• No Pain… No Sale.

    In Sandler, we have a rule: No pain…No sale. It means that unless you can find an actual pain a prospect is experiencing that you can solve, you won’t be able to sell them anything. Pain is the reason someone does business with you.

    If someone has pain, you have to figure out a way to have an interaction to solve it as quickly as possible. If you don’t, it may not hurt enough tomorrow.

    One of the best analogies to think about is waking up with a toothache. If you’ve ever woken up with a really bad toothache, you were probably ready to pay anything to get into the dentist that same day. Then you may have called the dentist, and heard over the phone, “Oh, we can’t get to you for two weeks.” In two weeks, there’s a decent chance it didn’t hurt nearly as bad, and you may not have even bothered going.

    Everyone’s world has those types of situations.

    A plumbing client of mine recognised that and made a change to his schedule. He tightened things up a bit in order to shorten his sales cycle, and so that he could fit emergencies in last-minute when needed. In a ten day period that client sold seven boiler repairs, two boiler replacements, and three maintenance contracts. Some plumbers don’t even do that well through the winter months!

    In your world, you probably have something like that too, it’s just not about teeth or plumbing. There is tremendous business to be had out there if you’re proactive. Don’t sell like a dentist, but set yourself up so that you can handle extreme pain quickly.

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones

    Peter Jones is Managing Director of Sandler Training in the East Midlands. Peter works with business owners and MD’s who want to increase their return on investment made in their sales team and business owners who need to improve their business development skills.

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  • 5 steps to start 2015 with good business relationships

    So it’s the start of a new year. You took time to look back and reflect. Maybe you have your plans for the year, your daily, weekly and monthly action plans, your goals and your vision board to spur you on to greater success. So here’s are the hard questions. Did you ask your clients? Do you know what your clients really think of your services & products? What changes they’d like? And have you evaluated them?

    I know this is simple, common sense. But how many of us really do this type of account management behaviour regularly and routinely to protect our business? It’s devastating to lose a client when you could have retained them and annoying to lose out on selling additional goods and services just because they didn’t know you offered them. So call your best clients to set up Client Review Meetings in the next 4 weeks.

    Here are the 5 steps to holding effective RECON Client Review Meetings:

    • R = Remember
      Revisit and relive the original reasons, issues, problems or objectives that led your client to buy your products and services.
    • E = Evaluate
      Evaluate your relationship. What’s worked? What hasn’t? What do you need to do differently? Grade yours and the client’s performances in the partnership.
    • C = Changes
      What’s changed? What’s changed in their business? And in yours? Any other changes that will improve performance?
    • O= Opportunities
      Where are the opportunities for the client? For your business? Any you can pursue together? Any other issues, problems or objectives the client currently has that you can address?
    • N = Next Steps
      What happens next? Make a clear, specific, certain up front contract so that you both know what will always happen next by when. Contract with your client for the next call or meeting, for the next piece of work, for the next phase of a project, for the next RECON review and for referrals & introductions within and outside their organisation.

    Maybe ask your client to note down their thoughts in advance of the meeting. It won’t matter if your client doesn’t follow through on their prep as the RECON meeting be very productive and effective because you have a clear agenda and have set the expectations for the discussion.

    By you being proactive, they’ll share bad news and maybe bring small issues to the table before they become critical. Because you are being proactive in your efforts to make changes and improve performance, even if they perceive the value of working with you has not lived up to expectations, they’ll continue buying from you. If you are not proactive with this kind of activity, your best clients are your competition’s best prospects. You will also reduce the risk of your clients buying goods and services from someone else because they didn’t know you offered them.

    So call your best clients this week. Thank them for their business – and get that review date in the diary for your RECON meeting. That way you’ll start 2015 with a strong platform in place to grow your business with them this year.

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies

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

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  • Do you know the journey your prospect takes to becoming your client?

    There are times when sales seem to be an unpredictable process. Sometimes we find people we thought would be clients who appeared keen, then suddenly disappear. Likewise, someone we had paid little attention to, suddenly signed up for our services.

    Many companies invest significant time and money looking for clients, networking, making calls, asking for referrals, but sometimes, the more we try to persuade someone to buy from us, the more they seem to back off and become more difficult to contact. Yet, traditionally, salespeople are expected to be expert talkers, great at giving a pitch, overcoming objections, and generally being persistent until the customer finally says yes.

    Is it no surprise then that as buyers we have learnt to insulate ourselves from these approaches. We’re often “just looking, thanks” or “just browsing”, or “everything is fine” when we receive those unwanted sales approaches. Basically, we lie – just to protect ourselves, because in reality, is everything always “fine” – are we “just browsing” or are we really looking for something, but under our control rather than the sales person?

