3 Leadership Steps to Finish the Year Strong


3 actions leaders can take to finish the year strong
As business and sales leaders approach the end of the year, they are often a pushing to get those last deals across the finish line to hit annual budgets and goals.  Interestingly, your clients may have some budget remaining that they need to “use it or lose it”.   As we come around the final turn of the year, how can you ensure your company is prepared to get a piece of that pie?  There are 3 things leaders can do to finish strong and take advantage of these opportunities. Continue reading 3 Leadership Steps to Finish the Year Strong

Create a Win-Win Sales Solution During the Holidays

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By Michael Pedone

How Do I Create a Sense of Urgency this Time of Year? Many of my prospects are saying “call me after the holidays” What are some ways to keep the pipeline full during the holidays?”


Answer:

OK we are being asked to answer two different situations…

The later, “What are some ways to keep the pipeline full during the holidays?” depends on your average sales cycle (cradle to grave… from the time you first make contact to the time they sign the dotted line)… If you have an average sales cycle for let’s say 6 months, your answer is you get your December pipeline from May/June/July in most cases for that type of situation.

The headline question of “What do you do to create a sense of urgency this time of year?” has a different answer because having a full pipeline and having prospects with a “sense of urgency” aren’t always the same thing.

This time of year, it’s mostly the SALESPEOPLE who are feeling the pressure and the sense of urgency is on THEM. It’s a BIG mistake to push that sense of urgency off on your prospects. When you do that, your focus is on what’s best for you, and not on what’s best for your prospects.

Now with that said, if you really want to create a legitimate sense of urgency, the best way I was taught or had it described to me was to “have the prospect set their own hair on fire”… meaning, get them to see their problem and the ramifications they are or will be dealing with if that problem isn’t solved and or the longer that problem goes unsolved, the worse it gets for them.

HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

You do this by knowing what questions to ask, when to ask them and how to ask them. You can tell a prospect they have a problem until you’re blue in the face but it isn’t until you learn to ask the right sales questions that you’ll get more of your prospects coming to their own conclusion that they have a situation and they are better off solving it now rather than later.

THIS ISN’T FOR EVERY PROSPECT

Understanding your prospects situation is vital to high commission checks and longevity in sales. The first step is to make sure you and your prospect have agreed that a problem exists and that they believe you can help them solve it. Once that is established, if they want to wait till the first of the year seek first to understand the reason for the delay before trying to overcome it.

The last thing you want to do is to offer an incentive (additional value or a reduction in price etc) and still have them not be able to take advantage of it till January… Why? Because if they truly can’t do it now, you just shortchanged yourself in January for no reason.

If your prospect truly isn’t in the position to give an approval now, set up your next steps to call and move on to the next prospect.

For the prospects that are asking to wait till January but could move sooner, those are the ones you offer an incentive to in order to create a WIN / WIN for all parties. But it all starts with making sure you are speaking with a prospect that understands they have a problem, that you can help them solve it and they have the authority to say “yes” to your solution if they like it.

 

Michael Pedone, founder and CEO of SalesBuzz.com, is a name well known to many in the world of online business. He launched an internet marketing company during the dot com meltdown and defied the odds by turning it into a massively successful venture. A large factor in its success was Michael’s ability to teach his proven phone sales techniques to his ever-expanding staff, creating swift growth for the company.

 

Tips for Wrapping Up the Business Year

By Just-Ask-Kim.com

Wrap The Business Year
Up With a Bow!SJ Daily Blog Pix

The end of the year is a time to wrap up loose ends, as well as a time for new beginnings. Getting everything done at the end of the year can be a little hectic. This checklist can help you prioritize your time and make sure you set yourself up for a fantastic new year.

==> Checking Your Vision Statement and Goal

Perhaps the most important thing you can do at the end of the year is to see whether you’re on track for your long-term goals and vision.

It’s very easy in business to get sucked into the day-to-day operations. You get so concerned with hitting the next immediate target or putting out the most pressing fires that you lose sight of your ultimate goals.

The end of the year is a good time to review those goals. Are you on track to hitting your vision?

Here’s some tips for setting goals that are actually keep-able!

