Diary Of A Sales Professional

This is a documentation into "Sales Professionalism" at work. It is also a solid reminder of the standards I should aspire to. What is discussed may be the ideal standard, but what are we if we don't have our ideals. I hope this will be useful to whoever whose career is also in sales

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How To Blow Away Price Resistance

Greetings!

I've recently received a great Sales article which of
course I would like to share with the world.

It's about "How To Blow Away Price Resistance"

It goes like this :

If you've ever shopped for window treatments,
you know you can spend a bundle if you want to.

So my wife and I are meeting with the window treatment
guy, picking out the blinds and shades for our Arizona
house.

A designer turned us on to some new cool roller shades
that keep the sun out but still let light in and allow
you to view outside. We asked the guy to give us a
price on them.

Now, from previous experience I know that what goes
ON windows can cost a lot more than the windows
themselves. Especially so in our case because
of the size of some of our windows and sliding doors.
So, I did research about the shades online and
found prices. I was prepared for the meeting. Even
had my laptop there if I needed to pull it up.

At the meeting he pulls out his estimate sheet and
shows us his prices. Much higher than what I had
found for the exact same product, from the very
same manufacturer.

"Wow, that's a lot higher than what I found online,"
I said.

"Really," he responded. "Where did you find them?"

"On a search engine online."

"I see. If you got them online, who is going to
do the measurements for you to get them exactly
right?"

"Uh, I dunno." That hadn't even crossed my mind.

Until that moment.

Then I realized that I personally use the "that's
close enough" method of measuring things, and
that "close" probably isn't good enough when it
comes to window treatments. And then I'm picturing
the other option: me trying to locate a window-
treatment measurer guy. Excruciating..

"And if they didn't fit, and you got them online,
since they are custom made for your measurements,
would you be able to send them back if they didn't
fit?"

Me: "Well, ahh, probably not." Now I'm thinking about
the agony of ordering the wrong size, and either having
to live with it (not really an option), or eating the cost of
the shade and having to order another.

"Would you be installing them yourself?"

"Ah, well, er, probably not." It would be less
painful for me to get poked in the eye with a
screwdriver rather than use one. That, and I
would not have the slightest idea of how to do
it anyway, even if I had a copy of Window
Treatment Installation For Dummies, an
instructional video, and two coaches.

"So, how would you get them installed?"

"I guess I'm not sure." At this point I'm thinking
about the hassle of now trying to find someone
else who would install them, arranging a time for them
to show up, and getting ultimately p-ssed off
when they didn't show up, which has better than
a 50-50 chance based on my experience with
installers and other contractors on this house so far.

He probably realized he had twisted the knife
sufficiently and the hemorrhaging was
adequate enough for his next statement:

"Look. I can't compete with online prices. What I CAN do
is get these ordered and have them installed perfectly
within four weeks. I'll guarantee my work and your
satisfaction, and you won't have to do anything. Let's
just do that."

"Good idea." Done deal.


SALES LESSON
Notice what this guy did NOT do:

-He did not fold like a cheap lawn chair and
agree to meet the online price.

-He did not hem and haw and trip over his words.

-He did not use a Goofy Objection Rebuttal, such
as, "I understand how you feel. Many others have
felt the same way. But after they found what great
service I provide, they paid me the higher price."

What he DID do:

He used the only really effective way to deal with
objections, particularly price objections. (Actually,
the best way to deal with objections is to PREVENT
them from coming up in the first place. More on that
later.)

So what is it?

Ask questions.

Questions designed to first prompt them to doubt
their beliefs, and let them think about possible pain.

Then, as they go through the doubt process, the notion
of, "Maybe he's right, there is a better way," forms in
the objector's mind.

That, combined with the hurt they're feeling helps them
reach the conclusion that your option is indeed better.
So when you mention it again at the end, it's much
more likely to be accepted and acted on.

What To Do
Take the objections you hear. Brainstorm for why people
state them. List out all the advantages of doing business
with you, and the disadvantages of the objection they
state. Then rack your brain to come up with questions
designed to get them thinking differently. Just like the
window treatment guy did.


Added Note On Preventing the Resistance
He might have prevented the price issue from even arising
if he had built more value in earlier conversations. Such as
by asking some of those questions in advance. For example,
"I'm assuming you'd want us to install these as well, right?"
That likely would have gotten me talking about how inept I
am with tools, and would have given him the opportunity to
point out how he would measure, install, and guarantee
everything, something you can't get with online discounters.
I wouldn't have even considered going online to look for
prices.


How You Can Prevent Objections, But Still Effectively Deal With
Them Professionally in This Way When You Hear Them,
And How to Never Lose A Sale Again Because of Price
Some people might read this today and say, "Yeah, makes
sense, that's what I do," or, "Great, I can do that right now."

It hit me while I wrote this though, that if you're like me and
need a bit more info in order to master something, some
of you might want more examples and ideas of how to prevent
objections, how to come up with better questions in response to
objections, and how to deal with the price issue that so many of
us run into.

Monday, August 29, 2005

People say I'll BUY - You say - Let Me Tell You More ! Duh !

You've got a customer calling up - Hey, I'm interested in so and so product and I would like to pay. How do I make the payment?

It should be Good news right. Wrong ! It should be GREATTTT NEWS ! And then what do we do? We launch into a Great Monologue about how great our company is and then before we know it, the customer says, OK, I'll call back later which they never do.

