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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

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

Sales Tips - The 4th Most Difficult Part of Selling - Differentiating

Posted on Tue, Jul 02, 2013

4th

Salespeople, Differentiate Yourself

 In my recent Linkedin poll (which are only offered in groups now) the 4th most difficult part of the sales process was differentating yourself.

 Don’t you hate it when a prospect tells you that you and your competition are all the same?

Why might this be happening?  Because:

  1. It is a ploy to get you to drop your price
  2. You haven’t done a good job selling or differentiating yourself
  3. You are using the same boilerplate proposals for everyone
  4. They haven’t done their due diligence in order to see the differences
  5. They really aren’t that interested in what you are selling
  6. You don't know what your differentiators are
  7. You don't know what they are or how to express your differentiators
  8. You are not preparing for your call or the objection and you are caught off guard. 

How can you differentiate yourself?


Experience to Differentiate:

  1.  Get to know an industry using your knowledge and industry jargon
  2.  With an application by showing insight into how it can be used. don't just show the basics but show them how you can do things they can't read about or the competition doesn't have or didn't show them.
  3.  In a certain business area in the same way as you would an industry
  4. With a certain business problem. Focus on the business problems all the companies in an industry has and really use this knowledge in all phases of the sales cycle.
  5. How to finance a solution. Creative financing can be a huge differentiator. The same with T&C's
  6. Telling stories or anecdotes or analogies to get your point across
  7. Using industry acronyms or language to create the aura of expertise

 Intelligence, Insights and Knowledge to Differentiate:

  1. Gained from reading about an industry - stay on top of issues that others dont make the effort to do
  2. Gained from reading about the trends in their or your industry
  3. Just being smart by applying your knowledge to their priorities and needs in ways that your competition doesn't
  4. Having sold other clients in their industry or application area, use this knowledge in ways already described
  5. Using case studies
  6. Having active references as leads or to close the business
  7. Using whitepapers to prove your point
  8. How to use resources to express different points
  9. Have active references 

Basic Sales Practices that Differentiate:

  1. Do some research before your call so you are more impressive
  2. Build rapport so they are more comfortable with you. Use your DiSC training if you have had it already.
  3. Listen more than you talk. Use the S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue as a platform to ask, listen and engage with the prospect
  4. Be straight forward and honest. Dont manipulate everything to a yes
  5. Do what you say, including follow-up
  6. Use your personality

 

What have you done to differentiate yourself? Let us know.

 

 


Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, Sales Effectiveness, Sales Productivity, Presentations

5 Steps to Accelerate the Sales Process by Turning it Upside Down

Posted on Fri, Feb 15, 2013

 

 Accelerate the Sales Process by Turning it Upside Down

In working with a client in helping define their sales process for an enterprise solution, we went through the usual steps of what has to happen, when and who has to do what.

We created a master list and then we chose the items they could apply to existing deals in order to shorten the sales cycle. This was extremely helpful in having them see what they could do.

Finally we turned the whole sales process upside down and started with the end in mind.

So here is what we suggest:

 1.    In first meeting the client, tell them what your objective is which is to demonstrate a   significant cost savings.  In fact, the account they are speaking to was chosen from the few that met their criteria.  If they didn't meet the criteria, they, the vendor wouldn't have reached out.
2.    The vendor is so confident of their offer they will do real testing and modeling showing the prospect what their actual savings is (you may have to offer something else based on your company’s capabilities).
3.    Of course, the vendor needs to show them how it will be done and answer questions, but
4.    After that is done they are asking the person they are meeting with to sponsor this project in the organization.
5.    If the prospect doesn't know how to make this happen, the vendor will show them how it has been done in other organizations.

Of course in the real world there will be many prospects who will not respond to this and the vendor may have to go back to a more traditional model.

In addition, the vendor and salesperson has to avoid being too verbose or arrogant but present the offer in a way where the prospect can see the opportunity in front of them.

I hope you like this idea. Try it in some accounts to see how people react.

Reach out to me if you have any questions.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Closing, Sales Process, Presentations, Buying Process

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

Sales Training Is Not As Important As The Insights It Brings

Posted on Wed, Jul 18, 2012

 

Sales Insight

 

I was recently hired by a company that is growing, doing well and wants to develop and train their salespeople to create a repeatable process for their current and future salespeople.

As often happens, the client is not willing or able to spend the amount of time and money up front to have us experience their environment as well as do our extensive research and analysis.

