This is the third in the series of columns written with the above cartoon in mind and the three words that begin Vanilla Ice’s mega-hit “Ice-Ice Baby” – Stop, Collaborate & Listen. The thought was that those are three great words for salespeople to think about in terms of making strides in their profession.

This month, the focus is on the word "stop," and it may be the most difficult of the three. Your tendency may be to rush through a day, especially when things are busy. You rush through your day, sales call after sales call, mix in a myriad of different phone calls, and the usual “firefighting” activities that pop up for most salespeople. This hurrying through the day can put in you in an auto-pilot state of mind, just grinding away. Take a few seconds to stop your mental process and just think before moving forward. Slowing down and thinking can help salespeople see things more strategically and not get bogged down in too much transactional detail, the next bid, quote, project etc. Most of you would probably agree that taking a more strategic approach to selling could pay dividends for you. Let’s look at three ways stop can help.

Stop: Many times, when a homeowner expresses an issue, concern, or problem they are currently facing, the salesperson immediately begins explaining how their product or service will solve the issue. Instead STOP and consider this tactic to bring emotion and/or urgency into the situation. Ask the homeowner how the problem is impacting or challenging their situation. Drilling down with these types of questions allow the homeowner space to consider how their problems are affecting their lives, bringing emotion and urgency to the surface.

Stop: You ask for the order and instead receive an objection from the homeowner. Often, salespeople feel the need to immediately jump in and defend their position. You ask for the order, the homeowner responds, “That price is awful high.” Instead of defending your position. Stop. You have a very powerful tool at your disposal and now is a perfect time to put it to use. That tool is silence. Respond with “High, huh…” along with a look like you have never heard that before and 3 to4 seconds of silence. The homeowner will likely be uncomfortable with the silence. If they speak to each other, or you, then that’s progress. If you are communicating, you can get from “no” to “yes”. If you’re not communicating that is much more difficult. If you get no response after the brief period of silence, then you must begin defending your position.

Stop: You’ve sold a job and you’re feeling pretty good. Don’t just jump in your vehicle, crank up the music and throw your shoulder out of place patting yourself on the back. Instead, Stop…take this opportunity to knock on a few doors near the house you’ve just sold and explain that your company will be doing a home improvement next door in a couple of weeks. These projects always come with a certain amount of construction debris, but that your company works hard at keeping the project area clean. But ask them to call you if they have issues with any debris that your contractors did not catch. Explain that you strive to keep the neighborhood as clean as it was when you began the project. This places a lot of focus on the job you’re doing for the neighbors. People will think your very courteous, they will be watching when your crew is working and will more than likely visit the neighbor who had the work done when the project is complete. There is a good chance that one of these neighbors will be reaching out to you when they are considering a home improvement project.

My three-month deep dive into Robert Van Winkle aka Vanilla Ice’s famous song is over. "Stop," "Collaborate," and "Listen" are three fantastic words for salespeople to keep in mind as they work through the days, weeks, and months ahead. Sales can seem like a complex profession, but it can be boiled down to three simple things; Be sincere with people and don’t try to be something that you’re not, find problems to solve, and be confident in your price to solve those problems. Oops … I may have found a subject for next month’s column. Happy Selling!