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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

7 Sales Tips - Closing is Not a Moment in Time

Posted on Tue, Oct 15, 2013

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If there were a Hall of Fame for salespeople, and you closed 30% of your deals, you would be a candidate.  Forty percent close rate is a sure first ballot entry and at fifty percent they would dedicate a wing to you.

MAKE Closing Easier

Some of the biggest deals I have ever closed happened when I was away on vacation. Why? Because I did all the right things during the sales cycle so the close happened very easily and naturally (perhaps I should always go on vacation when I am working a big deal!). This includes many elements, including:

  1. Selling into your “Sweet Spot” as much as possible
  2. Doing a S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue with the people involved in the decision, especially executives or people in positions of authority
  3. Building rapport and developing trust during the sales cycle
  4. Presenting your offer in a compelling way that shows your differences and the benefits of your offer
  5. Handling objections through out the sales cycle
  6. Constantly getting a firm next step that is relevant to the client and advantageous to you
  7. Being responsive to the prospect throughout all stages

Too many salespeople think of closing as only asking for the deal at the end, which of course is essential (or many salespeople are afraid to ask for the close). However, it is just as important for salespeople to be closing throughout the sales process; to keep a sale moving forward from one stage to another and to keep people focused on your product or service, vs. other’s. An important psychological rule of getting people to say yes when you do ask for the order is to have had the prospect take action and invest themselves as much as possible during the sales cycle. The more they are invested, the more difficult it is to back away or to say no.

So let’s define closing as the act of asking someone to do something. It could be little like respond to an e-mail or question or it could be big like visit your office, let you visit them in their home (if you are selling that type of product), meet your family members (if you are selling something that a family can use), have a meal with you or introduce you to their boss in a professional setting.. Closing is done all the time, regardless of the communications medium (in person, over the phone, e-mail, etc.).

Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you keeping people focused on your offering through a series of actions and commitments called T.E.E.M. (time – energy – emotion – money)?
  2. Are you testing the waters/trial closing to make sure you are on track with the people you are selling?
  3. Can you identify buying signals, warning signals, hidden objections and what to do with them?
  4. Different types of closing techniques, when to use them and which techniques work best with different DiSC styles?
  5. Are you getting firm, decisive next steps that are relevant to the client and favor you and your company?
  6. Do you know what your sweetspot it and sell to it as much as possible?

When is the first time you close? At the very beginning when you ask for an appointment. And the last? When you ask for the deal or negotiate the final item!  You need to have a plan to apply as many of these elements to win as much business as possible. 

“Closing is not a moment in time but a continuous act throughout the sales cycle”

Tags: Sales Skills, Closing, Sales Tips, Sales Tips, Sales Advice, Closing, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Sales Cycles, DiSC Styles, b2b Sales

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

    Barbara Giamanco Interviews Jonathan London

    Posted on Wed, Dec 05, 2012

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    Sales Mastery Interview Host Barbara Giamanco is the co-author of The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media and a published author in the Harvard Business Review. An experienced sales and social media advisor, speaker and coach, Barb was recognized again in 2012 by InsideView as one of the Top 25 Influential Leaders in Sales.

    Click Here for the Podcast

    As I interview sales professionals like Jonathan, it is all with the goal of helping you and your sales team radically increase your sales, improve the profitability of those sales and close those sales far more quickly than you are today, I want you to learn from the best in sales and social media, because selling today requires an entirely different approach and new skills are required!

    And no set of skills may be more important than salespeople and organizations being able to leverage technology in ways that drive sales results. I’m a big fan of using technology as part of your sales process BUT technology is not a quick fix nor does it close the deal for you! In my conversation with Jonathan, we talk about how to use technology in the right way at various points in the sales cycle. It’s a good listen!

    When you listen to the interview, you’ll learn:

    • Why Jonathan wrote his book - Using Technology to Sell.
    • What the biggest challenges people and organizations face in addressing the use of technology to sell.
    • How technology can enable or disable the productivity of salespeople.
    • How social media fits.
    • Why organizations need to change their approach in response to the amount of information and technology that is available.
    • The biggest mistakes sales organizations make when it comes to technology.