We interviewed salespeople and managers, pre/post support people. We looked at win/loss reports and reviewed their current presentations and proposals. We talked with the people responsible for their CRM, and created a clientized program for them that addressed the most significant areas including:

  •  Mirroring using a combination of DiSC and Meyers-Briggs
  •  Prospecting to be less dependent on incoming leads,
  •  Discovery, via our S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue to better qualify the sales process
  •  Presenting and Objection Handling to present more value and navigate the sales process and close more business.

The training went well. People were participative, receptive and open to the new techniques we were practicing. The feedback was excellent. However, the most relevant, significant, important and impactful part of going through and experiencing the training were the insights that we had together.

Here is my summary to my client regarding these insights:

Thanks for the commitment to IPG and our program. I want to note your presence in the training which was significant.  Here are my observations (those in bold are the insights):

  1. Salespeople need to use S.PRI.N.G.  to keep better control of a sales process and not get lost as often as they do
  2. Salespeople need to integrate and address the issues much earlier in the sales process that are most common, important and prevent sales from occurring. These include:
  • Planting seeds that differentiate and demonstrate XYZ's value
  • During the S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, asking qualifying questions (budget, process, competition, etc.) later in the process vs. too early to help get better answers
  • Address the reasons people defer
  • And understand where XYZ's solution fits in their priority scheme, ESPECIALLY if there is no definitive compelling event
  • Develop a standard presentation and proposal format that captures the key elements of the S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue AND addresses the most common reasons people defer on going with XYZ
  • Practice the best ways to anticipate and handle the most common objections
  • Get more comfortable using analogies to present XYZ's process so that people don't get confused
  • Create their hit list of accounts they want to sell and use the prospecting techniques and why you why now to get more appointments

   3.  The management team needs to:
  •  Embrace and become experts at the key elements noted above especially around mirroring
  •  Develop, mentor and reinforce a repeatable sales process
  •  Integrate these into the sales fabric of XYZ including:
  •  Commit to a weekly schedule of practicing and role playing
  •  Using 1:1's and forecast sessions
  •  Bring into discussions of deals that are crucial or in trouble
  •  Integrate into NetSuite as a support mechanism


I look forward to discussing this and other elements of success when we talk next.

If you would like a copy of the S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue form, call or email me...or

Click me

 


Tags: Sales Skills, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Closing, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Prospecting, Sales Process, Presentations

Go On Vacation To Close Your Biggest Deals

Posted on Thu, May 31, 2012

 

 Go On Vacation

 

Closing deals, become more effective closers, how do I close more, etc. are common subjects and questions raised.

The largest deals I have ever closed happened while I was away on vacation. Now how does that happen?
Clue:  the answer is not to go away on vacation.

Do you want to know how to close more business?

Are you willing to do what is needed?
Another Clue: it is not about “closing techniques” although they are good to know.

OK, here is how you close more business:

Do all the right things beforehand and the business will close for you. Then, all you will need to do is give them the contract to sign.

What are all the right things beforehand? There are so many but here are the most important:

1.    Don't chase bad business
2.    Prospect a lot so you don't have to chase bad business
3.    Know what bad or good business looks like by defining your sweetspot and comparing it to the opportunity in front of you
4.    But what if it is a HUGE deal?
    a.  Don't bother unless you can actually service and support it and/or make it repeatable
5.    Prospects fall into 3 categories and the earlier you know the better:
    a.  Will never buy from you, ever (stay away from these)
    b.  Are open minded about buying from you (see how open minded)
    c.  Want to buy from you (should have 100% close rate)
6.    If it is too good to be true, it just might be. Don't ever mistake somebody’s desire and eagerness for their ability to buy.
7.    If somebody else is better able to close the deal, ask for their help and split the proceeds (especially for deals that require people at multiple locations).
8.    Don't propose something over a person’s buying authority unless you are certain those above that person will rubber stamp the deal.
9.    Sell to people you are referred to, and if possible, easy to visit (not necessary but nice).
10.   Be a mensch. A good, well intended, honest person. People will want to buy from you.

What do you think are the best ways to close business?

Click me

Tags: Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, Closing, Prospecting, b2b lead generation, lead generation, Sales Process, Presentations

Overconfidence Destroys or The Miami Heat vs. NY Knicks

Posted on Tue, May 08, 2012

Overconfidence and The Miami HeatLike The Miami Heat or NY Knicks, I hate losing. I feel like every deal I am involved in I should win. And when I lose, I need to know why. Over the last 2 - 3 years, I have lost a couple of big deals (fortunately I have won many more than I have lost). I think one of the main reasons I have lost deals is OVERCONFIDENCE.

In one instance, the SVP of Sales and Marketing referred me to his team but then took more of a hands off approach than I expected (he did coach me but was unwilling to exert himself internally and his team resented me being “imposed” on them).

