Posts Tagged ‘sales leads’

Improve Your Sales Soft Skills

Soft skills are absolutely necessary and critical to be successful in sales. You can ask all the open ended questions, work through the sales process flawlessly and if you lack the ability to connect with your sales leads, all your efforts will be for naught.

salesMuch of the sales training and sales development including some sales coaching focuses on the technical skills.  However years ago one of my coaches, David Herdlinger, crafted a simple quadrant.

He asked what causes failure?  Is it knowledge (K) and skills (S) or attitudes (A) and habits (H)?

Most agree it is attitudes and habits.  Some call this mindset.

Mindset is supported by soft skills or people skills.

So what skills would you rate and how would you rate them?

During the last 20 years, I have recognized these five skills as critical to sales success. Below is a quick chart for you to assess yourself.  Then determine based upon the results of rating each of these skills, prioritize them to chart your own personal development.

Skill Rate 1 for low; 10 for high Priority
Communication especially active listening
Delegation (follow-up)
Decision Making respective to type of sales leads; sales conversations, etc.
Leadership (including personal accountability, self starting ability, persistence, goal setting/goal achievement)
Time Management

If people buy from people they know and trust, doesn’t it make sense that people skills should be equal in importance to technical sales skills?

For SMB owners and salespeople, marketing is the first step in demonstrating those soft skills.  Peter Drucker believed a business had two basic functions, marketing and innovation. He also contended if marketing is done well, then selling is effortless.

People must buy you first before they can buy your solutions.  My father shared this hierarchy respective to sales obstacles:

  1. You
  2. Your business
  3. Your solution
  4. Your price
  5. Your delivery

If you want less sales objections, make sure your sales leads buy you first. By taking the time to rate your soft skills, might be the next step to moving you closer to sales success.

Consider reaching out to Leanne and schedule a quick phone call by CLICKING HERE.

 

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The Spray and Pray Tsunami of Social Selling

Social selling appears to have taken the spray and pray sales approach to tsunami proportions. Clueless or lazy salespeople now drown people with emails to postings with sales pitches.

These salespeople and probably some are marketing people spray these sales pitches all over the place through social selling and then pray something will eventually stick. The idea of actually knowing your ideal customer, your target market to the sales leads never enters the minds of these individuals.

For example, this morning I received an email from a complete stranger wanting me to sign up for a one day seminar on time management for the unbelievable price of $700.  My early bird price was $445.

Training and Development Coaching Tip:  A one day workshop delivers less than 10% cognitive retention after 14 days.

This person did not know the following:

  • I deliver time management training and development
  • I live in NW AZ no where near Nebraska, Indiana or Texas (these were the locations for the workshops)

The Power of Social Selling

Social selling is a tremendous and powerful platform especially for SMBs.  The investment is nominal and the reach can be exponential. However if done in error, the results can be harmful to the organization’s credibility as well as the person engaged in social selling.

Spraying and praying when it comes to sales is not new.  Salespeople have been doing this for years.  Buy a list, send out direct mail pieces and reap the rewards.  Of course the research suggests if the business receives a 2-3% response that is good.

Then there are those salespeople who at B2B networking events tell everyone their ideal customer is anyone with a pulse.  Messages like this are smaller examples of spray and pray marketing.

If you want to increase sales, gain clarity as to who your ideal customer is.  Knowing about the industry trends as well as the marketplace would also be beneficial.  Taking these small and predetermined steps will move you far close to your goal of increase sales than the continued spray and pray behaviors of others.

P.S. Time management is an oxymoron.  Schedule a time to speak with me by clicking here to learn why.

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Lazy Salespeople and LinkedIn

A colleague, David Brock, made an update posting on LinkedIn  sharing his frustration about people using company profiles wanting to connect with him. Then if he did accept, the next action would be a sales pitch. Beyond being a violation of LinkedIn policy, this action demonstrated how many lazy salespeople still exist. (Note:  Only a person not a company can send a LinkedIn invitation.)

