Recently, we had a very interesting interview with Glen A. Tacinelli, V.P. Sales, Media Industry. He shared some interesting perspectives on the challenge of really focusing in on what matters most to decision makers and why so many salespeople make the mistake of talking too much about products and not enough about what those products can do for the customer.
- Understanding the Customer's Needs is Priority #1
- Focus on the Customer's Priorities
- Win the Numbers Game
Early in the interview, Glen said something that really framed the rest of our conversation,
The more seasoned people are very good at conducting the client needs analysis and finding out what their marketing issues are and who their core customers are. That's why they succeed. -Glen A. Tacinelli, V.P. Sales, Media Industry Click To Tweet
“The more seasoned people are very good at conducting the client needs analysis and finding out what their marketing issues are and who their core customers are. That’s why they succeed. They are putting together presentations that properly identify exactly what these people are looking for and what their goals are and how we’re able to help them hit their goals.”
Finding Needs and Listening
When selling advertising and media campaigns to generate more business for clients, it’s essential to realize how competitive the industry is and how many other salespeople are explaining why their products and strategies are better than the rest. Decision makers hear this repeatedly and, more often than not, the salesperson that really stands out is not the one with the most dazzling product presentation, it’s the one that gets the clearest understanding of what matters most to those decision makers and influencers.
It’s the ability to ask the right questions, listen and validate what they’re hearing that makes all the difference, as Glen explains,
“The seasoned salespeople that do really well are incredibly comfortable at getting the real marketing needs out of the client. They understand who the client’s core consumer is and how our products can help them reach those people and solve their needs.”
The most successful salespeople understand that there will be resistance and obstacles in the sales process and every appointment is not going to be easy. Decision making and change is hard and it represents risk to try a new company when it comes to marketing decisions. Glen explains what he’s observed,
“I find a lot of the younger salespeople today get so excited that they got the appointment. Then they get so wrapped up in the appointment that halfway through the meeting they decide it’s either going well or not and start thinking about their next appointment instead of listening to the prospect.”
Training and coaching needs to help newer salespeople respond to resistance and obstacles with questions and listening because, more often than not, when they experience that stress, they’ll start talking even more and that will lead to poor results.
Focus on Customer’s Priorities
Sales executives we interview tell us over and over that the biggest mistake salespeople make on sales calls is talking too much, asking poor questions and not connecting the products and services with what matters most to the decision makers and influencers. Glen brings perspective to why this is happening,
“Newer salespeople talk too much about their own products. This is because the first thing any business does when they hire somebody is train them on what they have to offer and who they are before teaching them how to properly ask the right questions and conduct a proper needs analysis. They are super comfortable with their own company’s products or services, because management has hammered it into them. It is what they talk about, because that’s what they have the most comfort in.”
It’s not enough to just be a good listener, we need to validate with the decision makers that we’re hearing what they’re actually saying and close that loop between listening and the experience of being understood. It’s when the decision maker has that internal experience of knowing the salesperson truly understands their situation that resistance lowers and receptivity increases.
Glen explains something we’ve also observed about top performers,
“Every presentation needs to start by recapping what the salesperson learned from uncovering their needs. Remind them that, ‘You need help doing A, you need help doing B, you need help doing C. Is this correct? Yes, it is. Okay, you told me that you also wanted to go after these people and increase business by X. Is this correct? Yes, it is.’ If you get all the yeses on that recap page then you know you are on track. If you have found solutions for A, B and C and know you are within their budget then there is no reason why that prospect wouldn’t say yes.”
When we do sales training for our clients, one of the questions we ask the salespeople early in the training is how they use summaries and recaps in sales conversations? Remarkably, well over half say they’re not sure how to use them or only use them occasionally. Top performers, on the other hand, use summaries on every selling interaction, often several times on each appointment. This seems to be a missing element in the way sales is being taught and more coaching in this area will definitely pay dividends.
Win the Numbers Game
When prospecting for new appointments is the responsibility of the sales team, they have to develop skill and consistency at reaching out to new prospects. Glen explains,
“When salespeople first start and they are pumped up and they’re making their 25 cold calls a day. They are getting their appointments and then they start making some money and are doing well. Then they back off a little bit and six months down the line they’re not making those 25 calls a day and don’t have enough to fill their funnel and everything slows down. Sales is a numbers game. It’s about the number of cold calls every day. If you reach out to 25 new people a day, every day, minimum five days a week, you’re going to get enough calls and you’re going to get enough appointments.”
Sometimes, though, salespeople develop anxiety about prospecting because for many, it’s the toughest part of the job. Our messaging needs to be tight and focused, we need to break through resistance quickly and we need to quickly shake off rejection. Glen explains a key to getting past this anxiety,
“It’s all about practice. Call reluctance goes away very quickly when you’re making 25 calls a day because that is your practice. It’s like playing guitar or playing piano, really, doing anything, it comes down to practice.”
SalesGym is a research, consulting, and training company that works with and learns from sales teams all over the world and has refined a coaching and training process that trains sales teams the way elite athletes are trained. More insights and articles from us can be found on our RESOURCES PAGE.
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