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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

Keeping Your Cool During Sales Negotiations

Posted on Mon, Feb 03, 2014

Buddha

I am involved in a fairly emotional, complicated, expensive sales negotiation with several (8 others) intelligent and very successful people. These people are all over the world so we have to do this over the phone (otherwise I would always do this in person).

The issues are starting to become contentious, and for those of you who know me, or have seen me, you know I can get emotional/angry at times :-)

 I did not want to have my anger get the best of me so I thought of some simple techniques (keep phone on mute, write things down, count to 10 , etc) so I could present myself in a mild, objective manner and be heard, vs. having them react and shutdown.

 As some of you know, I have been meditating quite regularly for the last 6 months and have been wanting to integrate this more into my sales approach. So I meditated a few minutes before the call, but more importantly I said the following to myself so help me be calm:

 First I said:

 May I be Safe

May I Be Happy

May I be Strong

May I be free from suffering and the roots of suffering

May I be filled with loving kindness and compassion

 

Then I said (imaging the people on the call):

 May YOU be Safe

May YOU Be Happy

May YOU be Strong

May YOU be free from suffering and the roots of suffering

May YOU be filled with loving kindness and compassion

 

Can’t tell you that this is the only reason the call went so well, but it did.

 

Let me know if you want to know more?

Tags: Sales Advice, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Objection Handling, Negotiations

Sales Tips - 7 Items vs Discounting and Negotiation Timing

Posted on Tue, Sep 17, 2013

describe the image

Most opportunities have a price sensitivity and also a time sensitivity. Too often the assumption is that the discount (if you are giving one) has to be offered immediately which is never good for the salesperson. It implies a willingness to do so and to do more of it.

A better way of dealing with this issue is to:

  • understand when a decision is going to be made so you don't offer something too early to the prospect
  • understand what the prospect is trying to achieve with your offer
  • in turn, know what has more value than a discount to a prospect and offer them these things instead
  • some of the categories these other items of value might be are:
    1. services
    2. time
    3. additional capabilities
    4. guarantees
    5. set-up
    6. upgrades
    7. flexibility in payment terms

 The other thing to remember is you don't have to give them anything or give them a discount right away. If they are truly interested, you can take your time (being conscious of their decision time frame) whether is an hour, a few hours or a few days before getting back to them.

You should also get their commitment that if you do give them what they are looking for that they will buy from you. It doesn't mean they will say yes, but you should ask anyway.

Tags: Sales Skills, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, b2b Sales, Negotiations, b2b Sales, b2bSales

Salespeople, 19 Tips to Close Larger Deals

Posted on Tue, Dec 11, 2012


19 Tips To Close Larger Deals
1.    Assign an executive sponsor as early as possible.
2.    Increase Face to Face time.
3.    If the deal crosses territories or oceans, salespeople must share in the wealth and work with others.
4.    Get contracts done and issues resolved ahead of time. Use contract as part of close.
5.    Know their decision process and the people involved so you don't have to chase or guess.
6.    If you must, use discounting wisely. Keep something in your back pocket.
7.    Use your management and pre/post sales support team early and often.
8.    Know your negotiation strategy so the deal doesn't get delayed.
9.    Start where you are stronger. Go to your strengths to win more.
10.  Don't chase bad business just because it is big.
11.  Bigger deals take longer. Don’t get distracted with the little stuff.
12.  Discuss and strategize your deals with another person or persons.
       They might be sitting right next to you, be experiencing the same thing and have great insights.
13.  Check LinkedIn, Facebook, Phinkit or any source for connections.
       These connections might be able to coach you or influence the buyer.
14.   Develop a coach ASAP if it is a big deal.
15.   If you are smaller than your competitors, show your depth by having more people involved in the deal.
16.   Create a no lose policy for certain strategic key accounts.
17.   If you are in a very advantageous position, push the close ASAP.
       The longer the deal goes on, the more bad things can happen.
18.   Resources and frequency on client interaction needs to increase.
19.   If it is very competitive have a tie breaker to help the customer decide in your favor.

