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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

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Are You Aligned and Have Agreement for Sales Success

  
  
  
  

alignment resized 600

As many of you know, S.M.A.R.T. Goals are a foundation of success for any individual or organization. I define S.M.A.R.T as:

  • Specific – I will make $100,000
  • Measurable – I will measure every month how much I have made and also measure the activities needed to make the money
  • ALIGNED/AGREED – I am ALIGNED and AGREEMENT with others who are critical to my success
  • Realistic – it is an achievable goal
  • Timed – I will make the $100,000 by the end of 2014

I was with a client this week that understood this and demonstrates the importance of the ALIGNMENT/AGREED step, which is the most difficult and most important.

My client is a very successful high tech company who is #3 in their market, but whose growth has been stagnant for the last 6 quarters. Recently, they dramatically realigned their entire sales organization, from the inside out. Many people’s responsbibilities were changed, or minimized, and they had grave concerns. They were distracted and demotivated.

The people who are in front of the customer and make the most money are the outside people. The people who make the least (they are still well paid) and touch the customer least are the inside sales people. HOWEVER, the key to the outside teams success is the leads the inside team can qualify and generate.

So what did my client and I do? We started with training the inside people and we ALIGNED/GAINED AGREEMENT that there role was critical. My client shared the executive level view and insights with the team, and allowed them to question and challenge them.

They were aligned and had agreement from top to bottom, from executive to salesperson and most of the concern and distraction were removed.

We then were able to develop and train them on the new skills and knowledge they needed to be successful as individuals and as a company.

Moral to the story: spend more time than you are, or think you need to, in order to make sure people understand and agree to (as much as possible) the changes and direction you are taking.

Don’t think if it is said, or just because you say it, will make it happen.

Customer Focus - Who Gives a Sh-t About Digital Phones

  
  
  
  

statue of liberty

I was sitting in the office of Chris Karadimis, who was pretty high up the IT food chain of Chase Manhattan Bank. We were also sitting very high up in the WTC, looking over the water and Statue of Liberty. It was exquisite.

I was trying to sell RoLM CBX’s and digital phones into Chase and he said to me “Jon who gives a shit about digital phones”. Handle that objection.

At the time it happened, I thought it was because he was such a political animal that he couldn’t be bothered by such trivial details (the digital phones and PBX really were better) but maybe it was more. Perhaps the aesthetics of the situation were more interesting to him at the moment. Maybe his interests were much greater than phones, as they should be.

I know this guy scared me because he was so good politically and I felt very insecure and tense meeting him. I don't know if I would have been different if  I was feeling more confident.

But what I do know is that I was one dimensional and that was not good. It didn't allow me to sense or feel where he was or what he wanted at the moment I was with him.

And if I could have related to him better, he might have been more receptive and open to me, or maybe not.

So the moral to this story is:

  • go in with an agenda but be receptive to something totally different
  • “read” the mood or place the other person is in
  • don't take yourself so seriously
  • remember nobody is better or worse or superior to you. We are all human beings trying to do our best
  • and there are usually, if not always more important things going on than what you are selling
  • meditate more often so you are in that space naturally

There Is More than Just Selling

  
  
  
  

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I never wanted to be a salesperson. In fact it was the last thing I wanted to do or be. I remember consciously thinking that in high school. But there I was, and here I am. And I was, and am very good at it. And since I didn't know what else to do or be, and not being confident enough or able to just sit with not knowing, I went for it.

 I still do it to and make a good living at it, but it is the teaching I love.

 But even that is becoming less fulfilling.

 Why?

Because I am more interested in something else, and that is Myself, my own mental and spiritual health. My untapped side, my hurt side, the sides I have ignored my whole life, by surviving, largely in part to being good at selling myself through life. Through my formal education, my job interviews, my relations, etc.

So am I going to give up selling?

 No, I have come to love selling and understand how important it is. But I am going to try and integrate my own personal development and selling, because I feel what I do and teach can be much more valuable.

I know sales strategy, tactics and skills are essential. Like anything you want to be great at, you have to master these to become a master at it.

