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Sandler Training | Dublin, Ireland

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Paul Lanigan

Many of us have fished at one time or another, or at least seen a fisherman in action. The most common scenario is a line with a baited hook in the water, the fisherman waiting for a strike. When a fish hits, the fisherman yanks the rod up, often resulting in a return to the fisherman of a hook with no bait, and no fish.

I once asked a group of sales training participants to define "Selling." By the blank expressions on their faces, you would have thought I asked them to explain Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

A young ambitious sales professional wished to be top dog, not just in his company, but in his industry, so he sought council from a wise man. "Tell me, oh wise man, what do I need, in order to be the best sales professional in my business?"

Have you stopped to think just how much the word "IF" is worth? Judging by the way so many salespeople talk, it must be worth hundreds of thousands of Euro.

Company brochures and pamphlets make reference to it. Testimonial letters are evidence of it. Yet, quality, reliability, and competitive prices don't guarantee a sale.

How do you determine if the time you devote to developing a selling opportunity is a worthwhile investment or a waste? One might think the answer is obvious: if you closed the sale, it was a good investment of time, and if you didn't close the sale, it was a waste of time. On the surface, there is some truth to that line of thinking. But, the length of time to close the sale or close the file on the opportunity is the real yardstick.

Is there anything you can do about your sales cycle? We will discover there are many patterns in the sales world. If we understand the patterns and what causes them, we have a chance to shorten the sales cycle.

There is no room for the shotgun approach to selling in today's customer-driven, competitive environment. Responding to a request for proposal (RFP) that falls within your company's general area of expertise is costly and likely to be inefficient, at best; developing a proposal for every RFP that comes in can be foolhardy.

In almost every buying decision, you'll work with a cast of characters who are involved in the process. Often, one member of the cast usually someone at or near the top of the organisation chart has the responsibility for making the decision. Sometimes, however, a committee of decision makers is involved.

As a professional, your reluctance to be perceived as a "salesperson" may cause you to have trouble being up-front about money issues. This can cost you money. Here are two common money pitfalls, and ways to avoid them: