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Is Santa a Good B2B Seller? – Sales eXchange 18021

Many organizations are in the midst of meeting with their sales teams to deliver their performance reviews and development plans for 2013.  Needless to say, it is also the day (and night), Santa Clause sets out to deliver a merry Christmas.  Being December 24th, seemed like a good time to examine how Santa would rank as a sales rep.

Pros:

  • Santa is focused on the needs, and when possible, the wants of his clients
  • Santa is good at leading his team
  • Equal Opportunity Employer
  • Santa is very thorough, attention to detail, always checking things twice
  • Adopts and leverages new technologies and resources to successfully complete his tasks
  • Strong work ethic
  • Able to work to deadlines
  • Willing to go the extra mile to complete his task
  • Thinking out of the box and willing to squeeze into tight spaces to get the job done

Cons:

  • Santa consistently sets high, at times unrealistic expectations, only to under deliver, leaving some prospects disappointed, wanting, and having to wait 12 months for another shot at satisfaction
  • At times rests on his laurels, allowing opportunities to slip by
  • Relies too much on his base, and fails to proactively prospect for new clients
  • Allows too many third parties to misuse and abuse the brand
  • Santa is prone to prejudging prospects, always going on about who is naughty who is nice

On the face of it, Santa is not suited for sales, unless you sell Coca Cola; he is much more suited to being a customer service rep, or in community outreach.

But there is one thing that Santa does well, better than most, and a key attribute for the most successful sales professionals, he is a great giver, and he loves giving.

And in the end, we all know that good selling is more about giving than getting!

Merry Christmas

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Online Sales and New Sales Tax Regulations29

Guest Post – Megan Totka

Some Internet sales regulations, and subsequently sales tactics, may be about to change. Is this a good change or a bad change? It really depends on who you ask.

For quite some time now, most online retailers have been able to avoid charging sales tax to customers that are located outside of the state that the company’s headquarters are located in. Online shoppers use commerce sites to find better bargains than can often be found in brick and mortar stores. Even holiday season shopping has been changed by internet sales. This is because of the lack of sales tax, and often, free shipping.

Many states, however, are now starting to wise up when it comes to shoppers taking their business to online-only companies. Because most states are still feeling a big pinch from the ongoing economic recession, they are noticing the loss of revenue from these uncollected taxes.

The state of New York is pushing the hardest to be able to collect taxes on online sales. Amazon, likely the biggest online retailer, is actually suing the state. New York has passed a new requirement that online companies must charge sales tax on any sales that are shipped to consumers located in the state. The governor of New York even wants to tax internet downloads, such as those from iTunes.

Many people are turning to the Internet more and more for not only specialty products, but everyday goods as well. If you own a brick and mortar store, you may be thinking, how can I compete with that?  The first step is to start your business online.  Did you know that Amazon will ship toilet paper and snack products alongside your Kindle downloads and electronic orders? Some people certainly do, and these purchases are exactly what is up for debate as far as charging sales tax.

So how will this effect online sales tactics? Well, it could and should encourage online companies to lower their prices, if at all possible. However, many online shops are already undercutting their physical-location counterparts. Should they be expected to lower costs even more? Is that even possible?

The other way that companies could combat having to charge sales tax would be to offer free shipping all the time. Some online retailers already do this with a purchase over a certain amount of money. Amazon offers their Prime membership, where for $79 a year, a shopper gets unlimited 2 day shipping. Again though, this may cut into a company’s bottom line. Probably the best answer at this point? Wait it out. New legislation regulating what online purchases can or cannot be taxed is likely forthcoming. When the decision is made, you can talk with a tax consultant to see what the best move for your company is.  In the meantime, research what products would continue to be less expensive to purchase online, even with the addition of tax, and see what you can do to have consumers buy from you instead.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of sales. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Collective Connective No. 230

In November I had the pleasure of being a presenter at The Bauhub’s Collective Connective No. 2.

The Bauhub is a new way to connect creative and strategic thinkers with the visionary clients that need their expertise. At The Bauhub you’ll find an experienced team of senior members from all marketing disciplines, working everywhere, anytime.  This translates into the right person, with the right skills on the right project. They’re nimble, quick, on-demand and on budget.  Check them out.

The event held in Toronto’s Distillery District, the event explored the future of work. Aimed specifically at the challenges faced by independent knowledge workers, freelancers and entrepreneurs, I was one of a stream speakers in a unique, rapid-fire series of 5(ish) minute presentations, sharing focused insights and ideas on business development, lifestyle, technology and more.

