5 Difficult Sales Scenarios that High Performers Get Right

5 Difficult Sales Scenarios that High Performers Get Right
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High Performers Excel at Difficult Sales Scenarios
As carefully as you plan your sales calls, realize that some will inevitably go awry.  Handling specific sales situations well becomes a test of sales experience, resilience, and creativity.  Gartner research found that 53% of customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience — more so than by the brand, product, service, and price combined.

And according to the Salesforce State of Sales Report, a whopping 72% sales reps missed their sales quota last year,  Does your sales team have what it takes to handle difficult sales scenarios when the stakes are high while still delivering an exceptional sales experience and meeting their targets?

High Performing Salespeople Prepare to Handle Five Difficult Sales Scenarios
Sales leaders know that high performing salespeople prepare to handle difficult sales scenarios and lean on their EQ and IQ to keep a tricky situation from derailing an important relationship and opportunity.  Here are five common high stakes sales situations based upon data from our sales leader simulation assessments for high stakes roles that should be part of every business sales training program, and the way to handle them in the way a high performer would:

  1. You Make a Mistake
    Even high performing sales reps can make an honest mistake. Let’s say that you misquoted a price, or that you missed an important detail with the client.  The key to making an effective repair is to accept responsibility, apologize, and offer a meaningful way to make up for it.

    Genuine humility combined with empathy for the repercussions of your mistake combined with a customer-centric focus on helping them to succeed can go a long way to rescue — and even improve — the relationship.

  2. Your Buyer Is Antagonistic
    Whether it’s your main contact or another buyer in the decision-making process, most salespeople eventually have to deal with an unfriendly, tough, or intimidating prospect. Assuming that the client fits your ideal target client profile in all other aspects, high performing sales people try to find out what the antagonist needs, how they fit into the buying process, and the best path to help them meet their goals.

    If you encounter an antagonist during the sales process, see if you can identify their personal and professional goals and how to make them look good.  At the very least, your objective should be to disarm them by finding a way to support a need you have uncovered.

  3. Your Buyer Disagrees with You
    Recent research found that more than half of all top sales performers in complex sales excel at challenging their client’s thinking and sharing new insight while artfully meeting customers where they are. While challenging a buyer’s thinking can be an important part of adding value and helping your client to succeed, high performing sales reps do not let disagreements go too far.

    Instead, they try to understand their buyer’s assumptions and the cultural context of the organization that they must work within.  Invest the time to find out why your buyer thinks and acts as they do.  Then you can tactfully present compelling options that make sense to them, their team, and their company.

    For example, top sales reps put their customer first.  They do not try to “sell more,” “charge more,” or dismiss perceived risks.  They put themselves in the same boat as their customers and do what is best for THEIR customer, THEIR customer’s company, and THEIR customer’s clients.

  4. Your Buyer “Goes Dark”
    We’ve all had scheduled sales meetings that fell apart because the client didn’t show.  What to do when a sales prospect goes dark? Don’t take it personally and do not immediately assume that the client purposefully blew you off.  It’s better to persistently and professionally follow-up.

    Check in to make sure that your prospect is OK and suggest another time to meet. Just make sure that you have a compelling reason — from their perspective – to meet.  If the client blows you off repeatedly, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate their desirability as a customer.

  5. You Experience an Awkward Moment
    Oops! You told a bad joke, you spilled coffee all over the boardroom table, or you forgot an important item. The less flustered and embarrassed you appear, the more professional you seem, and the faster the incident will likely fade.  Apologize and then move on to the proposed agenda.

The Bottom Line
Difficult sales scenarios are just part of selling solutions.  Have you identified the sales situations that matter most for your specific sales strategy, target market, and sales culture?  Make sure that your sales team is prepared to shine in the moments of truth to build relationships and get results for your clients.

To learn more about how to handle difficult sales scenarios, download  The 30 Most Important Sales Questions to Get Right When Selling Solutions

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