March 2019 - The Sales Evangelist

Archive Monthly Archives: March 2019

Ty Bennett, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1061: You Can Love People Without Leading Them, But You Can’t Lead People Without Loving Them

Ty Bennett, Donald Kelly, The Sales EvangelistRegardless of your industry or your product, relationships are the currency of your business, and though you can love people without leading them, you can’t lead people without loving them.

Ty Bennett is an entrepreneur who fell in love with the speaking and training development aspect of building a sales team and it led him to write books on the topic and start a training company called Leadership Inc.

Ty points out that we’re in the people business and we’re interacting with, networking with, leading and influencing people every day. The care, investment, and love you have for people will communicate that you have their best interest in mind.

Those relationships engender trust, foster accountability, and build a level of commitment that you want in your team. And love drives it.

Missing love

Many business books never discuss love, perhaps because it isn’t considered a business-centric word. Ty addresses this issue in his new book called Partnership is the New Leadership.

He interviewed a guy on his podcast named Tim Sanders who wrote the book Love is the Killer App but this hasn’t always been a business word. Traditionally it has referred to personal relationships but when it drives your actions and when you’re coming from a place of service and contribution, that’s where love exists.

Leadership is much more effective there.

Soft leaders

Some people believe that leaders can’t be perceived as soft, so they shy away from the idea of loving the members of the team. If you’re too soft, after all, you’ll be walked on.

If you were to line up 10 people and evaluate the production level of those people, you’ll find a relationship to how they feel about their manager. Statistically, most people will tell you that they hate their bosses, and also that people join companies and they leave bosses.

People also show up differently when they are in the right frame of mind; when they feel supported; when they feel heard; and when they have opportunities to win.

When people feel like part of a team, the commitment level changes drastically. #TeamCommitment

Training to lead

If you’re seeking to develop this kind of leadership without being perceived as soft, focus on being interested rather than interesting.

Rather than figuring out how to stand out and making it all about you, focus on the other person. Great leaders are those who truly care about other people and become adept at asking questions. They have a genuine curiosity about people. They want to know what drives them and what’s important to them.

As you get to know your people on a deeper level, it speaks volumes to your team members.

Now take things a step further and focus on hearing them. Don’t forget the idea that people support what they help create.

Give your team a voice. Welcome their feedback. Those efforts demonstrate that you care about what they have to say and you’re listening rather than simply issuing marching orders. You’re demonstrating that you’re confident enough in who you are to allow them to be part of the process.

We no longer live in the era of top-down leadership where I tell you what we’re going to do and you implement it. Social media has changed us psychologically and it has given each of us a voice.

Invest in people

Go above and beyond for your people. Do things that are not in your job description. Give more time, more energy, and more of yourself into your relationships. Reach out in ways that are meaningful to each person.

No doubt each of us can think of someone who has invested in us this way.

As leaders, those investments change our relationships. When you invest in people they become family.

Ask yourself whether people would ever say that about you.

This level of investment can be difficult because we’re busy. We have so much on our plates that it’s hard to think outside our own agenda.

It can also be tempting to focus on the things we have to do and ignore the things that we could do but aren’t required to do.

At the same time, we have to shift our mindset. Maybe we need to listen to a podcast or hear a story from a different leader. Maybe we need to find a leader who can open our eyes to different approaches. Perhaps read a book.

Following the manager

Although every industry is different, Ty interacted with sellers recently who told him that their loyalty was to their manager, not to the company. The product matters a lot less to them than the manager does.

If you’re seeking to become this kind of manager, start by carving out one-on-one time for your people as often as possible. Come in five minutes early and ask one of your people to come in five minutes early. Make time for it.

Find time to connect with your people with no agenda. It’s just to show that you care.

Ty also recommends reading The Go Giver, one of a series of books about adopting a giving mentality on the way to greater success.

Relationships change when people invest in them. When a leader invests, it will impact the relationship in a huge way.

“You Can’t Lead People Without Loving Them” episode resources

If you’d like to connect with Ty, you can find him at tybennett.com and on LinkedIn, and you can check out The Relevant Leadership Podcast.

Grab a copy of his new book called Partnership is the New Leadership.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Donald Kelly, Sales Training Course

TSE 1060: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Stories Are Everywhere”

Donald Kelly, Sales Training CourseStories pack a lot of power for sellers when used in the proper sales framework, and the good news is that stories are everywhere.

Today we’re sharing an excerpt from TSE Certified Sales Training Program that addresses how you can effectively use stories in your own sales.

Utilizing stories

Stories have existed since the dawn of time. Early cave drawings told stories of cavemen hunting, and those stories have been passed down.

It’s true of cultures and of the Bible. Stories paint a picture for us.

Stories exist in movies, songs, social media, and books. It all points to the fact that we love stories. Society loves stories because that’s how we make sense of the world.

Imagine you’re meeting with a prospect for the first time. Instead of talking about your widget and your certification, which could be boring, share a compelling reason for your prospect to do business with you.

Instead, share a problem and a solution to help me understand.

Story structure

Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning explains the problem so that the prospect can understand it and it introduces characters.

The second part is the build or the escalation of the problem, where it seems that all is lost.

The third part is the breakthrough. It’s the payoff or the climax. It’s where everyone lives happily ever after.

Using stories effectively

It’s important to understand when to use stories.

Use them to reinforce a point or to help them understand the importance of your product or service. In the case of CRM, imagine a client who has been using Excel for years and he doesn’t understand the importance of upgrading to a better CRM.

You can begin by explaining that you understand why he is hesitant to invest in something that he might not actually need.

Then tell a story of another client who successfully used Excel as her CRM for years. The problem emerged when she hired a sales rep who wasn’t as familiar with the process as she was.

The sales rep failed to log some of his contacts, and they didn’t follow up on the lead. The potential client chose another provider because the company didn’t remember to follow up. In this case, it cost them $5,000.

If this happens multiple times a month, how much will it cost you?

We gave this client an opportunity to test our CRM for 30 days, and the company doubled its earnings as a result. The ability to log calls automatically and schedule appointments easily changed the company’s output.

Context

Consider using a free trial, too, to make the transaction less overwhelming.

Don’t make yourself the hero of the story. Craft the story so that your prospect is the hero because he tried the new CRM and it made a huge difference for his organization.

Apply these ideas and let me know how they worked. If you already knew them, stay with it.

“Stories Are Everywhere” episode resources

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Hiring, Liam Martin, Donald Kelly, Remote Sales Team

TSE 1059: Sales From The Street – “Building A Remote Sales Team”

Hiring, Liam Martin, Donald Kelly, Remote Sales Team

For business owners looking to scale their efforts, there are important factors involved in building a remote sales team, and implementing them can mean the difference between success and failure.

Liam Martin runs three companies related to managing remote workers: TimeDoctor.com, Staff.com, and his passion project, which is a conference on building and scaling remote teams. His organization helps companies monitor their remote employees’ productivity and efficiency.

He points to the fact that, early in his career, he waited too late to build a sales team, which is the meat-and-potatoes of his business.

Create solutions

Founders of a company have an understanding of the product or service that most sales reps won’t have. Founders may recognize as many as 10 different problems that you could tailor your product around or have meaningful conversations around.

Sales reps won’t necessarily recognize that many problems, so they may not have access to as many meaningful conversations.

The key, then, is hiring a proper sales manager. Sometimes the founder’s ego causes him to believe that he can effectively run a sales team, and he doesn’t recognize his shortcomings.

You must take a hard look at yourself and determine whether you’re truly a good sales leader. When Liam recognized that he wasn’t a good sales manager, he fired himself and hired a proper sales manager.

Be honest enough to determine what you can best do for your organization and then do that.

 Hiring process

Liam’s company has three different stages of hiring remotely. He suggests that many remote teams aren’t as effective as the leadership believes they are.

Liam points to the bullpen, or the area where junior employees are grouped together in a single workspace. The idea is that the employees will train and work together and benefit from one another’s experiences.

Remote employees don’t have a bullpen so it’s impossible to pick up nonverbal selling techniques that some employees are successfully using. Everyone is disconnected, so very often these sales teams won’t hit quota despite their training. As a result, they leave the company.

To solve the problem, Liam’s company works with remote salespeople for about a month. During that time, he has to either close an inbound deal or generate some kind of outbound activity. Based on that success, the company decides whether to invest more into the employee.

He says that although it’s an expensive system, building a remote sales team is ROI positive.

Self-motivated activity

Successful remote employees must be self-motivated. Once the company hires a new remote employee and decides to invest in him, the company flies him to the sales manager in Canada where he will train in the office for three months.

The employee will either hit quota by the end of three months and will have a job, or he will not hit quota by the end of that time, and he will go home without a job.

From that point, the system rewards good salespeople financially. Successful sellers will earn more with this company than they will at other companies. At the same time, the pay structure is such that unsuccessful sellers won’t be able to survive.

The first three months, then, are critical to the seller’s success. Creating the bullpen experience has helped the company’s remote sellers be more successful.

Additionally, the company allows any employee to jump in on any Zoom call to ask for help or guidance.

Massive investment

Liam points to a need to identify those sellers who can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk. Because the company is making a massive investment into its new hires, it must be able to quickly determine which employees are likely to be successful and which ones are not.

On average, his company has found that it can take anywhere from three to six months to determine whether an employee will be successful. Its goal is to shorten that period when possible.

The company would prefer a clear “yes” or “no” to a “maybe.” The more time it spends dealing with an employee who is a “maybe,” the more money it invests without fully knowing whether it will get anything in return.

“Building a Remote Sales Team” episode resource

If you want to learn more about building or scaling a remote team, visit runningremote.com. It’s a conference being held in Bali, and if you’ve never been to Bali, it’s another great reason to go.

If you’d like to get in touch with Liam, he’s excited about his interactions on YouTube right now, and you can find him at youtube.com/runningremote. After consuming the content, feel free to ask questions in the comments and he’ll be happy to respond.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Jacquelyn Nicholson, Rapport, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Female In Sales

TSE 1058: How to Genuinely Build Rapport With Any Prospect

Jacquelyn Nicholson, Rapport, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Female In Sales

Many sellers struggle to connect with their customers, but on today’s episode, Jacquelyn Nicholson addresses how to genuinely build rapport with any prospect.

Jacquelyn is an enterprise seller and one of the inaugural members at Alpha Sense where she acts as an evangelist for the company and its work.

World of sales

Jacquelyn landed in sales after a strange recession in Chicago prevented her from finding a job as an engineer for a defense contractor. She moved to New York and took a job as a sales engineer.

Sometime after, she found herself heading a project for Johnson & Johnson and reporting directly to the vice president of the division. He told her to put together the very best team possible and trusted her to get the job done.

During the course of the project, she made two unexpected realizations. She discovered that she didn’t like buying from salespeople because she thought they were horrible. Secondly, she discovered that she really missed sales.

She didn’t like salespeople because they talked nonstop about how great their technology was. She found herself wondering, “Do you even know what I do? Do you even care?”

“At the same moment, I was drawn back to the world of sales and also slightly repulsed by what I saw in the sellers I knew.”

She decided then to return to sales, and she vowed that she would never be that kind of seller.

Solving problems

Jacquelyn discovered that people buy things from people who can help them solve their problems. If I have a problem and you can solve it, I’m going to buy your stuff.

