Sales Wisdom

Sales Wisdom

Here’s a collection of sales wisdoms found along the way. If you don’t sell, don’t be fooled by the title: although the wisdoms are pointed at sales people, they are equally applicable in any persuasive situation.

Start with rapport

You won’t sell anything until you get rapport with the other person. Rapport is a state of emotional bonding, where they are aligned with you and vice versa.

If you move, then if you are in rapport, then they will move too.

Customers don’t have needs–they have problems

A lot of sales training and books tell you about the importance of selling to customer needs. Although this is basically true, customers don’t sit down and think ‘I’ve got a need’. Instead, they experience problems and hence seek solutions to these.

The customer has to perceive the problem, of course. You may perceive the problem, but if the customer doesn’t, then there’s no way they can bite the solution line.

So the sales job is about finding, eliciting and solving these problems. Where understanding of needs does come in useful here is that problems appear when needs are not met. But when you talk to customers, it usually works best if the subject is problems.

Urgency is proportional to pain

Problems are like health. The more a problem hurts now, the more the need for a solution now. And the more it hurts, the more they’ll be prepared to pay for a speedy solution.

It’s got to hurt enough

The operation of resolving the pain is itself a painful process, so if the pain is below this threshold, the patient will prefer to continue to suffer than accept any treatment. 

Research has shown that most people will seek a solution when they have three problems. About a quarter seek solutions earlier, and another quarter seek solutions later.

You don’t sell products, benefits or solutions–you sell feelings

Sales used to be about selling products. But a sole focus on products leads to objections, so  sales moved to selling benefits. Better again, the focus turned to understanding the underlying problem to be solved, but this is still not the whole story.

When we make any decision, including the ‘buy’ decision, we do so by an emotional process. It may not seem that way, and there may be much logical processing, but the point of decision is always emotional, and usually subconscious.

Ask for the sale

A lot of sales people are so paranoid about the customer saying no that they keep on selling long past the close-by date. They may even talk the customer into buying and then talk them out again.

The trick is to swallow your fear and ask. When the time comes, ask for the sale. Ask ‘Are you ready to buy now?’

Ask for honesty

Ask them for honesty and you will get it. Ask ‘Can you be honest about this?’ They will say yes, of course. Then you can ask them for critical information and you will get the truth.

By asking for honesty, when they say yes then they must then maintain consistency with that statement and be honest.

The best sale seems to be driven by the customer

Great sales people give so much apparent control to customers that the customer seem to sell the products to themselves.

They do this by being incredibly sensitive to the customer’s situation and state of mind, then nudging gently with the right questions such that the customer realizes their need and ends up asking for the product.

They have turned causal conversation into an art, persuading by subtle inference and influence rather than more overt presentation and persuasive talk.

Love that customer!

Love is a funny word that is much misunderstood. Loving the customer doesn’t mean hugs and kisses, but it does mean caring about them both before and after the sale.

When sales people truly care about the success of their customers, it shows all over their faces and all over their actions, too. A loving sales person will never dupe their customers and will always give them a fair deal. Note the emphasis on fair. That means the sales person gets something out of it too.

It’s difficult not to trust someone who loves you. In fact it’s difficult not to love them back, and loved customers often love their sales people. Now there’s a relationship to kill for.

Be paranoid

Paranoia is a normal and healthy state. This is as compared with the enormous dangers of complacency. The sale is never in the bag until the ink is dry. Even then, customers can often return products. They can also complain like mad and never buy from you again.

Always assume there’s a competitor lurking. Always assume the customer has not fallen in love with you or your products. Never assume that a sale will fall into your lap without due and continuous effort on your part. 

You said

‘You told me you wanted a widget? Well here’s a great one.’ Frequently use their words, needs, and so on. Use ‘You said’, ‘You mentioned’ etc. to make undeniable connections.

ABC

Always Be Closing is a common wisdom, but it isn’t always wise. If the customer is not ready, trying to close them will result in more objections, often false ones, put up as a defense.  

ABT is better: Always be Testing. Always test that they are with and that you are with them. Test for outstanding objections and misunderstandings. Test for commitment. And, yes, test for readiness to close. But only at the right time.

Handle the transfer

If the sale involves transferring an account from a previous supplier, the thought of doing this transfer can block the sale. It’s embarrassing to tell someone you are no longer going to do business with them, and they may want to try and grab you back. It’s also a lot of hassle.

So offer to handle the transfer as a part of the package. 

Let them discover things

There’ s a world of difference between you telling them things and them finding them out for themselves. The difference is ownership and a sense of identity. If they find a great benefit from your product by themselves, their identity will connect through the benefit directly to your product. When you tell them, then they don’t get that connection.

If you don’t talk product, they won’t object

If you want to avoid price (and other) objections, stay off the subject of your product. It’s difficult to object to something that is not in the conversation.

Of course, you will have to talk product at some time, but if you can stay off it until they are crying out for a solution just like your product, then the only product conversation will be short and sweet.

It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you

Having a great list of contacts is not much good if you have to explain you are and rebuild trust levels every time you call them.

When people know and trust you, just the sound of your name will send good feelings surging through them. They will be ready and willing to do your bidding.

Not only that, but rather than you call them, they will be calling you, and telling other people to call you. When people know and trust you, sales turn from push into pull.

Be clean

Physically, that is. Nobody buys from a dirty, smelly, slovenly sales person. Your presentation is, literally, a hygiene factor. If you are clean, tidy and smell ok, then it may not increase your chance of selling, but it will, at the very least, not get in the way.

Shower daily. Wash before seeing clients. Avoid bad breath. Have your suit or clothes cleaned often. Make your shoes shine.

The degree to which you polish up will depend on circumstance. If you are selling grease guns to mechanics, you don’t want to turn up in an Armani suit. But you still want to appear tidy and clean. Generally, you want to avoid presentation being a block to sales, and maybe being a subtle encouragement as people admire how you look and smell. But you don’t want to show them up so they feel you are ‘too posh’ for them.

