The paperclips didn't need a sales pitch. Neither do your clients.

SELLutions

Are You Winning the Battle?

by GSchulz 22. March 2016 18:09
“We should never intentionally place soldiers in a situation where the price of losing outweighs the rewards of winning".-Anonymous.  
What is the best sales process? Well it seems to be one that understands how to win the battle.   
How often can you honestly say that your sales managers apply this rule to their salespeople? And what systems do your salespeople have in place to ensure victory, even before they go into battle?   You have two challenges when your sales force prepares for battle:  
Challenge 1: Like any kind of warfare, you have a distinct advantage when you can tap good and reliable intelligence. Here's the problem: Your salespeople don’t get enough accurate intelligence about their prospects.  As a result, their pipelines are filled with flaky opportunities.  And your sales managers don’t have enough guts to call them on it.   Here’s the litmus test.  When your sales people submit their forecasts, do you or your managers “adjust” them down for realism?  It’s typically easier for salespeople and their managers to discuss why they didn’t win business, instead of asking themselves the right questions before going to battle.    The right questions to ask to create the best sales process.  
1. “Can we win and should we pursue this opportunity?” If yes, then
2. “Which strategy should we adopt to ensure that we win?   To begin, ask your salespeople: "How much does it cost to win a new account?”  Calculate the actual costs associated with generating a lead, a contact, an appointment, a proposal and a sale.  Now add in the opportunity cost of missed business they could have won if they weren’t wasting time on business that won’t close quickly.   If you’re like most selling organizations, the cost per account pursuit is several hundred or even thousands of dollars.  Multiply that by the number of opportunities you chased and didn’t close in the last 12 months.  Staggering isn’t it?   Before your sales people charge off to fight the next battle, ask them, “If this was your money, would you spend it?”   
 Challenge 2: Your sales people don’t do enough planning work before going to battle.   Before going into battle again, make sure your salespeople can answer these questions (honestly):  What are you trying to sell and most importantly, why? Sounds simple enough until you actually try to quantify it.  
 ·  Is the project funded? What if there’s not enough?  Who has discretionary use of the funds?  Who can get more?  
 · What is the sale worth to the organization? Does the ROI justify the investment of time, money and effort?  
 · Have we sold this prospect anything in the past? Who? What? Where? When? How? Why?   ·        How many contacts have you already had with this contact? How many phone calls, face-to-face meetings and so on? Do you have a clear next step?  
 · Do you have an organizational chart? Do you have an inside coach?  
 · What has been (or will be) your sales strategy?  
 · Where are you in the selling process? Here is a checklist for the best sales process;    
1.  Were you invited in or did you beg for an appointment?
2. What were the prospect’s reasons for seeing you?
3. What were the challenges, problems, and frustrations that you identified in the interview?
4. How important is it to the prospect to fix those problems?
5. How committed is the prospect to fixing those problems?  (Time, effort, money, willingness to fail?) 6. What is the agreement you and the prospect have reached concerning the decisions that will be made each step of the way?   Few salespeople understand the cost of pursuing sales and often fill their funnels with bad business. Fewer think through winning strategies before going into sales “battle”. Ask your sales people these fundamental sales questions before committing resources to a battle you cannot win. Successful sales professionals qualify vigorously, and religiously before committing time and energy so their closing ratios are 90% or better. So, what are yours?    

 Greta Schulz is President of SchulzBusiness, a sales Consulting and Training firm. She is a best selling author of “To Sell IS Not To Sell” and works with fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips go to www.schulzbusiness.com and sign up for ‘GretaNomics’, a weekly video tip series or email sales questions to greta@schulzbusiness.com     Click here to share this post.

Is social media killing our sales skills?

by GSchulz 10. August 2015 12:38
NOW WHAT?  
Recently, I spoke to an organization that spent an ungodly amount of time, energy and money on Social Media to create Lead Generation. So my question was, "Now what?” they said, "What do you mean?" I said “Okay, so you got a whole bunch of people calling you or contacting you through a web form, email etc. How's your closing ratio?” They looked at me like I had three heads. The issue is a simple one, just because we believe that we have found a new way to generate business, it is not generating business…alone. Lead generation is Interest; lead generation is getting people to the door. Are they coming over the threshold and are you closing the door behind them? That's a very important step. One without the other will result in no revenue.  

Between Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and Bing ads on any of the Social Media sites, or email-marketing powerhouses like Infusionsoft, (which I personally use) amongst other things we do today to build leads is it really working? That's one question. If we’re doing all of the things that we need to do in Social Media and all the ‘white noise’ is going out, what is it bringing us? Well, it should be bringing us Leads. It should be bringing us Emails, filling out contact Information or a website, web forms and phone call, and if that's happening, Great you have reached step one. This is a very important step but it is ONLY step one. The million-dollar question is "Now What?"  

