Business

Sell Smarter: There is no perfect time.

Sell Smarter
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The following is an excerpt from The Sell Smarter Collection.

There is no perfect time.

One other way we get in our own way is waiting for the perfect time to call a client and even worse, the perfect time to close.

No one wants to look like they are just sitting by the phone waiting for your call. How often do you call on a prospect that is just “hanging out”? They want to sound busy. Think about all the times you catch someone who is on a conference call, in a meeting or “just walking into a meeting”. Let’s just agree to something here. One, if you are ON a conference call, you aren’t putting it on hold to take a random sales call. Two, if you are in a meeting, you aren’t calling time-out to take a call on your cell. And three, look at your watch the next time you say you are walking into a meeting. We know meetings don’t start promptly at 11:18 am these days.

With that little rant out of the way, never wait around for the perfect time to call. Does the following sound familiar?

  • We don’t want to call before 9am because they are in traffic.
  • We don’t want to call between nine and ten because they are just starting their day.
  • We call around ten-thirty and they are engrossed in whatever they started doing at 9:30. They want a call at lunch.
  • We call during lunch and get voice mail.
  • We don’t want to call right after lunch because we know they will be busy with returning their calls and emails from lunch and the morning.
  • So we wait until two-ish in the afternoon to call. By this time, we are lethargic and frustrated with “chasing them” even though WE created the chase and procrastinations. They pick up and when they sound busy, we offer the objection of calling after five.
  • We call at 5:15 as promised while they are in the car and get voice mail because they got stuck in the office. So we decide to call back tomorrow, rinse, repeat.

What you must do instead is call first thing. If they are busy, they will tell you. Book a solid time for a follow up. If you get them to commit to a time, you can hold them accountable when they miss it and they will respect you. They also won’t repeat the missing of appointments. You will gain that valuable meeting and more than likely a new client, all because you did not give yourself the excuse.

Along those same lines, the first close is like the first kiss.

There are few things more awkward than that first date where you have the jitters all night. She’s wondering if you are going to make a move, you’re trying to figure out all night how to be smooth and say the right thing at the right time with the right light and lean in for that movie kiss. In reality what happens is either an awkward hug/handshake/peck, a completely out of context mauling or in many cases the drinks kind of “make it happen” and you really don’t have rhyme or reason.

To me, closing a sale is a lot like dating.

Imagine, if when you picked her up you said “Here’s how I’d like to see the night go. I am going to take you to a nice dinner and we’ll finish off a nice bottle of Pinot. Then we’ll hit that new Rom Com and I’ll probably try to hold your hand a little. I might even do the yawn that turns into an arm around the shoulders. After the movie, maybe we’ll grab a nightcap and I will walk you to your door. Provided I haven’t made an ass of myself, I will take that moment to steal my first kiss with you.”

Now if she had an objection to that foreshadow of the evening, she might just let you know right away. If she doesn’t, it is safe to assume that things will progress as stated unless otherwise interrupted with texts from a sick friend or you getting slapped for saying something inappropriate. At the end of the night, you will be feeling pretty confident as you walk her to the door. There might even be an Air Supply song playing in your head as the lighting is indeed perfect and you get that kiss just like in the movie you saw earlier.

Closing is just like that kiss! If you take the time to foreshadow how your sales presentation will go, the client cannot be or even act surprised when you walk over to them with Air Supply playing in your head and lean in for that openmouthed close. How can they? You mapped out exactly what you were going to do up front. They knew that you were going to present your product or service to them and that they would have ample time to ask questions as you deftly answered them and handled all objections before going in for the kill. If they had an objection, they had every opportunity to stop you beforehand. You are home free. All you need to do is ask for the business!

Of course, I am over simplifying things a bit. Simply foreshadowing the date is not going to turn you into instant Clooney.

I will tell you though that going in blind, tentative and sweaty-pitted like you have in the past is a one-way trip to handshake city.

Likewise, you still have work to do between the start of your sales call and the first close, but you will be infinitely more confident as you go through the steps of your sale. That first close is also, not a guaranteed panty dropper, but at that point, your objections turn into buying signs in disguise. Handle an objection, close again. At this point, if they are not interested, they will find a way to shut you down. If they don’t, repeat the process until you have exhausted their objections and they are ready to sign on the line.

Remember, just like she said yes to that date, the prospect is there for a reason.

They are interested in buying your product. They wouldn’t have taken the meeting otherwise. This means they enter the meeting leaning toward “yes”. How we handle ourselves and the presentation can either get them leaning further that way or push them in the other direction. Knowing that they start off on our side, that proper foreshadow can set the tone. Get them further on our side of the Prime Meridian and any stumbles on our end won’t push them back over the line.

Find the homework for this chapter and much more in The Sell Smarter Collection (available on Amazon and all digital formats). More great insights can also be found in Scott’s Seven Minute Sales Minute podcast (available on iTunes and myriad other podcast outlets).

Scott Fishman
With over two decades of experience as a sales professional, Scott has seen it all. Not only has he been consistently at the top of his field, but he has helped to train, coach and mentor an entire new generation of sales professionals as well. It's time that Scott has shared his expertise with the world. It started with The Seven Minute Sales Minute podcast and continues with The 30 Minute Sales Coach Books. Scott is excited to share his knowledge with you.
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