What Is the Real Question Behind How Do You Sell More?

Asking the right question starts the sales process and helps to achieve this goal of  How do you sell more? Yet far too many sales people focus on asking the wrong questions or asking the same questions that everyone else has asked.

Before traveling into the why, one important word in the first paragraph is “asking” or better yet ask.  Many people believe they know the meaning of the words. Yet, I have discovered this I know that already (IKTA) creates confusion.

Webster’s New World Dictionary indicates the ask is an Anglo Saxon word of ascian.  Its first definition is:

“to use words in seeking the answer to (a question); inquire about. The first intent of this word is further understanding of an existing question.”

What this suggests if you do not know the existing question, you will have trouble asking. How many times in the buying/selling process do sales professionals fail to do their research (think homework)?  This keeps them from being able to seek the real answers from their potential customers (a.k.a. prospects).

Now returning to the question at hand, “How do you sell more?”  What would happen if you asked yourself this question “How can I help my customers buy more?”  Does restating this query provide a different perspective?  Would your behaviors be a little to dramatically different?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith helps you answer these questions here.

LinkedIn Profiles: Avoid the Most Common Mistakes

By C.G. Lynch
Publication: CIO.com
 

In the midst of the recession, many job seekers have spent more time on LinkedIn to connect with colleagues, customers and partners in an effort to land a new gig. Unfortunately, many people commit common errors in their LinkedIn profiles that cost them new opportunities, says Jason Alba, CEO of JibberJobber , a company that provides web-based tools for managing your job search.

Alba, who recently released a DVD called LinkedIn for Job Seekers, shared with CIO.com the six most common mistakes he sees on LinkedIn profiles. Here’s how to spot trouble in your profile and fix it. 

  •  1. Don’t Get in Picture Trouble

Many people choose not to use a picture on their LinkedIn profiles. While some of you have your reasons, it’s a mistake for the typical user, Alba says. Some common concerns: Perhaps you don’t want to disclose your ethnicity, or you don’t consider yourself photogenic.“Some situations are justified in not using a profile picture, but in the end I encourage people to include one because it shows you’re comfortable with yourself,” Alba says. “It also makes your profile a lot more personable.”Alba recommends a professional headshot for LinkedIn, rather than the picture of you in front of a mountain or lake that you utilize on Facebook. In addition, if you’re a job seeker, odds are that you will meet your prospective employer in a face-to-face interview, so that picture of you twenty years ago that you like to leave up there – that needs to be replaced.

“Sometimes people are floored when they see the person if they left a really old picture up there,” Alba says.

  • 2. Write a Descriptive Professional Headline

When you edit your LinkedIn profile, you have what Alba calls a “professional headline” right beneath the name. The common mistake here (as shown in the picture below) is to simply put your name and title. He believes you should use something catchier. Instead of saying, “project manager for X company,” say something more specific: “I manage complex projects involving IT and marketing.”When people search for you, they will see this professional tagline, and it might decide whether or not they feel compelled to click on your name and see your profile, Alba says.“Think of yourself as a marketer, and this is where your big ad appears to the world,” Alba says.

  • 3. Properly Label Websites Displaying Your Work or Blog

LinkedIn offers you the ability to list the websites where your work might be displayed. This is a great option if you keep a personal website with a resume or a blog. But when you go to edit the website descriptions, Alba recommends dispensing with LinkedIn’s default descriptions of “my website” or “my company.” Those descriptions aren’t a compelling read for employers, he says.Instead, when you edit your “websites” section, LinkedIn provides a drop down menu (see picture below). Click “other,” and you can upload the link and describe it as you see fit. Instead of “my blog,” you might write, “my blog on complex project management.”

  • 4. Consider a Vanity URL

Maybe you haven’t changed the default URL that LinkedIn provides for your profile. Especially if you have a common name, this will make your name after the LinkedIn address appear with a bunch of ugly code and numbers. If you have to give your LinkedIn profile address over the phone, or you wish to print it on your business card, it should be as concise and self-explanatory as possible, Alba says.“It literally takes 30 seconds, and it makes your profile look more on purpose,” Alba says.(When you edit your LinkedIn profile, go to the “public profile” section to create your LinkedIn URL of choice).

  • 5. Finish with a Strong, SEO-Friendly Summary

The “summary” section of your LinkedIn profile could be the biggest missed opportunity for the majority of job seekers, Alba says. While this section has a 2,000 character limit, Alba suggests packing as much about you and your abilities into it as possible.In reality, the ability for people to find you will depend on LinkedIn’s search engine linking your name to certain search keywords. So (staying with our repeated example), a project manager might want the term “project management” to appear a few times throughout the summary.

