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23 Dec 2019 / durhamlane

durhamlane’s 12 Sales Tips of Christmas

Yasmin Wilkinson

by Yasmin Wilkinson

As our early Christmas present to you we’re sharing our ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ sales tips, as we think they’ll accelerate your sales performance in 2020. 

1 Killer Question 

It is vital that you understand the needs of any potential customer to work out if the opportunity is mutually beneficial for both parties. This coincides with our number one mantra ‘Business Fit, Business Value’, as you must always consider the needs of your customer. That’s why having a consultative question-based approach is an integral part of our Selling at a Higher-Level methodology.  

To understand the types of questions that need to be asked, you can refer to the three levels of questioning as a guide, which will lead you to that high impact killer question. Level 1 questions are top line conversational openers to build rapport. This will lead you into the rest of the conversation where you can begin your level 2 questions. Level 2 questions are situational and will give the conversation context, in which you will ask about a system or process in order to take the conversation down a particular path. Level 3 questions are the high-impact, killer questions that will evoke an emotional response from your client.  

Level 3 questions need to be dropped intelligently into the conversation and be based around your level 2 question. Ask these questions in a smart, engaging, emotional and friendly manner at the right time and you will shine light in a dark area of that person’s business that they want to fix or areas of pain. The most important take-away from this is that the timing of the questions you are asking is key and ensuring you do not jump in with the level 3 questions too soon is crucial to a successful sale. 

For examples of each question level, watch the video below.

2 Discovery Tips  

Being able to ‘Define & Understand’ what a business does and how you add value is one, if not the most important part of the sales process. However, it is often rushed as sales reps want to move a sale forward quickly to propose and close business. Often this is because we have the misconception that customers are very busy. Without a clear understanding of the challenges a prospective buyer is facing, you can’t propose an appropriate business fit solution or understand the blockers that can obstruct a sale and will, therefore, struggle to close opportunities. 

Our two top tips for discovery calls are open questioning (refer to Sales Tip 6) and active listening (fully listening and engaging with your prospect to show them that you are interested in the conversation). It is important to remember that discovery should continue throughout the sales cycle to ensure you continually understand the opportunity (things can often change at the buyers end).

3 Sales and Marketing Challenges 

Some of the biggest challenges facing B2B professionals today are; a) salespeople being unable to engage with stakeholders meaningfully and, b) marketers struggling to generate leads and prove ROI. 

3 simple tips to improve these areas are… 

  1. Get your salespeople to embrace marketing by engaging with content and understanding how digital tactics can generate inbound leads and accelerate outbound prospecting. This will alleviate pressure from the complicated and time-consuming sales-cycle that we all know.  
  2. Have salespeople write content for LinkedIn and other social platforms will involve them with the marketing process, sometimes called social selling. This will connect both sales and marketing and allow them to work in a more aligned way.  
  3. Marketers working with salespeople by taking and qualifying inbound sales calls and becoming invested in the sales process to be responsible for part of the sales funnel. This will help with ROI and put focus on generating leads.  

This is something we are proud of at durhamlane as we are blending sales and marketing tactics through our demand generation services to generate and accelerate commercial outcomes.  

4 Attention Grabbers 

Four attention grabbers follow the ‘Relevant, Concise, Topical, Actioned’ model for capturing senior level attention. The message must be: 

  • Relevant to the recipient
  • Concise with all the information needed but not too lengthy 
  • Topical meaning relevant to recent events, speeches, interviews or reports  
  • Actioned – must have a strong call to action  

Following this model will majorly help your prospecting and allow you to generate more leads. Secondly, this will greatly help you gain the interest of the decision makers involved in the sales cycle. 

5 Steps to Success 

It is crucial to formulate well defined steps into your sales process. This will allow sales professionals and business leaders to understand what needs to be achieved throughout their sales cycle.  

durhamlane’s Selling at a Higher Level methodology is built on five key stages, around which sales tools can be implemented to focus on ‘Business Fit, Business Value’. This generates long term customer relationships and accelerate the performance of sales teams. 

Our Selling at a Higher Level workshop allows participants to understand how trends in buyer behaviour shape the responsibilities of sale professionals and business leaders. Throughout this workshop the team will understand how to input processes from our Selling at a Higher Level methodology, devise relevant KPIs, adopt durhamlane sales mantras and gain a deeper understanding of their wider team- these are just a few ways in which durhamlane can accelerate your sales performance. 

