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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

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

Posted on Tue, Jul 08, 2014

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

Tags: Objection Handling, Sales, Sales Strategies, Sales Effectiveness, sales deal

Thinking is Overrated for Salespeople

Posted on Tue, Apr 22, 2014

brain resized 600

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.

Tags: Objection Handling, Sales Advice, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Tips, Sales Productivity, Presentations, b2bSales

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

Sales Advice: 3 Frames of Mind When People Object

Posted on Thu, Oct 10, 2013

describe the image

To a large measure, based on where you started, and how well or poorly you have qualified and worked an opportunity, people will be in one of three frames of mind when you try to overcome their objections:

1.     Not Interested, No Way:

This probably means you shouldn’t have been selling to them in the first place but didn’t qualify the opportunity early enough using the S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue or any other method. Or you might be chasing business that looks big and appealing because you don’t have enough in your pipeline. Of course, people can always lie and make you believe they are interested, or might be at the moment but change their mind, but they usually know from the start. The sooner you know you are wasting your time, the better. Go elsewhere as quickly as you can.

2.     I’m Open

Unless you are the only game in town, this situation occurs often. You want people to be more inclined then less to buy you or at least be open minded to the possibility of doing so. This occurs by following the steps in your sales process, qualifying the prospect re. their interest in your offer and where it stands regarding other priorities they might have. It might also be a good time to ask the prospect what could internal or external variables could prevent them from making a decision. You can also ask if their objection is with the idea of buying you vs. excluding you.

3.     I Want You

You probably have done all or most of the right things for this to occur. This will happen more and more often with experience, knowledge and application of good selling skills and experience in your business. It will also happen more often if you prospect or market to your sweet spot, meeting with the right people, building rapport, asking good questions and making a persuasive presentation that is tailored vs. boilerplate.

I learned about these 3 categories  in my first job selling against IBM. At the time, they had over 90% market share so there were a lot of people and companies who wouldn’t consider my offering, even if I showed them it was better and sold it to them for much less money. Two stories stand out vividly. I remember once talking to a Procurement Manager at a University who had just ordered 120 IBM’s to put into storage. I asked him why and he said because “you never know when you will be able to get them”. The second is when a secretary hugged her IBM she was so emotionally attached to it.

 Fortunately, there were plenty of opportunities in “Open Minded” and “I Want You” categories. You need to weed out any and all prospects in No Way category as early as possible. They are a waste of your time and unless you have magical powers or can hypnotize people, you will never overcome their objections.

 

Tags: Objection Handling, Sales Skills, Sales, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Closing, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue

Salespeople, Week Two of 2013 and More Tips...

Posted on Mon, Jan 07, 2013

 Week Two of 2013  Capture

 

It is the second week of the year, (really the first full week) and it may be your first week back.

Let me go a little bit more in depth with some of the points from last weeks blog, Salespeople, 22 Tips for 2013 -- Another New Year! to help get you started:

Tip #1:

Do I know where my success came from last year?

What did I do to make things happen and be a successful salesperson?

-      did you prospect more

-      were you more disciplined in your approach

-      did you get any sales training that you used well

-      did you work with your partners (if you have any) more effectively

-      did you learn your product so well that you could play it like a violin

-      did you get one big real client and can you do that again this year

-      did you use your resources better than others

-      did you just work harder

Tip #20:

Can you be more organized and/or effective by being more focused and wasting less time in a day?

-      If you can give yourself one more hour a day to sell by being more organized, after holidays, etc. you have 5-6 more weeks of selling time. You just gave yourself an extra month or more to make your quota. Not bad.

-      Here are some questions to ask yourself about wasting time:

  • Do I handle emails well or am I reacting and wasting time
  • Do I qualify requests from customers, prospects and internally regarding when they need something vs. just jumping at the request?
  • Do I delegate and follow up many tasks vs. doing them all myself?
  • Do I have ONE system where I keep notes, to dos, etc?
  • Do I browse the web, Face Book, etc. on unrelated work items during work hours
  • Do I gossip, Twitter, IM too much?
  • Do I qualify appointments as to whether I can do them on the phone vs. in person?
  • Do I use my selling hours to sell and do non-sales tasks at the appropriate time?

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 2013.

Tags: Objection Handling, Resolutions, Time Management, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Closing, Prospecting, Coaching, Sales Productivity, Sales Process, Social Media, technology enabled selling

Salespeople, 15 Presentation Tips

Posted on Tue, Dec 18, 2012


 

Salespeople, Presentation Tips

A presentation, proposal or demonstration is a key event in the sales process for most of my customers, but much of what happens in a presentation depends on what has happened prior.

As a reminder:

  •      do you know what the compelling event is and the financial value to   the client
  •      have you planned your presentation to clearly differentiate yourself
  •      are you doing it alone or should you have others help you
  •      have you set traps for the competition
  •      do you have the right story to tell and stories to illustrate your story and presentation
  •      do you have somebody at the client who can give you advice
  •      are you prepared for any objections that come up frequently
  •      and more

Feel free to use this planner if it will help or call or email me.

 Download Presentation Planner

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tags: Objection Handling, Presentation Planner, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Closing, Presentations, Presenting

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

Hidden Objections - What Lurks Beneath the Surface

Posted on Mon, Jul 30, 2012

 Hidden Objections: What Leaks Beneath the Surface

What lurks beneath the surface is most dangerous to a salesperson. That which we are not told or cannot see is why we lose deals.

Why do these exist?

  •     people have their own agenda and it may not be different than yours
  •     there may be bad chemistry
  •     prospects may be wary of and suspicious of salespeople
  •     they are afraid of confrontation
  •     they want to keep their cards close to their vest
  •     they want to see which way the wind blows before they say anything
  •     they may have pre-conceived notions or ideas or desires before  you even meet
  •     you may do something when you meet with them that turns them off (imagine that)

So how do you reveal that which is hidden and you cannot see:

  •     ask more questions to more people
  •     trust your instincts and address the “something is wrong or not going right”
  •     ask in the appropriate way “I get the sense that this isn’t going as well as either of  us would like. Can you tell me why?
  •     prepare more for your meetings and include “what might be the hidden objections, concerns and issues”
  •    don't try to deal with it factually or with information. IT IS AN EMOTIONAL ISSUE. Learn to use analogies or stories to soften people so they are more trusting and comfortable to talk.
  •    talk less and check in more often to make sure you are doing OK
  •    BE MORE EMPATHETIC. If you are a man, just remember what your wife or girlfriend tells you about being more open and emotional. If you are a woman or a sensitive man, this is less difficult but you might need to bring this to the foreground.

What questions could you ask?

  •     what the hell is going on here – only kidding
  •     what is the worst most uncomfortable feeling you have at this point
  •     what are the areas or items that you feel least comfortable with or need to be addressed
  •     summarize what you have heard, add insights to what you heard and ask if you are on track. People like knowing you are listening
  •     use words like concerns, worries, fears (not with High D’s since they fear nothing :)
  •     in a group ask who in this room is least comfortable, skeptical (in a fun non threatening way) and has questions they would like to ask or raise (this is a tough one)
  •     if you have a coach, have them ask the team some of the unasked or simmering questions or objections

Ask me questions and I will answer them.

Tags: Objection Handling, Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Effectiveness, Coaching