The Sales Demand of I Want It Now!

How often have salespeople heard this sales demand when discussing how quickly they can deliver their solution be it a product or a service:

I want it now!

The human desire for immediate delivery is because the customer really wants the solution.  The rationale behind this desire varies from an actual pressing need (emergency) to the quick fix mentality of “Fix my problem so it will go away and make me look good. ”

Delivery of your solution is the final buy by your customer.  Even if you have been bought, your company has been bought, your solution has been bought, your price has been bought, if you delivery fails to meet the desire of your customer, you won’t be able to increase sales.

This is why it is important to show in real illustrations when presenting your solution the impact of your solution.  The quick fix has little to no impact.

Also this is the time that you may have to walk away from a particular sale because you know your solution will not deliver the desired end results the customer wants in his or her allocated time frame.  His or her sales demand wants may be unrealistic. Your own personal ethics will not allow you to “sell” something that won’t work within the customer’s parameters.

Many customers are lied to about delivery times because the salesperson wants the order.  This lying makes it more difficult for the next salesperson.

Years ago I lost a six figure sale because I was honest about delivery of a large, manufactured new industrial valve. My customer said “so and so can get it to me in one fourth of the time.” I responded so could I if I was willing to sell the customer a reconditioned valve. However the specifications required a brand new manufactured valve. I said I could not meet the delivery based upon what I knew to be true. The customer placed the order with the competition.

A month later, the customer called me after receiving the valve from the competitor and said it was reconditioned. He need the valve I initially quoted.  I had to quote him at a higher price because this was now a single item purchase and had to add on another two months for delivery. The customer was not happy but because he had already bough me, my company, my solution, he placed the order.

The sales demand of “I want it now” will always be a factor.  How you as a salesperson frame your delivery just may help you earn or lose the sale.

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In Sales Price Is Not Usually the Issue

How often is the sales price spewed by eager or even desperate salespeople before knowing if:

The answer is probably far too often.

Yes price may be a significant factor in formalized bids or for those folks seeking the quick fix at the cheapest price.  However for the majority of SMB business owners and sales professionals, the sales price is the fourth “buy” from sales leads, not the first “buy.”

When salespeople jump into the sales price discussion before having established a solid relationships or even more importantly before providing a solution to the wants and needs of the sales prospect, they have already started to lose the sales opportunity. How does the potential ideal customer understand the connection between price and his or her desired results or what is important to him or her?

Foe example, I have a high arch.  Even though I like the looks of many flat sandals, I cannot wear them. The solution does not meet my need (arch support) even when the price is cheaper than the sandals with better arch support.

Sales coaching is another example. By sharing the return on investment (ROI) and emotionalizing that return on investment is probably one of the best ways to introduce price into the sales conversation. Now many sales coaches and salespeople will say determining ROI is difficult or even impossible.  That is a false belief.

ROI can be easily computed for many solutions through wasted time.  Most people agree they waste 12 minutes a day. Some time management studies suggest one hour per workday is the amount of wasted time. Just do the math and it is easy to determine the value of wasted time.

Yes the sales price is important, however price is not the first buying decision factor. To embrace that belief maybe why you or your sales team continue to fail to increase sales.

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Is Your Sales Solution Truly Buyable?

Your sales solution be it products, services or a combination must be buyable.  What this means within the current sales training, sales books and even sales coaching jargon is about this concept called “value. ”

Now some will suggest and even vehemently argue value can be created.  This is a false belief because if this was true then why do people like different colors when buying a car, a dress, etc?

Value is created by the buyer. Let me repeat that “Value is created by the buyer.” It cannot be created by a salesperson unless the salesperson discovers what is called a latent need or want, something the buyer has not consciously considered.

What successful salespeople do is to create a bridge that connects their solution to the sales lead’s or potential customer’s value drivers.  For the bridge to successfully reach the other side (the buyer’s side), the salesperson uses data, information, knowledge and wisdom based upon what he or she hears. Unfortunately, some salespeople think they know what is important to the potential qualified prospect and the bridge never  connects to the buyer’s side.

This bridge may require new research from the salesperson to understand the decision maker’s potential value drivers. Additionally having a buyable solution may result in more than one or two meetings.

