Welcome to The Pipeline.

Feb 16

6 Little Things You Can Do to Make Your Business Shine0

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

If you want to make your business stand out, that doesn’t mean you have to make big changes. Sometimes the littlest things can make a significant difference. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to the tiny tweaks that can make a positive impact on your business – make the things you were waiting to do tomorrow happen today. Make the changes happen now and don’t push off doing the things that can help make your business stand out. Here are 6 tips to help you make effective changes to your marketing efforts and improve your business.

Discover the features of a strong website.
Every website should be one of a kind. However, there are certain features that many of the best websites have in common. Choose a design that is clear and tasteful and one that makes it easy to figure out what the next step is for customers. Your website is the chance for you to communicate effectively with your customers’. Use simple visual themes over busy graphics so your customer’s eye goes where you want him to go. Remember that your website is part of your marketing program — so make it strong.

Integrate your email marketing with your social media efforts.
Email and social media are both vital parts of many marketing plans- they’re just two different avenues to reach your customers. If you are having trouble with either method, the solutions may be getting them to work with each other. Shareaholic says that Facebook is the number one referral traffic source for websites. However, email has a lot of perks too. Instead of turning this into a social media marketing versus email match, work to integrate the two methods so they actually help each other (and help your business). There are many ways you can become the smartest internet marketer of 2016 and integrating email and social media tops that list.

Improve your sales funnel.
What is a sales funnel? It is the process people go through as they purchase products or services from your business. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes through the process to be able to improve your sales funnel. It’s ideal to shorten the sales cycle to quicken the sales process – so you need to understand the buyer’s perception of time. No matter how good a business’ product may be, the ability to guide customers through the sales funnel to bring in revenue can be the difference between success and failure. Time is a scarce commodity, so make it a point to figure out how to ramp up the buyer’s sense of urgency.

Conquer your fear of writing your business plan.
Fear. It is one of life’s greatest sources of regrets. It can hold business owners back from doing many things – but you should not allow that to happen. If you are thinking of starting your own business, get over your fear of writing your business plan. Know that you will make mistakes – all business owners do, but hopefully you will have more successes than failures. Keep that in mind.

Overcome barriers to creativity.
Innovation is an important part of running a business. However, barrier to creativity come up on occasion, so it’s crucial to think creatively through all stages of business growth. It’s easy to slip into bad decision habits that limit business, but work hard to keep your business thinking creative.

Take the occasional sabbatical.
From time to time, it can be beneficial for you and your business if you take a deep breath and step back from your day-to-day tasks. This can help you gain a fresh perspective and help rejuvenate you for the future. Step away and press the reset button from time to time. Whether you take a staycation, enjoy a break outdoors, go to the spa, or learn something new – step away and enjoy the power of the pause.

It’s normal for the optimism and energy to subside after the newness of a business wears off. However, a successful business needs to be nurtured and grown in the right way in order to meet your expectations. The right strategies and efforts will pay off one hundredfold if you stick to them – get ready to see your business shine.

What small changes have you made in your business to help it stand out?

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. 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. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.
Website: www.chamberofcommerce.com

Photo Credit – Shutterstock

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Leader versus manager

2 Traits Separating A Leader From A Title – Sales eXecution 3281

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

There is no doubt that people should celebrate recognition in the form of promotion. When you become a sales manager, or a VP of Sales it says a lot about you, your accomplishments, and your organisation. What one does with their new role and opportunity is what separates leaders from promoted minions.

In my experience as a participant in the corporate world, and as an observer with a unique seat in the stands, is that there are a number of things that make for good leaders, there two that are must if you are going to lead and have people willingly follow.