    And more…

    Enjoy the interview!        Click Here for the Podcast

    Tags: Sales Advice, Social Media, Sales Cycles, technology enabled selling, b2b Sales, Sales Productivity

    Harvard Business Review – The Secret to Smarter Sales

    Posted on Mon, Jul 23, 2012

     Secret to Smarter Sales or Don't Throw The Baby out With the Bath Water

     Harvard Business Review *– The Secret to Smarter Sales or “Don't Throw The Baby out With the Bath Water”

     HBR’s latest issue “The Secret to Smarter Sales” is interesting and stimulating (excitement and horror) in the positions it takes about selling. In many ways it turns selling dogma upside down and inside out. However, with careful thought, there are many ways you can take advantage of these insights without too much disrupton.

    I would like to comment on what I see as the key areas of this article:

    Breakthrough Ideas and Comments:

    1.      The idea that no one person embodies the characteristics of a “coach” is excellent.

    2.      Skeptics were the best category of person to sell to. However, is your organization set up to be patient? Does this imply a slower sales cycle while increasing size and win %? Does that matter?

    3.      People pushing back and dissecting your offer as a buying sign or sign of interest is an excellent point to be aware of and not turned off by.

    4.      People are also more likely to go with the idea or offer that has the least to be skeptical about. In other words, the areas they are skeptical about can't be those that are most critical to their internal buying criteria or perspective.

    A Story: I am involved in a sale where I raised the idea that putting a band-aid on a problem is fine as long as they knew it wasn't the real solution, which was to reorganize their entire sales structure. The SVP of Sales misinterpreted this as me not wanting to help him with the band-aid because I was only interested in the bigger issue (which was too much for him to tackle). His HR person, my coach, the person who introduced me into the opportunity, realized that I was saying we can start at prospecting and build from there. He didn't. He also wanted somebody with more experience in his industry vs. seeing the benefit of bringing in somebody less conditioned and with new ideas. She got it. I don't think he did. He was also uncomfortable with, or threatened with my directness. She wasn't. We will see what happens?

    5.     Selling something that is disruptive, where there is no set pattern to buy, or budget allotted connotes that you need to sell to someone with the ability to move things and make things happen along with the characteristic described. It would also imply they need to be in power, be part of the circle of influence or unafraid to exert themselves overtly or subtly.

    Not Necessarily New but Noteworthy:

    6.      The fact that “60%” is already done and researched so people need to be more of a subject matter expert with insight and advice is an excellent point. It is not necessarily new but new enough to emphasize and be aware of.

    7.      There is an old saying “there is margin in mystery” meaning people will pay more for things they don't know or have the resources for. Putting this into a sales approach of consciously finding companies who are in that position is a good one.

    8.      If you want your business to grow, sell to growing businesses is something I first heard from Len D’Innocenzo and Jack Cullen over 18 years ago. It is teeming with sales opportunities.

    Questions (not saying I have the answer but I am curious):

    9.      It seems this information is most relevant for people selling larger enterprise type services with an inherent longer sales cycle. Is it as relevant when selling something smaller into smaller organizations?

    10.  Not that it has to, but does this approach shorten sales cycles?

    11.  Can you do what the article says within the structure of a traditional sales process or do you need to completely blow up the process. For example, can you learn to probe and look for the characteristics described in the article? (see table below. Solution Selling Insight Selling comparison is part of the HBR article referenced in the title of this blog).

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    Tactics and Other Thoughts:

    12.  You still need to penetrate the account to get to the right person and you still need a, or several people to coach you throughout the process

    13.  Begin asking questions and put them into your S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue:

      • is there precedence for this type of situation that can be followed or used as a guideline
      • how have decisions of this nature been made in the past
      • who in your organization has the ability to or has already done this
      • who are the skeptics, teachers and go-getters in the organization (don't use these words of course).

        14.  In terms of prioritizing your opportunities, add the criteria outlined in the article to your existing and new opportunities to decide how real and attractive the opportunity is. Use your coach or coaches to get the information you don't know. Ask these questions about:

          • how they make decisions, not just the process but do they push back
          • how do they handle a contrary opinion
          • are they open to debate
          • where do they gather their information, etc.

            15. You still need to be able to put a solution together that has relevance to the client. To say that solution selling is dead is a misnomer. Your insights are your solutions.

            16. Regardless of the best style to sell to, they still need to to be able to drive people and an organization. There needs to be a certain level of assertiveness and hopefully power. In DiSC talk they have some D (dominant) or i (influential) in them.

            17. You still need to be a very skilled salesperson to navigate the sale. In fact, you probably can't get to this level of sophistication until you have.

            What are your thoughts? Let me know by commenting or emailing or calling.

            * Harvard Business Review, July-August 2012

            Tags: Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Coaching, Sales Structure, Sales Cycles, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue