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Sellers, Sales Coach, Donald C. Kelly

TSE 1162: How to Effectively Coach Struggling Sellers

Sellers, Sales Coach, Donald C. Kelly

Sales leaders must help their teams perform at peak levels, so they must start by understanding how to effectively coach struggling sellers

I’ve seen this kind of coaching done badly in the past, and I’ve walked my own team members through these struggles. I’ve developed tips of my own and I’ve learned from Mike Weinberg’s book Sales Management Simplified

Questions to ask

All sales reps and sales leaders endure dark moments where nothing seems to work out. Despite the fact that we’ve been selling for years, we endure periods where we simply can’t close. Very often, when that happens, there are several key things we must address.

These situations don’t develop overnight, and they usually result from slippage in certain areas. Begin by answering the following questions as honestly as you can. You’ll never find improvement if you’re dishonest about your situation. 

  • Does the struggling seller have a desire to succeed and thrive in sales? If he doesn’t have the drive to succeed, no amount of training or coaching will help.
  • Why is this particular seller on my sales team? Did you inherit this seller? Did you hire him?
  • How did the seller get into this situation? What signs did you see along the way? 
  • What has been done to fix the problem? What steps has the seller taken? What steps have you taken?

One-on-one meetings

If you aren’t already holding them, schedule one-on-one meetings with your sellers. I’m a big believer in this method because these leadership meetings offer opportunities to connect with our team members. 

One-on-one meetings with sellers provide time to fine-tune and fix micro-problems before they become huge cracks that jeopardize the stability of our organizations. #SalesCoaching

These can be monthly, or weekly, but quarterly isn’t frequent enough.  

As you work with a struggling rep, you can determine the things that stopped happening. Did he stop planning his prospecting? Is he failing to manage his time? Does he fail to establish a plan for his activities?

If you aren’t engaging in one-on-one coaching, you won’t know what’s happening with your team. When you recognize the problems, you can implement solutions and guide your team members to the right solutions. 

These meetings should be knee-to-knee, eye-to-eye if possible. 

Conducting one-on-one meetings communicates to your reps that you care about their success. When you take time out of your schedule to share suggestions and guidance with your team members, it’s meaningful to your team. 

If something is important to your sales reps, it must be important to you. One-on-one meetings help you determine what’s important to your team members. 

If the rep is really struggling, you can increase the frequency of your coaching sessions. 

Changing mindset

When I was a sales rep selling software, I changed my mindset so that I considered myself the entrepreneur over my territory. Mike Weinberg suggests that you do the same by establishing a business plan for your territory or area.

Whether you’re a BDR or an inside sales rep, begin by determining a goal for yourself. For struggling sales reps, help them to create their own goals and then to establish a plan to follow. Including them in the plan gives them accountability. 

Begin with small goals over the next three months of the quarter. Consider what your financial goal will be. Then determine exactly how they’ll accomplish that. Identify the existing customers that you’ll engage.

Establish a time frame in which your rep will accomplish that goal. Remember to include consequences. Ask your reps what a fair turnaround would be. Then ask your reps what should happen if they don’t meet their stated goals.  

Very often your reps will establish tougher consequences for themselves than you might have set. 

Desire to improve

When you have a sales rep with an obvious desire to improve, bend over backward for that person. Move mountains for her. If she is taking advantage of coaching and she establishes an awesome business plan, reward her efforts. Find other resources that will help her succeed.

Get her books or send her links to relevant podcasts. Meet with her when you can, and email her when you can’t meet. Check in through the day and throughout the week. 

When your sales reps thrive, your business will improve and your company will grow. 

It’s far cheaper to help your sales reps improve than to begin the hiring process over again because you need successful sellers. #SalesTraining

On the other hand, if your sellers don’t have a strong desire to succeed, and they won’t dedicate the effort to improve, then it may be time to remove them from your team. 

In my own case, I had sales leaders who believed in me and who recognized my drive to improve. They coached me through my struggles and helped me get where I am today. 

Re-evaluate

Once you’ve worked through the plan over the course of 30-90 days, if your rep still isn’t improving, you must identify why. If you’ve done the one-on-one coaching and you’ve helped her create a sales plan, you may have to put her on probation. It can be an informal program, but you must establish a marker that she will hit within that probation period. 

Usually by this point, if the rep truly wants to succeed, she’ll show signs of improvement. Eventually, she’ll have to work on her own and prove that she can hit milestones without other people’s assistance. Without that ability, she’ll eventually have to move on. 

The Sales Evangelist Certified Sales Training Program helps sellers improve by identifying problems and developing solutions to address them. Many individual sellers choose our program for themselves because it’s worth the cost of the training to increase their success rate. 

“Effectively Coach Struggling Sellers” episode resources

Grab a copy of Mike Weinberg’s book Sales Management Simplified

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 donald@thesalesevangelist.com 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. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

TSE 1137: What Tool Should I Use For Video Conference Calls?

