Before I got into professional selling, I was a preschool teacher who worked with two-year olds. We were licensed for 12 two-year olds in our room within a daycare center, and I had two assistants. For anyone who knows me now, it may be hard to believe that I did that for five years, utilizing my degree in education. I actually loved it, but unfortunately, it didn't pay the bills.
I got into professional, business-to-business selling and made a wonderful career out of it - but what I learned from two-year olds stayed with me years later. It was reinforced after hanging out with one special guy I call Vitamin E this past weekend. He has mastered these sales techniques, and I want to make sure as you start off your week, you think about these, too.
When you are interacting with a prospective buyer, do you have the energy and passion of a two-year old who loves to see garbage trucks and motorcycles go by? Crank up your energy two degrees - you will be amazed at how people will receive you differently on the phone and even in your writing. In person you can easily show how you exude energy, enthusiasm, and passion for the prospect's issue and how you may be able to help them. Generally we all need to tune up our enthusiasm level, and that includes in your follow-up.
Too "busy" to send follow-up notes or next actions right away? Make it happen immediately - otherwise you will get diverted and distracted. Keep energy high for setting a plan and causing next actions to happen. I've found that for me, I have to consciously do follow-up the same day, or the very next day to stay on track. How about you?
Two-year olds are masters at repeating what they want. It's clear we were all born with this ability to state a goal and keep reminding big people around us what that goal is - as if we just have to keep saying it, because sometimes that's enough to make something happen. That doesn't mean you bulldoze prospective buyers into doing what you want to have happen. It DOES mean that you focus on appropriate goals and stretch goals and your determination along with the right actions will make things happen. Will you come all the way to hitting your stretch goal? That depends on your plan of action, the value you are presenting, and the activity on the right things that you create. It's not magic, but it also won't happen without focus and determination.
The best questions you can ask prospects in your sales career are focused around the word, "Why?" Two-year olds have this one down pat. Have you ever lost a deal because you had too much information? Probably not. Have you lost deals because you didn't have enough information? I bet you have - I know I have on numerous occasions.
For more youthful inspiration read about Caine's Arcade - an amazing kid with a big vision and endless determination.
Look in the mirror today and see if you are that high energy, enthusiastic person that represents great products and services. If not, work on conveying more energy on the phone and using power words in your e-mail to convey this enthusiasm. Don't go overboard, and be sure to couple enthusiasm with knowledge.
Do you have activity goals in addition to revenue goals? Post them and work to make them happen. Keep personal goals in addition to corporate goals. Share them with others for support.
Ask better questions. If you can't answer why an important prospective customer is doing or saying something, go back and find out the answers. Be conversational and sound inquisitive rather than like they are at an inquisition.
Find friends or relatives that have a two-year old and ask them about passion, determination, and questions, unless you are lucky enough to have one yourself.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012″ and one of “20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management”. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies in selling.