It's important to make sure that we know once people contact us or when we contact them back, we are using the right process to follow up from any kind of lead generation that we get. Are we setting some ground rules at the beginning of the conversation? Are we asking well? Thought provoking open-ended questions to engage them and truly understand their needs beyond what the told you? DO we have a true picture of all of this before we have the cost conversation and do you clearly understand the next step and what that means as opposed to just “checking back” or following up with them? It's important to understand that when someone contacts you, they are often contacting several people within your industry. You don't have a relationship built, there were just some low levels of interest that got them to contact you. Is it better than you calling out cold? Well certainly it is but you still needs the same attention to process as you always did. Getting somebody to call you is only the beginning. So, what are the other steps: What are we doing when we contact them or they call us. Are we using the process properly?  

Here is what we typically see.  When we get them on the phone, they will typically ask you a simple question that I call a "Wall Question" which is they put up a wall and the question sounds something like this "Hey, I see you guys sell widgets. Can you tell me if I bought a hundred widgets what that would cost?" and we say, "Sure, let me look. What can of widgets you are looking for?” "We're looking for widget A or widget B." "Okay well, widget A would be $75,000 for a hundred widgets and widget B would be $82,000. "Oh, that's a lot of money.  "Well, maybe I can do a little better." You negotiate a price and they say "Okay sounds good, ah we'll call you back” Or “Sounds good, can you send me a proposal / price sheet/ some more information?"   We get their email, we send that information in writing and cricket, we never hear from them again. We try to contact them back, they don't contact us. We try to call them, they don't take our call, and we leave messages. Sound familiar? Of course, it does.

The same situation that happened before when you did your prospecting more proactively occurred. Prospecting hasn't changed. Sales and the sales process haven’t changed just because they're contacting you.  In fact, I would say that it is more difficult now because we are not as on top of our game since they contacted us we feel it is a ‘hot’ lead. Not only do you need to do a good job on working on the sales process in closing the sale, you need to do a better job than you ever have before because remember, they have control. They're the ones that are calling you but they're also calling your competitor. So they've done a little homework, they know who's out there and they know what the pricing is out there. That's where the sale process comes in. If you don't have a process, you're going to fail whether they're lead generating through Social Media or not.    

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motivation in sales | sales calls | sales tests | sales, selling, on-line sales | training seminars

Top 5 Things Every Salesperson /Business Developer Should Know!

by GSchulz 3. August 2015 11:02
   What’s the new normal when it comes to developing business? This is not the old ‘ask a few questions, give your features and benefits and trial close’. The 70s wants their slick sales guy back. Today you need to be smart, curious and a true consultant to sell. Here are a few things that today are imperative in business growth.    

 1)   Tell the prospect its OK to break up….Rejection is a result of trying to sell someone your product or service as opposed to tell them you what you are calling about, let them know it seems that because of what they do you could potentially work together, but (pull back) you don’t want to assume that you are a good fit. What you’d like to do is ask a few questions to see if the two of you are a fit and if not, we decide it’s a NO then we only wasted a few minutes? Sound OK? This allows you to give a NO as an option right upfront. Then you have asked for it as opposed to a prospect pushing you away and that is the rejection.  

2)   Mining for customers is different today. Networking is the true key to finding and keeping customers but most people do it wrong. Networking events ate not for direct prospecting! Recognize this scenario? “Hey do you guys use promotional products? here’s a sample, we can really help you!!”..” NO! Instead I say go to an event and look for Strategic Alliances, people that you can refer business back and forth to as opposed to hitting your potential prospects so hard. We all know building business on referrals is the best way to do business so lets network for good alliances that you can refer business to and that is a good source for your referrals.

3)   Research should be used for credibility. Research is essential today before you pick up the phone and call anyone. No excuses! The most important reason to do your research on their web site, Google etc. is to create good, quality questions to ask them to engage your prospect in conversation and truly understand their needs not to tell them that you’ve researched their company and since they do this, we can sell you that…  

 4)   If you need to discount to get the business is almost always a result of one of these things. a) The customer doesn’t truly trust you/your product or  service so there is only price to use as a differentiator or b) you haven’t truly understood the need for the product. I know need seems simple but it isn’t.          What are they trying to say? What impression are they trying to leave, how do they want to be seen? What are they using it for? There are lots of questions to not only understand what a prospect needs but the true deep-down ‘whys’. Asking questions will let you also gain credibility and trust but not Selling and truly asking and listening….       

5)    Listen and shut up!! Wow! If I could teach people that are in sales/business                   development to ask questions and listen there would be a lot more success in business! Telling isn’t selling…but it comes from a good place. We are excited about what we represent and want other to be excited too but excitement doesn’t sell, questions and true engagement does. Long ago we were taught to ask a few questions and when you hear a “ buying signal” jump in and tell them you can help with that and how. NO! When you ask a question, wait for the answer and whatever the answer is, especially if it may be something your product or service can help with, the best next question is, “tell me about that”, then SHUT-UP!!!    

Greta Schulz is President of SchulzBusiness, a sales Consulting and Training firm. She is a best selling author of “To Sell IS Not To Sell” and works with fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips go to www.schulzbusiness.com and sign up for ‘GretaNomics’, a weekly video tip series or email sales questions to greta@schulzbusiness.com     Click here to share this post.

