Paul Cherry (@PaulCherryPBR) is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and president of Performance Based Results, delivering B2B sales training and performance coaching to teams and managers in corporations across the USA and Canada, having served more than 1,000 entrepreneurial, cutting-edge companies, including 175 of the Fortune 500.
Starting out in sales, Paul began to realize he was a poor listener. His overabundance of energy led him to talk over his clients, resulting in awkward conversations that truly didn’t engage his prospects’ pain points. He began to be more deliberate and methodical with his approach, digging into the conversational triggers that lead to customers’ decision making. It worked, instigating a successful career to where he is today.
Performance-based results: it’s Paul’s mantra, and it starts with calling on the right people, the importance of getting in front of and engaging with individuals that will lead to fruitful relationships. He emphasizes asking the right questions and focusing on the customer first. Lastly, he stresses the necessity to quickly qualify the right opportunities. If a client can be a good fit, strive to make it work. If not, he says, it’s vital to move on quickly.
- Lock in on the Verbs: If you’ve ever been anxious on a sales call, thinking too far ahead or worrying about what your next question is going to be, stop! Your prospect will lay out the entire roadmap if you let them. As you listen to them, focus on the verbs they use. For instance, “we’re trying,” “we’re evaluating,” or “we’re thinking about.” When they use these verbs, seek clarity as to what they mean. Ms. Prospect, you mentioned you were thinking about X, what did you mean by that? What exactly have you tried? What are you still planning to try? How has it gone so far? What were you hoping would happen? If you pick up on the repetition of their patterns, you can remove all the stress from your call.
- Understand the Incentives: What’s driving your prospects’ decision? And with that question, I don’t just mean the first person you talk to. I mean every person that you come in contact with at the account. Each person has their own set of incentives in an opportunity to either do a deal or not do a deal. It’s your job to get past the surface level responses, figure out who is incentivized by what and what is the real impact of that decision is for them. I promise you, price is never the real factor if you get to their motivations.
- Slow Down: It seems counterintuitive, I know. In the age of efficiency, we’re all looking for ways to cut time out of our sales cycle. However, slowing your process down may actually have the effect you’re looking for. Instead of immediately going in for the kill at the first sign of a problem you can solve, dig deeper. Has your prospect been looking at competitive solutions and just wants to see a demo, ask them what was good about what they’ve already seen — and ask them what they wish they had seen, but didn’t. Do they want you to send them a proposal? Ask them what things would prevent them from signing it. I work hard to prevent buyer complacency by transitioning their request with a question to build more context.