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.

Top 5 Things Every Salesperson /Business Developer Should Know!

by GSchulz 22. June 2015 13:07
 What’s the new normal when it comes to developing business? This is not the old ‘ask a few questions, give your features and benefits and trial close’. The 70s wants their slick sales guy back. Today you need to be smart, curious and a true consultant to sell. Here are a few things that today are imperative in business growth.    
1)   Tell the prospect its OK to break up….Rejection is a result of trying to sell someone your product or service as opposed to tell them you what you are calling about, let them know it seems that because of what they do you could potentially work together, but (pull back) you don’t want to assume that you are a good fit. What you’d like to do is ask a few questions to see if the two of you are a fit and if not, we decide it’s a NO then we only wasted a few minutes? Sound OK? This allows you to give a NO as an option right upfront. Then you have asked for it as opposed to a prospect pushing you away and that is the rejection.  
2)   Mining for customers is different today. Networking is the true key to finding and keeping customers but most people do it wrong. Networking events ate not for direct prospecting! Recognize this scenario? “Hey do you guys use promotional products? here’s a sample, we can really help you!!”..” NO! Instead I say go to an event and look for Strategic Alliances, people that you can refer business back and forth to as opposed to hitting your potential prospects so hard. We all know building business on referrals is the best way to do business so lets network for good alliances that you can refer business to and that is a good source for your referrals.
3)   Research should be used for credibility. Research is essential today before you pick up the phone and call anyone. No excuses! The most important reason to do your research on their web site, Google etc. is to create good, quality questions to ask them to engage your prospect in conversation and truly understand their needs not to tell them that you’ve researched their company and since they do this, we can sell you that…  
4)   If you need to discount to get the business is almost always a result of one  of these things.
a) The customer doesn’t truly trust you/your product or service so there is only price to use as a differentiator or b) you haven’t truly understood the need for the product. I know need seems simple but it isn’t.   What are they trying to say? What impression are they trying to leave, how do they want to be seen? What are they using it for? There are lots of questions to not only understand what a prospect needs but the true deep-down ‘whys’. Asking questions will let you also gain credibility and trust but not Selling and truly asking and listening….       
5)    Listen and shut up!! Wow! If I could teach people that are in sales/business development to ask questions and listen there would be a lot more success in business! Telling isn’t selling…but it comes from a good place. We are excited about what we represent and want other to be excited too but excitement doesn’t sell, questions and true engagement does. Long ago we were taught to ask a few questions and when you hear a “ buying signal” jump in and tell them you can help with that and how. NO! When you ask a question, wait for the answer and whatever the answer is, especially if it may be something your product or service can help with, the best next question is, “tell me about that”, then SHUT-UP!!!     Click here to share this post.

Are You Hiring A Players for your Sales Team?

by GSchulz 8. June 2015 15:41
What if the bottom quarter of your sales team produced as much or more revenue than the top quarter? What would that do for your company?   What would happen if you replaced the bottom quarter of your sales team with A players that get consistent over the top results?   When I talk to CEOs about this issue and ask these questions, they often give me these excuses, (because that’s what they are, excuses);   Belief- We get fooled into thinking they are A players when we interview them. By the time we figure out that they aren’t, we are already too invested”. Reality- You aren’t assessing them properly. Sales people, especially ones that have had many sales jobs are professional interviewers. They know what to say and how to say it so you will be completely impressed and blown away by how much “potential” they have. We are blinded by the charisma and charm they have! You need a non-subjective sales assessment to help give you additional tools to get out of the emotion, the falling in love, and get to the heart of what this person is about.   Belief- “We really can’t afford to pay for A players”. They tend to be expensive. Reality- Guess what? You are already paying for them through your lost business! Additionally if we monitored better the progress of a new hire and stop allowing excuses to drag out the pain, we would know sooner and loose less.   Belief- “We have loyal C players in sales that have been with us in sales for years, through thick and thin. We can’t just let them go!” Reality – Just let them go? How long have they been C players? If it just started, maybe you need to find out why and give them an opportunity to improve. If its been going on a long time, you at least need to wan them or see if there is another position that might be better for them internally.   Belief – We want to hire fresh new players in sales but we cant afford to train them. Reality- Typically go get raw talent and train them your way is the better way to go. You can afford to hire them, put money into training and monitor as you go. If they aren’t beginning quickly to “get it”,  cut your losses quickly. We tend to hand on to seasoned salespeople longer because they “must just need more time”. In that case then the ‘newbee’ might be just the answer.   Belief- I’m not sure where to find A players. When I am looking for someone new I can rarely find someone I would consider an A player. Reality- Of course not! A players aren’t out looking through the regular channels! They are either on a job and you need to typically seek them out or they put their feelers out when they are looking and are scooped up immediately! If a great salesperson is an asset, not a liability, don’t you want additional assets all of the time? Here is the question I would ask you. If you found an A player today, someone better then your best salesperson, wouldn’t you find a place for them? Of course you would, so why aren’t you looking every day!! That’s right! You or your sales director should be interviewing at least 2-4 candidates a week! Even when you don’t have a spot for them. How else will you find the gold!! Click here to share this post.

