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Selling By Phone During Tough Times

“How do you avoid sounding desperate for a sale, even when you are?”

This time of year can be very stressful for salespeople. As the year draws to a close, the pressure is on from management to produce numbers (they have a bonus on the line, in most cases) plus with the holidays around the corner more prospects are or will be taking time off work – which makes it even harder to get a hold of them, and we have Christmas to account for – and when I say “account for” I’m referring to added expenses for gift giving, etc – which is on top of the normal bills that are stacking up.
Yes, the pressure to close is at one of its highest levels.
All too often, that pressure can quickly turn into stress that causes salespeople to become desperate.

Being Desperate Isn’t a Problem… However…

Being desperate isn’t a problem. Sounding and or acting desperate is. When we sound desperate, it comes through the phone and prospects pick up on it. And prospects don’t buy from desperate-sounding sales people.

What to Do

Here Are 3 steps to help calm the waters & make positive progress during desperate times:

1) Realize that “This too shall pass”

No matter what situation you are in, this isn’t the end of the world.

I’ve been to the bottom floor both personally and in business and what I’ve found is that when I’ve hit rock bottom, I can recharge and move forward in a positive direction by recognizing the things to be grateful for.

Try listing at least 3 to 5 things to be grateful of and see if that doesn’t help calm you down, lower your heart rate and allow you some room to breathe and think a little clearer.

2) Focus! One-Step-at-a-Time

So you have a mountain to climb. Big deal. We all do. If you stare at how big the mountain is, you run the risk of letting fear and doubt creep in. Besides, it ain’t gonna climb itself!

So put one foot in front of the other while looking where you are going. Keep your focus on the task at hand.

For sales, that could simply be gathering your list of potential deals and being honest with yourself… Are these opportunities pipeline or pipe dream?

Mark the pipe dreams as Close / Lost and contact the ones that are still possibilities and simply find out what needs to happen next.

Don’t force the issue. If they say nothing is going to happen until next quarter, so be it. Don’t think about what you need right now because you will also “need” deals next quarter as well.

If the prospect has to wait until next quarter, seek first to understand why. Then investigate if there’s a possibility for it to happen sooner if you were able to give them a good enough reason… if the answer is “yes” great, you are now back in the negotiating phase.

But if the answer is still “no” find out what the next steps are, what they need from you and when you should speak again and then move on. I’ve seen plenty of deals go south because sales reps tried to close the deal for personal needs and not listen to the prospects and what their needs were.

3) Start Rebuilding Your Pipeline

Get to work by building a list of prospects that match specific criteria that would categorize them as possible “suspects” and make contact.

But here’s the key… don’t try and “close” any of them.

Simply connect and see if there’s a possible fit. If there is, with the stress out of your “tone” you just might land a few new deals you weren’t expecting.

Worst case scenario, you’ll have a strong pipeline going into next quarter.

Bottom line, focus on your prospects and what they need and you’ll get what you need.

– Michael Pedone
Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.

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