Profitable Habits of “Giving Thanks” for Business Success

By Dr. Joey Faucette 

Numerous studies reveal that when you thank your customers, they spend more money and tell their friends about the exceptional service and products you deliver, increasing your profits.  Vendors go the extra mile to extend credit and deliver “just in time” when they hear gratitude regularly, and keep your cash flowing. Giving thanks works in business.

Tap into the Power of Thank You

There may be only one day a year devoted to giving thanks, but expressing thanks year round and doing it well is one of the most profitable business strategies you can have.

Numerous studies reveal that when you thank your customers, they spend more money and tell their friends about the exceptional service and products you deliver, increasing your profits. Volumes chronicle how employee productivity zooms when appreciation is expressed, raising your margins. Vendors go the extra mile to extend credit and deliver “just in time” when they hear gratitude regularly, and keep your cash flowing. Giving thanks works in business.

But you’re already doing more with less and the last thing you want is another item on your to-do list. What are the most effective and efficient ways to express gratitude to these important players in your positive business success?

Start today implementing these 4 tips to develop the profitable habit of saying “Thank you” to your customers, employees, and vendors year-round:

Be specific in your thanks. It’s one thing to say, “I appreciate you. Thanks a lot.” That’s a soap-bubble comment. Pretty while it lasts, but gone in seconds. When you thank them for something specific, that’s Velcro. That’s a thanks they remember because it sticks. You hook your gratitude to something the employee did. For instance, an employee just handled a difficult phone call with a customer really well. Thank them for that specific activity.

Appreciate the process. Target your appreciation at what the person did. Let’s go back to the worker who took the phone call. Avoid telling the employee, “Thanks for helping me keep that customer.” That’s just an outcome that benefits you. Say, “I like how you hung in there when that customer was being difficult. You were really patient and respectful.” The same type of strategy goes for vendors. Give thanks for their doing something that was an extra-mile effort. Recognize the above-and-beyond work.

It’s about them, not you. Showing that you know something about them is incredibly valuable. Connect your gift-giving with life beyond the business walls. If a vendor became a Grandpa, give him a copy of “Goodnight, Moon” to read to the little one. If an employee’s mother died of breast cancer this year, make an end-of -the-year donation to the American Cancer Society in her name. Such intimacy breaks the relationship ice in a transformational, not just transactional, direction which is the game-changing pathway to greater profits.

Go old school with your thanks. In this pixelated world of emails and texts, Facebook and Twitter, the simple and quick act of writing a handwritten expression of gratitude goes a long way. There’s something special today about a handwritten note. I keep a stack of cards and envelopes with me to write thank you notes in flight when returning from a workshop or coaching session. It takes about three minutes per card. You create return business when you take pen in hand and write, “Thank you,” to your customers. Just say, “I know you could do business with others, but you chose us. Thank you! We treasure our relationship.”

Implement these tips, and your business says “Thank you” back to you as you positively increase your profits year-round.

How often do you say Thank You? Tap the profitable power of Thank You with these 4 tips from best-selling author, Work Positive coach, & speaker Dr. Joey Faucette.

Do You Make These 10 Mistakes in a Conversation?

By Henrik Edberg  

Can you improve your conversation skills? Certainly.

It might take a while to change the conversation habits that’s been ingrained throughout your life, but it is very possible.

To not make this article longer than necessary let’s just skip right to some common mistakes many of us have made in conversations and a couple of solutions. And if you want then you can learn much more about improving your social life and relationships in my Simplicity course (there is a written guide that is close to 50 pages long + a social skills workbook included in that course) and in the 12-week Self-Esteem Course.

Not listening
Ernest Hemingway once said:

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

Don’t be like most people. Don’t just wait eagerly for your turn to talk. Put your own ego on hold. Learn to really listen to what people actually are saying.

When you start to really listen, you’ll pick up on loads of potential paths in the conversation. But avoid yes or no type of questions as they will not give you much information. If someone mentions that they went fishing with a couple of friends last weekend you can for instance ask:

  • Where did you go fishing?
  • What do you like most about fishing?
  • What did you do there besides fishing?

The person will delve deeper into the subject giving you more information to work with and more paths for you choose from.

