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NorthStar Performance Partners, LLC | Minneapolis, MN

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During any sales process there are two systems in play, the prospects and yours. Many times the prospect’s system turns out to be the dominant and this can be counterproductive to both the prospect and the salesperson.

In the decision step of the sales process you need to learn to plant your feet and risk getting a no. That is a concept that a traditional selling model will have problems with. Why would you ever “go for no?”

Many times a company will send a middle manager to gather information. The person you’re talking to can say no, but they don’t have the authority to say yes. Typically sales people get more no responses than they get yes answers. The real question is if it’s going to be no, when do you want to find out? After you’ve done the presentation? Given all your pricing? Planting your feet will almost ensure the number of no replies you get will increase. But the good news is you’ll get equally more yes answers and you’ll learn to not to accept, “I want to think it over.”

Many salespeople live in hope. They believe that “think it over’ is an indication of a possible sale. It can also mean that the prospect is too nice to say no or you weren’t talking to someone who could say yes.. Or maybe they’ve just had you supply a lot of information that they’ll now use to keep their incumbent supplier honest. Fall into that trap and you will be helping your competition make the sale. In this scenario, the salesperson has given up all control. You have become an information source and a vendor rather than a consultant, advisor or partner with the prospect.

When you aren’t talking to a decision maker there’s a very good chance you won’t qualify to the decision-maker’s needs and your presentation won’t hit the mark. It’ll end up being a no.

You have three choices. Find a way to gently get to the decision-maker so you can properly qualify the information you’ll provide that is important to his/her concerns. Second, rehearse your contact to the best of your ability. Give them questions to ask of the final decision-maker and get their opinion of the decision they would make if it was theirs. Finally, walk away if you feel you’re simply part of an information gathering exercise that will help the incumbent supplier.


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