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Accountable Sales Environments Require Clear Expectations

When accountability is lacking in a sales team, many leaders will resort to micromanagement and mistrust. However, this is the opposite of what’s needed to develop an accountable sales environment. Instead, leaders who want an accountable sales environment will be relentless in clarifying expectations. Sales leaders should examine if they’ve clearly documented and shared what…

Success Through Failure

Are you protecting your sales team from failure or disappointment so they won’t get discouraged or quit? If so, you are not doing them any favors. Listen in to understand how failure can be the perfect success strategy your team needs. In other words, success through failure. Andy Grammer, the songwriter, musician and singer out in the world…

Meeting and Exceeding Goals

Between setting goals and attaining them lives a mindset that will increase or decrease your chances of meeting and exceeding goals. If you learn how to manage this one thing your winning percentage on set goals will increase. It’s time to Shut the Backdoor! If you’re not meeting and exceeding your goals or you’re leaving room…

Four Sales-Leadership Killers

As a sales leader we make decisions on how to respond, act and behave based on what we see or perceive in our team. We use logic and emotions to drive our behavior. If we are not aware of which thoughts or emotions could be steering us in the wrong direction we can work against…

Be A Change Agent

Change is Inevitable, Simple, But Not Easy. For salespeople, to change is no different for us than anyone else.  It’s hard.  Really hard.  And it is especially hard when you don’t want to change.  You’ve heard the phrase “change agent”.  To be a change agent you must embrace the challenge, opportunity or creation of change…

Sales Initiative Implementation Traps

I want to discuss two sales initiative implementation traps you can get into when you’re implementing a new sales initiative. Maybe you’re implementing our Part-time Sales Management system, or maybe you’re bringing in a new product, some new pricing, or maybe new territories. Two Traps to Watch Out For For instance, the two traps you…

The Sales Management Benefit of Solving Core Issues

In this article, I want to help you leverage the skill of solving core issues to make your sales management efforts more efficient and a motivator for your team. I don’t want you to be the person everyone goes to have problems fixed, but I do want you to have a big Superman “S” on…

Use Sales-Team Guidelines to Reduce Conflict & Uncertainty

Let’s talk about creating sales-team guidelines so that you can reduce uncertainty, frustration and sales-team conflict. When rules have been agreed on and documented , you will reduce sales-team conflict and reduce the amount of time you spend being a referee. Minimize Conflict, Uncertainty and Frustration with Sales-Team Guidelines As an example, consider the four-way…

The Part-Time Sales Management Assessment

The Part-Time Sales Management Assessment is designed for those who carry many responsibilities including your sales management role. It’s the perfect compliment for those implementing the Part-Time Sales Management (PTSM) System. The 15-question sales management assessment will help you quickly identify how well you are applying the elements of the PTSM system. Performing a self-check…

Sales Meetings Can Rock With The Right Rhythm Video

Sales Meetings can rock with the right rhythm and when you know the beat, melody, and lyrics to a song, it’s fun and enjoyable to participate and sing along. The same goes for sales meetings. Salespeople will provide productive input, objective data, factual scenarios, and reflective insights when they understand and enjoy the benefits of…

7 Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills Video

If we want to help and support our sales teams to be more accountable and self manage we need to up our coaching game. We don’t need to improve our selling skills but we do need to improve our leadership and coaching skills. Improving our listening skills is critical to reach this goal so here…

Monitor and Manage Six Areas to Improve Your New Initiative Implementation Success

FTI or Failure to Implement (initiatives or ideas) is a killer in business and can make it more difficult to convince your troops the next time you introduce change. Conversely, the more implementation success you have the easier it is to introduce more improvement initiatives.  At Sales Manager Now, we are implementing our Part-time Sales…

The Eternal Motivator Video

Motivating others comes easy for some and can be more challenging for others. But there are moments we can provide an Eternal Motivator, but only if we act on……watch the video for the rest of the story. What can you do or what can you say to help motivate your sales people? Now this might…

Sales Managers Bring CALM Video

We judge ourselves by our intentions and often judge others by their actions. You might believe (your intention) you are bringing CALM to your sales management, but could your actions be speaking differently to your sales team? Sales Managers bring CALM when they focus on four areas. 1. Bring Clarity I want to share an…

