Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Identifying the Decision Maker

With so many people and job titles in an organization, it can be hard to find the decision maker you need to speak with. After all, it could be the VP, the CFO, the Director, the Managing Director, Purchasing, etc. Way too many choices, but it's something you have to keep digging at until you find the right person.

"If you are not speaking with a decision-maker your sales cycle will lengthen and you may run the risk of losing the opportunity altogether," says telesales expert Wendy Weiss.

"Influencers" influence. They do not decide.

Here's the bottom line from Weiss: "If you are not speaking with a decision-maker, you are not speaking with a qualified prospect. Far too many sales representatives spend far too much time courting prospects who can never and will never make a decision."

"One way to ensure that you are always speaking with the decision-maker is to always call the highest-level person that you believe would make the decision," continues Weiss. "That person will either be your correct prospect, or they will know who is and they can point you in the right direction."

Once you've got that prospect on the phone, make sure to ask the following questions. This way you will be certain that you are speaking with the decision-maker.

1. What is your decision-making process?
2. How have you made this decision before?
3. What are the steps in your decision-making process?
4. How long does it take?
5. Who is involved in the decision-making process?
6. Who makes the final decision?
7. Who else will you be speaking with about this decision?
8. After we submit our proposal/bid/quote, what happens next?
9. How long will that take?
10.When do you expect to make a decision?
11.When would you like to begin?

Learn more from cold calling expert Wendy Weiss at www.wendyweiss.com or email her at [email protected]

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still." -- Chinese Proverb

No matter the length of your sales cycle, there's always one customer who will take longer to buy than others. Whether your client is dealing with a number of other priorities, changes at his company or simply likes to proceed with caution, some sales require you to move one step at a time, sometimes taking two steps back to take one step forward.

It's ok to have some of these in your sales funnel, as long as you know they're a good prospect and you put together a plan to continually reach out to them over time. Often times, just sticking around will prove to your prospect that they can trust you with the sale.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Blinders and Shutters

The office is not always the best place to actually do work. After all, not only do we have a million tasks to accomplish each day, but we've also got to deal with coworkers dropping by, office gossip, parties, meetings, and more.

So what do you do to stay focused? Set up camp at the local Starbucks? Put up a sign that says "Keep out or else"? Clayton Shold at Salesopedia recently ran a great story in his blog about shutting out distractions in the workplace - keep his insight in mind the next time you're feeling overwhelmed and unable to get any work done in the office!

"Blinders are used on horses to allow them to only look forward and avoid distractions to the side. Shutters are used to keep the light out or to prevent people from looking in a window. Both have specific and meaningful purposes."

"Last week I was discussing the challenges of working in a multi-tasking environment with someone from the retail sales sector," says Shold. "She was relating the story of a co-worker who always seemed to be distracted, to the point that she was not getting her day-to-day tasks completed as required. Her advice to her co-worker was to "keep the blinders and shutters on."

"I asked her what she meant and she went on to say that part of the solution was the blinders, staying focused on what needed to be done. The shutters referred to eliminating the nonsense going on that was distracting the co-worker from being productive. She explained this included ignoring the rumor mill, the office grapevine, and the negative discussions that can sometime happen around the water cooler."

For those of you looking for advice or wishing to pass some along to others, if it involves staying focused and closing out all the negative vibes around you, then "keep the blinders and shutters on!"

Clayton Shold writes the Salesopedia blog, discussing sales, sales management, and life in general. Learn more at http://blog.salesopedia.com

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Are you Stuck on Sales Auto-Pilot?

Did you ever leave work, find yourself in your driveway and have no recollection of the trip? Then you know what it's like to operate on auto-pilot. It's easy to fall into this dangerous trap when performing routine activities.

"In sales these auto-pilot moves, responses, behaviors can help you sell more effectively but often they can sabotage your success because they are often unconscious and you are not aware that you are even doing them," says sales trainer and author Tim Connor.

Here are some examples from Connor. Read on to find out if you're operating on auto-pilot:

Let's say your prospect has decided to stall on a sale you thought was in the bag. How do you typically react?