Sales Teams need More and Better Coaching By Scott Edinger

by GSchulz 11. May 2015 12:18
On the ride back from Redwood City to San Francisco, my manager John and I hardly said a word to each other. We’d just left the headquarters of Oracle, and one of my worst sales calls ever. During the meeting, I had done my best to identify specific objectives the company might have that would benefit from our sales- and leadership-training programs. I talked about the problem of decreasing employee turnover, how fostering teamwork encourages cross-selling, the challenge of improving new-product launches. Nothing resonated. I tried to discuss the impact of current market conditions, like competitive pressures on margins, and the specific circumstances created by a recent acquisition, to probe for an opportunity to bring value. I even described similar client circumstances to illustrate the kinds of results we had achieved. I was met with no interest. Zip, zilch, nada.To break the deafening silence, I said to John, “Can you just tell me what the hell went wrong in there, or are you going to lead me through some laborious process of self-discovery?”We both laughed, and then we had a very useful conversation. I knew how he coached, and it was extremely valuable on most days. We would dissect each interaction together. He would typically ask me what I thought was effective, and we’d discuss what the client had responded to best. Then we’d talk about what could have gone better, and he’d highlight skills to improve. The discussions were always focused on how I could further develop my abilities and meet my goals.John Rovens was a terrific coach, and he invested a significant amount of time in my development as a sales professional. By the end of 1998, my third year in sales, I was the number 2  salesperson worldwide in the division of the Fortune 500 company we both worked for. I quickly became proficient at creating value in selling in large part because of the culture of coaching John created in our office.We hear constantly about the importance and value of coaching, especially in sales. But, the reality I have observed while working with hundreds of organizations is that a true culture of coaching rarely exists. In a survey I conducted few years ago with a sales team in a Fortune 500 telecom company, I found an interesting contrast. Leaders reported that they spent a considerable amount of time coaching their direct reports and scored themselves high on their efforts– on average, just shy of the 80th percentile. Direct reports responded by saying that they’d received little to no coaching from their leaders and scored them low — on average around just the 38th percentile. Then the leaders criticized their direct reports for being a bunch of ungrateful complainers. In their minds, these leaders had devoted all kinds of time to coaching. But in reality that simply wasn’t so.My observation is that in most cases, the further you go up the chain from managers, to directors, to VPs, the more sales leaders ask for help from their direct reports to do their own jobs, rather than investing time in improving the performance of their people.Maybe a manager will spend time coaching his direct reports.  But a manager getting coached by a director? Or a director being coached by a VP for sales? That almost never happens. Instead, time for coaching to improve future performance is increasingly crowded out by time spent tracking and scrutinizing past results – that is, time spent requesting forecasts, reviewing pipelines together, revising forecasts, and pushing to close more deals in this quarter.That may be necessary (well, that’s a whole different subject really), but if you want to improve the capability of your sales organization, rather than just keep track of it, coaching is the most powerful lever you have. And, creating a culture of coaching is your best bet. Here is how:Establish uniform expectations. Everyone, from the executive vice president of sales down to the frontline sales manager, needs to share the same definition of what good coaching is. Good coaching includes observation and feedback, certainly, but also strategy development, creating opportunities for practice, and even detailed help in meeting preparation. John Rovens had a specific development goal for each of the members on our team. He himself was also coached by his boss, our regional vice president, to help him become a more effective coach. Setting expectations for coaching is a strategic imperative that the CEO and executive committee leaders must drive. You can’t simply declare “There shall be a coaching culture” or delegate its development to the VP of sales or HR. The decision to create a coaching culture must be done in the context of a broader corporate goal — a growth strategy to increase revenue, perhaps, or a need to speed the time it takes new salespeople to become productive,  or a desire to decrease costly sales turnover.Highlight the exemplars and use them to spread your best practices. In any sales organization, everyone knows who the best sellers are. Frequently they are top producers, but not every one of them always exhibits the behavior you may want to foster. Look for the great sellers throughout the business who are doing the work in the way you want to see everyone working, and use them as role models, even if they’re not atop the revenue leader board. As it happened, during my first 18 months in sales, my assigned mentor was the top rep in our company the prior year. His name was Steve Lunz, and I had the chance to accompany him on many sales calls during my first 18 months with the firm and through him see how our company succeeded with clients. He showed me how to reach truly mutually beneficial agreements with clients, and I paid careful attention to how he did it. In exchange, I took notes and helped with follow-up and with the subsequent engagements. Provide rewards to those who engage in coaching and consequences for those who opt out. Coaching should not be viewed as extra credit or something to do if you have time on your hands. If it’s a priority for you to develop sales talent in your business, reward those who coach well just as you would any other key responsibility — with recognition, compensation, and promotion. Otherwise you’ll end up denying some of your developing talent the support they’re entitled to, the support required to grow your business. This is likely to require a mind-set shift for some.  For those who don’t manage it, place them in a job where developing others isn’t important. There are a lot of people promoted into sales management and leadership roles who have great strength in selling but really don’t have an interest in coaching. Let them sell.Before you suggest that this seems like a lot of work, I’ll concede the point. Coaching is a lot of work. But it needn’t take extra time if you consider the scope of activities sales leaders currently engage in. Take an honest look at the volume of effort your sales organization devotes to reporting, inspection, and scrutinizing results versus the time spent actively engaging in improving results. Create a coaching culture, and your leaders will spend considerably more energy on the latter. Click here to share this post.