Within my sales coaching practice, one question I discovered when connecting to the latent value drivers is the following:

Imagine you are in a social or business networking event and are introduce to someone.  The other person recognizes your name.  What would that person say about you as in “Yes I have heard your name, you are….?”

This question almost 100% of the time reveals a latent value driver, something that is important to the prospect, but something that has yet to be revealed.

Remember, your sales solution must be buyable, not “sellable.” This will happen only if you have been bought as well as your company being bought by the potential ideal customer.

 

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A Sales Coaching Question: Is Your Company Buyable?

A sales coaching often unasked question: “Would you buy from your company?”

If not, possibly, now is the time to consider answering this sales coaching question, truthfully.

Before your solution can be bought by your ideal customer, your company must be bought.  With the availability of information courtesy of the Internet, sales leads, ideal customers, prospects can discover whether your company is credible.

Is your business buyable?

With more than 70% of businesses within the US being single owner, the company is synonymous with you.  As both the salesperson and the SMB owner, you must walk a dual buying path of you being bought and having your business being bought by each sales lead.

In many instances when companies are bought by prospect, this is an emotional experience reaffirmed by facts. Some will call this being bought brand loyalty. My sense is brand loyalty is not just about the solution (product or service) but the individual experience with the business.

Brand loyalty should not be confused with salesperson loyalty. This again is a mistake many SMB owners make.  Salesperson loyalty usually wins over brand loyalty because people buy from people they know and trust.  Customers buy your salespeople first before buying your SMB.  This is why many small businesses lose customers when the salesperson leaves.

After you answer the first question, then it may be worthwhile to consider these questions:

  • What makes your company buyable?

  • What is keeping your company from being buyable ?

  • What actions can you take to make your SMB more buyable?

These questions should be asked of any SMB owner or sales professional who is engaged in sales coaching. Yes having your solution being bought is the desirable end result. However when SMB owners and salespeople fail to understand the necessity of having their company being bought, this may help to explain the inability to increase sales.

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Sales Is Truly About Buying, Not Selling

People continue to confuse the essence of sales and this confusion or lack of clarity is responsible for missed sales goals, unhappy customers, etc.

My Dad said to be successful “people must first buy you.”  Unfortunately many sales professionals believe they must sell the solution first and therein is their first obstacle to earning a successful sales or in the common vernacular “close the deal.”

Some may call this buying “establishing rapport,” but it goes way beyond just having a positive connection to that sales lead or prospect. How often do we see or hear of people making the sales pitch within the first couple minutes of meeting a new prospect?  These folks don’t even know if the person that just made that pitch is an actually qualified.

Zig Ziglar said “sales is the transference of feelings.”  That transference takes time.  Buying you as a salesperson takes time especially in today’s crowded marketplace where people are even more educated as well as jaded.

For people to buy you, then this question naturally arises:

How do people buy me?

Possibly the first action is to answer the phone.  It is surprising the number of people who have made the comment to me about “you actually answered the phone.” Even with all the spam phone calls, I still answer all “unknown callers” because one of those unknowns could be my next customer.

The second action is to honor your word.  If you say you will undergo a specific action, then do that action in a timely manner.  For some, this action may be called follow-up.

As in all personal interactions, the third action would be to actively listen. What this means is to STOP talking and listen to what the potential client is saying.  This is not the time to up sell your solution.

For the last ten years or so, salespeople have grabbed onto the idea of being the trusted advisor.  What I believe the next evolution is and it is already happening is being the trusted authority.  When you are the trusted authority, the go to person, as perceived by your ideal customers, you have been bought.

Next blog will look at the second “buy” by your sales prospects.

P.S. This blog has been inactive for a while.  My goal is to resume this blog at least three times per week.  Thanks to those who have continued to comment and read these words.

 

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Leadership Begins within Each of Us

Yesterday I received some course catalogs from a well known university advocating a plethora of leadership courses. What these courses and other books fail to recognize is leadership must begin, first and foremost, with each of us.

Sure it is great to lead others, but if you can’t lead yourself how can you effectively lead anyone else?

Look around at all the overweight people.  This is an issue of internal self-leadership.  These individuals have failed to lead themselves forward to a healthy life style.