Lazy Salespeople and LinkedIn Invitations

Then there are those template LinkedIn invitations from people.  I have been tracking mine recently and in the last week all 20 plus invitations used the general, template invitation. Not one person took the time to personalize the LinkedIn invitation. Several did send me a sales pitch after the invitation was accepted and I immediately disconnected from them.

Imagine how refreshing it would be to actually receive a personalized LinkedIn invitation.  The invite would educate you, the recipient, as to what prompted the invite.  Then you don’t have to rack your brains or do your research to figure out who in the heck this person is or how in the heck do I know him or her.

LinkedIn Coaching Tip Courtesy of Viveka von Rosen:  If you are using the mobile app, there are 3 little dots on the top right and by clicking on these dots you can see the option to personalize the invitation.

LinkedIn Messages and Sales Pitches

How about those LinkedIn email messages and their sales pitches? Many if not most of these LinkedIn members never truly read the profile of the person they are pitching.  Again, their desire to pitch demonstrates their laziness.

LinkedIn is an excellent social media platform to locate sales leads and then to begin to build a relationship.  Making a sales pitch right out of the gate is beyond ridiculous. This sales strategy and tactic will not increase sales.

LinkedIn Profiles and Lazy Salespeople

Possibly the most obvious laziness is in LinkedIn profiles. Beyond having a headline that looks like all the other headlines for a particular industry, the summary is usually a regurgitation of the person’s resume. Many even lack a professional photography.  The attitude is throw up anything and it will stick while the reality is throw up anything and it will probably suck.

If your goal is to increase sales, then revisit your LinkedIn profile and your marketing strategy. Yes LinkedIn can increase sales and quickly demonstrate to others if you are one of those lazy salespeople.

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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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The Magic Well Not So Magic Increase Sales Formula

Just read another eBook about how to increase sales for executive coaches in just three easy steps. Following these three steps, your executive coaching or sales coaching practice will magically transform itself and you will have riches beyond your wildest expectations.  Really?

business-stratgegy-increase-sales-strategic-planningThis author’s three steps are the three basic steps to increase sales for any business:

Result Focused Solution

Your solution should produce results.  People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

Generate Sales Leads

You must have a process that generates sales leads.  Maybe this is why Peter Drucker said a business has essentially two functions – Marketing and Innovation

Convert Sales Leads

The desired result of lead generation is lead conversion which will increase sales if done correctly. Again referring to Drucker who believed when marketing was done well (lead generation) selling (lead conversion) was  effortless.

Real World Versus Ideal World

So now you know the magic formula, you should have no problem in achieving your goal to increase sales. Of course, the author went into a little greater detail about how to generate leads along with a sales pitch at the end of each chapter to attend his most recent FREE webinar.

Even with those who follow this particular expert’s instructions to the letter, they will still potentially fall short because people buy from people they know and trust.  If you have failed to establish trust through your marketing efforts to your actual sales conversations, then this magic formula will fizzle like a dud firecracker.

Many salespeople especially solo entrepreneurs look for the quick fix to increase sales.  They begin their businesses by skipping the first several steps.  Those few steps involve strategic planning.  The failure to undergo strategic planning results in not knowing:

  • Exactly what to do
  • Exactly when to do it
  • The right things to track
  • How the right things produce the right results
  • How to avoid misdirected actions
  • How to avoid misguided decisions

If you truly want magical results to increase sales, find a magician.  Or you can schedule a free consultation to turn tomorrow’s goals into today’s results by CLICKING HERE.

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The Rush to Sell Is a Rush to …

Nowadays, more so than ever before, there appears to be a rush to sell.  We experience this with unsolicited emails to outreaches within social media challenges especially LinkedIn.

This desire to increase sales is natural because for salespeople increase sales means job security.  The ability to increase sales may also increase the salesperson’s personal wealth.

However, this rush to sell is turning more people off than on. And when one is in sales, turning off potential sales leads, ideal customers to even centers of influence is not a doable marketing or selling strategy.

