Posts Tagged ‘sales lead’

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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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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12 Is a Costly Number to Every Sales Leader

Do you waste 12 minutes a day as you are conducting your daily sales activities?  Be honest.  If you are honest with yourself, the time wasted each day probably exceeds just 12 minutes.  Ongoing workplace time use and workforce productivity research suggests employees continue to waste a lot of time.

What is all that wasted time costing your ability to increase sales?  Maybe you are thinking, it’s just 12 minutes a day, not much.

By doing some simple math, 12 minutes a day equals 1 hour a week and this translates into 52 hours per year or over a solid week of productivity.  Now that the picture is much bigger, what is that costing you?

If you are a sales leader and value your time, then you should be worth at least $100 an hour or $5,200 annually given all that expertise.  Even if you believe you are only worth $50 an hour that still adds up to $2,600 each year. If you know how much time it takes to close a sale, then do that math.  How many more sales could you achieve in 52 hours?

What can you do as a sales leader for yourself to reinvest those lost minutes into productive ones? Here are some simple strategies from which you can take action:

  1. Eliminate unnecessary conversations and time wasters including social media. Be intentional in all your actions.
  2. Review your sales goals daily, weekly and monthly.
  3. Set a schedule and review your schedule daily. Use a CRM tool as you review your activities.
  4. Use agendas for meetings with your sales management or other colleagues. Without agendas, meeting time becomes a lot of lost minutes.  Do not allow any new items that come from the discussion. Table them for the next meeting.  Keep personal issues out of the meeting. This one strategy helped one of my clients consistently increase revenue by 20-25% annually.
  5. Model as a sales leader the desired behavior. Respect the time of your colleagues and your customers. For example, let your sales prospect know that you only want 30 minutes of his or her time.
  6. Align your time to your sales goals. If you goal is to secure one new sales lead from your regular chamber to civic meetings, then make sure you achieve that goal.  Do not waste time visiting with people that you know. You must first be accountable before you expect others to be accountable.
  7. Have a  sales action plan. As a sales leader, you should be an overall Strategic Business Growth Action Plan© reinforced with Marketing, Sales, Customer Loyalty, Management, Innovation and Financial sub plans. Stop the praying and spraying mentality and behaviors that are time wasters.
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The 12 Days of Increase Sales Leadership Questions – Day 2

Desiring to increase sales leadership truly begins with asking internal questions regarding your own beliefs and behaviors. This next question follows the first increase sales leadership question asked on 12/4/2017:

How do you know you are doing something differently? 

Hint to answer this question is “What are the results?”

By recognizing the importance of the results keeps you from this all too common sales leadership behavior:

Confusing motion with progress and activity with results.

With change and life happening at record speeds, it is quite easy to get caught up with all the craziness busyness sales activities and lose sight of what behaviors have actually made a difference.

What behaviors have moved us forward instead of us just treading water, thinking we are making progress?

Since so many in sales miss their annual sales goals, the inability to know whether they are truly doing something differently to change the status quo is extremely important. They think they have made progress when they look at their calendar, can recite how many sales meeting they have had and yet they are almost creating their own delusional state of mind where complacency has created a false sense of achievement.

Knowing the results and more importantly what activities create those results is essential to increase sales leadership outcomes.  Today, there are many apps than can assist in keeping salespeople on track.

Years ago my father created his own paper application where he gave himself the following daily points:

  • 1 Point for each new sales lead
  • 2 Points for setting an appointment
  • 3 Points for having the actual meeting
  • 4 Points for earning the sale (closed sale)

He would not give himself duplicate points for the same sales lead respective to having an actual meeting unless it was truly an actual meeting where the sale was moving forward such as meeting with another decision maker. Dad understood how salespeople can get lost in a plethora of meetings and fool themselves thinking they were moving the sale forward.

Then at the end of the week, he would add up his points.  Over time he established a baseline to know how many points were required to earn a sale. This baseline did fluctuate depending upon the time of year as his product was either replacement or new application which might required new budgeting.

These two question and the next 10 increase sales leadership questions are about creating self awareness so that you will achieve your 2018 sales goals as well as not have all that stress associated with missing those sales goals.

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In Sales Conversations The Fine Line Between Inspiration and Intimidation

Most salespeople truly believe in their sales solutions especially entrepreneurs and single office/home office small business owners. They want their sales conversations to be full of inspiration and yet sometimes just the opposite happens.

We have all heard about pushy salespeople.  These are the folks who make their sales pitches within a few moments after shaking your hand.  I am not talking about those salespeople.

What I am talking about is the salespeople who so firmly believe in their solutions, their sales conversations are full of passion that comes from the heart. Sure they want to close the sale, to earn the business, but first and foremost they want their prospects to share their passion to have that “V8 moment” so to speak.

