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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

Are You Aligned and Have Agreement for Sales Success

Posted on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

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As many of you know, S.M.A.R.T. Goals are a foundation of success for any individual or organization. I define S.M.A.R.T as:

  • Specific – I will make $100,000
  • Measurable – I will measure every month how much I have made and also measure the activities needed to make the money
  • ALIGNED/AGREED – I am ALIGNED and AGREEMENT with others who are critical to my success
  • Realistic – it is an achievable goal
  • Timed – I will make the $100,000 by the end of 2014

I was with a client this week that understood this and demonstrates the importance of the ALIGNMENT/AGREED step, which is the most difficult and most important.

My client is a very successful high tech company who is #3 in their market, but whose growth has been stagnant for the last 6 quarters. Recently, they dramatically realigned their entire sales organization, from the inside out. Many people’s responsbibilities were changed, or minimized, and they had grave concerns. They were distracted and demotivated.

The people who are in front of the customer and make the most money are the outside people. The people who make the least (they are still well paid) and touch the customer least are the inside sales people. HOWEVER, the key to the outside teams success is the leads the inside team can qualify and generate.

So what did my client and I do? We started with training the inside people and we ALIGNED/GAINED AGREEMENT that there role was critical. My client shared the executive level view and insights with the team, and allowed them to question and challenge them.

They were aligned and had agreement from top to bottom, from executive to salesperson and most of the concern and distraction were removed.

We then were able to develop and train them on the new skills and knowledge they needed to be successful as individuals and as a company.

Moral to the story: spend more time than you are, or think you need to, in order to make sure people understand and agree to (as much as possible) the changes and direction you are taking.

Don’t think if it is said, or just because you say it, will make it happen.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Coaching, Sales Productivity, Sales Process

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

Posted on Tue, Jul 08, 2014

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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

Top 10 Things People in Sales Worry About

Posted on Thu, May 15, 2014

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I am in the throes of a white paper discussing, and addressing the "Top 10 Things Salespeople and Managers Worry About" inside and outside of work.

Here is my list. I would love your thoughts and what additions you might make to this list.

  1. Dealing with Pressure
  2. Making Quota
  3. Differentiating Themselves and Their Offer
  4. Work/Life Balance
  5. Making Money
  6. Being Noticed
  7. Dealing with Rampant Change
  8. Doing More with Less Resource
  9. Job Security
  10. Getting to the Decision Maker

What do you think? What would you add to this list? Email me at JLondon@ipgtraining.com.

Tags: Sales, Sales, Sales Advice, b2bSales

Is Big Data Bad for Salespeople

Posted on Tue, Mar 25, 2014

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For the longest time, my theory of evolution in our life and society have been analogous to the evolution of the computer industry:

  1. We started by having 1 computer that took up several football fields, did very little and only the privileged few (the aristocracy you might say) had access to the power. The rest of us were the in the fiefdom.
  2. That became the mainframe that IBM ultimately dominated, but again, only the privileged few had access to the power.
  3. Then came the minicomputers (Prime, DEC) and more people (lets say the heads of state or, territory or area) had access to the power
  4. Then came the PC and laptop computer and all of a sudden individuals had access to the power
  5. And of course we now have our mobile devices which are faster than the original PC’s, and give us access to ………..
  6. THE INTERNET, WEB, APP’S, SAAS, VIDEO CONTENT, FACEBOOK, BIG DATA, ETC so ANYONE AND EVERYONE CAN GET WHATEVER THEY WANT, WHEN THEY WANT IT. WE ARE ALL KINGS AND ARISTOCRACY NOW.

And it is making us less inclined to consider the other, since we feel we don't need them anymore. After all, if I CAN GET WHAT I WANT AND WHEN I WANT IT, without having to deal with people, or salespeople, why should I?

 But, here is the problem. It is misleading, an illusion. People still have the need to be connected (see Facebook), still need the personal relationship, even though they are being conditioned and feel like they don’t. “For example, Big Data” is meant to be broken down into it’s most minute, measurable element which just obscures the fact that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” and that we are all in this together.

So what does this mean for us as salespeople:

  1. Reach out and touch someone, reach out and just say hi. Don't fool yourself or be misled
  2. Go visit somebody in person
  3. Be sensitive to people’s DiSC style, emotions, etc that affect how they buy
  4. Relate to people as people, not objects or invaluable objects, especially if you are the benefactor of many leads
  5. When you are with a prospect or customer, don't just ask about their technical and/or project needs but see if you can find out what it means to them personally.
  6. Be honest, genuine, kind, generous, caring and people will respond to you.

What are your thoughts? Please let me know.

Jonathan David London

 

 

 

Tags: Sales, Sales Training, b2b Sales, b2b Sales

Professional Courtesy For Salespeople- "Nuff Said"

Posted on Wed, Jan 29, 2014

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Last week, I sent out emails to 3 Owners or VP’s of Sales, people who I have spoken to, worked with and/or met separately.

In all 3 instances I have not heard back. If only to say they are unsure of the status of things we are communicating about, (including not being interested in moving forward), were busy or whatever.

To me this is the greatest of paradoxes, that people in the sales or sales training profession don’t have the courtesy to get back to others in their same line of work. It could also be a reflection of these individual’s perception or attitude towards me, and is something I have to examine, whether I am respected and bring value to them. If not, I should cut bait. If I do, I need to decide if I want to work with people who don't respect the trade.

As salespeople, we are all dealing with this from our customers but shouldn't we show, and be shown more respect from our prospects or customers? Are you getting the respect you deserve? Are you holding on to cuystomers or opportunities that don't honor you and your value? You might say that is part of the game, and I did, and still do. But less so every day and hopefully soon, not at all. As Bob Dylan says "you gotta serve somebody" and i dont mind that. I actually like it. But with respect and dignity!

