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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

Salespeople, Is Discounting Bad?

Posted on Wed, Apr 24, 2013

 

Is Discount Bad?


 

In a recent poll I did on LinkedIn, approximately 80% of the people who responded said that discounting was a necessary part of the sales process (although 14% said they felt bad about doing it).

I did the poll because of some dialog I had in one of my LinkedIn Groups about discounting where most of the input seemed to me to be very intellectual and not really grounded. That is not to say there weren’t great insights and comments made about how to show value, differentiate yourself, use ROI properly and more. But most of the input was implying that discounting was a bad practice and bad salesmanship.

I don't want anyone to think that discounting should always be done, no matter the circumstances.
1.    If business can be won without doing so, go for it.
2.    If you can do all the right things in a sales situation and avoid discounting, do so.
3.    If you can add value vs. discount, go for it. 
4.    If discounting sets a bad precedent for future business, than avoid it.

What got me though was the dogma of never discounting.

So why do people discount or feel it is OK to do so?  Because:

1.    the prospect is expecting it because of the competitive nature of the business
2.    the company a salesperson works for expects it to close business
3.    revenue is the key element vs. profit
4.    it meets a salesperson’s individual needs or goals
5.    it is part of an overall margin and profit plan and the margin comes from elsewhere
6.    there is plenty of margin built into a product and it is an intentional part of the sales   process
7.    it is a way of gaining market share and getting margins from other items
8.    to make up or thank a customer for their loyalty
9.    it allows you to be more productive by potentially shortening sales cycles or only applying to companies that are appealing or unappealing geographically
10.    you are offering a new service or a new product (look at all the stuff you can get for free on the internet. If that isn’t "discounting," what is it?

I would love to know your thoughts about discounting.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, Sales Process, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, LinkedIn, b2b Sales

Salespeople, Automating Your Customer Interactions without Automation

Posted on Mon, Jan 14, 2013

Without Automation Fotolia 42642452 XS resized 600

Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, etc. all automate the process of interacting with a prospect or customer from the beginning to the end of the sales process.

But what if you can’t afford any of these services, or for whatever reason you are not using them.  What if you are a small company or even a sales person working on your own?

The most important thing you can do is to understand the SOE (sequence of events) that increases your close ratio.

Sales Time Line

Bring to mind a deal you are working on or have won in the past that you would like to repeat as often as possible.  Do you recall what steps you took with the prospect during their buying process?

It is important to know that the more you can get a customer to do with you the more likely it is you will get the sale since they have committed a lot to you. They will want to recoup their investment of time, energy and sometimes even money.

 

Customer's Decision Process

Here are some ideas of things you can do during the sales process:

  • Have a reference call the prospect
  • Send some information or a white paper if you have one
  • Use Google Alerts or other source to keep track of what is happening with the client or their industry and use that to stay in touch
  • Have them visit your office or set up a time for entertainment
  • Use LinkedIn or others to see where you have common connections and let the person know
  • If you know their personal interests or hobbies, send info about these.

If you can identify the tactics that work best, you can put them into your process and just remind yourself with Outlook or some other tool to remind you what to send and when to send it. It will have the same impact as the more sophisticated solutions available in the market.

Let me know if you have any suggestions, need help or want to talk about it.

Tags: Prospecting, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Process, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, LinkedIn, Closing, technology enabled selling, Google Alert, Outlook, Buying Process

Salespeople, 22 Tips for 2014 -- Another New Year!

Posted on Wed, Jan 02, 2013

 Salespeople, 22 Tips for 2013 -- Another New Year!

If you haven’t started already, now or even this week is a good time to start planning for 2014. Here are some of the ways to do it and questions to ask yourself:

 

  1. Do I know where my success came from last year? What did I do to make things happen and be a successful salesperson?
  2. Do I know where I want to put my efforts into this year? Are they the same as last year or different?  Have I created smart goals for myself?
  3. Which of my offerings has real advantages that I should take advantage of?
  4. Are there particular vertical markets or segments that I want to focus on?
  5. What people, sales technology and resources will I surround myself with so I can get help when I need it?
  6. What will I:
    1. Continue doing or do more of that is working
    2. Stop doing that is in the way of my success
    3. Start doing that is needed because of market conditions or opportunities
  7. Who at work or home do I need to help me stay disciplined enough to the things that are most important?
  8. What have I been putting off that needs to be done?
  9. Have I targeted the accounts I want to sell?
  10. Do I know the one or two that would really put me over the top?
  11. Am I using social media, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. to keep me in touch with the people and events that are critical to my success?
  12. Am I using free services like Google Alerts to do the same?
  13. What support mechanisms do I have to keep balanced?
  14. What is my quick start program so I have a great quarter and make the rest of the year a “little” easier?
  15. Are my manager and I on the same page so he/she supports me vs. interferes?
  16. Can you tell yourself what you are or are not willing to do so you are happy and successful?
  17. Can you identify what motivates you, or like most about your job so you can spend as much time and do it as often as possible?
  18. If your compensation plan is here, do you know how you will make the most money from it?
  19. Do you know your offering inside and out so you can present it in more ways, with more effect than your competition or co-workers?
  20. Can you be more organized and/or effective by being more focused and wasting less time in a day?
  21. Can you identify the 3 or 4 most important priorities for your success?
  22. Can you create an image for yourself of what short and long term success looks and feels like to keep yourself motivated, positive?

