Use Intense Emotions in Your Sales Presentations

Use Intense Emotions in Your Sales Presentations

Ever wish that your presentations could be as much fun as a cool TV commercial?

Come late January every year network TV treats us to America’s finest and most expensive commercials – Superbowl commercials. You may remember some of these even now, weeks, months or years later.

One of my favorites is the Mountain Dew commercial from Superbowl XXXIV.

An Expensive Commercial That Sells With Minimal Dialogue

This commercial opens showing an African desert at a distance. Drumming percussive music is playing at a moderate pace in the background.

Switch to a close up view of a cheetah running fast across the desert floor. As the music builds, switch to a distance shot of a line of dust speeding across the desert. Hmmm. There’s a second line of dust gaining on the first. Switch to the determined face of a mountain bike rider, teeth bared, and pumping rapidly at the pedals of his bike.

The cheetah is the fastest land animal, capable of speeds up to 60 miles per hour.

But who is chasing who here?

Creating Anticipation, Excitement and Desire

Switch to a front view of the chase – the mountain biker is chasing the cheetah!

What’s going on here?

As the biker gets closer and closer to the cheetah, the music and the anticipation build. The chase is getting increasingly more exciting, and more dangerous.

As the biker closes in on the cheetah, he launches off his bike, and tackles the cheetah to the ground. He gets up, cautiously approaching the cheetah with both hands poised, and reaches into the cheetah’s mouth, deep down into its stomach. Suddenly he pulls his arm out, and … it’s a punctured can of Mountain Dew – empty.

After a brief shot of three other guys standing with their bikes watching in the distance, the biker scolds the cheetah for drinking his Mountain Dew “bad cheetah!” One of the three guys says “see, that’s why I am not a cat person”.

Some party music kicks in while the three guys are shown chugging cans of Mountain Dew. The commercial closes with a shot of the cheetah walking around with Mountain Dew’s tag-line, “Do the Dew”, written in its spots.

How This Commercial Sells Using Your Emotions

What happened here? Put simply, Mountain Dew is using your emotions to get you to desire and purchase their product.

The essence of an excellent commercial is to create an intense emotion within prospects who fit the target market, and then anchor the prospect’s emotion to the product at the emotional peak of the experience.

By creating an intense enough emotion, and repeatedly anchoring it, the prospect will later recall the emotion, the next time that he sees the product. The associated feelings dramatically increase his propensity to purchase the product.

Learn How to Uncover Emotions and Leverage Them into Sales Fast

Plan Emotional Storytelling Into Your Sale Presentations

Plan stories into your sales presentations. Design a story with emotions that you wish to associate with your product or service. Choose emotions that will help sell your product.

Use the story to create the emotion, to build the emotion, and to stack it until it is intense. Then slam home your product message at the peak of the emotion.

If you have ever told a story with feeling or recalled an emotional experience to someone else, then you have already done this. This is equally effective in a brief one minute interaction, or in a one hour presentation.

To do this, you want to first plan the sequence of emotions that you your audience should feel during the presentation.

In the Mountain Dew commercial, the range of emotions went something like this: intrigue, anticipation, excitement, fun, friendship. These are the emotions that Mountain Dew wants you to feel (and hopefully causing you to buy) the next time you see a can in the store.

You want to plan the pictures, sounds, and words that will elicit the intended emotions from the audience during your presentation. The director of the Mountain Dew commercial scripted this out in detail.

Finally, plan what product message you are going to anchor at the peak emotional moment of your presentation.

The Mountain Dew can with Logo was shown to you right at the peak of the action after the biker tackled the cheetah anchoring the product to the excitement in you. You saw it again with the three friends chugging it, anchoring you to friendship. The final anchoring to sex was subtley accomplished with the tag-line written in the spots of the cheetah sexily strutting by.

Make Your Sales Presentations Compelling With Emotions

Pictures and sounds are very important in creating emotions. If you help the prospect create pictures and sounds in their own minds, you help them to create their own unique meaning of the experience you give them.

There was very little dialog in the Mountain Dew commercial. Instead, the visceral experience of the biker chasing the cheetah sells you the product. Only 7% of all communication comes through in the words we say. 55% of all communication comes through in the physiology we observe in others, and the remaining 38% come through in subtleties of the sounds we hear.

Telling stories allows you to fully engage your audience’s emotions. Features and benefits are a staple of selling, but emotions are how most people make purchasing decisions.

Now, do you really want to give another bullet-list loaded PowerPoint presentation?

Author:

Industrial EGO Sales

 -by Shamus Brown

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    3 Reasons Why Sales Reps Have Product Conversations (and What to Do About Them)

    3 Reasons Why Sales Reps Have Product Conversations (and What to Do About Them)

    Salespeople being too product-focused is one of the most common issues sales leaders and sales enablement teams face. Frequently, failure is laid uncritically at the feet of the individual rep and a sales training solution is sought. Considering the close link between sales compensation and their results, it seems less than likely that large swaths of salespeople are acting very irrationally. For a problem thought to be as widespread as it is, there’s little analysis of why reps keep selling this way. Below I look at 3 reasonable reasons that salespeople have product conversations and what (if anything) to do about it.

    why sales reps have product conversations

    1. Their buyers want to have transactional product conversations!

    Salespeople try to have the conversations their prospects and clients want to have. Frequently, technical and more junior functional buyers want to have feature-benefit conversations—the result they care about is acquiring a product or service that they’ve been asked to acquire, not big picture strategic business results. Conversely, seemingly strategic buyers have sometimes been advised by internal experts on what they need, and thus want to have a product discussion and begin implementation ASAP. Trying to open up a larger dialogue in these scenarios would be a bad move.

