5 Truths About Selling to Large Companies

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What You Need To Know About Selling to Large Companies

Pulling into the headquarters of a large corporation can be an anxiety-ridden event for the most seasoned sales professional. It can be an overwhelming experience when you know that there is a lot riding on the pitch. There is also the added pressure of knowing that you are not the only one pitching your ideas. Instead of letting your nerves get the best of you, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you are selling to large companies.

Selling to large companies is a completely different ball-game than what most sales professionals are used to, but the challenge is deeply rewarding for your company if you can close the deal. Selling to large companies means understanding the rules and pace that they operate in. More importantly, sales professionals must understand how to properly communicate with large companies and learn how to effectively negotiate without getting taken advantage of.

To close the big deal, remember these 5 truths about selling to large companies:

Related Reading : 4 Key Principles of Negotiation in Sales

Large Companies Move Slow

It’s a fact that large corporations have procedures, processes, meetings, and committees and they all have to sign off on the deal before anything can happen. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect the deal or depend on it until everything is finalized and you’ve signed the contract. The worst thing you can do here is to rush them because it shows that you need them, which gives them leverage.

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Large Companies Are Weary of Risk

The problem with companies is that they dislike risk at all. Employees at big companies don’t want to get fired, so no one is likely to stick their neck out for you. Decision-makers who smell risk are likely to cancel everything or ignore you until you get the hint. Present a tight proposal, but don’t show weakness.

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Large Companies Want Turnkey Solutions

CEOs of large companies don’t think like regular entrepreneurs. They don’t care about discounts and would rather see proven solutions. They’ll pay you top dollar just to avoid glitches and mistakes, so don’t cut corners or go the cheap route when building something. Make sure your resources make their life easier. Ensures a flawless execution and you’re likely to win the deal over the competition.

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Large Companies Need Approval From Key Decision-Makers

The goal here is to remember that you’re selling something to a person, not the company at large. They may have to talk to other decision-makers before giving you the contract, but to successfully sell to large companies, you have to focus on a few key individuals that have a great influence on the decision-makers.

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Large Companies Must Trust That You Can Handle the Challenge

Large companies must trust that your business can handle the task. Large companies will seldom work with contractors or businesses who don’t have the capacity to deliver what they need. In order to overcome this objection, show examples of large contracts that your company has handled or references from decision-makers at other large companies.

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Selling to large companies can be the big opportunity your business needs to grow. However, selling to large companies means developing a clear understanding of how they operate and paying close attention to their specific problems. You want to ensure large companies that your business can handle and fulfill their demands. Securing a large contract can be a huge turning point for your sales professionals and can motivate your entire team to take bigger risks.

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5 Steps to Mastering The Art & Science of Selling

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Is Selling an Art or a Science?

Have you ever wondered if selling is an art or a science? Talk to any successful sales leader and they’ll tell you that to succeed in sales, you’ll have to master a combination of both. Regardless of how sales was done in the past, science has proven that the brain uses specific patterns to make choices about various factors that are taken into consideration. To succeed in sales, mastering the art & science of selling means following a structured process while understanding the specific needs and problems of your customers.

Selling products usually involves following a methodically structured transactional process. Sales professionals will often learn from successful strategies that can be easily recreated and taught to anyone with even the slightest social skills. However, when it comes to selling services or digital technology, the selling process can be thought of as more artistic. This approach requires cultivating a deeper relationship with your clients to build trust, credibility, and loyalty.

Sales professionals who can creatively paint a compelling picture of their product’s unique benefits to the customer while adhering to a strategically structured sales process will gain the upper hand in selling. Mastering the art & science of selling requires sales professionals to balance a carefully crafted dance between structure and creativity.

Maintain Curiosity

A curious sales professional digs deep into a potential client and seeks to understand their issues and needs. Maintain curiosity with your customers and get creative with your questions to find out what their motivations and goals are. Sales professionals who can understand their customer’s business and their unique issues can paint a better picture of how their product or service can be the solution they need. The goal is to listen to the needs of the customer and present two or three options that are beneficial.

Read Related Article:  How To Be an Authentic Sales Professional

Establish Anchor Points

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In psychology, an anchoring bias in decision-making refers to the human tendency to rely entirely on one trait or bit of information when making decisions. Studies have shown that the brain uses anchors, creating a bias that shapes how information is received. Once an anchor is established, a person will become bias towards the value of that anchor.

As a sales professional, it’s your job to create anchors for potential customers. They tend to look at prices and determine if it’s fair or unfair based on the price of something similar (or dissimilar). Customers will also look at what they paid the last few times, what other quotes they received, and other such anchors. You should address pricing before revealing it by using comparison points.

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Hone Your Presentation Skills

Whether you’re delivering a presentation along with a competitor or trying to figure out when to list features and benefits of your product, timing is everything. Those who sell more tend to know instinctively when to present their qualities or features. The challenge for most sales professionals is creating art from words and understanding when and how to say the right things to engage, entice, and persuade customers.