Disappointment
Anger
Frustration
Creatively
Give Up
See it as a learning opportunity
Ask yourself what you could have done better or what you did wrong

"There is any number of reactions," says Connor. "The question is - what is your usual reaction to this circumstance? Whatever it is I'll bet it's the same every time this happens. Another question is - Is your reaction working? If not it may be time for a re-evaluation of what's in your auto-pilot."

How about when your prospect calls and decides to increase their order - what are your reactions?

Glee
Satisfaction
Feelings of success
Self-confidence
Surprise
Apathy
Indifference
Laziness

"Regardless of whether your reactions in either example are positive or negative isn't the issue," explains Connor. "The real question is - are your reactions working for your long-term success? Or, are they keeping you stuck either in failure or mediocrity?"

"Here's what I suggest. The next time anything happens with a customer, prospect, and your boss - whoever - get in the habit of saying to yourself any or all of the following."

  • Why?
  • Why now?
  • What if?
  • Why not try...
  • I'm going to look for the benefits either long or short-term
  • How can I creatively handle this?
  • Is this the first time I've experienced this and if not how have I reacted in the past?
  • Are my reactions working? Is my reaction moving me toward or away from success?

Give these tips a try and I think you'll find yourself moving from auto-pilot to fully engaged.

Learn more from Tim Connor, CSP World renowned Speaker, Trainer and best selling author of 67 titles, at his website, www.timconnor.com

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meeting With C-Level Executives

A reader of sales trainer Colleen Francis' newsletter recently asked her the following question about meeting with C-Level executives. It's probably something you've wondered yourself, so read on for Francis' expert advice on grabbing the attention of execs, and how to keep them interested.

How much time does a C-level person give you in a meeting? In your experience as a vendor or a customer, in meetings that involve multiple people: 1. When do C-level people (CEO, COO, CIO, CFO, CLO, CMO, CSO, etc.), VP's and/or senior directors arrive at the meeting? 2. When do they leave? 3. What specifically captures their attention and engages them?

"In my experience, when a C-level executive arrives at the meeting and how long they stay depends greatly on your relationship with them," says Francis.

"If you have a direct relationship with the executive and they have been part of the process since day one, for example, they will generally arrive on time and stay for the entire meeting. If this is a first meeting, then I would ask and expect to get between 20-30 minutes of their time. Getting more than 30 minutes can be difficult, especially if the executive has never met you before, and doesn't know why you are meeting. If you can capture their attention during the meeting, subsequent follow-up meetings can usually be longer. Finally, if this isn't a first meeting, and you also haven't involved the executive in the sales process until the "presentation" or solution discussion stage, then you should probably expect them to stay only as long as they feel the meeting is useful to them."

"Of course, herein lies the problem - if you haven't included the executive in the sales process before this meeting, how do you know what will interest them? The key is to include senior executives in the sales process right from the start, and ask them questions about what engages them, so you can build your presentation around that information."

Every executive is different. In general, most executives are interested in:

Profits
Share price / shareholder value
Competitive advantage
Revenue.

"Whatever they're interested in, make sure to engage high-level executives early on, build relationships with them every chance you get - and ask them questions to find out what they're most concerned about."

Colleen Francis, President of Engage Selling Solutions, helps sales professionals everywhere make an immediate and lasting impact on their sales. She offers key note speaking, sales training and sales coaching, all delivered with a savvy, no-nonsense approach. Learn more at www.engageselling.com

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Selling a Price Increase

When you get the news from the company big-wigs that your products are increasing in price, it's never a good feeling because now you have to tell your clients about that price increase. Will they go for it? Will they understand? Will they take their business elsewhere?

Mark Hunter a.k.a. The Sales Hunter recently wrote in his blog about this situation, and had an interesting point to share:

"A price increase must always be sold to two people," says Hunter. "Not only does the person buying the product / service need to be convinced, but also (and more importantly) the salesperson doing the selling."