My contributing is below, but I would encourage you to watch all the presenters, as they each brought some great, relevant and actionable points.



What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

One Week To Go – Pitch In50

This is the last week for voting in The Sales Lead Management Association’s 50 Most Influential Sales Lead Management for 2012, and as you may be aware I am one of the nominees.  I am once again asking for your vote if you have not yet done so.  BTW, if you have – Thank You!

It only takes a minute, but the impact is forever, or at least until next year at this time.  Whether you miss voting since the big day earlier in the month, or if you did not vote November 6, and now feel you have not done your civic duty, here is your chance to take the edge of the guilt and vote.  You can vote for me Tibor Shanto, and two other worthy leaders, or you can just vote for me, up to you, so long as you vote for me.  (Too much? )

Thank you in advance,
Tibor Shanto

LinkedIn’s impact on sales51

What’s the best way to use LinkedIn to drive sales? How are other sellers using it?

If you’d like to find out the answers, take this Sale & LinkedIn survey being sponsored by Jill Konrath, a highly respected colleague of mine. It’ll only take 2 minutes of your time.

Take the survey –> http://bit.ly/Sales-LI-Survey-cm

What do you get out of it? As soon as the survey results are ready, she’ll send you a copy. You’ll find out the best way to use LinkedIn to drive sales.

Thanks,

Tibor Shanto

P.S. Your input is really needed. Go here to take the survey now –> http://bit.ly/Sales-LI-Survey-cm

Prospectors’ Guide To Objection Handling – Part III – “We’re Good”46

In the first two installments we looked at the anatomy of the typical objection to a prospecting call, that is being an Interruption, and the Conditioned Response to Interruptions.  I also told you how 80% of the time you will get one of five common objections:

  • Status Quo
  • Lack Of Interest
  • No Time
  • Bad Experience
  • Wants to Know More First

These will come in different flavours, different rhythms, but they will come, and they will be one of these five.  So let’s see how we can take away these objections, bringing to play the new view of Conditioned Response, and get to having some good meetings in the calendar, and prospects in the pipeline.

While all five have common elements, the Status Quo and Lack Of Interest, are more commonly linked.  In both cases, it is as much about dynamics and managing those, than taking on the buyer, remember it is about handling the objection not the buyer, if you Take Away the objection, it makes it easier for them to get engaged.

Four step process:

A. Acknowledge – The goal of the exercise is initiate a conversation that for the field rep result in a face to face visit, and for an inside rep a sales call by phone.  Conversations take two.  When they give their Conditioned Response, address it.  One reason people hate the mid-dinner telemarketing call is the one sided nature of the call:

Telemarketer – “if you sign up today….”
Me – “My house is on fire”
Telemarketer – “It will also entitle you for coverage…”
Me – “My daughter’s hair is aflame”
Telemarketer – “And if you switch your balance it will be interest free for…”

Address their issue head on.

B. Create Credibility – Different where there is a Lack Of Interest and Status Quo, but the goal is to leverage the momentum of having acknowledged their response, and moving to build credibility.

C. Involve – The credibility above should also involve the prospect, again leading to conversation.

D. Call to Action – Commitment – Always, I repeat ALWAYS end your response with a call to action, the last thing you want them to think about is the response to the call to action; if you engage them well with the above elements, you want them to think about investing the time.

While approaching both the Status Quo and Lack Of Interest in a similar pattern, there is a key difference between the focus of Create Credibility.  In buyers who are Status Quo, content, the goal is to focus on what you can ADD to their current situation that would move them closer to their objectives.   Remember, even if they were not 100% content, or even 50%, they are not going to discuss that with an Interruption, that is why you are going for credibility.  More importantly, they have been conditioned by all the sales people that they have dealt with in the past, a vast majority of whom have come with “get rid of what you have now, and replace it with my stuff”.  Frightening and costly.   But if you can enhance what they have in place now, improve their investment in that, and more towards their goal, you have something that neutralizes their Conditioned Response and extends the conversation.

A lot of people I call tell me they have in-house training, or are working with someone already.   I also know that no program is complete, and usually could benefit from rounding out, so rather than knock up against what is already there, here is how I respond.

