9 Counterintuitive Sales Methods That Work
Written by: Ken Kupchik
Going against the crowd is difficult for most people. Humans are hardwired to conform so that they can survive in a community of other humans. But salespeople don’t have this luxury. One of the best ways to stay mediocre in sales is by doing what everyone else is doing. Sometimes we have to break free, pound an iced coffee with three extra shots of espresso, and try something that seems counterintuitive.
If you’re grinding it out and not seeing the results you’re looking for, you might want to try something different. Here are some counterintuitive sales methods that could help you close some more deals:
1. Kill more opportunities
Yes, sales opportunities are valuable, but you’re lying to yourself if you believe all prospects are equal. You should understand how to prioritize your opportunities, and when to cut your losses. Time is a finite resource, and spending twice as long with a prospect who’s half as likely to do business is a poor use of your most precious resource. Know when to cut your losses and focus on more promising opportunities.
2. Discuss budget up front
Yes, value is the ultimate determinant of whether or not someone is going to do business, but having the budget discussion up front will prevent you and the prospect from wasting each other’s time. Be transparent and keep the question open-ended, asking something like, “Do you have a budget in mind?” That way you can respond by providing a range of what they can expect if they do business with you. Many clients will appreciate your straightforwardness, and you’ll be able to weed out those whose budget is way outside of your range.
3. The negative close
The negative close challenges the prospect to do business with you by subtly implying that they can’t or won’t do it. You can say something as simple as “Well it sounds like this product might be too advanced for your situation,” or “I get the impression that we’re not the right fit for each other.” This type of close is risky, but can be very effective with the right type of prospect. Make sure you don’t take it too far by insulting the prospect. Subtlety is the key to making this close work for you.
4. When you lose a deal, keep the relationship
So many salespeople give up on a prospect completely or even become hostile after losing a deal. But this is a mistake. If you lose a deal, be courteous, understanding, and professional, and keep the relationship. There are countless scenarios where this could work in your favor, from referrals, to another opportunity to do business down the line. Don’t think short-term if you want long-term sales success.
5. Listen to music to close more deals
Many companies want their sales floor devoid of any noise except that of salespeople pitching and closing deals. This is understandable, but salespeople shouldn’t neglect the power of music to help close more business. Music can change your mood, and there’s not much that’s as important for salespeople as their mood. You listen to music to get pumped up to go to the gym, and you should listen to it to get pumped up to sell. Pop in your headphones, put on whatever music gets you going, and start cranking out emails.
6. Text your prospects
Calling or emailing people is the standard in sales, but texting is becoming more and more popular. You need to communicate with people where they feel the most comfortable, whether it’s on the phone, g-chat, or Skype. And there’s no doubt that most people text these days. Don’t be shy to reach out via text, many people prefer communicating with salespeople that way so that they can formulate their thoughts and negotiate better.
7. Call people early, and late
Most of us are in the office between 9 am and 5 pm, but those aren’t always the best times to reach people. Try calling earlier in the morning to catch people while they’re on their way to work and have time to chat in the car, or later in the day when they’re commuting home. Don’t call anyone too late in the evening though, as that will have the opposite effect.
Related: How to Reignite Cold Leads
8. Talk about the competition
Lots of people say that you shouldn’t talk about the competition because it’s unprofessional, but that’s only if you do it incorrectly. You must be a resource for your clients, and a resource doesn’t just clam up when an uncomfortable topic comes up. If you want to discuss your competition with a client, you need to be knowledgable about their products, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they compare to those of your product. If you frame the discussion correctly, you can use the conversation to close the deal and knock your competition out of the running.
9. Don’t drink caffeine
This might sound like the most insane and counterintuitive sales method in the world, and I will admit that I do not take my own advice when it comes to this topic, but quitting caffeine has worked for a segment of the salesforce. The first few days are hell, and the first several weeks won’t be easy, but once you learn how to function without it, you might be able to maintain a steadier level of energy instead of the highs and lows of severe caffeine addiction. As for the rest of us, we’ll keep our iced coffees, thank you very much.
Here’s Why Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold So Easily
What a week it was.
First and foremost, I’d like to acknowledge the horrific mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas, the deadliest in modern American history. On behalf of everyone at U.S. Global Investors, I extend my sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families.
The memory of the shooting was still fresh in people’s minds during last Tuesday’s Hollywood premiere of Blade Runner 2049, which nixed the usual red carpet and other glitz in light of the tragedy. Before the film, producers shared poignant words, saying that in times such as these, the arts are crucial now more than ever.
I had the distinct privilege to attend the premiere. My good friend Frank Giustra, whose production company Thunderbird Entertainment owns a stake in the Blade Runner franchise, was kind enough to invite me along. Despite the somber mood—a pivotal scene in the film even takes place in an irradiated Las Vegas—I thought Blade Runner 2049 was spectacular. Even if you’re not a fan of the original 1982 film, it’s still worth experiencing in theaters. Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s synth-heavy score is especially haunting.
