6 Traits Of A Successful Salesperson

Sales is a dynamic industry that requires a unique set of skills and qualities

While experience and product knowledge are valuable, the traits possessed by successful salespeople play a pivotal role in their achievements.

Here we will explore the six key traits that distinguish top-performing sales professionals.

Whether you’re an aspiring salesperson or looking to enhance your existing skills, understanding these traits can guide you on the path to success.

1. Empathy

One of the most crucial traits for salespeople is empathy.

The best Sales Trainers will tell you that successful sales professionals possess the ability to put themselves in their customers’ shoes and understand their needs, concerns, and desires.

By genuinely empathising with clients, salespeople can build trust and establish meaningful connections.

This allows them to:

  • Tailor their approach
  • Offer personalised solutions
  • Close more deals

Empathy is the foundation of effective communication and building lasting customer relationships.

2. Resilience

Sales can be a challenging and often rejection-filled environment.

Successful salespeople have a resilient mindset that enables them to persevere through setbacks and bounce back from rejection.

Successful salespeople view rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than a personal failure.

Resilience allows sales professionals to:

  • Maintain their motivation
  • Stay focused on their goals
  • Consistently put in the effort required to achieve success

3. Excellent Communication Skills

The ability to communicate effectively is a fundamental trait for a salesperson.

Successful sales professionals are exceptional communicators who can:

  • Articulate their ideas clearly
  • Actively listen to customers
  • Adapt their communication style to match the needs of different individuals

They ask relevant questions, address customer concerns, and present their product or service in a persuasive and compelling manner.

Strong communication skills are crucial for building trust, conveying value, and influencing buying decisions.

4. Confidence

Confidence is another trait commonly found in successful salespeople.

It instils trust in both the salesperson and the product they are promoting.

Confident sales professionals exude enthusiasm and conviction, which can be contagious.

Their self-assurance enables them to approach potential customers with ease, overcome objections, and handle challenging situations.

Confidence is a magnet that attracts customers, and gives customers confidence in the salesperson’s ability to deliver on promises.

5. Adaptability

In the rapidly evolving business landscape, adaptability is a trait that sets successful salespeople apart.

The most successful salespeople will:

  • Embrace change
  • Readily adapt to new technologies and market trends
  • Continuously seek opportunities for improvement

They are quick learners who can adjust their strategies and approaches to align with the ever-changing needs of customers.

Adaptability allows sales professionals to stay ahead of the competition and thrive in dynamic sales environments.

6. Goal-Oriented

Highly successful salespeople are driven by goals. An important aspect of training that sales trainers should implement into their programs is goal setting for salespeople.

They set ambitious but achievable targets – both short-term and long-term – and develop clear action plans to reach them.

They are motivated, self-disciplined, and consistently monitor their progress.

Goal-oriented sales professionals focus on results and constantly strive to exceed their own expectations.

They use their goals as a compass to guide their efforts, stay motivated, and maintain a sense of purpose in their sales activities.

While there is no one-size-fits-all formula for sales success, these six traits are often found in highly accomplished sales professionals.

  • Empathy
  • Resilience
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Confidence
  • Adaptability, and a goal-oriented mindset form the foundation of their achievements.

By nurturing these traits and continuously honing their sales skills, salespeople can position themselves for greater success in a highly competitive field.

Contact the team at KONA and speak to our experienced Sales Trainers to discuss a tailored Sales Training Program for your sales team!

 

6 Ways To Lessen The Effects of Inflation Impacting Sales

As inflation continues to affect various sectors of the economy, businesses are looking for ways to lessen its effects on sales.

Here we will discuss six ways that businesses can mitigate the effects of inflation on their sales.

Upsell & Cross Sell

Upselling and cross-selling increases the overall revenue generated from each customer transaction.

Upselling – encourages customers to purchase a higher-priced item or a more expensive version of a product they are already interested in.

By persuading customers to spend more money, upselling can increase the average sale value and the overall revenue generated per transaction.

This increased revenue can help offset the impact of inflation on the cost of goods sold.

Cross-selling – involves recommending related products to customers to encourage them to make additional purchases.