My God ! What have we done? Did we just oversold ourselves out of the sale? Duh !

Well, I came across this great article on exactly the same theme. Please enjoy and reflect.


"The KISS Test"

We've all heard the term KISS at one time or
another - "Keep It Simple, Stupid." We all
understand the logic behind it. However, I've come
to realize that the vast majority of salespeople,
sales managers, and sales trainers violate this
basic principle of business and selling more often
than not.

Looking back on every sales training program I've
been through, whether it was new-hire training at
a job, a private training class I signed up for on
my own, or a book I've read, every last one of them
over-complicates the selling process and essentially
sets salespeople up to oversell themselves out of
sales.

Let me start with some examples of what I'm
talking about. At one position I held, I sat next
to someone who was an excellent salesperson except
for the fact that he had the nasty habit of always
talking himself out of sales. He and I both
operated much the same in that rather than cold call,
we ran our own personal marketing programs to
generate leads and simply took the calls that came
in as a result. The problem is what he did with
the calls. When someone called me, ready to buy, I
immediately went into closing the deal and making
arrangements to either come out with the paperwork
or to fax it over. This guy, on the other hand,
went into a full-length company story, a full-length
explanation of the service, and a lot of other
information that he absolutely should not tell
a clearly qualified prospect unless they specifically
ask for it. The end result is that people who called
ready to sign up for one of our more expensive
services either changed their mind and dropped to
the entry-level service or they lost interest and
didn't buy anything at all.

Another example is something that I experienced just
last week. I was searching the web for local companies
that could provide a particular service I need for my
company. I found the website of a company that
appeared capable of serving my needs so I called and
asked to speak to a salesperson. We spoke for ten
minutes and it was clear that they had exactly what I
was looking for, and at the right price. I asked to
have contracts emailed to me in order that I could
sign up and get started right away on setup. Well,
getting off the phone wasn't quite that easy. Here
I was, already saying "Yes, I'm going to buy," and
this sales rep lauched into a full-blown company
story about how they've been in business for over
twenty years, how they have so many hundred clients
worldwide, and on and on and on. If they weren't so
appropriate for my needs I might have gotten annoyed
and changed my mind, but lucky for this rep, the
product sold itself. If that wasn't enough, the email
arrived later that day. The requested proposal and
contracts were attached, but the email itself was a
good two pages of more company story nonsense, more
useless drivel about all the big important clients
they have, and more waste-of-time bragging about their
capabilities. I was half-amazed that my spam filter
didn't delete this one upon arrival.

The sad part about all this is that even though I
still bought, I'm willing to bet that a lot of people
don't. Nothing is more frustrating than picking up
the phone saying, "Hi, here I am with a check in hand,
ready to buy," and having some rep go into a story
bragging about how great the company is and all that
they can do. To a business owner, that comes off as
pure arrogance. What's more, talking about all your
big enterprise clients alienates most small business
owners. They assume their needs will be placed second
to those of the big dogs and that they'll be treated
as just a number when calling for service. Here is a
salesperson with a great service that fills a
particular niche, and yet she's probably throwing
money out the window by talking herself out of sales
on a regular basis.

Going back to sales training I've experienced, I think
most training is at the root of this massive problem.
Every course I've taken has gone through the steps
of a sale and they teach salespeople to go through all
the steps. The problem is, what if all the steps don't
take place? For example, "objection handling" is
always taught as one of the steps of a sale. But what
if the prospect doesn't have any objections? When I
called that company last week, I'd already passed the
"objection handling" stage simply because the website
did a thorough job of handling my objections. When I
was working for that company I mentioned earlier,
simply taking the calls that came into my line as a
result of my personal marketing program, many of those
prospects had no objections because my marketing
program took care of them in advance. By assuming that
each of these steps are going to take place, a lot
of salespeople will cause something to happen when it
really shouldn't have to begin with. If a prospect
doesn't come up with any major objections, don't give
them a reason to! It's like shooting yourself in the
foot with a really big gun!

I've seen a lot of companies and managers that require
their reps to fill out a "lead sheet" or something
similar that documents each step of the sale. This
assumes that each of the steps will happen when they
may not. If you're required to maintain these types
of records, skip anything that doesn't happen
naturally. Don't induce a prospect to enter a selling
phase that may not only be unnecessary, but may cause
you to lose the sale entirely.

Use the KISS test when you're selling. Before
every action you take with a prospect, ask yourself
if you're keeping it simple or if you're throwing
monkey wrenches in your machinery. Believe me, you'll
save yourself a lot of wasted time, headaches, and
lost sales by doing so. I did.

by Frank J. Rumbauskas, Jr.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Get Calls Returned With The "Squeeze Play"



Just came across this great idea to get people to return your calls. It takes practice and probably some modifications according to your environment but other than that, it's great. Happy Practising !


Get Calls Returned With The "Squeeze Play"
By Jim Domanski

Squeeze gently and you'll get results.

Here's the scenario: You've called at a high level within an
organization. Let's say it was a director, the president or CEO.
You got through and actually spoke to the Exec! He or she is
interested, and, as often happens, delegates the matter to a
mid level manager who is typically responsible for handling
such matters.

Wow!

Everything is looking rosy. You call and leave a voice
mail message telling Mid Manager that you spoke to the
Exec and that you'd like to arrange a telephone appointment.
You eagerly wait by the phone. Visions of dollars dance
through your head. You're absolutely dizzy with anticipation.