If you have more tips you have used from deals you have closed or your team has closed, please do share your thoughts.


 

 

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Process, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Closing, Coaching, Presenting, Negotiations, Sales Productivity, sales management

Salespeople, 20 To Do's To Close More Business By Year End

Posted on Tue, Nov 27, 2012

21 To Do's To Close More Business By Year End

 

  1. Upsell the deals you are going to close anyway.
  2. Offer something of value to get more from them.
  3. Call good customers and ask them if they have money they need to spend before the year end.
  4. Call all your prospects and ask them what can get in the way of the order being issued before end of year and work with them to prevent it from happening.
  5. Use your executives to call executives to get access or a deeper understand of the deal and what can be done to close it.
  6. Renew renewable contracts where everyone benefits (longer term, lower rate).
  7. Ask for favors of your best customers. They often comply.
  8. If you want to, you can make a year end offer to people who will be buying in January, but if you do, make it very clear it is a year end deal.
  9. Create a limited offer (only 10 available) to create some groundswell of interest.
  10. This may seem obvious, but try to get it in before 12/23/12. After that it will get even more difficult.
  11. Beg (only kidding).
  12. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.
  13. Create a compelling ROI for buying now vs. later (if you haven’t already done so).
  14. If your proposals have a termination date on them (which they should) remind your customer of the date. You will either get the deal or know where you stand.
  15. Invite them to a social event and casually, or not so casually, ask for the order.
  16. Have somebody else call your prospect that knows them well to find out what is going on.
  17. If you have some personal or company money to donate to charity, and if they are comfortable getting you the order by the end of the year, tell them you will donate money in their name.
  18.  Aggregate the buying volume of different areas in a company you are selling to and tell them they will both get xyx (remember xyz has high value to them and may not cost you or your company anything) if they order before the end of the year.
  19. Tell them you will buy them my latest book “Using Technology to Sell” if they give you the order this year. Just Kidding
  20. Vow to yourself that in 2013 you will work harder, prospect more and close enough business so you don't have to do any of the things mentioned above (unless you want to).

Let me know of any other ideas you have or have used.

Tags: Sales Skills, Prospecting, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Closing, Presenting, Negotiations

Salespeople, You Asked the Question...So Now What?

Posted on Wed, Oct 24, 2012

Asking questions

My last blog advised salespeople to ask questions about what a prospect knows about them and their company in order to understand what perceptions and misperceptions they might have.

My son-in-law, Josh who I love dearly and couldn't be happier about marrying my daughter has a very exacting eye, and asked me “what do salespeople do with this information once they have it?”  I guess he expected the answer to be in the same blog. I told him that the answer was in the next blog, this blog.  So here is what you do with this information --I really had no intention to do this but I can’t look bad in front of my son-in-law:

  1. You or your company needs to start inserting your own thoughts and opinions into the areas that the prospect is using for research
  2. Fix your own personal info if it is detrimental
  3. Advise your company to start doing Step 1
  4. Address their concerns and support your strengths when presenting your solution
  5. Qualify that they are open to you addressing any negative information they have
  6. Send a dead fish wrapped in paper or a horses head to the people saying bad things about you (ONLY KIDDING)!
  7. Search for terms and see if they are more pervasive.

Are You Soft, Medium or Hard

Salespeople and sales organizations are like boiled eggs, they come in soft, medium or hard in relation to their understanding an opportunity and the questions they ask.

Here are some hard boiled questions:

  1. Do you know what gets in the way of bigger deals?
  2. Does the customer know how to buy your solutions?
  3. Do they have the authority to buy at that dollar level?
  4. Can you get some skin in the game so they can’t walk away?
  5. Do you know what the steps, process and people are from the time you give them a proposal to getting an order or PO?
  6. What can prevent this deal from happening?
  7. What is your make up deal if this fails?
  8. How do we turn your obvious enthusiasm into an order?
  9. How often do you come here? Ask Sales Questions
  10. Is there a precedent for buying something that isn’t budgeted?
  11. Want to see my sketches ? Ask Sales Questions
  12. Who gains or looses the most if you do this?
  13. What are the political or administrative obstacles you have to navigate?
  14. Are we starting too big – should we start smaller?

