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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Dramatically Improve Your Listening Skills in 5 Simple Steps + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, so today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. Dramatically Improve Your Listening Skills in 5 Simple Steps — Inc.

Every successful salesperson knows how important listening is. But how can you improve your listening skills? The same way you get better at anything! First, acknowledge the problem. And then use these techniques to train yourself to become a better listener.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Referrals—Just Try Them!

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The other day I was talking with a sales manager who was lamenting that his people were having a very tough time getting appointments with quality prospects. We talked about all the ways we recommend salespeople warm up otherwise cold calls, but we ended up focusing on perhaps the most powerful way to get a warm reception — a referral from a current, satisfied client. The problem is, most salespeople simply do not ask for referrals because they are not accustomed to doing it. So we decided we would instruct everyone to ask five clients for a referral in the next week. Simple, yet new! You know what is going to happen here.  

Topics: referrals new business development Sales

Dealing with Price Competition

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Price competition is a reality, and it can become pretty intense at times! You can’t avoid it altogether, but you can greatly minimize the haggling over price. The key to dealing with price competition is creating specific value for each of your customers.

Topics: Proposal sales strategy Sales

A Sales Process that Matches the Buying Process

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Some say that the holy grail of sales is consistent and predictable revenue. Many are on this seemingly never-ending quest but find it both elusive and always just out of reach. A strategic sales process is the only thing that will help you reach your goals. 

Topics: Buying Process Sales sales process

What Sales Language Do You Speak? Avoid These Two Poisonous Sales Presentation Mistakes.

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There are two poisonous mistakes that will kill a presentation: using jargon and using stock phrases. Making either of these mistakes will drastically reduce the chance of getting a second meeting with a prospect.

Let me start with HOW NOT to start a presentation and finish with the HOW TO of communicating an engaging proposal.

Topics: sales strategy Sales

13 Intriguing Email Subject Lines That Prospects Won't Be Able to Resist Opening + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, so today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. 13 Intriguing Email Subject Lines That Prospects Won't Be Able to Resist Opening — HubSpot

The goal of the subject line is to get someone to check out the rest of your email. So you’ll want to intrigue and generate interest without saying too much. This post shows you how to use principles of human psychology to craft subject lines that will get your emails opened.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Relationships Versus Pirate Ships: How to Build Trust and Win the Business

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One of my colleagues at The Center For Sales Strategy described a conversation she had with her three young boys about relationships. They asked what a relationship was, and she responded, “There are friendships, business relationships, and…,” before she could get another word out her 6 year old blurted out “and there are pirate ships, and potato ships. . . .”

Topics: sales performance Sales

5 Simple Steps to a Killer Prospect List

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One of the hardest parts of being in sales is creating a list of people to sell to. Finding prospects and creating that list may seem tedious and hard, but in reality it doesn’t have to be! Here's a simple 5-step process that will walk you through the steps to creating an amazing prospect list in no time.

Topics: Sales prospecting

A Little Pat on the Back

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We have to give ourselves a little pat on the back, because last week we were featured in a prominent list of recommended sales blogs!

This is exciting for us to see, since our consultants and sales trainers are so dedicated to sharing their expertise and tips here. It's encouraging to see that we are making a difference! If you want to check it out, here are the details:

Topics: Sales blogging

3 Steps to Hiring the Right Salespeople

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“We need to hire more salespeople!”

“We need to hire better salespeople!”

These are the cries that I hear day every day from the managers and executives that I coach.

While the strategy to hire more and better salespeople might be a good one, you and I know it’s just not that easy. If you are the one responsible for the hiring process and the on-boarding of these new salespeople, you are probably left wondering how you are going to get that accomplished. You are not alone!

Here are 3 things you can do today to jump-start your hiring process and begin hiring more—and better—salespeople right now:

Topics: hiring salespeople Talent

The Top 5 Sales Enablement Mistakes To Avoid + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, so today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. The Top 5 Sales Enablement Mistakes To Avoid — Salesforce

As you adopt and use sales enablement tools, keep in mind that there can be a few pitfalls along the way that slow your progress and not result in the success you are counting on. Make sure to avoid these five common mistakes and misconceptions.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

3 Things Every Successful Seller Should Have

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Three of the best things you can have as a salesperson are also the three things that seem the most difficult to get ahold of. Referrals, testimonials and case studies have all helped a salesperson at one time or another either get a great first appointment, or to help set appropriate expectations. But, I still get asked time and time again how one can go about getting more referrals, testimonials or case studies. The challenge is, you, as the salesperson, are the only one who can make any of this happen!