But the phone doesn't ring. You leave a couple of more messages.

Nothing. Nyet. Nadda.

So what do you do?

Assuming you can get through again, do you call the Exec and
tattle on Mid Manager? Do you take that risk? Do you risk the
acrimony of Mid Manager?

Here's a technique that can help reduce the chances of this
ever happening again. I call it the Squeeze Play. It begins when
you make your first contact with the Exec.

When you speak to an Exec and he/she refers you to an
underling, complete your conversation with:

"Thank you Ms. Reynolds, for your time. I'll call Tom
Bush about this right away and I'll let you know how
it went by the end of this week. How does that sound?"

I solemnly promise that nine times out of ten, the Exec
will say ‘yes' to your suggestion. They don't really expect
you to call back but they are gracious enough to agree to
your proposal.

Now here comes the Squeeze.



You call the underling. And you probably get voice mail.
Here's what you say after stating your name and company:

"Mr. Bush, I was just speaking to Shannon Reynolds
and she suggested I give you a call with an idea we
discussed on how to reduce accidents on the job
while at the same time improving quality. Would
you please give me a call at XXX –XXXX as soon as
possible because I told Shannon I will get back to her
by Friday on the results."

Did you catch it?

"I told Shannon I will get back to her by Friday…",


...creates a bit of a "squeeze" on Tom to at least call back.
At this point, Tom doesn't know a thing about the caller
except that she seems to have had quite a talk with the
boss. So naturally, Tom feels obliged to reply…just in case.
Let's say you get Tom Bush live and in person. You can
still use the squeeze play:


"Mr. Bush, I spoke with Shannon Reynolds a little
while ago and she referred me to you regarding a
program we have that, depending on your circumstances,
might reduce insurance premiums while at the same
time improve your safety record. I am to get back to
Shannon about the results of our call by Friday so if
I have caught you at a good time I would like to ask
you a few questions."
Bush is compelled to either deal with the matter immediately
or set up a telephone appointment prior to Friday. Either way,
you have won.

ALWAYS follow through on and follow up on the Squeeze Play.
By that I mean make the call back to the executive. This can
work for you in two ways.

First, if Tom Bush does not call back, you can call Reynolds
on Friday and explain that you had made a few attempts to
reach Bush. Bush has not yet gotten back to you, but you
will continue to try and will keep Reynolds updated. You see,
in this scenario you are not ‘tattling' but rather fulfilling a
promise made to an executive. Bush was aware of this
promise so he has no one to blame but himself.

Second, suppose Bush calls back. Regardless of whether
you get a sale or not, you STILL call Reynolds. You give her
an update and thank her again. You can do that live or by
voice mail.

In either case, Reynolds will be happily surprised that
you kept your promise and afterwards she'll say to herself,
"Gee, I wish my reps did that!"

Don't be afraid to try the Squeeze Play. It is clean,
ethical, but a little edgy. It is different. In today's environment
with more and more downsized organizations, everyone is busy.
It is up to you to position that call so it gets returned!

Good Selling.

(Jim Domanski is President of Teleconcepts Consulting, a
telemarketing consulting and training firm. Contact him at
613-591-1998. Email: jdomanski@igs.net

Friday, July 29, 2005

You Must Have A Plan



Hmmm - I keep getting great articles that I want to share with all of you. Today, I received something that's really relevant to me. I just promised somebody I really care about to take her to Paris in Spring next year 2006 and something even much bigger in 5 years time.

So, this article on goal setting came right in time. Call it Karma but I think the Gods of Goal Setting might be telling me something. "God Help Those Who Help Themselves" - err - probably something like that hehe.

Anyway, let all look at this article together - maybe all our lives can be much more fulfilling by just following its simple advice - WRITE DOWN OUR GOALS !!!


You Must Have a Plan

- by Stuart Goldsmith

(c) 2005 Stuart Goldsmith - Worldwide Rights Reserved


"To Make Serious Money, You Must Know What You Want and
Have a Plan for Achieving it."

There is a well-known yet powerful method of achieving
everything you want in life. It only takes five
minutes. Anyone can do it but hardly anyone does.
Imagine - something you can do in just five minutes
which can send your income through the roof, improve
your relationships and power-boost your life towards
total success. Wouldn't you want to do that right away?

I'm talking about the time-honored technique of
goal-setting.

It has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that people
who set written goals lead richer, happier, more
fulfilling lives than people who merely drift through
life, rudderless.

Now if you're yawning and thinking "seen it, done it" I
challenge you to go right this moment and fetch your
own list of goals. If you are able to do this, it marks
you out as very special. If you cannot go and get your
goal list, right this second, may I suggest you stifle
that yawn and take a few minutes to do this exercise?

The great motivator Brian Tracy is fond of recounting
how often people come up to him and say something like
this: "Brian, a year ago I attended your seminar and
you got us to do that goal exercise. Well, I did it,
but only because you said so. When I got home, I put
that piece of paper in a drawer and forgot about it
completely. I found it a couple of weeks ago and you
know what? Six out of ten of those goals had been
achieved by me without my even remembering I had set
them!"

Now since this is so easy why do so few people do it?

Why People Don't Write Goals

For a person willfully to miss out on the staggering
advantages of setting goals, there must be a
psychological block somewhere. I believe the block is
the subconscious realization that every goal has an
associated price tag - that it doesn't come free. It
doesn't "flow freely from the wondrous bounty of the
universe." There is a price to pay in order to achieve
each goal. This knowledge evokes fear which triggers
inertia and this stops you from taking this important
first step.

