Category Archives for Discovery Meeting

Donald Kelly, Sales Coaching, Sales Training

TSE 1080: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Discovery Meetings”

Donald Kelly, Sales Coaching, Sales Training

Building value is a critical part of any sales process, and the discovery meeting is an important step in that process.

How much should you prepare for the discovery meeting beforehand? What should you know? What should you do?

The insights I’ll share come from the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, designed to help sales reps perform to the best of their ability, find more ideal customers, build strong value, and close more deals.

What is discovery?

The discovery meeting is an opportunity to learn about the challenge your prospect is facing. It’s a chance to go a little more in-depth.

It’s not necessarily a chance to get all the information about the company or about its history. That’s boring for the client who doesn’t want to have to educate you. The client is likely meeting with other sellers and they aren’t interested in working to educate all of them.

Do your research beforehand so your discovery meeting can focus solely on understanding the prospect’s true problem and understanding how you can bring value and help them learn more about what you have to offer.

Research

You can easily find information about the company and its history on the Internet or the company’s website. If you show up to discovery seeking this kind of information the prospects will likely think less of you.

I’ve said it before, but you also have the option to call into the company and ask the receptionist for more information. The organization may be able to share an information page or other company literature. The PR department may be able to provide the information you’re seeking as well.

This information is vital to the discovery meeting because it will help you have a meaningful discussion when you meet with the prospect.

Understand the industry

Make sure you also understand recent developments related to the industry and the company’s role within the industry.

If the company is in the housing industry and I discover that the housing industry is booming in states like Arizona, California, and Florida, then that will impact my presentation.

If I’m selling marketing services to companies in the housing market it will be important to know that the market is growing. I’ll also need to know the top challenges that companies within the housing market are facing.

Then, determine how those trends will correlate to your product or service.

Case studies

If you have a previous or existing client that is similar to your prospect, consider sharing that information. Has one of your clients faced the challenges of growing in a high-growth market? Have you helped a client tackle some of the issues inherent in that situation?

Is there a business case study I can share that helps my prospects understand the challenge they are facing?

I did an episode some time back about case studies and the folks over at Gong outlined four main steps that should exist within every business case study.

  1. Identify the problem. What is preventing the client from growing? What challenges are hindering the company from accomplishing its goals?
  2. Develop a measurement. How can you measure the challenges the company is facing? How can you quantify the issue the company is facing?
  3. Determine the consequences of the company losing those deals or opportunities. Did they have to let people go or close their doors? Make a dramatic point without going over-the-top.
  4. What transformation did your product or service cause in this company?

Prepare questions

What things did the company try previously that didn’t work?

The more questions you ask the more you’ll learn about them. Go deep. Ask them to tell you more.

You may discover that they are currently working with a company that isn’t providing the kind of results they need. Why don’t they like the current company? Incorporate those facts into your own presentation so you can address their challenges.

Find out who will be making the decision and how they will decide. Find out what their budget will be and when they are hoping to make the change.

Is there an unconsidered need they aren’t aware of?

TSE Certified Sales Training Program

This stuff works. We teach it in TSE Certified Sales Training Program and we’re seeing fantastic results.

If you or your team want to check out the program, we’ll let you try the first module risk-free. If you love it, we’d love to have you join the TSE Certified Sales Training Program to improve your selling skills.

I share this because I want to help you find more ideal customers, have more meaningful conversations, build stronger value, close more deals, and I want to challenge you each and every day to do big things.

“Discovery Meetings” episode resources

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

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.

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Ned Leutz, Zoominfo, Sales Script

TSE 1073: Throw Away Your Sales Script And Do More Creative, Engaging Selling

Ned Leutz, Zoominfo, Sales ScriptSales scripts put sellers inside a box and lock them into selling a certain way, but when you throw away your sales script and do more creative, engaging selling, you’ll increase your conversion.

Ned Leutz runs two teams for ZoomInfo, a business data and technology company that helps salespeople get in touch faster and drive more meetings and more sales. He’ll talk today about throwing away the script in your sales efforts to increase your flexibility and your success.

Fast answers

People are accustomed to getting fast answers without ever having to engage with a person. By the time the prospect makes contact, the salesperson with a script may prove to be less flexible than the Internet. When that’s the case, there’s really no need for a salesperson.

Ned believes that giving a salesperson a script is the “kiss of death” and that scripts don’t drive conversion or sales.

