Want To Sell More? Keep Your Mouth Shut – George Deeb

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I have written dozens of useful how-to lessons for driving sales, but perhaps none is more important than this one.  This is the day that you learn that driving sales has very little to do with what YOU have to say.  And, it is everything to do with what YOUR CLIENT has to say.  The magic sauce to closing the transaction is knowing how to ask probing questions, sit back and LISTEN.  Keeping your mouth shut is typically a really hard concept for a salesperson to grasp.  But, if they do, jewels of insights and real pain points of your customers will quickly surface to the top the more THEY talk……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgedeeb/2018/11/02/want-to-sell-more-keep-your-mouth-shut/#4c8322c01e8e

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Things To Watch Following McDonald’s Q3 Earnings – Alicia Kelso

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With global comp sales up 4.2% and U.S. comp sales up 2.4%, McDonald’s turned in a strong third quarter, and investors are happy for now. But we all know that running a restaurant chain is about more than just making investors happy, right? Beyond the financials, a number of narratives emerged during the company’s earnings call Tuesday morning that could qualify as storylines to watch through Q4. For starters, the company continues to endure its largest construction project ever with its Experience of the Future initiative…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciakelso/2018/10/24/three-storylines-to-watch-following-mcdonalds-q3-earnings-report/#3f804e0d26d5

 

 

 

 

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How To Build 25 Bulletproof Website Templates You Can Use To 20x Your Sales, Webinar Attendees, Affiliate Traffic & Email Leads

Well, firstly, we compiled our 25 most-profitable page templates from our last 10 years of online business. These templates banked us anything from a quick $10,000 in affiliate commissions, all the way up to $1 million for our flagship evergreen products.

Secondly, we built the Web Crusher SITE BUILDER, a powerful software for you to instantly customize these templates to your exact offer with a few clicks.It literally takes 60 seconds or less to turn these six and seven-figure templates into CASH COWS for your business model.

It is as simple as clicking a template, filling out a few details and hitting publish. You virtually guaranteed to building a profitable website today, tomorrow and as often as you like.Since Web Crusher software lets you choose from 25 website templates that made us $10k to $1 million, you simply can’t pick a bad design. You’ll get a range of 25 proven designs to choose from – with email squeeze pages, VSL pages, physical product pages, webinars, digital products and more.

Source: http://thewebcrusher.com/index.php

Time Management Skills for Sales Professionals – Andrew Quinn

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We’ve all heard the saying “time is money.” This is especially true for salespeople. Allotting time to one prospect over another could be the difference between closing a million dollar deal and having the door closed on you. Spending a certain amount of time on one group of activities could set a rep up for record week, while concentrating on something else might launch you down the path to a slump.

Time management is one of the most challenging disciplines for salespeople to master. Reps always have several important tasks competing for their attention at once. How do they prioritize and maximize their time?

Short of adding more hours to the day, a few solid time management hacks can help reps boost their productivity. Here are 13 of my favorites.

1. Eliminate administrative tasks

To maximize your selling time, look for administrative tasks you can automate. Saving a few minutes here and there will quickly add up — and as an added benefit, you can direct more energy toward activities that are actually challenging, like giving demos or answering tough questions.

Here are a few examples:

  • PandaDoc, which integrates with HubSpot, is a good tool for reps who send sales collateral and quotes. It automatically pulls in data from your CRM so you don’t have to tediously copy and paste key details. You can send an error-free, personalized, professional-looking proposal in a few clicks.
  • Route planning software can help you figure out the most efficient way to travel to your prospects’ offices, meaning you’ll never have to manually plan your route again.
  • HubSpot Meetings lets buyer book open slots on your calendar instantly. Say goodbye to long email chains of “What about X time?” “Sorry, I’m busy …. What about Y?”
  • Todoist, a to-do list app, uses AI to learn your personal productivity habits and schedule your overdue tasks accordingly. In other words, the app will figure out the optimal time for you to get everything done.

The best tools will depend on your industry, daily tasks, and specific role, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. The gist is: Automate as much of your non-selling activities as possible.

2. Be prepared to pivot

When I was in outside sales, I would organize my leads by location and always have the date of my last contact for each lead noted. If I got stood up for an appointment, I could quickly regroup and connect with other nearby prospects to secure a new meeting rather than drive back to the office or cool my heels in a coffee shop until the next appointment.

