Ultimate Selling Solutions Blog

Are You Being Used For Price Checking?

Are they looking to negotiate with another vendor?

Are they looking to get the best price for something they decide to purchase from the Internet if you can’t match the price?

Why else?

Price checking may seem to be an unfavorable position, but it’s actually one in which you are wide open to increase their respect from your knowledge and sway them to what you offer.

How many times have you looked for a bargain—but a good, confident, knowledgeable salesperson demonstrated quality and value to you that changed your mind? The salesperson is a critical, powerful factor in turning price checking into an actual sale.

In talking to whoever approached you, make sure as soon as possible that you are talking to the decision makers, not underlings appointed to get prices. Remember, it’s their job to get a number quickly and it’s your job to have them tell you what you need to know to continue qualifying them. You might ask:

  • If I can offer the lowest price for this service, will that be a reason for buying with me?
  • What if I offer you a slightly higher price, but better service and overall value?

If you’re talking to a decision maker, you should get a pause and then a thought-out response. If you are talking to a subordinate who has no decision making powers, you’ll get a blank stare. So you’ve now just qualified a little on decision: who’s really making it?

Remember to treat them with respect as they could be a strong influencer! Asking enough questions which they can’t answer, in a respectful and intelligent way, will cause the interactions to move to the decision maker.

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August Keys To Success

View our latest newsletter, Keys To Success, here.

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What To Avoid As An Ultimate Seller? Options!

Ultimate Seller’s don’t get caught in the trap of handling options late in the game. An Ultimate Seller doesn’t rush to present a proposal, full of options to consider and discuss. You never, never, never want to be discussing options and choices at signing time. All that gets straightened out upfront, during your Qualifying and Negotiating.

You may be surprised to learn that most if not all indecisions or delays in the traditional sales close are actually created and allowed by the salesperson. It’s a direct outcome of bad strategy in pursuit of a sale.
Don’t be that salesperson, scrambling helter-skelter on the back end to make something happen. If you do and win, you  leave too much on the table

Let me cite the standard, confusing example from traditional selling and then compare it to Ultimate Selling:

Traditional Sales: You present your proposal or solution with options and alternatives to be decided on, thinking you can accelerate the sales process.

Traditional Sales Result: You have created a circumstance where they’re incapable of making a Yes or No decision, because you’ve offered it as “do they want it with Option A or Option B, or Option A plus Option C?” Oh no! Variables popping up all over the place have caused you to totally lose control of the sales process. Get the picture?

Saying “No problem, I‘ll just add it to the proposal as an option” is something an Ultimate Seller would strive very hard to avoid. Since you’re going to have to deal with it, you want it up front, decided and done, negotiated long before it can screw things up at the end.

Dealing with options earlier will allow time to justify all options in the solution. If the prospect can’t provide justification for an option—cost savings, personnel relief, operations streamlining, maintenance improvement, something—that option gets excluded.

You might be saying that the prospect insist you operate a certain way if you want to submit a proposal and be in the game. Well, an Ultimate Seller has rules too. We never do it the “oops, we’re at the end of the road and out of options…now what?” way.

Here’s one of our rules: If you’re an expert, truly interested in serving them, and you bring knowledge and experience to the table, you’re valuable to them. Your time is valuable to both them and yourself. If they’re not looking for that in their salespeople and relationship, most likely; there’s a hidden agenda or motive.

Stand strong: this will help you find it out if you can have a Win/Win

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WHEN will they make their decision?

How many times have you presented your proposal to discover that there is no commitment to actually make that final decision, win or lose?  Unfortunately, it happens too often and you find yourself scrambling to make something happen or hoping for an outcome while it sits in your ‘in perpetuity’ sales forecast.

Your job, aligned with them is to establish, if they have not, a timeline for the decision process. If it’s informal, your task is to formalize them: discuss it fully, establish intermediate goals, get it on the calendar and document it.

The absolute best question? Ask when your product or service is required for delivery or needs to be operational. If they haven’t  established hard timelines for fulfillment, then you can bet they will be successful at not making one. If thats the case, work together and establish a decision date and timelines for completing the sales and acquisition process and executing any purchase agreements.

Here is a simple rule, regardless of what you think or they say,  they ARE NOT in the acquisition process. They could be in the acquisition of knowledge, wanting to determine if there is value they should pursue or wanting to keep someone honest. But NOT, I REPEAT, NOT in the acquisition/buying stage.

They are at best a good suspect, not yet a prospect and for sure, not a qualified prospect. So your pursuit plans should be built on where they are and where you can take them. And remember, they don’t belong in a forecast, just your pipeline of suspects and unqualified prospects.

If you want the opportunity in your sales forecast, then determine when they will make their decision.

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What Do You Want to Ask Your Suspects & Prospects?

Simple! Questions that will allow you to uncover the real buying motives and interest in your product, service and company. When face-to-face, YOU are the company.

TIP:  Ask in such a way that your knowledge becomes something intriguing, something they perceive having more value to them. You want them thinking, “they really know their stuff! They’re experts… They ask such great questions!”

Lets explore some great questions and sub-questions. Identify those that would be most useful to you:

  • What is your current situation?
  • How long have you lived with this problem?
  • Why has it not been addressed sooner?
  • What is the impact or payback from fixing this?
  • What are the impacts of not fixing this?
  • What, if anything, has kept the organization from solving this problem     before?
  • What have you done to address it?
  • Can you be more specific?
  • How did it work out?
  • How critical is the delivery timeline?
  • What else should I know?
  • How will you solve the problem if you don’t engage us to fix it?
  • How has it affected customers?
  • How has it impacted your staff?, operations?
  • Since you have an existing supplier, why am I here?
  • What would cause you to end your relationship with them?
  • How would you go about doing that?
  • Are we involved for the purpose of keeping your existing supplier honest?
  • Do we really have an opportunity to displace them? Why?
  • What do you know about our organization?
  • What are you looking for in a service partner?

Stay focused on the prospect, not for what they say but below the surface to uncover what they really mean. Learn their intentions and you will hear and discover your opportunities as they present themselves.

This will guide you with your next questions and open up areas for negotiation. Remember, be patient. Don’t start selling. Keep listening. Negotiate on points as needed. Ask more questions. You will have your opportunity to show them your value proposition in due time, and when the time is right! Save it for then!

ID what you want to know and start asking!

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Your Selling Story

What do you sell? Besides your products or services, what else is generally included that are important to your prospects?

Don’t think from your perspective, think from theirs. All to often we create and present our selling story from our perception of what our products or services do. While much may be true, we too often forget to convert our story words to words from the prospects perspective. Words that are important to them!
For a few moments, pretend you are the prospect and ask yourself these questions:

  • What problems will I be able to solve or mitigate using their product and/or service?
  • How will it improve our business and profitability?
  • How will it enhance our customer satisfaction and loyalty?
  • How will is solve or mitigate customer issues?
  • What are some of the soft benefits? I.e. safety?, Peace of mind?, Prestige?
  • How else will this benefit my company, our customers and me?

While subtle, it’s a definite shift from your selling story to the motives for buying.

Rest assured, the selling story that’s more closely aligned with the needs and wants of the prospect, their customers and in their words, is typically the winner

The secret to discovering the correct words is simple, ask them the same questions!

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