New Year’s Resolution ; Stop the “Sales Insanity”

It’s that time of year we make New Year’s resolutions. We set goals in our personal lives and for our businesses. Bloggers are discussing resolutions for your business like increasing profitability, firing bad customers, listening to customers, as well as unselfishly making your team better.

Another article I found particularly useful advice for business leaders is Harvey Mackay’s  about setting realistic benchmarks. In this article he highlights fundamentals we need to consider before setting goals like;

Know what you really want

 

Know your motivation

 

Zero in; focus on one or two where you can make the most improvements

 

Take risks…great quote: “ you will never stub your toe if you walk backward

 

Involve those around you

 

In the spirit of “Zeroing In” I recommend stopping the “sales insanity”, and define a sales process that works for your market of today. Let’s face it; the way buyers are buying today has changed from this time a year ago. We see buyers;

Taking longer to make buying decisions

 

Involving more people in the buying decision

 

Buying Needs not Wants

 

Stronger focus on ROI

 

The Role the internet is playing in the information gathering

 

The role the internet plays in the beginning of the trust building process

What most businesses choose to do is increase their sales goals and tell their sales teams to “just make it happen”….this is insane!

Stop the insanity and develop a sales process based on how your buyers are buying today and you will realize the revenue increases and increased shareholder value.

Or, go ahead and make Einstein turnover in his grave by; doing more of what you are already doing that didn’t work in 2010, and expect different results in 2011.

 

Does your team have a defined repeatable sales process? (are you sure?)

 

Do you know why buyers buy from you? …Why they don’t?

 

Have you changed your sales process in the last six months? (if not it’s broken, and you are losing sales you should be winning)

 

Is your team’s lack of market knowledge showing in your sales?

 

What new buying criteria is your team experiencing in the market today?

 

Make understanding how your buyers buy and equipping your sales team with a sales process and complementary tools in 2011 a New Year’s resolution you keep in 2011.

And remember… “it’s not about how you want to sell, but helping your buyers buy , the way they want to buy”  ( nosmoke-ism)

Why Can’t Salespeople Sell New Products?

The CEO said…” Why can’t my salespeople sell new products” ? I hear this frustration from business leaders often. The assumption is the salespeople are not capable, but the reality is they can sell new products if they are provided a strong value proposition and sales tools that guide potential buyers through their buying journey. If your new product or service clearly provides four yes’s then it will not feel like pushing mud uphill during launch. However far too often new products are thrown over the wall from engineering and product management and sales are told …”just make it happen”.

The reality is you do not want your salespeople spending time figuring out how to sell the new product.

Salespeople follow the path of least resistance to revenue.

If your new product lacks a clear value proposition, sales tools designed for specific buyer personas, and a history of poorly launched products your launch may be doomed.

Equip your sales team to gain new product sales velocity by clearly understanding the problem you are solving for your buyers and the buying process and criteria they use to solve their problems.

How successful is your team with new product sales launch?

 

Does your new product offer a quick path to revenue or does it feel like pushing mud up hill for your sales team?

 

Can you afford to have your salespeople figuring out how to sell a new product while your core product sales suffer?

 

Are new product sales an Art or Science in your organization?

Miracle on 34th Street and The Golden Rule Of Sales


Miracle on 34th Street and Lessons in Serving (not Selling) your Customers

It’s the holiday season and my family and I are watching our favorite movies on television; Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, A Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, and the classic…Miracle on 34th street. A clip ( the one above) caught my attention as a sales lesson we can all learn from this movie that was released in 1947.

The Golden Rule, applied to managing people, helping buyer’s solve their problems, will never let you down.

Does your sales team set out to passionately solve your customer’s problems or just hit their numbers …selling what’s in their bag?

If it’s the later, you may want to watch A Miracle on 34th Street at your next sales meeting. It’s often not about doing one big thing, but an overall culture of doing many little things , very well.

Golden Rule of Selling :Serve your customers….Don’t Sell Them.

Merry Christmas!

Do You Have a Repeatable Sales Process? …Are You sure?

Do You Have a Repeatable Sales Process? …Are You sure?

Market leaders understand the importance of having a defined, repeatable sales process. They clearly define the steps of the sales funnel and closely monitor the transitions from one step to the next. They are constantly assessing the process to make sure it is in alignment with how buyers want to buy. If you find a sticking point, a common point in the sales process that stales get stuck or goes dark, then you have defined the need for new sales tools to keep the conversation moving to a close. Have you prepared your sales team to hit that goal you just gave them?

So let me ask again; Do You Have a Repeatable Sales Process? …Are You sure?

If you were to meet with your most recent salesperson to join your team  are they able to clearly articulate the sales process? Will the process they share be the same process your top gun salesperson uses to consistently exceed their goals?

When is the last time you changed your sales process?

Do you believe your buyers buying process and criteria have changed in the last 6-8 months?

What are some of the big changes you have seen to how your buyers buy?

What new tools has your team developed to meet changes in how your buyers buy?

Taking the time to clearly understand how your buyers buy and the criteria they use today to make buying decisions empowers you with valuable information to close more sales.

Sensing shifts in how your buyers buy before your competition results in your product or service being the perfect solution for your buyer’s problem.

Customers Are Not Your Best Source of Information To Grow Your Sales?

When companies desire to grow their sales they often reach out to their customers to find what they could be doing to grow their business. The trouble is your customers already have a relationship with you. They heard and understood your value proposition enough to buy from you. You need to speak with them; however you must also meet with those who did not buy from you.

