Posts Tagged ‘Sales Training’

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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Are You Making These Top 5 Missteps in Hiring a New Salesperson?

Hiring a new salesperson can be a never ending story. With the turnover (churn) of salespeople as well as those in sales management, there appears to be some miss steps happening.

Top Misstep #1 – Ignoring the Wisdom of Existing Sales Team

Sales managers fail to ask the rest of the sales team as to what type of salesperson is needed.  Even though the essence of sales has not changed, how to reach new sales leads has changed.  In many instances, the existing salespeople will have a better pulse on what is required than the sales manager unless the sales manager is also in the field prospecting and selling.

Top Misstep #2 – Outdated Job Description

From my experience, the majority (over 50%) of all job description are outdated and irrelevant. Today’s salesperson must know the expectations and be assessed to ensure his or her talents work with not against the current job description.  For example, writing (communication through the written word) has become a critical sales skill due to content marketing.

Check out this talent assessment that is quick and very affordable.

Top Misstep #3 – No Onboarding Including Sales Coaching

No longer can sales managers hire a new salesperson and then throw her or him to the wolves with the “Go Sell” directive without further onboarding.  Sales coaching by an outside sales coach has proven to be quite effective.  Even though some sales managers believe they are sales coaches, this in many instances is a false belief.

Top Misstep #4 – Misalignment with Strategic Goals

Misalignment is a killer when it comes to achieving strategic goals including the always present one of increase sales. Sales does not operate in a vacuum.  With multiple departments strategic initiatives can be easily derailed.

Learn more about leadership and the impact of misalignment through this well written, quick (under 2 hours) and easy read book – Fail-Safe Leadership

Top Misstep#5 – Reactionary Hiring

Given the constant churn of salespeople, many sales managers and SMB owners engage in reactionary hiring. What makes far more sense is to continually scout for potential salespeople.  Met with these potential new hires.  Get to know them.  Then when necessity demands hiring a new salesperson you have a much stronger bench from which to select.

P.S. Did you know the average cost of a new hire exceeds $4,000 without any additional sales training and takes over 40 days to fill that open position?  Schedule a time to talk with me, Leanne Hoagland-Smith, to stop this drain on your profits.

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Are You Missing This in Your Sales Performance Appraisals? Part 1

This morning I read some interesting research from the Gallup organization on performance appraisals.  I believe this research could easily be extended to sales performance appraisals.

“Only 2 in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.”

Regardless if in your sales management role you manage a team of salespeople or just yourself, motivation is essential to moving forward. Unfortunately, very few management training or even sales training programs include motivation beyond possibly Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Human beings have the internal desire to improve otherwise we would still be living in caves and never would have landed on the moon. Yet human motivation still defies many in sales leadership roles because the time to understand it and work with it is not given.

One of the better instruments to better understand what motivates salespeople or any individuals is from the research of Eduard Spranger, a German philosopher and psychologist. His book originally published in German, Lebensformem was into English in 1928 as Types of Men: The Psychology and Ethics of Personality. In his research, Spranger identified six core values he found in every person which he Spranger believed motivated human beings. These six core values were:

  • Aesthetic – form and function
  • Economic – usefulness
  • Political – power and control
  • Social – people
  • Religious – unity
  • Theoretical – truth discovery

Sales performance appraisals should be benchmarks as to not only to revenue growth, but as a means to ensure continued internal motivation.  What would happen if those in sales be they managers or actual salespeople ask themselves the following three questions:

  • How is this organization’s management aligned to the six basic values that motivate people?
  • Do I know what truly motivates me?  (Note If you answered money or believe money is the answer without confirming that motivating value, you may be making a dangerous presumption.)
  • Am I leveraging the motivating values of my team or myself? (Note: If you don’t know what those values are, you probably can’t answer this question with any accuracy.)

Consider this special opportunity to assess not only what motivates you, but your 78 key talents as well as how you communicate.  Learn more by CLICKING HERE on this talent assessment opportunity.

