Friday, August 29, 2008

"May or May Not"

Here's a great tip from sales trainer and referral expert Bob Burg that you can use when attempting to set a presentation with a new prospect. Try out the phrase "may or may not."

"Ms. Prospect, I have an idea in which you 'may or may not' be interested."

Why is this phrase so effective? Because you have just positioned yourself to your prospect as being both honest and non-pressure (both of which, of course, are true).

"After all, a salesperson can't get much more honest than to tell their prospect that they have something that 'may not' be of interest," says Burg. "And, with that statement, the prospect can't possibly feel any pressure. This is an example of the "out" or "backdoor." The bigger the backdoor you give someone the option to take, the less they feel the need to take it."

Bob Burg is the author of "Endless Referrals," "Winning Without Intimidation," "The Success Formula," and co-author of "The Go-Giver." Learn more at his website, www.burg.com

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Selling on Their Time - Not Yours

Sales trainer Renee Walkup recently experienced an interesting sales scenario while trying to buy a new car. Instead of buying on her time, the salesperson tried to force his timeline. Read on for her story, and make sure you avoid this seller's mistakes.

So there I was, back at a car dealership looking for a new car. I usually have the luxury of taking my time when buying a new vehicle. However, the woman barreling down I85 into my Infiniti, didn't think about MY inconvenience as she was text-messaging her boyfriend instead of paying attention to the road. Oh well, fortunately, it was just a car.

At any rate, the urgent automobile purchase decision was to come quickly because of the insurance company. I didn't have much time to mull over the different choices. After looking over about a dozen cars, I finally decided on a cute little Volvo. The salesperson let me take it home. I was having a ball tooling around in it for free, while waiting for my insurance check.

Then, the salesman called me and left a message. "Renee, Hi. This is Ernie. Say, I called to see how you like the Volvo. Oh, yes, and what will it take to get your business since you KNOW it's the end of the month and I'd love to close this deal?"

My first reaction was, "So what?" Why should I, the almighty customer, CARE whether Ernie wants to close by the end of the month? Frankly, Ernie didn't think about that. He just wanted to make his number, or get closer to it, before close of business on the 31st.

I refer to Ernie's question as a "freeze question." A question that causes your customer to freeze is one which most likely will not lead to a close. Another freeze question is: "How much do you want to spend?"

So, instead of offering up more freeze questions, here are a few questions you can ask with confidence to avoid turning your customer into an iceberg:

"You mentioned that you need to make a decision soon. Tell me about your time frame in more detail."

"You've certainly been shopping around. Tell me your impressions of how our service compares to the others you have looked at."

"You mentioned in an earlier conversation that our product meets your X needs. Tell me, how would your business be different if you purchased our solution?"

"You said you are happy with your current supplier. Tell me, when was the last time your supplier ran out of product? Could you list us as a secondary vendor to fulfill your order when your primary supplier is unable to?"

"Note that all of the questions begin with "you," not "I" or "we", says Walkup. "In fact, that's one reason why the Volvo salesperson failed in his sales skills miserably with me. He had all the "pat" questions and techniques, none of which is particularly effective and more likely offensive."

"I bought from him despite his inexperience because I was in a huge hurry and liked his car. But if he wants a referral, he won't get one. If he wants repeat business from me, he won't get that either. In short, I bought, but on MY time frame - not his!"

Renee Walkup is president of SalesPEAK Inc. and author of "Selling to Anyone Over the Phone."

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Defeating SADD in Corporate America

"Corporate America is losing thousands of sales dollars to SADD – Sales Attention Deficit Disorder," says sales trainer Colleen Stanley. "Salespeople pride themselves on their ability to multi-task, however, don't realize they are multi-tasking themselves right out of relationships and sales."

Here a tip from Stanley for decreasing SADD and increasing revenues. We'll look at two other tips next week.