If they say something like: “Oh, I don’t know” at first, don’t give up. Prod a little further. Ask again. They do know, they just have to think about a bit more. And as they start to open up the conversation becomes more interesting because it’s not on auto-pilot anymore.

Asking too many questions
If you ask too many questions the conversation can feel like a bit of an interrogation. Or like you don’t have that much too contribute. One alternative is to mix questions with statements. Continuing the conversation above you could skip the question and say:

  • Yeah, it’s great to just get out with your friends and relax over the weekend. We like to take a six-pack out to the park and play some Frisbee golf.
  • Nice. We went out in my friend’s boat last month and I tried these new lures from Sakamura. The blue ones were really great.

And then the conversation can flow on from there. And you can discuss Frisbee golf, the advantages/disadvantages of different lures or your favourite beer.

Tightening up
When in conversation with someone you just meet or when the usual few topics are exhausted an awkward silence or mood might appear. Or you might just become nervous not knowing exactly why.

  • Leil Lowndes once said: “Never leave home without reading the newspaper.” If you’re running out of things to say, you can always start talking about the current news. It’s also good to stay updated on current water cooler-topics. Like what happened on the latest episode of Lost.
  • Comment on the aquarium at the party, or that one girl’s cool Halloween-costume or the host’s mp3-playlist. You can always start new conversations about something in your surroundings.
  • Assume rapport. If you feel nervous or weird when meeting someone for the first time assume rapport. What that means is that you imagine how you feel when you meet one of your best friends. And pretend that this new acquaintance is one of your best friends. Don’t overdo it though, you might not want to hug and kiss right away. But if you imagine this you’ll go into a positive emotional state. And you’ll greet and start talking to this new person with a smile and a friendly and relaxed attitude. Because that’s how you talk to your friends. It might sound a bit loopy or too simple. But it really works.

Poor delivery
One of the most important things in a conversation is not what you say, but how you say it. A change in these habits can make a big difference since your voice and body language is a vital part of communication. Some things to think about:

  • Slowing down. When you get excited about something it’s easy to start talking faster and faster. Try and slow down. It will make it much easier for people to listen and for you actually get what you are saying across to them.
  • Speaking up. Don’t be afraid to talk as loud as you need to for people to hear you.
  • Speaking clearly. Don’t mumble.
  • Speak with emotion. No one listens for that long if you speak with a monotone voice. Let your feelings be reflected in your voice.
  • Using pauses. Slowing down your talking plus adding a small pause between thoughts or sentences creates a bit of tension and anticipation. People will start to listen more attentively to what you’re saying. Listen to one of Brian Tracys cds or Steve Pavlina’s podcasts. Listen to how using small pauses makes what they are saying seem even more interesting.
  • Learn a bit about improving your body language as it can make your delivery a lot more effective. Read about laughter, posture and how to hold your drink in 18 ways to improve your body language.

Hogging the spot-light
I’ve been guilty of this one on more occasions than I wish to remember. Everyone involved in a conversation should get their time in the spotlight. Don’t interrupt someone when they are telling some anecdote or their view on what you are discussing to divert the attention back to yourself. Don’t hijack their story about skiing before it’s finished to share your best skiing-anecdote. Find a balance between listening and talking.

Having to be right
Avoid arguing and having to being right about every topic. Often a conversation is not really a discussion. It’s a more of a way to keep a good mood going. No one will be that impressed if you “win” every conversation. Instead just sit back, relax and help keep the good feelings going.

Talking about a weird or negative topic
If you’re at a party or somewhere were you are just getting to know some people you might want to avoid some topics. Talking about your bad health or relationships, your crappy job or boss, serial killers, technical lingo that only you and some other guy understands or anything that sucks the positive energy out of the conversation are topics to steer clear from. You might also want to save religion and politics for conversations with your friends.

Being boring
Don’t prattle on about your new car for 10 minutes oblivious to your surroundings. Always be prepared to drop a subject when you start to bore people. Or when everyone is getting bored and the topic is starting to run out of steam.

One good way to have something interesting to say is simply to lead an interesting life. And to focus on the positive stuff. Don’t start to whine about your boss or your job, people don’t want to hear that. Instead, talk about your last trip somewhere, some funny anecdote that happened while you where buying clothes, your plans for New Years Eve or something funny or exciting.