But I also have to be able to trust the person I’m buying from. People buy from people they trust or they like, and they can spot fake people. Sucking up isn’t the same, and customers quickly learn to spot genuine people.

She determined that the key was getting to know the people she was selling to. Learning about their problems and the things they care about. That only happens after you build rapport.

The problem, she discovered, was figuring out how to do that at scale.

The good news was, she discovered, that it doesn’t take additional time to be authentic. Researching to understand your client’s problems takes time, but kindness doesn’t.

Segue into sales

Jacquelyn realized that she wasn’t going to land in a quota-carrying role until she got some experience in front of customers. She ventured into the consulting world and she gained experience solving client problems and earning their trust.

She loved the idea of solving problems instead of simply pushing products.

Jacquelyn also realized that her time managing a project for Johnson & Johnson taught her that executives aren’t any different than anyone else. Many sellers struggle to have the confidence to approach them, but she said she was fortunate to learn early on how to interact with them.

She counsels sellers now to be respectful of their time. Executives are short on time and short on people who want to be helpful to them for who they are rather than for what they can do.

Don’t put them on a pedestal. Don’t become a “yes man” for executives. They are often surrounded by “yes men” who don’t want to rock the boat, but what they often need is real insight.

Initiate a conversation around something relevant that matters to the executives.

Bad rap

Sellers have gotten a bad rap from some of the bad behaviors of our predecessors, but the world has changed an awful lot. Consumers now have the ability to do extensive research before they ever reach out to a seller.

Sellers must honor the time they have put into the process.

At the same time, you deserve to be treated as more than just a vendor. If your customers don’t treat you with a certain amount of respect, you always have the option to walk away. Sometimes you have to fire prospects.

Taking risk

There isn’t a lot to be afraid of anymore. Jacquelyn faced a rare and aggressive form of leukemia and survived it, so she calls herself “fearless on another level” now.

She defines success as being the best person she can possibly be. She wants to be the woman her husband would marry again; the seller her boss would hire again; the mom her kids are proud to introduce to their friends.

If you constantly define your success in terms of other people and what they think of you, you’re doing it the wrong way.

Help

Jacquelyn believes that help is always available. Sometimes you’re the one giving the help and sometimes you’re the one seeking it. Don’t be afraid to keep your eyes and ears open for the help that’s available.

We have a tendency to believe that we have little to offer, but the truth is that you intrinsically have value because you’re you. Be aware of those who can help you, and those that need your help each day.

Sales is a noble profession because we’re selling something that will help someone else.

“How to Genuinely Build Rapport With Any Prospect” episode resources

You can connect with Jacquelyn on LinkedIn, and if you’re interested in her personal journey, you can go to lxu.training/jacq. She’d love to connect with you.

We are currently in the Beta portion of our new TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The first section is about prospecting, the second is all about building value, and the third is about closing.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

TSE 1057: Be Willing To Let Them Mess Up!

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

Sometimes business leaders find themselves wanting to make sure that their team members get everything exactly right, but unless you’re willing to let them mess up, they’ll likely never learn.

Perfect situations don’t exist. Imperfection is a factor in life, but it’s also where our growth happens.

Maintaining control

Control often gives us the sense that we can force everything to work. As a result, we avoid letting our team members try things their own way because we fool ourselves into believing that our way is always the best.

In my own story, I landed an appointment with a huge organization, and I invited the CEO of my small company to go along. I wanted his support, but I also wanted to show my boss that I was working hard. I wanted him to see the opportunity I had landed.

Most importantly, I wanted him to support me through the unknown parts of the appointment. If I found myself struggling in the conversation, I knew he could help me out.

Turns out he took over the whole show. Instead of acting as a ride-along on my appointment, I was the tag-along.

I had been talking to the client for months, so he felt a little bit ambushed. I had promised him one thing and then given him something completely different. Instead of a meeting with a sales rep, he found himself sitting in a meeting with an executive that he wasn’t really prepared for.

My plan

I imagined myself leading off the meeting and asking for his input along the way. I didn’t imagine it becoming his return to the glory days.

Because I wasn’t operating from a playbook, there was no real structure. The deal did close, but it was challenging.

If you find yourself asking why it’s a big deal, the problem was that it eroded my confidence as a seller.

Sometimes, because CEOs and entrepreneurs started out selling their own product or service, they have a tough time letting that go. They see a problem and they address it themselves because it’s how they operated before they hired sellers.

My CEO misunderstood my request for help and he took over the meeting instead.

In a previous episode, Kevin Davis talked to us about the challenges that sales managers often face, and the book he wrote, The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness, that addresses many of those issues.

Learning process

When I finally had the opportunity to go on meetings myself, I fell into a habit of mimicking what I had seen my CEO do. I shared the same stories, even though they weren’t my own stories, but I hadn’t gained an understanding of the problem I was trying to address.

Because there wasn’t any substance to my conversations, my opportunities started falling away. I wasn’t having a problem keeping things in my pipeline, but I was struggling to get them to close.

The old adage of the butterfly struggling to get out of the cocoon applies here: the struggle makes the butterfly stronger. If you were to cut open the cocoon so he could easily slip out, he would never develop strong wings that would help him fly.

You’ll never set the vision for your company moving forward if you’re busy doing the work that you hired your sales team to do.

A better option

We should have developed a gameplan before going into the meeting. By deciding who would say what and how we would build rapport, we could have avoided the awkward meeting with the client.

My CEO could have reviewed the questions I was planning to ask to ensure that I was properly prepared. Then, he could have assured me that if I got into trouble, he’d be there to help.

That scenario would have allowed me to at least try running the meeting.

The sooner you prepare your sales team to operate on their own, the more room you’ll have to grow your company.

Coaching is the correct answer. As you grow a more experienced sales team, you can add to is, and you can create repeatable success.

You will have to let them mess up. That doesn’t mean you ignore any train wrecks that are happening, but you can help them understand where they went wrong so they won’t make the mistake again.

Specify roles and responsibilities before the meetings so your team will learn to fly on their own.

Helicopter manager

Sometimes, in the role of coach, it’s tempting to give your team members the correct answers so they’ll learn more quickly. Don’t do it.

Helicopter managers tend to erode the team’s confidence and they actually lengthen the learning process by creating people who rely heavily on their help.

When they discover the answers on their own, the learning will be more meaningful.

Send us your stories about helicopter managers so we can all learn from the experience.

“Let Them Mess Up” episode resources

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, Chala Dincoy, Closing The Deal, EMSDC,

TSE 1056: 5 Closing Mistakes That Prolong the Selling Cycle

Many small business owners and sales reps face challenges with closing, and there are five closing mistakes that will prolong your selling cycle.

I met Chala Dincoy at the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council ROAR Conference, and today she’ll talk to us about the mistakes that can delay or prolong your selling cycle.

Chala is an elevator pitch coach who helps people get into the room. Then, once they’ve landed a sales meeting, she helps them close it faster.

The greatest challenge, she said, is getting the appointment because people don’t stand out. About 86 percent of buyers think you’re the same as your competition. Now she teaches reps how to get through the noise and stand out.

Interestingly, she pointed out that many companies don’t use titles like “sales rep” on their business cards anymore because it puts people off to see that someone is in sales.

Thought leadership

That’s the first closing mistake.

The second is you haven’t specifically addressed the customers’ pain points. So now you’re in the wrong room and the wrong people are in the room with you.

You end up talking to lower level managers who pass you off over and over. As a result, you’re never able to get to the influencers that you need to reach.

The real trick, then, is to change your marketing so that you’re in front of decision makers all the time.

Since Chala’s sweet spot is diversity businesses, she works to get in front of conferences where those people are gathered. She has their business cards and they are talking to her at conferences.

This is the kind of marketing you should do, via speaking, networking, blogging, and any other kind of thought leadership.

Branding

Your branding is one of the tools that gets you into the room. Sheryl Sandberg is a celebrity in the business world, and you can do the same thing in the world of your target.

Chala recalls being at a recent conference where five people hugged her as she got off of an elevator. Though she didn’t know them, she says it’s a sign that you’re becoming known in your industry.

Once they know who you are, it’s really easy to land an appointment. It’s easy to invite them to an executive round table and for them to say yes.

Realize, too, that though everyone might be able to benefit from what you’re selling, not everyone needs it. We all sit in chairs, for example, but I may not need the kind of chair you’re selling.

Pain

Seventy percent of humans purchase based upon pain, so if they have a problem, they buy. The flip side is that only 30 percent of people will buy if you’re selling based on improving something.

Chala is fond of the saying, “No pain, no sale.” The third mistake is trying to sell something without addressing pain.

Stories have to be about the pain. When you’re in a presentation, offer case studies of pain. Your elevator pitch has to be based on pain. And all of it has to be the same pain.

We must niche down and focus.

Stop talking about yourself. No one cares how many offices you have or how many awards you’ve won.

Your prospects only care about the pain.

The purse

You must have both the budget and the authority in the room with you. Failure to do so is mistake number four.

We often call it the purse and the pain. If the pain doesn’t have the purse, no decision can be made, and vice versa.

As an extension of that, lower level managers may talk about a different kind of pain that company leadership will. If you base your entire presentation around one person’s pain, especially if that person isn’t the decision maker, your presentation will miss its mark.

You must have both people in the room.

Finally, avoid leaving without a next appointment. You must establish a next step with your prospects.

If they tell you they can’t commit to a date because there are other stakeholders involved and they don’t know all the schedules, then set a date to get a date. In other words, schedule a day that you’ll call to set up the next appointment.

If they aren’t willing to give you a date, it’s a really strong indicator that they aren’t going to buy.

Stop talking about yourself and connect with their pain points.

“Closing Mistakes” episode resources

You can connect with Chala at LinkedIn or at repositioner.com and you can take a quiz to determine how good your elevator pitch is.

We are currently in the Beta portion of our new TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The first section is about prospecting, the second is all about building value, and the third is about closing.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Key Stakeholder, Donald Kelly, Decision Maker

TSE 1055: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Key Stakeholders”

As you move closer to the end of a deal, you’ll likely encounter more objections, and identifying key stakeholders is the secret to overcoming those challenges.

As you move into deeper conversation with the prospect, you may not realize that there are other people involved in the process, even if you aren’t directly interacting with them. Your job as seller is to find out who they are.

Today we’ll help you understand who those key stakeholders are, how you should work with them, and how you can prepare for the process.

Initial interest

Imagine you have an initial conversation with someone who is interested in your lawn care business. You generated some interest and they expressed a desire to know more. You’ll naturally address how you’ve helped other people in the past and take other steps to build value.

At this point, you’ll want to find out who else will be involved in this conversation. Typically, though, sellers neglect to ask that question.

Ideally, you should find out whether the prospect has made a decision like this before. If so, has it been a long time?

You do this kind of work on a day-to-day basis, but the prospect doesn’t. He needs guidance, and you can help him move forward.

Identifying stakeholders

Avoid making him feel as though he isn’t competent to make the decision. Instead of asking him who should be involved in the next call, ask it this way: “At this point in the conversation, my clients typically invite other people into the conversation.”

Instead of asking whether he’d like to invite others in, I would simply ask him who he would like to invite into the conversation. He might identify the CFO or the decision maker.

Next, I would point out that, in order to make sure the next meeting is as valuable as possible, I’d like to know whether I can connect with some of those stakeholders to find out what they’d like to hear.

If he has an objection, reframe the request so that he’s the one making the contact with his stakeholders on your behalf. Keep him involved in the process so he feels comfortable.