A simple rule: try to avoid your audience noticing what you are wearing. Any influence from your clothes should be very largely subconscious.

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Salespeople Need More Ego, Not Less

Salespeople Need More Ego, Not Less

Yes, you read that right. Before you disagree, hear me out here. Salespeople need to be selling with more ego, not less, so that they can build better relationships with prospects and customers.

First off, what does “ego” really mean and how does it affect you?

Ego is not about having a big personality or being pushy; ego is a person’s sense of self-esteem. You act far more kindly when you feel that you have value, and you’re also more attuned to what others want. It makes you listen and engage in a way that’s respectful and productive, and if you disagree, you do it politely.

But when people lack self-esteem and have low egos, they behave poorly. This becomes a big factor of the customer experience during a sales cycle, not to mention your working relationships with your coworkers and manager. But if you’re confident, then you become easier to work with, give straight answers, and are much more efficient.

Here are three common examples of how salespeople with low egos act, and how the situation changes when they have a healthy, high ego:

1. Low-ego salespeople interpret your questions as criticisms.

Because salespeople with low egos are on edge, they can often feel cornered when they’re not. In an effort to anticipate any objections they’re likely to face, they pounce quickly, even when it’s not really an objection. This is the result of their training going haywire, and only a salesperson with high ego knows how to relax and hear a prospect out without jumping to conclusions.

Scenario 1: Low Ego

Prospect: How much does your solution cost?

Salesperson: Look, I know that our competitors probably told you that we’re more expensive, but I want you to know that they’re misleading you. We’re totally affordable.

Prospect: Okay…so how much is it?

Scenario 2: Healthy Ego

Prospect: How much does your solution cost?

Salesperson: That’s a great question. Is price a large factor in your evaluation?

Prospect: No, I was just looking to get a ballpark.

Salesperson: Great, it’s $X amount.

2. Low-ego salespeople never give you a straight answer.

Salespeople are always looking to guide their prospects down a purchase path, but those with low egos often try to find shortcuts to get them there. The worst offense is when you receive a valid concern that needs an answer, either a yes or a no, and you don’t give them a direct one. It’s frustrating for your prospects and ruins your credibility. High-ego salespeople realize that there needs to be a mutual fit for them to get a sale.

Scenario 1: Low Ego

Prospect: But isn’t it true that your system doesn’t do X?

Salesperson: Our solution is totally comprehensive, so that’s not something that you’ll ever have to worry about with us.

Prospect: ….

Scenario 2: Healthy Ego

Prospect: But isn’t it true that your system doesn’t do X?

Salesperson: Good catch, that’s true. Is that critical to your evaluation?

Prospect: Not to me, but to my boss, yes.

Salesperson: Well, I’ll be honest with you. It’s not a native feature, but we do have technology partners who do that and are well integrated with our platform.

Prospect: Okay, I’m sure that’s fine.

3. Low-ego salespeople over-use industry lingo to the point of being incomprehensible.

They pack their answers with so many buzzwords that it obscures the true meaning. This is sometimes referred to as corporate-speak or “corpuspeak.” These types of salespeople are so worried that they won’t hit the right series of buzzwords that they end up trying them all. But confident salespeople know that bombarding clients with buzzwords makes them harder to understand, so they choose to speak in terms that are easy to digest.

Scenario 1: Low Ego

Prospect: Does this solution solve my problem?

Salesperson: Absolutely, because it’s the most seamless social widget packed with innovative collaboration aspects married with intuitive social trends analytics. No fire-drills necessary.

Scenario 2: Healthy Ego

Prospect: Does this solution solve my problem?

Salesperson: It does. You mentioned that your main objective is to drive more revenue, and our solution drives more quality leads to the salespeople, which results in 24-30% more revenue.

Is this starting to make sense now? The main idea here is that when salespeople aren’t confident, they go through a lot of extra motions that waste time. They’re also prone to seeing any concerns that are raised as a win-lose scenario, not a win-win, so they’ll engage in dishonest behavior and stray from answering a question directly. When they have a healthy ego, that fear of rejection melts away, and they’re able to be authentic and provide a far superior customer experience. So, if you’re looking to improve the buyer’s experience and close more deals, what do you need? More ego.

Let’s get to the heart of this: how does a salesperson develop more ego? What’s the secret recipe?

It’s a combination of all of these things:

  • They have confidence. Salespeople are confident when they have the tools, resources, and knowledge they need and when management believes in them and they believe in their mission. Doubts in any of these areas can quickly cripple their confidence.
  • They work in a strong sales culture. Salespeople need to be in a collaborative, supportive environment that picks them back up when they’re down.
  • They’re rested and ready. Frazzled salespeople have low egos because they’re physically worn out. Don’t let this happen to you or your team.
  • They’re immunized against sales “rejection flu”Getting over the fear of rejection is a big component of building up a salesperson’s ego. They need to learn how to overcome it.
  • They have a well-defined process to follow. Salespeople with low egos are typically nervous and lack a sense of how to close a deal. If you’re in the software industry, take a look at the 7 Steps for SaaS Sales Success infographic or come up with your own version to share with the team.
  • They focus on earning trust. Low ego salespeople are trying to slam-and-cram deals because they don’t believe in the intrinsic value of their product or their own self-worth. Focus on first earning prospect’s trust and everything that follows will be much easier.
  • They empathize with the customer. Have your salespeople shadow calls and think of themselves as customers so that they can see what good and bad sales calls sound like. If they put themselves in the customer’s shoes, they’ll have more confidence about the type of rep that they want to be.

Salespeople thrive in a solid sales environment that supports them, encourages them to do the right thing, and trusts them to be the face of the company. When these factors come together, it boosts their ego and improves the sales process and customer experience dramatically.