Another way is just to be genuinely interested. As Dale Carnegie said:

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one.”

Knowing a little about many things or at least being open to talk about them instead of trying to steer the conversation back to your favourite subject is a nice quality.

Meaning: talking for what seems like hours about one topic. Topics may include work, favourite rock-band, TV-show and more work.

Opening up a bit and not clinging desperately to one topic will make the conversation feel more relaxed and open. You will come across like a person who can talk about many things with ease. As you’ve probably experienced with other people; this quality is something you appreciate in a conversation and makes you feel like you can connect to that person easily.

Not reciprocating
Open up and say what you think, share how you feel. If someone shares an experience, open up too and share one of your experiences. Don’t just stand there nodding and answer with short sentences. If someone is investing in the conversation they’d like you to invest too.

Like in so many areas in life, you can’t always wait for the other party to make the first move. When needed, be proactive and be the first one to open up and invest in the conversation. One way is by replacing some questions with statements. It makes you less passive and makes take a sort of stand.

Not contributing much
You might feel that you don’t have much to contribute to a conversation. But try anyway. Really listen and be interested in what the others are saying. Ask questions. Make relating statements.

Open your eyes too. Develop your observational skills to pick up interesting stuff in your surroundings to talk about. Develop your personal knowledge-bank by expanding your view of interesting things in the world. Read the newspapers and keep an eye on new water cooler-topics.

Work on your body language, how you talk and try assuming rapport to improve your communication skills.

But take it easy. Don’t do it all at once. You’ll just feel confused and overwhelmed. Instead, pick out the three most important things that you feel needs improving. Work on them every day for 3-4 weeks. Notice the difference and keep at it. Soon your new habits will start to pop up spontaneously when you are in a conversation.

The Impact of Sales Technology for the Sales Professional

By Jill Konrath 


What sales tools do you use to open doors & close sales?

If you’re concerned that you’re not getting the maximal impact from them, check out my interview below with Jonathan London, co-author of Using Technology to Sell.

Ever since I’ve known Jonathan, I’ve been impressed with his depth of expertise regarding what it takes to “get the business.” I know you’ll get some golden nuggets from reading about his perspectives.

JILL: What are the biggest mistakes you see sales organizations make relevant to technology?

JONATHAN: The biggest mistakes are the siloing of technology. What I mean is that most companies only choose one technology, like CRM and don’t choose the most appropriate technology at each stage of the sales process. And in most cases whatever they choose is underused. The other big mistake is mistaking that technology is the answer vs. people, the process, skills and technology in combination.

JILL: In your book you share several key things sales organizations / individuals should do to avoid these mistakes. What are they?

JONATHAN: I think a salesperson or sales organization needs to take a holistic approach to the sales process and enable the sales organization in every phase. By enable I mean give them the skills, knowledge, technology at every stage of the sales process so they are most competitive and successful.

I also believe salespeople need to be given more autonomy to do what they need since technology now allows them to do things they couldn’t do on their own.

JILL: I know you really emphasize “sales process” in everything you do.

What can you tell us about the integration of process and technology?

JONATHAN: A sales process is a guideline, road map and the plays you need to follow and run to win. A key element is to discover and align with the prospect’s decision process. In all instances it needs to incorporate the appropriate technology. As outlined in my book, there is great technology to enable each stage.

For example, when presenting your solution, you can use a variety technologies to create a compelling presentation or proposal and then use a wide array of videoconferencing/collaboration tools to present to your prospect. It is startling how few people use video these days.

JILL: So, what is the difference or benefit to the salesperson or organization if they apply these concepts?

JONATHAN: The benefits are a much tighter integration of technology to enable a sales approach that results in greater efficiency, more time to sell, a more competitive sales organization and of course more sales with greater profits.

JILL: Let’s talk specifically about technology now. Aside from a CRM system, what are three “must haves” that not nearly enough salespeople are using?

JONATHAN: I would say the three must haves are:

1.  A strong foundation in how to use social media and online data. These are relevant throughout a selling process.

2.  Choosing a strong collaboration tool which integrates audio/video/web and that can also be used throughout the selling process and;

3.  Mobility so that a salesperson can be a road warrior and do everything anywhere.

JILL: And finally, what’s the coolest technology you saw when writing your book?

