One of the hardest and most stressful hires to make is a salesperson. Why? Because an interview with a prospective sales hire is a pitch. He’s pitching you to win the job.
During a typical interview with a salesperson, he’s on his best behavior. He tells you the right things and shares only the best parts of his background. Rather than painting a complete picture, the interview narrows the lens, providing you with a mere glimpse of this person. This is why we’re often disappointed when the guy we interviewed is not the one who shows up on Monday morning.
Scott WintripHow to Hire Salespeople Who Know How to Sell
Competitive golfers and dancers keep their competition top of mind, knowing their influence can undermine them at any moment. Just the noise from these competitors can cause them to slice a drive or miss a step, creating a lost opportunity which ends up losing the match. The competition ends up stealing their trophies, their winnings and even their self-confidence and pride. The real power of these competitors comes from where they live—right between the ears. That’s why we often hear people saying they are competing with themselves, as they know that the only real competition, the thing that can get in their way, is their own thinking.
Just like these athletic professionals, competition for customers and candidates is not on the outside, but in our own competitive thinking. The other companies who provide similar services are not competitors, but merely potential distractions. What they do, how they do it, the price they charge and any games they play only matter if we let it.
There is enough noise that comes from the critic that lives in the human head. Isn’t it best not to add to the cacophony by simply ignoring what other people do?
“You can allow the noise from the competition to fade into the background. You can choose to act as if you were the market of one for the people you want to serve.” – Bernadette Jiwa, Marketing: A Love Story
While less is more is a popular statement, many people find that saying it is much easier than living and working in this manner. Achieving better sales, recruiting better talent, and being more effective as a leader requires doing less while focusing on always taking action on the next right thing.
Here are the three steps to create the space and focus needed to become a leaner and more proficient leader, salesperson, or recruiter:
Identify which aspects of your job you are attempting to perform at or near perfection.
Instead of investing the extra time on getting each item done perfectly, focus on just getting each of them right.
Repeat as often as possible.
Perfection is overrated and often takes time away from getting other equally important things done. Focusing on success, not perfection, not only gets the job done, and done well, but allows for doing much more in much less time.
Scott WintripAchieving More by Doing Less – The Lean Approach to Success
Powerful facts are always more compelling than platitudes and generalities. In this second of four videos on letting Letting Your Success Do the Selling, I share how to deliver these in a soundbite fashion.
Scott WintripJust the Facts – Letting Your Success Do the Selling
It’s often said that salespeople should listen more than talk, however, those spouting this wisdom typically are the ones who continue to inundate those around them with voluminous amounts of words. In fact, most salespeople spew a stream of factoids, details, and feature-benefit chunks of information all over prospective clients.
No one likes to be thrown up on, and it’s certainly no way to start or grow an important relationship. Instead, our industry must adhere to a better standard:
Say little, ask a lot.
When you live by this rule, you always hear more while keeping the buyer engaged in a much more compelling conversation. Since the buyer always believes him or herself but only sometimes, if ever, believes you, you’re letting the better closer close. And, when you consistently conduct yourself in this manner, important comments you make are actually heard versus dismissed, since you’ve demonstrated that you share only important details.
Not only is this standard soothing to buyers, like a spoonful of Pepto Bismol, it’s also a mega-dose of vitamins that establishes and grows healthy, long-lasting partnerships.
Scott WintripMegavitamins for Customer Relationships
Car fanatic or not, there is a lot to like about a Tesla and how this electric vehicle is a model for better business. Acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 3.1 seconds, which the Model S can now achieve, is the kind of rapid velocity staffing and recruitment customers can experience when firms shift from reactive to active recruiting. Most buyers need that talented person yesterday, so speeding that individual to them to start work today is how a growing number of firms are zooming past their competitors.
Even though automobile dealers have lots of power and sway (too much if you ask me), Tesla powers its sales without caving in to the traditional, commoditized dealership model, choosing instead to sell out of stores in upscale shopping malls. The best staffing and recruiting firms also avoid the commodity game by negotiating value, not price, while approaching buyers in ways that attract attention instead of repelling them from even answering the phone.
