Sales advice, recommendations and interesting, useful and fun news from the world of selling!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Quote of the Week
"The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm." -- Swedish Proverb
How true is this? Sometimes the workload or expectations we face everyday seem like too much. When you get that feeling, resist the urge to go complain to your co-workers or mope until someone offers to help you. Instead take a minute to think of all you're capable of, and then get moving. You are your best source of help and inspiration - no one else!
I came across this article from sales and communication expert Dianne Booher, and it was so true I had to share it with you.
Booher says, "Many people listen poorly because they have no intention of listening well. They're preoccupied. They're too busy talking so that they can feel understood."
How many times have you sat in a meeting and watched a co-worker stare off into space or check their BlackBerry under the table? What about the person that cuts someone off mid-sentence to continue with their own agenda? You might not believe it, but these actions aren't kept just to the workplace - they extend to meetings with clients and prospects. Yikes! Read on for more of what Booher has to say on the topic.
"Have you ever heard people say that they don't have time for something: golf, a fundraiser, church, or dinner with a friend? What they mean is that something isn't important enough to them yet to make time for it," says Booher.
"The same is true for listening. We'll find ourselves poor listeners until we make up our minds we want to become good listeners. Listening requires conscious effort and a willing mind. It's a decision to take an action, not just waiting your turn to talk."
"Listening involves actively processing what the other person is saying to you: clarifying, asking questions, drawing out additional information, reading between the lines, giving feedback, verifying understanding, analyzing, and drawing conclusions about what you've heard," continues Booher.
"What's the payoff? Listening keeps you informed. It increases your impact when you do speak. It gives you a negotiating edge and powerful influence. Best of all, others will love you."
"Whether you're sitting around the conference table in a team meeting or the dining table for your Thanksgiving meal, make a conscious effort to listen. Listening is a gift you give to yourself and to others. Give it on purpose, not just when forced."
Author of 42 books, Dianna Booher, CSP, CPAE, delivers keynotes, breakout sessions, and training on communication and life-balance issues. Her latest books: Speak with Confidence, Your Signature Life, Your Signature Work, E-Writing, and Communicate with Confidence. www.Dianna-Booher.com The SalesDog blog will be quiet the next two days as we take time off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with our families. We wish you all the very best - see you on Monday!
When you're selling to the CEO, the CFO, or the CMO, there's a lot going on that can make you nervous. After all, this is the person who makes the final decision. They're often tired from overwork, and they see more salespeople then they'd like to each day - so you've got to make it count, every time. Today sales trainer Sam Manfer has five tips for us that will help you build the confidence needed to sell to these power players.
Keep learning your trade. The three areas of continuing education are selling skills, people skills and your product/service skills. As you learn more about any one of the three, you will become more assured of yourself. Prepare for the encounter. Get coaching from someone about the person you will be meeting. To avoid biases, I call the person directly and ask him/her the expectation they have for the meeting saying, "So that I don't bore you with a lot of grizzly details you don't want to hear, what would you like me to be prepared to talk with you about?" It will amaze you how this warms up the other person.
Approach the meeting with a quest to learn. It will take off all the performance pressure. All you have to do is prepare questions. If he already told you in the pre-call, confirm what he told you to be sure. Then dig into the details. Once he tells you the tune he wants to hear, you can sing it with passion. Why worry yourself about what to say when, if you ask and listen, they will tell you what they want to hear?
Prepare yourself. People with the power to say yes or no are intimidating. This is fear. Fear means you are thinking negatively about the upcoming event. Since you don't know the future, project positively. That becomes excitement. What you think the other person will think of you comes through in your walk, your posture, your language, and your tone. So be thinking great results and it will pump up both of you.
Advise yourself as you would your child or a close friend about being confident. If your daughter told you she was nervous about an upcoming interview, what advice would you give her? Well, you are that child and you have the answers to your own power. You just have to ask yourself, "What can I do?" Then listen.
Sam Manfer delivers keynote speeches and in-depth selling workshops for those anxious to increase sales. His hands-on coaching turns individuals and sales organizations into selling whirlwinds. Follow Sam's C-Level Selling Blog for more insights.