Cast of characters

The first stakeholder is your decision maker. He tends to be the person that sellers most often keep their eyes on because he’s the one that will do the final sign-off.

But he may not get involved until later in the process. The decision maker may expect the influencer and the champion to do all of the hard work.

Second is your influencer or the person who has the ear of your decision maker. She may be the right-hand person of your decision maker, or she may just be someone who has a connection with him.

In some companies, this may be an administrative assistant, and sales reps must be mindful not to overlook these people. These executive assistants often wield much influence with the leadership.

My wife worked in a similar position once, and her recommendation often depended on how the sellers treated her when they called into the office.

End users are the people who will use the product or service you’re offering, and they’re the ones you’ll likely interact with the most. We must make sure that they understand us and that we understand them.

The buyer will sign the check to close the deal. If he doesn’t like the deal, he will likely have key influence in it.

The champion is the person who likes you and who brought you into the fold. She invited your team to consider the possibility of hiring you.

The champion

We recently did an entire episode about the importance of the champion. The discussion centered around the fact that sellers often focus so intently on the decision maker that they neglect the champion.

In actuality, though, the champion is the one that you’ll interact with the most, and he’ll be the one that has the most interaction with his team.

He’s the one that wrangles the group through the decision-making process. He’s the quarterback, but he must have your support in order to succeed. If he doesn’t have it, he may lose the desire to champion your cause.

The knights

The dark night doesn’t necessarily have interest in your product or service. He’s usually the member of the organization who is a little bit apprehensive, and it’s in your best interest to discover who he is and why he is a dark knight.

The champion, of course, is your white knight. He will tell the company why it should hire you. He believes so strongly in what you have to offer that he’ll work to sell you internally.

The white knight will likely recognize the dark knight, so you can ask him who it is and what his concerns are. Gather as much intel as you can about the dark knight so you’ll know how to address his potential objections.

Handling the dark knight

Make sure you have a conversation with the dark knight prior to the meeting. Present information to Doug that addresses those concerns and ask him during that conversation whether there is anything specific he’d like to see in the presentation.

In some cases, the dark knight will be the person who made the previous decision and whose decision is potentially being undone by your company. Make him part of the process and compliment the work he has done.

Add on to the value and break down the existing barriers.

When you give the demonstration, you’ll be more effective because you took the time to identify these characters.

“Key Stakeholders” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

If you’re not familiar with the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, it’s a program designed to help brand new sales reps, as well as those who have been selling forever. The 12-week module offers videos you can watch at your own pace, as well as the option to join a group discussion. We address three topics: finding, building value, and closing. It’s amazing and it’s fun!

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

The episode is also brought to you by prospect.io, a sales automation platform that allows you to send cold emails in a personalized manner. To find out more about how it can help you automate your sales process, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never be the same.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

EMSDC, Sharon Manker, Donald Kelly, Networking

TSE 1054: Sales From The Street – “Building Diversity Into Your Network”

As you’re working to expand your reach and grow your network, recognize the importance of building diversity into your network so you’ll be better positioned to succeed in your industry.

I met Sharon Manker at the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council ROAR Conference, which connects minority-owned and women-owned businesses with Fortune 100 companies. Sharon has worked in supply chain for two decades, in both the for-profit and the nonprofit sectors, in utility and now in healthcare. In her words, she negotiates for a living.

She also works to engage diverse suppliers in a woman-owned, veteran-owned, minority-owned system.

Small business challenges

Many small business owners lack the vehicle to connect with the right decision makers. They don’t know how to meet the people who actually influence the contracts.

When they discover their limitation, they often observe that they just didn’t realize how it impacted their work.

As a supply chain person, Sharon works to connect qualified suppliers to the businesses who need them. She also works to connect those same businesses with her business stakeholders.

To that end, she attends events and even hosts events that allow people to connect and build relationships. The trick is to recognize that as you’re working to connect with the decision makers, there are people along the way who can help you do exactly that.

Diversifying suppliers

When you aren’t able to attend these events, Sharon points to other opportunities to connect with people: chambers of commerce and councils, just to name two.

You’ll be positioned to find corporate partners there. You’ll encounter people who are actively engaged and ready to increase their supplier diversity.

Even if you attend these events and find out about developments that are 24 months away, future gains will happen. Put in the work now and build relationships now.

Benefits of partnership

Many corporations prioritize working with small businesses because they have committed to certain diversity goals, such as spending a certain amount of their operating expenses with diverse suppliers. In some states, in fact, this diversity is mandated.

This demands a pool of Minority Business Enterprises, Veteran Business Enterprises, and LGBTQ enterprises that can help meet the needs of those businesses.

It can’t be a last-minute effort, either. You don’t want to wait until you’re in an emergency situation to begin vetting partners. Those organizations must proactively work to find the best option in every category to provide the product or service they need.

Some corporations connect with small businesses simply because they value giving back to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

If you’re an entrepreneur or a seller listening to this, find groups like this to connect with, because if you can land a large contract, you can eat pretty well for a while.

If you balance your regular prospecting with your networking events while you work to connect with large corporations, you’ll more easily keep a steady flow of connections. #CorporatePartners

Strategic plan

Create a strategic plan for your business. In your case, your plan for success is that failure is not an option. Instead, when you fail, you learn a lesson, and you repeat that until you get to a successful outcome.

You can’t give up. You must stay positive.

There won’t always be immediate opportunities, but building a network of resources or opportunities provides some security. Then, if you don’t have a resource or an opportunity for those organizations, you could always help connect them with another partner that you’ve met and added to your network.

We’ve talked recently about the need to focus on a champion rather than only focusing on the decision maker. Your network will help you accomplish that.

You may bypass a champion on your way to connecting with a CEO, but the champion can be a much quicker connection. You can build a relationship with him more quickly, and then he can help you get to the CEO.

Intentional communications

When you’re building relationships, be mindful of your communications. Some people are very aggressive in their approach, but they often overlook all the other restraints that these decision makers are facing. They want to do a deal now, but they aren’t mindful of the other projects these professionals are working on.

There are hierarchies of communication in every organization. There are also barriers to entry. Your champions can’t advocate for you if you’re perceived as aggressive or pushy.

The vetting process may take weeks, and you must be willing to exercise patience. You don’t know about all the things that the organization is working on.

Be strategic. Recognize the structure in each organization.

People will notice the way you communicate.

Be prepared

When your network does call on you for your product or service, make sure you are ready and able to give your brief, to-the-point presentation.

Make sure you’re being active so you’ll stay positioned to meet other professionals. Make sure you’re open and willing and teachable.

Even if you aren’t a minority, realize that if 51 percent of the company ownership is minority, that classifies as a minority-owned business.

“Building Diversity Into Your Network” episode resources

You can connect with Sharon on LinkedIn where she shares tremendous amounts of information about supply chain.

We are currently in the Beta portion of our new TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The first section is about prospecting, the second is all about building value, and the third is about closing.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Peter Chun, Lucidchart, Salesforce, Sales Podcast

TSE 1053: How To Effectively Map And Create Multithreaded Relationships In Enterprise Deals

Peter Chun,

Sales constantly evolves and sellers who want to be successful must effectively map and create multithreaded relationships in order to close more deals. Peter Chun talks today about the importance of multithreaded relationships and the challenge for reps who must establish them.

Peter fell in love with the convergence of sales and data and has found a personal passion for it. He loves strategizing about how to close deals and about how to help your company scale and grow.

Evolving sales

The biggest obstacle for B2B sellers right now is the evolving face of sales. Buyers are more sophisticated, and they have more information at their fingertips. They do a lot of research before they even engage with a salesperson.

Additionally, the number of stakeholders within B2B deals is increasing, with research indicating that complex deals often include 6 to 10 stakeholders.

The big challenge, then, is finding and creating multithreaded relationships because too often they are single threaded. Many reps, either because of laziness or lack of awareness, fail to establish more than one relationship within a deal. They rely on a single relationship to get the deal done.

Multithreaded relationships

Being multithreaded doesn’t simply refer to your customers. It’s important that sellers create multithreaded relationships within their own companies as well.

Who else, besides your prospect, needs to be part of the conversation you’re having? Who else on your team has relationships that can be leveraged to build a solid foundation?

One of Peter’s reps teaches his reps to always do discovery because it keeps them aware of the details of the deal and helps them to stay relevant.

If you’re multithreaded, you have other contacts that can help you move a deal forward.

Unnecessary risk

Even when you believe that you have the juice to close a deal, you leave yourself open to risk if you fail to be multithreaded. You may, in fact, be connected to the right person, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t others who can help move the deal forward as well.

Many reps simply haven’t been coached to do this well. Sales leaders must coach them well and teach them how to have a multithreaded perspective.

In the case of a complex account, there may be hundreds of employees. There may be years of history between you and your prospect making it difficult to know where to even start.

Peter says that visually mapping the process will help you keep track of your efforts.

  • Who are you talking to?
  • Where does each employee sit?
  • Who does each employee report to?
  • What are the relationships within that organization?

Becoming multithreaded

In order to establish a multithreaded perspective, begin by figuring out all the people you already know. Start with who you’ve met or spoken to in the organization.

Step two is to identify all your targets or the people you’d like to talk to.

Third, add the executive team. Include the CEO and any executive leadership that you think is relevant to the conversation.

You can then figure out who reports to whom and who is pursuing specific initiatives. The goal is to drive consensus across the organization, so I must identify the leaders who can move this initiative forward.

Recognizing your prospects’ initiatives demonstrates an interest and it suggests that you’re more than an order-taker; you’re paying attention to the details.

Common mistakes

Some managers get so focused on their numbers that they fail to develop a real strategy. As soon as organizations allow their sellers to be a little more strategic, they’ll find that their activities are much more scalable.

Account mapping has been around for a long time, but now we have the technology to use a more systemized approach to it and tie it into our CRM.

Young sales leaders simply haven’t been exposed to enough deals to think that way. But great sales leaders think that way naturally.

Help your less tenured sellers learn to think that way.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with this idea but begin with your top account. Implement the three steps with that account, will help you begin really moving your deals.

Build the discipline within yourself and your team to be multithreaded. Even if you’re certain it will close, you can still consider who else you have access to.

When you’re multithreaded, you have more options when your contacts go dark. Remember to focus on internal and external connections.

“Create Multithreaded Relationships” episode resources

You can connect with Peter on LinkedIn and you can sign up for LucidChart and check out their sales templates.

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

If you’re not familiar with the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, it’s a program designed to help brand new sales reps, as well as those who have been selling forever. The 12-week module offers videos you can watch at your own pace, as well as the option to join a group discussion. It’s broken into three sections: finding, building value, and closing. It’s amazing and it’s fun!

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

The episode is also brought to you by prospect.io, a sales automation platform that allows you to send cold emails in a personalized manner. To find out more about how it can help you automate your sales process, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never be the same.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Joel Burnstein, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, EMSDC

TSE 1052: How To Prepare Your Sales Pipeline For Economic Downturns

No matter what business you’re in or what product you’re selling, downturns happen, so today we’re talking about how to prepare your sales pipeline for economic downturn. 

We’re here at the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council’s ROAR Conference, which is connecting minority-owned and women-owned businesses with Fortune 100 companies.

Joel Burstein says that companies should be most aware of economic downturn when the economy is good. The downturns in ’01 and ’08 were preceded by markets that were really,  but they grew so quickly that they weren’t sustainable.