Why the Rush?

The question to be asked is why is everyone rushing to increase sales?  Is it because of:

  • Sales training?
  • Prospecting training?
  • Sales management?
  • Executive leadership?
  • Social media training?
  • Quick fix mentality?
  • Personal agenda?
  • Ego?

In other words, who is pushing this rush to sell?

The act of selling something to someone is an act of transferring feelings because people buy first on emotion, justified by logic.  Sometimes those feelings are one way, usually held by the seller who wants to make a sale.

Elevating the feelings of the buyer usually takes times because the buyer must know and trust you as the seller.  Developing trust is also time dependent.

Possibly this rush to sell can be directly traced back to some of the questionable sales training as well as prospecting training within the B2B and even B2C marketplace. Bombard people with social media postings, build up your LinkedIn connections to blanket all your contacts with emails and you will increase sales. No all you will do is annoy potential sales leads and centers of influence.

My sense this ongoing rush to sell returns to the quick fix mentality as well as the lack of:

  • Personal goal driven sales plan
  • Personal goal driven marketing plan
  • Personal goal driven self-leadership plan

As you start each day, each week, each month and each year, remember your desire to increase sales must work with your sales leads and not push them away or given them any reason to mistrust you because that rush to sell is a rush to no sales and potentially no job.

CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with Leanne about how to begin to increase sales.

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The Continuing Sales Leads Dilemma – Quantity or Quality

Sales leads are the life blood for any person selling.  For without those potential buyers, there would be no one to sell one’s solutions.  And we all know without sales we remain pocket poor.

With the recent emphasis on social selling, there appears to be a presumption that quantity is now more important than quality.  This belief is put enough sales leads into your sales funnel and eventually gravity will pull at least a few of them through. We can see this belief is real time when we hear this questions being asked:

  • How many followers do you have on the social media networks?
  • How many contacts do you have on LinkedIn?
  • How many social media sites do you actively engage in to reach more potential sales leads?

My personal sales philosophy has always been quality over quantity.  Since I believe sales is 100% first about relationships, developing key authentic relationships is essential for me to increase sales.

Additionally the quantity tactic is more than likely to catch a lot of unqualified sales leads (tire kickers) and it does take time to sort through all those leads. Being a people and process clarity strategist, I cannot afford to waste time sorting through all those tire kickers.

Imagine for a moment if you took all those business cards you have accumulated and started calling three to five people each day.  Then you could begin to sort them based upon some buying criteria including:

  • Decision maker
  • Want or need

Further contacts with each person may allow you to further sort them into:

  • Allocated budget
  • Urgency

Finally between the fourth and 12th contact, you may secure this final buying criteria: Commitment

When you have completed this process, you will probably see your pile of qualified sales leads is much smaller.  Possibly by redefining your sales prospecting process, you could have avoided a lot of those calls and redirected your limited time to quality sales leads instead of quantity ones.

Schedule your time, by CLICKING HERE, to speak with Leanne if you wish to increase sales.

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Just Make Sure Your Email Headline Is Marketing to the Right Sales Leads

Today I received this email headline “You’re breaking my heart.”  First thought was “Great, now I am on a porn or foreign dating service distribution site” and my second thought was “Why didn’t my spam program catch this?”

So curiosity had me open the email given it did not have a virus. The email was from a digital firm marketing their social media analytics product. Wow, I never would have thought.

For me the headline after reading the rest of the message turned me off. My analysis follows each sentence.

Hi, Leanne Analysis: At least this person used my first name, but I didn’t know him or her.

I’ve had trouble getting in touch with you, but wanted to reach out one more time to try to connect. Analysis: Hmm we are both on LinkedIn and since you had my email address you could have reached out to me there or even call me as a quick search will give you my phone number.  The reason for your trouble is your email marketing, pardon the expression, sucks.  I wonder how much you paid for this marketing garbage?

