A dear friend of mine and a sales expert extraordinaire, Nancy Bleeke’s newest book Conversations That Sell: Collaborate with Buyers and Make Every Conversation Count was published in April 2013 by AMACOM. AMACOM authors are experts in their fields, unrivaled in their knowledge, experience, and reputation. They are world-class educators, successful executives, business owners, trainers, consultants, and journalists—all eager to share their insights and techniques with a broad audience.
You won’t be disappointed while reading this book. In fact, veteran or newbie to sales you’ll find a unique perspective along with many tips and tools to add to what you are already doing great – to be even better.
Today’s buyers are time deprived, internet researched savvy, and inundated with sales people and choices no matter what they are buying. Which means today’s sales people must take advantage of every conversation, making each one count, matter and lead to advancing the sale.
Here are 3 of the many game-changing tools from Conversations That Sell:
1. Forget about you. As wonderful as you and your product are in each conversation the buyer is the star of the show. Follow the Conversations that Sell focus of What’s In It For Them and you’ll succeed. Nancy’s WIIFT is a philosophy and a sales process. When you keep the philosophy of What’s in it for Them at the forefront it’s easy to plan the conversation, email, slide deck and solution. When the WIIFT acronym is followed as the sales process – Wait, Initiate, Interview, Facilitate and Then Consolidate, you have the most effective sales conversation to close more deals.
Recently a sales professional shared this success with me: After learning about WIIFT, we came back and looked at our slide decks. We realized they were all about us for 85 slides. Yikes, no wonder people looked at us bored and weren’t excited to buy when we finished. We revamped our slide decks, it’s now all about them and we’re closing more deals in fewer customer visits.
2. Quick Prep. Are you like most sales professionals running from one meeting to the next whether they are on the phone or in person? I’ve asked sales professionals about their preparation and the majority say they prepare. Then when asked to explain their prep process they recognize it’s often minimal and could be improved. And then the “I really don’t have time.” comments begin. Sound familiar? The pressure to make more sales, deals and fill the pipeline has sellers racing from one activity to the next with heads spinning and minds wandering. The Quick Prep Tool introduced in Conversations That Sell is so simple and common sense. It can be completed in 5 minutes and when incorporated in the Wait Step (the first step of WIIFT), it truly makes or breaks all deals.
Preparation is really a transfer of time. The 5 – 30 minutes spent preparing up front closes more deals in fewer customer visits and once again… makes every conversation count!
Here are a few quick prep ideas other sellers following the WIIFT sales system have shared to make a difference:
• Stop 10 minutes prior to the meeting whether it’s on the phone or in person. Review the completed Quick Prep Tool (or use those 10 minutes right then). This clears your thoughts of everything else on your mind and allows you to turn your focus on them – WIIfT.
• As Nifular shared with me one day, “I have a new appreciation for my car. It’s now my office. As I leave one customer and begin my drive to the next, I turn off the radio and I mentally review the upcoming conversation, practice what I’m going to say and check to be certain I’m using all of the steps of WIIFT. (By the way, there are Quick Prep Tools on The Conversations that Sell website.)
3. Better Questions. Old or new to sales you know the importance of the needs analysis. How can your needs analysis be better and/or different from your competitors? How do you impact the conversation during the needs analysis for the buyer to be thinking this guy is good and I’d like to buy from them? Conversations That Sell’s 4 Point Investigation Model™ takes the buyers from where they are Today to where they want and need to be Tomorrow. People already have today. They are really buying Tomorrow. Once Tomorrow is clear, the other two points discuss barriers, downsides or the Risk that keeps from moving forward and capitalizes on the Reward by doing so. The customer is emotionally and logically engaged. And although we think people buy logically, they include more emotion than we often want to omit. Think about your questions. Most sellers load up on the Today Questions, have minimal Tomorrow and overlook the Risk and Reward questions.
I could go on and on with all of the game-changing content to up your sales conversations and close more deals. It’s best if you get the book (paperback and kindle) or visit the Conversations that Sell website for loads of free tools.
Visit our Virtual Conversations that Sell Workshop webpage to learn more about our upcoming Virtual workshop to experience everything first hand and impact your sales performance tomorrow!