Friday Faves – 5.29.15

052915Skipped last week due to overload (the good kind), but still made time to read some great posts.

The Surprising Persuasiveness of a Sticky Note – Personalization.  It makes a HUGE difference in your communications.

3 Early Bird Tactics to Uncover New Sales Opportunities-If you do the work, you reap the rewards.

Immune to Sales Coaching? – Art and science.

What I Learned Washing Dishes – This should be must-reading in Middle School.

4 Ways to Create Competitive Advantage – Master the blocking and tackling of sales and you can do anything.

The Art of Sales Training: Storytelling – Tension and release are core themes in the arts.  Are they part of your story?

Identifying Leads, Prospects, and Opportunities – Your company may have more complex definitions.  These just make sense.

No Problem

041715IS a problem.  It is NOT “You’re Welcome,” it is something I hear continually.

I hear it from waitstaff when I ask for another napkin.

I hear it from my mechanic when I ask if I can have the car back tomorrow.

I hear it when I say “Thank you” from what seems like 90% of those I thank.

Can you believe I hear this regularly from sellers interacting with prospects and clients?

When someone says “No Problem” to me, it makes me feel like if I asked for something else, I would be causing them a problem.  I often think to myself, “Gee, I’m so glad I didn’t cause you a problem FOR JUST DOING YOUR JOB!!”  Yes, this really riles me.  But, there’s one place where I almost never hear this.  Can you guess?

Hotels.  When I say “Thank you,” or ask for extra towels, the response is usually, “My pleasure,” or simply, “You’re welcome.  Is there anything else I can do for you?”  What a difference it makes.  It makes me feel like someone is really interested in making sure I’m comfortable and have what I need.  Don’t you want your prospects and clients to feel like that?

Hospitality companies spend a lot of money on satisfaction research and training their employees in the art of customer service.  They are in a highly competitive and crowded industry and can’t turn business away just because of a lack of common courtesy.  It is just as foolish for sellers to do so.

You need to banish “No problem” from your lexicon and find more welcoming, grateful ways to respond to clients and prospects.  They are too hard to come by to take ANY chance of driving them away with even the slightest perception that you are not committed to meeting their needs, no exceeding them.

Share your favorite “No problem” alternatives in comment, so we can all benefit from them.

If you think I’m being picky and it’s no problem to say “No problem,”  keep doing it then.  More prospects for the rest of us.

If you enjoyed this post, or it made you think, it was  my pleasure.

 

Friday Faves – 05.15.15

051515Midpoint in Q2, approaching midpoint in CY15.  Where do you stand?  Are you ahead or behind pace?

Here are some posts that can help no matter what your current numbers look like.

Delivering Experience – We do this over and over again – take our best customers for granted.  What other sales lessons have you learned from everyday experiences?

Sales Tip: Why You Need More than One Pipeline – Better than two sets of books.

A hierarchy of organizational needs – Ruckus = good.

 

Friday Faves – 5.8.15

040715.1Spring is here.  Is your focus still clear?

Your Price Is Higher Than We Pay Now – Concise thoughts on a continual sales challenge.

Tips to Use Your Business Differentiators to Increase Your Sales – Quick.  What are your three most important differentiators?

Positive Pipeline Practices – Simple, effective ideas here.  But you must be disciplined to practice them and honest in your assessments.

4 Ways You Are Creating Resistance – (Whack head here.) Why do we DO this?

Are you certain that you’re trapped? – Insightful perspective.

 6 Sales Email Tactics that Trigger Replies – Solid suggestions here.

THE NEW HIRING BAR SURPRISINGLY FEW PEOPLE ARE REACHING – Jaw-dropping feedback from hiring managers.

 

Friday Faves – May Day, 2015

050115

“Hooray, Hooray, the First of May!”  (Fill in whatever rhyming completion you know.)  But, before you start thinking of the beach and flip flops, remember Q2 is one-third over.  Good time to use the freshness of spring to freshen up some stale leads, inject new life into stalled deals and move the growing ones closer to closing in this quarter.  Here are some posts which may provide good ideas.