Of course most people realize this subconsciously, and
after a decade of research, I now believe that I have
isolated the main reason why people do not set goals.

It is not ignorance. Everybody now knows the importance
of setting goals. Thirty years ago, this was a
startling new idea. No longer. Goal setting is a
powerful and proven tool for success in any field of
endeavor. Everybody knows this, but still they don't do
it.

Why?

It can't be the difficulty of the task. Writing out ten
goals is not a particularly arduous job - in fact it is
quite enjoyable and only takes about twenty minutes.
And yet 98% of people never write a goal in their
entire lives, even though the task of writing out your
goals is so easy and the rewards so obvious.

It isn't even the difficulty of pondering what it is
you ultimately want out of life - just ease yourself in
with some simple goals, say to move up to the next
biggest house and to earn an extra ten thousand dollars
this year. Leave complex life-goals ("Who am I? What's
it all about? Why am I here?") until you are happier
with the whole goal-setting process.

No, there must be something else, and I think I have
identified it.

To set yourself a goal means to set yourself up for
change. Any goal that you can think of, large or small,
basically reduces to the statement: "I hereby promise
to change in the following way..." We all fear change -
it is the unknown. Fear stops us dead in our tracks.

Above everything else, a goal is a written contract
with yourself to do something. To achieve even the
smallest goal requires discipline, work, and focus; all
three in some measure.

How do you think people react when faced with a
contract containing the words 'discipline,' 'work' and
'focus'? Why, they break out into a cold sweat. Their
hands tremble and seem unable to grasp the pen. They go
to sign, then draw back, then go to sign again.
Suddenly, they feel faint. The pen slips from their
numbed hand and clatters to the floor. They'll sign
that contract one-day real soon now - perhaps
tomorrow...

I believe this is why people don't set goals.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Qualifying Questions

The process of qualifying sales opportunities requires a huge amount of fact-finding. Some of these facts can be obtained through research from sources outside the prospective client's company, but many of them will have to be gathered through the questions that you ask.

When to ask

Many sales people leave the hard questions, such as, "Who will sign the contract?" or "How will the purchase be financed?" until the end of the sales campaign. But, something changes psychologically when we near the end of the customer's buying cycle. People get tense, the concern about risk sets in, and they start preparing to fend off any attempts you may make to try to "close" the sale.

It's actually much easier to ask those tough questions early on in the sales campaign. Somehow people are less guarded when they are in the discovery mode. They also "want something" from you. They want you to spend the time and effort to educate them on your solution, so they are often more willing to answer your questions. They also perceive your questions to be hypothetical in nature when you ask them early on, especially if you pose them in a hypothetical fashion.

Make a list of all of the things that you will need to discover throughout the entire sales campaign and decide when and how you intend to obtain that information. Some of these questions are not only easier to ask early on, but should be used to determine your investment of time and effort in the opportunity, as well as how to best allocate resources.

How to ask

Let's say, for example, you want to get an understanding of the approval process your prospective client would have to go through in order to purchase your solution.

One of the best ways to pose your qualifying questions is to use the "hypothetical."

Examples:

"Let's say we go through this discovery process together, and you decide that our company is just the right fit for you. What happens then?"

or

"So let's say that you love our solution, your boss loves it, and the CFO blesses the ROI Payback Analysis that we prepare. Does your CEO simply approve the expenditure, or will it need to be presented to the Board of Directors?"

Another great approach is to ask your qualifying questions in an indirect fashion.

Example:

"I imagine that you make major buying decisions like this quite often. How did you obtain the approvals to buy the last solution of this size and scope?"

One of the most powerful methods of questioning is asking a "reverse question." This approach takes some practice, but once you get the "hang of it," it can be one of the best ways to get the answers you need.

Examples:

"So once you decide on which solution is best, you don't have to seek anyone else's approval to execute a contract. Do you?"

or

"You couldn't help me understand the process you'd have to go through to get something like this approved. Could you?"

or even better, leave off the little "Could you?" tag at the end and just ask,

"You wouldn't take a minute to walk me through the approval process?"

There is also a lot to be said for asking direct and pointed questions, especially when dealing with senior executives, but they should be done at the right time and in the right setting. Avoid asking tough questions of a senior executive while his or her subordinates are in the room. You may put him or her on-the-spot, especially if you are asking something they don't know the answer to.

Dealing one-on-one, most executives actually appreciate your candor if you ask direct questions that have a purpose. Avoid beating-around-the-bush when dealing with executives. Ask exactly what you want or need to know, and encourage them to do the same.

Keep in mind that the answers to many of your qualifying questions change over time, and that two different people in a company may provide you with two different and conflicting answers. Sales qualification is an ongoing process that only ends momentarily when a sale is completed, and only until the follow-on campaign resumes.

Is This Sales Opportunity Qualified ?

For many sales professionals the question, "Is this deal qualified?" is one they dread to hear. It comes from fellow sales people, from pre-sales and marketing types, from his or her own boss, and from their boss, and their boss, and their boss. It's a question that is difficult to answer because qualifying sales opportunities is not simply a step in a process that is "checked off" as a yes or a no. It is an integral part of the ongoing process itself. So, as conditions change throughout a sales campaign, an opportunity could easily be qualified one day, and not qualified the next.

