Welcome to The Pipeline.

Sales eXchange – 50 – The Churn17

As you know we have a big focus on conversion metrics and numbers.  I have become accustomed to many front line reps and managers not being fully aware of key conversion rates, but there is one that most tend to ignore that severely impacts their success, and their ability to plan for success.  That number is the(ir) churn; usually expressed as a percentage, it is the amount of revenue that disappears from the base year in year out.  It varies from industry to industry, caused by various factors, and clearly fluctuates with real world events. 

Most reps and front line managers are aware that there is churn; the problem is that they do not know what the churn is at any given time, year over year, or how the current levels stack up against the trend.  By not focusing on this number, and not taking it into account durum their planning, they run the risk of missing their goals despite better intention.  As a result they usually end up dealing with churn on a case by case basis rather than proactively in a holistic way. 

Let’s look at an example where your base revenue is $2 million, if you are given a goal of 8%, you need to grow revenues by $160,000 for a year end target of $2,160,000.  But if at the same time you are experiencing 15% churn, there is a hidden $300,000 you have to deliver by year end just to stay whole.  The reality for the rep on the ground is that by the end of the year they have to generate $460,000 by year end.  This is a dramatic number if you are not planning for it.  Again the suggestion here is not that it is unattainable, but that if you are not planning for it, you could do well hitting you $160,000, even exceeding it and selling $210,000; your territory will still be under quota.

Of course one thing you can do is work on managing our base, thereby reducing churn, but the reality is that there is a point of diminishing returns.  Companies go under, merge or get bought, or opt for a cheaper alternative, while would recommend you chase the price based loss, it is a loss nonetheless.

The key is to be aware and proactive, first understand that the elephant is in the room, and in your pipeline.  Once you’ve done that, factor the impact into your planning, in to all your sales activities.  It is not just a question of doing more; it is a question of being more strategic.  You don’t have to settle to do more, I would much rather you plan to sell different accounts, selling more with your original sale, so you can leverage you efforts early.

You should also understand in great detail why certain accounts tend to leave.  This will a) allow you to anticipate better; b) pursue accounts that have attributes of those that tend to have longevity; c) avoid those that tend to leave early.  The more you can recognize this the better you will deal with it.  One other opportunity once you become better at predicting who maybe at risk, is to fire them early; this usually has the effect of clearing the air and allowing you to create bandwidth you will need to make up for lost revenues.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Please Don’t Steal This Post! – Saturday Sales Tip – 2330

I want to start by thanking everybody who reads this blog regularly, not only for reading it, but for the regular stream of feedback and suggestions to improve.  I take that to heart and work hard to incorporate suggestions.  Key being that I work hard, as do other bloggers putting out a stream of original and creative content aimed at helping the sales community.  I also want to thank those other bloggers and site owners who have reposted my pieces and those of fellow content creators and given us the proper credit and attribution.  I, and as I suspect my fellow bloggers, welcome and appreciate when our work is recognized and properly credited.

So in comes, Michael J. Roman – - Time to jeer and boo the villain of out real life drama has made his entrance.  He loves other people content so much that he adopts it to be his own, and in an effort not to confuse the readers of his “blog?”, he doesn’t credit the original author, but simplifies matters by pretending and resenting the content as his own.  For Shame! While I could go on, I think you can get a greater sense of the crime by reposting two posts by two friends and sales authors who have been victimised by Michael J. Roman.  At the end of Jonathan Farrington’s and Kelley Robertson’s posts, you’ll find links to other like minded bloggers dealing with this serious problem of intellectual property theft.  So today’s Saturday Sales Tip is simple:  Don’t Steal – Don’t Take Credit For Other People’s Work - not even mine!

Please tweet, retweet and spread the word about this form of Swine Flu!

 Jonathan Farrington’s post, originally posted on JF Blogit

When Plagiarism Is NOT Flattering – Stand Up Michael J. Roman

I would like to introduce you to Michael J. Roman – Michael who? Exactly. But after today, so many more people will be familiar with that name, as it flies around the “Blogosphere” and becomes the topic of much “Twittering”

Here is how Michael describes himself:

“Michael is a POLISHED BUSINESS EXECUTIVE with a proven history of success including nearly fifteen years of successful leadership experience.

Michael is highly skilled in effective, strategic management of sales, operations, administrative, and consulting professionals in addition to full operations and profit and loss (P&L) management…..” Etc. etc. You can read more here

You may also be impressed by Michael’s “core values” particularly this one:

“Integrity – The most important of all values. Michael’s belief is that integrity is not optional, nor is it situational.”

I always feel uncomfortable when anyone considers it necessary to promote their own integrity: In my experience, one’s integrity is gauged by one’s friends/colleagues/peer groups/clients – not  by ourselves.

In the same way, when anyone begins a sentence with:

“To be perfectly/totally/completely honest with you …” It always makes me wonder if the previous communication/dialogue/discussions/conversations, have been less than honest.

Michael posts to his site virtually every day, and the articles are of a very high quality. He goes to great lengths to protect ” his” copyright:

“©Copyright 2010 Michael J. Roman. All rights reserved.
Except where specifically noted, no information within this blog may be copied, duplicated, stored in a retrieval system or reproduced in any form without the express written consent of Michael J. Roman. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact me at the following email address:
michael@michaeljroman.com.”

Nothing unusual about that?

Well, yes actually. Why does someone go to such lengths to spell out their copyright statement, when they have total disregard for everyone else’s?

You see, Michael doesn’t actually write his own material – he steals it from other people. He just goes and copies it from other people’s sites and claims it as his own.

On his first page alone, there are seven of my blog posts, and in total, I  found twenty!

Sometimes he leaves the title and the text wholly intact, other times he changes it to suit himself, here is an example:
I posted “So, Just What Are The Essential Leadership Qualities?”

” I have been “leading” since I was eight years old – my first soccer captaincy – and I have been leading for most of my life.”
He posts “What Are Essential Leadership Qualities” and changes the text to:

“I have been “leading” since I was twelve years old – being the lead drummer for my grammar school jazz band – and I have been leading for most of my life.”

I am not the only “victim” – several of my colleagues and friends have also had their work pirated, and to say the least, they are not impressed.
On Thursday, I took the unusual step of adding an additional copyright notice to my post – I placed this at the foot:-

“The moral right of the author, Jonathan Farrington, has been asserted. © Copyright 2010 All rights reserved. This article or any part thereof may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, storage in an information retrieval system or otherwise, unless this notification of copyright is retained.”

But that did not deter him – he not only stole my post, he also stole my copyright notice and replaced my name with his!
If that were not enough, he has now re-published an article, which I first published on Ezine Articles on October 27th 2006 -
http://ezinearticles.com/?Understanding-The-Different-Influencing-Styles&id=340096

And claimed it as his own -
http://www.about-personal-growth.com/influencing.html

This week, I celebrated my 900th post on this blog. Each of those posts took time and effort to craft. Each of the 200 articles that I have written and published on various sites over the last four years have also required a huge investment of my time. Why have I bothered – after all, I know lots of people who write so much better than me?

You know the answer to that question.

So, what to do now?

I am going to let nature take care of itself for a few days, then I will be in contact with Michael. Or maybe he will do the decent thing and contact me first.

Michael, I understand that this is the one post that you will not want to steal and re-publish – copyright violation is serious stuff, so please do get in touch with me before my lawyers get in touch with you. This is an early appeal; the later ones will be far less polite – you know it makes sense!

I would have willingly given him all of my work to re-publish, if he had asked – as long as he placed my bio underneath them, and not his own!
I will of course keep you fully updated as events unfold.

There is a chance that by the time you get to read this, he will have taken the site down, so you can download a PDF of the front page here.

Kelley Robertson’s post  Originally posted on Fearless Selling

When Imitation is NOT the Best Form of flattery

I suspect that you have heard the expression, “Imitation is the best form of flattery.” While that’s true in many cases, there are situations when this statement does not apply.

I, like many other trainers, speakers and industry experts, write and post articles on the Internet. We include our copyright and respectfully ask that proper credit is given when someone uses this article in their publication.

However, over the years I have encountered many people who have taken my articles and published them in magazines, newsletter, and blog and then had the audacity to claim them as their own. As much as I dislike it, I take action to ensure these unscrupulous individual’s either remove my copyrighted material or add the proper credit and issue an apology.