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The “Whose Value?” Value Proposition

The “Whose Value?” Value Proposition

We know all about value propositions, don’t we? Or do we? The term, “Proposition” is defined in the dictionary as “a statement that expresses a judgment or opinion” or a “scheme or plan of action”. Very interesting. While delivering subject matter expertise in enterprise selling is important, most would agree that listening is even more rewarding than “expressing judgments and opinions”. And “schemes”? Even the most transparent sellers would be unlikely to share with prospects any information about “scheming” to win their business.

To get more specific, what about value propositions? Two popular definitions are “statements about the combination of goods and services offered by a company in exchange for payment” and “innovations, services, or features intended to make a product attractive to customers”. While definitions are typically rather broad, these antiseptic views of value propositions point to the real issue. For they cast the prospect as the target of the proposition. Ready, aim, fire. But the reality is that the prospect, or in the enterprise world, the prospect account, isn’t the target of the value proposition at all. Far from it. The prospect is its very source.

Think about typical organizational messaging regarding the benefit that your products or services will ultimately deliver. Heavily influenced by marketing or product development, it must be refined and customized to be meaningful in the real world with real prospects. For repeating boilerplate messaging in enterprise opportunities is a sure-fire recipe for failure, considering enterprise selling’s unique challenges like sophisticated competitors and the significant investments required in pursuits. The stakes are huge and while tools and processes can help streamline the pursuits, using generic messaging to cut corners has little correlation to success.

So how can you effectively build the customized messaging required in enterprise deals, quickly and economically, while staying agile enough to manage the vast complexities of these initiatives?

It begins with a logical account and opportunity-focused framework, with its roots in your market, territory, and account planning. For it’s here where you aligned your organization’s strengths with your profile markets, verticals, and accounts. Your foundational work done in these stages provided the roadmap to pursue the highest probability deals. These truly aligned opportunities, vetted by team Go/No-Go analyses, provide the most fertile ground for the focused frameworks – the customized value propositions, consisting of four parts:

What the product or service is that you proposeThe specific solution addressing the prospect account’s needs and pains. It could be a standard product or service from your offerings portfolio, or it might bundle multiple products and services including offerings from business partners, subcontractors, or other third parties.

What the product or service actually does for the account. Your solution, of course, will do different things and be used in different ways by different accounts. How it will ultimately be implemented by the specific prospect account must be clearly understood in customized terms.

How your solution will benefit the account. This must be identified in specific terms that make a discernible difference to the account. These concrete results that the prospect account will gain – their customized advantage that will favorably result from your solution – must be comprehensively understood.

How the account will measure the benefitThis represents the prospect account’s clear definition of success in the ultimate implementation of your solution after the business is won. How that success will be determined, in the account’s measured and calibrated appraisal, must be known and taken into account.

Four clear elements – What it is, what it does, how it benefits, and how it will be measured. This simple mantra will guide your team throughout the pursuit, keeping laser focus on the account. All the work that may have been previously done by your organization’s marketing or product development teams is in the past. At this point, it’s completely about the account and the alignment of your solution to directly address the specific needs and pains.

Of course, the effectiveness of this value proposition framework is dependent on the quality of the work that your team has done in comprehensively understanding the account’s specific needs and pains and your ability to address them. A high-quality effort in those areas ensures that you know the account, you understand the needs, and that your “Go/No-Go” points to moving ahead with acceleration. From there, you’re guided by the value proposition – what it is, what it does, how it benefits, and how it’s measured.

Given the complicated nature of enterprise pursuits, winning is often determined by the simple things. Follow the simplicity and clarity of this framework and never forget that regarding value propositions, it’s not about you. It’s about the account.

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    Elite Salespeople are 200% Better in These 3 Sales Competencies

    Elite Salespeople are 200% Better in These 3 Sales Competencies

    Professional athletes have one trait in common – they are all very athletic and their skills are among the top several hundred in the world in their particular sport.  For example, in Major League Baseball, there are 30 teams with 25 players each, making those ball players the top 750 in the world.  Dig a little deeper and in each sport there is an even smaller subset of players who are all-stars. Among the top 750 baseball players in the world, just 34, or just a little shy of 5% of that group are named to the all-star team each year.

    Professional salespeople have one trait in common – they are all professional salespeople.

    Since there are 16 million of them in the USA alone, they are hardly a rare breed and everyone knows someone or a lot of someones who are in sales.  However, once we look at salespeople as a profession, much like sports, around 5% are all-stars.  The difference between an all-star baseball player and a bench player or substitute for one of the 30 teams is that the all-star hitter consistently crushes the ball, the all-star pitcher consistently dominates hitters, and the all-star closer consistently shuts down hitters in the final innings of play.  

    In sales, we don’t have substitutes, but we have lots of weak salespeople who are far less effective than subs.  First, there are so many of them it would be like including all 2,500 or so minor league players (A, AA, and AAA leagues), 1,110 or so independent league players who aren’t good enough to play for a minor league team, all 50,000 or so college baseball players, and all 500,000 or so High School players and you still wouldn’t come close to the 8 million inferior salespeople in the USA!

    That said, there are some things that the elite salespeople do which weak salespeople aren’t able to do and it doesn’t involve hitting a baseball.

    The table below which shows how comfortable salespeople are when it comes to money and related discussions with their prospects, including whether or not they are speaking with the actual decision maker.

    talking-money

    There are so many take aways from this!

    1. Strong across the board correlation to Sales Percentile
    2. Elite salespeople are score 613% higher in the competency Comfortable Talking about Money
    3. Elite salespeople score 86% higher in Money Tolerance – their concept of how much is a lot of money
    4. Elite salespeople score 23% higher in the competency Buying Habits Support Selling Value – they buy value instead of buying based on price
    5. Elite salespeople score 74% higher at uncovering actual budgets
    6. Elite salespeople score 55% higher in the competency reaching actual decision makers.