The purpose of sales qualification is to determine the "quality" or close-ability of each sales opportunity in our pipeline in order to prioritize our efforts and properly allocate sales resources. Therefore, answering a question like, "How many do they want to buy and when do they want to buy them?" hardly scratches the surface of what we need to know. What we really want to know is why they would want to buy something in the first place, and how could they buy it if they wanted to. We need to qualify our prospective customers for why and how by qualifying for motive and means.

Motive

Understanding motive requires a knowledge of the client's business, their business goals and objectives, and how the business is performing against those goals and objectives. A business need, which precedes a motive to buy, shows up as a discrepancy between where they are today, and where they want or need to be in the future. Whether the buyer discovers their need on their own or with our help, we then proceed to help them find a suitable solution.

Sales qualification starts with a powerful one-word question: Why? To fully understand motive we need to ask questions like:

Why does this discrepancy you've discovered constitute a problem?

Why does this discrepancy exist?

Why haven't you done something about it before?

What "good" would come from solving this problem?

Why would you invest money to solve this problem rather than investing that money to address a different need that the company has?

What are the risks involved in tackling this issue?

Why couldn't you let someone else in the company worry about solving this problem?

Why not just "do nothing" and hope it works itself out on its own?

The answers to questions like these reveal not only corporate motives to buy, but individual motives as well.

Means

If we are able to determine that our prospect has a motive to buy, then we will want to qualify for means. We will need to know:

Can they afford the solution we will propose?

How will they justify the purchase?

How will it ultimately be approved?

How do they plan to pay for it or finance it?

Will there be a lending party involved?

Who will execute the contract or release the Purchase Order?

Who must give their approval before the contract signer can sign?

Do they have the resources to fully utilize your solution?

Can they really derive the value that they are seeking?

Once they do, will they be willing to act as a reference for your next prospective client?

Unless we have a clear understanding all of these elements we have not fully qualified the deal, because many of these can significantly impact the close-ability of the opportunity. It is very common to discover that your buyer hasn't yet considered all of these things. But, to conduct a bullet-proof sales campaign, you'll want to understand all of these variables and many more.

Opportunity

If your prospective customer has the motive to buy and the means to buy, you can provide them the opportunity to buy. But, we should only do so in proportion to their motive and means. In many industries providing a client the opportunity to buy involves a significant investment on the seller's part. Beyond time and effort - both of which cost money - there may be travel required, products to demonstrate, proposals to prepare, and reference clients to talk to or visit. There could easily be a dozen or more people involved. An investment of this kind should be approached the same as any other investment, by carefully weighing the possible risks verses the potential rewards.

Understanding your prospective client's motive and means will involve a little research, and asking a whole lot of questions. But, having the information with which to analyze and prioritize opportunities, and thereby optimize the investment of valuable resources, is well worth the work to collect it. Once collected, we can use this information to communicate the "quality" of an opportunity throughout the organization to everyone who needs or wants to know.

Sales Presentations That "Hit Home" !

Have you ever spent all night – or what seemed like all night – putting the finishing touches on that perfect presentation? You arrive the next day, deliver your message with conviction and flair, and leave for home feeling great, only to discover later that they decided not to buy. It bugs you a little, doesn’t it? Chances are, they started thinking about your product, then they thought about the costs, the risks, the time it would take to implement, and they forgot why they were interested in your product or service in the first place.

The truth is, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably already a very accomplished presenter. Your visual aids are probably breathtaking, your delivery skills: impeccable. But, have you been presenting your audience with a vision of what you are – telling them all the facts about your company and describing every salient feature of your product? Or have you been giving them a glimpse of what they can be – by painting a vivid picture of them reaching their desired goals? After all, nobody really wants to buy your product or service anyway. Do they?

What they really want

Last year there were millions of electric drills sold in America, and not a single person who bought one wanted the drill. What they all wanted was a hole. Your prospective clients don’t want office equipment. What they want are more profits, which they hope to attain by reducing indirect labor costs as a result of making their office personnel more productive. Likewise, they don’t want software. What they want are increased revenues, which they expect to produce by providing their customers the ability to place orders online. And they surely don’t want consulting services, but they do need to be able to service more customers at higher order fill-rates without building another new warehouse, and they’re probably going to need some help reengineering their distribution processes to accomplish that.

Most products and services are not ends unto themselves; more often they are a means to an end. They enable your clients to do something that will move them closer to their desired goals and objectives. Our goal, our objective, is the transaction itself: the sale of the product or service. But their goal or their objective is to use your solution to get something else they really want. So, how can you know what it is they really want? You’ll probably have to ask.

Ask, listen, and learn

We don’t always have the luxury of spending time with our prospective clients before we present, but we should try to whenever we can. Adopt a policy that provides you the opportunity to meet – or at least talk on the phone – with each member of the group you’ll be presenting to before you show up to present. This isn’t always practical, depending on the size of the audience, but please catch the spirit of the suggestion. Ask each one about their expectations, their concerns, and what they hope to get out of the presentation. Ask the simplest and most powerful of all questions: Why?

You might also try some of these:

How do you see our product or service helping your company?

Will it make your own job any easier?

Who else within the company would this impact?

If everything worked out as planned, what would be the net effect a year from now?

What is the ultimate goal you’re trying to accomplish?

The answers to questions like these will tell you what you need to know to present them with their own vision, in their language, using their terms, and with their goals in mind.

