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.
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.
From Wikipedia: Personal Branding is the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands.  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. 
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.
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!
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.
It does not matter what you sell or who you are selling to, buyers are always in one of three Buying Modes:
- Status Quo: Status Quo is when a potential buyer perceives their current product or service meets or exceeds their needs.
- 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.
- 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.
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.”
It is a new selling climate out there and salespeople are, in some cases, frantically adjusting to new challenges every day. Sales Managers, how can you equip your teams to sell in this unpredictable economy? Jill Myrick of Meeting to Win shares some practical ideas for helping your team navigate the craziness.
I hope you’ll join me next month for the Professional Society for Sales & Marketing Training (SMT) Annual Conference, taking place Oct. 14-16, 2009 at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld.
This year’s theme is “Developing Sales Excellence in a Challenging Economy,” which covers a variety of topics focused on exploring ways to keep sales professionals sharp on a budget – a subject that will definitely appeal to Corporate America during the current economic downturn. Perhaps more than the theme, I was attracted by the caliber of guest speakers at this year’s conference, including nationally renowned sales training and performance experts Dave Stein and Gary Kunath.
SMT is the only association fully dedicated to accelerating business results for its member organizations by improving sales and marketing performance through training. Since 1940, SMT’s vision has been to continue its role as the leading resource and authority for the sales and marketing training industries. SMT members include corporations and their inside training executives and practitioners, consultants, suppliers, and academic institutions.
SMT Goals Include:
- To develop and enhance the members’ competencies
- To be a resource for sales and marketing technologies
- To facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences
- To reach out to those interested in the field of sales and marketing training
To increase awareness and recognition of the value and quality of society
Join SMT today!
A leading psychologist observed that all of us have both an affective and an effective side. Only one letter is different between the two words, yet the difference in their meanings is great. Our effective side is the part of us that affects other people. Our affective side has to do with how much effect other people have on us.
Effective people choose for themselves and influence others more than they are influenced by them. Thus the question, “Are you an affective or an effective person?” becomes one that you should answer for yourself. Naviga Partner, The Brooks Group, suggests you evaluate and connect with your own value system. It requires serious thought. You must ask yourself difficult questions and carefully analyze your actions and attitudes. Nevertheless, it is the only way you can truly know what values drive you. It is the only way to attain your highest sales potential.