Salespeople who are limited by scripts will often fail to connect with the prospect’s problem. If the goal is to find mutual challenges that you can solve together, the script will be extremely inefficient.

Instead of operating from a script, Ned suggests providing a map to sales reps. He believes in setting an agenda with the main goal of finding a point of mutual connection.

Solving problems

Ned’s team starts with the question, “Why did you decide to take my call?” He says that most people don’t take a call with a salesperson unless they have a suspicion that the salesperson can solve a need.

About 90 percent of the time, the prospect faces a challenge that he needs help with. The other 10 percent might be a case of someone taking your call because you’re just a nice person. In those cases, you’ll have to work to qualify the prospect before moving forward.

The question seeks to discover what caught the prospect’s attention and prompted him to accept the phone call. It eliminates half of the guessing.

Start with the end

Begin from a point of mutual agreement. Either there’s a problem that you can solve or there isn’t. Once you’ve set that agenda, you’ve established an expectation for the conversation. You’ve earned the right to discover whether or not there’s a problem you can solve.

You can ask the key questions of your customer to identify the challenge.

The alternative is to play a sales version of whack-a-mole in which you’re constantly asking, “Is this it?” “Is this it?” You’ll bore the client who will much prefer to research on his own since he’ll likely perceive that you aren’t listening or guiding him.

Nobody is taking your B2B sales call without looking at your website first and deciding whether there is something there that catches their attention. You can assume that the prospect has done some research before accepting your call.

Cold calling

Ned wants sellers to throw away the script in cold calling because there’s enough information readily available to sellers that they should have a pretty good story for why they are calling each prospect. When you call a prospect, it’s a suspicion rather than a script. you’ve got a reason for calling.

Your customer will have the sense that he isn’t just a number on the list.

Ned points out that data companies can’t fix a broken sales process or a bad product. A data company can give your sellers the information they need at their fingertips to have a 90% story as to why they might be able to help a particular company.

Verifiable outcomes

Ned asks his managers to focus on verifiable outcomes. They’ll know that a rep had a really good discovery call if they understand that the client feels some sort of pain, they understand that the client is in a current state that he’d like to get out of, and he can answer the question, “What would you be able to do tomorrow that you can’t do today if you could solve this problem?”

One of the worst sales questions we ask is, “If you solved this problem, how much money would you make?” Most people have no idea.

Instead, ask, “If you solve this problem, how would you quantify the impact of that on your organization? Who else would be affected?”

It’s not important that the prospect be able to quantify it immediately. It’s important that the prospect understand the impact your solution will make.

That thinking will help them decide whether it’s worth making an investment.

Business case

Ned believes that if you can get cooperative collaboration on building a business case, you know that you have a good chance of closing the deal. He points to ineffective activity as the reason many sales teams struggle.

Scripts often result in ineffective cold calling, and data can hurt as well. If you spend your day calling switchboard numbers all day but you can’t get a single gate-keeper on the phone, you’ll have a hard time moving forward.

Ned’s company engages in proof of concept in which they inject direct phone numbers into an organization’s system and then ask the reps to engage in the same activity they always do. They know the conversations will convert at a much higher rate simply because they’re going to talk to more people live.

They’ll set up an experiment in which sellers make 10,000 phone calls across an SDR group without data and then 10,000 with the data and then evaluate the number of live connections and ultimately the number of meetings.

The outcome typically results in 10 more meetings a week, which is 520 more meetings a year.

Empower prospects

Help your prospects arrive at conclusions on their own. Rather than give them answers, allow them to discover the answers themselves.

“It sounds like you see value in this. Your team doesn’t have the right data and we can provide them the right data. If you had to build a business case, where would you start?”

About 90 percent of the time the customer will say, “That’s a great question. How do your customers usually start?”

At that moment, you’ve earned permission to share. You’ll earn your customers’ trust very quickly this way.

Framework

Scripts won’t get you where you need to be. Instead, give your team a framework under which they work to identify the client’s business case and then evaluate whether the expectations are reasonable.

If a customer expects to close 20 deals with a product that isn’t transactional and has a long sales process, that isn’t a very reasonable expectation. The sales rep must negotiate that expectation to something more reasonable.

It’s tempting to rely on scripts, especially when things aren’t going well. It’s also tempting to wrestle control away from your reps.

Instead, invest your energy into building a map and providing constant reminders around asking good questions.

You will close deals with a script, but you’ll close them at a lower dollar amount at a much slower frequency.

