Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Sales Tips From Jonathan London

Prospecting – Initiate a Multipronged Attack

Posted on Wed, Nov 06, 2013

Funnel

Many salespeople prospect to one person and one person only. They keep knocking on the same door and it isn’t opening. This is frustrating and non-productive.

Identifying the best positions/titles/functions to contact is critical for your prospecting success. In general, in a B2B environment, there are usually four to five departments or functions in an organization that can probably benefit from your offer, including:

  • Finance
  • Executive
  • Functional (HR, sales, manufacturing, etc.)
  • IT
  • Procurement

Of course, different industries have different functions that may limit you. For example, when selling to the government, healthcare and education verticals in particular, there are often more centralized or regulated models for an organization to buy things. Federal government sales need to abide by Government Securities Act (GSA) rules or an existing contract that has been awarded to a specific company or companies. If your company doesn’t fit into either of these, it makes it much more difficult to sell to the government. Large companies may force you into selling only to the procurement department, limiting your ability to penetrate an account.

If this is the case, you can play by their rules and see where it gets you. If you don’t succeed, then you might consider talking to other people in the company to influence the main buyer, or someone else who might be able to act on his or her own, if necessary, and if your offer is really compelling. It is very doubtful that if the general counsel or CFO said he or she wanted something, procurement would say, “No, you can’t have it.”

Using the database of your choice, search for the titles and names you want to sell to. For example, if you sell a product for a sales organization, you might search for several titles, including VP of Sales, VP of Channels, VP of Customer Service, VP of HR or Training, and CFO, because they can all benefit from your services. Who else can benefit from what you are selling?

You should also use your own connections and contacts to see if you or an acquaintance knows any of the people, specifically, or in the companies you want to sell to. Social media such as LinkedIn or Facebook, Pinterest, and even MySpace (if you are in the music or entertainment industry) are good for this. Of course, if you are using a database you pay for such as Hoover’s, The List, OneSource, or others, you need to refer to these as well.

Tags: Sales Skills, Prospecting, b2b lead generation, b2b Sales

Sales Tips - Which Part of The Sales Process is Most Difficult

Posted on Mon, Jun 17, 2013

describe the image

In a recent Linkedin Survey I asked “which part of the sales process is most difficult”  and here is what I was told:

Prospecting to get a meeting and meeting with a decision maker are the most difficult. This might be one and the same since people are usually calling at the highest level. Could also mean that people don't know how to prospect or are resistant to doing so. Mighht also mean people are shooting way too high because they are told do.

Prospecting is not usually an activity that salespeople like doing since they haven’t had to or are getting by without doing so. Lead generation is such a big part of today’s sales environment that many sales people have become dependent on it. It really isn’t difficult, it is just hard and tedious and takes a commitment of time and your own creativity. Here is what we suggest to people to make their prospecting more effective:

  • Never cold call – in your email or phone call reference something about them, their company, their industry or a bigger event. I just got a call today with a very pleasant sounding person saying she had “just been on my website and been calling companies like mine”. That was enough to get me to listen. Even better would have been something from my website or of course a referral. Start using technology, Linkedin, Twitter, google alerts, etc. to stay on top of what is happening in your assignment.
  • Give me a couple of reasons – tell the person you are calling, in a very conversational tone it would be worth it for them to speak with you. The call this morning mentioned that I could “make money on a referral basis and/or I could add value to my existing clients”. Both are appealing to me as an entrepreneur
  • Beware of objections – objections or resistance come fast and furious when you are prospecting. Don't be surprise or put off by them. Embrace them by acknowledging them.  I mentioned to the woman who called me that I was planning for a meeting and she answered “no problem, why don't I send some information and get a better time on your calendar” which we did
  • Close for the call  - this is the basics of basics but you are calling to make an appointment not to sell anything so keep that in mind and find a date, even if it is further out than you like to meet with someone. 

Is there a part of the process that is even more difficult. What do you think? If you want a nice easy form to help you then email me JLondon@ipgtraining.com.

Tags: Prospecting, Sales Skills, Prospecting, b2b lead generation, Sales Tips, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, technology enabled selling, Sales Productivity

Prospecting – Are you Boring and Making Mistakes Like Everybody Else

Posted on Tue, Apr 30, 2013

Prospecting

Prospecting is becoming a more popular and important skill, yet salespeople don't know how to do it and keep making the same 3 main mistakes.

