sell-more-konrath

More Sales, Less Time: by Jill Konrath – Book Review0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

In her latest book, More Sales, Less Time: Surprisingly Simple Strategies for Today’s Crazy-Busy Sellers, continues what one describe as her journey through sales. Starting by conquering “Big Companies”, then in “SNAP Selling” helping sellers understand and appreciate the world of “crazy-busy buyers”. In “Agile Selling” sellers then get a vision of how agility can help them improve sales. So it only makes sense that the next element to explore is time. It has always been a fact that the one thing A level sellers do differently is time. While everyone on the planet gets 24 hours at the strike of midnight, how they choose to use, invest or spend those 24 hours, is what differentiates them from the also-rans. And that is what Jill unpacks in this book, and in the process helping “Crazy-busy Sellers”.

As with her other works, Jill keeps things real, not only by dealing with the real challenges faced by sales professionals today, which is exactly where the book kicks off, with the challenge. But also, because she leverages her own direct experience. There is nothing worse than sales books where authors can’t relate their own experience, only share observation.

sell-more-konrathJill with this book puts you in the game, not in the stands, making it easier and more likely that the reader will succeed in implementing ideas in the book. Starting with the role of distraction in our day to day success. Just working through the “Distraction Quiz”, had me thinking not only about some of the sales teams I have worked with, but how I roll through my day. By exploring how, where and why our time gets “sucked”, we can then turn to recovering what Jill calls lost time.

My goal is not to give a play by play here, that’s best done by reading the book. I want to make sure that you go out and not just read this “manual for sales success”, in fact if you apply the many things you’ll learn through the course of reading it, it could also be viewed as life success, since your life runs on time. BTW, the appendixes are worth the price of the book alone, but given the rest of the book, they truly are a bonus.

What sets the book apart is the author and her ability to look at elements of sales that others usually miss, or misunderstand, and there by miss its significance to sales and your success. Jill breaks it down, backs it with both experience and research. For me this not only helped me look at some familiar things in a different way, but caused me to explore elements in greater detail, leading to further research; so, it becomes a platform for further learning, better selling.

The biggest challenge sales organizations, leaders, and front line reps face today is productivity, or a lack thereof, one of the core causes to that is where and how sales people and organizations Spend and Use time. Jill Knorath’s More Sales, Less Time: Surprisingly Simple Strategies for Today’s Crazy-Busy Sellers, helps readers with that very core elements. Take the time to read it and benefit from it.

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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.

Become one of the thousands of sales professionals receiving my latest updates on sales execution, tools, tips and more.   

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How Do You Start Your Day? #FireStarters0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

FireStarter

Some of you are familiar with Miles Austin, if you are looking to learn about the latest tools and technology for sales and selling Miles is the source.  As a result, Miles is always trying out and introducing those of us in sales to new tools and apps to make selling more fun and profitable.

This month Miles is leveraging a new tool, Blab, and he is using it to help share ideas and best practices from people from all corners of sales.  What makes the whole process cool is that he is focused on a single theme, by asking all of us who participate the same question: How Do You Start Your Day? 

You can watch my segment below, including a technical glitch I had right at the start, and thanks to Billy Bob Brigmon, who was nice enough to jump in for the first 30 seconds while I got my act together.

Take a look, watch all the #FireStarter segments for some great insights on how to start your day.

Tell us what you think.

Tibor Shanto

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Simple Strategies to Help Your Business Succeed0

Aug 2015

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

Whether you are an entrepreneur in the midst of launching your business, or a successful business owner who wants to continue to prosper, there are always strategies you can implement to maximize your success rate. Keep in mind, sometimes it is critical for both startups and mature businesses to say no – and doing so doesn’t mean your business won’t be successful.

Here are seven easy strategies that can generate additional revenue:

Implement professional development.
It doesn’t matter what industry you serve, one thing is certain – you need to make the commitment to continuously learn more about trends in your field. If you don’t, you simply cannot provide your customers the top value they need.

