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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

Are You Aligned and Have Agreement for Sales Success

Posted on Tue, Jul 15, 2014

alignment resized 600

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

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

Sell More By Getting Past The "I" You Are Selling To

Posted on Tue, Mar 11, 2014

buddha with headset

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 one computer that took up several football fields, did very little and only the privileged few (the aristocracy, the kings 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

Tags: Blogs, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Tips, DiSC Styles

Keeping Your Cool During Sales Negotiations

Posted on Mon, Feb 03, 2014

Buddha

I am involved in a fairly emotional, complicated, expensive sales negotiation with several (8 others) intelligent and very successful people. These people are all over the world so we have to do this over the phone (otherwise I would always do this in person).

The issues are starting to become contentious, and for those of you who know me, or have seen me, you know I can get emotional/angry at times :-)

 I did not want to have my anger get the best of me so I thought of some simple techniques (keep phone on mute, write things down, count to 10 , etc) so I could present myself in a mild, objective manner and be heard, vs. having them react and shutdown.

 As some of you know, I have been meditating quite regularly for the last 6 months and have been wanting to integrate this more into my sales approach. So I meditated a few minutes before the call, but more importantly I said the following to myself so help me be calm:

 First I said:

 May I be Safe

May I Be Happy

May I be Strong

May I be free from suffering and the roots of suffering

May I be filled with loving kindness and compassion

 

Then I said (imaging the people on the call):

 May YOU be Safe

May YOU Be Happy

May YOU be Strong

May YOU be free from suffering and the roots of suffering

May YOU be filled with loving kindness and compassion

 

Can’t tell you that this is the only reason the call went so well, but it did.

 

Let me know if you want to know more?

Tags: Objection Handling, Sales Advice, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Negotiations

12 Tips to Sell Larger Deals with Customer Coaches

Posted on Wed, Sep 11, 2013

coach resized 600

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

Salespeople, Is Discounting Bad?

Posted on Wed, Apr 24, 2013

 

Is Discount Bad?


 

In a recent poll I did on LinkedIn, approximately 80% of the people who responded said that discounting was a necessary part of the sales process (although 14% said they felt bad about doing it).

I did the poll because of some dialog I had in one of my LinkedIn Groups about discounting where most of the input seemed to me to be very intellectual and not really grounded. That is not to say there weren’t great insights and comments made about how to show value, differentiate yourself, use ROI properly and more. But most of the input was implying that discounting was a bad practice and bad salesmanship.

I don't want anyone to think that discounting should always be done, no matter the circumstances.
1.    If business can be won without doing so, go for it.
2.    If you can do all the right things in a sales situation and avoid discounting, do so.
3.    If you can add value vs. discount, go for it. 
4.    If discounting sets a bad precedent for future business, than avoid it.

What got me though was the dogma of never discounting.

So why do people discount or feel it is OK to do so?  Because:

1.    the prospect is expecting it because of the competitive nature of the business
2.    the company a salesperson works for expects it to close business
3.    revenue is the key element vs. profit
4.    it meets a salesperson’s individual needs or goals
5.    it is part of an overall margin and profit plan and the margin comes from elsewhere
6.    there is plenty of margin built into a product and it is an intentional part of the sales   process
7.    it is a way of gaining market share and getting margins from other items
8.    to make up or thank a customer for their loyalty
9.    it allows you to be more productive by potentially shortening sales cycles or only applying to companies that are appealing or unappealing geographically
10.    you are offering a new service or a new product (look at all the stuff you can get for free on the internet. If that isn’t "discounting," what is it?

I would love to know your thoughts about discounting.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, LinkedIn, Sales Process

Salespeople, Differentiate Yourself

Posted on Mon, Apr 15, 2013

Differentiate Yourself resized 600

 

Don’t you hate it when a prospect tells you that you and your competition are all the same? And it is probably happening more and more because of the way people are buying these days. They are researching all their alternatives and are better prepared.

Why else 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 them
  3. they haven’t done their due diligence in order to see the differences
  4. they really aren’t that interested in what you are selling
  5. you don't know what your differentiators are
  6. you don't know how to express your differentiators
  7. you are not preparing for your call or the objection and you are caught off guard

In some cases, there may not be a significant difference in what you are offering, so what can you do to differentiate yourself?

  • Experience:
    • In an industry
    • With an application
    • In a certain business area
    • With a certain business problem
    • How to finance a solution
    • Telling stories or anecdotes or analogies to get your point across
    • Using industry acronyms or language to create the aura of expertise
  • Intelligence, Insights and Knowledge:
    • Gained from reading about an industry
    • Gained from reading about the trends in their or your industry
    • Just being smart
    • Having sold other clients in their industry or application area
    • Using case studies
    • Having active references as leads or to close the business
    • Using whitepapers to prove your point
    • How to use resources to express different points

The other things you can do to differentiate yourself are just good basic sales practices:

  1. Do some research before your call
  2. Build rapport
  3. Listen more than you talk
  4. Don't multi-task while you are selling or engaged with someone
  5. Do what you say, including follow-up
  6. And many more...

