Mistakes Are Better Than Regrets – Sales eXecution 2430

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Crossed Fingers

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a sales person say “I should have …”, I could start working a three day week. And for all the coulda shmoudas, the risk for not acting was not that much greater than not acting, but the rewards always measurably bigger. I have never understood how some can live better with the regret of not having gotten a sale because they did not act, versus worrying about not getting an account because of a mistake they made attempting.

We worry about making mistakes when it comes to accounts, or meetings, usually unnecessarily so, and usually due to a lack of a proper pursuit plan, or process. Process here refers to a set of necessary and common-sense activities required to move the sale to close, executed in a logical and sequential stages, not something overly complex just for the sake of being complex, or more expensive. But the ‘process’ is not the end all and be all, as many mistakenly believe, it is the jumping point, the platform that allows you to act and measure progress and recalibrate when needed, but none of that matters till you act. It is when you act and make mistakes that you can correct, vary, and act again. Mistakes can be corrected, regrets you just carry around like so much luggage.

This unfolds with meetings as well, I often hear sales people say after the fact “I should have asked…” So why don’t they? One simple reason, they didn’t write their questions down in advance, and simply forgot, they didn’t want to look amateurish, but many buyers tell me they just see that as being prepared. More often sellers tell me they didn’t want to sound foolish asking such a simple question. What’s the old question: “do you want to be rich or look cool?”

Many sales people tell me that they don’t want to act “until they have it right”. They practice and rehearse – a good thing – till they feel they have it “perfect” – not a good thing, because no one is ever perfect. Selling is not like figure skating at the Olympics where you get a score for “artistic merit”, more like speed skating, successive qualifying rounds, semi-finals, and finally the big race. Perfect is not as pretty as success, and success is not always pretty.

While the intent of doing your best is a good one, and I have always said that intents go a long way, buyers are very much in tune with your intent, and are very forgiving when they know your intent was good, despite questionable execution. But without action on your part, there is no way for the buyer to see or gauge your intent. It’s a lot like not leaving a voice mail because “no one ever calls back”, how could they if you don’t leave a message or number?

If you’re going to err, err on the side of acting and dealing with the outcome, not on the side of staying on the sidelines and rationalizing the might-have-beens. In sales, it is about execution – everything else is just talk!

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto 

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5 Things You Need To Stop in 2014 – Or Any Year – Sales eXchange 2320

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Five

As we headlong in to the New Year, and wipe the slate clean, symbolically in or in actual ways, you are going to face two certain things. First an endless barrage of meaningless awards shows meant to squeeze the last bit of sales out of last year’s products. And an even greater number of post and articles telling you all the things you should do in 2014, most of which are retreads of things they advised you to do in 2013.

Here are two things you need to do, first capture all that advice on your favourite cloud storage area. This way you can revisit it next Christmas see who had insights that paid off, and who was stinking out the joint. Second, rather than focus on what you should do, why not try not doing some things that have prevented you from being more successful than you are. Here five things to consider, there are probably others, try these, or three of these, but before you start new things, and coming more skills and talents, start by shedding some to make room for the new. So in 2014 Stop

