Business Development Vs. Sales – How Do You Measure Up?

By:  , Caskey Sales Training Blog

It seems that recently there has been much discussion in our client base about the difference between a business development person and a sales person.

So what is the difference or is there any?

In this episode, Bill and Bryan dig deeper into the subject and find there are very specific differences in how each role performs. Listen in to see how you measure up.

Also mentioned in the podcast:

Are You A Closer? TAKE THE TEST

By Steve W. Martin, Heavy Hitter Sales Blog

Are You A Natural Born Closer? Take the following Test to find out

 

Harvard Business Review is arguably the most prestigious publication for business leaders and management thinkers. Here’s one of my recent Harvard Business Review articles titled “Are You A Closer? Take the Test”

 

The drive to take command of a situation is instrumental to a salesperson’s success.  Salespeople with a weak dominance instinct are never quite in control of an account. They operate under the direction of customers or are at the mercy of the competition. They also find it more difficult to close the sale because they are uncomfortable exerting their will over the customer.

Dominance is gaining the willing obedience of the customer. The customer listens to your opinions and advice, internalizes your recommendations and agrees with them, and when you close the sale call follows your course of action. Your personality greatly influences the way in which you establish dominance during sales calls.

Nowhere during the sales process does dominance play a more important role than when closing. Take this short test to determine your natural tendencies to dominate group settings. Score your answer after each question with zero, one, or two points.

1. Assertiveness within groups. Let’s pretend you are having a hallway conversation with three colleagues. Do you remain silent the majority of time letting others speak (0), speak an equal share of the conversation (1), or usually find yourself talking the majority of the time (2)?

2. Conformity within situations. Using the hallway example above, if someone said something you disagreed with would you typically remain silent (0), might challenge the person to explain themselves (1), or usually confront the person directly (2)?

3. Self-consciousness around people. If a colleague said one of your important ideas was stupid would your embarrassment cause you to remain silent (0), perhaps defend yourself (1), or would you reject the person’s comments outright and criticize their arguments (2)?

4. Candor around people. When speaking with colleagues are you someone who carefully edits your words (0), tactfully speaks your mind (1), or is completely open and honest with all your thoughts (2)?

5. Humility around people. Are you someone who feels genuinely humble and respects all others (0), generally believes you are equal to others (1), or usually thinks you are better or superior in some way to people around you (2)?

Total your score for all questions. A score of six or below indicates you have a low natural tendency to establish dominance in group settings. Consequently, you may have a more difficult time closing. A score of seven or more indicates high natural tendencies. Most likely, you are a “natural” closer who is more comfortable in the uncomfortable position of asking prospective clients for their business.

There are two basic approaches to establish dominance during sales calls. The direct approach is based upon personal prowess, while the indirect approach is based upon finesse. The approach you should use depends upon attributes of your personality. If you scored a high level of dominance, you are typically well suited to use a direct approach. This approach is based upon first establishing yourself as the focal point of the purchase. In essence, the customer is buying your credibility, your personal experience, and your ability to help them accomplish their goals.

If you scored a low level of dominance, you are more likely better suited to use an indirect approach. This approach is based upon establishing your product and the capabilities of your company as the focal point of the purchase before you start selling yourself. For example, a salesperson with low dominance that transitioned his career from a technical position into sales can have an equally dominant presence as a seasoned sales veteran. However, he has to use a different approach. Instead of projecting a powerful presence in person, his deep-rooted technical understanding of his product draws customers to follow him.

A salesperson’s goal is to gain dominance over a submissive customer. While dominance is commonly associated with brute force, this is not the case in sales. It’s simply how people judge others. People are continually sensing whether their position is superior to yours, relatively equal, or inferior in some way. In turn, this impacts what they say during the conversation and how they behave.

 

Your Most Important Sales Appointment

By Tibor Shanto

I am a firm believer in scheduling important events, especially those activities that don’t directly involve clients; key is that they don’t involve clients directly, but have a direct impact on my success with clients.  This includes time for voice mail, e-mails, planning, but top of the list is my appointment making time.  The reason is simple, it is the most important thing you can do.  Go ahead, challenge it, but there is no way around it, the most important thing you do as a seller is prospect.  We have all heard the expression “nothing happens till a sales is made”, well sales don’t get made without prospects, so what can be more important than prospecting.