The first is leading from the front, rather than behind a desk. This involves two things, one you can fake, the other you can try, but people see it. Many get to the position by survival, which is after all a skill in a competitive environment like sales, but not necessarily a success factor for revenue growth. We have all met that VP of Sales who has risen with the tide, or their cheaper version, the one that just managed to hang on to the dick as the tide was washing over him. These are the people with 20 years tenure, unfortunately, the same year 20 times over, rather than 20 years of evolution, personal growth, and the resulting wisdom. You can’t learn a lot while keeping you head down, while sales is war, you gotta come out of the fox hole to win and grow. But you can always impress the 80%, with war stories from back in the day.

The part you can’t fake is synthesizing and extrapolating from years of real experience. More importantly, the ability to share that with a member of your team, and educate them without “bossing” or telling them how you did it. Context is key, leaders understand that and use the situational context of their reps’ currently reality to educate and help that individual grow, and win the right deals.

A dividend of the latter, is it hones the next generation of great leaders. The risk of the former is the same, except the result is the next generation of inept manager/executives.

The second trait is accountability. Managers focus on keeping their people accountable. Which is a real challenge when they see a manager not a leader. Leaders understand that they are accountable for the success of their people, they strive for mutual accountability, leading with themselves.

I recently encountered a VP of Sales (by title only, habits: manager), faced with a negative situation he blamed everyone in sight. First it was his admin who messed up, then it was the manager, finally the rep. Never in the discussion did he consider his role in the blunder. He literally used his team as a human shield from facing the situation he created and was responsible for. He expected his people to be accountable for his failure. Would you follow this guy in to battle? Not that you could as he was firmly strapped to his desk.

The leaders I respect are not the ones who ask what are you going to do to improve, but the ones who ask: What do I need to do for you to help you succeed?

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I’m Speaking at the World’s Largest Online Sales Event0

I’m going to be speaking with some of the brightest minds in the sales and marketing world at the Sales Acceleration Summit. We are sharing secrets in a rapid-fire series of online presentations on Wednesday, March 9th, 2016.

The purpose of the event is to bring successful authors, experts, and business leaders from across the world to one place.

I’ll be speaking about Dynamics of SDR/BDR Call Success, because success on that initial contact is crucial to full and profitable engagement.

The first Summit in 2013 attracted more than 15,000 sales leaders from all over the world. In 2015 they hosted over 30,000 attendees—and this year is going to be even bigger, better and more exhilarating.

There will be something for everyone. And it’s completely free. Sign up here!

Confirmed speakers for 2016 include:

Brent Adamson, Principal Executive Advisor at CEB

Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling

Grant Cardone, CEO of Cardone Training Technologies

Jeffrey Gitomer, King of Sales

Amanda Holmes, CEO at Chet Holmes International

Jamie Shanks, Managing Partner Sales for Life

Jim Steele, InsideSales.com President of Worldwide Sales and Chief Customer Officer

Art Sobczak, author of the best-selling book Smart Calling

David Elkington, CEO and founder of InsideSales.com

Ken Krogue, President, Founder of InsideSales.com

Mark Hunter, President The Sales Hunter

Michael Pedone, Founder Sales Buzz

Bryan Kreuzberger, Founder Breakthrough Email

Tom Hopkins, The Builder of Sales Champions

Kraig Kleeman, Author, Speaker, Global Strategist

Eric Siegel, author of Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die

Anthony Iannarino Author, President & CSO at Solutions Staffing

Lori Richardson, B2B Midmarket Sales Expert

Jeb Blount, CEO Sales Gravy

Steve Richard, CRO ExecVision

Colleen Stanley, Founder & President Sales Leadership, Inc.

Dave Mattson, CEO and President Sandler Training

Miles Austin, Founder Fill the Funnel

Mike Schultz, President of RAIN Group

Norman Behar, CEO & Managing Director Sales Readiness Group

Jennifer Gluckow, CEO and Founder Sales in a New York Minute

Richard Harris, Founder The Harris Consulting Group

See full agenda here.

Registering gets you access to the recordings even if you can’t make the actual event on March 9th. Invest in yourself, register today—it’s free. Register Now!

