Business Operations

Olsen on Sales: Nudge for the Business

Being too pushy is the number one fear of underachieving salespeople. Because they are so afraid of being pushy, they don’t push at all.

Being too pushy is the number one fear of underachieving salespeople. Because they are so afraid of being pushy, they don’t push at all. They present product, sometimes speaking about the benefits, but mostly just the price, and then dutifully wait for the customer to decide. They do not attempt to sway the customer one way or the other; they just wait. Master Sellers know when and how to push for the business. It makes all the difference.

Master Sellers care about their customers. They see them as partners. They’re winners who want their partners to win too. When customers believe we have their best interest at heart, that we’re not just there for the order, we can push with gusto and our customers welcome and appreciate it.

 

Great Service But Not Servile

Struggling sellers do everything in their power to mitigate friction. They do this by agreeing with the customer on everything. When the customer side-steps their questions, they let them. This begins the Master/Servant training process. For example:

 

First Call – Qualifying questions

Salesperson: “OK. You use 2×4 Utility. Great. How much of that do you use per month?”

Customer: “We go through a fair amount.”

Salesperson: “Great.”

 

Master Seller: “OK. You use 2×4 Utility. Great. How much of that do you use per month?”

Customer: “We go through a fair amount.”

Master Seller: “Could you give me a ballpark number?  Just an average?” (Keeping the tone casual, but with the expectation of an answer)

Customer: “We probably use about five trucks a month.”

 

This may seem like a minor example. It is not. Relation-ships—and how they will go—are established early, if not immediately. The first salesperson above trainsthe customer that it’s OK to give vague answers to their questions. Customers will oblige them right up to the moment of close: “OK, thanks for the number. I’ll let you know.”

The Master Seller trains the customer from the first interaction that there are no frivolous questions and that we expect a DIRECT answer to our questions. If we do not get a DIRECT answer, we will re-ask our question(s) in as charming a way as possible, but re-ask we will! This trains ALL the Master Seller’s customers to treat them as a partner. (And vice-versa for the subservient seller)

 

When Giving the Price

Most sellers give the price and say, “Whaddya think?” or some other weak question asking for the customer’s opinion. Stop doing this and you’ll sell more guaranteed! When we give the price, it’s closing time—ask for the order!

Customer: “What do have for a price on 2×4 Utility 12’-16’?”

Servant Seller: “We can get that done for $578/MBF” (Then silence or “Whaddya think?”)

 

Master Seller: “We’ve got a great number on that. We can pick up a car out of ABC for $579/MBF. You love that stock; the tally and the shipment fit your inventory perfectly. What’s your order number?”

 

The closing percentage with the second approach will be much higher, but more important is the fact that the Master Seller trains ALL their customers to EXPECT to be asked for the order when the price is given, while the struggling seller does the opposite. The first approach doesn’t even ask for the order!

 

When We Get the Order

The best time to ask for business is right after receiving business.

Customer: “OK. I’ll take one of those at $459/MBF for two weeks shipment.”

Salesperson: “Thanks, John. I really appreciate the business. Anything else I can get for you?’

Customer: “No. That’ll do me for now. Call me next week and we’ll look at some other stuff.”

 

Master Seller: “Great thanks. John. This is a great deal at $459. We should put another one on for four weeks out. The market is strong, and you love the stock, so do you have one more order number for that one?”

 

Pushing is not the problem. If we are pushing in a professional way, it’s not a push, it’s a nudge. A professional, well prepared, confident nudge that makes all the difference.

 

James Olsen

James Olsen is the founder of Reality Sales Training, Portland, Or. After 20 years in sales with Nike, North Pacific Lumber, and Forest City Trading, in 2001 James started his own sales training business, devoted to helping companies and individuals achieve rapid sales growth. Contact him at (503) 544-3572 or james@realitysalestraining.com.

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