    What to Do: If your sales results are in line with expectations, it won’t be the popular thing to do, but you have to do nothing about this and instead focus your efforts elsewhere. While everyone wants to be the trusted advisor to their clients, sometimes product selling gets the job done.

    If you have a profitability or deal size issue, you can shift transactional sales to be lower touch (such as an inside-only approach) or self-service, and focus lead generation efforts and prospecting toward more strategic buyers.

    2. Reps aren’t capable of having results-focused, business conversations.

    This is a more serious problem. You’re getting in front of executive buyers, but salespeople can’t have the kinds of strategic discussions these types of buyers want. On some level this makes sense, as they’re experts on what your organization offers, not on their customer’s business. Most of their training has been focused on understanding your portfolio, and most of their daily interactions concern your business, not the customers. This problem gets worse the more types of customers they serve. While understandable, consistently annoying your customers with detailed discussion of product specifications when they want to talk about how this will affect their overall business performance is a recipe for stagnation or worse.

    What to Do: The solution is highly variable based on the situation, but core to all options would be re-focusing selling conversations around the results reps’ customers are trying to achieve rather than on an explicit need or a problem to be solved. To offer quick support, deploy playbooks around different customer types that easily provide reps with the different sets of results customers care about and information on how your offering drives them. Beyond that, build customer understanding by putting reps in their customer’s shoes (such as a simulation running their customer’s business), so they understand the tradeoffs customers face and how customers see your organization’s offering.

    3. Reps don’t have the capacity to devote themselves to developing deep customer understanding.

    Reps get in front of executive buyers and are able to open strategic conversations about the results that executive cares about, but due to time or resource constraints, those conversations quickly fall into servicing clear needs and don’t grow into the partnerships they should. Sales reps who have the business acumen and executive presence required for the above won’t stay in this environment for long, so solving this problem fast is critical.

    What to Do: In the short term, give your sales reps as much latitude as possible. This could mean dropping activity targets, scrapping weekly stand up calls and any other administrivia. Sales managers and enablement teams will need to provide extra support (and air cover) to let reps spend more time with customers, co-creating solutions that drive results.

    Longer term, you will likely need to re-think how you divide up responsibilities among different sales roles, creating more processes around lower value tasks and taking a hard look at territories in order to free up as much selling time for high value reps as possible.

    If you find your salespeople are too product focused, don’t jump to the conclusion that they aren’t talented enough. Often they shouldn’t be having those conversations, haven’t been given the right training and tools, or even more simply, just don’t have the time to be strategic advisors to their clients. Leaders and enablement need to uncover what’s really happening and take steps to achieve the results your organization needs.

    Author:

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    Effective Selling Starts with Understanding Human Nature

    Effective Selling Starts with Understanding Human Nature

    Imagine you are from another planet, about to embark on a journey to Earth to meet this creature called Humans.  You are going to be given your current job when you arrive on Earth. 

    And imagine I was your instructor, helping you prepare and understand about these Humans. How to interact with them.    

    Here is what I’d tell you. 

    8 Traits of Human Nature

    There are 8 traits commonly shared amongst Humans (at least those in Developed countries). 

    After reading each topic, ask yourself: How does this knowledge impact my job? 

    Humans Are Disorganized: Humans are disorganized, don’t respond, forget things &/or don’t follow their calendar. So, for anything that is important to you, YOU must take the reins to lead and drive every step of the journey … otherwise, you are relying on them.  

    Humans Don’t Like to Say “No”: Because of this trait, Humans often let relationships drag on. When not interested in pursuing or continuing a relationship, Humans prefer to make either vague commitments (“we will talk soon”) or become less responsive (via email, text, etc..). Saying “No” is very uncomfortable for Humans. So, if you want to know where you stand, you need to ask for more specific commitments, take the reins and see if they follow.  If they don’t, they are saying “No” … just politely.

    Humans Don’t Express How They Feel or Ask for Help: We are culture full of egos. When Humans don’t understand something and/or are unhappy with something or someone, they say nothing. It builds and builds and builds, and then we lose the relationship.  So, what can we do?  Simply never assume that “no news” means “good news”.  Take the time to ask Humans for feedback – otherwise you probably won’t get any.  

    Humans don’t like surprises: In both personal and business life, I, like you, would rather hear “any type of news” over “no news at all”. So, be sure to proactively keep your audience in the loop on all updates–good or bad. “No news” will cost you relationships.

    Humans value those they perceive know more than they do: Humans often associate that when you take control of a relationship – drive every step and every agenda – you must know more than they do on the subject matter (even if untrue).  In either case, when talking with Humans, have the confidence to TELL them what you recommend & why, what the next steps should be, discuss timelines, etc. When one Human asserts the lead role in a relationship, the others often just follow.  

