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NorthStar Performance Partners, LLC | Minneapolis, MN
 

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Sandler Brief

Juan’s sales numbers for the quarter were sharply down; lately, he felt he was struggling with his prospecting. He asked his manager Anita for help.

One morning Juan, a new sales hire for Acme, Inc., found himself under pressure from his manager, Brad.

Anne is a partner in a small consulting firm. During a recent meeting with a key prospect, a senior decision maker at a Fortune 1000 firm, she handled the presentation. Juan, her mentor and coach (and the founder of the practice) watched and took notes.

Grace is a new salesperson, recently hired by a major software firm. She’s three months into her first year on the job, and she’s in trouble.

Jane was in trouble. After a stellar year as an inbound salesperson for her company, she had committed herself to the challenge – and the dramatically higher income potential – of a sales career where she was responsible for developing her own leads.

After three months on the job, Myra checked the weekly spreadsheet and saw that her closing rate was abysmal.

Maria was quite certain she’d laid the groundwork for a really big order.

Has this ever happened to you? A seemingly “hot prospect” asks you a question that seems to signal interest in working with you.

Beth is a new sales hire at TaskFlow, an enterprise software firm specializing in custom-designed project management applications. The company targets Fortune 1000 workspaces. 

Have you ever had a qualified prospect pick your brain for information – and then turn around and buy from the competition?

When Jenny began working for ABC Widgets three months ago, she was put through the company’s sales training program, where she was taught three ways to begin a sales meeting with a prospective customer.

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve had a series of great discussions with a prospect, taken lots of great notes, and you’ve developed the proverbial “killer presentation.”

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in discussion with a prospect about the possibility of working together. The meeting is going well. You’re working your way all through the questions you know you’re supposed to ask at this stage.

Have you ever been in the middle of delivering a presentation to a prospect … when you noticed that he or she seemed to have completely tuned out of whatever it was you were saying?

Have you ever made a prospecting phone call whose central message sounded something like this?

 

Did you ever have a conversation with a prospect who suddenly, and for no apparent reason, became unreceptive to perfectly good advice? It happens to many salespeople.

Have you ever tried one of those tricky “closing techniques” that are supposed to transform hesitant prospects into instant customers?

Have you ever had a series of good meetings with a prospect … gathered all kinds of information … and given what you thought was a great presentation … only to receive a response like, “Let me think about it”? Or, “I have to share

Have you ever given a presentation to a prospect who seemed to be showing you nothing but “green lights”... until you came to the final page of your proposal?

Have you ever seen a prospect’s eyes glaze over? Most professional salespeople have had this experience. Maybe you have, too.

Have you ever given a presentation to a prospect who seemed ready to buy … but found that, for some mysterious reason, the opportunity went nowhere once your presentation was complete?

“Say, how big is your company?” Without hesitating for even a moment, you answer that question. You recite, more or less verbatim, the standard reply you were trained to recite when people ask you about the size of your company, the answer laid out for you in your orientation workshops, your promotion materials, and your brochures...

Has this ever happened to you? During an initial discussion with a prospect, you make it a point to review your pricing information. You put everything right out on the table. The prospect tells you the price you mention “looks fine” (or is “OK,” or “seems fair,” or is “in the ballpark,” or any similar piece of vagueness). 

Has this ever happened to you? You're in the middle of a discussion with a prospect, and suddenly you're caught flat-footed by what seems like an attack.

How many times has this happened to you? You got a promising referral, or scheduled a conference call, or showed up at an initial meeting with someone who seemed like a perfect fit for your product, service, or solution.

Has this ever happened to you? You had an initial meeting with a prospect. You asked that prospect what seemed to be all the right questions.

Salespeople sometimes dig themselves into a hole by leaping into action at the very first sign of interest from a prospect.

One way salespeople get themselves in trouble is by rushing to answer a prospect’s question … before they uncover the intent that’s driving that question. The question you hear is probably not the “real” question, and the intent behind that question is far more important than the surface meaning of the words.

How good would you say you are at listening to your prospect? Most salespeople we talk to rate themselves pretty highly in this area. Yet most, sad to say, fail the Tooth Fairy Test.

David Sandler’s search for knowledge about why and how people buy coincided with the Transactional Analysis (TA) movement in psychology. TA theory defines three ego states that influence our behavior—the Parent, the Adult, and the Child.