GUEST: Chris Orlob, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Gong.io
Your mother was wrong.
Sales is both an art and a science, and Orlob has the data at his fingertips to solve all of your sales problems.
Secrets of Top Sellers
The world’s best sales teams are not scripted by any means, but they are following the same playbook.
Top performing sales teams are consistent from rep to rep. They are consistent in the messages and stories, how their reps approach their call structures, how much time is spent on discovery versus demos, their selling motions, etc. They are marching in the same direction, following the same process.
When you step inside a poorly, or even an average, performing sales team, there is a lot of inconsistency from rep to rep. They are telling different stories and messages, they are asking different questions, and they are following totally different processes.
Words that Prolong the Sales Cycle
We analyzed about three million sales conversations and we’ve looking at this analysis a lot of different ways,” says Orlob. “You can read the full article on gong.io/blog. When a rep utters the words ‘list price’, it dramatically prolongs the sales cycle. That’s because you are effectively communicating to your buyer that the price is negotiable, and you’ve just given your buyer permission to negotiate with you.”
You will never hear top performing reps use the word list price unless they are using it in some sort of strategic way like, “I can take this amount off of list price if you guys are willing to sign this month.”
Savvy sales reps may use price anchoring tactics that get your total pricing to seem smaller by comparing it to a bigger number. For instance, the prospect may ask, ‘what’s your pricing?’ The sales rep may respond with, ‘what’s your average deal size?’ In response, the prospect says, ‘$75,000 or $100,000.’ This is followed by some conversation from the sales rep, with a reply, ‘the pricing is $50,000.’
And now just because they started with a higher number, not even a price, but their own average deal size of 75K, the rep can deliver the price of 50K, which sounds significantly more digestible because they called out a high number that is not even related to it; it helps them digest that number and it makes it seem smaller.
Ask the Right Questions
“I’m in product marketing now, but most of my career has been in sales,” says Orlob. “I could not go into a sales meeting without preparing. I wanted to know everything I could because I had one shot to persuade that person. And if I don’t do it in this one meeting, I wasn’t going to get a second chance.”
Doing due diligence is less about asking questions, and more about asking the right questions.
- In a discovery call without a c-suite executive being there, 11-14 questions is the sweet spot that helps you gather the most amount of information and correlates with the highest close rates
- When typical sellers enter a meeting with a c-suite executive, there is a dramatic decrease in close rates when you ask more than four questions
What is likely happening is the seller starts asking generic run-of-the-mill discovery questions to the point where the executive either politely bows out of the meeting, or more rudely kicks them in the teeth.
“I’m not saying don’t pose questions to c-suite executives. If you’re asking a question that makes them think differently or somehow provides value, that’s a question you can lead with.“
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT MARKETING, GONG.IO
“I’m not saying don’t pose questions to c-suite executives,” says Orlob. “If you’re asking a question that makes them think differently or somehow provides value, that’s a question you can lead with.”
Open with the Right Closing
Closing with slick lines that you think are going to be your magic bullet, probably isn’t going to work.
Conversations that happen early in the sales process create totally different paths for a deal. There are huge differences between early in the sales process calls that ended up winning, versus calls that ended up losing.
“When we looked at mid-process calls in both won deals and lost deals, we could find no difference between them.“
Senior Director of product marketing, gong.io
“When we looked at mid-process calls in both won deals and lost deals, we could find no difference between them,” says Orlob. “That tells us that the trajectory of your sales process is set during the first half. It’s like trying to change the trajectory of a meteor that’s barreling toward earth. In the beginning of its path, if you changed the trajectory by one percent, that meteor is going to miss Earth. But towards the end of its process, if you change its trajectory by 30% or 40% it’s still going to hit earth. It’s been on the same trajectory for too long.”
The act of closing still needs to happen, but it’s not fancy words. It’s an act of leadership. It is being the decisive one in the scenario because you can almost guarantee that your buyer is facing a situation of uncertainty and indecision. It’s recommending the solution that your buyer needs to move forward.
“It’s like trust,” says Orlob. “You don’t build trust with technique. You build trust as the result of being trustworthy. Closing is the same way.”
“I can’t give you a specific set of words at the end of your sales process that’s going to make somebody sign a contract,” says Orlob. “But if you’re an experienced leader or if you have the ability to be a leader, you’re going to sense what your buyer needs in that situation to move forward.”
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