"I strongly believe the biggest obstacle in selling a price increase is found in the salesperson," continues Hunter. "Far too often, the person trying to make the sale doesn't believe in it and, as such, doesn't have the ability to communicate with the sense of commitment and focus needed when dealing with this issue. Before attempting to sell a price increase, I would advise any salesperson to take the time to research both the background and the driving issues behind it. Then (and more importantly), determine the real value the customer will receive. Keep in mind that it's not really about the price. It's the value that is really being sold or bought."

Read The Sales Hunter's latest thoughts and comments about consultative selling, sales development, and sales motivation techniques at www.thesaleshunter.com/blog

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Quote of the Week

I love getting up in the morning. I clap my hands and say, "This is gonna be a great day." -- the late Dicky Fox, sports agent in the movie "Jerry Maguire"

Attitude is everything - go into your next sales call with enthusiasm and pride in what you do, and you too will be shouting, "Show me the money!"

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Friday, September 19, 2008

The Buyer's Lament

Realize when you approach a prospect, he or she is looking at you from years of experience with other salespeople - and not all of that is positive. In fact, much of it can be downright discouraging, as you'll see in this poem by Jill Konrath of Selling to Big Companies. See if it doesn't help you walk a mile in your buyer's shoes.


The Buyer's Lament

Don't waste my time, please go away.
I will not talk with you today.
You call me up, you want to sell.
But all you do is tell, tell, tell.

I do not want to hear your spiel.
I will not play let's make a deal.
So listen up, take my advice.
Discover how you can entice.

If you aspire to earn my trust,
Research is an absolute must.
Know my goals, the issues I face.
Use this to build your business case.

What have you done for firms like mine?
How have you helped their bottom line?
Can you cut my costs or help me grow?
Now that's the info I want to know.

If you can help me solve my plight,
I'm wide open to fresh insight.
I need to find new perspectives
So I can reach my objectives.

Want me to remember your name?
Launch an account entry campaign.
Ten contacts is what it may take,
When there's so much business at stake.

Just think of this next time you phone
And you'll get past my no-entry zone,
Once you get your foot in the door,
I guarantee you'll sell lots more!

Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies, helps sellers crack into corporate accounts, shorten sales cycles and win big contracts. Visit http://www.sellingtobigcompanies.com .
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lessons in Client Service

On a recent trip to Turkey, networking expert Andrea Nierenberg learned a few new lessons on selling and relationship building. Here's her story:

In the grand bazaar, there are over 4,000 shop vendors all working hard to make a day's pay by selling their merchandise. As I walked through the aisles, the 'salespeople' would walk right up to you with a big smile and say, "Let me help you spend your money".

They were both direct and friendly and they also did not take 'no' for an answer too easily. They just kept gently showing you their wares and why you 'needed' it.

I was reminded on my flight home that it is all about going back to basics as we renew and refresh our current business relationships and make new ones. Now is also a perfect time to remember that it is our 'client' and 'advocate' that help us in our everyday life and work. Whether they are external or internal as your colleagues and co-workers, take the time to reach out and show appreciation.

As Aristotle said, "we are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act - instead a habit."

So as my friends in Turkey reminded me about 'client' service:

C-Communicate with confidence and find ways to connect and collaborate

L-Listen and continually develop and earn loyalty

I-Take the initiative to grow and build relationships with interest and integrity

E-Engage the other to learn, have empathy and do it all with enthusiasm

N- Nurture your relationships and it is much easier on the soul to be nice!

T-Trust happens over time and you can never say 'thank you' too many times - make sure it is always done with sincerity.

Andrea Nierenberg is the president of The Nierenberg Group, a business communications company with a total process for educating, motivating and connecting people. Learn more at www.selfmarketing.com

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How to Build Rapport With Anyone - Part Two

Yesterday we talked about the importance of building rapport with your clients and sales trainer Dave Kahle offered up some advice on how to build rapport with anyone. Today, Kahle is back with a few more tips to help you build rapport and make more sales!

4. Use a sincere compliment

Everyone likes to be complimented. When you sincerely compliment a customer (or his company), you communicate that you are interested in him/her, that you have noticed something they do that stands out, and that you aren't afraid to say something complimentary. Those are all good things.

