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

SELLutions

Take the Sales test!

by GSchulz 16. April 2014 05:38
Rate these core competencies on a scale of 1-10 based on the following;   Importance- How important this particular competency is to you/ your organization to be successful.   Effective- How effective and efficient at the particular competency you/your company is now as compared to where you feel it needs to be.  Circle one in each category,(important, effective)   1)    Prospecting. The ability to identify and find new prospects on a regular basis, not just when the funnel is “drying up”.   Important- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10         Effective-  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10                                         2)    Up-selling or cross-selling additional products or services to existing clients.    Important- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10         Effective-  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10                       3)    Overcoming objections. The ability to handle objections that the prospect might have such as high price, not a good time to buy, no money in the budget, competition is better.   Important- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10               Effective-  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10         4)    Selling cycle. The ability to begin the sale and end it       Important- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10               Effective-  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10           5)    Hiring. The ability to attract and retain good sales people.                Important- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10               Effective-  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10    6)    Goals. Salespeople are meeting goals on a regular basis. Goals meaning revenue goals as well as daily/weekly activity goals.   Important- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10               Effective-  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10                               7)    Forecasting. The ability to forecast sales and project numbers for an efficient top and       bottom line beyond the immediate.   Important- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10               Effective-  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10                      8)    Support, management. Management’s support of what the salespeople do and back them up.     Important- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10               Effective-  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10                      9)    Support, internal staff and paperwork. The ability for sales people to have their time spend on things that directly affect the sale and support staff to handle the detail.   Important- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10               Effective-  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10                   Click here to share this post.

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How generating leads through social media could be killing our sales skills.

by GSchulz 11. April 2014 03:48
Google and Bing ads on social media sites; blogs and other things we do to build lead generation – is it really working?That’s one question. The second question is: Is this working?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 on a website, web forms and phone calls. And if that’s happening, great – we win! We’re doing well. If we’re getting web forms, contact information, people are calling us or emailing us, we’ve won!Well not really. Because that’s only the first step, that’s only prospecting. Also, a lot of people feel that this is the replacement of the sale. I’m here to tell you that it is not. Once you do a good job on social media and figure that out, you get some leads, you get some phone calls, you get some forms people are filling out for you to contact them. Now what?That is a big question. Recently, I spoke to an organization that spent an ungodly amount of time, energy and money on social media to bring lead generation. So when I asked, “Now what?” they said, “What do you mean?”I said, “OK, so you got a whole bunch of people calling you, a whole bunch of people contacting you. 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 doesn’t mean it is generating business. Lead generation is interest, getting people to the door. Are they coming through the threshold? Are you closing the door behind them? That’s a whole other avenue.The big question is: Are we using the right process to follow up from any kind of lead generation that we get? I would say the answer is “no.” It’s important to understand that, when people contact you, they are often contacting several others 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 them cold? Well, certainly it is, but it still needs the same attention to process as it 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 are a couple of steps:Step 1: When someone contacts you, you want to first ask them how they found you. If they found you through Google, ask what they put into Google to find you. If you’re going to do all the work, you want to know exactly where that thread came from.Step 2: When we get them on the phone or when we contact them, they will typically ask a simple question that I call that a “wall question” – that is, they put up a wall and the question sounds something like this: “ Hey, I thought you guys sell, um, widgets. Can you tell me, if I bought 100 widgets, what that would cost?” And we say, “Sure, let me look. What kind of widgets are you looking for?” “We’re looking for widget A or widget B.” “OK, well, widget A would be $75,000 for 100 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 “OK, sounds good, we’ll call you back” or “Sounds good, can you send me a price sheet in writing?”We get their email, we send that information in writing and then: crickets. We never hear from them again. We try to contact them, they don’t contact us. We try to call them, but 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. That hasn’t changed. Sales and the sales process haven’t changed just because they’re calling you.Not only do you need to do a good job on the sales process to close the sale, but you need to do a better job than you ever have before because 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 what the pricing is out there. That’s where the sales process comes in.If you don’t have a process, you’re going to fail, whether they’re leads generated through social media or not.Greta Schulz is a sales consultant for businesses and entrepreneurs. For more sales training tips and tools, or to ask her a question, go to www.schulzbusiness.com or email greta@schulzbusiness.com. Click here to share this post.