Sales Onboarding: Twice as Good in Half the Time – Sales onboarding is like the Three Bears story, either too long, too short but seldom “just right.”

To overcome an irrational fear… – Therapy is good, too.

These Mistakes Will Cost You – Think of lost deals and BE HONEST about which ones may have played a role in the loss.  Once you realize something is a problem, you can do something about it.

 

Friday Faves – 4.24.15

042715As the weather warms up, so does the business climate.  Hustle while it stays that way.

You Can Do Almost Everything Right And Lose – I hate when it happens, but sometimes we learn more from our failures than from our successes.

Your Team’s Productivity – More thought in the multi-tasking debate.

No, That Meeting Could Not Have Been an Email – Field salespeople of the world, rejoice.  Science supports you!

Words Do Matter! – Want to improve your verbal communication?  Read – blogs, business books, great literature.  Even more than engaging, your words paint pictures, lasting pictures, which clients will recall long after your 30 minutes are over.  What do you want them to see?

Demand higher standards – Most people rise to the level of expectation.  Exceptional people exceed it.

 

 

 

FU, no FU Too!

call for emailBefore you delete, FU is CRM shorthand for Follow Up.  Follow Up, also known as stalking, is a key weapon in a seller’s fight to close the deal.  It is also one of the most poorly-used tools.  Like the ecard says, many calls are made to FU emails.  There are many others ways the FU is F’d Up:

 

  • “Read my email” – You can send with a read receipt.  BETTER if you have a compelling Subject Line, VALUABLE content and a clear CALL TO ACTION.  If you have and they read it, you’ve already heard back from them.
  • “Made a decision” – Their timetable, not yours.  If they made a decision and you haven’t heard, you didn’t get the deal.   BETTER to ask if anyone needs more info (sometimes these requests fall between the cracks), let the prospect know about new enhancements that will soon add more value to your proposal, peer/competitive companies that have signed deals with you (competitive pressure).
  • “Have any questions about…” – If they had questions, they would ask.  Maybe.  This one, I’ll cut some slack, because some prospects don’t like to ask questions about a proposal because it a) makes them look dumb; b) leads the seller to think they are getting the deal and push harder.  BETTER to ease in by asking if anything in your proposal needs clarification because sometimes terminology is different company to company.
  • “Received my proposal/quote” – See “Read my email” you can send the proposal with a read receipt.  BETTER to assume the prospect has received it and use the email to add some value/color to part of your proposal.
  • “Checking in” – When I was in Middle School, I had an 11pm curfew.  If I was going to be late, I had to Check In prior to 11pm and confirm when I would actually be home.  Failure to Check In or arrive by the time I indicated resulted in grounding.  Seriously, is there a bigger waste of a voicemail than “Hi, just checking in?”

Not fair to just criticize, so here are 5 FU ideas that may actually help your deal move along, or at least let you know where it stands.

  • “News you can use” – Share industry/competitive/regulatory news you heard, then ask if it will have an affect on the specs or implementation timeline.  You make your prospect smart, show off your knowledge and demonstrate you have their interests in mind.
  • “Best practice” – Share best practices other clients are using to generate greater value or better outcomes from what you’re selling.  Don’t divulge confidential information, but good ideas are not usually subject to copyright.
  • “I had an idea” – Like the previous idea, but make this a singular idea targeted to one of the prospect’s strongest needs/goals for what you’re selling to accomplish.
  • “I had a question for you” – Sometimes, particularly in a bidding process, a period for questions is defined and ends.  But, if not, try asking a question about implementation (presumptive trial close) or customization, so that you can make sure appropriate resources will be made available to support them.
  • “Changes?” – Changes on the prospect side can slow down a deal.  Your prospect is dealing with the changes and likely doesn’t have notifying you of a delay very high on the list.  You can ask if timelines, needs, budget or process has changed on their side.

And, oh yes, use the client’s preferred contact modality.  If they only respond to email, then email.  If they’ve responded to voicemail, then use that too.  You just don’t want to be waiting at the airport when your ship comes in.

If you’re going to FU, make sure you FU creatively and appropriately so you don’t FU your deal!