• Traits of killer sales people

    It’s better not to hire, than to take on the costs and time required to bring someone on who can’t hunt & close the business you need. So, what are the traits of success of a salesperson with a real ‘hunter’ mentality?

    1. Strong “fire in their belly.”

    Successful hunters wake up each day rekindled with an innate natural drive to succeed. They are consistently driven by their ambition to be the best. They usually set high personal goals, have confidence in their abilities, and have a high level of energy in their daily work.

    1. Creating value and demand.

    A-player sales people understand that they are not order takers simply fulfilling demand but must create a demand for a particular product or service. They have the skills to communicate the value of their products or services and deliver solutions that will sort out the unique pain or problem of each prospect.

    1. Taking control of the sales process.

    It’s easy to get caught up in the prospect’s process and not take control of the buyer/seller dance. Taking control requires confidence, assertiveness, and an ability to influence others. Strong and effective sales people set appropriate expectations. They make sure they and the prospects agree on each step so are on the same page throughout the sales process.

    1. Taking action.This one is obvious. Do they act without needing direction? Some salespeople with apparently good track records were order takers, not business hunters. They will sit on their hands waiting for someone else to make a move or that call back.

    Successful hunters do not suffer from “analysis paralysis” or have many reasonable explanations why they don’t have enough on-target appointments, aren’t picking up the phone or going on sales calls. They set their goals and intend to achieve them. They take regular, effective, and consistent action.

    1. Taking responsibility for their results.

    Too often people make excuses like, “I was given the worst territory” or “This economy is just too tough.” But not the hunters; they attack their goal no matter the obstacles. They take responsibility for the things they can take action on.

    1. Adjusting their own behaviour & style.

    Great hunters adapt their style and understand the impact on others. They don’t just force through sales. They figure out what will grow their prospects’ trust in them, and build confidence and rapport. They never blow out deals by coming on too strong, and know how to make sure prospects don’t go quiet and hide behind voicemail.

    Self-motivated driven determined salespeople love to find new business day in and day out.

    When you interview, dig deep so you are certain they’ll be the hunters you need. Hire them and pay them properly. Manage them well.

    Apply these criteria to your existing team. How do they shape up? If you need help in assessing them, call your local Sandler Trainer who can show you an easy way to evaluate the team.

    Do not allow star players to break the rules, ignore your sales process or fail to record progress on the CRM. Reward them well – and invest in their development.

    If you need people on your sales team who truly love the hunt for new clients, it’s essential to structure your team and your recruitment process to discard the order takers or move them into an order taking job, and find and nurture the killer traits for sales success. Look for these 6 traits, and you have the basis for creating a successful sales team.

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies

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

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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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  • 7 Mistakes that Kill Sales Presentations & Free Talks

    sleep disorderBuilding a sales pipeline or broadening prospecting activity for many of us uncovers speaking opportunities in front of potential prospects. Here are 7 reasons why some SalesAmbassadors can unknowingly induce blind hatred & venom from even the gentlest, mildest mannered supporters

    Most of us use presentation time as an opportunity to impress. Once in full flight however, some people’s brains miraculously camouflage the looks of hate, sleepiness and disregard in their captives, replacing them with faces awash with wonder and awe. It can be the only explanation why the worst offenders can sleep at night.

    Here’s the 7 most hated offences voted for by over 50 clients, experienced in networking events throughout Beds, Bucks & Herts. Some are surprising:

    • The speaker doesn’t OWN the material. “These aren’t my slides but…..”.
      • True possibly but doesn’t make it right. Do what you need to and own your talk.
    • Colourless, dry, insipid, lacklustre, tedious, uninspired, vapid & wearisome.
      • Words drawn up whilst a decent pensions talk was being slaughtered. ‘Get a life!’ ‘Have more Sex!’ ‘Adopt a Canary'; but do something to invigorate yourself. Tonality and body language make up most of communication. If your soul has died, your presentation’s fried.
    • A ‘Pitch’ that’s irrelevant to me.
      • Listeners make an instant choice. ‘Are you relevant or not?’ A talk that’s self centred (clue, does it list your features & benefits?) pushes prospects away. Wrap topics into relatable, immersive, memorable stories and it will make you relevant every time.
    • ‘Time travel’, the miracle of compressing 120mins content into 15.
      • Epilepsy inducing PowerPoint is hypnotic. It’s the way Zombies are created. One or two key points offered properly gets you invited back.
    • Reading out the words on their own slides.
      • We read quicker than most people speak (hopefully). Props? Flipchart? A picture?
    • Too quiet? Too fast or eating dry biscuits?
      • Rule #1 Make sure you enunciate appropriately to everyone in the room
    • Overrunning the allotted time
      • Organisers LOVE speakers who keep to time. The only reason outside of poor preparation for over running is to massage under inflated, unappreciated egos. Unless of course the crowd is chanting for more?

