Thu, 08/25/2016

Sales is the department that drives all the others. Without revenue, there is nothing to ship, install or invoice. So why is it that this important department often is the last one to be systematized? 

Can you imagine your accounting department not having systems for paying employees, vendors and the government? 

Or, how about a manufacturer lacking a repeatable process for producing high-quality products? There are several reasons for lack of systems and processes, but here are a few common ones (and excuses.)

#1: I hired veteran salespeople. Translation: Your sales department looks like the Wild West with everyone running their own ranches. Sadly, most of the methodology is outdated because business has changed dramatically in the last five years. Without a sales playbook, it also takes longer to onboard new hires because, well, which playbook should you teach them? Betty’s, Bob’s or Joe’s? 

#2: Delayed gratification. This is the ability to put in the work to achieve the reward. In this case, work is needed to document your selling stages, scripts, frequently asked questions, competitor information, product knowledge -- and the list goes on. In smaller companies, this job often falls on sales managers to lead this project. Guess what: They like closing deals, not documenting how they close them.

#3: Inability to transfer knowledge. For many sales managers, the biggest challenge is transferring the knowledge that made them successful. They are unconsciously competent, often not knowing just how they do what they do. 

So what can and should you do?

Documenting your sales organizations sales approach can seem overwhelming. Take the savvy advice about eating an elephant – do so one bite at a time. Based on your time and talent, you might consider hiring outside help to do this important job.

Let’s look at three areas for getting started. There are many more.

#1: Hiring process. Work on this process first because if you don’t hire well, you will need to learn how to fire well.

Create a customized hiring manual filled with 20 to 40 great questions that test the key competencies identified for success at your company. Get clear on your go/no go questions (your non-negotiables) that help disqualify candidates early in the process. 

#2: Business development. There’s a lot to document at this selling stage. Start with your value propositions. Without these, salespeople can’t start a sales conversation. Create customized value propositions designed for the specific industry and the buying influencer, i.e., the CFO in healthcare.  

#3: Sales meeting. Document the key questions your sales team should be asking and will be asked by prospects. And I am not talking about a product dump. Questions such as, “What are the changing demands from your customers? What are you doing to keep up with those demands?”

Include the responses because if your salespeople knew what to say, they would! If you are up against a tough incumbent, design questions that expose competitor gaps without mentioning the competition. 

If you’re serious about scaling your sales organization and revenues, get serious about systematizing your sales department.

Good Selling!

 

tags: Sales Speaker, sales, sales management, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales training, Colorado Sales Training
Fri, 08/19/2016

The alarm goes off, you roll over, hit the snooze button and drift off for 15 more minutes. Once you get up, you immediately check your smartphone because it’s been eight hours since you’ve fed your technology addiction. 

So your day starts in a stressful, nonproductive manner thanks to the incoming email messages and because you’re running late. And how you start is how you will finish: stressed, tired and less than productive.   

THERE’S A BETTER WAY

Study the habits of highly successful people –- such as Tony Robbins, world-renowned life coach; mega publisher Jack Canfield; and Phil Jackson, coach of multiple NBA champions -- and you will find an entirely different morning. Some suggestions:

#1:       Carve out quiet time to reflect on how you are going to show up today. Successful people are proactive in deciding how to respond to the challenges of the day. Mental preparation helps them show up like the person they want to be rather than a moody, temperamental human being. 

#2:       Exercise. Health is wealth and successful people schedule time to protect this piece of wealth. If you are low on energy, there’s a good chance it’s because you are carrying 20 extra pounds that stress your joints and heart. 

#3:       Gratitude. In the business of sales and sales management, it’s easy to give into the stress of hitting numbers and keeping clients happy. Successful salespeople manage this stress by focusing on the positive. They know you can’t be grateful and anxious at the same time. 

#4:       Positive affirmations. Successful people understand the power of neuroplasticity and recognize you can change the wiring in your brain. It’s called Hebb’s Law. Cells that fire together, wire together. Affirmations may include, “I’m great in negotiations. I am the best at defusing upset clients. I am a game-changer for my clients and that’s why everyone buys from me.” 

