Welcome to The Pipeline.

Panel Discussion: Close the Year Strong with 8 Simple Sales Tips0

No bull

We are about to enter the silly season in sales, the run up to the end of the year. I say silly because all the theorist and soothsayers will be brimming with advice, pulled from their memories and favourite web sources. Soothsayers, because many spend more time advising than selling.

As a sales professional what you need is practical and executable inputs that will help you close the year strong, and set yourself up for a profitable 2015.

To that end, I invite you to join me, and two other leaders who spend their time on the front line doing and selling, Matt Heinz and Mike Weinberg, for a no holds barred panel discussion that will not only get you thinking, but doing. Moderated by KiteDesk CEO Sean Burke, this will be a no fluff, no theory – just real, practical, candid tactics that deliver results. Promise – money back guarantee.

Put it in your calendar now: Thursday, September 11th, 2014 2:00 pm Eastern

Social Sales. Sales 2.0. Modern Sales. The nomenclature is irrelevant. What really matters is what works; we will challenge each other and you in a blunt, holistic discussion about what constitutes smart selling.

This is NOT another Marketing-Still-Sucks-Here’s-What-You-Need-To-Do-Better rant. We will lay out what needs to be accomplished at each stage of the sales funnel and offer actionable insights for marketing and sales to work collaboratively on content development, defining the target market, refining prospect lists and generating engagement.

Smart sales is an ‘and’ not an ‘or.’ Focus on opportunities to capitalize on social networks’ unprecedented data, reach, and resonance within each stage of the sales process.

Register now and walk away with sales tips that have a material impact on your Q4 and 2014 results.

Register

3 Ways The Beatles Will Make You A Better Cold Caller – Sales eXecution 2652

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

The Beatles Is On The Phone – by NowhereGirl17

If you ask sales people why they hate/fear cold calling their response always revolves around them, their feelings, and rarely the buyer’s. Even when they mention the buyer, it is very much through their own filters, “I wouldn’t like that”, or about the buyer’s reaction to the call. It is important to remember that the reaction is exactly that, a response to what you said or did, so if you change the input, what you say and do, and you can change the outcome.

Get Your Cold Call-Flow Now!

This is where the Beatles come in – stop making the call about “me”. The real big downfall in cold calling is that it’s never about “me”, “my company”, “what we do”, etc. Make the call about “YOU”, the buyer. I know many are thinking they already do that, but only in thought, when you listen to cold calls, you hear a lot more “me” than ‘YOU”. “I am calling from ACME Corp, a Fortune 500 company, specializing in BLAH BLAH BLAH”. He didn’t hang up, he dozed off and fell on the phone. It is usually well in to the second act before their world is even mentioned.

Start with YOU:  Of the top 100 words used by the Beatles in their songs, the word YOU, was a distant first, 2,262 times, second was I, but only 1,36 time, and LOVE, was eighth at 613.

Not only did they use it often, but used it early, think of all the Beatles songs, especially early hits that had the word YOU, right in the first line. “Love Me Do”, their first hit: Love, “love me do You know I love you”; twice. “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “She Loves You”, “All My Loving”, and more.

You have always been told that buyers live by WIFM, give it to them:

Stay with YOU:  Don’t go from the introduction about how great you are and all the great things your company does. Talk to the buyer in context of their world. “What YOU will get out of it”; how it will help YOU achieve YOUR objectives”. Doesn’t matter how cool, new or nifty your offering is, unless they called you, and it’s a cold call so they didn’t, they seem to be doing just fine, thank YOU! Warm the call up by speaking to direct impact and outcomes for them, moving them closer to their objectives, if you don’t, the call gets real cold – real fast.

Close with YOU:  When you close for the appointment (live or virtual), it needs to be about them. “YOU Will…” I hear a lot of sales people say what they are going to get out of the meeting, why they want to meet. But I rarely hear “as a result of us meeting YOU will be able to …..”

The reason many calls are cold, is that there is more in it for and about the caller than the buyer, leaving the buyer out in the cold, and then having the same effect on the caller.

Make it about the buyer, talk about “YOU”, and not only will things be warmer, but more appointments to boot.  It worked for the Beatles!

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto 

(Photo: http://nowheregirl17.deviantart.com/)

Global Survey on Sales Lead Generation Best Practices2

Survey

The folks over at 360 Leads are conduction a global survey on sales lead generation best practices.

The survey takes about three minutes to complete, and will deliver insights into:

  • Most effective channels at generating leads
  • Top sales and marketing challenges facing business
  • Sales lead nurturing practices

Take a few minutes, contribute by completing the survey, and then learn from the results.