1. Turn off your Blackberry.

No, you don't need reading glasses. You read the statement correctly. Turn off the electronics. An old adage in sales says, "People buy from people they like." And guess what? People like people that pay attention and make them feel important. When people feel important they say things like, "I felt like I was the only person in the room," "He made me feel so important," or "She was listening to my every word."

Salespeople are starting to remind me of dogs on shock collars. The minute the PDA rings or vibrates, they feel compelled to answer or check it, regardless of what they're doing or who they're with.

For example, a salesperson is calling on a prospect. The salesperson is doing a very good job of building rapport. The prospect is feeling comfortable and thinking that the salesperson really does care about his/her problem. Until the salesperson's cell phone vibrates. The salesperson looks down to check who is calling him and rapport is broken because the prospect receives the real message: I am important, but not more important than an incoming call.

A colleague shares a story of a breakfast meeting with a possible referral partner. They were ten minutes into breakfast when the possible referral partner took a phone call. This was not an emergency call, just a phone call. As my colleague sipped her coffee (alone), she made a mental note to put this possible referral candidate in the "just doesn't get it" category. My colleague scheduled an hour out of her busy day to meet this person and expected full attention during that hour. The phone-addicted salesperson lost an important opportunity to build a relationship.

Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership Inc., a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, and hiring/selection. Learn more at www.salesleadershipdevelopment.com.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Avoiding the Stupid Questions

Telesales expert Art Sobczak recently wrote about stupid questions. Check out these shameful examples from Sobczak. You'll want to examine your sales conversations for stupid questions like these.

Sobczak describes a recent trip to Barnes & Noble in which he was offered a discount card at the time of purchase. When he declined the clerk said, "What, don't you like to save money?"

What Sobczak, and your customers heard, was "What, don't you like not being stupid?"

"These questions force a person to answer the way the questioner wants, otherwise it makes the person feel stupid if he does not respond in that way," says Sobczak. "And, of course, that is not conducive to selling, instead putting the person on the defensive."

Here are some other stupid questions to avoid:

Stupid Question: "If I could show you a way to save money, of course you'd want that, wouldn't you?"

What is really heard: "If I could show you a way to avoid being stupid, of course you'd want that, wouldn't you?"

Stupid Question: "How important is money to you?"

What is really heard: "How important is it to you to not be stupid?"

"The main point here is that using stupid questions is, well, stupid," says Sobczak. "What to do instead? Go back and look at how these stupid questions are used. Come up with alternatives to accomplish your goal."

"For example, if we're trying to point out someone will save money, we need a series of questions to help us, and them, see the problem, the costs of the problem, and the result of the solution."

Because, of course you don't want to use stupid questions, do you?

Art Sobczak, President of Business By Phone Inc., specializes in one area only: working with business-to-business salespeople--both inside and outside--designing and delivering content-rich programs that participants begin showing results from the very next time they get on the phone. www.BusinessByPhone.com

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Quote of the Week

"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." -- Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart

In the end, you don't answer to your sales manager or the district manager…great salespeople know they answer to the customer. If you make the customer your top priority, ahead of company policy or your personal agenda, you'll be sure to win.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Get In and Get Started

The economy is lagging. Budgets are being cut. Clients are postponing decisions. We could go on and on about all the hurdles you're facing in today's selling atmosphere…but we'd rather talk about what you can do to bypass them and earn those commissions!

Here are some ideas from referral expert Joanne Black that will help you get in and get started earning more money.

Offer New Ideas
Good salespeople have always talked value. Now we need to put ourselves in our clients' shoes and become creative. We must get in and get started. Think smart, not big. It's always smarter to have a smaller piece of something than a big piece of nothing. Begin with a smaller project, a reduced order, or a regional; rather than global; implementation. Get in, and get to know the client. Let them get to know you. Get to know their business.

Create Metrics
Sit on the same side of the table as your client. Work together to determine the best way to get started. Always, always, always create metrics with your client. How do you, together, define success? Get agreement that once the current project is successful; according to the metrics you've agreed upon; the client will work with you to identify other opportunities within his or her organization. A successful project breeds a successful relationship ... and successful referrals.

