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.

It’s about the process

by GSchulz 20. March 2014 04:57

    Ryan, a software sales rep, had been having a rough day. He’d been bombarded with questions from several customers and gotten behind on work he needed to finish before the end of the day. Then, he got a call from Wayne, a prospect who introduced himself by saying: “I’ve heard great things about your engineering software package. I saw a demo about a year ago, and was not in a position to purchase it at the time. But since then, it’s become very apparent that I need to integrate it into my system.” “Wow,” Ryan thought. “This will be easy. It’s about time something went right today.” Then, Wayne said: “I need to know about the cost, the tech support and how soon it can be installed.” Ryan immediately went into his pitch.

He discussed tech support in detail, covered availability and other options, and explained that the price was $12,000, with 30-day terms. Wayne’s response was unexpected. He said that $12,000 was quite a hefty price tag and he needed a couple of days to think about all of this more carefully. He’d call Ryan back next week. Ryan did a double take. “What just happened?” he thought. “This sale was in the bag, a sure thing. He really needs it and now he’s thinking it over? He said he needed the software right away.” And that was the end of the call. So, what happened? Ryan got lazy, plain and simple. He thought Wayne was sold. All he had to do was give him the information he needed, then write it up. He got fooled into assuming the sale without doing the work. He never got Wayne to talk about why he was looking now, with what seemed to be a real priority about buying the software. The entire transaction was conducted at the intellectual level, without any real understanding of the true need. So, what happened? Ryan was lured into taking shortcuts. He mistakenly thought the prospect’s enthusiasm was as sure as a sale. No matter. You need the time to qualify the prospect and make sure he’s real before giving out information or making your presentation.

In Ryan’s case, a couple of questions would have made a world of difference. He might have said: “Before we discuss pricing, help me understand why this software is so important. I want to make sure the application is correct for you. Would you mind if I ask you a couple of questions?” Of course, you’re digging in to find out what is really going on. It is so important to gather this information before you discuss price so you can truly have an understanding of not only why they want the software, but the consequence of not installing it. Once you give away your information – whether on the phone, in a presentation or in the form of a proposal – you have given up any form of control and are literally at the mercy of the prospect. Remember: It’s not about the sale; it’s about the process.   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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