Instead of measuring the number of calls you made, measure the number of outcomes. If your number of calls falls, but the number of meetings increases, forget about the number of calls.

“Throw away your sales script” episode resources

You can connect with Ned Leutz on LinkedIn or email him at Ned.Leutz@zoominfo.com.

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.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

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.

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.

Problem Finding, Discovery Meeting, Donald Kelly

TSE 632: Stop Selling and Start Finding Problems

Problem Finding, Discovery Meeting, Donald KellyStill focused on trying to get a sale? Perhaps it’s about time to change that mindset and instead direct your attention to solving your customer’s problems. Today’s episode will help you do that.

As Jeffrey Gitomer says,

“People love to buy, but they hate to be sold.”

I know we’ve been put into so many situations where we’re required to sell. Of course, that’s your goal. But how you get to that goal is not by pushing yourself. Rather, look more into identifying problems and solving them.

Be a Problem-Solver!

Regardless of what you’re selling, the client usually comes to you because they want to ask for something. But as sellers we quickly conclude with the exact problem our product or solution can solve. That’s because we’re focused on making a sale,

Identify Challenges, Provide Solutions!

Dig deeper and find out what they’re going to be using a product or solution for. Identify other solutions than what is written on black and white for your eyes. Doing this builds credibility.

“Credibility is built very strongly when you have nothing to gain but something to lose.”

If a buyer sees that, your credibility goes out of the roof. An order-taker is not going to be as credible as somebody who is a solution-provider.

Find Problems!

The next time you go into that discovery meeting or just an initial conversation with your prospect, look for ways that you can be credible as well as ways to identify problems. Sniff them out. Find them. This shows your expertise and it makes you stand out in the eyes of your prospect from your competitors.

Here are some calls-to-action for you:

  1. Write down a way you can apply this principle in your sales process.
  2. Listen to the Sales from the Street episode on Wednesday, TSE 634, and see how I applied something similar to this and how it helped me close a deal that almost over 130% from the previous agreement.

Episode Resources:

The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

 

Closing Deal, Building Value, Mark Cox, Donald Kelly

TSE 566: Why You Will Probably Lose Your Next Big Deal (And How To Avoid It)”

Closing Deal, Building Value, Mark Cox, Donald KellyNo one in the right mind would like to lose a sales opportunity. My guest today, Mark Cox, is going to teach you specifically why you will probably lose your next big deal and how you can avoid that. The goal is to take a pause to get some quiet time and think about the strategy for moving that deal from left to right.

Mark Cox is a Managing Partner at In The Funnel Sales Consulting. He is a sales coach and a sales consultant working with a lot of small and mid-sized businesses to help them improve their sales. 

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Mark:

6 Reasons You Might Lose Your Next Deal

  1. You don’t have a compelling problem you’re solving for the customer.

You don’t tie to their desired business outcome. People love their technology so much that they’re presentations are so focused on what the technology does without really communicating well what problem your technology is going to solve for the customer.

Everything a business owner does rolls ups to one of these three things:

  • Increased revenue
  • Reduced expense
  • Reduced risks

Therefore, you want to be clear that your solution is going to help them get to one of those three desired business outcomes. Make sure everybody in your team is very clear on what problem do you solve for the customer. Being able to articulate the value proposition is the responsibility of sales leadership and management.

  1. There is no compelling event forcing you to make a change.

No decision is actually the reason most deals don’t get done and that means the customer simply does nothing. Hence, there has to be a compelling event to have a greater likelihood that a decision is going to be made. Work with the customer to figure out if there’s something compelling them to make a decision. If there isn’t, oftentimes it gets a little bit too easy to delay.

How do you create a compelling event?

Tie in your solution to return of investment or help them run their business better and drive revenue instead of inducing the customer to make the decision. If you think that the customer didn’t get it, it’s because you weren’t able to communicate it well.

  1. You don’t know the real economic buyer.

You’re dealing with someone but you’re not actually engaging the person who makes that real decision face-to-face.

Companies make decisions by a group in a company. But at the end of the day, there is somebody with more influence than the next person and with more ownership of the decision and usually the person who owns the budget. This is the economic buyer.

If you’re not able to influence this person directly and engage that person, one of the other people we’re working with is going to sell our solution on our behalf and they’re not as good as we are.

Engage the folks you know and get their coaching on how to progress forward to get in front of the economic buyer. Then you have to add value when you interact with that senior level person and you have to engage them.

