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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

5 Reasons You Should Do Sales Coaching

Posted on Mon, Aug 18, 2014

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Sales coaching by a coach who is an expert at selling, not coaching is the cure to many sales woes, and can make many more people successful. It is worth with the investment with a huge ROI. Imagine a $1,000 - $3,000 investment returning $1,000,000 in revenue and $250,000 profit. I personally have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and it never would have happened without my sales coach.*

I offer my advice and services (if you like) to you.

Most recently, I have been doing a lot of coaching with salespeople who should be better than they are. They usually share these characteristics:

-       they are smart

-       want to learn and get better

-       are attractive as people (men and woman)

-       are motivated to be successful for internal or external reasons

-       are not getting the kind of attention they need because:

* they work alone
* are in too large an organization
* work for a manager who cant give them the time they need
* are thrown into the lion’s cage and told to survive

So why aren’t they doing better:

  1. They can’t see the forest from the trees. They are confused and need some structure. I recently gave a woman I was coaching exact words and flow to use until she didn't need it anymore. She improved dramatically!!
  2. They are thrown into the room with the occasional raw meat, just like I was. And this is much more common. Sink or Swim. They are not alone when being coached
  3. Not given enough time to be successful. Too often I have seen people who could be really good if they were given a little more time but pressures avail. Now one of the traits to be successful is speed, but everyone is not as fast as others. Sales coaching accelerates the process.
  4. Most managers are just bad in this area.  They don't give their people enough attention due to time shortages or they don't know how. They may have no idea of their responsibility in developing people, so they don't. We can teach salespeople and managers.
  5. Wrong Job – even though they have all the attributes described, they just aren’t going to be good salespeople. There are lots of reasons this happens, and lots of way to prevent this but I don't really want to go into them. Think better hiring, use online assessment tools, hire for the job, not in your image, etc., etc. Coaching can help you make a decision if the person is or isnt suited for sales

So can a manager or oganization address all the areas mentioned in this blog. Of course, it is not difficult. But many don't and that is why you need a coach.

*A personal story. I remember my first training at Olivetti when they put me into a room with some manuals and every once in a while opened the door and threw in some raw meat to feed me. It wasn't that bad but it is an appropriate metaphor. My “mentor” would drive me around to client meetings and we would smoke Hawaiian buds (remember it was the 70’s). It wasn't until a person took me under his wing to give me some direction, and along with my immense latent talent J did I become a successful sales person and sales coach. 

Tell me what you think or reach out to me at JLondon@ipgtraining.com

 

Tags: sales management, Sales Effectiveness, Coaching, Coaching, Sales Productivity, sales management

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 Training, Sales Effectiveness, Sales Strategies, Sales Process, Sales Tips, Sales Advice, Coaching, Sales Productivity

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

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

Sales Tip – 6 Seeds to Plant During Your Initial Meeting

Posted on Wed, Oct 02, 2013

seeds resized 600Regardless of what sales process you are using, IPG’s R.E.A.L. tm Selling or any other, it is important that your first interaction with a client impress them and influence their thinking, whether it's just agreeing to another meeting or something more.

This is best done by having a dialogue, avoiding presenting too much and finding the right balance. It means avoiding the tendency of salespeople to go off on a subject they know they can do well, which stops the dialogue and becomes a monologue.

A great way to do this is by planting seeds during the dialogue and conversation. A seed is something you do well or differently, even uniquely. It is something that you might emphasize in your presentation or white boarding. An example of a seed would be:

  1. something your product does differently or better
  2. a story or anecdote about something you or your company has done for another company
  3. a personal insight about something in the application or industry you have done
  4. a question you ask that shows expertise or insights
  5. if you know your competition, a trap you can set without specifically mentioning your competition
  6. your financial stability or number of locations

 

These should be short and sweet, no longer than 30 seconds or a minute, and staying with the idea of a seed, in order to plant it the right depth, you should ask, trial close or confirm what they think about the seed you planted.

Seeds are also a way of giving something back to the person you are talking to vs. it just being an interrogation by just asking questions and then going into the big pitch.

So before you go into your next meeting, know which seeds you want to plant and when you think it best to do so. Your initial meetings will go much better and you will have more control and influence in your sales opportunities.

 

 

Tags: Sales Advice, Sales Effectiveness, Sales Process, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Buying Process

Salespeople ask "What Do You Know About Our Company"

Posted on Tue, Jul 23, 2013

questionWhat do You Know About…

I used to hate when salespeople would ask this at the beginning of a sales call. I used to get upset with them for doing so. I thought all it could do was minimize you and lead the customer to say things like “I never heard of you” or “very little.” If they knew about you, then you didn't need to ask.