This tactic also applies to inside sales. Prospects cancel all the time, so salespeople should always be prepared to pivot into other profitable activities. The trick is to not shift gears on those activities. Say you’re prepared to have an exploratory call scheduled to run an hour and the prospects flakes on you. Since you’re already in the mindset of the exploratory call, spend that reclaimed hour prepping for other exploratory calls you have booked that week. Your mind is already focused on the exploratory process. Keep it there.

I’m sure some of you are saying to yourselves, that’s foolish advice — you should use that time to prospect or make follow-up calls. But here’s the thing. Unless you have your leads at the ready and you’re fully prepped to prospect, the odds are you’ll waste time getting ready to make those calls.

From my point of view, prospecting is an activity that tends to be more effective when it is deliberate, planned, and scheduled. This brings us to the next point.

3. Stick with the task you’re on

Multitasking is a myth. Studies have clearly shown that people cannot actually do two things at once; they’re really just quickly switching between tasks. And that switching dilutes focus and slows people down because their brains have to adjust to each task. Here are two great books about the subject if you’re interested: “Your Brain at Work” by David Rock and “Focus” by Daniel Goleman.

From a sales perspective, different tasks engage different mental muscles. For instance, giving demos requires a much different mindset and focus than pre-call prep or pipeline management. Sales reps can gain efficiency by grouping similar activities.

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Take prospecting, for instance. Let’s say your organization advocates using voicemail and email as critical components to prospecting, and you’ve got two hours planned to make prospecting calls. One approach is to dial the phone, get the prospect’s voicemail, leave a message, write a follow-up email, send the email, document the activity in the CRM, set a new activity to try and reach the prospect again, and then move on to the next prospect on your call list and keep repeating this cycle for two hours.

This approach can chew up a ton of time because of all the activity switching. There are a lot of ways to streamline it. One way is to group activities:

  • Figure out how many prospects you can reasonably call in the two hours if all you did was dial the phone and leave voicemail messages. Research that many prospects before your planned and scheduled prospecting time.
  • When it’s time for your two hours of prospecting, pull up the list of researched prospects you want to call.
  • Call each prospect and leave personalized voicemails based on your pre-call research.
  • Log just the call activity in the CRM and quickly move onto the next prospect on the list. Repeat.
  • Later in the day during scheduled administrative time, revisit the set of prospects you called to send out the follow-up emails and set the times you want to reach out again in the CRM.

This simple move to grouping activities will yield a much higher volume of calls, which improves the odds of actually talking to someone on the phone about what you’re selling. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

4. Swallow the frog

Every rep has at least one task in particular that they simply can’t stand. Prospecting, logging activity, writing follow-up emails, etc. I’ve got mine. I’m sure you’ve got yours.

The funny thing is we can all find plenty of ways to appear productive and avoid those important tasks we dread the most. But by overinvesting in one area to avoid doing work in another, time gets away from you. And behavior like that always catches up to you in the end.

The bottom line: Just do the thing you’re uncomfortable with and get it over with. In fact, do it first if you can.

5. Keep going

When a rep experiences success or reaches an activity goal, they often take a break to pat themselves on the back. While I’m not against a quick coffee run, the best time to make a call or book an appointment is … right after you had a great call or booked an important appointment. So if you’ve allotted a certain amount of time to an activity — say, two hours for prospecting — don’t stop before the time is up even if you have some success right out of the gate.

Momentum is a powerful thing. Once you’ve got it, don’t squander it. You’ll have even more to pat yourself on the back for if you just keep going.

6. Structure your day around your buyer

According to experts, the best time to connect with prospects is in the afternoon, the very early morning, the evening, the late-mid early morning, or on weekends. I think that about covers it.

As you probably know, there is no perfect time to connect with your target buyers. It really depends on that particular buyer’s behavior and the way they allocate time to get their jobs done. If a salesperson is selling to contractors, calling at 10:00 a.m. isn’t going to work because they’re already busy on the job site. Calling on a restaurant with a thriving lunch and dinner business any time after noon is probably not going to yield a favorable conversation. Strive to structure your day around your target buyer’s schedule to avoid wasted time and unanswered calls.

7. Streamline repeatable tasks

I’m not a fan of sales scripts, but the fact remains that if your company targets a certain type of buyer, many of your prospects will be similar to each other. So instead of formulating a brand new list of questions each time you talk to a prospect, develop a core set you can work from and customize.