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The Sales Evangelist podcast features experts from all over the world, and Zoom helps us bridge the distance for video conference calls without added expense or travel. 

We use Zoom to power The Sales Evangelist Certified Sales Training, and it enables us to help sales reps and sales teams improve their skills, find the right customers, generate effective activities, establish successful strategies, build strong value, and close more deals.  

World travel

Zoom is a powerful video platform that makes it easy to communicate with people all over the world in a matter of minutes. It powers webinars, video conferencing, and video phone calls.

In the early days of The Sales Evangelist, we used Go To Meeting for our conferencing and demonstration needs. It was the Kleenex of the industry. 

Skype was available but it was mostly used for personal needs, like friends and family members looking to stay connected. Eventually, it was bought by Microsoft, and we tried using Skype Business for our podcast interviews. Though the audio quality was ok, the service frequently dropped calls. Additionally, because there was no way to record, I had to incorporate a third-party app to save our interviews. 

User-friendly

Around this time, a guest came on the show and shared his experience using Zoom. His company did all of its recording with Zoom and they liked that it integrated with a lot of other tools the company was already using. I was skeptical, but when I started my research, I discovered that a lot of other industry folks were using it as well. 

The audio quality was great and it didn’t generate a lot of background transformer-type noise. Other tools like Google Hangouts and join.me emerged, but they were clunky and complicated for the customer who was logging in. 

Selling points

Perhaps most importantly, Zoom was free to use. It didn’t have the same capabilities as the robust premium account, but I could log in and talk to someone for 45 minutes, or invite up to 100 different people to join me on a call. Eventually, I discovered I wanted access to the premium tools, and it was easy for me to transition to a paid account, as well as being cost-effective for a small business. 

Zoom offered high-quality HD video recording that I could record to my cloud account or use on my YouTube or social media channels. I could also connect it to Dropbox. 

It integrated easily with Slack, which made it easy for me to communicate internally with my team. Zoom also integrated seamlessly with Salesforce, Google Drive, Gmail, and Blackboard. In some cases, the connection requires Zapier, and in others, the tools connect directly. 

Sharing information

Zoom offers powerful educational capabilities as well. If I’m giving a demonstration, I can use the tools to underline or highlight important things, which gives the buyer complete interaction. Screenshare is an option, of course, and you can even use your cell phone. Screen shares work either plugged in or via wifi and Bluetooth. 

People buy after they recognize value. Engage your prospects by teaching them something they didn’t know before. Zoom allows you to accomplish that despite the fact that they are sitting in China and you’re in Milwaukee. 

Powerhouse

Zoom is a powerhouse that beats the pants off the big-name providers in the industry. If you’re planning to renew your GoToMeeting account, check out Zoom first. I’m not getting any money from them for doing this. I simply use Zoom daily and it’s perfect for the work that I do. 

Zoom Rooms allow you to gather multiple people on a screen, and the company is hosting a conference called Zoomtopia this October. Zoom is pushing the boundaries of connecting people, and the company continues growing. 

Even for the technologically-challenged people in our lives, Zoom works well because it’s user-friendly. 

“Video Conference Calls” episode resources

Check out Zoom.us for more information about video conferencing for your organization. 

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there. I’m fairly easy to connect with. Just comment on something about my podcast. Send me an email.

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. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

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.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audio book, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

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. When you share your experiences with the show, others will read the reviews and give us a listen.

I truly appreciate you and appreciate your reviews and your subscription, and your willingness to tell your friends and anyone you know that’s in sales about the podcast.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

 

Donald Kelly, Presentation

TSE 1135: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Presenting In Person”

Donald Kelly, PresentationYour closing process will often require you to speak to a board or a group of people about your product or service, and you must provide value to your audience when presenting in person.

The Sales Evangelist Certified Sales Training Program provides specific sections for prospecting, building value, and converting to a paying client, and we’ve designed the training to help sellers prepare for presentations and to train their teams to do the same. It’s designed to help sales reps and sales teams improve their skills, find the right customers, adopt the right activities, ask the right questions, build strong value, and close more deals. 

Guessing game

Many situations demand that sellers meet with a team of individuals who will ask a variety of questions about the product or service. You’re wasting your time if you don’t understand the problems they need to solve or the challenges they are facing. It doesn’t make sense to play the guessing game during the limited time you have with this group of people. 

Once you understand the issue, you must also determine who the decision-makers and buyers are. You must understand the timeframe they are working against and their budget for the purchase. 

The company you’re pitching to will also bring in competitors who will pitch as well, but they aren’t your concern. 

Storytelling

John Livesay recently spoke about storytelling and the need to be memorable. It doesn’t matter who presents first or last, but rather who tells a better story. 

Consider having other team members attend the presentation with you and introduce themselves by telling an interesting story. Perhaps your CTO can share how his love of Legos® pushed him to create complex things and find solutions to problems. It inserts personality into the presentation. 