3 Reasons Why Objections are Not a Bad Thing3

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

No sales keys

Most sales people think about objections as being a bad thing, a lot of sales people and worse leaders, get really uptight when it comes to objections. Often before we have even began to define parameters with stakeholders, they’ll say “Oh, and we need an Objection Handling session”, they want to take a tennis approach to managing objections, prospect “throws” out an objection, and they want to hit it back to them. But objections are really not a bad thing, not always convenient or easy to manage, but they are not a bad thing.

Here are three specific reasons why objections are not always a bad thing (no specific order):

  • Indicate engagement
  • Allow you to introduce more value/information/facts without pitching
  • Allow you to qualify – disqualify buyers

The goal here is not to specifically give you techniques, but more to get you to relax a bit and see how objections are good for you, your sales, humanity, and global warming.

Keep in mind that for the most part objections come up in two ways, when you are trying to engage or prospect them, (we did a six part series on this, you can find Part I here). The second is when you are trying to gain agreement, either during the sales on specific points that will move things forward, including simple Next Steps, or at the end when you are trying to complete the sale. In either case, what follows will help you put things in a different perspective and let you use the objective to improve your selling, as a whole, and in specific deals.

Indicates Engagement – Even though some objections during the prospecting phase are knee jerk on the part of the buyer, the fact that they “are responding” allows you if prepared, to deal with that objection and segue to a conversation, key is being prepared. As you get into the sale, the objections will be more specific, a direct reflection of what the buyer is thinking, and how they are interpreting what you are saying, and if they are not clear, an opportunity to correct course. Even towards the end, with the lowest form of objection, the price objection, it is an indication that they are involved, capitalize on it.

Allow you to introduce more information/facts/value without pitching – Every time they object, they are in effect asking a question of for clarification, what a bonus. You can get a sense where their thinking is at, introduce additional elements. You can usually go deeper, and more importantly ask for more clarification on the part of the prospect. “Help me understand what you mean by…” Many objections are really questions, or the buyer evaluating things and they vocalize them, it is my chance to recalibrate, add useful value elements, align with the buyer, and move forward.

Allow you to qualify – disqualify buyers – Sellers are always looking to qualify buyers, well their objections are a good qualifier, and as I have argued in the past, if your qualified prospect to closed ration is less than 50%, your time is probably better spent disqualifying those that you know will not close based on experience, which will leave you with more “qualified” buyers. Objections are a great way to disqualify, if you cannot manage and move beyond, you need to accept that it is time to move on, rather than play objection tennis, where you always lose. The big thing is that every time you disqualify a prospect, you have to replace them with a new one. Which is why some sales people would rather pretended they doing productive things by dealing with insurmountable objections, than doing some prospecting.

How you deal with objections is a different post, and there others out there with some great ways. But first you need to deal with how you view objections to begin with.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto 

Your Own Sales Kick-Off with Dan Pink and Matt Dixon – Toronto – January 28th0

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Yes Small

While experiences vary, there is no denying that sales kick-offs can be effective on a number of levels.  Beyond creating focus and setting the theme for the year, it was at times an opportunity to take in a speaker who brings a unique, or perhaps new view on sales and sales success. But the reality is that not everyone has an opportunity to participate in such an event. Whether it is because your company is too small, or other reasons.

But if you are in Toronto on January 28, you can attend The Art Of Sales Conference, and not only have your own Sales Kick-Off, but take in six great speakers to help set your year off to a great start.

I had the opportunity to speak to two of the presenters just before the holidays, Dan Pink and Matt Dixon. I asked both how things have evolved since they each respectively wrote their books. More to the point what you can expect if you attend the event.

I started by asking Matt Dixon, what can people who have read “The Challenger Sale”, expect at the event. “While I will be reviewing the findings and implication of The Challenger Sale, expanding on some areas we have seen in practice. Those who have read it can expect to learn more about how people have implemented the concepts in the book. Their successes, challenges, and discoveries they made about themselves and their teams as a result.” Dixon went on to say “one thing that reinforces what we found and shared in the book is that it takes time and work to put things into practice, there is no silver bullet in sales”. I couldn’t agree more, we are hunting revenue not werewolves, we need a sound approach, not silver bullets or other superstitions. As for people who did not yet read the book, they can expect to hear the key findings directly from one of the author of the book that has caused if nothing else, great debates among sellers and pundits.

Dan Pink, shared that he will not only be reviewing and expanding on core concepts presented in “To Sell Is Human”, but sharing new research, and how to take advantage of that when putting it into practice. “For those who have read the book, we will be discussing the reality of the perception of sales people”, with the perception running at 4:1 negative, I think we can all get some insights from Dan. For those who have yet to read the book, Dan will be sharing “how not only that we are all in sales, but sales itself is not what it used to be.” Dan went on to assure me that he will be highlighting “practical tips to effectively leverage and make use of the research presented in the book.

These are only two of the sales leaders presenting at the conference. Now if your company had these guys in for your kick-off, maybe you have a reason not to attend, but if not, don’t you think you can kick some sales ass by attending this event?