Businesswoman wearing red cape and opening her shirt like superhero

A Super Question You Should Use4

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

In the past I had written about the fact that your sales process and the way you or your team execute that process is most likely the last real way of differentiating yourself from your competition. I think by now we can all agree that product is rarely the deciding factor; and when it is, it is usually driven by price, regardless of what marketing is smoking. With all due respect and deference to product designers, engineers, marketing and branding folks, when you look at it in the cold light of day, there is not that much difference in the top two products in most categories. What many will tout as being different, is more subjective than data or fact based. With 85% – 90% feature overlap, one may be able to spin the benefits a bit, but if products could sell themselves, I’d be writing a different blog. As with beauty or value (or some tell me), difference is often in the eye of the beholder.

So what can you do to sound or be different when selling. There is a whole bunch of things, but I think the easiest lies in the questions you ask. And among the many questions you can and should ask, there is one I like because it is easy to answer, sets you apart from many, you will learn a whole bunch of useful things, and despite its high octane, it has no risk, all upside.

What’s the question you ask? (Sorry I just had to) Here it is:

“What is the one thing you have always wanted from a supplier like me (us), but have never had anyone do, or deliver?

Many I present this question to are first taken aback. They say, “what if they come up with something we can’t do or deliver?” There is only one answer to that: who cares?

By definition they have not gotten this from anyone, just look at the question. The fact that you can’t do it, does not put you in a bad light. Let’s go to extremes, say they want to go to Mars, first class with kosher meals, no one can do that, so there is no downside.

In a more conventional setting, say they come up with something you can’t do, you don’t look any worse than the others, but there is upside. You can explore why they are looking for that specific thing. That will give you great insight about the buyer, and more importantly their objectives. In most cases you get bonus points for trying.

By understanding what they are trying to achieve, you may be able to offer an alternative means of achieving the very thing, but in a different way. Most buyers are focused on achieving their objectives, few will get hung up on the means, if you get them there, you get the glory.

What you’ll also find is that at times you can in fact deliver what they respond with, or something so close, it will satisfy the requirement. In this case asking the question has nothing but upside, you win the deal, the client, and referrals to follow. Those referrals are likely to focus more on how you sold them and met their expectations than product.

There is no safer question in sales. All upside, no downside. Try it, it’s a gas.

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How To Get A Meeting With Anyone – Book Review0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

One of the most common things I hear sales people say is “Get me in front of the right person, and I can sell them.” There is no doubt that is true, but it is also true that most find it difficult to get in front of the right person, and that the best and most sought after sales people are those who can consistently get in front of that “right” person and start selling. An added challenge is that often the person they need to get in front of is an executive surrounded by layers of people making it that much more difficult to contact them.

Well there is good news, Stu Heinecke, has produced a book to help people contact and connect with the most difficult to contact people. “How To Get A Meeting With Anyone”, explores the science and art of reaching those VIP contacts you want to sell to. Stu introduces the concept of Contact Marketing; a term he brings to full potential in the book. More than a turn of phrase, it is based not only on years of real world experience, but a series of interviews with all the players involved in the passion play of contacting and selling to anyone, especially VIP’s. Stu interviewed the very VIPs in question, executive assistants, market reactionaries, marketing experts and sales experts, including myself. He then distilled this collective knowledge and experience into a must-read book for anyone who needs to contact the un-contactable to be successful in their endeavourer.

One of the most refreshing elements of the book, and a direct result of the input, is that it does not start with a bias, and then sets out to prove it, while tearing down other forms of connecting. This is not cold calling vs. social selling; direct marketing vs. inbound market. But an exploration of how these things can be combined and leveraged in a way that helps the reader learn how to get a meeting with anyone, whether they are selling or for other reasons. Beyond sales and marketing, this book delivers for business owners, or start ups who need to contact that right person to fund the next phase.