Make their vision your message

Once you understand what it is they really want, you can show them how your solution will help them get it.

Whether you are selling a product or service, or presenting a self-improvement program, it’s painting a picture of the way things are going to be that will keep your audience tuned in and get them turned on. If you present on nutrition, for example, please remember that none of us wants to eat healthily; we would all rather eat the stuff that’s bad for us. What we want is to feel better and look better and to live longer and healthier lives.

So the next time you stand in front of a group and give it your all, make sure you talk in terms of outcomes, results, and of achieving their goals. At least that way, if they decide not to buy, you’ll know it wasn’t you, your product, or your service they said “No” to. They simply decided that the cost of achieving their vision or goal was more than they were willing to pay.

Understanding Your Customer's Buying Process

Adapted from the program Accelerating your customer’s buying process™

by Bill Stinnett

Many of the world’s best sales forces are the best because they have codified and developed a documented sales process. Having a map of the things we as salespeople have to do to make a sale provides a framework for sales planning and activity that reduces mistakes and shortens new hire ramp-up time. However, what is conspicuously absent from most of these process maps are the things that our prospective customers have to do each step of the way in order to buy. The truth is that the things we do at any particular step or stage in the process could be a complete waste of time if the client doesn’t do what they must do to move forward to the next step or stage in their buying process.

Focus on what they do

As sales professionals, you and I don’t require quota or earn commissions for anything that we do. We get paid on what our clients do. When they sign a contract or issue a purchase order, then we make some money. This is the root of one of the major challenges of selling. We have to accept that we cannot control our customers. We can only seek to understand them and influence their actions.

To further illustrate this point, I ask you the following question; “Is it possible that we could do everything that we are supposed to do in our sales process and still not make the sale?” I suspect you’re thinking “Yes.” Then I ask you this; “If the client does all of the things that they need to do to buy, and we missed a few of the steps we had to do, could we still book the deal?” Of course. So, in reality then, it’s not what we do to try to make the sale that really matters. What matters is that the client does the things they have to do to buy.

Map it out

As sales people or managers we often ask, “What do we have to do to close this deal?” That, in fact, is the wrong question. What we should be asking is, “What does the client have to do in order to buy?” and then the follow-on question is, “What do we have to do to get them to do those things?”

Whether or not we have or follow a documented sales process, we should endeavor to understand and document our client’s buying process. We must understand not only the things that have to happen throughout the selection and approval process, but who will be involved along the way. You won’t take the time to do this for a small add-on sale, but if you intend to complete a six- or seven-figure transaction, which might take months to close, the payback is well worth the investment.

Sell with specific intent

Armed with a thorough understanding of the steps and stages of our customer’s buying process, we can plan our work accordingly. Then every single move we make can be made with the specific intent of enabling or empowering our client to take the next step they need to take in order to buy.

If you think about it a minute, before we speak to a prospective client on the phone we should know and understand exactly what has to happen next in their buying process, and what we’re going to do on this call to make that happen. And if we spend the time and money to go visit a client without a plan of what we intend to say and do to help them take the next step in their buying process, then we are little more than a professional visitor.

Defining and documenting a useful map of our customer’s buying process will take time, it will take effort, and it will require that we reach, qualify, and sell to all of the people who will play a part in the selection and approval process. We will need a lot of input and perspective because simply accepting any one person’s opinion of their process leaves too many variables to chance and ultimately leaves us with too much exposure and opportunity for failure. Taking the time to thoroughly understand all of the things that the client needs to do in order to buy often makes the difference between the very successful and those who simply hope to hit their quota by playing “the numbers.”

Cold Calling: Is it really worth it?

Just read a very interesting article about Cold Calling recently and just wanted to share with all of you. It's very interesting and true to note that the best way to overcome the fear of cold calling is to do lots of it.


Cold Calling: Is it really worth it?

by Bill Stinnett

For many sales people, the fear of Cold Calling is only slightly less than that of death-by-drowning or public speaking. The idea of contacting a prospect by phone for the first time may cause even the most aggressive sales rep to break out in hives. The good news is that there are several ways that we can make Cold Calling easier, more productive, and much more profitable.

When potential buyers seek us out, it means they have a need they suspect we can fill. The problem is that they're likely seeking out our competition, too. Most sales people would prefer to simply wait till they call us, but the downside of living our sales life in this reactive mode is that “incoming” deals are usually very competitive, often “fixed” in terms of timeframe and budget, and are frequently “pre-baked” for our competition to win. Many of the very best sales opportunities are found when we take control of our destiny, and go out and find
people who have needs for which we can provide a solution. The value to us is quite often shorter sales cycles, larger deal sizes, and a whole lot less competition.

Why does Cold Calling cause so much fear?

The biggest fear of cold calling is the fear of the unknown. Our mind races to ask:

“What if I catch them [the prospect] at a bad time?”
“What if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to?”
“What if this person is down right rude?”

But, perhaps the scariest unknown of all is . . . “What am I going to say when I get this person on the phone?” All these fears are easily overcome with a little planning and preparation. By using a simple and replicable pattern to structure our calls, we can build-in statements and questions that alleviate tension and better equip ourselves to deal with potential roadblocks and potholes when we hit them.

Most of what we commonly refer to as Cold Calls, are really simply “first” calls, but there is no reason why they have to be cold. There are several ways we can warm them up. As with most things in life, planning and preparation can make us much more effective and in this case, it may also serve to substantially improve our
confidence.