WIN TICKETS

Not only will I see you there, but you also have a chance to enter to win tickets to this event, just click here to learn more and enter.

See you there,
Tibor Shanto

 

Dude – It’s Not Really A Duck!0

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Duck

What’s the old saying:

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck.

While that may be true for Donald or Daffy, it is not the case is sales. But a number of sales people I have worked with seem to believe that this Duck Method is a good way to sell.

Here is an example, about a month ago I got a call from a rep selling a “sales productivity” tool. The usual shtick, intro blah blah, big value prop, around how the tool drives engagement in sales call and increases productivity, sales and could (if it worked) deliver truckloads of money. It was clear that they did some research about me, but did bother to validate some of their assumptions that were truly wrong, first mistake. I guess they figured that I look like one, spoke like one, I must be what they assumed I was one, when I am not. Just because the word Solutions is part of the company name, I don’t deal in IT.

Then came the real Duck sale, the series of unrelated questions that if answered affirmatively, they hoped will lead to a close.

Before I share the conversation, it is worth noting that while the idea behind the product was conceptually good, and must have looked really good on the white board, you know like world peace, or a fifty cent gallon of gas. But the idea that drove the concept was not really present in the product. While they were trying to flog it as a ready for market product, in my view it had little or no application in the real world. In some ways I think he was aware of that too, which is why he went for the Duck.

Him: Tibor wouldn’t you agree that if you could measure engagement it would be a good thing?

TS: I guess (shrugging my shoulder)

Him: Great, and wouldn’t you also agree that if you could then increase engagement it improve your results?

TS: Sure (this time I only raised one shoulder and an eyebrow)

Him: So if you found a tool that could do that, you would see it as a good addition to your tool kit?

TS: Sure, if I found one

Him: Great, that’s why I think our Thing-A-Ma JIG is the perfect application for you, and I am glad you agree and are ready to get started.

TS: Quack?

Just because I agreed to a couple of concepts does not mean I am at all interested in your offering, or that there is a line on the planet that remotely connects those dots.

While the above is an extreme example, badly executed to boot, it is not an uncommon approach. You see it daily. If you agree with point one, and agree with point two, then point three must be true. No I am sorry it is not.

The only question is this, are there people actually buying when they are Duck sold? You would think that if there aren’t any buyers, there would be no sellers using the technique, but it continues to thrive, along with the Ben Franklin close and other such tricks, one has to wonder why.

So if you are tempted to sell like Donald Duck, or are being sold by one, just remind them that Donald’s best friend was Goofy.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Two Webinars This Week You Don’t Want To Miss0

Webinar

Coming up tomorrow and Thursday I will be presenting two webinars dealing with two critical aspects of prospecting.

Tomorrow, Wednesday October 23Time – Prospecting – And Getting the Jump On BothI’ll be talking to the importance of sourcing the right leads, information about the individual and their companies, and securing the right and accurate contact information so you can engage with the right person for the right conversation.  Along with the good folks at eGrabber, I will present on: “Time – Prospecting – And Getting the Jump On Both“, looking at the combination of cutting edge tools available from eGrabber to help you make prospecting more time efficient and productive.  Time is the only unrenewable resource you have, the better you use it the more success you will have.  Improve your rate of connecting with the right decision makers, and you will increase prospects, sales and profits.  We will be sharing best practices and everyday techniques for improved prospecting.

Click here for more detail and registration

 

Then on Thursday, October 24 at 2:00 pm Eastern time - Cold Calling: How to Handle the Objectionworking again with the DiscoverOrg team, I will be presenting the follow up to the highly successful webinar last month on the fundamentals of effective Cold Calling, this time we will go deeper on how to handle and manage the most common objections faced while prospecting.  The goal is to provide attendees with common sense and proven practices for handling objections and initiating more conversations with buyers, and help them become customers.  Most sellers tell me: “Get me infront of the right buyer, and I will close them”.  Problem is overcoming those early awkward objection to you call, and move to selling.

Click here for more detail and registration

See You On-Line!

After and Before2

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Note pad

In a business that emphasizes relationship as much as sales does, it is sometimes interesting to see the degree to which sales people, and buyers, tend to ignore, overlook and at times avoid some basic components of human interactions, and way to enhance those interactions and the impact of that on business and sales outcomes.

Michael Jordan once said:

“…You have to monitor your fundamentals constantly, because the only thing that changes will be your attention to them”

This statement is as true in sales as it is in basketball. Sometime those fundamentals seem simple and inconsequential, but in the end it is often those little things that make the difference. Remember that your product is often indistinguishable from those of your competitor’s, so the way YOU sell may often be the differentiator that clinches the deal. So let’s focus on two seemingly small things, that when executed consistently and well, after and before meetings with buyers, will win you deals, no matter other factors. And while these may seem small, do them and then judge the results.

