5 Easy Ways to Build Rapport With Your Prospects

April 18, 2012

Handling prospects often requires a consultative sales process. This is a needs-based approach that requires a strong relationship between the sales person and the prospect. This relationship must be built on trust and that can often be a difficult commodity to come by in today’s marketplace.... read more

Research Your Prospects to Improve Your Sales Process

April 12, 2012

If you are noticing that your sales numbers are lagging, or you just can’t seem to meet your goals, it is vital to take a look at how you are selling and how you are handling your prospects.  Thoroughly researching your prospects is a necessary part of sales process improvement.  Let’s take a look at a few easy ways that you can find the gold hidden in your prospect list.... read more

Know When to Close: The Importance of the Buyer’s Shift

April 9, 2012

Sales training often concentrates on the beginning of the sales funnel, stressing activities such as marketing, prospecting and presenting. Some even get as far as drilling on handling objections. Too many salespeople are therefore only competent at finding people to sell and presenting, but cannot “seal the deal” when the moment of truth comes, costing both their commission and the firm’s lifeblood — revenue.... read more

Rank Prospects in Your Consultative Sales Process

April 5, 2012

New prospects are the lifeblood of your company, but not all prospects are equal. In order to utilize your time wisely, it is vital to set up a ranking system for your prospects and then allocate the time you spend.... read more

Customer Complaints are Sales Gold – Use Them!

March 29, 2012

Success in sales is largely determined by the actions taken on a daily basis, and these in turn derive from a blend of the salesperson’s knowledge and attitude.  Basic attitude directs how situations are approached and is probably the single largest factor in whether a salesperson does the effective thing or sits idly by while business goes to the competition.... read more

Three Ways to Leverage Account Management to Develop More Business

March 25, 2012

Account servicing might be looked at as simply a time consuming, unproductive activity by both salespeople and their managers, unless a major fire has to be put out to prevent an account from being lost. After all — as most top sales trainers teach — the top money making activity is actively selling, not doing administrative work. With a shift in approach, however, account servicing can be quite rewarding as far as generating more leads and business.... read more

The Importance of a High-Quality Sales Process in Driving Sales

March 21, 2012

A 2011 survey of 80,000 business customers performed by H.R. Chally Group indicates that the most important factor in choosing a vendor for their purchasing solutions is the salesperson’s competence. This tops the suitability of the offering, product quality, and price, and indicates that any sales process improvement is very worthwhile. Research reveals, however, that a sizeable majority of companies lack a standardized sales process and methodology—one of the biggest contributors in the success of a salesperson.... read more

Consultative Selling – It’s Not About You!

March 15, 2012

The term “consultative sales process” frequently gets bandied about without much understanding. A salesperson, especially a rookie, might tend to assume that it means to simply adopt some professional-type mannerism and tell the prospect that, as their consultant, they recommend such-and-such product. While adopting an air of authority and professionalism does not hurt, the backbone of the consultative sales process is to shift focus from the product and “the pitch” over to the prospect.... read more

Listen to Improve Your Consultative Sales Process

March 12, 2012

One of the basic truisms used in training sales people to develop a consultative sales process is “sell people how they wish to be sold, rather than the way you want to sell them.” This requires, for some, a dramatic shift in how they view the sales cycle and, even more fundamentally, how they communicate with people in general. The biggest skill most salespeople need to develop to truly excel in this type of selling is simply the ability to listen.... read more

Increase Sales Optimization Through Organizational Growth

February 29, 2012

Successful businesses will strive for growth. Sales optimization will improve if a company’s reach and abilities are not static. For small businesses, growth represents potential in several areas, including increased survival rate, greater profits, and marketplace power. There are many ways to measure growth, with profitability being the leading indicator. Sales, number of employees, and increased market share are other parameters used to determine growth.

... read more

Sales Optimization Through Value-Added Selling

February 24, 2012

In a competitive marketplace, how do you differentiate your offerings from all of the others? You can achieve sales optimization by clearly defining the attributes that make your product or service better, or worth the price. This is known as value-added selling.

... read more

Top Ten Skills of “Super Salespeople”: Sales Training to Inspire Them

February 21, 2012

The numbers say it all. There are millions of people in sales. A recent US census reveals that there were 25 million B2B salespeople. How many of them are top-notch? A Harvard study shows that 4% of the country’s salespeople sell the vast majority of the country’s goods and services. This indicates that roughly one million sales people are top producers. Many reach this goal through effective sales training.

... read more

Add Prospect Personality Assessment to Your Sales Training

February 6, 2012

You’ve identified a prospect and are ready to begin your sales process. You have great product knowledge, you have information about the prospect’s needs, you may have even begun to formulate your opening pitch. But what happens if your style of communication, or area of focus doesn’t sit well with your contact? Psychology may not have been part of your sales training, but being able to make an assessment of personality types can help you to avoid making a negative first impression.... read more

Personality Types: How They Impact Your Sales Process

January 30, 2012

Knowing what sort of personality you are dealing with has an impact on your sales process. Understanding how to approach different personalities requires an assessment on your part, and that assessment will drive your choices when it comes to communication, style, and timing.
    Just as there are no two snowflakes that are alike, people are unique. And it is safe to say, that typically people fall into one of 4 categories when it comes to basic personality types. The details of how they behave and respond to things, and why they do so, can be traced back to these personality types. We have already examined two of these… the Driver and the Motivator. Now we’ll be looking at the Thinkers, and what makes them tick.
      The Thinker
      As the name implies, this is a person prone to serious thought before action. A Thinker is not impulsive. Their low Ego Drive is best suited for a sales process that includes preparation, organization, and detailed analysis. A Thinker prefers a step-by-step methodical approach. Their low Empathy keeps them from being distracted by personal relationships. Some examples of some well-known Thinkers are CEO and Chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates, economist Alan Greenspan, and professional golfer Tiger Woods.
        A Thinker is an analytical person who needs structure and procedure. They thrive on details and can process a lot of information. Often seen as a perfectionist, the Thinker is deep, thoughtful, careful and conservative by nature. Thinkers can also be skeptical and therefore want the whole story. Motivated by security, they are slow talkers, systematic, and even- paced. Possessing a cool demeanor, the Thinker hates to be wrong, and will respect people who provide them with thorough analysis and organized background information. Emotions or feeling aspects of a situation do not resonate.
          Recognizing a Thinker
          You will know you are dealing with a Thinker when you see or experience the following:
          • greet you with formality and without enthusiasm
          • show no emotion or facial expression
          • has a neat, organized workspace and conservative dress
          • overly cautious, writes things down/takes notes
          • over-analyzes before speaking – says “I think” rather than “I feel”
          • wants facts, figures and details
          • skeptical of others intentions and insensitive to other’s needs
          Getting a decision
          While it may seem a less than welcoming situation when dealing with a Thinker, there are some do’s and don’ts that can help you navigate their territory. Keeping these points in mind can increase your chances for a successful sale.
            • be well organized and on time
            • prepared with detailed analysis
            • provide written materials and thorough research in advance
            • be patient, persistent and polite
            • provide facts and numbers, be accurate, don’t exaggerate
            • follow through on promises; missing a deadline is seen as an affront
            • close only after addressing all concerns
            • get in their space or lean forward
            • be casual, loud, overly friendly or emotional or expressive
            • waste time with small talk or jump from subject to subject
            • be disorganized or messy
            • try to rush decision making
            Presentations and meetings with a Thinker require a lot of preparation, so take extra time to prepare your approach and cover all of your bases.
              Using a bit of psychology and personality assessment in your sales process can go a long way towards making the right connection with your prospect. The success of that connection could determine whether or not you achieve your sales goal.
                Next time we will introduce you to our final personality type, the Supporter, and help you to prepare for dealing with them. Until then, let us know what type of personality you are, and what works for you.
                  Or, for more on improving your sales process, contact us today.
                  ... read more