Negotiate or Walk
Price. Aha! This is the big hurdle. Yes, the client will want to negotiate on price. That's her job; to build business while watching the bottom line. How many times have you submitted a proposed price to a client and had her say right off the bat, "Great! Where do I sign?" It doesn't happen. We always want to get the best deal, so why wouldn't our clients?

If you must adjust your price, adjust the scale of your project or the deliverables as well. Always get something in return for a reduced rate and write it into your agreement. Maybe the client promises to refer you to another business unit in his organization or to someone they know at a different company. Maybe you barter some of your services. Bartering is an age-old way of doing business, and it makes sense in many cases if you want what your client has and he needs what you have. Perhaps the client has software that your company needs, or a consulting methodology that could propel your business. You get the picture. Work it out.

"If you can't work things out, be willing to walk away,” says Black. “It's a tough decision, but it may be your best decision. You'll be off to the next client who values what you offer and is willing to pay for it.”

What are you waiting for? Get in and get started!

Joanne Black is America's leading authority on referral selling and the author of No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust, from Warner Business Books. Learn more at her website, www.nomorecoldcalling.com

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Negotiate a Testimonial

Are you about to give your customer a price break?

"If so, it doesn't hurt to ask for something in return," says sales trainer Al Uszynski. "When lowering your price, propose to your customer that you would consider it a personal favor if they were to provide you with a testimonial quote about their experience with you, your product or your company. Of course, you'll explain that they would deliver the quote only after they've received the goods and are completely satisfied."

"Customers are more apt to type a quick email with a testimonial quote than to print and mail a formal business letter," says Uszynski. "Take the quotes and make a testimonial sheet that summarizes the experiences of the customers that you've personally served."

Al Uszynski is a sales trainer and professional speaker. He delivers speaking programs that deliver smart and insightful sales strategies – designed to help your people and your organization sell more, earn more and profit more. Visit his website at www.uszynski.com for more information.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Take Control of your Time

"Being an effective sales person is tough in today's environment," says business coach Tom Kelly. "As a salesperson, you are responsible for a myriad of tasks and responsibilities in addition to selling the product or service. As a result, it is paramount that you effectively manager your time. If you don't, you may find yourself in reactionary mode, and your sales will suffer as a result."

Here are a couple tips from Kelly to avoid this trap:

1. Maintain a "Master Schedule"

The most effective way to manage your time is to make sure that your daily actions are in alignment with your intentions. One way to do this is to design a "Master Schedule" that includes all the things that you need to accomplish each week. By committing to this schedule and eliminating time wasters, you can effectively manage your time.

2. Stop tolerating things that waste your time

Don't allow people and things to waste your time. If you are asked to attend a meeting, make sure you know what the meeting is about, why you need to be there, and what the agenda is. If this isn't clear, don't attend. Additionally, remove yourself from the company of people that are just there to waste your time.

3. Implement the FAB technique

FAB stands for Focus, Administrative, and Buffer. Use this technique to effectively schedule your day. For example, schedule focus times during the day for meetings with clients, prospecting, and any other tasks that are critical to your success. Make sure that you are not interrupted during focus times. Anything that is not critical, but needs to get done should be scheduled during administrative times, preferably outside of the normal sales calling times. You can fill in the blanks with buffer time, time when you can take a break to restore your energy.

4. Set up blocks of time for phoning and e-mail

Set up a consistent time each day to return phone calls and do e-mails. During the rest of the day, stay away from these tasks, as they can immediately put you into reactionary mode. Consider not answering your phone during the portion of the day when you are visiting customers. Instead, leave a message on your voice mail instructing the caller to leave you a voice mail, and you will return their call at the end of the day. Avoid doing e-mails first thing in the morning, as this can get you off track as well.