Having said that, very few sales people I work with schedule time for prospecting.  When you ask them why, they can’t tell you.  I hear things like:

“I know I gotta do it, so I don’t schedule it, I do it”

Did you prospect today?

“No”

Yesterday?

“No”

So when?

“I’ve had a really busy week, had to see a client, they needed a replacement for their battery.”   Yup, that $20 you saved on a messenger, will certainly save your company’s bottom line; personally I believe a couple of good prospects could do just a bit more.

This is typical, but does not have to be, just schedule the time.  It is an interesting thing, when something is in your calendar it becomes more important, more real, and people deal with real things differently than abstract concepts.

It has been shown that If you have a meeting scheduled in your calendar, you are less likely to alter it, you will work around it.  Think back to last time you had something scheduled for 10:00 am, and someone of equal importance asked if you would meet with them at the same time, I bet you response was “I can’t do 10:00, but how is 11:30?”  99% of the time the other party rolls with it and you end up meeting both.  Well if you had your prospecting time in your calendar, the same phenomenon would kick in, and you’d get both things done.

I know it seems simple, some of you are saying this is so obvious, yet it doesn’t get done, why, because it is not written down, it is not scheduled in your calendar.  Yes it is basic, but success is built on the basics, the fundamentals.   After all, if it was important, it would be in there; all your important appointments are, including lunch with your buddy.  So why not your most important appointment?

How to Sell if You Hate Selling

SALES SOURCE | Geoffrey James

INC.com

 

 Your success in business depends upon your ability to sell. It’s time to get over your bad attitude.

“I hate selling.”

I’ve heard that statement a thousand times–often from entrepreneurs whose success depends upon their ability to sell their ideas, their firm and their products.

And that’s a shame, because if you hate selling, you’ll never be good at it, and that means at least lost revenue–and in the worst case, company failure.

In my experience, it’s the entrepreneurs who really love selling who are the most successful. Steve Jobs, for instance, was incredibly good at pitching his products. Watch any video of Jobs at an announcement, and you can absolutely feel his sense of joy–not just in the product, but in telling a story about the product.  Jobs loved selling; there’s no question about it.

Time for an Attitude Adjustment

When I interview the CEOs of start-ups, I can usually predict whether or not the company is going anywhere by the way the CEO talks about selling. If they think it’s the soul of success, they’re going to do well.  If they think it’s a chore, not so much.

So, if you hate selling, it’s absolutely in your interest to get over it–and, even better, cultivate a love of the selling process. And that’s what this post is about.

To help you through this process, let’s examine the root of this “hatred.” In my experience, people “hate selling” because they hold one or more of the following beliefs:

  • Selling is manipulative. Many people (entrepreneurs included) swallow that hokum that sales is all about manipulating people into buying something that they don’t really want to buy. By this line of thought, the typical salesperson is a fast-talking slick-head. Who wants to be like that?
  • Selling is annoying. Selling sometimes involves repeated emails and phone calls, both of which tend to be unwelcome. Most people have had unpleasant experiences with pesky salespeople who won’t take no for an answer.  And who wants to be a pest?
  • Selling is boring. Most business tasks can be undertaken full speed, with progress limited only by the amount of time you’re willing to spend. Selling, however, involves plenty of “hurry up and wait” while prospective customers mull things over before they “get back to you.”

If you personally hold any of those three beliefs (much less all of them), there’s no way that you won’t “hate selling.”

So the way to change your emotion about selling is to undercut those beliefs with different beliefs that will create a different emotion.

  • Selling is actually helping.  Once you make the decision that you’d never, ever sell somebody something they don’t need, you’re free to see selling for what it really is: helping somebody else get what they want.  Most of the time, selling is all about making people happy by providing them with what they truly need.  What’s manipulative about that?
  • Selling is actually sociable. If you make the decision that you’re not going to annoy anyone–much less a prospective customer–you’re free to look at the selling process in terms of making new acquaintances and having interesting conversations about stuff that interests you.  (Hey, isn’t that why you got into business?) It’s fun for you and it’s fun for the other person, too.
  • Selling is actually learning. When you decide to learn something valuable in every sales situation, selling becomes far more interesting than watching TV or playing a computer game. People are fascinating–and never more so than when they’re making decisions. Get curious and you’ll never be bored again.