Start your day with these success habits and your work week will be more enjoyable and profitable. Stop hitting the snooze button and get up. Avoid checking your smartphone and instead, check in with yourself first thing in the morning.

How you start the day predicts how it will progress and how you finish it.

Good Selling!

 

tags: Sales Speaker, Denver Sales Speaker, colleen stanley, sales, sales management, Emotional Intelligence, Colorado Sales Training
Thu, 08/11/2016

More than one salesperson has been derailed during a sales call when the prospect brings up an objection. There’s a variety of objections, such as, “I think we can do this in-house,” “We need to put this off for a couple of months” or “Why is your company  so much higher than your competitor?” 

Objections often send salespeople into fight-or-flight mode and the result isn’t pretty. Salespeople start overselling, defending and justifying, or discounting in an attempt to keep the prospect’s interest. A salesperson’s inability to handle objections costs companies thousands of dollars each year. 

So what can you do?

Teach your sales team to bring up the objections!

Sales and objections are predictable. Conduct a whiteboarding session with your sales team.  Ask them to write down all the objections they hear from prospects and clients. (I promise that your sales team will be able to fill a whiteboard with objections.)

Now, ask your team this powerful question: When would you like to know about these objections? Overwhelmingly, they want to know sooner rather than later. So this is where your teaching begins. 

Salespeople often are reluctant to bring up the objection. They mistakenly think they will plant a seed of doubt in the prospect’s mind. Well, your prospect already has thought of several reasons not to do business with you, many of which are based on false data or a previous experience with another  vendor. 

Salespeople that bring up the objections create truth-telling and high-credibility sales conversations.

They don’t look like they are trying to hide anything. By bringing up the objections, the salesperson has an opportunity to figure out the real reason behind the objection. 

Effective and emotionally intelligent salespeople avoid being put into a fight-or-flight position. They bring up the obvious objection, which might sound like this: “Carolyn, many times when I meet with business owners like yourself, the real question to be addressed is, ‘Can we do this ourselves? Do we really need to outsource?’ Why don’t we look at both the pros and cons of outsourcing and at the end of our conversation, you and I should have a good idea of the best direction to take.” This becomes a partner conversation, not a desperate, I-need-to-hit-my-quota conversation. 

Stop avoiding the obvious and predictable objections during a sales meeting. Bring up the objection. By doing so, you will look like the professional you are.

Good Selling!

tags: Sales Speaker, Speaker, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales management, Colorado Sales Training
Thu, 08/4/2016

We are running into some of the same selling challenges we did 25 years ago, despite the explosion of technology and information. Knowledge isn’t the issue; application of knowledge is. 

For example, how many of you have observed a salesperson move into a product dump, even though he knows that he should be asking questions -- not presenting solutions? Or the salesperson that discounts early and often, even though she just attended a negotiation-skills training course. 

The problem is that most sales managers and CEOs are focused on the wrong end of the problem. When a salesperson isn’t hitting quota, their boss focuses on teaching and coaching more hard selling skills. Those are important. But in many selling situations, emotions start running the meeting, which affects the salesperson’s ability to execute the hard selling skills.   

Let’s look at a couple of hypothetical situations.

A salesperson is meeting with a challenging prospect or customer whose behavior triggers an emotional response in the salesperson -- a fight-or-flight response. The salesperson gets defensive or sets out to prove the prospect is wrong. A flight response results in the salesperson simply shutting down, and nothing intelligent can enter their brain. 

In both cases, all those good selling skills taught and coached by the sales manager went out the window. Emotions, rather than effective selling and communication skills, ran the sales meeting.

The second scenario is little different. The salesperson meets with a positive, warm prospect that says all the right things. “This looks really interesting. We need to do something. We are always looking to improve.”

The salesperson gets excited and starts buying the buying signals, tossing the sales playbook out the window. The salesperson skips over all the qualifying questions and selling stages. She offers to write a proposal because she’s “got one.”

When she returns to present her solutions, she hears excuses from her positive prospect such as, “The timing isn’t right” or “I need to run this up the ladder” or “This is more expensive than I thought.” Chalk up another practice proposal to emotions, rather than effective selling and communication skills, running the meeting.