    When you put it all together, elite salespeople are 200% more likely than their weaker colleagues to succeed at selling value, while having a financial conversation, with a decision maker.  Put another way, a weak salesperson has very little chance of having any kind of financial discussion or even reaching a decision maker.

    That begs the question, why do so many companies put up with having so many weak salespeople?

    You can see data for hundreds of thousands of salespeople in more than 200 industries in all 21 Sales Core Competencies.  If you want to get serious about selecting and hiring better salespeople you can take OMG’s accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessment for a test drive here.

    Author:

     by Dave Kurlan

    Image copyright iStock Photos

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      10 Not-So-Catchy Sales Phrases That Kill a Deal

      10 Not-So-Catchy Sales Phrases That Kill a Deal

       

      10 Not-So-Catchy Sales Phrases That Kill a DealAuthenticity is a buzz word in business.

      Today’s consumers are independent; they don’t want salespeople – or anyone – telling them what to do or how to think. Instead, they want a personalized experience and value a company that stays true to who they are, what they do, and who they serve.

      Using not-so-catchy sales phrases and the wrong language when meeting with prospects will drastically reduce the chance of getting another meeting. Here are 10 common sales phrases to bypass if you want to seal the deal.

      Sales Phrases to Avoid

      1. “Just wanted to check in.”
      2. “Trust me.”
      3. “That’s no problem at all.”
      4. “You should…”
      5. “Obviously…”
      6. “I haven’t heard back from you.”
      7. “To be honest with you …”
      8. “Maybe…”
      9. “If this is in your budget …”
      10. “Can I send you more information?”

      Predictable Sales Phrases and Overused Clichés

      Using clichés and predictable sales phrases aren’t the worst sin you can commit. However, calling with, “just wanted to check in,” is not impressive and will not earn you your buyer’s time.

      Whether you’re cold calling or sending a sales email, cut the overused sales phrases. Start the conversation with something like:

      • “I saw your comment on a LinkedIn post and was reminded of our conversation.”
      • “I noticed your company recently [hosted an event, moved, etc.]”
      • “I realized I might have missed something important.”

      “Maybe” is another habitual, overused word that makes salespeople look unprepared and unknowledgeable. If you catch yourself using “maybe,” “perhaps,” “possibly,” or “probably,” always follow-up your statement with a confident action plan.

      Stock Phrases

      The first five seconds of any meeting or presentation are the most critical. Sadly, a few of these 10 not-so-catchy sales phrases tend to come out within those first few seconds. For example,

      So, I just wanted to check in and touch base.”

      1. So – is an empty calorie word.
      2. Just – is a vague word that implies a half-hearted effort.
      3. Wanted – you wanted, what about what they want?
      4. Check in – when a salesperson needs to “check in,” it’s because a prospect missed a meeting or isn’t returning calls or emails – not a good sign.

      You want to be a strong sales leader. Stock phrases are weak and damage your confidence and reputation.

      Sales Phrases That Cause Concern

      Did you know the word “honestly” actually instills a sense of distrust towards the speaker? Listeners subconsciously think you aren’t honest with them from the get-go.

      Phrases like “you should …” and “obviously” are also insulting and pushy, and make consumers feel trapped and concerned. Your job is to guide them and be a leader, not push them towards a decision. It’s important to stay confident in your ability to help the prospect.

      How to Close a Sale

      Hubspot research shows that 69% of buyers said that sales reps should listen to their needs to make their sales experience positive. It was followed by:

      • not being pushy (61%)
      • providing relevant information (61%)
      • gives information in a timely manner (51%)
      • provides a range of options beyond his/her business offering (49%)
      • cares about the success of the project/business (45%)
      • details the ways they can help me succeed (37%)

      Buyers seek personalized interactions with the companies they do business with, and they expect their sales reps to learn, understand, and anticipate their needs. All of this begins and ends with authenticity and bypassing common, overused sales phrases that do not portray confidence.

      Author:

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      12 Ways to Handle Sales Pressure

      12 Ways to Handle Sales Pressure

      It’s common knowledge that working in sales is hard. Yet—what most people don’t understand is the extent to which sales pressure can negatively impact an organization.

      Consider this: a recent survey ranked ‘sales account manager’ as one of the most stressful jobs in the US, with 73 percent of respondents rating the role as “highly stressful.” (source)

      In today’s post we explain the effects of sales pressure and provide ways to mitigate this stress productively. Keep reading!

      The Impact of Stress in the Workplace

      So, how common is workplace stress? According to one study, eight out of ten people say they’re stressed from work (source). If this number doesn’t concern you, it should. Here’s why: 77 percent of people who feel stressed at work suffer from physical symptoms and 73 percent suffer from psychological symptoms (source).

      It’s also reported that, when a person suffers from stress, they’re unable to access previous knowledge or training and instead resort to an automatic response—typically shutting down, quitting, or losing confidence.

      In sales, this automatic response can be a career killer.

      Mitigate Sales Pressure and Increase Your Workplace Productivity

      76 percent of all people report the top two causes of stress in the US are job pressure and money (source).  Because sales is often commission-based and money-driven, stress and pressure run rampant.

      Although it’s easier said than done, as a sales rep or sales leader, it’s important to shift your focus to the activities that lead up to a sale. This way, you build a strong pipeline that will protect you should you lose a big account or sale at the last minute.

       

      If you’re not sure where to start, try some of the tactics we’ve listed below.

      1. Incentivize.

      What we’re about to say is going to contradict every point we’ve made thus far—but hear us out: Stress can be beneficial for salespeople.

      There’s no way around it, stress drives activity and sales managers know this. The key to sales success is to harness the right kind and amount of stress to motivate your employees rather than discourage them.

      So how do you do this correctly? Incentivize your people. When you set an ambitious goal, or organize competitions, you put on the pressure in a healthy way and bring out the competitive nature in people.

      Managers, take a look at your sales metrics and conduct one-on-one meetings with your team to set realistic goals and offer rewards that will truly motivate.  Start small, and expand your incentive program as you learn and grow.