Developing a framework you use to research prospects is another smart idea. Look at previous deals you won and look for details that came in handy again and again. For instance, maybe you incorporated the knowledge you found on Crunchbase in seven of the last 10 deals you closed. Once you know which data sources are the most valuable, you can immediately go to those sources when researching new opportunities.

8. Have a concise value proposition

Another area where salespeople can waste time is during introductory conversations. At some point in every sales engagement, your prospect will ask some form of the question, “So what do you do, anyway?” If you have crisp, concise answers to the common questions you get asked every day, you’ll have more time to discuss the things that really matter to your prospects and to gain an understanding of how you can help them. Having a clear, well-articulated value proposition at the ready lessens the possibility that you stumble through the explanation. And the more articulate you are with the buyer, the faster your sale will progress.

9. Create email templates

It’s vastly inefficient to write a brand-new email every time you contact a prospect. While you should tailor each message to the individual and their situation, you’ll save a huge amount of time if you start with a template rather than a blank slate.

Look through your “Sent” folder to find the emails you send repeatedly. That doesn’t just include outreach emails — you should also make templates for following up, scheduling meetings, recapping calls, and so forth.

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10. Reduce distractions

It can be hard to stay focused when your favorite time-wasting site is just a click away. To ensure you stay focused, ruthlessly get rid of every distraction. If you don’t use a website for your job, block it using the Chrome extension Blocksite or by following these instructions for restricting sites on Safari.

Reps should also stow their cell phones out of sight. It’s all too tempting to check social media or your texts if you can see or hear notifications come up.

11. Create your to-do list the night before

Instead of wasting your productive mornings organizing your day, do it right before you leave for the night. That way, you can get right to work when you come into the office the next day. Save tasks like these for when your burned out in the evenings, and make the most of the time you have.

12. Chunk your time

The Pomodoro Technique encourages people to work in 25-minute chunks to maximize productivity. There are similar techniques that share the benefits of working in 90-minute increments. Chunking your time allows you to find a flow and squeeze the most productivity out of every day.

13. Take breaks

The Pomodoro Technique I mentioned above also recommends taking a five-minute break between each time chunk. Get up, move around, go for a quick walk, or grab some water — but give your brain a chance to rest, recoup, and stay fresh.

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7 Forms of Content Marketing That Can Help You Generate More Sales Leads – Chirag Kulkarni

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According to a study by Media Dynamics, Inc., customers are shown more than 5,000 ads and brand messages per day, so it’s no surprise that content marketing is becoming one of the most successful strategies for reaching the consumer. People are tired of having traditional outbound ads forced on them, so when a brand steps in with authentic, useful content, consumers can’t get enough. That’s probably why content marketing generates six times the conversion rates of traditional marketing methods.

It’s easy to segment your content marketing to maximize your own conversion rates. Start by creating content based on your product or service, and then use content to target each of your strongest-performing buyer personas. To get even more specific, focus on the various pain points that these buyers are looking to address. According to Curata, 41 percent of marketers have increased the number and quality of their sales leads by utilizing content curation.

While there’s no denying the effectiveness of content marketing, it’s a broad term. Content comes in many different shapes and sizes and can require varying degrees of upfront investment. To improve your reach and generate more sales leads in 2018, focus on these seven forms of content.

1. Create a company blog. You should already have one, but if you don’t, then join the club and make 2018 the year you finally start that company blog. HubSpot notes that 53 percent of marketers cite blog content as their top priority for inbound marketing.

Putting blog content to work is a great strategy. Content Marketing Institute reports that more than three-quarters of all internet users read some form of blog, and they aren’t just passive observers. When given a recommendation by a favored blog, 61 percent of U.S. consumers made a purchase, which is probably why small businesses with a blog enjoy 126 percent more lead growth than their peers that don’t.

2. Use brand journalism. Part of what gives your brand a sense of authenticity is a strong focus on storytelling. Brand journalism is simply about keeping your audience up to date on the story of your company.

Companies such as PowerPost are making brand journalism easier by providing software that coordinates content publishing across a wide range of channels. They also help with content creation so it doesn’t take up your or your employees’ valuable time. After all, content marketing isn’t helping your bottom line if it gets in the way of running your business.

