• Finding That Compelling Reason – Part One

    Find that compelling reason 1How do you convince someone to buy your product or service? Think about how you buy a product or service. Even the richest people in the world with “money to burn” do not buy for the sake of buying. Yes they can buy whenever or whatever they choose, however there is a reason that they buy. People love to buy, they just don’t like to be sold.

    Have you ever sat in front of a prospect and tried desperately hard to sell them something? You’ve asked lots of questions and you just know that your product or service will solve their problem but for some reason they just haven’t given you the purchase order, the credit card or even the go ahead to get started.

    If you’re like most business development people, account executives or salespeople, sometimes you just can’t figure out why a prospect doesn’t want to buy. In your eyes, they are very much in need of what you have to offer and you know that you can help them, if they’d only let you. If you haven’t stepped back from the situation and analysed why they aren’t ready to buy, then perhaps now would be a good time to do it.

    Some people like to help or I like to use the term, ‘rescue’ people when we see them struggling. Have you ever stepped back and asked yourself whether the prospect needs or wants to be rescued?

    Sometimes we try so hard to fix a problem that in the prospect’s eyes isn’t big enough, or causing them enough pain so they don’t see the need to spend the money to fix it. Only when a problem has a personal impact on the prospect will they have that compelling reason to buy, not before.

    Step back and debrief your past few sales calls and determine if you were trying to rescue or were you helping the prospect discover that compelling reason. Learn the questions that will help your prospect discover that compelling reason in Part 2.

    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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  • STOP thinking about hiring, until you’ve started thinking about firing!

    How long does the new-hire honeymoon period last for you? How long until you are starting to sweat? How long until such thoughts as ” Maybe with a little more coaching from me they will get there.”, “Perhaps some more training will help them.”, ” Would I have hired them back then if I’d known where we’d be right now?”, or “Why did I believe what they told me during the interview process?”

    Here are 5 steps to keep the pressure off of YOU, and place it back where it belongs, on the shoulders of the prospective new hire.

    1. Hire slow, fire fast. Define the “red flags” for new employee behaviours, results, and leading KPI’s for the duration of the on-boarding process.
    1. Accountability. Hold them accountable for these behavioural goals.
    1. Prior to hiring, share your specific expectations  with prospective hires, and get their agreement to the on-boarding plan and the accountability process.
    1. Always be in hiring mode. Create a prospecting plan for talent, and a company culture of always looking for talent for the “talent bank”, rather than relying on job boards and recruiters who will often send you someone else’s cast offs.
    1. Don’t hire when you “need” someone.  Think about it.  They need a job.  You need an employee. The interview consists of two needy people meeting each other. It’s a recipe for a hiring disaster.

    If you’re interested in finding out more about how Sandler can help you and your company avoid the usual employer-employee dance contact your local Sandler Training Centre 

    Nigel Dunand

    Nigel Dunand

    Nigel Dunand runs Sandler Training in the Midlands based at the Innovation Centre in Longbridge.

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  • Why Do We Accept Lies From Prospect?

    Why do we accept lies from prospectA prospect has agreed to meet with you and indicated they are genuinely interested in your product or service. You arrive at the meeting and spend 40 minutes with the prospect sharing how your product can solve their problems, which they’ve just shared with you. They are very impressed with you and all the features and benefits that you’ve shared…

    They’re happy with the delivery timelines, the after sales service that will be provided and once you send the proposal with the price they’re sure they can get the rest of the committee to agree to move forward.

    After all, you are the number one provider of the product and you are definitely on the top of their list and when they buy, you absolutely stand the best chance of getting the business.What do you think the prospect has actually told you? Let’s break the above scenario down.

    1. They’re impressed with the product’s features and benefits, but they aren’t committing to buy.
    2. Delivery timelines meet their requirements, but they won’t give you an order.
    3. After sales service is a great add-on that pleases them, but that’s not enough for them to give you the cheque.
    4. You’re on the top of their list when they’re ready to buy, they have to check with the committee, their manager or any number of others and you’re not getting the sale.
    5. You stand the best chance of getting the business, but not today.