      Reps, tap into your competitive side and accept the challenges your manager puts on your plate. If your manager knows how to motivate, they won’t ask you to do anything you’re not capable of.

      2. Take it one day at a time.

      While this advice may sound cliché, it really is important for sales reps to approach their quota one day at a time. Think about this way, if you don’t make prospecting a daily habit and only focus on the deals at hand, how will you meet your goals next month or the month after that?

      If prospecting becomes part of your day-to-day routine, each call becomes less stressful and the stakes are lowered. This way, if you can’t connect with a prospect or lose a deal, you begin to form an “on to the next one” mentality—nothing to stress about!

      If you save prospecting for the end of the month, your quota suddenly becomes much less attainable in the upcoming months. Do yourself a favor and build up your pipeline as you go.

      3. Get the resources you need.

      When you break it down, stress is relatively easy to cure—you either need less pressure or more resources to handle the pressure. Unfortunately, in sales, the pressure never lets up; there’s never enough revenue, clients, or deals.

      So if your team is feeling unusually stressed, they likely need more resources. These resources may come in the form of sales enablement tools, more team members, or additional sales training.

      If you’re a manager, conduct interviews with your team to determine where they could use a little more help. Are they overwhelmed with leads? Hire new talent. Are they having a hard time staying organized? Look for a better CRM. Need more pipeline? Look into prospecting tools.

      If you’re a sales rep, don’t be afraid to ask your manager for more resources—they want to see you succeed.

      4. Communicate.

      As we’ve already referenced several times within this blog post, communication between reps and managers is key to achieving sales success.

      If you’re a sales manager, it’s important to understand what your team struggles with most, what takes the most time out of their day, and what would help them better reach their goals. You will never get the answers to these questions if you don’t foster an environment of open communication.

      If you’re a sales rep, speak up. As the age-old saying goes, “You can’t get what you don’t ask for.” If you need more resources, support or guidance let your manager know.

      5. Manage your expectations.

      If you’re a sales rep and you expect every sales qualified lead, or SQL, to be ready to buy, you’re sadly mistaken. As seasoned reps will tell you, the sales process looks different at every company.  So while one company might fill out a form and buy your product the next day, many are just collecting research for a purchase down the road.

       

      Although it’s important to go into each sales call with confidence, if you expect each call to turn into a deal you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. If a sales rep is repeatedly disappointed, that disappointment can soon turn to stress.

      What helps most reps manage their expectations is to change the goal. Instead of focusing on a deal, focus on using each call to build a relationship. This will take the pressure off and increase your chances of making a sale in the long run.

      6. Learn to say no.

      Although most sales reps are accustomed to saying yes, sometimes stress can be mitigated by simply saying no. Whether it’s your manager asking about a specific deal, a prospect asking about price, or a colleague asking for help, sometimes you just need to say no.

      Forget your fear of letting someone down and be reasonable. Can you handle your workload? Can you finagle a deal for a client? Or can you pick up a coworker’s slack? Don’t be afraid to say no and ask for help when you need it. Your manager can only set realistic goals if you’re honest with them.

      7. Leverage sales analytics.

      For managers and sales reps alike, analytics can be the key to relieving stress. Think about it, if you analyze your performance or your team’s performance over time, you can begin to predict how your actions will impact the bottom line.

      For example, as a sales rep, if you understand the average number of calls it takes to make a sale, you can better predict your performance based on how many calls you make daily. If you’re not making enough calls, you won’t reach your quota. However, if you plan your day around these numbers, your monthly results won’t come as a surprise to you—mitigating the stress of not knowing.

      As a sales manager, analytics can inform nearly every decision you make from assigning quotas, to territory size, to the number of reps on your team, to the amount of revenue you can expect your team to bring in. Get comfortable with your analytics and you’ll find your job suddenly becomes easier.

      8. Take a break.

      In sales, and any job really, it’s often frowned upon to step away from your desk or take time off. But sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to clear your mind and increase your productivity.

      For managers, this means fostering a workplace environment that recognizes the need for an occasional break. Your employees should be capable of recognizing when they’re burnt out and should feel comfortable telling you so. Be receptive to this honesty and reap the benefits when they return rejuvenated and ready to sell.

      For reps, this means admitting to yourself that it’s time to take a break. Whether this means a long lunch, a walk around the block, or a week away—recognize how important it is to give yourself a break. Doing the same thing day in and day out can get old fast—don’t lose your drive to sell because you’re burnt out.

      9. Keep your calendar full.

      We’ve already made reference to the importance of a full pipeline, but we can’t stress it enough.  Managing relationships with current customers is important, but new conversations with new prospects is what keeps companies in business. Remember to juggle your responsibilities evenly.

      While it may seem counterintuitive to keep yourself busy, it really does reduce sales pressure. Think of it this way, if you have ten calls on your calendar today, are you going to feel stressed about the first one? Maybe a little. But what if it’s your only call of the day? That one call just became a lot more stressful.

      Prioritize prospecting and keep your calendar and pipeline full.

      10. Invest in contact data.

      You can be the top sales rep on your team or the top team within your company, but if you don’t have access to high-quality contact data, you’ll never reach your full potential.  Consider the following statistics:

      • 62% of organizations rely on data that’s up to 40% inaccurate (source).
      • Up to 25% of B2B database contacts contain critical errors (source).
      • 40% of business objectives fail due to inaccurate data (source).

      A contact information tool can not only remedy these issues but it can also cut down prospecting time, help get more decision makers on the phone, and even help reps prepare for important calls. Here’s what else good data can do (source):

      • Companies estimate that they could increase sales by almost a third (29%) if their customer data was entirely accurate.
      • A strong organization can generate up 70% more revenue than an average organization based solely on the quality of its data.

