Christine Schlonski works with entrepreneurs who have a negative view of sales. She helps them redefine their view of it so they can sell with ease, grace, and confidence and also ask their price. In short, she helps them makes sales, which is simply an interaction between people, fun.
Christine points to the depiction of sales in movies, coupled with bad sales experiences that we’ve all had. Subconsciously, we don’t want to be like these people. Women especially struggle to ask for what they truly want because it feels salesy or pushy. They often assume because they’re good people that buyers will line up to buy.
It’s possible to ask for the sale in a natural way but movies never depict sellers in a positive light. It’s likely that a movie about a seller who sells from the heart and brings value would be boring. But sales truly could be like that.
Set the expectation and then make the offer. Then consider what’s a go and what’s a no-go. How can we work together?
Sales in the U.S. move quickly, while people in Europe like time. Realize, too, that Europe isn’t a single country, and sales differ across those countries. In France, for example, sales involves numerous decision-makers, and French people love meetings. Where Americans look to make things happen, you cannot simply show up with an offer and a take-it-or-leave-it attitude.
Germans exist between those two extremes because they want to be a bit more efficient. Still, though, they cannot be pushed or pressured into decisions.
Relationships are still the key to all sales. The decision-maker needs to feel comfortable in the relationship and feel as though he is making a good decision.
Typically, larger companies have more complicated decision-making processes. They often have male leaders and sometimes one of them will block the process because of politics or a need to be right.
Selling in Europe will never be a one-call close.
Christine had experiences in the past where her work with a global company selling high-ticket events over the phone was negatively affected by her American colleagues who were perceived as being pushy. The prospects assumed that her sales process would operate the same way, so they weren’t interested.
For companies who operate in different countries, training sellers to understand the cultural differences can present a challenge. Begin with the simple understanding that no two people are alike. Even without the cultural differences, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution because we’re all human with unique preferences.
Consider yourself as an example. How would you want to be treated during a call? What’s important to you?
Then, be open to cultural differences and be aware of misunderstandings, but understand that it isn’t a case of the prospect not liking you.
In Christine’s case, she learned to operate as though any “no” in the process was always her fault because she hadn’t managed some part of the process correctly.
She understands, too, that if she calls into the U.S. she needs to operate with the correct urgency because it’s what they expect.
Sellers in the U.S. are pretty good with small talk, but in the U.K., for example, talk about the weather can be important. Some people perceive that as a waste of time, but you must adjust to the person you’re speaking to.
Adjusting the conversation to your audience doesn’t demand that you be fake. Pick something that’s meaningful to you that will bring the other person into the conversation as well.
Suspend your own thinking toward the customers’ needs. Accommodate them.
In the U.S., for example, people don’t give a true answer to the question, “How are you?” Instead, they’ll say, “I’m fine.” In other countries, they’ll be more likely to answer honestly.
Approach with the desire to serve their needs.
In my own negotiations with a prospect for TSE Certified Sales Training Course, I discovered during the negotiation process that many buyers from eastern Europe want to ensure that they are getting the best deal. A friend who is also from eastern Europe told me that they’ll often expect to be able to negotiate down a bit. So even if you have a fair price, they may expect you to adjust it.
In this case, I made the adjustment because it was a win-win opportunity.
Depending on the products you sell, the price level, and who your negotiating partners are, maybe you set something in place that you can add to the program rather than adjusting your price down. Add value without dropping the price. It gives them a feeling of a win.
Businesses are always trying to get the best deal, regardless of culture.
Be true to yourself and be authentic. If you have a great product, begin with a connection. Small talk can feel superficial, so you must communicate that you’re not only interested in a sale.
You can connect with Christine at her podcast, Heart Sells, where she interviews successful entrepreneurs who have overcome sales challenges and who operate from the heart. She seeks to showcase that sales can be fun and that anyone can learn sales. You can also find her at christineschlonski.com.
If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register!
You can also connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or try our first module of TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free. This episode has been made possible with the help of TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. We want you guys to go out each and every single day to find more ideal customers and do big things.
I hope you like and learned many things from this episode. If you did, please review us and give us a five-star rating on Apple podcast or in any platform you’re using – Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also share this with your friends and colleagues.
