Too many hiring managers and sales executives believe the most cost-effective and efficient way to find top talent is to hire from within their industry. The idea of less ramp up time, industry knowledge, and predictability are all valid reasons to consider industry reps, but it may also cost you more time, effort and money in the future. Before you hire your next sales rep, consider the advantages of hiring outside your industry first.
Do you want to be liked?
Most of us do. But wanting to be liked by everyone can have a chilling effect on your happiness and success.
As an example, I don’t believe leaders need to behave like arrogant jerks to be successful. But many are so afraid of being disliked that they err on the opposite end, unwilling to make unpopular decisions or have difficult conversations.
When the need to be liked trumps your best efforts as a leader, you’re not doing anyone any favors.
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Changing the Sales Conversation: Connect, Collaborate, and Close
By Linda Richardson
In this era of iPads, iPhones, and apps, sales communications may be growing, but sales conversations are dying–and so are too many sales. Globalization, the explosion in competition, the slow economy, and fast-emerging technologies all have changed buying habits. Salespeople can no longer rely on the traditional sales methodologies. They must change the conversation.
A visionary of the consultative sales movement, Linda Richardson has again moved selling forward by reengineering the sales conversation. Purchasing has become a core competency for clients. They evaluate their options against checklists they carefully develop. Richardson helps you understand what is on their checklists and align your solutions with their business and personal priorities to help you win.
Clients today are focused on business outcomes. They are interested in reducing risk. They turn to peers and social networks to self-educate before turning to salespeople. To engage them you must demonstrate that you know their world and that you are prepared with insights and ideas to add to what they already know. Richardson gives you five clear strategies and tools to help you do just that. You will create and shape opportunities, prepare and probe in an entirely new way, gain client consensus, and use sales process and tools to guide and accelerate closing. You will learn:
- Futuring to prepare for and anticipate customer needs
- Heat-mapping to use insights to focus and engage customers
- Value-tracking to connect your solutions to business outcomes and ROI
- Phasing to use sales process to forecast accurately and close
- Linking to reassert heart and trust into your sales conversations
Linda Richardson was named Sales Thought Leader for 2013 and this book shows why as she helps you sometimes tweak but more often change how you sell. She builds on your foundation to take your selling to a new elevation and bring your sales results along with it.
Why do we allow ourselves to risk all of our business with an account based on the relationship of a single person?
It starts with the salesperson finding a little bit of success with their contact at the account and it never moves beyond that single contact.
Unfortunately, I’ve watched it too many times with the companies I’ve worked with and yes, I’m occasionally guilty of doing the same thing.
Challenge is in seeing the need to expand the relationships when everything is going good. Strategy I recommend and the one we use in our own company is making sure that with each account, we have at least two contacts.
By : Stu Schlackman (SalesGravy)
The person who talks the most has the least control. Asking questions puts you in control of the conversation because it gives you the opportunity to go to a deeper level and gain better insights into the customer’s situation. Understanding customer needs makes it possible for you to recommend the best solutions and paves the way for them to choose you and your solution.
In Sales, It’s Not About You
Have you ever had a sales call turn out differently than you expected?
Several years ago I was on what I thought was one of the worst sales calls of my life. I walked into the prospects office, introduced myself and before I could sit down, he started to talk. I listened, nodded when I agreed and then listened more. One hour later, I asked my first question, “What is your biggest challenge going into the New Year?” He responded. Forty minutes later the meeting adjourned.
I felt terrible.
I never expressed my thoughts, concerns and ideas on what type of training would be appropriate for his sales team. One week later he called and said he loved our meeting and wanted to book the training for next month. WOW! Are you kidding me? And I thought I hadn’t done anything right in that meeting.
But, maybe I did.
In the book Power Questions by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas, the authors say that in sales, “it’s not about you. If you do all the talking, you learn nothing about the person. If you do all the talking, you’re in the spotlight. If you do all the talking, you don’t empower the other person.” The authors continue by saying, “Your job is not to listen and respond. Your job is to gain information and create a vibrant dialogue. That’s an important distinction. Tell me more is the magic key to open up the next layer of the other person’s thinking and experiences.”
Tell me more is key.
The 7 C’s of Wine at the Business Dinner
Business dinners with co-workers and customers can be a daunting experience. You and your team will be judged on your professionalism, candor, etiquette, and good manners. The wine list can be even more daunting, but it does not have to be.
Whether you have hosted hundreds of business dinners or never hosted one before, the etiquette, traditions, and other mysteries of the wine list usually divide us into one of two groups: one, pass me the wine list please, or two, please pass the wine list to someone else.
The rules are not as simple as they used to be. Who gets the wine at a business dinner can be based on a number of factors including who is hosting the dinner, who is the “ranking” attendee, or simply who knows about wine.
If you end up with the wine list or think you might, here are some ways to pull off the experience. These are the basics. If you already know a fair amount about wine, these will be good reminders. If you know a little about wine, these should be of help and may unlock some of the unknowns you have questioned in the past. If you know nothing about wine, the seven C’s should start you on the road to knowledge. Remember, there is nothing wrong with saying to your guests “you know, I really enjoy wine, but would love for someone else to do the honors.” It is almost guaranteed that someone will gladly raise their hand.
By Sean Burke (KITEDESK INSIGHTS)
(This post originally appeared on www.customerthink.com)
These days it appears that B2B buyers are firmly in the driver’s seat. Equipped with Google search, online forums and easy access to trusted thought leaders and peers, they favor discovering answers themselves, completing some 60 to 70 percent of their decision process before contacting a single vendor.
Sales leaders are being held back by the belief that they have to react to technological change in order to keep up with the buyer. But it’s not about reacting– it’s about anticipating. To take a page from Wayne Gretzky’s playbook: good salespeople meet their buyers where they are; great salespeople meet their buyers where they are going to be.
Salespeople must have better data about their buyer than their buyer has about them. This enables a seller to anticipate a buyer’s next move, and engage that buyer around value-added data or content that will influence their decision making process as they move forward.
Prospects in the very early stages tend not to respond well to a sales offer, but as Heinz Marketing president Matt Heinz explains, “They will respond to advice. Help. A link to a best practice article. Someone who helps them discover and self-educate. The source of that information has a leg-up in a sales process that hasn’t begun, but where the prospect is already becoming qualified and establishing solution preferences.”
I call this anticipatory selling.