• Top Traits of Successful Salespeople

    TraitsHigh-performing sales teams are led by strong sales managers who embody leadership skills that motivate and empower the team. Exceptional sales professionals display certain traits that allow them to stand out from the rest and achieve great sales success.

    Since 1967, Sandler Training has trained sales professionals to be mindful of their behaviours, attitudes and techniques when prospecting and negotiating. While Sandler witnessed many professionals transform, there were always certain characteristics that “the greats” possessed in addition to the skills learned through continuous training and reinforcement.

    Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether or not you have what it takes to be great.

    • Do I build good rapport?This might go without saying but the best salespeople are people that can relate to other people. They come across as genuine, they’re natural and they put people at ease. As Sandler teaches, people want to do business with people that are like themselves.
    • Am I goal focused?Long-term goals are important, but what really drives salespeople is the focus on daily activities that are in direct relationship to the results in which they are in pursuit. They understand that it is the daily “behaviours” that are critical to delivering the results.
    • Am I curious?Sandler devotees know – a salesperson’s job is to find the compelling, emotional reason for the problem and match that “pain” to a solution. We discover the pain by asking questions and listening because sometimes the prospect hasn’t accurately identified their pain or are not yet comfortable sharing it.
    • Do I listen?A keystone to the Sandler Training methodology is listening. The Prospect should be doing 70% of the talking while the salesperson is actively listening and searching for the pain.
    • How motivated am I?Being self-motivated is essential to finding success as a sales professional. Since a salesperson’s income is largely based on their ability to find and close new business, success usually comes to those who are diligent and focused.
    • Do I seek out challenges?Sometimes in sales, it’s about being fearless and going after challenges. Whether it’s going after a prospect that’s been on your radar or taking on a vertical that’s completely new to you, having the ability to put yourself in new situations and enter unchartered waters will serve a salesperson well throughout their career. As Sandler teaches, no guts, no gain!

    Can you name more characteristics of successful salespeople that set them apart from mediocre salespeople? What are some traits of top salespeople that you wish you had to complement your sales approach?

     

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • Prospecting: Don’t have time for it, not my job…hate it!

    Most of my clients hate the idea of prospecting. In any form. They either expect clients to find them as the industry experts or they have a team, internal or external, to do the prospecting for them.

    You might expect little sympathy from Sandler trainers. That is true; you won’t find much patience for little prospecting effort. However, here is a secret: Sandler trainers have to prospect too and we have exactly the same challenges as our clients and their people. We don’t ask our clients to do what we are not prepared to do ourselves.

    So what do we find works for ourselves and our best-performing clients? You might expect the answer to be “Cold Calling.” Well, it works, when it is done right and professionally. However, is that the most efficient way of getting business? Probably not.  Effective nonetheless.

    The younger generation seems to have a pathological fear of the telephone and want to do everything by social media and email. Does that work? Well, yes, when done right and consistently, although it can take much, much longer to get the same result. Networking? As in talking to strangers in a place and environment you really would rather not be in? This can be powerful. Free talks? Unnerving and time-consuming, perhaps, but wonderfully efficient in weeding out prospects. Asking for referrals? This is often the best way into ideal new business. However, we are then trading on the good name of our clients and contacts and they don’t usually come fast and thick enough.

    The list goes on. “Walk-ins”, attending conferences, calling old proposals or clients, webinars, LinkedIn, email shot, mailshot and more. Some work better than others at different times in different sectors. In fact, I have an odd, personal, mantra. “No prospecting method works…until it does.” In other words, don’t write off any prospecting activity. Just do plenty. Stick to 3 or 4 main ways of getting business that you are at least prepared to do consistently (preferably “active” rather than “passive” methods). But just do it.

    The Sandler rule #7 is so true. “You never have to like prospecting. You just have to do it.”

    Unfortunately, that includes you. Not just your people. Good prospecting!

    If you want help getting you and your people more comfortable and better at prospecting, why not check with your local Sandler trainer?

    Paul Glynn

    Paul Glynn

    Paul’s experience spans over twenty years of selling, sales management and training. He has worked in the financial services sector including accountancy and has been responsible for the commercial success of sales departments at director level in advertising. His clients report up to 300% increase in turnover by working with him. He is dedicated to helping businesses grow through assessments, training, coaching and mentoring. Tel: 01784 390623 Mobile: 07866 518848

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  • What’s The Rush?

    Many salespeople are too eager to make presentations – are you?

    They view them as opportunities to establish the value of their products or services by demonstrating their unique aspects. You can’t establish value, however, until you have determined which aspects, if any, are relevant to the prospects’ situations.

    The real purpose of presentations is to confirm your ability to deliver the solutions prospects are predisposed to buy. How do you know what prospects are predisposed to buy? You determine it by thoroughly qualifying the opportunities.

