Process or Talent? Which do you take?

That’s an easy one.  Process always trumps talent.

Before you get upset and start defending how talented your staff is and that you couldn’t generate the numbers that you do without them, imagine how much more productive they would be if you gave them leads that close at four times the normal rate?  Or if you have sales events for them to use that routinely lead to $100,000 days?

I’m not going to completely define what process should be in place, but I will say that as a sales manager, process always trumps talent. Here is why.

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Improve Your Closing Ratio

This is a trick post.  No, I don’t mean that you won’t learn how to improve your sales.  A good pitch with superior questions is the best way to improve sales. This is a fall back step for the time(s) that your pitch doesn’t go as planned and you receive an objection.

Reality is, is that most first (and second and third for that matter) objections are simply screens to the real reason the prospect isn’t buying.  The prospect doesn’t want to say no to your offer so they throw up a simple excuse to get you to go away.  A majority of salespeople simply accept that objection, try to handle it as best as they can through some methods they’ve learned, and then become frustrated that the prospect still won’t buy.

Now, most trainers teach objection resolutions that revolve around empathy and understanding, which I agree that you need those emotions and approach.  However, most salespeople will show empathy in the place of guts.

Beating the objection is a three (3) step process that will either lead to the true objection or a sale.

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Make Informed Calls, Not Cold Calls

You are sitting at your desk making sales calls.   But now the computer is missing. A pile of 8 x 5 cards is stacked in front of you. Each card contains only a name, address and phone number.  Sliding your hand into your pocket for your cell phone, you find only lint. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over….into the Twilight Zone.

I don’t think any of us want to go back to the times of index cards and no computers.  How successful would be today if all you had was a name and number on a piece of paper?  Luckily for you, those days are over.

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New Year, New Goals

It’s now the end of January and you should have had time to reflect on your achievements from the past year.  If you’re still reflecting, now is the time to stop.  The top producers forget about the past and are always moving forward toward the future.  They are not content with past success or past earnings, they simply know that the revenue must keep coming in for them to earn commissions and eventually get promoted.

My new year’s advice is:  (more…)

Effort or Experience? If You Must Choose, Which One Do You Pick?

The ultimate question for managers.  Most want both, and if you can find a salesperson that does both, do whatever you can to keep that person forever.  However, many times it’s a struggle.  For one reason or another, experience leads to less effort and sales behaviors that have the potential of harming the department.

So I ask the question – How do you handle the experienced salesperson who can put up some numbers but doesn’t exude the principles and effort that you would like in your department?

Here is the rub.  Salespeople believe that as long as they are putting up numbers that everything is okay.  They believe that revenue dominates every other action that may be displayed.  To a certain point, they are correct, however, we all know that other actions are taken into consideration.

This situation can be defined in that age old saying “Risk vs Reward”.  How much do you value this salesperson’s production versus the potential damage that is being done to the department. (more…)

Sell to Their Value, Not Yours

Over breakfast the other day, my friend mentioned how he was running in the morning but that the weather was killing him.  I then belted out, without thinking, “join the YMCA you can afford it”.  The look from my friend said it all.  See, he could more than afford the monthly membership to the YMCA, however, he never joined because he wasn’t sure if it was worth it.  This is a common mistake that salespeople make.  They pitch on what they “think” someone could or should buy, not necessarily what they want to buy.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t show a prospect premium items.  You should, but
only because you believe that the product you’re pitching is the best value for the prospect’s investment.

The secret to doing this correctly is to find the buyers’ value.  Below are subjects that can help identify what is valuable to them.  Once you find that, take those values and compare to your offering(s). (more…)

LinkedIn is the New Cold Call

Well…its not really, but let me tell you that it’s a nice way to compliment your current outbound efforts.  See, I believe that the cold call will never die.  However, I’m also a believer that you can take a cold call and effectively downsize the number of calls it takes to get to the decision maker.  LinkedIn is one of those techniques that you can use to complete this action.

To do so, you must first have an active account that is COMPLETED.  By completed I mean that you need to have a profile pic, past work experiences, list of organizations that you’re involved in, and give an overall picture of who you are.  If you can, get recommendations from past clients that you’ve helped.  You can complete a profile in only a couple of minutes, so there really aren’t any excuses on why you shouldn’t do this.

So, how exactly can LinkedIn shorten the process and help you sell?  Keep reading. (more…)

How Good Could You Really Be?

Have you ever looked up at the end of the year, see your numbers and thought you could have done better?  Even if you have had an outstanding year, if that July slump didn’t happen, or if that one big deal would have closed you would have sold and earned more.

The truth is that it’s not that one sale or that one slump caused you not to maximize.  Most likely it was the culmination of several acts that led to your final results.

You most likely hit a period of the year where you changed your behavior for the worse.

Sometimes success is our greatest enemy.  When things are going well we tend to think that our fortunes won’t change.  This causes us to become complacent with our actions, attitude, and strategy.  When this happens, we make ourselves susceptible for a slump, or off sales year.  While this happens to the best of us, there are certainly ways to minimize the risks.

Keep Your Focus:  When things are going well, we should not only keep doing them, but should maximize our efforts.  Ever hear the saying that the best time to make a sale is after a sale?  If you’re on a hot streak do everything possible to keep it going.  Do not change your behavior. (more…)

Three Tips for Sales Presentations

Its funny when you are the prospect being pitched by some sales guy, it is also very interesting.  You get to critique his technique, you know what he is trying to do, you know when the close is coming, and you can talk circles around his pitch.  However, when you run into a really good salesperson, you find yourself enthralled with their talent.  I had this experience last week when a salesperson visited me at my home.  That salesperson was experienced, in both age and years of selling, and while I thought I knew how I was going to stop his antics, he surprised me by providing credibility, solving objections before they occur, and had the guts to close on the spot.  Lets revisit his techniques. (more…)

5 Tips on Speaking with a Gatekeeper

More times than note, the sales process begins with non decision makers AKA gatekeepers.  Keep in mind that a gatekeeper is not always a receptionists or secretary.

I wrote earlier about how to get around a gatekeeper by calling when at times when he/she won’t be at their desk, or at times when generally a decision maker is available. However, if you must talk to a gatekeeper, you better do it correctly or you have no shot at getting transferred.

Most salespeople simply try to bulldog through the gatekeeper. Does this approach sound like yours?

Gatekeeper: Hello ABC Company
You: Yes, may I speak to Jim
Gatekeeper: May I tell him this is regarding
You: Blah blah blah…you’re done at this point. 

As soon as the gatekeeper has to ask you why you’re calling, you’re pegged as a salesperson…a pushy one at that.  To get through a gatekeeper, you must first understand why you are being blocked. There are a few reasons.

  •  That you’re calling to offer something that won’t be beneficial to the company
  • That you’re hiding something or being a seedy salesperson
  • That you’re a pushy jerk, and if you’re a jerk to the gatekeeper, you are going to be a jerk to the DM as well
  • That you’re going to take a lot of the DMs time
  • You’re offering something that may make her look foolish for passing you through to his/her boss

Really, what it boils down to, is that there is a perception that you will make the gatekeeper look bad if they transfer you.

However, you want to do the opposite.  The gatekeeper should be worried about getting in trouble if he/she DOESN’T transfer you because their boss is going to miss out on a great opportunity.

You can do this by: (more…)

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