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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

PERSONAS SHMERSONAS FOR SALESPEOPLE

Posted on Mon, Jan 20, 2014

people picture for blog resized 600 

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, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue

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, 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 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, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Sales Process, Buying Process

Salespeople ask "What Do You Know About Our Company"

Posted on Tue, Jul 23, 2013

questionWhat do You Know About…

I used to hate when salespeople would ask this at the beginning of a sales call. I used to get upset with them for doing so. I thought all it could do was minimize you and lead the customer to say things like “I never heard of you” or “very little.” If they knew about you, then you didn't need to ask.

But now, because I am such an open-minded person smiley face, I am always looking to learn and improve; and studies are showing most prospects are checking you out way before you even meet I think this could be a very important question to ask.

Why, you say?  Because:

  • more than ever people are researching you and your company before they even meet you
  • they are using this information to decide if they even want to meet
  • they are developing a pre-conceived notion of you and your company
  • if they are a High “C” DiSC style they probably know more about you and your company than even you do.

So, you:

  • want to understand where they are coming from
  • where they are getting their information from
  • how they will continue during their decision process to use and get more info

For those of you who have been fortunate enough to take my class or read my books (my mother would be so proud), the best way to do this is in the “S” or the “N” of the S.PRI.N.G.™  Dialogue.  Here are some examples of how you might ask:

  1. What do you know about my company (you would say your actual company name)?
  2. I was curious about what you know about my company?
  3. I was curious about what you know about my company and how you attained this information?
  4. A lot of my customers have done some research online before we met. Did you do so as well? What resources did you use? What did you find out? Anything in particular catch your attention?
  5. How will this information influence your decision or decision criteria?
  6. Besides yourself, or, who assisted you in doing this research?

You will notice I said “you” and your company. That is right. They are checking you out to see what kind of person or business person you are. So:

  • watch what you say or post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Phinkit, etc.
  • make sure your personal LinkedIn and Facebook business pages are full of great information about you, with lots of written recommendations
  • if you have a blog, let people know about it and make it interesting.

I know you probably won’t, but I always want to ask you to share your thoughts or best practices. It helps everyone and makes me feel like somebody out there is paying attention.

Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, Sales Effectiveness, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Sales Coaching

Sales Insights vs Sales Training

Posted on Tue, Jun 11, 2013

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I was recently hired by a company that is growing, doing well and wants to develop and train their salespeople to create a repeatable process for their current and future salespeople.

As often happens, the client is not willing or able to spend the amount of time and money up front to have us experience their environment as well as do our extensive research and analysis.

We interviewed salespeople and managers, pre/post support people. We looked at win/loss reports and reviewed their current presentations and proposals. We talked with the people responsible for their CRM. and created a clientized program for their them that addressed the most significant areas including:

  • Mirroring using a combination of DiSC and Meyers-Briggs
  • Prospecting to be less dependent on incoming leads
  • Discovery and planting seeds via our S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue to better qualify the sales process
  • Presenting and Objection Handling to present more value and navigate the sales process and close more business.

 The training went well. People were participative, receptive and open to the new techniques we were practicing. The feedback was excellent. However, the most relevant, significant, important and impactful part of going through and experiencing the training were the insights that we had together.

 Here  is my summary to my client regarding these insights:

  • salespeople need to use S.PRI.N.G.  to keep better control of a sales process and not get lost as often as they do
  • salespeople need to integrate and address the issues much earlier in the sales process that are most common, important and prevent sales from occurring. These include:
  • Planting seeds that differentiate and demonstrate XYZ's value
  • During the S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, asking qualifying questions (budget, process, competition, etc) later in the process vs. too early to help get better answers
  • address the reasons people defer
  • and understand where XYZ's solution fits in their priority scheme, ESPECIALLY if there is no definitive compelling event
  • Develop a standard presentation and proposal format that captures the key elements of the S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue AND addresses the most common reasons people defer on going with XYZ
  • Practice the best ways to anticipate and handle the most common objections
  • Get more comfortable using analogies to present XYZ's process so that people don't get confused
  • Create their hit list of accounts they want to sell and use the prospecting techniques and why you why now to get more appointments

 The management team needs to:

  • Embrace and become experts at the key elements noted above especially around mirroring
  • Develop, mentor and reinforce a repeatable sales process 
  •  Integrate these into the sales fabric of XYZ including:

- Commit to a weekly schedule of practicing and role playing

  - Use in 1:1's and forecast sessions

- Bring into discussions of deals that are crucial or in trouble

- Integrate into CRM as a support mechanism

I look forward to discussing this and other elements of success when we talk next.