What do you think? Let me know.

Tags: Sales, Sales, Sales Advice, b2b Sales

Salespeople - 23 Selling Tips for 2014

Posted on Fri, Jan 10, 2014

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If you haven’t started already, now 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:
    • Continue doing or do more of that is working
    • Stop doing that is in the way of my success
    • Start doing that is needed because of market conditions or opportunities
    1. Who, at work or home do I need to help me stay disciplined enough to the things that are most important?
    2. What have I been putting off that needs to be done?
    3. Have I targeted the accounts I want to sell?
    4. Do I know the one or two that would really put me over the top?
    5. Am I using social media, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. to keep me in touch with the people and events that are critical to my success?
    6. Am I using free services like Google Alerts to do the same?
    7. What support mechanisms do I have to keep balanced?
    8. What is my quick start program so I have a great quarter and make the rest of the year a “little” easier?
    9. Are my manager and I on the same page so he/she supports me vs. interferes?
    10. Can you tell yourself what you are or are not willing to do so you are happy and successful?
    11. 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?
    12. If your compensation plan is here, do you know how you will make the most money from it?
    13. 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?
    14. Can you be more organized and/or effective by being more focused and wasting less time in a day?
    15. Can you identify the 3 or 4 most important priorities for your success?
    16. Can you create an image for yourself of what short and long term success looks and feels like to keep yourself motivated, positive?
    17. What technology will I learn to help me sell more?

       

      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: Time Management, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Tips, Sales Productivity, lead generation, Social Media

      Prospect Can You Feel Me (sing to the song Tommy from The Who)

      Posted on Mon, Dec 02, 2013

      buddha

      I was going on my first sales call as Regional Director with one of my sales reps, Karen. We were meeting with Warren, at a division of one of the worlds largest healthcare companies. According to Karen who had met with him several time, Warren was not a nice person. A real mean S.O.B.  From what I was told, we were two diametrically opposed forces in suits; Good and Evil (Karen and I were the good ones of course). 

      I had just gotten back from a week’s meditation retreat and was in a very mellow and peaceful space. You can call it relaxed, I would call it calm, present and happy, very content with myself and being where ever I was. I was not worried and afraid about not being successful (which is why I went away on the retreat). I was very aware that I was a Regional Manager who was responsible to help my people sell, but not feeling as pressured by it or more importantly, as defined by it. Nor was I as fearful of Warren. I felt confident in this space.

      What happened at our meeting was quite remarkable. Karen and I sat in front of Warren’s big macho desk. Karen introduced me and I just began to talk to Warren about him, his position, what was important to him, what he wanted to have happen, what he wanted to avoid, etc. Then suddenly, Warren let down his guard and his defenses and was the nicest, most open person. It was as if his desk disappeared. He actually came out from behind his desk to sit with Karen and me. Why? Because he was responding to my manner, how I was feeling vs. the words and he felt safe. It was an incredible meeting and we got the deal 30 days later.

      So what is the moral  of the story? People can feel where you are coming from. It you are coming from a place of safety, generosity, wholeness, curiosity and kindness, people will feel that. If you are not, people will feel that as well.

      Who would you rather buy from?

      Tags: Sales, Sales Advice, b2b Sales

      Sales Advice: 3 Frames of Mind When People Object

      Posted on Thu, Oct 10, 2013

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      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

      12 Tips to Sell Larger Deals with Customer Coaches

      Posted on Wed, Sep 11, 2013

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      In a recent workshop we were talking about some of the differences between a small and large sale and an enterprise sale. One of the most obvious differences is the length of time it takes. This has become even more so in today’s economy.

      One of the other major differences is that salespeople have to develop relations and coaches. Since much of selling is happening on the phone today, you may not have the chance to build the relations and coaches you need.

      So let’s define what a coach is; he or she wants you to win the business and will tell you things or give you indications about what you have to do to win a deal. Some of the indications that a person could be a coach are:

      1. the person is responsive to you
      2. they have a behavior style who likes to be heard and talk
      3. they tell you things without you asking
      4. there is good chemistry

      So:

      1. don't only focus on a great technical solution
      2. don't only focus on a sellable price
      3. don't just focus on value and relations
      4. don't just focus on being responsive

      Make sure your strategy and tactics are developing a coach so he or she can tell you what you need to know to win more deals. You can do this by:

      1. being responsive to them
      2. telling them things you don't tell others
      3. visiting them, especially if they are difficult to get to
      4. making them look good in front of others

      Good luck selling and don't forget your coach!

      Tags: b2b sales; sales, saled deals, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, b2b Sales, b2b Sales

      Sales Tips - Forecasting & Closing - Last 12 Questions to Ask

      Posted on Wed, May 22, 2013

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      In my last blog, I discussed the importance of asking the right questions in order to know if you are forecasting properly.
      Actually, the 22 questions from this week and last week are meant to improve your sales closing and selling skills. These selling questions are meant for you to get more information so you can be more strategic about your opportunities.
      1. What is the exact process from now to PO? Inc peoples names and roles
      2. What could prevent this (holidays, people, etc.) from happening?
      3. Has this been account you are forecasting been delayed before? If so, why is it being forecast now?
      4. If we got the verbal, what needs to happen to turn it into revenue?
      5. Any opp’t to upsell or get more on the RFP
      6. Any chance we will get less?
      7. Is the competition eliminated?
      8. How can we move it up or money from elsewhere into this deal?
      9. Where are we vulnerable
      10. Do we need executive involvement
      11. Can we make into smaller pieces so they can process it more easily
      12. What’s the next step?
      What questions do you ask? If you want a list of these and other great questions, click here and I will be happy and send them to you

      Tags: Sales, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Closing, Closing, Buying Process