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Courage in a bottle – Are you brave?

Posted on: October 15th, 2013 by Monika No Comments

Courage in a bottle?

Some words of wisdom from the Wizard of Oz. Since lions are supposed to be “The Kings of Beasts,” the Cowardly Lion believes that his fear makes him inadequate. He does not understand that courage means acting in the face of fear, which he does frequently. Only during the aftereffects of the Wizard’s gift, when he is under the influence of an unknown liquid substance that the Wizard orders him to drink (perhaps gin) is he not filled with fear. He argues that the courage from the Wizard is only temporary, although he continues to do brave deeds while openly and embarrassedly fearful.

Recently, I had a delightful conversation with one of my female clients who is also one of the smart women I am privileged to have in my professional circle. We were talking about sales (what else?) and prospects being hesitant to buy when she pointed out that the lack of courage is often the reason why people don’t buy. She said that if she had a wish, she would send a bottle of courage along with her business proposals. We then  continued to chat about courage in general, The Wizard of Oz and my client then suggested that I write a blog about it, so here it is.

Let’s look at the Wikipedia definition of Courage

Courage is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.

Pretty straightforward and clear, but what lies underneath?

People who are not courageous are usually afraid. Afraid of the consequences of their actions (not understanding that not taking action also has consequences), afraid of trying something new, afraid of their own courage.

How much courage does it take to choose a new product/service?

My client who is the CMO of a newly established brand with a very compelling concept is trying to break into the marketplace and their offering is clearly new, innovative and of enormous value to consumer brands who in turn want to introduce their products. The approach is affordable, fun and with a clear benefit to CPG companies and the end consumer. So, why doesn’t the approach fly off the shelve? Because most people don’t have the courage to introduce a new concept and being a first adopter. It takes a lot of guts to take the first step. It’s a lot easier to follow but also more predictable and boring with few chances of standing out from the crowd and becoming a true leader.

There is a really good saying that I quote a lot and that is “Nobody ever gets fired for hiring IBM“. IBM is a well established company with huge brand recognition. Let’s just say (for the sake of the argument) that there are companies out there who offer the same solution as IBM but even better and cheaper, it would still be hard to sell. I know that, because some of my clients have tried.

Why is it easier to buy from a known brand?

There is no risk involved. Even if the solution turns out to have some areas of improvement, it’s still a safe bet and whoever made the decision to buy will hardly be questioned. But imagine, you are buying from a newly established company and there is problems. That choice might get a decision maker in trouble if things don’t turn out the way they were presented.

The Courage potion

On the other hand, choosing a new company not only helps diversity but also innovation. When my client said that she would like to bottle up a bit of courage in a bottle and send it to her prospects, just so they take the leap of faith and explore her new offering she really meant it. Sometimes it’s wise to stay with the “devil you know” but it’s also important to choose carefully and give new kids on the block a fair chance. If we live our life or do business, always trying to be on the safe side we will not be able to grow or innovate. The most courageous people are the ones who changed our thinking and the way we live. Nobody would have thought 30 years ago that a handheld device will help us to navigate through most situations, from getting driving directions to finding a good restaurant. I remember the times when people were afraid of computers and now grandmothers are on Facebook (for better or worse).   

Courage also helps sales people

In sales we often lack courage as well because of the fear of being rejected and not wanting to lose the sale. Many times sales people accommodate rather than push back. They oversell because they don’t want to lose the sale, forgetting that over-promising will have long-term effects.

Courage is essential when doing business in a successful way. Most successful people had to overcome ridicule and criticism and they had to muster up an enormous amount of courage to prevail. There is no success without failure and without courage we just stay mediocre.

Our Latest Super-Seller Graduates!!

Posted on: February 14th, 2013 by Monika No Comments

Today, on Valentine’s day we wanted to share a special present that we received from one of our participants. A wonderful testimonial from one of our recent CSC Graduates:

Tom, Monika, Marcia, … I want to thank you all for the great sales training program!! I learned so much about how to recognize the behavioral styles of my clients and prospects. This has helped me better adjust my approach throughout the sales process. During the course of our training program, I improved my sales and business development consistently. By the year’s end I was awarded “Most Improved Sales Performance” for 2012!