For me what makes a sales book great is when it goes beyond the concepts of what and why, and takes the extra step of showing you how, with practical real world examples. As you read, you can tell Stu has lived it and as a reader you will benefit from that. This is not only important for learning, but for doing, the book will give you the confidence to act on things you may have been afraid or reluctant to try, or more commonly, someone told you won’t work, or you can’t do. The way Stu lays it out, you discover you can and how, and if you’re willing, you’ll discover a whole new market of people others will tell you are near impossible to reach.

The book is full of clear concepts supported by “how to’s” and specific “what to do’s” cutting across current lines in the market. From building your prospect list, to crafting your message and deciding on the best medium to deliver it. As a result, it is not only a great read, but well paced, so even the most impatient sales person will find it a joy to read.

There are so many different “a-ha” moments, but for me there were a number of things that resonated and reinforced things I have believed and practiced and tried to get others to follow. One is the fact that if you want to sell to someone, especially a VIP, you need to become their peer. That does not mean you have to go out and become an executive, but understand and “live” in their world so you can relate to them, and more importantly they can relate to you. The other must-read and must-live chapter is chapter 15. Stu lays out why you need to stop thinking about the executive assistant or admin as a gatekeeper, and view them as your gateway to success in meeting with anyone.

There are two pleasant added bonuses, unique to the book, and specifically because of Stu and the fact that he is not just a proven marketer, but a cartoonist for The Wall Street Journal. First, the book has personality, one of the reasons it is such a great read. Unlike many sales books that try to be overly academic, or over the top, Stu’s style helps you connect with him and his concepts. The other are Stu’s cartoons throughout the book. They not only confirm that a picture is worth a 1,000 words, they add dimension to the concepts presented, making them easier to take in, digest, and put into practice.

If you need to contact and meet with hard to reach individuals for any reason, you need to buy and read “How To Get A Meeting With Anyone”, it will become one of your go-to manuals for having the meetings you want to have.

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A concept image showing both sides of an antique coin displaying a heads and a tails side on an isolated white studio background

5 Proven Ways To Blow A Sales Meeting – Part 30

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

In the last of this series on proven ways to blow a meeting, we’ll look at two related opportunities that many sales people love to take advantage to derail a meeting. They are two extreme sides of the preparedness coin, being over and under prepared at the same time, to the point where the two not only cancel each other out, but help you blow sales meetings, over and over. However, when balanced and artfully executed, they could lead to great success.

Being Over Prepared – In the first post in the series we looked at how reps are so focused on their agenda, that when ever they hear the “magic word(s)” they jump in, interrupt, and alienate their buyer. In a similar way, reps sometimes look at their agenda or meeting plan like holly scripture not to be messed with or deviated from.

You get a discussion going, your questions have the effect you’d hoped which to get the buyer to not only think, which is an accomplishment, but to think differently than they did before and coming in to the meeting. When they do, it is often unchartered territory for them, and often takes them to explore things that may not have been on either yours or their agendas. This is a great thing, taking the buyer to a new place, they start thinking out loud, and because their exploring, it is often not as structure as the formal and planned part of the meeting. It is during these moments of free form thinking that some of the best opportunities are born, but only if you let them. Great sales people can switch between structured and abstract and can fully function in both. Other sales people can’t dance without the safety net of structure, and instead of encouraging free form, make the mistake of bring the meeting back to “solid ground”, and blowing it in the process.

When you allow the buyer to drive, and encourage exploration of thought, possibilities no matter how different, you not only take the buyer to places other sellers don’t, but you also clearly communicate that you are focused on their objectives not just selling your product. But if you continuously try to “ground” the buyer, and refocus them on the agenda, you’re screaming “PRODUCT, I SELL PRODUCT, not outcomes.”