When things seem too good to be true, they usually are.

Consider the internet

At one point, everything was successful. It didn’t matter what the product was. The reality of the world at that time was that 22-year-olds owned five properties.

If you drive your car as fast as you can for as long as you can, your car will eventually break. The economy is the same.

The time to prepare for the economic downturn is when the economy is good. You do that by diversifying your clientele and diversifying your business.

Clients who are looking are still engaged. You don’t necessarily have to take your foot off the gas; you just have to think outside the box.

Talk to clients

Ask your clients how their world is going. They will have indicators, so if you ask them what signs they are seeing, they may be able to share signs with you.

Realize, too, that not everyone’s downturn is equal. Some people’s downturn started in ’07 while others started in ’08. What happened is that we missed it.

Your perspective depends on where your market falls. Some people are struggling today. It isn’t that they’re struggling tremendously, but their business is down.

Perhaps it only lasts one quarter, or maybe it stretches into two or three quarters. Once that happens, it begins to have an impact.

Have engaging conversations with your existing clients about what’s happening in their markets. Because their markets are different than yours, you’ll gain insight into the overall economy.

Two-fold benefit

Imagine an entrepreneur with a digital marketing company who has decent-sized clients. If she stays in touch with them she can accomplish two things:

  1. She can do some reconnaissance work.
  2. She can deepen her relationships.

At some point, you sell without selling. You have to be in the relationship mindset rather than the selling mindset.

You’ll develop a deep understanding of what your client is facing and struggling with. Your client will remember you as the one who cared about how they were handling the downturn.

Preparing for downturn

Certain industries will survive recession better than others. Energy is a great example.

Oil is another industry that survives recession well, as evidenced by the Texas economy while the rest of the country was in a downturn. People still need oil, and we forget that it’s used to make milk cartons. It’s also used for the oil and gears of manufacturing machinery.

Healthcare is another example. Hospitals have tremendous numbers of vendors because they are like self-sufficient cities.
Unemployment could negatively impact healthcare, but the government tends to step in so that people don’t go without care.
Ask yourself which adjustments you’ll make in order to survive the recession when it happens. Identify ways to gain traction in those industries that can survive recession. Add those behaviors to your daily, weekly, and monthly behaviors.

Larger companies

The EMSDC offers a great opportunity to expand a middle-sized business to a larger business. Because larger businesses have more funds, they survive a bit better than small ones.
If all of your businesses are about the same size, some of those will fluctuate. Some of them will go out of business. It’s the nature of the industry.
There’s a reason we talk about companies being too big to fail.
When you engage in the right behaviors, you introduce that diversity into your business.  It’s a matter of making an effort to prospect in a certain area or to call on certain people or ask certain people for referrals.
Many entrepreneurs get stuck waiting for business to come in. If I can get out there and start having conversations with people I’m targeting, I can control my destiny a little better by choosing who I will target.

Networking

When the economy shifts, you need to have a great network of people you can reach out to for different things at different times. If I don’t know people, I can’t do that.

Networking is a big thing. Speaking engagements are, too.

In our case, we can’t always orchestrate large training opportunities but we can convince people to sign up for workshops or boot camps. It allows us to build our brand, stay connected to our customers, and it offers additional streams of income.

Joel said he leverages his LinkedIn so that his existing contacts can introduce him to people he doesn’t know. People typically don’t leverage it properly, but what if you knew all the same people your clients do?

“Prepare For Economic Downturn” episode resources

You can connect with Joel at keepitsimple.sandler.com or email him at Joel.Burstein@pghkeepitsimple.com

We are currently in the Beta portion of our new TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The first section is about prospecting, the second is all about building value, and the third is about closing.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Charles Bernard, Donald Kelly, Problem Solving

TSE 1051: How To Solve The Most Common Sales Problems

Sales leaders who can solve the most common sales problems will increase their productivity and improve their performance.

Today, Charles Bernard explains how a disciplined system for selling and managing can remove barriers to performance for sales leaders.

Bernard founded ‘Criteria for Success,’ an organization that develops online sales playbooks and provides leadership and sales management training. Charles was a top performer in his division with General Electric and has run several businesses as well.

Caught in the middle

Charles believes that the number one issue facing sales managers today is the feeling of being caught in the middle between the CEO/Management and the sales team. Sales managers must bring in the numbers, on one hand, while acting as a micromanager on the other.  He compares it to having a target on his front side with another on his back.

Charles finds that pressure from above is unfiltered and passed directly down onto the sales teams, whether it’s justified or not. And, he says, the sales teams hate that.

If management feels that something is wrong or that people are not doing their jobs, for example, it is the responsibility of the sales manager to balance the push/pull of the situation. She must absorb the pressure in order to adapt the message – without losing the importance behind it – to empower the team.

Passing the pressure from management to the team does nothing to motivate or incentivize sales.

Many times, leaders fall into the trap of thinking they must have all the answers for how things should be done. An enlightened manager should be able to pull the boss and the team together.  He should encourage conversations that promote transparency and foster teamwork.

Charles prefers for his sales teams to hear directly from the bosses and he often facilitates meetings to allow for such interaction. It allows each side to learn the concerns of the other and to work as a team.

Pulled in different directions

Charles cites the challenge of staying focused as another common issue facing sales managers. Don’t engage in too many meetings or with multiple different initiatives. Lack of focus prevents the managers from spending time in the field and with their sales teams.

It was a struggle but Charles eventually learned how to say ‘No’ to those who people who weren’t impacting sales.

Charles recalls numerous instances where he was asked, for example, to intervene with an upset client. He had to put his foot down and direct those calls to others in the organization better equipped to handle such situations.

It is understandable that sales managers want to prove their worth to the company. But it is a mistake to do so by getting involved in matters that do not pertain to their job or to assist with sales if the team is underperforming. It only serves to further scatter the focus a sales manager needs to succeed.

The purpose of the sales manager is to be available to the team. It must be the priority.

Inability to set goals

Sales managers often don’t have the time to spend on the proper vetting of the forecasts. As a result, they are often unable to create realistic forecasts and to set goals.

The need for realistic forecasting is obvious. The problem arises when the decisions made on that forecast – where the growth is coming from, how much we will grow, what the profits will be, and how the funds will be reinvested – are very linear and rigid. There isn’t a lot of thought behind it.

Charles believes that people should not think about what they are going to sell in a year. People tend to miss things like backlog, which is probably going to give you the most wind behind your sails.

If forecasting in 2018 for 2019, for example, you must see all the deals that didn’t close, at the individual and team sales levels. You want to know what stage they are in because that backlog will give you a jump on each quarter.

What is your backlog going in? What is your backlog coming out?

If you begin with a strong backlog of unclosed business and put that into your forecast, you can then see where you are short and what you need to do each quarter. It is very important to have a notion of forecasting that includes backlog. Without it, you are already behind at the start.

Sales advice

  • Rank your sales team. Who are your A’s? Who are your B’s?
  • Rank your customers. Who are your partners and who are your advocates? Who buys on a whim, or transactionally?
  • Build a playbook. Take all the knowledge in the company and make it available for everyone to access.

“Solve The Most Common Sales Problems” episode resources

Charles can be reached via email at cbernard@criteriaforsuccess.com, or you can call him at 212-302-5518. Charles can also be found on LinkedIn.

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

If you’re not familiar with the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, it’s a program designed to help brand new sales reps, as well as those who have been selling forever. The 12-week module offers videos you can watch at your own pace, as well as the option to join a group discussion. It’s broken into three sections: finding, building value, and closing. It’s amazing and it’s fun!

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

The episode is also brought to you by prospect.io, a sales automation platform that allows you to send cold emails in a personalized manner. To find out more about how it can help you automate your sales process, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never be the same.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Paint a Picture

TSE 1050: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Paint A Picture”

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Paint a PictureIf you paint a picture for your customers of where they are now versus where they want to go, you can help them make a buying decision.  Show them how the positive change will happen, or what might happen if they don’t change. It will allow them to logically justify an emotional decision.

Jeffrey Gitomer was my first ever guest and he taught us something interesting on that very first podcast: People love to buy but they hate to be sold.

Think about that.  Nobody wants to feel tricked or manipulated. That is the last thing that you want to do as a sales rep. You want to help them to buy.

Your job is to guide clients through a process that educates them.

Become an artist

The key is to paint amazing pictures that feel so real and so vivid that your clients can see the value being offered.

Imagine we have presented our business case and the prospect is loving it. They know it is amazing but they will naturally start to compare it to their current situation.

What are we doing? What are our sales reps doing? How much time are they spending? Are we wasting time?

It is time to paint the picture for them.

Asking ‘why?’

Toyota once used the ‘Five Whys’ concept to get to the root of a problem; to fix the real issue of any problem instead of the surface-level problem. As an example, suppose I take my car into the shop because I have a flat tire from hitting a pothole.

As a sales rep, there are many things you could sell me. I need a new tire, for sure. Do I also need glasses so I can see potholes in the future? Maybe I didn’t see the pothole because I was speeding. Perhaps I was late and I need to buy an alarm clock.

What if I was running late because I am not disciplined enough to properly prioritize my day? Will a new tire or a pair of glasses help with the root of my problems? No.

When it comes to your prospect, once he agrees with your business proposal and realizes that he is in the same scenario you’re describing, that is the time to share with him how you can deliver.

Paint the picture that directly represents his business and his situation. Ask him what you need to know.

Do you feel the scenario that I’ve presented fits your situation? Why do you think that is the case? What have you tried before to address this same problem? What are your goals?

Become a consultant

Become a consultant that will help solve their problems. You’ve already painted a picture with your business case. Once you have your answers – once you have more details – you can effectively execute the demonstration.

Know your client’s timeframe and budget.  Go over who will be involved in the process and the criteria for future decisions. Everything discussed during the buyer’s journey needs to be referenced during the discovery call as well. It helps make the closing that much easier.

Underpromise and overdeliver

If I know I can deliver 4x, I often promise 3x because it is a simple fact that my clients will be much happier if they accomplish more than they expected.

You can help the prospect realize that the decision is theirs. It is not being forced upon them and it is not manipulative. Rather, with your help, they realize where they are and the challenges they face in moving forward. We have had meaningful and educating dialogue that provided solutions and opportunities for change. The buyer’s decision is now up to them.

“Paint a Picture” episode resources

We are currently in the Beta portion of our new TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The first section is about prospecting, the second is all about building value, and the third is about closing.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Portable Medical Diagnostic, Dennis Rosebrough, Donald Kelly

TSE 1049: Sales From The Street: “We Say Goodbye To A Legend”

Saying goodbye to a legend is difficult, but we can move forward living by the principles they teach us and the lessons we learn.

One of the best selling business books of all times is Think and Grow Rich; it changed my life. It transformed the way I think about money and about the opportunities I could create.

The person I received the book from is also important to me. It was from someone who was like a father to me. He came into my life when I was 14 years old and helped mold me into the person I am today.

Dennis Rosebrough

Dennis, Denny, Dad…I learned a lot from him. He was a true hustler, a real entrepreneur – always looking for something.  He grew up the youngest of five kids in a poor family but always had a determination to make something of himself and for his family.

As an X-ray technician, Denny went into the business of providing mobile x-ray machines. The company grew from scratch into a multi-million dollar organization, employing and helping hundreds of people.  

