Remember when your parents would say, “You’ll understand the value of this when you grow up?” They were trying to convince us to do what they were saying in hopes that someday it would make sense and we would appreciate…
How is your sales team doing at meeting your sales expectations? Are they hitting their goals, following the sales process, completing their admin tasks and meeting your activity expectations? …..Sorry, I’m having a hard time hearing that loud, YES! But…
What are the body posture and faces of your sales team telling you during your sales-team meetings? How willing are they to engage into discussions you initiate? I hope they’re engaged, but let’s face it weekly sales-team meetings can become routine and easily fall into a rut. When that happens at a small business the meetings usually stop taking place. If you ask the team if they want to keep having the meetings, they’ll be polite and tell the boss, “If you want to.” But what they want to say is, “These meetings are boring.” There’s no one else to blame but us, the sales leader. What can we do about it? Let me give you some ideas on how to keep your sales-team meetings interesting.
When I’m making a purchase I want the most out of the money I spend. Sometimes I’ll buy the most expensive choice and other times the least. But in either case I’m looking for the greatest value for what I spend. When it’s time to provide sales training for your sales team you’ll be faced with a wide range of costs and programs to evaluate. Ian Altman, in his article How Much Does Sales Training Cost written for Forbes/ Leadership presents figures of $500 – $5000 (per sales) rep for public trainings and $3500 – $25,000 (per team) for private training. Within that range of training choices lies an incredible value that’s worth every dollar you’ll spend. But in this blog, I won’t be addressing those choices. Instead, I want to share how a low cost sales training through a team book study can possibly be the value your looking for at a cost of $15-$200 per sales rep. I’ve been leading these book studies with great results for years and so can you, if you follow some simple steps.
I’ve seen the hard work you put in all day. I see you making calls, doing research, sending emails and making more calls. You put in this effort to produce selling meetings required throughout your sales process. You then prepare for your meetings and engage. May I ask, “Are you really prepared as well as you should be for each meeting you enter?”
Selling meetings are where decisions are influenced and made. In most cases it’s during these meetings where we have the greatest impact on the outcome of a sale. If selling meetings carry this much opportunity shouldn’t we ask ourselves, “Are we really prepared for our next meeting?”
In my personal selling experience as well as watching others sell, I’ve come to appreciate selling conversations that are enjoyable. They’re not a struggle or stressful. There’s no guessing or worrying involved. They’re simply a series of conversations that are enjoyable. We keep the conversations enjoyable by staying in the present. When you focus on the end (the order) during a sales conversation you can easily remove yourself from being present. Of course “the order” is a point of reference and a job priority, but it’s important to keep it in the proper perspective. The order will take place at the proper time if your buyer chooses to purchase with you. Before that happens staying present in your selling conversations will keep the process enjoyable and profitable.
It’s easy for me to write about sales people because I’m one myself. Being a salesperson provides me an insider’s perspective on who we are and what makes us tick. The most desirable sales traits of a good sales person can cause a little disruption in the company as well as help them sell. I’ve included in this blog a list of “Desirable Sales Traits for a Hunter/Closer” type-rep and how they play out in the sales arena and in the office. It’s my hope that having this dual perspective can help you develop more support and belief in your team, which will lead to greater sales results. It should also provide you a guide on what to look for when hiring your next rep.
When you are at the check out at most big box stores you can expect to be asked, “Are you a rewards member?” The rewards are designed to encourage us to buy at the store more frequently. Loyalty is being developed toward the reward but not to the company or people working there. I wonder if this was intentional or simply an evolution? What about you? What type of loyalties are you building around you?
If you’re a salesperson, you’re usually measured on sales revenue or account additions. When you’re ahead of the game it comes with a pat on the back and maybe a bonus. If you’re behind you get a reminder to work harder and make more calls. Have you ever thought, “Is that all there is, make more calls and work harder?” After all, that‘s what you’ve been doing.
If you’re a business owner leading your team you might be wondering what else you could suggest to them. If there was only a selling skills blueprint that would help you both know what skills to improve on? There is, and it’s packaged in a sweet little sales improvement tool called Profiles Sales CheckPoint TM
Most people will support the notion of having a narrow market niche as long as there is enough lead flow. Which sales person wouldn’t want to solely work with their ideal type of customer since it’s easiest to work with customers that appreciate the value and niche expertise they represent. It all sounds good until there aren’t enough leads. As a company or sales person are you tempted to reach outside your market niche to pick up some quick business, or do you stay committed to fixing the niche lead shortage? This is when you find out how committed you are to your focus or niche.
The HOW MUCH in this blog title could be describing overpayment or underpayment of your sales team. Where does your pay plan fall? Are you paying your sales people too much or could it be you are under paying them? Creating a sales pay plan isn’t terribly difficult but it’s trickier than finding a simple salary range for non-sales positions. I’ll answer the two most common questions asked of me regarding sales play plans. (1) How much should I pay my sales people? and (2) How should I structure the pay plan?
Two of my favorite things in life are watching NFL games and helping sales people figure out the game of sales. When you listen to many of the interviews by winning NFL players and coaches you’ll hear tips that can help you be a better salesperson and manager. When you have a chance to listen to others that have been successful, there’s an opportunity to apply what they have done to your profession or life. With that in mind, these are my Top 10 NFL Success Quotes for Selling.