"Happiness is mostly a byproduct of doing what makes us feel fulfilled." -- Benjamin Spock, Pediatrician
With the Thanksgiving holiday this week in the U.S., I've been thinking a lot about staying positive and being thankful for the good in my life. One way to do this? Make sure you're doing what makes you feel fulfilled - do that, and the other worries will seem less important.
And even if you're in a job right now that leaves you less than fulfilled, begin brainstorming what you can do to find something that makes you fulfilled. Or, make a list of the good things you do have at your job - and focus on those things! Either way, there is good all around us - if we only choose to see it.
Often times there are multiple people involved in the sale - and you many not even know some of them. This means your main contact then has to go and sell you to those other people - and a lot can happen in that situation. Today sales trainer Joe Guertin shows us how to avoid that situation and make the sale.
If you were a buyer, would you go out on a limb to support a new contractor or supplier? Bet you didn't think "yes" right away. These days, that decision-maker who reports to others will need your help in selling you to others. Here are two tips on helping make it happen:
1) Don't just sell to one person, but give them whatever they'll need to 'sell' you to the rest of the team...which is best done when you:
2) Make connections with the other decision-makers. When there's a committee or other group who'll influence the decision, get an audience with them, face-to-face. The buyer is far more likely to get behind your plan when they see the others supporting it, too.
In a big-ticket, 'Complex Sale,'; a complete, internal strategy is essential. But, even in day-to-day renewals, too many opportunities are delayed or lost when a plan has to be 're-sold' internally, but without your expertise.
Joe Guertin is an advertising sales trainer, speaker and coach. His programs have informed and entertained sales professionals nationwide. Visit his Sales Resource Center at www.StreetFighterSelling.com
I really enjoy reading advice from sales trainer Kelley Robertson - he gets straight to the point, and discusses familiar situations - so you often feel like you can apply his advice right away. Today he's talking about the impact language can have on your day - I know I'll be watching my words more carefully! Read on for his advice.
Are you familiar with the expression, "Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it?" The language you use during the course of a day can have a tremendous impact on your results.
For example, in recent weeks, I have heard people use expressions such as:
"We're clawing our way through these times." "It's really tough out there." "People aren't as easy to sell to as they used to be." "It's a war zone out there."
While these comments may be accurate, every time you state them - either aloud or to yourself - you reinforce the difficulties associated with selling.
I recall talking to a coach during my second year of business. My business had taken off quickly and I distinctly remember saying, "This should be more difficult." Needless to say, a short time later, it became more difficult. When I rephrased my sentiments, revenues began to climb more easily. I'm not suggesting that using positive language will magically make your problems go away. However, what you say will either move you closer or further away from your goals.
Here's a suggestion: For one day, carefully monitor what you say and count the number of times you use language that is self-defeating, negative, or that expresses difficulty. Then change that phrase to positive focused language.
Kelley Robertson is the President and founder of Robertson Training Group. He specializes in helping businesses increase their sales, develop better negotiating skills, coach and motivate their employees, create powerful work teams and deliver outstanding customer service. Learn more by visiting www.RobertsonTrainingGroup.com.
Sales trainer Anne Miller recently had a wake-up call that made her take action and change some things about her business. Upon reading her story I felt compelled to make some changes for myself - you might too!
"I recently met with a client to discuss possible follow-up training to a negotiating seminar we had done for her team," says Miller. "She mentioned her need for presentation skills and when I said I could help her with that, she replied, "Oh, I am working with someone else for presentations training. I didn't know you did that." Didn't know? How could that be? I have written books on presenting, consulted on a zillion presentations across many industries, run hundreds of training and coaching sessions for people from groups of junior and seasoned reps to CEOs going out on road shows. And she didn't know????"
"Well, shame on me. I reviewed all my materials from my business cards to my website and realized it was easy for her not to know the range of services I provide. I had obviously fallen down on marketing. So I changed everything, even my email signature, to explicitly describe the value I believe I bring to clients. Now, if someone doesn't hire me, it won't be because they didn't know what I do."