Cross-selling can help increase the total amount customers spend on their purchases, and can help offset the impact of inflation by increasing revenue generated per customer.

Combining these two strategies can help businesses mitigate the impact of inflation on sales.

Upselling and cross-selling can help businesses build stronger relationships with customers by providing them with a better shopping experience and meeting more of their needs.

Ultimately this can lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

Upselling and cross-selling

Increase Prices Strategically

A common response to inflation is to increase prices – but businesses need to be strategic about how they do this.

Consider the cost of goods sold, the competition, and the impact on customer demand.

A small price increase might be more effective than a large one.

It could also be phased in over time to minimise the impact on customers.

Implement Cost-Cutting Measures

Businesses can look for ways to reduce their expenses by:

  • Negotiating with suppliers
  • Reducing waste
  • Finding more efficient processes

By cutting costs, businesses can maintain their profit margins despite rising prices.

Offer Discounts and Promotions

Offering discounts and promotions is another way to mitigate the effects of inflation.

Customers are more likely to buy when they feel they are getting a good deal.

Businesses can offer sales, coupons, or other promotions to incentivise customers to buy despite rising prices.

It’s important to note that discounts should be strategic and well-timed, or they could hurt profit margins.

Diversify Your Product Line

Expanding your product line can help to lessen the effects of inflation.

If prices are rising for a particular product, businesses can offer alternative products or services that are less affected by inflation.

This way, they can still generate sales – even if customers are cutting back on spending for certain items.

Focus On Customer Service

Focusing on customer service can help mitigate the effects of inflation.

When customers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to continue doing business with a company, even if prices are rising.

By providing excellent customer service, businesses can retain customers and maintain sales despite inflation.

By providing excellent customer service, businesses can retain customers and maintain sales despite inflation.

Inflation is an economic reality that businesses need to address.

By implementing these strategies, businesses can ease the effects of inflation on their sales and remain competitive in their industries.

Contact KONA today to discuss a tailored Sales Training Program for your business!

4 Reasons Why Sales Training Should Be A Component Of Your Recruitment Strategy

When recruiting new team members for your business, there are many considerable factors to ensure your offer is most appealing to your target recruit. Generally, companies will hire established salespeople with the assumption that they won’t need further training. In doing so, you could be missing out on the opportunity to grow and develop the next top salesperson.

Here are 4 reasons why you should implement an offer of sales training into your recruitment process:

1. You Are More Likely To Retain Staff When You Offer Ongoing Training


Offering ongoing training to employees will make them feel valued. It attracts the right type of person to the role, someone who is eager to enhance their skills and wants career progression. Going into a new job knowing you will have opportunities to learn and develop new skills naturally boosts enthusiasm. Not to mention your business’ recruitment costs will reduce when you have a high staff retention rate.

2. Be Proactive, Not Reactive


It is common for businesses to only consider training their sales team when there are problems emerging. A more effective strategy is to offer staff training regularly. This will prevent problems before they occur and ensures any issues are stamped out early on. Incorporating Sales Training into your recruitment process will ensure any new staff that come on board are trained in the same way as your current salespeople.

3. Attract A Quality Candidate To The Position


Proposing a training program in your employment offer is attractive to prospective employees as it eases tension related to taking on a new job. It opens the doors to people who may not have a lot of experience in the field, but they are eager to learn and with the right training, could be the next best salesperson on your team.

4. Promotes An Encouraging And Supportive Work Environment

Sales Training has a positive influence on staff enthusiasm, engagement, and fulfilment. Offering training opportunities at the recruitment stage promotes your business as being supportive. It shows you have intent for employee growth within the company. Offering sales training from the beginning of a salesperson’s career demonstrates that your company is willing to invest in their team.

You can achieve these benefits and more by offering effective training as part of your recruitment process.

Find out how you can incorporate Sales Training into your recruitment strategy by contacting KONA!

Phone 1300 611 288 or email info@kona.com.au

SALES EXCUSE 2: THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME IN THE DAY

Let’s start by saying that busy doesn’t necessarily mean effective.