Is it really possible to change your beliefs and consequently learn to love selling.  Oh, you betcha.  I’m a perfect example.

When I started my own freelance writing business more than a decade ago, I dreaded selling for all the reasons I listed above.  However, I quickly figured out that my success would be just as dependent upon my ability to sell as my ability to write.

If You Aren’t Selling …

Back then I was writing mostly about high tech, but over time, as I learned more about selling, I was drawn to start writing about it. Now I think it’s one of the most interesting parts of the business world–because if sales aren’t happening, you don’t have a business.

I’ve also learned that selling is like any other human endeavor: The more you do it, the better you get at it.  Also, when it comes to selling, a little bit of effort put into training yourself goes a long way.  Ultimately, it becomes like riding a bike, automatic and easy.  Fun, too.

So, if you still hate selling, I strongly recommend that you put those old beliefs aside and change your attitudes. After all, whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to sell in order to be successful.  Learn to love it, and you’ll achieve your goals far faster.

If you enjoyed this article, click one of the “like” buttons to the left and sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

6 Steps to Sales Mastery – How to Get Salespeople to Evolve

By Dave Kurlan

Salespeople must evolve through six levels of development before they can consistently and successfully execute any process, concept, strategy or tactic they are trained and coached to perform. The six levels are:

  • Listening
  • Understanding
  • Internalizing
  • Embracing
  • Attempting
  • Mastering

If there are hiccups at any one of those levels, they may continue on to the next level, but with an improper balance. For example, if they weren’t listening carefully, and didn’t quite hear the entire message, they will inappropriately approach the next 5 levels.  If they listened but understood the message differently from the way it was intended, the next 4 levels will be wrong.  If they listened and understood, but selected a poor frame of reference for internalizing the message, they probably won’t embrace it.

Let’s assume that they have properly advanced through the level of embracing. The key level of evolving takes place at the level of attempting.

Some salespeople never evolve from level 4, embracing to level 5, attempting.  This is where underlying weaknesses have the most affect.  Those hidden, underlying weaknesses cause discomfort and hesitancy – preludes to lack of confidence – preventing them from taking what they believe to be a big risk.  Objective Management Group’s work in this area, and the deep and wide sales force evaluations they conduct, help shine light on these hidden weaknesses. I have written a series of articles on the science, data and research behind this work.

Others make the attempt, but they are uncomfortable and do it poorly. and their undesirable result may cause them to give up right then and there.  Finally, after making several attempts, some fail to master the concepts and continue to practice them poorly without improvement.

Keep in mind that this process takes place for each and every concept, strategy, tactic and method that they learn.  Many clients ask why it takes so long – so many months – to train and develop salespeople.  The concepts can be taught in a day.  But the other 5 steps to evolving take months, especially getting them over the weaknesses that prevent them from attempting and executing.  There are two ways to convey these concepts and most companies, in a great hurry to fix things, choose the comfortable, rather than effective option!

Feed them with a fire hose via a one or two day seminar and perhaps reinforce it quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

Present the fire hose but don’t spray it down their throats.  Spoon feed and reinforce daily through coaching, bi-weekly or monthly via follow up training, and don’t ever stop. Hold them accountable for the six levels each and every day.

Great Sales Training Tips

By Brian Tracy

This sales training tip may seem basic, but you would be surprised how many sales reps have no concept of the power of this technique.

This training tip is one that I have shared with hundreds of sales reps over the years and I have found that some people naturally do this almost instinctively, and others never really seem to grasp the technique.

What is it? To borrow a phrase from a movie classic, “Caddie Shack”… Be The Ball!

In other words, you must think like your customer if you are ever going to sell anything to your customer. You have to mentally take yourself out of your position as the salesperson and assume the role of your prospect.

Ask yourself these questions before you ever walk in the door…

– Why do you think they accepted an appointment with you?

– What would they gain if they purchased your product or service?

– Why would your product make their job easier?

– What is their role or position in the company?

