Sales is a process that requires a “system” to be optimally successful. There are
numerous sales systems available – no need to elaborate here. If an MLS is not
being provided with a system by their up line, I recommend they scout a sales
system that reflects their personal and professional presentation style. As of this
writing, Google had 23,400,000 matches for the phrase “sales system,” and nearly
3X that many for “selling system.” Something on the first or second page will likely
fit your needs.
As every salesperson acknowledges, a sales system begins with a numbers game –
the basics of targeting X dollars and X closes by making X presentations as a result
of X appointments, which requires X phone calls, from X number of leads. If your
up line is doing its job, it should be providing you with sufficient leads to allow you
to reach your target.
Of course, not all suspects are prospects. And not all prospects can become good
customers. Sometimes there’s just not a good fit in terms of your solutions and
their situation. That’s where proper qualification comes in. This first step of your
sales process is determining whether or not you, as salesperson, want to do
business with this particular company or individual. It’s different than traditional
product sales in that you are interviewing a prospect to qualify them for your
product or service. And when you use that approach, a good system leads to a
logical conclusion of whether what the MLS has is a good fit for what this
A good sales process always contains well-defined benchmarks–it may be 5 or 7
or 9-steps, but each step requires a pause and a quick synopsis of where everyone
is in the discussion and whether we are in agreement to advance to the next step.
Each benchmark produces, in essence, a “yes, we are in agreement”, or “no,
we are not.” Where there’s a “no,” the merchant already has everything you’re
discussing, his equipment is current, his service is excellent, and/or his rate is
competitive. The idea is to uncover pain and problems, and not everyone is so
beleaguered at any given moment.
How often you end up with a prospect who is frustratingly delighted with everything
depends on how, and by whom, the appointment was made. If the MLS makes his
own appointments, greater emphasis on pre-qualification is clearly in order.
An effective MLS is as much detective as salesperson, tasked with uncovering pains,
including those the prospect does not even realize he suffers from. “I didn’t know
this equipment could do checks, or I didn’t realize that auto settle at night could be
included, or that this equipment would authorize or guarantee checks” are common
responses to probative questions. This is pain through education and it’s a potential
gold mine for a creative MLS.
So, follow the process, get those yeses, and make the sales. But never forget to
embrace “no,” because it uncovers hidden agendas, and, more importantly, true pain.
It is a word to be loved. And it’s a calibrator. Both yes and no provide valuable
intelligence about your prospect, and are qualifiers. The key is to be a good interviewer,
one who asks the questions that lead to a logical conclusions through the person’s
own answers. If this is beginning to sound a little Dale Carnegie-ish, I believe there
is much to be learned from those classes.
Carnegie’s Speaking class is of particular value because tonal qualities and body
language are explored. People absorb new information differently, some visually,
others by hearing or reading – or a combination. Knowing who’s doing what by
tuning-in to the nuances of the prospect’s responses will help you speak the
customer’s language, in more ways than one.
A widely distributed cartoon (also a paperback, I discovered recently) purports that,
“the sale begins when the customer says “NO!” I agree, though with qualification.
There are fine lines between “no, I do not agree with that, “no, you have not made
your point”, and “no, and I need to end this conversation.” Understanding the
difference is critical, but three “no’s of any variety means you are out.
At the third” no,” understand that it’s over. The fat lady is singing. Ask for a referral,
and do the wrap. That is the conventional wisdom, and it is valid.
The leading sales systems in-place today have been honed for decades, and in some
cases, centuries. And for you to succeed, it’s imperative that the process be followed
to the letter. Don’t embellish or attempt to improve it. This may seem too “canned”
for your taste, and the idea of answering objection #47 with response B-95 may seem
a little obsessive. But there are only so many objections and obstacles, and a limited
cadre of potential responses. The best use of this highly evolved material is for you
to read it and rehearse it until it becomes you.
Better still, rehearse in front of mirror, or videotape yourself. You will be amazed at
how your natural facial expressions reflect upon the person you’re talking with.
Develop the craft of an actor who is polished, and engaged with his audience.
To do otherwise is to mimic a bad dinnertime telemarketer.
Once you have established a rhythm for the presentation, its verbiage may become
old-sounding and repetitive to your ears. Remember, though, it is always new to
your prospect. And satisfying their needs is what’s important.
If you follow the steps, hear some no's and overcome them, they often morph into
In this field, yes makes you money, and no saves you money. The only way to lose
yeses, and, in the logical process, result in a sale. At the very least, you will have
minimized the amount of time wasted by acting on signals. Ignoring negative signals
means you just move the barrier higher – the second “no” is often more emphatic
than its predecessor.
is if your prospect is apathetic – a very unlikely outcome, indeed if you use a good
Biff Matthews is President of Thirteen Inc, the parent company of
CardWare International. He is one of 12 founding members of the ETA,
serving on its board, advisory board and committees. (740) 522-2150