One of the most common complaints from sales teams doing poorly is that there’s not enough hours in the day to make phone calls, follow up leads, source new leads, or create effective pitches.

In our experience, more often than not, this is just an excuse masking laziness and poor time management.

The difference between success and failure can be influenced by how effectively time is used. We all get the same 24 hours, so if your sales people are telling you that there’s not enough time then it’s time to identify the real issues and sift through the drainers within the team.

Time management

In contrast, people with poor time management skills waste time on the unimportant things that ultimately will not contribute to converting a lead. These same people are prone to procrastination – a killer of performance. Charles Dickens and David Copperfield summed it up by saying  “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him”.

So, if a member of your sales team complains that they don’t have enough time to convert their leads into sales, “collar them” – look at how they are utilising their time and if the business is actually benefiting, or is simply being drained by a dead resource. Chances are that there are bigger underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Sharpen the focus

There are so many distractions floating around that it can be hard to sit down and focus, and importantly keep your team focused. However, this is not an excuse for deflated sales results. The great sales performers and leaders focus on the target and concentrate on how best to achieve it.

How long does it take your team to perform their daily admin tasks? Are they focused on the end goal or distracted by surrounding interferences?

Ongoing evaluation and reinforcement of daily targets should be established to keep the team on track.

Priorities and delegation

Are your sales people typing reports, filing, responding to unnecessary emails and taking long meetings rather than being on the phone following up leads? The number one priority for the sales team is to generate leads and convert them to sales.

Other tasks can be delegated to the administration or management team so the sales team can focus on what they are there to do – sell!

Sales management training and coaching

At the end of the day, when sales teams blame poor sales on not having enough time in the day, it is usually a case of lacking focus, poor sales management or poor time management, or perhaps they are just not the right person for the role.

Focused, driven and passionate salespeople achieve goals. Time is money so don’t let it be drained by underperforming team members.

KONA Group specialises in a wide range of services that address sales performance and sales management, executive and leadership coaching, and performance and time management. These customised training and coaching programs drill down to the core of the issue and drive solutions through proven methodologies.

For more information, please email info@www.kona.com.au or call 1300 611 288.

Get Your Sales Team To Use Only Selling Techniques That Work! (Infographic)

Sales training courses are a dime a dozen. For the most part, they’re good…conceptually. Its execution though, generally sucks. It’s at this stage that the kinks and the glitches almost inevitably appear due to either, the implementing guidelines are too complex and not too specific, or the sales reps aren’t motivated enough, or in some cases, simply don’t care. You can’t have a situation like this and stay in business for long. It’ll cost your company too much.  It’ll also cost you your job. What follows are 5 tried and tested selling techniques. They work. They work because they make sense and are easy to adopt. These are no-fuss, straight-to-the-point selling approaches every salesperson should have as an integral part of his selling arsenal. Get Your Sales Team To Use Only Selling Techniques That Work! (Infographic)

DISC Personality Test Sales Training Australia

DISC Personality Test Sales Training Australia

DISC Personality Test Australia Selling is not just about the numbers. That kind of approach may have worked in the past, but now customers want to be engaged with, and not just told all of the technical details of your products and services. Understanding a customer’s personality and communication preferences is now crucial. KONA Group, with over 16 years of experience in sales training in Australia, has crafted a highly effective approach to selling – the Hearts and Minds sales methodology and through the DISC Personality Test, Sales Training Australia programs have proven to deliver outstanding results. Enrol your sales team into the number one DISC Personality Test Sales Training Australia programme and change the way they look at selling forever.

DISC Personality Test Sales Training AustraliaKONA’s Approach.

Our Hearts and Minds sales program has been crafted from deep understanding of the reason why people buy. Pushy sales techniques, pressure tactics and all the other strategies that focus on closing the sale and not the customer don’t deliver long term results. Our DISC Personality Test Sales Training Australia programme is a simple, practical and highly effective approach to selling. It brings to the fore a new way of selling, a new mindset that transforms selling into a process of building relationships with your prospects. Our expert coaches will teach your sales people some practical skills that will transform the results they deliver.

