Be a sales superstar

June 19, 2015 -  By

iS20656499stock-businessThe economy is heating up. Have you altered your sales style to take advantage? The following proven approaches will help you become a sales superstar.

Build emotional bonds

At the heart of it, people make emotional decisions and use facts to rationalize their choices. Your job is to help prospective clients realize—from an emotional point of view—why they need your company and its solutions. By selling on emotion, you can remove yourself from price competition.

There are two ways to sell on emotion: 1). Uncover and explore the anticipated pleasure your prospect will gain by hiring you; and 2). Uncover and explore the problems your prospect will solve by hiring you.

This second way is usually more powerful than the first, depending on your client’s triggers. However, salespeople often focus on the wrong problems. Mistakenly, they focus on the landscape problem instead of focusing on the personal problems that are being caused by the landscape problem. Once you uncover the personal problems, you can explore the pain they’re causing your prospect and help your clients make emotionally motivated decisions.

Waste less time

Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese general and author of the influential war strategy text The Art of War, is credited with saying: “The battle is won or lost before it’s ever fought.” This idea applies to all of us who have to travel to make a sales call. You want to be set up for sales success before you ever step foot on a prospect’s property. Arm yourself with the tools and attitude needed to reduce wasted time from bad leads and unnecessary follow-up appointments.

Ask the right questions

A sales superstar is not someone with the gift of gab. Rather, it’s someone with the gift of listening and asking the right questions. You need your clients to do most of the talking—between 51 percent and 75 percent—but you don’t want to lose control of the conversation. You find balance by being the person asking the right questions. Think of it like a talk-show host interviewing an important guest. The guests are flattered, and yet the conversation is controlled by the effective questioning skills of the host.

Measure and manage success

It’s been said that, “If you measure it, you can manage and improve it.” In sales, this concept means you can improve your success by measuring and holding yourself accountable to certain sales indicators. Most landscape contractors are so busy chasing leads they feel too busy to stop, measure and reflect on how to improve their numbers.

At a minimum, you should track your win/loss ratio. Many contractors accept far too low of a win ratio. How can you raise the bar? Identify your win ratio and compare your results with high-achieving companies in our industry. There’s a big difference between industry averages and above-average performance. Anything is possible, when you see how others are doing it.

Don’t over-rely on your strengths

You’ve spent your life developing landscape skills, like design, horticulture or hardscaping. These skills have helped you make sales and win new clients. But they’ve also helped you lose sales and lose new clients. When people become highly trained, they tend to over-rely on their skill set—maybe even showing off those skills to new prospects. A sales superstar understands how his strengths can get in the way of building rapport and uncovering the core customer needs. Remember, clients don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care about their issues.

Ask for the sale

No matter how good you are at building rapport and showing value, you need to master the process of “asking for the sale.” It’s difficult for many salespeople, and it’s often done incorrectly. Salespeople will put off asking for the sale, and even put off talking about price, for fear of being rejected. But it’s in hearing your prospective clients’ objections that you learn their assumptions and misunderstandings. You can’t close a sale until you learn about and address the doubts.

There are four ways to measure sales success: 1). More sales of the right kind; 2). Higher sales margins; 3). More efficient selling (higher closing ratio); and 4). More free time. The latter you can use to spend more time with your current customers, with your family or networking with new prospects. When you analyze your approach, look for opportunities to improve in all four areas. If you do so, you will become a sales superstar.

Photo: ©istock.com/Ivan Bliznetsov

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About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit www.GetTheLeadersEdge.com.

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