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

SELLutions

The Frustration of Others in Sales

by GSchulz 30. September 2014 02:42
I just got off the phone with a very upset salesperson. Sandy is what you might call a “people person”. She is very outgoing, vivacious and friendly. She is chatty at times which doesn’t always make for the best salesperson but, when push comes to shove, she gets the job done.   She was upset because her new boss, Valerie, sent her a very “cold” email. Response and she got upset that she is in some sort of trouble. I asked her a bit about what she thinks it might be about and she didn’t know but was really worried. She loves her job and hopes the new boss likes her.   Sandy sent Valerie an email telling her about a great sales call she had. Sandy gave lots of detail in the email about how they got along, what questions she asked and how interested the prospect was to get together and talk further about working together.  Asked Valerie if she would be able to go with her on this appointment she had set up for next week since she doesn’t feel she know the product as well as she would like and would feel more confident if Valerie joined her.   Valerie send back an email that simply said,” I’ll have to deal with this tomorrow”. That’s it. No “Hi Sandy”, no “good job on this” and no “from Valerie” at the end of the email.   I actually was surprised at Sandy’s emotion behind this so I asked her to send the correspondence to me.   So what happened here? In a word, nothing. Sandy sees things, like we all do, though our own eyes.  There have been several studies over the years about how people interpret things. There are huge cultural differences but even among people with similar cultures there are different personality traits and styles that we often don’t recognize, or even think about.   I want to review some so we can get clear on our understanding because lets face it, in business as in life, we have a distinct advantage if we can read another person and help them feel more comfortable with us. I am not suggesting that we change out personality. I am suggesting we be more aware of the differences and work to mirror them. When someone sees you as similar to them, which is the idea of mirroring, they begin to feel more comfortable with you, often only subconsciously. That is enough though to start out the conversation or relationship on the right foot.   First of all there are four different personality styles that we all general fit into.  We are often combinations of a few but here are the general definitions;   Dominant – A dominant style is the person whose need is to be in control and have power. This person is typically a leader in an organization because that is how they see their role. They are typically very task oriented and say things like “just get to the bottom line”. They are not very patient because they are always on to the next thing. Influencer- The life of the party owns this style. This is the ones that you’d say, ‘you’re a real people person’. Lots of these people end up in sales because they feel like they can persuade others to their way of thinking. This is not necessarily true. We often fall victim to this. It takes more to sell they just the ability to bond with another. (Sandy in the above example)   Steady Relater- A steady relater is just what it sounds like. This person has a need for little change and little conflict. If someone possesses this style they are often great supporters for your organization. Give them a task and they will get it done. Just be careful not to make quick changes on them, they will silently rebel.   Cautious Thinker- This is the detail oriented , data driven organized employees. These people are very bright, well read and often initially a bit skeptical of others. They will get the task done as well but they will cross all T’s and dot all I’s so have some patience and don’t ask for it too quickly.   Hopefully this will shed some light on why some people do what they do and if you understand why they do it, you can work better together. Getting frustrated because someone is different then you and does things different then how you might do them is only going to frustrate you more. Understanding will help get things done.   Click here to share this post.

Is Your Sales Manager Managing Time well?