DISC Personality Test Sales Training Australia – What Your Sales Team Will Learn

Your sales team will learn how to: Make Your Investment in DISC Personality Test Sales Training Australia Work For You. Just another sales strategy won’t work. At KONA, our sales training coaches will customise your sales training to suit the needs of your organisation. Effective and Pragmatic – Our Heart & Minds Sales Training Methodology is highly practical and has proven to have increased results for our clients be it in terms of the number of deals closed, sales figures or the number of leads generated. Your sales team will learn the skills and techniques of our Hearts & Minds Sales Training methodology in Sydney and Melbourne and will be able to implement these in their day to day interaction with customers. They will be able to identify and build a Sales Pipeline full of the right opportunities, and build relationships to Manage Key Accounts and close sales quickly, effectively and efficiently. Achieve the results your organisation needs with our bespoke and tailored programmes and don’t waste money on “by the book” or “off the shelf” Sales Training Courses in Sydney and Melbourne Contact KONA today for results driven Sales Training Courses in Sydney and Melbourne. The KONA Group is Australia’s Leading Sales and Sales Management Training and Coaching company and provide Customised Training programs that include: Sales Training & Coaching, Sales Pipeline Training, Key Account Management Training, Call Centre Training & coaching, Negotiation Skills Training & Coaching, Motivational Speakers, HR Consulting; and more. So if you are looking to increase the effectiveness and results of your organisation, contact KONA today on 1300 611 288 or text 0425200883 or email info@www.kona.com.au to discuss how we can help you to improve your organisation’s results.

How Can I Hit Target Before the Month is Over?

4 Tactics to Hit Target Before the Month is Over

In sport you hear a lot of players and coaches talk about ‘game plans’ and ‘structure’ – about how they will play at certain times during the game to get a result.

The danger of this is what do you do if your plan has gone out of the window and you are 20 points down at half time?

Hope is Not a Sales Strategy, so it is pointless sticking with the same game plan and hoping that you will get a result.

Sadly, in sales, too many teams are getting halfway through the month and are behind target, but nothing changes.

To make this worse, they then have a ‘next month will be better’ attitude and decrease their efforts instead of looking for ways to make up the shortfall.

5 Proven tactics to use if you are behind target halfway through the month

Introduce a Power Hour

In 2 recent Sales Training workshops KONA turned training into immediate sales and turned around an organisation’s results by introducing a Power Hour.

All attendees were given a list of selected products, prices and quantities; they then developed and practised what they were going to say; then actually picked up the phones during the sales training workshop and called customers and prospects.

Results:

  • Over $1,000,000 of products sold in ONE HOUR
  • Excess stock cleared and warehouse space created
  • Monthly target smashed

Another client used the same tactic a week later and they made 546 appointments in ONE POWER HOUR!!

Commando Raids

My first job after leaving the Army was with L’Oreal, the international Hairdressing Products Supplier, selling hair colours, perms and setting lotions to hairdressers around the North of England. (Just a little cultural shift between the two jobs!!)

Half way through every month my old boss introduced what he called a ‘Commando Raid’ on the territory of one of his 8 salespeople – a tactic where all 8 reps met early one morning and the local salesperson gave each one of us a list of target customers, then out we went and called on them.

At the end of the day we all got together, shared our wins and celebrated that we had helped the local salesperson get back on target.

30 years later this is a tactic that we have introduced to several KONA clients, and it still works today.

Short term Incentives

Monthly and Quarterly sales commissions and bonuses are an integral part of any sales team’s effectiveness and motivation and help drive their Sales Pipeline.

However as well as the Longer Term Incentives (LTIs) many organisations are successfully linking weekly Short Term Incentives (STIs) to specific tasks or products.

For example, this week…

  • Open up 5 new accounts
  • Sell 30 of Product X
  • Generate $20,000 in revenue

The big advantage of this tactic is it is easy to manage, can be monitored daily with a single phone call, and can turn around a month’s results well before it is too late.

Bundle and Package your Products & Solutions

Every time we go into a retailer we see products bundled and packaged together:

  • A toothbrush with toothpaste
  • A car with 2 years servicing
  • A slice of toast with your coffee
  • A scarf with a jacket
  • A burger and fries and a drink

Often the included product is one the seller has an over stock of, or is looking to introduce to the market as an additional line and source of revenue.