"By taking control of your time, you will be much more effective as a salesperson, and your customers will respect you more for it," says Kelly. Happy selling!

Tom Kelly is a Profession Business Coach that specializes in working with small business owners, entrepreneurs, and salespeople. He can be reached at (773) 907-0921, or at www.potentialinmotion.com.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Need help...

Getting your foot in the door?

Establishing value?

Persuading prospects?

Then you'll want to get on this complimentary one-hour teleconference onWednesday, Aug 20 featuring cold-calling Top Dog Leslie Buterin, the Ultimate Sales Chick Brooke Green, and author of Metaphorically Selling Anne Miller. These ladies really know their stuff and they'll share their secrets with you. The call is sponsored by our friend Jill Konrath, founder of the Sales Shebang sales conference for women. Get all the details here.

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5 Ways to Have a Great 4th Quarter

I know it's still summer - probably vacation time for you and many of your prospects and customers. It's hardly time to be thinking about winter. But in sales, you know you need to lay the groundwork now to be able to close business in Q4.

Sales trainer and author Mike Brooks has the five things you need to do now to have a great fourth quarter:

1) Call every existing customer and client you have to get a firm idea of what their end of the year needs are going to be. The last thing you want to do is let your existing business (often called the "low hanging fruit") go to a competitor who got their first.

When you find out what their 4th quarter needs are, do what you can to capture it in advance - reserve the best spots for them, write up a sample order, create a 'pre-order' sale - but do everything you can NOW to secure their business in advance.

2) Do the same thing with your short list of "hot prospects." Once again, contact them and arrange dates for your presentation or service to be delivered, create an urgency for the end of the year and let them know that you've penciled them in to take care of their needs, get a specific call back date - and then call them 2 weeks prior to that!

If you can send an email of interest to them, or mail them anything, do so. It's crucial that you connect now, and give them something so they'll be thinking about you when their need arises.

3) Schedule the training you need NOW. Make sure your team has fresh ideas, techniques and strategies in place by October. Now is the time to get your team sharp, to get them effective scripts, and to learn the most effective techniques so they are ready to go when the business is flying.

4) You must set goals for your exact production and income numbers and begin affirming these results NOW. You will produce exactly what you think you will, and for this reason it's so important to identify in advance what that revenue figure is going to be.

5) Commit to making just 10 more prospecting calls per day for the rest of the year. Now I know that doesn't sound like a lot, does it? But when you work it out, you'll find that you'll be making an additional 1,050 prospecting calls between now and the end of the year! How many more clients, deals, and dollars in your pocket would that mean?

"If you commit today to implementing these 5 ideas, you'll be smiling all the way into the New Year," says Brooks. And isn't that what you really want?

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, offers free closing Scripts, and a free audio program designed to help you double your income selling over the phone. He works with business owners and inside sales reps nationwide teaching them the skills, strategies and techniques of top 20% performance. Learn more at http://www.mrinsidesales.com/

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Quote of the Week

"You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy." -- Arthur Ashe

One of the most fortunate aspects of a professional selling career is that your only limitations are how hard you want to work. If you’re tired today and don’t want to make a lot of calls, that’s fine – but it will show up in your sales. On the other hand, diligent, focused work will yield excellent results.

The question is: How far are you willing to push yourself?

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Follow Up Sales Effectiveness

"Follow up in sales is critical. Particularly critical is the timing between a salesperson's follow-up and a prospect's pain point to want, not just need, what you sell," says sales trainer Patricia Weber. "Unless you have a crystal ball to bring that timeline into your view, then it is up to you to continue to be in front of a prospect about what might interest them."

Follow these tips from Weber on how to effectively follow up with your clients, and your timing will never be off!

Manage the process

If you do not plan to follow-up, the sale will likely not happen. Jeffery Moses says, "Sales is one part initial contact, four times follow-up." What is the average length of the sales cycle of your customers? Once you know this, then determine a series of different types of follow-up at different points in this cycle.

