• Why Change?

    How serious are you about growing your business, your profits and your services? Most businesses owners say they are doing ok so why do they need to change?

    Most business owners are great at delivering products/service but as they grow and develop the business they neglect the need for new skills, creating unseen inefficiencies and ‘grow themselves cash poor’.

    Why?

    We all have four devils within us: EGO, APATHY, IGNORANCE and FEAR.  One of these four prevents them from change, therefore managers become bottlenecks within their own company.

    Example…

    Just this week I spoke to a business owner, who on the surface is doing really well – and is just about to employ his 10th sales director! Unfortunately he hasn’t made any changes to the hiring or the on-boarding process.  He has not put in any systems or processes in place to check this decision so that he doesn’t make the same mistake for the 10th time.  Why? Because he would have had to do something differently and one of his devils stopped him CHANGING.

    Another example today, the owner of a business told me he just employed three BDMs. He has no on-boarding process, no framework to coach, train and mentor new staff. This is the first time he has hired BDMs. They have been there for 2 months and all they achieved is ‘getting to know the business’. With no targets, no direction and no accountability they will burn profits and quickly impact on cash flow.

    So what’s happening?

    Both these owners have a desire for success but have not committed to CHANGE. As a business owner it is your responsibility to educate yourself and your people. Managers who don’t commit to continuous education burn profits and don’t even realise until it’s too late.

    So what is commitment?

    Commitment is taking responsibility for where you are right now, reviewing the good, bad and the ugly and doing something about it. Commitment is asking yourself “what don’t I know”, what do I need to learn?” Recognise the devils within you and ask others for help.

    What’s stopping YOU from CHANGE?

    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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  • Posturing Language

    SB_salesposture_23Over time, every successful salesperson comes to the conclusion that having the proper selling posture during the sales interview is critical. Many sales people are still struggling to understand this concept.

    When we talk about posture, we are talking about the attitude reflected in the communication of the salesperson. We know that the message we send in our communication is made up of our body language, our tonality, and our words. However, how we mix those three elements creates a particular attitude that is palpable to our receiver.

    There are three primary language postures.

    Superior: In this style, the salesperson takes the position of being superior to the prospect. The manner in which they communicate would suggest they are better than the prospect and are talking down to them. The superior posture is overly “I” focused and typically sends the message of aggressiveness. Superior posture has a low tolerance for anyone else’s opinion. Often times, they speak with a loud and overbearing in tone.

    Equal: The posture of equality is the most desirable posture for a salesperson. This style communicates confidence to the prospect. The equal posture requires the sales person to adopt an attitude of equal business stature with the prospect. The equal posture creates a respectful, yet highly assertive environment where the salesperson is in control of the selling process. The equal posture speaks clearly with authority and places a high priority on having his rights respected. All issues are addressed with confidence, including those that may be difficult and uncomfortable for the prospect.

    Inferior: Unfortunately, this is where many salespeople communicate. In this posture, the seller quickly complies control of the sales dialogue with the prospect. They send the message that the prospect has the power and the salesperson is honoured to be in their presence. Inferior posturing too easily provides the prospect a way out without addressing the difficult questions. The inferior salesperson allows themselves to be manipulated in order to avoid conflict. They take a literal interpretation of “the customer is always right.”

    Salespeople who understand their job is to go to the bank while meeting the needs of the prospect, always work from a posture of equality. This is an essential attitude to bring to our communications with prospects.

    We all develop a pattern of communication that is comfortable and becomes a habit for us. A Sandler trained salesperson understands this and recognizes how to adjust communication in the selling process to create lasting customer relationships built on an equal stature business relationship.

    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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  • Out in the Open: Avoiding Misunderstandings with a Prospect

    Out in the Open Avoiding Misunderstandings with a ProspectThe best definition of a heated political climate is the constant “clarification” of what was said yesterday, the day before, and the day before that. When what you said is not what is heard – or if what you heard was not what was said – that is “mutual mystification.”

    Actress Lily Tomlin said it best, “Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?”

    If a prospect utters something even remotely positive, do you immediately presume the sale? When you lose the sale – you even are mad at the prospect for sending the wrong signals. This is a condition termed “happy ears” and it is always fatal.

    The cure is to be sceptical, yet nurturing. Your prospect says “I like what you are saying and your product is a good fit!” You respond “I appreciate your kind words – when you say ‘good fit’ what exactly do you mean?” This is a reversing technique that will show you the difference between nice platitudes and an actual sale. Never presume that the signals are positive – always verify.

    When you find yourself lost in a sale where the prospect is saying all the right things, yet it is either too soon or too positive, you must say something.

