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Sales Management Pet Peeve: Loose Lips Sink Ships!

January 28, 2010

Quick Tip:

I’ve been on many a sales call where sales people make the mistake of talking about the meeting they just had in the building of the prospect/client they just met with or they talk about it in some other public place without thinking a second thought about privacy. One place they seem to think they can talk freely in is the elevator –  even if other people are in it.  In no case should you ever talk about the meeting in the building where you had the meeting and you should never talk about potential deals in public places where others can hear you – including your own building. Many a deal has been lost due to careless communication in earshot of people who might find your product a threat, etc.  Until you have a check in your hand and the ink is dry, keep those loose lips whispering or closed.

Sales Managers that don’t let the sales person sell

December 30, 2009

Are you the type that takes over when going on a sales call with a member of your team?  You just can’t help yourself, you have to butt in and take control. Do you find yourself doing this frequently? If you do, you need to keep reading this post because by taking control your sales people can’t improve and you’ll wind up de-motivating, making them dependent on you and worse – you’ll fail in the end.  The only time you should have to take control in a sales meeting is when the sales person gets into trouble or ask for your help.

I’ve seen it happen over and over where the sales manager manages to make the client and the salesperson dependent on them in-order to close the deal.  In many cases, a salesperson never learns to close properly because this type of manager can’t lead properly.   Frequently, this type of sales manager fails to make the company goals because they are doing all the selling themselves and the quota is based on a team effort not a single person. You often find this style of managing with people who were the major producers before being made sales manager.  These types frequently need to be coached in letting go, leading and mentoring. If this sounds like you or someone you know or if your about to manage a sales team – ask your management to pay for a coach who can guide and mentor you away from this behavior.

STOP SELLING TO UNMOTIVATED PROSPECTS

December 15, 2009

How many times have you heard “I’m interested and will discuss with xxx and get back to you in a few days” or “We will take a look at this in a month” or “I’ll have my team review this and get back to you in a week”? This is often music to a salespersons ears. But there’s a problem if you keep hearing it from the same prospect and keep waiting for the deal that never comes. You need to wake-up, move-on and sell to a well qualified prospect. Funny thing is that many salespeople just want to hang in there even when they know they are being lied to. There are prospects out there that just don’t know how to let you know that they can’t buy, won’t buy, or have no intention of buying. It’s important that you validate the true level of interest early in the sales process or you may find a pipeline full of hot air. You will need to spot the time wasters early in the game. Here are some suspects you should be on the lookout for:

1) Suspect says that they are the decision maker but you never get a decision.

2) The person is in a learning mode and is using you to come up to speed. Yes, you are his/her subject matter expert and he has no intention of buying anything

3) Prospect is just interested in getting your pricing and has already made a decision on another vendor

4) Prospect is afraid of change and can’t get to yes. You need to uncover their problem and try to get them over the fear – otherwise move on.

What do the best sales people do in a down market?

October 13, 2009
  1. Don’t make the same mistake twice
  2. Do discovery everyday prior to contacting prospects. They look for the companies that want to solve internal and external problems with innovative ideas
  3. They go the extra mile by making more calls not less, doing more networking both in person and via social media
  4. They totally focus on the customer or prospect and investigate how they can solve that persons problems
  5. Provide the prospect with the solution that does not include lowering price
  6. Know about all the advantages of the product and the disadvantages of competitors. They develop in advance precise and concise descriptions of those advantages for every situation that could come up.
  7. Exercise daily and begin the day with positive energy – never let themselves get down
  8. Consistently have a valued pipeline
  9. Consistently close business
  10. Consistently make or exceed quota

Selling In Difficult Times

October 6, 2009

Knowing the distinct points of differentiation of your product can help you win a deal no matter who you are competing with.   In a difficult market where there are so many me to offerings, how do you sell to your prospect? What can make a prospect select your product/service over more well known brands?

One key way is to know your product inside and out and know all of the differentiating characteristics of the product.  If you or the company has not done a good job of identifying those unique points of differentiation along with understanding what is most valued by the prospect, you have a problem.  If you know the characteristics, you have an advantage and need to place an emphasis on what has been enhanced and what is unique about the product versus those bigger name brands.

Be sure to look at how you stack up against the competition when it comes to things like ease of use – is there a learning curve?  What does product delivery look like, are there any company infrastructures advantages for the customer, any customer service improvements and what does your product cost vs those other named brands?

Generate Trust and Revenue using Twitter

July 14, 2009

If you still don’t understand the purpose of using Twitter, here is a short and sweet description:  You have the ability to send a concise ad to the constituency of your choice in 140 characters.  The ad is free – however, don’t place an ad right away.  The best approach to take is to give  in order to get.  Don’t just try and sell right out of the box,  Twitter is just like any other relationship you have to build trust first.

Some pointers:

- Only follow people that interest you

- Start with your friends. Twitter lets you import contacts from your Gmail, Yahoo or AOL e-mail accounts. It will show you which of your contacts have Twitter accounts.

- Make sure you fill in the bio section and provide information about you and what interest you.

- Use Twitter search or other types of search tools that have been developed for Twitter to look for people you want to follow and eventually connect with.

-  Give your time and knowledge for free. Talk about what you are passionate about.  With Twitter you have to prove yourself and build a reputation otherwise no one wants to follow you. You have some expertise that others will find interesting, so be generous with input and courteous.

-  Make sure to thank you’re followers for following you and re-tweet any tweets that you think others will find interesting.

-  Make sure that prospects can find your blog, company with phone number and or email so that they can connect with you.

-  Only accept followers who are relevant.  There are a lot of spammers, so check out the people who are following you and if they don’t fit – block them.  Remember that followers you are looking for may be checking out who follows you and if they see someone that they don’t like you could lose a potential prospect.

- Follow-up with a thank you for any re-tweets

- When you have the followers you want, send them an invitation or request a phone meeting.  If someone likes what you tweet or blog and wants to talk with you – contact them immediately.

- Ask “How can I help you today”

Are you getting burned out due to additional workload?

July 14, 2009

Are you getting burned out because engineering support, marketing and customer relations budgets have been cut and you are expected to carry the load? If the workload has increased to the point that you can’t find enough time to meet new prospects and you’re constantly scrambling to meet quota, you need to understand that all that damage control can hurt you.

Here are some tips for surviving, coping and staying healthy.

1.) Exercise once a day for 1 hour.  Try Yoga

2.) Schedule downtime with friends/family each day

3.) Listen to chill out music to or from work

4.) Meditate everyday.   If you don’t know how, there are many books and seminars available

5.) Make sure you have a real sit down dinner with soothing music at least 3 times a week. Loud music and watching the negative news on the tube does not help you digest food.  Watch what you eat, stay away from sugar, fast foods and a lot of meat.

6.) Rest up on the weekends before that Monday morning rev

7.) If you get annoyed, stop walk away from the situation, go to a private place and cool down

8.) If you get crazed by traffic and are a honker, don’t do it unless you see danger of an accident!

9.) If you are an habitual answerer of your cell phone, try not answering it and wait till you are in a comfortable spot and are ready to calmly return the calls.

10.) If you text message while driving, make a promise to yourself and all the other people on the road that you will STOP!

Burnout can destroy you and hurt the people you come in contact with.  If this is happening to you, stop and take the time to reevaluate your life and your choices.

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