Use a Sales Dashboard to Track Sales Activity Video

In today’s Sales Leadership Quick Tip video, we’re going to be talking about sales dashboards. A sales dashboard is a mirror that you can put in front of your sales people to raise accountability and raise the results that your sales team produces for you. I have found that for myself, building sales dashboards is…

Play Pepper and Practice Sales Skills Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip video, I want to share a game you can play in your sales meeting called “Pepper”. Pepper is a game I use to practice sales skills in sales meetings. Or it can be used as a warm up in one-on-one scenarios, like playing catch. Sometimes, in sales we don’t…

5 Sins of Sales Leadership Video

Our best intentions don’t always lead to our best leadership practices but they can blind us from what’s not working. Here are 5 sales leadership sins you want to avoid. 1. Doubting or not believing in your sales people. The first sin of sales leadership is not trusting your sales people. As a result, your sales…

The Power in Asking One More Question Video

As leaders, it’s easy to share advice, solve problems or give directions. But if you want to spend less time fixing and more time watching your people become independent, find the Power in Asking One More Question. I want to share some sage advice I received from a veteran consultant, Harvey Meyer, General Management Consultant.…

4 Tips for Effective Sales Activity Video

Working hard is a good thing..IF..it’s combined with working smart. You can help your sales team get the most out of their sales activity by implementing the following four tips for effective sales activity. I think most of us would love to hire a sales person that all we need to do is explain our…

Be Responsible To, Not For Your Sales Team Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip video, I want to share the difference of being ‘responsible to’ your sales team and being ‘responsible for’ your sales team. Both scenarios have a distinct impact on how we manage our teams. It’s very healthy to be responsible to your sales team. And it’s unhealthy to be responsible…

6 Elements to Improve Sales Forecasting Video

You could try a crystal ball to improve sales forecasting but I’d recommend using the following six elements. We all want to increase sales. The benefit of sales forecasting is that it helps management determine and make new decisions based on the forecast that the sales team is putting forth. How do we do that?…

How to Have Your Sales Team Use CRM Video

Salespeople will input CRM data consistently if there’s value for them as well as management. Here’s how to get there. Before I get started on that, I want to share with you that Sales Manager Now is a Zoho Partner. That means we can help with any implementation or trouble shooting of your Zoho CRM.…

5 Coaching Tips to Strengthen Your Sales Team Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip Video I share with you the 5 coaching tips I use to coach and strengthen a sales team. For me, coaching is about developing lasting change within the person I am coaching. Consequently we work on agreed upon behaviors and activities. Below are the 5 coaching tips I use…

Define the Role for the Right Fit Video

Hiring salespeople that are a good fit for your company’s role will free you up from having to constantly motivate them.  I had an owner of a company ask me, “How do you keep the team motivated? Our sales role is somewhat mundane. Do you have meetings and pump them up every day? Do you ring…

No More Guessing

Guessing about others’ attitudes, motivations, or mindset is a waste of time. Listen how to remove guessing, false confidence, or doubts about your sales team. It’s the same thing you should be telling your salespeople in a sales conversation or sales opportunity. No more guessing. As a result, you’ll find the truth. There’s a book…

The Overlooked Reason for Losing a Deal Video

If you want to improve your teams’ selling percentage, don’t let them overlook the reason for losing a deal in which they have the most control. Find out if they’ve been outsold. Ask yourself the question, “Why did we lose this deal?” What reasons does your sales team give? Following are some typical answers: Price,…

7 Steps for Creating an Orientation Plan Video

Onboarding Success Part 2 of 2 What should you include in your Sales Onboarding Orientation plan to get off to a fast start? There is a group of people at your company who know. Check out this video for a simple process on how to develop your plan. Below are 7 Steps for Creating an Orientation…

6 Keys to Onboarding Success, Part 1 Video

When you hire a new salesperson you only have one chance to get off to a fast start. Give it your best shot with a complete Onboarding/Orientation Plan. 1 – Understand Your Core Values To have onboarding success, you need to understand what your core values are and the culture of your company. For instance,…

4 Keys to Effective Improvement Plans Video

Your salesperson is not performing up to par and it feels like you’ve done all you can to help them. It’s probably time for an improvement plan. Here are four keys to having a successful improvement plan that will either help your salesperson get back on track or make it clear that this job is not…

3 Keys to Increase Trust Video

I want to share with you 3 keys to improve and increase the trust level you have with your sales team by focusing on and understanding when to use each of these areas and how they have the greatest impact at different times. 1.) Integrity We all know that if you keep your word, you’re…