I want to thank Mach 1 Global for implementing the CSC program for sales and now our operations personnel to help them understand the process. And thank you CSC team for helping me improve and grow in sales! – Marianne W., VP Global Accounts,MACH 1 GLOBAL

So we thought that we give you a present today, sharing our success story that will provide insight on how one of our clients increased business revenues to pre-recession levels by implementing our CSC training program.

Cutting-edge Sales Training – A First Step to Top Performers

One of our clients decided to embark on a mission to provide a cutting-edge sales training program to a select group of their sales team who all work remotely from headquarters. This specialized logistics and transportation solutions provider wanted their sales and account management staff to become top performers, too.

Let’s face it, even successful sales and service professionals have some areas to improve. Yet top performers consistently outperform their average counterparts by large margins.

Know Your Clients and You’ll What They Need

In utilizing CSA’s Certified Training Program with a pilot group, our client quickly established that the training program was making a dynamic change in the way their business development professionals were planning and executing their business efforts. Revenues increased, for some in the pilot group by 40% and 50% within a few months. Additionally the members of the pilot group were motivated to go the extra mile for their clients as they acquired new, deeper skills and knowledge in understanding who their clients were, were able to more efficiently and more quickly to develop new business as well as expand business with existing clients. This mindset change began to spread to their operations management.

Everybody In – Let’s Congratulate the Graduates!

And today, seven months after the kick-off of their program, we can proudly congratulate the first group graduates from our Arizona client’s organization. The program is ongoing for three more groups, each with customized goals and training calendars. Their success of the pilot group is testament to their perseverance and hard work applying the core consultative sales and service concepts to their jobs on a daily basis. These seven certified top-performers can now proudly carry and use the nationally accredited and recognized CSC emblem as Consultative Sales Certified Professionals. And they have a few tips for you below their graduation photo!

 Stand up and take a bow!

 

Consultative Sales Certified Professionals – Accredited Super Sellers
These seven certified top-performers can now proudly carry and use the nationally accredited and recognized CSC emblem as Consultative Sales Certified Professionals.
From left to right: Tom D’Agostino, Chief Trainer at CSA, Kirk Stauff, Marianne Wilson – Most Improved Employee of 2012-, Yvette Cheesebrew, Ray Torres, Bob Heine, Vinnie Balsamo and Herb Reich.

A few things our Graduates would like to share with all our readers:

5 Tips from Our Super-Seller Grad

  • Know Your Market! Prioritize your sales efforts according to potential for sales, not based on current sales.
  • Know Your Customers! Adjust your approach to each of your contacts based on their behavioral styles and role.
  • Ask Questions that help you understand each contact’s vision and pain points.
  • Stress Value based on business impact and the personal win for each individual customer.
  • Position solutions that help the customer save time, make more money, operate more efficiently or give them peace of mind. Anything else doesn’t matter!

Here’s what the CEO is saying about our CSC Program

“Consultative Sales Academy’s Custom Training program has significantly helped our team improve their performance. We’re finally back to pre-recession sales results and momentum. Because of the success and positive feedback from both seasoned professionals as well as new sales team members, we are implementing this program company-wide for sales team members, sales managers and operational managers. Our team is geographically dispersed, which makes CSA’s blended approach of e-learning, web training and coaching very desirable. We especially appreciate the flexibility of the program and the personal attention that CSA’s coaches provide to each individual participant. This program is a long-term commitment that is definitely worth the time and investment if your goals are to truly impact sales performance and results. I highly recommend this program.” – Jamie Fletcher, CEO, MACH 1 GLOBAL

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

One of our clients decided to embark on a mission to provide a cutting-edge sales training program to a select group of their sales team who all work remotely from headquarters. This specialized logistics and transportation solutions provider wanted their sales and account management staff to become top performers, too.

 

Let’s face it, even successful sales and service professionals have some areas to improve. Yet top performers consistently outperform their average counterparts by large margins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know Your Clients and You’ll What They Need

 

 

 

 

In utilizing CSA’s Certified Training Program with a pilot group, our client quickly established that the training program was making a dynamic change in the way their business development professionals were planning and executing their business efforts. Revenues increased, for some in the pilot group by 40% and 50% within a few months. Additionally the members of the pilot group were motivated to go the extra mile for their clients as they acquired new, deeper skills and knowledge in understanding who their clients were, were able to more efficiently and more quickly to develop new business as well as expand business with existing clients. This mindset change began to spread to their operationsmanagement.