"Keeping clients aware of what you do is a real challenge. Eileen Sutton took this one step further and recently sent this email to her clients. I love it because it is brief, it is friendly, and it works."
Sometimes we don't let our inner circle know of our achievements.
So far this year, I've positioned a private-equity firm, a $20B asset-management firm, a Latin American investment bank, and a cash-management firm representing 300 banks nationally.
If you're aware of a financial firm that's in the market for a clearer, more profitable identity, perhaps I can help. My new brochure is attached, and consultations are complimentary. Thanks so much for your time.
Happy to help in any way in return. Let me know.
Very best, Eileen
How are you reminding your clients and network about your current services? Anne Miller is a popular sales and presentations expert and author of the book, Metaphorically Selling: How to Use the Magic of Metaphors to Sell, Persuade, & Explain Anything to Anyone. She works with people in high stakes situations and clients like Yahoo!, Citigroup, and Time, Inc. to sell millions of dollars of business every year. Visit her site at www.AnneMiller.com. You can also visit her blog at http://www.annemiller.com/blog/
You all know how much I love a good time management tip! Today sales trainer Colleen Francis shares several tips she put together after working with a sales team that made a commitment to do proactive, outbound sales prospecting everyday from 9-11 am. Here's how they stick to it:
1) Print out a list of at least 30 names to call the night before you leave the office, so you don't have to turn on your computer first thing in the morning (and risk checking email).
2) Make your calls from a meeting room rather than the open cubicle area so other employees can't bother/interrupt you
3) Put the phone on do not disturb
4) Keep cell / mobile device in the car during the "calling time"
5) Have a weekly contest to see who can make the most calls / appointments and sales during this time
6) Instruct receptionist to put all inbound calls directly into voice mail.
7) Turn off email and web browsers. Only use CRM during this time. If this can be done at the source by IT, all the better!
8) Create your "to do list" or "to call list" the night before.
9) Arrive at work 30 minutes early to get settled before "call time starts".
10) Block other employees from entering the sales area during this time with a banner that reads "Do not enter. Earning your salary"!
11) Send prospecting emails to prospects at the end of the day rather than during the "call time".
"While some of these ideas are fun, some are serious, and some are outrageous, they all work," says Francis. "I am sure you have some ideas to add to the list as well. At its core, sales success is all about demand generation, lead generation and prospecting. No prospects, no sales. Knowing that, what are you doing everyday to ensure prospecting for new business remains a top priority on your team?"
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions. Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line. Start improving your results today with Engage's online Newsletter Engaging Ideas and a FREE 7 day intensive sales eCourse: www.EngagingIdeasOnline.com.
"Strategic advantage lies in the leverage of knowledge." -- Robert Buckman
We advocate reading a lot to increase your knowledge about the profession of sales - but we don't talk enough about reading materials in your field. You have to be an expert, be able to make recommendations, and see things coming in the field. To do this you have to read trade journals, news articles - whatever you can!
Read up and you'll be able to show your customers you know what they're going through - and what they should do to best make a profit.
You've done a lot of work to get to the point where you can make a presentation to a new prospect - so don't ruin all your hard work with a little presentation mistake that's easily avoidable. Today sales trainer Dan Adams shares some of the biggest presentation mistakes with us - and tells you what to do to avoid them. Mediocre First Impression Jack Welch said: "Whenever I see a young man make a great presentation, I never forget that young man. Unfortunately the opposite is also true." You will never get another chance to make a great first impression. Your first impression is key to a great presentation. Consider the very first few slides you intend to show your client. Do they convey that you have done your homework and that you have created a highly customized presentation? Or, do they smell like the same old "standard" presentation you have used over and over again?
No Presentation Goal Every meeting and every presentation must have a goal or objective. Your presentation's goal should be clearly communicated at the beginning of the meeting to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Poor Visual Aids: Less Is More Dump the cartoons, and remember that the primary goal of the slides is to remind you what points you want to make to your client. The 4 X 4 rule of thumb works great. Never use more than 4 bullets per slide and never more than 4 words per bullet. Avoid paragraphs of data!
