Jill Myrick of Meeting to Win has seen many articles lately on prospecting. Her guess is that those who have been content to manage accounts have found themselves in the position of now having to acquire accounts. Things are a little different these days. She has never been handed a load of accounts to manage, grow or nurture. Those tasks have been part of her job, but ONLY after she acquired them. Somehow, she has always been the leader on her team in number of new customers acquired; Liking the challenge and sense of accomplishment from winning a brand new customer.
The 2009 Professional Society of Sales & Marketing Training (SMT) Conference has come and gone. But this year’s theme—Developing Sales Excellence in a Challenging Economy— has left attendees with valuable information to consider during the current economic downturn.
Covering a variety of topics that explored ways to keep sales professionals on a sharp budget, keynote speakers presented great information to all in attendance. Particularly enlightening was Dave Stein’s presentation on sales tips.
Dave, who is a nationally renowned sales training and performance expert, believes that “cookie cutter” sales tips are nothing more than a gimmick. They cannot be effective without a working knowledge of an organization’s dynamics, sales team make-up, culture, product offering and history.
I could not agree with him more on this, and I thoroughly enjoy the fresh approach he took.
The conference also provided memorable networking opportunities. For example, I connected with a sales trainer from an international business equipment company that was struggling to keep its sales force intact. He shared with me that since the company had changed its market approach from selling products to selling solutions, turnover had skyrocketed.
As we talked, the problem became clear. While the company had shifted its sales approach to one focused on solutions, it continued to hire individuals skilled in selling products. It was that mis-match that was driving the high rate of turnover. Seeing the light bulbs go off in the trainer’s head as this realization hit was especially gratifying for me.
Overall, the SMT Conference was an excellent way to sharpen my brain on new best practices and meet sales resources that can be recommended to our customer base.
It’s opportunities like this conference that demonstrate why SMT is the only association fully dedicated to accelerating business results for its member organizations by improving sales and marketing performance through training. Click here for more information or to join.
Art Sobczak regularly responds to reader e-mails with hand ons, how- to type advice for becoming a better salesperson. Here’s part of an email he received from a reader, and his response.
“Art, an email I received from a vendor, in response to a question we asked about a policy issue, started out with, ‘You’re not going to like this, but …’
“I continued reading, now feeling bitter. However, what was said was really nothing more than what we already knew and expected.
“I would love to see your take on something like this. A piece on the things we do to sabotage ourselves when all we were intending to do was soften the cold hard reality.”
Selling often means dealing with people around the globe, which can mean cultural differences come into play. Isn’t selling hard enough already? Luckily, sales trainer Renee Walkup is working on a new book, and did some excellent research about cultural differences to help you when selling to people in other countries. Of course, these are generalities – keep them in mind, but still be yourself.
The practice of entertaining customers is one of those issues that needs to be rethought. First, let’s consider whether or not you should entertain your customers. In these days of e-commerce and Internet communication, is there a place for this age-old practice?
How much time should I spend entertaining my customers? Good question. The world of the field salesperson is changing rapidly these days, and everything is in question.
This week’s blog is by Craig Elias, the creator of Trigger Event Selling™, and author of the upcoming book, SHiFT! Harness The Trigger Events That TURN PROSPECTS INTO CUSTOMERS. Listen to Craig share his secrets to getting to highly motivated decision makers at EXACTLY the right time and closing deals sooner when you do, December 1st at 12 Noon EST “Sell More Deals by Christmas” Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now.
We have been conditioned to believe that in sales there is no such thing as a silver bullet. I can tell you that there is. It is called timing — getting in front of the right person at EXACTLY the right time. Research shows that you are five times more likely to make a sale when you have the right timing.
Timing and Buying Modes
To have the right timing you need to understand that, no matter what you sell or to whom, buyers are always in one of three buying modes:
- Status Quo: Status quo is when a buyer believes the product or service they are currently using meets, or exceeds, their current needs.
- Window of Dissatisfaction™: A Window of Dissatisfaction occurs after a buyer realizes that their current solution no longer meets their needs but before they start the process of searching for alternative solutions.
- Searching for Alternatives: Searching for alternatives is when a buyer realizes their current solution no longer meets their needs and is actively searching for alternative solutions.
Buying Modes and Trigger Events
Buyers shift from the buying mode of Status Quo into the Window of Dissatisfaction, and from the Window of Dissatisfaction into searching for alternatives because they experience a Trigger Event, or a series of Trigger Events. You will sell more, sell sooner, and sell at a higher price when you can identify the Trigger Events that shift buyers into the Window of Dissatisfaction and get to these highly motivated buyers before your competition.
Trigger Events and Prices
It is important to understand the impact that Trigger Events have on prices. As a rule, buyers pay for perceived value – the perceived difference between your solution and their current solution – and a buyer’s perception of value changes as Trigger Events shift buyers from one buying mode to another.
When a buyer is in the Status Quo buying mode, their perceived value of their current solution is high. This results in the perceived difference in value between your solution and their current solution not being enough to motivate them to buy from you. When you try selling to buyers in the buying mode of Status Quo, you are likely to spend a lot of time selling with little or no chance of actually making a sale.
When buyers experience a Trigger Event they move into the Window of Dissatisfaction and their perceived value of their current solution is significantly reduced. Now the buyer’s perceived difference in value between your solution and their current solution increases to the point where you are much more likely to make a sale. By being first with buyers who recently entered the Window of Dissatisfaction, not only are you more likely to make a sale, you are also likely to have a shorter sales cycle, and when you win the business it’s likely to be at a much higher price.