                  Assessing Buyer Personality as Part of Your Sales Process Steps

                  January 27, 2012

                  You’ve done your research and learned about your prospect’s company and their needs. What else can you do to prepare for your meetings? Using a little psychology with your sales process steps is something to consider. Understanding what type of personality you’ll be dealing with can mean the difference between a struggle for closing, and success.
                    Last week we introduced you to the Driver personality type and how to recognize and approach them. This week, we will provide some insight into the Motivator.
                      The Motivator:
                      These people are characterized by a high Ego drive and high Empathy which motivates them towards meeting and entertaining others. Their high Ego results in impatience and the need to be socially active. The high Empathy factor makes them relationship centered, giving them a desire to relate to others. Some examples of well-known Motivators are former President Bill Clinton, actor/comedians Jim Carrey and Robin Williams, and Oprah Winfrey.
                        Motivators are expressive, personable, outgoing and magnetic people. They are demonstrative, talkative and have a good sense of humor. You will also see these qualities:
                          • fast-paced, energetic and goal oriented
                          • thrive on options, plans, and change
                          • creative “big picture” types that are not always strong with follow-through
                          • avoid details
                          • desire to please, fun to work with
                          • innovative, interactive, articulate, and cooperative
                          Motivators are great communicators who like selling and influencing others.
                          These high-energy, likable people can be enjoyable, but may also make you feel as though you’re on a wild ride. You know you’re meeting with a Motivator when you receive an enthusiastic greeting. They will stand close to you, lean forward when they speak, and demonstrate active and expressive body movements. Take a look around their workspace and you will see personal information, possibly even some toys. Other traits include:
                            • open and friendly – like to talk about their personal life.
                            • shift subjects frequently
                            • poor listener, easily bored
                            • not good at time management
                            • rely on hunches
                            Getting a decision from a Motivator:
                            Be aware of the motivator’s style, likes, and dislikes and you could have the inside track in effective communication with this type of prospect. As with any type, there are certain do’s and don’ts for interaction.
                              • greet them informally and with enthusiasm
                              • use examples and stories
                              • compliment them and drop names if appropriate
                              • be ready for a shift in direction and support their ideas
                              • be patient, allow them to consider options
                              • stay with the big picture
                              • provide testimonials from people they perceive as important
                              • allow them to talk about themselves and to express feelings and opinions
                              • be interesting and entertaining, but brief
                                • put up barriers or be cold or tight-lipped
                                • control the conversation or cut them off
                                • emphasize facts, figures, or abstractions
                                • provide unnecessary detail
                                • be competitive or argumentative
                                Motivators don’t like making decisions. Allowing them to come to a decision in their time, and without too much distraction with details, will increase your chances for success.
                                  Next we will examine the Thinker personality and how best to approach them.
                                    For more on understanding personality types as part of your sales process steps, contact us today.
                                    ... read more

                                    Assessing Buyer’s Personalitites, What Your Sales Training May Not Have Taught You

                                    January 25, 2012

                                    Your sales training has helped you to identify your company’s products or services, and to craft a solid, persuasive argument. Is this enough to make you a truly effective sales person? There is one part of the equation that is often left out, and that is reading people. Understanding, and being able to tailor your approach to different personality typesrequires insight. It may also require an assessment made while in the midst of an initial encounter.
                                      Over the next several weeks, we will take a look at the 4 main personality types we evaluate, and will look at how to appeal to them for better sales optimization. First, we will examine the “Driver” personality.
                                        The Driver:
                                        This person focuses on the results, rather than the process. Their high Ego drive and low empathy can cause impatience and keeps them from being distracted by personal relationships. These are characteristics you’ll see in a Driver personality.
                                        • They tend to be dominating and competitive.
                                        • You’ll recognize them because they are often fast-talking, high-energy types who are impatient and have a short attention span.
                                        • These folks are results oriented and prefer to talk about the bottom line.
                                        • A Driver is decisive.
                                          Recognizing a Driver:
                                          When you have your first meeting with a prospect, scan their workspace or office to get a read on what type of personality they reveal. A Driver’s space will be formal, sometimes cold with few personal items.
                                            Their greeting will be formal and may lack charm. Watch them and take note of their facial and body movements.Driver’s will be non-expressive. You will note that they are direct and to-the-point. If you find they do a lot of the talking, it is because they typically have poor listening skills. They are also opinionated.
                                              Getting a decision from a Driver:
                                              There are certain do’s and don’ts when it comes to selling to a Driver.
                                              • Use spoken, rather than written communication
                                              • Be punctual and precise
                                              • Maintain eye contact and exude confidence
                                              • Be clear, specific, brief, and to the point
                                              • Stick to the big picture
                                              • Come with organized support material
                                              • Let them control the sales interview and tell you what they want
                                              • Selling points – money, time, power, status, efficiency
                                              • Allow them to make the decision via choices
                                              • Tell them about other high-profile decision makers who do business with you.
                                              • Get in their space by leaning forward
                                              • Appear disorganized
                                              • Leave any issues cloudy or with loopholes
                                              • Talk about details
                                              • Emphasize a personal relationship
                                              • Exaggerate features or benefits
                                                Be sure to check with us next week for insights into another business personality type.
                                                  For more details on this subject and it’s importance to your sales training, contact us today.
                                                  ... read more