Tactical presentation

Make sure you know who will present information on the buyer’s behalf. Have someone from your organization research to determine who will attend.

If possible, learn what those people hope to discover from your presentation. Engage your champion, or the person you’ve been working with to this point, to find out whether you can introduce yourself prior to the presentation. When you do that, ask them what questions they’d like you to address in your presentation and then be prepared to address those specific topics. 

Once you understand who will attend and what information they’ll be seeking, you can build your presentation around those topics. 

Recruit help

If at all possible, take someone else to the presentation with you. Take several people if you can. Assemble a team of people from different departments. 

When you set up in the conference room, don’t divide yourself on opposite sides of the table. Use name cards for both groups to indicate where different people should sit. Also make sure you spell everyone’s names correctly. 

Intersperse the members of your group among the members of the company you’re pitching to. When you have breaks in the action, because the two teams are sitting together, they’ll be able to share conversation instead of squaring off like rival gangs. 

We recently used name cards for a presentation and they were a huge hit. The company was blown away by the preparation and the organization that went into the meeting. They assumed that if we were willing to invest that much preparation in a presentation like this, we’d certainly do it in our efforts to help them solve their problems. 

Control engagement

Develop slides that include imagery rather than a jumble of words. Tell a story about the problem your prospect is facing and how you can help solve it. Demonstrate your solution. 

Assign one member of your team to watch for reactions from the others in the room. Use him as a spotter. If he notices that someone is disengaged or fighting against sleep, he can signal that to you by interjecting or posing a question that will signal to you to adjust your direction. 

Have him watch for body language that indicates interest or to take note of those people who are jotting down things while you’re talking.

If, for example, the IT director takes lots of notes during the presentation, at the break I could suggest to the presenters that we talk a bit about IT and the most common questions we hear. 

Business case

Thank your champion in front of the entire group for making the presentation possible. Make her feel good in front of her colleagues. 

Then begin the work of building a business case for your prospect. Explain that you’ll answer the questions they submitted ahead of time and address the challenges you see based on the lessons you’ve learned. Describe how you’ve solved these problems for others and how you’ll translate that to this organization. 

Talk about how much the problem is likely costing the company and why they need to fix it. Explain how you’ll help, and do it all using stories. 

Virtual meetings

You can apply many of these same concepts to your virtual meetings as well. Although you can’t intersperse the participants, you can consider sending some treats that will arrive prior to the presentation. You can even send treats that somehow tie to the presentation you’ll be making, like Swedish Fish to make the case that you’re going to help them land bigger clients. 

Work to stand out from the pack by being unique and telling an amazing story. 

Action plan

When the meeting is complete, everyone in that room should leave feeling like they participated and like they were fulfilled by what happened. Then provide a specific action plan for what happens next. 

Present a few different options for ways to move forward. Give them time frames and explain the steps required to progress. 

I conduct presentations this way and they work well for me and for the people I’m presenting to. I want you to realize the same benefits in your own presentations.

“Presenting In Person” episode resources

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there. I’m fairly easy to connect with. Just comment on something about my podcast. Send me an email.

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. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

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.

As a savvy seller, you’ll want to continue learning, and you can take advantage of a free 30-day trial, complete with a free audio book, on Audible. They have thousands of books to choose from and you can begin your free trial today. 

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. When you share your experiences with the show, others will read the reviews and give us a listen.

I truly appreciate you and appreciate your reviews and your subscription, and your willingness to tell your friends and anyone you know that’s in sales about the podcast.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Asking, Closing, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

TSE 1122: Don’t Forget To Ask!

Asking, Closing, The Sales Evangelist PodcastSellers are programmed to take advantage of outreach to generate opportunities, but it’s important that we don’t forget to ask for the referral.

We understand the importance of cold calling and cold outreach, but that’s doing things the hard way. We do it over and over again without ever considering whether it’s the best way.

This is a reboot of an earlier episode of The Sales Evangelist, but it’s an evergreen topic. Asking for referrals always makes sense for motivated sales professionals.

Cold calling

I would never suggest you shouldn’t use cold outreach or cold calling to connect with your prospects. I do it myself and I’ve generated great opportunities that way. But it isn’t the only way to generate them.

Sometimes we forget to ask for referrals. So as a sales pro, how can you remember? What else can you do to remind yourself to take the easy route to generating business?

Put it on your calendar.

Create a habit

Create a weekly goal to generate three referrals per week. If your goal is to get three referrals per week, even closing one of those referrals will change your results. Once you institute the habit of generating referrals, you’ll establish a pattern of one deal per week that closes. And that’s if you’re not particularly good at it. If you’ve taken our TSE Certified Sales Training, you could possibly do even better.

You can build on that habit and that improvement. That will amount to more money for you and your organization.

If each of those deals amounts to $10,000, you’ll generate $40,000 a month. If you’re responsible for $80,000 a month, then half of your business will come from referrals. If you’re currently not generating any, that’s a pretty great increase.