If you spend about an hour each day to learn more about your field, you can rise above your competition and build your confidence and add credibility. The hours spent on new exposures each day will add up and eventually place you in a different category than your competition. Make sure to pay attention to what your market wants and needs, and what your customers are saying and never underestimate the power of continuing professional development.

Serve above everything else.
Listen to your customers! A business may know that it is right — but in this industry, the customer is always right. If you have a customer who is unhappy, you need to always make sure to do whatever is in your power to make sure he or she is satisfied. Take the initiative to fix any issues, even if you know your customer was wrong. If you start each day by concentrating on ways to better serve your customers, you will increase your business and success rate. Think in terms of serving and remember that finding success is an addiction, not a lottery.

Offer high quality products and/or services.
If you can offer your customers products that are high quality and not like everyone else’s, you will quickly set your business apart from the competition. Quality is where it’s at when it comes to growing your business. Take the time to plan, implement and deliver high quality products and services each and every day.

Understand your risks and rewards.
One key to success is taking calculated risks to help your business grow. A good question to ask yourself is “What is the downside?” If you are able to answer this question, then you have identified the worst-case scenario and can prepare for it. Take this knowledge and use it to your advantage. There are some risks that can generate significant rewards for your business, and those risks are ones worth taking.

Stay focused.
When you open a business, you likely won’t start making money right off the bat. Remember the old saying that “Rome was not built in a day.” It will take some time to let people know about your business. Stay focused and keep your eyes on what you hope to achieve, both in the short and long term time frames.

Engage with your target market.
The most successful brands out there excel at building strong relationships with their audience. Focus on building those relationships before you jump in and start selling. Build authentic relationships with your market – they, in turn will want to buy from you. People like to buy things from people they know well and trust. Always remember that engagement takes time and doesn’t happen in a few days’ time.

Every business needs to continue to work hard in order to succeed. Keep your focus on delivering high quality products and customer service and always be eager to learn more and better serve your customers.

What are your secrets to business success?

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
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The Art of Sales Conference – Toronto on January 26th, 20150

Yes it is that time of year again, time for the Art Of Sales in Toronto, and while January may seem a bit away, it’s not, and now is the time to plan ahead.  Not only that but readers of The Pipeline can take advantage not only of promotional pricing, but the Early Bird pricing in effect until December 5th, 2014.  You will also want to check back to learn about a contest I will be running where some lucky readers can win tickets to this event, more on that as we get close to Christmas.

Now here is all you need to know.

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 The Art of Sales Conference – Toronto

Join us for Canada’s top sales event returning this January 26th, 2015.

The Art of Sales conference, sponsored by Microsoft, brings world-renowned sales leaders and bestselling authors for a full day of cutting edge thinking and real world experience on today’s most critical sales strategies.

Connect with over 1,300 of Toronto’s most notable sales professionals and gain insights from:

  • GREG MCKEOWN – New York Times Bestselling Author.
  • MARK BOWDEN – Communication Expert, Performance Trainer.
  • JOEY COLEMAN – World Renowned Expert on Customer Experience Design.
  • JACKIE HUBA – Customer Loyalty Expert & Bestselling Author.
  • JOHN JANTSCH – Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author.
  • SCOTT STRATTEN – Bestselling Author of UnSelling, UnMarketing.

Take advantage of the EARLY BIRD RATE, use promo-code “RENBOR32” and save $100 when registering!

Register

 

 

When: January 26th, 2015 8:30AM – 5:00PM

Location:  

Metro Toronto Convention Centre
John Bassett Theatre
255 Front Street West
Toronto, ON
M5V 2W6

What Can Sales People Learn From Ebola?0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Haa2

Probably Absolutely Nothing At All!

I just wanted to be the first to jump on one of the silliest bandwagons among bloggers, sales blogs being no different; trying to squeeze a sales lesson or morals from every significant event to make headlines.