Well, here’s the latest plagiarist to rip off my intellectual capital. I would like to introduce you to Michael J. Roman. Here is how Michael describes himself:

“Michael is a POLISHED BUSINESS EXECUTIVE with a proven history of success including nearly fifteen years of successful leadership experience. Michael is highly skilled in effective, strategic management of sales, operations, administrative, and consulting professionals in addition to full operations and profit and loss (P&L) management…..”

Michael’s core values include:

“Integrity – The most important of all values. Michael’s belief is that integrity is not optional, nor is it situational.”

Michael posts to his site virtually every day and the articles are of a very high quality so he goes to great lengths to protect “his” copyright:

“©Copyright 2010 Michael J. Roman. All rights reserved.  Except where specifically noted, no information within this blog may be copied, duplicated, stored in a retrieval system or reproduced in any form without the express written consent of Michael J. Roman. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact me at the following email address:
michael@michaeljroman.com.”

Needless to say, when it was brought to my attention that Michael may have posted some of my articles on his blog I checked it out immediately. Fortunately, only one of my articles was posted here but it was still enough to rile me up.

I have written and published about 500 articles since starting my business in 2002 and each of these required a significant investment of my time. To have someone else publish my material under their name and take credit for my efforts cannot go unchecked.

I am not the only “victim” – several of my colleagues and friends have also had their work pirated, and to say the least, they are not impressed. My good friend Jonathan Farrington discovered 20 of his articles on Michael’s site.

So, what’s next?

I plan to contact Michael directly and politely ask him to remove my article or give it proper credit. I know several other authors are planning to do the same in addition to making their readers aware of his less-than-ethical behaviour.

If you want to help you can:
1. Retweet this post to your followers.

2. Send an email to Michael and express your concern with his unethical behaviour.

3. Contact any author, trainer, speaker, expert in your network and let them know about this plagiarist.

4. Blog about this unethical behaviour.

I guess what really bothers me about this whole thing is that I would be more than willing to let this guy use my articles on his blog if he just had the decency to ask and give proper credit.

Other posts you can read and support in this cause:

Skip Anderson:  The Scourge of the Blogosphere: Plagiarism and Michael J. Roman

“They Always”26

Most sales people I know work really hard, and they are to be respected for it, but some work a bit harder than they need to.  I am not here to bash them with the old cliché about working smart vs. hard, I think most are working smart.  But sometimes they don’t connect their experience to leverage them, usually because of the things they have to juggle and all the things coming at them at a brisk pace.  But if they did step back and connect some of their experiences they may be able to both move deals forward and create a bit of breathing space.

One easy way is to get ahead of common negative experiences, and take it away before it even happens.  This can be applied to most situations where sales people begin to describe their experience by saying “they always say….”, or something to that effect.  Well if you always hear it, why not cut it off at the pass.

For example, I was working with large well know manufacture that sold to the companies large and small.  But the reps covering the small accounts complained that whenever they call on small prospects, “they always” said that “oh, we’re too small”.  So I suggested that we change their approach and say “I am the small business specialist with…”  What is prospect going to say “oh no, we are miniscule”.  By putting it out front you negate the prospects ability to use it as an objection.

You know when you do send a potential prospect some material either by e-mail or snail mail, more often than not when you follow up they say something “oh, I haven’t gotten around to it yet.  Take it away from them by starting your call with “John, it’s Tibor here, following up to our chat last week and the material I agreed to send, you probably haven’t had a chance to read it yet have you?”  Just the nervous laughter on the other end at that point is worth the cost of entry, isn’t it?  But what are they going to say, if they say no, you can say “well that’s exactly why I suggested we get together, so I can walk you through it in less time….”  If they did read it, well you are off and running.

The idea is not to get all out of shape, but to assimilate.  The first time something happens it may be a surprise; the second you should take note; the third time it’s a trend, and you need to figure out how to deal with it; and one way is to take it away before it can happen again.

Last year everyone one tried to put me off by pointing to the recession.  So I incorporated it in the approach.  “I work with companies taking a proactive stand to making sales during the recession…”  Not one VP of Sales said “Nope, we have made an executive decision to go down with the ship.”