In another, I thought because I had very strong experience in the recent past, and, my offer had such a strong fit, I didn't listen as closely as I could have and I didn't meet all the people involved in the decision (the DM cancelled twice). I tried but not hard enough.

Why is overconfidence so dangerous?

1. You didn't prepare as much as you should
2. You took for granted the prospect will see your value
3. You took for granted that your personal contact will make the deal happen for you
4. You underestimate your competition
5. You aren't as meticulous or zealous about thinking through the deal and all of its details
6. You don’t prepare for your presentation as well as you ordinarily do
7. You didn't get others involved as early or as often as you should have
8. You didn't place enough value on the opportunity since you have others that are working  and you are doing well – thank goodness. 

So how do you avoid all of this?

1. Don't do all of the 8 things above
2. Treat every deal as if it is the most important and last you will ever have
3. Even if you can’t meet people, at least send them an e-mail to confirm your agenda and ask what is important to them
4. If you only have 30 minutes to present, worry less about detail and more about making an impression by having them experience you vs. learn about you.

I know I, or the Miami Heat can’t win every deal or game, and there are circumstances beyond our control, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try your best every time.

Why do you lose deals you think you should win?Click me

Click Here to complete a 1 minute Poll On Best Technology to Boost Sales

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, Closing, Prospecting, sales deal, Presentations

Technology For Every Stage of the Sales Process

Posted on Wed, May 02, 2012

Technology for Every Stage of the Sales Process

Every profession goes through transitions and technological improvements. The equipment that Tiger Woods uses today (no pun intended) is better than Jack Nicklaus'. The tennis racquets that Roger Federer uses is far superior to John McEnroe. Baseballs and gloves are far more sophisticated today than in the days of The Original Bronx Bombers of Ruth and Gehrig (that's for all my Red Sox fans). And I am glad my dentist uses the equipment she does and I don’t have to be in pain when she works on me.

Sales technology has also made quantum leaps. There is amazing technology for every stage of the sales process (be on the lookout in July for my newest book "Technology and Selling") but salespeople or sales organizations don't take as much advantage as they should. I think most organizations pick and choose one or two technologies to help salespeople. CRM is a favorite although most salespeople would beg to differ. E-mail doesn’t count any more.  It is plumbing. Maybe some companies are using some conferencing technology or great slide share technology, the next generation of PowerPoint, but little else.

There are amazing technologies for every stage of the sales process beginning with prospecting through the negotiation stage.

Imagine if you had technology that:
• made your prospecting more effective to get more appointments
• guided, tutored and supported you during your initial meeting
• allowed you to create the sexiest proposals, presentations and demonstrations
• build better teams and strategies to win bigger deals
• show you how to have a better negotiation and advantage so you didn’t give away so much and negotiated better
• gave you back one or two more hours a day to work or live.

Well they are all available, many don't cost much or anything at all and can standalone or integrate with your CRM.

So why don't sales people take advantage of this?  Several potential reasons:
1. they don't know about them
2. they are too dependent on having things done for them
3. they don't want to be bothered
4. they are doing well without

And why don't companies take advantage:
1. they don’t know about them
2. they don’t want to spend the money
3. it takes people to choose and support and that costs money which they don’t want to spend
4. they can’t get people to use what they have already invested in, like CRM or web conferencing

Tell me what you think? And if you want a free chapter of my new book.

Click me

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, Sales Effectiveness, Prospecting, b2b lead generation, Sales Productivity, Sales Process, Social Media, technology enabled selling, sales management, Presentations, sales technology

Prospects and Customers Are So Damn Rude or Bend Over and Smile

Posted on Tue, May 01, 2012

Prospects and Customers are Rude and Disrespectful

What do 6:15 AM (AM, I repeat AM) and 12:40 PM have in common?

It is when a happy customer that I have a very good relationship with, and I like very much,and a prospect were incredibly rude and disrespectful.

It is when one of my UK customers didn't show up for, or notify me that he wouldn't show up for a meeting at 6:15 AM EST.

It is when a prospect’s decision maker of a VERY BIG COMPANY, in front of 4 of his people, and me, the seller and one of his 3 finalists:

  • walked out of a presentation
  • 2 minutes after it started
  • without notice, comment or apology

HOW DARE THEY! What must they think of salespeople, or their potential partners if they treat them with such disrespect! I know in both cases they were busy (everybody is always busy) and in the first case, was called away by their CEO. I also know that my customer thinks I will understand since we know and like each other. I think he knew I was going to get the order we were discussing, and I did.