“Most summaries are a couple sentences or a couple paragraphs, and they’re missing out,” Alba says. “The more you put in the summary, the better your SEO  is.”

 Remember that you’re in a crowded field of applicants. Alba recommends that you put in short “problem, action and results” stories that show how you contended with challenges that helped your business succeed.  

Why You Should Laugh Your Way To Better Sales Results

As a former director of sales for multiple organizations, Jeremy J. Ulmer asks the following questions to help you evaluate how to achieve better sales results:

  • Is your sales force not producing the results you want and lacking the energy, teamwork, drive, and the attitude that they need to have for great success?
  • Are you a sales professional or sales manager who is carrying around too much stress, lacking motivation, and not achieving your full potential?

If any of this is true, then listen up. Laughter just might be the solution. You can immediately reduce stress, increase productivity, teamwork, focus and motivation for your entire organization or team with laughter.The bottom line impact from improving all of these factors means better sales results.

Bad Phone Sales Script Advice

This week’s blog is by Michael Pedone, founder and CEO of SalesBuzz.com, an online sales training company. Get a free sales lesson here: http://www.salesbuzz.com/free-demo/

Is your team killing cold call opportunities with this common mistake?

While researching keywords related to “phone sales scripts,” I came across a website offering sample scripts for free. Well, they say you get what you pay for and in fact, this “free advice” could actually cost you a bundle in lost commissions.The author of the script must have been a junior phone sales person or someone with little or no sales training. Sad to say, though, many sales people use a similar approach when making an outbound sales call. No wonder so many cold calls end in failure! It needn’t be this way.Some advice you’d be well-advised to ignore:The author of the free script begins with a perfectly sound recommendation:

“Is this Mr. Jones? Hi, this is Jane Gray with Manic Maids.”

It’s always a good idea to clearly identify yourself and your company in the opening. Don’t misrepresent yourself by pretending you are conducting a survey of local business owners or by using a similarly deceptive approach. It will most likely backfire on you later in the call.

Okay, no disagreement there. But next, the author’s “advice” shatters any salesperson’s hope of earning a commission. He suggests you immediately say:

“We’re offering a deal right now on commercial cleanings. Have you ever worked with a cleaning company before?”

Wow. Even if you’re not a sales professional, you can probably tell that there are so many things wrong with this approach that it’s hard to know where to begin.

If that approach sounds familiar to you – that is, if you or your colleagues are going this route – allow me to explain why this tack is probably killing your cold call success rate.

Don’t start selling before you know the situation.

For starters, when your opening statement is something along the lines of “We’re offering a deal right now!” you’re putting the cart before the horse. There was no “problem” established to begin with, no context given. Your pitch comes off as exactly what it is: a generic script that shows no interest in the person on the receiving end (other than prying open his wallet). Why would anyone put in that position care if you have a deal right now – or ever?

Second, you have no idea if the person you are speaking to is qualified to make the decision on whether or not what you’re offering is of value to them. So when the person says “No thanks, not interested” or “We’re all set,” you just got blown off by someone that quite possibly didn’t have the authority to say “yes” in the first place.

Third, even if you are speaking to the decision maker, you immediately followed your opening statement with a probing question. This raises defenses and leads to terse one-word answers. You can hear the prospect’s resistance and tension over the phone. Think how you’d feel in the same situation: cornered, perhaps insulted and certainly interested only in hanging up the phone – noisily.

A better approach for openers: Think like your prospect.

To avoid starting off your phone sales script on a bad note, follow these simple steps:

  1. Know the purpose of your opening statement. What you should be trying to do is pique your prospect’s interest just enough that he’s willing to continue the call and let you ask some questions.
  2. To achieve that, you’ll need a value statement: Pretend you’re the prospect and ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?” “We’re offering a deal right now …” isn’t a value statement; it’s about the seller, not the prospect. Think of the “pain points” your prospect is feeling (the problems he has that your product or service solves). Start your opener with information on how you specialize in solving (pain point one) and (pain point two) by (now say what you do).
  3. And instead of offering a “guarantee” of something (such as: We can help you save money!) suggest you might be able to help your prospect solve (enter pain point here) depending on certain factors – and that to determine if you can help you would need to ask a few questions first. This transitions you into the discovery/probing phase of the sales cycle.

Instead of following bad advice to open aggressively and put your prospect on the defensive, try opening in a more engaging, relevant and interactive way. Your prospect will be at ease, and you’ll actually gain some information useful to evaluating the opportunity and making a sale. You’ll be amazed how the right opening script will really start opening doors.