3. Add video content. According to Cisco, 82 percent of all internet traffic by 2021 will be video. It’s taking over the internet, but it’s especially significant in the social media sphere. When it comes to content, an Animoto survey found that customers prefer viewing a video 4 times more than reading text. This hasn’t escaped the attention of marketers — almost 70 percent say they’re ramping up spending on video production.

4. Curate content from influencers. Word of mouth is one of the most effective types of marketing, and online influencers can amplify that approach with powerful megaphones. YouTube is an especially effective means for influencers to reach their audiences — 70 percent of teenagers on YouTube relate to their favorite influencers better than conventional celebrities. According to a 2017 poll by PMYB, 28 percent of marketing managers reported that influencer marketing was their fast-growing method of acquiring customers online.

5. Spice up statistics with infographics. Customers prefer video over text, but an infographic allows information to be digested even faster. Infographics draw customers in quickly while communicating several paragraphs’ worth of messaging in a single visual, and the appeal is undeniable. On social media, infographics are shared and liked three times more often than other content varieties, according to research compiled by Lucidpress.

6. Employ Google AdSense. This advertising tool from Google puts display ads on websites that pay a commission each time they’re clicked. Google automatically scans your website content so it can display the most relevant advertising, meaning some ads are worth more than $1 per click for the website owner. AdSense is a great way to monetize a blog, yielding dollars that you can then reinvest in content generation.

7. Create an online course. If your business has expertise in a particular area, sharing it with your audience will help you gain a loyal following. If you’re not sure where to start, there are a number of marketplaces for online courses worth checking out, and certain software solutions can make the process of putting together a course simpler for you and your students.

Whether you rolled out a content marketing strategy for the first time in 2017 or you’ve been utilizing this marketing gold mine for years, there are many ways to optimize your content marketing performance in the coming year. Using some of these tools and techniques can help you generate more leads and acquire more customers, but remember that consistency is crucial when it comes to content marketing. Put in the time and effort, and you’ll reap the rewards.

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7 Things You Should Stay Away While Doing Social Media Marketing

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Social media has become a huge platform to socialize and connect with your loved ones. It has also become a great place to market your products to a greater customer base, which enhances the chances of your business. With the ever advancing World Wide Web, digital media trends and rapidly growing social media users, there are infinite possibilities and everyone can easily launch a business and enjoy success.

Today, billions of people are online at a time on social media for various reasons. Although they are divided by the platforms, with advanced connectivity they are all interrelated with each other. This provides a unique chance for any big or small business to operate with little operational investments and develop social media marketing campaigns to expand their businesses.

According to our experience and multiple other types of research, marketers agree that social media marketing is the best way to enhance brand awareness. However, this is not the case with every business running a social media marketing campaigns. There are multiple examples of businesses that have not been able to achieve their desired goals.

But we cannot ignore the fact that its business and marketing individuals who are to blame for their failures, rather than social media platform itself, as there are more success stories than there are failures. A failure can be because of a poor marketing strategy, campaign planning, targeting the wrong audience or even working in the wrong season. You need to design an effective marketing and business strategy for social media marketing in order to get something from it.

It is imperative to avoid common mistakes that determine the outcome of your social media marketing strategy. For an instance, you are running an online travel agency and you want to promote cheap Copenhagen flights. But your social media marketing team made a simple mistake of targeting the wrong audience. This can play heavily against your strategy and in the end, you won’t get your desired results.

There are many mistakes that you are prone to making while launching a marketing campaign over social media. Following are 7 things that you should try to avoid while doing social media marketing of your business. We hope this article will help you diagnose the flaws of your social media marketing and you can find some success for your hard work.

Overlooking data

You simply cannot expect your business to flourish and see success without any business plan or marketing strategy. You should always determine what actions to take or strategy to make so that you can work out the data and information that is needed to process.

Fortunately, data gathering isn’t that difficult today as it was some years ago, due to the availability of multiple tools and analytics websites. You can easily acquire information on the target audience, keyword traffic, and much more. So try not to overlook data when planning your social media marketing strategy.

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Becoming irrelevant

Becoming irrelevant with your social media posts and blogs can always hurt your customer base and reaches. People will start doubting your business intentions and dedication, which can result in un-following your social media pages. Although you can add a little humour to your articles, blogs, and posts to develop the interest of people, it is imperative to never become too irrelevant. Too much irrelevancy and going off topic can also hurt your organic search engine rankings, as Google’s algorithm is always on the watch.

