Category Archives: Uncategorized

Be Prepared: Sales Trends for 2010

The New Year is days away. As many seek refuge from the negativity of the media, others look ahead to new beginnings. We are moving toward a pre-boom economy and selling professionals and managers will need to be more efficient and more productive next year. Drew Stevens, President of Stevens Consulting Group shares some of the areas that will be affected…

Giving a High Performer Productive Feedback

Giving feedback, particularly constructive feedback, is often a stressful task. As counterintuitive as it may seem, giving feedback to a top performer can be even tougher. Top performers may not have obvious development needs and in identifying those needs, you can sometimes feel like you’re being nitpicky or over-demanding. In addition, top performers may not be used to hearing constructive feedback and may rankle at the slightest hint that they’re not perfect.However, giving your stars good feedback is essential to keeping them engaged, focused, and motivated. Luckily, feedback discussions do not need to be unpleasant, especially with top performers. Instead of dreading your next review session with your star, think of it as an exciting opportunity to celebrate success and discuss what’s next.Amy Gallo shares what the experts are saying…

Building Your Personal Philosophy for Success

Throughout Colleen Francis’ career as a sales person and as a sales trainer, she has noticed that the top 10% of professionals in this field all share a passion for what they do. It’s not just that they have a knack for connecting with people and getting them to buy more goods or services more often. They also put a lot of thought into how they sell, how they work with people, and about why their personal approach works well for them. In essence, top performers have a personal philosophy for success—daily habits and disciplined beliefs that are at the root of how they do business with people on both a professional and personal level.

It’s especially important to take action on this in today’s economy, because frankly most of your less-successful competitors out there today are too busy repeating old mistakes, blaming the recession or even their customers (hard to believe, but true) for their disappointing sales results.

2009 SMT Conference Delivers on its Information Promises

The 2009 Professional Society of Sales & Marketing Training (SMT) Conference has come and gone. But this year’s theme—Developing Sales Excellence in a Challenging Economy— has left attendees with valuable information to consider during the current economic downturn.

Covering a variety of topics that explored ways to keep sales professionals on a sharp budget, keynote speakers presented great information to all in attendance.  Particularly enlightening was Dave Stein’s presentation on sales tips.

Dave, who is a nationally renowned sales training and performance expert, believes that “cookie cutter” sales tips are nothing more than a gimmick. They cannot be effective without a working knowledge of an organization’s dynamics, sales team make-up, culture, product offering and history.

I could not agree with him more on this, and I thoroughly enjoy the fresh approach he took.

The conference also provided memorable networking opportunities. For example, I connected with a sales trainer from an international business equipment company that was struggling to keep its sales force intact. He shared with me that since the company had changed its market approach from selling products to selling solutions, turnover had skyrocketed.

As we talked, the problem became clear. While the company had shifted its sales approach to one focused on solutions, it continued to hire individuals skilled in selling products. It was that mis-match that was driving the high rate of turnover. Seeing the light bulbs go off in the trainer’s head as this realization hit was especially gratifying for me. 

Overall, the SMT Conference was an excellent way to sharpen my brain on new best practices and meet sales resources that can be recommended to our customer base.

It’s opportunities like this conference that demonstrate why SMT is the only association fully dedicated to accelerating business results for its member organizations by improving sales and marketing performance through training.  Click here for more information or to join.

Avoiding Self-Sabotage on Sales Calls

Art Sobczak regularly responds to reader e-mails with hand ons, how- to type advice for becoming a better salesperson. Here’s part of an email he received from a reader, and his response.

“Art, an email I received from a vendor, in response to a question we asked about a policy issue, started out with, ‘You’re not going to like this, but …’

“I continued reading, now feeling bitter. However, what was said was really nothing more than what we already knew and expected.

“I would love to see your take on something like this. A piece on the things we do to sabotage ourselves when all we were intending to do was soften the cold hard reality.”

OK. Good idea. Let’s look at a few.

Entertaining Your Customers

The practice of entertaining customers is one of those issues that needs to be rethought. First, let’s consider whether or not you should entertain your customers. In these days of e-commerce and Internet communication, is there a place for this age-old practice?

How much time should I spend entertaining my customers? Good question. The world of the field salesperson is changing rapidly these days, and everything is in question.

Dave Kahle, The Growth Coach®, reminds us: Remember, the purpose is to get to know one another better as people – not as buyer and seller. So, don’t talk business unless your customer brings it up. And no sales pitches, please. When you do that, you harden the buyer/seller roles that each of you play. That’s exactly the opposite of what you want to have happen. Instead, search for personal common ground – things that you have in common with your customer.You are trying to get to know each other as people, not as role-players.