His son, Andrew, currently runs the organization and has been a best friend of mine since we were kids.

Principle One: See people as people

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, your race or your color.

Denny had a heart of gold. Treating everyone equally was his strong suit. He came from a poor background and moved into a position where he could afford to take care of himself and his family.

Regardless of where he was in his life, he was kind to everyone. He just connected with people. He reached out to those who were different. He was always humble and eager to learn.

I remember a time when I was 16. My family was going through some financial difficulties to the point where we were evicted from our home.

My mom and brother moved in with one relative but because of the location of my school bus stop, I moved in with another relative. I  slept on a bunk bed in their laundry room.

When Andrew found out, he talked to his Dad. Denny, without even thinking about it, invited me to move in.  Both my Mom and I remain super grateful for their guidance and assistance. I was loved and cared for and welcomed into the family.

It was a lesson in learning to look at other people as individuals and to help them and to care for them. I think it is a lesson that can apply to how we, as sales reps, entrepreneurs, and business owners conduct ourselves as well.

Principle Two: Be willing to give

Sometimes we don’t give to others because we don’t see anything for us in return. Denny didn’t think that way. He would give regardless.

He once gave his car to a woman at his church who had five grandkids and an unreliable car. He had the means to do so, of course, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that he gave without expecting anything in return.

He gave without any desire for compensation but received so much in return just the same.

Give willingly. Give without expectation or strings attached. Give from the heart.

Principle Three: Dream big

After high school, I moved back in with my family for a few months before leaving to serve on two-year mission trip. When I returned home from that trip, Denny took me out to dinner and gave me a book.

It was his testimonial – how he started his business, the vision he had for his life and for his family, and his experiences. He wrote it all down and he shared it with me because he had faith that I could have the same success.

It is also when he gave me the, now very tattered, Think and Grow Rich book.

Denny taught me that I needed to plan and that I needed to have vision; a higher vision for my life.

We often have a low level of thinking where we doubt our ability to achieve bigger things in life. But Denny, and that book, helped me see otherwise.

It helped me in college, and it helped me in my performance. Then, it helped me run for student body president, helped me in my business career, and it helped me in sales.

It helped me have a higher level of thinking. I realized that I could be successful too. It helped me to think and grow rich.

I saw where Denny had come from and how much he achieved. I wanted a life and a family like his. I want to be be able to help others the way he did and to see people for who they are.

Principle Four: Work Hard

Denny taught me to work hard. He taught me about business. He hustled and he worked and he stayed up late and took the odd shifts as his company grew.

Denny passed away this weekend and I know his spirit will remain in the many things he has taught us all, the individuals he has touched, and the legacy he has left behind for his family.

At the time, I encourage all of you to think about the legacy you will someday leave behind. I hope the principles I learned from Dennis can help guide you along your path.

“Say Goodbye to a Legend” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

If you’re not familiar with the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, it’s a program designed to help brand new sales reps, as well as those who have been selling forever. The 12-week module offers videos you can watch at your own pace, as well as the option to join a group discussion. It’s broken into three sections: finding, building value, and closing. It’s amazing and it’s fun!

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

The episode is also brought to you by prospect.io, a sales automation platform that allows you to send cold emails in a personalized manner. To find out more about how it can help you automate your sales process, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never be the same.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share with your friends!

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Lee Salz, Sales Differentiation, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1048: Sales Differentiation

Lee Salz, Sales Differentiation, The Sales Evangelist

Sales differentiation helps salespeople win more deals at the price point they want, and today Lee Salz talks about building a framework that will allow you to personalize your sales.

Sales reps in every industry must differentiate themselves in today’s market. It’s crucial for sellers to have room to “color” the sales process.

Origins

When Lee was a kid, he had a job as a pickup and delivery driver for dry cleaning. The guy he worked for didn’t own a dry cleaning business; he simply knew it was a hassle to drop off and pick up your clothes.

He developed a contract with a couple of different dry cleaning firms and he charged a premium for the service. The idea took off, and Lee was intrigued by the idea that he was able to add a 40 percentage point premium by differentiating the service.

He didn’t actually put the idea into play until his 50th birthday after he had learned a lot about the industry.

Philosophy of differentiation

Lee said the philosophy translates for every possible seller. No matter what industry you’re in, what size company you’re in, whether you sell products or service, whether you sell B2B or B2C, and it doesn’t even matter what methodology you use in your sales.

The premise is simple: win more deals at the prices you want.

Differentiation around what you sell

Differentiation around what you sell relies on the ability to translate your passion to the person sitting on the other side of the desk.

If you can’t communicate your own passion about your differentiators to the person on the other side of the desk, you might as well not have anyone sitting there.

The idea is to build passion and help salespeople communicate it in a meaningful way. You want your customers to believe they must have what you’re selling.

It’s a responsibility that falls to marketing, business owners, and sales leaders.

Marketing and sales differentiation

Marketing differentiation is one-directional communication for the masses. Think trade shows and websites. It screams to the marketplace, “Hey! Look at us! We’re here.”

It demonstrates all the available potential.

Sales differentiation is two-directional communication with an individual, specific buyer.

It takes all of the potential and personalizes it to an individual specific buyer.

Everyone buys for a different reason so if you leave all the capabilities out there and rely on that to drive buyers, you’ll fail.

You must have salespeople who gather all the potential and bring it to the individual level.

Add those two things together and that meets the definition of solution.

Two differentiation workshops

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling.

Make a list of your most common competitors who also sell what you sell. Work with your team to do the analysis.

Answer two questions:

  • Why do you win?
  • Why do they win?

Make a list of the decision influencers, the people commonly involved in the decision to buy what you sell.

Again, answer two questions:

  • What is keeping them up at night relative to your offering?
  • Given what is keeping them awake, how can you help?

If you engage your team in these two workshops, you’ll get a series of differentiators that will serve as raw material to work with.

From there, develop a communication strategy that helps you build passion around those differentiators.

Differentiation around how you sell

Every interaction between a seller and a buyer provides an opportunity to offer meaningful value that your competition doesn’t provide.

Consider this: Would you prefer a restaurant with outstanding food and mediocre service or mediocre food and outstanding service?

Most people will choose the outstanding service.

That means you could have the best product features and functions but your failure to differentiate how you sell could cause you to lose.

From that very first phone call to the time they sign on the dotted line, you have an opportunity to build a great experience.

Customer service vs account management

Don’t equate the two as the same.

Customer service occurs when your client asks you for something. The measurement of success should be timeliness and accuracy in the response.

It’s the proactive set of activities and behaviors that you’ll provide that adds value in the relationship that has nothing to do with the product.

Look at every touch point to find every opportunity to do something different that your client will find meaningful.

Recognizing your competition

Your true competition exists in your battle to earn face time with your prospects.

No executive has the responsibility to meet with salespeople every hour on the hour. In order for us to earn that meeting, we have to create intrigue in the first moment.

Imagine operating the way the police do. When they knock on your door to ask questions about a crime, they don’t randomly choose your home for a conversation. They follow a trail of evidence that leads them to you.

They’ve put together a theory, and you should do the same with your sales efforts.

Instead of blindly calling people and sending emails, put together a sales crime theory, based on the answer to this question: why should they want to have a conversation with us right now? Instead of asking why we should talk with them, ask why they should want to have a conversation with us.

Put together a messaging strategy based on your research that will help them recognize what you have to offer.

Sales Differentiation resources

Lee’s book Sales Differentiation:19 Powerful Strategies to Win More Deals at the Prices You Want is available in bookstore, at your favorite online book sources, at Amazon, and a variety of other places.

You can also go to salesdifferentiation.com and register for Lee’s video series. The videos are typically only available to workshop clients but he’s making them available to the people who purchase the book. Go to the website, click on “bonus,” fill out the form, and start taking advantage of the videos.

“Sales Differentiation” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

This episode is also brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Asking more questions, Listening, Fear

TSE 1047: Start Asking “Stupid Questions”!

Asking more questions, Listening, FearThe more information we have about our clients, the better we’ll be able to serve them, and we can begin by asking “stupid questions.

In 2013, I was working on a speech for Toastmasters and I wanted to talk to everyday people to find out whether or not they think the American Dream is dead.

What better place to find everyday people but on the train?

I was nervous. I didn’t want anyone to yell at me or be rude to me and I certainly didn’t want to get into a political debate.

Eventually, I mustered the courage to ask the guy sitting closest to me for his thoughts. I prepared for the worst but got the exact opposite instead. He answered my question and gave me the insight I needed to put together a great speech.

In today’s episode, I will share ways to overcome the roadblocks we create in our minds so that we can get the information we need to best help our clients.

Dumb, stupid questions

We tell ourselves that our questions are dumb and stupid. When we think that way, we end up with dumb and stupid results. We need to present our questions well so that we can get the right information from our clients.

When we ask only surface-level questions, we get surface-level answers in return.

When we then use those answers to create a quote, we find that the client is not interested or ready.

It is the same situation every time. We worry and feel like we suck at our job. Other people selling the exact same product to the same type of client are performing so much better.

How does this happen?

Clear and meaningful questions

Too often, we are so focused on how we come across to others that we don’t ask the right questions. We don’t want to appear rude or pushy.

Or, we worry that we might embarrass ourselves by asking a question that everyone else already knows the answer to. We also hesitate to “bother” an executive, or challenge the way he already does business even though our suggestions could benefit his organization.

Push the norm

We are afraid to push the norm.

Many executives are surrounded by ‘yes people.’ This creates a void that, as a consultant, you could fill.

To prepare for more clear and meaningful questions, you need to first understand where the questions will lead.

As an example, the brake light on my car went out. I did everything I knew to try to fix it without success. A mechanic, on the other hand, would have the experience and the knowledge to ask me the right questions about my problem in order to isolate the best solution.

I would not assume that any of the questions he asked me were stupid even if I already knew that, of course, I should check the bulb before coming in.

He would be viewed as an expert because he would ask all the necessary questions in order to fix my problem.

The more confident you are on a topic, the less stupid the simple questions will seem in your mind. You will know and understand that people who are not as well-versed on the subject will make mistakes with the small things.

Asking clear and meaningful questions will get you clear and meaningful results.

Know the landscape

Read industry magazines and trade journals of your targeted clients. Know why they need what you are offering.

Study and prepare so that your questions are clear and meaningful. Understand the intricacies of their business. It will make you more effective in presenting your case.

You will be able to ask questions with confidence.

When you know where the questions might lead, and you won’t be afraid to ask them. You will be prepared. Keep the questions simple and clear.

Don’t ever assume that any of them are stupid.

Start Asking “Stupid Questions” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

If you’re not familiar with the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, it’s a program designed to help brand new sales reps, as well as those who have been selling forever. The 12-week module offers videos you can watch at your own pace, as well as the option to join a group discussion. It’s broken into three sections: finding, building value, and closing. It’s amazing and it’s fun!

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

The episode is also brought to you by prospect.io, a sales automation platform that allows you to send cold emails in a personalized manner. To find out more about how it can help you automate your sales process, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never be the same.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share with your friends!

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Donald Kelly, Sales Podcast

TSE 1045: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “David and Goliath”

Donald Kelly, Sales PodcastSometimes the logical approach doesn’t make sense, just as in the story of David and Goliath it seemed impossible to believe that the shepherd boy could beat the giant.

In sales, we sometimes have to be a bit irrational. We must think outside the box.

