Category Archives: Sales Training

Lesson in Sales from Songwiters

I’ve been in Nashville since 1975 and I’ve grown to appreciate Songwriters. I’ve never worked in the music industry but I Songwriterslike a great tune and how it relates to how I sell.

Music fans are loyal and buy their favorite songs.  There are plenty of loyal fans of products and services that are unrelated to music and they also buy.

Most songs are somewhere in length between 2 ½ and 3 ½ minutes. That’s about the attention span of the listening audience. Sure there are a few “Stairway to Heaven” exceptions and some catchy short jingles but let’s stick to the norm.

Every song has a title, however writing titles would leave a person far short of being an accomplished songwriter. Many have tried their hand at songwriting but only a few make their mark of success in this town. One reason is you can’t short cut the practice, trials and errors involved in the development process. Most just don’t have the patience, drive, and discipline needed to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

In the end it’s the hook, melody, originality, message or some combination of the before mentioned that draws in an audience.

In sales we are taught to get to the benefits and features. Have our elevator pitch well rehearsed. Be ready to present a solution for almost every objection we’ll hear. In sales just like in a song chances are our audience needs to be pulled in one word or line at a time and on the other end the spectrum chances are if they don’t like what they hear in verse one and two you’re not going to win them over in verse three and four. You have a window of opportunity to present a song and to make a sell. You rarely win a paying customer when you rush them and rarely win them if they don’t relate to the heart of your message.

As sales people we have to find our audience and like a songwriter when we get their time and attention  be prepared to share our best.

Advertisements

HELP make sales

Stop trying to figure out how to sell a prospect and start determining how you can best help them and that’s how Helpyou’ll gain more customers.

When you LOSE a Sale

In sales sometimes we WIN (prospect says YES) and sometimes we LOSE (prospect says NO). The truth

When we LOSE the biggest challenge we face is not the NO, but it’s getting your prospect to tell us the real reason they said NO.

If you don’t get the truth as to why you won and why you lost you will have a hard time sustaining long term sales success and/or realizing measurable sales improvement.

It’s a lot easier and more comfortable for everyone involved finding out the main reason a prospect said YES than it is to receive the honest feedback from a prospect that said NO.

Most sales people don’t do a very good job of analyzing and documenting why they WON or LOST.

If you’re not already doing so start asking for the true facts of why you WON or LOST. The true facts in a WIN will often uncover a story and relaying a good story is a great way to sell. Uncovering the real reasons you LOST a sale might sting a little but there is not a better piece of intelligence that can help you or your team improve and WIN the next sale.

5 Steps to Live Networking

Networking has changed but if you are like me at some point you have come to realize as convenient and efficient asLive Networking the internet has made online networking you still can’t afford to take live networking out the equation. When you decide to attend a live networking event you are fully aware it’s going to pull on the valued resource of time and take about $20 of gas money out of your pocket. Relationships that are initially formed from in person interaction have a much greater opportunity to start out stronger and move forward faster.

I recently came across Marc Wayshak’s 5 Steps to Networking like a Pro for Salespeople. I think Marc is right on target with these 5 tips and if you have not been going to networking events as frequent as you have in the past I encourage you to find one soon and give Marc’s advice a try.

1. Get warmed up. When you show up at a networking event, chances are that you’ll be low on energy and by yourself. Rather than immediately rushing for a drink at the bar, get social. Go up to the first three people you see and just talk to them—ask them how they are, what’s going on, and start a friendly conversation.

2. Ask “What brings you here?” This question will get people to open up about why they’re at the event and what they do for a living. Starting a conversation with this prompt will allow you to strategically decide whether you want to spend more time talking to the person at hand, or move on.

3. Learn about people’s businesses. Most people go to networking events to talk about themselves and their businesses. Don’t be one of those people! Learn about what everyone else is doing. By understanding other people’s businesses, you can quickly determine whether someone is a prospect for you, but you can also learn about who else at the event you might be able to connect them with—which brings us to the next tip.

4. Make connections for others. Once you’ve asked about other people’s businesses, you’ll soon learn who they’re looking to meet at the event. Use your new found information to connect different people at the event. Become a connector and you’ll create goodwill at the event and be the hit of the party.

5. Find connectors. It’s great to be a connector yourself, but you should also find other long-term connectors. These people are familiar with the networking group, know everyone and are very social. Find them and ask them for help, and whether they’d be willing to introduce you to some people. In all likelihood, they’ll be happy to walk with you around the room and introduce you to whomever you want to meet. Make sure to get their contact info and stay in touch with them. Networking connectors can become some of your closest allies when it comes to helping you develop your business.

You can see Marc’s full post at http://www.marcwayshak.com/5299/5-steps-to-networking/

Networking – it just sounds less complicated than…

Integrated Alliance

Integrated Alliance

What’s your RON?

