Trying Out Sales Techniques

Mike Humphries smartPRENEUR Blog Series

Trying the Unknown.  

In previous parts of this sales blog we have discussed several topics designed to give you a chance to improve sales success, build better customer relationships and enjoy the job of selling more. Future installments will cover additional ways to make selling more successful while building stronger relationships with your customers. No doubt for some people in the integrator sales business most of this will be all new and perhaps a bit strange. For others it will be some of the familiar with (I hope) a few new and valuable pieces of information mixed in as well. 

For most people the idea to try something new might initially be a bit uncomfortable. But if you are reading this installment or any previous sections of this blog you probably are open to the possibility of better ways to do some parts of your job selling and closing deals. Today’s blog talks about what to do when encountering those doubts about trying something new.

How you personally conduct your own sales process depends on a number of things. Maybe you are blessed with natural abilities and skills that have worked well for you so far. And as a result you don’t even think much about how you do it or how others think sales should be conducted. Others in the integrator business have had varying degrees of sales training ranging from just a little bit here and there to full scale formal sales training. No matter where you fall on this spectrum of experience and philosophy you probably share that feeling of doubt and skepticism from time to time when hearing about a suggested sales skill. You really wonder how it could possibly work for you, or if it even applies in your life and career. We all have felt that way at some time.

Early in my sales career I took a respected multi week sales training course that covered the basics on all aspects of selling. The instructor anticipated our concerns and doubts. Certainly I had more than a few. He had seen it many times and consequently had a good suggestion that can work for any of us even today: if you are in doubt, pick your worst prospect and try it out on them! If you already feel like your prospect is not very likely to become a customer anyway what is the downside in trying something new?

The suggestion: if you have doubts about any sales method you read here, somewhere else, encounter in a training course or hear from an acquaintance don’t ignore it. Pick out a prospect you don’t feel good about. Decide how you will try out this method you are skeptical about and then work it into your next sales call with that prospect. Evaluate how it worked (successfully or not), why it had whatever results occurred (was it you, was it them or something else?) and see if you can learn anything from the encounter. Learning and getting better to enhance the chances to improve our success rate is always worthwhile.

 Obviously if you pick a low odds prospect anything you do has a greater chance of not working than if dealing with a really good high quality prospect. But the benefit here is if you are in doubt about a new sales method you can give it a trial run and don’t have much to lose if it blows up for any reason. And even if you don’t end up closing that prospect perhaps the very act of testing the new technique will tell you something more about how it really works in real life, how you feel about using it yourself and how you now might be encouraged to try it out on higher quality prospects. Pretty much all of us can get better insights about ourselves and new ways to do things when we finally break the ice and do a first trial run.

Veterans in sales will probably already be comfortable to the idea of giving a trial run period a chance as they conduct sales. For them it will be easy to learn about new aspects of conducting sales and then work on using it to see if it improves results at all. But not everybody will be OK to work that way or feel comfortable, and even many veterans will occasionally hear about a new technique that feels uncomfortable or strange. This is a way to make sure you don’t accidentally miss out on a sales skill that could make a substantial difference in your success and a chance to affect your income and career in a positive way. None of us want to be stuck forever at a level of success that could be better.

If in doubt, pick your worst prospect and try it out on them!