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Sales Pollution (#video)2

By Tibor Shantotibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Biz TV

Words set expectations for buyers, and they impact the way sellers act and execute their sale.  Words are a big part of sales, and it is important that sales people think about which words they use, when and how.  As in other parts of life certain words have meaning in some context while not in others, words become fashionable, and then become over used.  Make sure you use words that complement your actions and have meaning and engage the buyer, rather than turning them off or worse.

Here is what I mean:

Sales Polution

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

 

Small Talk Is For Small People – Sales eXchange 2040

by Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

David and G

When I talk to sales people about how they start sales meetings with new potential buyers (first time they meet), most (not all) tell me they “break the ice with some small talk”, then they “get in to it!”  We’ll leave the getting into it for another time, what I don’t get is the “small talk” bit, I am not sure that in the current format, as practiced by most sellers is effective, necessary, and at times can be risky to the opportunity.

I am antisocial, (although some have accused me), but spending time talking about the weather, or the useless season the local sports team is having seems counterproductive to the goal of the exercise, helping the buyer move closer to their objectives, and yours.  And while the people buy from people crowd may want to pounce on me, wait.  You can “break the ice”, and set the mood without having to resort to pointless gibberish.

The buyers are all busy, as I should think you are, you obviously said something that caused them to invest an hour of their time with you, it is up to you to maximize the ROT  for both.  Getting to the point may not the worst strategy.  Some buyers may make you feel that they required “small talk”, but that is more conditioning than anything else, if you deliver value by the end of a successful meeting, they will not complain about not having their time wasted.

I am also not suggesting that you jump right into the deep end, I know that the “void” walking between the reception area and the office or meeting room has to be filled, it is how you fill it that can differentiate you from the others.

As you are doing research ahead of your meeting, look for recent events, announcements, or analyst coverage, not specifically related to your product, but significant for the company and or the person you are meeting.  A while back I was meeting with a dairy company that was the first to introduce Omeg3 into a line of product, to accentuate the launch, they introduced a beveled edged carton so it would look different from the other milk cartons on the shelf.

On “the walk” from reception, I asked how the packaging was received, changes they had to make to production, and were they looking to use packaging as a differentiator way with other products.  While this had nothing with what we were meeting about, it indicated to the buyer that I came prepared, that I was taking an interest in the entire business, not just the part I can sell to, and I can relate the benefit of my offering to the other responsibilities he had.  In return, the information he shared with me about the above, helped me refine and better position my value vis-à-vis his objectives.  Small talk, yes, but it beat talking about snow in March or the fact that the Leafs were going to miss the playoffs again.

While we think we are being social with small talk, it can and does often come up being hollow, unimportant, and does not move things forward even one millimetre, in which case, what’s the point.  It is also interesting that many people who don’t like the small talk when they are buyers, rely on it when they are sellers.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Selling In The Right Time Frame – Sales eXchange 1962

By Tibor Shantotibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Time Frame

One common theme here and at other quality sales sources, is the need to cover the entire buying organization, top down, bottom up, and all sides.  This not only eliminates the need to go around or over someone, but delivers a number of benefits and opportunities to sell and establish contacts and relationships.    Over the years there has been a lot written about the need for sellers to be “multi-lingual” in order to properly communicate with all levels of the buying organization.  Executives/decision makers/VPs in your target organization speak a differently than say the implementers or users of the product even when they are talking about the same thing.   If one or both do not understand what you are saying it is a problem.  When you call a on a VP, and deliver your message in implementer speak, you risk being banished down in the organization, because that is what you sound like, where you may be stuck for a while, extending you sales cycle, or forever, and never getting the sale.

Understanding how to communicate with the different groups, what their specific drivers, issues and hot buttons are, is a must, especially when they have viable alternatives to your offering, and they always do.  As you master this you will learn that not only do these groups speak different languages, they function in different time planes, which means you will also need to learn how to exist in multiple time frames.

VP’s will tend to have a longer time horizon than implementers.  In a very general way, there are those focused on strategy and the strategic direction of the company.  Once those strategies are decided and set, and things begin to move to the tactical execution of the strategy, as a result the time horizons of the implementers is shorter.  If you fail to manage this, it could be much more fatal than the language issue.  In fact mastering the different time frames will directly help with language, if you know where they are focused, you can speak to it, but if you are positioning for a different time than they are looking at, you are bound to miscommunicate.

If you look at the continuum of a purchase, it is likely that someone had an idea for a product or an initiative at the executive level.  They will then gauge support among their peers, while helping to shape the big picture.  They may then have some of the team leaders scope things out, costs/benefits, challenges, etc.; this may include consulting with outside parties, a great opportunity to introduce your company long before vendor selection process starts.  Once the project gets the go ahead, the implementers take centre stage.

Goes without saying that if you can insert yourself in the process at the scoping stage or before, you would have a great advantage, one reason to call high in the organization.  But if you speak the wrong language, and talk about feature/benefit, you in the wrong time frame, and in the wrong “country”.

Another advantage to getting in early, will be your ability to influence and impact their strategy, and with that done, you will be in a much better position when it comes to vendor selection, after all, you’re “a safe choice” vis-à-vis the executive, and while price will always be an issue, you will have set the standard much earlier in the process, or if you will time frame.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Yes, and…37

Sometimes it is not what you say but how you say that help the buyer get engaged.  Take a look and give it a go.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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