Making a sales presentation can be nerve-wracking. Throw in a recession and increased pressure to close the sale, and the scenario gets even more stressful. Generic speeches and snazzy PowerPoint slides just don’t cut it anymore — especially with corporate customers who have reduced spending to boost their bottom lines. That’s why firms like IBM have retooled their sales pitches to better address the needs of their customers.
Bill Rice isn’t sure who said this, but he thinks it is very appropriate to sales management: “The 70 percent solution is often good enough.” Often we fiddle so long with dreaming up perfection that we neglect to get started.
Bill suggests letting the grading and analysis of your efforts naturally reveal itself, as you execute. Avoid over thinking your plan and start executing. The ability to repeatedly execute and adjust based on the immediate feedback that gives you will always put you ahead of the competition.
You may be considering sales as a career or you may be in it and find it difficult. Ask yourself: are you an introvert trying to sell in an extrovert way? Then stop it now! If you use more of your innate strengths, instead of trying to do things in an extroverted style, you’ll – lift the clouds and find the success you want.
In today’s day and age, it is rare (very rare) for a professional salesperson to lie. The availability of information is too great, and the punishment for doing so too high. The Internet has leveled the playing field (or perhaps tipped it slightly in favor of the consumer).
B2B Sales Coach Anthony Iannarino shares that “where salespeople get into trouble is when they don’t create a realistic idea of what getting to the vision entails for the prospect, or when they allow the prospect’s Utopian vision to go unchecked. It isn’t that the salesperson lies, it is more a case of not managing expectations.“
With Facebook nearing 150 million users, and Twitter boasting the title of fastest growing social networking site ever developed, there is no doubt that social networking has gained popularity at lightning speed. For better or worse, many businesses have joined social networking communities in search of boosting their revenues in the down economy. But how useful are these sites in creating revenue?
From a purely marketing standpoint, I give it an A+ for reaching my target audience, but a C+ overall because we still have work to do on our strategy, including measuring the true ROI. Social networking has been extremely effective at building the Naviga brand and creating strong value in the sales and marketing industry. It has allowed us to connect our core recruitment business with a solid resource (this blog) that provides thought-provoking ideas, challenges, thoughts and strategies on how sales and marketing professionals can be more effective and advance their careers. But in terms of true revenue gain, the verdict is still out for me.
Out of curiosity, I posed this question to my LinkedIn colleagues. To my surprise, there were a few who haven’t seen a referral, sale or other tangible opportunity they could attribute to social networking. However, one respondent commented that if businesses are not seeing results, it is because they are not putting their all into the process.
“Merely throwing together a blog, or registering for a Facebook account and hoping the rest of the work will take care of itself will simply not do,” he wrote. “Active participation in social networking offers you the opportunity to reach out to potential clients/customers/leads on their terms, but you must commit to being a presence in the online community. Not unlike your website, inbound marketing efforts must be interactive and up-to-date. Create a presence, seek out the appropriate leads and offer engaging information that makes prospects want to continue communication with you.”
Leveraging social media in conjunction with other online marketing strategies has proven lucrative for companies like HubSpot, which reportedly receives 10% of its monthly leads from Twitter and another 10% from Facebook. Dell recently announced that it has made $3 million thus far using Twitter alone.
But these results don’t come of their own accord. As the saying goes “you get what you give.” One LinkedIn respondent suggested that its best to get a feel for the site and its users before taking action, then join groups that share similar interests as the people who utilize your product.
“The main thing to avoid is blatant advertising in networking groups, this will likely lead people to avoid you and your product,” she wrote. “Instead, build trust by being approachable and talking with prospects like a normal person. If you are approachable, members will begin to like you and your product.”
Based on some of the reported results – and my own experiences – I think it’s safe to say that social networking sites, when used properly, do generate leads and even out-right sales. The trick is to approach them strategically and give them the attention they require.
What are your thoughts? Does social networking work for you?
Statistics show that more than 75% of sales calls end without the sales person asking for commitment. Believe it or not more customers buy rather than sales people asking for the order. Asking for commitment is one of the toughest questions for any sales person. It is the most important ability for a successful salesperson. However, to make commitment questions happen one must prepare. Sam Manfer, the leading expert on developing C-Level Relationship Selling, shares his insights here, on preparing your commitment and resistance questions. Once you master these two questions, your closing ratios will soar, and wasting time with losers and lookers will cease.
Professional sales coach Jeremy J. Ulmer shares a few approaches that may be helpful for you. Try them out and find what works for you. What are some other strategies, not listed, that you use to stay positve?