No Next Step – The other side of the coin, is when a rep goes into a meeting without a clearly planned next step, in fact a few next steps, think plan A, plan B, Plan C, and sometimes even D. It is important to remember that a next step is your destination, a desired outcome for the meeting. It is not the same as an agenda. There are various ways to get somewhere, in the above example, I am encouraging you to let loose and find and follow an unexpected path, one the buyer may suggest, one the circumstances may dictate, but a path that makes it easier to get to your destination, i.e. a mutual agreement of your ability to deliver value. Value here meaning helping the buyer achieve their objectives, not giving them a discount.

But without a next step, there is no destination, and as such there are no results. I am painfully surprised when I ask reps what they want to get out of the meeting they are about to enter. The answers range from “I don’t know, but I will when we get going.” One has to wonder how you start a meeting to get there. Others tell me, “Well, I want to close the deal.” Not a reality for B2B reps, unless you truly have a one call sale, not very common.

But if you combine the two above, know the outcome that makes sense for the meeting, the buyer and you, then you can take detours, follow the buyer down unbeaten paths, but still have your next step as a beacon for where you want to end up. What’s the old saying, “if you don’t know where you’re going every road will get you there.” Well if you know where you want to go, then you wont need to depend just one road to get you there. I guess I bring this from my taxi driving days, if you know the city well enough you know multiple ways of getting somewhere based on various circumstances.

Now review the five things we’ve discussed, and avoid them.

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Red chili peppers and one green chili pepper

5 Proven Ways To Blow A Sales Meeting – Part 20

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

In part one, we looked at how to encourage the prospect to share more meaningful information that leads to a mutually beneficial outcome. In this post we’ll look at two common, usually unintended mistakes sales people make. Today we’ll look at two other things to avoid.

Stop asking the obvious – While most sales people have bought into the idea that you catch more sales with questions than pitches, there is more to it than just “asking questions”. Buyers, influencers and executives are looking for different ideas and answers than the same old, we’ve all heard that they have more access than ever to information, what they are seeking is knowledge. The questions you ask, very much set the expectation of your worth and that of your potential offering. It is true that less sellers than ever are asking people what keeps them up at night, but many questions they hear over and over again, signal to them that they are speaking to someone no different than the last 10 sellers, even if the swag is better.

Many of the questions used by sellers, and encouraged by pundits, are very transparent in their nature and intent. All seem to be geared to get the prospect to yell “uncle”, and allow the rep to roll out their “solution”. Abetter course, is to formulate a set of questions aimed at identifying, understanding and addressing the buyer’s objectives. This however takes work, and is more difficult for many sellers and pundits, to leave your product or solution out of the entire discussion; to leave your product in the car, especially early when the buyer is evaluating you more than your solution.

The difference buyers look for is not in the product, but in how it is sold. If you are truly different, you can show it in your sales approach, but when you ask the same questions every other seller asks, what’s the difference?

Don’t focus only on the Grand Poohbah – Sales people are always told to focus on the decision maker, unfortunately that title does not appear on many business cards, directories or LinkedIn. As a result, many default to equate the executive ‘C Suite’ to decision maker. This of course drive behaviour. Sellers go hunting for executives, and when in a group or committee selling setting they focus a disproportionate amount of focus strictly on the executive, the senior person in the room, the Grand Poohbah, mistake.

There is no doubt you need to get their buy in and support, but there is a difference in approving a decision and making one, and with few exceptions, the Grand Poohbah is more likely to approve than make. They look to their teams to make the recommendation, in essence the decision, and often those people have teams doing the leg work and who have the understanding of what the product does and how. Senior people, being focused on objectives, are more likely focused on the outcomes, generally from an implementation that encompasses many products, most of which they are unaware of.

When presenting to a group, or working multiple conversations in a company, do over bet the executive, while they may like you and what you offer, they will look to their people to make a decision, and will rarely over rule them just because they like you or the colour of your widget vs. the next. Helping them understand that you can deliver outcomes that drive their objectives is great, but if the implementation team shows them they can deliver the same using something they prefer for whatever reason, you could be beat.