Business becomes much more enjoyable when you can predict what your sales and profit margins will be. The problem is sales forecasts are usually less reliable than predicting the weather. Mark Denning, CPA and Author of “Drive Your Business to Financial Success” states in his book, “The key variables with the highest risk and level of difficulty to forecast are revenue and gross margin.” These are two areas your sales team plays a big role in setting and achieving. Rather than use a crystal ball, here are seven ways to have 20/20 vision with your sales forecasting.
Have you ever heard sales people complain about attending sales meetings? You might hear comments like, “What’s the sales meeting for?”, “Do you know how long it’s going to be?” or “Do I need to be here?” Does your company have sales meetings? I’ve checked back with some former clients and asked how their sales meetings are going, and to my dismay I hear, “We haven’t had one for awhile.” Let’s be honest. Meetings can be overdone and a waste of time, but they don’t have to be. You can have Money-Making Sales Meetings and here’s how.
There’s a verse in the bible that states, “Don’t cast your pearls among swine”. I’d translate it in sales terms to mean, don’t present what you know as valuable to someone who’s not ready to see it the same way. If people aren’t buying from you when your offer seems like a no brainer decision, you’re probably casting your pearls to someone who sees them as stones. This happens either because you’re working with the wrong type of customer or you haven’t helped them understand your value BEFORE your final proposal or presentation. Let’s look at the latter.
Wow! I just re-read an incredible article on managing in a way that frees up more of your time. It’s titled MacGregor. It’s a research paper on management that is written in a nice story format. The story is of a manager named MacGregor, who’s mastered his role in managing others that has resulted in the following:
Imagine yourself sitting in front of your CRM or meeting with your manager during a debrief session. It’s time to answer the question, “Reason for Losing the Sale.” The common choices are related to price, product, service etc. I’d suggest you add one more to your list or discussion, “I was outsold.” Have you admitted to being outsold? If you haven’t, it must be your first day on the job, because it’s happened to everyone I know. So what does it mean, being outsold? How do you know if you have and why’s it important to know? Let’s find out.
I received a question on motivation today. “What’s the best way to motivate a sales team without high pressure?” Before going into the details and do’s and don’ts take a look at the question. What is the question presuming? I read that it is the sales managers responsibility to provide motivation to the team. Is it?
Revenue’s down, sales goals aren’t being met, it’s classic sales underachievement and there’s one group to blame, right? Or is there? Sales people obviously need to carry the ultimate responsibility of securing more business but they can only be at their best if the right environment exists.
Earlier in my career while I was in the cellular industry our company purchased a new market
To plan or not to plan? Time to answer that question again. As the New Year approaches Sales Manager Now has been working on client sales and business plans for next year. In our experience more than half of the businesses we encounter don’t have a current documented business plan. If they do, it’s usually not reviewed on a regular basis. Writing a business or sales plan is one thing, but having a plan that’s useful and used is a different story. Not all business plans work. Jim Horan, author of The One Page Business Plan lists the following reasons why business plans don’t work:
Recruiting Sales Reps in good economic times can be a difficult challenge for small business owners and managers, especially when it’s not a regular practice. When times are tough and unemployment is high, it can be downright daunting. Sales Reps present an added hiring challenge relative to non-sales employees.
Unless your CRM system is used wisely, you’re better off without one. Yes, that’s coming from a veteran Sales Manager who, like most other Sales Managers, is controlling and directing by nature just as an effective Sales Leader must be. Since we’re all happy with more business, let’s explore how to use a CRM system to boost your sales.
Understanding What It Is For…
When you use a CRM system as a communication tool between a Sales Manager and a Sales Rep, the purpose of the CRM is to move prospects through the sales pipeline efficiently and swiftly as reasonably possible to achieve your sales goal. To this end, it is a coaching tool. From my perspective this is it’s greatest inherent value and closest connection to winning more business.
We’re in the process of tightening up the sales process with one of our clients. In the past two years the focus has been on increasing sales (new business) and holding the line on retention. Sales Processes have been instilled; there is more accountability, ongoing education and team cross selling, which have all contributed to the attainment of the focus on growing revenue.
In my previous blog, we discussed the critical importance of recruiting Sales Reps for your organization and the need for a consistent, continuous plan of action. For long term growth and stability of your business, you should have a pipeline of candidates at all times in the same manner that a Sales Rep has a pipeline of prospects. Create a healthy habit by considering the suggestions that I made previously.
Hitting “300” in Major League Baseball is excellent. Not so in the world of Sales Rep recruiting. So how do you drive up your average by limiting the old “swing-and-a-miss” to being few and far between? Successful recruiting of Sales Reps is of paramount importance to small business owners for a few critical reasons.
I think we’d all agree that finding good Sales Reps is key to increased profits and a more enjoyable sales management experience, but finding them is only half the battle. Retaining your best Sales Reps is where greater profits and the ROI on your sales management effort is found.
Most of us have heard the definition of Insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” In most sales departments as well as in the company in general, a little “Insanity” usually exists and it is part of my role to shed light on it and make changes that produce different results. Increasing your B2B Sales will not happen by accident or just doing more of what is not working. It is worth stepping back to see what does not work as well as what does. Preston Pond, co-founder of The Center of Organizational Design says, “Organizations are designed perfectly for the results they produce.” Design includes the strategy, structure, culture and execution. Let me provide you with food for thought in these four areas that might provide some light for you to assess your current design.
LEADERSHIP – How effective is the sales manager at providing leadership for their sales team and department? To what degree is the team working toward long and short term goals?
If you have sales reps spinning their wheels, pumping out proposals but not closing an acceptable percentage of business, they might need some help with qualifying and managing the sales process. In order to manage your sales people easily and effectively, you need to clarify expectations and build in some accountability steps.