  1. Being Trendy – There is always a new trend, a new tool, a new way, to be successful, but new is not always better, it’s just new. Successful sales people master things that work and then stick with them till they stop helping them succeed. Sales skills, like any skills, aren’t tied to a calendar, or product releases, they are tied to effectiveness, so focus on how effective something is in helping you sell better, and sell more. There are always new offerings, but will they help you achieve new levels of success, or just help the people peddling them find a new follower?
  2. Fixing Things – Most sales people these days remind me of solutions running around the country side looking for a problem, wearing t-shirts that read “I never met a prospect whose problem I couldn’t fix”. Well a lot of prospects don’t have “problems”, and therefore don’t see the need for a solution. But they all have objectives, focus on that, and you engage with more potential buyers, and sell more. Don’t be that shmuck who described his role as a sales person as “I find the soft underbelly of the prospect, stab it, then offer up the cure”.
  3. Talking – Yes, you’ve heard this before, but did you listen. Ask good questions – tough questions – questions they haven’t heard from the shmuck above, and herds like him. Questions about their business, not your “solution”, then shut up, listen – don’t finish their sentence for them. I was out with another sales trainer recently, and if I had a dollar for every sentence the prospect was not allowed to finish, I would have had a financially rewarding day, but as it is he talked us out of the sale. Take notes, have follow up questions, but let them do the talking.
  4. Listening – To everyone other than the buyer, for one simple reason, they are the ones who will write the check from whence your commission comes! If they can’t directly contribute to your sale, they are wasting your time, and time is a precious resource.
  5. Hesitating – There are a million things that can hold you back, but the worst is you. What’s the worst that can happen, you learn something and have to try again. What’s the best, you act and get results. Yes, hesitating does have more predictable outcomes, but usually less desirable than executing your well thought-out plan decisively. Don’t second guess yourself into to the safety of mediocrity.

Happy New Year!
Tibor Shanto

So How Did You Do With That One Thing? – Sales eXchange 2310

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Success 1

Last year around this time in a video titled “The One Thing“, in which I challenged you to avoid the temptation of pursuing whole changes and resolutions going into the New Year, and instead focus on one thing. One thing that will measurably improve you execution, you’re selling, and when you master that one thing, build further from there.

Well it’s a year later, time for a reality check, let’s see how you, or we, did on that one thing, what worked, what didn’t, and why. If you did take on the challenge, how did you do?

If you did not accomplish what you set out to do, there are some things to keep in mind. If you gave it a real effort, made some progress, but are not where you want to be, that’s ok, as long as you keep going, don’t settle for “some progress”, go for your goal. If it is taking longer than anticipated try to understand why, and they adjust accordingly. At the times the goal is valid, but the means we choose is not the best. Step back, focus on your goal, the positive impact it will have on your success, and see if there is an alternate path. Don’t mistake with changing your course with changing goals or coming up short. In fact as a sales pro, at times the best thing we can do for prospects is show them how they can achieve their objective though an alternate way they hadn’t considered. If the goal is valid and really key to helping you sell better, stick with it, experiment, and apply the learning, even when it is a result of failed approach.

If you did succeed, congratulations, pat yourself on the back, reap the rewards, and then ask: “What next?”

With all the changes and continuous challenges facing sellers today, you can’t stop and rest on your laurels, you need to use you success as a springboard to your next conquest, right after you examine some elements of how you succeeded. How long did it take, what were some anticipated hurdles you overcame, what were some of the unanticipated that if proactively used moving forward will positively impact your journey.

When did you accomplish success, four weeks, three months, most of the year? Understand the elements, just as you would elements of a sale you want to repeat to ensure you succeed again and again.

Once you have an understanding of the concrete elements, it is time to look forward, and move forward. Meaning decide some things you would want to change in 2014. While you may want to look at more than one, you also don’t want to go crazy. While I will ask you to focus on one at a time, you are now in a position to plan out more through the year; as you accomplish one, roll in to the next, orderly, methodically, each building on the last, setting up the next. Just like a sale, just like planning your sales, like a process, for sales success.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

The Art of Sales Conference -Toronto – January 28, 2014 #Contest0

Artofsales2014 The Art of Sales Conference is coming to Toronto – January 28, 2014 – and other then having me in to do a keynote for your team, probably the best way to kick of the new sales year. Check out the great line-up of speakers:

Matthew Dixon – The Challenger Sale
Daniel Pink – To Sell is Human, A Whole New Mind & Drive
Porter Gale – Your Network Is Your Net Worth
Dan Roam – The Back of the Napkin & Blah, Blah, Blah
Stephen Shapiro – Personality Poker & Best Practices Are Stupid
Jim Fannin – S.C.O.R.E. For Life

For details click here

Take advantage of this fantastic Early Bird Offer and save $100 per ticket. Renbor Sales Solutions Inc. is an official partner – and I would like to share a special promo code: RENBOR32

You can also win a ticket to this great event!