A Scary Truth About Sales Video

I want to share a scary truth about sales. It’s a truth that we would prefer not to acknowledge or think about because we really want to believe we’re in control of our sales results. So Here’s the Scary Truth About Sales The sales people and your sales team have zero control over the result…

Risk Reward Principle For Designing a Sales Compensation Plan Video

Should I pay salary or commission? I have that questions asked of me often. It will take a little bit of homework for me to answer it for you, but what I’d like to share in this video is a simple principle that can help you decide on what blend of salary and commission you…

5 Qualities I Look for When Hiring A Sales Person Video

There are 5 qualities I look for when hiring a sales person. Do you have a list of qualities you look for when you enter an interview? If not, it’s easy to be sold by a person who knows how to sell. Selling ability is a given requirement, and easy to verify. What I’m looking…

7 Keys to Leading a High Performing Sales Team Video

7 Keys to Leading a High Performing Sales Team

The Benefits of Team Goals and Bonuses Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip video, I want to share the benefits of team goals and bonuses and why they will work for your sales team. In search of ways to motivate a sales team, leaders often turn to individual incentives and competition to stir things up. I found this approach motivates a smaller…

9 Must-Haves to Attract and Keep Sales Talent Video

Attract and Keep the Sales People You Really Want

How to Do a Book Study With Your Sales Team Video

When you do a book study with your sales team you get a low cost, high return way to bring education and training to your team. Let me share some of the benefits of why I use book studies more than any other sales training. First, everyone is learning together when you do a book…

How to Interview a Sales Candidate

Here you are again. You have a sales opening to fill and you need to know how to interview a sales candidate. So, what is your interviewing process? Are you trying to get better at it? Have you actively done something to improve your interviewing skills so that you know how to interview a sales…

Sales People Can Exaggerate Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip Video, I’d like to share with you how you can transform your conversations with your sales team. I know that sales people can exaggerate and complain. I know this because I’ve been around a lot of sales teams and sales people. And I’ve been one myself. Salespeople can exaggerate…

How to Get the Feedback You Need Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip Video I share with you how to get the feedback you need from your sales team to help you make business decisions. Salespeople always have something to say, they have ideas and ways to make things better and easier for them to make sales. As a sales manager you…

How to Approach Poor Performance Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip Video I explain how to approach poor performance in your sales team and how to build trust while delivering bad news. Have a Trusting Relationship You need to have a trusting relationship; one in which your sales people understand that whatever you tell them (even if it is to…

Clarity Trumps Authority For Accountability Video

In the Sales Leadership Quick Tip Video, I want to share with you why clarity trumps authority for accountability when you are running a sales team or any team in your business. Why do we want accountability from our sales teams? Because if we can count on our teams results and feedback, it helps us…

Show Your Sales People You Care About Them

I have a few points I’d like to share on how to show your sales people you care about them. When people know that you care about them, then they will care about what you ask and expect of them. Check In With Them First, show your sales people that you care about them by…

Building Your Sales Culture Video

Most employees place personal value on the culture of their work environment and so building your sales culture can really pay off. There were times in my career that I was paid less but found fulfillment in a particular job because of the strong company culture. I couldn’t be easily swayed away for more dollars.…

How to Facilitate Learning in Sales Meetings Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip Video I share a personal experience where I learned that pushing content material and over prepping for sales meetings is not always the best way to facilitate learning. After this experience, I decided to be a less rigid teacher and instead find things that can help people become proactively…

Balanced Sales Meeting Conversations Video

As the sales manager, finding balance in your sales meeting conversations will increase your teams’ meeting engagement.  Usually there are dominators who love to talk and can go on and on. They can take too much time making their point.  This is where the skill of facilitating contribution in your sales meeting conversations can really…

“It’s Not Personal, It’s Just Business” – The Godfather

I recently read a blog post, The Peculiar Idol of Personal Opinion.  Why do I bring this up on this blog that focuses on sales and business?  Fair question.  Since I read that post, a lot has crossed my mind about the personal opinions we bring into our business interactions with customers or co-workers whether…

Allow Your Salespeople to Hold Themselves Accountable Video

I ask two questions in this Sales Leadership Quick Tip video:  Should we hold sales people accountable? Or should we allow them to hold themselves accountable? A sales manager can create an environment where sales people hold themselves accountable. Start with your expectations and sales metrics to show your team they are important. For instance,…