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The biggest sales obstacle

by GSchulz 9. April 2014 04:54
 What's the biggest obstacle we have in sales -- the biggest challenge that we have?  Well so many of us will say getting a “no”.  We always want to get a yes in sales.  Actually, that's not at all our biggest problem or our biggest challenge.  The number one problem we have in sales is “I want to think it over”.  The reason that's a big problem is because it's a gray area.  It doesn't have any definition.  Think it over usually is a no disguised as a maybe, and a maybe is nothing more than a probable no as well.  The reason this is such an issue in the world of sales is because it doesn't give us any definition.  And when we don't have definition, what we do is take whatever it is they say, for example, “ this really does look like something interesting.  I'm going to go ahead and look this over and I'll think about it and I'll let you know.  Why don't you give me a call next week”.  So you call the next week.  Hi Bob, this is Jane.  Wanted to check on to see if you had any questions on the proposal I gave you.  I know you said you wanted to think it over -- see if you've made a decision, they'll call back.  The next week, Jane calls Hey Bob, Jane again, just checking to see if you had made any decisions.  The next week again, Hi Bob, it's Jane,  I know you've been really busy, but wanted to see if you had come to any kind of conclusion.  And this goes on and on until somebody gives up, usually Jane.  Now the reason we do that is because we believe that in sales, persistence is important, and follow-up is part of what we do in selling.  If you just keep following up eventually you'll break them down.  No.  I don't call this follow-up.  I call this stalking.  True selling is two people coming to a conclusion, -- a conclusion that it should move to the next step, and potentially move to the next step, that will eventually turn into a sale.  If two people aren't agreeing on what the next step looks like or that there should be one, then there won't be one.  Because most of the time, when somebody says I want to think it over, what they're really saying is you're a nice person, I don't want to tell you know, but I have no intention on doing anything.  This is a very frustrating thing that sales people go through.  And interestingly enough, again, the number one problem or challenge that I hear, as I travel around the country talking to people in selling.  So what do we do?  Well one of the things we have to do is make sure that when you're selling, that you have a sales process that works for you.  A sales process is not a memorization of a script.  A sales process is having an actual agenda of things that you know you need to go through -- you need to cross off your list before you move to the next step and  both you and the prospect have to agree on each of these steps along the way.  The reason most sales people don't have a sales process, because they believe that because they've got a good personality and people like them, that they can sell.  I can convince people of anything.  People always like me.  People always feel good about me.  I make friends very easily.  Well, congratulations, but today is much more difficult to do what you used to do and make it work.  Why?   1.     Buyers are a lot more  savvy than they were back in the '70s.  You can't do the same kind of selling that you have always done.  The old “features and benefits” selling doesn't work.  You need to have a strong conversation, an executive level conversation with somebody who has the ability to make decisions.  That conversation does not come from asking a few questions and doing a trial close.  Human nature is about helping find something that you as a buyer, believe has value.  The problem with value is that as a seller,  we have our own beliefs on what the value is.  So we go out and we tout what we believe our value is.     Your result is going to be think it over.  So there are certain things you need to do when you are in a sales environment.   1.  You have to have a process for selling and a process for selling needs to start with a process for prospecting.  Yes, it's a lot easier to do what you are supposed to do, say what you are supposed to say than not beg for the sale when you have a lot of opportunities in your sales <Garbled>.  Most people have a execute opportunities in their sales funnel <?>.  They go after and work on those opportunities, call those people, talk to those people, put a proposal together, putting all their eggs in that basket.  What they are forgetting to do is to go out and prospect for new business even when you're working on existing business.  That's the number one problem I find.  So you have to have a process for prospecting as well.   2.  You have to have a way of pre-qualifying every opportunity.  I don't care if you are talking to someone that is across the street from your office.  You should not go over and make an appointment with them until you have pre-qualified them on the <Garbled>.  Why?  Several reasons.   1.     When you have an opportunity to pre-qualify, you see if they are qualified for you so you don't waste any time, but more importantly, even if they are across the street from you and you feel like, well Greta I won't waste time, it's right there, then more importantly <Lost Signal> It is important not only for you to pre-qualify them, but they need to pre-qualify you as a potential partner.  And what we do when we get people on the phone, we tend to tell them all the things that we can do for them to try to pique some interest.  Their interest will only be piqued by what they decide is important.  So we have to ask some really good questions to get them to think about what you've got and why it might be of benefit to them.  At that point you need to set yourself a next step, which is typically going to be an appointment in person, but it doesn't have to be.  Typically you're going to set a next step, and before you do that you need to agree that both sides know what the issues are at least on the highest level at this point.  Who's going to be in that meeting besides just that person, if somebody else has input, questions or thoughts on what it is that you're looking to talk to them about.  And you need to have a date and a time of when you're going to follow up.  When you do that, you will then send a short e-mail recapping the conversation you just had and what you agreed upon.  The third part of your selling process is the actual appointment, which I call the interview.  Why do I call it the interview: Because not only are they interviewing you, you are interviewing them.  You need to go to that appointment prepared.  You need to know as much as you can about them, about their company, about their organization.  And boy today, if you're going to unprepared, shame on you.  It's easy to get information on organizations today.  You need to go in and ask what I call big picture questions, and you need to ask questions that are thought-provoking.  If you had the ability to move such and such forward, what would that do to the bottom line of your organization.  Share with me what your goals are and are you on track to meet those goals.  Depending on what you do for a living, you have to ask those questions.  It's got to have something around what you do, but more importantly it's got to be a question -- a thought-provoking one that the person in front of you, when you ask the question is looking up, maybe squinting their eyes thinking about the question.  Often I will ask a question to someone and they'll say boy, that's a really good point.  I didn't make a point, I asked a question.  But the reason that's a powerful question is because a point is made in someone else's head, then it becomes theirs.  Now they're engaged with your idea; that's important.  So you have to fully understand what their issues are and how those issues are affecting them.  In addition to that, you have to have some level of conversation about money, about investments.  Because if you don't, you don't want to come back with your proposal and surprise them.  The third part of this interview which is very important is what I call the if-then <?>.  If I come back and I show you some things that you think really do solve the issues that you have, what happens next.  However you ask that is up to you <Lost Signal> Click here to share this post.

