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Sales Managers – 4 Things Your Young SalesPeople Need to be Successful

 

sales managers millennial salespeople success

This post on Millennial success was originally published on Nov 8, 2016  and updated on Feb 26, 2019.

4 Items Sales Managers Should Include in their Coaching Sessions

Worldwide, the population group called Millennials is just over 75M people in the US; that’s larger than the number of Baby Boomers. But for us sales managers, the employment numbers are more interesting. According to MarketWatch, the most recent numbers in 2017, tell us about 56M Millennials were either working or looking for a job. That beats out 53M GenXers, and 41M Baby Boomers. Continue reading

Sales Training Exercise – A Technique to Focus Your Sales Questions

focus sales questions

In a previous post, we talked about who the subject of your sales questions should be. But most salespeople believe the questioning process is for them. When they ask questions, they become the center of the questioning process, not the prospect.

How many times have you entered into a diagnostic session where the central thoughts in your mind were something like:

  1. I have to ask some sales questions. Let’s get this thing over with.
  2. I have to ask questions to impress the prospect
  3. What do I have to ask to close this deal or move the sale forward

Most of the time, when we start asking sales questions, our attention is almost always focused on us and not on the prospect. In most cases, it’s probably the last conversation you had with your sales manager who told you ‘how much we really need this deal.’

Here’s a tip. If you write down the goals of your questioning session, you are more likely to achieve them. For example, if your goal is to discover information about their operating environment to install technical equipment, put that at the top of your notepad and make that the focus of your attention.

In all of my experiences with salespeople, those who write down the target outcomes of their sessions and take notes during the sessions outperform those salespeople who wing it.

Sales Training Exercise – Focus your Sales Questions by Removing Distractions

So here’s your exercise. In addition to your notepad, get yourself a small spiral bound notebook to serve as a worry notebook.

When you’re preparing for your diagnostic session, write in your notepad the general items you want to focus on – your prospect, their company, their environment. These items will be the focus of your sales questions during your diagnostic session.

Now, before you step into the meeting with your prospect, ideally before you get out of the car, write down in your worry notebook the items that are grabbing your attention. Things like:

  1. The conversation with your sales manager telling you they need this deal.
  2. You session with your physician who said your blood pressure was too high.
  3. Your car payment
  4. Shots for the family pet

Anything of a personal nature that you think needs addressing goes into the worry notebook. Then, put that worry notebook in the glove box of your car and give yourself permission to forget about those issues for the next hour. Don’t worry. They will be there when you get back. But for the next hour during your diagnostic session with your prospect, they are in your worry notebook, leaving you free to focus on your prospect.

Remember, selling is an away game. It takes place in the mind of the prospect. That’s exactly where you need to be, in their mind, seeing the world as they see it. And you can’t do that if you are paying attention to your problems.

 

Want additional insights in creating effective sales questions?

Want to know if your knowledge of the sales process puts you in the field of play?

Take our online sales evaluation here  and quickly assess how your knowledge and skills stack up in the industry.

Make Your Sales Presentation Pop with Evidence

sales presentation evidence

Once the salesperson has diagnosed the problem correctly, they need to present the right prescription in such a way that it persuades the buyer to see value in the solution or opportunity. As salespeople, we need to gain the high ground in order to overcome doubt quickly and effectively.

And what inherently overcomes doubt? Evidence!

Check this out this sales example and discover what’s revealed in the process. Continue reading

Sales Training Exercise – Building Powerful Sales Testimonials

sales testimonials thumbs up

One thing you have to remember when you’re standing in front of your prospect is that they perceive everything you say as suspect. After all, you are the salesperson. You’re supposed to say good things about your product or service. That’s why we coach our clients to answer one of the critical questions in their prospects’ minds – who says so besides you. Sales testimonials will do that for you.

Here’s a tip: If you make a claim about your product or service, your prospect will have doubts. If someone else make a claim about your product or service, your prospect sees the claim as more credible.

When we performed sales in our call center days, I encouraged my sales team to gather testimonials from their customers at every opportunity and to get those clients to print out the testimonial on their letterhead. My team then assembled those sales testimonials into a 3-ring binder. This became a tool for every salesperson when they went to a prospect and performed their solution presentation. The client then had physical evidence that someone else, a peer in their industry, was backing the sales team in their efforts.

This concept isn’t new.  In car sales, sales managers have been posting pictures of happy, satisfied customers standing next to their new vehicle for years. Letters of recommendation are a variation of this principle. And if you attend any webinar that is selling a service online, you’ll notice the speaker trots out several sales testimonials from happy, satisfied clients before they make their closing statement. The latest hype with online reviewers like Yelp is simply the digital incarnation of this principle.

Sales Training Exercise – Sales Testimonials Exercise

Here’s your assignment this week. Contact 10 of your best customers and simply talk to them.

Ask them:

  1. Why they bought your product or service
  2. Why they decided to do business with you
  3. How your product is currently performing
  4. If they’re satisfied with their purchase
  5. How the product or service has impacted their lives professionally and personally

You want to know everything about how your product or service has changed their situation.

There are three reasons for this:

  1. First, you need a reason to reconnect with your customers. Many salespeople don’t call their old customers back until they’re ready to sell them something new. While that may be a reason to call, it certainly won’t make your customer feel good about the interaction.
  2. Second, your customers need to remember why they did business with you. They need to reconnect with how you were a problem solver and how your product changed their lives.
  3. Lastly, ask them to write a testimonial for you. This testimonial will highlight everything you just asked them: the challenge they faced before your offering, how their situation changed after your offering, and the impact it’s had on them personally.

These sales testimonials are a powerful form of evidence that you can use to support your sales process. Now you have a response to the question that’s in your prospect’s head, “who says so besides you.” And it gives you more credibility when advancing your sales process.

