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Here is your customized analysis of the sales problems in YOUR business and customized recommendations on how to solve them.

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1. The most important part of the sales process is:

A. Determining your prospect’s budget
B. Closing your prospect
C. Establishing trust and credibility with your prospect
D. Finding your prospect’s pain
E. Presenting your proposal to your prospect

Correct answer: C

This first question concerns the most important part of the sales process:  establishing trust and credibility.  It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that 50% -70% of the sale—and sometimes as much as 90% of the sale--hinges upon establishing trust and credibility. 

You don’t typically do business with those whom you don’t trust.  But trust alone isn’t enough to make the sale: Even if your prospect trusts you, he or she may still not do business with you if you lack credibility.

So the first thing you must sell is your trust and credibility.  If your appointment with your prospect came
through cold calling, this part of the sale will be much tougher than if the appointment came through a referral or if the prospect sought YOU out.  In those two cases, you generally already have trust and credibility on which to build.

Your goal, then, should be to have prospects seek you out as frequently as possible, much as you might seek
out a medical specialist rather than having him or her seek you out.  Neurosurgeons do not make cold calls. 

How do you do that?  You position yourself, through a very effective marketing process, as a trustworthy,
credible expert, so that you become the sought-after specialist.
2. What’s the most effective way to deal with your prospect’s objections?

A. Hope that your prospect doesn’t have any objections
B. Overcome your prospect’s objections, when they bring them up
C. Raise objections and discuss them with the prospect, even if he or she doesn’t bring up any objections
D. Ask your prospect what objections he or she has, before you try to close the prospect
E. Ignore your prospect’s objections

Correct answer: C

There is no value in hiding or hoping the sales prospect doesn’t bring up objections:  Don’t assume that,
because the prospect doesn’t verbalize objections, he or she doesn’t have them.  ALL prospects have
questions and concerns.  That’s why, to succeed at sales, you must get everything out in the open, with full

Discuss everything and anything that might be of concern to your prospect—literally, talk about the elephant in the room.  If you neutralize and defuse potential objections, you stand a much better chance of making a sale than if you hope objections won’t come up, pretend that objections don’t exist, or simply ignore them.

What happens if you don’t do this?  You leave the prospect to simply deal with his or her own objections.  In
that case, your prospect will likely think of reasons not to move forward; unanswered questions or objections in the prospect’s mind will likely grow much bigger and loom ever larger.

That’s why a successful salesperson doesn’t run from objections, but instead embraces them, gets them out in the open, and deals successfully with them.

Defuse your prospect’s objections before they derail the sales process!

3. When a prospect tells you money is not an issue, what should you do? 

A. You should recognize that a possible objection has been eliminated
B. You should recognize that the sale is virtually done
C. You should not believe the prospect
D. You should recognize that you have a qualified prospect
E. You should move directly to the close

Correct answer: C

The rule here is that all prospects lie, all the time, about everything.  They may not lie intentionally, but when a prospect doesn’t trust you, he or she will tend toward what I call “lies of omission.”  In other words, if the
prospect doesn’t trust you and believe in your credibility, he or she won’t tell “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

So if you take things at “face value,” if you are naive or have what I call a case of “happy ears”—hearing what
you want to hear—you might accept a statement such as, “money is not an issue” and move on.

In fact, that statement should serve as a “red flag,” causing you to immediately stop, address the issue directly, and drill down to define clearly what the prospect means.  Most salespeople don’t have the courage to do that. They ignore the issue for fear of sabotaging the sale--but taking something at face value will get you in trouble every single time.

So “money is not an object” is not something you want to hear and just accept, without digging further and
finding out more.

4. The most important type of skill for sales success is:

A. Closing skills
B. Qualifying skills
C. The ability to ask good questions
D. Goal setting skills
E. Prospecting skills

Correct answer: C

Of the many skills you need to be a successful salesperson, the most important is the ability to listen, then
formulate a question about what the prospect has told you, so that you can diagnose the nature of the problem.  Friends who’ve been through medical school have told me that about 50% of the medical school
training physicians undergo involves learning to diagnose the problem.  Physicians can only make an
adequate diagnosis if they ask questions and gather correct data--and they certainly can’t write a prescription until they make a proper diagnosis.  Their ability to diagnose, then, comes from their ability to ask questions and find out where the pain is, literally, and what’s going on.

As a salesperson, you need to do the same thing.  Unfortunately, most salespeople tend to diagnose and
prescribe BEFORE they ask the correct questions to find out where the pain is, what kind of pain it is, how long the pain is been there, the impact the pain has had, and so forth.

So to succeed as a salesperson, you need to learn to ask better questions. Unfortunately, most sales training
does not teach salespeople how to ask questions, focusing instead on teaching salespeople how to present
features and benefits of what they’re selling and perhaps try to ask a few closing questions.

5. When your prospect tells you, after you give a presentation, that they need “to think it over” you

A. Leave the proposal with your prospect and set a follow-up appointment
B. Ask what your prospect needs to think about
C. Attempt to overcome your prospect’s objection
D. Withdraw your offer and tell your prospect you will not be leaving the proposal with them
E. You should never let this happen

Correct answer: E

If you do your job properly, there’s no reason that your prospect should tell you that they “want to think about it.”  The truth of the matter is that there are three possible responses that your prospect can give you at the end of a presentation or proposal—and only two of these are acceptable.