JONATHAN: There were so many but the coolest category (vs. single product) were anything that enabled a salesperson to use, capture, create or present compelling visual media. So much is available for free or a very low cost. To name a few Camtasia, Vidyo, Bloomfire, Videoscribe, Xtranormal, Zinioreader are all interesting technologies. It is a shame salespeople and organizations are not using these more.

The last comment I would like to mention is that this subject is really about empowerment for the individual salesperson or sales organization. So much can be done now because of technology and people need to start taking advantage of it.

JILL: Thanks so much for sharing this info with us today Jonathan. If people want to learn more, where can they go to download the first couple chapters of your book?

JONATHAN: It’s available at Amazon.com

 

Sound Check – The Art of Team Selling

By: Kevin Jones

Selling in teams is becoming more common in today’s marketplace. More frequently than ever before, product experts from corporate headquarters, sales managers, senior leaders, and customer support are accompanying sales people on client visits and are playing a more active role throughout the entire sales process. For many companies, this creates situations in which the representatives from a sales team significantly outnumber the representatives on the customer’s side of the table.

I recently attended a meeting with a financial services company that had a reputation for conducting sales calls with a large number of teammates present. In talking with this group about the inherent risks of team selling, I suggested that any sales team should be limited in size by its ability to get everyone to the sales meeting in one standard-size vehicle. There was laughter and smiles at the comment, and I was immediately struck by a vision of a circus car filled with more clowns than anyone thought possible. The attendees at this particular meeting acknowledged that they often attend sales meetings where the selling team out numbers the client group of attendees. While this pack mentality may work for animals as they try to take down larger prey, it doesn’t work in sales. In fact, it creates real problems.

What We Can Learn From Rock and Roll

Sound Check!

When any musician plays a solo set in front of an audience with a simple acoustic guitar, they most certainly practice and prepare before their gig. But the gig unto itself is simple. There is only one guitar and one person playing it. As long as that person does it well, then the gig will be a success. But now add in a bass guitar, some drums, and perhaps some horns and backup singers. The more instruments you add, the more complex the situation becomes. A four-man band is more complex than a soloist, but not nearly as complex as an entire orchestra. When you have a band, it’s the entire unit, working together that determines success or failure.

The best musical groups in the world spend countless hours rehearsing and preparing. The effectiveness of the group is not only dependent upon every player doing their part effectively, it also requires that they do their part in sync with others. Sales people are inherently bad at planning, and yet sales teams are typically even worse. When asked about planning, most teams acknowledge that planning usually takes place in the car on the way to the customer’s office. Given the complexities of working in groups, this limited time spent on a task as critical to success as planning is obviously a misstep. When teams do take the time to plan, they often do it poorly, with little attention to what really matters. In most situations we’ve seen, sales teams focus on the “what” and not the “how”. We find the typical sales team will focus on sales call strategy with little regard given to executing the strategy as a team. To keep with the band analogy, it would be like a rock band creating a set list and discussing how they were going to play each song without ever picking up an instrument. To make it sound right, you have to rehearse!

Who’s the Boss?

With any great rock and roll band, there is always one leader (in some cases two.) Clarity of roles and responsibilities are the trademark of great musical groups. In fact, one of the leading reasons musical groups break up is infighting about roles that various members play.

When Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band take the stage, each member of the band knows their role, and they know who’s in charge. The audience knows as well. Bruce Springsteen’s nickname – “The Boss” – comes from his role as a leader. He is in charge and everyone knows it. In many sales meetings where a large sales team is used, customers couldn’t tell you what each member of the selling team does or, in some extreme cases, who on the team was actually in charge of the meeting. While this may seem fundamental, simple introductions and overviews of roles and responsibilities are often ignored. Every team needs to have one leader, and it is that leader’s responsibility to ensure that both the team members and customers understand the roles and responsibilities of everyone in attendance.

Do We Need More Cowbell?

In the Saturday Night Live spoof of the song “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult, Will Ferrell plays a robust cowbell. Some band members don’t like the cowbell and want to have it removed from the song, but the director proudly states, “I got a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell.” Not every band needs a cowbell. In fact, there aren’t that many songs that actually feature the cowbell. Because of this, many bands choose to leave that instrument at home.