      If you or your team is struggling to find and connect with prospects, a market intelligence solution could drastically improve your efforts and reduce sales pressure.  Learn more here:

      11. Always follow up.

      80% of sales require 5 follow-ups, yet 44% of sale reps give up after only one follow up (source). Do yourself a favor and continue to follow up with leads and prospects. You’ll make more sales and reduce the stress of continuously finding new prospects.

      12. Make preparation a priority.

      As a sales rep or manager, you work hard to secure phone calls with important prospects—but once you’re on the phone it’s easy to lose focus or let your nerves take over. The only way to prevent this from happening is to prioritize your preparation.

      When you’re prepared for a call you can anticipate objections, personalize your sales pitch, and have a genuine conversation with your prospects—ultimately erasing some of the pressure you feel to have a good call or make a sale.

      Key Takeaways About Sales Pressure

      When you reflect on the constant pressure sales reps face to convert prospects to customers, keep approval ratings high, and meet a quota—it’s no mystery where sales stress comes from.

      The bottom line? Stressed employees aren’t good for business.  Make an effort to ease this sales pressure using some of the methods mentioned in this post. If you’re in sales and have additional ways to handle stress, let us know!

      Author:

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      Ryan Hadfield

      Ryan Hadfield is the Director of Marketing at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution

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        How To Sell With Integrity

        How To Sell With Integrity

        There is no doubt that integrity matters in business and sales.  To become a successful sales person, you must be trustworthy, honest and dependable.  In today’s transparent marketplace, salespeople who will do or say anything to earn a sale are a liability that is simply bad for business. 

        For instance, in 2001 the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to George Akerlof, for revealing the specific factors that increase buyers’ perceptions of risk when making a purchasing decision.  One of these factors was a lack of integrity.  Akerlof explains, “Dishonest dealings tend to drive honest dealings out of the market.  The cost of dishonesty, therefore, lies not only in the amount by which the purchaser is cheated; the cost also must include the loss incurred from driving legitimate business out of existence.”[1]  In other words, sales people who have a lack of integrity hurt both buyers and sellers. 

        There is no doubt the profession of sales has room for improvement in this area.  This was evident in a Gallup Poll that asked people to rate the level of integrity of various occupations.[2]  The following are the percentage of those surveyed who rated each group as having high levels of integrity: 

        • Nurses 83%
        • Medical Doctors 61%
        • Pharmacists 68%
        • College Teachers 59%
        • Police Officers 59%
        • Clergy 56%
        • Journalists 25%
        • Business Executives 18%
        • Lawyers 16%
        • Insurance sales person 12%
        • Car salesman 7%

        Occasionally, I meet sales people who contend that to sell in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace they must compromise their integrity.  To them I say one thing:  get out.  The profession of sales has no place for anyone who is not willing to sell with full integrity.  What’s more, if someone feels he must compromise his integrity to get a sale, he clearly has deficient sales skills and needs to be trained how to sell.  The reality is that selling with integrity is the only way to sell because it will enable you to both sell more and have no regrets about the sales you make.

        How can you consistently sell with integrity?  The key to keeping your integrity is to understand how it can be lost.  Rarely does this happen in a single poor decision.  Rather, integrity slips away slowly, one small compromise at a time.  However, this does not have to be the case.  Here are three strategies that will guide you in selling with integrity.

        1.  Create A Don’t List

        The best way to sell with integrity is to actively commit to it.  Think through and decide what you will and won’t do to get a sale.  This is important because without a firm commitment to refrain from unethical behavior, when faced with a questionable, yet financially lucrative opportunity, you will be more likely to yield to temptation.   Although, if you have already made a commitment regarding what you will do and will not do, then all you must do is live out that commitment, which research shows increases the likelihood you will.

        Creating a don’t list involves thinking through and writing out the actions you will not engage in regardless of the circumstances or consequences.  For example, one sales person’s don’t list may include:

        • I will not lie
        • I will not exaggerate or distort the truth in any way
        • I will not cover up a mistake, but will own it and make it right
        • I will not steal time from my employer
        • I will not compromise what I believe to be right, regardless of the circumstances

        The key is to decide what should be on your don’t list and then document it.  It is also recommended that you re-read it periodically to keep it fresh and at the forefront of your mind.  These pre-loaded decisions will help you fend off the temptation to compromise your integrity. 

        2.  Be Authentic

        A number of years ago a friend (we’ll call him Will) had begun working at a new job as a sales account manager. I visited him soon after he started his new position.  As we chatted, he informed me that he had developed a new sales technique.  This technique was based on the sales person who was in the office next to him, who was a top performer.  Will told me that he had begun copying the sales person’s speech patterns in the hope that he would experience similar success.  The sales person Will was mimicking was from a rural area and spoke like a good ol’ country boy, in a very slow, unassuming manner that included plenty of “ums” and long pauses.

        Of course, I informed Will that pretending to speak like another sales person would not improve his sales, but would actually hinder them.  Buyers would sense that he was not being true to who he was, which would erode his credibility.  After I said this, Will confessed that thus far the technique had not produced any of the desired results.

        Unfortunately, Will is not alone.  I have witnessed many sales people lie about enjoying certain activities, the age of their children, where their children go to school, what cars they drive and even their religious or political beliefs, all in an effort to earn favor with prospects and sell more.

        Yet, buyers are savvy and when sales people pretend to be someone they aren’t, buyers will pick up on the lack of genuineness and this will breed feelings of distrust.  In contrast, there is something refreshing about blunt authenticity.  It naturally attracts people.  So I would encourage you to resolve to always be you.

        3.  Have Congruency Between Your Words and Behaviors

        One of the core ways that a lack of integrity is made evident is when a person’s words don’t match their behaviors.  When I think about this, I remember the Church Ladies.  Who were the church ladies?  Many years ago, when I was in high school I was a manager of the McDonalds restaurant in my town.  Every weekday at approximately 10 am a group of ladies would come into McDonalds.  They had just come from Mass and were deemed, “church ladies” by my staff.  Due to their extremely rude behavior these ladies were disliked by everyone who worked at McDonalds.  The cold reality was that though they may have gone to church nearly every day of the week, no one from McDonalds would have ever gone with them.  Why?  Because their behaviors did not match what they said they believed about kindness and treating others with respect. 