Salespeople full of inspiration realize it takes more than one contact.  They will make numerous efforts to reach out to their sales leads or prospects and to share their “inspirational” sales solutions.

For some sales prospects, eventually they lose the feeling of inspiration and it is replaced with intimidation.  They don’t want to hurt the feelings of the salesperson, but the constant focus on the sales solution turns them off.  The mistake made by the inspiring salesperson is one also shared by those other pushy salespeople – failure to listen and observe.

Recently I observed an inspired SOHO entrepreneur who was attempting to sell his solution to another individual.  The “sales lead” was polite. His body language told me he was being polite.  However, he had been turned off by the sales conversation quite earlier. Yet the salesperson failed to pick up these non-verbal clues and continued with what he thought to be an inspirational sales solution.

The passion that inspires salespeople to have those sales conversations can easily intimidate especially if the salesperson is not actively listening and observing the non-verbal behavior of the sales prospect.  Top sales performers understand how easily it is to cross the fine line between inspiration and intimidation.

The DISC tool helps to better understand sales conversations behaviors.  To learn more click here to take advantage of this special Labor Day offer by

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How to Increase Sales with this Question Framework

Most sales people want to increase sales.  This is why open ended questions are so popular.  Yet there is a  question framework that when executed flawlessly can accomplish this professional and organizational goal.

Homework Required

However before asking this specific question, the salesperson must do his or her homework.  Knowledge about the sales lead and the organization is essential.  Possibly this is why more than three contacts are necessary to convert the sales lead into a customer.

Homework begins with gleaming information from sales conversations with the prospect.  This basic information could be annual sales, number of employees to the demographics of organization.

Then further time must be devoted to learning and understanding the psychographics behind the buying decision.  This information focuses on the motivation to buy such as a personal promotion to even more personal information such as overall temperament and attitudes.

The Framing of This Sales Question

So when the salesperson is ready to give her or his sales presentation, she or he now can insert this question between statements from past due diligence.

“From what you have shared with me, 50% of your current sales team has failed to achieve sales quotas. You have also shared your sales cycle time is six months and the average sales is (insert figure).  If you could convert 10% of that 50% to achieve sales quotes, then that impact would be (insert calculation of dollar impact).  By increasing your sales by 20%, our solution can quickly demonstrate a (insert percentage) return on investment within six months.”

By using this sales question framework, the salesperson can begin with the end in mind to increase his or her own sales results.

  • What does the sales lead want?
  • What is the impact of that want?
  • What is an acceptable time frame?
  • How can the solution generate a positive return on investment?

The If, Then Sales Question can increase sales provided it is embedded between these two statements.

Want to schedule a time to speak with Leanne, then CLICK HERE.

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The “Everyone Wants” Sales Mistake

Have you ever heard or made a similar statement “everyone wants” fill in the blank?  This statement is repeated in many sales presentations or just general sales conversations.  However using this statement may create you a sales mistake.

When blanket statement such as “everyone wants” or “everyone knows” are used, there often is a negative, emotional subconscious if not conscious reaction such as:

  • No, I don’t want
  • No, I am not like everyone else
  • No, I don’t know

With every sales lead or prospect, there is an opportunity in making a sales mistake because each of those new sales leads are unique individuals with unique experiences. In sales, one size does not fit all.

Recently I had a conversation with someone who took offense during a meeting when another person said “everyone wants quality.” This individual emotionally felt insulted because he did not want what the other person stated.

During our brief conversation, I restated what I had heard and asked him “If for the same dollars, your desire for safety excellence could be maintained while improving overall quality would you be agreeable?”  His response was “Yes.”

Read this sales coaching post about the importance of feelings in sales and marketing.

This sales mistake often happens during times of contention.  The person selling an idea, a solution attempts to secure agreement with “everyone wants.”  Unfortunately with people’s emotional receptors already subconsciously turned to the negative dial, this attempt at agreement fails miserably.

Possibly the reason for this sales mistake is much of the sales training truly looks to “asking proven questions” or “demonstrating proven sales techniques.”  Securing agreement is one of those proven sales techniques. In years gone by, this was called “mini-closes.” The caveat to the success of this sales technique resides in how the technique is employed.

Words do matter and many a sale mistake has been the direct result of selecting the wrong words.  This is why speaking less is far better than speaking more.

P.S. If you wish to discuss how sales coaching can increase your sales results in the next 2 months, schedule a FREE strategy coaching session by clicking here.