    If the prospect says all these great things about you, your company and your product or service, why are they unwilling to take that next step and buy from you? This may be a little harsh and you may not like it – prospects are liars. I know you’re saying, “this isn’t so”, however, put yourself in the shoes of the prospect and ask yourself if you’d do the same thing.

    Now as a great salesperson, you’re going to tell me that prospects just don’t have all the information they need to make the decision or they aren’t the final decision maker so you can understand why they’d tell a “little white lie”. Also, they don’t want you to know that they can’t make the decision.

    We would rather accept one of these “little white lies” than hear the prospect tell us the truth. If the prospect likes our company and our product as much as they’ve indicated, they will eventually buy from us. Count the number of proposals or quotes that you had outstanding in 2010 versus the number that you actually closed. Some of you might be surprised as to the results.

    How can we get around these challenges? The following are a few suggestions to solve the problem:

    1. Start by qualifying better prior to the meeting.
    2. Dig deeper to find that compelling reason why the prospect would need your product or service.
    3. Find out how it’s impacting the prospect, their department and their company.
    4. Have the two of you discovered there is a fit between the prospect’s issues and your solutions?
    5. Ask some questions about how decisions get made at the company.
    6. Use a scenario of “let’s pretend we decide it makes sense to do business; how would that happen, are there others involved in the decision, is there money available and where would it come from?”
    7. Setting an agenda for what you want to accomplish in the time you’ve allocated to meet and most importantly – committing to an outcome at the end of this time.

    Planting your feet and setting the ground rules about what is going to happen when you are face-to-face with a prospect will eliminate the opportunity for prospect’s to lie to us. Are you ready to take the challenge and “plant your feet” or are you content hearing the lies your prospects tell you?

    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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  • Are You Prospecting from a Feast or a Famine?

    We regularly hear from business owners and sales professionals “we haven’t got time for prospecting, we’re too busy delivering work to current clients” only to be followed a few months later with “we’re prospecting like mad at the minute because we’ve got nothing on right now”.

    Call it feast or famine … boom or bust … all or nothing. For some reason people attribute prospecting to the times when they’re desperately searching for business instead of doing it from a position of strength when they’re really busy.

    When you’re in need of the business you’re much more likely to visit a non-qualified prospect who’s shown a little interest or curiosity in your product/service. Only to find they haven’t got a budget. Or worse still, they just wanted to know your prices to beat down their current provider.

    As a direct result of prospecting when you’re not busy your diary fills up with appointments of non-qualified prospects who you wouldn’t normally even approach. You then end up ‘winning’ business that isn’t profitable. You then need to find even more business. Meaning you’re more desperate. Meaning you’ll see more non-qualified prospects with less money in their budget, resulting in … you guessed it … more non-profitable work you don’t really want!

    Imagine if you’d been prospecting when you were really busy. What’s your mind-set likely to be? Probably something like “I’m financially independent and don’t NEED this business”.

    When you’re not desperate you’re much more likely to question why your prospect is so keen to see you. Do they actually have a problem that needs solving? Have they got a budget to fix the problem? Are they able to make a decision based on what you show them?

    Buyers can smell desperation from a mile away.

    Successful sales professionals realise that the best time to do your prospecting is when you’re really busy delivering work.

    But most importantly they ask themselves “does this prospect DESERVE to be our client?”. And if they don’t, then they don’t. Shake hands and leave on good terms, instead of leaving with a deal you don’t even want!

    Andrew Pickersgill

    Andrew Pickersgill

    Andrew is Managing Director for Sandler Training North East. A business development and sales coach with over 20 year’s practical experience giving advice to ambitious companies and individuals. Primarily Andrew has operated with owner-managed businesses who want to accelerate the growth of their business, or simply improve the results of their sales team. After a career selling everything from technology, financial services, logistics, recruitment and coaching Andrew is perfectly placed to help with your sales needs. Andrew is passionate about changing your attitudes to selling, allowing you to understand that a ‘no’ can be a good thing. He also plays an active role in increasing the employability of 16-24 year olds, attending a reception dinner at the House of Lords as recognition of his on-going work in this area.