5. Ask a perceptive question

A perceptive question, asked with sincerity, does everything that a compliment does and then some. When the compliment doesn't call for any response from the customer, a question does. If done correctly, it can initiate the conversation and help the customer feel like you are interested and care about him.

6. Indicate a personal connection

If you have something in common with the customer, mention it. You don't have to beat it to death, just mention it. When the customer discovers that you both know the same person, went to the same school, vacationed in the same place, or belong to the same organization, he realizes that you are alike in some ways. It's easier to do business with someone who is like you.

7. Tell a short personal story

It doesn't have to be a major digression, but a short story about something personal is a great rapport builder. Something like this:

"Boy, I had a hard time getting here on time. I must have run over some glass or something sharp, because about half way here, my right front tire went flat. Took me a while to change it. Glad I made it on time."

That's short, it's personal, and it's a bit transparent because it reveals something about you, as a human being. And, it's something to which everyone can relate.

"Building rapport is a science with proven practices and tactics," says Kahle. "Use any of these techniques and watch your ability to create rapport improve, and thereby smooth out the way to more sales."

Dave Kahle is the President of the DaCo Corporation, specializing in helping business-to-business companies increase sales and develop their people. Learn more at www.davekahle.com

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How to Build Rapport With Anyone

Rapport : An emotional bond or friendly relationship between people based on mutual liking, trust and a sense that they understand and share each other's concerns.

Many people think building rapport means some small talk about the weather or football before launching into a sales pitch. No way! Just like the definition says, rapport is much more than that. Rapport is creating a relationship based on more than just selling the client - it's based on truly caring for them as a person, and always making them feel comfortable. This is an important skill that the best salespeople have mastered - and sales trainer Dave Kahle has the tips you need to do the same.

1. Pay attention to your appearance.

People will form an impression of you, based on how you look, before they even say hello to you. Your appearance, then, should be designed to help you look confident and competent - whatever that means in your market. At a minimum, that means clothes clean and pressed, shoes shined and hair cut.

Your attire should help you connect with the customer - not separate you from him. For example, if you are calling on production supervisors, you ought not to wear a suit and tie, as that will separate you from them, and generate a bit of discomfort in them.

The best rule I've seen is this: Dress like your customer, only a little better. On several occasions, I have worked with sales forces who sold to farmers. Blue jeans and flannel shirts are ok, as long as they are clean and pressed blue jeans, and a better quality flannel shirt.

2. Try an occasional bit of disarming honesty

In routine interchanges, say something that the customer is not expecting. For example, when he says, "How are you?" instead of the perfunctory "Fine," try something like this: "Honestly, my day didn't get off to a good start. One of the kids was sick this morning, and I was a half hour late getting out of the house. How are you?"

It's disarming because it was unexpected. And, it's honest, reveals something about you, and describes a situation with which almost everyone can relate. A good way to build rapport.

3. Humor

If you are one of those people who can make people laugh most of the time, then you are equipped with a powerful rapport-building asset. There is something about laughing together that breaks down some of the barriers between people and removes some of the tension. It's a great way to build rapport.

If you are not one of those people so gifted, then it's better to stay away from this. Telling a joke that nobody gets, or having a glib comment being seen as sarcastic or caustic is not a good way to build rapport.

Tomorrow we'll focus on four more tips from Dave Kahle to help you establish rapport with anyone. See you then!

Dave Kahle is the President of the DaCo Corporation, specializing in helping business-to-business companies increase sales and develop their people. Learn more at www.davekahle.com

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Quote of the Week

"I never tried quitting, and I never quit trying." -- Dolly Parton

Like legends in music, legends in sales never quit. They're constantly reinventing their sales process, voicemail messages, and emails to reflect their industry and what their clients want to see.

Take a lesson from Dolly, and never quit trying - you'll be glad you did.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Everyone Wants to Get Paid!