    There’s more I’m sure, what are your worst experiences? Interestingly nerves and inexperience wasn’t mentioned by anyone.

    Speaking engagements are an effective way to prospect for new business. Just like a sales call, in 2016 leave ‘winging it’ for the birds as it’s the fastest way to blow all that effort and send prospects straight into the arms of your competitors.

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies has spent over 35 years in both sales and leadership environments with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, IBM and others. Observing first-hand the declining effects of traditional, much copied selling methodologies. Typically, Chris works with business leaders, partners and top producers who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money and energy to attract new clients, sell more products or services and generate more profits with integrity. Tel: 01525 280777 Mobile: 07891 055925

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  • Listen to me!

    After collecting my car from the garage after another very expensive repair I thought it may be about time I bought a car that I could trust would end the journey without the help of a low loader.

    So I went to a local dealer of quality second hand vehicles very excited about the prospect of a new toy.

    The second hand car dealer came up to me he was, smiling (great teeth), had a firm hand shake, and a hint of snake oil fragrance.

    In order to shorten the sales cycle I carefully (I thought) explained that my needs are simple, and in priority order: Automatic, Bluetooth hands free and cruise control ( I can’t afford another speeding fine). Everything else was negotiable.

    He was clearly unshaken by my simple requirements and took me over to the latest (and most expensive) car he had for sale.

    Apparently, it was a thing of beauty, shiny, a head turner, it would look great with me in it and on my drive. I suspected some of that may be correct.

    It was also manual gear change, didn’t have Bluetooth or cruise control.

    I re-explained my needs but clearly my needs didn’t match what he had, so he suggested we go out on a test drive, then I would realise ‘we should be together’ (me and the car, not snake oil boy). So I clambered into the car which exactly addressed all the needs I didn’t have.

    After an hour driving around the country side, feeling the handling, hearing the exhaust and all the other stuff the (sic) salesman thought was important, we arrived back at his premises. I’d missed a call from my wife (no Bluetooth), my dodgy hip was aching from crushing the clutch and I might have broken a speed limit or two (again).

    I didn’t buy the car (see needs above), the salesman was annoyed I’d wasted a quarter of his top selling day. But I got to have fun in a great sports car for an hour which would normally cost a lot of money.

    What happened?

    The car dealer didn’t carefully listen to the prospect, he didn’t question the prospect to confirm the impact of not having their needs met (although not being contactable by my wife did appeal to me) and he gave free consultancy on things that wasn’t needed in addition to wasting a lot of time.

    That’s a lot of bad habits. In the end he thought it was my fault. Stupid prospect.

    There were many basic Sandler rules broken here which culminated in an expensive, non-productive time for the dealer. From the prospects point of view, I learned lots of stuff I didn’t know, had some fun and a great story to tell.

    I guess you haven’t ever wasted time, chasing someone who was never a real prospect and got annoyed about not getting an order for your efforts. But, if you recognise some of this, talk to your local Sandler trainer. They’ll listen and teach you some good habits.

    I’m now going to call the garage as my car is sitting by the side of a road near here quietly steaming, just like our heroic car dealer.

    Roy Johnson

    Roy Johnson

    For twenty seven years Roy Johnson worked globally where he held leadership positions in market leading industrial automation and communications companies. Having left corporate life in 2014 he started his own sales training and management consultancy. Typically, his clients include entrepreneurs, CEOs, start-ups, Sales Directors, MDs, Senior Partners and business owners. These are often people who went into business to follow their passion with a requirement to build a client base to make it successful. They are either looking to put a sales system with coherence and clarity in place and/or take the business to the next level. Roy helps them to develop a successful sales culture so that they can make tough sales decisions based on real data rather than instinct. Mob +44 (0)7867525868 Tel +44 (0)1782 518040

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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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  • Salespeople don’t need regular training.

    Attending the BESMA awards run by the ISMM recently I was forcibly struck by a comment made by one of the successful senior salespeople attending.