Topics: referrals case studies Setting Appointments sales strategy Sales

The Tao and the Three Tipping Points in the Sales Process

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There are moments in every endeavor that will ultimately determine your success. In sales, we teach there are seven steps; three of those involve direct contact with the client or prospect, and those are the three tipping points in the process. While reading The Tao of Leadership, I thought about how this ancient wisdom might also be applied to the sales process.

The three tipping points in sales are getting the appointment, the needs analysis meeting, and confirming your proposal. Let’s look at these through the eyes of Lao Tzu and his ancient advice in the Tao Te Ching, for what he might say today to a salesperson at each step:

5 Questions to Ask During a Revenue Development Position Interview

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Most sales managers focus on three things when hiring a salesperson:

  • Experience (resume)
  • Gut feel (do they click with the candidate?)
  • Personality (are they outgoing?) 

Unfortunately, most overlook the missing ingredient—talent! Simply put, too many salespeople are hired without an evaluation of talent. This is one of the reasons that organizations experience high turnover levels and have trouble keeping people on the sales team.

Topics: Talent salespeople

The 4 Key Performance Indicators Sales Managers Need to Track

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In order to ensure that the sales process is working, you also need to establish the right key performance indicators to track so you always know how well you are doing in each step. So what KPI’s should you measure? This post will look at four essential metrics to tell you if you're on track for success.

Topics: Sales metrics

Storytelling in Sales: 5 Steps to Create a Netflix-Worthy Narrative + More

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It's Friday! Hope you've had a great week. Today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. Storytelling in Sales: 5 Steps to Create a Netflix-Worthy Narrative — HubSpot

As human beings, we are born with an innate affinity for stories. So it should come as no surprise that the best sales reps are often brilliant at telling them. This article offers five steps to make your storytelling more powerful.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

The Compound Effect - Start With the End in Mind

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In a former life, I was a professional triathlete and triathlon coach. I helped athletes with a wide range of athletic backgrounds accomplish one of the greatest physical tests of endurance known to man: completing the Ironman, a combined 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. When clients would first come to me and ask for advice about their training plan, they would inevitably ask, “What do I need to do to be able to finish the Ironman?” The answer was the same for each client: “You need to be able to swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles and run 26.2 miles in one day." That was a very definitive end goal, and the goal had a definitive date. The challenge then became how to take them from where they were physically on that first day, to that end point several months (or for some, years) away, ending at the Ironman finish line.  

Maybe I’m a little late to the party, but I have just been turned on to the book “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. I wanted to share a few thoughts on its relevance to sales managers and leaders—and how it relates to my story of someone training to complete an Ironman. You might not realize it, but some of the challenges that sales managers face when building a sales organization are similar to what triathlon coaches are up against when training an athlete for the challenge of the Ironman. These challenges are: defining the goal, creating the strategy to accomplish the goal, and taking the required steps needed to accomplish the goal.

Topics: Sales sales training coaching

The Danger Of Breathtaking Proposals

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You gotta know that modern software and a bevy of specifically-trained digital layout specialists is lifting the tide for everyone when it comes to creating absolutely gorgeous proposals. Who knows what tomorrow’s technology will produce for us. Perhaps 3-D versions of a proposal delivered by hologram, featuring the best-looking and best-sounding salesperson technology can conjure up.  Intriguing to think of, isn’t it?

Despite the fact that very few proposals are unattractive these days, I hear from salespeople that it seems fewer of them actually get read—or if they are delivered in person, not enough of them are being sold. So what is going on? What the high-powered graphics packages don’t take into account is that a proposal must me more than a pretty face. CONTENT trumps appearance 9.9 times out of 10.  A plain-looking proposal with strong content is more likely to sell than a graphically appealing production with weak or generic content. 

Topics: Proposal Sales

5 Books Sales Leaders Should Read This Summer

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At least once a week I get asked by a sales leader if there is a business book I would recommend they read that will help them improve their game. That is a tough question to answer, because there are so many very good books out there, and depending where you are in your career (or your current business situation, or what you have already read) the right book for you could be one of several. So instead of picking just one book, I thought I would provide a list of five books that would make for great reading this summer.

Topics: Sales leadership

How to Find and Fix Issues in Your Marketing Funnel + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, so today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1. How to Find and Fix Issues in Your Marketing Funnel — Convince and Convert

A marketing funnel is the process that leads a prospective customer through several stages on their way toward purchasing your product. In order to craft a funnel that will be effective in getting prospects to convert to customers, you've got to be strategic. This article explains how.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up