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"Bringing In Management"

At the sales training company I work for, I watch salespeople bring in new business on a daily basis. I've noticed that the most successful reps have learned when and how to bring management in for help. These reps realize they cannot always close a deal solo; wisely, they turn to their higher-ups for assistance. 

Let's say an experienced sales representative at my firm is at the proposal stage with a prospect, but is not certain about the timetable, pricing, person or plan. It's not at all uncommon at our company for the rep to call in the president, Steve Schiffman. Steve will call this prospect and say something along the following lines: "I just wanted to call and say hello. I'm Steve Schiffman, the president of the company. I understand from speaking with my rep, (rep's name), that it looks like we'll be doing business together."

At this point, one of two things can happen. If the prospect says, "Yes, that's right," then Steve knows that the salesperson is in fact presenting a solid proposal. If Steve gets a "Gee, I'm not so sure" answer, he will ask, "Oh, what seems to be the issue?" 

Steve deals with the issue by showing examples of how D.E.I. has helped other companies in similar situations. It always helps to assure the prospect that your company has handled similar situations, and achieved positive results. 

He often closes the call by saying to the prospect, "I will work with my rep in dealing with this concern. You can be assured we will together to make sure you are comfortable in such-and-such an area."

Let's say the rep then meets with his or her contact -- and then doesn't get the deal. Steve will make a second call. That call sounds like this: "I understand from speaking to my rep that we are not going to be doing business together after all. Did we do something wrong?"

Steve asks the person directly why there is no deal. This is one of the most underrated strategies in the industry. Invariably, when Steve asks, "Did we do something wrong?" the prospect will say "No, it was nothing you people did." Steve will then ask, "So why aren't we doing business together?" At that point, the prospect will outline what is really at stake. 

Steve will address his concerns and close the call by saying, "Let's get together with my rep and review how we can work together to solve the issues you've raised in such-and-such an area. How about Tuesday at 3 p.m.?" 

You'd be amazed at how often this approach results in major sales from prospects that appeared to be "dead in the water."

I have seen this "bring in the manager" strategy utilized again and again. It really works! Try it yourself and see what happens! 

The bottom line: Working together, salespeople and their superiors can get to the heart of the prospect's situation -- and win sales that otherwise would have slipped through the cracks. 

Erin Flynn is a freelance writer
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