Welcome to The Pipeline.

Sales – Could Be Art But Not Science – Sales eXchange – 5131

A common debate at many sales conferences is whether sales is art or science, and as discussion evolves, it usually focuses in on what the optimal blend of the two should be and how to mix them for best results.  While usually it makes for a good discussion, you always leave the discussion feeling that it was somehow incomplete or somehow it missed the mark. 

The problem with the debate is that while the art does have some place in the sales discussion, science in many ways probably does not.  Too many rules, too many must dos, can dos, don’t dos, and other limitations that do not fit or belong in sales. A much better framework for the discussion would be music.

I know you are going to say that there are rules in music too; but if you look closely those rules are there to be interpreted, broken and rewritten.   What is unheard or unacceptable one day is mainstream the next.  Soon that familiar mainstream fades in to the predictable and then oblivion; it is again resurrected some time later with a new name, same “new” rules but different colors. What was called “compelling events” in the 90’s or last decade are now “trigger events”.  Selling, like music, allows for everything old to be new again, all driven by the need to discover and rediscover.

Rules, instead of being rigid and limiting as they may be in science, become starting points for creative sales people. In many ways this could explain the 80/20 rule so prevalent in sales. We have 80% of sales people who see the rules as things to follow and obey, not questioning the limitations along the way.  Then there is the 20% who constitute the top performers, who see rules as a starting point, guidelines, or merely suggestions or milestones on the road to success.

This is not to say that some of the classic rules are not valid or relevant, but they often fail to grow and evolve with the market and technology, and as result yield less results or fail to help in winning business.  Witness the upheaval caused by Web 2.0 and Sales 2.0, changing the rules for so many buyers and sellers.  You can still win business without embracing the tools, possibilities and new rules presented by these developments, but chances are not to the degree you did before or could if you included them in the mix.

The other thing that makes music a better comparison is the ability to be creative, to improvise.  Music allows that, at times demands it, as does selling, where science does not.   If you think of it, Charlie Parker had to learn the eight notes, just like any other musician, but it was his willingness and ability to then play with the rules, to interpret and improvise that made him the great musician he was.  It was his willingness to flirt, play and buck the rules that allowed him to excel.   While I am not sure John Cage would have been a great sales person, his willingness to rewrite the rules would have made him more interesting and successful than say Einstein.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Dealing With The Obvious – Saturday Sales Tip – 249

Sales people are notorious for their egos, and while it may usually serve them well, often it also gets in the way, especially when it drives to behave in certain ways, especially when it prevents them from dealing with some obvious things.  This usually comes down to two things, protecting their pride, and making assumptions about things they should not be making assumptions about.

As sales people we are often experts in the specific areas; after all we spend our time dealing with different people taking many different approaches to the same challenge.  So we not only get exposed to a range of solutions, but we can usually identify which may fir a specific circumstance, and which don’t.  The problem becomes when we don’t use our expertise to engage with customers, but instead make assumptions about specific situations and act based on those assumptions.  The thing to remember is that the goal early in the sales process is not to be right, but to engage.  So even when something is obvious, it is better to ask or speak about it to facilitate engagement, than to skip past because you’ve seen this before and “you know”.  Even if you know, you may as well deal with it as a means of creating dialogue, which will uncover other facts and maybe opportunities.

Other time it is simply a case of pride, and not wanting to look stupid or to pushy when you are just curious.  As an example, during our Proactive Prospecting Program, we talk about what happens when you cold call a prospect and they say “you know, give me a call in October”.  To us the obvious question is “help me understand what will change between now and October so I can be prepared?”  (This will be the subject of next week’s Saturday Sales Tip).  But many are reluctant to ask, why, here what I hear a lot:

  • Don’t want to seem pushy or salesy
  • Don’t want to look like I don’t know
  • It is not important, I’ll just call back

Not knowing is not the worst, missing a sale is.  What if you asked, and instead of seeming pushy, you seemed thorough?  What if you asked and you found out something that would allow you and he prospect to act now?  What if you all your competitors call back in October, wouldn’t it be better to move ahead now?

Nothing is too obvious, except missed goals and an empty pipeline.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Out Of The Box Thinking23

There is a lot of talk in sales and in marketing about ‘thinking out of the box'; this is big with me because I am sure that when they put me in a box I’ll be dead, and that’s not good. But all too many in sales people are stuck in their boxes, they may say they think out of the box, even when they are too afraid to come out of the box. It’s so warm and cosy, easy to explain, not like outside the box.

Now being in sales, and having the ego to go with it, you’re probably sitting their thinking “phew, can’t be talking about me, I think out of the box, hey even that sales tech said so last week before I bought her lunch.”  Well let’s test things and find out, shall we?

What’s one and one?




Write your answer here: _____

One more, what’s three and three?




Write your answer here: _____

So, what did you put down, 2 for the first one, and 6 for the second?

You’re so in the box!

The first one is obviously eleven; and the second is thirty-three.

Absolutely it is a right answer, look, just step out of the box a minute, yes you can keep one hand on it for security if you need to.

Look here, 1 and 1, or 11, it’s eleven. Again, 3 and 3, 33, thirty-three, right?

Of course it is, if you said two, you choose to only partially listen to what I was asking. Thought you heard one plus one, right? this was amplified by the echo chamber that is your box, and bam, an answer that misses the opportunity presented.  How many times do you face this same risk with customers and blow it?

In sales you must float or ride your experience, not be weighed down by it; like a surfer on a big wave, you can use it to be propelled forward, or be crumbled by its power. You need to interpret and react according to the specific situation, be creative in responding, not predictable with your comebacks.

You need to use and leverage language and imagination in moving sales forward. But if you insist one and one is two not 11, than you need to relax and open the lid a bit more, a lot more.  By leveraging language and imagination you will not only challenge yourself to creatively resolve challenges, but also encourage your buyers to step up and step beyond their limits, especially in how they limit their view of their challenge, and things that limit their perception of “a” solution.

It is one thing to say you think or act out of the box, and then be as conventional as ever in an effort to conform to the buyer’s view.  It is another thing to really step out of the box and take you buyer and success with you.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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:

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 –

And claimed it as his own –

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:

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

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