Mistake #1 - Saying the same thing everybody else does that has no relevance to the client. Salespeople tend to think about what their product does vs. what the person they are callng or e-mailing cares about. So they make a list of features that nobody understands or cares about. 

What to Do Instead: Pick your 3 best markets or functional areas and really understand what they need and how your offer helps them. For example, an attorney's office cares about billable hours, client satisfaction and client retention. That is not what a hospital cares about.

Mistake #2 - Not using Compelling Events - Similar to Mistake #1, since they are changing the message, they aren't looking for something that grabs the prospects's attention, what i call a compelling or current event.

 What to Do Instead: Again, to use a law firm as an example, they might be expanding, or starting a new practice or hiring aggressively. All of these are compelling events or current events that have meaning to the prospect and will get their attention. The most powerful of these is a referral which iswhy you need to use social media, Linkedin, Google+, etc to see who you might know to make introductions for you.

Mistake #3 -  relying on others to do what you need to do - marketing or lead gen is reaching out to everyone and noone in particular. THey are catching as many fish as they can in their wide net but may not be catching those that are best for you.

What to Do Instead: Work with marketing to divide and conquer. Figure out who is best suited to reach out to what type of prospect and then you both work together to penetrate your chosen markets or companies.

Pass this along and/or let me know what you think!

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

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

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, 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: Think Before You Prospect

    Posted on Thu, Nov 08, 2012

     Man Thinking

    I am working with a client who needs to penetrate their territory, prospect more effectively and sell a unique, leading edge product into hospitals.

    We are done with the first of our four 4-hour sessions via web conferencing; I started using WebEx which is good but not so with video. I switched to GoToMeeting which is much better, easier and fantastic with video.

    We are at the stage where we are examining their market more closely. I took them through the following exercise (the client is XYZ). This exercise is what I have done for 35 years in sales and with over 18,000 students. It is intended to help you align, define, discover and prospect into as many real marketplaces you can sell your services to.


     

    - 1 –

    XYZ STRENGTHS

    (products and services)

    - 2 –

    INDUSTRIES

    (consider past successes, ties to strengths and the economy)

    - 3 –

    APPLICATIONS/DEPT’S TO CONTACT

     (that can benefit from XYZ)

    - 4 –

    CURRENT CUSTOMERS

    (as references)

    - 5 -

    POTENTIAL PARTNER

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     






     






     


     

     

    There didn't appear to be much to discover since hospitals in itself is such a defined market. At first glance, this is who they were prospecting to most often:

    • Infection Control – C Suite – Chief Quality Officer
    • Green – Environment Services

    But after spending only 30 minutes, here are other areas they could prospect into, or should spend more time with:

    • OR – Higher inpatient vs. outpatient
    • Oncology – ER – ICU – Marketing
    • CFO  – Environment – Services – Or Interested
    • CEO  - Infection – readmission –
    • COO - Facilities – want to get more involved with patient care –
    • Hospital in same system as current customer
    • Related Hospital
    • Teaching Hospital – Oncology – Operations -
    • Elective Surgery
    • Hospitals in direct competition
    • Military, Gov’t and Naval
    • Anesthesiology

    We also took into consideration these elements:

    1. Profit vs. not for profit
    2. Hospitals with heavy ICU, ER and OR facilities - needed them most
    3. Geographic proximity so they could spend more time with prospects
    4. Formal and informal partnerships that could facilitate introductions
    5. Better use of the executive team and board
    6. Cross-pollination of contacts amongst the sales people

    If you would like to know more about how to use this process, manage your territory and prospect more effectively, please let me know at JLondon@ipgtraining.com or call 201 391-1643.


     

     

    Tags: Sales Skills, Prospecting, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Closing, Territory Management, Presenting, technology enabled selling

    Salespeople, How Can You Not Know?

    Posted on Wed, Oct 10, 2012

    Asking Questions and SalesPeople

    Asking Questions and Salespeople
    I understand:

    •    how young salespeople might be afraid to ask the “difficult" questions
    •    how you might not want to ask questions that could upset the customer
    •    that some questions are more difficult and sensitive than others

    I don’t understand:
    •    how you can be working a deal for 9 months and not know:
    •    how a decision is made
    •    who is involved in the decision
    •    who your coach is
    •    who you are competing with
    •    when a decision is going to be made
    •    if there is a compelling or impending event
    •    what could derail the project or decision
    •    who has most to gain or lose at the customer
    •    the political vulnerabilities of moving forward


    It amazes me that this is still going on but it is.  Who is responsible for this?