“I am glad you brought that up” (Acknowledge)
“XYZ Ltd., was in the same spot when we first called, but once they saw how our program was able to get their people in front of more prospects, they got to practice Wham Bam Consultative Selling with more buyers, generating mover revenue and ROI on Wham Bam” (Credibility/Involve)
“Why don’t we get together Wednesday at 11:00 and I’ll show you how we did that?” (Call 2 Action)

The goal is to get the appointment not with dislodge the incumbent, once you are in the tent, you are in a different position.

With Lack of Interest, the focus is on value  or benefit.  The thinking is this, the main reason they are not interest is they haven’t seen the value or benefit a meeting with you would bring.  But you have to be specific, not pie in the sky empty words they heard six times already this morning.

Identify where you have delivered tangible value to a similar company, a similar role, the more similar the better.  For example, in a specific industry, a number of similar clients have been able to increase their retention of reps, and by extension client satisfaction, up-sell and retention, all because of my program.  So when I call on others in similar scenarios, and they tell me they are not interested:

“I can see why you may feel that way, as the CFO at Red White and Blue initially had the same reaction” (Acknowledge)
“Until he saw how our program helped with increased revenue, rep turnover cost, and client satisfaction” (Credibility/Involve)
“I can show exactly how we did, how is Wednesday at 11:00?” (Call 2 Action)

Takes work, you have to know what their priorities are, how your strengths align with their requirements and objectives, and other factors highlighted above, but the payoff is immediate and lasting, and your engagement rate will increase measurably.

Execution – Everything Else is Just Talk!
Tibor Shanto

Five Things To Love About Selling – Sales eXchange – 8418

With Valentine’s Day upon us, I am sure we have all looked after the most important loves of our lives.  But given that so many sales people are so passionate about their profession, I though I would present five things to love about our chosen craft.  It is not exhaustive, and certainly subjective, but mostly fun, if you can think of others, please use the comment area to have your say.

So, in no particular order, and tongue firmly planted in cheek, here we go:

1. The Unpredictability – Despite all the tools, methodologies, scientific insights, the outcome in most instances remains somewhat unpredictable.  There are always the unknown things going on that are not directly visible to the seller, the hidden agendas, the changing realities that bring truth to the saying ” The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go oft awry.)

2. Direct Return On Your Efforts – This only applies to those whose earnings come entirely from commission, no base!  We have all heard “you eat what you hunt”, well it rarely truer than in the case of a pure commission rep.  While many shun the opportunity, opting for a base and lower commission, those who take on the challenge generally seem to earn more.

3. The Evolutionary Nature – While many do sit on their laurels, “remember that big one I closed?”; yes it was 1997 and not much since, the consistently successful and constantly evolving their craft to ensure that they are able to deal with and produce given the unpredictability mentioned above.  While the tools and methodologies help, great sellers take it on themselves to evolve their game.  I mentioned in the past that when someone tells me they have 15 years of experience, I always like to ask “15 years of growth and development, or the same year 15 times over?”  I love the former group, they are equipped to deal with the points 1, and 2, and love point number 4.

4. The Deal – If you sell, and sell well, nothing replaces that rush when you close a deal, the money is nice, and it stays around, but that moment when you win the deal, and your effort and work come together to deliver results to your client, your company and you, is a rush like no other.  All the better when it is a deal you and others though may elude you, but through persistence and process, you bring it together.  The only downside is that it is a bit like a drug, it always seems you need just a bit more of hit, a slightly bigger deal, a slightly bigger pay off, a slightly bigger rush.

5. The Characters – I am sure almost every profession is diverse in so many ways, but sales brings together an eclectic group of people, with an assorted set of egos, traits and certainly opinions.  I love the fact that you can ask five sales professionals a specific question, and end up with seven different opinions, with the two most contrary ones coming from the same rep.

Well, those are five, what are yours?

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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ThatChannel.com – Interview19

As mentioned last week, I can be seen regularly on  ThatChannel.com, always a lively discussion.  In this, my second appearance, it was all about blogging and social media.  You can and will be able to see archives by going to the Media Archive page here at The Pipeline, or on our SellBetter You Tube page at http://www.youtube.com/Sellbetter.

As always, please send in questions or areas that you would like to see discussed or expanded on and I’ll be happy to include them in future discussions.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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You May Have Noticed

If you look to the top of the column to the right, you will see that I have been nominated for one of the Top 50 Influential People In Sales Lead Management 2010.  Please take a minute to vote, you can vote for up to three people, so in addition to me, you select two others.  Thank you in advance.

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