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Sales eXchange – 49 – Are We Really Communicating?27

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
 George Bernard Shaw 

While George may have been speaking of things other than sales, he certainly has captured one of the potential fallacies of sales in general and specifically aspects of Sales 2.0 and social media site/tools commonly used by sellers.  Let me state from the start, this is not about or anti Sales 2.0, utilized in the right way they contribute to sales success much the same way as Sales 1.0 or Sales -2.0, or any other tools.  As is usually the case in matters like this, it is more user error than the failing of any specific tool.  You can blame the placement of the keys, but it is still the user who dialled the wrong number.

The illusion of communication is rampant in a world where people measure “followers” and “connections” rather than in actual interaction.  I was talking to a friend who is active on the common social networks sellers; he is active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and a bunch of others; he uses creepy crawlies on his web site that spew out heaps of data that he now stores on countless storage devices.  Yet when you examine the impact of all his efforts and “cutting edge” activities, it is little more than (some can argue less than), the impact realized by those using conventional means to communicate with real buyers. 

When I asked him how many real conversations he had with his followers, how many real leads, prospects or sales have resulted from his “followers” or “contacts”, it is not a big number.  When forced to examine his activity over the last 12 months, most of his sales have come through conventional means.  When I asked him could he have used the excessive time he spends managing his “online brand” to generate more real prospects, he just shrugged and tapped his iPhone.

The question in sales usually boils down to quality vs. quantity, coupled with time.  I would not argue about the value of social media to sales professionals, but it is important to keep the balance real.  If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I actively use these tools all the time, but limit the time to a logical portion of the time I allocate to lead gen and prospecting time.

Something that exacerbates the problem is the fact that much of the activity that occurs online is referred to as “conversations”, where the majority of the time they are anything but conversations, more like “fly-by messaging”.  At best many of these “conversations” hold no more quality than glances exchanged with fellow passengers on a bus.  Some faces you may see regularly, some will occasionally acknowledge you, others may even ask how you are occasionally, but how many would constitute real conversation on going conversation, communication?  There is a danger to confusing observation with conversation; you cannot assume that someone who is actively observing on social media is ready to engage in a real communication.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had a number of business “conversations” start in social space; I have had business result from these conversations, but that was as a result of good old fashion, blue collar sales work; converting lead generation to communication.  The challenge is an age old one, and that is contact – real one-on-one contact.  Regardless of the number of followers you may have nothing really happens till you as a seller engage and communicate with a buyer.  Anything short of that is just an “illusion that it has taken place.”

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Saturday Sales Tip – 22 – What A Laugh36

It is true that people buy from people, which make genuine human contact a key for success in selling.  Sales people will try all sorts of different things to come across as being personable and genuine; some of these things are effective, some completely betray the attempts and takes them back a step. One thing that many sales people are reluctant to try is humour. 

Being humorous does not mean having to be Chris Rock or Lenny Bruce, entertaining the buyer in the hope of getting a deal as a reward.  What it does mean is using humour to help communication, to bring things down to common element where people can relate to each other and the subject at hand, adding to the discussion by rounding it out.  Whether you are discussion the challenge the buyer is facing, or the impact of the solution, a bit humour, or contextual joke, brings down barriers and enhances understanding for both parties.

But many will tell you that selling is serious, a lot at stake.  It’s too bad, because humour is one of the best sales tools you can have.  It can work for you in so many ways.  It can put a nervous buyer at ease; it allows you to ask very direct and difficult questions without the “heavy weight”, and it can get people talking, which really allows you to gain an understanding.

It is amazing how people appreciate, knowingly or unknowingly, when you put a smile on their face; when you are able to capture one of their frustrations by expressing it in a humorous way rather than in a way that may be embarrassing or (dare I say it) painful.  I find that many times a well-placed joke or pun, will change the nature tone and quality of a discussion.  No matter how “big the solution” is, it works. 

But people will tell you, “this is serious bin-nezz, don’t joke around, we have to build confidence and credibility.”  I would argue they are missing the point as humour does just that when done in the right and genuine way, and in context.  The interesting thing is that many of the same people who are “prim, proper, and professional” are the first to jabber on about golf the second they see a picture of the buyer in a foursome taken years ago.  There is one in my office, my wife won’t let it in the house, I don’t like golf, but I do like the people I played with back 1997.  Sales people will come in tell me about their love for the game and put me to sleep, some will even share a few Tiger diddies, then “straighten up and get serious” as we move into the meeting.

