Welcome to The Pipeline.

Not Only Is Talk Cheap But Misleading32

Effective communication is crucial to sales success, understanding what the client wants, how they prefer those wants addressed, and understanding what they mean, can tilt things for you or against you.  But communication is way more than the words exchanged between buyer and seller, as we all have been told communication is 60% body language, 30% intonation and tone, and only 10% verbal or words.  Yet many sales people rely too much on strictly words, both in conveying their message, and taking input from potential buyers, almost completely ignoring the other aspects of communication.

This has obvious repercussions when it comes to effective selling, and ensuring you are getting the right message to the listener in the right way.  Borrowing from the work relating to how people learn, because getting someone to change and buy from us is an exercise in educating the buyer; there are three types of learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic (or tactile).   Buyers tend to fall into one of three groups when they take in, understand and absorb your message.  If you do not take steps to ensure you are incorporating all three types, you risk not fully communicating to many buyers even as you speak to them. 

Read On…

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Media Round Up55

Seems I have been popping up all over the place over the last few weeks.  Some outlets have picked up some of my writing, while others have done a full-blown feature on myself and Renbor Sales Solutions.

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Canadian Business Journal, the leading Canadian B2B publication has done a feature on the work Renbor does along with some of the views I take on sales.  You can read or download a copy here, to share with friends, family, fellow churchgoers, or just to have nearby while preparing for next big sales call.

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In the March edition of Office Technology, published by Business Technology Association, published a piece on sales cycles and how to shorten them, titled “Shorter Sales Cycles”.  Click her for the PDF.

Meantime, in the current edition of SOLD, features a piece called “Don’t Let price be the Eternal Boogieman“.  To see this and other articles on sales success, just click here.

Coming up in the next week or two, if you are in the Greater Toronto Area, you’ll be able to see me on Rogers TV In Business – discussing prospecting and the upcoming Proactive Prospecting Workshop in Markham.

On March 14, I will be on The Sales Management Issues interviews with Jonathan Farrington.  And finally, again with Jonathan Farrington on Top Sales World Hard Talk on March 19.

While not everything you ever wanted to know about sales, a good cross section of solid sales advice as we head into spring.

As always, if you have questions, comments, or just want to talk back, please do so, it makes things much more interesting for all.

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What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Change One Thing23

The New Year always brings optimism and promise.  It is also a time of reflection and planning for the new year.  One mistake some make is choosing to change or improve a whole bunch of things in the coming year; why, because it is often too ambitious, and leads to few if any being accomplished.  As soon as one isn’t achieved, people become disappointed, and fall back to what they did before.  Their day to day responsibilities catch up, and they stop trying to change the other things on their list, and next thing you know….

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So write down that one thing, master it, scratch it off your list, and on to the next.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto



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Mobile Apps for the Mobile Sales Force58

The Pipeline Guest Post – Lauren Carlson

In an increasingly mobile business world, professionals operate day-to-day on their mobile devices. Because of this, vendors have worked to develop the best apps that can bring all the necessary business functionality to an individual on the go. One profession that stands to benefit most from these apps is sales. We at Software Advice typically focus on sales force automation software, but we decided to broaden our focuse and see what is available on mobile devices to match the needs of a mobile sales force. We were honestly amazed at the great tools we found. Below we highlight some of our favorites.

Networking
Hashable Mobile – With everything else going digital, why shouldn’t business cards? Hashable has developed a neat app that basically allows you to track everyone you meet. If you can gather an email address or Twitter handle, the app will do the rest. It logs the individual down, along with the place that you met them. It allows you to make contact notes, set reminders to follow up, and track phone calls and meetings. Everything can sync back to your calendar and/or email to help keep you organized. Hashable Mobile is free and available for iPhone and Android.

Presentations
Soonr – Soonr brings file collaboration to your mobile device. Not only can you create and edit PowerPoint presentations, but Soonr allows you to access and share over 40 different types of files, from spreadsheets to mp3′s. Because Soonr operates in the cloud, any changes made from your mobile device are automatically saved and synced back to your desktop. Another cool feature is the SMS notification. Whenever a file is updated or edited, anyone who has access to that file will receive a text. This way, you always know what is going on with your files, even if you are thousands of miles from the office. Soonr is $9.95/user/month and is available for iPhone, iPad, Android and Android tablets.

Travel
FlightTrack Pro – One of the biggest pain points in a traveling profession is, you guessed it, traveling! FlightTrack Pro was developed by Mobiata to ease some of that pain. This is probably one of my favorite apps. It allows you to sync your travel itinerary, and then sends you push notifications about any changes with itinerary – delayed flights, change of gates, etc. It also has a really neat map feature that allows you to track your flight on a visually stunning graphic map. FlightTrack Pro is $9.99 on the App Store and is available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

CRM
Sugar Mobile – Sugar is already a leader in the CRM arena, and now they have extended their capabilities to mobile devices so that you can access client-critical information from anywhere. You can run reports, set up meetings, manage cases and contact information all from your mobile device. And with their latest update to the app, the user interface has become even more intuitive and simple. The coolest new addition to the app is the Twitter Connector. This feature essentially allows you to manage your Twitter account and Twitter streams without having to leave the app. Price is free and it’s available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

These are just a sampling of the apps. For more information on each one and to see more choices for each category, check out the original article here: http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/crm/apps-for-the-mobile-sales-force-1072811/.