Prepare yourself before you call

There are several ways you can prepare yourself for success even before you pick up the phone:

Do your research before you call. That way, when you get someone on the phone, you can have a relevant conversation about something you’ve read or heard about their industry, their business, or even about them personally.

Precede your call with some other form of communication. Use an organized series of letters, fax, voicemail, and email, to introduce yourself and your company before you make the first call.

Develop a short value proposition – preferably referencing how you’ve helped a similar client – that is clear, concise, and compelling. Then, learn how to ask the questions that “set you up” to weave the story into your conversations. Don’t just recite it in their general direction.

Prepare a list of the ten most common questions or objections your prospect is likely to have and the appropriate responses for each. There are usually only an handful that we hear over and over and over. Let’s get prepared with a strong explanation or rebuttal for each.

Compile a list of happy clients to use for “name dropping” during your conversation. Make sure you understand

exactly what kind of value your solutions have delivered to make them happy, and how your functional capabilities can do the same for your new prospect.

Practice, practice, practice. Unfortunately, most sales people never do enough Cold Calling to learn to be effective. Your general confidence will increase when you apply these ideas above, but the only way to truly eliminate the fear of the unknown is to make enough calls and experience enough different situations that there is little or nothing new to hear.

Quit trying to “fight it.” Accept the fact that for most sales people Cold Calling is just part of the job, and spend your energy learning to enhance your skills instead of dreading and avoiding the phone.

You are only responsible for your efforts

If you or your sales team are responsible for making large numbers of Cold Calls everyday, and especially if research and preparation is not appropriate, we need to detach ourselves emotionally from the results of the call.

We should learn to, “Translate our results goals into action goals,” so that we don’t feel as though we are failing if we don’t see the desired results right away. Sometimes the job should be perceived as just a series of simple actions which include:

1. Dialing the phone
2. Posing certain specific questions
3. Proposing the prospect take a specific action

In order to cope with the anxiety and stress, you have to let yourself off the hook. You can’t control your prospect's reaction to your proposal. All you can control is the actions you take to propose it, and the resolve to take the action again regardless of the outcome.

If you do only one thing to enhance your skill set this year, resolve to get “good” at making Cold “first" Calls. It seems too simple, but this is true: Every situation you’ll ever face in professional sales can be improved by enhancing your ability to find and engage more new sales opportunities.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The God of Wealth Helps Those Who Help Themselves !

God of Wealth



I was watching a serial on VCD chronicling the rise of a long ago Tycoon in China by the name of Sum Man Sam. He managed to work his way up to the top even though he was a farmer's son. First by heeding the advice of a timely mentor. Second, by actively identifying opportunities and dreaming of innovative ways to deliver them. And taking ACTION !

He became so rich that people started praying to his paintings being portrayed as the God of Wealth.

When he saw that, he became so incensed that he tore down all those paintings. He implored to the masses that wealth does not lie in praying to the God of Wealth but in taking action and paying the price. He also said that anybody can be wealthy if they have the will and the imagination.

There is no easy way out. Do you know that 90% of lottery winners lose almost all their winnings within one year? That's because something which comes without a price is never fully appreciated. We have also never learnt the lessons needed to manage such large amounts of money.

This has deep implications to all the people fantasizing about getting rich without paying the price. The guy who dreams of the lottery (I have to admit that I'm one of them) and the girl who dreams about the rich hubby all suffer from the same shortcut complex. You can flame me if I am wrong to say so.

So, the question is, Am I willing to pay the Price?

and Are YOU willing to pay the Price?

The Price For Getting Rich !

I just received another email by Stuart Goldsmith that is extremely cogent about the price needed to pay for getting rich. I am still asking myself the question - Am I willing to pay the Price?

Let me share the message with you.

You Must Take Action
- by Stuart Goldsmith
(c) 2005 Stuart Goldsmith - Worldwide Rights Reserved


Self-made millionaires achieved this status because
they were willing to pay the price.

There is a price to pay for getting rich, just as there
is a price to pay for everything you attain in your
life.

Many chatter about being willing to pay the price, but
few will actually do so.

Carl if you are serious about becoming a
wealthy man or woman, you need to be prepared to pay
the considerable price tag associated with that
blissful state. It doesn't come free.

So let's talk honestly, frankly and openly about
exactly what is involved if you are to make your
fortune. You will not read what I am about to tell you
in any 'feel good' book.

To make a lot of money, you're going to have to give up
many things. Often you won't even know what the price
is when you start out. Nevertheless, you must resolve
to pay it. This is the factor which stops most people
from getting rich. They want it for nothing and are not
willing to sacrifice anything at all to get it. This is
a fantasy.

I think my strength is in smashing illusions,
fantasies, and myths. Most people sign up for a great
many of these fantasies which they believe to be 'the truth'
and this has a huge impact on their wealth creating efforts.
Often it even threatens survival.

Most people barely survive financially. Worse still,
lacking an iron-grip control on even the basics of
their lives, they mumble the incantations of success,
expecting magical results. That is, results which do
not exact a price or penalty.

Let us be brutally honest here, this is the state of
people in the United States today:

1. 2% are wealthy.

2. 5% are comfortable. They live in a decent house
with a small or zero mortgage, they drive a new car,
they take one or two holidays each year. They have
enough money for most of the things they need, but they
are not wealthy. I would describe them as being in the
high end of their comfort zone.