It is amazing what a collective laugh can do it gets people talking, and brings a level of real human interaction.  I remember being at a meeting with one of my reps when I was still in the corporate role.  Big meeting, big company you would know them, big opportunity, big investment.  This particular meeting had a cross section of people from the company, users, business decision makers, procurement, IT for implementation.  My rep, one of the best I have worked with, did everything he could to make the meeting interactive, meaningful and relevant, and while he was scoring on the latter two, it was difficult to get a real dialogue going. 

There were questions, there were answers, but there was no dialogue; a few slides, a few questions, fewer comments, almost no discussion.  So the rep, we’ll call him Mark because that is his name, about 15 minutes into the meeting, realising that he needed to get everyone more engaged, asked “any questions?”  No response; after a bit of silence, and knowing the audience he was facing, he asked “So, nobody wants to play stump the salesperson?”  After they stopped laughing, the floodgates opened; first, there were questions, literally trying to stump him, these were engineers.  This allowed him to segue to the user experience, which prompted discussion among the various participants, who began to throw out their own brand of humour, all providing valuable insight to help seal the deal.  All because of well place humour.

So seriously, What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

What’s In Your Pipeline?17

 It’s almost the end of May, nearly June, the half way mark for the year, how is the year so far?  What’s in your pipeline, do you have visibility through the summer?  If these questions make you cringe, and you are in the Toronto area June tenth, you can be proactive and do something about it.

In today’s economy, businesses cannot afford to wait for customers to beat a path to their door. Companies must “go on the offensive” and take a proactive approach to finding new sources of revenue. Companies that achieve exceptional revenue growth understand that one of the most critical steps in building a pipeline of new prospects is to get that first appointment. The Ultimate Appointment Making Workshop helps your sales representatives get their “foot-in- the-door” with new prospects so they can begin selling.

The Ultimate Appointment Making Workshop enables sales representatives to use proven methods for generating leads, overcome the fear of call reluctance, capitalize upon referrals, and secure more appointments with decision-makers.
“A fabulous, pragmatic approach that is very focused on getting an appointment using cold calling.”


The Ultimate Appointment Making Workshop Benefits:
As a result of this Workshop participants will:
  • Take a proactive role in filling their sales pipeline
  • Understand the value of building their base of prospects
  • Develop techniques for making successful calls
  • Use Impact Questions
  • Learn about LinkedIn, Twitter and other sources for leads
  • Turn leads into viable prospects by getting that first appointment
  • Take a proactive role in filling their sales pipeline
  • How to best allocate your time
  • Create and leverage referrals
  • Calling the right people at all levels
  • Leave voicemail messages that get returned
  • Overcome the fear of cold call reluctance
  • Effectively deal with gatekeepers
  • Use references to penetrate new accounts
  • Manage and effecively deal with common objections during initial call
  • Generate more sales as they secure more new appointments
Participants will see immediate payback for this one-day workshop as participants begin using these new skills the very next day.

Selling The Company23

Seems the trend for buying decisions being made by groups or committee is growing, and this is not just at large companies.  Whether it is the economy, prudence, or required due diligence, and even when thing don’t go to some form of tender, the trend seems to be with us.  Yet many sales people continue to sell as though it was still an environment when one person drive the whole thing, this is not only costing them sales, but stretching out the ones they are winning.

What they should be doing is unfolding their selling approach to cover and blanket the entire buying decision mechanism, selling Zone-to-Zone.  Talking to everyone involved in their winning early and often.  Many still prefer relying on a ‘coach’ or ‘champion’, with one of the objectives is for the ‘coach’ to introduce them to the rest of the mechanism, bringing the seller into the ‘tent’ as it were.  While having individuals help you navigate the process is a good and smart thing to do, there should not be an over dependency on one, even if that one is a senior executive.

An unchecked dependency on your ‘champion’ often helps you get in, but often become a limiting factor as you try and extend your sale beyond that person’s sphere.  What I often see are sales people who had success with a ‘champion’ in their initial sale, and then are reluctant to “go around” that individual; they feel it may jeopardize the “existing relationship” or existing revenue.  But if trying to extend your sale beyond one pocket, one ‘coach’, represents risk, how much of a relationship do you really have?