    Humans are Risk-Adverse:  Humans often make buying decisions, and will even pay more, for solutions that make them feel “safe” i.e. whatever path they believe has the lowest risk (true or not is irrelevant). This applies to every relationship -business and personal.

    Humans want others to make their life easier: Ask yourself, for those companies or Humans you would refer to your colleagues & friends, are you doing so because of the product or service you received OR because of the total experience you had?  But what constitutes a good “experience”?  If you understand Humans, you know the answer. 

    Humans Favor Heart Above Head: Humans will typically choose and maintain relationships with people they like. If they “like” you, they will often associate you with being a good, smart and honest person (which may or may not be true). So, above all, in relationships, lead with your heart.  Make a Human connection every time you interact with someone.

    Author:

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    by Darren Rabie

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    4 SECRETS TO GREAT SELLING

    4 SECRETS TO GREAT SELLING

    A big part of a sales person’s job is trying to understand the prospect’s needs and then hopefully, being able to recommend a solution that fits his those needs.  It can be a challenge now and then to figure out exactly what a prospect’s business challenges are.  Some prospects have an idea about what they are looking for when a sales person calls them. Some have used similar solutions before and  some are first time buyers. In general, most prospects have a problem they just need to fix.

    How can I help you?

    In all my years as a salesman, I have realized that a sales person is not just a sales person. Sometimes we’re just there to listen, sometimes we are consultants, sometimes we are there just to show the way. Usually, it’s a combination of all three.

    And in this experience, I have found that the best way to find out what a prospects needs is just to simply ask, “How can I help you?”    Four simple words have such a great impact in today’s high pressure selling.  It’s not often these days that you pick up the phone and someone asks you how he can help you.  Today, before you can even open your mouth, the sales man on the other side has already started his sales pitch and you can’t get in a word edgewise.

    Don’t be a Yes (Wo)Man

    In the process of asking them how you can help them, it’s also important to remember to not say  “yes, we can” to all their needs. On the contrary, my experience is that I also have to say “no” on several occasions. Trained to say no, is good – for the right reasons.

    As a company, our mottos are “Less is more” or “keep it simple”.   We don’t believe in biting off more than you can chew.  It’s all about taking things one step at a time so that you can always keep the focus on the important issues.  Therefore, this means that you sometimes need to say no, and that is OK.  I try to do this with all my customers. Some don’t like it, but the majority love it. It helps to keep their focus on the important issues.

    Get to the Core of the Issue

    Here is how I have done this over many years.

    I try to listen for the real reason why they call on me. What are their  basic needs and wants? Challenge them if they want a lot, and I try to get the main challenge which is ailing their business.   What is that one thing they really cannot live without?

    I sum it up as I go along so that we are both aligned.  Then, I ask, “What could be the real issue behind these challenges?”  This question can be difficult to get an honest answer to.  In my line of work, I have found the following as some core reasons why businesses are having problems:

    • A colleague just quit his job, and a couple of potential sales were lost due to lack of knowledge of what was done and what was missing in order to complete the sale.
    • An unhappy customer called your boss, and complained about a few outstanding issues. Your boss knew nothing about it.
    • A colleague called in sick, and two customer meetings had to be cancelled, since no one showed up in time.
    • You are tired of not hitting your targets, even though the sales team reported they would, – until last day of the quarter.
    • You are tired of telling everybody which documents to use and what to do in order to close a deal.
    • You are tired of everyone sending their own documents with no common look and feel, making you look like an unorganized company.

    If this happens over time, companies normally end up in trouble and their real pain could turn out to be one or both of:

    • Losing money
    • Losing customers

    Share the vision and tell the story

    Once I get all the facts on the table, I share the “vision” of how things can be on the “other side” when the new solution is in place.  This gives some more value to the prospective customer and makes it fun and productive along the way.

    Let me show you how this works in real life.

    In my case, the CRM arena, some common problems are:

    • No common customer database with all history available.
    • No easy way to archive e-mails on the right contact.
    • No access to a shared calendar.
    • No clue about sales forecasts.
    • No common sales process.
    • No easy access to documents and email templates.

    The vision could be like this:

    • What if you had a customer database with easy access to all e-mail, meetings and activities done by you and your colleagues accessible 24/7 in a browser and also from your smart phone?
    • What if you had a system that automatically found the right contact when you archived your e-mail?
    • What if you could find the first vacant spot in the shared calendar where your boss, your CFO and yourself could attend the same important meeting?
    • What if you at any time, could get the right picture of your own sales pipeline and your teams’ pipeline?
    • What if you could define a workflow for what actions and what pre-defined documents to create in the sales process?
    • What if you could shorten the sales cycle by getting the pre-filled documents and contracts with a click?

    These visions are what it takes takes, to get the prospective customer to see value from you proposition.

    It takes a lot of training to get this right.

    But story telling lifts the dialogue to a level where you can engage in changing something that does not work.

    And change to the better is what makes selling and buying fun from both sides.

    So just start by saying, “Thanks for calling. How can I help you?”