Too Long: Less Is More In general, most people don't want to sit through a very long presentation; they get bored. If I learn that my competition has taken 2 hours to bore my client with their presentation I might open my presentation with: "I know you are very busy. Out of respect for your time I plan to take 30 minutes to share the information you requested. If any of you would like me to stay longer that's fine, we can delve deeper as needed."
Allowing "Derailments" A presentation may get "derailed" if you permit a question or comment to take you in a direction that is not in your mutual best interests. Questions and comments are fine as long as they are controlled and take you in a direction that you find acceptable. Otherwise respond with: "Judy, that's a great question, thanks for bringing it to my attention. If you can hang on to that I'm planning on addressing that specific issue at the end of our time together."
No Audience Involvement Without audience involvement you will not know if you have connected with them. You will not know if they understand your points. Stop occasionally and ask the audience members questions such as, "Does that point capture how your department may benefit from ABC?" Or, "Give me your opinion on our approach to ABC". Once you pause for reinforcement the audience becomes more receptive to your effort to satisfy their objectives. Just be sure that you maintain a balance between audience involvement and derailment.
Daniel Adams, author of Building Trust, Growing Sales, and creator of Trust Triangle Selling helps corporations improve their profits by optimizing the performance of their sales teams. He is a frequent and popular speaker at national sales meetings, workshops and association events. Visit www.trusttriangleselling.com
Looking for a way to add interest to your presentation that's meaningful and shows your attention to detail? Customized presentation materials like folders, binders, index tabs and pocket folders from Binders.com may be just what you're looking for! Check out their excellent prices and quality materials here.
When selecting material for this blog I try to feature different authors, different topics, and different points of view. After all, one piece of advice will not work for everyone's situation. That's why I jumped at the chance to run this article from sales trainer Adrian Miller. She gets into the quantity vs. quality debate like Mark Hunter did on Tuesday - but offers a different take on it that might be a better fit for you.
"The age-old debate of quantity versus quality - Is one truly more important than the other? For sales professionals, the answer is unequivocally No! Quantity and quality are both important if you want to succeed. We've all heard the "experts" drone on and on about the importance of "quality" when it comes to leads. Isn't the concept of developing quality obvious enough? Of course, we'd all love to have only those leads in our funnel that turn into valuable customers. However this isn't always the reality."
"What is frequently neglected or downplayed is the necessity for quantity," says Miller. "Like it or not, sales is inherently a numbers game. If you currently have three "quality" prospects, but you need ten new customers this month, you're not going to be successful. To reach your goal, a significant amount of time must simply be spent on gathering new leads."
"To balance the demands of acquiring both quantity and quality in your sales funnel requires constant multitasking. Let one ball drop and your sales funnel will deplete. What do you need to do to maintain the balance necessary to keep the sales flowing?"
Here are a few helpful tips:
Regular Prospecting - Make it an absolute must to reach out to a set amount of new prospects each and every day. Let's face it - The more calls you make, the more opportunities you will discover. It's not rocket science!
Aggressively Network - As part of your regular routine to make contact with new prospects, networking must be a priority. You'll need to do more than just attend the quarterly get-together for your friends in the industry. Seek out online and in-person opportunities with enthusiasm. Help others by generously providing referrals and introductions and take advantage of any that you receive, too!
Keep Organized - Leads are valuable, so keep track of them efficiently. Develop your own contact management system and stay on top of where each lead is within your sales funnel. Don't let even one slip through the cracks because of an inability to manage the sales process.
Don't Make Assumptions - Sometimes the best customers come from the most unlikely of places. Don't dismiss leads or introductions because you think they have little potential for you. Value every opportunity and find out as much as you can before you drop contact with anyone.
Adrian Miller is the President of Adrian Miller Sales Training, a training and business consulting firm delivering sales-level performance training and executive-level business development consulting. A nationally recognized lecturer, she is also author of "The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success".
A sale is a sale, right? Not exactly, says sales trainer Mark Hunter. The level that you sell to has a big impact on the amount and quality of your sale. Read on for Hunter's take on the situation.