    David Sandler said “when you feel it, say it-nurturingly!” You might say to your prospect “I get the feeling that you view my service positively, but I’m still not sure if I can help. Can we talk for a few minutes about that?” or “I’m feeling a lot of pressure right now – are you too? Can we talk about it?”

     

    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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  • Worrying Trends

    Are you out of business and you just don’t know it yet?

    Managers are the bottlenecks for growth. How many businesses do you see hit a glass ceiling or their sales start going down hill?

    In a recent report by among sales managers in sales intelligence software supplier sales-i, 34% say that their main problem is acquiring timely information to use whilst selling, whilst 17% say that visibility into activities of the sale team is their biggest daily challenge.

    So what should you be looking for? Have a look at you team and ask yourself:

    • Do your people have desire and commitment?
You may ask, what’s the difference?  “Boss I need more money, you need to give me more money/bigger territory” (That’s Desire). Someone with desire and commitment will come to you saying,  “Boss I need to make more money, how do I do that? What do I have to do different to make that possible?”
    • When you have your weekly 1 on 1’s with your sales manager and he/she debriefs you about his daily 1 on 1’s with the team, what are the biggest conceptual and technical problems and what are their plans to overcome them?
    • What is your managers plan for training and coaching your people? You did hire him/her to train, coach and develop your people didn’t you?
    • When you have your weekly pipeline meetings with your sales manager, are they at least 80% accurate in what’s going to close in the next 30 days so you can plan sufficiently?
    • When your managers have their monthly meetings with his/her people to talk about their personal goals, especially the ones not hitting their numbers, do their goals tie into their monthly company goals?
    • How many hires does the manager have in his/her funnel? Knowing 1 in 200 are A players.
    • When you harvest your data from your CRM to look at the ratio between your lag indicators and your leading indicators to activities, what is the difference between your top salespeople and your bottom ones?
    • When your lag indicators aren’t where they should be, what do you change first, the leading indicators or the activities?

    On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being high, how would you rate the culture of your business?

    For a business to continually be successful it needs a sales driven culture built around a framework for success. This includes hiring and keeping the right people. Having a growth strategy that’s stress tested and one you know the team can achieve. Clearly defined systems and processes (a road map) that everyone in the company and new to the company can follow and self-measure. And a management team that can coach, train, mentor and support their people with new skills.

    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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  • Sales Training for the Prospecting Marathon

    Prospecting MarathonWhat does a marathon runner know about making prospecting calls?

    Probably very little. Maybe nothing! However, the strategy the marathon runner uses to prepare for a race can help you become a better prospector. No runner started out as a marathon runner. They trained over time to build their strength and endurance to go the distance. The first day they couldn’t run 100 yards before gasping for breath. The first week was torture. The second week was a little better. The third week better yet, and so on. With continual practice, desire and effort, they became a marathon runner.

    Take a lesson from the marathon runner. If you are struggling with 10 or 15 prospecting calls a day, how will you ever make 30, 40 or whatever number your prospecting plan calls for? If the novice marathon runner is gasping for breath after 100 yards, how can he eventually last for two miles, eight miles, 12 miles or 26 miles? He must condition himself.

    While marathon runners may have their own trainers, you’ve got me and the rest of the folks at Sandler Training to give you a little sales training advice:

    Pace yourself, and you’ll get there.

    You may not get past six calls the first day without gasping for breath, but the next day you can do seven, the next day eight, the next day nine or 10 and continue that practice until you can go the distance.

    An average sales cycle to move a new prospect beginning from your initial introductory call to closing a sale takes an average of 12 quality touches (and that is not 12 irritating voicemail messages) over an 18 month period. That’s at least, one meaningful connection every 45 days. Remember, it’s 12 touches over 18 months on average. You can be better than average if you get better at your technique and better at your strategy. You don’t have to be a marathon prospector right away, but you better start your training program, rest up and get ready for the long road ahead. As long as you have a contact schedule and strategy in mind, you’ll see that finish line

    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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  • Trade Shows & Exhibitions: 8 more steps to closing more business

    ICSC dealmakingIt’s easy to attend exhibitions and trade shows and be uncertain if it was worth the investment. It can take a while to know if you have a long sales cycle.

    To ensure your time is well invested, make a plan to work smart in prep, on site and afterwards.

    Here are some steps you can take in advance which will make your investment in time travel, exhibit fees and other costs worthwhile.

    1) Prep your route.
    At major events, it’s worth planning where to start so you can get round the maximum number of your target companies by your priority and proximity of stand location. There’s usually a show plan on the exhibitors’ pages of the show website.

    It also makes it easier if you have a team on site to work the whole event. You won’t duplicate and will cover all your hottest prospects and priority clients.

    2) Contact your prime targets – existing clients and prospects in advance.