 

  1. You don’t have somebody on the deal team on their side who’s a champion for you.

You will realize that you’ve won most of the deals over time because somebody on the customer side was really rooting for you and you know that because they told you. The champion within an account tells you they want you to win.

When you’ve earned the right to this kind of conversation, ask them if it’s the right thing for their company to move forward with your solution. If yes, great. If no, ask why and talk through it so you have a deeper understanding of the barrier to getting the deal done. Again, you have to be able to articulate and tie in your solution to their desired business outcome.

  1. They don’t actually understand that the process by which the prospect/company they’re working with actually makes a decision to buy their product or service.

The more you understand about how they go through the process on their side, the better off they’re going to be in terms of being able to support them as they go through their decision process.

Keep in mind that your customers go through their decision and buying process and not through your sales process. You need to understand what that is so you can navigate it properly.

Once you’ve done some digging into their challenges, their business and industry, where they’re at, and their options to accomplish this goal, ask your customer what their process is for assessing the options available to them. And if they don’t have a process, this would encourage them to develop a process.

The more you know what process the company has, the better positioned you’re going to be in navigating it.

  1. They don’t understand the criteria by which they make that decision.

Another way of saying this is asking what’s important to them. Use open-ended questions and nice, casual language to get somebody talking. Then ask them to expound on that. Usually, they’re not thinking about it and it just dawns on them when they hear it come out of their own mouth. So you need to use your ears and mouth in proportion. Listen for more than you talk and that will differentiate you from company coming right in behind,

Mark’s Major Takeaway:

Plan for your next sales calls longer than you travel to it. There’s a little too much adrenalin in sales these days and not enough quiet, thoughtful planning. So think about what you want to do in that next sales meeting and you will have a better outcome.

Episode Resources:

Visit Mark’s site on www.ITFAcademy.com/TSE and fill out their qualification checklist to find out whether you will win your next big deal.

Join our Facebook group, The Sales Evangelizers

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

Help us spread the word out by leaving us a rating or review on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play or whatever platform you’re using.

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Tim Sanders, Donald Kelly, Dealstorming, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

TSE 558: Dealstorming: The Secret Weapon That Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges

Tim Sanders, Donald Kelly, Dealstorming, The Sales Evangelist PodcastAt various points in our sales cycle, we could encounter really tough challenges to the point that we feel stuck or the deal is stuck. And more often than not, we resort to giving up. But how do you get yourself out of the rabbit hole?

Today’s guest is Tim Sanders and he’s going to share with us some insights gleaned from his new book, Dealstorming: The Secret Weapon That Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges so the next time you get yourself stuck in a deal, you’d know how to storm through your way out and get that deal that you want!

Tim has been selling since high school which led him to build a skill set in creating value and urgency, limited to direct selling opportunities. But eventually, as the sales world evolved, the way things are being done also had to change. Tim worked for Mark Cuban in the early part of his career and he’s also sharing with us the lessons he got from that experience.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Tim:

His experience working for Mark Cuban:

  • They were selling video and audio streaming for businesses.
  • From smaller deals, they pursued 7-figure opportunities, being aware that the bigger it gets, the harder it is.
  • When you become ambitious, you’re going to get stuck because the sale is not about one thing but a bunch of problems. And when you get stuck, don’t go down alone.
  • Grab somebody who cares about you winning. Create a team and make it reign.
  • Make unlikely alliances (with the engineering group or finance, customer support, etc) and make complexity a competitive advantage.

This resulted to Mark landing some very complicated, high-value deals like the Victoria Secret Fashion Show in 1998 which broke the Internet. Then he worked at Yahoo! as a Chief Solutions Officer looking at the biggest deals after the dot-com crash.

And this was the time he refined the dealstorming approach. Since he left Yahoo!, Tim has written a bunch of books and has worked with a lot of startups and entrepreneurs, teaching them that no matter how small you are, you can build a team and help them think about their challenges and making that leap, bringing out teamwork in groups operating in silos.

The Great Lie of Small to Big

There is this lie we tell ourselves in sales that you just need to close this sale, only $500 and then we’re going to scale that $500 deal to be $5 million over the course of four years. This never happens.

The reality is when you go in small, you have no barriers to entry. Understand that when you book a small deal, it stays a small deal. If you’re going to focus on that, then you need to add a zero to the number of deals you’re going to book this year for you to scale your own personal production. If you go small, you have to be a very high-velocity salesperson in the kind of market where you can do a one or two-call close.