Visit one of those stories and you find that less is more when it comes to the components that allow Teslas to achieve rapid velocity. Unlike a gasoline engine with hundreds of moving parts, Tesla electric motors have only one moving piece: the rotor. It’s this lean simplicity that helps make it so fast and nimble. Getting lean in our business, especially in eliminating all the wasted time and effort in the recruiting process (called Lean Recruiting), speeds talent acquisition, allows candidates to get to work more quickly, and staffing and recruiting firms to be more equitably rewarded for the value they provide.
In just two minutes the salesperson had gotten the client to say “yes” to giving his firm a shot at filling their needs. Had he stopped there, all would have been right and good in his world. Unfortunately, he continued to talk, extolling the features and benefits of the staffing services provided by his company. The “yes” turned into a “no” after the customer recanted, deciding to take time to think over his decision. Now that customer is buying from another firm, one I suspect whose salesperson didn’t kill an affirmative decision.
Often, salespeople don’t know when to shut up, especially when they’re focused on what they plan to say instead of hearing what the customer needs to share. Instead of deals that are done, their over-sharing causes business opportunities to come undone.
Selling is not telling, and even though many salespeople will say they know this, they keep talking anyways. When we shut up and sell we ask first, listen second, and only comment briefly (nine seconds or less is the rule) once we thoroughly understand what the customer needs and wants.
Shutting up may not be the most exciting way to sell, but the results it achieves are exhilarating.
Many companies have focused on hiring either hunters or farmers, depending on the current needs within their sales organizations. The problem with this strategy is that those who are good at hunting down new business are not as good, or do even harmful things, when they attempt to develop more business (farming) within existing accounts.
That’s where the Sales Architect comes in to the picture. These individuals are highly proficient at both hunting and farming. This video tells you more about this profile.
Resumes are incredibly flawed sales tools that prove the common saying that “less is more.” Case in point comes from a salesperson new to the staffing and recruitment industry. Instead of the resume he sent to the buyer creating buy-in, it’s generating pushback as the hiring manager is questioning why the candidate for a contract role has worked at seven companies in the past 10 years. The answer—each of these was a contract assignment. Yet, this fact did nothing to allay the concerns of the buyer, interfering with the salesperson’s ability to close him on even just talking with this candidate via telephone.
Less really is more when it comes to how much we sell and the sales tools we employ. Here are three of the top 20 ways to close more by selling less:
Instead of soliloquies, speak in soundbites (ideally, nine seconds or less).
Rather than scheduling interviews, set up working interviews, allowing the buyer to experience the candidate.
When something on paper is required, submit accomplishment profiles instead of resumes, highlighting the details that matter instead of the minutiae that creates confusion.
Giving the customer more space to close him or herself can only happen if we simplify the process. And since buyers always believe themselves and only sometimes, if ever, believe us, letting the better closer close (them, not us) is worth the lessening of our efforts, and letting them feeling more in control.
Talk may be cheap, but salespeople often spare no expense when it comes to spending lots of time saying lots of words. That is why I created the Sales Mantra:
Say little, ask a lot.
I’ve been told by many of the sales leaders and salespeople I’ve had the honor of working with over the years that this one concept alone has impacted both the quantity and quality of their business.
Since words alone are not enough, there is a second part of the Sales Mantra:
Say little, act a lot.
Beyond our talking, the act of doing is what really matters most. This includes:
Instead of saying how good you are, showing it.
In lieu of telling buyers that you’re different, demonstrating differences that are truly meaningful to them.
Rather than talking about growth, doing what it takes to make growth happen.
In place of making commitments that aren’t always kept, making them and exceeding them.
We can’t talk our way into the hearts and minds of buyers, but we can act our way into their consciousness by saying little, asking a lot, and acting a lot. Your competitors will find that a hard act to follow.