    Use the event organisers’ platform which will have contact info and maybe a messaging facility. Supplement it with direct mail, emails and LinkedIn messages.

    Call and get meetings in the diary for everyone on your hot list.

    Where you don’t get a meeting, plan a walk round and go onto their stand. You may get lucky. If not, then put them into your nurture campaign.

    3) Research your hot list and others you are meeting

    Prepare. If you haven’t researched your hot list, check them out properly. Are they creditworthy?

    Select the news tab on the Google search to get the latest news stories about them.

    Check them out on LinkedIn. Who can introduce you? Download a copy of our book written with LinkedIn if you don’t know how to prospect effectively using LinkedIn.

    4) Get a speaking slot.

    Most tradeshows have conferences on site. Make friends with the person responsible for filling the speaking slots and panels. It makes you an authority and will differentiate you from the competition.

    Write some blog posts before the event. Email your contact list to tell them you are speaking. Talk to the trade media and get quoted.

    Do a good job and your prospects will be standing in line to talk to you after you’ve spoken.

    5) Plan to launch your new product or service.

    Have an event to launch a new product or service. Send out invitation cards in the mail – not just email invites.

    Make an announcement. Get it covered in the show media and trade journals.

    6) Prepare your follow up before you go.

    Don’t wait to write your follow up emails and nurture campaigns. Do it before you go.

    Then you’ll be able to pop your new contacts into your system without delay.

    7) Use tech to help you

    If there’s an event app, download it before you go. You may be able to fill any time that becomes free by contacting someone on site using it.

    Transcribe the business cards you collect. Scan your business cards using your phone or tablet. Use an app like FullContact which uses humans to transcribe the cards. Check out what your CRM providers recommends as there may be an automatic sync of data.You’ll need to check them afterwards but it’s better than digital transcriotion.

    You can also get a software widget such as a zap from Zapier so they are fed directly into your CRM without you having to upload them. You can set up your follow up emails will go automatically.

    8) Never eat alone

    Make arrangements for breakfast, lunch & dinner before the event.

    Don’t waste breakfast on a team meeting. Or if you need to meet your stand team first thing, have a second breakfast – a quiet start to the day with an important contact in the dining room  of the best hotel. You can sometime have some of the best chance encounters with CEOs of major prospects as you go into breakfast.

    Use other meals for hot pre-qualified prospects, valued clients and referrals.  Can you introduce people you know who could do business?

    Can you make the referral, and connect one of your clients to another company or person they want to do business with?

    Would one of your clients introduce you to over lunch or dinner to someone they know well who you want to do business with?

    Drinks reception are also useful for making new connections. They need a different strategy.

    Find out if the VIPs attend or not and plan your strategy accordingly. Either way, never get drunk. It looks bad and affects your performance the following day.

    Arrange to connect with people on your warm list at drinks receptions. You may not meet them all – but you will have been in contact before the event and can follow up afterwards if you miss them.

    If you want more tips on trade shows & exhibitions, read the earlier blog on 9 steps to closing more business .

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies

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

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  • Having Poor Memory is Essential to Sales Success

    Poor Memory

    How’s your memory? Do you fall into the category as described the old adage, “I’d forget my head if it wasn’t connected to my body”? Are you constantly setting traps for yourself to be on time for meetings or where your car keys are placed or what’s supposed to be happening on your schedule from hour to hour?

    Based on the title of this blog post, you might think I would congratulate you and say there’s research or evidence that great salespeople fall into this category, but actually those issues are more about being forgetful, even in some cases being disrespectful. You need to fix that, and you need to be more organized, consistent and focused. There is no place in the upper echelon of sales professionals for being forgetful, being disrespectful, or being inconsiderate in your scheduling.

    However — and this is a big however — there is a huge difference between being forgetful and something I find essential for salespeople: having a ‘poor sales memory’.

    Sound contradictory? Let me explain.

    Sales memory is about how well you recall recent and historical events in your work. Salespeople live in a world of rejection. They live in a world of constant pushback, accountability and public comparison, and while that doesn’t sound like a great advertisement for a career, I’ve never seen a top level salesperson who doesn’t have the ability to erase those memories-and I mean totally remove from their memory all events that could impact their desire, self-esteem or results.

    Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Your past is not your past if it still affects your future!” Or maybe the one by Mark Twain that goes, “Your inability to forget is infinitely more destructive than your inability to remember.” As a sales professional, if you remember rejection and negative comparisons and comments from prospects, they will build a spider web in your mind that will absolutely paralyze your ability to function. Sales pros erase from their memory comments like:

    • “Your price is too high. That’s why we can’t do business.”
    • “Your product is just like everyone else’s.”
    • “We’ve got a great relationship with our current vendor. We don’t need you.”
    • “We’re not interested.”
    • “How did you get my name and why did you call me?”
    • “Oh, you’re a salesperson.”
    • “We’re going to need three bids for this product or service.”
    • “We are delaying the start of our project, therefore, we are going to need to delay the purchase of your product or service.”
    • “We like you, but we are going with another suppler.”
    • “Can you send us a proposal?”