That’s right, we are running a simple easy to win contest for single tickets to this event, click here to enter.

Good Luck!

See you at this exciting event.

Tibor

PS – If you’re going to enter the contest, you may as well vote for this blog as Top Sales Blog for 2013 in the Top Sales World Awards; vote now, and vote often!

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What Do You Sell? – Sales eXchange 2260

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Objectives

Seems like a straight forward question, especially if you are in B2B sales; as easy a lay-up as possible for today’s sellers, right?  But you would be surprised how professional sales people struggle to give a meaningful or useful answer to this question, especially if you measure useful in how well it causes a potential buyer to engage and/or act.  The main reason is that most answers are still anchored in the “product”, and while they may dress it up to sound like “solutions” or other euphemisms, it is usually still beige, and really non-engaging.

Typically I ask this from all groups I work with and over 80% of the time what I hear back are very much the deliverables that their company usually delivers.  I hear hardware, software, applications, blah blah services, etc.  You usually have a few who will say “solutions”, but when pressed for what solutions, many revert back to the comfort of their product or deliverable.  This just  validates that solutions is more a buzz word that the willingness to explore the real problems the buyers is experiencing, or more importantly, what is the perceived problem preventing the buyer from achieving.  While a lot of progress has been made by some, it is still very much that sales people are a solution (defined by marketing or their value proposition) running around the country side looking for a “problem” that fits their solution, rather than being able to help the buyer achieve their objective(s).

The answer to “What do you sell” needs to directly relate to not what the buyer is buying, but what they are trying to achieve with what they buy.

Here is a simple example, assuming a hypothetical buyer need to achieve perfect and identical quarter inch holes, hundreds in multiple places and over a period of years.  When they go to the “store” they are still fixated on the ¼ inch hole, but most sales people want to talk about the drill.  All it’s features, the innovativeness of the engineers who worked on the drill, the ease of use, and the multitude of available attachments, (of which only one could potentially deliver a ¼ inch hole), and more.  The assumption is that the buyer is looking for a drill, the best drill, their drill.  But the buyer is looking for ¼ inch hole, and usually could care less if it is done with a drill, or ice pick, they need a consistent identical whole every time.  But sellers keep talking about what you can do with “it”, not what “it” will do for the buyer.

The answer to the question of what you sell needs to start with what and why the buyer is buying.  Why buyers buy is the key, they are rarely looking for a solutions, they are always looking to achieve an objective, big or small.  Those objectives are in response to perceived risk, financial gain, productivity, time gains, and role defined interests.  But this is just the start, a step many reps have taken, but it is just that a step.

I hear too many reps staying on the surface, using the above categories as complete statements.  Just listen, and you will hear many reps say things like “we deliver efficiencies to workflow, while improving productivity”.  “Our document management solutions reduce costs while enhancing productivity”.  Good starts, but one needs to go deeper to get traction, especially if you are going to try to sell to people who are not looking or have identified a “need” or felt a “pain”.  Without need or pain, the only thing all buyers have in common are objectives, which are not product or solutions based.

Think about the consistently perfect ¼ inch hole, not the perfect drill.

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What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto 

3 Upcoming #Sales #Webinars you Need to Attend!0

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Learn

Over the next couple of weeks I will be presenting three different webinars on 3 related topics that you should register for and attend.

