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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Weekly Wrap Up: What We Wrote, and What We Read: Oct 27-30

What a great week! There are some great gems from our writers here, and wonderful news from around the web. Read on!

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up

  • Tuesday, Greg Giersch wrote exactly what I needed to read: when you're overwhelmed with how much you want to accomplish, find the very next step and work on that.

 Oct30

 

Topics: Digital Management inbound marketing Talent Sales

5 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Success in Your Sales Meetings

Earning that first appointment with a big prospect can be difficult. But you persevered. You were smart enough, creative enough, prepared enough, and persistent enough to nail it. He said yes. The date, time, and location are on your calendar and his. Getting this appointment was especially sweet because the guy has a reputation of being tough and demanding.

If you think the most difficult phase of the selling cycle is now behind you, I have some bad news. Now you need to measure up—to your claims and his expectations. I can’t tell you how often I see salespeople work hard and smart to get the meeting and then saunter in to his office, largely unprepared.

You “sold” the appointment.  Now you need to deliver.  Here are six things you can do to ensure that your first meeting with that big prospect goes well.  There are no second chances with prospects like this.

No-second-chances
Topics: Sales

The 5 Greatest Quotations about Planning

Greatest_Quotations_About_PlanningThe leaves are turning beautiful shades of red and gold (well, not here in Florida, where the leaves just turn brown and it doesn’t happen until February), so it must be the time of year when thoughts turn to annual sales planning, to making next year markedly better than this year.

(Oh, the leaves don’t make you think about planning? If they trigger thoughts about turkey, click here. If they spark thoughts about skiing, look here. If the leaves prompt thoughts of romance, you must be confusing fall with spring.) 

I thought I’d approach the topic of annual sales planning by offering my favorite all-time quotations about planning. Which ones speak loudest to you?

Think before you act.

—Aesop

Topics: Management

Do You Know The Next Step to Hit Your Goals?

find-selectHave you ever started the day feeling that there was so much to do that you didn’t know where to start? If you’re in sales, it’s not uncommon to feel you have too much to sell, too many follow-up tasks, and too many deals that haven’t closed. Which activities will allow you to hit your goals?

The best advice is often the simplest. Focus on the single, next step with each client or prospect.

Focusing on just the next step is the permission you need to focus on reaching an achievable goal. And an achievable goal is motivating. We use a 7-step process in How Selling that makes it easier to decide the next step in the sales process.

Topics: Sales

The Worst Possible Talent-Related Advice

The_Worst_Possible_Talent-Related_AdviceI told my son a lie last night. I didn’t mean to, but it just slipped out. As a certified talent analyst, I should definitely know better.

I told him, “You know, you can be anything you want to be.”

This type of toxic talent-related advice has been handed down from generation to generation. I’m certain we have all heard some form of it:

  • “Just put your mind to it and you can accomplish anything you want!”
  • “Just try hard and you can be anything you want!”
  • “All things are possible!”
  • “You just have to want it!”
Topics: Talent

Weekly Wrap Up: What We Wrote, and What We Read: Oct 20-23

What a great week! There are some great gems from our writers here, and wonderful news from around the web. Read on!

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up

  • Monday, Mike Anderson reminded us that lead generation was useless without need generation. What good are your leads if they don't need anything from you?
  • Tuesday, John Henley told us to kickstart 2015 by holding a Twitter drive with your team today. What's a Twitter drive? Find out.

 oct24

 

Topics: Digital Management inbound marketing Talent Sales

Go Viral Inside Your Key Accounts

Going viral.

It's what a lot of people online want to do. They want a piece of their content to hit the right notes with the right people, propelling them, even for a minute, to internet fame status.

But what if you could go viral inside your key accounts?

The result would be even better than getting a million hits on a cat video. It would connect you with the people your key accounts trust and value, which would, in turn, increase the number of key accounts.

Which would increase your sales.

Topics: Sales

Start a Twitter Drive Now to Increase Business in 2015

Start_a_Twitter_Drive_Now_to_Increase_Business_in_2015As we head toward the end of the year, it’s natural to start looking to 2015. Where will you find new prospects next year?