6 Tips for Simple and Successful Planning

plan-ning (noun) : the act or process of making plans.  Sometimes we need to go back to ‘Webster’ and look up what a word means.  My guess is most of us have never looked up the meaning of the word ‘planning’.  For some of us, what is it about planning that is an anxiety-filled burden? …

Stay In Your Lane With These THREE Sales Leader’s Responsibilities

When a sales team is failing or results are inconsistent it’s easy for a sales leader’s responsibilities to be neglected and for the leader to fall into a trap of becoming responsible for the sales team. Another way to look at this situation is to become over responsible for others and under responsible for yourself. There is a line between being “responsible to”…

CONVERSATIONS Increase Your Sales Influence

Communication is not just important but critical in any of our human relationships.  Whether it be with family, in a marriage, with friends or in our sales role.  Communication plays a pivotal role in reducing misunderstandings or improving clarity and eventually strengthens the bond among individuals.  A relationship loses its charm if individuals do not…

Develop A Sales Team with Three Questions

Holding a weekly sales meeting to develop a sales team is very important but keeping that meeting engaging and effective can become challenging over time. The meetings can become repetitive and boring or even worse, negative complaint sessions. To keep this from happening you want to keep three powerful questions in your pocket for any…

Make Action!

How often do we hear the words “take action”?  We read it in motivational books and we hear it in seminars.  The reality is, we too often don’t “take action” or at least not seriously and purposefully and especially not in a timely manner.  Nike really does say it best—Just Do It!  Maybe instead of…

Engage Your Sales Team By Upping Your Facilitation Game

The weekly sales meeting is the hub of the Part-Time Sales Management System. Most salespeople love to talk, so when you engage your sales team by facilitating a discussion among the team members in a weekly meeting is much more effective than simply presenting information to them in a top-down fashion. To become a good…

Changing Disliked Sales Behaviors

Increasing sales is what most of our clients want when they call us, but what goes unsaid is they hope we can change disliked sales behaviors that are difficult to manage. As a matter of fact, most owners usually have a detailed plan on how we can make these changes happen. It’s the plan they’ve…

Managing Sales Responsibilities Is Not Optional

I recently heard a speaker say that a lot of people are crazy busy.  As salespeople, with all the “busy” around sales responsibilities, it does get “crazy” and managing it can be a struggle. We either let fear get in the way, or we lack the skill to prioritize, or we don’t have a proper…

Customer Conflict Tool – Stop, Drop and Roll

Just about everyone is familiar with this simple fire safety technique.  Most of us learned it in elementary school, but they never told us back then it might help us win or keep a customer one day. Fires create panic in us and so can conflicts that arise with customers or prospects. If you’re working…

Trust is Given Not Earned

Having the trust of people in our lives (work or personal) lays the foundation for those relationships to have and accomplish mutually beneficial things. That’s why you’ll find a myriad of blogs and articles written on this topic. But do we really earn trust, or is it given to us? Is there a standard price…

Why am I here?

Have you ever asked that question of yourself as a salesperson or as a sales manager?  Have you heard that negative voice inside and felt a little self-doubt when you were with a customer (or client)?  I’m sure all of us with any selling experience have—in some form or fashion—asked our self, “Why am I…

Building a Loyal Sales Team

A loyal sales team is required if you want to realize sustained success with the least amount of effort. To build a loyal sales team you might need to redefine how you view them. Be honest with me. When you think of your salespeople, do you think of them as a customer? Let’s say you…

How to Pull Off a Sales Boost

Every now and then a boost in sales is called for. At times, you’re “feeling it”, and setting a new personal record might be up for grabs. Maybe you’re behind on sales and something needs to turn around. The normal pace of selling won’t get you where you want to be. These are times when…

Selling Strengths Can Work Against You

While recently leading a webinar I mentioned how creativity, which I consider one of many selling strengths, can work against me. Being creative helps me solve client problems and present ideas in ways that help others understand. Creating is also something that comes naturally. At times though, it can slow me down. If you don’t know how…

Is Your Sales Compensation Plan Working For You or Against You?

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 their wisdom. When I walk into some businesses the sales compensation plan has a similarity…

What Do You Expect of Your Sales Team?