Using automatic means to communicate with customers

Although it may seem like a little practice to use automatic response on chats, to speed up communication with followers and potential clients; we highly advise not to do so. You should always approach your followers with your own replies, and attend their complaints or queries with a proper customer service approach. If you run a small business on any social media platform, try to attend that customer issue personally through a chat box. In this way, your followers can be satisfied and there is a great chance for them to become your permanent customers.

Being obscure

When running an online business, you need to avoid being obscure. Transparency in business helps you to develop a relationship of trust with your followers. Social media is the best way to show your work and products to your followers and it is also an opportunity to gain loyal customers with your transparency.

Obsolete and invalid content

Always post relevant and new content on your blogs, and share them on your social media for more reaches and readers. Never post an outdated, obsolete or invalid content on your social media, no matter what is the purpose behind it, as nobody appreciates out of date information, which is of no use. However, this doesn’t apply to the content that is evergreen and factually relevant.

Avoiding criticism

Negative or positive, criticism should always be welcomed on social media. It provides you a chance to know the taste of your followers, which you can use to your advantage. You can also work on that criticism, by addressing it and making sure all the concerned people are satisfied. This will only result in the favor of your organization.

Insensitive stories

Nowadays the majority of the social media platforms are offering stories and live streaming option to all their users. This feature has numerous benefits for every online business, big and small to increase its exposure. However, you should always avoid controversy by creating insensitive and careless stories. Everything on social media regarding your business contributes to the image of your brand. So be extra careful with every social media story or any other feature.

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8 Keys to Coming Off As The Expert In Whatever You Sell – Marc Wayshak

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The most successful salespeople in the world don’t come across as salespeople at all. Instead, they carry themselves as experts in their industry who can solve key challenges for their ideal prospects. Simply put, if you’re in the business of selling, then you’re an expert in whatever you sell. It’s up to you to make sure your prospects know it.

While your prospects only see what’s going on at their own companies, you can offer them a valuable bird’s eye view of trends across the entire industry. But do your customers see it that way? If not, it’s because you’re coming off as salesy instead of as an expert.

The following eight simple keys will help you build a reputation as an expert in whatever you sell, so you can earn prospects’ trust and start to crush your sales goals:

1. Don’t think like a salesperson.

If you want to come across as an expert to your prospects, you must first stop being salesy. That means you have to stop thinking like a salesperson. When you think like a salesperson, you jump at any chance to pitch your product or service. Instead, slow down and listen. Strive to identify if your prospects are a fit in the first place. Thoughtful intentionality is the first step towards being viewed as an expert in the eyes of your customers.

2. Adopt a doctor’s mindset.

Instead of thinking like a salesperson, try adopting the mindset of a doctor. I’ve never met a doctor who used a pitch like, “We have this incredible new procedure that I just can’t wait to tell you about! It’s going to change everything!” Rather, good doctors ask questions to make sure they truly understand your pain before making a diagnosis. Mimic this approach by making it your goal to fully understand your prospects’ deepest frustrations before you ever propose a solution.

3. Lose the P.E.P.

Most salespeople are full of P.E.P. — Persuasion, Enthusiasm and Pitching. They’ve been told that this is the key to closing more sales, but it simply isn’t true. If you have to persuade a prospect, then that prospect probably isn’t a good fit for what you sell. Enthusiasm comes off as salesy and insincere. And pitching is the opposite of trying to understand a prospect’s problem. Instead of turning your sales meeting into a P.E.P. rally, adopt a genuine approach that seeks to understand and diagnose key challenges. When you do, prospects will view you as an expert they can trust.

4. Share challenges you’ve observed.

As an expert, you have valuable industry information that your prospects would love to know. Capture their attention and increase your perceived value by sharing some of that information at the start of your conversations with prospects. Try listing a few examples of challenges you’ve seen in their industry. This will provide value, give the prospect something to relate to and serve as a launching-pad for some great discussion.

5. Ask about their challenges.

Once you’ve shared a few common challenges you’ve observed, simply ask, “Do any of these challenges ring true to you?” Simple questions like this create more value when you sell, in addition to engaging prospects and encouraging them to open up to you. If you can get someone to articulate a challenge that they’ve yet to share with anyone else, you’ll immediately gain respect as an authority in your field who can tap into, and ultimately resolve, big problems.