Yet far too many organisations see that tactic as “just for retailers”, which is the wrong attitude and approach.

If you put your mind to it what could you Bundle and Package up in your organisation?

Outbound Customer Service

By definition Customer Service is often seen as a reactive service, typically responding to inbound customer calls or emails.

Yet this doesn’t have to be the case.

There are times in every week where your inbound calls and inquiries are quiet so why not use that time to generate more outbound activity.

In KONA’s Call Centre Training and Customer Service programs we regularly customise a workshop to help inbound teams become more proactive and make outbound calls.

In many cases we include 2 of these 3 previous tactics by combining a Power Hour and Selling Product bundles.

A real life example of this is recently with an organisation selling Power Solutions our Call Centre Specialist Garret Norris helped a client TRIPLE their sales results in only 3 days.

So if you find your salespeople are missing target way too often, what exactly are you doing to change your game plan and the pace of your game before your month turns into just another month of underperformance?

If you would like to discuss how KONA’s Sales Training, Sales Management Training and Call Centre Training will improve your organisation’s results, contact the KONA Group today on 1300 611 288 or info@kona.com.au.

The KONA Group is Australia’s Leading provider of Customised Sales Training and Sales Management Training & Coaching.


Are we a knowledge based economy?

What’s down the track for a knowledge based economy? 