– How does a decision to purchase from you affect their position?

Once you get into the appointment, continue to mentally put yourself in their shoes as they begin to interact with you in the call. Here are some questions to ask yourself during your appointment:

– Does the prospect seem at ease or comfortable with me and my style? If not, why?

– Am I going to fast? Too Slow?

– Does the prospect seem interested in what I am saying?

– Are they answering my questions freely, or are they reserved and guarded? Why?

– Do they prefer a more formal conversation or are they more relaxed and friendly?

– Are they focused on our conversation or preoccupied with something else? Why?

– Do they like making eye contact or does that make them uncomfortable?

The bottom line here, is that you have to continuously monitor your prospect during the call and adjust your style and approach accordingly. Don’t just ignore all of the signs that your prospect is sending out and ram through the call with your standard pitch and then hope that you are going to sell something.

Key point here, is to think like your customer. Figure out what makes them the most comfortable in a selling situation and make your adjustments on the fly to give yourself the best chance of making a sale.

My recommendation is to always start your presentation off cautiously and conservatively until you get the “feel” of your prospect and then move forward as you start to gather some data or intelligence on them.

At all costs, avoid ramming into a call with an overbearing personality and a predefined pitch and risk turning the prospect off in the first 20 seconds of a sales call.

With practice, you will get very good at this and you will find that your prospects will favor you over your competition simply because you “understand them…”

In my opinion, developing this skill is fundamental if you want to be successful in your sales career. This is a great sales training tip for newbies, veteran reps and sales managers to take to heart.

Now Go Sell Something And Make Some Money!!

7 great steps when the first question is “What’s your price?”

By Geoff Alexander

Geoff Alexander & Company

From this week’s mailbag comes a question about people we call “price shoppers.” This type of call typically occurs when the prospect perceives your offering as a commodity. We cover this type of situation in our inside sales training courses, and every company seems to deal with this, from companies that sell rarified solutions like application development tools, to accounting software, to RAID systems. And yes, there’s an element of the price negotiation process here, too. Here’s the email I got:

Hi Geoff, looking for an answer on how to handle inquiries where the only question is “I want to get a price” from underlings who have no real interest in any of our differentiators, typical the boss tells the receptionist to “get some prices” Often time we probe to establish where we could be different, such as when do you need service, etc. Any ideas on how to handle these type of call which are about 90% of all calls. Thanks, Rick.

Hi Rick,

First of all, by realizing you’re not really selling a commodity, you’re ahead of the game. Every solution is different. If you don’t believe that, then read my blog post on selling commodities, and come up with one. Once you can articulate how you’re differnet than everyone else in the world, follow these steps:

1) Before giving the price, tell the caller “I’d be happy to give the price. I want to make sure I don’t overcharge you for something you don’t need, so let me take a few seconds to ask you a few questions.”

2) Ask why the prospect wants to change the way he or she is doing it now. The prospect will give you his or her “hot buttons.” People don’t change unless the way they’re doing it now stops them from making money, or is costing them money.

3) Take some time to talk about the prospect’s business. Find out how he or she makes money, who its customers are, and how he or she perceives the use your solution will help people buy more product from them. Be creative. It’s in there somewhere, and dpending on the prospect’s need, you could be upselling on the spot.

4) Ask qualification questions that will lead to your solution differentiator.

5) Come up with at least an additional element that your competitors can’t do, and tie it back to what the prospect told you in # 2, 3, and 4 above.

6) At this point, I usually like to empathize with the prospect about the huge number of choices he or she is going to have to consider. “This can’t be easy,” I’ll say.

7) Then build on the differences you’ve discussed, and ask your closing question. A great way to articulate this might be “I think I can save you some time, and give you those additional things you’ll need that nobody else can…”

Based on my experience using this process, you’ll get some orders. And when you don’t, you’ll either have positioned yourself at or near the top of the stack, or you’ll walk away, because it isn’t good business for you. For more on this subject, read another of my posts,

RFP Hazards: Are you being “shopped” by Purchasing Agents? Here’s how to fix it.

 

So there you have 7 great steps for dealing with the “What’s your price?” first question scenario. Add this process to your Best Practices Playbook.