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

SELLutions

Top 5 Hiring Mistakes

by GSchulz 7. July 2015 12:34
 “Joanne is leaving and I need someone for that territory! I need help do you know anyone?” A week doesn’t pass without someone asking about looking for a new sales employee. I hear it all the time. So why is everyone having such a problem? Here are some common hiring mistakes we see and what you should avoid.         
1) Looking for new employees when one is leaving. I think we all know the value of a good        employee. Make no mistake, if you hire (and manage) right, your organization runs like a        well oiled machine and I defy anyone to argue that. “Get the right people on the bus in the        right seats” the famous quote from the top-notch book Good to Great by Jim Collins. That         being said why are we looking for employees only when we “need” one. You always need         them if they are great and greatness doesn’t come along only when you are looking so be         looking all of the time.         Our biggest problem with looking when we “need” someone is the desperation factor. We        often hire to fill a need by hiring “the best of the worst”. When we are feeling pressure         from a department or another employee to lighten their load we often make a decision not           for the  “best person” but the “best for right now person”. This will hurt you in the long run         every time.  

2)Hiring off of a resume’. When I say it is a mistake hiring off of a resume’ I don’t mean to presume you actually hire when a good resume comes in without other important considerations. What I do mean is being impressed by the background they have had; whom they’ve worked for and what they’ve done. Background is less important then things like eagerness to learn, commitment and desire to be successful. Hire for attitude, train for skill.  

3)Hiring in your image. Allowing the likeability factor to take over the actual decision of the best candidate. We like people that are like us, that we relate to but in hiring that is not to be used as a gauge. We all make decisions emotionally, meaning we decide on things in our life business and personal by our gut, by what we feel. In some cases it’s enough but in the decision of hiring someone to help you grow your business, there needs to be much more then you like them.  

4) Selling the candidate on the job. We are passionate about our organization and all of the good things that we offer. Because of that, we sell the candidate on how great the job is instead of really qualifying them first. One of the most important things we need to do in an interview is to ask good questions and listen for the answers. It is called an interview for a reason. Do not get caught up in telling the candidate all about the job, what it takes, the duties the company benefits etc. Do not get caught up in this sale. You may find out too late the things you could have found out upfront.  

5) Overlooking a teachable, trainable candidate for one with “experience”. The idea of hiring someone with experience is sales is understandable. It seems like a good  idea for someone who can just fit right into a job and start off fast and furious. This is often not the case. Though it takes more work and effort to train someone it often proves to be much more lucrative in the end because you have taught them in your way. Unfortunately sales people seem to have more bad habits then good ones when they leave a job. Though this can be an overstatement it is more often true then not.   The key is to be looking for someone better then your best person, all of the time. If one of your salespeople said to you that they were going to look for new business only when they lose existing business, you would probably fire them. Then don’t do the same thing. As an executive, your prospecting responsibility is looking for top-level salespeople all of the time. Not just when you lose one. Click here to share this post.

Is Your Sales Manager Managing Time well?

by GSchulz 23. September 2014 18:24
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 30 percent 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.

Eight Bucks an Hour. Are you doing sales behavior?

by GSchulz 8. September 2014 14:05
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!  

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Is No Leading You To a Yes?

by GSchulz 2. September 2014 20:36
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 20:36
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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