Start sooner than later

The first thing could be a handwritten note or even a voice mail saying how you appreciate their interest and maybe a reminder that you plan to stay in touch. This does two things: you've communicated your regards, and you let a prospect know you are going to talk with them again. Then, get your plan out of your head and on to your calendar.

Scheduling versus planned

A week after you've sent the first handwritten note, contact your prospect with an email containing pertinent information about something that interests them. After that you could send something seasonal, even a "just thinking of you" card, or if appropriate, a small gift. You can intermix real cards, emails, telephone calls and if appropriate, in-person visits.

Collaborate

Ask for help with the follow-up process. If you were referred to the prospect, ask the referrer something that might be important to the prospect for your follow-up. If you meet someone who knows the prospect, they may have some insights to add to your follow-up plan.

Have something pertinent

If "Are you ready?" is the first, last or only question you have on the scheduled plan, than you're probably seen as just a bother. An update on pricing, or a new product, or that you are on holiday for a week are valid reasons for a follow-up. How many valid business reasons can you think of to put in your plan?

"How much is a new customer worth to you?" asks Weber. "Is that worth more than putting all your effort only into that initial contact? Or is it worth you staying committed to a systematic follow-up? If you say yes to both these statements, then with your sales skills and timing, the outcome will likely be, "Okay. What do I have to do to get started with you?" or "How soon can you ship that to me?"

Sign up to receive a free report, ezine and teleclasses from Pat Weber – America’s Sales Accelerator Coach, specializing in Introverts and Shy people at http://www.prostrategies.com

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Defining Relationships

As you've probably experienced, personal relationships can be, well - complicated. Early on, you question every little thing: What is she thinking? Do they like me? Does he mean what he says?

Business relationships generate similar questions, like, how do you know if your relationship with your client is really strong? Sales trainer Dan Adams has some ideas to help you develop an appropriate and professionally trusting connection.

"Gain the customer's trust by showing the three Cs: Credibility, Concern, and just a bit of Competence," says Adams. "The consequence of demonstrating these three traits with your customer will be trust - confidence on the part of your customer that you have her best interests in mind." Then use these ten questions to determine the strength of the relationship:

1. Do your customers routinely take your call or return your calls promptly?

2. Do you enjoy a friendly and cooperative relationship with the customers' administrators?

3. Do you know your customers' biggest challenges, personally and professionally?

4. Do you know your customers' top three business priorities this fiscal year?

5. Are you aware of the difficult circumstances and trends facing your customers'
industry?

6. Do you know who their top five clients are?

7. Do you understand the needs of those top five clients?

8. Do your customers consider you a true problem solver or a problem avoider?

9. Do you frequently bring helpful best practices to the attention of your customers?

10. Do you exchange new business with one another?

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, it's likely you've got a very strong relationship with your client. If not, continue to build that trusting relationship. To do this, Adams suggests you follow the Modified Golden Rule: "Treat customers the way they would like to be treated."

Dan Adams is an award-winning professional speaker, author, and consultant. Having honed his sales skills selling multimillion dollar solutions for Fortune 500 and high technology companies, Dan founded a sales consulting company, Adams & Associates, utilizing his own strategic selling principles embodied in his program Trust Triangle Selling. Learn more at www.trusttriangleselling.com

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Learn from the Olympics

"Anyone who watched the opening ceremonies for the Olympics this past weekend could not help but be amazed by the event," says sales trainer Kelley Robertson, and I would have to agree with him. "From the costumes, to use of technology, the extravagant fireworks, and the sheer number of people involved, it captured the attention of everyone watching. The choreography alone was worthy of a gold medal with more than 2000 people performing in several of the segments."

Here are three lessons from Robertson that sales professionals can learn from Olympics opening ceremonies:

Think big
The opening ceremonies epitomized the concept of thinking big. Most sales people do not dream big because they are afraid of failing. However, working on big goals expands your thinking and creates new opportunities.

