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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

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

Sales Tips - Which Part of The Sales Process is Most Difficult

Posted on Mon, Jun 17, 2013

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In a recent Linkedin Survey I asked “which part of the sales process is most difficult”  and here is what I was told:

Prospecting to get a meeting and meeting with a decision maker are the most difficult. This might be one and the same since people are usually calling at the highest level. Could also mean that people don't know how to prospect or are resistant to doing so. Mighht also mean people are shooting way too high because they are told do.

Prospecting is not usually an activity that salespeople like doing since they haven’t had to or are getting by without doing so. Lead generation is such a big part of today’s sales environment that many sales people have become dependent on it. It really isn’t difficult, it is just hard and tedious and takes a commitment of time and your own creativity. Here is what we suggest to people to make their prospecting more effective:

  • Never cold call – in your email or phone call reference something about them, their company, their industry or a bigger event. I just got a call today with a very pleasant sounding person saying she had “just been on my website and been calling companies like mine”. That was enough to get me to listen. Even better would have been something from my website or of course a referral. Start using technology, Linkedin, Twitter, google alerts, etc. to stay on top of what is happening in your assignment.
  • Give me a couple of reasons – tell the person you are calling, in a very conversational tone it would be worth it for them to speak with you. The call this morning mentioned that I could “make money on a referral basis and/or I could add value to my existing clients”. Both are appealing to me as an entrepreneur
  • Beware of objections – objections or resistance come fast and furious when you are prospecting. Don't be surprise or put off by them. Embrace them by acknowledging them.  I mentioned to the woman who called me that I was planning for a meeting and she answered “no problem, why don't I send some information and get a better time on your calendar” which we did
  • Close for the call  - this is the basics of basics but you are calling to make an appointment not to sell anything so keep that in mind and find a date, even if it is further out than you like to meet with someone. 

Is there a part of the process that is even more difficult. What do you think? If you want a nice easy form to help you then email me JLondon@ipgtraining.com.

Tags: Sales Skills, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Prospecting, b2b lead generation, Sales Productivity, technology enabled selling

Salespeople, Automating Your Customer Interactions without Automation

Posted on Mon, Jan 14, 2013

Without Automation Fotolia 42642452 XS resized 600

Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, etc. all automate the process of interacting with a prospect or customer from the beginning to the end of the sales process.

But what if you can’t afford any of these services, or for whatever reason you are not using them.  What if you are a small company or even a sales person working on your own?

The most important thing you can do is to understand the SOE (sequence of events) that increases your close ratio.

Sales Time Line

Bring to mind a deal you are working on or have won in the past that you would like to repeat as often as possible.  Do you recall what steps you took with the prospect during their buying process?

It is important to know that the more you can get a customer to do with you the more likely it is you will get the sale since they have committed a lot to you. They will want to recoup their investment of time, energy and sometimes even money.

 

Customer's Decision Process

Here are some ideas of things you can do during the sales process:

  • Have a reference call the prospect
  • Send some information or a white paper if you have one
  • Use Google Alerts or other source to keep track of what is happening with the client or their industry and use that to stay in touch
  • Have them visit your office or set up a time for entertainment
  • Use LinkedIn or others to see where you have common connections and let the person know
  • If you know their personal interests or hobbies, send info about these.

If you can identify the tactics that work best, you can put them into your process and just remind yourself with Outlook or some other tool to remind you what to send and when to send it. It will have the same impact as the more sophisticated solutions available in the market.

Let me know if you have any suggestions, need help or want to talk about it.

Tags: Google Alert, Outlook, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Closing, Prospecting, LinkedIn, Sales Process, technology enabled selling, Buying Process

Salespeople, Week Two of 2013 and More Tips...

Posted on Mon, Jan 07, 2013

 Week Two of 2013  Capture

 

It is the second week of the year, (really the first full week) and it may be your first week back.

Let me go a little bit more in depth with some of the points from last weeks blog, Salespeople, 22 Tips for 2013 -- Another New Year! to help get you started:

Tip #1:

Do I know where my success came from last year?

What did I do to make things happen and be a successful salesperson?

-      did you prospect more

-      were you more disciplined in your approach

-      did you get any sales training that you used well

-      did you work with your partners (if you have any) more effectively

-      did you learn your product so well that you could play it like a violin

-      did you get one big real client and can you do that again this year

-      did you use your resources better than others

-      did you just work harder

Tip #20:

Can you be more organized and/or effective by being more focused and wasting less time in a day?

