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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

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

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: Sales Advice, Presentations, Sales Tips, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Advice, Objection Handling, Sales Productivity, b2bSales

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

Posted on Tue, Mar 11, 2014

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

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

PERSONAS SHMERSONAS FOR SALESPEOPLE

Posted on Mon, Jan 20, 2014

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Personas Shmersonas

Every industry has to come up with something new, or seemingly new to keep itself going and maintain it’s viability. For example, in fashion it is color or cut of a garment. One of these things in the marketing, sales and sales training industry is buyer personas.

 What is a buying persona? According to Hubspot, a company I use and admire A buyer persona is:

“Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.”

 This breakdown of a potential buyer and his or her “persona” along the way of a sales process or decision is good for marketing since the right message can try to be sent at the right time.

BUT I SAY ENOUGH WITH BUYING PERSONAS FOR SALESPEOPLE!

Why:

-       they can be highly inaccurate

-       they pigeon hole people/prospects and thus pigeon hole salespeople

-       they restrict what  prospect might want or a salesperson might ask

-       it is difficult and awkward to be mindful of smoothly integrate them into a sales approach

-       they are difficult to use for a salesperson who has multiple assignments, accounts and/or sell to many different people and industries (this is less so for people have a much more finite focus or responsibility)

-       salespeople can become dependent on or falsely led to believe that these personas are sacrosanct and all they have to do is what they are told and the sale will happen. HOGWASH I SAY!

Here is what I think is more important:

-       relating to people and being more empathetic and intelligent about their world

-       understanding a prospect’s or buyers UNIQUE responsibilities, priorities and needs which a persona does address to some degree

-       salespeople having the skill set to interact with an individual/S to see exactly what these are for them and their organization

-       giving salespeople an intelligent and flexible structure (such as the S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue) that they can use in multiple scenarios with much greater impact

That’s all I have to say on the subject for now. What do you think?

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

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, Social Media, lead generation, Sales Tips, Sales Productivity

      7 Sales Tips - Closing is Not a Moment in Time

      Posted on Tue, Oct 15, 2013

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

      MAKE Closing Easier

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

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

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

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

      Some questions to ask yourself:

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

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

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

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

      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

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