Friday Faves – 8.12.16

081216Summertime is like when the treadmill program increases the incline.  What do you do?  Press on, with MORE effort, or just try to get through it till you hit level ground again?

Keeping Customers Continuously Infatuated – Consider how there is a rise in satisfaction, engagement and follow through after you meet with a client.  Then, consider how that energy fades, requiring another engagement to re-ignite the interest.

How to Stay Motivated When Everyone Else Is on Vacation – As I have always maintained, there is progress to be made, just in different ways.  Consider this if you work the “Tweener” week, between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

It happens around the edges – A good reminder to step outside your comfort zone – randomly, not regularly.

Answering “I’m happy with who I’m buying from” – Some good ideas for dealing with an upfront/gatekeeper objection.

Making Space for What Is Most Important – Though not a fan of elephant hunting, spending your time where you get the best return is a cornerstone of effective resource management.

A COLD Call Voice Mail; Your Thoughts? – My thoughts?  In one word – OY!

Think Sales Reps Will Become Obsolete? Think Again – Only sales reps who ALLOW themselves to become obsolete will.  Failure to learn, adapt, be aware of industry changes will do so.

Seven Personality Traits of Top Salespeople – This (#4 in particular) relates to the previous post.  #5 surprised me, though.  Any surprises for you?  If you are a top performer, do you feel you exhibit these traits?

Friday Faves – 6/24/16

062416Ahh, 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.)

Friday Faves – 4.8.16

040816After two weeks vacation in Asia, I returned with some new perspectives on “the way” things are done.  More about that later.

Meanwhile, thanks to the incredible availability of WiFi in Thailand, I read some great posts.

The Answer Key To Winning Deals – If you can’t save me money/time/resources; make me smarter/faster/better, then why?

Stop Wasting Your Time on Work Calls – Time management is a constant improvement process, which attracted me to this.  Not sure I agree.

When Was the Last Time You Asked, “Why Are We Doing It This Way?” – Disrupters RULE!

Voice Mail As A Differentiator – You cannot study enough about voicemail.  There is NO secret sauce here.

How To Compress the Sales Cycle – We’re all interested in this.  Learned some great new techniques at a seminar, which I’ll begin sharing.

 

Friday Faves – 2.12.16

021216Since love blooms this weekend, here’s just a few choice reads.

How To Leave A Message – A great story and even better ideas on this most basic of all sales tactics.

Winning Large Clients – Large accounts have a place in your prospect portfolio.  Some good starter tips if you want to bulk up.

How To Slow the Game – A counter-intuitive title, but a sound argument for mastery.

The Surprising Way to Speed Up Sales – You ARE your pipeline.  Some good ideas for keeping it moving.

Friday Faves – 1.29.15

012916One month into Q1.  So, how you doin’?   Ahead of your plan, looking forward to get a head start on Q2, putting additional attention to current clients?  Or regrouping, ditching parts or all of your plan?  No matter where you stand, here are some good ideas to get or keep you moving forward.

Eventually, snow melts – No, this is not a shot at my former neighbors snowed in last weekend, but more a “there’s no time like the present” testimony.

What is Not Why – Here’s an example of the complexity of objection handling.

How I Learned to Leave a Message – I will listen to ANY idea that can help increase my callbacks.  Maybe you should, too?

 

Friday Faves – 9.4.15

090415Hope you’ve had a great summer and enjoy your holiday weekend. Then, time to get back in gear as the quarter is almost over.  Here are some good ideas to help you beat goal.

Women in Sales: What’s Standing in Our Way? – Sales should be the ultimate equal opportunity employer.  You are over or under goal.  You’re a closer or you’re not.  Closer is gender-neutral.

“Don’t touch it, you might break it.” – No, touch everything!

CAN YOU PASS THE QUESTION TEST? – Can I?  What if I can’t?  What if I can?  How does that affect my close ratio?

Successful Voice Mails are like Bikinis! – If you can get past the sexism, some interesting addition to the voicemail dialog.

Target Your Ideal Clients, Not All Clients – Focusing your efforts is basic time management.

AN UNEXPECTED TRAIT OF THE TRULY SUCCESSFUL – Disagree!  The best are ALWAYS learning, ALWAYS seeking the advice of others, ALWAYS looking for what’s NEXT.

 

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!