 

 

 

 

Everybody In – Let’s Congratulate the Graduates!

 

 

 

 

And today, seven months after the kick-off of their program, we can proudly congratulate the first group graduates from our Arizona client’s organization. The program is ongoing for three more groups, each with customized goals and training calendars. Their success of the pilot group is testament to their perseverance and hard work applying the core consultative sales and service concepts to their jobs on a daily basis. These seven certified top-performers can now proudly carry and use the nationally accredited and recognized CSC emblem as Consultative Sales Certified Professionals. And they have a few tips for you below their graduation photo!

 

Stand up and take a bow!

Consultative Sales Certified Professionals – Accredited Super Sellers
These seven certified top-performers can now proudly carry and use the nationally accredited and recognized CSC emblem as Consultative Sales Certified Professionals.
From left to right: Tom D’Agostino, Chief Trainer at CSA, Kirk Stauff, Marianne Wilson – Most Improved Employee of 2012-, Yvette Cheesebrew, Ray Torres, Bob Heine, Vinnie Balsamo and Herb Reich.
A few things our Graduates would like to share with all our readers:

5 Tips from Our Super-Seller Grad

  • Know Your Market! Prioritize your sales efforts according to potential for sales, not based on current sales.
  • Know Your Customers! Adjust your approach to each of your contacts based on their behavioral styles and role.
  • Ask Questions that help you understand each contact’s vision and pain points.
  • Stress Value based on business impact and the personal win for each individual customer.
  • Position solutions that help the customer save time, make more money, operate more efficiently or give them peace of mind. Anything else doesn’t matter!

Here’s what the CEO is saying about our CSC Program

 

 

“Consultative Sales Academy’s Custom Training program has significantly helped our team improve their performance. We’re finally back to pre-recession sales results and momentum. Because of the success and positive feedback from both seasoned professionals as well as new sales team members, we are implementing this program company-wide for sales team members, sales managers and operational managers. Our team is geographically dispersed, which makes CSA’s blended approach of e-learning, web training and coaching very desirable. We especially appreciate the flexibility of the program and the personal attention that CSA’s coaches provide to each individual participant. This program is a long-term commitment that is definitely worth the time and investment if your goals are to truly impact sales performance and results. I highly recommend this program.” – Jamie Fletcher, CEO, MACH 1 GLOBAL

Get Prepared Before You Pick Up The Phone

Posted on: November 15th, 2012 by Monika No Comments

Let me start with a question: Have you ever received a phone call from a sales person who stutters around, doesn’t really know who you are, what your company does and starts rambling about some product/service offering that is not at all relevant to your needs?

I’m sure you have, and that can certainly be annoying! That sales person didn’t do her/his “homework”!

In a consultative sales environment, doing your research and getting prepared for a call is as essential as actually picking up the phone and dialing. The first step in a consultative sales approach is the “Pre-Call”, in other words, doing your “homework”. Well planned and executed preparation will help you once the person you are calling on picks up the phone.

Being informed means adding value to a conversation. Whether it’s your first conversation with a prospect, or a follow-up call with a long-time client. It also puts you, the sales person, in a position where you don’t sound like you’re dialing for dollars.

Whether you’re calling on a new prospect or trying to expand your business with existing clients, research and preparation are key.

 Prospecting For New Business

At the core of successful consultative selling is developing a customer-centric sales process and being diligent. Not pushy, not aggressive, but consistent and strategic. You will need to identify exactly what you are selling and what value it brings to your prospects.

Successful consultative sales professionals take time to understand what truly differentiates their service from their competitors’ similar products or services. They do their research. They also make sure they know their own strengths and opportunities for improvement and growth.

Once you have established what you are selling, and how the features and benefits can be of value, then you can begin to do your research to find out who your “ideal prospects” are.

Don’t try to boil the ocean! Be targeted in your approach and choose your prospects accordingly!”