The first possible response is, “Yes, I want to move forward.”  This is obviously your desired response.  The
second possible response is “No, I don’t want to move forward.”  Although this isn’t the desired outcome, it’s
acceptable because at least you’ve brought the sales process to closure.  But the third response, “I want to
think about it,” is not acceptable and you should prevent it from occurring by structuring your presentation

When faced with a decision, human beings have a natural tendency to procrastinate.  The more difficult,
complex, or important the decision is, the greater the tendency of the human being to put off finalizing the
decision.  As a salesperson, you have to be aware of that fact going in and “defuse the bomb” by talking about
the issue openly, at the beginning of the presentation.  That means you need to have a thorough discussion
with your prospect--BEFORE you give a presentation--about what’s going to happen AFTER the presentation.  Failing to do that will inevitably lead more prospects to “think it over” or stall in some way.
That’s why, if you structure your sales presentation properly, you should never encounter an “I want to think it over” response.”

6. Before agreeing to give a presentation, you should: 

A. Understand the needs or “pain” of your prospect
B. Get your prospect to agree to make a yes/no decision at the end of your presentation
C. Make sure you are talking to the economic decision maker
D. Gain agreement from your prospect about how much money they are willing to invest
E. All of the above

Correct answer: E

That’s right, the correct answer is, “all of the above.”  Before you give your sales presentation, you need to
uncover all of your prospect’s needs and pains, the impact of the pain, how long the pain has existed, what
your prospect has done to try and fix the pain before, and how it’s affecting them personally.  You also need to find out what the budget is, when the money is going to be available, and how the company is going to pay for the service.  You need to uncover all the decision-making process, including who, what, when, where, why,
and how the decision will be made and you need to gain agreement that, once the presentation has been
made, there will be a clear, “yes or no” decision.

You need to do all of that prior to the presentation.  Most salespeople rush too quickly to make a presentation or proposal.  Instead, you should be very reluctant to give a presentation and or proposal. You should only give a presentation and proposal when you conclude there’s at least an 80% chance that you’ll close the deal AND you’ve uncovered all of the elements of the decision-making process.

If you fail to uncover all of those things, you’re much more likely to be put off or hear “I want to think about it” when you give the presentation.

7. When your prospect says they have already gotten two quotes and would like for you to give them a
3rd you should:

A. Accept the opportunity, because you might get the business
B. Believe they are serious
C. Ask them why they didn’t buy from one of the other two companies that gave quotes
D. Tell them you appreciate what they are saying, but that you aren’t sure you want to give them a quote

Correct answer: D

The truth to that matter is, if they’ve already gotten two quotes and they haven’t done anything with those two quotes, they’re not likely to do anything when they get a third quote from you—there’s no reason to assume that they’ll treat you any differently than they treated the people who gave them the other two quotes.

From a positioning standpoint, you can tell the prospect that you’re not sure you want to give them a quote.
It’s likely that they’ve never heard a response like that before, since it’s a very “un-saleslike” response.  They’re likely to be taken aback a bit and be somewhat confused, psychologically.  You’ll catch them off guard, so that they’re not sure where to go at that point, and you’ve just demonstrated to them that you’re not like the other salespersons with whom they’ve been dealing.

It takes courage; in fact, it takes plain old guts to do something like that.  But, as a salesperson, you need to
realize that if you fall into the trap of just offering a quote if a prospect asks for one, most of the time you’re
going to waste your time dealing with people who want to use your proposal to negotiate a better deal with
someone else.   Or, they may not be really serious about wanting to do anything and your proposal will likely sit on the prospect’s desk, like the other proposals.   If you take the tack I suggested and tell them you’re not sure you want to provide a quote, you’ll not only prove that you’re different from the other salespeople but also avoid wasting time and effort unnecessarily.

8. Which of the following do you experience (please select all that apply):

  Your prospects fail to see you as the expert
  Your prospects think what you’re selling is a “commodity”
  Your prospects don’t see the difference between what you sell and what your competitors sell
  It takes too long to get deals
  Too many prospects stall, put you off, or say “I want to think it over”
  Prospects are stealing your knowledge or expertise and using it to “shop around”
  You’re closing less than 50% of your proposals
  You know what you should say but you’re uncomfortable asking questions that could seem confrontational

 To borrow a page out of Dr Phil’s book, “Get over it”. Selling is a confrontational–-not adversarial--profession, just like law and psychiatry. Prospects never tell you the whole truth. They mislead and tell you half-truths, omit important information, and sometimes are guilty of not knowing what their issues are. When I was in graduate school, being trained as a counselor and therapist, we were taught very direct questioning skills to help uncover the client’s issues. Only when the issues were brought to light and clearly identified could we go to work on the solution. Selling is the same. You must ask confrontational questions to uncover “pain,” determine commitment, understand the budget and decision-making process if you are to be successful. Failure to develop these skills results in just pitching and praying and hoping for the best. That is not a good strategy if you like to eat.

