Posts Tagged ‘sales lead’

Suffering from the Retreat Sales Mentality Are We?

Sometimes when the going gets tough instead of the tough get going what happens is the retreat sales mentality sets in.  This way of thinking attacks the self-confidence, self starting ability and overall personal accountability on two fronts:

sales-mentality

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  • Conscious
  • Subconscious

A pending sales lead suddenly changes course and leaves you wondering why should I continue?  Retreating and seeking another sales lead appears to be a better route.

If you disagree, then how do you explain sales research that 44% of salespeople give up (retreat) after one followup? (Source: Scripted)

Possibly another reason for the retreat mentality is the salesperson has different expectations than the sales lead.  These expectations may be a quick sale to an easy sale (less decision makers).  However reality in the B2B marketplace runs contradictory to those self-imposed expectations.

  • 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy.   (Source: Marketing Donut)
  • 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy.   (Source: Gleanster Research)
  • Firms with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decision.   (Source: Gartner Group)

Another example of retreat sales mentality surfaces during the selling phase of the sales process.  Far too many salespeople are quick to reduce price to get a sale instead of being able to demonstrate the value of their solution respective to the desired end results for the potential ideal customer.

In sales having a strong and positive mental attitude is a prerequisite for success. Giving up when the first limitation arises only reinforces this sales mentality to retreat instead of to persevere.

I believe the words we use and think are critical to overall sales success as well as success in life.  Maybe the next time you become discouraged, ask yourself are you retreating?  What does it mean to retreat?  Is there another way to win this sale for you as well as for your customer?

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Learn to Focus On What You Can Control in Sales Communication

Funny thing about human behavior is we humans have a tendency to focus on what we cannot control.  This is quite evident in sales communication.

For example, in today’s 24/7 “I want an instantaneous response to my email, my text or my phone call world,”many SMB owners and salespeople fail to communicate what they can control such as:

  • Hours of operation
  • Response time
  • Contact name
  • Location

sales-communication

Just imagine what would happen in the automated email message to an inbound email sales lead might include the following:

Thank you for your inquiry.  We will respond within 24 hours during normal business hours Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm, Saturday, 9-12 Noon, Central Time, USA. Our offices are closed on Sunday and will respond the next business day.

A similar message could be placed in the voice mail as well as when salespeople return calls to sales leads. Also this message could be placed on each page of the website where sales leads can send an web response request. Over sales communication in today’s world is a good thing.

Sales research suggests sales leads via email get cold very quickly, in 15 minutes.  Additional research from Inside Sales.com shows:

  • 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first
  • Follow up on a web sales lead within five (5) minutes increases conversion rate by nine (9) times

Human beings have short (8 seconds) as revealed through research by Microsoft. Currently a goldfish has a longer (9 seconds) attention span than a sales lead. By focusing on what you can control through all sales communication benefits you to overcome the limiting attention span of your sales lead.

Of course there is no guarantee your sales lead will read or hear your message.  However, by focusing on what you can control you have directed your actions in the most efficient and effective manner possible.  Additionally, if the sales lead does become defensive when responses are not returned promptly, this provides an opportunity for the salesperson to build the relationship through knowledge and trust by stating:

“I can appreciate you being concerned that your inquiry did not receive a quick response. As we have recently included hours of operation in all outbound messages, I want to make sure this new response system is working correctly. By chance did you save the automated message?” 

In many instances your sales communication is the first contact your sales lead has with your SMB.  Just make sure that message is clear and focuses on what you can control.  You have no control of what your sales lead thinks, reads or says. voice

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2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Cost with Invest

Buyers are cost driven because the word cost has been in front of them since grade school.  This mindset limits your sales behaviors and your results.  However by replacing the word cost with invest or investment you can redirect and change the tone of the sales conversation.

sales-behaviors

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Sales Coaching Tip:  People hear words, but think in pictures.

Words do matter. Cost has a negative connotation.  People hear or read the word cost and they see money leaving their pocketbooks, their cash flow never to return.

The word invest has a positive connotation.  People hear or read the word invest or investment and they see some money leaving their bank accounts, but with the knowledge some of it will return.