Just listen to all the advertisements on television about this or that drug to cure this or that alignment.  When my husband who is in his 70s and myself who is in her waning mid 60s take absolutely no prescriptions, doctors are amazed.  They keep asking us if we are really sure we are not on any medication? What does that question say about our society?

Have we really become that diseased of a society where we need pills to keep us going?

Years ago I became associated with a company, Resource Associates Corporation, that infused self-leadership into each developmental curriculum.  There was and still is:

  • Executive
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Team
  • Leadership (general)
  • Customers Service
  • Time strategies

Even its Annual Goal Planning tool is based upon internal-self leadership.

What all of these developmental curriculums did was to focus on the individual through the internal beliefs that drive the behaviors creating the results.  Why people pay $10,000 to $20,000 for any leadership course that fails to recognize the basic element of internal self-leadership is truly beyond my gray matter. Maybe having the impressive gold letters means something?  Yet I have interacted with some of these individuals from these courses and my belief is they paid way too much for far too little.

If you want to improve your results, then stop looking for some expensive blue rock which will magically transform you.  No instead, invest the time to do the work and discover your own talents and strengths.  Learn to leverage your emotional intelligence for your own betterment and for the betterment of those around you.

self-improvementLook at your own results and remember if you aren’t securing your own results be it purpose, mental, financial, family, ethics and beliefs, physical, career or social, then look within you and not for some outside expensive solution that still probably won’t address the real issue – your lack of self-leadership within you.

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Confusion Creates Poor Sales Results

Confusion in business creates poor sales results and a continual drain on the bottom line.  From not knowing the purpose of business to executing actions not in alignment with the overall strategic plan impact productivity especially sales.

One of my mentors once shared with me these wise words that I now use with my clients: “People confuse motion with progress; activity with results.” 

 Since productivity is the actions necessary to secure business results, the businesses who suffer from this confusion work far, far harder and less, less smarter.

For example, business to business networking is a great marketing strategy for many small business owners.  They are busy moving from this networking event to that one while actively collecting piles and piles of business cards.  So what do they do with all of this motion and activity?

Do they have a plan in place to immediately reconnect with those viable and even not so viable leads?  Are they tracking their progress specific to their business goals within their business action plan?  From my experience as a business coach, I can tell you that at least 80% probably closer to 95% of small business owners lack a plan and are clueless about tracking ALL of their results.

These individuals are playing “Captain Wing It” and flying by the seat of their pants.  Spraying and praying is the best way to sum up their activities and unfortunately poor sales results.

Marketing is an area where there exists a lot of confusion.  From paid advertisements to websites, there is a whole lot of motion going on with a lot of activity, but where as in what marketing vehicle delivers you the best results?

Then there is sales or selling depending upon where one is in within the sales process. Are you really marketing and thinking you are selling?  Is all this motion truly securing you progress.

Maybe it is time to stop and truly invest the time to analyze all of your motion and all of your activities.  Ask yourself:

Am I making true progress (meaning becoming closer and closer) toward my sales goals or other goals?

Am I securing the  sales results I need?

P.S. Many professionals lack clarity about their results because they have failed to engage in strategic planning.

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5 Tips to Improve Sales Productivity

Sales productivity is simply the actions necessary to secure the business results that are delivered from your sales goals.  When productivity is high, the results should also be high unless there is a lot of lost potential or waste happening with the daily actions. Here are some simple tips that will help you realize greater results by improving your sales productivity.

#1 – Have a sales plan and more.  Without a plan, you are trying to hit a moving target.  Establish goals in all areas of your business from marketing to sales to leadership and management to growth and innovation.  Make sure you actively and consistently work that plan each week to improve sales productivity.

#2 – Establish a proven goal setting process reinforced by proven goal setting tools.  Most people have never been taught to set and achieve personal goals.  So expecting yourself or others them to achieve sales goals  is setting your business up to fail from day one. Use this goal process in all meetings to ensure congruency to the all plans from sales to innovation to financial.

#3 – Maximize your operating systems.  Look at the areas of procedures, policies, processes, production, people and progress (time).  Identify any untapped potential as well as any wasted potential. Make sure that these operating systems are not counter productive to improving business productivity.

#4 – Communicate results.  Communication is the primary reason why companies are successful.  Failed communication is the main reason for business failure.  Actively communicate what is happening within the organization.  Simply speaking, your people need to know what is going on.

