Driving Unbeatable Sales Numbers!

Someone recently asked Doyle Slayton “What are the critical things they should do to drive more sales for their business?” He was pretty busy at the time, so he responded with six quick bullet points.  Today, he has decided to provide all of his readers with an expanded, more detailed version.  Actually, it’s a specific breakdown of how he personally tries to build his sales week! Read about it here.

Sales Account Planning 101

Is your sales process structured in a way that ensures that you retain and gain large clients? If not, you should consider developing a sales account plan to focus your sales team on profitable clients, products and services. Developing and executing a sales account plan can bring significant revenue rewards. Barry MacKechnie , President MacKechnie Consulting suggests you develop your process, by following these nine steps.

Becoming a “Brand” in today’s Sales World

From Wikipedia: Personal Branding is the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. [1] It has been noted that while previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging. [2]

Jim Langeloh has been fortunate to have worked with some pretty talented Sales Representative’s through the years.  Before the internet, to become a “branded” name in your respective industry, it took time, hard work and dedication.  Success and financial rewards usually followed these Sales Reps that achieved a name for themselves.  Traits that still hold true today, and will well into the future!

Enter the age of the internet.  Not until recent advances have we seen an explosion in social networks, blogs, websites, etc. that take yesterdays “unknowns” and make them a household “branded” name very quickly.

In sales, customers have become very educated and demanding when it comes time to purchase.  They do research, price comparisons and can become very knowledgeable about your company and your competition through the internet.  Chances are your competition is very involved on the internet.  Most understand that if you ignore the internet, it’s like ignoring your largest customer.

One thing remains true, there is no one recipe on the internet that generates success.  With thousands of choices, where does one begin to create an internet presence to start “branding” yourself?

Dispelling Seven Sales Myths

In Sales Trends for This Decade, an article based on his recent CNNfn appearance, HR Chally Group CEO Howard Stevens dispels what he considers to be the seven biggest myths about sales.

On some points I agree with him. Others I believe need further consideration. However, they all deserve discussion.

  • Myth #1 – The best salespeople will make the best managers:   Stevens believes that when a salesperson converts to a sales manager, three things happen:  1) a great salesperson is lost, 2) a mediocre (or worse) manager is gained, and 3) customers suffer. I personally don’t think it’s that cut-and-dry. You may lose a great salesperson, but you are just as likely to gain a great sales team due to the new manager’s impactful leadership—if they’re a top leader.
  • Myth #2 – Every salesperson seeks a career promotion:  Good salespeople seek independence and financial reward. These are, Stevens notes, primary drivers that veer far from the political wrangling and bureaucratic inter-dependence often present in a management position. To me, this is an over-generalization. Not every salesperson seeks a career promotion, and really fantastic salespeople like to stay right where they are due to their earning potential.
  • Myth #3 – Highly-motivated, hardworking individuals can sell anything to anyone: Being a “Jack of all trades” still means being a “master of none.” Only masters produce top-line results. In this case, I am in complete agreement with Stevens. Success in sales requires proven techniques and best practices.
  • Myth #4 – Creating a better mousetrap drives customers to your door:  In disproving this myth, Stevens points to the nearly 85% of new products patented by the United States Patent Office that never succeed in the real world. Again, I agree. These failures are further proof that effective marketing combined with a sophisticated salesperson and sales process will attract customers.
  • Myth #5 – Good training will improve any salesperson’s performance:  According to Stevens, success is based on innate talent, not the level of training or education a salesperson receives. No amount of training can create a marketing genius from someone without the natural talent. In my experience, this is true. In the world of sales, some people just don’t cut it.
  • Myth #6 – The Internet will eventually eliminate the need for salespeople:  E-commerce companies that don’t offer “real people” who can relate to and consult with customers are seven times more likely to fail, according to Stevens. While I agree that the Internet won’t eliminate the need for salespeople, it will force them to change the way they market their products or services.
  • Myth #7 – Top academic grades equal top sales results:  Stevens believes that, because teaching an academic “genius” to sell is such a difficult task, sales talent is inversely related to performance in school. I do agree with him, to a point. An Ivy League education cannot replace a solid track record of results, consistent W-2s, company tenure, sales-related behaviors and job-related characteristics. In other words, while education is certainly important, it is not as important as the total package.

I reached out to some of my customers to get their opinions on Stevens’ thoughts about sales myths. Like me, most agreed with him.

“The points made…about sales myths ring very true from my experience,” said Tom Durocher, COO, J.F. Hubert Enterprises. “Many of these myths are applied across the spectrum of different job positions within an organization and they still hold true. No matter what is said, how it’s said, or who is saying it, nothing replaces good old fashioned talent! Talent is usually developed, not learned.”

Said Brian Kisslak, Vice President of Sales, AccuWeather, Inc.: “Most of the areas are truly just myths [and] not true in the slightest.”

What do you think? Are these myths fact or fiction? Are there any additional myths that need to be dispelled? Share your thoughts!

The Power of Pausing

Sometimes the littlest things make all the difference. We’re sure you know by now that listening to everything a customer has to say before responding is an essential. But did you know that taking a small pause after they finish and before you start speaking is just as essential? Probably not! Today sales expert Brian Tracy shares with us the impact of the pause.

The Window of Dissatisfaction

It does not matter what you sell or who you are selling to, buyers are always in one of three Buying Modes:

  1. Status Quo:Status Quo is when a potential buyer perceives their current product or service meets or exceeds their needs.
  2. Searching for Alternatives: Searching for Alternatives is when a buyer realizes their current product or service no longer meets their needs and are actively engaged in the process of searching for alternatives.
  3. Window of Dissatisfaction: A Window of Dissatisfaction exists between Status Quo and Searching for Alternatives – after the buyer realizes that their current product or service no longer meets their needs but before they have started the process of searching for alternatives.

Truly savvy sales professionals focus their efforts on getting to those who recently entered the Window of Dissatisfaction before the competition.

Craig Elias discusses more about the Window of Dissatisfaction, and how when you notice it, you’ve got the beginnings of a competitive edge.

Will we win? Will it close on time?

According to The Complex Sale Principal Scott Miller, “Outside of your own personal expertise, the most valuable piece of information you can offer buyers is your pricing. In the Complex Sale 2.0 world, buyers are gaining more and more control because information is becoming more and more available. Therefore, you should only share pricing when / if you feel you have positioned yourself as best as you can to win the business. If there is information you still need, you will not get it AFTER you send a detailed proposal.”

Before you hand over pricing, make sure you can answer yes to these 11 questions.