a foodie and a salesperson. When they say no, remember that they are just rejecting what you are selling, not you as a whole person.
You only need a few seconds to be bold, however, being bold is not about being pushy, it is about having the courage to always take action and assertively move your prospect to the next step. Remember, if they are a prospect they will remain that way unless you take action.
Dial the number of that prospect.
Qualify the opportunity with the decision maker.
Prepare for success.
Ask for the business.
Challenge yourself to be bold 5 times more than yesterday. It will soon become the norm.
A lot of the time people worry that being bold will risk losing the prospect. This is just an illusion; in reality you do not “have them” yet, therefore, you actually have nothing to lose. Also, if you phone with the intent to genuinely help this will come across in your voice and you will not drive them away.
In fact, the only thing you risk by being bold is your own ego.
And by being mentally strong you can control how much you let your ego be dented.
Mental strength is something that takes time and repeated effort, however by using the telephone sales tips above you will start to become stronger, bounce back harder and develop the confidence to be even more effective.