Accountability

Salespeople don’t necessarily like accountability. Do it anyway. Tell a coworker or sales leader your goal. Join our Facebook group and tell someone your goal.

Accountability is important. When I worked as a sales rep, I shared my current projects with my sales manager. She saw that I was motivated and proactive and I eventually got better opportunities than other people on the team.

If you share your goal with your leader, he or she will certainly follow up to help you stay accountable. If you’re an entrepreneur working internally at an organization, you can benefit from the same kind of accountability.

Set calendar invites

Establish specific times in your schedule when you’ll pursue referrals. Just as you set time to prospect and pursue inbound leads, set time for referral prospecting. Set 30 minutes each day to reach out to your clients for referrals.

It’s such an easy task that most of us won’t do it. We’re programmed to do things the hard way; to pick up the phone and dial. These simple projects can gain us business, but referrals don’t always happen naturally.

You must ask for the referral.

“Don’t Forget to Ask” episode resources

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

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.

Tools for sellers

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.

 

Jason Linett, Sales Podcast, Sales Team

TSE 1081: Leave People Better Off Whether They Buy From You or Not

When you interact with your prospects, your goal should be to provide such great value that you leave people better off whether they buy from you or not.

We’ve been talking about value all month, and today hypnotist Jason Linett talks about how people can change their thinking to grow their business. Growth isn’t just about your platform but it’s largely about how you tell the story to your audience.

We often miss the power of a story and its impact on our potential customers.

Help prospects win

In almost every category, there are others out there who do the same work you do. Storytelling is the one thing that truly sets you apart from the competition so that you’re no longer just a commodity. Your customers can go find another business coach or web designer, and even another hypnotist.

Jason points out that he didn’t get married by approaching a pretty girl at school and announcing that they were going to have children together. Instead, they built a relationship through the natural progression that occurs when people get to know each other.

Look at the relationship building aspect of it. You know that you want to help people, so look for something that will help the customer. Find things you can set in motion that will help your prospects win.

Suddenly, there’s a collection of people out there who didn’t need your entire service but they are in the raving fan category. Some of those that you helped will move forward in the funnel in order to see how you can help them even more.

Ditching fear

Most people don’t seize this concept because they fear giving away too much. They believe that if they give away too much, people won’t buy from them.

Jason said that he has given away more than most people in his industry. He has also earned more than most of the people in his industry. He believes the two naturally go together.

Think of it as a difference of show versus tell. I can tell you what methods may be helpful and you can research them and dig into them in order to determine whether they might truly work, or I can get together with you and actually help you do it.

Many people want to try an at-home version before they commit to the live “being in the room” version.

Convince people to care

How do we get people to care before we ever really ask them to listen?

We need to think differently. It’s about listening to the audience and responding to their requests.

Jason calls hit pitch “The Hollywood Effect.” It’s based on the tendency of movies to launch you directly into some piece of the action, get you swept up into it, and then rewind to tell you the back-story.

He launches into a story about murder, and about a new mother who moved into a hotel after seeing a bug in her home. By the end of her first meeting with him, she killed a housefly with her bare hand.

Draw in the entire room. Get them to put down their food and listen to what you have to say.

Value-first mindset

Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. If everyone else is doing things one way, let that be your cue to do it differently.

As you decide how to move forward, pick the option you are most comfortable with. That’s your first entry point and you should flesh that out completely and make it exactly what you want it to be.

Once that piece has become a machine that’s running itself, you can branch off to some other thing.

Finding the time

Jason suggests that there’s no such thing as “finding the time.” It’s a game we invented to trick ourselves into not doing things we’re absolutely capable of. Instead, we should use the mechanism of making time.

Consider putting everything on a scheduling platform. Make use of color-coding. Choose one color for the events that cannot be changed.

The number one tip is to listen. So often we catch ourselves trying to mind-read our audience instead of starting with the ask and discovering the customer’s greatest need.

Sometimes what they want is different than what they need. You’re selling what they want, so you’ll deliver what they want, but along the way, you can overdeliver by providing what they need.

“Leave people better off whether they buy from you or not” episode resources

You can connect with Jason at jasonlinett.com or on social media as Jason Linett.

You can also grab a copy of his book, Work Smart Business: Lessons Learned From Hypnotizing 250,000 People and Building a Million-Dollar Brand. Head to worksmartbusiness.com for a freebie called the Positive Influence Power Pack that will teach you specific strategies to influence yourself and others.

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.

Talking About Price, Selling, Donald Kelly

TSE 1075: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “When Should I Talk About Price?”

Talking About Price, Selling, Donald Kelly

The trend in sales now is to provide value to your customers, but there must be some kind of exchange in the transaction, so you may find yourself asking, “When should I talk about price?”

How do you bring it up? What exactly will you say when it’s time to talk about it?

Today we’re going to share ideas that will help you provide tremendous value and ensure an effective, value-rich conversation for both parties.