So what can you do? 

Teach your team members self-awareness. When they start responding either positively or negatively to a prospect, have them take a deep breath and ask one of two questions: 

  • Negative prospect – “What else could be true? What else is going on here?” By asking the question, you change the story, which changes the salesperson’s emotional state. The salesperson moves from getting defensive to getting curious.
  • Positive prospect – “Am I hearing information or evidence?” Where is the proof that this prospect is really committed to eliminating a problem or achieving a goal? This helps the salesperson get back on track to ask the qualifying questions.

In the words of the late John Wooden, the famed UCLA men’s basketball coach: “Manage your emotions or they will manage you.” 

Good Selling!

Join SalesLeadership on September 15 & 16 for our Ei Selling® Boot Camp!

tags: Sales Speaking, Speaker, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales, sales management, sales training, denver sales training
Fri, 07/29/2016

For sales professionals, fewer things are more frustrating than spending time and effort on a prospect who is never going to become a client. On the flipside, when you connect with a prospect that’s “qualified” to work with you, it can become a very rewarding professional relationship and boost your sales quotas.

What exactly makes a client “qualified” to work with you? To answer that question, think about some of your favorite clients and analyze your relationships with them. You’ll probably see commonalities amongst your best clients – the kind of clients you wished you encountered all the time.

For example, do they share similar demographics such as revenues, locations, and business practices? How about the psychographics? Do they value their employees? Do they treat their suppliers like partners, not just vendors? Are they committed to creating win-win relationships? If you see patterns emerge, it’s not a coincidence. These are the qualities of your ideal prospects, the ones you should be spending more of your efforts on regularly.

Apply the emotional intelligence skill of reality testing and start disqualifying opportunities that don’t match the above criteria. Then focus on fostering relationships with your ideal client profile. The reality is that you win more business with prospects that fit your ideal client profile. Stop wasting time with prospects that are never going to buy.

It pays to know which characteristics make potential prospects most qualified to work you and to seek out individuals and businesses that fit those profiles. So if you want to succeed, we suggest you slow down, take a deep look at your client base and analyze what makes these clients uniquely and genuinely qualified to work with you. Stop putting effort into dead-end situations and shift your focus to prospects that are qualified to work with you. As the old saying goes, fish where the fish are. It will improve your sales.

Good Selling!

tags: Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales training, Sales Speaking, Denver Sales Speaker, sales management training
Fri, 07/22/2016

 

A participant at a recent sales conference said to me, “I think we are making this sales thing way too complicated. If we practice the Golden Rule every day with every sale conversation, close ratios will increase.” 

That person is correct. The Golden Rule has been touted in personal development and religions for years. 

The Golden Rule says to treat others the way you’d want to be treated.

Yes, a powerful selling skill indeed. For example:

#1: Preparation -- Has a poorly prepared salesperson called on you? She didn’t take 15 minutes to look at your LinkedIn profile to see if there were common relationships or connections. No time was invested on the website reading blogs or recent awards, which are key ways to create commonality and likability.

Golden Rule salespeople apply their delayed-gratification skills and put in the work to run an effective meeting for both parties. They don’t to waste their time or the prospect’s time.

#2: Desperation-- There is nothing worse than running a sales meeting with salespeople that have  desperation breath caused by empty sales pipelines. They force conversation, ask leading questions and use outdated closing techniques because they have an unmet quota hanging over their head.

The root cause for desperation breath is an empty sales pipeline.

Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. Your empty sales pipeline is not this prospect’s problem. Show up at every appointment as if you already have exceeded your quota. This mindset creates an environment for curiosity, patience and sincere desire to see if your product can provide value. If your product or service isn’t the right fit, be honest and direct your prospect to other resources. 

#3:  Gratitude.  I am still amazed at how many salespeople will not take five minutes to write, not email, a thank-you note. Really? Come on; this prospect is giving you her business, and you can’t take the time to acknowledge how much you appreciate this new opportunity?