Additionally the word invest creates a greater emotional response.  There is an implied sense of spirituality not in the truly religious sense, but of something positive in the future.

Also when sales behaviors begin to replace the word cost with invest, the salesperson has demonstrated more research and the ability to connect to the value drivers of the sales lead or buyer.  People buy on value unique to them.  Top sales performers know how to discover and then connect to those value drivers.

For example, if selling a solution, the salesperson can demonstrate her solution increases business results by 20%, wouldn’t that have far greater impact on connecting to what the buyer values? Of course, there is a presumption the salesperson has already discovered it is important for the buyer to increase business results.

Our sales behaviors reflect our own personal philosophies, beliefs. I personally believe when we change our words, we can dramatically improve our results especially when we engage in those crucial sales conversations.

You may find these other postings on New Sales Behaviors for 2017 of interest:

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Are These Words Hurting Your Sales Conversations?

Words are powerful. Words can make a break a sale. So what words are hurting your sales conversations?

sales-conversations

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One of the most damaging words is “need.”  This word implies judgement and suggests potential incompetence on the part of the sales lead.  What is even worse most sales training focuses on “needs” and “wants” and reinforces this word within the salesperson.

Sales Coaching Tip: The word “need” fails to be emotionally intelligent.

Then how about the word “think?” Here is another word within most sales conversations that also may be viewed as emotionally unintelligent because it implies judgment.  The salesperson who uses this word may also be viewed as too egotistical as the sales prospect may be saying to himself “Who is this person telling me what to think?”

Now we come to the word “you.”  Again another word that can imply judgement.  These three words, “in your opinion” can be substituted.

“Should” can also be added to the list of words to remove from one’s sales conversations.  Most of us probably remember our parents telling us “you should” do this or do that.  Even back then we had an emotional reaction because it removed our ability to make a choice as discussed within the Theory of Self-Determination.

There are other words that may not be judgmental, but are so overused people are impervious to them.  How many times in the B2B or B2C marketplace we hear this word “help?”  “We help people, blah, blah, blah.” Everybody is helping everybody.  Really? With all the words in the English language, another word cannot be found?

Sales Coaching Tip:  Help is how you do what you do; not what you do.

Then there is this word, “challenge.”  Within the sales process during the fact finding meeting, salespeople are encouraged to discover the challenges being faced by sales lead.  In some instances, this word may create some negative feedback because of overuse or the salesperson sounds like all the other salespeople.

Download this 7-Step-Sales-Process-ADVSYS PDF to better understand the overall sales process.

One word, a slip of the tongue so to speak, can potentially doom any blossoming relationship. This is way integrating the most emotionally engaging words in all sales conversations is essential for sales success.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip #19 – Open Mind

Do you believe you have an open mind?  If you truly desire sustainable sales success, then maybe it is time to open your mind to new ideas.

sales-successOne way to engage in keeping an  open mind is to read at least once sales book or a book about your industry, the marketplace or business in general.  If people buy from people they know and trust, your expertise and knowledge helps to build and reinforce that trust.

Another way is to stay open in  your thoughts is to read a variety of blogs, newsfeeds and engage in LinkedIn Pulse or LinkedIn discussion groups.  These interactive opportunities help to challenge the status quo you maybe currently experiencing even without your conscious knowledge.

Of course, not everything you read, see or hear is agreeable to your own beliefs and knowledge.  That is okay.  By being exposed to contrary views, you can improve how you state your position.

For example, some of my colleagues believe salespeople create value.  I don’t believe that to be true. During the last several years I have read several books, blogs and listen to this sales concept that salespeople create value.  This difference in belief has allowed me to better articulate why I believe this is a false belief.

My sense is salespeople confuse value creation with value connection or value clarity. People buy on value unique to them. (My third sales buying rule.) Sometimes salespeople must bring clarity to the sales lead about what is important to him or her.  Another advantage of an mind is it works with emotional intelligence instead of working against it.

Technology is probably one of the greatest impetus for having an open mind.  For salespeople seeking sales success, finding the best sales technology tools such as a CRM is essential.