This is a segment from our TSE Certified Sales Training Program and we’re going to share a snippet from one of our training programs and then offer some ideas based upon what you hear. It will let you learn something about selling and offer you an experiment that you can test for yourself.

You’ll hear the challenges that other sales reps are facing and share with you what has worked for the group members.

Taboo

We’ve been taught that it’s taboo to talk about money, so many of us shy away from it. New sellers face the biggest challenge, usually because of limiting beliefs.

In the past when I was selling software training classes, I didn’t understand that it was worth $10,000 for customers to earn their certification over a weekend. I didn’t think anyone would be willing to pay it.

I didn’t understand that for their $10,000 expenditure, they were going to see a $20,000 to $30,000 increase in their earnings over the course of a year.

All I knew was that $10,000 was a lot of money. My self-limiting beliefs made me apprehensive, and this is a common problem for new sellers.

You must believe in the product or service you’re offering and the value it provides to your prospects. When you do that, you’ll develop more confidence in your messages, and it won’t matter what the course costs.

Bring up the money

Once you’ve identified a product you believe in, when do you bring up the money? That depends largely on the product or service that you’re selling. If it’s software that costs $30 a month and they won’t commit, they probably weren’t the right fit anyway.

Let them go.

If you’re selling a software solution that you have to customize for the organization, you’re going to need more time. You’ll have to gather more information in order to give them effective pricing.

If the customer can see the prices on your website, they can weed themselves out at the beginning. People who really want to learn more and have more value-rich conversations will engage. In the later conversations, we can discuss what they’ll get for their investment.

Addressing price

We’ll tap into emotion by addressing how our product or service will help them.

  • What will happen if the client doesn’t get coaching?
  • Why do I need coaching right now?
  • What results will I see if I get coaching?

Because people make emotional decisions and then justify those decisions logically, if we build value well, the $1,500 price tag for coaching won’t seem like a big deal. The return on their investment, the ability to provide well for their family, and the possibility that they will advance in their careers will justify the cost.

In the case of a more complex solution, when the customer asks about price, be honest when you tell them that you can’t predict exact numbers right now. If you can’t yet determine all the variables and if you can’t determine the exact infrastructure, explain that to the customer.

Then invest the time to understand the setup and the infrastructure. Find out what challenges the prospect is facing.

Be intentional

It’s possible that the customer is simply fishing, or in other cases that he is simply looking for a ballpark figure. In the latter case, perhaps try giving him a range for other similar clients.

Don’t give the customer your lowest number if you provide a range. If the cheapest you’ve done is $5,000 and the most expensive is $20,000, don’t offer the $5,000 number. Go a little higher.

Instead, offer a higher number, like $8,000 or $10,000. Once they have a number in their minds, you’ll determine whether they are truly serious about moving forward.

Content

In this situation, effective blog posts that describe the return on investment will help your customers gather information. Especially if yours is a complex solution, you’ll help them understand the components involved and what they should be looking for in a vendor.

In the case of sales training, perhaps you’d have different blog posts that describe the different levels of training and the different types of service that you offer.

The prospect can determine what courses are available and what his options are for in-person training, group training, or workshops.

Consider, too, outlining entry-level solutions, mid-tier solutions, and a higher tier. Each solution, based upon the complexity, can solve specific problems.

Research

The prospect can do some research ahead of time and find answers to some of their basic questions. Because this will be an enterprise solution, he’ll have to come to the table prepared to invest money.

At this point, it’s appropriate to talk about budget because you don’t want to begin building presentations or demonstrations if the product or service isn’t a fit. Get an understanding of what kind of investment the prospect is looking to make.

Be up front. Acknowledge that you’d like to know as soon as possible if the prospect determines this isn’t a good fit. Promise to do the same for your prospect.

Ask if the company has already earmarked a budget for this project. Find out if they are planning the project for this year.

Pain

Once you’ve discovered the pain, use that to see if you can move them toward the project right now. Anticipate that they may not be able to do the whole thing right now, but they might do half this quarter and half the next quarter.

Once we have an understanding we can move forward. If you built rapport with this prospect and created communication, it will be easy to discuss finances.

Terminology

New sellers might ask about the proper words to use. Rather than budget or payment, I use the word investment. That’s a given, right?

They are investing in sales training to solve a problem. They are expecting to see a return on the money they spend.

If it’s a new seller who wants to become the best in the company or a female business owner in a male-dominated industry, they are expecting to show some results from their investment. The word payment sounds too transactional.

As you’re having these conversations, understand that you should wait to mention the money after the buyer has a sense of the value you’re offering.

They must see the value before they can comprehend the investment.

“When Should I Talk About Price?” episode resources

Connect with me on LinkedIn or on Instagram and let me know how this worked out for you.

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.

Harry Maziar, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Story Selling

TSE 1068: Nothing Happens Until Somebody Sells Something

Harry Maziar, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Story Selling

Selling is honorable, and we should be proud of the work we do because nothing happens until somebody sells something.