Golden Rule salespeople are self-aware and aware of others. And they know that a good old-fashioned thank-you note goes a long way in a world where the personal touch is disappearing.

Think about and practice the Golden Rule every day. It just might be the most important selling skill you master.

Good Selling!

tags: Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, sales, sales management, sales training, Denver Sales, Sales training colorado
Fri, 07/15/2016

Marketing departments invest thousands of dollars in client acquisition, teaching tactics and strategies to initiate first sales conversations. Inside sales department members are hired and trained to qualify prospects, then hand them over to the account executive team. More money is spent to train members of both teams about how to close business at the right margins.

Congratulations. You’re bringing new clients in the front door. But the problem is that just as many clients are going out the back door. The result is stagnant or declining sales due to your company’s reputation on the street.

There are several reasons for clients dropping your product or services. Here’s the biggest one I’ve observed in my work with clients:

There’s no on-boarding process for new clients.

Sales organizations know the importance of creating an on-boarding process for new hires, one that ensures success and helps the new salesperson feel a part of their new sales family. Apply this same logic to your new clients.

In most organizations, after the sale is completed,  another department will work with your new client to install or launch the new service. This handoff to the other department is average at best. The sale is made and then the client is told, “Thank you so much for your business. You will be working with Marcia, our sales engineer. She will be reaching out to you to set up a time to connect regarding next steps. Thank you for your business.”  And goodbye.    

Apply your empathy skills and step into your client’s shoes.

What are they thinking or feeling? I’ll guarantee you they are starting to wonder about their buying decision. They have questions such as:

  • Who is Marcia?
  • Is she competent?
  • Will I ever talk to you, Mr. Salesperson, again?

Avoid the pull of instant gratification; set up a formal handoff with the person that will be servicing your new  account. I suggest a video call, as there is still nothing that replaces human interaction, actually seeing and meeting your new contact. Set clear expectations, including answering those questions, for that handoff meeting.

  • Who is Marcia? – Tell your client that Marcia is a rock star! Remember, they purchased from you. They don’t want to think they are being handed off to the “B” team.
  • Is she competent? – Oh yes! Let your client know Marcia’s credentials and expertise. Tell them that one of the reasons Marcia will be taking care of their account is to make sure they have an expert working with them to ensure installation success and great service after the sale.
  • Will I ever talk to you, Mr. Salesperson, again? This varies by organization. Set the expectation that you will reach out two to three times within the next six months to make sure everything is going as expected. After two to three touchpoints, your client will be in love with Marcia and comfortable with the new relationship.

Stop whining that you don’t have time. I guarantee you such phone conversations and email contact  take about 30 minutes. Not a big investment to keep a happy client that will repeat business and refer business.

   Stop the revolving door of clients and focus on the back end of the sale as much as the front end.

Good Selling!

 

tags: denver sales training, sales training, colorador sales training, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales management
Fri, 07/8/2016

Empathy, by definition, is the ability to understand or share the feelings of another person. In terms of Emotional Intelligence and sales, empathy is the ability to “walk in a client’s shoes” and is a vital skill set. It has huge influence in your sales transactions and conversations.

Psychologists debate whether empathy is simply innate or can be nurtured. We, at SalesLeadership, think there’s some component to both of those elements but that doesn’t mean that you cannot strengthen and improve your ability to empathize, especially using it as an Emotional Intelligence skill. In fact, we know and believe many of us can and do.

Empathy isn’t just a soft and touchy feely skill. Top sales producers are often the best at utilizing empathy in their customer connections and prospect conversations.  Here are a few of the benefits to building this critical Ei skill.

Empathy can build rapport, trust and validation.  Imagine that you are meeting with a new prospect, an inherited prospect or a prospect that might appear to have reservations or concerns. Showing empathy by listening, acknowledging what he or she shared, and relating to the person can put the client back at ease and help to build trust. It helps to hear from others that we are not alone in our challenges. Empathy allows you and the customer to air out concerns and potential road blockers to sales.

