Social Trust and Sales (#video)0

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

TV Head

Monday I shared a clip from a discussion I had with Heidi Schwende, Chief Digital Officer & Certified Internet Consultant WSI Digital Moxie, part of WSI Internet Consulting. The interview explored the importance of and the “how to’s” of SOCIALIZING YOUR SALES SUCCESS.

Today’s snippet captures the discussion about trust, the lack there of for some traditional channels, while at the same time the elevated level of trust among social peers.

Click here to see the entire interview, let us know what you think.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto 

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Socializing Your Sales Success – Sales eXecution 2480

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

change

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to it down for a discussion with Heidi Schwende, Chief Digital Officer & Certified Internet Consultant WSI Digital Moxie, part of WSI Internet Consulting. The interview explored the importance of and the “how to’s” of SOCIALIZING YOUR SALES SUCCESS.

Today I am presenting a small taste specifically focused on the shift in buyer behaviour, expectation and the impact of social selling on sales people and the way we sell.

Click here to see the entire interview, and come back Thursday for another snippet.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto 

Webinar: Time – Prospecting And Getting the Jump on Both!0

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On Tuesday February 4, I will be presenting a webinar Along with the good folks at eGrabber – “Time – Prospecting – And Getting the Jump On Both” I’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.

There are a lot of critical steps to engaging new B2B customers. Two of the most common challenges is finding the right target, and then engaging with them. Every day I meet sales people challenged by finding the right contact, their contact info and related information. Even if you use LinkedIn or other tools, you need to be able to connect directly.

This webinar we will introduce tools & techniques on how to find contact information for people you don’t yet know, and then how to engage with them:

1. Find missing Email & Phone# for any social profile.
2. Find Director, VP and C-Level, decision makers in any company.
3. Build a highly targeted B2B prospect list with business e-mail and phone#.
4. Do Pre-call Research, Get Insightful Prospect Information.

Click here to register

We’ll be 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 to register

Customer Information – Why Protection is So Important2

CC Jan 14

The Pipeline Guest Post - Megan Totka

In the sales business, we hold the key to tons of information from customers. While it may be something as simple as their name, address, and phone number, it’s amazing what can be done with that information if it gets in the wrong hands. Sales companies also often store all kinds of other information – credit or debit card numbers, social security numbers, and so much more.

By now, surely we’ve all heard about Target’s information compromise issue. If you tuned out of the news for the holidays, anyone who used a debit or credit card at Target from Black Friday until just before Christmas likely had their information gathered by hackers. Banks are cancelling and re-issuing cards by the millions, and Target is trying to do damage control by offering free credit monitoring for a year to anyone who was affected.

Now, could Target have done anything more to prevent this major breach from happening? Maybe. But there are some valuable lessons to be learned about keeping your customers’ data safe. If nothing else, the Target issue is helping us to see how exactly consumers are affected when their data is misused. It can cause problems in nearly every aspect of their lives.

Here are a few tips, courtesy of InformationWeek.com, that we can do better in the future when it comes to keeping our customers’ data safe:

  1. Data encryption – while I don’t purport to be an expert on data encryption, it does make sense that companies (particularly those who are selling) should be constantly re-evaluating their encryption process and see if it’s working. This is the best way to beat the hacker game. They also suggest using a whole-disk encryption method rather than file-level encryption.
  2. Make sure that outside vendors know how important it is to keep your customers’ info safe – most, if not all companies outsource some of their file storage or data encryption to another company or service. Places that hold information to consider are cloud storage services or CRM software. Making sure that these companies have your customers’ best interest in mind before agreeing to use them is pretty important.
  3. BYOD – lots of companies are moving toward letting employees bring their own devices to work. While this is convenient and can be cost-effective, consider that your employees’ devices are absolutely not as secure as they could be.

Protecting your customers’ information is just one of the things required to maintain a positive customer relationship. It certainly doesn’t have to be difficult or very costly – but it is definitely a part of the business process that needs constant evaluation in order to be successful.