But I want to elevate sales, for myself and those I teach, to a more meaningful level. One where who we are as individuals permeates our sales approach, touches people differently and truly creates a difference. 

Not only a difference where we sell more, but where our interactions touch people in a way that matters much more than just selling and buying.

Sounds heavy. I don't like that it sounds that way. But it is where I want to bring my life’s energy. Been wanting to do it for 40 years so it is about time.

Let’s see how it goes. Hope you come along with me.

The 3's of Selling More

  
  
  
  

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The Rule of 3 according to Wikipedia is: a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. (citation needed).

The reader or audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. From slogans ("Go, fight, win!") to films, many things are structured in threes. Examples include The Three StoogesThree Musketeers and others.

Here are some 3’s for selling:

  1. focus on 3 verticals, applications or a mix of and don't waste your time elsewhere
  2. always try to give 3 benefits or reasons someone should do what you are asking
  3. have a minimum of 3:1 ratio of pipeline to target/quota
  4. 3 isn't a crowd – bring others to big meetings with you
  5. if you have 3 minutes, make a prospecting call or follow up those you have already made
  6. saving 3 minutes a day gives you another hour a week to prospect – imagine 30 minutes a day
  7. meditate for 3 minutes in between appointments or before a big presentation. You will be much clearer and present
  8. count to 3 before handling an objection
  9. take 3 deep breaths and exhale slowly to relax in a tense environment
  10. take 3 email breaks a day so you can do something more productive
  11. don't sit on stool unless it has at least 3 legs
  12. on average, if you have 3 meetings a day (for all stages of a sales process) you will make more money than other salespeople
  13. choose the 3 people (personal, boss, peer) who will hold you accountable for what you said you will do wen you created your S.M.A.R.T. Goals
  14. solutions should consist of at least 3 elements – product benefits, something about your company (history, philosophy, finances, etc) and services
  15. always be at an appt at least 3 minutes early if not 5 or 10 (too early is too eager)
  16. you can give a prospect 3 options to choose from, good- better- best. Either way they buy from you
  17. your company’s or own marketing should consist of 3’s like the example on top
  18. a great team can beat 3 superstars
What other 3's do you have?

Top 10 Things People in Sales Worry About

  
  
  
  

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I am in the throes of a white paper discussing, and addressing the "Top 10 Things Salespeople and Managers Worry About" inside and outside of work.

Here is my list. I would love your thoughts and what additions you might make to this list.

  1. Dealing with Pressure
  2. Making Quota
  3. Differentiating Themselves and Their Offer
  4. Work/Life Balance
  5. Making Money
  6. Being Noticed
  7. Dealing with Rampant Change
  8. Doing More with Less Resource
  9. Job Security
  10. Getting to the Decision Maker

What do you think? What would you add to this list? Email me at JLondon@ipgtraining.com.

Thinking is Overrated for Salespeople

  
  
  
  

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Thinking is Overrated

If you think about it (pun intended) we think WAY TOO MUCH. We use our thinking brain for almost everything. That is like the old adage of thinking every problem is a like a nail, so the only tool we need is a hammer (or something like that).

 What we don't use enough, or at all, is awareness or mindfulness, which in many instances is more important and relevant than thinking. Or at a minimum should be as present as thinking is. How can we define thinking vs. awareness? A simple comparison is:

 “Thinking” is when your mind creates thoughts about the situation you are in which are almost always based on past experiences, preconceived notions and our preferences around that situation.

 “Awareness” is being in the present moment with as little or few filters as possible, including thoughts. It is a more direct interaction with what is happening since you are experiencing it more directly. It is like having someone tell you about an experience vs experiencing it yourself.