How many sales calls have participants that are like cowbells, not adding any value, just clamoring at the table and doing nothing to improve the meeting. Our experience tells us that this happens a great deal. Every sales team member in attendance needs to bring unique value, that others in attendance cannot. We often hear that sales teams want to be large in size to “show their commitment to the customer.” If an individual doesn’t have a unique role, save a seat in the car and leave them at the office.

On Four

At the beginning of songs, particularly in live performances, you will hear the bandleader counting off so that the entire band can begin the song at the same time. If the band didn’t have these types of signals worked out ahead of time, how would the drummer know when to strike the cymbal, or how would the bass player know when to hit the first chord? They wouldn’t! These signals, and others, are happening throughout any good performance. If you watch carefully, you will see band members watching each other for cues and indicators throughout an entire show. These signs direct the band in the unstable environment of a live performance.

Sales meetings are live performances for a sales team. However, many sales teams don’t have cues or signals worked out ahead of time and the result can be disastrous. People interrupt one another, disrupting the flow of the conversation. Topics get explored in a superficial manner. One person may pause for effect, and another person may view this as an opportunity to interject. Effective signaling takes practice and coordination. We aren’t suggesting that a sales team needs to have signals like a 3rd base coach on a baseball team, but some type of hidden communication can be very helpful. As teams work together for longer periods of time, just like rock bands, they learn their teammates’ personalities and traits. Unfortunately, learning how someone might react in any given situation takes a long period time, and if you’re not careful, a lot of mistakes can get made along the way.

Encore

There are lessons to be learned from watching your favorite musical groups that can be directly applied to team-selling efforts. First – If the band doesn’t sound good, nobody is going to listen to them. Sales meetings are about effectiveness – your team needs to be good. This takes time, planning, and practice. Don’t let your sales call be an impromptu jam session. Second – Everyone can’t sing lead. Defining roles and determining how the team will work together is critical. Third – Adding more instruments to a band doesn’t necessarily make it sound better – noisier perhaps, but not better. Think about the people you add to your sales team. Do they make it sound better or do they just add noise? And fourth – Don’t miss your cues. Every great band works well together by members doing the right thing at the right time. This isn’t by accident. Determine your signals and cues so that others know when to jump in and when to stay back.

Apply these ideas to team selling and make beautiful music together.

About the author:  Kevin Jones is a managing partner at Ignite Selling, Inc., a leader in the development of custom developed sales simulation training solutions. For his entire professional career, Kevin has been a student and a teacher in the art of selling, learning from both his own experiences in direct sales as well as from the experts he has observed in the field. For the last 15 plus years, Kevin has been a Sales Improvement Consultant, taking his knowledge and insights to companies and sales people around the world. Kevin has worked with a variety of training solution providers focusing on sales skills, strategy development, negotiation, and sales management. Kevin has personally helped develop the skills of thousands of sales people across the globe, and has developed training solutions for companies across a variety of industries. Today, Kevin is a driving force behind the development of Ignite Selling’s simulation-based training programs, and a leader in the firm’s deployment of high-impact client engagements. Kevin has an Undergraduate Degree from North Carolina State University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Kevin, his wife Donna, and his two daughters, Aidan and Poppy, currently reside in Asheville, NC.

17 Best Practices of Top Performing Sales People

By Kelley Robertson

Many people wonder what separates a top performing sales person from the rest of the pack. In most cases, it’s because they apply a number of best practices in their daily routine. Here are 17 best practices of top performing sales people.

1. They set HIGH TARGETS and goals. Top performers don’t wait for their manager to issue an annual or quarterly quota. They set their own goals that are usually more ambitious than the corporate targets.

2. They carefully PLAN their quarter, month and week, as well as their daily schedule. Too many sales people fly by the seat of their pants and only look at the day or week ahead instead of planning their month and quarter. Look at the big picture.

3. They set OBJECTIVES for every sales call. It is essential to know exactly what you want to accomplish before you make your call (face-to-face or telephone).

4. They ASK high-value questions that probe to the heart of the issue. Sounds simple but most sales people fail at this and ask weak, feeble questions. Top performers are comfortable asking tough questions that make their prospect think.