(Photo Source)

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. 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.

Slow Down For Faster Results – Sales eXchange 2350

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Slow motion

I’m a firm believer that our habits and how we execute specific tasks do not vary widely from task to task. Sure we may be a bit more diligent when we are doing something important for the boss, bit more casual in social endeavours, but in most cases it is about degrees, not wholesale differences. Now if you are doing everything perfectly this isn’t a bad thing, but most of us are not perfect, we’re not living that idyllic reality, and therefore have to deal with our bad habits, and their consequences.

One thing that seems to get consistently worse is the tendency to rush things, and the problems that can lead to. This is accentuated by the many and growing number of things we have to get done in the same or less time than before.

It seems that more people today skim or scan documents, e-mails and other reading, rather than giving it full attention, as a result they miss things that are important to the outcome; they then have to backtrack wasting more precious time, more than they saved by skimming.

Same can be said for the way people read their e-mails, in fact it may be more accurate to say how many are not reading their e-mails. I have spoken to others about this, and I know I am not the only one who finds themselves posing a specific question in an e-mail, only to get back an answer that barely if at all answers the question posed. You can tell they rushed, skimmed the original, and responded to what they skimmed, not the question asked.

This leads to a couple of additional notes back and forth, this wastes time and energy on both sides, but while sellers are free to waste their own time, this end up also very much wastes the buyer’s time, which can lead to consequences, especially if they pose the same to another vendor who takes the time to respond completely and fully. At worse you come off as being evasive, at best tardy.

One of the goals of any good sales person is to make it easy for the buyer to deal with you, in essence to buy from you. While this may not always be in your control, slowing down so you can be more effective is. I know there is pressure coming from all side these days, but it is important to manage it, especially early in the relationship. If the buyer feels that you are rushing and taking short cuts through the selling phase, they can’t help but ask if that is the level of attention and care they will face once they commit?

One easy way to solve this is to actually set aside time through the day for e-mail and voice mail. One reason for the skimming is that we are doing e-mail while we are doing other things, and as I have said before, we are not built for multi-tasking regardless of what the pundits will tell you. As highlighted in the Sales Happen In Time Booklet, carving out time to do things properly, including e-mail, will make you more productive, less stressed, and come across as the pro you are.

Here is another real world example, I am currently running a contest to win tickets to the Art Of Sales, an opportunity to take in Dan Pink, Matt Dixon, and other sales thought leaders. To enter, all one need do is fill in three points of data, name, e-mail, phone, and to tweet the fact that they entered the contest. To make it even easier, the tweet is all set, they just have to hit the bird. In bold letters they are told the no tweet equals no entry, yet half the entrants skip that step. My guess they skimmed, went on auto pilot filling out the form, and rushed to the next thing. Oh well, better odds for those who read and completed the task they needed to in order to win.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

The Pipeline Interview with Jeff Shore – Sales eXchange 2300

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

The Microphone

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Jeff Shore, a leading sales coach, speaker, and author. We sat down to discuss his upcoming book: “BE BOLD AND WIN THE SALE”.

It is no secret that to change the outcome in sales, you need to change the behaviour of sellers, this in turn changes their execution. The question is how do you change behaviour.  This is the focus of “BE BOLD AND WIN THE SALE”, and the focus of the interview.

Jeff highlights specific things sellers and organizations can do to to begin the transformation and win sales. Take a look, and pick up the book when it comes out January 3, 2014, and go out and win sales.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

The Past is an Indicator of Future Action1

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Confident

Sellers are taught to ask probing questions, trying to discover what the opportunities can be uncovered, where the “pain” may be that will allow us to present “the solution”, win hearts and minds of buyer, win the sale, and win  the day.  But often despite a good execution of the “probing”, the prospect pouring their guts out, the sale does not follow.  While many turn to continuing to fine tune their probing, they should instead expand their area of probing.  They need to move off pain, product, solution track, and probe around the propensity of the buyer and their organizations to change and or act.