Are you responsible for collections? Many salespeople are, and I doubt any of them would say it's their favorite part of the job. After all, you worked to establish rapport with your client, and now you're asking them where the money is! Hardly feels like a relationship builder. Sales trainer Joe Guertin has the tips you need to navigate the tricky waters of collections with ease.

"Account receivables are not evil, but a lot of salespeople avoid it, rationalizing that it can hurt their customer relationship," says Guertin. "For the most part, that's usually not true. It's just an excuse. Nobody gets mad at the grocery store, gas station or department store when they tell you the total and you make a payment."

"But for a lot of people, it's an uneasy activity," continues Guertin. "To stay financially healthy, employers need to have that cash flowing. So here are some tips to make getting those receivables easy."

Be up front -- Real early.
When you're closing the sale, go over accounting responsibilities (who'll be paying them, and what your company terms are). Write all of this information down, with the customer if you can. And get to know that check writer! Things that go unspoken won't be priorities so, this little step shows your company is detailed, and can keep receivables from becoming a problem later.

Head off problems early
When an account goes over prescribed terms (i.e. 30 days), check into it. It doesn't have to be negative when you contact their accounting person (you know that person, remember?) saying that you "just wanted to follow up to make sure you got last month's invoice, because you're always so prompt."

When overdue, be upfront.
Let's say you have to follow up on an overdue bill. It's best not to mention it as a throwaway at the end of the conversation ("by the way, did you send out that last payment?") People are smart. They'll know that was the reason for your call and might see your hesitation as a weakness. Not a great relationship builder there.

Now, more than ever, keep your skills sharp, and you'll keep your income healthy.

Joe Guertin is President of The Guertin Group, a sales training firm that delivers customized training on all aspects of the sales process. Learn more at www.guertingroup.com

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Be My Perfect Cash Cow (B.M.P.C.C.)

Sales trainer Dan Adams came up with this fun acronym as an account qualification tool. "It is a very simple reminder of the 5 key areas you must understand early in your selling process," says Adams. "When qualifying an opportunity, you need to ask questions which will provide valuable information to you regarding 5 key topic areas." Let's take a deeper look at each one:

B: What is the customer's BUDGET?
You must know how the customer will obtain the necessary funds to make this acquisition. Is the project budgeted? If it is not budgeted how can you be of assistance in the budgeting process? If it is already budgeted, is it approved? What is the budget? When does the budget expire? If the customer will purchase "off budget" what is the process that must occur? Will it be financed? Is it important to keep this acquisition off the balance sheet?

M: Who is the key decision MAKER?
Who is responsible for making the final decision? If it is a "group" decision, who are the group members and who has the power in the group? How have similar decisions in the past been made? Who will influence this decision? Who are the gatekeepers? Who are the users? Who will evaluate the decision from a technical standpoint? Do I have an internal coach? Who has the final authority to sign off on an investment of this size?

P: What is the customer's buying PROCESS?
You understand your own company's selling process; you must know that to keep your job. In order to be a true sales superstar, you must know your customer's buying process! You must know your client's compelling event. That is, exactly why, and by what date your customer must make this investment. If she does not have a compelling event, you must assist her in creating one.

C: Who are your COMPETITORS?
Who are the vendors under consideration by your customer? You must also discover the solutions your competitors are offering as well as the strategies they are using to compete against you.

C: What are your customer's decision-making CRITERIA?
You must know what is important to your customer. What are her key buying criteria? Once you have that information you then must determine the "rack and stack", or order of the criteria from most important to least important.

Dan Adams is an award-winning professional speaker, author, and consultant who draws upon more than 25 years of experience in the field of sales and marketing. Learn more at www.trusttriangleselling.com

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Eliminating the Sleaze Factor in Sales

In her 15-plus years teaching entrepreneurs about sales and marketing, business coach C.J. Hayden has found that many of her clients say the most significant barrier to success is that they simply don't like to sell.

"The roots of this dislike are varied," says Hayden. "Sometimes what gets in the way is fear of rejection, or self-doubt of one's abilities. Other times it's lack of knowledge or inexperience; most of us don't like to do things when we feel we can't do them well. But a theme that rears its ugly head over and over again is this: a belief that sales and marketing is dishonest, manipulative, and sleazy."