Creativity
Too many sales people use the same tired approaches even when they do not get the intended results. Get creative and change your strategy from time-to-time, and if necessary, brainstorm with coworkers or colleagues to generate new ideas to capture more business.

Practice
Rehearsals for the opening event took more than one year. Many sales people fail to realize that mastering a new sales concept also takes practice. When you implement a new technique or strategy, make sure you invest the appropriate amount of time practicing that idea.

As President of The Robertson Training Group, Kelley has helped thousands of professionals improve their business results with his engaging approach to sales training and speaking. Learn more at www.robertsontraininggroup.com

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How (and When) to Talk About Money

"I learned early in my career not to save the money discussion until the presentation stage of the sales process," says sales trainer Chris Lytle. "In fact, if the customer doesn't bring up the money question in the first meeting, I do."

"I started doing this when I was a young advertising salesperson. I would tell my prospects what our average weekly order was. That way they would know what it took to make an impact on our audience. Most of them appreciated the information."

"I recently discovered another approach to bringing up the money issue. Mahan Khalsa suggests committing to memory your version of the following:"

"I don't know how much this will cost you. Every client situation is unique. However, other companies in similar situations and trying to get the same results you've been talking about tend to invest between $X and $Y. Can you see yourself falling somewhere in that range?"


"Khalsa believes Y should be about 25-50% more than X. A range of $100,000 to $150,000 is more believable than $100,000 and $2 million."

"Not one prospect has ever dropped dead because you talked about money early," says Lytle. "But a lot of salespeople have suffered tremendous disappointment because they didn't raise the money issue until it was time to make the proposal. When it comes to finding out that your prospect doesn't have the budget or isn't thinking as big as you are, remember this: Bad news early is good news."

Chris Lytle is a sales trainer, speaker, and creator of "Max," a web-based, interactive training platform for salespeople at any stage in their careers. This revolutionary creation is a unique combination of tools and real-world behaviors that align with the way customers say they want to be approached and sold to. Learn more at www.max-atm.com

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Quote of the Week

"To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes, the wise and the good learn wisdom for the future." -- Plutarch, Historian

The best salespeople look at their business as a never-ending education. When they make a mistake, they see a learning experience, rather than a failure. Keep this outlook the next time you stumble, and you'll be better prepared to deal with problems in the future.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

The Final Four: More Ways to Become a Great Salesperson

Today is the final day in our series from sales trainer Jim Klein on how to become a great salesperson by changing your attitude. Check out these final four tips to live by, and be sure to read the other six from yesterday and Wednesday.

7. Treat Stumbling Blocks as Stepping Stones

So what if you didn't make that big sale, your girlfriend left you, your boss chewed you out or you made a big mistake. Your life isn't over. So keep your eyes on your goals.

What did you do right? What did you learn? How can you use this to make yourself better or stronger? What will you do different the next time?

Use it as a stepping-stone to take you to the next level. I've had some of my biggest periods of growth after major setbacks.

8. Help others to succeed

When you're gone, nobody will be talking about how much money you made or how many awards you won, they will be talking about the lives you touched and the difference you made.

Success is so sweet when you can share your knowledge and caring with others. Give of yourself. It will make the people you touch feel good and I know how it will make you feel. The sad part is when people come to the end of their lives and think about all the things they wish they'd done.

9. Reward yourself


When you sell that big account or reach a goal you set, reward yourself. Go buy something you've always wanted, take a trip, go out for an expensive dinner. Do something nice for you. You deserve it.

10. Tomorrow is a New Day

No matter what happened today, good or bad. You can go to sleep tonight knowing that tomorrow the slate is wiped clean. You get a fresh new 24 hours to accomplish anything you want.