We have all seen scenarios where despite all the right elements being in place, there is no sale.  While that is not the worst thing, what is, is when sellers then spend a disproportionate time of energy, emotion and time, trying to get the sale based on the logic of the fit.  While they can recover from the wasted effort, they cannot ever get back is the time, a real non-renewable resource.  The answer is to add a line of questioning to the lines you already use.

It starts with a simple line of questioning around their current process or means of doing something, this will you a base to work with.  From there you can explore how they have traditionally dealt with specific things, and how they have progressed over the years.  If they have remained relatively constant, upgrading only when circumstances have forced them to, you are likely dealing with someone with little or no propensity to change until it is, or close to being late.  This is not a judgement, it may work for them, but is a clear indicator of someone slow to change, and you need to diagnose and act accordingly.

On the other hand, there are those who respond to your question by presenting a series of actions they have taken in anticipation of market conditions, or maybe even to force conditions.  If the reasons for taking proactive action, is tied to a proactive view of the market, they are likely a better prospect than someone with equal “requirements” and benefit profile, but with a history of inaction.

The key here is to spend more time with the right prospects, those most likely to buy (from you).  This is not about selling to your “dream client”, after all those only exists in your sleep/dream, what this offers you is an opportunity to deal more with those where the rewards truly match your efforts.  It is the best way to avoid the rabbit hole of a good solution fit, but a buyer with a history of inaction.  We are all good at moving on when the solution is not right, this enables us to walk away when the propensity is not right, not to be fooled by the fit of the solution.

You can’t change the buyer but you can very much change your approach!

One other thing to keep in mind to execute this approach to the fullest, explore this both on a personal level of the buyer, and on a corporate level.  The individual may be willing to act, but is prevented from doing so by their companies culture and policies.  Chances are a proactive individual will have moved on to an organization that appreciate and encourages their ability, but it is never a bad thing to test things on both levels.

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What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

 

If You Have To Wonder – - Forget It!4

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Crossed Fingers

We’ve all heard that communication is 60% body language, 30% intonation, and 10% the words we use (give or take). While this is an important statistics for sellers to keep in mind, it means nothing to those who sell or set appointments by phone, where there is no body language, and it’s down to intonation and words; and as we have said before, words may not break your bones, they could hurt your sales.

People can’t separate themselves from who they are just because they are selling, which means many of speech patterns they have developed over the years are present when they are selling. As a result they tend to use words that are just not all that effective when selling by phone, without the benefit of body language and limited by straight up intonation.

This is especially an issue while prospecting by telephone, or (dare I say it) cold calling. Now if you are a post-modern seller who does not cold call you’ll find the rest of this piece less than compelling. But if you are prospecting by phone, even if only those leads you sourced via inbound marketing, there are some steps you can take to have more success in a world void of body language.

Beyond the words you use, you also need to change your assertiveness or intensity, here are a couple of examples. I often hear people on the phone say “I was wondering if we could set a time to meet”, or “I was hoping to schedule an appointment”; really, I would have thought you knew you want to set a meeting. The above is a result of our social conditioning. In an effort to be polite, a good thing, we fail to compensate for the lack of body language. When you picked up the phone you weren’t wondering, or hoping, you wanted to meet. If you were standing in front of them, you can settle for wondering, but on the phone you need to compensate for the lack of body language, and not only clearly state your intent but go further by accentuating and asserting your desire to meet.

Note I am not saying be aggressive or rude, but you need to cut through the din created by other sales people Not a big change, but an effective one, “Mr. Brown, I am calling you today to specifically set a time to meet… or … schedule a time … arrange a meeting”. The words are down to you, it is more about the confidence and attitude you project. Who would you rather spend time with a wishy washy person hoping for something, or a confident professional clear in intent, abilities and direction? They say hope is not a plan, well it’s not very attractive in sales either.

Along the same lines, don’t say things like “I’m just calling”, “just following up”, or just anything. And please don’t combine two weak words: “just wondering”, “just hoping”.