 

Sales Tips From the World’s Toughest Customers By Kasey Wehrum

Most business owners have a dream client in mind. And in many cases, the hero of that dream is a blue-chip, deep-pocketed, major corporation. As it happens, executives at big companies are forever on the lookout for new suppliers that can help their businesses run more smoothly, faster, and more efficiently. Procurement professionals spend trillions of dollars a year purchasing products and services — many of them from small, entrepreneurial companies. Intuit alone depends on some 3,800 suppliers in an average year. 

A win-win, right? First, of course, you have to get a foot in the door. And therein lies a great mystery. Procurement executives are inundated with cold calls and buried by stacks of proposals. How do you make sure your call gets returned or that your response to an RFP actually gets read? To help demystify the procurement process, Inc. went directly to the source. We spoke to supply managers at seven big-name corporations — who buy packaging, marketing expertise, IT services, and more — and asked them what life looks like from their side of the desk.

 

 

 

Many Sales Teams Are Over-Managed and Under-Led

According to Walter Rogers, President and CEO of Baker Communications, Inc., there is probably no bigger disconnect in the sales manager’s life than bridging the gap between managing and leading. It has become axiomatic in performance improvement circles to talk about managing things versus leading people, but the pressure placed on sales managers these days to get things done relentlessly skews their focus towards the “managing things” side. For the full article, click here.

Job Search and Online Presence : The Ultimate Guide

The blog site “The Applicant” has been talking about online job searches.  They wanted to create a guide that talks about different platforms and how you can utilize each of them. 

  • Gone are the days when people used to knock on doors to pick up job application forms. More people have started utilizing the power of internet and harnessing the social aspect of it via popular platforms such as twitter, linkedin, facebook etc. Although these platforms are essential to building contacts and reaching out to prospective employers, there are other ways the web can help you land your dream job. In this post we will cover a few of the things that each and every job applicant should keep in mind and apply to make sure there job search online becomes worth the effort. The only thing we all need to keep in mind is that the potential and the results may not be visible right away, but in the long run it can make a lot of difference and help you stand out from others.

Blog

If you want to create a presence on the social web, a blog is a must. You don’t have to update it everyday but with timely and valuable information from time to time it can help build a following and help you ain the exposure you need.

  1. Showcase your skills
  2. Share your story and build a personal relationship
  3. Communicate with you readers
  4. Your readers are in fact employees and employers
  5. If you are a financial planner, give them an example how you have been able to control your finances. People love personal stories. Build a liking in your niche and lleverage your skills by reaching out.

Twitter

Twitter is the hottest and one of the most useful platforms for job seekers. It’s ability to provide information in real time and connect with potential recruiters and employers can be a huge benefit. Make sure to use twitter’s search function by plugging in keywords that are specific to kind of jobs you are looking for.

  1. Network and connect with others
  2. Don’t worry about the quantity (no. Of followers) think about valuable contact
  3. Interact and share your expertise
  4. Use the search feature
  5. Connect with employees of the company that you are looking to work for. Get the inside scoop

LinkedIn

LinkedIn may not be as popular as Facebook or Twitter when it comes to social media platforms, but it certainly is one that you can’t miss out on. LinkedIn houses millions of employees and employers as it is a place for professional networking. Get on it and reach out to others.

  1. Connect with employers and recruiters
  2. Participate in groups and share your knowledge
  3. Give and get recommendations
  4. Create a compelling and complete profile. Think of it as your online resume.
  5. Create a group for people in your field and be acticve

Facebook

Mostly used by friends and family to connect with each other, the power of Facebook cannot be ignored. With millions of users actively using this platform to connect with each other, it’s a must to be on the Facebook scene. While connecting with friends and families you might come across their contacts who might be looking to hire someone and you might just fit the bill.

  1. Gain exposure on a platform everyone seems to be using
  2. Be A apart of Facebook groups
  3. Use it to create an existence and visibility on one of the hottest platforms
  4. Be social and interact with others.
  5. Utilize facebook applications that might help you connect with others.

Digg, Reddit,etc.

These sites can’t help you land a job directly as there is not a huge social aspect to them. These sites are usually used for content promotion but that is where it can be useful. Share your expertise via your blog and get yourself on these sites. Valuable content gets seen and rewarded by viewers and within those thousands of viewers there might be someone who is willing to give you a try. It doesn’t hurt to try. Just be careful with these sites. Spamming isn’t the solution. Solution is to create compelling content with active participation.

  1. Use to promote content that appeals based on your niche
  2. Make sure to study each platform before you thin of using it
  3. If you are into SEO, digg isn’t ideal but Sphinn is
  4. These sites have a massive number of users and your content on frontpage might bring you interest from prospective employers
  5. Participate and be active