Establish relationships with prospects so they don’t feel as though they are simply being sold to. Instead, offer them an invitation to buy. #RelationshipSelling
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For many sales professionals, learning to sell to the C-suite is intimidating.
Steve Bistritz has spent the last 17 years focused on selling to executives, and he says there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. He shares his experiences today on The Sales Evangelist.
Steve is co-author of the book Selling to the C-Suite: What Every Executive Wants You To Know About Successfully Selling to the Top. The book is a culmination of research done with C-level executives about how to sell in today’s environment.
Most sales professionals go straight for the sale when selling to executives instead of listening first to understand the company’s needs and requirements.
The C-level exec has a company-wide view of what’s going on. They’re judging your expenditure against many others looking for the best value for the money they’re spending. They’re looking for the best ROI, so you have to present a solution that delivers value.
At any level, no matter what you’re selling, you have to make sure you’re delivering value to them. You have to understand their needs, requirements, and business objectives; you have to understand what motivates them.
In the newest edition of the book, Steve devotes an entire chapter to finding the relevant executive for your opportunity.
The relevant executive is the one who stands to gain or lose the most as a result of the application or project associated with your opportunity. You must view your opportunity from that executive’s perspective.
During our research, executives said they want to meet with sales professionals who listen before proposing a solution.
During interviews with executives, Steve discovered that the best way to access C-level executives is through lower-level executives or managers who have credibility with them. Additionally, gatekeepers such as administrative assistants or executive assistants can help you gain access.
The gatekeepers understand what the executives are focused on, and they can help you access them if you treat the gatekeepers well.
From the moment you get out of your car for a meeting, treat everyone you know with deference and respect. You don’t know who you might speak to in an elevator or cafeteria that might have access to your executive.
Gain every possible advantage you can prior to your meeting. Visit LinkedIn to figure out who your prospects are connected to. Learn who their competitors are and look for companies the executive has worked for in the past.
It’s possible that you have other connections that can provide insight into this executive or this company.
Have an idea of what you want to say and how you want to say it. Scripts help when executives ask questions that sometimes take you off topic.
Don’t rely on cold-calling. Try different approaches to connect with the execs you’re trying to reach. In some cases, the C-Suite execs may not be the right person. Analyze your situation to make sure you’re pursuing the right person.
Steve’s book, Selling to the C-Suite: What Every Executive Wants You To Know About Successfully Selling to the Top is different from other books because it is developed from an executive’s perspective. It gives sellers a chance to learn what executives are thinking as they negotiate trying to sell to them.
Check out Steve’s LinkedIn page to get an idea of how you can use your own profile to reflect who you are and the value you can deliver to executives.
Additionally, you can connect with Steve at SellXL.com to get more information about gaining the competitive edge when selling to executives.
The first time I sold to a C-level executive, I was completely subservient. I was nervous and practically begging for the sale. I wish I’d had the book Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen from our sponsors at Wiley. It would have helped me lead instead of selling to my customers.
I’m so convinced of its message that I’m offering a free excerpt of the book so you can check it out. It would have helped me be more successful in my interactions with C-Level execs.
Check out the Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and selling your brand using video. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy. Video Jungle helps you determine what’s going on in the world of video so you can apply it to your own process.
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You have a story to tell: a history of your sales performance and your successes; a list of solutions you’ve provided to your customers; the lessons you’ve learned over the course of your career. You may not realize it, but you can use data to tell your story.
Today on Sales From The Street, we talk with Clarence Butts about the role data can play in your sales process.
One of Clarence’s biggest challenges in 25 years of sales has been locating the people who can make decisions and finding the project managers he can establish relationships with.
Somewhere along the way, he discovered that putting the information he had into a map helped him have a visual representation of where those opportunities were. It helped him determine where to invest his time, his energy, and his effort.
He discovered that once you know where they are, you can concentrate your time and effort into building relationships and developing contacts.
In his current territory, for example, he knows who the project managers are, and they know him. So even if they move from one project to another, they understand what he has to offer. They maintain relationships with him even as they transition to other projects.
Lots of companies will give you time at the front end of a new role to establish relationships and build networks. After that, you’re on your own.