One of the quotes I continually remember to continue sustainable success for me is this one by Henry Ford:

“If you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you are right.”

 

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Time to Rethink Our Sales Fears

Sometimes by rethinking what we believe to be true, we can change our results. This is especially true for our sales fears.

sales-fears

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Being in sales is not easy.  Salespeople are confronted with a lot of fears from meeting strangers to going to places uninvited to not earning a sale after weeks of follow-up. They sometimes never know what is behind the doors they walk through.

Yesterday I read something that did not make sense about this word “fear.”  So I looked up the origin of this word and learned the following:

  • The accepted word origin is Old English and where we have the meaning of being frightened
  • The epistemology of the word comes from the Hebrew word, yirah, and this word has numerous meanings including the “anticipation of some danger” to “awe” or “reverence.”

It is this later definition (awe) that when further explored suggests the idea of amazement, astonishment and mystery.

What would happen if we rethought our sales fears using these lenses of amazement, astonishment and mystery?  Would we not be more willing to embrace these fears?

Have you ever held amazement as you listened to a sales lead describe his or her situation?

Have you ever been astonished sometimes as how quickly you earned a sale or closed a sale?

Have you in those quiet times said to yourself at least once “How did I do earn or close that sale?”

Yes our sales fears are truly sales mysteries.

It has been said “When we change how we look at things, the things we look at will change.” (Einstein & Dyer)

By changing the words we use, by rethinking how we define those words, we can change our results especially in sales. No longer will our sales fears stop us, but rather they will propel us forward with intentional internal strength and appreciation.  Suddenly we will experience greater self-confidence to increase sales.

So the next time one of your sales fears rears its ugly head, rethink how you can be amazed or astonished and never forget sales will always be a mystery because people are still unique individuals with their own mysteries.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip #16 – Authentic

One of the most consistent attributes for those wishing to have sustainable sales success is “be authentic.”  Today’s far more educated buyers or decisi9on makers can spot a phony a mile off.

sales-successPart of the problem is the constant stream of poorly designed sales pitches within all sales communications from text, telephone, voice mail to email. Social media continues to foster this tsunami of sales pitches.

To be authentic begins with an individual’s positive core values. What behaviors do you demonstrate 24/7? When I wrote Be the Red Jacket, the second chapter was all about one’s positive core values, business ethics.

Possibly the next step is to be who you are and not someone else.  Sure listen to other sales experts; read books on sales, business and leadership.  Then take those key points and integrate them into your own “being.” One question to ask yourself is “Do I really know my key talents, what I do really well?”

There is only one you.  When we embrace who we are, one of the results is we realize that we have no competitors. Sure there are people who do similar things, but there is only one you who does things the way you do them. Yes you can improve upon who you are, but never lose site of your own uniqueness.

Sustainable sales success is comprised of many beliefs, actions and results. Within this mixture are you experiences, your talents and your commitment to be the best you can be, to be you.

Today being authentic does come with challenges.  Some of those challenges may require you firing a client; turning down a sales lead to telling a client or sales lead the real problem that others have failed to acknowledge or may even have fear of speaking.

Remembering the wisdom of Socrates also helps to achieve and maintain sustainable sales success.  Through the three Socratic filters, you can still be authentic.

  • Is what you say kind?
  • Is what you say truthful?
  • Is what you say necessary?
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Overcoming The Contingency Effect in Sales Meetings

Securing those necessary sales meetings with clients, sales leads and even colleagues is becoming increasingly difficult.  The reason is the “contingency effect.”

sales-meetingsJust as people buy houses on contingency, so it appears buying time to meet on another person’s calendar is also on contingency. People in business are indeed crazy busy.

How many times have you attempted to schedule a meeting and were told “I’m waiting for confirmation from another person. I’ll call you back tomorrow”?  Or possibly you were told “Ill get back to you tomorrow.”  That getting back to you in many instances was probably because your sales lead or customer was waiting to confirm another meeting from someone who was waiting to confirm another meeting.

