One of the main areas that I have found myself coaching salespeople the past few months is IMPACT. I contend that, although it is important to be the best that you absolutely can be in every interaction with a prospect, customer, or client, you do not have to be the best that they have ever seen. You don’t have to be the smoothest talker. You don’t have to be the silver-tongued devil that has an answer for every question. You do, however, need to make an IMPACT! What does that mean? What questions might you ask yourself before the sales call to ensure that an IMPACT can be made? After some thought, I have chosen to define IMPACT as a combination of the following areas:
I-IMPRESSION “What impression do I want them to have of me?” There are a variety of impressions that prospects, customers, and clients can have of us based upon any interaction. Unfortunately, not all of them are positive! But, with proper preparation, we can focus on doing the things necessary to “stack the deck” in our favor. The best sales professionals today are very cognizant of the customer perspective and thus, very aware of every move they make, how they look, how they prepare, and how they show. Here are a few examples (both positive and negative) of impressions that we can leave:
- Professional UN-Professional
- Respectful DIS-Respectful
- Interested Deal Focused
- Resource Salesperson
- Solution Problem
- Investment Cost
M-MEMORABLE “What do I want them to remember when I’m gone?” One of the keys to making an IMPACT is being memorable in the minds of your prospect, customer, or client. This often comes from making strong statement utilizing your best “power phrases.” Every solid sales professional has their “go-to” phrases or “word-tracks” that truly drive home the desired point. It is often this phrase that makes an IMPACT. Here is an example of one of my favorites I’ve used for years when faced with a customer with price concerns:
- “I understand that you can get a similar product/service from one of my competitors at a lower initial price. In fact, if what you pay is your main deciding factor, you most likely will not do business with me. However, if your concern is more about what you get for what you pay, then you will do business with nobody but me!”
P-P.P.O.D. “What Positive Perception Of Difference will I make such that they will go out of their way and/or pay a premium to do business with me?” The best salespeople are always attempting to create differentiation in the marketplace between themselves and the competition. They furthermore realize that differentiation comes from their actions as well as their words. They create a positive perception of difference through the way they dress, the way they ask questions, the way they “brand” themselves before, during, and after the sale, the way they present their opportunity, or the way they ask for the business. The best realize that typically it is the companies that “stand out” that have the highest return of customers and thus they look to “stand out” as well.
A-ASK QUESTIONS AND LISTEN “What do I need to know in order to increase my chances of winning the sale?” The best sales professionals realize that the strongest sentence that they can put “out there” to a prospect, customer, or client ends in a question mark! While their competitors are out there showing up and throwing up on sales calls, they are probing, digging, inquiring, going deeper, diagnosing, and finding out their customers highest value needs and motivators so that they can provide the best solution. Defined as “The Shortest Course on Selling,” the art of asking questions and listening does more to make an IMPACT than anything else you could ever hope to do!
- “If you ask the right questions and truly listen to your customer’s answers, they will explain your business to you!”
- “Nobody ever LISTENED themselves out of a sale!”
C-CHARACTER (Have one-Don’t BE one!) “How will I increase the perceived value of my product/service through my rock-solid character?” It has been said that a well-rounded character is square in all his/her dealings. Selling is defined as a transfer of trust. Sales pros need to make sure that transfer is made early and often throughout the sales process. That doesn’t happen by speaking negatively about the competition, a prospect’s prior decision, your internal sales support, or anyone else. It also does not come from speaking about your customer’s competitor that you sell to. What it does come from is sincere professionalism in every aspect of your interaction with prospects, customers, and clients (even behind the scenes.)
- “Character is what happens when nobody is looking!”
T-TOUCH ‘EM “How will I make sure that they know me beforehand, hear me during, and don’t forget me afterwards?” It has often been said, “In business, it is not what you know but who you know.” The best sales professionals believe, “It is not who I know but who knows me that counts in business!” Companies spend millions of marketing dollars to “brand” themselves and create a “top of consciousness” in the minds of their customers through a variety of ways that they touch them. Today’s top producers realize that the best way that can assure that their prospects, customers, and clients think of them when a need to buy comes about is through frequent, repetitious contact before, during, and after the initial sale. These touches come in many forms and include a combination of personal contact, letters, e-mails, faxes, mailed articles, postcards, value-add newsletters, suggestions, referrals, reference requests, thank you cards, holiday/anniversary cards, and many, many more. A word of caution, however, is to make sure that you don’t do what everyone else is doing. (See PPOD above!)
By making an IMPACT On your prospects, customers, and clients in all you do, you stand a better chance as a sales professional to earn their business now and forever. Contrary to popular current books in the marketplace, the little things do matter so sweat them all! Remember, there is a big burden on you to have to be the best and only one can achieve that. But every sales professional has the ability (and duty) to make an IMPACT! Happy hunting!