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


Common CEO Questions

by GSchulz 26. August 2011 15:12

I thought I would write about the most common questions I get from Presidents and CEO’s around the country about their sales organizations. It doesn’t matter the industry, the time of year or the economic outlook, these are pretty consistent.

1. Why don’t our sales people prospect more as opposed to waiting for business to come in?

Human nature is to take the path of least resistance. If enough business for them-and this might be a completely different number then for you and your goals- is walking in the door or calling on the phone, why should they prospect? Being reactive is a whole lot easier then being proactive so if you haven’t made those activity goals very clear then why should they?

Revenue goals are important but activity goals are a whole lot more important. Yep, you read this right, more important. When someone is consistency meeting their activity goals then you have the ability to track #1, are they committed to what you have asked them to do (this is huge), #2 you can help them on what they are actually saying and doing in front of  a prospect to improve their closing ratio. Without knowing the amount of calls they are making consistently, this information is completely irrelevant.

2. How do I motivate my sales team to do more?

First of all, do more then what? There needs to be goals established for them as mentioned above, for revenue and activity. You may already be doing that and congratulations if you are. They still may be falling short so I have a few questions for you to ponder.

  1. Are they making more money then they have previously either in this position or another? If so, they may not be motivated enough to work hard enough to reach a goal you want them to reach. We often take the goals we set for them last year (and the year before and the year before) and hike that number up 10% or 15%. That may be your goal, but if it isn’t necessarily theirs and if they don’t see a need to reach so high, you could be in some trouble. They can be motivated to reach that number, but you better have that discussion with them not for them. 
  2. If your salespeople don’t reach goal (whether revenue or activity) what is the consequence? Salespeople -actually all of us-are just big kids. They need what is expected of them to be clear and laid out, they need to know the benefit of reaching and exceeding those expectations and the consequences if they don’t. Be careful not to just assume that if you tell them the goals and leave them alone they will get there. They might but if they don’t, wouldn’t you rather try to help them rather then having a revolving door of salespeople through your organization?   

3. I can talk to a local business person about our product/service and sell it and I’m not even a salesperson? Why can’t they?

In order to answer this, I'm going to make a few assumptions. As the owner (president ,CEO) of an organization, a conversation you have with a colleague will be different then a sales person has because you aren’t selling anything. You are more often then not, having a conversation about some other topic as well, the local state of business, the economy, politics, take your pick, but there is a much higher level of conversation happening so it doesn’t feel like a sale. There are other factors as well. Maybe you are someone of stature or clout in the community and people look at you as an equal, a partner, maybe even someone that can help them down the road. So shouldn’t your salespeople be seen different then you? Actually, the answer is no. Every day we teach people how to treat us. If we are acting like a salesperson, they will be treated like one. You don’t act like one. So the key here is you need to get your salespeople to act as an equal, a partner not a person trying to “pitch” something. When they accomplish that, they will be able to sell like you do.

Have more questions about the best way to train your sales team? Looking for a program to help increase your sales? Need a keynote sales speaker for your next business event or conference? Contact our sales consulting company to help!

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My Famous Car Story

by GSchulz 21. November 2010 22:54

So often I try to illustrate how professional sales really works. Simply, it works by helping your prospect self-realize that they need (or in some cases don?t need) your product or service. One of the best examples is the story I tell about buying a Jeep.

Years ago, I got engaged to a man who had two children. I had one child of my own and between the two of us we needed a more “Brady-esk” car. We decided after much research that a Jeep Cherokee would do the trick. At the time a Jeep Cherokee Loredo, the base model, would cost $299 per month to lease for three years with $1,000 down. This was a “good deal” by all accounts.

Since I know how car dealers work (or so I thought), I felt strongly about staying emotionally detached and just purchasing the car for the price I wanted. I called the Jeep dealership in Stuart, Florida and asked for the sales manager. Richard (who I believe is still there) answered the phone.

I explained to Richard that I wanted a Jeep Cherokee Loredo, dark green in color, and that I would be willing to buy it today if he could match the price I wanted — which was $299 /36 months and $1000 down. I was strong in my demand, making sure he knew I was in charge. Richard said he could match the price but he only had the vehicle in army green, not dark green. Even though I was disappointed since the dark green was so much more “me,” I decided this was the route to go.

Upon arrival at the dealership, the kids and my fiancé at the time piled out of our car. “Wait here,” I commanded. “I’ll handle this!”

I entered the showroom, and a man came out to greet me. “You must be Greta,” he said smiling and seeming sincere. “Yes, I am,” I said cautiously. “Well, let’s go drive the car.”

“Oh no,” I exclaimed. “I want to talk money first.” Richard responded, “Okay, but didn’t you say $299 for three years with $1000.00 down? Well that’s what we agreed to, so that’s what it is, right?” With a half smile on my face I proudly proclaimed, “Right.”

As we walked through the lot to the army green (a bit pea green if you’d asked me) Jeep, Richard asked, “So, which car is yours?” I pointed to a blue BMW in a customer parking lot. As we got into the car, Richard pointed out, “This car doesn’t have a leather interior, it has cloth… but that’s not a problem, I’m sure you kids don’t spill things at their age.”

“No, no that’s okay,” I quickly replied. As I pulled out of the dealership in the car for the test drive, Richard asked, “What type of music do you like?” as he played with the radio.

“Oh gosh, jazz, top 40, lots of different things.”

“Really, do you have a lot of CD’s?” he continued.

“Oh yes” I proudly proclaimed.

“Hum, you know this car doesn’t have a CD player, but I’m sure you still have cassettes.”

“Or, I can just play the radio,” I said with some reservation.

“Of course you can,” he said confidently.

As we pulled back into the dealership lot, Richard asked, “So what do you think?”

“Pretty nice,” I replied with hesitation. “It drives more like a truck, but, hey, it’s not a BMW and you have to give up something, right?” Silent, I walked into the showroom to sign the papers.

“Hey Greta, that emerald green down there on that car — was that the color you originally asked me for?”

Excitement filled my face. “Yes, but I thought you didn’t have one.”

“Oh no, that’s a Grand Cherokee. It has all the bells and whistles, you know — CD player, leather seats and a smoother drive train, but you didn?t want that,” Richard said.

“Ummm… how much more is that one?” I couldn’t resist.

Guess which one I drove away in and paid $70 more a month for? You got it! And guess what I said to my fiancee when we were walking toward our new Grand? “Honey, it’s more expensive, but I am in sales. My car is like my office, I have to be comfortable…”

So what happened? Well, Richard did a really good job of finding out what was important to me. But, he never told me those things were important. Instead, he asked me the right questions to get me to self-realize that I wanted them.

And what did I do? I made an emotional decision and justified it intellectually to my family. Remember, people love to buy, and they just hate to be sold. So help them buy, and stop selling them. It even worked on me… and I saw it coming.

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