Business Operations

Olsen on Sales: Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?

Building our sales book of business is challenging. For many of us, it will be the most challenging thing we will do in our careers. Building trust with new customers is a test. When we do break through and they start to give us business, it feels fantastic!

Building our sales book of business is challenging. For many of us, it will be the most challenging thing we will do in our careers. Building trust with new customers is a test. When we do break through and they start to give us business, it feels fantastic! We appreciate their trust and business. Many sellers stop here. They take what customers give them and never ask for more. This is a mistake. Let’s not confuse appreciation with satisfaction.

Dissatisfaction Is Our Default Setting

We can be happy but never satisfied. People are not money-motivated; they are comfort-motivated. Most people will pull their foot off the gas pedal when they are comfortable. This is natural. But Master Sellers never allow themselves to be satisfied. (I don’t like to quote him but) Stalin’s saying “I don’t want ALL the land, just the land NEXT to mine” fits the mentality of the Master Seller.

Master Sellers are not greedy; they just know they are either growing or shrinking. They know that it is not a question of if, but when, they will lose some business or a great customer several times throughout their careers (often through no fault of their own).

Sellers who underperform or who are perennially “almost there” never capitalize on the momentum they build. Once they feel the wave building behind them, they relax and ride the wave, while the Master Seller takes advantage of momentum to paddle faster.

Growth Strategies & Techniques

Below are strategies for growing our business with accounts that already are buying from us:

Right after closing. The best time to ask for more business is right after closing. Most sellers are so excited and appreciative after getting an order, they relax and start talking about the weather or the weekend. The nanosecond Master Sellers get the P.O. they are on to the next one.

Full Disclosure Selling is the technical backbone of our sales approach. As we are speaking with customers through the sales process, we are working to get a look at everything they are buying (not just what they are showing us.)

1. Where are you in your buy cycle? (As opposed to, “What are you buying next?”)

2. How much of that product do you have on the ground/in your yard?

3. How much do you have on order?

4. How much of what you have in your yard/plant is already sold?

5. What is your monthly usage?

6. What is your buy-back point? How low can you let it go before you HAVE to buy?

7. What is your average cost on that item?

Master Sellers know the answers to these questions.  They are selling accounts as partners, not just quoting them.

Are you sure one is enough?  EVERY time our customer gives us an inquiry for ANYTHING we always ask: “Are you sure one/two/five/10 is going to be enough?” You’ll know you are doing it enough the day your customer says, “Susan, I need two of these and yes, it’s just two….”

When we come back with coverage. After we have covered our customer’s inquiry, we ALWAYS come back with more than they asked for. “Pete, I know you told me two, but I found a great deal on two for now and two for next month. Do you want to put four on?”  EVERY TIME.

Load the Gun. Many servants (they are not sellers) call customers and ask, “Do you need anything today?” They get treated poorly and deserve it; they bring no value. Others come to the call with one item. If it works out great, if not, oh well, we tried. The Master Seller comes to their calls “Loaded for Bear.” They have several options on several or ALL of the products their customer can and will buy from them. Our closing percentage is not based on how many calls we make or offerings we send, it is based on how many times we ask for the order per year.

Program Selling. We can sell houses or apartment buildings. Master Sellers sell programs. The Master Seller formulates a product/price/delivery mix that beats buying on the open market.

“Two’s not enough, three’s too many, and four is juuuust right.” Ask for a little more.

James
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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