 Awareness or mindfulness is as important, if not more so than thinking. Why:

  • thinking doesn’t allow us to see situations as clearly as possible since they are always filtered by the past and what we want or don't want
  • thinking limits us to the limits of our knowledge, experience and intelligence
  • thinking is one dimensional (the brain thinking) where awareness or mindfulness can be multi-dimensional

So, lets apply this to some basic sales situations:

  • you meet somebody with a preconceived notion so you ask and hear things based on that vs. what a person is actually saying or experiencing
  • With an overdependence on thinking, or “thinking on your feet” (which is an important skill) you may not be seeing or hearing things that are being said non-verbally (feelings, reactions, etc.)
  • You are thinking one or two steps ahead, anticipating what might happen (again an important skill) vs. what actually is happening and reacting to that, or worse, not seeing or hearing what is actually being said because your brain has taken you somewhere else
  • You are trying to “figure out” where an objection is coming from vs. being present and aware and tuning in to a person’s feelings around what is being said, which is much more important than the words

I hope you can see the importance of being more aware when you sell or being aware and thinking are better together.

Let me know what you think. And/or, if you agree spread the word by tweeting or facebooking, linking this in, carrier pidgeon, smoke signals, etc. You know, the basics.

Thanks.

Is Big Data Bad for Salespeople

  
  
  
  

big data

For the longest time, my theory of evolution in our life and society have been analogous to the evolution of the computer industry:

  1. We started by having 1 computer that took up several football fields, did very little and only the privileged few (the aristocracy you might say) had access to the power. The rest of us were the in the fiefdom.
  2. That became the mainframe that IBM ultimately dominated, but again, only the privileged few had access to the power.
  3. Then came the minicomputers (Prime, DEC) and more people (lets say the heads of state or, territory or area) had access to the power
  4. Then came the PC and laptop computer and all of a sudden individuals had access to the power
  5. And of course we now have our mobile devices which are faster than the original PC’s, and give us access to ………..
  6. THE INTERNET, WEB, APP’S, SAAS, VIDEO CONTENT, FACEBOOK, BIG DATA, ETC so ANYONE AND EVERYONE CAN GET WHATEVER THEY WANT, WHEN THEY WANT IT. WE ARE ALL KINGS AND ARISTOCRACY NOW.

And it is making us less inclined to consider the other, since we feel we don't need them anymore. After all, if I CAN GET WHAT I WANT AND WHEN I WANT IT, without having to deal with people, or salespeople, why should I?

 But, here is the problem. It is misleading, an illusion. People still have the need to be connected (see Facebook), still need the personal relationship, even though they are being conditioned and feel like they don’t. “For example, Big Data” is meant to be broken down into it’s most minute, measurable element which just obscures the fact that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” and that we are all in this together.

So what does this mean for us as salespeople:

  1. Reach out and touch someone, reach out and just say hi. Don't fool yourself or be misled
  2. Go visit somebody in person
  3. Be sensitive to people’s DiSC style, emotions, etc that affect how they buy
  4. Relate to people as people, not objects or invaluable objects, especially if you are the benefactor of many leads
  5. When you are with a prospect or customer, don't just ask about their technical and/or project needs but see if you can find out what it means to them personally.
  6. Be honest, genuine, kind, generous, caring and people will respond to you.

What are your thoughts? Please let me know.

Jonathan David London

 

 

 

Sell More By Getting Past The "I" You Are Selling To

  
  
  
  

buddha with headset

For the longest time, my theory of evolution in our life and society have been analogous to the evolution of the computer industry:

  1. We started by having one computer that took up several football fields, did very little and only the privileged few (the aristocracy, the kings you might say) had access to the power. The rest of us were the in the fiefdom.
  2. That became the mainframe that IBM ultimately dominated, but again, only the privileged few had access to the power.
  3. Then came the minicomputers (Prime, DEC) and more people (lets say the heads of state or, territory or area) had access to the power
  4. Then came the PC and laptop computer and all of a sudden individuals had access to the power
  5. And of course we now have our mobile devices which are faster than the original PC’s, and give us access to ………..
  6. THE INTERNET, WEB, APP’S, SAAS, VIDEO CONTENT, FACEBOOK, BIG DATA, ETC so ANYONE AND EVERYONE CAN GET WHATEVER THEY WANT, WHEN THEY WANT IT. WE ARE ALL KINGS AND ARISTOCRACY NOW.