photo-3 OPINION: Not only is its confrontational industrial relations environment seen as a major constraint on innovation, but government statistics show that its investment in R&D lags a long way behind most other industries. The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data on business expenditure on R&D (BERD) shows that of the total $18,849 million invested in R&D across all Australian industries, manufacturing remained the largest contributor at $4,844 million (26 per cent). That outpaced professional, scientific and technical services ($3,753 million, or 20 per cent), financial and insurance services ($3,093 million, or 16 per cent) and mining ($2,830 million, or 15 per cent). Together, these four industries account for 77 per cent of total BERD, while construction contributed $864,103 (4.5 per cent). While the above data looks depressing, it masks the reality of how much innovation really happens in the construction sector. In contrast to the pre-planned, laboratory-based and scientific R&D that typifies others sectors such as manufacturing, innovation in construction normally happens at the ‘coal-face’ in response to day-to-day problems. This means it is largely ‘hidden’ from formal government R&D statistics. However, given that we are inexorably moving toward a knowledge-based future where intellectual property and new ideas will mean the difference between staying ahead of increasing competition or lagging behind, there are also strong arguments that the construction sector should be investing more in formal R&D. So it is worth knowing something about what R&D involves and the many commercial benefits it could bring, if designed and managed effectively. In simple terms, R&D is a knowledge creating process underpinned by rigorous scientific investigation which leads to the commercial development of new services and/or products. R&D can be applied or pure, the form being a response to market developments and having a practical application. Pure R&D is more conceptual and exploratory with the aim of adding to our knowledge base without any specific application. In contrast to applied R&D which has traditionally been the focus of the construction industry, pure R&D has traditionally been the responsibility of government. Government support for pure R&D has always been considered crucial because research shows that most private construction companies, if left to their own devices, would under-invest in this area. With only a few exceptions, the vast majority of construction companies see pure R&D as too risky and time-consuming and are not prepared to tolerate the long-term risks in capturing its benefits. However, as demonstrated by the world’s most innovative companies, when R&D is targeted and managed effectively, it can bring significant commercial benefits. Take for example, British Petroleum’s (BP’s) highly successful and innovative Venture Research Unit which developed and managed one of the world’s most successful corporate R&D programs. BP’s Venture Research Unit was deliberately located outside any of BP’s existing business units to enable it to generate ‘new breakthrough ideas that would lead to new industries and markets for BP.’ Working under the management of BP’s Venture Research Advisory Council and in close collaboration with the world’s leading universities, BP’s innovation strategy involved signing up the world’s most gifted pioneering researchers whose interests were aligned with the business. Rather than following the traditional approaches to R&D which typically involves commissioning pre-determined business-led projects, BP provided these top researchers with the resources to pursue their own ideas and to launch radical challenges to existing ideas outside any external business influences and constraints. This process not only preserved the ideology of independent, unbiased research, but was designed to promote uninhibited thinking. BP chose its team of researchers on the basis of whether their research would radically change thinking about something that was very important to society and to BP’s business. Once accepted into the Venture Research Unit’s team, BP’s goal was to help these leading researchers bring this about. There was an exceptional lightness of touch in managing this research. The only requirement imposed on the academic team was that they were to keep BP regularly informed of what they were doing so that BP could be the first to translate these ideas into marketable products and services to for their customers. Researchers were not concerned directly with the commercialization process. This was entirely BP’s responsibility and once a researcher received BP’s money, they were free to use it in any way they liked. BP did not dictate projects, fields of study, problems or timescales and eventually the unit’s funding was expanded to a consortium of business partners with complementary interests in BP’s demand and supply chain such as ICI, Sony and DuPont. The beauty of BP’s collaborative approach was that it avoided the classic problem of selecting research proposals and constraining the freedom of researchers to follow their passions and strengths. By supporting individual leading researchers and their research aspirations rather than specific research projects, BP was able to pursue a liberal approach which drew knowledge from a range of disciplines and business partners. Furthermore, by hand-choosing their research partners and by minimizing the normal time, resource and bureaucratic constraints associated with scientific research, BP not only reduced the barriers to innovation but they also reduced risk since the researchers they supported were almost certain to succeed. The key question and risk then became how to convert that research into ideas for BP’s benefit. The research that was implemented proved to be extremely successful and their return-on-investment more than covered the relatively small investment in the overall initiative. While there are too few examples like the above in the construction sector, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, Arup is renowned for investing significantly in both pure and applied research with a longer-term view. Arup is reported to invest approximately three per cent of its annual turnover in R&D and has a clear road map for its R&D which extends over 20 years into the future based on key drivers of change in key business areas. Arup also integrates research-based KPIs into performance reviews for staff who are required to publish and collaborate with universities in creating new knowledge for the benefit of the business and society at large. Arup’s research program is driven by both ‘pull’ from its business leaders and ‘push’ from universities and research network partners. Research is seen as vital for its strategic business planning to ensure that it is equipped for future trends and that it can capitalize on new opportunities to improve its business and enter new markets. As in BP’s case, Arup’s research team’s work involves forging and maintaining links with the best quality universities, researchers and research establishments, no matter where they are. Arup also works closely with government research funding and advisory bodies around the world to lobby for certain priority areas of funding and to leverage its own resources. Arup has arguably generated more knowledge than any other firm in the construction industry and has benefited enormously as a result. Indeed, many of Arup’s most successful business units have arisen out of its willingness to allow its staff members to pursue their own passions and interests within the work environment. Importantly, while this strategy has inevitably involved some risk and failure, it has also enabled Arup to build a global reputation for innovation, attract the world’s brightest and most engaged staff and to be first mover in a number of new markets and reap the significant benefits associated with this. While contracting is not generally synonymous with R&D, Laing O’Rourke also has a strong commitment to R&D through the formation and continued success of its Engineering Excellence Group (EnExG). It is not only Laing O’Rourke’s spending commitment to innovation and R&D (1.9 per cent of revenue) that led to it being recognized as one of the top 10 most innovative Australian organizations in 2014 and 2015. Rather, it is how these funds are utilized through the EnExG, and other activities of the wider organization, that makes Laing O’Rourke’s approach to innovation distinctly successful in an industry that often promotes similarity. The EnExG is a highly cross-disciplinary team that has offices in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Now five years old, it employs a broad mixture of intellects and experiences from both within and outside of the traditional construction industry, with the aim of providing the perspectives and insights that can only be gained at the overlapping boundaries of the traditional disciplines of knowledge. By providing the environment for challenging and disruptive ideas to take seed and grow, the EnExG aims to drive fundamental change in the practices and culture of the broader construction industry. This means much of the work of the EnExG is not solving problems through innovation, but rather providing fundamentally new methods and modes of thinking and working. The EnExG has pioneered the development and implementation of disruptive technologies such as 3D printing, augmented reality and biometric measurements, among many others, for use by the Laing O’Rourke workforce and clients. Along with this foundational development the EnExG acts as a cultivation space for promising and innovative commercial ventures. One of these, SunShift™, has been awarded several highly competitive government grants and been the subject of much media attention for its potential to reshape the economics of renewable power generation. While not every consultancy or construction company has the resources to invest in the types of highly structured and formalized R&D programs described above, it is worth remembering that all construction firms, large and small, exist in an increasingly globalised and knowledge-based economy where there is an ever greater reliance on our intellectual and creative capabilities than on our physical inputs or natural resources. We need to work smarter not just harder and without new ideas the Australian construction industry and the jobs that it provides will wither away in the face on growing and smart international competition. Thanks to Dr Rowan Braham of Laing O’Rourke’s Engineering Excellence Group for providing information relating to its activities.  Martin Loosemore is a Professor of construction management at UNSW. This opinion piece was first published on Sourceable.

