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

SELLutions

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.

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.

Shorten Your Sales Cycle (How to close in one call)

by GSchulz 29. July 2014 04:19
Every sales person wants to shorten his or her sales cycle. Any good sales training system will tell you not to just send literature (or they should).  Here’s how to set the expectations for a one-call close.  
The strongest and best sales superstars close a new prospect in one visit.  Why not?  Any time you have to make a second, third or fourth meeting it costs you and your prospects money.  You lose by wasting time.  They lose because you delay their advertising results and you waste their time.   Close in one call?  How? It’s simple, but not easy.  

The key is in properly setting expectations. Steven Covey writes in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to “Begin with the End in Mind.”  Apply this principle in sales by negotiating the outcome in advance of your sales calls.     
 
After setting the appointment on your prospecting call, here’s an example of proper expectation setting. You must pre-qualify your call.   Mr. Prospect, before we agree to meet, can we discuss expectations for our meeting?   May I tell you how I work, and you can tell me if you’re comfortable?  Our’s is a two step process.  This phone call is step 1.  Step 2 is our meeting.  Typically this meeting lasts about an hour.  I’d like to begin our meeting by asking you enough questions to understand your business. 

Then I’d like you assemble the right people in the room to ask me enough questions so that at the end of the meeting, we will have enough information to either decide it just isn’t a fit and say “no” or make a decision on what out next step looks like. Fair?  ‘No’ means you decided you don’t need or want what I have, or you cannot find the budget, or just cannot decide right now.  I’m okay with a No.  I’m also okay with a ‘Yes’.  ‘Yes’ means you want our help and you’re ready to make a commitment to solve these business challenges you described.  

Are you comfortable with that?  (If no, negotiate issues up front.  Don’t wait until the end of the meeting to decide next steps. 

The secret to closing in one call is to let your prospect know how things will end  before you start.)   Good.  I appreciate you being open, honest and up front with me.  Let’s avoid one thing at the end of the meeting.  That’s telling me you’re not sure, or that you want to think about it.  If you have any doubts, I’ll take any thing other than a Yes as a No, OK?  

This approach allows you to avoid the biggest sales nightmare:  Indecision.  By allowing your prospect the option of saying no, you take the pressure off them.  As a result, they’ll be more comfortable.  Plus, they’ll pay attention.  (Wouldn’t you if you knew you had to make a decision?) 

1.     Start with the end in mind.  Negotiate the outcome for a decision (No or Yes) when you set the appointment.

2.     Decision makers are decisive.  Meet them, not subordinates.  Don’t waste time taking No’s from people who cannot say Yes.

3.     Establish time contracts.  Sales stars set time agreements for 2 to 4 hours for the meeting.  By telling people up front what’s going to happen on your sales call, they’ll appreciate knowing and will pay attention.

4.     Give your prospects permission to say No, instead of pushing for Yes’s.  It makes people comfortable, and differentiates you from pushy salespeople.
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