Just do a search and you’ll find titles of all sorts all linking sales to some insignificant angle in sales to some unrelated event in the headlines. “What Can Sales Learn from the World Cup?”. I don’t know, how to dive? Or “Sales Management Lessons can be had from the Swallows of Capistrano?”

So now that we have the first confirmed case on the continent, it’s time to start capturing lessons. Lesson One: People tell you what they think you want to hear – Thomas Eric Duncan, did exactly that, lying in answers to questions in order to get on his flight.

So what can sales learn from Ebola?

I haven’t a clue, do you?

I invite you share your ideas for lessons to learn, or actual lesson you learned from Ebola that helps you get more sales. Leave your comments, and maybe we’ll have a winner, or learn something.

Looking ahead to creative thinking and originality in new highs, or lows.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto 

Dude, You’re Gonna Need More Than 15 Minutes3

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Just 15 minutes

Sales people are constantly working at communicating value to their buyers, especially in the early stages of the cycle, lead gen to prospecting and engaging the buyer to where they could complete an effective Discovery process.   After sellers have done all the work involved in getting to the point where they can engage with a buyer, I am always surprised at how easily they are willing to undermine it, and risk their opportunity by saying something completely unnecessary, and serves only to sooth their nerves.

The expression that does this most is “I just need 15 minutes of your time” or “A quick 15 minutes”.  Both are stupid and useless, the second is one I never did get, how is a “quick 15 minutes” different than 15 minutes, don’t all minutes have 60 seconds, it is just the quality of the content that seems to make some minutes last a lifetime.

I know why it is used, generally comes down to two things, both can be dealt with more intelligently and effectively.  First is the popular notion that if you can get 15 minutes, and do well, they’ll give you an encore and you can stretch it out; I guess we all think we can do a good job.  On the other hand I used to work for a VP of Sales who managed his calendar down to the minute, busy guy.  He would ask you how long you needed, and would book you in for that time, if you said 15 minutes, he would end the meeting right at 15 minutes.  He wasn’t rude, he had to get to his next scheduled meeting, if you couldn’t live up to the expectation I set, it was your issue, not his, you had to deal with it, not him.

Which brings us to the first contradiction, most decision makers have more than what to do in a day, how realistic is that they don’t have other meetings behind your, or other things that require their time and attention.  Yes, no doubt we have all had instances where we were able to extend 15 minutes in to 45 or even 60 minutes, but an occasional anomaly does not make for a sound strategy.

The other issue with this approach is that you are in fact misleading the prospect before you have even met them.  Think about it, do you really want to start things off by lying to the prospective buyer?  Any way you rationalize it, that is exactly what you are doing, not a good foundation for a trust based relationship.

The second reason sales people do this is linked to the first, and just as weak.  Specifically they are trying to minimize the apparent impact on the buyer, trying to make it “easy” on them, “Your time will not be wasted”, is the implication.  But unless you are selling a coffee service or window cleaning, how much real or tangible value can you effectively communicate.  More so, when you are selling what you would call a “solution”, where information has to be exchanged, 15 minutes is not going to get you there, you can pretend all you want, you are going to pitch, worse, you are going to ‘speed pitch’.

Some will tell me, “I can at least get things started”, sure then comeback and continue, with a bit of recapping, you are costing you and the buyer more time.  By asking for 15 minutes you are undermining your  so called “value proposition”.  What the prospect hears is that this is so basic and unimportant, what they are asking themselves is as follows: “we’re going to make real progress in 15, can’t be that important or unique, maybe it can wait, or I can delegate it to someone who deals with unimportant things.”

Think about it, assuming things get started, small talk, while you assume they checked out your web site, you have to validate; if they did, you still need to create context, if they didn’t you have to do a bit more than that.  From here, you need to at least go through the motions of gather information or executing a Discovery of facts and objective. Ah, look at that time is up!  I remember someone trying to sell me an ad in local board of trade directory, they said they just need 15 minutes, I pointed out to him that he will need to ask me some questions, I will certainly have some for him, so let’s get real, how much time will we really need, he was honest enough to come across with a real time frame.