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  • Maintaining Sales Motivation: Why Do You Work?

    Why? Why do we get up every day and go to work?

    Because that’s what is expected: Really? In most companies, the last time you saw your job description was the day you interviewed and you don’t know what is really expected, do you?

    Because employees depend on us: Really? Management books say a great manager implements systems that will operate well when management is not there.

    Really it’s because Mum or Dad said so!

    Accountability is imprinted into our brains early in life. “Clean your room,” “Finish your homework,” and “Be home by 10″ are all part of our basic wiring. In secondary school, if you didn’t show up with your homework, you were publicly humiliated and punished with detention. Sounds bad, right? Actually, it works. We did the work because we run from pain before we run towards pleasure. Ever get that sickened feeling in your stomach before a big test? Well, that shouldn’t disappear entirely after school. What is that, exactly? Self-accountability.

    How are you accountable? You need to do 10 cold calls, get five referrals, and schedule two appointments daily. Who knows you didn’t do this? Only you and you can lie to yourself to justify your behaviours all day (the lawn really looked like it needed mowing and that two-hour lunch with a great client were to ensure the renewal next year!).

    Do the right things to be accountable:

    1. Have an accountability partner or coach- I call mine every day at 6 pm (yes). This person should not be your spouse or significant other.
    2. Keep a journal and do a debrief to yourself in writing every day.Rate everything with the standard “should you have been doing this activity at the time you were doing it?”
    3. Have clear behaviour goals in mind and know every day what you will accomplish!Who are your top 20 targets?
    4. Know why you are working- have a dream board near you during work hours. Want a Jeep? Have a picture nearby. Travel? Have a picture. Jewellery? Have a picture. House, wealth, etc? Have a picture. No college debt for your kids? School pictures work great. Make that dream or goal of yours ever-present and as tangible as possible, and you’ll have no problem staying on track.
    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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  • You Can’t Manage Time

    Can't Manage TimeSo much has been written in various sales training blogs about time management that you hardly have the time to read about it. There are numerous time management programs, processes, and tools, and even with all this help, you still can’t manage time no matter how hard you try.

    There are 24 hours in a day, 86,400 seconds ticking away second by second as you read this. You can’t save these seconds or store them up; when they are gone, they are gone! Never to be recovered. Never to be recycled and reused, and although you can’t manage time, you can manage your activities-what you do in the time that you have and that will be your most effective tool for getting the most out of your time. To be a really good time manager, you simply need a process to successfully manage your activities and to manage your activities, you only need to know two things:

    • What to do first.
    • What to do next.

    Step 1: To identify what to do, take a piece of paper and create a three column daily or weekly to do list. Label one column “Must Do,” the next column “Should Do,” and the third column “Stop Do.”

    Step 2: In the “Must Do” column, list all of the things that are imperative to accomplish, things that must be completed, things that are directly tied to your goals and responsibilities.

    Step 3: Review the “Must Do” list; prioritize the items in terms of importance and difficulty. It is imperative to do the most difficult first.

    Step 4: Next, plan carefully and assign each item an amount of time for completion.

    Step 5: In the “Should Do” column, list all of the things that you would like to do because they are important, although not essential.

    Step 6: In the “Stop Do” column, list those items which tend to use/kill time that are not productive. The “Stop Do” list is a daily and weekly reminder of things you should stop doing that are getting in your way. There should always be items on the “Stop Do” list.

    So start with the “Must Do” list and begin with the highest priority and most difficult item, or the item you least like to do, and do it NOW! Today, without exception. When the time for that activity is up, STOP! And move on to the next activity. If you continue to work beyond the predetermined time limit, you are stealing valuable time away from the next important “Must Do” task. If that project suffers because of insufficient time, you will soon be in debt to countless hours of time that will never come. When you complete the “Must Do” items, you can move on to the “Should Do” items, but not until the “Must Do” items are complete.

    As time goes on, some of the things on past “Should Do” lists will transfer to the “Must Do” list, but you will evaluate them and move them, not chance or pressure or unorganized time.