Your Prospects Fail To See You As The Expert.  The last thing you ever want a buyer or a prospect to label you is a salesperson because sales people, no matter how good they are, are unwanted pests. Master sales people take great effort to distance themselves from this perception by positioning themselves as an expert and an authority figure of local prominence in their market or industry.

Being perceived as an expert takes more than just knowing about your product or service. Frankly, with adequate study, anyone can learn product information and regurgitate it to the prospect. Being perceived as an expert in the buyer’s eyes means positioning one’s self as the authority figure with celebrity status. Successfully done, this distances you from the “product peddlers” who are simply pitching product information at the lowest cost.

Your Prospects Think What You're Selling Is A "Commodity."  The unvarnished truth is that--at least in the eyes of the buyer or prospect--the product or service you are selling is a commodity. If you are honest, you will admit that there is very little difference between what you sell and what your competitors sell. There may be minor differences, and you may offer some bells and whistles they don’t, but ultimately if you quit your job and went to work with your top competitor, you would essentially be selling the same thing.

To prevent being “commoditized,” you must redirect the sales process to one that talks about your  prospects’ problems, not your products. Far too many sales people allow the prospects to control the conversation, and the sales process, by focusing the discussion on the product and the price. When this happens and the buyer sees no differentiation between products or services, the buying decision will almost always be determined by price. To prevent this and to overcome the perception of being a commodity, the sales professional must take control of the sales process and demonstrate, through their behavior, that they are different. This is best accomplished by demonstrating sales skills that the buyer has never seen before. This takes practice and the development of new skills that most sellers have never been taught.

Your Prospects Don't See The Difference Between What You Sell And What Your Competitors Sell.  Truth is, there is not much difference between the products or services you sell and what your competitors sell. Life insurance is life insurance. Radio advertising is radio advertising. HVAC services are HVAC services. Dental services are dental services.  Office supplies are office supplies. I could go on and on but you get the idea.

That being the case, if you want to differentiate yourself, you must develop a Unique Selling Proposition that articulates clearly your uniqueness in the marketplace.

Additionally, you must redirect the sales process and make it about YOU, not about products or services. You must change and redirect the sales process from one of quoting and pitching product information to one of making the process and focus about you and how you are different than all of your competitors. You do this by positioning yourself as THE authority expert in your market or industry. When you redirect the discussion and demonstrate your personal superiority to buyers, you will offer something to buyers that will clearly be different.

It Takes Too Long To Get Deals.  This is one of the most common problems incompetent and unskilled sales
professionals encounter. This issue results in huge amounts of wasted time, severe frustration, sales burnout, and loss of many deals that die on the vine. Time kills deals and    the longer a deal is hanging out there, the greater the likelihood that it won’t close. Buyer procrastination is one of the sales professional’s greatest enemies. To eliminate this problem, the sales professional must assume complete control of the sales process by dictating and gaining buyer agreement to exactly what is to be done and when it is to be done. Failure to do this results in a lot of assumptions made by the sales person that later prove to be wrong.

Too Many Prospects Stall, Put You Off, Or Say, "I Want To Think It Over."  This should never happen. The only reason that it does happen is that the sales person allows the prospect to control the sales process. Successful selling is about being in control and dictating what is discussed, when it is discussed, and ultimately determining what--if any--next step should be. Most sales people lack the skills or the guts to take control. He who has control determines the outcome and most of the time it is not the sales person.

Personally, I almost never have this happen.  I don’t believe in giving written proposals for free and I teach my clients not to do so. Leaving free proposals with prospects guarantees “think it over” and price shopping. If you are doing it, STOP immediately and have the courage to look a prospect in the eye and tell them that you don’t do that. When you do, they will sit up straight in their chair and have more respect for you.

Prospects Are Stealing Your Knowledge or Expertise and Using It To "Shop Around."  Prospects have
no remorse or shame about using you and your proposals to gain a free education and then turn around and
use that information to “shop the competition” or negotiate a better deal with an existing vendor.

This is a smart buyer’s strategy if you can find a sales person dumb enough to do it. But as a sales person, you
will get your brains beaten out and get used over and over again if you insist on “being nice” and
accommodating, in the hopes that you will get the business. The reasons sales people do this are many: poor
self-image, naivete, unrealistic expectations, lack of courage, and poor pipeline management, to name a few.
The result is the same: wasted time, poor closing percentages, erosion of self respect, and eventual failure.  

You're Closing Less Than 50% of Your Proposals.  If you are closing less than 50% of your proposals, that means at least half of the time you spend giving proposals is a waste of time. This is huge and will result in hundreds of hours of wasted time each year. It will cost you tens of thousands of dollars each year and it will wear on you mentally. If not corrected, it will lead to burnout, failure, and a possible career change. To get a grip on this and increase your closing percentage, you need a sales system that puts you in control and has been proven to produce a high closing rate within the shortest time possible. Typically, New School Selling clients close in excess of 80% of their proposals and many of them do so by charging prospects for these proposals.

You Know What You Should Say But You're Uncomfortable Asking Questions That Could Seem Confrontational.


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