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What Are Your Top Sales Lessons Learned?

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday. As for many people birthdays are a time of reflection.  We think about families, our friends, our experiences and ourselves as we travel back through the years.  What I realized is how many decades I have been involved in sales and all the sales lessons learned over the course of those years.

Probably of all the sales lessons learned, my father’s two sales buying rules come first to mind.  He gave me my first sales job of selling penny candy at his Sundry store.  I then graduates to selling coffee, milk shares, malts and hot dogs. Dad shared these two sales lessons.

#1People buy from people they know and trust.  A lot of people will say know, like and trust.  For Dad, the “like” criterion was “Would I take him or her home for dinner?”

#2People buy first on emotion followed by logic of reason.  Emotions are why we have such a variety of solutions in the marketplace.  No longer can you have any color as long as it is black. (Henry Ford)

I added this third sales buying rule – People buy on value unique to them. Yes I know a lot of sales training and development programs along with sales coaches to sales experts talk and write about salespeople creating value. That is not true.  If I want a red car (emotion) and all you have is a black car, you cannot create any value for me.  What a good salesperson can do is to connect to my other value drivers and he or she may be able to sell me the black car.

Possibly my fourth sales lesson learned is about being 100% authentic.  Authenticity cannot be faked.  People can smell a phony. Anymore their internal senses are tuned to smell unauthentic people.  Here is where active listening and emotional intelligence play a tremendous role

Lesson number five is not everyone will buy from you and that is okay. Knowing your ideal customer increases your ability to sell and proportionally decreases your stress.  Working with people who don’t fit your ideal customer may increase your revenue, but it is truly worth all the grief and aggravation?

President Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are worthless; planning is everything.” His words along with the words of Marcel Proust “The true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes.” complete sales lessons six and seven.

When we fail to plan (think) we engage in what a colleague called Captain Wing It behaviors. Then when we fail to change how we see things, we run the risk of engaging in Einsteins’ quote about insanity to being content with the status quo.

There are many more sales lessons learned and to be learned.  Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

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Going Beyond Sales Obstacles to Increase Sales

Most of us who have attended any sales training or read any sales book have experienced this term: Sales Obstacles.  However I believe now is the time to rethink this term and replace it with this one: Sales Limitations.

The reason for this possibly heretical change is one of truth.  Limitations are far more restrictive than obstacles if the goal is to increase sales.  Obstacles are viewed in many instances as something far more tangible than a limitation. They are top of mind.

Limitations are often ignored, shrugged off or put to the side as minor inconveniences. The SMB owner, sales manager or salesperson look to those big sales obstacles, those roadblocks that are keeping them from sustainable business growth.

Marcel Proust wrote “The true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes.” Maybe it is time to see the sales training and development landscape with new eyes?

Success in sales is far more about subtly than an all out attack.  Through active listening, the salesperson can hear what other salespeople have missed.  What was missed from my experience were the limitations not the obstacles.

Sales limitations in many instances are the small things, the inconsequential things.  However when all those limitations are uncovered, they probably are much larger than the known sales obstacles.

Additionally, sales limitations reflect the overall sales culture.  For example when someone in accounting fails to send the correct invoice, this is not viewed as a sales obstacle.  However it is a sales limitation when the salesperson seeks a second or third sales from the same customer.

Others have made this statement which is really an update of Proust’s words: “When you change how you look at things, the things you look at will change.” I truly believe now is the time to change how we look at sales obstacles.

P.S. Sales prospects have been conditioned to the word “obstacle” or even “what is keeping you from…?”  You then sound like all those other salespeople. However by using the word limiting or limitations you are prodding your sales prospects to think differently and better yet to think differently about you.

Reach out to schedule a short conversation with me if you want to change your sales results.

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The Sales Shortcut Mentality – Is that You?

Have you ever viewed those headlines in emails or advertisements announcing this or that “shortcut” to improved results be it in sales, leadership, business operations, etc.? One of the results of all this messaging is it appears to be fostering a “sales shortcut” mentality.