    How many of these comments stick in your memory? How many times when you hear these comments does your mind say to you, “Oh no, here we go again”? How many times do you enter a sales conversation with a good prospect when you have low emotional energy or believability in your offering because you are sapped by recent bad memories?

    The mind is a powerful piece of equipment, and if it’s not kept clean and sharp, it will operate at much lower efficiencies, even to some point of being a total barrier to your success. Your ability to erase negative events from memory is the equivalent to a professional golfer erasing a bad round of golf and moving forward, or a striker aiming to score at a critical part of the game and yet coming back on the second half of the game and scoring a goal. You will never be effective if you don’t learn to eliminate negative events from memory.

    Good salespeople do mental exercises. They learn ways to maintain a positive psychology. Salespeople understandably work so much on technique and behaviour to install systems and processes to ensure that they are prospecting effectively, but often when I ask a salesperson what are you doing to keep yourself mentally sharp and keep the spider webs out, I hear very little that’s meaningful.

    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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  • Want Change? Put a Shark in the Tank!

    Bear with me on this as I have to explain…

    People hire me to create change, create sales growth, so I’m known as a sales turnaround specialist…

    Many people will know I’m hired when a company’s Sales Operating Model is stale and failing to deliver growth. Or when the cost of acquiring new business exceeds 10% ROI. You do measure this don’t you…?

    I typically work locally with small to medium sized businesses and occasionally enterprise sales organisations in the East Midlands.

    So why am I telling you this? Well, when I walk into an organisation, I won’t be rude but I’m not hired to make friends or pander to your sales people, I’m hired to make a difference and turn your sales opportunities into profitable business and I’m looking for a feeling, those gut feelings that help me identify what’s really going on.

    So what are the signs of a poor Sales Operating Model? There can be (not all the time) a huge amount of activity at the top of the sales pipeline, working on projects that may never close, spraying valuable information, giving away free consultancy in the hope that someone will buy from you, but in reality very little actually turns into new business.

    I see lot of unsold stock on the shelves. Often the marketing and sales department (the growth department) are under resourced and treated as a necessary evil, under funded, money is tight and the people are stretched. Other signs can be cash flow concerns and infighting between sales people and departments.

    This happens when you haven’t got a Shark in the tank!

    Here’s and example: back in the 70’s someone came up with the bright idea of catching live fish in the Pacific, putting them into a tanks and flying them across America so they could sell fresh fish to the fancy east coast restaurants and get 5-10 times the price.

    They converted planes into flying fish tanks for this purpose. However upon arrival lots of fish were found dead, floating upside down by the time they landed.

    The loss was killing the business so they consulted a marine biologist. The biologist looked at the problem and quickly said,  “That’s easy! Put a Shark in the tank. Nothing so large that it will do them harm, but large enough to put some tension in the tank.” And it worked!

    If you’re managing a Growth Department (Sales and Marketing team) you need a Shark…

    What do Sharks do?

    I believe Marketing and Sales should be as one. Marketing ideal clients but driven by a sales focus, not the typical fluffy stuff you see out there…

    Sharks have a Sales Operating Model (SOM) the rules of engagement are clearly set out, a common sales language is in place so everyone knows and understands. Sharks should make the internal sell twice as hard as the external sell, the salesperson has to demonstrate the project is profitable and feasible before the company takes on the new business. They can only do this by having a ‘cookie cutter’ – a systematic way of identifying and qualifying opportunities.

    You can’t and don’t want to do everything offered. A good sales team may present 20 projects all with varying degrees of profitability, resource and time requirements. However the organisation may only be able to resource 4 to 6 projects at a time. The organisation has to have a system to be able to weight the opportunity and one that free’s up the team to move quickly as time kills sales opportunities. The team needs to quickly identify unprofitable projects and pass these onto the competition instead.

    Good SOM’s enable the sales leaders to measure the cost of the sale at each stage of the selling process, especially when pursuing costly bid requests and adapting to changes in the market.

    Without a common language the organisation is exposed to ‘woolly’ information and undermines the whole system.

    As a sales leader your job is to make the best salespeople work on the best opportunities. If you fail to do this you will fail to generate the desired results.

    Shark’s bring clearly defined accountability that includes rewards and consequences, as salespeople easily lapse into bad habits.

    Blog written on this topic taken from this video by my mentor Marcus Cauchi and Nick Ayton.

    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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