CNET recently published an interesting piece examining the accuracy of future tech as depicted in the original Blade Runner, from androids to flying cars to off-world travel read the article here.
Still in the Early Innings of Cryptocurrencies
Speaking of the future, I spoke on the topic of the blockchain last week at the Subscriber Investment Summit in Vancouver. My presentation focused on the future of mining—not just of gold and precious metals but also cryptocurrencies.
Believe it or not, there are upwards of 2,100 digital currencies being traded in the world right now, with a combined market cap of nearly $150 billion, according to Coinranking.com.
Obviously not all of these cryptos will survive. We’re still in the early innings. Last month I compared this exciting new digital world to the earliest days of the dotcom era, and just as there were winners and losers then, so too will there be winners and losers today. Although bitcoin and Ethereum appear to be the frontrunners right now, recall that only 20 years ago AOL and Yahoo! were poised to dominate the internet. How times have changed!
It will be interesting to see which coins emerge as the “Amazon” and “Google” of cryptocurrencies.
For now, Ethereum has some huge backers. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), according to its website, seeks to “learn from and build upon the only smart contract supporting blockchain currently running in real-world production—Ethereum.” The EEA includes several big-name financial and tech firms such as Credit Suisse, Intel, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase, whose own CEO, Jamie Dimon, knocked cryptos a couple of weeks ago.
To learn more about the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, watch this engaging two-minute video.
Will Bitcoin Replace Gold?
Lately I’ve been seeing more and more headlines asking whether cryptos are “killing” gold. Would the gold price be higher today if massive amounts of money weren’t flowing into bitcoin? Both assets, after all, are sometimes favored as safe havens. They’re decentralized and accepted all over the world, 24 hours a day. Transactions are anonymous. Supply is limited.
But I don’t think for a second that cryptocurrencies will ever replace gold, for a number of reasons. For one, cryptos are strictly forms of currency, whereas gold has many other time-tested applications, from jewelry to dentistry to electronics.
Unlike cryptos, gold doesn’t require electricity to trade. This makes it especially useful in situations such as hurricane-ravished Puerto Rico, where 95 percent of people are reportedly still without power. Right now the island’s economy is cash-only. If you have gold jewelry or coins, they can be converted into cash—all without electricity or WiFi.
Finally, gold remains one of the most liquid assets, traded daily in well-established exchanges all around the globe. Every day, some £13.8 billion, or $18 billion, worth of physical gold are traded in London alone, according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). The cryptocurrency market, although expanding rapidly, is not quite there yet.
I will admit, though, that bitcoin is energizing some investors, especially millennials, in ways that gold might have a hard time doing. The proof is all over the internet. You can find a number of TED Talks on bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, but to my knowledge, none is available on gold investing. YouTube is likewise bursting at the seams with videos on cryptos.
Bitcoin is up 350 percent for the year, Ethereum an unbelievable 3,600 percent. Gold, meanwhile, is up around 10 percent. Producers, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, have gained 11.5 percent in 2017, 23 percent since its 52-week low in December 2016.
Look Past the Negativity to Find the Good News
The news is filled with negative headlines, and sometimes it’s challenging to stay positive. Take Friday’s jobs report. It showed that the U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September, the first month in seven years that this happened. A weak report was expected because of Hurricane Irma, but no one could have guessed the losses would be this deep.
The jobs report wasn’t all bad news, however. For one, the decline is very likely temporary. Beyond that, a record 4.88 million Americans who were previously sitting out of the labor force found work last month. This helped the unemployment rate fall to 4.2 percent, a 16-year low.
There’s more that supports a stronger U.S. economy. As I shared with you last week, the Manufacturing ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a 13-year high in September, indicating rapid expansion in the manufacturing industry. Factory orders were up during the month. Auto sales were up. Oil has stayed in the relatively low $50-a-barrel range, which is good for transportation and industrials, especially airlines. Small-cap stocks, as measured by the Russell 2000 Index, continue to climb above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages as excitement over tax reform intensifies.
These are among the reasons why I remain bullish.
One final note: Speaking on tax reform, Warren Buffett told CNBC last week that he’s waiting to sell assets until he knows the plan will go through. “I would feel kind of silly if I realized $1 billion worth of gains and paid $350 million in tax on it if I just waited a few months and would have paid $250 million,” he said.
It’s a fair comment, and I imagine other like-minded, forward-thinking investors, buyers and sellers will also wait to make huge transactions if they can help it. Tax reform isn’t a done deal, but I think it has a much better chance of being signed into law than a health care overhaul.
- 1 of 1883