While it is important to own your story, to understand the product/service that you offer and being able to communicate the value, it is also just as important to make sure that your offering fits with your prospect’s objectives. And that you will need to find out. When it comes to prospecting, we usually have to come from a place of assumption because we normally don’t really know the inner workings of a prospect’s organization. In today’s business environment, it’s a lot easier to prepare than it used to be. In the past we had to rely on hearsay or recommendations. Today, we can research companies and people using all the tools available in the on-line world.

This makes it easier for us to prepare but we also want to be careful so as not to assume too much. What might appear to be true could turn out to have changed because on-line data is not always up to date. It still gives us a general reference and guidelines to work off, a starting point for conversation and exploration, and asking questions.

The more research we do before picking up the phone, or writing an e-mail, the easier it will be to start a dialogue. Why? Because people want to feel special, no matter what their title or position is.

In a consultative sales environment, we don’t need to reach out to every single company in the universe. Usually, our universe is a lot smaller than we think once we start researching our ideal prospects.

How can we identify whether a prospect is suitable or not?

Do Your Research, Research, Research, and Some More Research

  1. Make sure you know and fully understand what your offering entails, and in what ways it might be beneficial to your prospective clients.
  2. Identify why your service or product is unique, or superior.
  3. Research and locate companies that would potentially benefit from your offering and where you see a possible fit.

 

For example, if you own a small law firm in Pennsylvania specializing in contract and trademark law, and you are not licensed outside of the state, it will be easier to determine who your prospects could be.

If, however, you are a service provider and your offering could be sold without geographic limitations, you will need to find other qualifiers to sharpen your efforts. Here are some qualifiers that can be used:

  • Industry
  • Geography (you may not want your sales people flying all over the country)
  • Revenue/Size
  • # of employees
  • Public vs. Private sector
  • Website presence (websites are the store fronts of any organization and a lot can be learned from the way a company presents itself on-line)

 

One common mistake in sales is to play the numbers game. Many sales people think (encouraged by their leaders) that more sales calls equals more revenue. It really doesn’t. The more focused you are as a sales person, the more you will find out about your prospects and the higher the likelihood is that you will have meaningful conversations to get you closer to your goal. And your goal is always either closing a sale or, if it’s not a fit, leaving a good impression.

Get Ready to Pick Up the Phone

Once you identified 15-20 companies (as a starting point) that could be a good fit for your product/service offering based on your research, it’s time to prepare what you’re going to say and even more importantly, what questions you’re going to ask. What kind of questions do you ask? Use open-ended questions to give the person you are speaking with the opportunity to explain their situation, their potential needs in their own words. Practice what you could say, how your prospects might react. Prepare a “Prospect Analysis Form” or open a CRM file so you can enter all the information you will be receiving. Then it’s time to pick up the phone. Be personal and engaging in your conversations with the presumed decision makers and they will provide you with insights on whether your initial assumption was correct. As a result you could find out that the marketing team is not the department that will buy your service, but perhaps a newly developed consumer insights team. If you are knowledgeable, courteous and respectful, people will guide and help you to find the correct path. It will also help you collect valuable market research and sharpen your message going forward.

Get in Another Person’s Shoes

In the end, make sure you visualize that you have a person on the other end of the line. Someone possibly a lot like you. You’ll do yourself a great service and be able to offer something of value by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.

Get the Consultative Sales Model
Here’s where the Consultative Sales model begins: PRE-CALL, where you set your objectives, do your “intelligence” work, and develop your
repertoire of questions for your prospects..

Setting your Benchmarks for Hiring Sales People

Posted on: September 6th, 2012 by Monika 1 Comment

Having been in the field of sales and sales training for so many years, I know the recruiting process can be complicated, lengthy and full of pitfalls. Do you go with your gut feeling? Do you trust all the references? Do you hire somebody who is charismatic, or somebody who knows the industry? What can and should you measure objectively to help ensure that you’re making the right choice?

First Impressions

Many companies feel that sales people should be aggressive and gregarious. In a consultative sales environment that can actually be an obstacle rather than an asset. Hiring a good sales person is as difficult if not harder than hiring a good account manager. The challenge is to make sure that no matter what, your sales people will conduct themselves in a professional way. After all, they are usually the first introduction to your brand or company.