    He works for a multi-billion turnover multinational manufacturing organisation. He was singing the praises of his company, in particular about their sales training. He told me that in his long decades of selling he had not been trained since he started his profession until his current company who insist on good excellent technical and sales training.

    “So what does your monthly programme look like?” I asked.  “Monthly? Monthly? I don’t want to waste my time in sales training every month!” He said. He had only been on a day or so training in the last twelve months.

    This got me thinking on two levels.

    On the first level, how many companies had he worked for? For how many years had he not had any reinforcement, refresher, sharpening, challenging, developing investment?

    From my own experience I know the answer. Big companies often hire good sales people and expect them to be and continue to be good salespeople.

    Bearing in mind they are the engine for revenue, would that same set of companies take the same view over any other delicate, mission critical tools? No upgrades. No maintenance. No sharpening and allow the cutting edges to go blunt. Would they? It would simply not make sense. And yet sales people don’t get trained regularly.

    I think I understand why. When you hire a legal person or an accounting person and once they are qualified they don’t need more professional training. You hire them and they do the job. If they don’t, you fire them.

    So why should salespeople be any different? In fact salespeople are very good at claiming at interview stage (and beyond) that they are brilliant at what they do and need no supporting net as they weave their personal magic across the high wire.

    However, accountancy is a process that does not engage on a personal level. The success of the process is not intimately linked with what is going on inside the head of the person doing it.

    Unlike sales, bookkeeping does not rely on saying or asking the right things in the right way at the right time. Sales is a whole lot more to do with the quality of the person who is doing it than the product being delivered.

    You cannot just hire a salesperson and expect them to perform.  They will get into bad habits. Being accidentally “critical parent”, demonstrating way too early, being afraid to walk away from prospects that don’t qualify. The list goes on.

    On the second level, salespeople don’t want to be trained properly. That might look ridiculous.  But they have targets to hit so time spent in the “classroom” is time wasted, commission forfeited.

    What’s more to admit that training might help suggests they are not being honest about that claim to be able to run along the high wire with no net. They are not even honest with themselves about that. They cannot be.

    If they question what they are doing, try something different, admit to their weaknesses, basically look down for a moment….they might fall off the high wire… and  remember, there is no net!

    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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  • Trade Shows & Exhibitions: 9 steps to closing more business

    ICSC dealmaking

    ICSC dealmakingSo are you selling on site, gathering or qualifying leads, qualify leads, launch a product or service, meeting or negotiating with existing customers?

    It’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 preparation, on site and afterwards.

    1. Start with your end in mind.

    This classic Stephen Covey advice is essential.

    You can’t make your clients and prospects do what you want. You can only manage your behaviour.

    So be clear on what outcomes will make it worth investing in a specific event. If you aren’t completing sales on site, measure qualification conversations, disqualifications and yeses to agreed next steps. That way, you will know what actions you need to take to get the best results.

    2. Why are you exhibiting or attending?

    Some shows, like the massive retail property events run by the International Council of Shopping Centers are deal making. Retailers, agents and shopping centre landlords have back to back meetings looking at floor plans, and agree terms for leases in new and existing malls. It’s really time effective.

    If your show is deal making style, start early. Put dedicated time into filling your diary with the clients and prospects you really want to meet.

    Track the progress on appointment making weekly – so it gets the priority it deserves.

    Make sure you get their mobile phone numbers and email addresses. Send them the meeting as an online appointment request.

    Use their mobile if they are late for your meeting. You may not get the meeting but they’ll be more inclined to try to reschedule or meet you afterwards.

    3. Get very clear on your process

    If you won’t be concluding your deals on site, be your goal to qualify and get off site meeting with the decision makers? Is it more time effective to have short initial meetings at the show?

    Is there prep you and your contact can do to make the face to face time really effective?

    Make sure you decide so you can manage where you spend your time on site and afterwards and what you will achieve.

    4. Block time out in your diary.

    Do you set aside enough time to follow up and get back up to speed when you return to the office?

    Block out time so you can follow up promptly. Allocate time for next step meetings & calls and to catch up with other work.

    If other staff will support you in the follow up, make sure they have time blocked out too.

    5. Make the date on the spot.

    Don’t say “I’ll call you next week to fix a time”. Don’t be that guy or gal swirling through your phone to look for a time that works for you to have that follow up call or meeting. Have a printed diary with you.