Today we’ll discuss how unorthodox thinking can help us take down some pretty significant giants. It can also help us win some pretty decent accounts.

Logical approach

When the giant Goliath demanded that the Israelites send out their best warrior, it didn’t make sense for them to send David. He wasn’t the fastest or the biggest.

He was a little farm guy tending sheep, and he wasn’t the typical warrior type.

Too often in sales we default to the same logical approach that sales reps have been using for years. Instead of thinking outside the box, we choose the most rational solution to the problem.

Imagine you’re selling TVs and you’re meeting with a client that has a good idea of what they need and what they want. It’s possible, though, that the client’s perception of the problem may not even be the real issue. Worse yet, their solution to the problem may not be the best one.

In the case of David and Goliath, if the Israelites had sent the best warrior into battle to try to outperform the giant, the best warrior would likely have been killed.

Unorthodox approach

David used an approach that had never been used before. He used a sling and a stone to take down the giant, and the approach was unexpected.

In the situation with the client and the TV, he may assume that he needs a TV because it has always been the best solution in the past. Perhaps, though, the best solution is a projector, but the client doesn’t realize it’s even a possibility.

What if you forget about the TV for a minute and consider other possibilities: smartphones or tablets, or even podcasts. If the goal is for the client to find a form of entertainment, TV isn’t the only option.

Sales reps who ask the right questions can differentiate themselves. They can challenge the status quo and help the buyer to see us in a different light.

Risky decisions

I was reading a book called Selling to the C-Suite and the author mentioned that executives will often make risky decisions if there’s a clear plan for that decision. Most executives routinely get what they want.

In many cases, their team members fail to offer unique proposals because they are afraid of getting fired.

In this case, an educated seller may propose an option that’s a little riskier than just selling the executive a television. The executive may be so busy running his business that he hasn’t researched TVs or other options.

Your goal should be to inform yourself about the industry, the client, the type of business, and the problem. Come to the table as an expert and offer unique ways to solve the client’s problem.

Memorable actions

David explained to Saul that because he had killed lions and bears in the past, he was equipped to take down a giant. If Saul was seeking a victory that would make the opponents his servants, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to consider David’s proposal?

David accomplished exactly what he said he would, and the result is a story that has survived for thousands of years.

Will your clients remember you and your heroic efforts or will you be just another sale rep? Will you be the one who offered them a cheaper price? Or will you be the one who offered a unique approach that turned the organization around?

Studying industries

Know your client’s industry well. Study it. Understand the business left and right.

Instead of trying to sell to 10 million different industries, focus on the top three or five and master those industries. Become an expert in those niches. Then focus on those people.

That doesn’t mean you won’t sell to those other industries. It simply means that you won’t focus on those industries. Invest your efforts into the industries that will give you the best bang for your buck.

Read industry magazines, and watch YouTube videos. Spend time on activities that will help you become more effective.

When you do, you’ll stand out from the competitors. Because you’ll bring different ideas, different strategies, and different tactics, you’ll earn the respect of your prospects.

Bring resources, examples, and share your past experiences with your prospects. Explain to your clients why they must choose the option you’re offering.

“David and Goliath” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

If you’re not familiar with the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, it’s a program designed to help brand new sales reps, as well as those who have been selling forever. The 12-week module offers videos you can watch at your own pace, as well as the option to join a group discussion. It’s broken into three sections: finding, building value, and closing. It’s amazing and it’s fun!

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

The episode is also brought to you by prospect.io, a sales automation platform that allows you to send cold emails in a personalized manner. To find out more about how it can help you automate your sales process, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never be the same.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share with your friends!

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

8 Best Practices for Managing Your Sales Pipeline

Two months ago, I was put in charge of managing my company’s sales pipeline.

Goodness, did I have a lot to learn.

The health of a company’s sales pipeline is critical in generating, understanding and predicting revenue. For a small, yet fast-growing company like mine, this affects not only the roles of the sales team but leadership throughout the organization as they seek to pre-emptively forecast capacity and hiring needs. For larger companies, the implications are just as important.

The sales pipeline is one of the most crucial fountains of data that any company has and is an important indicator of the health of the company’s growth engine. To manage it poorly would be unwise.

During these last two months, I’ve spent hours diving into research, evaluating data sets, reviewing platforms, and consuming as much information as I could stomach. By no means do I believe I have mastered the art of pipeline management, but I would love to share a few key insights I have learned from others, as well as a few I have found to be true from my own personal experience.

Without further ado, below you’ll find eight best practices for managing your sales pipeline.

1.    Simplify Sales Stages

If it seems obvious, it’s because it is. Yet numerous teams struggle with this tactic. In order to most effectively manage your sales pipeline, and to simplify your team’s jobs as effectively as possible, it’s essential to keep your stages as smooth as possible. There’s just no getting around it!

Changing structures and systems is difficult in any organization – especially if leadership has a “we’ve always done it this way” mindset. But simplification of the sales pipeline is too valuable to brush aside.

With each unnecessary stage, your leads and opportunities are increasingly prone to stagnation and distraction. Not only so, but with extra fluff in the sales process, there is a risk of flawed perspective from the salesperson. What I mean by this is, if the stages aren’t stripped down to accurately align the decision-making process of the buyer with the internal selling process, the salesperson can easily become too caught up in the steps themselves and forget to focus on what really matters – guiding the prospect to move forward. And, as many of us have experienced, prospects tend to pull away with the slightest hint of misalignment.

All of this – stagnation, distraction, and misalignment – translates to lost dollars. And that is a language everyone can understand.

Note: While researching the alignment of sales stages with the buyer’s journey, I found an interesting alternative to the traditional stages used by most companies. The stages were flipped to entirely reflect the stages of the buying decision rather than internal processes of organizations. The model, created by Mark Sellers, is geared more towards B2B companies.

Naturally, I took interest in this given that the company I work for provides SEO, PPC and CRO for B2B companies.

The funnel is called the BuyCycle Funnel, and the stages are as follows:

Source: Image Courtesy of Mark Sellers

Another key reason to simplify your sales stages leads directly into best practice number two….

2.    Shorten Your Sales Cycle (Within Reason)

As a general rule of thumb, shorter sales cycles are more desirable. They lead to revenue faster, allow for increased sales velocity, and are far less of a headache for everyone involved. Everyone is striving for a shorter sales cycle.  

And it makes sense inherently.

People prefer transparency over the obscurity, structure over chaos, and the concise over the drawn-out. But, the length of your sales cycle should never be secondary to the quality of the touches within it. Speed should not be forced upon the sales process, but rather should be a natural byproduct of having your stages simplified to the mere essentials ( Point #1).

In the wonderful world of B2B sales, cycles move at a pace that put glaciers to shame. Speeding up processes, therefore, needs to be done with gentle care. The metric, I believe, should be based on competitive standards.

If we are adopting a different mentality, it’s imperative to always consider what the buyer is experiencing. Then, we must be aware of the fact that they are likely going through similar sales processes with other companies. If we speed up our processes too much, we may begin to seem less credible than our competition and lose valuable trust.

Let me explain. In my case, we offer custom proposals that include a detailed audit of our prospects’ websites and a high-level, tailored solution. This is the next step after our “intro call.”

Typically, it takes a couple of days after the intro call to build out this strategy and present it. If I wanted to speed up the sales cycles just for the purpose of speeding it up, I could put other things on hold and knock out an audit the same day. But, my assumption is that that wouldn’t help. In order to build out a solid game plan and thoroughly understand the search engine landscapes our customers exist in, we must spend an appropriate amount of time doing our research. By the same token, our suggestions and recommendations would doubtfully be taken as seriously with a significantly shorter turnaround time.

Further, if your prospects are exploring 3-4 different companies (which they are), then you might be left with a lengthy “in limbo” period after you’ve completed your proposal and the customers are waiting for other proposals to come through.

It is a best practice to keep sales cycles brief, but only by keeping the stages to the essentials. Don’t overhype speed over the process.

3.    Add Value at Each Sales Stage

I cannot stress the importance of value enough. At any point in the sales process, your prospect should know what the next action is, and what they are going to GET from taking that action.

Value is a principle in marketing, as well as in sales, and is rooted in human psychology. I like to think of it as the “exchange factor.” Humans make moves when they see the benefit for them. They are willing to give when they get. Basic stuff.

However, in order to get to the primary exchange (i.e. the sale itself), there must be a pattern of “micro-exchanges” along the way. On an introductory call, the client GETS valuable information about offerings that help them move along in making an educated decision.

In the proposal stage, the client GETS a free audit to help them wrap their heads around their current search marketing tactics. You get the picture. Without a clear understanding of what is to be received at each step, people are unmotivated to move forward.

And unmotivated prospects are lost deals.

4.    Analyze Sales Performance by Stage

According to a study by Vantage Point, only 23% of sales managers analyze the efficiency of pipeline movement specific to individual stages when evaluating sales reps’ effectiveness.

What is the sales pipeline if not a sum of all its parts? In order to truly get an understanding of strengths and weaknesses in a sales process, you must be observing from the perspective of stage-to-stage movement, in addition to the movement as a whole.

It is in the granular detail that we see trends for which stages happen to be the most stubborn, which stages the majority of your clients fall off during, or which stages are causing trouble for the cycle as a whole.

In order to make the necessary changes, you need to understand exactly where the breakdown is and what is causing it – something that is difficult if you’re only looking at the cycle as a lump sum.

This granularity in separating stage performance also makes way for the next best practice…

5.    Test Everything!

I am a salesperson surrounded by marketers – and I couldn’t be more thankful. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the team here, it is the understanding of the value of testing. No decision our team makes is ran on a whim.

EVERYTHING is backed in data.

But, in order to accumulate data, we must run rigorous tests. And in order to improve at a steady pace, we need to run numerous and strategic tests. Which we do. All the time.

My goal for myself in this new role is to treat the pipeline with the same level of dedication and professionalism that our clients expect of us. In order to make educated, data-backed decisions, I need to be running rigorous tests as well. Breaking down performance at a stage-by-stage level provides great opportunity to test theories at a smaller level and get quicker insights into the results of those tests.

Currently, I am running a test on the impact of bringing in department directors on my proposals. Last week, I began testing the floor for minimum pricing to find any psychological thresholds at different dollar amounts.

Keep in mind, there is always a test you can run to better your sales efforts. And it’s okay to overlap tests. Many aren’t going to be conclusive after one week. Heck, many aren’t going to be conclusive after a month! However, keep testing so you can keep learning and adjust to find exactly what your targeted audience is looking for.

6.    Know Your Numbers

Similar to the running tests is being able to understand and interpret data. Data is the foundation of success in the modern day. As boring as numbers may seem (I’m a right-brained person, myself), you just have to know how to work with them.

What is your lead qualification rate? How long does it take a lead to go from qualification to proposal given? How long does it take a deal to close? What is the lifetime value of an average customer? These numbers are absolutely crucial in understanding and predicting revenue implications from a sales pipeline.

Software companies have caught on to just how valuable this information is, and there are now plenty of choices for sales software to help in understanding and visualizing data. At Directive, we use a platform called Rekener, which has been a solid implementation for us (no, this isn’t a paid plug).

This tool allows us to see the pipeline movement by stage in terms of percentage moved and days required to advance from one stage to the next. We can also see overall “scorecards” for the performance of an account executive based on criteria we tell it to track. Additionally, it shows average close rates and helps us build solid projections for expected revenue won, which is crucial information for the data-driven sales professional.