I can’t tell you how many times I have encountered unprofessional behavior from sales people who were calling on me as a business owner. Bad first impressions can ruin your  perception of a brand and the likelihood of you choosing that brand and working with that company will be lower. It’s a fine line between persuasion and intrusion. Good sales people need to find that balance every single day, every single time they pick up the phone and every time they interact with a prospect.

Sometimes, the desire to sell is so high that courtesy goes out the window. Often, sales people want to impress with product knowledge rather than understanding the prospect’s needs. Very often this is caused by pressure to meet numbers rather than building long-term relationships

Finding a Fit

So, how do you choose a sales person who will fit in with your organization’s culture? Let’s say you think you’ve found the right candidate. You’ve interviewed that person, so have others in your organization. You’ve done reference checking, and everybody is more or less in agreement that you have a good match. Now, what can you and what should you do to objectively establish how good a fit they really are. The good news is there are a number of widely tested tools that can provide you with the kind of support you can readily use, without taking large chunks out of your day and your budget!

You can utilize tests such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, but also have a look into the Kolbe A Index, which you can administer to your entire team and then your candidate(s) to determine how well they fit and can work together with the other members of your team. You’ll find the results can be real eye-openers!

What Strengths Are Most Important?

Once you’ve found the right personality and work-type match, let’s make sure everyone’s working in the same direction. In our B2B environment today, standing out and becoming your clients’ provider of choice demands a comprehensive, solution-oriented or consultative sales approach, built around your own client-centric philosophy.

You’ll want to examine your own sales process. Will your sales person need to do their own prospecting? Will they have to work with other team members to push a sale through the funnel? Being a door opener and/or a team player at the same time could present a challenge. Sales people always have at least one area of weakness and depending on your organizational DNA that will determine your hiring criteria. For example, if you have an inside sales team available, you can hire outside sales people who are strong relationship builders and closers.

As far as one area of sales competency is concerned, you need to make sure that your candidate is a good listener. That is something you can easily assess during the interviewing process. Pay attention to how many questions your candidates ask vs. the candidates tooting their own horn. You should also make sure that your candidate is a good writer because written communication is key to making connections today in the evolving use of social media and email communication. Here’s another important step in the interviewing process. Before hiring sales people engage the candidates in phone conversations. In today’s B2B environment almost all prospecting is done over the phone.  Sometimes people come across strong in-person, but their phone presence is weak.

Assessing Sales Skills & Knowledge

We’re getting closer now. Your candidate has good oral and written skills, has a good phone presence. But what about all the other areas of sales skills and knowledge that are essential to being a top sales person? We have worked with our research partners for many years to establish eight areas of sales competencies that have proven to be the foundation for the success of top sales professionals in a wide range of industries. So, how do you find out if your candidate possesses these competencies, and in which areas is there a need for improvement? Within our Consultative Sales Certification Training Program we have an integral element which is our initial Sales Skills & Knowledge Assessment. We have all participants to work through this assessment before we conduct any training. This comprehensive assessment gives you a very detailed and measurable view of a sales person’s skills and knowledge in the arena of solution-oriented or consultative selling. It also helps you understand if their strengths or opportunities to grow are in prospecting, overcoming objections, closing the sale, etc.

This assessment helps our clients hire the right people and after a successful completion of our sales training efforts we can test their consultative selling skills and knowledge again to gauge their improvement. We have found that even the best sales people have areas of improvement and the only way to measure is working off a set of well-established benchmarks.

Bottom line is that you can’t hire the right person if you don’t know what you are looking for and you can’t measure success if you don’t have a benchmark.

Liposuction or Weight Watchers/Effective sales training or Quick Fix?

Posted on: August 9th, 2012 by Monika No Comments

Sales is a process, so is losing weight

Effective sales training is like joining Weight Watchers. You change your approach to eating and exercising and the effects are long lasting. Ineffective sales training can be compared to crash diets or getting a liposuction where the weight will come back quicker but if you don’t change your habits it will come back. People who want to lose weight need to think about changing their eating habits and their lifestyle. Sales people who want to be more successful should encourage their leaders to provide sales training that is effective and shows results. Sitting in a class room for a couple of days might not be the answer.

