Friday Faves – 9.12.14

3Quick read this week.  Three posts I really liked and hope you do too.

Your Unique Sales DNA – A more learned version of a management practice of mine – understanding each seller’s strengths and weaknesses.  Remdiate the weaknesses you can and try to keep them working from their strengths.

Do You Know How You Won? – I’ve frequently said that sometimes we learn more from our failures than our successes.  Even posted Learning from Failure,  But it’s way more fun to learn from your victories.

Is Sales a Numbers Game? (#video) – Takes a while, but the conclusion is rock solid.  Ignore your metrics and you won’t make your number.

Framing

framingPresenting new or complicated concepts to a person or group can be challenging.  Some people have a natural fear of the unknown (something new) and others have varying degrees of familiarity and knowledge on the topic (something complicated).  These create barriers to understanding, let alone acceptance or adoption. You NEED to move the idea forward, but you must break down the barriers first.

Framing is one excellent technique to help migrate people to new concepts.  You are simply placing your new concept in the context of what they already know and understand.  Simple concept, but execution not so.

  1. BASELINE – Establish what the group’s baseline understanding or comfort level is.  You do this by asking quesitons, even polling the group.  “How many are VERY familiar with content marketing?” “Somewhat familiar?”  “Have heard of it?”  “Never heard of it? Depending upon the results of the poll, you will begin at the lowest baseline understanding and and then gradually get the entire group to the same level – the Baseline.
  2. PROBLEM/BENEFIT – Describe the problem your concept will try to solve or the benefit the organization will derive from it.  The more universal to the group, the better.  Like an Initial Benefit Statement, putting the pain/gain up front and getting buy in from the group (if you don’t see nodding heads, ASK for confirmation) creates a WANT.  Now, you have moved the group from “Why am I here? through “What the hell is s/he talking about?” to  “I really want to hear what this thing is about.”
  3. FRAME THE CONCEPT – As you present your concept, regularly reference similarities to concepts in the baseline understanding consensus and the problem/benefit consensus. Move slowly, ask clarifying questions to preempt objections due to lack of understanding (“Did I explain that clearly?  Would anyone like another example?”) and follow with consensus-building questions (“Can everyone see how this will help us reach new customers?”  “Do you all see how this can eliminate the process bottleneck?”)

Though rather simple, this will take practice and the more diverse the group, the more difficult framing is.  But it is a proven, solid technique to introduce new ideas to a group with the goal of fostering a broader understanding or adoption.

Liken it to making physical changes, like losing weight or getting into better shape.  You don’t wake up 40 pounds lighter than when you went to bed.  Weight loss happens gradually, over time, with careful planning and discipline.  Minds, prejudices, preconceived ideas don’t change instantly either.  But you can make that change happen and framing can help.

Friday Faves – 9.5.14

80 percentShort week, after the long holiday weekend.  Did you try to hit your normal (5 day) activity metrics?  If you did, that gives you a 20% edge on your competition and keeps that day from detracting from your pipeline.

But Is It Working? – it’s NOT an exercise.  You should review your tactics against your goals on a regular basis.

You Can Change Directions Now – From someone who has changed fields several times, TRUE DAT!

Getting Started with Content Marketing – Not only does content marketing develop new leads, it also can help position you as an expert, even before you engage personally with clients.

 

 

Friday Faves – 8.29.14

labor dayRobopost, while enjoying the Labor Day holiday with friends in NC.

Enjoy your holiday!

Listen, Excellent Customer Service is Going to Become THE Differentiator – It already is, if you establish value with your customers.

The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Ask for What They Want – What’s the worst someone can say “NO?”  Then you start a dialog.

Ten Mandatory Sales Disciplines – Think there’s a coincidence it’s the same number of Commandments?

You Get What You Focus On – Zackley!

3 Ways The Beatles Will Make You A Better Cold Caller – And playing their music while cold calling will relax and inspire you.

You Can’t Do Strategy Without Input from Sales – True dat!

Friday Faves – 8.15.14

gitrdoneThis week?  Read my other blog and you’ll know what it was like.  You have one of those?  Killer, huh?

Here’s the Best Time To Prepare for Your Follow-Up Call – This just makes SO much sense!

Never Stop Prospecting. Ever. – The math on this is amazingly consistent.  Gaps in prospecting show up in your next cycle.  Always.

Why implementation matters – Consider this “after the sale” logic.