==> Review Your Budget for Next Year

Look over this year’s financials. How much did you earn? How much did you spend? What’s your return on capital?

Look at the highest ROI aspects of your business. What can you expect over the coming year? Do you expect profits to increase or decrease?

The end of the year is the ideal time to set your budget for the next year, because you have all the data for this year to look back on.

==> Schedule Seasonal Promotions

The holidays are a fantastic time to end the year with your accounting books “in the black” (meaning that you are making cash!) through the addition of some holiday promotions and specials.

It’s important to run promotions that are actually useful – and not overly aggressive – to your loyal readers. You want to benefit them and not penalize them through aggressive marketing. Don’t ask your loyal customers to make up for the sales you didn’t make earlier in the year but instead set out ways to really benefit them!

Here’s some tips to help you do seasonal marketing right!

==> Employee Evaluation Time

Even in a small company, you should still evaluate your employees  and freelancers on a regular basis. Are your employees pulling their fair share? Is your freelancer the right fit for your business? Are there employees that aren’t performing as expected? Is the VA becoming more valuable to you over time as you train them?

GE’s former CEO Jack Welsh famously fired the company’s bottom 10% performers every year. You don’t have to go to this extreme, but keeping your staff force lean and sharp should be a part of every company’s credo.

==> Make Large Purchases

Often times the end of the year is the best time to make big purchases. If you have leftover income, you can write off the expense under this year’s taxes rather than next year’s taxes.

Generally these kinds of purchases would fall under the capital intensive equipment category, also known as a Section 179 purchase. The maximum amount you can spend in this category is $125,000 and you must put the equipment into use by the end of the year.

If you meet these criteria, you can save a lot of money on taxes.  The key to remember however is that you should not spend money just to “save money” as the net impact is still spent money that you may not have had in the budget to begin with.

==> Back Up Your Files

Finally, take the time at the end of the year to back up your files and do a full backup of your web hosting account. At least once a year, store all your most vital files on an offsite backup facility or at least an external hard drive stored at another physical location.

These tips will help you wrap up all your loose ends at the end of the year and get you set up for a profitable launch into the next year.

9 of the Best Sales Tips For High Performing Sales People

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By The Sales Giant

What the Best Sales Tips Can Do For You?

Can a collection of the best sales tips make you a great salesperson?

I doubt it.

But can the best sales tips give you something to think about, point you in new directions, help you rediscover sales techniques and practices you may have forgotten, remind you of why you sell, refresh the reasons that you got to where you are, or show you how to get to where you want to go?

Yes, the best sales tips can do that.