When buyers are not intercepted by a savvy sales person, another Trigger Event or a series of Trigger Events will cause them to become so dissatisfied with their current solution that they pass through the Window of Dissatisfaction and start Searching for Alternatives. Now the perceived value of your solution is reduced to the difference between your solution and the next best solution proposed by a competitor. When you try selling to buyers who are searching for alternatives you are less likely to make the sale and IF you win the business, you are likely to have a much longer sales cycle and a much lower price.
The REAL Value of Leveraging Trigger Events
The REAL value of leveraging Trigger Events is you spend more time selling to buyers who are in the Window of Dissatisfaction. When you sell to buyers who are in the Window of Dissatisfaction you are most likely to get loyal, appreciative customers who will represent 80% of your profits and gladly provide you with a reference, or that most treasured thing in sales, referrals. If you miss the Window of Dissatisfaction and try selling to buyers who are already Searching for Alternatives, you are more likely to get those peripheral, disloyal, price sensitive customers who will be 80% of your headaches, represent only 20% of your profits, and are unlikely to be a reference or give you referrals.
Three Types of Trigger Events
Trigger Events that shift buyers from Status Quo into the Window of Dissatisfaction fall into one of three different categories:
- Bad Experience: The buyer has a bad experience with a product/service, people, or a provider, e.g. a product/service change creates dissatisfaction and the buyer gets ready to move on.
- Change / Transition: The buyer has a change or transition in people, places, or priorities, e.g. a change in the buyer who purchases your product or the person who sells your product to the buyer.
- Awareness: Buyers become aware of the need to change for one of three reasons: Legal, risk avoidance, economics, e.g. buying from you is less risky than continuing to buy from their current supplier.
How to Identify the Best Trigger Events for What You Sell
Every day, decision makers experience Trigger Events that shift them into the Window of Dissatisfaction and turn them into highly motivated buyers. In order to get to these highly motivated buyers before your competition you need to identify the specific Trigger Events for the products/services that you sell. One way to identify the Trigger Events for what you sell is to do a Won Sales Analysis.
Here is something I find very interesting, when you search Google for the term sales analysis – using quotes around the words “sales analysis” – you’ll find somewhere around one million pages on how to conduct a “sales analysis.” When you want to understand how you lost a sale and you search Google for the term “lost sales analysis,” you will find around 2,500 web pages. When you want to understand how you won a sale and you search Google for the term “won sales analysis” and filter out any references that link back to what I teach, you will find, on my last check, less than 10 pages. Of all the pages on the Internet that talk about sales analysis, less than 0.25% talk about how to win more business by analyzing the sales you lost and less than .001% talk about how to win more business by analyzing the sales that you have already won.
When you want to conduct a Won Sales Analysis to identify the Trigger Events that lead up to you winning new customers, and who are most likely to become your future customers, you’ll find the current version of my Won Sales Analysis template at www.wonsalesanalysis.com.
There is a silver bullet in sales, its called timing — being first with buyers who recently entered the Window of Dissatisfaction. You can create timing by identifying, finding, and capitalizing on the Trigger Events that shift buyers into the Window of Dissatisfaction and putting in place ways to repeatedly get to these recently motivated buyers before your competition. By being first with these highly motivated buyers you will sell more, sell sooner, and sell at a higher price.
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Phone: +1.403.313.0412; Toll Free: +1.866.744.7904; Skype: Craig.Elias
What is your company’s sales culture or environment? Can that question be answered quickly and articulated consistently across your organization? The foundation for creating a clearly defined sales environment begins with the leadership – how they set sales standards and then demonstrate, communicate and inspect accountability to those standards. What sales standards do you set and communicate? Are they extraordinary? If we followed you around for 30 days, what would we observe about your actions and interactions with your team? What would we discover about the personal accountability of each individual in your organization and about their standards as a sales team? Do your salespeople make excuses? Do they blame the economy, the competition, or the company for their failures? Do they complain about the lack of support, technology, training, or products and services?
Here’s the litmus test, provided by Tony Cole, President & CEO, Anthony Cole Training Group
Tibor Shanto, Principal of Renbor Sales Solutions Inc., has expressed that there is no denying that there needs to be a focus on trying to do as much as you can (without discounting or cheating) to salvage a year or to bring in revenue NOW. The challenge is to do it in a way that does not adversely impact other aspects of your on going success.
It is an old familiar challenge, we are all familiar with the “You can pay me now or pay me later” syndrome. The reality is that if you have a sales cycle longer than five weeks, most of your prospecting as of now will likely be a 2010 revenue. Look at it differently if you ease up on your prospecting now to “close”, you are going to pay for it in 2010. You need to redouble your efforts right across the board to ensure no let down January 2nd, because I’ll bet you any amount you’ll have a new Target January 1st, and it may just be higher than your number was for 2009.
The vehicle that introduces sales people to companies is a resume, but there are secrets hidden in the resume that hiring managers should know before they interview a candidate.
In Lee Salz’s sales management career, he would bet that he’s seen about 5,000 resumes for sales people. Yet, he still hasn’t seen one that shows someone who has achieved 40% of quota. Every single resume shows 100%, 200%, 2,000,000% of goal. Where are all of the people who have had less than stellar sales performances? Did they all leave the sales profession? If all of the resumes that he saw truly represented the performance of the individual, the U.S. economy would be thriving to say the least. Every company would be enjoying record revenue performances.
Think about this: The resume review should not occur for the first time with the candidate sitting in front of you. An effective interview requires preparation. As such, the resume should be studied and areas of question identified so that questions can be asked of the candidate during the interview. What areas should be perused? Here are five areas of a sales resume that require detailed attention.