7.   Make Lead Scoring a Priority

In larger organizations, lead scoring is absolutely essential. You can get by without automated lead scoring as a smaller company, but once your leads start flowing from all that SEO you’ve been doing, you’ll want to check out a lead scoring solution.

In the end, all of the sales data in the world will tell you that the most effective sales teams prioritize certain prospects over others. You’re not going to turn every lead into a deal, so why not help yourself out by spending your time where it will make the most impact. For an incredible read on the subject, check out this article by Francis Brero.  

8.    Monitor Your Activity

Last, but certainly not least, get in the habit of monitoring where your time goes. This is one of the hardest things that I have had to do since starting this job. I consistently felt that the days were vanishing before me, and although the entire day felt stacked to the brim, I could rarely tell you how much of my time was spent where.

It’s a difficult thing to quantify, but time is the backbone of success in any role – especially sales. Without tracking how much time goes where, it is impossible to set benchmarks for activity, prioritize high-impact activities, and truly know where your reps should be investing their energy. Luckily, there are tools to help. A couple I discovered in my research are SuperOffice and Salesmate.

Honorable Mentions – Additional Tips to Keep in Mind

Below, you’ll find additional tips I’ve discovered to be helpful. They didn’t make the official list, but they are definitely worth trying out for yourself.

  • Don’t be an island! One of the best ways to maintain consistent performance in your sales pipeline is to get as many eyes on it as possible. Have weekly meetings or daily check-ins with your sales team and review the state of the pipeline together. Take ownership of training all parts of the sales team in best practices throughout all stages to make sure that everyone is working towards a common goal.
  • Strongly encourage post-sale follow-up. It’s been proven time and time again, sales reps that keep in touch with their closed deals end up selling more deals in the long run. People change jobs all the time and having a good relationship with internal champions goes a very long way. In my eyes, it should almost be another stage in the pipeline.

Creating, refining, and managing a well-oiled sales pipeline is a battle that is fought daily. However, with a mind armed with data, a spirit ready to test and conquer obstacles, and a team united in a singular pursuit – it’s a battle that pays big bucks to fight.

 

Author Bio: Jonathan Verstegen – Account Executive at Directive

Jonathan Verstegen, along with his colleagues, seek to develop a consistent, repeatable model for sales development for leading B2B and enterprise search marketing agency, Directive, headquartered out of Irvine, CA. Jonathan is motivated by competition and the never-ending pursuit of personal development.

Garrett Mehrguth, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1046: You Need to Worry More About Your Champion Than Your Decision Maker

Garrett Mehrguth, Donald Kelly, The Sales EvangelistSometimes sales professionals get it backward, and they fail to understand the need to worry more about your champion than your decision maker.

Today Garrett Mehrguth talks to us about the importance of your champion in your sales deals, and why we shouldn’t lose sight of his importance.

Sometimes there’s great value in changing the defaults we learn as salespeople. We tend to become so obsessed with the decision makers that we overlook the champions, who are arguably the most important person in the whole scenario.

How decisions are made

Salespeople sometimes focus so greatly on getting a close that we neglect the fundamental truths involved in selling. In fact, we alienate people and we become our own worst enemy.

It isn’t price; it’s me. Most often, we are the reason that deals don’t close. It’s a direct result of who we speak to, who we don’t speak to, the way we end a conversation, the way we treat people, how well we prepare.

We must have transparency and honesty to admit that often we’re the reason we don’t close a deal.

Salespeople are quick to take credit for successes and slow to take responsibility for failures. #SalesTruth

Garrett believes that if we would build our resources and our marketing toward decision makers, we would drastically improve our conversion rates.

How deals emerge

Once a decision-maker recognizes he has a need, he might send a subordinate to a conference to talk to vendors. He might instruct the person to get three quotes and then bring his two favorites to the decision-maker. Once that’s done, the two will make a decision together.

He might suggest filling out 10 forms on the way to finding three good options. The pair will whittle those to two good options before making a decision.

The problem is that if you speak over the champion or speak through the champion or speak around the champion, you alienate your greatest ally.

Why you need the champion

The champion is your greatest asset while you’re not in the room, so if you alienate that person, you’re losing an important ally. You alienate the person who could potentially go to bat for you once you hang up the phone.

Good decision-makers make decisions by asking the champion whether or not he could work with that agency. So who truly puts their butt on the line?

It isn’t the decision-maker, because he has a fall guy.

The champion is the one who needs the information, the emotional support, and the resources to make a good decision. If you honor the champion with amazing intro calls, lots of sales resources, and well-prepared meetings, you give him the ammo to pitch you internally.

Why the decision-maker shouldn’t be your focus

In five years of working with marketing teams, Garrett has never heard anyone mention targeting the champion. Instead, we treat decision-makers as though they have some kind of supernatural power.

The decision-maker is never the point of contact. If he isn’t the point of contact, and he isn’t the one who will be working with the agency you choose, he isn’t the one to target.

Remember that everyone is selling to the decision-maker, including the champion. The decision-maker’s job is to discern the best fit for his champion. So even if he likes a certain agency better, if that agency can’t work with his champion, it won’t matter.

Deal retention is far more important than closing deals. Even if you manage to close a deal, if you don’t treat the champion well, you won’t renew it. You won’t get referrals from it.

In Garrett’s mind, there isn’t a single aspect of the process where the decision-maker is more important than the champion.

Avoiding absolutes

He acknowledges, too, that absolutes are dangerous. It’s certainly not true that the decision-maker should never, ever be considered.

Instead, let’s work to change the fundamental hypothesis that we as marketers and sales reps enter relationships with.

If we spend more time building rapport with the point of contact, you will drastically improve your close rate because you are building confidence and comfort with the most important voice in the room.

You need a champion who will give you a voice during moments when you aren’t in the room because that’s often when deals are decided. You won’t close $150,000 contracts while you’re in the room. It happens behind closed doors, and you won’t likely be there when it does.

Shifting focus to champions

Give your champions resources to bolster their confidence. Make that your primary goal.

Your champion is likely scared to death of going to his boss with a recommendation. His discernment and character will be judged by the referral he makes. Anytime you give a referral to someone, your own judgment is on the line.

Challenge things that other people won’t do. Put your neck on the line by offering evidence and claims that protect the champion when he goes to his boss. You take the risk so your champion doesn’t have to.

It will give him the confidence to recommend your agency and it will differentiate you from the competition.

In order to be successful, do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.

Building confidence

Garrett’s company operates on annual contracts, and they give the point of contact room to act if he doesn’t feel completely comfortable in the relationship. By backing up their claims, it gives the champion room to cover himself if he makes a bad choice in hiring them.

If you create alignment with the champion, you’ll create alignment with the decision-maker. At the end of the day, the decision-makers just have to make more money than you’re charging them.

The champion has to have a day-to-day relationship with you. You can’t neglect that relationship.

It’s why you must develop resources that speak directly to your champion.

Even when it’s time to renew, the champion will get to decide whether to continue working with your agency. Regardless of the data, if the relationship isn’t there, the deal won’t renew.

Change your perspective to focus on champions, and your volume will drastically improve. There are far more champions looking for vendors than there are decision-makers.

You’ll also increase your deal retention and reduce churn.

Change your prospecting and marketing to focus on the champions, you’ll increase your at-bats and your close rate.

“You Need to Worry More About Your Champion Than Your Decision Maker” episode resources

You can connect with Garrett on LinkedIn @garrettmehrguth, email him at gmehrguth@directiveconsulting.com, or connect with him on Twitter @gmehrguth.

This episode is brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

This episode is also brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Andrei Mincov, Great Sales Leader, Donald Kelly

TSE 1044: Sales From The Street: “Being A Great Leader”

Andrei Mincov, Great Sales Leader, Donald KellyIt’s impossible to overstate the importance of being a great leader when you’re working to build a team or an organization into something that will change the world and make things better for people.

Today’s guest Andrei Mincov founded Trademark Factory in 2013 to help entrepreneurs secure the legacy of their brands and preserve their hard work.

Teams

As you grow your team, as you grow your business, as you grow your dream, as you grow your vision, there comes a time when the leader can’t come up with all the ideas.

In order for the organization to grow, leaders need team members who help generate ideas and who provide initiative to improve things.

You’ll likely have some team members who simply have marching orders or tasks. Others will be responsible to help you move the organization forward.

Those team members will have to have vision. They’ll operate from your inspiration.

Hiring

Finding those visionary team members is different than hiring task-based team members.

Andrei uses small, unique tasks to help make hiring decisions simpler. He might, for example, offer a jpeg with a typo or error in it and ask prospective employees to find the error. The intention would be to measure the candidate’s attention to detail.

He might also ask the candidate to build a video or a graphics project.

This process helps him narrow the field because not every candidate is willing to jump through the required hoops to get the job. It also helps him determine who actually has the necessary skill set to accomplish the work.

Without poring over countless resumes and applications he can narrow the field to the best candidates.

If candidates aren’t excited enough in the beginning to show you what they can do for you, how excited will they be after they are hired?

Growth

Leaders must have a compelling vision in order to grow a company. They should also likely have a track record of successfully accomplishing goals.

Conveying thoughts and messages won’t be enough to lead well. Leadership demands action and results.

People will follow leaders who have vision and a successful track record. The better your business and the better your track record, the more likely you are to attract great people to surround you.

Andrei shared that animals in the zoo don’t care about ticket sales. They care about food and comfort and safety.

Your team members are similar in that they care about basic things like provision and comfort. While you probably want them to have full ownership in your business, they likely never will.

Your role is to provide enough vision for them to recognize that aligning themselves with your goal will benefit them personally.

Building

Smaller companies often fail to see that they are capable of building something that matters. They may have a really cool team or a really cool business and they assume it’s a fluke. They don’t take themselves seriously enough to worry about protecting their businesses.

What steps would you take to protect yourself and your business if you knew that you would definitely succeed?

This issue boils down to leadership, because if you don’t have a vision of growing your company into something substantial, you’ll miss an opportunity.

Great leaders like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos know that they are building something that can change the world. They are building something that will help a bunch of people do a bunch of great stuff.

When you have a vision toward the path to greatness, people will follow you. Do something that people will remember years from now.

“Being A Great Leader” episode resources

You can connect with Andrei and his team trademarkfactory.com. If you have a brand you’re interested in protecting, you can schedule a free call with the team to determine the next steps in your process.

This episode is brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

This episode is also brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Rob Kall, Cein, Quality of Sales Leads

TSE 1043: 5 Ways to Measure the Quality of your Leads, Pipeline, and Sales Talent

Rob Kall, Cein, Quality of Sales LeadsWhen you’re scaling an organization, it’s important that you’re able to measure the quality of your leads, pipeline, and sales talent. It important for business owners as well as sales reps, because simply adding people to the organization won’t necessarily result in more sales.

Today Rob Kall talks about the numbers that we might not be measuring and the importance of that data in helping your organization grow and improve.

Although they aren’t commonly measured, these data are the true drivers of your organization’s success.

Soft things

Many sales leaders believe that the solution to any sales struggle is to throw more bodies at it. Though that option may work sometimes, it comes at a cost.

Eventually, you’ll find that you aren’t getting that much more out of the machine despite the added personnel.