Most reasonably intelligent business people know down deep inside there are no shortcuts to success.  Yet, people especially salespeople seem to still gravitate to that possibility.

Why?

  • The sales manager is pushing hard to increase sales
  • The salesperson is looking to make her or his sales quota
  • The sales culture makes it difficult (works against the sales team) to increase sales

The sales shortcut mentality also shows up in the recruiting, hiring and onboarding of new salespeople.  Salespeople are added as warm bodies, given a list of businesses and told “Go sell.”  There is no process for onboarding, for ongoing sales training and development and forget about sales coaching or mentoring.

Good to great salespeople use a variety of tools to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.  They understand the sales process and how to leverage that process of marketing, selling and keeping in their daily behaviors.

Some of these tools could be viewed as shortcuts such as Hootsuite where multiple postings can be scheduled over multiple days with a few cut and paste actions. CRMs can also be viewed as a shortcut provided the salesperson or salespeople invested the time to input the required data.  Saving websites,  using folders or creating spreadsheets again are actions that improve sales prospecting.

Yet in spite of all the tools, top sales performers do not embrace a “sales shortcut” mentality. They almost instinctively know such an attitude will not lead to increase sales and ultimately to sales success.

If you are thinking about using or worse yet buying this or that shortcut with the hope to increase sales, I would caution you to rethink your decision.  Ask yourself why?  Remember the first buying rule in sales, “People buy from people they know and trust.” There is no sales shortcut to building trust.

 

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Where to Begin to Increase Sales, Your Next Step

Most sales managers to salespeople want to increase sales.  More sales equals more money and far less stress.

Yet to consistently achieve this ongoing sales goal requires a commitment to a process. After taking that initial first step to assess, then this provides a foundation for the next step – Clarify.

If you missed the first step, read this posting Where to Begin to Increase Sales.

Unfortunately again many in sales jump into the third step of execution.  These folks are observed in almost a Captain Wing It mode, spraying their actions all over the place and then praying something will stick.

Clarify is a verb and from this verb, the end result is clarity.

  • How long is my sales cycle?
  • When can I expect to earn a sales?
  • Who should are my best potential customers (think ideal customers)?
  • What is happening in my marketplace, industry and local to world economies?
  • How can I leverage my talents (from the internal assessment) to increase sales?
  • Why are potential customers interested in even considering my solution (products or services)?
  • Where do I find additional resources such as knowledge, sales training, mentors or even sales coaches?

Each of these questions are a result of the previously taken internal and external assessments. Yes there are many, many more.

When salespeople clarify, they also subsequently begin to prioritize what needs to be done first, second, third and so on.  Setting and working through a proven goal setting process also happens in this second step.

Some people will ask what does clarifying have to do with goal setting?  My response is everything.  Even though most people are hot wired toward goal setting, they fail to emotionally clarify why achieving the goal is so important to them.  This emotionalization process looks to both the positive and negative emotions regarding success or failure to achieve the desired goal.

Tomorrow the third step to increase sales, though not the final step will be discussed – Execution.

 

 

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Seeking a Question to Boost Your Negotiations and Sales Results?

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just one question that could boost your negotiations and sales results? No longer would you have to remember all those other opened ended sales questions that have you so focused on remembering what to say next, you lose sight of the desired end result – successfully negotiating or closing the sale.

sales-resultsIn a conversation with one of my colleagues, Viveka von Rosen, she shared how this article, Women Make 87 Cents on the Dollar! Seriously? at LinkedIn was creating a plethora of private messages from women seeking a negotiation specialist. Many of these women recognized they were not as successful as they thought they could be in negotiating and closing sales.

Nearly 20 years ago I learned one powerful question that has continued to increase my negotiations and sales results.   I wish I could say it was my creation, but is wasn’t. My continued thanks to Tammy Kohl who is now President of Resource Associates Corp for sharing this simple question.

The reason this question is so powerful is in its simplicity as well as how it subtly changes the dynamics of the sales conversation.   Additionally, this question is quite emotionally intelligent in that it is incredibly authentic by being sensitive to the sales prospect’s thinking process.