6. Know when to walk away.

What do you do if you ask, “Do any of these challenges ring true to you?” and your prospect answers “no?” Well, if a prospect doesn’t have the challenges you can solve, then it’s probably not a good fit. When this happens, you must be willing to disqualify. Walk away without looking back so that you can spend your time with qualified prospects instead. Customers will respect and trust you more when they notice you aren’t trying to push a product they don’t need.

7. Remember the 15 percent rule.

Salespeople should never talk for more than 15 percent of a meeting. Talking doesn’t put you in control of a conversation; great questions do. Engaged body language, thoughtful questions and small prompts such as, “really?” are all great tools to keep the customer talking. Follow this rule, and prospects will view you as a thoughtful listener and an expert.

8. Never need a sale.

In all fairness, there may be times when you really do need a sale to pay your bills, but prospects should never be able to tell. When you come across as successful and confident, prospects will believe you don’t need their business. Instead, you’re simply meeting with them because you think your offering will truly help them. Relaxed confidence is attractive to prospects, and an air of success will suggest that you’re an established expert in your field.

You’re already an expert in your industry. Now it’s time to act like one. Which of these keys will you use to establish yourself as an expert in the eyes of your prospect? Take this free 1-Minute Sales Strengths-Finder Quiz for even more insight into improving your sales strategy.

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3 Sales Meeting Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

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Running effective sales meetings doesn’t come naturally to me. Over time, I’ve learned how to structure them in a way that takes advantage of my introverted nature and my natural awkwardness. But, if you’re still trying to find your own path, you’ll enjoy learning from the conversation I had recently with Jill Konrath.

Konrath is an international sales speaker who was named one of the most influential sales experts of the 21st century by LinkedIn (where she currently has more than 350,000 followers). She’s also the author of four best-selling books — More Sales, Less Time; Agile Selling; SNAP Selling; and Selling to Big Companies — and she’s worked with companies like GE, Microsoft, IBM and Staples.

Konrath has also been doing a lot of work recently on the topic of mastering sales meetings, so I was eager to pick her brain. Below are three common sales meeting mistakes that came up in our conversation.

1. You don’t understand the goal of a sales meeting.

The goal of a sales meeting is to get the sale, right? Not according to Konrath.

“A lot of salespeople think that their goal is to explain their product and service, to tout their capabilities and to differentiate themselves from their competitors,” she told me. “The real purpose of a sales meeting is to generate interest in continuing the conversation and to determine if you or your product or service can truly make a difference to that person and to that company.”

Are you still trying to hard sell on your first interaction with a prospect? If so, you should take a step back and test a softer approach.

2. You don’t really know who your competitors are.

So how did we get it so wrong? How did so many of us come to this mistaken impression about what it really takes to run an effective sales meeting?

In my experience, one big problem is that too many of us copy what we see our competitors doing. They offer a free consultation; we do too. They focus on the features and benefits of their products; we do the same.

The problem, of course, is that your competitors may not be any more effective than you are. They may have different value propositions, or be selling to different types of customers. Furthermore, according to Konrath, you may not really be competing against others in your industry in the first place.

“Your competitor is the status quo, number one,” she said. “The first thing that you have to be able to do is to help people understand why the status quo is not good enough for helping them achieve their future goals or objectives. That should be the number one focus on any initial call. Remember, people are not necessarily buying in the first meeting. In fact, very few do. What you need to do is get people to the point where they say, ‘Geez, we really need to take a look at this.’”

As a side note, there are tools out there that can help with the process of sales call targeting and messaging. Konrath likes Rambl.ai, though there are similar products available to suit different needs/budgets.

3. You aren’t prepared.

During our meeting, Konrath shared a sobering statistic, courtesy of Forrester Research: Of 319 executive-level buyers surveyed, “Only 20 percent of the salespeople they meet with are successful in achieving their expectations and creating value.”

Understandably, according to Konrath “If you”ve got a meeting with an important buyer, and you’re not prepared, the chances of you having a second meeting are really slim.”

So, how do you prepare? Reading up on the company is part of it, as is learning more about the specific people you’ll be speaking with. Using this information to prepare relevant case studies and examples to share in your sales calls is a good idea, as well.

In addition, use your preparation to come up with the specific questions you’ll ask during your call.

