No, I’m not talking about a hammer to bludgeon your prospect (or operations department) into submission. The discussion of proper tools sounds so remedial that some readers might not get past the title. Well, I’m here to share with my audience that it would amaze most people how ill-prepared sales people can be as a result of not employing the use of effective tools.
More importantly, those same sales people will argue that they have all the necessary tools and are more than adequately prepared to sell their product and/or service, which might be their perception but not the reality of the situation. Enough of the generalities—let me get to specifics.
At a recent seminar I presented to a group of loan originators (mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, loan officers—you say tomato, I say…), halfway through I stopped to ask a quick question: “By a show of hands, how many in the audience use a financial calculator?” Not surprisingly, only a handful of attendees raised their hands. Who needs a financial calculator when my loan origination system calculates payments for me, or, I have a program on another electronic device that accomplishes the same results.
Not to belabor the technology discussion, I shared with the group that I have three HP-12C financial calculators. I carry one in my briefcase, one on my desk at home and one on my desk at my office.
A financial calculator is an important tool for anyone in the mortgage or real estate industry—or anyone that trains sales people in those industries. Yes, anyone who is engaged in financial transactions (and real estate agents are in that category) need to carry a financial calculator. Amortization schedules, monthly payments, qualifying, loan terms, etc., can all be calculated instantly in any environment.
More importantly, a sales person will be most successful when their preparation meets various opportunities (please refer to my last 742 articles on this topic). It’s one thing to be properly prepared with a financial calculator, but part of that preparation should be associated with a high degree of calculator proficiency. If you give me the month, day and year of your birth—I can tell you in a few seconds with three or four calculator entries—what day of the week that was.
No, it’s not a cheap “parlor” trick (do they still have parlors?) but rather a quick way to schedule closings and ascertain if the date selected is a business day. Adjustable rate mortgages are making a comeback in popularity; can you calculate future payments with a few keystrokes, (quickly) with anything but a financial calculator?
A successful sales person will always offer alternative recommendations for a prospect. In any financial transaction, utilizing a financial calculator will accomplish this quickly and accurately. Don’t wait for an electronic device to “boot-up” or get to the appropriate screen. Again, at the risk of sounding remedial and redundant, along with the financial calculator the sales person’s other tool should be a pad and writing instrument.
Most financial calculators don’t have the ability to print, so it behooves the user to write down various results so accurate comparisons can be made. So yes, a pad and writing instrument is a necessary tool. I’m sorry if you were expecting something complicated and expensive—I don’t dwell on impressive toys. Rather, my focus is on effectiveness and successful outcomes.
Selling is a discipline that requires the use of many tools, some technologically complicated and some that are so simple, easy and effective that they often are not found in most salesperson’s toolbox.
If you are responsible for sales (or sales management), it would behoove you to review what tools will make your selling function more successful. Don’t overlook the obvious because of its simplicity, simple is often better. Working smarter, not harder, can be best accomplished when the tools employed are effective, and it doesn’t have to be impressive or expensive to accomplish the salesperson’s objective.
Stephen Greenberg is the CEO of Synergistic Associates Inc., a national sales training and coaching organization. For a free consultation, or any questions, Steve can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-757-6585.