I hope this helps.  What are some of the best questions you ask?  Respond below, so all can see, learn and add to!

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, Sales Process, b2b Sales, Sales Effectiveness, Closing, Presenting, Negotiations

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

If Sales Were an Olympic Event: The Selling Decathlon

Posted on Thu, Aug 02, 2012

business hurdle

I think for the next Summer Olympics we should consider a sales decathlon instead of ballroom dancing. It can be an individual and team sport. Here is how I envision it:

You could create a decathlon that extends for weeks, where the skills people (individually or in a relay) would compete for in the following categories:
1.    Time Management
  • How quickly can salesthletes manage the decathlon while handling 200 emails a day, blogging, tweeting and creating proposals.  They will also have to do many of these while running a 10K  and pole-vaulting.

2.    Territory  and Opportunity Management

  • Which team knows where their sweetspot is and can navigate a territory and its detours, which could be online or actual traffic detours. You would also have to throw a javelin or use a bow and arrow to hit the center of your target.  Participants will need to strategize by entering black holes where all light and information is removed from an opportunity (kind of like a customer not calling back) and navigate their way out of the black hole and back on track.

3.  Business Acumen

  • Salespeople will run along a similar path as runners or bikers and at different stages will be given questions to answer by different business people.  If they get it correct, they run to the next station and hand off the next question to be answered.  If they drop the question or get it wrong, they have to wait X seconds to get it right or ask another teammate.  This will be a series of 100 meter dashes.

4.    DiSC and Getting Along with Prospects

  • Each team will be stopped by an official who represents a different DiSC style. They will have to engage in a physical event with them (lifting, pulling or throwing something) and determine which DiSC style they are by how the official interacts with them.

5.    Prospecting and Gaining Access to Power

  • While running, they will have to text, email or call a prospect and get a meeting using relevant, compelling messaging and social media. They can use an “official Olympic” tablet or smartphone.  Sponsors will go crazy for this event.

6.    Qualifying and S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue

  • A dexterity and strength test will be given where they have to punch a wall mounted device that will reveal if they have asked the right question in the right way in the right order.  Asking or punching things incorrectly brings a penalty, where doing so correctly, makes the physical task of punching easier. They can also use different size discus instead of punching.

7.    Presenting Your Solution

  • While juggling several things (pins, balls, oranges) they have to relate their solution to a specific circumstance. They will also have to long jump to engage the judges. To test their dexterity, judges will also be able to throw objects at them which they have to dodge while presenting. The best team will advance to the next round.

8.    Objection Handling

  • If the object thrown hits the salesthlete, they have to address the objection in a way that the judge puts down other items they are preparing to throw at the participant. Or they have to jump over specific hurdles after they address the objection.

9.    Closing

  • A salesthlete needs to turn or lift a very heavy object to close the deal. This could be a lifting weights or a steel shutter to show their strength.

10.    Negotiations

  • The lead salesthlete needs to work with his or her other teammates to persuade the judges that the offer/terms they have made will be accepted. This will be done via a Greco-Roman wrestling match.


The winning relay team would finish the events in the least amount of time and get a Gold medal, but since they are salesthletes, they would also get some kind of spiff like a 3 day 2 night vacation with their partner or spouse to some exotic location.

I am accepting applications for the Sales Olympics. Let me know what event you wish to be in and your credentials.  Any ideas for improving the event are also welcome.

Tags: Sales Skills, Time Management, Prospecting, Sales Advice, Social Media, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Closing, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Objection Handling, Summer Olympics, Territory Management, DiSC Styles, Presenting, Negotiations, technology enabled selling