Think team coverage, think of selling to the organization’s objectives, and while you do what to acknowledge the Grand Poohbah and their importance, don’t forget the people who make the magic happen.

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Can I say something

5 Proven Ways To Blow A Sales Meeting – Part 10

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

There is nothing worse than finally getting a meeting with a buyer you have been chasing for some time, only to completely blow the meeting. No one goes in with the intent of blowing, but it happens, even when you prepare in advance. There are some basic things we can pay attention to that can make a world of a difference, especially given the fact that many sales people commit these errors, and you can standout by just avoiding them.

In this series we will look at five common things we can all focus on, and change, both how we do things and the outcomes. Each of these on their own may not be fatal, but I see many reps bring two, three or more to meetings, creating more work and less results.

Interrupting While it may seem obvious, you’d be surprised. Often it is no more than excitement that your buyer says something that aligns with your view or offering. They say the “magic word”, and like one of Pavlov’s dogs, reps jump in. They don’t want to miss the opportunity to score, they enthusiastically go for it, demonstrating how simpatico they and the buyer are. Problem is, no matter the intent, no matter how Zen the moment is, it is still an interruption.

At times you can get away with it once, on really strong points in good meeting (till that point) maybe, maybe twice. By the second time you do it, you are actually beginning to train the buyer not to talk. They want to say something, something important for them, and by extension to you, and just as they are about to make a point, you step on their sentence. Doesn’t take long for them to think to themselves, “What’s the point of talking, this dude’s just gonna interrupt me; if I stay quiet, he’ll leave sooner.” Remember they have been here before, they don’t know if you are genuinely enthusiastic, or just schmuck, like all the ones that came before you.

There is a simple solution over and above learning how to bite your tongue, and it is how you take notes. I hope I am not mistaking making the assumption that you take notes already. Beyond being a great cure for a short memory, taking notes has a positive effect on your buyer. The act of you writing down what they are saying, encourages them to talk more, the more they talk, the more informed the discussion is. If you have been to a meeting where you think you are sharing some good points, but the person on the other side is not taking any notes at all, you know how it feels. Even if you heard it before, same words, same order, same old – take notes! Encourage them to speak and share, it can only be good.

Notepad splitAs the meeting starts, draw a line about a third in from the right side of the page. Every time the buyer says one of your “magic words”, don’t salivate and jump in, instead, write it down in the narrow column you just created. Your normal notes can go in the wide column. This not only allows the buyer to fully express themselves (and help you sell), but you will differentiate yourself from the interrupters. When the buyer finishes, you can demonstrate that you were paying attention, taking in what they said, and processing it in a way that serves their objectives. You’ll be surprised at the power of being able to say “Earlier you said the “magic word”, and I found that interesting because a number of our clients……” and weave in the point you wanted and needed to make, and others would have interrupted with. So instead of interrupting the buyer, interrupt yourself, and don’t blow the meeting.

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In half Done

Cut Your Training Budget In Half – Double Your ROI0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Training is an interesting concept, at least in sales, as much as most sales leaders or sales ops people bring their own bias and flavour to it. But the one common view and practice the majority share is a “democratic” outlook or bias. Don’t get me wrong, I love democracy, and live in the greatest democracy on earth, Canada, but the reality is that democracy is not for everyone and often does not work, just ask Egyptians.

By democracy in sales training specifically, I am referring to the practice of parading all your sales people in to the same training, the same day. While I get it, I don’t think this is necessarily leads to the best results or return on training investment.

Consciously or not, most leaders rank or tier their teams, usually Top, Mid, and Bottom tier. Clearly indicating that the leader has specific opinions about their team members. No doubt some of this is influenced by what they think of the individual in a subjective way, the key determinant is usually their success record and a measure of their ability. Rather than going with the ole 80/20, for the sake of discussion let’s say that the top tier, top 20% of your team, drives a good chunk of your revenue. The Mid-tier, you know the “good but…” reps, 50% – 55% of the team, contribute. Bringing up the rear, the Bottom tier, that 25% – 30% of the team that really should be managed out.

