Keep it in the Fairway
On June 17th, the PGA’s US Open ended with Brooks Koepka defending his championship with a one over par four round total score. One over par is very high four round total on the PGA tour, indicating just how difficult Shinnecock Hills Golf Club’s course played. PGA professionals had difficulty with the courses fall away greens, high crosswinds, and very difficult rough. On courses like Shinnecock Hills, it’s best to keep the ball in the fairway.
There are similar principles in sales. Keeping it in the fairway there means you’ll stay on track to close. Follow these four simple sales principles and you’ll hit par every time.
1) Stay organized: Often, sales cycles involve multiple touch points that require the salesperson to be able to quickly pick up on where the last conversation left off. Objections or barriers may have been presented by the prospect, having a second conversation without firm answers or acknowledgment of their concerns and questions will lose credibility. Taking notes during each interaction with clear points you need to address in follow up conversations will ensure that you’ll keep momentum going with each interaction.
2) Be resilient: It’s common for a prospect to tell you that they are too busy to talk, or don’t have an immediate need for a product or service that you’re selling. Simply put, that’s the prospect’s way of getting out of a conversation quickly and easily, the same way you might dismiss a solicitor on a street corner. It’s up to you to be persistent with your messaging. It’s easy to be personally discouraged by those kinds of rejections, but staying strong will keep you from giving up on opportunities too quickly. My sales mentor; a seasoned IBM door-to-door copier salesman always told me that if you keep doing the right things, good things will happen.
3) Know your products and services: In an age where information about your product or service is readily available online, it’s critical that the salesperson understand exactly what that information is. Knowing how and where customers are learning about a product or service can help the salesperson anticipate common difficult questions. When salespeople are genuinely familiar with what they’re selling, closing a sale becomes far easier.
4) Listen: Being able to empathize with your customer’s existing pain allows you to articulate how your product or service can help their business. Consultative selling requires excellent listening skills. Genuinely caring about your customer’s current situation and demonstrating that caring through active listening enables you to build a relationship of trust that often times results in a successful sale.
Sales is difficult, just like the courses selected for the US Open. In order to keep it in the fairway, a salesman needs to have excellent organization, a resilient attitude, a comprehensive understanding of their product or service, and the ability to actively listen to their prospects. If they do, they’ll avoid the rough that drags down other salespeople.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Dohl is the Vice President of Sales at The Alias Group and uses his operations experience driving improvement in manufacturing processes to streamline the sales process. The goal of The Alias Group is to create unique sales and marketing processes to drive customers’ growth in a wide range of industries.
Before coming to work at The Alias Group in 2006, he studied Operations Management at the University of Delaware and worked at W.L. Gore & Associates as a Manufacturing Leader in the Electronic and Industrial divisions.
Chris’s passion is his family, and enjoys running his daughter and two sons to a variety of sporting events. On a rare break from selling and enjoying time with his family, Chris enjoys golfing at his home course, Hartefeld National, and playing poker with his buddies.