My wife Carolyn, and I were discussing the topic of closing a sale.
I said to her, “A salesperson doesn’t have to close sales”, and she quickly replied, “Sometimes I want to be closed.”
I asked, “Do you want to be closed or do you need reassurance?”, she replied “Reassurance.”
The dialogue brought up a question related to closing and using closing techniques. What should a salesperson do when a buyer’s not ready to make a decision? Should they use closing techniques to close a deal, or help the buyer by using facilitating questions and sharing information? Continue reading
When somebody calls in and starts asking questions about your product or service, they usually want you to be “the man”. They’re hoping your product or service is the answer to their problems. They really don’t want to shop around. They want to buy! Managing expectations will help you keep them in this frame of mind.
If we approach the sale with a perspective of the buyer wanting “us” to be their solution, it can simplify the sales process. When you really believe this to be true, you’re not “afraid” of losing the deal and you’re not so concerned about the competition (although it’s wise to understand your competitor). You can stop selling and start conversing. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Today’s buyer-empowered age makes it difficult to stand out in a buyers eyes solely through product knowledge. The importance and necessity of being knowledgeable remains the same, but it doesn’t provide the same differentiator as it once did. Standing out in the eyes of a customer and prospective buyer are what all sales people hope for, but what’s being done to make that happen? Being referred into a prospect is still the best way to start a new relationship with a selling edge. What are you doing to maintain that edge, and how are you recognized as different in your prospects eyes? Continue reading
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? Continue reading
Revenue’s down, sales goals aren’t being met 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 Continue reading
How patient should you be in a sales process? I’d say as patient as you need to be as long as the process is continuing. Am I saying you should just let the buyer lead the sales process? No. At the same time that you’re being patient, you also need to be urgent. It’s what I call the delicate balance of patience and urgency. Continue reading
I’d like to introduce you to an alternative approach to presenting and reviewing proposals with your prospective buyers. Picture the key elements of your proposal laid out on one page, either Letter size (8.5 x 11) or Tabloid (17 x 11). You and your buyers each have a copy of the One Page Proposal in front you and your having great dialogue regarding your design, implementation, pricing and solving their key business objectives. You’re not flipping through 30 pages reading over data they’re not ready to digest. Instead, you’re having an enjoyable business conversation that’s leading to a decision. That’s what you can have using a One Page Executive Sales Proposal. Continue reading
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: Continue reading
When unforeseen obstacles and challenges present themselves during a year, the commitment you have to your sales goal will be tested. Here’s a story of a team that passed the commitment test. Our United States space program plans for every possible contingency to ensure our astronauts return to earth safely. There are multiple goals on each mission with having the astronauts return home to their families being number one. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
The best selling conversations are among two or more people that trust each other. How you communicate in your sales conversations will either build or lose trust with your prospect. I asked buyers on LinkedIn, Which phrases tell you someone is “selling” you something? And, what qualities or attitudes do your favorite sales people posses? I was provided with a great variety of responses. As a Sales Rep, read their remarks and notice if you get defensive in any way or if you agree with them. Remember this, what’s most important to buyers is what will build trust, not what you believe is most important for them.
Here are the answers. Continue reading
The definition of Hopeium is: “the irrational belief that, despite all evidence to the contrary, things will turn out for the best.” It’s a term that has made its way around society but is particularly relevant to the world of sales. Since sales people must stay positive and optimistic in the face of daily rejection and challenges, it’s only natural for them to interpret a prospects lukewarm response as “hopeful”. Rather than hearing the early “no” from the prospect, the salesperson drags on a deal in “hope” of it turning out for the best. Instead of truly qualifying prospects, Hopeium sets in.
How to Kick the Habit
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 new business sales 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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
On LinkedIn a business owner asked, “Is business growth through referrals possible?” He further explained, “In B2B, is it possible to actively, positively encourage client referrals?” He continued, “I’m not talking about just doing a good job and waiting for our client to sing our praises – No – this is a question about whether it is possible to “push” our clients to refer. Is it doable, and how???” Continue reading
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. Continue reading
When your mindset is to “find” or “get you” some prospects you might be focused more on finding people you can get something from.
When your mindset is to find new people you can build a relationship with, it changes from what you can get to what you can give, as relationships require a give and take. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
To improve your sales closing ratio you need to focus on working smarter and harder. Once you have proven to yourself you can produce consistently at an acceptable level most good sales people want to sell more. Since sales is a numbers game, doing more of what you do now to make sales seems like a good formula for success. Unfortunately, sales is also a time game, and there is only so much of it in each day. There comes a time when you are maxed out and this is when working smarter and harder can come in handy. Continue reading
Should you leave a voicemail message or should you hang up when cold calling? I have seen both work, but with caller ID just hanging up becomes a little more obvious to the prospect and can work against you. I suggest polishing up on your voice messages to increase the number of call backs and position yourself as someone your prospect would like to talk with. Leaving a bunch of missed calls will probably not peak a quality prospects interest in speaking with you. Continue reading
If you have managed to maintain your sales volume and customer base during the past 14 months, I say well done! If business has been down or you feel like you have taken a beating during a weak economy, make sure you have not weakened your approach to opportunities. Continue reading
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? Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Have you walked into a selling situation where the prospects seem completely sold on another vendor or approach and shows little interest in hearing about your solution? Sometimes it might feel as if they are defending their preference as a protection from hearing something new. Let’s say they like apples and you are selling mangos. Apples might be a good solution for them, but the mangos you represent are better. How can you help your prospect disconnect from their love of apples and be open and begin to focuson mangos? Continue reading
Business relationships are no different than personal relationships. Things can go awry when we take things for granted, become less appreciative or neglect the details that first built the strong relationship. When a competitive large sales opportunity presents itself with an existing client or customer an easy trap to fall into is, trusting your key contact (the one with the strong relationship) to do your selling for you. Continue reading