The difference between B2B and B2C: The number of addressable decision-makers.

B2C has a smaller number of decision-makers that are highly addressable. You have a chance to make your case for change and for you being the one to every one of the decision-makers in almost every B2C marketing/sales situation. There are usually 1-2 decision-makers or even 3 if there is an influence.

B2B has around 6 decision-makers for every quality sales. And research suggests this is going up 20% a year and most of them are not addressable. Most of the time, you get access to one or two decision-maker/influencers and then they have to sell to the other six. You can’t round them up and sell them all. That is the biggest collaboration challenge we face as sellers. At the end of the day, you’ve got to teach your mobilizers inside your accounts to sell the others and do it quickly since time is not on your side.

Unteaching People and Storytelling

Customers do their own research and oftentimes, the research contradicts everything you say. In B2B is usually 2/3 through their decision-making process before you actually get in front of them. So our challenge is to learn how to respectfully unteach people that have incorrect insights they’re about to make a decision based on.

Here is where the power of storytelling comes in. You have to develop stories and illustrations demonstrating the urgency to change and why you’re the only choice to make. You have to move beyond just trying to sell price or features, facts, and figures. This is why you need to collaborate with other people when you get stuck.

Collaboration and Diversity

Diversify the way you think about solving the problem. You have to have 2-4 perspectives in a room to have a creative group. Sales have a way of seeing the world and so does customer service, marketing, engineering, and suppliers. SO when you best practices become obsolete, diversity solves that.

Whatever it is you’re trying to do, when you get stuck, grab somebody that has a different way of seeing the world, a different set of constraints and a different set of greatest hits and they will complete your weaknesses.

“Products and companies do not become obsolete but the constraints by which we live by, they become obsolete. The best practices by which we live by, they become obsolete. And that’s why it’s important to have diversity.”

Questions to Ask When Building Your Team:

  1. Who has a stake in the outcome or the sales process?

Who really cares if we win or lose? Who really cares about the promises we make? These are the ones who care about being in your team. They are your tacklers.

  1. Who’s an expert about my problem?

That is your skill player or two.

Other keys to great team-building:

  • Create relationships across the company.
  • Discover other people’s concerns about sales.
  • When you get stuck, find the root cause of the problem.

“Great salespeople of today are not problem-solvers, but problem-finders. They know the reason their deal is really stuck.”

Tim’s Major Takeaway:

Get up every morning and live every day to build value. What Tim learned from Mark is that if you feed your mind, you can trust your gut in the moment. Read books. Get up every day and build your personal value that you can give away to your customers.

This is the only way you can become an essential partner in their life. Being a good option is a bad strategy in our world today. Be a voracious reader. Be a student of the game because that’s the only thing that’s going to make you truly different than anybody else your customer takes a meeting with this week.

Episode Resources:

Visit and www.timsanders.com/salesevan and get access to a chapter from his book. The chapter is called Sales Genius is a Team Sport.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

Slip Miller, Donald Kelly, M3 Learning, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 539: Sales From The Street: “This Is How You Discover!”

Slip Miller, Donald Kelly, M3 Learning, The Sales EvangelistBuilding value is one of the most essential tasks we have as sellers. In order to do that, you have to make sure the discovery part of your sales meeting is done perfectly. Today’s guest is William “Skip” Miller and he shares with us great tips and strategies you can use during the discovery phase of prospecting.

Skip is the CEO of M3 Learning, a proactive sales management and sales training company that helps companies make their salespeople and sales managers better, qualify and disqualify better, and listen to customers better early on in the sales process.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Skip:

Lesson from Skip’s coolest sales experience when he was the customer:

During discovery phase, stop talking about what you’re selling and focus on the buyer.

What is Discovery in Sales?

Discovery is active listening. It is really understanding, from a mutual standpoint, what is it that the customer wants and here is what you have to offer and how that is going to fit the organization. And finally, realize if there’s a reason for both parties to continue the process.

The buyer/seller process is a mutual process. We talk about what the customers look for and what we do. Then if we agree, let’s take it to the next step.

Why is Discovery Important?

During discovery phase, you’re trying to find how much energy is really behind it. Sales is like a roller coaster. Be able to build up enough energy early in the part of the deal. Find the motivation why they’re calling or taking our calls or answering our emails. If there is a high degree of energy, the deal is going to come to a yes or no.

