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The VORTEX

June 30th, 2013
Sales Metaphor for Buyers who are  M.I.A.

"Have Your Buyers Disappeared?"

Have you ever had a customer stop returning your calls? No e-mails, texts or communication of any kind? When this happens, do not despair. Your buyer is simply in a temporary hold pattern known as the “VORTEX.” They will re-appear when they are ready.  This metaphor is comparing the missing pieces of our pipeline to metaphysical space whirlpools made up of gas. For literal folks, here is a real vortex definition:

vortex [ˈvɔːtɛks][1]

1. a whirling mass or rotary motion in a liquid, gas, flame, etc., such as the spiraling movement of water around a whirlpool

2. situation regarded as irresistibly engulfing  [from Latin: a whirlpool]

Have buyers really become swept away? No, they will re-emerge, but the real question is:

  • “Why did they go away?”

One of the most common sales errors is the lack of follow-up.  If a customer asks a question, this is the chance to research the answer. Examples of follow-up include:

  1. Phone calls
  2. E-mail with References
  3. Hand Delivered Proposals
  4. Thank You Notes
  5. Webinars

Solutions to The Vortex

Follow-up builds professional credibility because the customer feels that you care enough to get the questions answered. Phone calls and emails are fine,

but getting back face-to-face with the buyer is optimal. If you cannot go directly to see your customer, at least invite them to a webinar (see gotomeeting.com).

If your buyers have become engulfed in a Vortex, you may also want to check with your networking group. Bring up this account at your next meeting or call someone in your industry:

  • “Has anyone one else heard any news about this account or buyer?”

Have you tried connecting on Social Media? One of my buyers was considering a proposal. In the interim between submitting my proposal and acceptance, I visit her Facebook (business) page and check “Like.” On the next phone call, my buyer thanked me for liking the Facebook page! We talked a little about some of the pictures and positive customer reactions related to her Facebook page.

Sales often stall because we lack the inertia of follow-up. Reverse the whirlpool known as the Vortex with constant activity. Network extensively and seek information. There may be a very logical explanation for this mysterious disappearance. Try connecting on Social Media. Put a reminder in your calendar to keep touching base with your buyer until you either make the sale or remove them from your list of qualified buyers. Be persistent and you can overcome the Sales Vortex!


Wows, Webinars and Whoops!

June 1st, 2013

Who loves to get a WOW!?  All sales people love to get a WOW! Sometimes, in our zest, we become too feature-function-gadget driven and forget about involving our buyers. Yes, we get a WOW, but we might also overwhelm our audience.  At least when we are face-to-face with our customers, we can see their reactions!

Selling Challenge:

  • If we host a web meeting or webinar, we cannot see their faces.

On a recent Webinar, this happened to me.  My blue tooth headset was charged, the 4G internet connection has 4 bars and like magic, I am presenting my solution to a
buyer hundreds of miles away. It was a competitive situation, so I wanted to show as many capabilities and exclusives as possible.  In the online meeting, the buyer did say WOW
a number of times.

Later that week, a fellow sales person called to discuss this particular buyer. Because he is selling a non-competitive product, we network, share sales tips and try to help each other succeed. He told me that a mutual customer shared that she was overwhelmed by my products and services.  Yes, this is the same buyer that participated in the Webinar. In the demonstration, too many applications came at the buyer in too short of time.

  • Yes, I got WOWS – but at what cost? Whoops! I had made a basic selling mistake.

My friend provides vital feedback to me that webinars are a great time saver but are very dangerous because you cannot judge the buyer’s reaction. His advice was to slow down and ask questions like:

  • “How do you see that working for you?”

The risk of having experience is that we become very confident. That confidence can often lead to mistakes and we can spiral into a negative sales cycle.  My friend shares his  feedback and helps me avoid losing an account. I call the buyer immediately and set up a follow up call. This time, the pace of the call was slower. The review of capabilities became interactive and customer focused. There were questions like:

  • “Where will this help you?”
  • “Why?”

This WOW junkie had to tame the urge to show too many features. The enthusiasm is there, but tempered. Now when I get on Webinars, I avoid the trap of talking too much. Questions help slow the pace and get the buyer involved. It takes focus, concentration, questions and listening.  These are some of the fundamental skills of selling. Just because we have new technology does not mean we stop practicing the fundamentals. If we forget this lesson, the result is WHOOPS! Mistakes can cost us customers, commissions and even,careers. This career sales person just got a lesson he will not forget.

If you have a tip, please post a response. If you have a question, please post that or visit facebook/salestrainer4U for a steady stream of tips and relevant sales education.

 

 
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