    Until you have learned the specific reasons prospects would buy your product or service (rather than a competitor’s), uncovered the resources they have available to make the purchases, discovered the criteria by which they will make their decisions, and (assuming you are willing and able to meet their decision criteria) obtained their commitments to make those decisions, you should refrain from making presentations.

    Making presentations before thoroughly qualifying opportunities will almost surely guarantee that you leave those presentations, not with decisions, but only prospects’ promises to “think it over.”

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • How Much Time Should You Put into Prospecting?

    Time prospectingThe question is a bit of a puzzle. Ideally, there would be a reference book that lists, by industry, how much time you should invest in prospecting activities. Unfortunately, there’s no reference book.

    Why?

    How much time you invest will depend on the number of prospecting activities you plan, the nature of the activities, and the intended results of the activities.

    More importantly, different salespeople have different goals, and these goals will necessitate different amounts of time prospecting. Introducing a new product or opening a new territory may take more time than continuing to cultivate an existing market where you already have exposure.

    If your efforts are primarily passive, where you have little if any control of the outcome—direct mail or e-mail for example—you will likely have to do more and it will take longer to see results. If your efforts are more proactive, where you have considerable control—cold prospecting or generating and then calling on referrals for instance—you can invest less time.

    Since there is no simple formula, you must consider your prospecting objectives and then carefully track your activities and results. Then, you can decide how much time you want to invest and choose the activities that will allow you to achieve your objectives in that time period.

     

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • The Toughest Prospect To Sell

    The Toughest prospect to sellWhen is the toughest prospect to sell the easiest prospect to sell?

    Give up?

    The answer is simple: when you call on him or her.

    Some buyers acquire a reputation for being tough, overbearing, demanding—just plain impossible to deal with. And guess what? Salespeople stop calling on them. Why put themselves through the abuse? Why endure the indignity? Why indeed, you may be thinking.

    Why not? They have to buy products and services from someone. It might as well be you. A prospect may be demanding, discourteous, and disrespectful. However, beneath the gruff exterior, there is a human being capable of listening, evaluating, and making decisions—buying decisions.

    Remember, you too have an exterior—your salesperson persona. When you call on the impossible prospect and he “attacks” you, it’s only your persona he is attacking. So allow your persona to don an invisible suit of armour. When you call on Mr. Crotchety, you’re Sir Lancelot. Nothing he hurls at you can hurt you. You’re protected. Sure, you armour may get dented, but the order in hand will have made it worthwhile.

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • A story of 2 sales calls

    shutterstock_358001996The phone has been ringing with incoming sales calls. I always love being on the receiving end of a cold call.

    Fascinating how people with the courage to pick up the phone often have been failed by their management who haven’t trained their staff to effectively sell on the phone.

    Call One a few weeks ago was from a new sales person at a company specialising in high end coaching. Her hook was that a coach I know was working for them.

    The problem was she didn’t check if I rated his coaching.

    It’s true that past clients are often great prospects. Often companies don’t have a systematic keeping in touch programme. It works brilliantly if the client you are calling valued the services they received.

    The problem was I didn’t think the coach added enough value so the payback on my time and money invested wasn’t worthwhile.

    She asked some open ended questions. She was comfortable asking follow-on questions. I let the call run because I am interested in hearing sales people working. Her tonality was good – it didn’t feel like she was reading her questions from a script.

    However, she made an assumption. I’d worked with that coach in the past so she assumed I’d want to work with him again. “Wrong. When I said no thanks, she failed to find out why I was saying no. so I didn’t feel she had listened to the intent behind my answers. She was determined and kept going – so I’d give her extra marks for that. Then take off the marks for failing to clarify and discover what I meant by my answers. She didn’t get any info from me into why I said no. It felt like she’d been told not to take  “no” for an answer and didn’t want to explore my “no” as it could mean she had to end the call.

    So I’m pretty certain they’ll be wasting their time and will call me again in 3 months so.  Marks out of 10 – 3!

    We at Sandler are not a prospect for a local authority directory. Councils don’t tend to sell stuff – that’s usually spun out into stand-alone companies. So call two was never going to end in a sale.

    The directory sales woman who called me was certain we are a prospect – because they have a category for training in their publication. I got the feeling that whatever category I said we were in, she’d have a category for that! She listed every other training category. She simply wasn’t listening to my answers to her questions. She’d stuck to her script – which didn’t deal with my objection that we don’t want to proactively sell to local authorities. Her main convincer is that it was really cheap and thousands would be going to county and district council officers.  Not worth the time it would take for Marketing to get the copy ready. No really did mean no.

    She had urgency – the publication deadline was the next day. How convenient. Really? Hmmm – maybe or maybe not.