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 wouldn’t it be great if yes was your answer? Your team can meet your expectations,…

Just Play and Win Sales

The competitive nature of selling can be a double-edged sword. On one side competition can turn up ones motivation and on the other side it can distract you from being your best. The chase becomes more important than what needs to be done to win sales consistently. Gregg Popovich, future Hall of Fame head coach…

Sales-Team Meetings – Interesting or Boring?

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…

Is Your Company Culture Attractive to Top Sales People?

Are you ready for sales growth through top performing sales talent? If so, it’s a good idea to examine your company culture. If you’re looking for someone who will take the bull by the horns and work till the goals are accomplished, your company culture will play a role in attracting this type of salesperson.…

High Return – Low Cost Sales Training

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…

Who’s A Better Salesperson, You or Your Prospect?

Just for fun, imagine one of your prospects from a recent selling opportunity who has no sales experience is asked to join your sales team and sell in your place. They are now the salesperson and you are their coach. You can coach them from the office, but you can’t meet with prospects and customers…

Meaningful Selling Conversations Don’t Happen by Accident

Do potential client/customers trust you? Of course they do, right? How do you really know? Most of us base this answer on a gut feeling more than on factual information derived through meaningful selling conversations. The best indicator of trust according to Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig, authors of Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not…

How Much is Fear Effecting Your Selling Conversations?

I’m thoroughly enjoying the book, Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play by Mahan Kalso and Randy Illig. The authors not only provide an easy to implement methodology but they address what we as sales people need to do to get and keep things real. So what is getting real? At the core of “getting real,” is…

Retrofit Your Sales Communication Tools

We sell in a time that has an abundance of sales communication tools at are our disposal. The more tech forward tools include email, smartphones, text, and social media for the most part. Then of course, there’s what might be considered “old school” tools like faxing, a hard copy letter and a hand written note.…

Make The Value Connection

The value that matters most in a sales conversation is the one the customer can connect with. Are your prospective customers making a value connection with your offering, or is it possible you are trying to convince them of the value you believe in? When the iPhone hit the market I couldn’t see the value…

Selling Meetings – Prepare Twice and Meet Once

Dear Salesperson, 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…

The Joy of Selling In The Present

  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…

Desirable Sales Traits

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…

Increasing Sales Can Begin With a Yellow Sticky

I remember when Angie joined our team. She was just out of college and eager to do her job well. It was her first sales job and she plunged right in. For months she was selling her quota of forty units per month. Being new to sales she would often worry her way to those…

Tune Into Your Customers Buying Process

We’ve all been in those situations when a salesperson is trying to build your interest after you’ve already decided to buy. If the salesperson would just stop talking you could place the order. Then there’s the times when you’re not ready to consider buying and you’re being asked when you would like delivery. In either…

What Type Of Loyalty Are You Developing?

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…

The Selling Skills Blueprint To Strengthen Your Sales Team

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…

A Narrow Market Niche Can Lead to Preferred Sales and Profit

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…

More Sales and Less Stress…Sound Nice?

If you’re a top performer you’re always looking for more sales. You also know the details of wrapping up new business can be stressful and get in the way of finding new opportunities. It can seem like no matter how hard you work, it’s tough to find that breakthrough into a higher earning level. You’ve increased…

Shhhh..Use These Listening Skills and Sell More!

No one calls and asks me for help to improve their listening skills. I’m often asked to help with approaching people or phrasing sales messages, but not how to improve their listening. Why do you think that is? I think it’s because most people consider listening as passive and talking is active, which leads us…

The Most Important Decision In The Sales Process

In every selling process a buyer will make many decisions that lead to their final buying preference. They decide to research your product, take your call, meet with you, or visit your office. Every email they choose to respond to is a decision; each piece of information they agree to hand over is a decision…

You’re Paying Your Sales People HOW MUCH?

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…

Fishing Secrets That Will Help You Land Big Accounts

There was a season in my life where all I thought about was fishing. I didn’t take it up until my late 20’s and for about 10 years I couldn’t get enough. Looking back now, I can see how it was all part of my life preparation to teaching more people about sales. Since I…

My Top 10 NFL Success Quotes for Selling

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…

Seven Ways to Improve Your Sales Forecasting

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…

Sales Meetings Can Be Money-Makers

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…

Five Reminders To Help Buyers Understand Your Value

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,…

Do You Run Your Sales Process Like The Tortoise or Hare?