In the second case, I think his boss pulled him away? It could have been a personal issue (I hope not) but nobody really knew where he was or where he went. Maybe in this case the decision maker trusts the other people implicitly and didn't need to be there. Maybe he is always that way. I don’t know. It happened so quickly. He was literally there one second and gone the next, I was shocked.

But in either or any instance, couldn't they at least:

  • give notice as soon as possible to reschedule
  • apologize, yes apologize about the situation at the time, or at least afterwards, explain   what happened with an email, call, chat, smoke signal, pigeon carrier. Something?
  • try and tell their boss they have a previous commitment they want to keep and can they wait for 28 minutes.

In either, and most instances of a similar nature, there is rarely something a salesperson can do about it but smile and ask how much further they should bend over.

Sure I could have made note of the time I got up and asked the customer to be a bit more respectful. Or in the case of the prospect, let him know that I had worked about 14 hours and changed my, and my wife’s schedule to accommodate him. Or maybe he didn't want to see or hear me in the first place, or I did or said something in the first 2 minutes to turn him off. It’s possible. Maybe he doesn’t like Albert Brooks the comedian which is how I started my presentation.

I could also tell the prospect how amazingly disrespectful it is to treat somebody they are considering to be a partner with in that manner. I could tell them I don't want to do business with anybody or company that would treat me like that. I could tell them to take a flying you know what but that would have been disrespectful to the others.

When the prospect’s decision maker left, and I told everybody (yes I am a Dominant personality type) I would like to wait till he gets back because of the short time of their decision process, and the presentation, I was asked if I wanted to reschedule. I said no. Maybe I should have said yes, it that was a real option. Maybe I should have said no, thanked them for their time, expressed my opinion, picked up my stuff and walked out the door.

I should have handled it like an objection. I should have paused, asked respectfully what happened, if he was coming back, should we wait, what do they suggest we do. But I didn’t, because:

  • I was literally shocked at the lack of respect
  • have either been in there shoes (though never that rude), 
  • know how crazy things are in today’s world
  • or because I want the sale so badly and don't want to compromise my chances

Where do you stand? What would you do? What have you done? Please comment (below pictures). Thanks.

Tags: Prospecting, b2b lead generation, Sales Productivity, Presentations

How To Get Out of A Sales Slump

Posted on Wed, Apr 18, 2012

A Slump Or Another Growth Opportunity

 

Things have been going incredibly well for the last 9 months, but only OK (my definition of OK) recently which worries me and brings up the worst of my insecurities, demons and vulnerabilities.

When I tell my highly evolved, spiritual, intelligent and beautiful wife, and after asking me relevant, insightful questions, she will attribute one of the reasons going badly to “mercury being retrograde.” I like that as a reason because it takes some of the pressure off of me. Nobody can fix the planets alignment.

Today, I asked her if Mercury was still in retrograde and she said no! Crap, so I have to take ownership of recent events. So here we go. This week:

1.  I have had a recurring nightmare of a highly visible prospect (names will go unmentioned) tell me for the 3rd time they are delaying or putting off their decision on sales training, and when they return to it, I will be in a “bake-off.”  I got a bit upset with them and may have turned them off.
2.  A potential partner, who was going to pay for my services tell me they were putting it off till June.  I think I was too aggressive in suggesting they pay (although they mentioned it first).  But I think they forgot.
3.  Another EXTREMELY LARGE client tell me they had to “sell” the idea internally before they could move forward.  Nothing I could do but it is disappointing.

As I am writing, I am putting this into perspective:
1.  I had 4 excellent meetings this week with  great clients and prospects
2.  I am ahead of my 2012 forecast having had a great Q1 (thanks everybody)
3.  I am doing more online and getting more comfortable with it (still have a long way to go)
4.  I am making great headway in my new book “Using Technology to Sell”
5.  Spring has sprung and I had a wonderful Passover with my son-in-law’s family
6.  My cholesterol is at 190 with a good HDL:LDL ratio.

So instead of batting .900, I am batting .500 (knock on wood), which is pretty good. But it is still upsetting and feels like another “f_ _king growth opportunity,” and another, and another. So what is the growth opportunity?
1.  I can’t win everything.
2.  I don't need to win everything.
3.  Focus on the good things going on.
4.  Be grateful and appreciate the hard work I do.
5.  Give myself some space and support when things are in flux or confused.
6.  Have faith.

P.S. Two of the three meetings I referenced above came back to tell me everything was fine with my proposal on R.E.A.L. Selling.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Do your best with the best intentions and things should work out more often or often enough.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Prospecting, technology enabled selling, Presentations