    The finish was as weak as the start. She read out the web address so I could go and check it out. Did I want the address? Hell no! But it was on her script and she’s started so she was going to finish.

    I was sad after that call – they have a member of staff who is willing to talk to strangers but she was only skilled to keep going with her script, and didn’t take charge of the conversation. The process she’d been taught did not enable her to quickly qualify or disqualify me.

    Again I think our contact details will remain in the database and someone else will waste their time calling us next time.  What a waste of her time and the company’s investment in a sales person.

    Marks out of 10 for Directory Lady? 1 – for picking up that phone and dialling. Marks out of 10 for her employer? Zero.  Zero for wasting her time, the company’s resources and my time!

    If you want to work out how to help your guys or yourself be more effective at prospecting by phone or following up those people you’ve met at networking, then contact your local Sandler office. We’ll figure out if we can help you or not.

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies runs Sandler Training in East Anglia with monthly Master Classes in Norwich

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  • Use your 30 second commercial in your LinkedIn Profile

    30 sec commercial linkedInThe main thing to remember about LinkedIn is this: It is a huge, never-ending, virtual networking event, and you have to be ready with the right response to “What do you do?” Your 30–second commercial is the answer to that question, as told from the point of view of a PROSPECT IN PAIN who eventually turned into your happy customer.

    Why not include it on your LinkedIn profile page?

    So for instance: “We specialize in custom-designed inventory management systems for manufacturing and distribution operations. We’ve been particularly successful with companies in the X, Y, and Z industries that are concerned about the costs associated with inaccurate inventory counts, unhappy with frequent paperwork bottlenecks that slow down the fulfilment process, or disappointed by the amount of time it takes to reconcile purchasing, invoicing, and shipping records. We’ve been able to create hand-in-glove inventory management systems that help our customers save time, attention, and money.”

    If something like this isn’t on your LinkedIn profile, you’re at a competitive disadvantage.
    For the complete list of WAYS YOU CAN USE LINKEDIN TO PROSPECT MORE EFFECTIVELY, click here.

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • Reflections on becoming 50

    So on the 4th of November I am 50. Seems like a time to reflect not so much on what I have done, good or bad but what I have learned. So, if your Facebook feed is a little empty perhaps you can allow me the self-indulgence of sharing my thoughts.

    I have probably learned more in the last 5 years, perhaps even the last two than all the rest put together. Learned that is about the fundamentals of the human animal that is us all.

    So in no particular order:-

    Listening: very few people can truly listen. When I say listen, I mean to be aware of every single tiny nuanced emotion that is triggered within you when the other person speaks. To be truly aware of our biases, our assumptions, our generalisations and our ability to distort, even subtly, what the other person is saying to suit ourselves, without judgement.

    That is listening. To be truly in the moment for the other person. Take that listening to another level and being able to see and feel how that other person sees and feels, even if what they say appears ludicrous or even insane to us, it is what they think. That person has a set of beliefs and biases that they may not even be aware of. It’s their model of the world. You can recognise it but don’t have to go along with it. However, it is them. I understand this may be called compassion. This is a new thing for me!

    Communicating: more of the time human beings are probably miscommunicating. If we can’t truly listen, if we let our beliefs cause judgements then we can’t communicate effectively. At a basic level this leads to disputes or misunderstandings between partners or on a global scale, leads to wars. Waring over religion is such an example. One set of brainwashing competing with another.

    We become the people we surround ourselves with: This is both positive and negative and probably quite a subtle and medium term effect. This has been a massive lesson for me in the last two years since I joined Glasgow Triathlon Club. I have not met a group of people so supportive, open minded and encouraging. No adventure is too mad or crazy. In no time at all this becomes infectious and you start to achieve more than you even imagined possible. You then share and support newer or less developed members.

    A fellow club member is also the coach of a woman’s Gaelic Football team. He has instilled a very simple but hugely powerful ethos in that team: be positive and have fun. In no time at all they have become the Scottish Champions, The British Champions, beaten the European Champions and will now play against the very best in Ireland. They love being surrounded by such positive people.

    Our body is amazing: If you give up on your body, it gives up on you but never lose hope, with a little bit of nurturing and patience it will repay you many times over. We often are in awe of the Olympians and para-Olympians but they are biologically no different from us. They have just put some time in. We don’t have to become super athletes but we all have an inner athlete which is bursting to come out. I was belted at school at P.E. I hated it, the teachers and sport in general but in the last year have participated and even won events.

    There are 80-year-olds who complete marathons and Ironman Triathlons, who ski, cycle and run. My better half was told by her GP she would need one or perhaps two knee transplants. She took up swimming, then cycling and now running. She no longer takes pain relief for her knees or struggles with bad knees. Give our bodies a chance and it repays with much better health, better sleep and a longer and higher quality of life.