Today Harry Mazier talks to us about the importance of selling and how every organization must practice the fundamentals of selling in order to do it well.  It begins by understanding the importance of being a sales professional.

Relationships

The short attention span of today’s buyers means that there will always be room for relationships in selling.

It’s perhaps the best sales lesson you’ll ever hear.

Necessity

It sounds basic to say that nothing happens until someone sells something, but it’s true that if we don’t sell, we won’t eat.

Sales is the lubricant of our economy.

It doesn’t matter how good your manufacturing is, how precise your accounting is, how deep your R&D is, everything begins when someone convinces a prospect to say, “Yes, I’ll take some.”

When the deal closes, the gears begin moving and everything takes off from that point of agreement.

Failure

Fear of failure prevents people from selling. You might drive past a prospect’s business 12 times and always find a reason not to stop: no parking places, it’s too early, or it’s too late.

To get past that reluctance, you must suck it up and knock on the doors. Then, once you get in front of that customer, you must know what you’re talking about.

Emerson said that nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm. You must be enthusiastic and excited. If you’re not excited about what you’re doing, do something else.

Be smart. Don’t tell them how much you know. Tell them how much they need to know to get where you want them to get. Selling is convincing someone else to agree with your opinion.

But don’t overstay your welcome by speaking too much.

There’s a story that Samson slew 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, but twice that many sales are killed every day with the same implement.

Resource

Your role is to provide the necessary information and be convincing. The best salespeople don’t sell, they help people buy.

Selling is instructional and informational. Be a friend and a resource to your customer. Sales is an honorable profession that has taken a lot of hits — many of them self-inflicted.

Salespeople are a resource to our economy and they really are helpful to customers. People choose sales for a variety of reasons like interactions with people and independence. Of course, income opportunities are part of it as well.

Negative view

For a long time, sales was perceived as little more than one person taking unfair advantage of another. Salespeople have lived through that era and have established themselves as a resource rather than an impediment.

Avoid being self-deprecating. Don’t refer to yourself as “just a salesman.” Sell with integrity every day so you can improve and help your customers.

Don’t put artificial limits on your own success or settle for good enough instead of good.

Stories

Relevant stories can help sellers sell. Rudyard Kipling said that if history was taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.

People love stories, so rather than giving facts, features, and benefits, incorporate a story into your sales presentation. Do it consistently and do it as well as you can.

Read and listen and stay attuned to the people around you. Harry recorded countless anecdotes in preparation for writing his book, Story Selling: Sage Advice and Common Sense About Sales and Success.

If you don’t use a story to provide proof, selling will be more difficult. But the story won’t stand on its own. You must give your very best effort.

Stories aren’t the answer alone. You must support it with your work and effort. Do the best you can every day.

Remember the 10 powerful 2-letter words: “If it is to be, it is up to me.” You can find excuses and blame, but ultimately it depends on you.

Sellers

Don’t think you’re not in sales. Everyone is in sales from the moment they get out of bed in the morning. You are persuading or influences, negotiating or communicating.

Don’t run from it. Embrace it and learn to be better. Grow by failing.

It’s not how often you get knocked down; it’s how many times you get back up. Get back up and learn what’s effective and learn to communicate.

Be true to yourself and embrace the opportunities you have as a salesperson.

“Selling From The Heart” episode resources

You can connect with Harry at harrymazier@gmail.com or at (404) 853-1063.

Grab a copy of his book, Story Selling: Sage Advice and Common Sense About Sales and Success

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.

Donald Kelly, Building Value, Selling

TSE 1067: 5 Things You Get Wrong When It Comes To Building Value

Donald Kelly, Building Value, Selling

If you’re giving your customers things that you value instead of focusing on things that your customer needs or wants, you should be aware of the  5 things you get wrong when it comes to building value.

We’re dedicating the month of April to a discussion of building value, and we’re starting with the fundamentals of building value.

1.  We fail to solve the problem.

People will only change if they see a distinct need for it, and sometimes our customers don’t even recognize that they have a problem. Or, in other instances, they may have found a solution or a band-aid to the problem that seems to be working.

People don’t fix things that seem to be working.

Your job as a seller is to ask the right questions to help them consider or see the importance of addressing their challenge. Once you’re able to help them identify the problem, we must provide a clear solution to help them address it.

Donald Miller has a wonderful three-step process that lays out exactly how you can move through the process.

If the buyer doesn’t have confidence in your ability to guide him through the solution, you’re likely going to lose the deal like I did when it happened to me.

2.  We focus on what we like. 

I’ve taught this principle over and over again as the platinum rule: treat others the way they would like to be treated. It’s a step up from treating people the way that you’d like to be treated.

Don’t focus on features or benefits that you like. Focus on things that the buyers like.

Buyers may choose to work with you for a variety of reasons, but not all of your product’s features will be important to the buyer. Not all of your service’s benefits will matter to him.