The Best Sales Tips From My Career in Sales

  • Sales Tip #1:  Talent is a myth, effort is what makes salespeople successful.  In business, sports, life and the profession of selling talent matters much less than effort applied to the mastery of the skills that lead to success.  Those who succeed outwork those who don’t every time.  Because effort is a choice, we all can be successful in sales.
  • Sales Tip #2:  Attitude is the most important element in consistent sales performance.  Attitude is the lens through which the mind receives information.  It assigns value to the experiences we encounter in selling.  When it is positive even negative events are perceived as encouraging, hopeful, and opportunities to learn.  When it is negative, even positive events are seen as discouraging, hopeless, and without value.  Consistency in selling is about maintaining a positive outlook, and a positive attitude make that possible.  The good news- attitude is a choice that you make.
  • Sales Tip #3:  Start every sales conversation by asking the prospect what they need to know about your company and product.  Rather than telling them what you think they should know, ask them what is important to them.  Once they tell you, what you say in response is no longer selling them, but rather a much less threatening answering of their questions.  Prospects are much more receptive to this, leading to less resistance to the information and the greater likelihood that they will receive it positively.  Learn more abouteliminating sales resistance.
  • Sales Tip #4:  Dress and Groom yourself exactly as you want to be perceived.  Anyone who tells you that you can’t judge a book by its cover is missing the fact that if the cover doesn’t look good no one will open it.  As a salesperson your image creates an impression that influences all aspects of your customer interaction.  If you want to sound smarter, seem more trustworthy, be perceived more credibly, then let your dress and grooming represent those things.
  • Sales Tip #5:  Practice every day.  There isn’t always time to practice for hours, nor is there probably the need after you have established your skills, but you should make the commitment and get in the habit of practicing something every day.  When you practice, don’t just read or review dialogues in your mind, practice by saying it out loud.  Learning is contextual, and what you learn by reading doesn’t do much for your ability to use the information in a conversation.
  • Sales Tip #6:  Get comfortable with talking to yourself in the mirror.  From time to time we all need a good talking to, and who better to do that than the person who knows us best- ourselves.  You can’t always rely on someone else to pick you up when your are down, or scold you for not doing the things you know you should be doing.  So do it yourself, in a mirror, out loud.
  • Sales Tip #7:  Be meticulous with your follow up.  For every company I ever worked the number one cause of customer dissatisfaction and lost sales was lack of communication.  Excel at followup and you will excel at selling.  Because people have come to expect poor follow up, when you are different you get noticed and that attention will get you sales.  When you need to call someone back, give them an exact time and then call them back at the promised minute.  They will be amazed and likely to put complete trust in everything else you say.
  • Sales Tip #8:  Set goals that you look at every day.  Far to often sales people set goals and then forget about them until it is too late.  Don’t be that person.  Sales goals only work when they serve to convince you of the inevitability of the outcome.  It’s not about having an objective, is about subconsciously creating the outcome so that your mind can figure out how to get you there and motivate the behaviors that will.  Read them every day- out loud- and into a mirror when possible.  Learn more about sales goals
  • Sales Tip #9:  Sometimes it’s OK to give yourself a reset.  We all have bad weeks, and sometimes those weeks turn into a month when we just can’t seem to make the sales happen.  Oftentimes the momentum of a bad streak becomes to much to overcome and we suffer from the pressure of being unable to hit our targets.  Get out from under this pressure by giving yourself a reset- forget about the first two weeks of the month and set new goals for the last two weeks- starting over at zero for zero.  Taking the pressure off of coming back from insurmountable odds is often enough to turn your slump around and get you back to making sales.  As a sales manager you can also apply this advice to managing your team.  Learn more about getting out of a sales slump.

I hope your sales career will benefit from this collection of my best sales tips and advice.  As I wrote this I realized that there was more than 9 sales tips that I wanted to write about, but I’ll save those for the next post.

To your ultimate success,

The Sales Giant

4th Quarter Sales: A Four Step Plan to Finish Strong

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By Mike Brooks

Knowing exactly how much you’re going to earn acts like a magnet that attracts clients, opportunities and business your way.  Having this exact number also motivates you to take action and continue taking action throughout the quarter.

Happy Fall everyone!  Next week is the first week of October and the official start of the 4th quarter.  I always know the end of the year is coming because that’s when my phone rings off the hook with companies wanting to hire me to help them finish the year strong.

So, what’s your plan to finish 2011 strong?
If you don’t have an immediate answer, then use the four keys below to get organized, focused and committed to having your best end of year yet:

1) Be Crystal Clear on your personal income number and revenue goal.

Quick: Exactly how much money are you going to earn by December 31st of this year?  And exactly how much business are you going to close to earn that?  If you can’t answer that with absolute clarity, then this is goal one for you.

Knowing exactly how much you’re going to earn acts like a magnet that attracts clients, opportunities and business your way.  Having this exact number also motivates you to take action and continue taking action throughout the quarter.

Take some time today to identify these two numbers and then write them down on a card and keep it with you at all times.  Post it at your desk, on your bathroom mirror, in your car, etc.  Remember, what you focus on you create.

2) Call your best/biggest clients first.

Your greatest asset as a closer is your current list of clients.  Now, I didn’t say “all” your clients, but rather your best and biggest clients.  It’s been said that 80% of your business comes from your top 20% clients, so who are they and what is your strategy to help them buy more this quarter?

Make a target list of these clients and begin calling them this week.  Be on the look-out for not only more business, but referral business as well.   Once again, identify a number you expect to generate from your top clients and add 10% to it.

Remember, if you aren’t getting their business, someone else is.

3) Call your “A” Leads Next.

