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Resistance Training for Sales People

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What was the quickest rejection you ever got? 2 minutes into your call? 1 minute? 15 seconds, 3 seconds?

Resistance comes in many forms in sales. Buyers may resist from the beginning of the presentation to the very end. And yet by using some simple steps we can reduce this resistance to increase our sales performance.

Here's an analogy: many people exercise using resistance training. It's good for you. Encountering resistance during the sales process can also be good for you. It lets you work your sales muscles, enabling you to become a stronger sales person. Too much resistance may not help you achieve your goals, though. Plan for resistance in advance and you can help eliminate or reduce it.

Create a planned presentation that takes into account, step by step, all concerns and objectives your prospects may have. Look at every point in the sales process. Examine them and look for ways to make it easy for a prospect to say "yes" to you. Here, then, are 12 steps to decrease resistance and increase sales:

1. Sound confident. Your voice gives you away. Your voice is an emotional barometer. If you're not comfortable, your prospects will hear it in your voice. There's a hesitancy, a slight stutter or stumble when we're not confident. Your confidence will give your prospects confidence to do business with you.

2. Rehearse names beforehand. Nothing says I don't know you faster than a fumbled name.

3. Do your homework. The number one complaint buyers have about sales people is that they don't know enough about the targeted buyer or even their own products. There are lots of ways to research. Check the company's website, look at their printed materials, and do a "google" search. Finally, don't forget to ask questions during your sales call.

4. Phase your words positively. There's a big difference between saying "If you order an additional 25 I can drop the price to ___" and "You don't need another 25, do you?" Drop the words "no" and "not" from your vocabulary. There's no need to suggest a negative.

5. Listen. People will tell you everything and more if you let them. Listen actively and objectively. Focus on what is being said as well as what is not being said. If you're on the phone, don't multi-task. Multi-tasking is the enemy of good listening.

6. Ask questions to discern needs. Use open ended questions to generate information. Open ended questions start with words like who, what, where, when, which, why, and how. Use closed ended questions when you need to get "yes" or "no". Closed ended questions start with word such as: is, are, can, may, have, and do.

7. Listen some more. See #5

8. Propose solutions based on buyer needs. If you've listened, this should be easy. If it's not easy, there may not be a good fit between your product and your prospect. If you're looking for a long term relationship, sell only to needs. You'll make more sales in the long run.

9. Keep listeing. Notice the pattern here. Remember, the seller should always talk less than 50% of the conversation.

10. Ask for agreement. How often have you spoken with a salesperson who doesn't come to the point and ask for the order? Make sure that's not you. Don't forget to ask for agreement in order to close the sale. When you ask for agreement, the "yes" from the buyer closes your sale. A "no" says you've more work to do.

11. Follow up. You'll close as many sales on the 8th try as on the 1st. It's been said that the fortune is in the follow up.

12. A positive attitude. If you think you can, you will. It's a simple tool but it works.

If you think in terms of decreasing resistance, if you build it right into your presentation, you'll find it easier to get "yes's".

Jo Ann Kirby is president of KRG Communications Group. Her experience includes many years in inside sales/management and an extensive background in training and development. Known throughout her career as a coach and motivator of sales people, Jo Ann has worked with a wide variety of sales positions in different industries. Find out more at

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