Defining your ideal prospect is a process that I go through with my clients and one of the key attributes that I insist on, when I work with someone new, is a want to learn and become better at what they do. I spend a lot of my time as a mentor, practicing the handling of objections with my clients and what I love about these sessions is the passion my clients have for wanting to get better. In a recent session, myself and a client Joe were practicing a role-play situation what a prospect might say when Joe called to speak with them. Because Joe engages with very senior business leaders and directors, the need to perfect what he said and how he would respond was vital. Joe knows that having these conversations without practice means he has less chance of success and Joe wants to maximise his chances of being successful. Working with Joe and seeing some of the world's best golfers demonstrate their skills at the recent Golf Masters tournament made me think about a subject which is key if you want to be successful in sales! Practice, Practice and more Practice! I’m a big fan of golf! I love to play it and I am trying hard (my friends would say I need to work harder 😉) to get better at it! A few weeks ago, the Masters Golf Tournament started in Augusta. This course if one of the most famous courses in the world. So much so, that you can't get on it unless you've been invited. It's regarded as the world's greatest golf course, and, if you have the opportunity to watch any videos of the tournament, you’ll notice the level of difficulty the course presents, and the huge challenge it presents for the players playing it! Many may look at the shots the great players hit and think 'its easy for them' but as with many things in life, to be successful and to hit those great shots, an incredible amount of practice is needed. One of the contenders to win some of the major golf tournaments is a man called Bryson DeChambeau and he outlined recently how he had prepared for The Masters by practicing for 14 hours in one session! Yes, here is a man who is a multi-millionaire, who has pretty much everything most people would want in life but who spent 14 hours practicing to ensure he was prepared for the big event! It got me thinking about how 'practice' is really important if you want to achieve sales results, and win the best prospects and 'sales tournaments' you compete in! What is the importance of practice and why is it so important when it comes to sales? Just like the professional golfers and anyone who is at the top of their field, if you want to become the very best at sales and convert more prospects into customers then you have to want to get better and you have to practice. Here are 3 simple ways to practice and improve your sales technique. ONE - PRACTICE YOUR PITCH After you have got to meet a new prospect and understand more about them, it's pretty likely they will say 'so tell me more about what you do'. Or you may be at a networking event and it's your turn to stand up and tell the room who you are. When this big moment happens, what happens to you? Do you waffle on in a monotone way which sends others to sleep or do you make others curious to know more because you deliver an inspiring and engaging pitch? Practice your pitch and the message you give so that it not only becomes second nature but so that it is delivered with real impact. Practice this with your work colleagues, your friends, your family, anyone who will give you a few moments and who will provide feedback on how you delivered the pitch. Practice this so well, that when you do get a chance to tell your story and what you do as a company to a prospect, you’re able to deliver your pitch in a consistent and concise way that really engages your audience. TWO - PRACTICE PROSPECT QUESTIONS AND CONVERSATIONS It is great to practice our pitch but it's vital that we don't stop there. The way in which we engage with prospects whether it's on the phone or meeting face to face needs constant work. Practicing the way in which we approach someone and interact with them, is really, important. Practice for different opportunities. Whether you’re
trying out different questions to ask a prospect
trying out a new method of asking for the business
calling for an event;
calling to get a meeting;
calling to give a demo... PRACTICE!
Whatever the sales scenario is, spend some time practicing the way you say things or how you deliver that message. Review how you said a certain word or how you approached a certain subject and assess yourself. Did the way in which you delivered the message come across well? Practice these different elements so that when it happens for real, you gain credibility with a prospect. THREE - PRACTICE HANDLING TYPICAL OBJECTIONS I talked about this a few weeks ago but this is one of the most vital areas of sales. When you face objections, the amount of practice you have done will determine how well you are able to handle the situation and move forward. Joe and I were practicing dealing with the objection he commonly hears when he speaks to very senior executives who don't know him which is "I'm too busy” or “I don't want to speak right now”, I have shared lots of videos and blogs in the past on what to say and do in these situations. The key to whatever we say is that we have practiced doing it. When someone says 'I can't talk right now', do you panic, say ok and put the phone down or do you handle the objection because you have practiced doing just that! When it comes to Objections, PRACTICE is EVERYTHING! The easiest way to practice is to use the voice recorder function on your phone. Record everything and listen back to how you performed. THE IMPACT PRACTICE HAS Behind every amazing shot, a golfer hits is the hours and HOURS of practice they have gone through to deliver that perfect result. Most of these professional golfers will spend in the range of 6 to 8 hours per day practicing. This trait isn't just limited to golf though. The best sporting superstars or anyone at the top of their field will spend a tremendous amount of time practicing and learning their craft and developing what they do. They focus on becoming better and better so that when a pressured situation occurs, they can fall back upon the practice that they've put in place. When we're in sales environments, if we've practiced our pitch, practiced our questions and practiced how to deal with an objection, we give ourselves a far greater chance of success. There is no guarantee that what we have done will work but your chances of success are far higher if you have practiced. You need to practice if you're going to become a top level sales performer! If you practice, you will get better at it. Practice, and you will be in a far better position to achieve the goals you want. If you want some help to practice or are not sure what will work with your prospects then let me know. I am here to try and help you achieve more.
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James White is the UK's leading prospect conversion expert. He understands what it takes to convert leads into real business within the modern digital era and what it takes to achieve business success.