The easiest way to deal with this is at the beginning.  Right from the outset understand that ultimately the job of a B2B rep is to sell the company.  That means contacting and talking to as many relevant people early in the process as possible.  This includes the traditional ‘coach’, but also extends beyond to other members of the buying mechanism; this includes functional people, implementers or users.  The business group, and remember that your users have internal customers who could impact the decision to go or no go.  Reaching out to this group can not only build support down the road, but can help you define your offering based on internal requirements.  Also don’t forget the process group,  finance, purchasing, etc.

By mapping out the sale, and reaching out to everyone at once, you will likely get to the buying group/committee, but you will define your own identity and the value your offering brings, which is always better than the most well intentioned ‘coach’ can ever do.  You will include the executive, who is always good if you need a tie breaker, or have someone adjust the rules (slightly in your favour).  Most important better understand and be able to respond to the real needs of the company.

One other upside is the ability to avoid a common reality of changing people in corporate life.  By having things too strongly “tied” to one person, you do benefit if their influence and role grows, but you also suffer if their fortunes decline, or they leave and your lot leaves with them.  Having multi-relationships is key to ongoing success in sales and on an account level, and don’t let anyone suggest otherwise.   This does not only apply at the rep level, but also at a company-to-company level, using a 5D strategy of coverage.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Sales eXchange – 48 – You Be The Judge37

A few weeks ago I was asked by someone why I call the Monday post the “Sales eXchange“.  I replied that it was an opportunity to exchange views and opinions about sales and sales related topics, observations and opinions.  I am hoping today we can do that in a specific way, in a way that allows you the readers to weigh in about a subject where I have taken a view, and an informed professional has taken an alternate view. 

I am interested in having you look at this issue, comment on the two views and hopefully expand the discussion in a way that allows us to truly have an exchange that will lead to more sales for all involved.

This past Saturday, in the Saturday Sales Tip post, I wrote about the use of “Pain” in sales in a post titled “No Pain Zone“.  In case you haven’t read it, it makes a case that there is more to motivating buyers that pain, and as a sales person you should go in with an open mind looking for all opportunities no matter what the root is , pain, market share, personal advancement, etc.  If you go in predetermined to look for pain, you will find it, but miss al all other sales opportunities that may be present.   You really should read it, it’s good.

One reader saw it differently, which started the “exchange” below on LinkedIn.  Take a look, see what you think, and add your two cents with a comment.  (Intentionally I did not edit the exchange in any way)

1.    Selling should not be painful, either for the buyer or the seller, yet many in sales still like to find “the pain” when working with prospect. This is a dangerous approach especially in rising economies when people will spend on opportunities that are not rooted in pain.
By Tibor Shanto Principal and Founder at Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.

2.    With all due respect I disagree. People buy emotionally, they justify it intellectually. All marketing and advertisers know this and prove it in thier studies of how people buy. If you doubt that,when is the last time someone bought the two most major purchases in their life100% intellectually,a car and a home? It was an emotional purchase. 50% of the bells and whistles a car has now days we don’t need, but we get involved in the emotional excitement of those bells and whistles,and justify intellectually why we buy them.

So, that said, people buy for two major motivating forces. (1) away from pain( present or potential future pain, or (2) towrds pleasure( called gain). Both are emotional and pain is the most motivating of these two foactors. Either to solve the present pain or prevent it . Think of why we buy all knds of insurance. This is called pain avoidance in the future if somethng happens and we don’t have that insurance present PAIN occurrs.

If you’re maybe makng the point of causing pain on a sales call, that’s not what I refer to. If a salesperson knows the right questioning style to have the prospect “discover” his problem is PAINFUL the prospect will pay the price of the solution. I teach this everyday in my training and it has had incredible impacts on my sales and my clients sales results learning how to do this.

Prospects don’t care about your feature and benefits, they care whether you can solve thier PAIN. I didn’t care how my plumber fixed my backed up sewer. I didn’t care about his features and benefits. I ONLY cared can he fix my PAIN and fix it NOW, and I was willing to pay whatever it took to solve that PAIN on a Sunday.
By Gary Harvey Pres./Founder at Achievement Dynamics.LLC and Owner, Achievement Dynamics,LLC

3.    Gary,

No disrespect taken and I hope you feel the same about my response, but I think you missed the point, and in your comment, you actually validate mine.

