Friday, November 20, 2015

Motivation is a myth

As a new sales manager, one of the early mistakes I made was thinking that I could "motivate" my salespeople. In my experience, motivation comes from within. I believe the most we can do for our sellers is inspire them.

Nothing motivates like achievement. Ever have a seller close a big deal? They don't need a motivational speaker when that happens. They are on fire. They can't wait to get back to the office to tell you about it; they usually call you to share the good news.

Our job as managers should be to train, coach and equip our sellers. In short, prepare them for achievement. When they achieve, they are motivated to achieve more.

Iconic management guru Peter Drucker said: "We know nothing about motivation; all we can do is write books about it."

In order to influence your sellers’ thinking, you have to know what they are thinking. In order to inspire them, you need to know what's important to them. We typically think it's about money, recognition and status. While those factors are contributors and important, it's usually something much deeper, more personal and more powerful.

The key to finding what "it" is for your sellers can be found in a simple question: “Why are you doing this besides the money?” Don't just accept the first answer they give you; it usually requires a little digging.

When you reach that level, you are reaching the core values and purpose of your seller. Can you see how knowing this information can help you guide them to greatness?  Be willing to ask your sellers, "Why are you doing this besides the money?" and see what happens!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cold-calling pitfalls to avoid

Here are three pitfalls usually associated with cold calling. You may correct them with a change in attitude:

* Making the cold call approach confrontational rather than consultative. When prospects feel confrontation, they often feel provoked or challenged. Salespeople who are too anxious to close the sale in a cold call decrease the odds of closing. Successful salespeople get a clear picture of the prospect's objectives and show how their product or service will meet them.

* If the prospect feels pressure rather than help. When prospects feel pressure during a cold call, they feel that demands are being placed on them. Creating demand and force won't work in a cold call. Patience, respect and understanding will give the salesperson a good feeling for the prospect's motivation to buy.

* When the salesperson shows self-focused goals rather than prospect-focused ones. Prospects have a multitude of choices of how and what to buy. Effective salespeople help, support and share knowledge with their prospects, especially during cold calls.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Making a sales presentation

Your goal with a sales presentation is to gain commitment to either buy your product or service, or to advance the sale towards closure, whichever is appropriate for the type of selling you do.

To do so, you need to know what problem the client is trying to solve, or goal they're trying to achieve. Determine this in advance by asking questions, then craft your presentation so that it highlights and focuses on the features that will provide the benefits that align with the prospect's needs or goals.

Mix in questions so that the presentation is a dialogue, not a monologue. And conclude with one that allows you to take the prospect's temperature.

Practice these simple steps and you'll see fewer eyes glossing over during your presentations and more presentations leading to closed business. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Establish rapport first

Sales Tip
Being excited and motivated about sales, salespeople often want potential clients to know all of the wonderful features, facts and benefits about their company, products and services. This leads many salespeople into presentation mode, or as some refer to it, "pitch mode," when instead, they should launch into a thorough Q&A session that will help them build rapport and gain the potential client's respect.

Leave barraging the client with facts and figures to your competitors. Smart salespeople will ask questions so they can better understand potential client needs. The clients will tell you how they perceive their situation by answering your questions.

After listening, sales reps can then use the client's terms and tone of voice to represent their products or services, and use the client's words to explain how you and your company can best meet their overall needs and objectives. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Don't be bullied

Sales Tip
Stand up to bullies, even when they're your customers.

Some customers just don't deserve your business; they end up costing you more in time and resources than they give back in business and profits.

If you have customers who are bullies, confront them. If you can't win with the bully because they're their own worst enemy, or because their values are so out of sync with your own, walk away and invest your time on customers who appreciate the value you can bring to them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Meet your customers in person

sales tip
Get some face time. Shake hands to close deals.

Sales is about interaction and there’s no better way to interact with your customer than to meet him or her in person. That’s simply the best way to truly understand customer needs and provide a solution that really matches those needs. It’s win-win.

Meeting the customer strengthens the customer’s confidence in you and paves the way for a long-term business relationship. It helps you learn what makes your customers tick and what kinds of challenges they face in their work.

Naturally, that trust has to be earned. You must present your case clearly and with confidence, take note of your customer’s replies (and actually remember them next time!) and after the meeting promptly deliver what the customer expects. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Work on your weaknesses

Sales Tips
Some salespeople work on things they're good at and don't spend enough time trying to overcome weak areas. They can only improve their strengths so much.

Even if they do improve strengths, there's a good chance no one will notice, since slight improvements are hard to spot. Strengths will take salespeople only as far as their weaknesses will allow. Be grateful for your strengths, but work on your weaknesses.

Try to do a "weakness" audit each week. What situations in selling make you uncomfortable? Where does your sales manager suggest improvements are needed? Write them down. When you improve your weaknesses, the difference will be dramatic and visible to everyone.