Empathy allows you the ability to address a client’s fears and concerns. More than likely, your client will be walking into your sales meeting with fears or concerns already in the back of his or her mind.  Rather than avoiding the topics, it can be beneficial for both of you to discuss them openly. Do not underestimate the value of acknowledging another’s concerns. This can make a huge impact, not just on the current sales transaction but in keeping the sales relationship thriving long term.

Being empathetic allows you to acknowledge that you have heard the other person correctly. Here’s one secret to building stronger professional sales relationships that can boost your rapport and numbers: Acknowledgment. Have you ever had someone repeat back to you what they thought you said? Did it always come out correctly the first time? If not, did it help you to get it right the second or subsequent times? Chances are it probably did. Acknowledging and mirroring back to the other person will get you both on the same page and can clarify information. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Empathy can elevate trust, build rapport and validation, and help both you and your client to meet goals. Sales professionals that are willing to continue to grow, listen and sharpen their empathy skills often see a payoff. We recommend it.

Good selling!

 

tags: Denver Sales Management, sales training Denver, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales training, sales management
Fri, 07/1/2016

We’re half-way through the year and sales managers are either smiling or singing the blues when looking at sales numbers. If your team isn’t hitting quota, it’s time to apply the EQ skill of delayed gratification and look for the root cause for missed sales goals. 

It is easy to get caught up in the sales gerbil wheel of sales management and continue to repeat the same mistakes. Get off the treadmill and figure out where you need to focus your coaching efforts for the second half of the year.

  1.  Win-loss analysis. Look at where you are winning business and losing business. Your team might be working very hard writing recommendations for prospects---that are never going to buy. They simply don’t match your ideal client profile.  If you sell on value, stop calling on cheap prospects. 
  2. Sales activity.  Is your sales team doing enough activity and the right activities? Study the findings from your win-loss analysis.  Where are your best leads coming from?  Your worse leads? Stop, study and start doing more of what works. Yes, it can be that simple. 
  3. Sales skills.  Okay, your sales team is doing the right activity and calling on the right prospects. The reality is they just aren’t very good at holding effective sales conversations.  Invest more time in role plays and coaching.  Perfect practice makes perfect. 
  4. Time management. The best salespeople recognize that time is a finite asset.  And they are good at organizing their calendars and life. Often, a salesperson isn’t accomplishing as much as needed during the week because he or she wastes one or two hours per day. That adds up to 10 hours lost each week and 40 hours each month. Teach your sales team the basic principles of productivity.
  5. You.  How much time are you investing in training and developing your team?  As a sales manager, it’s easy to get pulled into multiple directions, many that don’t support your main role of developing your salespeople.  Apply the EQ skill of reality testing.  Does your calendar reflect training and development as your main priority?    

It’s half-way through the year and more than one team has pulled out the game in the second half. You don’t want to be in the position of relying on a Hail Mary pass in the fourth quarter to pull you out your numbers for the year.  Stop, study and start doing more of what works! 

Good Selling!

tags: Colorado Sales Training, Colorado Sales, Denver sales trainer, Emotional Intelligence, Denver sales training programs, Denver Sales Management, consultative sales training, increased sales
Fri, 06/24/2016

I grew up in a family with eight kids. More than once, our parents would shout up the stairs, “Get to bed and get some sleep.” Once again, I am learning that my parents were correct. 

Arianna Huffington, author of “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time,” is on a mission to change the world. I heard her speak at the Sales Machine conference in New York. She shared a sad but true statement: “Human beings are more concerned about making sure our cellphone batteries are charged than keeping our bodies charged!”

Many people are physically at work, but not mentally sharp or focused because of lack of sleep. An Australian study found that being awake more than 17 hours can cause cognitive impairment equal to having a blood alcohol level of .1 percent -- that means being legally drunk. (No wonder we’re not hitting sales quotas!)

Sales is a competitive business and requires energy, creativity and critical thinking skills in each conversation. 

If a salesperson isn’t getting enough sleep, it’s easy to fall into the trap of working harder---not smarter.

So what can you do?