    If you have an online diary, print out the week at a view A5 size so you can get 4 weeks double printed on aA4 paper. Take 3 months diary so you don’t have to default to following up for a date afterwards.

    In the evening, drop an electronic diary invite to confirm the meeting or phone call. This a simple step for a slight edge in getting faster follow up and not losing momentum. Our clients tell us that more of those post event calls actually happen because it’s in their prospects diary too.

    6. Intelligence. 

    Make sure your whole team knows what info is useful to you. And how to feed it back so it’s corporate knowledge, not just in their head.

    If you can’t meet the decision maker on site, gain intelligence on their current suppliers, their cast of characters and decision making process.

    7. Find out what your competitors are up to.

    Never ever criticise them to your prospects. It’s not good business practice and if they are the incumbent supplier, you may tip your prospect into recalling all the good reasons why they work with them.

    Listen to what other people are saying about them. Visit their stands.

    Scout for potential staff – any competitors’ staff you’d like to hire?

    8.Avoid the time thieves.

    It’s easy to have interesting conversation that’s fun and absorbs a deal of time without much purpose. It’s your responsibility to manage the time and move elegantly onto the next prospect to qualify them.

    Know your process – qualify or disqualify for clear next steps. Agree next specific steps with your prospect while you are with them.

    9. Don’t pitch – be conversational

    Drop your pitch & listing the features and benefits. Develop your 30 second commercials.

    Get the prospect to decide where to take the conversation.

    Ask your local Sandler Trainer if you don’t know how. Click here to find your local office and to book into an Executive Briefing.

    Ermine Amies

    Ermine Amies

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

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  • Are you a Buzz Lightyear Manager?

    Are you a Buzz Lightyear ManagerAs Leader and Manager in your organisations, you have the toughest job. You are expected to motivate, guide and help your team(s) as well as having a deep understanding of each member’s typical behaviours, attitudes and skill sets. That’s in addition to your day job!

    For some (many) leading from the front, that also means fighting the voice in your head that may sound something like “I hired you to do the job, just do it!”, the sure fire way to torpedo your own Balance Sheet below the waterline.

    So today as you hurtle through your business ‘fixing’ things, pause for a moment and ask yourself, what does the word “Leadership” actually mean? What would be your definition? Difficult isn’t it! How about this from Peter Drucker? – “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

    When I come across a dysfunctional team (and I’ve worked within some of the worst as well as in my career creating a few of my own!), often its when an otherwise successful head of the business hasn’t acquired the understanding how to Manage their people. Or perhaps have the profile where its of no interest. ‘Inspiring’ can come naturally for some but for the employee it gets tedious watching individuals get away with poor performance just because the ‘Leader’ fails to grasp the nettle and actually ‘Manage’ their team. We can kid ourselves that a ‘Buzz Lightyear’ approach to Leadership will build a great business but it probably won’t on its own. There has to be more effort put in to ensure the good staff stay and grow alongside you.

    Here’s a quick exercise: At a basic level, you may know the four hats we must wear to be effective leaders. Score yourself out of ’10’ against each one today:-

    • Coach ______ out of 10
    • Mentor ______ out of 10
    • Trainer ______ out of 10
    • Supervisor ______ out of 10

    How did you do? 10’s across the board? Its more usual to score well on one, maybe two points but get a slightly lower score against others. Hold on a second, though, how well did you do differentiating between Coach & Mentor? That’s a tricky one for many so here’s some help:

    • Mentoring is where a manager shares wisdom(?) from their past experience. The pitfall for some perhaps is thinking they are coaching but actually under pressure they end up telling / directing based on experience or what they think was the right thing to do. You’ll know if you are doing this as you will regularly be owning all the decisions on a daily basis and take the worries home whilst paying all your staff the same wage for them not to.
    • Coaching is the behaviour & technique that takes more time and patience, helps people discover for themselves the correct outcome and has a longer lasting effect. (ahem…..may take some longer to achieve than others).

    Considering this, does it change your scoring a little? Maybe not.

    All employees have choice, they can CHOOSE to be either Productive or Non-Productive. They can also choose whether they are productive all the time or just as a ‘One-off’. Coaching is the Leader’s opportunity to help their employee’s discover the best choices to make. A Coach operates as an ‘Adult’, is non critical and nurtures their employee’s so that they make the right choices and if they elect not to, are aware of the consequences.