     

    Please let me know if you would like to talk or I can help in any way. I wish you the best, healthiest, most fulfilling 2014.

    Tags: Sales Skills, S.M.A.R.T. goals and priorities, Prospecting, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, Sales Process, Sales Effectiveness, LinkedIn, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Coaching, Sales Cycles, technology enabled selling, Sales Productivity, b2bSales

    Salespeople, Ask "What Do You Know About Our Company"?

    Posted on Wed, Oct 17, 2012

    What Do You Know About Our Company?

    What do You Know About…

    I used to hate when salespeople would ask this at the beginning of a sales call. I used to yell at them for doing so. I thought all it could do was minimize you and lead the customer to say things like “I never heard of you” or “very little.” If they knew about you, then you didn't need to ask.

    But now, because I am such an open-minded person smiley face, I am always looking to learn and improve; and studies are showing most prospects are checking you out before you even meet I think this could be a very important question to ask.

    Why, you say?  Because:

    • more than ever people are researching you and your company before they even meet you
    • they are using this information to decide if they even want to meet
    • they are developing a pre-conceived notion of you and your company
    • if they are a High “C” DiSC style they probably know more about you and your company than even you do.

    So, you:

    • want to understand where they are coming from
    • where they are getting their information from
    • how they will continue during their decision process to use and get more info

    For those of you who have been fortunate enough to take my class or read my books (my mother would be so proud), the best way to do this is in the “S” or the “N” of the S.PRI.N.G.™  Dialogue.  Here are some examples of how you might ask:

    1. What do you know about my company (you would say your actual company name)?
    2. I was curious about what you know about my company?
    3. I was curious about what you know about my company and how you attained this information?
    4. A lot of my customers have done some research online before we met. Did you do so as well? What resources did you use? What did you find out? Anything in particular catch your attention?
    5. How will this information influence your decision or decision criteria?
    6. Besides yourself, or, who assisted you in doing this research?

    You will notice I said “you” and your company. That is right. They are checking you out to see what kind of person or business person you are. So:

    • watch what you say or post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Phinkit, etc.
    • make sure your personal LinkedIn and Facebook business pages are full of great information about you, with lots of written recommendations
    • if you have a blog, let people know about it and make it interesting.

    I know you probably won’t, but I always want to ask you to share your thoughts or best practices. It helps everyone and makes me feel like somebody out there is paying attention.

    Tags: Sales Skills, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Effectiveness, LinkedIn, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, DiSC Styles, Negotiations, Presentating

    Social Media and Sales Opportunities

    Posted on Thu, Jul 12, 2012

    Social media and Sales


    I am on a panel at Selling Power 2.0 on Monday, July 23rd and the conversation is all about social media and selling. It is common knowledge at this point that people are going online to help with their purchasing decisions, BUT, I don't think salespeople have made the transition to truly understand how their prospects are doing so.

    I think our questions regarding a prospect’s decision process and criteria needs to start including social media questions:
    1.    Do you use social media to help in your decision process (if they look at you like a deer in the headlights you don't need to ask any of the following questions)?
    2.    How did you use social media, LinkedIn, forums or the internet up to this point in your decision?
    3.    How will you be using it from this point till your final decision?
    4.    How much weight do you give to the information online?
    5.    Where do you go?
    6.    Is there anyone or any site in particular you really respect and influences you?
    7.    Have you read…? (plant seed)
    8.    Have you been to our or my blog or site?
    9.    Is there anybody in the decision process who is enamored with or believes this is a critical part of the process?
    10.    How does this compare with actual references that I will give you?

    Once you have the answer to these questions, and if the deal is large enough, you or your marketing organization can start monitoring or contributing to these sites, blogs, forums, etc. This would be particularly important when you are working a large deal that takes a longer time and has large lags between key events of steps in a process.  Email Me, OR:

    Click me  

    Tags: Prospecting, Social Media, technology enabled selling, Sales Process, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Advice, Sales Effectiveness, Sales Training, Blogs, Forums, LinkedIn