Once you’ve identified the problem that the buyer needs to address, and you’ve given the buyer a clear plan, avoid the urge to give the buyer things he doesn’t need. Give him the things that are important and necessary for him and nothing more.

You may have 100 features, but the buyer likely has one problem that is costing him a lot of money. He needs the feature that will solve that problem. Yes, he’ll get much more than that with your product or service, but focus on his main problem to start.

Over time you can educate him about additional features.

3.  We don’t listen to the customer.

This ties closely to number 1 because we often continue talking even after the buyer has agreed to buy.

Our conversations and discovery meetings are intended to help us discover things about our prospects. It’s not intended to be a lecture.

Sometimes sellers believe that if we’re talking, we’re winning, and that simply isn’t true. Think of it like dating: you want the other person to perceive that you’re interested.

Studies indicated that you shouldn’t talk more than 30 percent of the time, and that will only happen if you come prepared with meaningful questions. That will help the buyer express himself and his challenges.

Once you’ve listened, you can pitch to the one thing he needs the most.

4.  We think we must have the lowest price.

This issue emerges frequently with sellers who think that value means having the lowest price, but it simply isn’t true. I’ve lost deals before to companies that were bigger and more expensive than my own product or service.

When I looked back, they didn’t care that we were cheaper. They were concerned that I didn’t focus on their problem and show them a clear path to solve it. They didn’t have the conviction that I was the one who could best help them.

If you’ve done a fantastic job of identifying their problem and you’ve helped them find a solution, they’ll see the value in what you’re offering. If, for example, their problem is costing them $50,000 a year but your solution will cost them $5,000 a year, that’s a good saving for them.

Show me that you understand my problem and that you have a solution. Then show me that you’ve solved this kind of problem before. That will give me, as a buyer, confidence in you as a seller.

5.  We believe that more is better.

We often mistakenly believe that offering our customer more is better because it’s a way to increase value.

You might be giving away so many add-ons that your company loses money. In the future, your customer will likely expect the same kind of discounts and bonuses. If the customer stays with you for only a year, you will have lost the client before you could recoup your losses.

Resist the urge to give away everything for free. Enjoy the silence in your conversation. Don’t jump out and start talking too quickly.

They may not be looking for more value but rather just contemplating the purchase.

Keep things simple for your buyers and remember that less is often more. We know a lot more than our buyers about our product, and they don’t need to know everything that we do.

Avoid these mistakes and you’ll have much better success building value.

“Building Value” 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.

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.

 

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Closing

TSE 1065: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Don’t Make The Closing an Event”

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, ClosingSellers are understandably focused on the closing of any deal but it’s important that we keep things in perspective and don’t make the closing an event.

The truth is that every transaction has a beginning, a middle, and an end, but we often get so focused on the closing that we unnecessarily freak ourselves out.

This conversation comes from our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, our sales coaching program that helps sellers maximize their effectiveness.

Sales process

The sales process naturally builds toward a close where the client signs the deal and then everyone celebrates. Our challenge as sellers is to avoid the temptation to make the closing the entire focus of the sale.

Focus throughout the sale on building value. Initiate conversations that address your prospects’ challenges and difficulties. Realize that you’ll never get to the closing if you don’t effectively address the buyers’ objections.

Help the buyer feel confident in this deal by sharing stories that provide value and dispel your customers’ objections. Instead of waiting for your customer to offer his objections, bring them up on your own terms as a way of building trust.

Red flags won’t go away simply because you ignore them. They don’t typically diffuse themselves, and your decision to wait until the end of the process to address them could cost you your deal.

Growing problems

Like many other relationships in life, struggles between buyer and seller don’t naturally disappear over time. In fact, problems often get bigger and worse as we fail to address them.

A single demo for your client won’t magically offset all his concerns, so don’t wait until then to address his objections. If he has concerns about your product or service, it won’t likely matter how good your demo is: you won’t overcome his hesitation until you address the problems.

Addressing fears

Whether you’re selling water, computers, or houses, your buyer doesn’t want to part with his hard-earned cash until you’ve addressed his fears.

He may want a new house. He may even need a new house. But he has fears of his own:

  • What if he can’t afford this house?
  • What if an unforeseen issue comes up?
  • How much will hurricane insurance cost?

Help him minimize those risks and fears throughout the process. That way, when he gets to the end of the transaction, those fears won’t be an issue.

Prospecting

Hubspot reported recently that as many as 40 percent of salespeople don’t like prospecting and about 30 percent struggle with closings. As a result, we tend to make closings a big deal in our own heads because we’ve worked so hard to find a prospect and get to this point.

Instead of viewing it as a huge event, we should think of it as a natural byproduct of the sales process, and we should move the buyer smoothly through to conversion.

Conversion begins the moment I start building value for my prospect. If I focus on blind-side challenges and identifying key problems, I can address objections early and minimize the risk that my deal will fall apart.