If you are not ready to talk about how (insert product) can make you’re life easier, that’s no problem. Analysis:  No stated facts as to how this product claims to do what it does. Inserting some return on investment might have me somewhat interested.

You can always just watch a quick demo (url link) at your own convenience. Analysis: Why would I waste my time watching a video when I don’t have any motivation to watch it.  This email marketing message has not created any urgency on my part to take action.

Are you free later today to connect? Analysis: Most business people schedules are jammed pack.  Marketing and sales research also suggests Thursday is the best day to call sales leads.Since you have not created any urgency, again why would I want to connect with you.

And if there is someone better I should reach out to, please put us in touch. Analysis:  This shows you have not done your ideal customers and sales leads research.  Very bad.

Each day I could share a really bad email headline or email marketing message.  My advice is to just be careful and do not give your sales leads reasons to increase their sales objections before you even verbally connect with them.

 

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When Your Sales Tank, What Do You Do?

sales-tahkMany tines when sales tank salespeople have a tendency to blame the economy, the marketing department (no sales leads), sales management, competition or even the potential customers? Yet maybe this is the time for inward reflection and realize they have potentially violated the first sales buying rule.

People buy from people they know and trust.

Possibly, your sales leads do not know you and do not trust you.  Yes this is a rather simplistic answer to when your sales tank because the focus is now on the buyer and not you the seller.

Yesterday I received a follow-up call from a webinar I attended. To say the seller was a bit aggressive is an understatement.  Since I did not know her and truly did not know the presenter, I did not trust her.

When I politely told her I was not interested in what she was offering, she said to me “So what is standing in your way?” My response was “You are.  I don’t know you and therefore I don’t trust you.”  This was not a sales objection she had heard before due to her immediate silence.

Attending one webinar that I left after 20 minutes because of the numerous “minnie sales pitches” as well as the ongoing “look at me (self promotion)” comments did not build my knowing of this person and my trusting of this person. In reality, this webinar diminished any potential trust I had for this individual.

Sales Coaching Tip: Self promotion comments do not build trust.

If your sales have tanked, maybe the issue is not your lack of sales skills, but you are rushing the knowing and trusting aspect of the buying process.  Sales research suggests it take five to 12 touches before someone is ready to make a buying decision and that is provided they meet the sales buying criteria so these sales objections are avoided.

Sales as Zig Ziglar stated is “the transference of feelings.” This is the foundation for building a sense of knowing and trusting. Maybe it might be wise to reconsider your own behaviors before you start blaming everything and everyone else for when your sales tank.

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Click to Download This List, Cheap, Bad Marketing

If good marketing is to attract attention and to begin to build positive relationships, then bad marketing is just the opposite.  One very common bad marketing strategy is to build a list such as Top Salespeople and then have others click on the list to download.

bad-marketing

Credit www.gratisography.com

Several of my colleagues were recently recognized as being in the top 100 sales people (I did not make that list). Those who downloaded the list were immediately called or received a generic email.

Jeb Blount, founder of Sales Gravy, identified this as a lead generation campaign to get these top salespeople to share this so called recognition and status award with others so this lead generation tactic would capture more sales leads.

“Pure click bait!” Jeb Blount

Many SMB owners, sales professionals and entrepreneurs invest tremendous time in content marketing and building their own lists.  These lists should be guarded and not randomly shared with lazy SMBs that fail to understand the essence of marketing and look instead to the quick fix solution.

And for heavens if you are going to email someone who downloaded your click bait list then at least use that person’s first name.  To send out generic emails only reaffirms you are 100% into bad marketing.

These individuals who did click to download and left their email addresses will be continually bombarded with additional sales pitches even though they may not be the ideal customer. Each day I receive easily an hundred emails to which I never subscribed.

The use of permission based marketing through double opt in feature is rare these days. Those who are marketing appear to believe as long as I have your email address I can email you my sales pitches.

If you want to increase sales, then engage in good marketing.  This may mean you may actually have to pick up the phone and talk to someone directly.

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People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

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