First off no one argues that people by on emotion, but pain is a physical reality not an emotional one. We have all seen people put up with a lot of pain, hence the power of the status quo in sales.

Further, I did not say that people do not buy because of pain, I said that it wasn’t the only reason they buy, which you seem to validate when you say: “or (2) towards pleasure (called gain).”

What I did say is that having rational methodology, a questioning/interviewing technique that focus on the entire spectrum, will allow you to capture all motivating factors not just pain. So if you look for pain two things happen, you only find those opportunities rooted in pain, leaving the rest for the folks I train. Second, buyers are much more hip now than when David was putting his stuff together in the last century. They know when they are being probed for pain, and have gotten real good at hiding it, and at the same time testing the seller for intent, and if all they can dig for is pain, many sellers will not play.

So again, I think you interview, or go through a discovery process, understand where the client is, if its pain, fine, but if it is not pain then also fine.

As for the PAIN in your sewer, imagine if someone could have helped you prevent it from backing up to begin with? One last thought, PAIN is an ugly business because it cuts both ways.

Cheers,
Tibor
By Tibor Shanto Principal and Founder at Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.

4.    Tiber, hate to say it, but you’re incorrect on many points. You’re kdding when you say pain is just physical, right?? Are you kidding? Have you never witnessed the emotional pain people go through in many facets of their life. ever seen bnyone go through a divorve? That’s 100% emotional pain for 99% of these people.

The anxiety, angst, sleepless nights, etc. of various events in people’s lives is 100% motionale. I was not in any physical pain about my sewer. I was emotionally involved in the disgust and anxiety of a sewer backing up in my house. It had no ” phyical” impact on me. Just 100% emotional.

When my son was in the ER room last month with a sever laceration, “I” was not in any physical pain, but I assure you it caused an internal emotional impact/pain on me watching my son in pain.Hopefully you could change your view about this by asking any pschologist or Pschyatrist the emotional pain they see in their patients about events of thier painful life. it astons me you thik pain is only physcial??

Lastly you are 100% incorrect about that today prospects know what you say they know. Peole do not realize things when they are emotionally invloved,and thatls waht REAL PAIN is all about. Odds are not the style of questining that you teach or refer to. Unless you have witnessed the 1000′s and 1000′s of sales call me and my clients have made finding pain, you have no basis to make that statementt. I asure you prospects haven’t a clue and I and my clents witness this everyday. If your prospects do, I assure you you are not usng the pain style questions David Sandler taught us to use.

PS Your question about sewer and someonne to prevent if beforehand is what we call “pain in the future” and I referred to that before in my “why we buy insurance” example.
By Gary Harvey Pres./Founder at Achievement Dynamics.LLC and Owner, Achievement Dynamics,LLC

5.    Gary,

OK, well thanks for straightening me out; all this time I focused on respecting my buyer’s intelligence. I will certainly go into my next sale with the comfort you have given me knowing that the clients know nothing and are just emotional retards waiting for sales professional to rescue and them.

So one quick question, should I give back money to those clients who hired me to expand their competitive leads, or capitalize on an opportunity they saw to grab market share. Should my advice to be to them to knock it off and wait.

Just rhetorical, but if you listen carefully and quietly, you may hear something else backing up, but you got time.
By Tibor Shanto Principal and Founder at Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Saturday Sales Tip – 21 – No Pain Zone18

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Despite of the advances made in sales, there are some things and some sales professional who are still stuck in the Stone Age.  I t amazes me that even in these days of Sales 2.0, or are we now in Sales 2.0.23, which ever, why people still seek to deal in pain.  Time and time again, when I ask groups of sales people what their objective is during the Discovery process, a majority of them will respond by say “I want to find their pain!”  Really, how sad, but not surprising. 

I know back in the early 1990′s Bosworth talked about the pain, latent pain in selling, the who image of the hair challenged buyer.  I remember one fellow who was a “solutions consultant” describing his craft as being “to find the soft underbelly of the buyer, stab, and then offer up the cure.”  Nasty, I have to wash my hands.  I am back, I thought we have made advances since, being a bit more customer centric and all.  Yet many still want to deal in pain, rather than leaving that to the professional in Washington and Wall St.