If you really want to grow your sales you must speak with potential customers and those your team has quoted. Since they never bought from you they are more likely to not overlook your clunky web site navigation or your salespeople who showed up and threw up without ever understanding the problems the buyer needed solved. They may tell you your brochure is a great explanation of who you are, but fails to tell the buyer the problems you solve for them.

Look at this another way…of the conversations your salespeople have each day…which is greater …the people who say yes…or the people who say no? Let’s say your salespeople close 15% of leads. Doesn’t it make sense to have a focused understanding of why the majority of the people your salespeople speak with say no? As well as what you need to do to help them say yes? Chances are your current customers have the same issues and your overall buying experience and customer satisfaction will improve by adding those who do not buy when you do your market intelligence.

Who does your team speak with when they want updated market info? Just your customers?

Who does the interviewing?

Why or why not should salespeople do the interviewing?

Have you used this process? If so please share what you learned?

Why Do Buyers Buy From Your Team? …Why Don’t Buyers Buy From You?

One of the quickest ways to get your sales back on track to building sales velocity is to understand why your current customers buy from you and why some buyers do not. It sounds like a simple question, but it is critical to gain this understanding to position your sales team for repeatable profitable growth.

Do you know why your buyers are buying from you today?

Do you know why some buyers you have quoted do not buy from you?


Chances are the buying process and criteria your buyers are using to make purchasing decisions have changed over the last six to eight months.

Once you identify why buyers today are buying or not buying from your team you can build the sales tools necessary to keep sales conversations moving to a close.

The Great Disconnect…”Sales Execution”

Nothing frustrates CEO’s more than spending the time to develop a strategic plan and then find out six months into the plan sales is not executing the plan. What are the reasons sales fails to execute the plan?

In my experience, most businesses do a great job of explaining their strategic plans, but they fail to provide sales the proper sales tools, a value proposition that resonates with buyers and the “how-to” for salespeople.

Market leaders create tactical sales playbooks by territory.

Market losers tell salespeople to “just make it happen”.

It may be perceived as “old school” but I have found the best way to avoid the “great disconnect” is to provide each salesperson on your team a sales playbook. Working with the salesperson we develop a playbook that breaks the overall strategy down into meaningful how to tactics for the salesperson and identify key performance indicators.

Have you experienced the “Great Disconnect; Sales Execution” in your sales team?

Does your organization provide sales playbooks for each salesperson?

What are the key ingredients of a sales playbook?

You Do Not Need “More Leads”…

Having led sales teams for over 25 years I have heard salespeople frequently say  …”If I only had more leads I could…” They say they could close more sales, sell more new products, and become more important to their distributor network…and so on. Like a carpenter with only a hammer, the solution is to just nail more leads. The trouble is the quickest way to improve revenues is not more leads.

What you need to do to quickly impact the bottom line is improve your sales close percentage with the leads you already receive.

Market leaders clearly understand the buying process and buying criteria.

Market leaders create sales tools to help their sales teams close a greater percentage of sales leads and create sales velocity.

Market losers play “extrapolation exasperation …if their team closes two sales out of ten leads, and they need to close six new accounts…its simple: we need more leads (30 or so)

You have already made the investment in marketing to drive the clicks…why not improve your team’s ability to turn clicks to customers?

"Leader, You Don’t Have to Go It Alone!"

When I asked CEO’s and business leaders where they turn when they face a problem in their business I heard two common answers and one that disturbed me. The common answers were;

  • I call someone in my network
  • I talk to my spouse

However the answer that also bubbled to the top frequently was;

  • nowhere,… that is what I am paid to do, solve problems so I figure it out
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The third response disturbed me… when did business leaders decide they need to go it alone? When was it decided we need to have all the answers? I tell my clients in fact I do not have all the answers,… but I do , based on my experience know what questions to ask.

So let me get this straight….

  • if you want to improve your golf  game you have no problem hiring a pro for a few lessons
  • If you want to get fit you join a gym and hire a personal trainer
  • If you sprain your back you see a doctor ,enter a rehab program with a physical therapist to get you back in shape and out of pain

But if your business has a problem…you feel you must go it alone based on your gut?

Market leaders have the emotional intelligence to know what they know as well as what they do not know. They seek help from experts that complement their gifts and realize faster and much more profitable growth.

So where do you turn when your business needs help? Why?

“Leader, You Don’t Have to Go It Alone!”

Are Your Salespeople Playing “Feature and Benefit BINGO?”

Are your salespeople costing you revenue you should be winning by playing “feature and benefit BINGO?” The only way you truly know is if you or your VP of sales is traveling and working in the market with your sales team.

Feature and benefit BINGO is a game untrained salespeople play far too often. They “show up and then they throw up” and they spew all the features and benefits they can think of waiting for your buyer to jump up and yell”…BINGO….I get it….I figured out what problems you can solve for me…”

Market leading salespeople ask questions and take the time to listen and understand the problems, the pain their buyers are experiencing and they position their product and or services as solutions to those problems.

As a quick litmus test, ask yourself who talked more in the meeting? Your buyer… or your salesperson? If it was your salesperson I promise you they are showing up and throwing up and it’s costing you sales revenues you could have won.

Are you playing feature and benefit BINGO in other areas?

Your website?

Brochures?

Your sales training?

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