You have to Resist the Urge of Starting your Sales Pitch to Early
© 2007 David
In all of my years of managing sales representatives this is probably the hardest point to get an employee to understand. You have to resist that urge to start pitching the benefits of your product until it’s time.
When is it time? Your product pitch comes after you have probed for the customers needs. The sales cycle is arranged in this order of open, probe, pitch, and then close for a reason. Never is it okay to open, then immediately start to pitch.
The reason is simple. If you start pitching your product the benefits you are spitting out of your mouth at 100 mph may not have any relevance to the prospect you are talking
So if it is true that the benefits have no relevance to your prospect why don’t average sales representatives change their ways? That reason is simple as well – they are making a good living doing it the way that works for them.
As an average sales representative they know that they are pitching the best benefits that their product has to offer. These benefits have helped 100% of the prospects that they have sold in the past. These benefits have persuaded some prospects that they have talk to into purchasing their products.
Who are these prospects that purchase on the pitch alone? They are the
“low hanging fruit.” There is low hanging fruit in every sales occupation. If you just keep calling and speaking to prospects you will eventually sell something. Every product in the world has a tree with difficult prospects on the top branches. These same trees have the majority of the prospects in the middle of the canopy. And on the bottom branches are the prospects that you just reach up, make a small pitch, and then you pick them as your newest customer.
Unfortunately there is only so much low hanging fruit. On top of running out of this sales fruit is the inevitable issue of sales goals always going up? The average sales representatives will find themselves looking up at a goal with a shrinking prospect base.
It may take a month, or a year but you can bet the sales goals will go up and at the exact same time the amount of low hanging fruit will go down.
The average sales representative will try to compensate by making more calls. However, a person can only make so many phone calls. Eventually the average sales representative will run out of hours in the work day.
If you want to make that jump from average sales representative to a professional sales representative then you have got to resist that urge to start pitching.
Professional sales representatives realize it is much easier to work smarter than harder. They realize that it is easier to make the most out of every call instead of making hundreds upon hundreds of calls.
Professional sales representatives realize that just above the low hanging fruit is the fattest part of the tree canopy. In this portion of the sales tree is those prospects that definitely need your product but you just have to find out which features will benefit them.
The only way to find out is to ASK!
Which of the following two scenarios will sell more products?
Avg Sales Rep:
Mr. Ray I have the fastest, and the best product in the world. You know our product, you have heard about our product. You know everything I have told you will save you time, money, and frustration. Do you want to pay by credit card or set up a purchase order?
Mr. Ray: Thank you for information but I am going to wait until a later date.
Professional Sales Rep:
Mr. Ray you told me that your business is tight right now and that you don’t see it improving in the next few months. Can you tell me how you have improved your productivity in these lean months? Besides additional sales what is the one thing that could improve your business right now?
Mr. Ray: Since we have fewer employees now I need everyone to work faster.
With the two scenarios above which one still has the possibility of closing the deal? As usual the average sales representative just got shot down. This is fine to average rep because there is always another prospect to call. Will there always be low hanging fruit?
The professional sales representative just opened up a conversation. In scenario #2 the professional rep resisted the urge to start pitching. This conversation didn’t ask for a close either but that is the point… It’s not time to close. It’s time to follow the sales cycle of open, probe, pitch, and then close.
One last point before I move off this topic. Average sales representatives will tell you that they will switch to the proper sales cycle once the low hanging fruit disappears. That sounds like it makes sense – get the easy sales first then go back to the more difficult prospects.
My experience tells me this thinking is flawed for two reasons:
#1 The average representative is really not interested in improving their skills. So eventually the goal catches up with them and they end up exiting the business. You can try as hard as you want as a sales manager or business owner but the average representative doesn’t see the need to change until it is typically way too late.
#2 Why do I as a business owner or a company representative want to put my prospects through an unprofessional sales cycle? By the time the professional representative calls the same prospect they will now get the comment of… “I already told your company I didn’t need your product.” Or worse they will get the comment of… “I already bought the competitors product.”
Average sales representatives will eventually head for the company’s exit by themselves if you can’t get them to start following a professional sales cycle. The sales goal will in due course catch up with them. Until that time think of the damage they are doing to your prospect base.
Get your reps to resist the urge of pitching your product before they have fully explored what the prospect needs. Get them to work smarter, not harder and everyone including your prospects will be much better off in the end.
Been There - Done That
Peterson's Search Engine Optimization Guide
send all correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org