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

The 3's of Selling More

Posted on Thu, Jun 19, 2014

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The Rule of 3 according to Wikipedia is: a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. (citation needed).

The reader or audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. From slogans ("Go, fight, win!") to films, many things are structured in threes. Examples include The Three StoogesThree Musketeers and others.

Here are some 3’s for selling:

  1. focus on 3 verticals, applications or a mix of and don't waste your time elsewhere
  2. always try to give 3 benefits or reasons someone should do what you are asking
  3. have a minimum of 3:1 ratio of pipeline to target/quota
  4. 3 isn't a crowd – bring others to big meetings with you
  5. if you have 3 minutes, make a prospecting call or follow up those you have already made
  6. saving 3 minutes a day gives you another hour a week to prospect – imagine 30 minutes a day
  7. meditate for 3 minutes in between appointments or before a big presentation. You will be much clearer and present
  8. count to 3 before handling an objection
  9. take 3 deep breaths and exhale slowly to relax in a tense environment
  10. take 3 email breaks a day so you can do something more productive
  11. don't sit on stool unless it has at least 3 legs
  12. on average, if you have 3 meetings a day (for all stages of a sales process) you will make more money than other salespeople
  13. choose the 3 people (personal, boss, peer) who will hold you accountable for what you said you will do wen you created your S.M.A.R.T. Goals
  14. solutions should consist of at least 3 elements – product benefits, something about your company (history, philosophy, finances, etc) and services
  15. always be at an appt at least 3 minutes early if not 5 or 10 (too early is too eager)
  16. you can give a prospect 3 options to choose from, good- better- best. Either way they buy from you
  17. your company’s or own marketing should consist of 3’s like the example on top
  18. a great team can beat 3 superstars
What other 3's do you have?

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, Coaching, Sales Productivity

Thinking is Overrated for Salespeople

Posted on Tue, Apr 22, 2014

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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, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Productivity, Presentations, b2bSales

Sell More by Opening Your Heart

Posted on Wed, Feb 26, 2014

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While listening to a webinar today by Dan Pink, best selling author of “To Sell is Human” he mentioned that one of the qualities we need to engage more is to be of service to others.

 It was kismet in that earlier in the day, I was walking to an appointment with a client and the phrase “open my heart” came to mind. Not sure why. I know I really want to help this gentleman. He is starting his own business, is a nice guy, earnest, hard working and struggling a little. This was our last scheduled meeting for me to coach him so I wanted to do as much as I could for him.

 Open my heart. God does that sound nauseating, even to, or especially to me, but it is in the vain of what I am doing personally and think I can help others with as well.

So what does it mean and how does it relate to selling. Several interpretations of an open heart include:

 “that the ultimate goal of opening our hearts and minds is so that people can experience the openness, wisdom, and warmth that is the essence of our being”

“it means being more compassionate”

“it means being less worried so you can be more present and listen”

It is obvious that these qualities will help you help your customers and have them be more open, responsive and trusting  of you. It also helps “leave our ego outside” so we can do the same.

BTW, my meeting with my customer went 30 minutes longer, was the best meeting of many great meetings we had, AND I have several more opportunities because of it.

Let me know what you think.

Tags: Sales Skills, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Productivity, Sales Process

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

      Sales Tip - 16 Questions to Ask About Budget

      Posted on Tue, Sep 24, 2013

      Asking about budget is a very sensitive issue and needs to be done delicately. Below are 16 ways or questions you can ask about a budget. These can be asked at various times in the sales process.

      1. Is there a budget for this project
      2. How much is it
      3. Can you give me a rough idea or estimate or range
      4. Who was involved in setting the budget
      5. What % of the overall project is the budget for what we are discussing
      6. What elements went into the budget
      7. Is the budget approved
      8. Is it an op ex or cap ex
      9. What are the different signatures required to get the budget
      10. Are you competing for this budget or is it a line item for you
      11. What can make this budget disappear
      12. Whose budget/money is it
      13. If not budgeted, how do you get money
      14. Is there a precedent you can use that would be successful
      15. Where is the most perilous path in spending the money
      16. What internal or external obstacles can prevent this budget being allocated

      Tags: b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Productivity, b2bSales

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

      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

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

      Posted on Mon, Jun 17, 2013

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