There is in fact one thing you can do to leverage aspects of body language even when you are on the phone. Stand up, speak in a natural state, get a mirror and have a conversation with “a person” in the mirror. I know of one sales person who has a full length mirror in their office, and their prospecting calls consist of them conversing with the prospect, and the person in the mirror. You can step in to key words you want emphasise, you can catch yourself about to interrupt, and more. Sounds awkward, most things do at first, but the payoff is real and lasting.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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!

3 Things Some Pundits Won’t Tell you about Cold Calling – Part 1 – Sales eXchange 2186

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Keyhole and Telephone - Key to Success - Locked Out - Communicat

There is no hotter topic in B2B sales than cold calling, does it work, and is it necessary in today’s social environment, call screening, voice mail, and “inbound” universe. Well I am here to tell you it does work in 2013, and will continue to work in 2014 and beyond. And I am not alone in that conviction, not only are other experts with me on this, but so are the facts; I know many don’t like confuse the issue with facts, but I just feel the need (see below).

Definition: To start we need to define “cold call”, there are almost as many meanings as there are pundits. When I say cold call, it simply means that you are not on the targets agenda for that day. You could have encyclopedic knowledge about their company, the prospect personally, industry, all the real success you have delivered to people like them in similar scenarios; if you are not a scheduled event – you are a cold call. I am not talking about just picking up the phone, start dialing at A, and keep going, saying “Wanna buy?” That’s not cold calling, that’s just dialing for dollars, not effective from a time and resource view point, especially given the time demands sales professionals face these days.

But if you do your homework, prepare for the call in every way, expose yourself on social media, whip up a the best posts, etc., it does not change the reality that your targets are trying to pack 16 hours into a 12 hour day, just like you. Unless you are scheduled, you are a cold blast of interruption. That’s what makes the call cold, no matter how strong the content, they are reacting to their schedule, which does not include you or me. It is a dynamic that needs to be dealt with, and mastered, otherwise you are a socially correct, smart beyond belief sales person with a phone in their hand, a dial tone in their ear, and no new opportunity in your pipeline, now that’s cold. So as we look at three things they don’t tell you about cold calling, keep this definition in mind.

  1. Opens Up Untapped Overlooked Markets:

Above I spoke about facts supporting cold calling as a key component of any prospecting success, one example is a recent WSJ article “Cold Calls Still Help the Bottom Line”.  Notice how social media such as LinkedIn and others play a role in their prospecting success, as does cold calling. Nothing can be truer than the comment about how by less people making prospecting calls, has created a reduction in competition for prospects by phone. This same concept pans out in a couple of other ways. First, those depending on inbound only, without outbound cold calls, are limited to that narrow segment of the market that initiated the “buying process” on their own, and as such see you in a different light. You read a lot about how many buyers are some 60% through their buying process before reaching out to a seller. I believe that, but what does that say about the role of the sales person involved:

    • They are usually reduced to providing data to validate buyer’s research
    • Rather than playing the role of thought leader and advisor, they are reduced to price discussions and negotiating with their own company
    • In effect, the true logical conclusion of an inbound sale is for someone to take the order, that’s not selling

I know one can argue that these sellers can challenge the buyer’s thinking and change direction, but if they had the wherewithal to do that, would they have waited or allowed the process to be 60% executed without being in the game? No, they would have prospected them, and by not doing so, allowed the process to get away from them.

But where does that leave the other segment of the market, those who have not initiated the buying process, those who have something like what you sell, but could benefit from what your offer specifically; what if you can help them achieve their objectives better than they are now, but are just not calling in? Seems to me that to get to them, you’re going to have to pick up the phone (along with other actions), and if you are not on their schedule, you have to deal with being an interruption, a cold call, and deal with their reaction to the interruption not the quality of content.

This means learning to deal with the response, the objection, the rejection, the horror; well not if you are prepared.

Now – Download the Objection Handling Handbook
Wednesday Part 2 – They used to cold call – what’s changed?

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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