        Selling with integrity means both following through with what you say and making sure your claims about your product or service are accurate.  In essence, it’s making sure that you live out your words.  This is not just the right thing to do, but it has also been proven to significantly boost revenue.  One study found that those companies who had managers who followed through on their promises and lived out the values they preached were more profitable than companies who had managers lacking in integrity.[3]  The study also identified that this, more than any other management behavior that was measured, had the most significant impact on company profitability. 

        What is Success?

        How do you define success in sales?  For me, success is not just measured by how much you sell, but also by how you sell.  That’s the thing about integrity, it’s not something that you can claim; you must demonstrate it to others every day.  By deploying the three strategies that I’ve shared you can improve the likelihood that you will exhibit integrity when you sell.  Because when it’s all said and done, integrity is one of those things that is remembered.  I can think of no higher compliment for a sales professional then for others to say that you sell a lot and sell with integrity. 

        [1] George A. Akerlof.  “The Market for ‘Lemons’:  Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism.”  The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 84, no. 3 (August, 1970).  p. 495.
        [2] Saul Kassin, Steven Fein & Hazel Rose Markus.  Social Psychology:  7th Edition.  (Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth, 2008).  p. 194.
        [3] Tony Simons, “The High Cost of Lost Trust,” Harvard Business Review, (September 2002).

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        10 Tips for Building a Strong Sales Pipeline

        10 Tips for Building a Strong Sales Pipeline

        Technology has evolved, but has your approach to your sales pipeline? This list of 10 Tips for Building a Strong Sales Pipeline includes modern approaches and shows you how to apply technology to update a few classics that never go out of style.

        10 Tips for Building a Strong Sales Pipeline

        No matter your organization’s size or industry, the need for a robust pipeline is something every salesperson has in common. Sadly, most leads aren’t ready to close right away. That means building and maintaining a pipeline is vital. Nothing is worse than closing a string of deals… only to realize you’ve neglected the top of the funnel and there’s nothing left in the pipeline.

        These 10 Tips for Building a Strong Sales Pipeline will help jump-start the top of the funnel and be more effective as you work your way to the close.


        1. Use LinkedIn for prospecting

        LinkedIn has implemented a ton of changes recently that make it usable for more than just a job search. It’s become an excellent resource for networking and research. Use the ability to efficiently identify prospects by company, location, or industry to your advantage. According to LinkedIn, salespeople focused on new business who exceed quota perform 52% more people searches each month.

        2. Look a level deeper when identifying decision makers

        Once you identify your “in,” don’t be afraid to stalk explore the person’s profile for mutual connections, common universities, discussions they’ve participated in. These are all great conversation starters. At SalesLoft, we’ve made reaching out to your prospects even easier with our LinkedIn integration. We help you find mutual connections and provide timely insights about when your connections change companies or roles.

        3. Ask for referrals

        Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from personal and professional networks. Finding a common acquaintance is the quickest way to turn a cold call into a warm call. Seeing an acquaintance’s name on an email will improve that first open rate dramatically! In fact, referral leads convert 30% better than leads from other channels, and they have a 16% higher lifetime value (Hubspot).

        10 Tips for Building a Strong Sales Pipeline: don't be afraid to ask for referrals!

        4. Slow your roll

        Take time to have discovery calls with people within prospect organizations. Don’t try to pitch them – use the steps to the top as a way to learn. Take that intel, and use it to A) figure out the best way to address a pain point and B) get past the final gatekeeper.  By the time you get to the decision maker, you must know enough to give them insights into their own business.  With 77% of buyers saying that they won’t engage with a salesperson if they don’t do the homework giving them knowledge into their business, it’s practically an expectation (LinkedIn State of Sales Report, 2017).

        5. Use the Google machine

        If you search: “CEO of SalesLoft,” I guarantee you’ll come up with lots of information from interviews, articles, personal blogs, YouTube videos, Twitter handles, and more. It’s all fair game! Use this to learn what makes your prospect “tick.”

        Pro tip: You’ll probably also get a corporate website in the search returns. You’d be surprised by the information that is in plain view on that About page. Even if you can’t find an email, you’ll likely find the naming scheme.

        6. Build your personal brand

        The internet makes it incredibly easy to get your name out there. Make sure you’re representing yourself in the best possible light. Google yourself and see what comes up. On social media, be sure to include a professional headshot in your social profiles, craft a well-written description of your role, share insightful content, and engage with your peers and prospects in a way that adds value to the discussion.

        7. Be a thought leader

        According to research from Bambu, 92% of B2B buyers use social media platforms specifically to engage with thought leaders in their industry. Start writing short articles to share on blogs or social media. Participate in discussion boards. If you position yourself as a reliable source of knowledge (read: not a pushy salesperson), people will pay attention and remember your name when they are looking for solutions.

        10 Tips for Building a Strong Sales Pipeline: be a thought leader!

        8. Write solid sales emails

        Email open rates were as high as 85% to 95% in the early days of email. According to MailChimp, today it’s just above 20%. Improve your open rate by grabbing attention early. Here are a few ideas:

        • Try using a social proof in the subject line: “50,000 CMOs are improving their open rates with…”
        • Use a creative, personalized subject line. If you share an alma mater, you might write the following: “128 Days Until Yellow Jacket Football”
        • Keep it concise, conversational, and get to the point (see #9 below)

        9. Make it easy to reply

        Many leaders save time in their day with efficient emails. They typically responded with few words. Did anyone else read this Buzzfeed article on Mark Cuban’s notoriously terse email replies? He is known for responding right away, often with just one word. Make it even easier for leaders to do this by giving them options. What could be easier than only needing to reply with 1, 2, or 3?  Here’s an example:

        Would you like to learn more about how to save time in your day with my insanely cool technology?