Identify your most valuable leads next and make attempts to reach them by mid-October.  These “A” leads should include deals you almost closed earlier this year; leads or companies who told you to call back at this time; and those clients who regularly buy and who you know will place orders with you.

Prioritizing your leads in this way will make sure you spend your time in early October focused on those leads that will give you the best return for effort.  Bottom line?  Call these leads next!

4) Start visualizing how it feels now that you’ve accomplished your revenue goal.

A great motivator I learned from years ago told me that what’s important about goal setting is to begin acting and feeling as it you’ve already accomplished your goal.  He called it the “Be” state.

So project yourself to the holidays, and ask yourself, “What does it feel like now that you’ve accomplished your goal?”  “What are the things you’re enjoying now that you have?”

Start thinking about the company holiday party and what it feels like to receive your bonus or recognition.  How about your family?  What are they feeling now that you’ve made your goal?  How confident, positive and happy are you?

These are the feelings you should identify now and begin affirming every night when you go to sleep and every morning first thing when you wake up.   Again, you become what you think about all day long.

These are the four keys to having a great 4th quarter.  I’ve already organized my business to be in alignment with them, and I can already feel how good it is to have accomplished them.  It’s a great state to be in and I encourage you to get in alignment with these keys as well.

Have a great week and enjoy the 4th quarter!

Keep the Momentum Going: Year-end tips to keep sales high and anxiety low

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By The Next Level Sales Consulting

Year-end tips to keep sales high and anxiety low

The end of the year is fast approaching—your team is well aware of their goals—they have the skills to sell, but do they possess the will to sell this late in the game?  It is your job to make sure they do.  Coaching takes a conscious effort.  It is not easy and it requires a great deal of time and energy.  But it’s worth it.  Here are some tactics to keep the momentum going.

‘Tis the Season (to be selling)

Generally speaking, people are in good spirits around the holidays.  It’s the perfect time for your team to reach out to customers just to say “thank you” or wish them “happy holidays.”  This simple call could be a great opportunity to gain some last minute business as well. The key is to find unique selling points or propositions that fit into the holiday spirit. Encourage your team to try some of these tactics in their next sales call:

  • Offer a slightly lower price structure between now and the end of the year.
  • Devise a deferred payment structure that might entice the customer to buy.
  • Create a sense of urgency for buying by presenting an attractive special, limited offer.
  • Demonstrate how your product/service is the best use of your client’s company resources.

Time to Check-in not Check-out

Just because it’s the holidays, don’t assume everyone is on vacation.  If you check out early, so will your team. This is the time that you need to be most engaged.  If you have been “in the game” all along, this will not come as a threat to your team—instead they will welcome the additional guidance and follow-up.

A boss instills fear; a coach inspires enthusiasm.

The major difference between a coach who demonstrates effective follow-up and one who micro-manages is based on what happens before the follow up takes place. Assuming that there was a clear agenda set during your goal setting meeting; then your follow-up, feedback, and attention should be to motivate you and your team. Great coaches correct improper behavior through open dialogue, constant feedback, and recognition. Here are some tips to help you stay engaged with your team:

Hold daily sales huddles—Three simple words are all it takes to stay connected: “How’s it going?”

Help your team look for opportunities—A coach succeeds by helping others succeed; a boss commands and demands.

Stay positive—When the going gets tough, don’t get discouraged.

Here are some additional tips to keep you and your team motivated:

Motivate, Motivate, Motivate

  • Post a jumbo scoreboard in the office.  Create a giant scoreboard that lights up when sales goals are achieved. The scoreboard provides immediate, positive feedback to sales team members.
  • Super charge your break room. Provide healthy foods, plenty of water, and energy drinks to keep people fueled.  Post daily motivational quotes or stories on the walls to keep your team inspired.
  • Give recognition and rewards. It’s a fact—people are motivated by recognition and rewards, both big and small. Thank individuals for their hard work, recognize their commitment, and set small rewards along the way to keep everyone revved up.
  • Pick a theme song. “Eye of the Tiger,” “Right Here, Right Now,” “We are the Champions”—no matter what song you choose, be sure keep those inspirational tunes playing to keep everyone pumped up
Looking for additional motivation and inspiration? Read How to Motivate Good Salespeople to be Great

Remain Flexible

You can’t make progress unless you make mistakes, learn from them, and adjust your behavior for tomorrow. Keep track of what’s going on within yourself and your team by taking notes of what’s working well and the challenges you are currently facing. Remember, the end of this year only brings the beginning and promise of the next year. Your coaching obligations do not end on December 31. You must always be looking for better ways to communicate with your team, build cohesion, and achieve success.