"You might expect me to argue that these negative portrayals of marketing are not true," continues Hayden. "But in reality, they often are. Most of us experience on a daily basis inauthentic marketing, manipulative selling, and attempts at persuasion that rub us the wrong way."

"I'm not suggesting that you, the person reading this, are a sleazy salesperson," says Hayden. "In fact, I suspect it's much more likely that you aren't. But it just may be that you need to convince yourself of that truth in order to raise your comfort level about sales and marketing. To that end, I offer the following guidelines."

You are NOT a sleazy salesperson, if:

You only promise what you know you can deliver.
You don't make unrealistic promises and overblown claims, because you know they backfire in the long run. Even when exaggerations like these convince customers to buy, when their purchase doesn't live up to the hype, they feel misled and dissatisfied. Unhappy customers don't make repeat purchases or refer others.

You always represent your abilities and experience accurately.
You're not afraid to let customers know how good you are at what you do, but you don't feel the need to fabricate a background that doesn't exist. Instead, you play up your strengths, tell stories about past successes, and rely on positive references.

You explain why you are good rather than why the competition is bad.
You know that running down the competition only makes you look jealous or defensive. Your competitors are also your colleagues, and can often become some of your best referral sources. You don't hesitate to stress your unique competitive advantages and emphasize the benefits of your products and services, but you do so without disparaging others.

You never trick people into taking or returning your calls.
You wouldn't think of asking someone's receptionist to put through your call by giving misleading information. Nor do you leave voice mail messages implying that your call is for a purpose other than the real one. The most productive sales conversations are always with people who are open to having them.

You ask for permission to follow up or to add prospects to your list.
When you ask a prospect "may I call you again next quarter?" you are both agreeing that a follow-up conversation is worth having. You'll feel more confident making future contacts when you know they are welcome. You also know that subscribing people to your email list without permission only annoys them, so you always ask first.

You stop selling when it's clear the customer doesn't need what you're offering.
In a sales conversation, of course you respond to objections with counterpoints, but you do so respectfully, and never push customers past their own comfort zone. When prospects make it clear that they don't have a current need for your products and services and don't wish to continue hearing about them, you thank them for their time and move on.

"Post this list by your computer and your telephone," says Hayden. "Read it over before making sales calls. Do whatever it takes to reassure yourself that your own sales and marketing is honest, ethical, and authentic."

C.J. Hayden, MCC, is a business coach who teaches people to make a better living doing what they love. Her company, Wings Business Coaching, specializes in working with business owners, self-employed professionals, and people in marketing and sales. Learn more at www.getclientsnow.com

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cold Calling Bloopers: How a Quick-Witted Seller Saved the Day

I love this story from Jill Konrath's Selling to Big Companies blog:

"Cold calling is tough," says Konrath. "We all struggle with it. That's why I laughed today when I talked with Sara, who works for a New York-based PR firm. She'd just seen my new video clips where I'm speaking about the challenges of connecting with corporate decision makers. Sara understood exactly what I was talking about!"

That's when she told me her story:

I was calling a major media outlet to "pitch" one of our clients. Of course, I got voice mail. About half way through my message, my mind went totally blank. So I hung up.

As soon as my memory returned, I recalled the client and picked up exactly where I left off ...

"Hi. This is Sara calling again. We must have gotten disconnected. As I was saying..."

Now that's quick thinking!

For more great tips, stories, and articles visit Jill Konrath's blog at http://www.sellingtobigcompanies.blogs.com/

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Opportunities are seen by many, understood by few, and capitalized upon by even fewer." - Mark Hunter

"It is amazing how intellectual capacity drives opportunities," says sales trainer Mark Hunter. "Far too many insights are never capitalized on because we fail to use our own intellectual capacity or access the insights of others to determine how to leverage an opportunity. I read recently where Bill Gates and Warren Buffett took a trip to Alberta, Canada, to better understand how the people there are extracting oil using new technologies. They made this trip because they were curious and were driven by the fact that they knew it would expand their intellectual capacity."