    Sales

    Author:

    Superoffice

    Hans Christian Grønsleth

    Gravatar image

    I have worked in SuperOffice since December 2007. From December 2011, I moved into the SuperOffice cloud. As Director of Cloud Services or Minister of the Clouds (as we call it in Superland*) I am responsible for our global cloud initiatives. And we mean serious business. I have a passion for customers, and the positive tension between buyers and sellers. I share part of my life on social platforms. Talk to me on twitter @gronsleth

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    Sales Questions for Discovery

    Sales Questions for Discovery

    Sales questions for discovery, in prospecting, uncovering needs, building rapport and qualifying, are critical in the sales process

    The goal of sales questions for discovery purposes is for salespeople to have valuable conversations with various customer profiles and adapt the company’s value proposition to the unique situation of each buyer. Great conversations should happen on purpose, not by accident. But to have conversations that win, the sales questions, messages, storytelling, marketing content, and sales skills need to work together.

    “In B2B selling only 3% of your market is actively buying at any given time, 57% are not ready and 40% are poised to begin.” – Aberdeen Group

    The above percentages support the logic that sales questions must build a bridge to connect with buyers on a personal level, understand what’s important to them, get insight into their thinking, and create better options for them. The importance of asking the right sales questions is vital if a salesperson is to engage in really meaningful sales conversations with prospects or customers.

    Sales Questions for Discovery – Attention and Signal vs. Noise

    Today, buyer attention is in short supply, they are lost in a sea of more information, advertising, and messages like never before. Sales questions and conversations should be crafted to get attention, be strong signals above the noise. Sales questions that resonate with a prospect’s plans and desires. Mind share and being “top of mind” have never been more prized than they are now. Intelligent sales questions that give a buyer food for thought is a major plank in getting mind share time. So, keep your sales questions relevant and your sales conversations noteworthy.

    For sales questions to get above the noise, the starting point is to understanding your customer’s needs, try to imagine the world from your customers’ point of view. Who are they, and what motivates them? What’s their day like? What are their challenges or goals? Is the relationship between seller and buyer more partnership based, purely business or transaction based?

    Sales Question to Ask to fill the GAP

    Sales questions for discovery must fill the GAP and address what the buyer or decision makers in the company want to accomplish. Sales questions that uncovers the GAP between where they are now and where they want to be? And the GAP in the sales process is nearly always determined by the responsibilities and stance of the decision maker.

    GAP sales questions for discovery should be constructed to answer insights such as;

    How is the decision maker rewarded, and for what?

    What is it that the decision maker has to do to earn the respect and support of his or her superiors and peers?

    On what basis, and for what results, does he or she get recognized for?

    It can be too easy to forget that one of the deepest subconscious needs of all people is the need for self-esteem, feeling valuable, important and worthwhile. If the series of sales questions can find out what a person needs to do to increase their self-esteem and their perceived value in their organization, and then show them that by using your product or service, they can earn the approval and appreciation of the people around them and above them, they will often be highly motivated to buy what you are selling.

    “When engaging with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.”

    sales-questions-discovery

    sales questions for discovery success

    Ten things you need to know about your customers

    1. Who they are.
      How long have they been in their role, outside work interests, shared connections, social background, previous roles etc.?
    2. What they do
      Understanding of what their business is trying to achieve, responsibilities, goals, how they are measured?
    3. Why they buy
      Reactionary, planned, early adopters, triggers etc? This helps to match their needs to the benefits your business can offer.
    4. When they buy
      Needs driven? budget driven? solution driven? Seasonal driven? Uncovering buying trends can increase the opportunity to enter into deeper sales negotiation conversations.
    5. How they buy and select vendors
      What is the internal process? Who is on the buying committee? Any criteria a vendor is expected to pass? Terms?
    6. Do they have budgets or how much money they have
      Being able to afford the offering means a buyer can commit to the sales process, avoid chasing dead-ends by discovering does the contact have authority over budgets.
    7. What makes them feel good about buying solutions
      B2B buyers are emotional creatures as well. If you know what makes them tick, you can serve them in the way they prefer.
    8. What they expect of you as a salesperson and partner
      For example, if your customers expect 24/7 support and you don’t disappoint them, you stand to gain repeat business.
    9. What they think about you
      Your personal brand is important. If your customers trust your insights, views you as bringing value and enjoys dealing with you, they’re likely to engage with you more. And you can only tackle problems that customers have if you know what they are.
    10. What they think about your competitors
      If you know how your customers view your competition, you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of your rivals.

     

    Sales Question for Discovery Success

    As stated above, in order to get a sale and a customer, you must first understand what your customers want and need and what the differences are between the two. So here is a list of 30 sales questions for discovery and qualification.

    What are your short-term goals? Long-term goals?

    What does this solution mean to you? What does it mean to your company?

    What is your expected outcome from selecting this solution?

    What is your boss hoping to accomplish in the next year?

    How do your team objectives play into your department’s strategy?

    What do you perceive as your greatest strength? Weakness?

    How does your company evaluate the potential of new products or services?

    Who has your business now? Why did you choose that vendor?

    What are your buying criteria and success criteria?

    Where would you put the emphasis regarding price, quality, and service?

    What level of service are you looking for?

    What do you like best about your present supplier? What don’t you like?

    What do you look for in the companies you do business with?

    What might cause you to change suppliers?

    What do you like best about your current system? What would you like to see changed?

