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Professional Achievement Group, Inc. | Rockville, MD

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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). The prospect then tells you to put together a couple of samples, designs, or prototypes.

Most everyone knows the importance of defining their goals, but very few actually take the time to determine precisely what they wish to achieve, and then build a plan to accomplish just that.

Having a big pipeline of “prospects” is typically seen as desirable. The more prospects you put into the pipeline, the more will eventually emerge as customers. At least that’s the theory!

We have all experienced it. We thought we hired Julia Roberts or Tom Cruise, but they ended up performing more like Ruth Buzzi or Rodney Dangerfield. Most managers and owners have grown to accept this experience as part of recruiting salespeople.

Are you displaying too much "magic" in your sales presentations?

Interviewing sales candidates requires completion of a series of steps, each building on the previous one. That's why a “preparation” step is the most important in the interviewing process. Interviews cannot succeed without a solid foundation.

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. Then, about five minutes into the discussion, you found yourself experiencing a “disconnect” of some kind with that seemingly perfect prospect. And the relationship died.

How many times have prospects told you, “I need more time to make a decision”? Too many?

Just as a salesperson should always be prospecting, a sales manager should continually be recruiting, even when there is no open position. At a trade show, he should be talking to the salespeople at the other booths. He should have a recruiting file and always have a list of possible candidates. He should always be evaluating his sales team - identifying the weakest performer(s) so they can be replaced with stronger people.

Many selling professionals are of the mindset that it’s inappropriate to ask clients for referrals until after the clients have experienced the outcomes promised by the product or service. Their thinking is that if they deliver the intended outcomes, and do so in an exceptional manner, clients will be more willing to provide a name or two when asked.