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I Have 13,000 LinkedIn Connections Now Justifies Bad Marketing

Bad marketing is rampant on LinkedIn. Yesterday after accepting a second degree connection, I received a message to read his article and get on the pre-order list for his book.  My response was:

So you reached out to me to make a sales pitch? Not the best use of LinkedIn. I will be disconnecting from you. Possibly next time attempt to establish a more personal relationship before the sales pitch.

He then said “The article is free.”  I responded “But the pre-order is not.” His comeback response once again reflected he is clueless about marketing:

Correct. I have over 13,000 connections. I have been forced to compress the “establishment of personal relationships” somewhat. No offense was intended.

Hmm, “forced to compress the establishment of personal relationships, somewhat.”  Double speak and makes sense since he teaches at the college level.

Real world translation is:

“I don’t have time for you to get to know and trust me. Just pre-order my book because I have 13,000 contacts.”

Personally I don’t care if this individual or anyone else has over 13,000 or 50,000 LinkedIn connections.  Plain and simple this type of email marketing is bad marketing.

Unfortunately social media has only worsened the problem of bad marketing.  People fail first to have a sales process and second fail to walk through that sales process without skipping steps. They believe they can send a sales pitch without developing any personal relationship.

The first phase of any sales process is marketing.  Here is where you as the salesperson get to know the sales lead and hopefully the sales lead is qualified.

If you are fortunate you are invited for a face to face meeting or even a phone call.  Now you are entering the second phase of the sales process – selling.

By listening and asking the “right questions,” you further learn the sales lead’s situation and may discover not only wants and needs, but more importantly what this potential ideal customer values.  Then you can connect your solution to his value drivers.

If you wish to increase sales, stop with the bad marketing (sales pitches), stop with justifying bad marketing and look to build real, authentic, personal relationships.

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Too Many Impersonal Sales Questions May Limit Your Sales Results

Funny thing about humans beings, we back off from personal questions and yet we want people to know us.  Many sales questions are logical, impersonal and just may unintentionally limit or restrict sales results.

If sales is the transference of feelings (Zig Ziglar) and I believe this is true, then results driven salespeople have the capacity to frame impersonal questions into personal ones without violating the sales prospect’s personal space. Training and then developing this capacity is missing in many sales training programs and even with some sales coaching solutions.

For example, there are still sales training programs asking this couched prospecting sales question:

What keeps you up at night?

The desired end result of this question is to find the “pain” of the sales lead.  Yet, there are a plethora of different sales questions that can deliver far better results and better yet differentiate you from all those other numskulls.

Imagine asking this question:

If you could wave a magic wand, what would the three things you would like to see different in your business (substitute with your people, your process, your sales, your results)?

Asking proactive questions that fringe on being impersonal without being too personal can deliver the facts you are seeking to present your case.

There are other questions, but if I gave them all to you, why would you continue to read this blog or even reach out to speak with me?

Sales is still very simple, though not necessarily easy.  The level of difficulty increases with more complex sales that require more decision makers.  For most SMB owners and sales professionals, they probably do not engage in complex sales with the frequency of much larger firms with 100 or more employees.

People buy from people they know and trust.  Your sales questions must showcase you are knowledgeable and trustworthy.  Sounding like all the other salespeople with their antiquated and too personal questions will not increase sales.

Schedule a time to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith by CLICKING HERE.

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Uncovering Buying Criteria Takes Times

Wouldn’t it be great if all your sales leads had the following buying criteria checklist somewhere on their bodies?

  • Decision maker
  • Want or need
  • Allocated budget
  • Urgency
  • Commitment

Boy you could really increase sales by focusing on those sales leads that had all five.  Yet reality is each criterion is probably uncovered as the buyer-seller relationship develops unless of course the sales lead shared all five with you during the first sales conversation.

Since most buying decisions happen between the fourth and 12th contact, then during the first three to four contacts is probably when the first three buying criteria surface.  As the sales conversations continue, you as the salesperson can sense or develop a further sense of urgency to take action.  Possibly you may actually spur the sales lead to become more committed as you continue to develop the case to take action.

When salespeople rush the sales process (marketing, selling and keeping), they also may trip over or ignore these five buying criteria.  Sales leads in many instances will not share information with people they don’t know or trust.  Getting to know you and to trust you as a person takes time.

What is so sad is much of the sales training or sales coaching hype looks to the quick fix and ignores these fundamentals that have been true for decades. 

Download this Free:

Buying-Criteria-Check-List

Sometimes in sales as well as in life, we fail to take the small steps. Remember we learn to walk first before we learn to run. When we invest the time to walk by following the sales process, we can learn to avoid tire kickers and those not in a position to buy.  This doesn’t mean that at sometime in the future they cannot become buyers, but at this moment in time they are not ready to buy.

Want to speak with Leanne?  Click HERE to schedule your 30 minute telephone call.

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