    So coaching requires effort, skill, takes longer to effect and requires us to hold back with the answers. Undeniably, delivers the greatest results for longer effectiveness. Its easy to see then why ‘Buzz-Lightyear’ managers miss out.

     

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies

    Chris Davies has spent over 35 years in both sales and leadership environments with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, IBM and others. Observing first-hand the declining effects of traditional, much copied selling methodologies. Typically, Chris works with business leaders, partners and top producers who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money and energy to attract new clients, sell more products or services and generate more profits with integrity. Tel: 01525 280777 Mobile: 07891 055925

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  • New Light through Old Windows: a new approach to selling…that works!

    Selling has been going on since the beginning of mankind. The challenge remains the same: how do we cost effectively and efficiently find people to buy from us and not from our competitors.

    Thus the “window” is unchanged, and to be frank it is now slightly grubby.

    The image most of us have of a sales person is someone who is pushy, does not listen, interrupts what you are doing, does not understand your business, tells you what they can do for you and so on.

    The literature does not help us either.  I put ‘Define Sales’ into Google and found this:

    “Selling focuses on the needs of the seller and the need to convert product to cash….To put it another way, it’s sales’ job to influence the customer to buy what the company has produced.”

    Whilst I can’t say I agree with this definition it does support the idea that a salesperson is selfishly motivated, potentially manipulative and only interested in money.  Furthermore, they talk a lot, mostly about themselves, or their products or services and why people should buy; they rarely listen.

    Understanding the reasons for the generally negative perception of sales is critical to understanding how to fix the problem – selling and buying has been going on for hundreds of years and both sides have long established behaviour patterns and expectations.  At Sandler we have found that these do not serve the best interests of either the buyer or the seller.  Thus the need to shine “new light” through the old window of sales; to adopt a different approach where the expectations of both sides are openly shared thus allowing a genuine exploration of whether or not the buyer has a need and the seller can best meet that need.

    STOP START
    Doing what sales people do Doing the opposite
    Selling features and benefits.  People don’t buy them. Establishing rapport and continue to build rapport and trust throughout the entire selling relationship, not just during the first five minutes
    Acting like a salesperson Behaving as an equal and being authentic
    Playing games and withholding information Adopting a direct, no-nonsense approach to selling that frames the sales meeting as a business meeting between equals, where the sales person facilitates an honest, non-manipulative exchange of information
    Relying on your presentation skills to seal the deal; you can devote a lot of time and energy to a sales meeting only to discover that the necessary interest level was never there Focusing on qualifying the prospect; do they have a compelling reason to buy which is personal to them?  Are they willing and able to spend the necessary money, time and resources to fix the problem? What is their decision making process and is it acceptable to you?
    Focusing on handling objections.  By doing so you perpetuate a system of “positive selling” in which the sales person pitches and the prospect assumes a negative role. Accepting that only the prospect can handle their own objections.  Your role is to facilitate their doing this for themselves, not trying to do it for them.

    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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  • Will you pick up the hoe and go for the no?

    I’m not green fingered by any stretch of the imagination – but I’ve been guilty in the past of trying to cultivate prospects that were in effect weeds in my veg patch.

    As opposed to wasting time thinking we can nurture these ‘wild plants’ in the hope that they flower into fabulous future clients and customers, why don’t we pull them up by the root, toss them in the recycle bin and turn our attention to crops that have a high yield potential and need our attention?

    We call this ‘going for the no’ – which is completely counter intuitive and goes against everything I’ve been taught to do historically. “Ask open ended questions; get the client to say yes, yes, yes! ……”

    It’s like forcing rhubarb – keep prospects in near darkness and force them to strain to the candlelight until they give in and grow. Unlike rhubarb which will ripen and be ready for eating, forcing prospects to do business leaves a sour taste – and even if they add to your harvest short term, it’s unlikely you’ll reap long term business.

    The thought of disqualifying prospects makes sense intellectually (i.e. wouldn’t my time be better spent growing my current clients and working with those prospects who want, need and are willing to pay for what I have to offer) – but sometimes we’re comforted emotionally by the fact that we have lots of ‘prospects’ in our pipeline. The truth of the matter is that spending time trying to force those who in reality have no need, interest or desire to work with us is like starving our entire garden of nutrients – whilst the weeds will continue to dominate, our precious prospects wither and die.

    Anyway, I’m off into the garden – anyone else picking up their hoe and clearing away those weeds and dead wood?

    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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