                                                  Sales Process Management – Staying on Top of Customer Service

                                                  December 26, 2011

                                                  There are many positive opportunities along the way. Effective sales process management can put you in the position to keep customers happy, solve problems, and possibly even generate new business. It can be challenging to respond appropriately to your customers, though, if you aren’t in line with how they are thinking, and with their needs. Remember, customer loyalty can be fragile, even fleeting if you don’t pay attention.... read more

                                                  Nurturing Relationships for Better Sales Optimization

                                                  December 22, 2011

                                                  It’s simple… much like it works for personal relationships, nurturing those that are special requires a small effort, but can yield great results. So consider ways you can nurture your top customer relationships for better sales optimization. The courtship is over, you’ve made the sale, and now you are engaging in an ongoing interaction with the client. The focus should now be on making them feel special. However, unlike a personal relationship, the time calls for an integrated team effort.... read more

                                                  Using Positive Sales Training Techniques to Turn Things Around

                                                  December 19, 2011

                                                  It happens. But does your sales training prepare you for possible disappointment? Prospects waiver, begin to feel buyers remorse, or decide they are not going to engage with your company. Don’t let these scenarios lead you to cave in. There are things you can do to salvage your efforts, or to even create future prospects.... read more

                                                  Sales Process Red Flags: Sales to Avoid

                                                  December 15, 2011

                                                  You’ve put in the work and followed your sales process diligently. The seeds of a potential sale have been sown by establishing contact, making a connection, and helping the prospect understand your offerings. But when do you know if all the effort may not bear good fruit? There are, unfortunately, times when you need to simply call it off. While it’s hard to imagine not pushing for a close, or wrapping up the process, a red flag buyer could eventually be more grief than the sale is worth.
                                                  There are ten signs you need to look for in a potential buyer relationship that could signal trouble. Ask yourself honestly, “are any of these issues present”?... read more

                                                  Our top ten closing approaches

                                                  November 22, 2011

                                                  You’ve recognized the buyer’s shift and you’re at the closing point…. now what? Remember that closing is simply helping the prospect make a decision. The progression of ideas that both you and your prospect have shared has lead to this moment. Make sure to handle this portion of the sale with the utmost amount of sympathy, knowing that making a decision is always a bit scary. Decision-making induces a lot of fear and it’s a big step, so show the buyer that you acknowledge the big step they are making. ... read more

                                                  What to do when you’re at the closing point

                                                  October 31, 2011

                                                  Once you have recognized the buyer’s shift, you are ready to push forward. There are many techniques out there that individuals have employed for past years. I can tell you that while every technique is a good move, the simple “ask for business” strategy will earn you the most success. Prospects expect to be asked for businesses, so don’t disappoint them! ... read more

                                                  Recognizing The Buyer’s Shift

                                                  October 22, 2011

                                                  It’s the magic phrase that is on every salesperson’s mind: “close the sale”. There are many steps to closing the sale, and you must be aware of each. Recognizing the buyer’s shift will put you one step closer to landing that sale. ... read more

                                                  Testimonial letters – how to display loyalty

                                                  October 10, 2011

                                                  A prospective client can read about all of your services, read your blog, meet with your salespeople, but will still not have a 100% idea of what you can offer. A great way for people to really get a feel for your business is through a testimonial letter. What better way to get a feel for what their experience will look like with you than through a personalized testament? ... read more

                                                  Return-On-Investment Analysis

                                                  September 23, 2011

                                                  An ROI analysis is the “why buy at all” segment that is of high significance when relating to the buyer. It is a strategic, honest way of giving the buyer a glimpse at how you can bring them success.... read more

                                                  Key Discriminators – Why Choose Us?

                                                  September 6, 2011

                                                  As a salesperson, it’s of paramount importance to know your company’s key discriminators. If you can define these succinctly and honestly, you’re in a good position to answer two pivotal sales questions – why should the buyer choose you? And, what sets you apart from the competition?... read more

                                                  Killer Arguments

                                                  August 26, 2011

                                                  One of the most successful marketing messages that your company can utilize is the “done it before” approach. This message has been developed over the years by top marketers and is successful because it allows you to honestly differentiate yourself from the competition, while answering logistical questions.... read more

                                                  Overcoming Negative Perceptions About Your Company

                                                  August 15, 2011

                                                  In the corporate world, we are constantly thinking about image. We analyze how are perceived by others, both negatively and positively. As forward thinkers, our culture tends to highlight the positive perceptions and push the negative under the rug. I can tell you that if you sincerely care about your image as a whole, sweeping disapproving remarks under the rug is your first mistake. Negative perceptions of your company are a “speed bump” that cannot be overcome by ignoring them.... read more

                                                  Sales Training That Will Stick

                                                  July 26, 2011

                                                  After reviewing over 15 branded sales methodologies, we found that in the spectrum of sales training methodologies, the training is oriented from transactional sales (very short sales cycle times) to very complex sales with long sales cycle times (years).  According to one methodology, you can teach anyone to sell. Perhaps true, but how well?... read more

                                                  Handling Objections

                                                  July 17, 2011

                                                  When we hear the beginnings of an objection, our first instinct is to feel rejected. We feel that objection equates to negativity. We shut off and assume the buyer is uninterested. But what if we started to look at objection as a pathway to refining. What if we looked at objection as constructive criticism?... read more

                                                  Understanding your buyer’s fears

                                                  June 23, 2011

                                                  Now that you’ve acknowledged a salesperson’s two biggest fears (product knowledge and rejection), it’s time to think about what types of fears your buyer has. Believe it or not, you’re not the only one that is anxious about the ordeal. In fact, the buyer’s biggest fear is that they don’t fully understand the value of your offering.... read more

                                                  Overcoming The Salesperson’s Two Biggest Fears

                                                  June 16, 2011

                                                  Let’s be honest, being a salesperson isn’t easy. There are many attributes that come with the career that can lead to fear. The two biggest fears of a salesperson are product knowledge and rejection. Here are a few tips to help you overcome those fears and get you saddled up to do your best.... read more

                                                  Stop talking and start listening!

                                                  June 13, 2011

                                                  Even though it may seem like the conversation between you and your buyer is an equal give-and-take, you’re probably talking too much. Start using your ears and you’ll see results like you’ve never seen. Take it straight from the buyer: according to Amacon, 95% of buyers think you talk too much. But there’s still hope! 74% of buyers said they would be much more likely to buy if you simply listen to them.... read more

                                                  Solution Selling

                                                  May 24, 2011

                                                  The next time you’re in the process of a sale – ask yourself, “What am I really selling?”... read more

                                                  Becoming a trusted advisor

                                                  May 12, 2011

                                                  Sure, you make your sales quota every month. You are pretty well educated in your field and an expert in related fields. But what distinguishes you from the top salespeople? The top salespeople are trusted by the buyer to help advise them on any questions they may have. A customer knows that a top salesperson always has their best interest at heart and feels comfortable asking for solutions in non-related fields. The trusted advisor cares about the buyer and not just about the sale.... read more

                                                  How to be in the mindset of a top salesperson

                                                  May 3, 2011

                                                  Meryl Streep was probably (arguably) born a very talented woman. But it is her focus and mindset that pushed her to be one of today’s leading ladies. The same goes for a stellar salesperson. You can be naturally gifted and have a way with talking to people, but you must be in the correct mindset to really make the sale.
                                                  For top salespeople, it’s not just about the goal but also about the process. Oftentimes, the biggest reward for a salesperson is knowing that they really took the time to understand the buyer’s needs and developed a firm relationship.... read more

                                                  Building Rapport

                                                  April 29, 2011

                                                  To generate new clients and retain your existing ones, there is an essential need to connect. There are many tips for building rapport but they must all be grounded in a very real and authentic desire to build trust. People can smell genuineness from a mile away, so there’s no real “faking it” in this game. The purpose of building rapport is to simply make friends and build trust. In fact, 90% of buyers must feel comfortable with you first.... read more

                                                  The Classic Five Buyer Decisions

                                                  April 21, 2011

                                                  When working with a potential buyer, many tools and tips are racing across our minds. From how to shake their hand all the way down to how present your services, we are full with an overwhelming list. These lists are very helpful and work efficiently but it is important to not become overwhelmed with what you should be doing and completely forget about how you are actually being received.... read more

                                                  Preparing for your opening statement with a new buyer

                                                  March 28, 2011

                                                  Just like a soft handshake, a poor opening statement can negatively color the rest of a critical conversation with your buyer. With new buyer conversations being a delicate line to walk, why not do everything you can to start it off right? Placing a lot of gravity on your opening statement will train you to keep your buyer’s attention and eventually lead to promising opportunities.... read more