-      If you can give yourself one more hour a day to sell by being more organized, after holidays, etc. you have 5-6 more weeks of selling time. You just gave yourself an extra month or more to make your quota. Not bad.

-      Here are some questions to ask yourself about wasting time:

  • Do I handle emails well or am I reacting and wasting time
  • Do I qualify requests from customers, prospects and internally regarding when they need something vs. just jumping at the request?
  • Do I delegate and follow up many tasks vs. doing them all myself?
  • Do I have ONE system where I keep notes, to dos, etc?
  • Do I browse the web, Face Book, etc. on unrelated work items during work hours
  • Do I gossip, Twitter, IM too much?
  • Do I qualify appointments as to whether I can do them on the phone vs. in person?
  • Do I use my selling hours to sell and do non-sales tasks at the appropriate time?

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 2013.

Tags: Objection Handling, Resolutions, Time Management, Sales Advice, Sales Training, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Closing, Prospecting, Coaching, Sales Productivity, Sales Process, Social Media, technology enabled selling

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

    Barbara Giamanco Interviews Jonathan London

    Posted on Wed, Dec 05, 2012

    describe the image  describe the image

     

    Sales Mastery Interview Host Barbara Giamanco is the co-author of The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media and a published author in the Harvard Business Review. An experienced sales and social media advisor, speaker and coach, Barb was recognized again in 2012 by InsideView as one of the Top 25 Influential Leaders in Sales.

    Click Here for the Podcast

    As I interview sales professionals like Jonathan, it is all with the goal of helping you and your sales team radically increase your sales, improve the profitability of those sales and close those sales far more quickly than you are today, I want you to learn from the best in sales and social media, because selling today requires an entirely different approach and new skills are required!

    And no set of skills may be more important than salespeople and organizations being able to leverage technology in ways that drive sales results. I’m a big fan of using technology as part of your sales process BUT technology is not a quick fix nor does it close the deal for you! In my conversation with Jonathan, we talk about how to use technology in the right way at various points in the sales cycle. It’s a good listen!

    When you listen to the interview, you’ll learn:

    • Why Jonathan wrote his book - Using Technology to Sell.
    • What the biggest challenges people and organizations face in addressing the use of technology to sell.
    • How technology can enable or disable the productivity of salespeople.
    • How social media fits.
    • Why organizations need to change their approach in response to the amount of information and technology that is available.
    • The biggest mistakes sales organizations make when it comes to technology.

    And more…

    Enjoy the interview!        Click Here for the Podcast

    Tags: Sales Cycles, Sales Advice, b2b Sales, Sales Productivity, Social Media, technology enabled selling

    Phinkit: For Salespeople and Business with Pleasure

    Posted on Wed, Nov 14, 2012

    I want to offer you a beta preview of Phinkit, a social media site geared to salespeople and small businesses. I have included a comparison of features for your review, but the best thing to do is join and experience it yourself at phinkit.com. Please note I was involved in helping create Phinkit and would appreciate your thoughts and input.

    Phinkit:  Say It, Share ItFor inquires, comments, suggestions please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

    Tags: Sales, b2b Sales, Social Media, technology enabled selling

    There Are So Many Sales Training and Technology Companies

    Posted on Mon, Nov 12, 2012

     

    Sales and Technology Companies:  There are So Many

    There are so many different training companies that you can choose from. I am one of them.

    There are so many articles written about how to choose the best training company.

    There are so many articles about how to get the best ROI from your training.

    There are companies who will literally help you write your playbook and integrate it into your CRM.

    There are even companies who will enter the data into your CRM.

    There are companies who will help you establish your measurements of success.

    There are companies who will give you all the tools and forms you need and align all the resources.

    There are thousands of different technologies to help enable your sales team and sales process.

    YET, most companies and people hardly take full advantage of any of these.

    Why?

    1. human behavior and a reluctance to change
    2. pressure to get immediate results
    3. a lack of leadership
    4. the wrong intentions for doing the training
    5. an over reliance on the program or technology being used
    6. they give up too easily and too soon
    7. expect to see results too soon and get frustrated
    8. do too much at once
    9. not willing to reinforce and make training a process
    10. only train at special events and kickoffs

    So what can you do?

    1. set the proper expectations
    2. if you are leading the charge, have someone hold you accountable
    3. go slowly
    4. hold people who report to you accountable
    5. tie things to compensation
    6. VP’s need to set the right measurements of their managers and of the salespeople
    7. let the outside companies you hire deeper into your organization
    8. provide 1:1 coaching for your most important people.