6 Open Questions 

Asking your prospect an open-ended question will make sure that you don’t receive a one word reply and let you delve into a deeper conversation. 

Starting your questions with ‘what, why, when, how, where and who’ (the 6 honest serving men) will be the best method to gather information from your prospects. The other side to this is asking questions starting with ‘is, do or would’ which would spark a closed response and you would not gather the information you require.  

Examples of open-ended questions would be: ‘What would you change about your current solution?’ or ‘who controls your budget?’ rather than ‘do you control your budget’, which would result in a yes or no response.  

At durhamlane we focus on open-ended questions to ensure we can gain as much information as possible from our prospects as it results in more highly qualified lead and opportunities.  

7 Core Criteria 

Our ‘Magic 35’ sales qualification contains seven core criteria that allows you to have sales conversations with purpose. In these conversations, having a framework in mind to guide the questions you ask will ensure you are headed in the right direction.  

The Magic 35 qualification toolkit includes;  

  • Budget 
  • Defined need 
  • Decision maker 
  • Time scales 

If you have this criterion in mind when conversing with others, it will allow you to gather the correct information to ensure the product/service is right for your prospect and the prospect is right for your business.

8 Common Fillers 

To understand why your sales pitches and calls aren’t getting effective results, you may want to think about filler words. 

A filler is a meaningless word, phrase or sound that marks a pause or hesitation in speech. Understanding filler words is detrimental to your sales calls, as they can heavily dilute your message.  

Common filler words would be ‘erm, um, like, okay, right, you know, kinda and yeah’. Being straight and clear when delivering any business conversation will be a lot more effective.

9 Sales Mantras  

At durhamlane we have embedded our nine sales mantras into the way we work. From ‘Professional Persistence’ to ‘It’s Up to You’, our mantras are at the core of what we do to ensure we conduct ourselves in the correct manner.  

In any business, creating meaningful and long-lasting relationships is extremely important and here at durhamlane we’ve found that our mantras have heavily supported this and our values.

10 Big Objections 

An objection is when a potential prospect will express concerns on an aspect of what you’re selling. An objection handle is when a salesperson alleviates the concerns of a prospect, with the way in which they respond to their query.

Ten examples of objections are;  

  1. Your product is too expensive
  2. We don’t have any budget left this year
  3. We are already working with such and such
  4. I’m not authorised to sign off on this
  5. We’re too busy to make a change right now
  6. We don’t need to change ‘x’
  7. We don’t want to change anything
  8. I don’t see how their will be any ROI
  9. I’ve never heard of your company
  10. A prematurely terminated phone call

There are many ways to handle objections but being aware of these challenges can greatly benefit your sales calls. durhamlane’s coaching and training programmes aim to help you overcome these common sales challenges and ensure your salespeople are confident in what they’re selling.

11 Buying Signals 

Buying signals can help you take charge of a selling situation, as you can begin to understand how your prospective client is feeling. Positive buying signals can reveal to you that your prospect may be interested in your product/service, and noticing these signals can largely impact your prospecting.  

Key buying signals include: 

  1. Positive body language  
  2. A change in body language from positive to negative 
  3. Asking questions about the details of your offering 
  4. Asking questions about budgets/prices 
  5. Wanting to understand more about your business / products 
  6. Reverting the conversation back to earlier parts & asking new questions
  7. Asking to speak to existing customers  
  8. Asking about potential start dates/ length of projects 
  9. Asking terms and conditions  
  10. Wanting to understand the next steps 
  11. Asking to purchase your product 

Keep an eye out for buying signals as your prospects may be keener than you think! 

12 Coaching Steps 

durhamlane’s sales coaching passport enables sales professionals to accelerate their performance through personalised coaching & training.   

To understand whether you need this in your business, you may want to ask yourself if your sales team is performing as well as they could be, or if you are continuously seeing average sales results. If so, our sales coaching passport may be the right fit for you as it can be tailored to ensure your team will grow pipeline, profits and revenue.   

Our sales coaching passport features a 12-step coaching plan to structure your training to ensure you & your teams’ skills are developed in the right areas.

So, there you have it, our 12 days of Christmas sales tips! We hope you’ve found them helpful and if there’s anything you need extra information on don’t hesitate to get in touch.

For more sales insights follow us on LinkedIn or contact us discuss how we can help your organisation. Call 0191 481 3800 or email info@durhamlane.com.

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