Not only will this demonstrate your level of preparedness, it’ll enable you to drive the conversation in a way that gets prospects engaged. Konrath gives the example of the kinds of questions she’d ask a tech company aiming to reduce its time to market:

  • How important is it for you to be able to shrink your time to market on a new product launch?
  • How are you currently handling your product launches?
  • People doing launches [a certain] way, Konrath said she’d tell a tech company, experience “these kinds of problems.” Her question: “Are you guys running into these problems?”
  • What are your objectives related to this?
  • What are you trying to achieve in 2018 in this area?
  • What’s coming up the pike that is related to this? Or how big a priority for you is reducing time to market in your organization  this coming year?

Customize questions like these to your company and its products, according to the research you’ve done. Use them to get prospects excited about your solution. If you can do that, the rest of your sales process will fall naturally into place.

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To Be a Better Salesperson, Master Your Ego and Bend Time – David Meltzer

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In the early ’90s, my first job out of law school had me selling legal research at Westlaw, where I was trained by Mike Bosworth, a solutions selling expert. He taught me that a good salesperson needs to have two important characteristics: empathy and ego.

I believe that this approach is outdated, as ego and empathy are related in my view, and this formula certainly needs to be upgraded. There’s another important factor to be added that Bosworth did not consider when it comes to achievement in business: time.

There are two things that often get in our way when it comes to sales, business, or life: our perception of self (our ego) and our perception of time.

Leggo my ego

The ego has illusionary needs, which can create a waste of your time and energy. The ego also has the need to be right or to be offended. It can cause you to feel a need to be separate, inferior or superior. Ego can cause fear, guilt or shame. It will have you searching for recognition over achievement.

These needs cause you to react in inefficient or ineffective ways. This is why it’s necessary to utilize the following tools that will counteract your ego:

  • Gratitude gives us perspective.
  • Empathy brings forgiveness for ourselves and others.
  • Accountability provides control over everything that’s attracted to our lives.
  • Effective communication lets us draw upon inspiration and share it with others.

When it comes to communication, there are two types of people: One type manipulates, and the other inspires. What’s the difference between the two? Ego.

Ego can hamper any type of relationship, from business to personal, so use those four tools to keep it in check.

Time, activity and productivity

The missing component in my mentor’s sales philosophy was a perception or understanding of time.

I’m sure you’re familiar with this phrase: “Time equals money.” I believe that the way we utilize time is actually what equals money. There’s no such thing as linear time. Like ego, it’s an illusion.

Time in business is directly related to two things: your productivity and your accessibility.

Making optimal use of your time allows you to be productive. It also allows you to be accessible, to be of service. Understanding time pushes you to ask for help when you need it (which saves you time), or to pitch in and help others when necessary (which saves them time).

The best way to “bend” or maximize time is to be a student of your calendar. Now, most people think this simply means you need to look at your calendar at least twice a day. But, no matter how many times you check your calendar, if you’re a busy person, you’re going to forget when things are scheduled, or what events are taking place.

To be a student of your calendar takes consistency, in order to raise your awareness of what’s going on in the organization around you. People who do this are better able to take advantage of the opportunities that are being attracted to them.

Study your calendar both in the morning and at night. Ponder efficiencies and potential problems, and prepare to make adjustments.

You’ll see that your productivity changes and you become aware of new opportunities that exist and now are accessible to you. Equally important, you’ll discover new ways to save time.

In order to instill this strategy in my team, every morning I have a Hill Street Blues meeting (a police “roll call” briefing, for those who are too young to get the reference) where I go through my calendar and ask questions to ensure my employees are students of their calendar as well as the company agenda. This creates a collective belief in accessibility and leads the team to be more effective, efficient and statistically successful.

If I can, I do it, no matter how annoying it may be to others. “Do It Now” is a remedy for procrastination. It tends to take you twice as much time to finish a task if you don’t start right away. And the more you put it off, the less successful you tend to be in the end.

One example of this is email. If I can respond to an important (key word) email shortly after it comes in, I do it now. That way I don’t find myself swamped, overwhelmed and feeling begrudged, at the end of the day when I’m ready to go home, by a slew of emails that have accumulated.

No traps from ego or time

If you understand the traps of your ego and combat them with the tools of gratitude, empathy, accountability and effective communication you’ll soon be seeing success in both business and your personal life.

Also focus on your perception of time, especially as it relates to productivity and accessibility. Learn to “bend time” by being a student of your calendar and practicing the “Do It Now” strategy every day.

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