 Leads Don’t Hatch Themselves – I’m working with lead gen/nurturing software to automate part of this process.  Auto or not, nurturing leads is critical to your success.

Defining Sales Functions And Programs – Why You Need Vision, Mission, Purpose First – Sometimes Vision/Mission statements are as useful as you know whats on a bull.  But, a relevant focused statement that is put into practice can help drive the results you seek.

Doing the best I can – File this with “no problem.”

The Professional’s Guide to a Stress-Free Vacation – Taking a long weekend next week.  Will try some of these ideas.

Friday Faves – 8.8.14

emptyData mining, eblasting this week.  Now my brain is on empty.  Good thing I have a weekend to recharge it.

Schedule a 15-Minute Break Before You Burn Out – I call it a “Think Break” but this works.

Analytics without action – And vice versa, Seth.

 Don’t Try to Be All Things to All Buyers – It’s hard to resist the temptation to say “We can do that,” but it always comes back to bite you if you get too far outside your area of expertise.

 INFOGRAPHIC – Best Email Subject Line for Salespeople-  This is a mind-blower!

Can You See the Forest for the Trees? – A great discussion of learning options and blending them effectively.

The Upside of a Wimpy Handshake – Can you see Judges, Docs or CEOs fist bumping each other?

Should Employers Ban Email After Work Hours? – And the debate rages on.

Cure for the Summertime Blues

summertime bluesThe Summertime Blues phenomenon was first discovered by Eddie Cochran in 1958.  Although Eddie was more concerned with making money so he could borrow Dad’s car to go out and have some fun, every summer sellers get the blues, too.  Deals stall as deciders are either preparing for, on or just returning from vacation.  But monthly or quarterly, you have numbers to hit this summer.  And hitting them can be more challenging in Q3, which stretches from the 4th of July all the way past Labor Day.

Unless you’re taking the summer off, you need to adapt your tactics for the summer,  just as you dress for  it. Here are 10 tactical recommendations for avoiding disappointment.

  1. MORE TOUCHES – If 5% of your prospects are on vacation in a given week, then you need 105% of your normal activity to reach the same number of prospects.  (Go to 110% and you’ll also seed Q4 with longer-term deals.)
  2. WORK THE GATEKEEPER – If leaving a message with your prospect’s assistant, ask if/when your prospect it taking vacation, so that you don’t bother him/her while the prospect is away.  Now, you’ll know when this prospect won’t be reachable.
  3. SHORTEN THE LEASH – Set your callback /email dates closer than you usually do.  If you don’t, and schedule the callback during the prospect’s vacation, “out of sight, out of mind” could lengthen your time to close.  Or at least for the next step.
  4. RE2PECT (Homage to Derek Jeter) THEIR TIME – Don’t schedule your callback for the prospect’s first day back.  What’s your first day back from vacation like?  See what I mean?  Set it at least 3 days later.
  5. READ AUTOMATIC REPLIES – You know, those “Thanks for your email…” responses you get.  You will see when the prospect is returning and then apply #4 above to schedule your next touch to increase your chance to connect.
  6. LISTEN TO VOICEMAIL ANNOUNCEMENTS – Just like #5 above, some prospects will change the outgoing messages to indicate they are on vacation and when they will return.  This just saves you time.
  7. NEW CONTACTS – Everyone has gaps in their database.  This is a great time to find new contacts where they are missing and begin to contact them.  It is YOUR responsibility to grow your territory database.
  8. WAKE THE DEAD – Use lost deals, prospects you’ve not touched for 6 months or more to add to your touches.  Not only will this add to your activity (with meaningful touches), but things change and you could discover that change has worked in your favor.
  9. RE-THINK – As you are exploring new contacts, accounts and regions of your territory, this is a good time to re-think some of your processes.  Don’t blow it all up, just start trying new things.  We should be doing this anyway, but when running and gunning, most of us don’t take time to re-think things.  Now that it’s a little slower, take advantage of the opportunity.
  10. RELAX – It’s summertime and the livin is easy.  People who are going on or have been on vacation like to talk about it.  This can be a great opportunity to learn more about your prospects, what you may have in common (vacation spots) to grow new and expand on existing relationships.

The summertime blues is NOT a given.  But you have to adjust to the season to make summer sizzle with revenue.  Yes, Eddie, there IS a cure for the Summertime Blues.