The “Cause ” Strategy

“Cause” is a nasty word to ask because when you use this word, you will find out somebody’s motivation. So start modifying that word in your early sales pitch and you will find out how much energy this deal has got.

Steps:

  1. Incorporate the word “cause” to your questions.

Examples:

  • What has happened in the last few months that caused you to say now’s the time?
  • As you look in the next couple of months, what’s causing you to say you’ve got to change…?
  1. Shut up and listen because buyers want to be heard.

The Biggest Mistakes During Discovery Phase

  1. Failure to ask good questions to get the buyer to start talking
  2. Failure to ask “cause”
  3. Putting some non-qualified deals in your funnel

Most of Skip’s clients have 80-90% forecast accuracy in Stages 4 and 5 because they’ve done good stuff in Stage 2.

The Quantified Cause

Get QC or Quantified Cause because most senior level executives talk numbers all day long. Find the QC and you get a great discovery call because you’ve understood what’s behind the buyer and by how much. Get numbers early in the sales process otherwise you’d be excited doing presentations and then all of a sudden what’s “super” in Stage 2 just turns “okay” in Stage 4.

Quantifying makes the buyer think and it gives you an idea of how much energy there is for this.

Get QC by ranging it.

Example:

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being great and 1 being near “we’re closing the doors”), how would you rank it now…

Questions During the Discovery Meeting:

Stage 2 has two value flags which you need to capture:

  1. Below the line

This is where you ask the feeds and speeds because if they want A and B and you sell D and C then there’s no use of you talking. Ask the feeds and speeds to make sure there’s a competitive fit.

  • Why did you call us?
  • What are you looking for?
  • Did you want the latest model or the older model?
  1. Above the line

This is where you find out energy and cause. Ask cause.

 

  • You’re telling me you’re losing 20% of your revenue for the next six months, you can see this could potentially make a dent in it…

Skip’s Major Takeaway:

Discovery is about asking, not telling. It’s about showing and giving. Ask great questions. Prepare your questions upfront. Know your audience. Prepare below and above the line questions otherwise you’re going to start telling and talking and showing and that’s not discovery. Ask and really care about this profession in sales. Listen. Really care and ask.

Episode Resources:

Know more about Skip on www.SellingAdvantage.net/tse and check out their special offer.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

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What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

Ben Brown, The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly

TSE 344: Sales From The Street-“Ask Questions”

Ben Brown, The Sales Evangelist, Donald KellyToday, we’re going to talk about the power of qualifying, which means asking questions and asking the right questions so you become more efficient and you save much wasted time out of failing to ask. I’m bringing in Benjamin Brown on the show. Benjamin is the owner and CEO of 360 Sales Consulting where they teach small businesses and entrepreneurs how to create and generate more funds by selling more effectively. He is a coach, a keynote speaker, and author of the book Master the Art of Closing the Sale.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Ben:

Ben’s biggest sales struggles:

  • Lots of wasted time
  • Being more efficient
  • Being able to put a process in place

What Ben did to overcome his struggles:

  1. Qualify.

Many people do not ask enough questions. But you have to drill the questions.

  1. Practice.

Sales is a skill and any skill needs to be practiced. Practice not just by reading it but practicing it with someone else like a co-worker or a boss or a spouse or record yourself on your phone. Don’t practice on your customers.

  1. Make sure you pitch to a decision-maker.

Make sure the person you’re pitching to is a decision-maker. Do not assume.  Have a checklist as you’re doing it.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Ben through his website www.360salesconsulting.com or send him an email at ben@360salesconsuilting.com or @team360sales on Twitter and Instagram.

Check out Ben’s book Mastering the Art of Closing the Sale

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Donald C. Kelly

Mike Mason, Prospecting, Salesperson with Prospect, The Sales Evangelist Podcast, Smart Pro Podcast

TSE 331: How To Discover The Core Challenges When Meeting with Prospects

Mike Mason, Prospecting, Salesperson with Prospect, The Sales Evangelist Podcast, Smart Pro PodcastOftentimes, it can be quite difficult to discover the core challenges of prospects because these could be covered by superficial reasons that the real problem remains unknown to you. Failing to unearth their core challenges would mean failing to build trust with your customers and this equates to poor closes and poor sales.

So how do you really dig deeper into your prospects’ core challenges?

