Monday, November 21, 2005

If you look, smell and sound like a Dog then . . .

You are probably wondering what this has to do with sales. It might be a stretch, but here’s what I was thinking: Communication Pie. I know quite a few people who utilize the internet for sales. In essence, they may have very little contact with the public or their prospects. So the words they use (7%) of the communication pie is critical. In fact, it is everything. What you say, the tone in the words and how you lay them out will make the difference between you and another company. I believe that even on the internet people can tell the difference between an “amateur” salesperson and a sales professional. So be careful – whether it’s your web site or a follow-up email, use the system.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Third Party Stories - A Great Tool

I think third party stories are an under utilized tool. It allows you to brag about your self or share some concerns you might need to share. For example: When some ask you "Why should I buy from you?" Of course you go negative and use the usual softening statements and then you can share stories why some of your clients have bought from you. You can use a statement like: Hmm, that's a great question, I hear that a lot. I don't know that you should buy from me. I won't know that until we have a conversation. I can tell you what my clients have told me. Some of my clients say after working with me they no longer accept "I need to think it over" and they have gotten out of the proposal writing business or you can give a specific example of a success story and then say, "I don't know if that is something you were looking for."

Try to think of these stories ahead of time, even right them down and practice them so you are ready. You never know when you will have an opportunity to share a story.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Coaching is not a Fad anymore . . .

The results are in and the news is as I thought it would be. In a recent study conducted by Best Practices, LLC they noted that ongoing and incremental training/coaching is now the norm. They studied 36 companies across multiple industries including Fortune 500 companies. In those companies up to 90% of the companies utilitized ongoing coaching and training. They also noted that up to 75% of those surveyed utilized an outside vendor to provide the sales training/coaching support. This was not new to me. This is our philosophy. I often hear, "But our industry is so different." The truth is sales is sales. Sure there are nuances that need to be dealt with but when it is all said and done, we are selling a service, product or concept. It is always good to see that companies are seeing the value to what we have been doing all along.

The Sales Roller Coaster . . . Weeeeeee

Even the best sales professionals experience the sales roller coaster. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't. The question is are you enjoying the ride? And are the highs as high and lows as low.

I was thinking about this today as I looked over my week and the various activities I was involved in and the outcomes of some of those activities. What keeps you from becoming overwhelmed with the ride? For me, as I reflected back on this, it is the focus I have on my goal - my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). When I am cresting the top of the hill and know it's about to drop, I remember where I am heading. Then I continue to behave, stay true to the plan and move on.

However, during those times when you feel like you are on a roller coaster, it might be wise to revisit the plan. Make some adjustments and look at the cookbook to see if the recipe is working. Maybe something you thought made sense, doesn't anymore. Find something else. When you stay focused on the goal, everything is just a hill not a mountain because you are looking out and not down.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Good To Great is for Individuals Too

Recently I was talking with several people about the book Good To Great. It really is a powerful book with some great concepts. In particular, the flywheel concept really has been resonating with me. Basically, in the book Jim Collins says a lot of companies give up just before all their hard work was about the pay off. Just like a flywheel the hardest part is getting the momentum started, all the effort is on the bottom, pushing up. But once it gets going it takes on a life of it's own, and starts moving almost effortlessly. Today, I realized that is true with our individual sales efforts.

For me I have been working for a year at various networking organization, sitting on committees, helping out at school and behaving consistently. There have been times when I wondered it is worth it? Are my efforts going to pay off? I can safely say that a year later, the consistent behaving at all of my chosen "cookbook" sources of potential prospects, is paying off. (Wow that was a mouthful.) The truth is that I am having fun, making friends as well as contacts and building relationships.

So don't give up. Take a look at your plan. Make sure you are at the right places. Make sure you are there consistently and be involved in what ever you choose. It is not enough to just show up, get on a committee. And then over time you too will reap the benefits of working a plan. And I too believe you will have fun doing it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Customer "Rage"

I am not making this stuff up. It's out there. In a recent article named 'Customer Rage' Is on the Rise, customers are no longer accepting poor service. The article states "According to a Customer Rage Survey released today, 15% of shoppers surveyed who received unsatisfactory service actually sought revenge for their suffering." I found that statistic to be staggering. Read the article for yourself. It pays to be nice, or it may pay to hire security.

Seriously, most people who experience poor customer service will leave for another provider. They will leave quitely, at first. Then they will tell anyone who will listen how bad it was. Sales does not end with the sale. Take care of the customer, during and after the sale.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Nuggets from the Room

It was week one again and that means a whole new mix of people. As always, great lessons. Today I heard two things, one new and one not so new but the both hit home.

"Pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is an option."

"Manager the behavior, not the personalities."

I hope you enjoy them too.