Since I've started writing this blog I've mainly been focusing on my current venture, technology, etc. I haven't really dug down deep and talked about many of my past experiences, especially about my time on Wall Street.
I was only on "the street" for a few years as an analyst/broker, but I learned my fair share about what it takes to succeed in that business. Reason being, I was working through the worst Bear Market we've seen since the depression.
While everybody was socking their money away under their mattresses, I was on the phone, cold calling and telling investors that now was the time to be buying stocks (considering the market has doubled since then, I guess I was right). Needless to say it was an uphill battle, but it taught me some of the most valuable sales secrets Wall Street has to offer. Secrets that enabled me to open more new accounts than even the most seasoned professionals in my firm.
I guess these aren't really "secrets", they're more like sales tactics that have been proven to work. I didn't invent these, but I made it my business to master them.
And now, in the spirit of blogging and open communication I'm going to pass on these proven, battle-tested sales strategies to all those who care to learn. So whether you're a broker on Wall Street selling stock or a door to door salesman hocking vacuum cleaners, these tips will help you take your business to the next level.
So here goes...
1. Welcome and Expect the Rejection - I know that this may sound counterintuitive to anyone who believes in the law of positive attraction. However, the reality of the situation is that out of the new accounts you've landed over the years, 90% of them probably didn't say "yes" the first time you asked them for the order. It's just a fact.
So when you go in there to land a new account, walk in there expecting them to say "no" right away. Because if you go in there assuming they'll say "yes", and when they don't, you'll not only be unprepared for the oncoming "verbal wrestling match", but you'll also psych yourself out wondering why they said "no" to begin with.
But if you go in there expecting them to say "no" then you'll be ready to follow up with appropriate questions and rebuttals. And that's when deals get closed - not after the first 10 seconds of your presentation, but rather after the 1 hour conversation you have with the prospect.
2. Just Listen - All too often I see novice salesmen who are so eager to "say the right thing" or tell the prospect just one more feature about their product that they don't simply shut-up and listen to what the potential client is telling them.
You have two ears and one mouth, you should listen twice as much as you speak.
Even if you're not totally buying into what the prospect is telling you (more on this in a minute), just listening and not chewing their ear off makes them think that you really care about them and what they have to say. This is so important because this is how you go from having a client to having a friend - and at the end of the day, people don't fire friends.
3. They're all Liars! - You might be scratching your head right now wondering why I just told you to listen to your prospects, but then in the next breath I'm calling them liars.
Well, let me explain...
They're not really "liars" in the sense that they're trying to trick or deceive you. But they are lying to you (and to themselves) when they give lame excuses for why they can't buy what you're selling. Excuses like:
- "I don't have money"
- "I have to talk to my wife first"
- "I'll think about it and call you back"
Those are all lame excuses...and it doesn't mean that they're simply "not interested".
In salesman's vocabulary, "not interested" really means "not convinced". Because if you did your job of pre-qualifying these prospects properly then you should know if they have money or not or if they are the decision maker for this type of transaction.
So when they use these excuses, listen to them because they might inadvertently tell you what you'll have to say to close them, but assume that for the most part they're just making excuses and lying to you.
By keeping with this mentality you won't get bogged down trying to give them advice on how to "come up with the money". Instead you'll start talking about the benefits of your product and why they can't live without it. And that my friend is how you close new accounts!
(NOTE: The first 3 Sales Secrets were basic principles, now we'll get into specific tactics)
4. Completely Ignore the First 3 Objections - That's right, this is another one of those "contradictory" statements when taken at face value. Let me explain...
If you're pitching a guy who gets lots of sales calls everyday - procurement managers, CEO's, individual investors, etc. - then they're conditioned to screen out the weak salesmen. Don't get me wrong, it's not like they sit there and go "I'm only going to buy from the best salesmen", but at the end of the day, it's the best salesmen who close the deals.
So chances are, his first 3 objections are just standard objections he gives to every salesman that calls. Most will go, "Ok sir, I'll call you back down the road." But that's not what he wants to hear...people are always looking for ways to make or save money. If you have a good product and you really believe in it, then you'd be doing this customer a HUGE disservice by not continuing to try and pitch him.
When I was recommending stocks I REALLY believed in what I was doing and that's why I would stay on the phone and pound the table until I got the deal. And that brings me to my next tactic...
5. Click or Close - This is an old Wall Street saying and I'm sure it applies to other sales jobs as well. The phrase basically means that the guy has to either hang up the phone on you (the "click") or open an account with you (the "close").
This is a tough principle to stick to but it's the difference between a million dollar producer (a broker who earns $1 million per year in commissions) and a guy who takes home less than $100k a year on Wall Street. It was the one characteristic I saw the million dollar producers consistently display.
They all had different sales pitches, they all had different ways of asking for the order, and they all even had different ways of approaching the market - but what they ALL had in common was the ability to stay on the phone no matter what. They would stay on a single sales call for over an hour (sometimes they got the account and sometimes they didn't) and would stay on for another hour if the guy let them. It was an amazing display of discipline and it paid off ten-fold when compared to the guys who would hang up after 3 or 4 objections.
Once you overcome the psychological barriers of rejection, this discipline is easy to put into practice and could mean millions in extra income for your firm and family.
Part II coming soon...
I feel that this is enough for one blog post - there's a lot of information to digest up there. Would love any and all feedback you might have so feel free to comment or e-mail me.