That kind of pressure motivates some people, and frustrates others.
For Clarence, his initial motivation comes stems from the things he hopes to do with his family. He enjoys the fruits of being able to travel with his family. That motivates him to get out of bed every day.
His other motivation is chasing his competitors.
Finally, when he is able to enjoy the fruit of his work, that energizes him to keep working.
As different locations scramble to attract Amazon’s next headquarters, many of them have used data to sell their regions. They use Story Maps, statistics, and other data to convince Amazon to choose their city.
Digital Territory wants to make the same capability available to the average salesperson. They’re seeking to bring the cost of the technology within reach of the individual sales rep so he can use data as part of his sales process.
There’s a reason I continue suggesting the book, Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happenfrom our sponsors at Wiley. It’s a fantastic blueprint of all the things buyers say they expect from sellers and want from sellers.
I’m so convinced of its message that I’m offering a free excerpt of the book so you can check it out.
Emailme for more information about our newly launched Sales Podcast Network, designed to provide specialized sales content for sellers of all levels and all industries. You can also email us about our new business development services.
You can also join our Facebook group, The Sales Evangelizers to connect with sales professionals from all walks of life.
Audio provided by Free SFX.
You need someone on the inside of the prospective organization who can help you gain influence; someone who understands your goals and believes in your cause.
Not everyone qualifies as a champion.
If your connection won’t benefit from whatever it is that you’re selling, she might not be the right person. Worse yet, if your product could potentially put her out of a job, she’s probably not the right person to champion your cause.
Pursuing the wrong champion will derail your deal.
There’s a story of warring factions who were fighting for control of a city. The bad guys took the city, and the good guys were trapped outside trying to find a way in.
They found defectors inside the city who were sympathetic to their cause and provided wine to get them drunk. Once the defectors were drunk, the good guys snuck over the wall, gave weapons to the sympathizers, and reclaimed the city.
Your sales champion must know the ropes inside the organization. He must also have the tools required to influence the decision-makers.
You must sell your champion on your product so he can sell it to the organization. Equip him with enough information to coordinate a presentation, but don’t rely on him to close the deal.
Arm him with enough benefits to convince the team that they should hear from you.
Don’t focus on your own benefits. Figure out how your product or service will benefit your champion.
Does it save his department time or money? If so, the company can reallocate those resources elsewhere, which will help him impress his superiors.
The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League is an online coaching program that brings together sellers of all levels. Our next semester begins this month, and we’ll be discussing how to build strong value to increase your close rates.
We still have a few seats left and we’d be honored if you’d join us.
Audio in this episode was provided by Free SFX.
I’m a huge, HUGE fan of following a process or system. And even making a sales proposal has its own process too! I will let our guest in today’s episode, Jason Swenk, explain that to you more. When it comes to making proposals, Jason is the man!
Jason Swenk helps digital agency owners scale and get to the next level. He helps people get to wherever they’re trying to go… QUICKER!
Jason can help you learn how to convert 80% of your B2B proposals while spending less time with it (in fact, less than 15 minutes on each proposal). You simply have to walk through the process.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Jason:
How to successfully convert your proposal in B2B sales:
Get it in the right order and do it in the right way.
Yep! You get them to sign the proposal when you REVIEW it with them. Qualify them first.
Your proposal protects you later on. Make sure they understand everything. That’s what the proposal is for.
Steps in Qualifying:
Does their need match up to what you can deliver to them? Can you deliver it?
Be the reverse auctioneer and a budget buster. Ask for their budget (start with higher to lower range).
Make sure you talk to the decision maker. Ask.
Make sure the timing is right.
Getting to the Proposal: The 3 I’s
What’s their biggest issue? This allows you to understand what to focus on.
What’s the impact on their business?
How important is it to them? This is where your follow-up strategy comes in.
Strategies for Closing:
How to Quickly Build a Proposal:
Strategies for Making Your Executive Summary in the Proposal:
Jason’s Major Takeaway:
“Don’t send the proposal.”
Check out Jason’s website www.jasonswenk.com
Get Jason’s proposal template www.jasonswenk.com/proposal-template
Dive deeper into Jason’s proposal process and go to www.jasonswenk.com/proposal