NEVER SAY NO TO A SALES REFERRAL

By Dan Hudson

A good friend called me a few weeks ago saying he had a client that he wanted me to meet for a potential business connection. My friend is in the diamond business so my first reaction was that he probably did not really understand the type of work we do at 3FORWARD, but he was insistent I speak with this person as soon as possible.  He introduced us via email then after a brief phone call we decided to meet face-to-face next time this person was in Dallas.  That meeting recently occurred and I am really glad I took the time to make this new connection!

We met for coffee and immediately hit it off.  It turns out that this individual is the CEO of a company that provides sales effectiveness software focused on helping complex solution selling teams grow sales revenues. Our discussion centered on the selling process, specifically on what portion of that process the sales rep controls versus what portion is controlled by the prospect.

He explained to me that data conclusively proves that by focusing on the things that are in your sales teams’ control your win probability increases dramatically.  The two primary areas that a sales rep has control over are frequency and selling skills, and by proactively managing sales frequency and sales behavior skills, real sustainable growth is possible for the entire sales organization.  His software helps sales reps and their managers achieve this.

The key to this process is to be able to capture and measure these behaviors quickly so that sales and pipeline reporting is accurate and as importantly, you have the ability to provide real time sales coaching to the sale person. The approach is simple and makes complete sense.

We plan on having additional discussions about how our firms might be able to work together.  The real point of the story is to never dismiss a referral without taking the time to have an initial discussion; it could be costly!

It’s Not Just About Experience

By Jill Harrington

 I was recently asked by a colleague to share my top three insights to help younger, less experienced sellers be successful in their careers. I love working with young new sales pros because they are eager to “get producing” as quickly as possible, they usually have few or no bad habits to “unlearn.” And while they may initially lack experience and business acumen, they make up for this in their willingness to put new ideas into action. And action ultimately drives results … I’ve seen newbie reps outsell their more seasoned counterparts who let their egos prevent them from trying something different.As for the ones who are “hitting the ball out of the park” early in their career, here’s what they have in common…

  1. Their quest for knowledge. They understand that “how you sell” has far more impact on sales success that “what you sell.” They continuously invest in their own professional development and view training as an opportunity, not an annoyance keeping them from their customers. They proactively seek mentorship, and reflect on what works and what doesn’t in terms of their own sales approach.
  2. Their intent. They are not just focused on closing the sale. Their intent is to contribute to their customer’s success. As a result of this mindset they proactively look for the customers who will benefit from their services. And they do their homework so they can speak intelligently about why this specific customer would benefit from having a sales conversation. The sale – and usually a bigger one – is the output.
  3. Their curiosity. They are genuinely curious about the customer and his / her business which means they “know” who they are talking to, and they prepare questions that are valuable to both the customer and the sales pro. They take time to understand what’s important from the customer’s perspective and they listen – to the customer’s words and to the implication of these words. So when they respond, their recommendations are ruthlessly relevant. 

Why Year End Deals Don’t Close: THE CESSPOOL!

By Steve W. Martin

Here’s one of my favorite year end stories that you do not want to miss… READ BRIAN’S STORY BELOW!                      

Brian was presenting his forecast in front of his teammates and was explaining why a deal that he had originally forecasted to close in the fourth quarter came in three months later. Here’s his story.  

 Brian was excited that the account he had worked on for nine months had selected his software solution. After several weeks of ensuing price negotiations, a $300,000 purchase order was submitted into the customer’s capital expenditure software system (referred to by the customer internally as the “CESS system”). Since several weeks were left in the quarter, Brian expected that he would receive the purchase order well before the quarter’s cutoff.  In Brian’s mind the deal was done. The purchase order would be printed and signed and he forecasted the deal accordingly. However, Brian was quite surprised to learn that the rules-based CESS system required that a purchase of that magnitude be approved by twenty-one different people. The purchase order had entered the “CESSPOOL of Purchase Order Approval”.

Because of this elaborate sign off procedure, it would take another three months before all twenty-one signatures were gathered. In the meantime, Brian embarrassingly had to explain to his manager why a deal he had absolutely, positively, guaranteed would close wouldn’t. His assumption about the purchase order turnaround time was dead wrong. If only he’d had the foresight to ask about the details of the procurement process with the same diligence that he spent qualifying their decision making process before he committed the deal on his forecast. During tough economic times like today, you should expect every purchase approval to take two to four times longer than normal.

Because, every organization exercises another excruciating level of diligence to ascertain whether or not the purchase is absolutely necessary.  

Top 6 Pitfalls of Leaving Voice Mail Messages

by Jacques Werth
©All Rights Reserved

Is it a good idea to leave sales-oriented Voice Mail Messages (VMM)? At High Probability Selling, we advise againt it, since your potential customers will react in one of the following ways, none of them positive!