5. They LISTEN carefully to what their prospects and customers say instead of waiting for your turn to speak listen to your customer. You can ask all the questions in the world but if you don’t hear what people tell you won’t be able to present the proper solution.

6. They CLARIFY the issue when they are unclear what their prospect means. People often say things that are unclear and most sales people assume they know what their prospect means. Top performers take the time to fully understand by asking “What do you mean by that?” of “Can you clarify that for me?”

7. They WAIT TO PRESENT their product, service, solution or idea until they know exactly what their prospect’s situation is. The majority of sales people jump too quickly into their ‘sales pitch’ but top performers are patient and wait for the right moment.

8. They begin every sales presentation with a brief RECAP of their understanding of the prospect’s situation. Again, a simple concept but one that is greatly ignored by many sales people. A quick summary of your customers’ situation give you the opportunity to ensure that your presentation addresses their key issues.

9. They know how to ADAPT their sales presentation if their prospect’s situation has changed. Making changes on-the-fly is challenging but it is one way to stand out from your competition. Learn how to modify your presentation when customer’s situation has changed from the time you initially met to the time you are delivering your presentation.

10. They know how to properly and effectively POSITION their product, service or solution. The vast majority of sales people fail miserably at this. They talk, talk, talk but usually end up talking about aspects of their product or solution that have little or no relevance to their customer’s situation.

11. Their sales presentations FOCUS on the prospect. Most sales presentations focus on the seller’s company, their product, or other trivial information that is of no interest to the customer.

12. They are PREPARED for potential objections. Top performers anticipate objections and plan their response before their sales call.

13. They always establish the NEXT STEPS. Decision makers are busier than ever which means they are more difficult to connect with. Avoid losing contact with a prospect by agreeing on the next steps after every sales call. Do this in face-to-face meetings and telephone calls.

14. They FOLLOW-UP after the initial call or meeting. Many a sale has been lost because the sales rep failed to follow up after the initial call. You cannot rely on your prospect or customer to call you; you need to take this initiative. Set this up during your call or meeting.

15. They PROSPECT continually to keep their pipeline full. It’s not uncommon for sales reps to experience peaks and valleys in their sales. This is usually a result of failing to prospect for new business on a regular basis. Avoid the highs and lows and schedule time to prospect for new business every week.

16. They deal with the DECISION-MAKER whenever possible. Dealing with people who have little or no buying authority is a waste of time. However, many sales people fall into this trap because it is easier to connect with people other than the decision maker. And that may be true. However, in the long run, they end wasting their time because they don’t close the deal.

17. They look for ways to KEEP IN TOUCH with their customers. A sale is not a one-time deal. However, you need to find ways to keep your name in your customer’s mind to prevent a competitor from squeezing in. Top performers incorporate this into their schedule and make it a priority.

Incorporate these strategies into your routine and you will quickly become a top performing sales rep too.

© MMXI Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.

How to Fix the Math Challenge at the Core of Selling

By John O’Gorman 

Sellers must encourage their buyers to do the math! They must provide their customers with a better calculator, spreadsheet and business case, otherwise a compelling argument for the purchase of their solution cannot be demonstrated.


Price Negotiation: The Buyer’s Broken Calculator

Surprisingly one of the main challenges facing sellers is a mathematical one. To cut back on the level of price discounting sellers need to change how buyers do their math.

Buyers are increasingly obsessed with numbers. They quickly do the numbers on our quotes and proposals. However, there is a problem with the calculator being used by many buyers.  It’s broken!

As far as most sellers are concerned, the only key actively used by today’s buyers is the minus or subtract key. That is because for most buyers their only engagement with sellers around numbers is to cut price and slash margins. That is the maths challenge at the core of selling.

The challenge is to focus buyers on value, rather than just price. That requires getting the buyer to do more multiplication or long division and less subtraction!

Business Results Require More Than Subtraction

No manager’s business equation is so simple that it can be calculated with just the minus, or subtract key on a calculator. Results are not that easy!

If subtracting is all that is going on then basic business math is being neglected, including the calculation of return on investment, or total cost of ownership. Most important business metrics – the metrics increasingly used by buyers to justify purchase decisions – require some element of addition, multiplication and long division.