Consultative Selling is a lifestyle as much as healthy living

Unless you are lucky and born with an overactive metabolism you will have to watch what you are eating and do some exercise. And, unless you are born with the unique gift to sell (which not everybody is), you will benefit from good and effective sales training. Companies that require a consultative sales approach should arm their business development and client facing employees with the tools to be more effective. There is no quick fixes, not in healthy living or successful selling.

A mindset shift needs to happen

When participants enroll in our consultative sales program we make them aware that sales is a process and so is shifting your mindset. Ideally, we see a shift in perception and application over the first month, but it might take a bit longer for learners to digest the information and for them to apply newly developed techniques in a way where they don’t have to think about it any more.

It doesn’t happen overnight

The day when you choose a banana over a muffin without thinking can be compared to the day when a sales person asks more questions without having to remind themselves that they should be listening more than talking. That’s when behavioral change actually takes place.

This is what one of our graduates said. That is when change actually happens.

“I used to think that the word “sales” was a dirty word. I am a VP in a transportation company – it’s about moving freight and finding loads.  Now I think differently about what sales means. I have seen what consultative business development does to relationships and both my business & my clients’ business!”– S. M., V.P., TRANSPORT NATIONAL

And this is what happened as a result:

“… after having been in operations for over 15 years and I am learning so many new things…everything I am learning is on my mind before I ask or answer a question. I have been able to close two accounts and getting close to two others, and working to close an account that will be over a million dollars a year.” – Y. C., Regional Sales Manager

Increased Revenue is the goal

The goal of effective sales training is to shift the way we feel about the process and by doing so we will uncover opportunities and add value to our prospects and clients, which will result in additional revenue.

This is however something that cannot happen in a day or two. The reason why we work with companies who understand that sales is process and change happens over time is the same reason why Weight Watchers doesn’t promise that one will lose 10 pounds in a week.

Kudos to all the business leaders who provide an environment where their sales people are allowed to learn more, even when they are already successful.

There is nothing wrong with being more successful, slimmer and healthier!

Pro-Choice! 3 Steps to A Better Sales Process!

Posted on: July 11th, 2012 by Monika No Comments

In politics a very hot topic, but here it’s about giving your prospects a choice! A choice to say “Yes” or “No” quickly and safely.

Sales is a process, especially in a consultative sales environment and it starts with choosing the right prospect.

1) First, we need to research and target a prospective client company (Is it a good fit? Is it a good use of our time?)

2) Then we need to find the decision maker within that organization. Once we have that information, we can safely assume (looking from the outside in) that the person we are targeting could be a good prospect for our service offering.

3) The next step is to craft a message that will resonate. It should be succinct, to the point and relevant to our audience.

Recently, I was planning a trip to a southwest state capital. We are implementing a sales training program for a client in that area. My thinking was, why not tag on a number of sales meetings? This way I can make more use of my plane ticket and the 5-hour travel time.

While I was crafting my e-mail copy I remembered a best practice that I used a couple of years ago, but had forgotten since then. In one of my mastermind mentor groups we had recently discussed the importance of this practice for both the prospect as well as the service provider.

It is the art of having a prospect choose you based on selected criteria that you apply. It’s an easy way to get to a quick “no” if they don’t fit the criteria, but also a sure way for prospects who are a good fit for your service offering to select you.

Here is how it works.

In my email I pointed out that I would be traveling to the area where they are located at the end of the month. (First criteria: they need to be located in the area and available at that time)

Then I continued to describe what my clients generally have in common. Here’s a partial list:

1) Their revenue is at least $10Mio.

2) They are sales oriented and have at least one (ideally more) sales locations.

3) They embrace or would like to embrace a consultative sales approach.

May I share with you what happened?

I reached out to 50 companies. I had two responses and they both resulted in meetings. Qualified, good meetings.

One of the prospects immediately e-mailed me back saying,

“I got your e-mail, I visited your website and it looks like there could be a fit. Let’s meet”.

The reason why many of my existing clients are reluctant to do the “self-select” messaging, I believe, is a very simple and human one.