by GSchulz 23. September 2014 08:24
Is he or she balancing priorities properly? How do you know? A big dilemma faced by most executives is what is my sales manager doing and more importantly what should they be doing?  It is a mystery but it shouldn’t be. There are 3 priorities in my opinion that should always take the bulk of your sales managers time. Some are obvious and some not. Priority one is hiring. Yes hiring. I am tired of hearing executives say to me, “well of course we have the regular 80/20 rule; 20 percent are really good and making their numbers consistently and the other 80 percent are inconsistent, one month up one down.” Why is this ok? Why is this an accepted practice? The most common reason for this is a simple one. We have 6 territories to fill and we have sales people in each of the territories so we have no hiring need. What? Here is the question. If your sales manager or any of your salespeople told you they have a good amount of accounts right now, they are pretty happy with them and if they lose one, then they will look for another to replace it, what would you do? Most executives say to me, “Are you kidding? I would fire them.”  Well that’s what you’re doing when you allow your sales force to stay stagnant with non-performers and look for replacements when someone leaves.   Looking for sales superstars is something that is ongoing and constant. If you found someone better then your best person tomorrow wouldn’t you find a place for them in your organization? Of course you would so why are you not constantly looking for that? Your sales manager should spend no less then 30percent of their time on all that is hiring; looking, phone interviewing, doing assessments, in-person interviewing etc.    Priority two is coaching. Who do we coach on our team to get the most from them? Where do sales managers spend their time, with A B or C players? Most would tell you with the A players to help close deals, then they would tell you with the Cs since they need the most work. I would tell you the B players will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Though this is priority two, this should take up about 40% of your sales managers time. Lets first Identify what each of the players are. A players are typically about 20% of your sales force. They are consistently hitting their numbers, driven to continue on that path and don’t allow excuses to get in their way. B players are good strong salespeople, have good attitudes but really need some help to reach the next level and are open to it. Probably about 40% of your group. The C players are excuse makers, blame others for their failures and are inconsistent in their sales numbers. They make up about 20% of your sales force. Also my own observation only, I often notice these are the reps that have been around for a long time and either have fallen in success and been ok with that or have always been average at best but have been in the organization for a long time so they have simply moved along. These are typically about 20% as well. Spend time with B players. They want to learn and will take best to the coaching. Your ‘most improved’ nominees are sitting here. Priority three is accountability. Keeping your sales people accountable is very important for several reasons. First of all if they can track what they are doing activity-wise, they can themselves track what is working what isn’t. In sales you are in some respects, in your own business. Sales people can create the amount of money they want to make and to help them by identifying what that looks like and help them analyze successes and changes they should make for the most success is the sales managers job. Additionally, we need to know for ourselves what it truly takes to make a success in a particular area of the business to create forecasts and projections. This should be about 10-20 % of their time. 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.

Will Training Help Your company’s sales team?

by GSchulz 15. September 2014 04:51
  Will training help? This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as yes or no. There are certainly variables, and some are very basic. Here are some questions to ask:          Is your sales training actually product training?          Is it a one-day training that is packed to the gills with information?          Is there follow-up coaching and maintenance to assure success?          Are there activities set up to create true accountabilities, not just meet the revenue numbers?          Are your salespeople trainable? I recently read a survey of 500 small and medium-size businesses that I want to share with you. This particular survey found 6 percent of salespeople are at the top of their game. They are consistently beating their goals. As a matter of fact, they set their own goals, depending on what they want to earn. An additional 20 percent are doing well, but could do better. They are fairly consistent, but could really sharpen their tools a bit more and be unstoppable. Then there are 74 percent who are not cutting it. Most of the people (about two-thirds) in the 74 percent bracket can improve if they get training. The other one-third in this group are in the wrong job and really aren’t fixable. Unfortunately, we spend more time with these bottom-end performers and try to get them to improve, when our time and energy should be really spent at the top. It doesn’t seem to matter what industry you’re in, or what type of company you are. Not sure? Ask yourself: What percentage of your sales representatives are consistently successful? Out of 20, two are typically successful, five are pretty good and the rest are not really cutting it. In a group this size, the Top 2 are trainable, but will not change what they are already doing right away. (If it ain’t broke ….) Twelve or 13 will improve quite a bit with training, and the last five or six should be gone. We hold on to salespeople for much longer then we should. Here is another brilliant comment about training: “I like to go to training seminars, even if I learn just one tip.” You want a tip? Here’s one for losing weight: “Eat more vegetables and less carbohydrates.” How’s that? How about: “To be a better spouse, be a better listener.” A tip is nice, but will not change behavior. It is, of course, the easy way to “get motivated,” but continue to do what you’re doing. Sales tends to be a misunderstood phenomenon. We feel like the excuse of doing pretty well or getting close to the goal is OK. Here is the question I ask salespeople when they say that: If your company’s payroll department says “well, we may not get to create and sign all of the paychecks this week, but we will do the best we can,” would your sales rep kick up his/her heels? You bet. So what is the difference? Greta Schulz is President of SchulzBusiness, a sales Consulting and training company. 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.

