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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

Mindful Selling Webinar

Posted on Tue, Oct 14, 2014

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I want to invite you to my first webinar on Mindful Selling tomorrow, Wednesday October 15th at 12 EST. It is an enlightening new apporach to selling that will help you improve your selling and the quality of life. To attend, click on http://barbaragiamanco.enterthemeeting.com/m/FFGPGUT3

The agenda will be:

  • What is Selling
  • What is Mindful Selling
  • Why is it a Better Way to Sell
  • Background on Mindfulness
  • 30 Second Experiments
  • Application to Real Sales Situations
  • Q&A

I truly hope you can attend. 

Tags: Sales Skills

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

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 Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, b2b Sales, Coaching, Sales Productivity

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, Sales Skills, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Productivity, Sales Process

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, b2b Sales, Prospecting, b2b lead generation

Sales Tip: Technology is a Double Edge Sword

Posted on Tue, Oct 22, 2013

double edge swordThe Ubiquity of Technology and Data is a Double-Edged Sword.

On one hand, the sheer volume of information can make selling more difficult. It can become unwieldy, confusing, and overwhelming to you and your prospects, thus hurting your sales efforts. However, if you know how to control and use it, know which bits of information are important and which are a distraction, you are in an enviable position to sell more. How you best engage with technology and information and use it to your advantage to get the optimal return is paramount. Salespeople need to become master craftsmen, able to do things with the tools they have better than their competitors. This has always been true but more so now because of the impact technology is having. 

As a salesperson, the best and easiest way to do this is to know who you want to sell to (title of person and/or industry) and use that as your filter for information. This could be in addition to the personas are developing for you in their own marketing efforts.

Used properly, technology allows us to expand our skills and markets, get greater exposure, and allow more people to find us so we have more sales opportunities. It allows us to differentiate ourselves which is becoming harder and more important.

Let’s look at one of the issues arising in today’s sales world from this onslaught of technology.

Technology and the Web Can Commoditize All Offerings

From the buyer’s side, the abundance of products and services to choose from is much greater than ever before. For example, if you enter the words “managed hosting” into a Google search box you will get more than 9 million results. The dilemma of deciphering the differences can be so overwhelming that buyers will often simplify their decisions by making price the deciding factor and lumping all the other variables into a “they’re all pretty much the same” category. This makes it easier for them to decide. They might not give you as much time, either, because of the time pressures they are under or the medium you are using. (In general, people give you less time virtually than they do in person.)

Vendors contribute to customers’ penchant to commoditize an offer in large part by using the same terms or labels as each other. For example, many vendors in the managed hosting business (companies that host websites for businesses) use the same terms, such as “24/7 support,” to compete and differentiate themselves. What this term doesn’t tell a buyer is how many people are available at any one time during their 24/7 support, or how well trained or qualified they are. Salespeople therefore need to make sure that their offer is presented in a way that is differentiated from others.

So companies and salespeople need to learn to differentiate themselves, be more skilled in a way that has meaning to the prospect and helps them stand out from the competition. This not a technology issue, this is a sales/skill issue which needs to be paid attention to.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, technology enabled selling, sales technology, Internet

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

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

Sales Tips - 7 Items vs Discounting and Negotiation Timing

Posted on Tue, Sep 17, 2013

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Most opportunities have a price sensitivity and also a time sensitivity. Too often the assumption is that the discount (if you are giving one) has to be offered immediately which is never good for the salesperson. It implies a willingness to do so and to do more of it.

A better way of dealing with this issue is to:

  • understand when a decision is going to be made so you don't offer something too early to the prospect
  • understand what the prospect is trying to achieve with your offer
  • in turn, know what has more value than a discount to a prospect and offer them these things instead
  • some of the categories these other items of value might be are:
    1. services
    2. time
    3. additional capabilities
    4. guarantees
    5. set-up
    6. upgrades
    7. flexibility in payment terms

 The other thing to remember is you don't have to give them anything or give them a discount right away. If they are truly interested, you can take your time (being conscious of their decision time frame) whether is an hour, a few hours or a few days before getting back to them.

You should also get their commitment that if you do give them what they are looking for that they will buy from you. It doesn't mean they will say yes, but you should ask anyway.

Tags: Sales Skills, b2b Sales, b2b Sales, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Negotiations, b2bSales

17 Sales Tips and Questions on Lead Generation

Posted on Tue, Aug 06, 2013

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When thinking about your lead gen strategy, here are 17 interesting questions that are relevant for a salesperson or sales organization:

  1. How many leads are you getting in total from both inbound and outbound activities?
  2. Are the ratios correct from each? Is lead gen giving you the number of quality leads you need or should you spend more money and time on outbound?
  3. Do the 2 feed off each other?
  4. What is your close ratio on each?
  5. Are you getting enough leads (stupid question to ask a salesperson) to meet your number or do you need more leads or a higher close ratio
  6. Quality of leads – which lead is better regardless of volume – your own outbound or the inbound
  7. For your outbound do you have named accounts that you are going after
  8. Are they verticalized? They should be if they aren’t
  9. How many accounts are on this list?
  10. Rotate accounts – how often do you rotate them? What is your criteria for this list? Do you have an ideal profile?
  11. Assign by contacts – are you taking advantage of social media and assigning accounts by who knows who?
  12. Do you allow people to trade accounts based upon criteria that gives them a better chance to sell them?
  13. If you are a manager, do you take accounts away from people since they are not active?
  14. If you are using a lead gen capability, how and when do accounts go back in for a “drip” campaign?
  15. If you are a manager, what is your lead distribution philosophy? Is it round robin, or do you have someway of distributing leads to those who are performing better and doing better with the leads?
  16. as a sales leader are you giving your lead gen/marketing group enough direction?
  17. should you be using more targeted lead gen activities if you are in a very tight

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, b2b lead generation, Territory Management, Inside Sales