I’m bringing in Michael Mason on the show today to talk about this. Michael is an inside sales trainer for Avaya, a company that specializes in business communication solutions to help businesses better communicate both internally and with their customers. Michael specifically focuses on sales training, product training, and systems training. Michael is also the host of Smart Sales Pro Podcast where he talks and educates people about sales, specifically giving them tools, resources, and access to relevant information to help them become elite sales professionals.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Michael:

Reasons many sellers find it difficult to get access to the prospect’s core challenge:

  • Being handed a canned script and being told to just read it and stick to it than being taught how to think for themselves, think like a customer does, and focus on identifying the wants, goals, and pains by asking meaningful discovery questions.
  • Asking meaningful, powerful, intentional questions is becoming a lost art
  • No trust established between the seller and the customer thus creating tension and anxiety

How to think like a customer:

  1. Gather information about your customer.

Go to their website or check out their social media to gather intelligence on your potential customer before you give them a call to give you a glimpse of what they’re thinking.

  1. Find commonalities and verticals in industries and businesses that are dealing with the same types of problems.

Tell them stories. Take into consideration the service or solution you provide and look for a place where you can apply that product, service, or solution where those common challenges are.

  1. Speak the language of your audience.

This will open up more doors of opportunity and conversations.

Types of questions sellers should be asking to get prospects to open up even better:

Situational questions – fact finding questions

Problem questions – challenges, problems, and difficulties they’re currently facing in their business

Implication questions – what’s the impact or outcome if they don’t make any changes to those issues

Needs payoff questions – getting them to tell you what the benefits are of making these changes

Some insights into closing a sale:

  • It’s easy when you don’t skip steps in the beginning.
  • Question asking is the key core component to a successful transaction
  • Have a thorough analysis of your customer’s needs and uncover a problem or challenge before going in for the closing

More strategies to help you in your sales process:

  • Listen to more sales podcasts to keep sales top of mind and to keep it fresh
  • Invest in yourself through reading, studying, going to seminars, etc.
  • It’s going to take time to transition from your old habits to adjust but stick to it with consistency and persistence to see huge changes in your success.

Michael’s Major Takeaway:

Learn more. Earn more. Become an expert. Always be learning. Always be looking for an advantage. Never give up. Continue to work on you attempts to becoming an elite sales professional. You will become an expert the more you continue to learn.

Episode Resources:

Smart Sales Pro Podcast

Connect with Michael on www.smartsalespro.net or on Facebook and Twitter @smartsalespro

Neil Rackham’s book SPIN Selling

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Donald C. Kelly

Vidal Cisneros Jr, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Coaching

TSE 294: Sales From The Street-“Be of Service”

Vidal Cisneros Jr, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Coaching Breaking down the barriers between you and your clients is a tough challenge you need to overcome because that’s how you get some deals to be closed.

Today’s guest on Sales from the Street is Vidal Cisneros, speaker, author, and purpose-igniting coach. He is the man behind the Thriving Beyond Podcast. Vidal is also part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul and doing things for large publications.

Listen as he talks about his challenges and strategies he used to overcome those challenges and see results.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Vidal:

Vidal’s biggest challenges he has faced:

  • Not coming off as salesy or pitchy
  • Dealing with clients with mindset issues

Strategies he used to overcome this challenge:

  1. Serving versus selling
  • Playing more of the “serving” role where he serves, ignites, and lights people up
  • Following up and connecting with them on a different level
  • Building things organically and one-on-one
  • If you can’t help them because their needs are not within your wheelhouse, you still connect them with other people.
  1. Setting expectations
  • What can you do and where can you take them to get to the next level that’s within your framework.
  • Seeing yourself not as a salesperson but fulfilling your purpose
  1. Letting them see you’re a real person too.
  • Share what you also went through. Share your story and connect with your client. Find where your stories bridge to build rapport and connection.
  1. Closing the deal immediately while the barriers are down
  • Not using the word “money” but putting “skin in the game” to get results
  • Closing immediately on the call once the barriers have been broken
  • Identifying their timeline and building that scarcity

Vidal’s Major Takeaway:

Just work on letting people up. Inspire them and that’s where you understand what works best for you. Tell them what the dream looks like and how far you’ve come to compel them to decide and ignite their path.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Vidal on www.vidalcisnerosjr.com or Thriving Beyond Podcast.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Donald C. Kelly

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Sales From The Street, Best Sales Podcast

TSE 284: Sales From The Street- “Be Flexible and Nimble”

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Sales From The Street, Best Sales Podcast

One of the key traits of a successful salesperson is being flexible, which means you’re able to pivot as needed to suit your customer’s needs… not yours.