Eight Bucks an Hour. Are you doing sales behavior?

by GSchulz 8. September 2014 04:05
Eight Bucks An Hour
 Are you doing sales behavior?  

Problem: A typical week includes activities like: calling existing customers to check on their orders; following-up on all pending proposals; drafting proposals for prospects who fax in requests; reading the business journal; updating the contact database; creating ideas for the new web page; scheduling training and conventions; going to the printer to get promotional materials printed; writing letters; attending association meetings; and, holding strategy meetings for getting more clients .  Everyone's busy but sales don't seem to be reaching their potential.  

Analysis: You could pay someone to do some of the above activities for six bucks an hour.  In addition, many of the above activities are easy to do and may be interesting but they are not productive selling behavior.  

Solution: Stick to the fundamentals.         Productive selling behavior could be worth $500 per hour or more. Don't believe me? Do some quick math. Divide your income last month by the actual number of hours you invested in productive selling activities (which only includes direct prospecting, qualifying interviews, and presentations). These ideas may help you improve your selling behavior:   •   Ask for referrals from the existing and past clients you have served well. •    Know what you need to do and track it while you are doing it.  Keeping score will help you stay focused on your vital activities. •    Challenge yourself by setting a goal for the number of prospecting calls you will make per day or week and do them. Know your numbers and don't wimp out. •   If you must do other activities, create deadlines for them.      Keep a log on where your time goes and then fix what isn't productive. •   Remind yourself that everything you do should be directed toward talking to more prospects. You are not really working if you are doing anything else.   How much minimum wage work are you doing?   Good Selling!   Click here to share this post.

Is No Leading You To a Yes?

by GSchulz 2. September 2014 10:36
As salespeople or business development specialists, we’ve often been taught things like “never take ‘no’ for an answer” or “ask enough questions to get the prospect to keep saying ‘yes,’ then ask for the order.” This is not only classic selling; it is trickery, which is ridiculous and has no place in business development today. “Success” is often built on a reflexive habit of saying, “yes” to opportunities that come our way. We’re hungry for any chance to prove ourselves, and when we’re presented with one, we take it, even – or especially – if it seems daunting. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, “Learning to Say ‘No’ is Part of Success,” Ed Batista says: “A critical step is training ourselves to resist the initial reflexive response; I often describe this to clients and students as ‘becoming more comfortable with discomfort.’ “We get so uncomfortable with the idea of being rejected, which is often interpreted by hearing the word “no,” that we fill in with quickly explaining how we can help the company become successful by sharing what used to be called features and benefits, selling and giving a list of the things we can help them with and how. Slow down the pace in the interaction to make sure you’re making the right choices. We often work long and hard to get an opportunity with a potential prospect, only to ruin the opportunity by talking too much and too fast. Today it is about truly being a consultant when selling. If you are rushing though a script or trying to ask questions that lead prospects into a corner, this is not consultative selling. The faster you go, the more stalls you will get – not sales. Let the prospect know you will have a few questions for them, if that’s OK, and by the end of this conversation, you may learn that there is no fit between you – which is OK, since what you do isn’t for everyone. If you let the person know that a “no” is alright, a few good things happen: The pressure that the prospect feels with a salesperson is off, so they are more likely to open up and share with you. Trust is beginning to be established. Without it, no sale will happen. The conversation is now a true conversation, not a pitch. Be honest about your recommendations after learning about their needs, even if it’s that it just isn’t a fit for your product or service. Sounds crazy, right? Actually, if you work from the place of helping everyone you meet with, you will not only build strong alliances and sell more effectively, but you will also gain respect and a whole lot more referrals. Success is a long-term goal that takes planning and doing things right. It is not a quick-fix, “sell, sell, sell” environment. We need to get out of the mentality of the liquid diet society we have created and put together a long-term plan for success. Isn’t that what successful people keep telling us?   Click here to share this post.

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