In response to that problem, Rob and his company spent a lot of time looking at how you can move to tangible measurements instead of making decisions based upon gut feelings.

They have identified 5 metrics to improve your company’s performance.

1. Lead quality

Leads are not created equal. If I have 1,000 leads and a 2 percent conversion to close, that’s a super easy way to measure.

But if I get a referral from my rich uncle, that’s probably a much easier sale than calling someone who has never heard of my business or product.

We fail to pay attention to these factors, but they are important. Unfortunately, they can also be difficult to determine.

Begin by creating a baseline.

If you find that of 1,000 leads you generated in the last period, you were able to generate 20 sales, you can measure a 2 percent conversion.

You can also evaluate your leads by industry and location.

Once you understand those conversions, you can identify the leads that are not likely to close and stop wasting your time on them.

2. Prospecting effectiveness

Prospecting results in a lot of “no” responses.

The only thing that really matters is engagement. As a rep, you must get a certain amount of engagement every day.

Some people do it with sheer numbers. Others send fewer contacts but they personalize the ones they do send.

Whichever approach you use, make notes every single time an activity results in something. When you do, you’ll begin to recognize patterns.

Your numbers might look great, but if the outcomes aren’t there, those numbers don’t mean as much.

3. True pipeline

Rob points to a concept he calls a critical deal.

Some companies do pipeline reviews on a weekly basis but others do it on a daily basis. It’s a chance to see how well deals are progressing.

Consider the following three factors:

  • Is it a big deal that matters? If it’s a $500 deal when typically your deals average $10,000, you probably shouldn’t even look at it. Is the significance there?
  • Is it a deal that is unlikely to close? Consider the probability.
  • Has something happened that would make you think it’s less likely to close? If you’ve had no communication with the customer or other indications that the deal may stall, consider those.

If these three factors aren’t there, you probably should focus on other deals. Move the critical deals forward and think about your deals in a structured way.

4. Product knowledge

On the rep side of the issue, reps must have product and industry knowledge. When you’re just starting out, you won’t have as much knowledge as those who have been there for years.

How well does this rep know the industry and the product? How does he compare to other reps?

Those with the best product knowledge won’t necessarily be the best performers. You can’t possibly know every single factor of the industry.

You simply must know enough to be credible. Those who haven’t reached that minimum threshold will struggle until they do.

Consider also closing ability or the ability to look at the last part of the deal.

When you get to the last stage of a deal, what happens? How often do you win? You’ll see patterns if you track this rate.

Does one rep have more of a killer instinct?

5. Engagement ability

If you are able to generate a lot of engagement, you’re probably a good communicator. You’re probably good at providing valuable information to the prospect.

Instead of measuring how the prospect responds to it, measure how much engagement the rep is able to generate.

Technology

The reality is that your sales team probably includes a few people who don’t have the right product knowledge and a few people that don’t have valuable leads.

You may have a few areas where your marketing team is spinning its wheels.

When you start addressing some of these shortcomings, you start to see amazing results.

By fixing the one thing that’s screwing you up, you unlock the potential for your sales organization.

Team mood

As a sales leader, you probably have a gut feeling about your team’s morale. You know whether they are optimistic or not.

When negativity is present, it will affect your team’s ability to sell. It will also affect your retention and your on-boarding.

Though no product is perfect, there are frequently just one or two things that are causing grief.

  • How do they feel about the materials they have?
  • How do they feel about coaching?
  • What kind of competitive pressures are they feeling?

You’ll likely identify multiple areas of improvement that will help your team perform better.

Limiting factors

Many limiting factors don’t simply add up. They multiply.

If you can improve it a little bit, even if you can’t perfect it, you’ll get results from that thing. If the rep doesn’t know the product, train him. If the team doesn’t feel good about the commission plan, explain it.

If your product isn’t ready for market, figure out what you can do to improve it.

“Measure the Quality of your Leads, Pipeline and Sales Talent” episode resources

Connect with Rob at cien.ai. It’s a reference to doing things 100 times. You can also connect with him personally on LinkedIn @RobertKall.

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share with your friends!

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Donald Kelly, Sales Leaders, Small Business

TSE 1042: 3 Mistakes Small Company Sales Leaders Make

Donald Kelly, Sales Leaders, Small BusinessVery often, sales reps find themselves frustrated and hemmed in by the mistakes small company sales leaders make.

I had a conversation last week with a sales rep who was frustrated because his company had no real plan or guidance for how it would achieve the owner’s vision. The owner expected Herculean efforts by the rep, but eventually the rep stopped performing and left the company to escape the pressure.

In many cases, unless the owner corrects the mistakes, the cycle starts all over again when a new rep joins the team.

Honeymoon

Many of us in small organizations understand the excitement of entering a new role only to discover that the reality was different than the idea you bought into. The sales rep I mentioned was never good enough to accomplish what the boss was hoping for, because there was no plan in place to help him succeed.

Because the rep wasn’t as successful as the boss expected, he was moved into a different role. The rep continued in a sales support role, but his demeanor changed. His excitement disappeared. He wasn’t giving as much of himself to the company because he was discouraged by all that had happened.

Eventually he left the role and moved into a much better position.

Missing plan

Entrepreneurs certainly have the freedom to set their own vision for their companies. It’s their responsibility to establish where the organization will go, but they must also determine how it will get there.

Imagine an owner who sets a goal to make $1 million. He wants the best sales reps to come into his organization and help him carry out that plan.

He hires a successful sales rep from another company where there is already a proven sales process and proven guidance to help him succeed. The owner expects the sales rep to execute at the new company the same way he did at the previous one, except there’s no structure in place.

If the rep didn’t take the sales job expecting to have to reinvent the wheel, he’ll likely be frustrated by the lack of any kind of process. If he’s a new seller, he may not have the resources or the experience to help build a sales process from nothing.

As a result, he’ll be frustrated and burned out quickly because he doesn’t have the necessary tools to be successful.

Without a change in the owner’s approach, every sales rep who walks into this same situation will likely end up leaving.

Mistake 1: Failing to find the best customer

If you don’t identify the best potential customer for your business, the sales rep will constantly have to switch gears in an effort to pursue different prospects. He’ll struggle to gain traction because he’ll be chasing too many possibilities.

He likely won’t have any idea what works and what doesn’t, because he’ll be spread too thin.

Have a clear definition of the customers you’ll pursue, and how you’ll connect with them. If you haven’t already determined who your ideal customers are, give your sales reps additional time to figure out which customers are worth pursuing.

Mistake 2: Failing to understand basic metrics

If you aren’t tracking certain metrics within your company, you’ll have no way to determine which efforts are working and which ones are not.

Begin by determining which KPIs you’ll use to evaluate the effectiveness of your sales reps.

  • How many deals they close?
  • The number of appointments they set?
  • How many demonstrations they schedule?
  • How many contacts they locate?

I recommend you focus on outcome-based KPIs. It’s ok to track the day-to-day activities that produce important outcomes like demonstrations scheduled or deals closed, but I wouldn’t judge your employees on those metrics.

Avoid measuring vanity numbers like the number of calls made and instead evaluate meaningful numbers like the number of appointments that resulted from those calls.

Determine what kind of realistic result your rep should be accomplishing. Should he be closing $6,000 worth of deals each month? Once you know that, you can help your reps ramp up.

Mistake 3: Failing to guide your team

Once your team has an understanding of the ideal customers and how to find them, you must give your team a clear expectation of what to say.

Prepare your team for the questions they must be prepared to answer and the objections they’ll likely hear. Develop resources like downloads or podcasts or articles that will help your sales reps educate themselves. Accumulate resources that your reps can share with your prospects.

If you don’t help your sales reps succeed, they will move on to another company. Then, you’ll find yourself in the same mess again.

Don’t make these same mistakes. Develop a plan to help your team succeed.

Check out the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for help building a successful team and an effective process.

“Mistakes Small Company Sales Leaders Make” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

This episode is also brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Andrea Waltz, Donald Kelly, Go For No, Failure

TSE 1041: Just Go For No!

Andrea Waltz, Donald Kelly, Go For No, FailureSalespeople don’t like to hear the word “no” but Andrea Waltz is going to help you change the way you look at that response so that you’ll find yourself trying to go for no.

Andrea and her husband struck out on their own about 19 years ago. They did sales workshops and trainings for big companies, and they found that their rejection piece was the thing everyone loved.

This was a problem and a solution that affected everyone no matter what business they were in.

In this replay of a 2017 episode of The Sales Evangelist, Andrea offers the following advice to those dealing with rejection.

It’s not about you.

Although it’s true that the rejection isn’t personal, it’s hard to avoid internalizing that rejection. It’s normal to respond emotionally when someone tells you no.

If, however, you allow rejection to take control of your sales process, you end up with mediocre results because you’re little more than an order-taker.

Go for the no.

Eventually you’re going to have a conversation with someone, so rejection is always a possibility.

Andrea’s husband had an experience once selling menswear, and his manager asked him what the customer said no to. Her husband pointed out that the customer bought everything he recommended and didn’t say no to anything.

The manager then asked, “Well then how did you know he was done?”

As sellers, we tend to sell to our own wallets, but if we could get comfortable being told no, it’s possible that we’d be even more successful.

We must get used to hearing “no.”

Help struggling sellers.

“No” doesn’t mean never; it means not yet.

“No” is the beginning of a negotiation. If you call on someone who is happy with the current supplier, that won’t necessarily be true forever.

You must stay in touch and follow up even when people tell you “no.”

Encourage your sellers to continue the follow up. It’s easy to lose track if you don’t use your CRM.

There’s also an interesting phenomenon around getting a “yes.” Everyone celebrates that “yes.” Contrast that with the person who makes 20 phone calls and gets nothing but “no.”

Consider that a lot of those “no” answers can turn into “yes.”

Track your “no” answers. Set a “no” goal.

If you get permission to follow up, you absolutely must do it.

Manage “no.”

Sellers must learn to distinguish the different kinds of “no” answer. When you avoid hearing “no” you don’t get good at handling rejection emotionally.

When you get used to hearing “no” you learn to distinguish the “no” answers that could potentially turn into a “yes.”

Get permission to follow up with that qualified prospect. At worst, ask if you can check back in a few months to see if anything has changed.

You can also try to figure out what the “no” is by figuring out how you got to “no.”

You have nothing to lose at this point, so try to figure out why it wasn’t a good fit. Figure out why people are saying “no” and figure out how you can mitigate that in the future.

Talk to the right people.

If you’re getting a large number of “no” answers, determine whether you’re talking to the right people. Consider that maybe you aren’t contacting qualified leads.

Maybe your presentation needs a few tweaks.

If you’re only being proactive, you’re only dealing with the “yes” answers.

People usually have to be contacted multiple times before they say “yes.” They are often hesitant to change, so if you’re changing a service but the prospect doesn’t want to make a change, that’s why multiple contacts are necessary.

Add value. Get them accustomed to the idea.

Change your mindset.

Understand that you don’t just have to focus on “yes.” That mindset shift forces you to let go of being perfect.

People have been conditioned to believe that “no” and failure go together.

When you avoid “no,” you miss opportunities for some big “yes” answers. We want to give people permission to believe that it’s ok to get a “no.”

Create a “no” awareness.

“Just Go For No!” episode resources

Learn more about these concepts by visiting GoForNo.com. You can also grab a copy of their book Go For No!: Yes Is the Destination, No Is How You Get There.

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

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