  1.  The prospect will hear your name and company, and, not recognizing either, will delete your VMM without listening to the rest of your message. Only that negative impression of your name, your voice and your company will remain in his/her memory.
  2.  The prospect will hear your pitch and delete it, because s/he is too busy to think about your offer now. Only that negative impression of your name, your voice and your company will remain in his/her memory.
  3.  The prospect will hear your one-way communication and be frustrated, because there is no opportunity to ask any questions. Then, s/he will hit “delete,” and click to the next message without trying to call you back. Only that negative impression of your name, your voice and your company will remain in his/her memory.
  4. The prospect may not like the sound of your voice or your pitch, and immediately delete your VMM. Only that negative impression of your name, your voice and your company will remain in his/her memory.
  5. The prospect may listen to your VMM and be interested, but too busy to call you back. Eventually, s/he will be frustrated and/or annoyed that you did not call again, or be faced with a potential phone tag scenario. Only that negative impression of your name, your voice and your company will remain in his/her memory.
  6. The prospect will listen to your VMM, stop what s/he is doing, and call you immediately. Approximately 1 out of 120 VMMs will result in a call back, and an average of 1/3 of them will result in a new customer. Therefore, without actually talking with them, salespeople that leave VMMs alienate the other 119 prospects.Is it a good idea to leave sales-oriented Voice Mail Messages (VMM)? Our research indicates that salespeople who leave voice mail messages produce an average annual sales volume that is twenty-nine percent (29%) lower than the average sales volume of all salespeople in their companies.In High Probability Prospecting (HPP), we do not leave Voice Mail Messages.HPP is about a series of extremely brief human-to-human interactions characterized by mutual trust and respect.

The process gets better sales results during the first round of calls, and increasingly better sales results with each subsequent round of calls.The primary strategy of the HPP process is to contact a highly targeted list of prospects every four weeks, to determine whether the prospect wants what we have to offer now, or not. If not, we quickly accept any negative response and leave a positive impression that builds with time.

Top 6 Pitfalls of Leaving Voice Mail Messages

by Jacques Werth
©All Rights Reserved

Is it a good idea to leave sales-oriented Voice Mail Messages (VMM)? At High Probability Selling, we advise againt it, since your potential customers will react in one of the following ways, none of them positive!

  1.  The prospect will hear your name and company, and, not recognizing either, will delete your VMM without listening to the rest of your message. Only that negative impression of your name, your voice and your company will remain in his/her memory.
  2.  The prospect will hear your pitch and delete it, because s/he is too busy to think about your offer now. Only that negative impression of your name, your voice and your company will remain in his/her memory.
  3.  The prospect will hear your one-way communication and be frustrated, because there is no opportunity to ask any questions. Then, s/he will hit “delete,” and click to the next message without trying to call you back. Only that negative impression of your name, your voice and your company will remain in his/her memory.
  4. The prospect may not like the sound of your voice or your pitch, and immediately delete your VMM. Only that negative impression of your name, your voice and your company will remain in his/her memory.
  5. The prospect may listen to your VMM and be interested, but too busy to call you back. Eventually, s/he will be frustrated and/or annoyed that you did not call again, or be faced with a potential phone tag scenario. Only that negative impression of your name, your voice and your company will remain in his/her memory.
  6. The prospect will listen to your VMM, stop what s/he is doing, and call you immediately. Approximately 1 out of 120 VMMs will result in a call back, and an average of 1/3 of them will result in a new customer. Therefore, without actually talking with them, salespeople that leave VMMs alienate the other 119 prospects.Is it a good idea to leave sales-oriented Voice Mail Messages (VMM)? Our research indicates that salespeople who leave voice mail messages produce an average annual sales volume that is twenty-nine percent (29%) lower than the average sales volume of all salespeople in their companies.In High Probability Prospecting (HPP), we do not leave Voice Mail Messages.HPP is about a series of extremely brief human-to-human interactions characterized by mutual trust and respect.

The process gets better sales results during the first round of calls, and increasingly better sales results with each subsequent round of calls.The primary strategy of the HPP process is to contact a highly targeted list of prospects every four weeks, to determine whether the prospect wants what we have to offer now, or not. If not, we quickly accept any negative response and leave a positive impression that builds with time.

5 Secrets to Exercising Authority

By Mike Brooks

If you are a sales manager or business owner, then you probably know and understand that fine line between being a leader and exercising authority, and trying to fit in as part of the team and wanting people to like you. Managers struggle with this all the time, and many would be leaders lose their ability to successfully direct their teams because they are afraid of exercising this authority for fear of alienating other team members.

The problem is that most managers and other figures of authority – Directors, V.P.’s, and Business Owners – have never been taught how to properly exercise authority and command respect as leaders.

If you find yourself in this position, follow this proven, 5-step method for exercising authority. It will not only get results, but it will establish, or re-establish, your role as leader of your sales team or department.

1) Make sure your instructions are clear. Having ambiguous goals, or methods of achieving them, automatically undermines your authority and dooms many projects from the beginning. Rule #1 — be clear on the goal and the instructions on how to accomplish it. After you have delivered them, ask your team if they have any questions about what is required, so problems can be cleared up from the beginning.

2) Encourage people to approach you if they run into problems. Establishing open communication and feedback early on is crucial to avoid big disappointments later. Helping team members resolve problems as they arise ensures quick resolution, continued progress, and good morale.

3) Take action quickly when you learn of any real problems. Failing to act quickly once you learn of a problem, or putting it off for days or weeks, not only undermines your authority, but also kills morale and confidence. Problems tend to get bigger the longer they go unresolved, and your job as a leader is to solve problems not avoid them.

 

To read secrets 4 & 5, click here.

The Number 1 Word in Sales!

By Tibor Shanto

Whether we like it or not, sales is a game of semantics.  The words you choose make a difference.   You want to make sure that you facilitate communication, and fully drive the Discovery process.  It also has a strong impact as to the level of engagement by your buyer, the more engaged and the more they communicate the entire picture, the greater the likelihood that you will uncover crucial information you need to convey and deliver value; as importantly, the more difference they will perceive in you vs. other sellers they are speaking with.  So when I was asked what is the number one word in sales, I knew that it was…..

Watch the video here…