Jim Klein is the president of From the Heart Sales Training, a company that wants to make all sales "from the heart," rather than "from the hip." Learn more and sign up for his Sales Advisor Newsletter at www.fromtheheartsalestraining.com

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

3 More Ways to Become a Great Salesperson

Yesterday we started a short series from sales trainer Jim Klein about things you can do to lead a better life - and see it reflected in your sales. Here are numbers four through six on his list.

4. Post Your Goals and Read Them Twice a Day

Post your goals where you'll see them at different times during your day. Put them on the bathroom mirror, in your car, your office, near your computer. Write them on a 3 x 5 card and pull out the card every chance you get and read them.

Make two specific times when you take them out and read them. One is first thing in the morning before you do anything else. This will start your day focused on your goals and their achievement.

The second is right before you go to bed. This practice will give your subconscious mind something positive to work on during the night.

5. Be Grateful For The Little Things

Find time every day to be grateful for all you have. We all have something we can be grateful for. Some of these are little things that we take for granted like our health, our home, our friends, the food in the refrigerator. Focusing on what you're grateful for will bring more of it in to your life.

I'm grateful every day when I wake up and my feet hit the floor.

6. Spend Time Doing What Matters Most

We waste too much time on things that bring little enjoyment into our lives. It's time to spend our time doing the things that matter most.

Have dinner with your family. Attend your child's play or baseball game. Help an elderly person cross the street. Take a walk and enjoy the view.

Some things are more important than money, status, power and prestige. Invest some of your time into those activities and see if it doesn't change the way you feel.

Jim Klein is the president of From the Heart Sales Training, a company that wants to make all sales "from the heart," rather than "from the hip." Learn more and sign up for his Sales Advisor Newsletter at www.fromtheheartsalestraining.com

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Top 10 Ways To Become A Great Salesperson

"Being a great salesperson is more than learning new skills and techniques," says sales trainer Jim Klein. There's a lot you can do to improve yourself and your life that will be reflected in your sales. Today we'll start a three-day series with Klein's Top 10 Ways to Become a Great Salesperson.

Here are the first three:

1. Smile and Walk Tall

Changing your physiology is a great way to feel better about everything going on around you.

I want you to try an experiment. I want you to think and act as if you are totally depressed. Notice how you are standing. Your shoulders are slumped. Your head is down. Your face is sad and your breathing is shallow. Feels pretty awful doesn't it?

Okay, now I want you to imagine a time when you felt on top of the world, when everything was going your way, you couldn't lose. How are you standing? Your shoulders are back, head is up, your breathing is deep and you've got a big smile on your face. Feel the difference?

2. Surround Yourself With People Who Support You

One of the most important steps you can take in your life is to build relationships with people who genuinely care about you and will support you as you go through life.

I'm talking about people who will love you during hard times and celebrate with you during the good times. People who will be painfully honest and compassionately sympathetic. People who will make you laugh and motivate you and encourage you to be that person you were meant to be.

3. Read Positive Books at Least 15 Minutes Every Day

There's a wealth of information that has been written for you to absorb. What goes in your mind is what will come out. So fill it with good, positive information and good, positive things will happen in your life.

I suggest you start your own library. Go buy a bookshelf and set a goal to fill it with books you've read. Set up an account at Amazon or Barnes and Noble and invest in your education.

If you don't want to buy them, get a library card. They're free!

Jim Klein is the president of From the Heart Sales Training, a company that wants to make all sales "from the heart," rather than "from the hip." Learn more and sign up for his Sales Advisor Newsletter at www.fromtheheartsalestraining.com

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Creating an Impact Statement

"You have a maximum of 90 seconds in a cold call to your prospect," says cold calling expert Leslie Buterin in a recent blog post. "What are you going to say that will compel them to invite you in for a meeting? What are the words to use? Where do you find those words?"

"You need a well-crafted impact statement," says Buterin. "The clear unmistakable words of a sentence that quickly convey the kind of impact your products/services can have as solutions to your prospect's pressing business problems."

