Welcome to The Pipeline.

Schedule It!80

What’s the old saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions?  Well there should be a variation of that for sales people and how their road to failure is paved with plans not captured.

Every day sales people set out “to do things” that have to be done to succeed, some they like, others (like cold calling) they don’t.  Some they see as important, these get scheduled, and get done; ones they don’t see as important, or do not like to do, do not get scheduled, and guess what.  Important or not if a crucial element of the sale does not get executed it often kills the sale.  If you don’t schedule it wont get done.

What’s the other saying “if it is not measured, it doesn’t count”, how about if it is not scheduled – it is not done.

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What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Are You The Consolation Prize? – Sales eXchange 15243

I am very concerned when I hear capable sales people tell me that they set out to be a consolation prize when they engage with a potential buyer.  Worse, I feel downright scared when I hear sales experts encourage sales people to set out and settle for being a consolation prize, rather than encouraging them to win.

Here is the problem, when speaking with potential prospects who tell you “we are all set”, or “thanks we are happy with our current provider”.  Too many reps and experts settle for second prize, in fact, they present themselves as nothing more than that, second prize.  And in a game where there is only one winner, and second prize is reserved for the first place loser, second prize is hardly something to aspire for, especially if you want to drive revenue for your company, employer.

Here is how it goes, when sellers hear the word above, they respond with something like, “well that’s great, maybe I can send you some info, and be a second choice”; in fact here is a direct quote:

“I simply offer myself as a secondary source, and offer to keep in contact should the need arise that they might be able to use my services.”

Seriously?  Sounds a lot like “well, I guess I can wait on the sidelines till something out of my control happens which may offer me a chance at bat”.

When will that future moment in time come, this quarter, next quarter, the quarter after you are fired?  The job of the sales person is to work with the buyer to understand how they can benefit from your offering now.  Now so they can gain advantage on their competitors; now so you can make quota.

Making this a bigger challenge or opportunity is the fact that some 70% of prospects you will contact will describe themselves in one of the ways above, “all set”.  Meaning, that if you master overcoming this common objection effectively, you will measurably increase you sales, and sales success.

As with most things in sales, overcoming this common objection is not easy, but it is doable, doable often enough to help you succeed.  To do that you have to master a couple of things.  First before even making the call, you have to understand:

Why people buy – This is not some vague concepts but specific drivers for people taking action.  Most common are Financial, Productivity Gains, Time Gains, Risk Management, and Personal Interest.

Why they buy products like yours – Now you need to focus this on your specific buyer.  Based on their role, sector and other inputs, you will be able to pinpoint the above.  You will need to, based on past experience (yours or the collective experience of your company), frame your response in what specific Challenges they face.  By knowing this you’ll be able to move the dialogue beyond the surface level, connecting with the buyer allowing him/her to engage based on factors they are living with every day.

Why they buy from you and your company specifically – With that in place, you can highlight the advantage you bring, and confirm that with a specific example of the impact you have delivered to others in their role.  We have a work sheet to help you do this, just contact us at info@sellbetter.ca, or (855) 25-SALES.

Armed with that, you use any number of common techniques to deliver the message; you can use Feel, Felt, Found, or Renbor’s own Acknowledge, Involve, Credibility, Action Item, again contact us for specifics.

The other thing you need, or else it will not work, is attitude.  If your attitude going into the call is that you do in fact have a better mouse trap that will help your customers win more, then that is where you will go.  If you go in hoping to be a consolation prize, waiting for elements beyond your control to deliver success, that too is where you’ll end up.  Second place in the race, first place for…

What’s in Your Pipeline
Tibor Shanto

Guidance On Going “Over Their Head”62

We have all faced the situation where the person we have been working with on a sale turns out to be the wrong person, or more often an obstacle to moving the deal forward.  While it is OK to be frustrated, you also need to act, and when you step back the only logical thing to do is escalate things, go higher, or what sales people commonly call “going over their head”, for me the only smart way to get the deal.

But a lot of sellers have difficulty accepting this move.  There are all kinds of reasons (excuses), mostly boiling down to the fact that they have drank the relationship Kool Aid, and would rather make friends than sales.

So let’s look at your options if you want to make sales, friends and money.  First you should have gone high in the organization at the same time you prospected Mr. or Mrs. I Can’t Make Decisions, by contacting everyone involved in the decision instead of just the front man, you open the door to having options when faced with this dilemma.   Again, the point here is not to call one versus the other, but to plan in advance and putting yourself in a position to help them make a decision, and in some instances, facilitate a consensus, after all you are the expert.

But you know what they say about the place laid plans, and you find yourself in having to go over their head, how do you do that without insulting and setting them off; how do you do it without sounding like whiny loser, or a lost sheep.  Simple, call the senior person, no matter their title or role, they are people and have an interest in delivering success to their company.  When you talk to them, simply ask for their guidance.  Sounds simple, but it works, first you are giving them the respect they expect, they love to give guidance, especially since they ultimately benefit, and in the process of getting proper guidance, you have to lay out the situation.  This allows you to get them involved, without whining or bitching about someone in their organization.  Just tell them you need their guidance about a situation, you want to address/understand their strategies and priorities, so you can align with them.

Executed right, it is all about them; done right, they will get involved; done right it works, operative word here is done, as in doing, executing, not excusing.

Next Step

  • Resolve to know who is involved in the decision
  • Call them
  • When stuck, call them back, park you ego, and ask for guidance

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Vendors, Sellers & Resellers30

Earlier this year i had the opportunity to be the MC a number of events aimed at helping vendors and resellers better leverage the opportunities available to both through a consistent execution of their mutual strategy. The interview below looks at the resources available to both vendors and resellers to help them sell better, take advantage of the opportunities presented by the cloud and managed services. But as with any resource, you need to utilize it to benefit from it, your clients are turning to these new resources, the question is are they also turning to you?

Watch, enjoy, comment, put thing to use and profit, and if you like what you hear, give me a call and let’s discover how we can make it work for you, your team or company.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2011

Strategic or Tactical Sales Training?31

A lot of sales improvement programs start at the strategic level and go light on the execution, the tactical side –  the “how do I do this?”  While this may seem to be intuitively the right and noble way to go, in reality it yields less results than approaching things the other way around; that is leading with the tactical, the tactics of “how to…”  Unless you run your sales force as a military unit – with all the command lines, discipline, and rules – you will always face the challenge around the balance between strategy and execution or tactical aspects of sales success. This challenge is even more pronounced with sales training or education, do you build your training around your strategy; or do you deliver training focused on the tactical aspects of driving that strategy forward?

Read On…

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CRM: Culture or Technology

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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