  1. Say “good night” to your technology. Leave your computer and smartphones in your office. Research shows that artificial light from our gadgets activates our brains and interferes with melatonin production, which plays a key role in our sleep cycles. Look around your bedroom. It probably resembles an airport, not a bedroom, with all that technology dinging and blinging.
  2. Pre-sleep planning. Great salespeople engage in pre-call planning, so apply those same skills to your sleeping habits. Figure out a routine that relaxes your mind. Stop trying to get by on five or six hours of sleep, and make a plan that ensures you get the necessary seven to eight hours.

Mark Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO, has put his money where his mouth is. He started a program last year to encourage Aetna employees to get more sleep. The company provided Fitbit fitness trackers to them. When employees proved they got  20 consecutive nights of sleep of seven hours or more, Aetna rewarded them $25 a night, up to $500 a year.

Is it paying off? Bertolini said employees have become a little more than one hour more productive each month. That math works when you have more than 47,000 people working for you. 

Go to bed and increase your energy and revenues!

tags: Denver, Denver Sales Management, sales training Denver, Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales training, sales management, colleen stanley, Colorado Sales Training
Thu, 06/16/2016

Most people who work in sales have heard of the term, “ABC, Always Be Closing” before, but here’s another spin. How about “ABC” as in “Always Be Connecting” to your customers as you reach to meet your sales goals?

Connecting to customers is part of the Emotional Intelligence curriculum and the beauty of using Ei is that it takes you and your client out of the fight or flight mode. This benefits everyone in the process.

What does it look like to “connect with your client?” It means being willing to be patient, to listen to your clients, to ask them pertinent questions, and to not react with knee-jerk solutions. It translates into recognizing the role of your own emotions and your client’s emotions and concerns during your sales conversations or transactions.  It helps you to become empathetic to your client’s concerns and points of view while you work together for better, stronger, and solid outcomes.  

Yes, it can take practice, but the investment is well worth it.

Ei skills are available to everyone who is willing to take the time to learn them and practice them, and for sales professionals who are willing to embrace them, they can make a big difference, from boosting your own individual sales potential and your company’s revenues, to making the sales process itself more effective and enjoyable. In our book, “Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success” and in our classes with clients we call this aptitude for connecting the “return on emotions.” Studies across the country have shown its effectiveness in transforming and energizing sales organizations and their revenues.

So instead of focusing only on the “ABC, close,” remember to also think about your “ABC, connections” to your customers. Remember that’s not just about selling a product or service; you’re always selling to a person. There’s a wonderful symmetry that happens when you build solid connections. By focusing on connections more, it’s also highly likely more closes will follow.

Improve your sales closing ratio by not forgetting the other “ABC – Always Be Connecting.” Before you pick up the phone or meet a client, be willing to use Ei skills to connect with your client during the whole process.

Good selling!

tags: Denver Sales Management, Denver, Colorado Sales Training, Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales management, colleen stanley
Thu, 06/9/2016

Emotionally intelligent sales teams win more business because they are competitive and collaborative, two words not often used in describing a sales team.   Collaboration requires teamwork and interpersonal skills.  Most sales organizations talk about the value of teamwork.  Unfortunately most of that talk never makes the walk. 

So what is the reason for lack of collaboration on a sales team? 

#1:  Ego.  You have salespeople consistently at the top each month.  Being one of the top sales dogs brings recognition and admiration.

Unfortunately, it’s for these same reasons that top producers don’t share their best practices.  They attend sales meetings and maybe share AVERAGE practices.  They aren’t going to give away their secret sauce…..they might lose their top dog status. 

News alert!  Time to apply self-awareness and reality testing.  You can share everything and anything you do with other members of your team.  Execution is the key, not your wonderful knowledge.  Knowledge is not power until it is applied.

#2:  Ignorance.   It’s important to remember that one or two salespeople hitting quota cannot continue to scale a company.  It’s only when all members of your team mates are hitting quota that a company makes a profit.  Yes, money does buy happiness. 

If the company is more profitable, they reinvest in research and development, which keeps the organization ahead of the innovation curve.   They invest more money in marketing, which gives salespeople more brand awareness in the market and leads.  The company hires the best people to serve your clients after the sale, increasing retention and referral business.   Getting the picture? 