    What do you perceive your needs to be? How important are they?

    If you were me, how would you proceed?

    Where do you go to inform yourself of developments?

    What factors would influence your decision to consider changing?

    What will it take for us to do business?

    How soon can we begin?

    What is my best shot for getting back the account?

    What did we do in the last sale that impressed you most?

    What do you look for in your relationship with a supplier?

    Who was the best salesperson who ever called on you?

    If you could change one thing about your organization, what would it be?

    Do you struggle with [common pain point]?

    What deadlines are you currently up against?

    Which resource could you use more of?

    Would you rather cut costs, save money, or increase productivity?

     

    Sales Questions Have A Place in Every Part of The Sales Process

    The use of sales questions for discovery and uncovering of opportunities is a major skill every salesperson should master via sales training. However, it takes research, planning, trial and error to gather a list of questions that work for your industry. In your sales skills arsenal, more intelligent and well thought out sales questions will deliver better results across the whole sales process.

     
    Free Sales Training Articles and Insights

    Published by brianoconn

    Online Sales training programs and online sales training courses via The Digital Sales Institute. Passion for helping salespeople succeed in their sales career. 

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      Building Trust Results in Customer Loyalty

      Building Trust Results in Customer Loyalty

      Dr. Chris Hart recently spoke at the Better Business Bureau’s Excellence in Customer Service Award Dinner. Dr. Hart gave an excellent presentation that clearly expressed how building trust results in customer loyalty, which results in more profitable customers and a greater chance for marketing and sales success. Most businesses struggle because trust is not yet present in a loyal customer base. Their customers range from merely satisfied to unhappy. Your challenge is to move people into the loyal customer category. This means building trust.

      What is Trust?

      Trust is the glue that holds the business relationship together and is expressed repeatedly in your actions. This includes what you do and do not do. Simple things are key, such as returning phone calls immediately and being consistent in your words and actions. In this way, trust is an absolutely essential part of sales, as well as business in general. If trust is not present, customers will not buy.

      Trust is an Investment

      Building trust is not cheap. It is an investment in your service to customers. This means hiring good people and providing them with ongoing training, offering money back guarantees, and going out of your way to meet customer needs better. The catch is that these investments pay off handsomely in improved profits and a strong referral base. Remember, word-of-mouth marketing is the best way to generate new sales. When trust is high, customers go out of their way to tell others about your business.

      Eliminate Customer Sacrifices

      What do your customers have to put up with to do business with you? These are barriers to success. Look at the companies you are passionate about. How easy is it do to business with those organizations? Remove customer sacrifices and build loyal clients.

      Competence and Credibility

      Trust is built by showing competence and credibility. Competence is getting the job done right, better than the competitors. It is expressed through knowledge of the client’s needs, your product/service and the ability to work with others. Credibility is your character, integrity and honesty. Only say what you really mean and be a person of integrity. Show genuine concern for the customer through giving and unselfish behavior. The focus is on the customer and his or her needs.

      Customers are Honest When Trust is Present

      Don’t expect full honesty from people until trust is present. This is why objections really come from a lack of trust. Customers fear that you will take advantage of them if they share their shortcomings with you. When a customer trusts you, they are more inclined to tell you how to meet their needs specifically.

      How to Build Trust

      Trust is built through frequent interactions. These interactions are your opportunity to build trust. In fact, any interaction you have with customers has an impact on trust. Communication is about trust, not technique. When trust is high, it is effortless; when low, it is a huge burden. Listening builds trust because it shows how much you value the customer. It meets a deep psychological need to be respected as a person.Listening is the single most important thing you can do to build trust. Following are additional ways to build trust:

      • Trust customers to do the right thing
      • Return all phone calls immediately
      • Send thank-you notes
      • Be extremely organized and dependable
      • Do something different and special, be creative
      • Handle complaints promptly with empathy and honesty
      • Offer great customer service
      • Show sincere appreciation
      • Understand your customers
      • Become a valuable resource to the client
      • Create solutions that add value to customers
      • Partner with the customer
      • Create a customer, not a sale
      • Do not over-promise and do what you say you will do
      • Do something that is not expected
      • Always give more than expected
      • Do these things without any expectation of a return from the customer

      Always act in the best interest of your customers. Selling — in fact, doing business — is the process of building a trusting relationship with people. This is not a passing trend or sales technique, but a way of life. Make it your challenge to find at least three ways to build trust with customers this week.

      Author:
      Sales Training Plus

      By Thomas Young, MBA

      Tom Young, MBA is a sales trainer and marketing consultant helping companies increase revenues.

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      Filling Up the Sales Funnel: 12 Tips for Earning Consistent Revenues – and Commissions – All Year Round

      Filling Up the Sales Funnel: 12 Tips for Earning Consistent Revenues – and Commissions – All Year Round


       

      Many sales reps and managers complain that they can’t create a consistent
      flow of revenues or commissions month after month. Instead of a nice,
      straight line increasing consistently over time like an upwards pointing
      arrow, they find themselves staring repeatedly at sales results that
      look more like a hockey stick: nothing for two months, a sharp increase
      for a month or two, then back down again to nothing a month later.

      So what can you do to keep your sales funnel full of leads, to ensure
      a consistent, reliable flow of revenues all year round?

      Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, a lack of consistent revenues
      – the “hockey stick syndrome” – is caused by a lack of consistent
      prospecting. A failure to prospect on a regular basis will inevitably
      result in irregular revenues, and inconsistent commissions. It’s that
      simple.

      This is especially true when we’re doing well. It can be so easy
      to forget about prospecting when we’re wrapped up with following a
      dozen or so hot leads, who are demanding lengthy proposals and multiple
      meetings, conference calls, demonstrations and references. But this
      is precisely the time when we need to be prospecting, to ensure that
      steady sales flow doesn’t suddenly dry up.

      Yes, prospecting can be a difficult and, for many people, daunting
      task. The simple fact is, not all sales reps like doing it. But I’ve
      yet to meet a top sales professional for whom prospecting hasn’t played
      a pivotal role in their success.

      And let’s face it, prospects don’t fall from the sky. We have to
      work at getting them consistently, so we can close sales consistently.
      After all, even if you’ve mastered all the questioning, closing and
      objection handling techniques in the world, you’ll still almost certainly
      fail if you don’t have any prospects to use them with!

      So if you find prospecting always somehow slips to the bottom of
      your “To Do” list, here are 12 Tips to help you ensure your
      sales funnel is consistently full of leads:

      1. Sell more products to existing customers. This can include selling
        additional quantities of the same product, selling add-on services
        or products from your existing portfolio, or introducing your existing
        customers to a new product they might be interested in. To get started,
        plan to stay in touch with your current customers through a combination
        of direct (phone calls) and indirect (email, direct mail) methods
        about once every six weeks, with the goal of selling them additional
        products or repeat orders. Just don’t go overboard, or you may cross
        that magical line between persistence, and stalking.
      2. Set a goal for the number of networking events you will attend
        each month, and the number of new people you’d like to meet at each
        event. Then don’t leave until you’ve collected that many business
        cards.
      3. Reward yourself for closing new business. Treat yourself to a
        trip to the spa, your favorite Bordeaux or dinner out at that great
        little Italian restaurant. Remember: what gets rewarded, gets repeated.
      4. Take a look at opt-in email lists. Set up a targeted email marketing
        campaign to acquaint potential new customers with your company or
        products, then follow up by phone.
      5. Ask your current customers for referrals. The key is to be as
        specific as possible. For example, don’t just adopt a generic, “do
        you know anyone who” approach. Instead, make a list of all
        the companies or people you’d like to meet, approach any existing
        customers who might have a contact at those new prospects, and then
        simply ask: “Mr. Customer, I’ve been trying to get hold of
        the VP of Marketing at ABC Corporation – you don’t happen to know
        them, do you?” If it’s one of their business partners or associates,
        or even just a firm that’s in the same industry or building, chances
        are your customer will know the person you want to meet, and will
        probably be only too happy to make the introduction.
      6. Go for a walk or drive around your territory, and take a look
        at who is in the neighborhood. Then, try making some face-to-face
        cold calls. The change of perspective can be refreshing, and you
        never know when you will find business in the least likely of places.
      7. Make a habit of having lunch, coffee or breakfast with at least
        one new person each week. Share ideas, and give them any leads that
        might help them first.
      8. Write articles for relevant on-line or print publications your
        prospects might read. It’s not as hard to get published as you might
        think, and once you’ve been published once, it only gets easier.
        Just make sure to retain full rights to your articles by not being
        paid to write them. Then, once they’ve been published, send an email
        or mailing to your prospects and clients inviting them to read them.
        Plus, try sending your articles to larger publications, too – trust
        me, they don’t bite, and if your article is accepted, you can’t
        beat the added credibility and visibility.
      9. Volunteer to speak at trade shows and conferences. As a rule of
        thumb, you should speak at every trade show where you exhibit. This
        will increase your credibility, and drive traffic to your booth.
        Even if you aren’t exhibiting, you should still submit a proposal
        for a workshop or showcase. If you secure a speaking spot, let your
        customers know that you’ll be there, and when they can see you.
        Then invite prospects to visit you at the show, and set specified
        times for meeting people at your booth. That way, you will get a
        steady flow of traffic, and others will be attracted to your booth
        to see why so many people are gathered there.
      10. Be excellent at what you do. Word travels fast, so do everything
        you can to make sure that all the talk about you is positive!
      11. If possible, join the trade associations or organizations your
        clients and prospects belong to. Not only will these associations
        keep you up to date on what’s happening in the industries you sell
        to, they’ll also provide you with a great opportunity to meet key
        people on a regular basis. To build a successful network, be sure
        to attend the meetings as often as possible – not just once or twice
        a year.
      12. Lastly, for a cost-effective way to keep your name in front of
        potential clients, try sending mailings to prospects, complete with
        relevant items of interest. Send these mailings about once every
        6 weeks, and you’ll also benefit by learning when key people in
        the organization leave their positions due to a promotion, reassignment
        or departure for a new company.
        Of course, this isn’t a complete list of all the possible ways to
        build your network and find new prospects. But they are some time-honored
        ideas that I’ve found work for almost every business or situation
        I’ve encountered.