How we spend our money and time largely define who we are and what we become. RON

OK before I make a point on MONEY I’m not going to go all Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey on you. I will just say I have experienced times I’ve had no money (as in BROKE) and times I’ve had a lot, but never a time money defined who I am. I’ve invested it wisely and spent it foolishly (I think most can relate). However, the reason I bring up money is in the business world we all know and recognize ROI. The Merriam-Webster definition of ROI is: return on investment. That’s it, that short of a definition for a term we hire CFO’s, accounting firms, and financial analyst to measure and report for us.

I went to Merriam-Webster and searched RON and I got: “The word you’ve entered isn’t in the dictionary”. It’s 2014 wake up Merriam-Webster we all know that time is money and the work related time we spend interacting with others often falls under business networking. So therefore RON is: return on networking.

Today I spend more time online on Linkedin and less time attending Chamber meetings than in the past because it simply provides a better RON for me. Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, industry associations, conferences, trade shows, BNI, Chamber of Commerce, and independent networking all work at different levels for people.

I encourage you to look at your present business networking and compare it to where your business comes from; the people and groups you spend the most time with and how it relates to who your customers and clients are.

Networking is an activity most all of us participate in at varying degrees but the results of those business networking activities are not easy to measure. I didn’t write this post to drill down into the “science” of RON, I brought it up because I’m confident there is a parallel between heightened awareness of business networking and an improved RON.

It’s hardly ever a BLOWOUT!

It is hardly ever a blowout but a slow seeping leak.low tire

That is the case you find most the time at work when production, sales, or motivation is down.

Daily maintenance, measurements, and visual checks are just as important to our professional lives when we strive for maximum performance.

Experience has been my Greatest Teacher

Before I earned a wage or sold my first anything that resulted in a commission I loved playing sports. That was where I gained my Point Guardfirst understanding of just how important a coach, trainer, or manager could be to helping me achieve goals. It seems natural that my competitive spirit later moved me in the direction of sales, management, and training. However what I came to understand over the years was the place I learned the most when playing sports was on the field, court, and in the gym. Rather it was practice or game day nothing beat the real time actually spent playing and coaching in the heat of the battle. There was no game plan, pregame or halftime speech that could have fully prepared me for the reality of competition. It’s was the right time and place to gain experience, make mistakes, and learn from failure.

Playing point guard in basketball I remember turnovers that caused frustration, cost points and sometimes lost the game. It’s no different in sales. You’re going to make mistakes and those mistakes are going to frustrate you and your customer, cost you money and cost you sales. However it’s those same failures that drive you to practice harder, pay more attention to detail and make remarkable improvements.

As a sales coach and trainer I know those who will ultimately be the most successful are those who learn from their failures and improve on not repeating them. No matter how much has been taught part of the process is let the player go out and play the game; let the sales person make the sales calls. When the game or career is over the coaching will always be valued but the experience will still have been the greatest teacher.

Don’t just observe them…Talk to Them!

It’s not enough to just observe great sales people in action. If you work with or know great sales people who inspire you, talk to them. sharing sales successGoals, strategies, and motivations are nice to know, but in 2014 you need to pick their brains about both the technical and mental aspects of selling.  You will more often than not find that great sales people are willing to share their experiences. They have stories of when they first started or periods of time they had their own struggles. These stories can provide you comfort because even the great ones were once a little frightened and intimidated. They have made mistakes along the way and still do, but through their stories you may be able to recognize and avoid some of the pitfalls that lie ahead.

My advice is to hang out with people who can make you better!

LEARN a Fantastic NEW YEARS RESOLUTION

A fantastic NEW YEARS RESOLUTION FOR 2014 would be to LEARN MORE than in any prior year. Great sales people never Learnstop learning. They devour as much information about their craft as they can. If sales is your craft the question is how much time EACH day will you spend researching, reading, listening, or watching things that are specifically sales related?

I suggest 45 minutes to 1 hour a day doing just that. One of the best things about the sales profession is we are never too experienced or knowledgeable to learn more. The real trick to being great sales people is to never stop learning and challenging ourselves to improve.

Don’t take the time each day but MAKE the time. I like to start off the day with new knowledge or re-knowledge.

A few areas where content can be explored are websites, blogs, SM, electronic or print articles, reports, white papers, case studies, trade magazines, books, audio tapes, television, radio, and last but certainly not least real live people. You get there’s no short coming of content so what you have to guard against is paralysis by analysis and spending ½ you’re learning time deciding what it is you need to learn. You need to learn anything that’s new or adds an additional layer of understanding.

In reference to people I ask: do you observe your mentors, peers, and your competition? Who do you engage and spend time with while at work? Who do you bounce ideas off of? Who do you practice or role play with? Who do you seek out for advice? Who’s in your corner that you can always trust?

I hope you will have a great and prosperous 2014 and it starts with at least 45 minutes on your next business day’s calendar dedicated to learning.