Utilize Data and Technology to Your Advantage

Advancements in technology has changed the customers’ expectations and the sales process. Technology has allowed the customer and sales professionals to make fact-based decisions.  It has long been understood that sales professionals have relied on traditional selling methods that have been documented and replicated with scientific accuracy. With the advent of digital technology, sales professionals are now equipped with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools, analytic software, and social media to gain a better understanding of their target customers.

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Beware of Reactance

Reactance is a psychological principle that occurs when an individual feels that others are restricting their ability to freely choose and make decisions. Reactance is often triggered when an individual has an instinctive desire to rebel against a restrictive force.

Reactance has been known to shut down sales because of an uncomfortable sense of urgency that a sales person creates for their customers. Often times the pressure to buy is overwhelming and will force a customer to back out of the deal. To mitigate reactance, sales professionals should engage customers in a way that gives them the power to accept or decline decisions without any pressure.

Try using stories to distance the customer from the resistance and remember to create a meaningful relationship instead of pressuring customers to commit to a one-time sale.

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Handling Customer Objections in Sales

Reframe Your Mindset When Handling Customer Objections in Saleshandle-customer-objections-in-sales-quote

When handling customer objections, sales professionals must learn to shift their mindset from treating a “no” answer to a sales proposal as a personal rejection to recognizing it as an opportunity to learn more about the company and the challenges it faces. Reframing your mindset in this way is crucial to your success as a sales professional as it allows you to dig deeper into your customer’s mind in order to reveal positive alternatives and solutions.

 

Mentally Review The Conversation

Too often sales professionals equate a “no” with a “not you” answer. In fact, there may be many reasons why the customer is saying no. Your job as a sales professional is to actively listen. Take the time to mentally review the conversation and be curious about the information you learned in the meeting. Reviewing the conversation in this way will help you to prepare for a follow-up conversation.

Actively listening to customers and mentally reviewing their responses will help you to generate more questions which will provide additional information on the challenge. Actively listening and mentally reviewing customer responses is a crucial aspect of handling customer objections that allows you to gain insights into problems the potential buyer is facing.

Related Reading: How To Clarify and Align Sales Goals

Be Curious and Listen

Asking open-ended questions and listening carefully to the response is one of the most effective tools used by successful salespeople when handling customer objections. The average sales rep will listen to the story politely and then go into their sales pitch. Pay attention to keywords and themes within the customer’s story and become curious for more information. Open-ended questions will help you to gain more insight.

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Open-ended questions are questions that allow more information to come forward. Open-ended questions can also move the momentum of the conversation along smoothly and into next-steps. With additional information comes additional insights as to how the product or service can address the specific needs of the customer.

 

For example, if a customer is concerned about being able to track production through a plant with better software than the one that is currently in use, some great open-ended questions to get more information would include:

 

  • How would you see the ideal tracking software working in your facility?
  • What specific requirements do you have for tracking software?

 

By allowing the customer the time to talk about more information and listening carefully, you have a more complete picture of the problem, which allows you then to provide a more specific description of how your software can solve those gaps and issues.

 

Related Reading: 5 Step Process To Overcome Sales Objections

 

Don’t Take It Personally

Learning aspects of handling customer objections in sales conditions sales professionals to not take rejection at a personal level. It is one of the most effective tools for any sales rep. Letting those negative messages build up in the mind creates limiting thoughts about sales effectiveness in the future. Staying in this negative mindset will inhibit you from handling future customer objections effectively.

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Evaluate the meeting and note areas of increased knowledge about the buyer or company. A helpful and positive way of handling customer objections is getting into the habit of noting areas of agreement and understanding during the conversation. Shifting your sales mindset in this way will help you to form the stepping stones for the next meeting and future client interactions.

If you would like more tips on handling customer objections in sales, sign up for The Sales Coaching Institute newsletter to learn more!

4 Key Principles of Negotiation in Sales

Negotiation in Sales is About Perspective

Negotiating in sales is one of the most fundamental aspects of selling. Every sales professional will spend the majority of his/her career negotiating with either their customers, employees, and even themselves. Getting other people to see things from your perspective while listening to their point of view in an equally respective manner is a key aspect of acquiring new customers, retaining profit, and building meaningful relationships in business. It can also be the most frustrating. Negotiation is an art form that requires working with someone or groups with different views in order to create a mutually beneficial agreement.

Read Our Free White Paper: 8 Critical Negotiation Skills to Kill Your Sales Quota

Negotiators should think about how to develop strategies that will help both sides to get more of what they want. Don’t look at negotiation in sales as a competitive, win-lose battle where you inevitably cave into bad deals in order to avoid conflict. When negotiating in sales, you can achieve better results by keeping these 4 key principles in mind:

 

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Separate Your Relationship from The Problem

Remember that your counterparts are human beings and not just another sale. They have their own feelings, opinions, values, and backgrounds that influence what they say during the negotiation.