    I am always open and welcome your thoughts, suggestions and comments.

    Tags: Sales Compensation, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Process, technology enabled selling, Management

    Salespeople: Think Before You Prospect

    Posted on Thu, Nov 08, 2012

     Man Thinking

    I am working with a client who needs to penetrate their territory, prospect more effectively and sell a unique, leading edge product into hospitals.

    We are done with the first of our four 4-hour sessions via web conferencing; I started using WebEx which is good but not so with video. I switched to GoToMeeting which is much better, easier and fantastic with video.

    We are at the stage where we are examining their market more closely. I took them through the following exercise (the client is XYZ). This exercise is what I have done for 35 years in sales and with over 18,000 students. It is intended to help you align, define, discover and prospect into as many real marketplaces you can sell your services to.


     

    - 1 –

    XYZ STRENGTHS

    (products and services)

    - 2 –

    INDUSTRIES

    (consider past successes, ties to strengths and the economy)

    - 3 –

    APPLICATIONS/DEPT’S TO CONTACT

     (that can benefit from XYZ)

    - 4 –

    CURRENT CUSTOMERS

    (as references)

    - 5 -

    POTENTIAL PARTNER

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     






     






     


     

     

    There didn't appear to be much to discover since hospitals in itself is such a defined market. At first glance, this is who they were prospecting to most often:

    • Infection Control – C Suite – Chief Quality Officer
    • Green – Environment Services

    But after spending only 30 minutes, here are other areas they could prospect into, or should spend more time with:

    • OR – Higher inpatient vs. outpatient
    • Oncology – ER – ICU – Marketing
    • CFO  – Environment – Services – Or Interested
    • CEO  - Infection – readmission –
    • COO - Facilities – want to get more involved with patient care –
    • Hospital in same system as current customer
    • Related Hospital
    • Teaching Hospital – Oncology – Operations -
    • Elective Surgery
    • Hospitals in direct competition
    • Military, Gov’t and Naval
    • Anesthesiology

    We also took into consideration these elements:

    1. Profit vs. not for profit
    2. Hospitals with heavy ICU, ER and OR facilities - needed them most
    3. Geographic proximity so they could spend more time with prospects
    4. Formal and informal partnerships that could facilitate introductions
    5. Better use of the executive team and board
    6. Cross-pollination of contacts amongst the sales people

    If you would like to know more about how to use this process, manage your territory and prospect more effectively, please let me know at JLondon@ipgtraining.com or call 201 391-1643.


     

     

    Tags: Sales Skills, Sales Advice, Sales Training, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, Closing, Prospecting, Territory Management, technology enabled selling, Presenting

    2nd Half Goals - What Do You Do When You Don't Know What to Do?

    Posted on Tue, Aug 28, 2012

    SMART Goals Fotolia 11872580 XS

    Before we answer that question we should ask why you don’t know what to do? It is probably because you haven’t established your own S.M.A3.R.T. goals which stands for:
    •   Specific
    •   Measurable
    •   Aligned, Agreed, Achievable
    •   Realistic
    •   Timed
    Some examples of S.M.A3.R.T. goals would be:
    •    I want to make X amount of money in the 2nd half of 2012
    •    I want to be x% of quota for Q3 and Q4 2012
    •    I want to be the #1 salesperson for all 2012
    To achieve your goal you need to establish and work your priorities. If you follow these selling techniques or selling skills you will always know what to do (whether you do it or not is up to you). Some examples of priorities to sell more in the 2nd half are:
    •     Learn my new product/s
    •     Learn how to win against my biggest competitors
    •     Get 3 more appointments per week
    •     Close my 3 largest deals
    •     Identify my top 10 accounts – new and existing
    •     Get better at proposals and presentations
    •     Use my executives more to win
    •     Work 2 more hours a day
    •     Sell more of XYZ which is my most competitive product
    •     Use Google alerts to get 3 more appointments per week

    You should only have 3-4 priorities per quarter and these should be re-evaluated each quarter to see if they need to be continued or new ones needed to be added to your sales strategy.

    So if you still don't know what to do if you don't know what to do, just do one of your priorities. If you don't know what they are, or you are stuck, ask somebody for help. Or download the form and use it. You can always email me for help if you like. 

     

    Click me

    Tags: Time Management, Sales Advice, Sales Strategies, b2b Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Effectiveness, S.M.A.R.T. goals and priorities, Sales Productivity, technology enabled selling, sales technology