Are there times when your sales process seems longer than needed to win some business? You don’t really need to ask all these discovery questions or meet with multiple contacts and deal with the CRM input, do you? Here’s a scenario when many sales people are tempted to speed things up and take short cuts.

Listening Can Pay Back Up To $14,000/hour

I recently received a 60% discount on a medical treatment when I was calling to pay in full. Are you giving away discounts rather than listening or having a difficult conversation with a customer or client? When you get to the finish line it’s tempting to let a discount help you close the deal or…

Purpose and Profit: A Balanced Sales Approach

Have you ever heard the phrase, “he has dollar signs in his eyes”? It means the buyer perceives the salesperson’s more interested in their commission to be won or lost than they are with the buyers needs. Buyers don’t want us to be self-centered; it’s what’s given sales people a “bad” name. They want us…

Sales Conversations: Who Should You Be Calling Next?

More quality sales conversations equate to more sales. So how do you create a steady flow of sales meetings on your calendar? If you have a consistent flow of people calling you to do business each week then I say, bravo. If not, and your pipeline’s a little weak, how easy is it for you…

Sales Management Made Easy

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…

Where to Find Your Hidden Referrals

Have you run out of people to ask for referrals or are you going back to the same well too often? I know a place where referrals might exist that most of you have never explored. As with all referrals, they must be earned so I can’t guarantee some of you will find a treasure…

Quit Using Closing Techniques

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…

Managing Expectations Makes For a Pleasant Buying Experience

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…

Mirror Mirror On The Wall..Have I Been Outsold?

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…

Maintain a Selling Edge – Be Different

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…

Whose Responsible for Sales Motivation?

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…

How Do You Change Sales Underachievement to Overachievement?

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…

Patience & Urgency in a Sales Process Yields More Sales

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…

One Page Sales Proposal

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…

Sales Plan – Work Smarter Not Just Harder

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…

How Committed Are You to Your Sales Goal?

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…

Recruiting Sales Reps in Tough Times

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.

Are You Being Referred to Decision Makers?

How successful are you at having your contacts make effective introductions to the right decision makers (being referred)? If you’re not having as much success as you’d like, you’re not alone. Here’s a question I ran across on LinkedIn.

Conversations Build Trust While “Selling” Loses It

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?…

Qualifying Prospects Means Saying No to Hopeium

  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…

How to Use a CRM System to Boost Sales

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…

Increasing Sales is Not Always a Recipe for Increased Profit

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…

Recruiting the “Right” Sales Rep – Part II, Selection and Interview

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…

Recruiting the “Right” Sales Rep for Your Organization

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.

Does Referral Selling Work?

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…

Retaining Your Best Sales Reps – Sales Management ROI

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.

Quit Sales Prospecting and Go Meet Someone

This blog is not about a new term for sales prospecting, it is more about what your mindset is when needing more prospective clients. 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…

Increasing B2B Sales Does Not Happen by Accident

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…

Five Keys To Improve Your Sales Closing Ratio

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…

Sales Tip: Leave an Effective Voicemail Message

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…

Selling Strong in a Weak Economy

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 selling strong by sticking to…

Sales Manager Evaluation

I have received a number of searches seeking sales manager evaluation criteria. Here is a list to consider in your hiring and evaluation process.  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?

Improve Qualifying Prospects and Managing the Sales Process

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.

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.…

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…

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…

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…

Lead the Sales Process

There was a time when leading the sales process was very easy as buyers depended on salespeople to be the expert. Today, buyers are much more educated and informed and will at times tend to lead the sales process themselves, but don’t let it happen.

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…

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…

Reduce Your Selling Cycle and Maintain Sales Motivation

We are selling in a different time (2009). The economy is lagging or flat out bad in some industries. In general I have heard these trends. Decisions are being delayed, pricing is more scrutinized and in general decision makers are not as decisive. This all leads to a longer selling cycle. For a Small Business…

Outbound Expertise : Unify Your Sales Voicemail & Email

I sat in a sales meeting a couple of weeks ago and heard a great idea practiced by a rainmaker. His approach to prospecting generates interest and increases his email response rate. It also qualifies prospects without talking to someone.