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To Hire or Not to Hire a Coach

by GSchulz 2. April 2014 05:27
“Should I hire a coach? I  mean I have been in business for a long time and I do go to a lot of seminars. I feel lilke of I can learn one thing each time I go that’s good right?” is the question my rediculously fit client, Darlene asked me. So to help her understand if she should hire a coach or not, I tried to help her through what she does. I answered, “Darlene, I don’t know if you should hire a coach but let me ask you a couple of questions. I know you work out, we’ve talked about that before.” She said, “yes I do.“And I know you go to the gym.” “ Yes, of course” confused by the obvious question. “Do you have a coach?” I asked her, ‘well yes, I have for a couple of years”. I said, “Okay so why do you have a coach? You know how to work out?” Because that coach taught her exactly how to do, how to do things the right way on each piece of equipment. She also kept her accountable. She was with her every step of the way and pushed her when she get tired and didn’t want to get any further. So in hearing that I said, well let me ask you something Darlene, if you hired a coach for one day, you were new to working out and you went to the gym with this coach. The coach walked you around to each piece of equipment, showed you exactly how to use the equipment, and told you how many repetitions you should do on each piece of  equipment and how to use it for the best result, and then you never hire that coach again. Tell me how long you think it would take you to achieve what you have now achieved?  She laughed and said OK I get it. Well as we had this discussion and laid it out, she began to understand the reason that you need a coach in other parts of your life whether it’s business or whether it’s specifically sales. Often people tell me they are a people person and it’s all about relationships so with their personality alone, that will work. Good luck. So what are the things that you gain from a coach? Number one, it’s setting up the right activities that you should be doing on a regular basis – daily, weekly, monthly – whether it’s a business coach or a sales coach, or a fitness coach. They set up the right activities for you. Number two, they set you up with accountability where they either work you through these activities or you need to report back to them that you’ve done them and discuss how. Third, a coach keeps you doing it properly by constantly reinforcing what you’re doing and making slight changes so you do it right and will know when and how to bring you to the next level for maximum results. There are an awful lot of reasons why each person decides to hire a coach. But I find it interesting certainly when I talk to people that in sales where they say, well I know it’s a good idea to get a coach at the beginning. But I’ve been in sales for a lot of years and I don’t need a coach. I know how to do it. So my answer to those people are: who’s the best golfer in the world, and Tiger Woods is what they always answer. I said, okay Tiger Woods, the best in the world - in the world of golf - has five coaches. He has a swing coach. He has a pitching coach. He has a putting coach. He has a fitness coach. He has lots of different coaches. So if you can tell me that you’re better at your business, then Tiger Woods is at golf. If you’re better consistently than he is at his game, than you are at yours, then you’re right. You don’t need a coach. Until you can say that, sign up.  Click here to share this post.