They could be on social media right now without you realizing it. Get your team to increase their use of social media (for more than just cat videos) this quarter by implementing a Twitter Drive, in order to increase business next year.

How to Start a Twitter Drive

  • Have a meeting on Monday where everyone notes the number of Twitter followers they have. Some may have 100, some may have 5,000. Some, umm, may not have any.
  • Set a follow-up meeting for four weeks from Monday to see what progress everyone made.
  • Brainstorm ways to find the right kind of new people to connect with.

What are You Tracking?

Topics: Digital

Lead Generation is Useless Without Need Generation

Lead_Generation_is_Useless_Without_Need_GenerationLead generation and inbound marketing are two (of the many) hot topics in the marketing industry right now. But to make lead generation a smart strategy instead of just another marketing buzzword, it is critical to understand its role in the marketing process.

We used to live in a purely “push” world, where sales organizations would shove their product information and sales presentations toward the customer. Now, we’ve moved into an era where “pull” is just as important as push. Your company no longer controls access to the information about a product or service; that information is readily available online (from your company, from a competitor, or from some third party). The customer has the power, the will, and the skill to find that information on their own. Lead generation could be thought of simply as your company’s effort to be the prospect’s chosen information source and resource.

Topics: Sales

Weekly Wrap Up: What We Wrote, and What We Read: Oct 13-16

What a great week! There are some great gems from our writers here, and wonderful news from around the web. Read on!

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up

  • Monday, Mike Anderson asked if you were really in love, or just fooling around... with customer-focused selling, that is.

 oct16

 

Topics: Digital Management inbound marketing Talent Sales

The Connection between Training and Sales Culture

The_Connection_between_Training_and_CultureFor as long as I can remember, clients of The Center for Sales Strategy have been saying that one of the great benefits they derive from working with us is a sales culture, a culture that provides the foundation for success in their organization. We love hearing that compliment, but just what does it mean? What is a company culture, anyway? And why is it important?

According to Wikipedia, “Organizational culture is the behavior of humans within an organization and the meaning that people attach to those behaviors.” Author F. John Reh says it in fewer words: “Company culture is the shared values and practices of the company's employees.” It’s not complex or difficult to understand. The culture of a company or a department is simply what most employees do most of the time. While the people help form the culture by their behavior, it’s equally true—and ultimately, more important—that the culture communicates values and sets expectations that determine how people behave.

Topics: Management sales management Sales

How to Prevent the Sales Belly Flop

belly_flop-1Belly flop. The phrase itself conjures painful memories. You start off with the best intentions... and somehow, along the way, something derails you. Instead of a dive with a tiny splash, you end up landing flat, with a huge splash, and welts on your belly.

Belly flops aren't just for swimming holes. Think of the last really great idea you had. Now, was the execution flawless? Maybe. But if not, you need some guidance. Even if your manager focused more on empathy than accountability, you need to make sure your next great idea doesn't flop. Below is the critical path document that helps big ideas become polished products.

Topics: Sales

Are you in Love with Customer Focused Selling, or Just Fooling Around?

“There is no disguise which can hide love for long where it exists, or simulate it where it does not.”

-Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Are_you_in_Love_with_Customer_Focused_Selling,_or_Just_Fooling_AroundI sincerely believe that most of the salespeople we work with aspire to be truly customer-needs-focused in everything they do with or for clients and prospects. Recognizing the Key Account potential of a given prospect, they realize the relationship should be taken very seriously, and every move should be thought-through well before taking action. Just as with an authentic romance, they realize that instead of talking about themselves (or their company, products, and services), they should get the other party to talk about their interests, aspirations, and needs.

But temptation can be very strong. When another quick sale might help the seller get to budget, or when they’re being pressured to bring in one more deal to help the sales department meet a quota… it can be very easy to allow one’s focus to shift toward the immediate transaction rather than the long-term relationship they started out looking for.

Topics: Sales

Weekly Wrap Up: What We Wrote, and What We Read: Oct 6-9

This week, we discussed medicine, stealing, wasting time, and personality tests. Oddly, they all go together. Read on to see how.

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up

 oct-9

 

Topics: Digital Management inbound marketing Talent Sales

A Personality Test is NOT a Validated Talent Instrument

A_Personality_Test_is_NOT_a_Validated_Talent_InstrumentPersonality tests are all the rage!

