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Sales Tip: Disconnect and Refocus

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 focus on mangos?

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Sales Tips: A Strong Relationship Can Lull You to Sleep

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. The relationship can begin to effect your upselling technique.  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.

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Modern B2B Sales and Dangerous Leadership Gaps

Someone on Linkedin asked the question, “What is missing in the sales profession today?”. The fact is I don’t see much of a difference in today’s B2B sales people as in years past (30 years of selling, managing and consulting). Salespeople will follow quality leadership and leaders among the team will emerge. I believe if you fill the leadership gaps in companies the sales people will follow. Leadership gaps exist in three areas, the sales team, sales management and the company.

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Selling is More Than Closing Business

Are you building a sales career or living or dying by your next deal? Tiger Woods is working toward a career objective, and as we saw Sunday at the PGA Tournament, things don’t always go as planned. Closing business at every opportunity would be great, but the reality is we don’t close every deal, but we do have a response to every outcome.

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Build Lifetime Value Through a Referral Network

What is the value of the contacts you made today? If you have an answer to this question you are viewing the value of your contacts from a short term perspective. We never will know the value of any contact (person we converse with and get to know) until their life is over. So how do you increase the lifetime value of each contact you make and develop a valuable referral network? Most professional B2B Sales Managers would suggest:

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Build Direct Sales Motivation by Managing Persistent Sales Follow-up

Richard Saling on Linked in asked this great question. “When does persistence cross the line to diminishing returns. We all hear about the importance of persistence. That old saying “Persistence pays off”, but how much is too much where you become an annoyance?” I also answered this same question in a coaching meeting today. Here are some tips to help your persistent sales follow-up  have purpose and power. 

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12 Tips on Selling in a Slow Economy

My clients and I have a motto, “Don’t Be Denied.”  What a great time for the cream to rise to the top. When weaker sales people are worried about a slow economy and the negative effects it will have on their business, Champions rise to the challenge.  You have to decide if you are a Champion or not.

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Service-Minded Selling is Not Always Easy

Service-Minded Selling sounds admirable until you are tested to choose between serving your client in a way that might cost you the sale. This week a sales rep (Jon) shared that a prospect was looking for a new system a year after their last purchase (systems usually last 5+ years). They were looking because they never received proper training and the system did not seem to be easy enough to use efficiently (employees did not like the system either). They liked the product Jon was presenting and he left with a request for a proposal.

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Persistent Follow-up Leads to Sales

I am a firm believer that every contact I make is a potential sale waiting to happen. When a prospect says, not now, no or maybe it is only a delay in a purchase from them or from who they refer. Here is an example of how persistent and professional follow-up can transform you current leads to sales.

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Sales Tip: Referrals – Alter What You Ask For

Yesterday I was talking with Mike, a sharp CCTV rep about referrals. He has been working on increasing his referrals, mainly by asking for them, and it has paid off.  I asked him how his last referral conversation went. He said, “The customer was jazzed about the service I delivered,” which led him to handing over some cards and asking the customer if he would be willing to refer him to others.

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Sales Management Tip: Answer Three Questions

Lou Holtz, retired coach and motivational speaker says employees or team members want to know three things about their manager or coach; 1) Can I trust you?, 2) Are you committed to Excellence, and 3) Do you care about me. Here is specific manager activity designed to address these questions and begin leading sales teams with greater confidence.

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Simple Sales Process : “Making it Look Easy”

Developing Sales Professionals (SP) is what I love to do. Watching a seasoned professional in action is very exciting to me. Last week I had the privilege of doing just that as this Sales Professional worked through a simple sales process. Every gesture, comment, question or conversations lead the buyer toward an informed and intelligent buying decision.  It was all done with grace, ease and confidence, which made it look like such a simple sales process. When you and your prospect can converse comfortably everything is easy. Getting yourself to having a simple sales process will take practice, preparation and you should include the practices I observed during the SP’s demonstration meeting which I’ll highlight for you next.

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Sales Process Management : Rigidity vs Flexibility

To achieve peak performance with your sales team you need to be consistent with team systems and processes and unique regarding individual relationships. All sales people are not the same but most sales people can perform above average with a manager that applies the right mix of consistency and a variation. This is why sales process management is as much about when to follow processes as it is about when to leave them.

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Sales Tip: Sales Compensation Guidelines

Cream rises to the top, oil and water separate and driven sales people will perform toward their compensation drivers. Early in my sales career a start-up wanted a fast increase in market share. To achieve this they priced aggressively and set a heavy bonus in addition to generous commissions to sell 50 units for the month.  Because of the bonus, the 50th sale was worth 15% of my total monthly earnings. I kicked in my commission for the last sale (2% of month earnings) to achieve the bonus.

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Sales Team Motivation Checklist : Identify Motivational Drains

Finding a sales reps “motivation drain” is a skill every sales manager should sharpen. It is needed when specific sales activity slows or stops.  I was working with a client and his motivation and activity to making new appointment calls had stopped. He had excuses and reasons for not calling which in many cases will frustrate a sales manager and lead to a quick “pump them up” or “shake them down”. Rather than do that, invest a little time, build trust, educate and increase motivation by helping your rep find their “motivation drain”.

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Sales Tip: Use Analogies to Make Your Point

A simple and powerful tool to help prospects understand your message is an analogy. Yesterday a client sales rep was in a competitive situation, searching for a new way to help a prospect understand his company’s level of expertise. The rep was trying to win the business away from the incumbent competitor who markets many more products and services and is not looked at with the same expertise as my client. Although sales analogies can be tricky, this set and setting presented a unique opportunity.

Success in sales is founded in good communication. The definition I like to use for communication is, “message sent = message received”.

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Sales Networking Events : Introducing Value

At a sales networking event I overheard a conversation between a consultant promoting QuickBooks support and a potential prospect. The consultant was using terms like, “In my opinion….”,  “what you don’t want to do is……”, and “our system and process can save you money.”  He knew I was well versed in marketing so when I asked if he wanted some feedback, he sheepishly said, “sure.”

Most salespeople sell at networking events, successful ones build credibility.  Here’s how to turn cold contacts into a hot network!

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Sales Discovery Questions: Partner vs Sales Approach

Understanding your prospects business objectives will lead to a partnership relationship. This starts with a service oriented mindset that leads to asking valuable Sales Discovery Questions.

Most, if not all business buying decisions are tied to a business objective which is usually tied to increasing profit. If your product or service cannot be tied to making the business better in your buyer’s eye it won’t matter if you are offering a time machine at 50% off. So why don’t more sales people take time learning what the business objective is? I believe the answer lies in their discomfort or not understanding how. (Which I will address in the next blog)

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