They are afraid to miss out.

And now that I think about it, that was probably the reason why I had “forgotten” my own best practice.

Deep down we all feel that quantity is one of the keys to success. The more, the better.

It’s what we have been taught. It’s all around us in the media, advertising, marketing.

Almost brainwashed! But not completely!

And it really couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to utilizing a consultative sales model.

The more targeted your approach, the better. The more you invite rejection or silence (no responses), the higher the likelihood that the meetings you book will be of high quality.

Why? Because your prospects will be very clear of who you are looking for in a future client.

I would gladly add another day or two to meet with prospects on my training trip to the southwest.

It means potential new business!

If the meetings are not qualified however, it could end up being a waste of my precious, already strained time.  But most importantly, it could be a waste of my prospect’s time and leave a bad impression.

We’re here to serve – not to force ourselves on others. If we decide to be selective and targeted, our prospects will appreciate it and we will end up with better meetings.

BUT, there will be a lot of silence and the response rate will be a lot lower. On the other hand, you will be running a lot fewer empty miles.

For some sales people it’s hard to live in silence. Can you handle it?

Keep Calm and Sell More

Posted on: February 15th, 2012 by Monika No Comments

Keep Calm and Carry On was a propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the aftermath of widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities.

Personally, I think that this was a brilliant move during times of distress and great fear and I wish that the slogan would be applied more often, especially during times of stress.

Sometimes, I feel that sales is viewed as a practice where practitioners are expected to hassle and scramble rather than taking a step back, taking a deep breath and carrying on with the plan. Especially, in a consultative sales environment panic appears when sales don’t happen because the sales cycle is typically longer.

What happens if sales don’t happen?

Usually, panic.  And panic leads to more panic.  When sales don’t happen, very often the CEO thinks s/he needs to step in. Then you have situations in which CEOs are doing the sales training, or CEOs being on first sales calls and getting involved in everything and anything that has to do with sales. They fear for their company’s survival and that’s understandable.

And what about the sales managers in these situations? Well, as there is no success to show they often panic as well. In these cases they often just give in and let their CEOs take over instead of putting their feet down and demanding to stay on track.  They tend to go along with their CEOs rather than providing clear measures, guidelines and leading developments in the sales process.

This can have a snowball effect on the sales team. The sales people might fear that they could lose their job or that they won’t be making any money.

The sales managers do both. They panic and fear, both for their team, for their compensation and for their reputation.

Why don’t the sales managers keep their CEO in check?

I have always wondered in situations like that why sales manager wouldn’t stick to their guns? Is it because they are afraid of repercussions or is it that they are not  confident enough to make a case for a structured and meaningful sales process?

Or is it because CEOs are used to being powerful leaders and end up steamrolling their team? Or could it be that CEOs are not always good at allowing other opinions?

It’s probably a combination of all of the above but in all fairness, it really shouldn’t be the job of a CEO to establish or drive the sales process. When they take control it’s usually stems from lack of results and trying to be helpful.

Sales Managers need to manage their CEOs

Sales managers are tasked with building and managing an effective and successful sales team. To be most successful, though, they will need to build an effective and successful relationship with their CEO. That includes open and full communication, documentation and also managing your CEO’s expectations. Embracing the CEO’s vision but also making sure that your CEO understands and embraces the sales process you put in place. Provide reports on progress, share success stories but also reasons why sales might stall. This will help you as a sales manager or sales person to support your credibility and it will help your CEO understand why things might take a bit longer.

What is the solution?

Stay calm and on-track. If you have a plan, success will follow. It might just take a bit longer. It’s better to wait a month or two as oppose to changing everything and getting derailed completely. When CEOs feel that things are structured and on track, they will go back to doing what they do best, rather than dictating the sales process. Sales people and managers need to manage up. CEOs often don’t have a background in sales management, so help them understand the process, manage expectations, stay positive and Keep Calm and you will Sell More!

And never forget these THREE!When identifying the benefits for your audiences, always remember to develop messaging that will help you get their attention.If you have read my blog you will remember that people buy because you can help them:

  • Make money and/or
  • Save money and/or
  • Improve their reputation internally.