If you would like a copy of the S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue form, please click here, or call or email me.

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

Salespeople, 22 Tips for 2014 -- Another New Year!

Posted on Wed, Jan 02, 2013

 Salespeople, 22 Tips for 2013 -- Another New Year!

If you haven’t started already, now or even this week 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:
    1. Continue doing or do more of that is working
    2. Stop doing that is in the way of my success
    3. Start doing that is needed because of market conditions or opportunities
  7. Who at work or home do I need to help me stay disciplined enough to the things that are most important?
  8. What have I been putting off that needs to be done?
  9. Have I targeted the accounts I want to sell?
  10. Do I know the one or two that would really put me over the top?
  11. Am I using social media, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. to keep me in touch with the people and events that are critical to my success?
  12. Am I using free services like Google Alerts to do the same?
  13. What support mechanisms do I have to keep balanced?
  14. What is my quick start program so I have a great quarter and make the rest of the year a “little” easier?
  15. Are my manager and I on the same page so he/she supports me vs. interferes?
  16. Can you tell yourself what you are or are not willing to do so you are happy and successful?
  17. 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?
  18. If your compensation plan is here, do you know how you will make the most money from it?
  19. 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?
  20. Can you be more organized and/or effective by being more focused and wasting less time in a day?
  21. Can you identify the 3 or 4 most important priorities for your success?
  22. Can you create an image for yourself of what short and long term success looks and feels like to keep yourself motivated, positive?

     

    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: Sales Cycles, Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, Sales Effectiveness, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Prospecting, S.M.A.R.T. goals and priorities, Coaching, Sales Productivity, LinkedIn, Sales Process, technology enabled selling, b2bSales

    Salespeople, Ask "What Do You Know About Our Company"?

    Posted on Wed, Oct 17, 2012

    What Do You Know About Our Company?

    What do You Know About…

    I used to hate when salespeople would ask this at the beginning of a sales call. I used to yell at them for doing so. I thought all it could do was minimize you and lead the customer to say things like “I never heard of you” or “very little.” If they knew about you, then you didn't need to ask.

    But now, because I am such an open-minded person smiley face, I am always looking to learn and improve; and studies are showing most prospects are checking you out before you even meet I think this could be a very important question to ask.

    Why, you say?  Because:

    • more than ever people are researching you and your company before they even meet you
    • they are using this information to decide if they even want to meet
    • they are developing a pre-conceived notion of you and your company
    • if they are a High “C” DiSC style they probably know more about you and your company than even you do.

    So, you:

    • want to understand where they are coming from
    • where they are getting their information from
    • how they will continue during their decision process to use and get more info

    For those of you who have been fortunate enough to take my class or read my books (my mother would be so proud), the best way to do this is in the “S” or the “N” of the S.PRI.N.G.™  Dialogue.  Here are some examples of how you might ask:

    1. What do you know about my company (you would say your actual company name)?
    2. I was curious about what you know about my company?
    3. I was curious about what you know about my company and how you attained this information?
    4. A lot of my customers have done some research online before we met. Did you do so as well? What resources did you use? What did you find out? Anything in particular catch your attention?
    5. How will this information influence your decision or decision criteria?
    6. Besides yourself, or, who assisted you in doing this research?

    You will notice I said “you” and your company. That is right. They are checking you out to see what kind of person or business person you are. So:

    • watch what you say or post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Phinkit, etc.
    • make sure your personal LinkedIn and Facebook business pages are full of great information about you, with lots of written recommendations
    • if you have a blog, let people know about it and make it interesting.

    I know you probably won’t, but I always want to ask you to share your thoughts or best practices. It helps everyone and makes me feel like somebody out there is paying attention.