What’s worse, it is usually the seller who brings time in to the equation, not the prospect, again communicating a lack of confidence in their offering, or their ability to sell, or both.  Just stop this juvenile practice, and sell.

Now I know that there times when you will be asked by a prospect how much time you need; in my case I gear my first meetings to about an hour, I am the one that gets antsy after 50 minutes.  But rather than saying “one hour”, I pause, and ask, “how long can you give me?”  They usually come back and say “is an hour enough?”  Touch down!

But assuming they ask again, I just say “I usually need about 30 minutes for Discovery, I assume you’ll have some questions, so 40 minutes is safe.”  If I feel they have a sense of humor, I add “any longer than that I take as interest on your part.”

I do have people who say “I can give you 30 minutes.”  Great I can work with that; if they offer 15 minutes, I say no, I know what is going to happen, it is not a good use of my time, my most important resource.  Either we can find a mutually better time, or on to the next one.  If you have lots of prospects, this is not an issue, if you only have one or two, you may have to settle for the scraps that a quick 15 minutes represent.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Why So Picky?80

A few weeks ago, a friend took me to a restaurant opening, he knew the chef, who apparently was well know with a world wide following. We were introduced me after our meal, I told him I loved the curried eggplant dish, and he offered me the recipe. Last week I decided it was time for me to whip up a batch at home.

I sat down to enjoy my creation, and noticed it was not the same as the dish I was served at the restaurant opening, it was missing something.

Well specifically what it was missing were some of the ingredients I decided to leave out when making the dish, not to mention some improvisation on cooking times and order of mixing.  There were some ingredients that I thought I did not like or just didn’t appeal to me, even though they were part of the great dish I was served a few weeks back, part of the great experience I was trying to recreate.

Very much like some of the sales people who attend my programs and I am sure others.  They are enthusiastic as you present them with strategies, lines of thinking about specific situations they face in selling, proven techniques, and step by step instructions on how to successfully and consistently execute things.  They nod, they take copious notes, often we have them create their plans while we are with them so they can fully execute the next morning.  I even tell them that I’ll be back in a week to help them stay on course and win more sales.

Yet when I do come back, I find that they putzed (yes it’s a word look it up) with the recipe, the means of setting things up, and how they (if) execute.  And guess what, much like me with the eggplant, they are disappointed with the results.  Difference being, I may have messed up a meal, they are messing up their sales, livelihood, and success.  As best I know, no one has ever died using any of the approaches I present, no one has lost limbs, or even a job; and while I understand, based on my experience why, my success does not depend on the outcome of my experimentation.

I understand why some may be reluctant to try, but I also understand the upside of trying something new, especially when they are supported by their organization and more; maybe it is just fear of success.   But to paraphrase a quote, “the approach you are using now, is perfect for the results you are getting.”  So if you want to change the results you need to change the approach, and when you adopt a new approach you need to adopt it as a whole, not pick and chose what you like, and what you don’t.  After all, it is the choices you have made to date that have gotten you to where you are. 

Make a choice to change, improve, and gain more.  Trying something new leads to a new experiences, and outcomes.

So I am going back in the kitchen tonight, and following the recipe, and looking forward to the result, will you do the same in adopting a new approach to your sales success?

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Ten Point Phone Marketing Checkup for Lead Generation and Qualification16

The Pipeline Guest Post – Michael A. Brown

Rate what you do and how you do it. Then add up the points.

1.    The calling lists we rent or buy are based on

Demographics; e.g., SIC code, number of employees. Zero points
Business actions; e.g., moves, mergers, new processes. One point.
Affinities; e.g., related purchases, memberships. One point.

2.    We get our reps ready to call and then improve their skills by

Training and practice. One point.
Teaming with another rep. Zero points.
Throwing them on the phone. Subtract one point.
I don’t know. Subtract one point.