      And remember, you don’t need to pursue all of these ideas at once
      to become a successful prospector. In fact, it might be unproductive
      to do so! But at any one time, you should be involved in at least
      four of these twelve techniques, and make sure that the four you choose
      change as your company – and your clients – evolve.

      The key is to make prospecting a regular habit. By committing a set
      amount of time each day, every week towards meeting new people, in
      the long run, your sales funnel will be more full than you can handle,
      and your “hockey stick” revenues will be a thing of the
      past.

      Author:

      Engage Selling Solutions | The Sales Leader

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        5 Ways to Develop a World-Class Sales Operations Function

        5 Ways to Develop a World-Class Sales Operations Function

        Sales operations leaders can make these changes to improve functional effectiveness and deliver a competitive advantage that drives sales success.

        What makes a world-class sales operations team? How close to world-class is your organization? A few changes in key areas can push your team ahead of the competition and drive the overall sales function to reach its business goals.

        Gartner research shows that world-class sales operations teams are proficient at six key capabilities: Sales analytics and intelligence, sales force design and deployment, sales leadership support, sales process and systems, sales operations management and sales compensation.

        Gartner shares the key capabilities of a world-class sales operations function.

        “World-class sales operations leaders don’t just provide analysis,” says Craig Riley, Senior Principal Analyst, Gartner. “They also serve as chiefs of staff — coordinating everything from sales strategy to execution — within the sales function and among stakeholders outside of sales. Leaders succeed when the department serves as a focal point for key decisions.”  

        The Gartner State of Sales Operations Report highlights five opportunities for CSOs and sales operations leaders to improve the function in 2020. 

        No. 1: Improve data literacy

        Forty-two percent of respondents rate sales analytics ROI as significantly higher than expected. This rating is consistent whether sales analytics is housed in sales operations or outside of sales and shared between multiple functions. 

        There are still areas where the current ROI does not match the value that analytics can provide. Quota setting, territory planning and territory design are places analytics can be used to improve operational processes, but many sales leaders do not see them offering a high ROI.

        Success in these areas requires creating a culture where “information as a second language” is the expectation. This means sales operations will need to take deliberate steps to align all stakeholders on the underlying purpose of analytics, the sources of the data, the definitions of the metrics and the interpretation of the analytics to reinforce the culture’s focus on data.

         

        No. 2: Establish data-sharing practices and drive alignment

        Today’s organizations are interconnected and require coordination with multiple stakeholders. As a result, sales operations teams regularly work with other functions. Gartner research finds that 57% of sales operations functions support marketing departments, 38% support product and 35% support finance.

        The amount of data that will pass through the sales function is expected to increase, and sales operations will be relied on more than ever

        Ensure that outside functions have the sales information and analysis necessary to make informed decisions. Be sure to monitor the data provided, as specific situations may call for changes. 

        No. 3: Create a data-based decision-making culture

        Accurate forecasts are not enough to gain organizational support. Sales leaders and sellers must feel comfortable making decisions based on the process and output. Gartner research finds that less than half of respondents say sales leaders and sellers in their organizations have high confidence in forecasting accuracy. This skepticism often results in sales leaders and sellers taking action based on intuition instead of evidence, which can negatively impact commercial outcomes.

        Assuming forecasts are generally accurate, the problem is poor organizational perception. To overcome this, sales operations leaders must go beyond publishing regular forecasts and also track and communicate accuracy over time. Consider presenting a monthly or quarterly presentation of the forecasts compared to actual totals. 

        No. 4: Sales operations’ role changes

        Talent needs for sales operations are changing. Despite the increase of automation, staff will still be required for many of the department’s tasks. Respondents expect data and analytics skills to be much more important for sales operations staff in the coming years than they are today. This is likely because the amount of data that will pass through the sales function is expected to increase, and sales operations will be relied on more than ever. 

        As the volume of data and the number of different sources continue to increase, sales functions will need operations departments with analysis and synthesis skills. Sales operations will need to take a holistic view of all available data sources and combine them into actionable insights.

        No. 5: Proactively approach cost management

        Controlling costs — if not reducing them — in the face of market uncertainty is an effective strategy. Sales operations leaders can play a key role in sales expense mitigation by using metrics to drive better decision making and reveal hidden insights. 

        For example, sales operations leaders can use strategic and analytical methods to determine the optimal sales force size based on a variety of dynamics, such as customer needs, seller capacity and ROI assessments.

        Author:

        Smarter With Gartner

        Contributor: 

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          Examples of How Salespeople Lose Credibility with Their Prospects

          Examples of How Salespeople Lose Credibility with Their Prospects

          You probably thought I would write a world series article but there wasn’t much tension or anxiety in this series as the Sox dominated.  So instead of an epic baseball related article, you’re going to read about trust and credibility.

          Most salespeople know the importance of establishing trust and sometimes overcompensate to achieve it.  However, when salespeople lose credibility, the most likely scenario is for their prospects to buy from someone else and this happens much more often than you might think.  Data from Objective Management Group’s (OMG) evaluations and assessments of 2,057,468 salespeople tell us that only 38% of all salespeople establish trust and even the top 5% are only able to bump that number to 54%. 

          trust-1

          That could explain a lot of lost sales, but why? 

          It is very easy to demonstrate this by using the current political atmosphere as an example.

