Ahh, summer! Beach, mountains or wherever you like to vacation and relax, summer’s got it all. It’s important to get away, refresh and recharge. But it’s also important not to pay for it by coming back to a wilted pipeline. Touching key opportunities before you leave, and scheduling next steps for after you return is a good way to keep things moving while you chill out.
Are Your Sales Relationships Painful? – There’s been a lot written lately about shifting from probing for pain to goals, objectives. Here’s one to consider.
Protecting Your Relational Capital – I wince sometimes when a rep tells me they have a “great relationship” with a client. Just because they may share some personal information with you, doesn’t mean that you’re buds.
What You Control, and What You Do Not – My reps find it frustrating when they have an issue that can only be addressed by others that don’t report to me – IT, Marketing, etc. While I know “I don’t control that” is not the answer they’re looking for, it reflects an understanding of the points in this blog post. Tilting at windmills didn’t turn out well for Don Quixote.
The Secret to Getting Calls Returned – Persistence. What a concept. Persistence = Frequency * Variety You can’t sell someone who won’t talk with you.
BTW, the image is my beach, about 4 miles away. (Although it’s never that vacant.)
Summer’s coming. And with it vacations – yours and prospects. Are you in touch with deciders for your key opportunities to know when they’re off this summer? If not, your pipeline and forecasts may be off, too. Sure, things slow down in the summer, but you need to keep these opportunities moving to close. And, you need to put new prospects in your pipe during the summer, too. (Sales never takes a vacation.) Give it some thought now, and you can avoid the Dog Days of August.
Feature/Benefit – Or – Feature/Price – Interesting take on a time-honored belief.
Take One Small Action Now – For years, I’ve taught that closing a deal is the last of a series of smaller closes. Here is the same principle applied to personal/professional development.
PROBLEM VS NEED – WHY YOU SHOULDN’T SELL TO A CUSTOMER’S NEED – Sorry for the CAPS, but it’s this writer’s style. If you go this route, and discover problems, you must follow with these questions: 1. How long has this been a problem (degree of impact on client company)? 2. What have you done about it (what hasn’t worked)? 3. How committed is your organization to dealing with the problem (willingness to listen/buy)? If you start pitching to the problem before you ask these key qualifying questions, they could just be throwing you a bone.
Time challenges can create the most stress. Lose a deal? Well, there’s more in your pipeline and you can always prospect more. But time is a finite asset. Some deadline pressure is forced on you, but the self-inflicted is what you need to control. And make sure you save some for yourself – FUN matters!
Why the Hard Close Isn’t Working – Maybe this works for more emotional B2C sales like cars, but your decider is smarter, has more knowledge and is more sophisticated than ever. What will it take for you to buy TODAY simply won’t work.
Do Facts Matter? – Here’s where the tectonic plates collide. You cannot sell without data, hard data, to support your argument, but people still like to buy from people they like and trust. Keeping the two in balance to satisfy the bean counters and end users is your challenge.
How the Best Sellers Treat Prospects – Expanding on the previous post. So, what do you need to establish this sales buoyancy?
Lies You Tell Yourself About Writing – A comedian once said, “The most important thing in sales is SINCERITY. Once you learn to fake that, you’ve got it made.” Do we fake ourselves out?
Negativity Has No Upside – I spent some time with a senior executive yesterday, who is having a rough quarter. You’d never know by his relaxed, confident and positive excitement about the opportunities he sees. Glass half full in action.
Understand These 13 Customer Laws – Solid and logical. Warren Buffett in a commencement address told graduates, “Don’t please your customers, delight them!”
Try better – Then, try harder.
NOTE: Work/family travel delayed Friday’s publishing, but the advice is just as good to start your week.
Summer’s coming, and so do the Dog Days of sales – when deciders and influencers vacation and deals slow to a crawl. What can you do NOW to push your pipeline forward and load it up for the Fall? Some good ideas here.
Many Have Forgotten the Most Important Attribute for Success – Character matters – always.
Sales Blind – Periodic honest self-assessments can uncover deal-killing behaviors.
In the Best Sales Teams, About Half of the People Are in Support Roles – It takes a team and everyone’s contribution matters.
Leading or Following the Client – The fine art of driving the sale.
The Bad Sales Cycle – Just like networking, what you give is in direct proportion to what you get.
Stop Doing Low-Value Work – Time is a finite asset and how you use yours is critical to your success.
This weekend, take some time to remember why we celebrate Memorial Day.
The life we live, the freedom we enjoy, brought to you by those who served.
Baseball players are notoriously superstitious. Wade Boggs, Hall of Famer with the Yankees and Red Sox reportedly ate chicken 90 minutes before each game. Hitters on a hitting streak have been known to wear the same socks and underwear until the streak ends for fear of cursing it.
If you’re on a closing streak, why change things? But, where hitters face the same pitchers over a season, sellers sell on a constantly shifting tectonic plate – market conditions. Consistency is what we all seek – closing new business regularly, like an assembly line. So, it’s almost an oxymoron to suggest that you regularly reassess, refine and adapt your tactics to changes in the market. But, not to do so condemns you to the fate of the dinosaurs. Harsh?
Certainly, there are best practices in discovery, prospecting, relationships development and perhaps time management that are foundation sales practices. But two and two will never equal five, but everything except a few immutable laws (gravity, supply and demand, resistance and effort) are subject to external influence.
On this Friday the 13th, question your norms – hell, question everything. The buyer’s world is in constant change. It you don’t stay ahead of that change, you’ll be that log in the river the water flows over and around.
Who took Jobu’s rum?
Now that we’re in the 2nd month of Q2, have you revisited your territory plan for the quarter? If not, you should. When you do, check to see that you started everything in your plan you were supposed to. If not, discuss it with your manager to see if the plan was too aggressive, you took your eye off it, or need some coaching on managing your time. Also, check your progress on deals in process. Have you touched them in an appropriate timeframe to keep them moving forward? A territory plan that gets filed the first week of the quarter and not revisited until after the quarter ends is as helpful as sending your Mom flowers the week after Mother’s Day. (This Sunday, BTW.)
The Power In Silence – The best ever close was a $300K deal where, after going through layers, on a transcontinental concall with the Managing Partner, I was asked what results I could deliver when. I answered the question and SHUT UP. There was silence, it was a bit uncomfortable, but I resisted the temptation and the MP said, “What do you need from me to make this happen?” Closed deal – BOOM!
A Rich Source of Overlooked Leads – Years ago, a boss had a poster of a silverback gorilla glaring at you. The caption read “Salesmanship starts when the customer says no.” This post updates tha thought with solid strategy.
High, Wide and Deep: Better Buyer Relationships – I call this touchpoints. Imagine a rock climber. They want as many touchpoints on the rock as possible, for safety. With clients, the more touchpoints you have (on both sides) the more secure the relationship.
Things That Won’t Serve You – In lieu of a spine, these will serve you well.