    Most people have trouble getting the most out of their time because not only do they not prioritize their “Must Do” and “Should Do” lists, but they actually have too many things on their list to begin with that are neither “should do” or ‘must do”… maybe the Stop Do will be as important for you as the Must Do!

    Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Finish each day and be done with it-tomorrow is a new day!”

    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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  • Why I don’t like you

    Have you ever wondered why some people you just click with and others, well, you simply don’t? Some folk appear warm and some just rub you up the wrong way?

    I was coming home from a networking meeting the other day and pondered on these very thoughts. It was the first meeting after the Christmas break and people were in high spirits and catching up with each other and so the buzz was good.

    Whilst I chatted to people, acquaintances, collaborators and those that wanted to speak to me undoubtedly there were some folk in the room that took an exception to me, judged me one way or another or had already formed an opinion about me previously or indeed me to them. But here’s the thing: In that room everyone was trying their best to make everyone like them… or were they?

    The unwritten rules of segregation (as I like to call them)  undoubtedly differ depending on the occasion and are unique to each person. Equally the rules of connection are not necessarily equal and opposite to the rules of segregation ( sorry Einstein).

    I find these rules fascinating. For instance Norwich football club supporters find unity and solidarity in there support for the team however they may not speak to each other because of a personal moral or political standpoint.

    Thinking about Networking, everybody is there to meet people and talk to them. To be able to do this they need to create a first impression and as a result of that  impression there’s 4 outcomes that may follow:

    1. I like you and I want to talk to you further
    2. I like you but I don’t want to talk further, not now at least
    3. I don’t like you but I need to talk to you
    4. I don’t like you and I neither want or need to talk to you.

    So how do you come to your conclusion? What are the rules that you apply to decide whether you put this person in bracket 1 0r 2, or 3 or 4?

    I bet it’s not what Football team they support and I bet in 9 times out of 10 cases you know nothing about their political or moral view points so why would some make it to #1 and some to #4?

    The thing is your Mr or Mrs #4 is someone else’s #1 for reasons only known to them because their rules are different to yours.

    So what about me? Some of the things I look for to open a possible connection (in a networking context) are self belief, honesty ( I can smell a rat), humbleness, someone who perhaps can make me laugh or laugh at themselves, a smiler are a few things. There’s 100′s I’m sure.

    Things I don’t like are cockiness, boastfulness – sharing achievements is one thing but boasting is another, self involvement, self righteousness are a few, arguably these and some of the above are character traits but I don’t believe that character traits are wholly what I’m talking about in this post.

    What about you ? What are your rules of segregation or connection? What makes you put someone into category 1 or category 4?

    Lisette Howlett

    For twenty years Lisette Howlett lived and worked in Europe, Asia and the USA where she held senior positions running global programmes in some of the world’s leading companies. Since leaving corporate life Lisette has been successfully running her own consultancy for 8 years. Typically her sales training clients include entrepreneurs, CEOs, start-ups, Sales Directors, MDs, Senior Partners and business owners – often these are people who don’t consider themselves as traditional sales people but are committed to growing their businesses and thus recognise the need to sell more effectively and more authentically. Visit her Huffington Post Blog Tel: 020 7484 5556

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  • There’s no summer slumber people will still spend money

    Summer SlumberWe are right in the middle of summer, and I love the summer. And in the midst of this nice warm weather, it may be strange to say that I also love the winter but I do.

    That’s when the business world almost uniformly decides to go into a slumber because they believe buying slows down. That’s called a self-limiting belief. That’s when I’m at my best because this is what I have found people actually still have money and are willing to spend it if you’re good enough to find their pain.

    You see, businesses today are not spending money on pleasure and fluff. They are, however, willing to spend money at any time of the year on things they need or that are going to save them money, avoid a cost or help them increase their revenue. You have to get really good, really fast at learning how to find pain, and you need to work on having patience so you do not pull the trigger too soon, but learn how to develop the pain and find the emotional connections that will make your prospects spend their money.

    Owners, quit taking excuses that people don’t have money because they do for the things they want and the things they need to solve problems.

    Good salespeople don’t even know there is a recession because they are good at finding the pain.

    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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