About Lauren Carlson

Lauren Carlson is a write and market analyst out of Austin, Texas. She focuses on enterprise technology in the area of customer relationship management. She has been mentioned on Forbes.com and other notable web sites. You can see her articles regularly on the Software Advice blog.

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Removing The Barrier From Sales – Sales eXchange – 10740

A couple of weeks ago I was presenting at an Apple expo here in Toronto, there were two tracks, one for the public, the other for Apple resellers, my crowd.  in addition to presentations there were a number of vendors.  One had a really neat utensil that caught my interest, I wanted to buy it and asked which plastic cards he accepted, he told me none.  I had rushed that morning and only had a few dollars, and my luck, there was no ATM around.  I asked if I can order the thing on his site, no.  All around the other vendors all were accepting credit cards, bit my man!

It didn’t take long for me to lose interest and move on.  Diving home it struck me that this fellow an unnecessary but real barrier to successfully selling, going to an expo with thousands of attendees, and completely limit the means of buyers to buy does not seem savvy.  Long drive, I started thinking further as to how many B2B sales people and sales organization also make it unnecessarily difficult to buy from them.

Sometimes these are simple things like talking when they should be listening, closing with every other sentence, asking silly questions like “what keeps you up at night, or not reading at least one sales book in a given year.

But perhaps the biggest barrier is one they impose on themselves by not making their sales career an ongoing learning experience.  Many get into a routine, one that perhaps delivered some level of success for some time, and they stick with it, no matter what is going on in their world.  Some only want to look at their successes and ignore those things that did not go their way, fooling themselves by only looking at those things are familiar and ignoring the real opportunities to learn what went wrong, and what they could do differently  next time out.

Yes it takes work; sure it’s not always pretty, and often exposes weaknesses we don’t want to face.  On the other hand, if you just look at what works, you will just continue to build walls rather than breaking them down and grow your skills and opportunities.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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How Is Your Sales Process?19

While on some levels you can argue that the new year is an arbitrary marker of time, one of the benefits is the fact that it does encourage people to review, adjust and recommit to the way they you will succeed over the next 12 months.  One important aspect of sales to review and utilize consistently is your specific sales process.  Without the process, executing becomes more challenging.  Using the process as your blueprint for success will then allow you to use the right tools, question and steps required to engage with the right prospects, and take them through to becoming clients.

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Once you have watched the video, review your process to ensure it still supports your goals; if not, then update it.  If you don’t have a sales process you should develop one, test it and refine it till it serves your needs.  This does not mean that making it easy, but making sure it allows you to be proactive and productive in winning business.  We are here to help if you want.

Exciting News!:

Jill Konrath’s “Selling To Big Companies” is being offered totally free for the next few days.  Jill, the author of SNAP Selling, is offering her book just in time to kick start your sales year.  Click here to take advantage of this great offer.*

*   No catch, I get no commission, I bought it in the store when it was published, and made money as a result.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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BANTER – Part 320

There are some old sayings that people use not because they are always true, but “they seem to fit”, you know “saving the best for last”, or “last but not least”, well today as we wrap up our BANTER series, it is entirely true that we saved the best for the last instalment.  BANTER again is the acronym for:

Budget
Accountability
Need
Timelines
Execution
Review

Monday we looked at Budget and Accountability, Wednesday we discussed Need and Timelines, today, the best, my favourite EXECUTION, followed by Review.

Execution – just the sound of it makes one feel good.  After all isn’t it the only thing that counts in the end.  How many sales books have been written?  Some great, others just sad.  How many sales training programs are there available to sales organizations, how many have you attended?  But no matter how good, even my programs, they are just words until they are executed.  Almost every sales person I have met knew what he/she had to do; the mystery has always been why they don’t do it.  Further, the difference between great and good is the execution.  I have seen reps put into practice what they have learned right away, they don’t always do it pretty, but they do it.  As they do it they improve, learn, refine and do it again, this time better.  The key is they execute, and as a result, they are way ahead of the ones who can rationalize why they haven’t done it yet.  We have all met that one rep, knows the whole book inside out, can quote you complete sections of SPIN, but haven’t made goal in the three years since the workshop because they haven’t put it into practice, no execution.

No matter what anyone tells you, the only silver bullet in sales is execution, everything else is just talk!

Review – The great thing about executing is it gives you something to review, learn from and build on.  I have never been a big football fan, but the one concept that has always appealed to me was the notion of “watching the game tapes”.  Every successful sales person I have worked with has spent part of their planning time reviewing, otherwise how could they really plan. 

They do this on a number of levels; starting with reviewing meetings to understand what worked what did not, why it did or did not.  How can they capture the pluses and build them into their playbook, and what can be avoided, or what has become outdated, etc.  Reviewing wins and losses are key; some do one, or the other, it is important to review both.  It is important to review, territories, personal sales skills and accounts.

When it comes to reviewing accounts, it is a good idea to do a review for you, but also a separate review with the client as well.  It is a great opportunity to take the focus off “selling”, and put it on what is important to the client.  It is a great way to demonstrate your responsiveness to their needs or to problems when they arise.  What evolves is an opportunity to get the client to discuss and review their priorities; it is amazing the type of insight and information you uncover during a review meeting.   You should involve everyone touched by your product, not just the buyer.  Often one of their people better makes the case for your quality and service than you.  You can also sit back and learn as they discuss internal issues among themselves.  You can then review you that and fine-tune your offering.  While reviews are not set up a sales calls, the fact that the client often get involved and let their “buyer face” down, it turns into a very productive sales meeting.

So now, you can review the whole BANTER series, and get to executing it.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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