I recently read that 60-70% of Americans today will take a personality test as part of a job application process. Gaining in popularity, personality tests are even used in career planning for those not in the workforce yet as well. Just last week my daughter was given a personality test by a college professor hoping to help his students better understand their potential and how they might match up with a variety of journalism career paths. 

Topics: Talent

Do us all a Favor and Stop Wasting the Decision Maker’s Time!

Do_us_all_a_Favor_and_Stop_Wasting_the_Decision_Maker’s_TimeI began my sales career in August 2001. I was young and neon green (kind of like Howie!) with visions of six-figure commission checks dancing through my head. After being on the job for six months or so and closing a few deals, I felt as if I was a master of sales and deserved an established account list that would get me closer to my six-figure goal. I would vent to my friends and family about how everyone else had all the good accounts and how unfair it was that one of the managers carried a list. Hindsight is 20/20; I almost cringe thinking about the impression I left on the many prospects I stalked to land meetings—only to push the latest sales package and talk excessively about how great my organization was and why they should buy its products. Candidly, it wasn’t until I went through a formal sales training program that I understood why I wasn’t being handed a six-figure account list. Although I was closing deals, I wasn’t getting any renewal business. I was selling like the stereotypical used-car salesman.

Topics: Sales

How to Stop People from Stealing Your Business: Key Account Retention

6_Ways_to_Stop_People_from_Stealing_Your_BusinessThere are only two kinds of customers: The ones that you know other salespeople are trying to steal, and the ones you don’t know other salespeople are trying to steal. But rest assured—or rest uneasy, as is more likely—someone out there is gunning for the business that’s now yours. 

So what are some steps you can take toward Key Account retention?

1. Don’t wait until it’s a problem.

Assume that every account you have is one that a competitor would like to have. Serve the account accordingly.

2. Turn your needs analysis into an ONA

Topics: Sales

The Best Medicine for Healthy Sales

The_Best_Medicine_for_Healthy_SalesYou’ve seen those pill-box organizers right? When I was visiting my parents this summer, I noticed my dad was using one of these organizers so he wouldn’t forget which medicine to take when. We are all thankful for advanced medicine and the quality of life it affords, but it won't do you any good if you forget to take it.

Imagine if salespeople had a sales-box organizer to help them remember to serve their customers well every day. You can immediately think of the potential in this idea. One of the toughest parts of being in sales is making daily decisions about how to spend your time. You could spend 100% of your time each day handling transactional details and service requests on current accounts, along with moving your best prospects through the sales funnel.

Topics: Sales

Weekly Wrap Up: What We Wrote, and What We Read: Sept 29-Oct 2

What a great week! There are some great gems from our writers here, and wonderful news from around the web. Read on!

The Center for Sales Strategy Weekly Wrap-Up

  • Monday, Steve Marx told us about the trap in focusing on a slow-selling line. It's always, always, always about their needs, not your products.
  • Tuesday, Kimberly Alexandre talked about Starbucks, and how they're letting ideas drive campaigns. Notice the trend this week?

Oct3

 

Topics: Digital Management inbound marketing Talent Sales

3 Tips to Elevate Distance Meetings from Mediocre to Great

2_Tips_to_Elevate_Distance_Meetings_from_Mediocre_to_GreatWe work in an increasingly connected world. We can meet with someone a thousand miles away without ever leaving the comfort of our own office. This cuts down on costs, as well as travel time, but often, distance meetings leave something to be desired. Nothing beats meeting in person, but a great distance meeting can be a close second.

Below are three things you can do to elevate your distance meetings from mediocre to great.

1. Stream Video of Yourself to Make the Meetings More Personal

Topics: Digital Sales

The Inbound Leads Are Coming In... Now What Do We Do?

inbound-leads-coming-inYou started an inbound marketing program a few months ago. You followed all the advice. You even read about what to expect in your first year of inbound marketing. Now... it seems to be working!  People are exchanging their information (email address, title, phone number) for your premium content, just like you heard they would!

Visitors to your website are becoming inbound leads!

Now what do you do?

Here are five things to consider with every inbound lead that comes in.

Topics: inbound marketing