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…

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…

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…

Business Sales Coaching: Spiritually Speaking

This blog is not intended to be a religous pitch, as I understand that each of us needs to come to terms with our own beliefs regarding sprirituality and religion. It is intended to share my personal experience as I do in all my blogs regarding my beliefs and how they relate to motivating a…

Sales Follow-up With Class and Value

When it comes to sales follow-up, are you coming across as pushy or are you viewed as a partner? Here are some basic guidelines to making your sales follow-up a way to nurture the customer with class by adding value and delivering results.

Three Closing Sales Questions

In most buying or closing sales conversations price becomes a focus or at least it should. We must know what the buyers acceptance level is with our price. If acceptance is high or low make sure you know the answers to the following questions.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Sales Tip: Sales Discovery and Client Business Objectives

In the last blog I stated that most sales people don’t inquire enough to understand core business objectives because they are uncomfortable asking business questions or don’t know how. We all know sales discovery meetings can be tricky. Let me explain what I mean and offer you tips to help.

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…

Land Large Deals Through Consultative Selling

A lesson I learned about fly fishing relates to the sales process of landing a big deal. I was taught my chances of catching a big fish were increased not by the amount of times I presented a fly, but in the quality and timeliness of my presentation. This reminds me of how true consultative…

Staying in Control of The Sales Cycle

You’re out of control of the sales cycle when the next step is decided by the customer or prospect. When I debrief with a new salesperson I often hear them refer to appointments that end with customer comments like these:

Scheduling Sales Appointments is Not Selling Time

You have probably heard the phrase too much information can be dangerous. It usually happens when a new rep is in training and his knowledge of sales and product is growing at a rapid pace. We are currently training a new sales rep at one of our clients and noticed how misuse of new information pulled…

Sales Tip: Sell More by Hearing ”No” Early

One of the sales people I work with shared that she was struggling with a prospect. The prospect was polite, but aside from agreeing to continue the sales process was not sending any clear buying signals. In fact, she seemed a little distant. The sales rep was smart enough to ask, “Do I have a…

Predictive Tools for Hiring Sales People

Good people that can sell make great sales people. Good people that can’t sell, don’t. It’s easy to be swayed by someones charisma or charm. Just because you like them and they fit in with the team does not mean people will buy from them. What you need is a crystal ball to hire good…

Sales Tip: Making Solid Appointments

Some salespeople I work with have a higher than normal no-show or cancellation rate with their appointments. They are hard working, honest sales people seemingly doing the right things, yet people are still no-showing them. Their problems might be in the phrasing they use, not confirming appointments, or not setting specific times to meet but…

Managing Through Sales Activity Leads to Sales Coaching

This is a simple and short reminder on measuring sales activity. Have you heard the phrase, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure?”  It’s true.  If you want to manage a sales person/team you need data to base your coaching, support and decisions on. You’ll find some of that data in sales activity.

Is Pricing or Selling The Problem?

If you are a sales manager or owner you probably hear the same things I do related to pricing. Sales people will say they need to discount for this or that. It is either a competitive situation or a loyal customer deserves a good deal. My stance is to not discount as a practice but…

Every Sales Person Needs an Advocate

Today a sales person called with bad news. Unresolved service issues caused a good customer to cancel service. The salesperson explained they had repeatedly worked with a vendor to resolve the issue but problems persisted. What the salesperson was saying was, I did all I was supposed to do, I sold the deal, helped resolve…

Hiring for Team Qualities Improves Everyone

We just hired a new sales rep at one of our client businesses. We took our time and and followed our hiring process to find the best qualified person that was a good fit for the sales team.  In a world of greed and “looking after mine”, there are still people (a lot of them) who want…

Leadership Brings Life to Sales Team

H. Dale Burke in his book, “Less is More Leadership” has a great quote. “When your memories are more exciting than your dreams,  you’ve begun to die.”  If you find yourself talking more about what was, than what can or will be you might need some resuscitation.  Growing your business through a sales team requires…

Sales Tip: The Most Important Sales Question

Wouldn’t you like to know what the most important sales question is to ask? When I started consulting I met with Harvey Meier (www.harveymeier.com), a 30 year veteran to management consulting and asked him, “If you were to give me one tip to help me in consulting, what would it be?” He responded, “Ask one…

Sales Tip: Sharpening Your Sales Tools

One of my client’s sales people called today and left me a message. He explained how he had a tough night with personal stuff and the morning had not gone much better. His day was heading down hill which included his sales production.  He then made a choice to “sharpen his axe” or in his…

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