To do this, Buterin suggests you "give your clients' words considerably more weight than the words you use. Unbeknownst to you, the way you talk about your business has become a kind of corporate-speak, a language that communicates something within your company, and a language that sounds like blah, blah, blah to your prospects."

So, how do you get a hold of your client's words for crafting your impact statement?"

"The fastest, most direct route is with a 5-minute phone call to several of your oh-so-happy clients," says Buterin. "Take care not to feed your clients the words to say. Simply ask your happy clients a few strategic, open-ended questions."

Here are a few examples of open-ended questions you can ask your clients:

a. Why did you choose to do business with us?
b. What did you get out of doing business with us?
c. If I ask you to quantify the improvement in your expenses, your revenues, what would you say, specifically in terms of increased revenues, decreased expenses, mitigated risk?

"Then, just sit back and listen to them," says Buterin. "Find out the verbiage your clients use and then use those very words to craft your compelling impact statement. There is tremendous power in using the words of your happy clients. Granted, their words are not necessarily the words you'd use in-house. However, their words are the ones that will grab the attention of your cold call prospects and compel them to invite you in for an appointment. A very good place to be."

Leslie Buterin is the founder of Top Dog Consulting and the author of Secrets to Scheduling the Executive-Level Sales Call. She works with sales professionals, teaching them how to access and sell to high-level decision-makers. Keep up to date with Leslie on her blog, www.coldcallingnetnews.com

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Quote of the Week

"The best place to succeed is where you are with what you have." -- Charles M. Schwab

It's hard to be the small fish in a big pond. If your company is new to the market, or your competitors are just bigger, faster, or lower-priced, each day can feel like an uphill battle. When it's one of those days, remind yourself that those companies are missing one big thing - you.

Make yourself an asset to your clients in every way you can, and your clients won't feel the need to rush to your big-box competitor. If they have someone who's always looking out for their best interests they can rest easy knowing they're in good hands.

What do you do to show your clients how valuable you are?

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Handling Delays

"Can you follow up with me in two months about this?" When a prospect asks you this, many people's first reaction is to find out what the reason for the delay is - and this is a good reaction. But once you know the reason for the delay, what do you do with that information? What's the next step in moving towards a sale, instead of just starting over in two months?

Telesales expert Art Sobczak has the advice you need to keep the sales moving, even with a delay:

"So let's say we do find out that January of next year will be a better time to speak with us, because, legitimately there is a 'future event,'" says Sobczak. "I define 'future event' as something that indeed is happening that makes waiting legitimate...they are adding more staff, rolling out a new product, making changes of any type, whatever."

"The star sales rep will not simply schedule a follow-up call at this point. He/she will continue on, trying to presell, or get a commitment of some type that would secure the future sale in advance," says Sobczak.

You might first ask,

"While we're on the phone, let's talk about what you anticipate doing at that point."

Ask other questions to help them realize the cost of delaying, if appropriate:

"Have you considered the opportunity cost of waiting?"

In the situations where their delay is indeed valid, position yourself to get whatever commitments you can today:

"Can we be the ones to provide this product for you at that point?"

Or, "Great, so I'm assuming that the next time we speak we can discuss details of implementing the program?"

"May I place the order for you now and just schedule delivery then, so that you can take advantage of today's prices?"

If they will not give commitment now that you will be the ones they will work with, at the very least ask:

"Can I be the first one you will contact when you are ready to move forward?"

"OK, if anything changes between now and our next scheduled conversation, will you please call me?"

"After finishing the call, confirm your understanding with a letter detailing the points," suggests Sobczak. "Then and there, schedule reminders to keep your name in front of them: post-cards, hand-written notes, even after-hours voice mail information messages with tidbits of interest to them."

Art Sobczak, President of Business By Phone Inc., specializes in one area only: working with business-to-business salespeople -- both inside and outside -- designing and delivering content-rich programs that participants begin showing results from the very next time they get on the phone. To learn more, visit www.businessbyphone.com
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