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A Productive Salesperson Must Have Excellent Communication Skills with Anthony Solimini, Ep #189

Sales Reinvented

Release Date: 04/15/2020

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Communication skills are necessary across all job fields, but Anthony Solimini adamantly emphasizes its usefulness in sales. You must be able to connect with prospects on a relational level. You need to effectively communicate the desired outcome of meetings. Above all, a salesperson must be able to ask for the sale. The foundation of a sales professional’s job must be excellent communication skills. According to Anthony, it separates the winners from the “averagers”. 

Anthony Solimini has worked internationally in London, Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong in banking and sales. He is currently the Business Development Advisor at CSI Financial Group and starting his own training business—AGS training. He is the author of multiple books on sales and enjoys putting his comedic skills to good use on the side. He shares his expertise in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Be sure to listen!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:10] Anthony’s definition of productivity and its importance
  • [2:42] Why aren’t salespeople productive?
  • [3:57] Steps to improve day to day productivity
  • [5:22] Excellent communication skills are an important attribute
  • [10:03] Tools you can use to improve productivity
  • [14:53] Anthony’s top 3 productivity tips
  • [19:17] Stop filling your pipeline with suspects instead of prospects

When salespeople confuse efficiency with effectiveness

When Anthony was in banking in Singapore, he was told by his boss that he needed to double the number of meetings he was having weekly to increase his sales. When he did so, his sales plummeted even more. What he learned was that doing more of the wrong thing makes you less successful—and less productive. 

Salespeople are often numbers-focused. They assume that if they schedule more meetings, make more phone calls, and get in front of more people that it equates to more sales. Anthony points out the error in this thinking and iterates that it’s about quality, not quantity. If you have fewer—but more focused—meetings you will have a higher closing percentage. 

He also notes that salespeople need to be in front of the right people who have a want, need, or desire for the product or service they’re selling. If they don’t, they are taking advantage of your time and expertise to gain information or knowledge. Don’t fall into this trap

Salespeople need to have excellent communication skills—and confidence

According to Anthony, salespeople need to be laser-focused on what they want to achieve. They should go into every meeting confidently, with the ability to take control of the situation. A good salesperson should walk into a meeting with an agenda and a specific outcome they're hoping for and be able to openly communicate that to their prospect. 

Anthony points out that most top-performers are great communicators. They have the ability to build a relationship based on trust with their prospects. They show that they aren’t just there to make a sale and move on. A good communicator can present their pitch in a style that makes the other person feel comfortable. 

Anthony knows that young up-and-comers in the sales world don’t immediately embody confidence. It takes time to become proficient at what you do. You’ll fail and learn from those failures. He believes that you can rely on the confidence your company has built—that it can come from the organization until you feel confident and prepared. 

Set the scene for your meeting 

Too often, sales professionals are laser-focused on their presentation and closing the deal that they forget about the human element. Anthony believes it is important to do your research—learn as much as you can about your prospect before you show up to that first meeting. Adding a personal touch is a means of differentiating yourself from everyone else pitching to them. 

Go into the meeting and set your agenda: clearly state what you’re going to talk about and what your desired outcome for the meeting is. Anthony believes that “The sales process is 70% setting the scene and 30% closing”. After you set the scene you must adapt to your audience, listen and learn, evaluate and explain—only then do you sign and seal the deal (His SALES acronym). 

Anthony shares his basic methodology in this episode, but you can get full details by reading his book that’s listed in the resources below. 

Stop filling your pipeline with suspects instead of prospects

Anthony inherited an account from his boss—an account that his boss had been trying to close for 2 long years. His company had been courting this person by taking them golfing, paying for elaborate dinners, and giving away tickets to sporting events. Anthony was fed up with this prospect. He was flying every time he met with him and it had gone on far too long. 

He finally switched tactics. The next time he met with the prospect, he prepared a summary of the last two years. At the end of his presentation, he said “I get the feeling you will never do business with us” and succinctly stated it was time to stop wasting each other's time. The prospect conceded that he wouldn’t be doing business with them.

When asked why he didn’t tell them sooner, his response was a simple shrug—“no one ever asked”. Anthony’s company had wasted years on this prospect when they could’ve spent 20 minutes discovering the reasons they could never do business together. The potential client would never ruin the relationship with all of the FREE stuff he was getting!

From there on out, Anthony adopted a new policy: He would meet with a prospect a maximum of 4 times (if they sale was under a million dollars) and then ask for a yes or a no. Salespeople sometimes forget that even if they get a no, they are still closing the deal and can move on to someone who does want their business. 

Resources & People Mentioned

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