This means being able to read your prospects and be willing to change under whatever circumstance. Flexible individuals are the ones who excel most at selling.

Here’s a concrete example:

I sat down with one of these organizations that recruit students. So I figured I’d reach out to them and connect with them until I realized during the process that they weren’t necessarily interested in getting sales training for their admissions staff. Instead, they’re more concerned about keeping the one they already have.

A lot of schools out there have a populace of first generation college students, and they tend to have more challenges when getting started.

So first off, the pain point of this particular organization was not getting more people.. but keeping the ones they already have.

Now being a 1st generation college student myself, I had a first-hand experience of seeing how it’s possible to be in this place where I’m at now with The Sales Evangelist brand. So these students can definitely do it as well.

As a result, I came in to help them with retention, give motivational speeches and eventually worked something out to help all of their campuses in helping students stay in school and overcome their many challenges.

Got the gist of the story here?

You have to be nimble. You have to be quick. Nimble and quick enough to identify and understand your customer’s true pain point. Understand your client’s pain first. Listen to them. Then articulate your message appropriately towards their need.

As a result, a second opportunity opened up to me because I was flexible enough to go according to what the customer needed.

Again, listen to your prospect.

Listen to what is going on. Ask to know more and get deeper to uncover the true pain. It’s like Toyota’s “5 Why’s” where you get down to the fifth “why” in order to find the true issue. Listen to be able to get to the core challenge they have.

Episode Resources:

Listen to TSE 282 where I talked about the Dream 100, having 100 ideal customers you can focus on as well as campaigns and strategies.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

Join Today!

The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Donald C. Kelly

 

Tim Riesterer, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Sales Podcast

TSE 234: The Three Value Conversations

Tim Riesterer, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Sales PodcastToday I have the opportunity of interviewing Tim Riesterer, one of the authors of  “The Three Value Conversations: How to Create, Elevate, and Capture Customer Value at Every Stage of the Long-Lead Sale“. Tim is the Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of Corporate Visions. Tim has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and sales. He was a co-founder of Customer Message Management.

He has also worked with LLC, where he was the CEO until it was acquired by Corporate Visions in 2008. Before CMM Group, Tim was CMO and VP of Strategic Services for Ventaso. Tim is also an author and has co-authored serval books. He brings a lot of great insights to a sales conversation and during this episode, he offers some great thoughts relative to his book.

Here are some of the takeaways:

“Value is created when a salesperson’s lips move.” – @TRiesterer  

Salespeople are still needed when a solution is complex and difficult to make a decision on. As a sales professional, it’s your responsibility to educate people and offer value to the prospect.

Most salespeople get stuck creating enough pipeline. They also get stuck at the proposal stages because they don’t establish enough value. Another place is getting caught up on margins and prices.

How to create enough pipeline:

  1. Your biggest enemy is status quo. Help your prospects recognize they need a change before you can get them to buy.
  2. Learn people’s situation.
  3. Help your customers create a buying vision
    • Why should I change?
    • Why should I do it now?
    • Why should I do it with you?
  4. Help the customer understand why they need to change NOW!
  5. Customers may think they are different, but many of them are the same. Sometimes you try to reinvent the wheel as a seller, but in actuality, you can lead with the same story.
  6. Known problems won’t kill people, it’s the unknown problems that you need to point out. When you can do this, you become unique.

Whiteboard vs. PowerPoint

People will follow the visual whiteboard stick figure story more than the clicker with a PowerPoint. This makes you have more credibility.

Learn How Your Prospects Make Money!

  • 80% of business deals need to be signed off by a CFO. However, only 10% of most opportunities have a CFO as a contact. Learn to speak the language of your CFO prospects. Become versed in their story.
  • If you can’t have a big boardroom conversation, you will get delegated to lower level folks.
  • Executive buyers value people who can bring value to a conversation above someone who has good relationships.

Pivotal Agreements

  • When the customers ask for something, have something for them to do in exchange.
  • If the prospect asks for pricing, references, pilot programs, etc. it doesn’t necessarily mean the deal is moving forward.

Major Takeaway:

Great conversations can purposely move people. It is way more science than we think.

Stay in Touch with Tim:

  1. Corporate Vision’s Website http://corporatevisions.com/
  2. Tim’s on Twitter @TRiesterer

Join Today!

The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Donald C. Kelly