Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Whether you are a sales professional or an entrepreneur, every businessperson benefits from understanding what it takes to sell a product successfully. Today, I'm joined by experienced director of sales training Chris Fava to talk about the keys to success in sales, especially in the B2B space. We talk about the power of prospecting, common mistakes, and how anyone can become successful in sales, regardless of their personality.
About Chris Fava
Chris is a US Army Veteran and experienced Director of Sales Training. He is an experienced salesperson with executive leadership experience and has also led operational efforts for a large Fortune 500 company. He is skilled in coaching, leadership, development, sales force training, and consultative selling.
How did you get involved in sales?
I was on a rout ride with a sales leader who saw potential in me because of my personality and believed that if he could teach me the sales playbook, I could be successful. At first, I tried to rely on my personality, but natural ability can only get you so far. I wanted to do better, so I started listening to my sales leader and executed the playbook he gave me. That's when I started seeing success.
People buy from people they trust. You don't have to be someone with a big personality or who captures the room's attention. Anyone can learn the skills necessary to execute the sales process if they are committed to the process.
What are the most important sales skills that salespeople need to learn?
Prospecting is a crucial piece of the sales process that many salespeople and executives struggle with. If you master prospecting, you will succeed. Prospecting is non-negotiable, and you must constantly put significant effort into this step. People love to talk about their products and what is important to them. But prospecting allows you to see what is essential to your potential client. Anyone can learn the presentation process, but prospecting needs to become a habit. The more you prospect, the more you will sell.
Q: What is your current attitude toward making sales? Do you think you have the potential to be a great salesperson? Why or why not? What skills do you think make someone a good salesperson? How could you overcome your limiting beliefs and become successful in this area?
What common mistakes do salespeople make, and how can they be avoided?
People get so focused on their sales that they forget to continue bringing prospects into their pipeline.
Tenured salespeople stop looking at their territories through a rookie lens and try to cherrypick big accounts. They wrongly assume that certain companies or people won't buy from them, and then they miss out on potential revenue. When salespeople succeed early, they try to shorten the sales cycle and skip steps you should not miss, like the discovery phase. The discovery phase helps people trust you because they get to talk about themselves.
In your experience, what is the best way to build relationships with potential customers?
Know your territory. I treated my territory like I would be in it for at least five years. I looked for places where we were already sending our trucks and the businesses who may see our trucks coming and going.
Make phone calls. Knocking on doors can never replace the value of making phone calls.
Ask for referrals. Get referrals from customers who love you and are already apt to talk you up.
Q: Have you ever been on the other side of a prospecting phone call? Describe your experience. What helped you trust the sales rep? What made you distrust the sales rep?
How can salespeople overcome objections from potential customers?
Many salespeople try to overcome objections by reiterating their presentation and reducing prices. You need to first understand and empathize with the customer and show them that this is not a conflict; it's a partnership. As you continue making sales pitches and handling objections, you can start to prepare for the most common objections. Take the number one objection you get and think about how you can build questions into your discovery process to address the objection before you reach the end of the presentation.
Q: What objections do you face when you make sales calls? Describe a time when you handled an objection in your presentation. How did the customer respond? If you are not a salesperson, have you ever been in a sales presentation? What objections did you have, and how were they handled?
What are some of the latest trends in sales that salespeople should be aware of?
Many customers and prospects know more about you than you know about them. With the age of the internet and social media, people can gather information about you, your company, and your competitors. You have to focus energy on building your brand, especially if you are an entrepreneur.
Write down the five questions you're asking your prospects and the answers you are trying to uncover. How effective are these questions? What buying motives do they reveal? Are there any buying motives that you are missing with your questions? Consider whether you should modify any of your questions to help you extract more specific answers and ensure you are allowing your prospects to tell you what they need.
Practice giving your elevator pitch on video. More and more, LinkedIn video messages are becoming a great way to reach out to potential clients in the B2B space. When you have a video you like, send it to me on LinkedIn, and I will give you feedback within seven days.
Practice uncovering buying motives, delivering your sales pitch, and handling objections by role-playing with a fellow salesperson, boss, or mentor. Better yet, set up a weekly or monthly appointment where you practice the sales process so you can discover any weak points and address them. Practicing and getting feedback will also ensure that you do not try to take shortcuts and consistently implement every portion of a strong sales process.