 

Are you currently using evidence in your sales process? Want to know if your knowledge of the sales process puts you in the game?  Take our online sales evaluation here  and determine if your sales process gives you an unfair advantage over your competition!

 

LinkedIn Ain’t Selling – Insights Into Social Selling

linkedin and social selling

This post on social selling was originally published on Nov 17, 2016  and updated on Feb 13, 2019.

I often get asked to give a talk on the power of social media and how that works in the profession of sales. There’s still a lot of buzz around the topic of social selling and it makes sense with more professionals using platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter for business. But make no mistake, social media is not a substitute for strong sales skills and processes. Continue reading

Sales Training Exercise – Build a Sales Starter that Grabs Attention

use a sales starter and seize your contact's attention
In an earlier post, I cited an example where Jessica had unsuccessfully tried a few times to engage a prospect during her sales opening. Yet when she asked a question that cut to the heart of her contact’s problem, Jessica’s sales starter got her contact’s attention. And it earned her a meeting!

Here’s a tip: the more generic your sales starter, the less engaged your contact will be and the less effective your sales opening will be.

Instead, make your sales opening specific to the contact and to their business or industry. Jessica was successful when she created her opening to address her contact’s challenges down to a personal and career impacting level.To make that happen, Jessica had to do some research on her contact. She had to know something about her contact’s business, and the challenges her contact faced on a regular basis.

Mind you, these aren’t cold contacts. These are people in companies where you think you have a decent shot at driving some business. These are people who have already raised their hand and have in some way indicated that they are in the market for what you are selling. So take a little time to do some discovery work on these people.

Sales Training Exercise – Sales Starter Assignment

Here’s your assignment for the week. During your lunch break today, write down the top five industries that you serve. Then, for each industry, write down five companies that you are looking to break into or are looking to upsell.

Then, when you are back in the office, write down three contacts that are in a position to make a decision for each of the companies you have listed. Now, for each of those three contacts, write down:

  1. Their name
  2. A compliment on one of their accomplishments
  3. A startling statement or statistic about their industry that ties into the solution you provide

The information here is easy enough to find on Linkedin, your CRM, and their social media streams and blog posts. You don’t have to go overboard and discover every detail about their lives. But you do have to show them that you are seriously interested in their business.

Now, you have some options in creating your sales starter before you perform that follow-up call. And your sales starter will be more effective at grabbing your prospect’s attention because it leverages an issue, concern, or idea that already has their attention.

Remember, no one cares how much you know unless they know how much you care. So, do like Jessica. Use a sales starter that shows your prospect immediately that you have their best interest at heart. Your sales opening will seize your prospect’s attention every time.

 

Are you ready to take the quiz?

Want to know if your sales process puts you in the field of play and not on the sidelines?

Take our online sales evaluation here  and quickly assess how your knowledge and skills stack up in the industry.

The Prospect’s Buying Process – Leverage Powerful Insights

buying process gaining insights into your prospects thinking

The Specific Interest Statement in the Buying Process

To make the right diagnosis, the salesperson must align their sales process to the prospect’s buying process. The salesperson accomplishes this by making interim summaries throughout the process. For example: “Based on what you’re saying, you’re looking to address your number one or number two interest, and that’s going to address your motivation.”

This is where the salesperson makes a Specific Interest Statement. They can apply the product or service to the prospect’s needs and appeal to both the prospect’s logical and emotional reasons for buying. Continue reading

Sales Training Exercise – Resolving Common Sales Objections

sales objections sales training exercise

In a previous post, I gave an example where I coached a member of my sales team on how to resolve common sales objections at the start of the sales process before the prospect brought it up.

Here’s a tip: If you review your past sales calls and you find you’ve repeatedly addressed a particular class of sales objections, don’t become a prisoner of hope. Don’t run through your sales process *hoping* your prospect won’t bring up that particular objection.

Instead, create a general response to those objections and offer it as a solution at the start of your sales process. In the past post, time was a big issue when we sold training. I turned it around by transforming the time spent in training into time invested in personal and team improvement, a win for the company as well as the individual.

Sales Training Exercise – Sales Objections Assignment

So, here’s your assignment. Sit down at the end of today and review your calls from the previous week. Identify and write down all of the objections you faced. Keep a tab of your most popular sales objections; i.e. the ones you encounter multiple times throughout the week.

Next, create a solution, or solutions, to address those sales objections, and create a general response based on those solutions.

Then, when you deliver your presentation, lead off with your solution to address the problem before they bring it up. You’ll reduce your sales cycle time and your prospects will perceive you as a forward-thinking business consultant.

Want additional insights on your effectiveness in moving the sale forward? Want to know if your knowledge of the sales process puts you in the field of play?  Take our online sales evaluation here  and quickly assess how your knowledge and skills stack up in the industry.

The Secret to Influence in Sales – Making Your Ideas Their Ideas

sales influence how to make your ideas their ideas

In a previous post, I spoke about empathy and sympathy and how it’s better to be sympathetic to the client’s situation vs being empathetic and joining them in the situation. Let’s delve a little deeper into that and see how we can use this to influence the sale process. Continue reading

Buying Motives – Rocket Fuel for Your Sales Process

buying motives are rocket fuel for your sales process

Before we jump into buying motives, let’s revisit our doctor’s office analogy for a quick update.

When a doctor starts asking questions to diagnose the situation, the questions he or she asks are simple at first. They are based on their own general historical experience and their own historical knowledge of you. For example, “What’s your age? When was the last time you went to the doctor? How do you feel right now?”

The questions get more complicated as they proceed. Then he or she weighs your answers to figure out what problem or problems might need fixing. Then, based on their expertise, they can arrive at a proper diagnosis. Continue reading