To solve this problem, imagine the situation from their perspective. When you are negotiating with someone who is firm in their position, ask them how things are working out for them. This allows you to gauge their point of view more clearly and can help you avoid resorting to blaming tactics during the negotiation process.

Prioritize Interests

Often times negotiations begin with both parties coming out strong with their positions which leads to a deadlock. This can be difficult to get out of because you are left with little room to negotiate. A better stance to take would be to ask questions about their interests and what motivates their position. You can ask them why a particular stance is important to them or probe them for more details.

Prioritizing interests gives you a chance to share your own which can open up more opportunities to explore each other’s problems allowing you to create a solution that benefits both parties.

Manage Your Emotions

Allow yourself and your counterpart to be honest with any strong emotions you feel during the negotiation process. Give ample time for them to honestly speak their mind. Emotions get in the way of looking at the problem for what it is. Taking turns to express your feelings without interrupting lets you listen better to what is being said and can prevent arguments from getting out of hand.

Make Your Counterpart Feel Appreciated

Expressing appreciation can help to open up your counterparts during the negotiation process. Understanding where others are coming from and highlighting key points in what they are trying to communicate shows that you are listening. It also shows that you respect what they are saying and where they are coming from.

Stay Calm and Relaxed

It is imperative when negotiating in sales that you remain calm and relaxed. You want to inspire their emotions and control yours. Remember to think about objectives over objections. Over time the experience you gain from negotiating in sales will allow you to incorporate a unique style and flair but keep these 4 key principles of negotiation in mind on your next deal!

 

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If you would like more information on how to sharpen your negotiation skills, read about our Negotiation for Sales Professionals Workshop!


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Handle Customer Objections: Key Sales Lessons from Tommy Boy

Key Sales Lessons From Tommy Boy

Sales professionals can learn a lot from sales scenes in movies. Hollywood may seem like an odd place to look for inspiration but rest assured, there are plenty of invaluable sales lessons to be learned from Hollywood’s cult classics. Learning how to handle customer objections during sales calls, dealing with difficult clients, or refining your sales strategy, can improve your selling skills.  When it comes to handling customer objections,  these key sales lessons from Tommy Boy can teach sales professionals a thing or two about how to effectively deal with customers’ concerns. Learn how to navigate the world of sales by taking a cue from these two classic sales scenes in Tommy Boy.

How NOT to Handle Customer Objections

There are key sales lessons from Tommy Boy that teach you how NOT to prepare for sales meetings. Tommy (played by Chris Farley) prepares for the upcoming sales presentation meetings by frantically pacing to overcome his nerves as Richard (played by David Spade) tries to prepare him with some classic sales advice: “We don’t take no for an answer.” What follows is a hilarious montage of sales meetings with Tommy bailing out of every sales meeting after getting rejected without even learning how to handle customer objections.

The fundamental message here is that with every sales meeting will come objections of all kinds. It’s important to be resilient with how you overcome rejections in sales. Pay attention to your clients’ reasonings and objections. Adjust your responses accordingly and treat every objection as a chance to ask more questions about their specific problems. A good sales tip is to know your product or service like the back of your hand.

Sales professionals must also learn to read their customers personality and adjust their sales presentation accordingly. One way to do this is to ask open-ended questions that reveal their specific pain points and problems. Pay close attention to the nature of their language (and body language), when they answer your open-ended questions. Adjust your approach accordingly to match their personality to improve your chances of closing the sale.

Both Richard and Tommy fail to speak the customers’ language in this specific scene. Richard relies too heavily on the technical aspects of the product or service and inevitably turns the customer off. Tommy, on the other hand, is too informal with his approach and unavoidably ends up ruining the sale.

How to Handle Customer Objections  

Now let’s look at how Tommy Boy effectively handles customer objections. In a critical scene of the movie, Tommy closes his first sale with a customer by utilizing open-ended questions and asks, “Why would someone put a guarantee on the box”? This strategy moves the conversation forward and keeps the customer engaged and curious.

A key sales lesson from Tommy Boy is to take advantage of the belly-to-belly you have with customers. Tommy was able to effectively deliver a convincing argument as to why his product was superior. He was able to close this deal by handling the customers’ objections with relevant anecdotes and interesting examples. Tommy’s argument was predicated on the fact that a “guaranteed label” on a box does not always correlate with a quality product. Tommy learns how to handle customer objections and ultimately ends up closing his first sale on the road and goes on t save his father’s company.

 

If you enjoyed these key sales lessons from Tommy Boy and would like to learn more about how to handle your customers’ objections with The Sales Coaching Institutes One-on-One Sales Coaching program or our Professional Sales Training services.