This question does presume you have asked the right questions up to this point.  The question also presumes you have done your research and your questions showcase you as the Red Jacket not all the other gray suits who have asked those common open ended sales questions that potentially reveal their sales training program.

Of course, there is one behavior that must accompany this question or the question will fall flat on its face and leave you pocket poor.

Can you be silent? 

I mean can you remain totally silent for 5, 10 to even 20 minutes after you ask the question because the next person to talk must be your sales prospect.  Silence in this instance is very green.

So the question to boost your negotiations and sales results is simply:

Where do we go from here?

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Finally a Sales Expert Took Zig Ziglar To Heart

Years ago I read the following definition for sales by Zig Ziglar: “Sales is the transference of feelings.”  As someone who consistently writes about the impact of emotions in sales, I was so glad to read one sales expert who took the time to write a book about how to transfer those feelings through emotional intelligence.

sales-expertJeb Blount’s new book, Sales EQ, should be immediately ordered, read and committed to memory.  Blount has provided those in sales with a road map to understanding how to use what Ziglar recognized so many years ago.

Emotional intelligence is the missing key within most sales training programs.  The inability to apply EQ might help to explain why 50% of salespeople miss quota.

Just this past week I wrote about how certain words such as “need” should be eliminated from the vocabulary of salespeople.  The use of need in a sales conversation reflects emotional intelligence or the lack there of.

As a noted sales expert, Blount provides many more tips and strategies in a well written and well crafted book.  Even though the book is to help with complex sales, this book will help the SMB salespeople  to earn more sales because people buy first on emotion justified by logic. (Sales Buying Rule #1)

The application of emotional intelligence works with any sales process and must begin within the first phase of attracting attention otherwise known as marketing.  For those in sales who resist the word marketing, then call it prospecting.

Still, an elite group of top 1 percent of sales professionals are crushing it. These Ultra-High Performers are acutely aware that the emotional experience of buying from them is far more important than products, prices, features, and solutions.  As Jeb Blount wrote in another book, People Buy You.

As someone who is considered by some to be a sales expert, I look forward to your thoughts about Sales EQ. Please share your thoughts here or post them on your social media site.

 

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Need, a Word to Be Banished from Your Content Marketing and Sales Conversations

Just this morning in my news feed, I read a content marketing and sales headline “These are the skills you need to have.” The following thoughts quickly surfaced in my mind:

marketing and sales

  • Really, I need to have these skills of (leadership, sales, management, etc.)?
  • What if I don’t have these skills?
  • Will I be less successful without these skills?

The word “need” is filled with judgment and is probably one of the least emotionally intelligent words people in sales and marketing use on a daily basis. One can’t blame salespeople after all they are trained to “uncover wants and needs” in most sales training programs.

Return to a moment n your childhood and think about your parents or an adult telling you any of the following:

  • You need to go to bed
  • You need to make straight As
  • You need to go to college
  • You need to find a good job
  • You need to visit your relatives
  • You need… (the you need list is endless)

Every time I read about “you need” to do this or have this when it comes to SMB, sales, marketing to leadership, I inwardly cringe.  For the last 10 years, I have attempted to remove this word, “need,” from my own executive coaching engagements, content marketing and sales conversations.  I also encourage my clients to replace this highly emotional word with other phrases such as “Have you considered?”

Emotional intelligence is critical to successful marketing and sales.  Jeb Blount founder of Sales Gravy is releasing on March 20, 2017 a book, Sales EQ: How Ultra High Performers Leverage Sales Specific Emotional Intelligence to Close the Complex Deal, dedicated to emotional intelligence specific to sales and one I recommend purchasing.

Of course changing an existing behavior is not easy. And for time strapped marketing and sales people having to speak a few extra words may prove frustrating. My advice is just remember how you emotionally felt years ago when you were told “you need” to do whatever.  That memory should be enough to prompt you to change your behavior.

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