BECOMING THE OPTIMAL SALESPERSON®
By Dan Caramanico
Persistence is a critical attribute of the Optimal Salesperson® but is often misunderstood. Most people think of persistence as that quality in a salesperson which allows them to follow up and follow up and to never tire and to never give up until they get the sale. This is a great work ethic and is one that is admirable and very useful in some professions. But it can be counterproductive and it is not what I am talking about for the salesperson. Weak salespeople with a strong work ethic will get by, but to get to the top in sales you need a different kind of persistence.
To be the Optimal Salesperson® you need to be willing to fight internal battles with that same type of persistence. When you are uncomfortable asking a question about when a prospect will make a decision, you must be persistent within yourself and ask it anyway. If you ask a prospect how much money they would like to spend and the prospect gives you an evasive answer, you want to accept it and move on to something more comfortable, like how you can solve their problem for them. But you must be persistent with yourself and fight the instinct to move on and ask a follow up question to get at the financial information you need to have. If you are not persistent on the sales call you will find yourself working way too hard for the sales you get.
Here’s a quick example. Joe asks the prospect how much money he has to spend for this project the prospect says he doesn’t know and Joe accepts the answer and ends up writing a proposal for $15,900. When the prospect gets the proposal he is shocked at how high it is and embarks on a task of calling other suppliers. Joe follows up for two weeks calling every day or so. The prospect ducks the calls or tells Joe he just hasn’t had time to review the proposal. Eventually Joe finds out that his competitor got the order. Joe had a good work ethic but lacked persistence. Dave, Joe’s competitor, met with the same prospect uncovered the same problem and asked the same money question. But when given the same evasive answer, Dave persisted. He said “You must have a ballpark idea of what you are looking to spend, can you share it with me?” He stayed right there until he get the prospect to tell him that he wanted to be under $10,000. Dave’s persistence had paid off. Dave told the prospect to get all of the problems solved it would be more like $15,000 but he do the critical part for about $10,000 and asked if that would be acceptable. The prospect said yes. Dave closed the deal right there and submitted the proposal the next day and got started.
If you are persistent in the right places you will save yourself a lot of work and frustration.
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.net/affiliate.html?w=OSP001&p=D004