        1. Yes
        2. No
        3. Try me in 2 weeks

        10. Be a consultant

        Know your customers better than your competitors do. If your target feels you genuinely understand them and their needs and you can put forward a solution that reflects that, they’ll choose you over the competition… possibly even at a higher price point. Research backs this up. Nearly 64% of B2B buyers report that they appreciate hearing from a salesperson who provides knowledge or insight about their business. Use the research techniques above in combination with your initial conversations to create a better buyer experience and move prospects down the funnel.


        Now that you have these new ideas, make sure you’re delivering the right message at the right time. At each stage of the buying process, your prospect has needs and wants. Beyond the content itself, consider frequency and method of contact. Creating a cadence with defined stages allows teams to almost effortlessly keep track of pipeline stages. Work smarter, not harder. In the end, it provides a better experience for your buyer (and you!).

        For a real-world example, check out our case study exploring how an enterprise media company optimized cadences to achieve a 5x improvement in new business acquisition.

        Author:
        Sales Loft

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        THE TRIFECTA FACTOR – 3 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PROSPECTING

        THE TRIFECTA FACTOR – 3 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PROSPECTING

        How do you adapt your prospecting approach to your prospects?

        You’ve got the basic contact information of a prospect…now what? Sure, you could shoot them off an email that you’ve sent to dozens of other prospects that week, or maybe you could give them a quick phone call to see if they’ve got time to chat. Both are great ways to check off the ‘initial contact’ box in your sales process, but neither option is likely to lead to a purposeful conversation or better yet, a sale.

        What should you do, you ask? Make your contact count by using the Trifecta Factor – 3 factors to take into consideration when adapting to your prospect!

        1.  Their Decision Making & Influencing Role

        The first thing to consider when communicating with a prospect is their role. Are they the Final Authority, in a position to make purchasing decisions? Perhaps they’re the Advisor and give input and advice to the Final Authority, influencing the decision. If their role is a Coach, they’ll want you to succeed, put you in touch with the right people, and give you any relevant information that may help you along in the sales process. Finally, Users – as the name suggests, they’re the people who use your product or service.

        It’s important to consider which of the four roles your prospect falls into before reaching out! Be Strategic, Be Proactive and Be Brave to reach out to prospects that are the Final Authority, whenever possible – as that is the person who will be able to say “yes” sooner to you! Their job title or LinkedIn profile can often help to figure this out.

        2.  Their Personality Style

        The next thing to do is determine your prospect’s personality style.

        Drivers are people who cut to the chase and don’t like chit-chat. They want to know the most important facts, and ultimately how your solution will benefit them.

        Analytical people are statistic and fact hungry! The more information, proof, charts and graphs you can provide, the better!

        Expressives are the type of people who are looking to build a relationship and have great rapport. They’ll want to learn more about you, your weekend plans, and new or exciting things before jumping into business conversations.

        Amiable people are likely to make decisions based on emotions. They often consider the feelings of others prior to making a decision.

        3.  Their Generation

        The generation of your prospect is the final factor of the Trifecta to consider.

        If you are a Baby Boomer selling to a Millennial – what do you think the Millennial is thinking when they meet with you? Vice Versa – if you are a Millennial selling to a Baby Boomer what do you think their initial assumption would be? These varying viewpoints are exactly why you have to adapt to the preferences of your prospect.

        A prospect’s generation often links to their preferred form of communication. For example, a Millennial or Gen Z often prefers a LinkedIn message or text, and may rarely check voicemails. For Baby Boomers, the preference is typically a phone call or email, and they are much more likely to listen to their voicemail messages. Some Traditionalists still even prefer the good old pen and paper letters.

        Conforming to your prospect’s preference is a key to securing their business

        Conforming to your prospect’s preference is a key to securing their business.CLICK TO TWEET

        For additional tools to help you with your prospecting, check out our Tools & Templates page and download the 90-Day Prospecting Blitz Activity or our Great Questions Template to help you make the most of your meetings.

        Got a challenge you’d like some help with? Schedule a complimentary meeting with me to see how I can help!

        Author:

        Lisa is driven by the mantra – Be Strategic. Be Pro-active. Be Brave. – and has been successfully training and coaching sales leaders and their teams to do the same for over 15 years. As the President of Teneo Results since 2003, she has trained thousands of sales professionals at more than 250 companies across North America. She transitions salespeople away from the standard “product & price” approach to having purposeful business conversations with their customers that drive results.

         

        No Income No Asset Personal Lines of Credit

        for

        Startup, New Businesses or  Personal Use

        Funding Up to $250,000 

        Fund starts in 7-10 Business Days.

        680 FICO

        Co-signer OK

        NO INCOME DOCUMENTATION

        100% UNSECURED

        BK must be over 4.5 years

        Collections, Judgments, Late Payments must be over 12 months

        Learn More

        Ebizmore.com

        Submit your deals and get offers from multiple lenders.

        Real Estate Lending
        Fix-N-Flip
        Bridge/Hard Money
        Stated Income
        Full Doc
        SBA

        Business Loans
        Merchant Cash Advance
        Business Loans
        Equipment Financing
        Business Lines of Credit
        SBA
        Purchase & Receivable Factoring

        Personal Lines of Credit

        Business Accounting

        Business Credit Builder

        Go to ebizmore.com and register today!

        The Fact is that 95% of Small Business was not Prepared for the Pandemic.

        Our Clients Were!

        More Than An Accounting Service!

        Consultant * CFO *Partner

        Your Success is Our Number 1 Focus.

        Bank & CC reconciliation,
        Accounts Payable
        Accounts Receivable
        Financial Reports
        Payroll
        QuickBooks catchup/cleanup
        Invoicing
        Compliance reporting
        QuickBooks Online
        Much, much, more.
        +++Business Credit Builder

        Save up to $24,000 per year!

        Contact Ebizmore