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Our own rose colored glasses

by GSchulz 25. March 2014 04:00
 There is a glass sitting on a table with water filled halfway up the glass. Some see the glass half full, some half empty. Which is correct?  Neither. Both. This old saying is a terrific illustration of seeing things through your own filter. Most things in life are subjective, merely subjective. When you hear a salesperson say, “I had a great meeting and this guy is very interested. I feel like it’s 95% closed”. You analyze the account  yourself and realize it really wasn’t qualified properly, your salesperson didn’t discuss the dollars it would take to get the job done and most importantly, he isn’t truly the decision maker. You would put a 50/50 chance on this at best.   The salesperson was bonding with the guy. They talked baseball for 25 minutes of the meeting, then laughed about their toddlers and how into the team they are already. This convinced him that he would buy. On the other hand, You feel since the proper questions weren’t asked and the proper presentation wasn’t done, it is bound for failure or luck, alone. Who is right, who is wrong? No one really knows which makes forecasting pretty difficult and illustrates the point that we see things the way we see them.   Why do they see this sales call so differently? Mostly it is because of those glasses. The sales guy sees the bonding as a huge buying sign because that is what he looks for when he buys. The sales manager sees the technique of the call and without the proper steps it can‘t work except for luck. He is a guy that doesn’t believe in luck, he believes in fact and process. All of the tees need to be crossed and the I’s dotted then and only they will buy. So who is correct? Not that there is necessarily a right answer besides the fact that everyone sees things very different. How important is that to know? Well let’s take this from a few angles. First, as a sales manager. Do you see how an enthusiastic salesperson can paint a picture so rosey that you have it practically booked and it isn’t even close? Or a salesperson says the prospect doesn’t like her, but really she is calling on a quiet, deep-thinker type and he was just going through the questions he felt were important, quietly and consciously. Actually he had all intentions in buying the product but the glasses she sees through is, “he doesn’t like me” which to her means, no sale.   As a salesperson, we do this most often in the presentation stage. We give all of the “features and benefits” of the product as we see them or worse as someone in corporate decided the benefits should be.   This reminds me of a car sales encounter I had years ago. I was looking for an SUV. After looking at several of the “this car reminds me of something that totes a small village” type, I looked at a smaller version. I began telling this salesmen a little about my situation. He obviously had some training because he did ask me a few questions. “Is anyone in your family tall?” No, no one’s tall” I curiously answered while walking toward the car. I got in the car to drive and he proudly started telling me about the 12 extra inches of headroom that this car had as opposed to the other I had been looking at.   He asked me the question, but didn’t truly listen to the answer because someone in “Marketing felt this was an important feature”.   Back to our rose colored glasses, apparently his were made at the big and tall shop.   Greta Schulz is a sales consultant for businesses and entrepreneurs. For more sales training tips and tools, please sign up for her free tips at www.schulzbusiness.com or join her new online sales training course at www.b2bsalesplaybook.com.   Click here to share this post.

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