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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.


May 18, 2009

GE, Microsoft, HP and Walt Disney were all started when economic times were bad.  My first experience with a start-up was at the beginning of a recession and we were hugely successful.  This week and next several companies will go public in a very bad market:  Rosetta Stone (language software) GlobalSpace (Satellites and imaging) Open Table (on line reservations) all have good products and have been successful in this down market.  As I see it, the common thread with all these companies is the belief in their products ability to sell even in trying times and spending money on marketing those products.

History has shown that companies that spend more on marketing tend to prosper most in down markets.  During the 1930’s depression Chevrolet beat out Ford because Chevey increased its ad budget while Ford slashed theirs. Kellogg beat Post for the same reason.

I have always wondered why executives put the squeeze on marketing dollars during bad times.  Often you’ll fine the motto “CASH IS KING” thrown around as the golden rule during difficult times. While I agree that cash is king all the time, companies would have more cash if they were spending on marketing.  Some executives just don’t understand the value of marketing and think its voodoo in good times let alone bad ones.

If you know of a company that is not spending on marketing now, you may want to  ask them to consider the brands mentioned above and how successful they became in a recession or depression and how successful they are today.  Suggest that they talk with their marketing people or outside consultant to see what is possible.  Who knows they may just wind up with a lot  more business.

Social Networking For Sales Professionals

April 15, 2009

Twitter, LinkedIn, Ning, Facebook, Xing are just a few of the many social networking sites where salesfolks can garner a fresh supply of contacts/prospects.  These sites give you the opportunity to  forge connections locally, across the country or around the world.  In todays economy, it just might be the best place to generate business leads which in turn could grow into paying customers.

6  Reasons to use social networking

1.) Terrific way to do research and do discovery

Garner input about your industry, company or competitors that may not be available anywhere else.  In the right situation for example, Twitter can be viewed as an office water cooler since it can provide you with info about your company, competitors, or prospects/clients.

2.) Believe it or not you can communicate directly with senior executives within your target market (no gatekeeper).

3.) Announce Webinars, new products, share links, etc.

4.)Hook up with similar minds and network on-line or in person at events that you would not know about otherwise

5.) Great way to self market and brand yourself

6.) Great way to display your expertise and get business or find a new job

11 Stupid Sales Cliches

September 25, 2008

STOP your sales team from using STUPID CLICHES!

If you’re in sales, start thinking about what it’s like to be sitting on the other side of your pitch. It can be excruciating for a buyer to listen to you, especially when one gets similar emails, phone calls and in-person or on-line sales presentations from companies saying the same things. These days it’s so easy to follow the crowd regarding how companies sell because the same pitches can be heard everywhere. Anything that smacks of new that works gets picked up and used immediately. Usually large technology companies or a new well funded start-up begins the process with new vocabulary or they take a fresh unexpected approach to the way that they sell the prospect. Business intelligence folks, marketing, and sales people from other companies notice and begin to use the same jargon. The new verbiage gets broadcast across many types of businesses as the best way to sell a deal and the process begins.

The prospect and the seller are on the same jargon page until the prospect begins to hear it all the time – at that point, you’re just another salesperson because you sound just like everyone else.

Here are some sales cliche examples that have been around for awhile and are getting very stale:

1.)Our value proposition

2.)Our Mission Statement

3.)We provide total solutions

4.)We have over xxx years combined experience

5.)We provide 24/7 service

6.)Our value add

7.)We are the leader in XXX

8.)6 Sigma certified

9.)Best Practices

10.)We’re number one in the space

11.)Thought Leader

If you want to win, you need to come up with unique ways to communicate your message and engage the prospect/client. Approach your constituency with simple and unexpected communications that are designed to take stale material and make it exciting.

Prospects and client should be active partners

August 16, 2008

Hello! I know its’ been awhile since I’ve provided you with updates to my blog – so I thought I’d start back up with a new Quick Tip to get back into gear.

When you find a prospect that wants you to act as a partner, make sure you manage the account and understand what the prospect wants from you and your company. Some salespeople don’t grasp the meaning of “partner” – they give it lip service. You will create an effective business relationship that can last a longtime if you include your prospect in dialog that helps contribute to product use, new or better features and functions. You need to listen. Take his/her advice and discuss the ideas with your management and have them acknowledge the prospect/clients value. Work to co-create a meaningful and successful relationship.

Before Motivating A Sales Team

April 10, 2008

The competition is strong, you love your job and you love your companies product/services – so what do you do to get the team motivated?

Before you call the team to a huddle and convey your PMA (positive mental attitude) to them, make sure you’ve done your homework first. Check with your existing customers about customer service, account management, products, what they may be looking for down the road, why they bought from you in the first place and why they will remain good customers. You might call it a “How we doing” kind of meeting. Contact prospects and find out why they are interested in your products/services or why they might be interested in someone else. Find out who your competitors sales people and sales managers are and see if they are interested in coming to work for you. Find out what they do well and understand what you’re team does well and why they do it better.  If you know these things, you’ll be able to confidently inspire your team and have your team really trust you.


TOP TEN – Selling to “CXOs”

February 13, 2008

1.) Know who you’re meeting with in advance (know something about their perceptions, interest, goals, competitors, mission)

2.) Listen, Listen and Listen Again –

3.) Be prepared, don’t waste their time, get to the point and DON’T ASK DUMB QUESTIONS

4.) Be prepared to be rushed, interrupted or rescheduled –know how to handle all of these situations in advance.

5.) In a meeting make sure you adjust your communication to their tone

6.) Speak with authority on the topic and know how your solution benefits his/her needs

7.) Permit them to help you solve their problems

8.) Don’t challenge their authority

9.) Understand his/her criteria for starting a business relationship

10.) Deliver what you promise