The challenge is to fix the buyers broken calculator and to give the buyer a better way of arriving at the numbers that he, or she needs.

You Need A Calculator To Improve Your Negotiating Position

Although while the buyer’s calculator may be broken, at least they have one. Many sellers don’t. That is a real problem. To sell to and negotiate with today’s numbers obsessed buyers you absolutely need a calculator. You cannot move the conversation from price to value without it!

The principle math challenges faced by sellers are:

• To justify your price
• To demonstrate a lower total cost ownership
• To calculate your value.

These so called maths challenges are no simple matter. It is advanced algebra so to speak precisely because even at the best of times the buyer will struggle to accept the answer, or the method by which it is calculated.

Sellers must encourage their buyers to do the maths, but to do better maths too! They must provide their customers with a better calculator, spreadsheet and business case, otherwise a compelling argument for the purchase of their solution cannot be demonstrated.

 

About the author:
John O’ Gorman is founder and CEO of The ASG Group a specialist Business to Business sales firm who helps B2B sales people increase the likelihood of closing by up to 30%. The ASG Group uses its ground-breaking research into modern buying practices to help sales team selling to complex/demanding buyers and procurement executives.

 

 

How to Combat Disengagement

How to Combat Disengagement….to put power and passion back into your sales team…

The Brooks Group

You’ve probably trimmed all the fat out of your budget and let under-performers go.  You thought you were retaining the best and brightest, but now you’re fighting disengagement of even your (previously) most reliable employees.

Survey after survey describes an American workforce that’s disconnected and tuned out.  Consulting firm BlessingWhite found fewer than 1 in 3 employees (29%) are fully engaged and 19% are actually disengaged.  Gallup asserts that, “In average organizations, the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is 1.5:1.”  And the Corporate Executive Board says disengaged employees are putting forth even less “discretionary effort” – at least 53% less – than they did a few years ago.

Just imagine if you could get your employees to start giving that 53% again…wouldn’t it transform your organization?

One area in which we see the serious consequences of disengagement is sales.  To achieve sales goals and keep steady revenues rolling into your organization requires commitment to the sales role; in contrast, a disengaged sales team can pull even a strong company down.  It’s up to you as a sales leader to tap into your team’s potential to get superior results.

The good news is that with a little dedication and creativity you can put the power and passion back into your team:  It’s about knowing the strengths of each individual on your team, determining what motivates them, communicating expectations, and being diligent about holding them accountable for meeting their goals.

Engagement Tip #1:  Communicate Expectations and Provide Support
For example, work with your salespeople to establish prospecting targets for the quarter.  (Make sure you have each salesperson’s complete buy in on targets set!)  Then, help them build prospecting plans and follow up regularly with them to provide resources and support.  If a salesperson lacks the sales skills to follow through, provide high-quality training and serve as a coach to help them use their new skills.

Engagement Tip #2:  Reconnect with Existing Customers
Encourage your salespeople to go on courtesy calls, survey customers and end-users of your products or services, or otherwise engage with their existing accounts.  It will give them real-time feedback about what’s working and what isn’t.  Time invested with customers – even if they’re not buying right now – serves to reconnect them with the products or services they sell and the people they sell them to.

Engagement Tip #3:  Put on the Positive Pressure
It’s a truism that “we rise to the level of expectation,” yet many managers fail to hold their salespeople accountable for results.  If you and your salesperson have agreed on targets for qualifying prospects, completed sales calls, closed business, etc., you should have a systematic method of holding them accountable for meeting those targets.

Engagement Tip #4:  Reward Initiative and Innovation
The strongest performers actively seek improvement, and they expect it of themselves, their managers, and their organizations. Help your salespeople set ambitious continuous improvement goals, and reward them for trying new approaches.  And remember, recognition for their ideas, being treated as experts at what they do, winning intra-office sales competitions, and even serving as mentors for others can be powerful motivators…money isn’t the only potential reward.

A warning:  It really is virtually impossible to win back truly disengaged employees.  Unfortunately, if your efforts yield nothing with a particular employee, it’s not worth throwing your energy away and it’s likely time to let them go.   They key is to be alert for signs of disengagement so you can get the affected employee re-engaged and re-energized.