"Sales is all about using your intellectual capacity to help people see opportunities," continues Hunter. "The salespeople who are at the top of their game year in and year out are the ones who know how to leverage their intellectual skills. Take the time to develop your intellect by digging into books, articles, newspapers, and engaging in conversations with others that will stimulate your mind and cause you to grow intellectually. In the long-term, your success is not driven by what you sell, who you work for, and certainly not by the price you sell it for. Long-term success is driven by your intellectual capacity and your ability to leverage it to see opportunities."

Get more great tips and quotes from Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, at http://thesaleshunter.com/blog

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Defeating SADD in America - Step 3

Today we'll look at another way you can help prevent Sales Attention Deficit Disorder (SADD) in America. We previously discussed turning off your Blackberry and loving the one you're with. Today we'll look at another tip from sales trainer Colleen Stanley - listen, record and respond.

3. Listen, record and respond.

Harvey Mackay, author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," and president of the Mackay Envelope Company, is a master at listening, recording and responding. Mackay knows that envelops are a commodity product; one that can easily fall prey to the price shopping game. He decided early on that he would not compete on price but he would compete on paying attention and knowing more about his clients than any of his competitors.

All of Mackay's salespeople are required to complete a questionnaire on each one of their customers. "The Mackay 66" customer profile asks 66 questions ranging from personal to business. With this data, the Mackay salesperson is equipped to make their customers feel important by remembering special anniversaries, asking specific questions about their children, or sending articles of interest on a hobby or passion.

Get rid of SADD. Turn off your electronics, be present, and be professional. Paying attention is a great selling skill.

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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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Love the One You're With

Today and tomorrow we'll be finishing up a short series on SADD in America. Sales Attention Deficit Disorder (SADD) is a growing concern, according to sales trainer Colleen Stanley. Last week we identified one way to prevent it - turning off your Blackberry. A scary thought, right? Try this new idea out today, and you'll be helping to lower the frequency of SADD in corporate America.

2. Love the one you're with.

The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. This selling scenario often occurs at networking events and looks something like this: You are talking to an individual and throughout the conversation he/she keeps looking around the room to see if there is someone else more important they should be meeting. Actions speak louder than words and the message is clear...you are important; however, the grass may be greener on the other side of the room.

Some salespeople still practice the crazy networking principle of speed networking. This salesperson's main goal is to meet as many people as possible in an evening. Quantity is the goal, not quality. They carry an invisible time clock that rings after two minutes (hey, they have a room to work). They politely excuse themselves and move onto "greener pastures," (at which point their cell phone rings and they answer).

Speed networking or "working the room" is working yourself right out of a potential relationship. Savvy business people spot phonies and phony intentions. People that are serious about building business relationships take the necessary time to build that relationship. They know processes are efficient and people are not.

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, September 2, 2008

An Olympic Attitude

We learned a lot during the recent Olympics - about the athletes, the host county, China, and maybe a little too much about how much Michael Phelps eats every day. But mostly we learned lessons of inspiration. Kelley Robertson shares a very important sales lesson learned, not from a winner, but a loser...

"As I watched the Olympics last week, I was appalled by the behavior one athlete portrayed after losing her event," says Robertson. "Her words, tone of voice, and body language were extremely negative and her comments to an interviewer were far less than professional. Her bitterness was profoundly evident and this behavior dispelled any sympathy I had initially felt for her loss."

"I often encounter salespeople who show similar behavior," continues Robertson. "A competitor sneaks in and steals an account. A customer decides to buy an inferior product. Competitors become more predatory in their pricing. A deal falls through after several months of effort and perhaps a great deal of expense. The list could go on."

"Situations like this are a fact of life and business. How you respond makes a difference. If you allow yourself to become bitter, future situations will only compound your resentment and you will gradually find yourself struggling to meet your goals. However, if you evaluate the situation and determine what, if anything, you could have done differently to improve your results, your behavior will be much more positive."

"No one likes to lose a sale, especially a large one," says Robertson. "However, displaying bitterness will negatively affect your future efforts."

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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