    Tags: Sales Skills, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Effectiveness, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, LinkedIn, DiSC Styles, Negotiations, Presentating

    If Sales Were an Olympic Event: The Selling Decathlon

    Posted on Thu, Aug 02, 2012

    business hurdle

    I think for the next Summer Olympics we should consider a sales decathlon instead of ballroom dancing. It can be an individual and team sport. Here is how I envision it:

    You could create a decathlon that extends for weeks, where the skills people (individually or in a relay) would compete for in the following categories:
    1.    Time Management
    • How quickly can salesthletes manage the decathlon while handling 200 emails a day, blogging, tweeting and creating proposals.  They will also have to do many of these while running a 10K  and pole-vaulting.

    2.    Territory  and Opportunity Management

    • Which team knows where their sweetspot is and can navigate a territory and its detours, which could be online or actual traffic detours. You would also have to throw a javelin or use a bow and arrow to hit the center of your target.  Participants will need to strategize by entering black holes where all light and information is removed from an opportunity (kind of like a customer not calling back) and navigate their way out of the black hole and back on track.

    3.  Business Acumen

    • Salespeople will run along a similar path as runners or bikers and at different stages will be given questions to answer by different business people.  If they get it correct, they run to the next station and hand off the next question to be answered.  If they drop the question or get it wrong, they have to wait X seconds to get it right or ask another teammate.  This will be a series of 100 meter dashes.

    4.    DiSC and Getting Along with Prospects

    • Each team will be stopped by an official who represents a different DiSC style. They will have to engage in a physical event with them (lifting, pulling or throwing something) and determine which DiSC style they are by how the official interacts with them.

    5.    Prospecting and Gaining Access to Power

    • While running, they will have to text, email or call a prospect and get a meeting using relevant, compelling messaging and social media. They can use an “official Olympic” tablet or smartphone.  Sponsors will go crazy for this event.

    6.    Qualifying and S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue

    • A dexterity and strength test will be given where they have to punch a wall mounted device that will reveal if they have asked the right question in the right way in the right order.  Asking or punching things incorrectly brings a penalty, where doing so correctly, makes the physical task of punching easier. They can also use different size discus instead of punching.

    7.    Presenting Your Solution

    • While juggling several things (pins, balls, oranges) they have to relate their solution to a specific circumstance. They will also have to long jump to engage the judges. To test their dexterity, judges will also be able to throw objects at them which they have to dodge while presenting. The best team will advance to the next round.

    8.    Objection Handling

    • If the object thrown hits the salesthlete, they have to address the objection in a way that the judge puts down other items they are preparing to throw at the participant. Or they have to jump over specific hurdles after they address the objection.

    9.    Closing

    • A salesthlete needs to turn or lift a very heavy object to close the deal. This could be a lifting weights or a steel shutter to show their strength.

    10.    Negotiations

    • The lead salesthlete needs to work with his or her other teammates to persuade the judges that the offer/terms they have made will be accepted. This will be done via a Greco-Roman wrestling match.


    The winning relay team would finish the events in the least amount of time and get a Gold medal, but since they are salesthletes, they would also get some kind of spiff like a 3 day 2 night vacation with their partner or spouse to some exotic location.

    I am accepting applications for the Sales Olympics. Let me know what event you wish to be in and your credentials.  Any ideas for improving the event are also welcome.

    Tags: Objection Handling, Summer Olympics, Sales Skills, Time Management, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Closing, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Prospecting, Territory Management, DiSC Styles, Negotiations, Social Media, technology enabled selling, Presenting

    Harvard Business Review – The Secret to Smarter Sales

    Posted on Mon, Jul 23, 2012

     Secret to Smarter Sales or Don't Throw The Baby out With the Bath Water

     Harvard Business Review *– The Secret to Smarter Sales or “Don't Throw The Baby out With the Bath Water”

     HBR’s latest issue “The Secret to Smarter Sales” is interesting and stimulating (excitement and horror) in the positions it takes about selling. In many ways it turns selling dogma upside down and inside out. However, with careful thought, there are many ways you can take advantage of these insights without too much disrupton.