#5 – Hold yourself and other people accountable. If you have a plan, trained everyone in the same goal setting process, maximized your operation systems and communicated the results, then holding yourself and other people accountable is far easier.  When employees to vendors fail to achieve the productivity necessary to secure the business, department or unit goals, then you as the CEO, business owner or sales manager or sales professional must take action.  Keeping people who are not performing is the second quickest way to kill productivity outside of poor communication.

Remember the old adage:  “One rotten apple spoils the barrel.”

By embracing these five sales productivity and business results tips, you will avoid what a colleague once observed:

People confuse motion with progress and activity with results.

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Emotions Are Your Customer Experience Reality

Emotions are the common thread that bind humans beings.  And it is those very same emotions that are guiding each and every customers experience specific to the points of connection.  Again, points of connection are everything your customers see, hear, touch, smell, taste and feel.

Extensive customer service research by Rosenberg has shown customer behavior can be predicted by emotions.   According to Yu and Dean in 2001, they determined that “The impact of emotions is the best predictor of customer loyalty in the customer interaction process.”

During the last almost 40 years in business, I have spoken with numerous clients and colleagues who shared their own emotional experiences with me specific to bad customer service.  One sharing including visiting a newly opened restaurant and the owner turned away not only this gentleman and his wife, but a family of 5. The owner decided to close early for the day.

Now anyone in the restaurant businesses knows opening a restaurant is difficult at best. This owner’s attitude of closing early started a cascade of negative emotions.  For this customer who experienced a problem (he wanted his need of hunger to be satisfied) that was not resolved is telling a lot of people about his negative emotional experience and he assured me he would never go back to this eating establishment. Lost customer value of 10 years was probably more than $6,000.

Whether the sign states “all employees must wash their hands” to the actual hours of operation, the messages delivered by those signs have established a point of connection with your customer. Your customers do not want to hear (point of connection) excuses.

TAKE ACTION: If you want to leverage the strategic advantage within customer loyalty, then everyone in your organization needs to understand the specific points of connection within the customer experience. Then written goals must be established to strengthen those customer experience connections unless you want a lot of emotionally dissatisfied customers sharing their bad experiences with all of your other potential new customers that you just lost.

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Are You Limiting Your Business Success Opportunities?

Each day thousands of business owners and executives read their profits and loss statements, financial records to sales reports to confirm they are on the road to business success.  Searching and scanning for increases in sales, orders and profits while hoping for decreases in cost of goods sold or other direct costs as well as indirect costs.  Yet, through all this, they are limiting their opportunities for additional success because they are probably missing one figure that never shows up on financial reports.

And, do you know what that number is? And the answer is:

RELATIONSHIPS!

Was that the answer in your head?  Did you think of something else?

Since this figure is not clearly articulated in any of the traditional reporting metrics, what happens is that current problems are really symptoms in disguise. And then the solutions do not deliver sustainable change because the real problem is not addressed.

For example does your small to mid size business suffer from:

  • Lackluster sales problems?
  • Training problems?
  • Employee turnover?

These are just a few of the many symptoms facing most businesses because they fail to understand the purpose of business and hence business success comes from:

Attracting and Maintaining Customers

Customer loyalty or rather the lack of customer loyalty is the real issue.  When businesses realize that:

  • 5% retention in customers can create an increase of anywhere from 25% to 100%
  • To acquire a new customer costs 5 to 10 times more than keeping an existing one
  • Up to 75% of those customers who left you considered themselves to be satisfied

They may leave the 20th century model of customer satisfaction and embrace the 21st century paradigm of customer loyalty as the other critical measurement to business success. The rise of customer retention is probably why sales enablement has become so critical to many B2C and B2B organizations.

To take such bold action requires them to know the following:

  • Average client acquisition cost
  • Average client value
  • Average transaction value
  • Total Revenue Opportunity (based upon lifetime of customer)
  • Customer Loyalty Score
  • Employee Loyalty Score

When these metrics have been established and a plan of action has been constructed from the Senior Executive Management Team that will cascade down through the organization, measuring relationships will become much easier.  And, the business will have a much clearer picture of what it truly takes for business success.

TAKE ACTION Think about both your profits and relationships.  What kind of metrics or benchmarks can you establish to ensure that you are measuring both?

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