ON BECOMING THE OPTIMAL SALESPERSON®
By Dan Caramanico
TWO WORDS NEVER TO USE ON A SALES CALL
NEVER ask the prospect what is in his or her budget. I know that sounds like heresy which violates a cardinal principal of sales. I want you to find out how much they are willing to spend. I want you to have an in depth conversation about money. I just don’t want you to use the word “budget”. The word budget sounds like a proprietary word. A “budget” is a confidential element of a profit and loss statement. So prospects are instinctively reluctant to share it with you. There is no sense in putting additional obstacles in your path. So ask the question just don’t use the word “budget”. You might say “How much were you hoping to spend”? Or “Did you have a figure in mind?” Don’t give up until you get a number, just leave the word “budget” out of the conversation.
Here’s another one for you. NEVER use the words “decision maker”. When talking to a prospect. You should never ask “so, who is the decision maker?” I know this sounds like more sales heresy. However, there are a couple of good reasons for this. First of all, everyone is a decision maker of some sort. Even the gate keeper gets to decide if you get through to the boss. Increasingly you will find that there is no one decision maker. It’s a process that companies go through for major purchases. One person researches it; another recommends it. Someone else influences the decision but doesn’t have a vote and someone (or a committee) gives final approval. It is better to ask “What is the decision process for this kind of purchase”. Or “Who is involved in the decision”. Another good reason not to ask is “Are you the decision maker?” This question can be interpreted as demeaning or it can put the prospect in an awkward position. What is she supposed to say “No, I’m just a peon around here.” Worse yet, they may claim to be the decision maker meaning that they get to decide whether the product will work in the application. You interpret that to mean that they can sign the purchase order. Later you find out that three other people have to sign off before a purchase can be authorized.
Talk about money and uncover how decisions are made. Just don’t just don’t use the words that will elicit a misleading response or create more obstacles for you to get over.
Dan Caramanico is a salesforce development expert and he is the author of The Optimal Salesperson® One of Selling power’s top ten books for 2010. Get his weekly 1-minute video sales tips and some free sales training: http://www.optimalsalesperson.