"Many times salespeople believe they can crack a new customer by contacting a person they already know who happens to work in a mid- or lower-level position in the company," says Hunter. "Salespeople do this believing it will be the best way to develop the customer, but in the end, all they're doing is giving away profit. The real profit in any transaction is made when the strategic value of the decision is understood. You can best understand that when you're dealing with senior level people."
"The lower you go in an organization, the more tactical the focus is and the more the individual is going to base their decision on the absolute price point. Lower and even mid-level people focus on the price as a way for them to be seen by others as being tough and shrewd. For them, they think this approach is the best way to get promoted."
"When you sell at the highest levels of the company, price point is way down on the list," continues Hunter. "The goal of senior level people is to move the company forward, either by eliminating an issue with which they are dealing or by opening up a new opportunity. In either of these situations, they will look at the strategic value and base their decision accordingly. This does not mean you eliminate all contact with mid-level or lower-level people in a company. It means you continue communication with these people to better develop your information and to better understand how the company works and how you can assist them."
"What you don't do is negotiate with low or mid-level people or provide them any price/value information. If you do, they will immediately begin to scrutinize you based on that. The conclusions they begin to draw may very easily begin to float up the organization, resulting in your proposal coming to a dead-end. The sales you can secure with the higher level executives are the best sales to go after." Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter," helps individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. As a keynote speaker, he is best known for his ability to motivate and move an organization through his high-energy presentations. Learn more at www.TheSalesHunter.com
"It is time to make the time." -- Henry Dumas, American writer and poet
Have you been fitting in all the calls on your goal sheet? What about those prospects in the new building around the corner - have you introduced yourself yet? With the end of the year in sight and many people struggling to meet quota, it is essential you make the time to do the little things. Pushing them off for another day will just leave you scrambling come December.
Come in earlier, stay later - whatever it is, make the time now. You'll thank yourself later!
Sales trainer Bob Burg was lucky enough to have many inspirational people in his life early in his career. Today he shares a lesson he learned from one of those people - a lesson that has helped him throughout his career, and that will help you too! Here's his story:
"Dan Davis...HDH Sports!" His voice was deep and booming, and the studio microphone caused it to echo with spectacular richness. He was the sports anchor for WHDH a.m., big-time radio in Boston in the 70's and 80's. And he was really good. Also, turned out to be a great guy.
While interning at WGTR a.m. (small-time radio in my hometown of Natick, Massachusetts) as a 21 year-old wannabe sportscaster, I met Dan when we both covered the annual U.S. Pro Tennis Championship at Longwood in Brookline. I asked if I could visit him at the station some day and watch him work. He kindly agreed.
While there, he did some great teaching and provided me with many of the inside aspects of broadcasting.
But, what impressed me more than anything was the following exchange:
At one point, he told me that when conducting an interview for a story in which only one answer would be aired, to - rather than asking a bunch of questions and sorting through all the answers later in order to find the best one - simply ask one question; the one I would eventually use.
"Ahh, of course, Mr. Davis," I agreed. "I've been doing it all wrong. I've been asking a lot of questions because I haven't had the confidence to know which one I'm definitely going to use. I'll do it your way from now on. Thanks!"
He then paused, thought about it and said, "Actually, Bob, I was wrong. Eventually, after you're experienced enough, you should do what I said and ask just one question. For now though, until you have the confidence you need, keep doing what you're doing. Ask as many questions as necessary in order to get the right one."
Notice his first five words: "Actually, Bob, I was wrong."
Sure, I learned a "good" lesson in terms of asking questions.
I learned a "better" lesson in seeing a pro - a true pro and a confident and humble man – who could admit to his young "protege" that he was wrong.
Over the next 30 years, I've continued to notice; great leaders, great people, the truly confident, the real winners, not only know they make mistakes, but admit to those mistakes, as well.
What a winner. "Dan Davis...HDH Sports!"
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
Can you believe it's already November? Sometimes I don't know where the time goes! Today sales trainer Mark Hunter shares his advice for navigating the holidays and keeping your sales up!