3.    When on the phone our callers follow

Scripts. Zero points.
Call/question guides. One point.
The data fields on their computer screen. Subtract one point.
Their instincts. Subtract one point.

4.    Our supervisors and managers monitor calls and coach our reps

Every day. One point.
When they can. Zero points.
Seldom. Zero points.
Never. Subtract one point.
I don’t know. Zero points.

5.    In how many seconds can your callers describe what your company does?

5-10. One point.
10-15. Zero points.
15-up. Subtract one point.
We’re so well known, they don’t have to. One point.

6.    What portion of lead generation calls results in substantive conversations?

Less than 5%. Subtract two points.
5% – 15%. Subtract one point.
15% – 25%. Zero points.
25% – 50%. One point.
50% up. Two points.
I don’t know. Zero points.

7.    What portion of lead generation and qualification conversations results in the prospect taking the next step in your marketing or sales process?

Less than 5%. Subtract two points.
5% – 15%. Subtract one point.
15% – 25%. Zero points.
25% – 50%. One point.
50% up. Two points.
I don’t know. Zero points.

8.    After the calls, we classify our leads as

Qualified or not qualified. Zero points.
Hot, medium, cool or A, B, C. Zero points.
Rated on a point-scale according to agreed criteria. Two points.
Whatever our gut and experience say. Subtract one point.
We don’t classify, we just send them along. Subtract two points.

9.    Your level of confidence that your own CEO would accept the kind of calls your reps are making

Slim to none. Subtract two points.
Quite low. Subtract one point.
So-so. Zero points.
Pretty high. One point.
Certain. Two points.
I don’t know. Subtract one point.

10.    Your level of confidence that your sales channel(s) will act on the leads you produce

Slim to none. Subtract two points.
Quite low. Subtract one point.
So-so. Zero points.
Pretty high. One point.
Certain. Two points.
I don’t know. Subtract one point.

Ten points or higher? You’re looking good. Congratulations!

Nine or eight? Make the tactical adjustments before your competitors force the issue for you.

Seven or six? Your lead efforts probably are mismatched to your sales requirements and almost certainly under-performing as well. Better make some big improvements.

Under six? Stop reading this and get professional guidance right now.

© 2011, Michael A. Brown

About Michael Brown

Michael A. Brown helps business marketers approach, influence, advance, and sell … via consulting and training. Clients include a “who’s who” of successful companies, from startups to the Fortune 100. Contact Michael in Austin, Texas, 800 373-3966. www.BtoBEngage.com

Happy New Year!21

So here we are, December 31, last day of 2010, a year that many will be glad to see end, others having seen it as a brighter alternative to 2009, either way a day to celebrate accomplishments and to look forward to challenges of 2011.

In celebrating 2010, I looked back and selected a post from each month over the last 12 months.  These are not necessarily my best post from each month, but ones that on reflection caught my fancy.  See if you agree, and if you don’t we’ll still be friends.

January:
Socializing Sales

February:
Stoke Your Sales Fires

March:
Reputation 2.0

April:
Change – Or – Improvement

May:
Saturday Sales Tip – 18 – Take It Away!

June:
Out Of The Box Thinking

July:
What’s My Job?

August:
Velocity – Sales Myth or Objective – Sales eXchange – 57

September:
PRIDE – Part III – Initiative

October:
The Proactive 20% – Sales eXchange – 68

November:
Is Your Pipeline Managing You?

December:
Coming Attraction Call – Sales eXchange – 74

Looking forward to 2011, I will continue to post three times a week, but there will be some new and I think interesting features that will make The Pipeline a better experience for all of you.  One thing is the introduction of a weekly post by a guest blogger.  These bloggers will include the best in sales and other practices, sharing their views and best practices.  Stick with us and by this time next year you will have had the opportunity to be introduced to 52 different opinion leaders, and the ability to continue enjoying them on their blogs.

We will also be making more regular use of media other than print, including video, audio and who knows what else.

So are you ready for 2011, I am bring it on!

Happy New Year!
Tibor Shanto

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