3. 53% are scraping along day-to-day, month to month.
They are just about paying their way, but there is
never any money left over for luxuries. Also, they live
in constant fear of the large unexpected bill, tax
demand, or medical expense. They are hanging on to the
tricky business of life by the fingernails - barely
surviving; lurching from crisis to crisis.

4. 40% are days away from drowning and are coming up
for air for the third time. Their past mistakes and
failures have created a crippling burden of debt which
they have not the slightest hope of paying back through
working at a normal job. The crushing weight of their
errors and the cumulative effect of years of laziness,
inaction and lack of discipline have created a terminal
situation. Each month they sign up again for inaction
and myopia. Each month their load becomes a little
heavier. Without urgent and immediate action, the
outcome is inevitable - total financial collapse.

As an aside, I would like you to reread the above
paragraph and notice how I place the blame for this
situation squarely on the shoulders of the person
experiencing it. This is where it belongs of course but
it is unfashionable to say so.

In a society which seeks to crush individualism and
make each one of us a worker in the state collective,
how can an individual possibly be to blame for his own
misfortune? He cannot. This would give the individual
some personal power, and that cannot be right!

No. It must be society, greedy capitalists,
manipulative industry, bad luck, his upbringing, peer
pressure, his race, lack of education, his age, lack of
opportunity, or any one of a hundred other factors all
of which are out of his control. In short, he is not to
blame, according to modern thinking.

If you doubt this, read the following and see if it has
a familiar ring:

"Yes, I admit it. I'm flat broke and I owe tens of
thousands of dollars to other people which, to be
honest, I don't have a prayer of paying back. But it's
not my fault. I was made redundant from my job and
thrown on the scrap heap at 40.

Those greedy bosses call it downsizing - but I don't
notice any downsizing in their fat wallets. Twenty
years I've worked there, and that's all the thanks I
get. I'm a heavy- motor electrical engineer, and there
just aren't that many jobs around for someone of my
abilities. I've applied for a few but they always want
younger men.

I guess losing my job made me kinda depressed and my
wife couldn't take it. She wants a divorce and the
bitch is taking me for every penny. I don't have any
savings, and the money I get from the state is a joke.
Sure I'm broke, but as you can see it's not my fault."

An aspiring millionaire never blames anything or anyone
but themself for the circumstances of their life.


So, people what do you think of all this?
Do you agree with the message?
Please share your view on what it means to get rich :-)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Pyramids Too Started With A Dream !



This is the pyramid at Saqqara - it's the oldest pyramid in the world dating more than 5000 years old. This was the pyramid in which all subsequent pyramids were based on. And it all started in the dream of one man, a great architect (I forgot his name though - Egyptian names not easy to remember).

Subsequently, what followed was the last remaining 7 wonders of the Ancient World. The Pyramids of Giza !




What a magnificent legacy to leave. This is what I call superb salesmanship. To be able to Motivate an army to build something so lasting and huge. How huge you ask? The largest pyramid consists of 2.3 million blocks of red granite each weighing more than 2 tonnes. The pyramid weighs nearly 5 million tonnes !!! And it all started with a dream...

Being there and seeing it really motivated me to create something everlasting too. What monument would mine be? What monument would yours be?

It All Starts With A Dream



I dream to make it rich. So, when I received this in my email. I wanted to share it with you. Sometimes, we get so jaded with what we earn that we think that's all the money that we are capable of earning. It's not. We can earn so much more and we can be so much more. And it all starts with a dream.

The dream of plenty and abundance for everybody.

It All Starts With A Dream
- by Stuart Goldsmith
(c) 2005 Stuart Goldsmith - Worldwide Rights Reserved

If you don't have a dream, how are you going to make
your dreams come true?

It all starts with a dream...

Carl let me tell you up front that if you
do not have a dream, you will not become a millionaire
other than by winning a game of chance. It's just too
hard.

To make this kind of money you need to be laser-beam
focused, and you can't be that if you only have a half
hearted interest in what you are doing. You know this
is true.

How? Just look at some famous multi-millionaires who
still keep working ten or twelve hours a day, even
though they don't need the money.

Why do they do this? Because they have a passion for
what they do. They would probably do it without
payment!

Dreaming is a type of visualization. It is
visualization plus passion. These are the things that
you really want to be, to have or to do. If you do not
achieve these things over (say) the next ten years, you
are going to be seriously disillusioned and upset.

You should be able to write a list of six such things.
If you cannot think of a single one then you are most
unlikely ever to live a life of power and passion.
Also, your chances of making big money are vanishingly
small. If you like, this is your first reality check.

Can you think of a few things about which you are
passionate? One or two things which you care deeply
about? Just one would be a start.

Don't beat yourself up if you cannot immediately think
of something. It is hard to dream up a better life for
yourself due to the decades of negative conditioning
you have allowed yourself to accept.

How often did your teachers, parents and friends
encourage you to dream and ask you to share your vision
with them?

Approximately never? I thought so! How often did
someone shoot your fledgling dreams down in flames or
pour scorn upon them? Small wonder that your dreams are
not on public display.

Until next time...


- So what do you people think of Getting Rich?
- Do you think it's a sin?
- I think having lots of money is not a sin. It's a responsibility. You can only help people if you have the means to do so right?
- Please do leave me some comments about it :-)

PPH
PPH