    Our minds are amazing: For sure I am only on the early stages of this journey. Understanding where our motivation comes from or goes to. How our imagination works. What brings on depression and what improves it (exercise for me).

    Facebook offers us great lessons: some of the above thoughts have been triggered by seeing the posts of so many people. We learn that our friends who seem so “normal” can have very, very different views. Scottish Independence, Brexit, Religious views, even Rangers/Celtic fans re-enforce in me every day that there is no absolute. It’s just opinions and mine is as ridiculous to some people as theirs can be to me. I was a pretty black and white guy for a long time. The world is grey and ever changing. Reality is just an illusion created by our cultural brainwashing.

    Life is a series or stages of understanding: When you are a teenager you perhaps first become aware of what “childish” means. You have passed through “childish” and hence can look back. Then as you become a student you can look back at what being a “school kid” was. Same goes for your twenties, becoming employed, a parent etc. As we go through the various stages of life, up and down, we can look back and see what we learned and perhaps have some compassion for others in that “stage”.

    What excites me is the thought that I am currently just in a stage and at some point, I will pass through to another level of self-awareness. Who knows how many stages people go though. I think many are stuck in one level or have very low self-awareness. I was stuck in a level of materialism for a long time. I now care far less for possessions and more for my health, adventures and a few close people.

    If you got this far, well done. Here’s to another 50 years of learning and growing and of course our good health!

    Alan Mackie

    Alan Mackie

    Alan has been in various sales roles for 25 years and works with businesses struggling to grow revenue and profitability to the levels they wish. Often their sales people are using excuses to hide lack of prospecting or perhaps saying everything is down to price when really it’s their ability. Often the business doesn't have a successful sales culture.

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  • How to Lower Stress in Sales

    The rotten economy, if you haven’t noticed, may be taking a toll on your health.

    Stress has been linked to a number of illnesses-such as heart disease, high blood pressure and increased risk for cancer. A lot of this stress is understandable-but also unnecessary. If you are in sales, a sales system can help you reduce that pressure you are under in a big way. You will be as productive as ever, which should mean less anxiety.

    A sales system will help you stop confusing your real self with what I call your “role self.” Most sales professionals take the inevitable rejection that comes with their work personally. They can’t make the necessary distinction between the role they play as a salesperson and who they really are.

    But those who can make that distinction-and it takes practice to do it-find that they worry a lot less. That makes them more effective. They are happier and healthier, and the confidence they show inspires others to have confidence in them. Sales increase.

    A sales system will also help you adjust the goals for each call you make in your prospecting efforts. Your only goal, besides establishing rapport, should be to determine if your prospect has any interest at all in your product or service and, if they do, to set up a meeting for a later date.

    You should make a point not to begin the selling process at this stage of your relationship. This is not the time to talk about features or benefits, price or delivery. That comes later.

    All you should try to do is schedule the meeting. The rest should wait.

    Try this, and like those with a selling system, you’ll see immediate benefits. “Going for the meeting” will take the pressure off you, and it will also take pressure off your prospect. You won’t have to second-guess which aspects of your product or service to bring up. And because he or she isn’t confronted with a premature “sales pitch,” your prospect won’t have to think about putting up a defensive wall of delaying tactics.

    When you get your prospect on the phone, be up front about what you want. Make sure they understand that all you are trying to do is to determine if they have any interest in what you are selling and, if they do, to set up a time to talk further. That’s it.

    Your prospect will appreciate the fact that you understand how busy they are, and that you are not jumping the gun, so to speak, in making your pitch.

    Your sales system will lighten your stress, and theirs too, helping you remain productive in challenging times.

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • Add a little drama

    You’re meeting with a prospect. You’ve asked all the appropriate questions to uncover the prospect’s problem, concerns, desires, goals, and expectations. After fully analysing the situation, you announce with no hesitation whatsoever, “No problem. I have exactly what you need.”Add a little drama

    Does the prospect gasp a sigh of relief, utter under his breath, “Thank goodness,” and pull a purchase order from the drawer? Perhaps in Grimm’s version of the story, but not in the real world.

    Why?

    Prospects are sceptical of salespeople whose products or services are “exactly” what they need, especially if the salespeople are too quick to make the proclamation.

    At some level, prospects want to believe that their problems, concerns, and goals are not run of the mill, but rather, somewhat unique requiring solutions that are also somewhat unique.

    So, even if your product or service is exactly what the prospect needs, don’t be so quick to make the announcement. Tell the prospect that you have addressed similar situations and with the proper focus, and fine-tuning (perhaps with his help), you can provide him with a competent solution. You still get your point across—that you have a solution. And, you acknowledge the uniqueness of his situation which will require more than a cookie-cutter solution.

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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