And it is making us less inclined to consider the other, since we feel we don't need them anymore. After all, if I CAN GET WHAT I WANT AND WHEN I WANT IT, without having to deal with people, or salespeople, why should I?

 But, here is the problem. It is misleading, an illusion. People still have the need to be connected (see Facebook), still need the personal relationship, even though they are being conditioned and feel like they don’t. “For example, Big Data” is meant to be broken down into it’s most minute, measurable element which just obscures the fact that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” and that we are all in this together.

 So what does this mean for us as salespeople:

  1. Reach out and touch someone, reach out and just say hi. Don't fool yourself or be misled
  2. Go visit somebody in person
  3. Be sensitive to people’s DiSC style, emotions, etc that affect how they buy
  4. Relate to people as people, not objects or invaluable objects, especially if you are the benefactor of many leads
  5. When you are with a prospect or customer, don't just ask about their technical and/or project needs but see if you can find out what it means to them personally.
  6. Be honest, genuine, kind, generous, caring and people will respond to you.

What are your thoughts? Please let me know.

 

Jonathan

Sell More by Opening Your Heart

  
  
  
  

open my heart resized 600

While listening to a webinar today by Dan Pink, best selling author of “To Sell is Human” he mentioned that one of the qualities we need to engage more is to be of service to others.

 It was kismet in that earlier in the day, I was walking to an appointment with a client and the phrase “open my heart” came to mind. Not sure why. I know I really want to help this gentleman. He is starting his own business, is a nice guy, earnest, hard working and struggling a little. This was our last scheduled meeting for me to coach him so I wanted to do as much as I could for him.

 Open my heart. God does that sound nauseating, even to, or especially to me, but it is in the vain of what I am doing personally and think I can help others with as well.

So what does it mean and how does it relate to selling. Several interpretations of an open heart include:

 “that the ultimate goal of opening our hearts and minds is so that people can experience the openness, wisdom, and warmth that is the essence of our being”

“it means being more compassionate”

“it means being less worried so you can be more present and listen”

It is obvious that these qualities will help you help your customers and have them be more open, responsive and trusting  of you. It also helps “leave our ego outside” so we can do the same.

BTW, my meeting with my customer went 30 minutes longer, was the best meeting of many great meetings we had, AND I have several more opportunities because of it.

Let me know what you think.

Dealing with Anxiety to Get Better Sales Results

  
  
  
  

 

Anxiety

 Yesterday while I was volunteering at a food pantry I got an email that a client had decided to use my coaching services. I was taken by surprise since I wasn't in a business frame of mind, but nonetheless very happy and, being the pro-active person I am, I responded by saying so and giving him some days and times for us to speak.

Without getting into the details of how email messages can be misunderstood, or not written properly (my bad) we went back and forth several times.

I started to worry about his being concerned working with me when our email interaction was not as tight as it should have been. On my way to meet my brother for dinner, my worry became anxiety, a feeling my meditation is helping me deal with more effectively, but I struggled with it this time. My mind had a hard time letting go. I tried:

  • A logical approach
  • A so-what approach
  • An ignore it approach
  • A get involved in what I am doing approach
  • but none of it worked.

 So I decided to do something very basic and simple. I took a few minutes to get centered by concentrating on my breathing. After that, I brought to mind the situation and the anxiety I was feeling, and in this more relaxed place I watched and observed my reaction vs. being controlled by it.

 I ended up calling vs. emailing and telling him this call was the official message of time and date to meet. I also sent him an invite. End of story the meet is on, and probably would have been regardless, but I am focusing on anxiety and I felt much less anxious.

 Other observations:

  • I was less harsh to myself and more accepting that it wasn't as bad as I was making it, and if it didn't happen, “I would survive “.
  • I caused the anxiety by “rushing” into my additional response. No need to even when excited about the situation.
  • Worry and anxiety are OK in healthy proportions but if they bring upset , than something is amiss.
  • Maybe by taking a few breaths to calm yourself and get some perspective, you will see more clearly, feel less anxious and get better results.

 What do you think? What do you do to prevent or relieve worry and anxiety? Thanks.

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