    I would like to comment on what I see as the key areas of this article:

    Breakthrough Ideas and Comments:

    1.      The idea that no one person embodies the characteristics of a “coach” is excellent.

    2.      Skeptics were the best category of person to sell to. However, is your organization set up to be patient? Does this imply a slower sales cycle while increasing size and win %? Does that matter?

    3.      People pushing back and dissecting your offer as a buying sign or sign of interest is an excellent point to be aware of and not turned off by.

    4.      People are also more likely to go with the idea or offer that has the least to be skeptical about. In other words, the areas they are skeptical about can't be those that are most critical to their internal buying criteria or perspective.

    A Story: I am involved in a sale where I raised the idea that putting a band-aid on a problem is fine as long as they knew it wasn't the real solution, which was to reorganize their entire sales structure. The SVP of Sales misinterpreted this as me not wanting to help him with the band-aid because I was only interested in the bigger issue (which was too much for him to tackle). His HR person, my coach, the person who introduced me into the opportunity, realized that I was saying we can start at prospecting and build from there. He didn't. He also wanted somebody with more experience in his industry vs. seeing the benefit of bringing in somebody less conditioned and with new ideas. She got it. I don't think he did. He was also uncomfortable with, or threatened with my directness. She wasn't. We will see what happens?

    5.     Selling something that is disruptive, where there is no set pattern to buy, or budget allotted connotes that you need to sell to someone with the ability to move things and make things happen along with the characteristic described. It would also imply they need to be in power, be part of the circle of influence or unafraid to exert themselves overtly or subtly.

    Not Necessarily New but Noteworthy:

    6.      The fact that “60%” is already done and researched so people need to be more of a subject matter expert with insight and advice is an excellent point. It is not necessarily new but new enough to emphasize and be aware of.

    7.      There is an old saying “there is margin in mystery” meaning people will pay more for things they don't know or have the resources for. Putting this into a sales approach of consciously finding companies who are in that position is a good one.

    8.      If you want your business to grow, sell to growing businesses is something I first heard from Len D’Innocenzo and Jack Cullen over 18 years ago. It is teeming with sales opportunities.

    Questions (not saying I have the answer but I am curious):

    9.      It seems this information is most relevant for people selling larger enterprise type services with an inherent longer sales cycle. Is it as relevant when selling something smaller into smaller organizations?

    10.  Not that it has to, but does this approach shorten sales cycles?

    11.  Can you do what the article says within the structure of a traditional sales process or do you need to completely blow up the process. For example, can you learn to probe and look for the characteristics described in the article? (see table below. Solution Selling Insight Selling comparison is part of the HBR article referenced in the title of this blog).

    HBRImageCapture

     

     

    Tactics and Other Thoughts:

    12.  You still need to penetrate the account to get to the right person and you still need a, or several people to coach you throughout the process

    13.  Begin asking questions and put them into your S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue:

      • is there precedence for this type of situation that can be followed or used as a guideline
      • how have decisions of this nature been made in the past
      • who in your organization has the ability to or has already done this
      • who are the skeptics, teachers and go-getters in the organization (don't use these words of course).

        14.  In terms of prioritizing your opportunities, add the criteria outlined in the article to your existing and new opportunities to decide how real and attractive the opportunity is. Use your coach or coaches to get the information you don't know. Ask these questions about:

          • how they make decisions, not just the process but do they push back
          • how do they handle a contrary opinion
          • are they open to debate
          • where do they gather their information, etc.

            15. You still need to be able to put a solution together that has relevance to the client. To say that solution selling is dead is a misnomer. Your insights are your solutions.

            16. Regardless of the best style to sell to, they still need to to be able to drive people and an organization. There needs to be a certain level of assertiveness and hopefully power. In DiSC talk they have some D (dominant) or i (influential) in them.

            17. You still need to be a very skilled salesperson to navigate the sale. In fact, you probably can't get to this level of sophistication until you have.

            What are your thoughts? Let me know by commenting or emailing or calling.

            * Harvard Business Review, July-August 2012

            Tags: Sales Cycles, Sales, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Structure, S.PRI.N.G. Dialogue, Coaching