But now, because I am such an open-minded person smiley face, I am always looking to learn and improve; and studies are showing most prospects are checking you out way before you even meet I think this could be a very important question to ask.

Why, you say?  Because:

  • more than ever people are researching you and your company before they even meet you
  • they are using this information to decide if they even want to meet
  • they are developing a pre-conceived notion of you and your company
  • if they are a High “C” DiSC style they probably know more about you and your company than even you do.

So, you:

  • want to understand where they are coming from
  • where they are getting their information from
  • how they will continue during their decision process to use and get more info

For those of you who have been fortunate enough to take my class or read my books (my mother would be so proud), the best way to do this is in the “S” or the “N” of the S.PRI.N.G.™  Dialogue.  Here are some examples of how you might ask:

  1. What do you know about my company (you would say your actual company name)?
  2. I was curious about what you know about my company?
  3. I was curious about what you know about my company and how you attained this information?
  4. A lot of my customers have done some research online before we met. Did you do so as well? What resources did you use? What did you find out? Anything in particular catch your attention?
  5. How will this information influence your decision or decision criteria?
  6. Besides yourself, or, who assisted you in doing this research?

You will notice I said “you” and your company. That is right. They are checking you out to see what kind of person or business person you are. So:

  • watch what you say or post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Phinkit, etc.
  • make sure your personal LinkedIn and Facebook business pages are full of great information about you, with lots of written recommendations
  • if you have a blog, let people know about it and make it interesting.

I know you probably won’t, but I always want to ask you to share your thoughts or best practices. It helps everyone and makes me feel like somebody out there is paying attention.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Skills, Sales Effectiveness, b2b Sales, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, b2b Sales, Sales Coaching

Sales Tips - Are You in Alignment or Do You Need an Adjustment

Posted on Tue, Jul 16, 2013

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Are You Aligned or Do you Need an Adjustment

To feel healthiest, all of the parts of your body need to be aligned.

The same is true in the body of a sales organization and the areas and departments that support it. Everyone has more than they can do and not enough time to do it. The sales body is being stressed and probably needs an adjustment and alignment.

How well aligned you are in achieving your numbers is a critical element of your sales health. Is there a lot of internal friction or is everything working more easily.

Is there an external customer focus or an internal meeting focus?

This is important both inter and intra departmentally, where it might be even more important and more difficult since these people don’t report to you and might have conflicting priorities or sometimes the wrong attitude or perception about sales.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself and others:

  • Who and what are the key departments and people that need to help me and support me when I ask?
  • Have we met with each other to discuss our mutual goals and priorities to see if they are in alignment?
  • Are you compensated in a way that compliments or conflicts with each other?
  • Do you know where the obvious conflicts are?
  • Do you know what you will not do as much as what you will do?
  • Are you being realistic or overly ambitious in trying to help each other?
  • Does either of your boss’ goals and priorities conflict with what you have agreed to?
  • Do you have rules of engagement in terms of how you will handle grey areas, like:
    1. 3 strikes and you are out
    2. in case of a tie, who wins
    3. you only lose your right to be the decision maker if your choice is incorrect
  • If there is a conflict:
    1. do you go back and forth on who has first rights?
    2. do you escalate?
    3. is one of you more equal than the other
    4. do you agree that the person only loses their right to choose if they are wrong the last time they chose?
  • Is there a time frame for this agreement?
  • How often will you review these priorities?

 Let me know what you think or reach out if I can be of assistance.

 

 

Tags: S.M.A.R.T. goals and priorities, Sales Productivity, b2b Sales, Sales Effectiveness

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, Presentations, Sales Effectiveness, b2b Sales, Sales Productivity

C Level Selling - 10 Things to Measure That You Don't To Sell More

Posted on Wed, May 08, 2013

10

 

In developing a sales process for a customer we were dong the normal stuff you should be measuring:

decision process, decision criteria, budget, competition, compelling event, etc.

But when we looked at the deals they were winning, we found a whole other set of measurements that weren't being looked at and were much more important.

  1. do we get along
  2. does the customer give me access
  3. are they giving me feedback to make the proposal better
  4. are they coaching me a little
  5. am I making an impression on them with my knowledge, insights and candor
  6. can I see that they want to do business with me or buy from me
  7. are they allowing me to be honest and direct
  8. are they giving me access and positive exposure to important people
  9. do they respond to my emails and invites
  10. do they accept my Linkedin invite

 We realized that these indicators are as if not more important than the price or quality of your offer, because if they are not responding as described above, it also tells you there is a problem you have to attend to.

So what is the moral to this story? Doing the things that can be empirically measured can be less important than doing the things above. What else do you look at?

Tags: Sales, Social Media, Sales Advice, Sales Effectiveness, sales deal, b2b Sales, Buying Process

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