    Furthermore, the internet has made buyers an instant expert in everything; buyers often look on line first, doing their research, and their own comparison before they even start talking to you.

    The mistake we make is to try and overcome this buyer control, and break down the barriers, rather than working it to our advantage. We try to drag our prospects down our own path, and they often resist. Our prospects go on a journey as they buy, we need to make sure we are part of that journey, and we are subtly helping them along their journey rather than trying to force them down ours!

    The challenge is that we often don’t know when they are on the journey, as much of it is done without our being aware of it. For example, they will look on LinkedIn to check you out. They will look at your website. They will watch client testimonial videos. They will read your tweets. They will carry out their own mini assessment before even taking your call. Are you there – with the right message, in all the places they are likely to be looking?

    We can help them start the journey, by our prospecting activity, but we need to keep them going on the journey – it takes time to build a strong relationship.alistair blog

    So, ask yourself, what am I doing to make prospects aware of me – how do I start the process, how to I keep the process going and generate multiple client contact points. Experience tells us that it takes anywhere between 5 and 15 contact points before someone becomes a client, unfortunately most businesses don’t provide that many, and don’t understand the path a client takes before he becomes a client.

  • Can a daily schedule help me achieve my goals in 2015?

    “A person’s burning desire to achieve something must come from within.”

    schedule 2015 blog

    You’ve set lofty goals for 2015 but have you also built the plan to achieve them?

    Often we fall into the trap of setting goals without ‘building a plan’ to achieve them. If you decide to make one change this year – ‘build the plan and then implement it’.

    We often have clients tell us they want to earn a certain amount of money this year. The first questions we always ask are, “what are you going to do with the money?” or “let’s pretend I’ve just handed you the amount of money you want to earn – what are you going to do with it?” What we find when we ask that question is that most people don’t know what they’d do with the money. When we ask how they came up with the number, they shrug and tell us they’ve just pulled it out of the air. Is that your way of deciding how much money you want to earn in 2015 or do you really know why you want to earn a particular amount?  If you have not thought through carefully the amount you need or want to make, and more importantly, what it will mean for you when you make that amount, your ambition will not have sufficient substance to drive your behaviour.  And if you do not do the behaviours required to make the amount, you won’t make it.

    Also if your goals for 2015 are too narrow they will not carry you forward.

    The first step in the process of building the plan to achieve your goals is to determine what your personal goals are and why they are important to you. Take the time to look at all aspects of your life and set goals in the following areas:

    1. Social
    2. Physical
    3. Spiritual
    4. Financial
    5. Mental (educational)
    6. Professional
    7. Familial
    8. Personal

    Sometimes we get so caught up in the financial goals or targets the company we work for has either set for us or asked us to achieve (or indeed the company we own and run), that we lose focus on how these targets impact our personal lives and dreams. Your incentive to achieve the ‘what may seem unrealistic’ goals will be put into perspective when your desire to achieve them is because of what you want to do personally. So when you’re not feeling motivated or when you’ve had one too many rejections during your prospecting calls, think about what goals you’re working towards for motivation.

    How to get started with this process:

    1. Decide what you want. Spend some time really thinking about what’s important to you and why you want a particular amount of money, vacation, new home, etc.
    2. Build a plan. How are you going to achieve it? What is required to have it come to fruition? The key in this process is establishing S.M.A.R.T. goals:
    • Specific (you need to know exactly what you will achieve)
    • Measurable (you need to know when you have achieved it)
    • Attainable (or Agreed if you are setting them for someone or being set them by someone)
    • Realistic (It need to stretch you but also be possible)
    • Time-bound (You must put a specific date by which you will reach it)
    • Energising (The thought of achieving it must fill you with excitement and energy)
    • Rewarded (You should identify the reward you will give yourself when you achieve it)
    1. Break down the plan. Take that plan and organise it into monthly, weekly and daily tasks so you’ll know what’s required at all times to achieve your goals.

    Just saying in January that you have 12 months to achieve what you set out to do isn’t going to get you where you want to go. The plan has to be built so that every day, every week and every month you know what is required. I can hear the groans from some of you reading this right now, however I ask you to look back over the years and review if you achieved your goals consistently without building a plan.

    What are you waiting for? Are you prepared to make a big change in 2015?  If so, decide what you want and build a plan. And the days you get discouraged, you’ll remember why you need to do what you’re doing.

    If you need help with getting started contact your local Sandler Training office and ask for some guidance.

    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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