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

SELLutions

Are You Winning the Battle?

by GSchulz 14. July 2014 05:41
   Wess Roberts in his book "Victory Secrets of Attila The Hun" credits the battle-savvy leader with having said, "Chieftains should never intentionally place [soldiers] in a situation where the price of losing outweighs the rewards of winning". 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:   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 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:   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?   Click here to share this post.

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Why saying no part of salespeople’s success.

by GSchulz 4. June 2014 03:23
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 Reviewarticle, “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.R 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?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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Will training help your company’s sales team?

by GSchulz 27. May 2014 04:58
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 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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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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