    Take this quiz: Who is responsible for salespeople not asking the above questions:

    1.    Sales trainers because they don't teach this (not me)
    2.    Management since they don't inspect properly
    3.    Companies because they don't invest enough
    4.    Salespeople because the don't do what they are told to do or are too distracted
    5.    Prospects and customers since they don't tell you things
    6.    President Obama or his opponent Mitt Romney
    7.    Tobacco and Oil Companies
    8.    Global warming
    9.    China
    10.  Our parents (they are responsible for everything that is bad in our life)

    Answer  2, 3 and 4. Here is what they can do:

    2. Management since they don't inspect properly:

    •   managers need to be more focused, diligent and organized during 

          planning and forecasting

    •   you need to examine deals more closely and ask the tough questions
    •   don't blow off your 1:1 for anything except an illness in the family
    •   demand the answers to these things or, after a while take them off bigger deals


    3. Companies because they don't invest enough:

    •  Companies don't spend nearly enough time and money developing their salespeople or  sales managers. Maybe they think people will learn most from doing and making mistakes, and maybe they will. But everyone is losing money in the mean time.
    •  Spend more money on developing your people. Virtual training, self-paced training are affordable and don't take too much time (you can ask me about our programs if you like).


    4. Salespeople because they don't do what they are told to do or are too distracted

    •  Salespeople are ultimately responsible for asking these questions and knowing the answers.  If you:
    •   are reluctant to ask, have somebody else do it.
    •  develop a coach, you can ask them and it will be easier.
    •  have your pre-sales support people ask since everyone trusts pre-sales
    •  have a Ouija board or Magic 8 ball you can ask them (not)
    •  take your client out, get them drunk and then ask them (not again)


    C’mon every one. Step it up. Get the answers. Don't be afraid to ask. For a full list of great questions to ask.

     

    26 Great Forecast Questions

    Tags: Sales Skills, Prospecting, Sales Advice, Sales Process, b2b Sales, Presenting

    Prospecting for Inside Sales And Appointments

    Posted on Tue, Oct 02, 2012

     

    Prospecting:  Inside Sales

     

    You Decide if You Want the Appointment or Your Call Could Be the Most Important a Prospect Takes.

    In working with a client this last week, it wasn't surprising to see how dispirited they were. It was an inside sales team of 20 people who had to make 125 calls a day (puuhleeese) and were finding it difficult to make appointments for their outside sales specialists. In fact when a customer said yes to them they would jump for joy. Not an easy job.

    While teaching them new techniques (which I will delineate in a second) I told them two things that completely changed their perspective for the better:

    1.    Since they were selling enterprise voice solutions that leverage a prospect’s strategic investments, taking an appointment with them could be the most important thing that prospect could do

    2.    Therefore, they should be confident and assertive when calling, not apologetic, shy or feel like they were bothering people, NO MATTER how many times they had to call, email, text, use smoke signals or carrier pigeons to get the appointment

    So what did we discuss and change so they would get more appointments:

    •  using our 3 stage process (credibility – benefits – close) we shortened each phone call from 3 minutes to 20-30 seconds.
    •  we taught them how to leave a voicemail that was intriguing and would capture somebody’s interest AND how to get out of voicemail to see if they could get them live
    • using the “no scroll rule” they can now send emails that are tight, succinct, relevant and easy to read and decide upon 
    • we increased the number of attempts to get somebody using a mix and match of techniques that would increase the odds of getting to someone
    • how to use social media, blogs, LinkedIn, FB, Phinkit, Twitter, databases and more to get to people more easily
    • how to anticipate and handle objections more effectively to get more appointments
    • finally, their job was to get the appointment AND THEN DECIDE if it was a good one, or they should delay the meeting. Kind of like catching a fish and deciding if it was big enough to keep vs. begging the fish to go on the hook.

    Before I got home or in less than 12 hours I received two emails saying how the techniques we discussed got people appointments they otherwise couldn't get.

    What do you do? What questions do you have?
    Download a form that can help you with these ideas.Download Prospecting Form

    Tags: Sales Skills, Prospecting, Sales Advice, Sales Process, b2b Sales, Inside Sales