My goal is to eliminate any reasonable doubt about whether I’m the right vendor for the prospect.

Pitching yourself

If you’re able to identify the companies your prospect is currently working with, you’ll be better able to pitch your own strengths against theirs. You can identify the competition’s weaknesses and use those to make your case.

Share stories about past clients who have left that company to work with you and explain why they made that choice.

Build one-on-one conversations into your process as often as possible so you can clarify any questions as they develop. Once you understand the big issues that will likely sabotage your deal, you can help everyone get to the same page.

Follow your demonstrations with an email outreach offering to address any new questions the prospect has.

Avoid pushing objections to the end of the process. Make objections and questions a constant part of your dialogue so that you minimize any risk toward the end of the deal.

Strive to create a smooth experience for your customer.

“Don’t Make The Closing an Event” 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.

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.

 

Sales Leaders, Sales Manager, Donald Kelly

TSE 1062: Sales Leaders, Stop Falling For The Reactive Trap

Sales Leaders, Sales Manager, Donald Kelly

Sales leaders who neglect their own workload in an effort to help their sellers solve problems will find themselves falling behind, so it’s vital that sales leaders stop falling for the reactive trap.

You hired your sellers to handle their assigned responsibilities and to solve problems. When your sellers distract you with problems, you’ll have less time to focus on sales plans or strategies. You won’t have time to conduct meetings or create reports because you’re trying to keep deals from falling apart.

Distracted leaders

In his book, The Sales Manager’s Guide To Greatness, Kevin Davis talks about all the ways that sellers can distract their sales managers from their own workload. The problem with this kind of distraction is that the sales leader’s responsibilities are to grow the department or the business.

The business will suffer if sales leaders aren’t freed to do their own work.

Additionally, you’re teaching your sellers bad habits and cheating them of the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems.

This is why many leaders feel stretched too thin.

Limited growth

Sellers who never learn to solve their own problems will limit their teams’ productivity. Your team will never have extraordinary growth because you’ll always be limited by your own ability to solve everyone else’s problems.

The sellers will never learn to solve problems, and they won’t learn to focus on solving problems for their customers. Instead, they’ll focus on features and benefits.

Additionally, they won’t be able to function as well in your absence, which means they will struggle any time you aren’t available. So what will happen if you decide to take vacation?

Improving sellers

Sellers will only improve if they learn to solve their own problems and handle their own accounts. As each rep learns to handle his assigned responsibilities, you’ll be freed to focus on other things that will improve the team as a whole.

You may be tempted to think that you’re helping your sellers accomplish more, but the truth is that they’ll never learn to manage their own schedules and their own time if you consistently help them manage it.

Kevin points out that your involvement won’t likely encourage them to use their time for other tasks. Realistically, your sellers will simply be freed to do things like check social media or email.

Forty percent of sellers don’t like prospecting, so they won’t likely do it if they don’t have to. They are likely bringing you problems they don’t want to handle themselves.

Teach problem-solving

Kevin suggests asking two questions of your sellers:

  1. What have you done to solve the problem so far?
  2. What do you think ought to be done?

Your sellers likely have basic problem-solving skills; otherwise, you wouldn’t have hired them. If this isn’t the case, you might have to start by making sure you have the right people on the bus.

Perhaps we’ll discover that the rep didn’t really qualify the prospect in the first place. Maybe the rep isn’t talking to the decision-maker.

Assuming those things aren’t true and that the buyer suddenly backed out of the deal, you must discover what caused the problem.

Root cause

Coach the rep to ask questions that get to the root cause of the change. Teach your rep to use the 5 whys to figure out why the prospect changed her mind.

It’s tempting for sales leaders to try to “save the day” and be the hero. Instead, you need to teach your seller to act as a guide to the prospect and teach your seller how to frame the customer as the hero of the situation.

Consider identifying team leads who can help your sellers when they encounter problems. Maybe a senior sales rep can help answer questions or coach your sellers in weekly sales meetings.

Schedule coaching sessions where you can teach your team members how to use these techniques to identify why their deals are disintegrating. Help them identify the common objections so they’ll be prepared when they encounter them.

Build replacements

No doubt you hope to be promoted someday and you’ll need someone to take over your role so you can advance.

Allow them to be part of the dialogue when you’re addressing issues in your area. Provide reassurance that it’s ok to try things and make mistakes.

If you have a hard time saying “no” to your sellers, make yourself unavailable to them. Insist that they begin working on the problems themselves. If they make a mistake, you can still step in if you must, but give them a chance to try solving the problems.

Take the time to coach your sellers. Make sure you give commands, give guidance, and give them room to run on their own.

Whether you’re a sales rep, a sales leader, or a business owner, use these concepts to improve your efficiency and your output.

“Stop Falling For The Reactive Trap” episode resources

Grab a copy of Kevin Davis’ book, The Sales Manager’s Guide To GreatnessYou’ll be glad you did.

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.

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.