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

Is Big Data Bad for Salespeople

Posted on Tue, Mar 25, 2014

big data

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 1 computer that took up several football fields, did very little and only the privileged few (the aristocracy 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 David London

 

 

 

Tags: Sales, Sales Training, b2b Sales

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, DiSC Styles

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

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

Sales Training: 16 Reasons Coaching is The Best Way of Training

Posted on Fri, Apr 05, 2013

 

 Coaching MP900399898 (3) resized 600

In working with all size companies for the last 19 years, I know the critical role coaching plays in developing sales people and managers and getting the most from them.

Whether this coaching is done as part of a formal sales training process or independently; 1:1 coaching is an incredible tool to improve performance. You can:

  1. give each person what they need  vs. a blend for everyone
  2. offer a person an opportunity to learn from an outside perspective
  3. allow people can voice their opinion which they would not feel comfortable doing otherwise
  4. extend the reach of your management so they can get to other things while their people are being developed
  5. give your best and most senior people get the attention they need so they don't quit
  6. ramp new hires more quickly
  7. have your management team can be coached to improve their skills and all the benefit that come with that
  8. give people specific assignments that are targeted to their specific needs
  9. have sessions be recorded for people to review
  10. give as many or as little sessions as are required by the individual
  11. get a great ROI since the investment is similar to classroom training
  12. provide motivation to people who are in need of a lift
  13. have previous top performers who are lagging reach their potential again
  14. coach in person, via video or web to keep costs down
  15. increase sales in a very short time frame
  16. strategize large deals with expertise not in house.

Let me know if you want to discuss or have questions on coaching for you or your team.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Coaching, Sales Process, Sales Coaching

Sales Advice: 16 Different Questions You Can Ask About Budget

Posted on Thu, Mar 07, 2013

16 Different Questions to Ask About Budget

 There are so many questions we can ask about a prospect's budget but we tend to ask only a few. Here are some ideas for you from the basic to more interesting questions.

  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?

Do you have any others that you use? Do you have a deal involving budget you would like to discuss?  

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

Salespeople, 19 Ways to Close Bigger Deals: Part 2

Posted on Tue, Mar 05, 2013

 

Salespeople, 19 Ways to Close Bigger Deals

Below are ideas 5-8 that can be helpful in closing bigger deals.

5.  Know their decision process and the people involved so you don't have to chase or guess.

     Bigger deals involve many more people and checks and balances. Companies are very bureaucratic and processed when larger deals are involved. Different people have different signature authorities for money or influence dependent upon their role. Find out as early as possible what the process is so there are no surprises and you can align resources

6.  If you must, use discounting wisely. Keep something in your back pocket.

     Regardless what people say, discounting is a standard or common part of a sales process. I am not saying you should discount haphazardly or unnecessarily, but if you have to offer anything, do not offer it too early and not have anything left at the end. Having said that, if you can offer something has more value than money to the prospect, then do that.

7.  Use your management and pre/post sales support team early and often.

     A lot of salespeople do not use their resources well or properly. Specifically, they don't introduce the people that will be supporting the client. It diminishes your ability, makes you look smaller than you are and puts you at a competitive disadvantage, especially if the competition is doing it. It also gives you different people to establish relations and get information that is critical to win large deals.

8.  Know your negotiation strategy so the deal doesn't get delayed.

     There are multiple negotiation strategies you can use. The way you start establishing your negotiation strategy is to use a selling strategy that reflects the same. You can take a more direct, conciliatory or integrative approach with the prospect. It also means knowing how the prospect tends to negotiate and setting the right expectations in what might happen in a negotiation.

Stay tuned for more, in the meantime, do reach out to me if you have any suggestions or questions.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Closing, Sales Process

Salespeople, 19 Ways to Close Bigger Deals

Posted on Mon, Feb 25, 2013



Ways to Close Bigger Deals

The next 4 blogs will break down 19 different action items, tactics you can take to close bigger deals.

This is certainly not the definitive list, but it will help you be mindful of some of the most important things to do.

1.   Assign an executive sponsor early as possible
•    There is an old saying “build the bridge before the flood”.
•    Having an executive sponsor will help you get into higher levels of an organization.
•    This is essential because you can use this relationship to gain information you would not
         gain otherwise and to either close the deal faster or save the deal if you are in trouble.

2.   Increase Face – Face time
•    Big deals take longer to close.
•    Many of us have so many accounts and responsibilities that we work on what are in front
         of us and forget to pay attention to the bigger deal.
•    Having face time with the prospect is critical because it puts you in a position of
         advantage if your competition isn’t doing it and builds the relationship at many levels.
•    This is particularly important if the prospect is far away from everyone and rarely gets
         visited.

3.   If the deal crosses territories or oceans, share in the wealth and work with others
•    More often than not, compensation plans are not written to promote cooperation amongst
         different territories or regions.
•    Larger deals often have people in the decision process who are in multiple regions
         or countries.
•    It is incumbent upon you to get other people involved even if it means a smaller part
         of the commission.
•    It is difficult to cover this kind of opportunity otherwise and shows the depth of your
         organization to handle a larger opportunity.

4.    Get contracts done or issues ahead of time. Use contract as part of close
•    If you can get the contract process done earlier than later (which is not easy),
         you can shorten the sales process and you can use the contract to close the deal.
•    If it has already been invested in, and it is a good contract for both parties,
         you have already taken a lot of the pain out of the process.

Watch for my next blog and if you have any questions reach out to me




Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Closing, Sales Process

5 Steps to Accelerate the Sales Process by Turning it Upside Down

Posted on Fri, Feb 15, 2013

 

 Accelerate the Sales Process by Turning it Upside Down

In working with a client in helping define their sales process for an enterprise solution, we went through the usual steps of what has to happen, when and who has to do what.

We created a master list and then we chose the items they could apply to existing deals in order to shorten the sales cycle. This was extremely helpful in having them see what they could do.

Finally we turned the whole sales process upside down and started with the end in mind.

So here is what we suggest:

 1.    In first meeting the client, tell them what your objective is which is to demonstrate a   significant cost savings.  In fact, the account they are speaking to was chosen from the few that met their criteria.  If they didn't meet the criteria, they, the vendor wouldn't have reached out.
2.    The vendor is so confident of their offer they will do real testing and modeling showing the prospect what their actual savings is (you may have to offer something else based on your company’s capabilities).
3.    Of course, the vendor needs to show them how it will be done and answer questions, but
4.    After that is done they are asking the person they are meeting with to sponsor this project in the organization.
5.    If the prospect doesn't know how to make this happen, the vendor will show them how it has been done in other organizations.

Of course in the real world there will be many prospects who will not respond to this and the vendor may have to go back to a more traditional model.

In addition, the vendor and salesperson has to avoid being too verbose or arrogant but present the offer in a way where the prospect can see the opportunity in front of them.

I hope you like this idea. Try it in some accounts to see how people react.

Reach out to me if you have any questions.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Closing, Sales Process, Presentations, Buying Process