          Before we begin, I am a registered independent and have voted for both democrat and republican candidates in the past 3 presidential elections, There is no need to read between the lines, twist my words, or turn this into a political platform.  I shared ugliness from both sides of the political spectrum proportionately.

          Do you remember the 2016 presidential campaign when a 2005 video of Trump emerged with him saying that he could grab women’s genitals?  Most politicians and pundits condemned him, his words and his actions.  At the time, CNN had a couple of Trump surrogates fighting an uphill battle each night as the panels were usually stacked with pro-Hillary voices.   On that night, rather than joining the crowd and condemning Trump’s actions, they defended him and lost ALL credibility.  Nobody would listen to them again and they were eventually fired.  All they had to do was say that they agreed with everyone else on the panel and shut up. They could go back to fighting the good fight on another night and they might have even garnered some additional support for being so realistic and honest.  But that’s not the path they chose to take.

          Things were equally mind-blowing this past week after the serial package bomber and synagogue shooter were both apprehended.  FOX had a couple of democrat strategists who, rather than blaming the bomber and the shooter, put the blame squarely on Trump, as if he had recruited them to act on his behalf.  As with the previous example, they lost all credibility when, if they had only chosen common sense over party, they would have maintained credibility and the opportunity to get viewers to listen to their other opinions.  It was a completely different story over at CNN and MSNBC where their viewers would have surely applauded any guest who blamed Trump for the evil that took place last week.

          Which finally brings us to selling.

          Your prospects will usually be on one side of your argument or the other.  There’s not really any such thing as down the middle because everyone has an opinion.  Whether it’s your approach to solutions, product design, services, technology, pricing, timing, delivery or customer service, you won’t be credible if you take the view that is opposite of what they believe.  Period.  CNN is the most trusted name in news – as long as you agree with their 24×7 anti-Trump narrative.  FOX is fair and balanced – as long as you only watch the three shows that are actually fair and balanced; because the others definitely lean to the right of center.

          So how do you appear credible to a prospect who:

          Loves one of your competitors? You need to love them too.

          Loves a different product?  You need to love it too.

          Loves a different technology?  You need to love it too.

          Loves a different price?  You need to love it too.

          Love it – at least initially.  At least long enough to lower their resistance.  At least long enough for them to find you credible.  At least until they are willing to listen to an alternate message.

          Go Red Sox.

          Author:

          OMG Hub

          Dave Kurlan 

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          Things Happen!

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          3 Ways to Fail Fast and Win Quickly in Sales

          3 Ways to Fail Fast and Win Quickly in Sales

          If you fail two out of every three at-bats in the Major League, you’ll end up in the Hall of Fame. If you fail 90% of the time as a venture capitalist, you’ll end up being a multi-millionaire—possibly a billionaire.

          So, why are salespeople afraid to fail? And why do sales managers often berate a salesperson when they fail? If you’re never failing, then you’re probably never winning either. We tell our team to take risks and explore new opportunities, but are we reiterating that embracing failure is actually good for business?

          Celebrate Failure to Succeed in Sales

          New call-to-actionIt’s our responsibility to encourage our people to be bold, ambitious, and to push themselves without the fear of failure.

          We need to be like X (formally Google X), where they actually reward people for failing fast! If you are not familiar with X, it was founded in 2010 by Google as a research and development firm that creates radical new technologies to solve some of the world’s hardest problems.

          At X, the faster you fail, the better. As crazy as it seems, the theory is that most projects will eventually fail, so the sooner they realize that a project won’t succeed, the faster they can move on to their next project that can succeed. Highlighting failing moments when they happen helps ensure this mindset becomes an active part of the sales culture you’re building.

          Sales Prospecting 

          When you think about it, this process sounds a lot like prospecting, right? 

          If you target 10 new prospects, even the best AE will only get an appointment with two or three. That means that 70-80% of their “projects” fail. So, the sooner they can get to the next round of new target accounts, the better!

          Sales managers and salespeople need to start looking at prospecting, much like X looks at their projects. We’re going to fail 80% of the time, let’s do it FAST and move to our next one!

          3 Ways to Fail Fast and Get to the Prospects That Will Succeed Quickly 

          Be a Category Killer

          By focusing on a category of potential prospects, you become an expert in the field. You can use your knowledge to create valid business reasons that will land you a first-time needs analysis. You can also create a sales play for that category that you can use and reuse for all of your prospects in your category, allowing you to move quickly from one prospect to the next.

          Hit Hard and Fast

          Research shows that the average prospect responds to a salesperson after 7 to 9 engagements. Therefore, you need to reach out to each prospect a lot in a short amount of time to really make an impact. We recommend 7 to 9 attempts (emails, phone calls, etc.) in a 10-business day window.

          Lead with Insights

          Prospects today need to be impressed to give you any chance of getting an appointment. By leading with insights, you will demonstrate your knowledge of their business and, hopefully, intrigue them enough to respond to your outreach. Think about offering category research, trends, success stories, or even a client referral.

          Don’t be afraid to fail! Embrace the fact that sales is tough and failure is part of the process. Be prepared to fail fast, so that you can get to your next prospect that will succeed!  

          Author:

          The Center for Sales Strategy Logo

           

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