Prospecting Tip #1

Probably one of the better ways to overcome this obstacle to scheduling sales meetings is to plan at least 3 to 4 weeks out. Even then, meeting are still subject to cancellation because of  emergencies or unforeseen events.

Prospecting Tip #2

Having a full sales funnel is another solution to overcoming the contingency effect. When the sales funnel is brimming, you can then call another sales lead or customer if a cancellation happens.

Prospecting Tip #3

Finally, taking control of your own prospecting and selling schedules by keeping contingency meetings to a minimum also makes sense. When you put off meetings because of the possibility of someone may meet with you only creates the continuation of this phenomenon.

Years ago it was far easier to schedule a meeting in the same week or worse the next week. Today that is no longer the case.  Planning your sales meetings is essential to ensure your prospecting funnel and ultimately sales funnel remains full.

As in any sales obstacle, with proper planning you can limit the negative impact of this obstacle to your goal to increase sales.  All you must do is to think ahead, way ahead.

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Deliver Empathetic Energy Not a Passionate Sales Pitch

Sometimes in sales, people confuse energy with passion.  What ends up happening is the passion sounds like a sales pitch.

sales-pitchWhen salespeople infuse emotional intelligence into their sales conversation, they now are delivering empathetic energy.  Empathy is a measurable talent and can be further developed through emotional intelligence as well as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Low energy does not sell.  Misplaced high energy also does not sell.

What does sell is energy that focuses on the sales lead (prospect) with a underlying caring desire.  President Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

This does not mean the salesperson must be “touchy feely.” What it does mean is to recognize that people buy from people they know and trust.  By demonstrating your knowledge and you are trustworthy, reinforces this first sales buying rule.

Of course you must believe in your solution.  However your belief, your passion must not overwhelm your ideal customer.  This is when your energy is still very visible, but is not viewed as the all too common sales pitch.

Empathetic energy can be quiet and still high.  A smile, a nod, a well placed remark all contribute to this type of sales behavior.  The goal is always to build the relationship while also demonstrating your understanding of the current situation.

Being prepared is another aspect of empathetic energy.  Anticipating what the sales lead may ask and having that document or documents ready again reflects your knowledge and credibility.

Choosing words that reinforce empathy and are not judgmental also reflects this type of energy.  Words such as think, should and especially need all contain a perception of judgment.  The last sales behavior any salesperson should strive for is verbally judging the sales lead.

In your next sales communication experience, listen to yourself.  Possibly to increase sales, you may wish to decrease the sales pitch passion and increase your empathetic energy?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps of people and process that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.

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Write with Care in Your Sales Presentations

Sales presentations can earn the sale or sink it.  These written documents can build trust or erode trust.

sales-presentationFor example, I received the following in a written documentation explaining the real estate brokerage listing fees:  “to pay for advertising,…computer equipment and time…, sales meetings …, print media…”

Since I also provide executive coaching and sales coaching services if I ever delineated in my deliverables I was charging for computer equipment and computer time I would never secure the sale.  There are some costs that are fixed and understood by the buyer.  As another example, I would never include “office rent” as part of my deliverable cost.

In thinking of my past corporate sales management life, I would have love to have charged for sales meetings.  However, that was part of the cost to do business.

My sense is this particular realtor was attempting to be upfront and even transparent. In this world where so many people are attempting to be transparent, this behavior can be counter productive especially in sales.

By listing deliverables that are part of the cost in doing business appears to be more of a rationalization why the fee is what the fee is.  This type of listing in the presented documentation ignores value articulation.

Possibly most people would not be taken back by what is probably somewhat standard language. However with buyers becoming more educated, I believe such wording in sales presentations will be viewed negatively.

The marketplace is changing for many industries including real estate.  Until real estate firms recognize this change and work with it instead of fighting it, they will not have the opportunity for significant sustainable business growth. Right now realtors, media publications, financial advisors and many other service industries are in the red ocean instead of the blue ocean.

Sales presentations are an opportunity to differentiate you, your SMB and your solution.  The last thing you want is to reveal you are like everyone else and worse yet, potentially insult the sales lead.

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