“Pay It Forward” Salesmanship

Here are some “Pay it Forward” ideas shared by Daniel Waldschmidt, author of The DEW View! Blog:

  1. Give away 30 minutes a day of your time to mentorships…
  2. Write an article about recent trends in your industry and what that means…
  3. Call your top 20 clients with a way to save them money…
  4. Do the research for your customer that shows the value of your services…

There are other great ways to “pay it forward” in sales without foolishly donating time to non-buyers.  The key is that doing these actions is more than just the action — it is a philosophy of salesmanship.  Also note that each of these activities actually advances your selling process.

How to Decide in a Time of Confusion

In the most unpredictable business conditions most managers have seen, it’s harder than ever to plan for three months out — never mind a year. Despite the chaos, there are well-established tools that can be used to navigate a murky business environment. “Even in the most uncertain times, you don’t have to just wing it,” says Hugh Courtney, associate dean of executive programs at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “There are systematic ways to deal with even the most uncertain environment.”

Kim Girard has gathered these techniques for you to use, to get a better handle on a rapidly changing environment and prepare for what’s coming next — whatever that might be.

Sales Skill vs. Sales Will

An interesting question was posed recently by a member of one of my LinkedIn groups:  Which is more important, sales skill or sales will?

The responses were split. In one case, the respondent noted that sales will is more important because while sales may be a discipline that anyone can learn, selling is not for everyone. “Desire and motivation are key,” he said. “I have seen more success [from] motivated people that are not as skillful [than from] skillful but unmotivated sales people.”

Another respondent said that, 80% of the time, skill was more important. He likened it to chess and baseball, saying that skill will defeat will almost every time.  In other words, if two salespeople’s skills are equal, the one with the greater willpower will most likely win.

“If the environment negates the skills of the salespeople, willpower will likely make a difference. But if the sales people are competing straight up, I’ll bet on the more skilled sales person,” he said. “Will I win every time? No. But I’ll win 80% of the time. Many people will remember the 20% that were exceptions and make a myth about them; great stories that result in poor bets.”

I personally believe that you have to have both to be effective in sales. But if I were forced to choose between skill and will, I’d have to say it depends upon what you’re selling.

Will alone isn’t enough to close strategic, solution-oriented, multi-phase deals, such as selling complex intangibles or professional services. Success in these instances requires more skill, planning, analytical ability and persuasion than will.

However, someone who is extremely solution-oriented and methodical won’t be able to pound the pavement and produce results for low cost/high-volume selling such as widgets or advertising. While skill is necessary, it also takes sheer willpower to succeed in this type of selling environment.

What are your thoughts:  Is skill more or less important than will?

Is Your Sales Team An Asset Appreciating In Value?

Julie Thomas, CEO of Value Selling Associates: “The companies that will survive this economy have recognized that key investment in their sales organization is critical.  If the sales people don’t have the confidence or skill to be successful – they won’t be.”

The sales professionals who hunger for knowledge, skill and exploiting best practices will be the sales professionals that out perform the masses in every industry.

Five Ways Managers Breed Incompetence

The Business Pundit tackles the national epidemic of incompetence: Imagine you’re a gung-ho new employee at Franklin Widgets, Inc. You come into the job ready to make an impact–until you notice that everyone spends most of their time staring slack-jawed at Facebook. After you realize you’re safe from managerial scrutiny, you join them. Why should you work hard if nobody else is? Remedy: The onus is on managers to create a sense of urgency and accountability.

Buying Lessons from a Master Salesman

Charles H. Green spent some time in South Florida this weekend with Sam, a retired former rep for a national clothing manufacturer—that is, he wholesaled clothing lines to retail stores and chains. His territory was New York.  Here’s what he taught Charles about buying.

  • How Buyers Say They Buy–From Expertise
  • How Buyers Really Buy–From Trust

The Sales Executive’s Dilemma

Jacques Werth, President of High Probability Selling, has found that it has been difficult for most sales executives to discover, define, and teach their sales force how their best salespeople actually sell.

“Objective observational research, where there are no preconceived ideas about what your best salespeople do, or should do, can reveal your company’s most effective sales process. A small group of salespeople testing the resultant process can quantify its ROI…and in the process, finally solve the sales executive’s dilemma.”