Be competitive and be collaborative.  Take time to help answer a newbies questions.  Pay attention.  Is a member of your team in a slump and could use some encouragement.  Maybe a member of your team is working on a big ‘deal.”  Your insights and perspectives could help them win that deal—even if you don’t get the commission.  When one person on the team wins, you all win. 

Emotionally intelligent sales teams know that the competition is outside of the building, not inside the building.

Good Selling! 

tags: Denver Sales Management, denver sales training, sales training, sales management, Sales Management Program, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence
Thu, 06/2/2016

“Can you help my sales team close more business?” As a teacher of sales skills, I’ve been asked this question frequently. The answer is “yes,” with a strong qualifier: Your sales team may not have a problem with closing opportunities; the problem may be in finding the right kind of opportunities in the first place. 

There are too many salespeople holding first and second sales conversations with prospects that are never going to buy. I have debriefed hundreds of sales calls and the first question I always ask a salesperson is, “Should you have been there in the first place?” Translation: Did this prospect fit your ideal customer profile? If not, there’s no reason to start a conversation and certainly no reason to have a second one. 

Here are two questions that will help your sales team open up better conversations and opportunities.   

#1:  Does this prospect fit my psychographics? Our best clients value education and outside advice.  They look at training and development as an investment, not a line-item expense. If a prospect sees it as an expense, the conversation usually focuses on, “What’s your price?” rather than, “What are your outcomes?” 

#2:  Is the prospect collaborative or combative? The best engagements are those where you and the prospect sit side by side, combining collective experiences and intellect, to create the right outcomes.

A combative prospect is guarded during the sales meeting. He gives short answers and is reluctant to share the budget or decision-making process. This prospect expects the salesperson to become a psychic and put together recommendations with no direction.

An early mentor gave me great advice in qualifying opportunities: “What’s starts stinky ends stinky.” 

Improve your closing ratio by asking the qualifying questions before picking up the phone. Is your prospect qualified to do business with you? 

Good Selling!

tags: Denver Sales Management, denver sales training, sales training Denver, colleen stanley, Emotional Intelligence, sales, sales training, sales management
Thu, 05/19/2016

Companies leave millions of easy dollars on the sales table each year because their sales teams in different divisions are reluctant to cross-sell company products and services. CEOs and sales managers often try to solve this problem by designing compensation plans that incentivize the sales team to introduce their counterparts to their clients. The plan is good, there is commission to be made and yet, the sales teams continue to operate in different silos. Why? 

You’re working on the wrong end of the problem.

Lack of compensation isn’t the root cause for salespeople not introducing their counterparts to clients. It’s lack of trust -- and who wants to admit that to a member of their team? It’s the proverbial elephant in the room. 

This lack of trust happens for a variety of reasons. Often, it’s simply because the sales teams haven’t bothered to get to know one another. And are you really comfortable taking a stranger to your best client? Others may have had a bad experience in the past, i.e., their counterpart sold their product or service to the client and then had trouble on the fulfillment side.     

Work on the right end of the problem.

Sales managers: Set a key performance metric for members of your sales team to connect with salespeople from other divisions. Yes, it’s sad but true: You just may have to set a metric for building relationships within your own company.   

Teach your team members how to be assertive and clear on their expectations when bringing a partner rep into a meeting. Such expectations can include:

  • Each person’s role in the meeting and how to conduct a team call. Who’s on first works great in baseball, not sales. 
  • The value propositions that will open a consultative dialogue with the client. No product dumping allowed. 
  • Communication – how you expect your partner to keep you in the loop. Overcommunication is best. 
  • Share the level of service you give your client and make sure your partner division is committed to delivering the same.
  • If there is a problem, discuss your expectations for taking care of issues. Do it by phone or in person, not via email, which can be misinterpreted. 

Take advantage of an easy way to grow revenue by embracing cross selling. Set up both you and your partner for success by building trust and setting clear expectations. 

Good Selling!

tags: Denver Sales Management, denver sales training, Colorado Sales Training, Emotional Intelligence, colleen stanley, Denver sales training programs

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