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What's the common image of a salesperson? The big bad wolf.

The big bad wolf seeks and destroys. It's a predator who pounces on its prey, eats the weak and leaves a bloody mess behind. This image makes the job of salespeople a lot harder than it should be. The good news is that this creates an opportunity to kill the wolf and turn the negative into a positive.

If you were to ask 10 customers what they hate about salespeople and the buying experience, you'd get an earful. Take each of those answers and list when it occurs in the sequence of your normal sales process. Begin to review the list and sequence with a TLC Mindset (Think Like a Customer).

Picture your customer, or even yourself as a customer, in the buying process and the negative experience. Remember, perception is reality: Selling is nothing more than helping customers solve problems in a manner they feel positive about. The key word is "feel." Emotions are key to everything in life, including sales and the buying experience.

In marketing and sales, you must constantly remove the barriers of entry for a customer. Picture a road with potholes, detours and obstacles and the emotions they create when encountered. This is exactly what a customer feels every time they encounter a barrier in your buying process.

Begin to think in terms of proactively eliminating each barrier. Now take this a step further and begin to promote the differences in a manner that separates you from the competition in a manner that is positive but not arrogant. Create a funnel process that allows the customer to move effortlessly and positively through the process.

Old school training methods that are based upon closing deals rather than opening relationships are dead. Consumers are too educated, have too many choices and demand a better experience today. Don't continue your current sales process just because that's the way you have always done it or because of the worst philosophy ever spoken - "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Create a selling philosophy and process that becomes a part of your brand, your defining message and your culture. I guarantee it's easier to recruit, hire and train winning salespeople with this philosophy and process.

Begin by analyzing everything from the initial contact on a phone call, a visit to your Web site or when they pull into your business. I can think of at least five negative things that occur in a traditional meet and greet and 10 absolute deal killers that occur at least 50 percent of the time or more when you are profiling and interviewing customers.

For a list of these deal killers, along with 10 suggestions to improve your process, feel free to e-mail me at info@tewart.com with "deal killers" in the subject line.

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Tags: Automotive, auto, automotive, car, expert, management, mark, sales, tewart, training

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