I would much rather deal in opportunity,  rather than devising question to kick my prospects in his declining assets,  I would much rather spend time finding out where his opportunities are, his objective are and fit into a picture that helps them achieve exactly that.  Now let’s understand each other right from the front here, I am not saying to stay away from pain, if it is there, if the opportunity is driven by a pain they are trying to avoid deal with it.  If their objective is to change something that is not working, help them.  Just don’t go in there looking for pain, go in looking at what the objectives are and base you interaction on that. 

By focusing on their current circumstances, where they are, and where they want to be, you will find opportunity.  If that is rooted in positive things, that is just as good as something that stems from a negative circumstance.  I have a client a leader in their industry, one that most people despise because they seem to make money not matter what the market conditions are.  When you talk to them, they have no pain, they are intoxicated with success, their focus is how to maintain and extend their competitive advantage and lead.  They invest in sales training because they know it is a key element of their success.  I train their people to execute on the company’s vision, which is not based on pain, nor is it painful.  The last thing they want their sales teams focusing or even thinking about is pain, they want their sales teams to go out and spread success to their customers so they can make more money.  Do anyone of us think that if their teams went out seeking to find pain they would be perceived as being genuine or a contributing partner.

The goal is to develop a set of questions that help you understand where the buyer is, what their objectives are, and what the opportunities based on the above.  One last factor to consider, I find that a buyer who is n pain, tends to grip his wallet a lot tighter than those who pursuing a positive objective, because they already know the pay-off before you ever have to sell them.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Taking It All In31

Attitude and mental outlook have a lot to do with success in sales. I meet a number of sales professionals who insist it is their positive outlook that helps them win business. They say things like “I don’t let things get me down”, makes sense; “I ignore the bad and focus on the good”, that doesn’t make so much sense.

Ignoring the bad leaves you exposed, and you could end up suffering as a result.  It would be different if their position was “avoid the bad”, but when I test it and ask a follow up question, many stick with their original statement. “I ignore the bad, I focus on the positive things, people like to deal with people who have a positive outlook, and that’s how win deals.”  However, I would argue that by ignoring the bad, the potential negatives that can impact a sales, these sales people open themselves up to avoidable downside which wastes time, resources, sales and emotion.  I am not suggesting the go gloom and doom, but I also know that planning and preparedness are also fundamental to sales success, and thorough planning involves preparing for things that could negatively impact a sale.

You can do a lot by exploring potential scenarios, some call it visualization, the means and the end are similar.  As you are preparing for a call, or planning a campaign, (assault) you draw out or list the various potential outcomes based on the questions and possible response.  Some like list, others use mind maps, the key is to understand how things can unfold, from the preferred outcome to the least preferred.  Understand what are the approaches and questions that are likely to deliver the preferred, and how to accelerate by mapping them to the buyers objectives and decision process.  This itself may include some testing through secondary scenarios, but it will help you avoid getting out of synch with the buyer, recognize early which paths to avoid, and which line of questions to extend.

The goal is to be prepared for potential risk, and figure out in advance how you will manage, marginalize or eliminate the risk.  Some of this will depend of you level of risk tolerance; some by the buyer and their impression of how you are managing events, some by how willing you are to deal with all aspects of the situation.  It is a lot like planning a road trip; you get the TripTik from the auto league, plan the whole thing out, which areas to avoid, where detours may be, and plan accordingly.  Even then, once you do hit the road you pay attention to the road signs, adjusting things accordingly.  You don’t turn a blind eye to danger, or ignore the signs under the premise that you have a positive outlook and things will work out, you take action to avoid possible downside, you take action to not put things in jeopardy.

The same can and should be done with sales.  Part of the TripTik concept is to draw on the collective “wisdom” of other who have traveled that same road.  The same can be done in sales, drawing on the collective experiences of fellow sales people, industry experts, and most importantly your buyer, and that includes those who did not buy.  By understanding why you will learn; what you learn may not always be pleasant, pretty or positive, but it will always be valuable, especially if you don’t ignore and put it to proper good use.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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