Always Give First

by GSchulz 10. July 2015 15:04
  Last week, I sat down with Jacob, a friend who is a sales rep at an ink and toner supply store. We were exchanging the usual “So, how is the family...how is business?” when Jacob started to look troubled. “You know, Greta, I thought business was going great,” he said. “My sales have been through the roof, and I have more clients than I know what to do with. There is just one thing that has been bothering me the past few weeks.”             “What is that?” I asked.             “Well, I was reviewing my order totals for the quarter when I saw that my biggest client, ABC Graphics, had ordered only half as much toner in June as it did in May. I was not too surprised. Many of our clients have a slow month here or there. I figured things would pick up. Well, lo and behold, at the end of the next month, not only had ABC Graphics not increased back to its regular toner order, it had barely ordered anything.”             I asked, “So tell me something, Jacob. When you recently visited your contact at ABC Graphics, how did it go?”             “Well, to be honest, the last time I followed up with them was at the end of last year,” Jacob replied. “I told you we have been crazy—I mean busy—and besides I didn’t have anything new for him, they just want to order and not have us bother them.” Bother them!             So why was Jacob rapidly losing ground on his biggest account? Because he did not stay in front of his client, and someone else moved in on his account. And if Jacob’s client perceives a visit as a “bother” then he needs to analyze what he says and does while he’s there.             One common characteristic we as salespeople have, is the belief that “once a customer, always a customer.” Of course, as time goes on and good customer service does not, another salesperson sees your client as his prospect. So how can Jacob—or you—make it right?             Sit down with your client list the first week of every month and think about each client individually. Then jot down something you can do for each person or company on the list. Take off your salesperson hat and really consider the well-being of your client. Think referrals, introductions, invitations to network with you…anything to make your client say, “Wow, he really does care about me.”             Not only will you be helping out your clients, but you will also be keeping the line of communication open regarding your product or service. Then you can resolve their issue instead of your competition doing it…while getting their business.             Rather than worrying about the other guy moving in on your clients, take some preventive measures to ensure you are keeping your clients happy. Remember the “givers gain” philosophy: The more you give, the more you get in return. If you are always giving, you will never lose. Click here to share this post.

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Top 5 Hiring Mistakes

by GSchulz 7. July 2015 12:34
 “Joanne is leaving and I need someone for that territory! I need help do you know anyone?” A week doesn’t pass without someone asking about looking for a new sales employee. I hear it all the time. So why is everyone having such a problem? Here are some common hiring mistakes we see and what you should avoid.         
1) Looking for new employees when one is leaving. I think we all know the value of a good        employee. Make no mistake, if you hire (and manage) right, your organization runs like a        well oiled machine and I defy anyone to argue that. “Get the right people on the bus in the        right seats” the famous quote from the top-notch book Good to Great by Jim Collins. That         being said why are we looking for employees only when we “need” one. You always need         them if they are great and greatness doesn’t come along only when you are looking so be         looking all of the time.         Our biggest problem with looking when we “need” someone is the desperation factor. We        often hire to fill a need by hiring “the best of the worst”. When we are feeling pressure         from a department or another employee to lighten their load we often make a decision not           for the  “best person” but the “best for right now person”. This will hurt you in the long run         every time.  

2)Hiring off of a resume’. When I say it is a mistake hiring off of a resume’ I don’t mean to presume you actually hire when a good resume comes in without other important considerations. What I do mean is being impressed by the background they have had; whom they’ve worked for and what they’ve done. Background is less important then things like eagerness to learn, commitment and desire to be successful. Hire for attitude, train for skill.  

3)Hiring in your image. Allowing the likeability factor to take over the actual decision of the best candidate. We like people that are like us, that we relate to but in hiring that is not to be used as a gauge. We all make decisions emotionally, meaning we decide on things in our life business and personal by our gut, by what we feel. In some cases it’s enough but in the decision of hiring someone to help you grow your business, there needs to be much more then you like them.  

4) Selling the candidate on the job. We are passionate about our organization and all of the good things that we offer. Because of that, we sell the candidate on how great the job is instead of really qualifying them first. One of the most important things we need to do in an interview is to ask good questions and listen for the answers. It is called an interview for a reason. Do not get caught up in telling the candidate all about the job, what it takes, the duties the company benefits etc. Do not get caught up in this sale. You may find out too late the things you could have found out upfront.  

5) Overlooking a teachable, trainable candidate for one with “experience”. The idea of hiring someone with experience is sales is understandable. It seems like a good  idea for someone who can just fit right into a job and start off fast and furious. This is often not the case. Though it takes more work and effort to train someone it often proves to be much more lucrative in the end because you have taught them in your way. Unfortunately sales people seem to have more bad habits then good ones when they leave a job. Though this can be an overstatement it is more often true then not.   The key is to be looking for someone better then your best person, all of the time. If one of your salespeople said to you that they were going to look for new business only when they lose existing business, you would probably fire them. Then don’t do the same thing. As an executive, your prospecting responsibility is looking for top-level salespeople all of the time. Not just when you lose one. Click here to share this post.

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