October 23 - Time – Prospecting – And Getting the Jump On Both

On Wednesday October 23rd, at 2:00 pm Eastern time, 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 for sourcing the right contacts and related info, and best practices, to improve your rate of connecting with the right decision makers and start selling.
Click here for more detail and registration

 

October 24 – Cold Calling: How to Handle the Objection

On the following day Thursday October 24, at 2:00 pm Eastern time, working 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 “Cold Calling: How to Handle the Objection”, looking at how to effectively handle the most common objections faced by intrepid cold callers, and move to selling.
Click here for more detail and registration

 

October 29 – GAP Selling, Successful Selling in Changing Times

Finally on Tuesday October 29, you guessed it, at 2:00 pm Eastern time, I will be delivering the “GAP Selling, Successful Selling in Changing Times”. Working with LeadLifter, I’ll be presenting on a framework that allows you and your sales process to evolve with your buyers and markets, allowing you to execute your sale in a way that is not limited or impacted by market conditions.
Click here for more detail and registration

Set the time aside now, and learn how the three combine will help you sell better now, and into 2014!

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto  

Sounds Like A Personal Problem – Sales eXchange 2131

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Reaching

My daughter is a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, a program administered by the Canadian Forces. Among the many benefits is their ability to teach and reinforce basic like skill habits everyone can benefit from. Two in specific is teamwork and accountability. Two attributes core to sales success; and while I am not suggesting that sales people be sent off to boot camp as part of their on-boarding process, if only because of the economics, although I could argue that over the long run, given productivity, reduced costs related to turnover and impact on client satisfaction, there is a strong case that can be made.

Some of these things apply to athletes, many companies have figured out that hiring former athletes, or top rated collage athletes who just missed being drafted into the pros, make great salespeople, discipline, action oriented, perseverance – the willingness to learn and do what it takes to win.

There is also no denying that many salespeople who come out of a military background have a greater ability to learn best practices and turn that learning into action. The ability to take orders, follow process and be accountable for the action and pride in the outcome.

The interesting thing about the brand of accountability she has learned, one best for sales as well, is that it is personal accountability. The type that allows you to share in the wins, those of the team, as well as your own, without limiting your progress, or limiting that of the team, based solely on your abilities, actions or inactions.

Embracing accountability allows individuals to stay on a path of personal improvement and development. Once you accept that it is within your ability to figure out and act on issues, challenges, and opportunities. It frees you from the trappings of finding, making and improving excuses as to why things are not working for you, and sets you on a path of figuring out how to make things work, or change course to where they better can.

It puts you in a state where it is not the fact that the product suck, your manager is a bitch, and the other company has better spiffs. But here’s the deal, the guys working for the other company, they think their product suck, their manager is useless, and they are not being paid enough. And here is the secret, this is only the case when you are not making your numbers, as it is for the other guy. In other words, every sales person faces systemic challenges of product, occasional service problems, pricing, the economy, that useless prospect that doesn’t get things, blah, blah, blah. Yet some continue to deliver, and some continue to be victims (of what, they are not always sure.

My daughter was telling me about an incident during an exercise with her squadron, she had a problem performing that she attempted to address with an excuse, the response from sergeant: “Sounds like a personal problem.”

When it comes to your pipeline and sales, do you have a personal problem?

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Schedule It (#video)0

By Tibor Shantotibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Biz TV

We all know the old Peter Drucker saying “What gets measured gets managed”, you can add another, this time Shanto, “if it is not scheduled, it won’t be done”.  Sellers can help themselves, their success and commissions by scheduling more key activities than they are now.

Take a look and tell me if you agree or disagreed, or schedule to do it later.

Schedule it

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Window of Productivity (#video)2

By Tibor Shantotibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Biz TV

Remember the days when you could actually have a “Power Hour”, the opportunity to really step back and off the treadmill, and concentrate on things that can truly move your sales or the company forward?  With all the demands on your time, it is hard at times to just stay on track.

Well it is up to you and me to carve out that time, and the good news is that you can do it, even today, without adversely effecting clients and their expectations.  Taking a few simple steps and change in outlook will help you to create your window of productivity.

See how:

Window of Opportunity

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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

 

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