Make a list of tactics you think you can improve upon. Do you need to improve your communication skills?  Have you earned the trust of your team?  Do you need to inject some creativity into your monthly sales meetings?  Did you clearly set goals and expectations for each individual?

When you have a clear image of what the coach you would like to become, you can then sell yourself on becoming that person. You can do it!

Holiday Office Gift Giving Do’s and Don’ts: A Guide for Workers to Surviving the Season

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. SJ Daily Blog Pix

The holidays should be a time of joy and celebration, but often become a time of stress and frustration for those of us who work and face the prospect of giving or receiving holiday presents. Many questions abound. Should you give all your co-workers a present? What do you do when the boss gives you a present? What is an appropriate gift for a co-worker � for the boss? Are gag gifts okay? Do you need to reciprocate when a co-worker or boss gives you a present? When and how should you present your gifts to co-workers and bosses?

This article addresses all these office gift-giving questions and more. Here are some basic rules of etiquette for enjoying (and surviving) office gift-giving — to co-workers and bosses.

  • Do first understand the company policy on gift-giving. The larger the company, the more likely a specific policy.
  •  Do examine the company’s corporate culture for the types of gifts that might be acceptable. A gift for a co-worker at Google may not be the same thing you get for a co-worker at IBM. Rule of thumb: the more relaxed the corporate culture, the wider latitude you have in gift choicesDo use your common sense and good judgment when making gift choices.
  •  Don’t get a gift for anyone in the office for the sake of making a statement;give gifts to show your appreciation and thanks to the people who helped you the most in the past year. And don’t ever get something for the boss just to show up your co-workers. (You don’t want to be seen as a suck-up or brown-noser.)
  •  Do stay within your (and the office) budget for the gifts, and don’t go overboard on the gifts, especially for the boss.
  •  Don’t assume the people in your office share your tastes.
  •  Do spend time and effort to choose thoughtful gifts for each on your office list. And it’s best to stick to people’s hobbies or favorite activities when thinking of gifts. Another safe category would be a gift for the office, such as a gadget, paperweight, calendar, picture frame, pen and pencil set, etc. A last resort would be a gift card to a favorite retailer.
  •  Don’t even think of gag or other inappropriate gifts. Don’t give items that are too personal, religious, racial, or sexual. Clothing (especially lingerie), perfume/cologne, handmade, regifted, and alcoholic items are also don’ts.
  •  Do consider gifts that can be shared (with co-workers or family members), such as gourmet food items — especially those in festive tins or boxes. Unusual plants or flowers are another possible do.
  •  Don’t feel pressure to run out and buy a gift for the boss if he or she gives you one. But do send a thank-you note acknowledging the gift and expressing your gratitude.
  •  Don’t give gifts to co-workers in front of others. Instead, do consider having a holiday lunch or high tea and exchanging gifts outside the office. If you can’t get out of the office, do exchange presents discretely (and perhaps after hours).
  •  Do include a gift receipt so the recipient can easily exchange the item if necessary.
  •  Do consider giving donations to charities as gifts, but do remember that some people prefer gifts, and don’t ever use donations to controversial charities as a gift.
  •  Don’t pass up a chance to partake in a “Secret Santa” if the whole office is doing so, but do remember to stick with all the rules
  •  Do wrap your gift and do consider adding something extra to make the gift even more special, such as a gift of book with a really distinctive book mark.
  •  Don’t wait until the last minute to shop for your co-workers. Whenever possible, do plan in advance for the most thoughtful presents.
  • Do remember all these rules to have the most success (and joy) when considering office gifts, and don’t use these rules as an excuse to be a Scrooge or the office Grinch.