Top 5 Things Every Salesperson /Business Developer Should Know!

by GSchulz 16. February 2015 15:08
    What’s the new normal when it comes to developing business? This is not the old ‘ask a few questions, give your features and benefits and trial close’. The 70s wants their slick sales guy back. Today you need to be smart, curious and a true consultant to sell. Here are a few things that today are imperative in business growth.    

 1)   Tell the prospect its OK to break up….Rejection is a result of trying to sell someone your product or service as opposed to tell them you what you are calling about, let them know it seems that because of what they do you could potentially work together, but (pull back) you don’t want to assume that you are a good fit. What you’d like to do is ask a few questions to see if the two of you are a fit and if not, we decide it’s a NO then we only wasted a few minutes? Sound OK? This allows you to give a NO as an option right upfront. Then you have asked for it as opposed to a prospect pushing you away and that is the rejection.
  2)   Mining for customers is different today. Networking is the true key to finding and keeping customers but most people do it wrong. Networking events ate not for direct prospecting! Recognize this scenario? “Hey do you guys use promotional products? here’s a sample, we can really help you!!”..” NO! Instead I say go to an event and look for Strategic Alliances, people that you can refer business back and forth to as opposed to hitting your potential prospects so hard. We all know building business on referrals is the best way to do business so lets network for good alliances that you can refer business to and that is a good source for your referrals.

 3)   Research should be used for credibility. Research is essential today before you pick up the phone and call anyone. No excuses! The most important reason to do your research on their web site, Google etc. is to create good, quality questions to ask them to engage your prospect in conversation and truly understand their needs not to tell them that you’ve researched their company and since they do this, we can sell you that…  

 4)   If you need to discount to get the business is almost always a result of one of these things. a) The customer doesn’t truly trust you/your product or service so there is only price to use as a differentiator or b) you haven’t truly understood the need for the product. I know need seems simple but it isn’t.              What are they trying to say? What impression are they trying to leave, how do they want to be seen? What are they using it for? There are lots of questions to not only understand what a prospect needs but the true deep-down ‘whys’. Asking questions will let you also gain credibility and trust but not Selling and truly asking and listening….     

 5)    Listen and shut up!! Wow! If I could teach people that are in sales/business                   development to ask questions and listen there would be a lot more success in business! Telling isn’t selling…but it comes from a good place. We are excited about what we represent and want other to be excited too but excitement doesn’t sell, questions and true engagement does. Long ago we were taught to ask a few questions and when you hear a “ buying signal” jump in and tell them you can help with that and how. NO! When you ask a question, wait for the answer and whatever the answer is, especially if it may be something your product or service can help with, the best next question is, “tell me about that”, then SHUT-UP!!! Click here to share this post.

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