SALES EXCUSE 1: NO ONE IS BUYING!

It’s one of the most frustrating things about sales – your team cultivates a promising lead, make their pitch, and the customer says no. However, what is more frustrating is the excuses that come from the team when they are not meeting targets. Customers say no for all kinds of reasons: they don’t like the product, they don’t engage with you, they don’t have the money, the time or the inclination. But the big reason that people say no is they haven’t been given a compelling reason to buy. Sales is seduction, and you’ve messed up the kiss! So what can you do about it? It’s time to rethink and refocus your team with sales management training to start thinking about why they are not converting. Offering a deal is not enough In sales, the value proposition is everything. If you’re selling vacuum cleaners, the value proposition is that your particular brand and model has the most powerful suction, the longest warranty and/or the best quality build. However, this kind of value proposition is generic and does not present a strong point of difference. If all you have to offer is some hokey lines about quality or rate of suction, then there is no compelling reason for the consumer to buy, no competitive point of difference, and a ‘no’ is expected. Understand and communicate the value proposition Apple’s marketing strategy for its computers and smartphones barely mentions their technical specifications, even though they are state-of-the-art. Apple instead focuses on their image – that of creativity, innovation and passion. The effect is to create a value proposition that goes far beyond the physical products they sell. Apple has created an image that is different from its competitors and that sells the product. The lesson here is to rethink how you and your team are presenting your products or services. What you do and how you do it is important, but why should also be a major part of the pitch. Clients and customers want to be part of something, to feel that they are gaining an advantage or fulfilling a need. Engage with them and demonstrate why your product is unique and most suited to them, and what needs will be met. Don’t ask, don’t get A firm lead has been worked up, pitch prepared and delivered flawlessly. At the end, you say “any questions?” and they say, “we’ll get back to you” – and of course, they don’t. If your pitch doesn’t contain some hard sales questions or offers, then you’ve wasted your time. To convert leads, you have to ask buying questions, give them a reason to buy. Is there a limited time offer? A free service or trial period you can give that leads to a long term paid arrangement? A demonstration of value that makes it irresistible? Simply reciting your product or service’s good points is not good enough. There needs to be bait on the end of your hook – don’t let them leave the room or hang up the phone without making sure they understand what you are selling, and that they need to buy. Sales management training Sales is all about understanding consumer needs and having the confidence in your product that it meets these needs. If you aren’t converting good leads, then something’s wrong with how you’re pitching. Estee Lauder said “If you don’t sell, it’s not the product that’s wrong, it’s you.” Go back to the fundamentals. Every sale needs to be made around a value proposition. If your products and services are good but you’re getting more no than yes, then the customers you’re targeting haven’t been given a compelling reason to act. By rethinking your strategy with sales management training – shifting from what and how to why, and by asking relevant questions and setting up calls to action – you can drive customer decisions in your favour. It’s time to stop making excuses. If you want to take things to the next level and start increasing conversion rates, KONA Group has transformed companies’ performance through proven sales methodologies with sales management training and coaching programs customised to companies’ individual needs. For more information, please email info@www.kona.com.au or call 1300 611 288.