After:

After every meeting you should send a note, what most will call a thank you note, but done right it can be so much more.

Few send thank you notes anymore, I know that when I am the prospect, if I get a thank you note, it is so rare, I take notice, and mentally give the sender bonus points, points that may take them ahead of the other vendors. A hand written note, will just blow their mind. But more than a thank you note, it is an opportunity for you to recap what you took away from the meeting, action items everyone agreed to, and most important, what you propose the Next Step to be.

If you and the buyer synch on all of these points, then the note will just cement things in their mind, along with you being the vendor who helped them do that. If you took away different understandings, it is to your advantage to find that out now, and make any course adjustments you need to make. Better to correct things now than go into the next meeting with different ideas; if you can’t correct them, better to find out now than after investing more time and resources.

As well by introducing what you think the next step should be, you get them thinking about it, and again, if they don’t disagree, you are on the right path, but if not, you can deal with it now, not later.

Before:

About a business day ahead of the next meeting, send in a n agenda, nothing deep or heavy, three or five points (odd numbered lists are better), AND, what you would propose as the Next Step, if things unfold according to the agenda. As above, if things are on track, you can go in with some sense of confidence that you are on the right path. If not, better to know well in advance of the meeting than at the end when it may be too late to do anything about it. Same goes for the Next Step, if they can’t live with your suggestion they’ll speak up, and while it may not be what you had planned, better again to know early than after the fact.

While neither may appear to be all that and more, when you first read them, execute them consistently and it won’t be long before you attribute deals directly to executing these steps.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto  

It's time to get Bricked!

It’s Only an Emergency if You Haven’t Planned for It (#video)2

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Biz TV

Many emergencies can be anticipated and planned for, thereby limiting their impact and your ability to succeed. On the other hand, many prefer emergencies to some key sales activities, like prospecting, so any emergency will do. Take a look to see what I mean:

Not Emergency

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

 

 

Voice Mail Week – Part II – It’s More Than Just The Message0

by Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Voice mail

In Monday’s video I mention the fact that voice mail is just one of a number of ways to reach out and touch prospective buyers.  There is e-mail, SMS or text message, all forms of social media, traditional snail mail in the form of a letter or card, or other more creative means of reaching out and touching a prospect.  Why is this important, because with all the things buyers have to deal with these days, it takes many more touch points to just get on someone’s radar, or have them react to our approach.

Back around 1999, I read a book that suggested that it takes anywhere from 5 to 7 touch points for the reaction to potentially happen.  Since then, technology has evolved, mobile is pervasive, people are expected to do more with less, more than ever people need to pack 16 hours’ worth of work into a 10 hour day, which makes getting their attention even more challenging.  Because of that, and this is confirmed by some of the things I am reading today, it may take 9 to 12 touch points for that initial reaction to occur.

So if nothing else, say you diminished expectations to no call backs at all, zero, there is still a value to leaving voice mail, it is a touch point, and touch points are compounding.  This is why I don’t worry about the depth of the content of the voice mail message, because it will lead to one of two outcomes:

1. You’ll get a call back, and speak with the prospect (the XXX accompanying video talks to that outcome Or 2. You will achieve a touch point which when executed in context of the overall approach is a plus.

Yet in a recent unscientific poll, only 52.5% of respondents answered ‘yes’ when asked: “When you are prospecting by phone, do you leave a voice mail message on the very first call?”  What a wasted opportunity.  First off, they could be getting calls back from 30% – 50% of people they leave messages for, leading to engagement and sales.  Second, no touch point, no start, and what you don’t start you can’t finish.

One important take away from this beyond the fact that you have to leave a message, is that you have to map out a touch point campaign whenever you target or pursue a potential buyer.  Not only do you have to make the commitment to touch them enough times in a given period to facilitate contact, but plan and write it out, and the of course execute.  My minimum goal is seven touch points in two business weeks.

You can leave a voice mail on Monday morning, follow up with a brief, not Tolstoy style, e-mail after 5:00 pm that day.  Another voice mail Wednesday; the e-mail that follows Wednesday’s voice mail will have one additional element, you will tell them that you will call them again say Thursday at 9:30 am.  I am not naïve, I don’t expect them to be chained to their desk at that time, but, if they were mildly interested in your message but were busy running around this could provide the focus they need.  But more likely they will not be at their desk, and you’ll leave another message.  The BIG BUT and GAIN, is that you will have demonstrated that you follow up on your word, something many sales people are falsely accused of not doing.  Talk about laying a pebble of trust.  So here we are five touch points by Thursday morning, and I don’t think we are near an injunction order.  Repeat the following week, you’ll have more conversations, but it starts with commitment and execution.

Sadly the same survey showed that most sales people give up after three or so tries, priming the pump for those of us who are willing to go the distance.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

wordpress stat