From a training standpoint, I always tell people that the Top tier will pay for the training, they will come with an open mind, take things on and then put things into practice and drive sales and ROI on the training. Movement in the Mid-tier, will represent the more gains and further return on the training. Leaving the Bottom tier, who mostly show up for the pizza lunch, adding to the cost of your day, but I guess you are already used to carrying them.

So right away, the question needs to be asked “Why are you spending money on the Bottom group? There is only one reason, the democratic approach taken by many organizations, “we need to have everybody go through the training”. No you don’t, if you had other underperforming assets, and you knew the repair would not work or work minimally for a short duration, you would not invest good dollars, you would probably replace the asset.

While some will argue that having the Top and Mid groups together creates cross-pollination, as if skills are transferable by osmosis. But I see it more like putting an average driver in the fast-lane on the Autobahn, sure the average driver may learn something from the aces passing them, but mostly they slow down those who can make the most of the fast lane.

There is enough of a range in the Mid-tier that the top end sellers will have a positive influence on the others, while at same time learning disciplines that will help them move into the top tier. Even when you want to introduce the same skills and concepts to both Top and Mid, it makes sense to deliver them separately.

Starting with the points above, you’ll reduce costs, reduce drag in delivery, and accelerate the behavior change you are looking for. At the same time, you will respect your best people and show in real terms that you not only appreciate them, but recognize and support the difference.

Now for real cost savings, manage the Bottom Tier out, and reinvest in Mid-tier players you can evolve to Top tier. Save on the acquisition cost, and mold them to be where you and them maximize opportunity. BTW, just do it, don’t take it to a vote.

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Show Them You Can Think – Sales eXecution 3274

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

I recently sat through a demo for a product that potentially could have been of interest. The rep had just the right amount of enthusiasm, mix of personality based small talk, right down to the obligatory question asked by Americans of Canadians in January “How cold is it up there?”. The igloo is holding up I said.

He also had a great deal of knowledge about the product, its value to me, all based on their assumptions and perspective, and how I would be able to benefit from it. This was right after he asked me what I and my company do. He demonstrated his abilities to deliver his company’s talking points, demonstrate their product. And despite all he had going for him, he very much demonstrated that he could not think.

Like many sellers he did not go off script. He could talk about specific features, but could not connect them, especially in a way that would align with my view, not that of his marketing department.

First thing he did was assume that I was in pain, he did not ask what I had in place now that may deliver what his product did, he just assumed that I had the same pain the product was created for, and some their current customers had. Without having an understanding as to what I use or don’t use, and why; or where I was going and or why. He did the now famous “the world has changed” plot line, and highlighted that he was a social seller because he connected with me on LinkedIn before cold calling me.

What he lacked was contextual or situational thinking. As with any solid thinking, it starts with curiosity, he was not in the least curious about the company or what we are trying to do. He drudged out some “scary stats”, and then the requisite story about someone who fought those stats using his product, and landed a $750,000 deal, “wouldn’t that be great if you could do that?” I think he was a bit taken back when I said no, he almost went off script, but he recovered and continued his pitch.

He ignored some clear inputs that would have allowed him to alter his direction and actually get me involved. I had used a product like his in the past and had some specific questions about how they deal with very specific scenarios. The scenarios I described and questions I asked should have prompted him to abandon the high level “why this” talking points, and go for the more fertile “how for you” conversation. His idea of expertise was to talk to me as though I just landed on the planet.

It would be easy to blame the rep, but someone put him up to it. They built “pain seeking” robots, “anyone not in pain is a waste of time.” Which is sad, because their product is actually suited to companies looking to accelerate their success, but that takes positioning, aligning to business goals and objectives, and situational thinking. Too much effort there, let’s probe for pain. The most painful moment, and one where there was a complete void of thinking, it was the silence when I asked for an example of how they use the service.

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