Call me if you have questions or suggestions.

Download: Differentiate Yourself Cheat Sheet

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips

12 Questions to Ask about a Prospect's Sales Process

Posted on Tue, Apr 09, 2013

Sales Process:  12 Questions

 

 

1.          Have you ever made a decision like this? Is there a sales process you use?

2.          How do you make decisions of this nature.

3.          Where are you in that process now?

4.          Other than yourself, who else needs to be OK with this decision?

5.          What roles do others play and what do they need to see or hear?

6.          In the past, how have you made these kinds of decisions?  Will it be the same

             or different this time around?

7.          What are the steps?  Who is involved, what is their role and what do you

              need  to get their buy off?

8.          Even if you don’t go with us, what are the obstacles you have to navigate to  get approval?

9.          Are any of the people you mentioned more critical than the others?

10.       Who is driving this at an executive level?

11.       What is the compelling event driving this?

12.       Why now?

You can reach out to me if you have questions on the 12 Questions.

12 Questions on Sales Process

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Effectiveness, Sales Process

Salespeople, 90 Day Territory Plan

Posted on Mon, Apr 01, 2013

 90 Day Territory Plan

In working with a client and their new salespeople, one of the exercises we did was to create a 90–day territory plan. 

Here are some of the ideas we came up with. These are not necessarily in priority order:

1.    Size of Accounts – break down accounts by size

2.    Type of Account – is there any type of account that is better for you than others. For example, if you sell to geography, can you verticalize it since certain verticals are better suited for you?

3.    Partners – who are your best corporate partners and who do you need to meet with. If you don't have enough partners or the ones you have aren’t enough, start developing your own partners

4.    Density by Territory – it is always better to sell to accounts that are near where you live or are in a tight density so you can see them or cover them more effectively

5.    Current Customers – who are your current customers that you can call or visit to introduce yourself, see if they have other requirements and ask for references?

6.    Plan of Attack – what will be your combination of phone calls, emails, webinars, drop by’s? How will you use marketing to reach out to all and to the most important accounts? Are there strategic accounts that if you win will influence others?

7.    Who Do I Know – this might be the first thing you do since they might be able to give you references or might be able to buy something themselves

8.    Databases – see what databases your company is using and if you need to supplement these. If you don't have the money or the company doesn't use a database, find alternative sources like Google Alerts, Momentum or other services.

9.    Join LinkedIn Groups – find the groups on LinkedIn where your prospects gravitate. For example, if you sell web hosting there are many groups who are using hosting.

10.  Join Associations and Groups That Have Contacts  - there are many associations that have local chapters that allow vendors to present their offering

11.  Have a Mentor – you need to have a mentor that will guide you answer your questions. Find one if you are not offered one. You can also do a lot of strategizing and role playing with them.

12.  Create Internal Teams To Converse With – find the right people from sales, services, support and others that you can meet with or speak with when you need help.

13.  Create Measurements – how many meetings do you need to have, how many demos, how many proposals, etc to insure you are moving in the right direction?

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Download: 90 Day Territory Plan

Tags: Territory Plan, Sales, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales

Sales Advice: S.A.M. Save, Avoid/Defer, Make

Posted on Wed, Mar 27, 2013

 

 Sales Advice:  S.A.M.

A Simple Way to Understand Finances and Cost Justify your Solution.

Are you an accountant? Can you speak CFO? Can you read a balance or spread sheet? Are you selling enterprise software or devices that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars? If so, this article isn’t for you. But if not, which is most of us, you might find this sales advice help you sell more.

I have taught a method called S.A.M. ROI which stands for:

-          save

-          avoid/defer

-          make

Other people may use a hard or soft dollar justification, which is fine but S.A.M. can do both. Here is an example of how to use S.A.M.

Let’s create a SIMPLE hypothetical situation that you are selling a device that makes things faster and is smaller than your competition to a $10,000,000 company. How would you help them S.A.M.:

Save: (also known as Hard Dollar Savings)

-          need less of the other devices

-          on the number of people you need to work

-          need less physical space

-          use less electricity

Avoid/Defer: (known as Soft)

-          overtime

-          unnecessary maintenance costs

-          costly supplies

Make: (known as soft)

-          by making things faster you can help a company respond to customer requirements

           or market demands

-          if you increase their sales by 1% it means $100,000 to them.

You can always reach me if you have any questions or suggestions.

Download S.A.M. Form

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales