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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

These 3 Things Will Derail Your Goals

10_Message_Goals_in_Two_Paragraphs_Can_You_Do_ItThis was another great week in terms of engaging content. We found a lot that made us think.

Here are the five articles that piqued our interest:

1. 3 things that'll derail your goals {Inc.}

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they're mostly internal. Sure, the third thing is external, but if you read closely, it's actually how you react to external forces.

2. 51(!) productivity tips for startups {AlleyWatch}

These range from the obvious (email is a beast, don't let it rule your life) to the not-so-obvious (never accept vague goals) to the downright clever (focus on vice presidents when looking for an intro).

3. Auto dealers aren't great at social media {Marketing Mind}

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Topics: Wrap-up

You Can’t Hire a Great Salesperson Right Now

iStock_000016534806_SmallYou can’t hire a great salesperson right now. I know that’s what you want. I hear you saying that’s what you need. But I’m telling you it’s not going to happen. How do I know?

Because if you’re telling me this is your big, urgent need, then you’re also telling me that you don’t know just where you’ll find that person. That makes it clear to me that you don’t have a talent bank. And without a talent bank, the likelihood that you will hire a great salesperson right now is near zero. You might hire a great one, but it will take you much longer than you’d like. Or you could make a hire real soon, but it won’t be a top talent who can grow into a top performer.

The Magic of a Talent Bank

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Topics: Talent

For the Sales Veteran: Stop Training, Start Coaching

If you have—or have ever had—a veteran salesperson on your staff, you know they bristle at training. The mere suggestion of it can set them off. They have very good reasons.

Most of us were once salespeople, and we got pretty good at it, and we too would sound off on why training just wasn’t for us, why we wanted simply to be left alone to perform. So you and I won’t have a hard time making a list of those reasons veterans hate training.



See if you can add any to my list of why veterans hate sales training:

  • It’s a waste of time because they already know how to do the job, and they prove it every day.
  • Training is invariably geared for newbies and neophytes, and just doesn’t address the veteran’s issues.
  • Training takes them off the street, and thus it cuts their productivity instead of enhancing it.
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Checklists Save Lives. They Can Save Sales, Too.

checklists-save-livesA decade ago, a group of hospitals in Michigan implemented a procedure in their ICUs that reduced the infection rate by 66%, cut expense by $75 million, and saved an estimated 1,500 lives. Some new technology? A wonder drug? Nope. 

It was a checklist, used when inserting an intravenous line into a patient. Author James Clear calls this the power of never skipping steps, and he wrote about in a recent blog post at Surgeon and best-selling author Atul Gawande wrote a very strong-selling book about the extraordinary impact of the simple checklist, The Checklist Manifesto

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Topics: Sales, sales process

How to Transform Your Boring PowerPoint Presentation

transform_your_powerpoint_presentationsThis was another great week in terms of engaging content. We found a lot that made us think.

Here are the five articles that piqued our interest:

1. Before & After PowerPoint Presentations {SlideShare}

I love this visual representation of slideshows. The transformation from title and bullets to a more visually pleasing look is astounding.

2. Why You Should Care About Holocracy {First Round}

The term holacracy caught my eye. When I read this I thought about some of the better managers I work with right now. They tend to follow this principle of dispering control and ownership so it doesn’t all reside with them.

3. How to Be More Resilient When Things Get Tough {Inc}

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Topics: Wrap-up

Don’t Forget this Proven Sales Strategy to Get an Appointment

send-a-letterAnyone in sales knows that it can be tough to get that first appointment with an ideal prospect. You might have to leave a voicemail, send an email, try to connect on LinkedIn, show up at their house, or volunteer to clean out their garage!

When trying to stand out, don’t overlook the option of sending a business letter. 

You know what we’re talking about right? A short message on your letterhead, placed in an envelope and sent via the Post Office.

If you decide to use this as one way to get in front of prospects, here are some guidelines to follow:

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Topics: business development, valid business reason, Setting Appointments, sales strategy, Sales

The One Thing Every Brand Should Do to Improve its Social Media ROI

every-brand-needs-to-pay-attention-to-the-headlineAs a former Digital Sales Manager turned consultant, I am constantly asked How can I make sure this social media campaign will work? As with any campaign, there’s plenty a marketer needs to do to maximize success. But there’s one thing that’s enormously impactful and often overlooked:

If the headline doesn’t click in their head or their heart, there’s no way their finger will click.

The headline is the first thing a person sees—and too often the last. Social media are as cluttered today as are every other medium. People who are active in social media are often on several different platforms every day, and every one of those feeds is jammed with new information, new content, every time they check in. Do they carefully read it all? Ha. Do you? Of course not. 

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Topics: Digital

You Can Smell a Good Leader a Mile Away

smell-a-good-leader-a-mile-away"Shepherds ought to smell like sheep."

-Allan Taylor

That’s one of those quotations that slows you down and makes you think. It got me thinking about how important it is for sales managers to be in the field with their people. Sales managers ought to smell more like the funky field than the sterile office. 

It’s tempting to want to continually shut your door, block out distractions, and catch up on email and paperwork (it’s probably time to start calling this screen work, don’t you think?). Yes, there are times where you need to stop down and do some of that. But if you want to be a good leader and stay connected to your people and their work, to encourage best practices, and to spot opportunities for skill improvement, you need to get out there!

Get Out in The Field

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Topics: Management, leadership

SQUIRREL! Helping Clients Stay Focused in a World of Distractions

squirrelA colleague was recently lamenting the proliferation of competition he was now facing. “Customers have so little loyalty anymore. They jump around from one new thing to another, and the result is that they have a much less cohesive operation and lack overall direction.” His business is sales and sales management for a digital and legacy media organization, but his problem is not unique. All kinds of businesses are facing all kinds of new competitors… and it is likely that you, too—whatever your business—are finding loyalty more difficult to come by.

When you find yourself in this “Squirrel!” sales environment, it’s important that your degree of objectivity prevails over your level of frustration. That new company you see as an emerging threat or competitor? Your customer sees it as a new option. When that option is attractive to your customer, the reasons are usually pretty simple. Some of these issues you absolutely can control, some of them you can’t. And sometimes, these sales challenges are found somewhere in the middle of the influence spectrum, meaning you are neither in control… or without it. So why do customers look past you, and beyond your product line?

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Topics: Sales, sales process