"November and December are full of holidays, and every company and every employee will have variations to their sales strategy during this time," says Hunter. "Take the time now, regardless of your sales role, to lay out your calendar for the next several months. Plan right now what days you're going to be out, and what events may impede your ability to makes sales calls and follow-up on leads. Next, start getting on to your calendar those activities you know you're going to need to do to close sales before the end of the year with your current customers and prospects."
"When you start laying out dates, allow yourself time for last minute changes," continues Hunter. "In particular, allow extra time for those customers who make decisions via a committee. The last thing you want to have happen to you now is to suddenly see a 4th quarter sale not materialize until January because somebody was out of the office for a few days. Taking the time now will allow you to be more prepared for the wiggles and the shakes that will undoubtedly occur. In turn, your level of sales motivation will not be negatively impacted due to outside situations."
Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter," helps individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. As a keynote speaker, he is best known for his ability to motivate and move an organization through his high-energy presentations. Learn more at www.TheSalesHunter.com
Odd concept? Not according to John DiJulius. Today business growth expert Diane Helbig shares DiJulius' "opportunities" from his keynote at the COSE Small Business Conference.
1. New revenue streams
2. Fish when the fish are biting
3. Experience wars vs Price wars
4. Less competition now
5. Back to the basics
"The way I read these he is saying that you now have the opportunity to consider other revenue streams, different target markets, and innovation," says Helbig. "With point 2 he is reminding us to pay attention to where our prospects are and when they are buying and with point 3 he is telling us to focus on the experience we provide to our clients. Create value and price will not be the top issue."
"That there is less competition now is not a question. It is an opportunity to gain market share. However, that alone will not propel your business to the top of the totem pole. You still have to provide value and service. You still have to have a worthy product or service. THIS is where we get back to basics. Remember the rules of sales and the guiding principles that help companies succeed."
"These principles are integrity, value, customer service, and giving back," continues Helbig. "Provide a quality product or service at a fair price on a consistent basis with the customer's needs in mind and you will find your company succeeding in this, or any, economy."
Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach, and President of Seize This Day Coaching. She works one-on-one and in groups with business owners, entrepreneurs, and salespeople. Visit her website at www.seizethisdaycoaching.com
What are you doing this weekend? Maybe you haven't thought about it yet, or maybe you could start rattling off a list of chores and activities you'll be doing. Today sales expert Art Sobczak points out the importance of planning - do you plan your calls like you plan your weekend?
Ask yourself these questions:
On the last telephone call you made to a prospect/ customer, what was your specific objective for the call?
Did you have the opening planned so you knew precisely what you were going to say?
Did you prepare a voice mail message you were ready to deliver, velvety smooth, without hesitation?
Were your questions in order?
How prepared were you with your responses to their answers to those questions?
What was your contingency plan in case things didn't go as well as you'd like?
If, without hesitation, you rattled off answers to these questions, I'd wager you do pretty well. When people have trouble answering these questions, chances are there are "umm's" and "uh's" in their calls.
I find it curious and interesting that many people put more planning into their weekend or what they'll have for lunch, than they do their telephone calls.
Quite simply, your sales success correlates directly to your preparation. It's also the key to sounding smooth. Being a superstar in sales, particularly on the phone, is not a matter of "smiling and dialing," plowing through the names, hoping that you'll stumble into someone ready to buy.
Don't believe any trash about this being a pure numbers game. It's a QUALITY game. As I always say, the worst possible time to think of what you're going to say is as it's already coming out of your mouth.
Go back, review those questions, and be certain you can answer them for your next call, and every one thereafter. Do so, and I'm sure you'll show pleasing sales results. 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 begin showing results from the very next time participants get on the phone. Learn more at www.businessbyphone.com
"Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts." -- Edward R. Murrow
How does the title "Salesperson of the Year" sound to you? Pretty good? If you want to make record-breaking sales in your company, you've got to push through the tough days and keep prospecting, keep making deals and keep your head up. Top salespeople build relationships over time, even if they feel like giving up. Become a legend in your company - keep going, even when the going gets hard!
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