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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Brad Ramsey

Recent Posts by Brad Ramsey:

Three Optimistic Thoughts That Will Hold You Back

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If salespeople are generally optimistic (I think we can all agree they are), then the words “sales manager” may as well be Greek for God of Optimism. We have to believe to achieve! In sales, the glass is always half full. But these three optimistic phrases will actually hold you back, so be careful not to let your optimism trip you up.

Topics: sales management Sales

One Size Does Not Fit All

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Like it or not, the holiday shopping season is officially here! The shift of in-store retail sales to online sales gets all the buzz these days, but according to the U.S. Commerce Department online retail sales were just 8.1% of the retail total in 2016. I’m sure that number will be up a bit when the 2017 numbers are final, but the overwhelming majority of retail sales still happen the same way they always have: in the store!
 
My wife likes to say, “How did our moms survive without Amazon Prime?” But, the truth is there is a major value proposition in-store shopping offers that online shopping never will: the in-store experience. Take clothing for example — feeling the softness of the fabric, judging the thickness of that winter coat, asking customer service for another size of jeans from the back, trying it all on, comparing the price of the sweater you like in one hand with the one you love in the other hand.  And finally, you get to see it all, on you, right there in the mirror in real time. 
Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

Be Prepared, But ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ As the Story Unfolds

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I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid, specifically the sports-themed set. If you haven’t read or experienced one, it goes something like this… Your football team is in the regional championship game. Chapter One describes the build up to the game, and the summary of the 1st Quarter. Your team is already down by 10 points, and it’s 4th Down and 1 yard to go on the opponent’s 20-yard line. Do you kick the field goal, or go for it with a run up the middle? You get to decide, and the book instructs you which page to turn to based on your decision. It was like video games before video games!

It’s the only genre I loved… something about controlling my own destiny, having a choice, and following the story wherever it may go was thrilling to me. My advice to you is to treat every Hourglass Needs Analysis just like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Go into the conversation with as many of the chapters, and as much of the story line, written as possible. Your research on the business, the industry, and the market should give you a great list of prepared questions that will allow you to Establish Rapport, Identify Needs, Gain an Assignment, Analyze the Opportunity, and Contract Next Steps.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

If Your Sales Team Was in the NFL, Would You Make the Playoffs?

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If you ask me, it’s the best time of the year… the NFL season is here! Tailgating, road trips, barbecue, fantasy football, the joy of victory, the agony of defeat! Every team, or at least the diehard fan, is overflowing with optimism that “this will be the year!” The NFL is home to the best of the best, but only 12 teams will make the playoffs, and one and only one will be left standing in Minneapolis after Super Bowl LII (that’s 52 for those that would have to look it up like me).

Would your sales team make the playoffs, or perhaps even make it to the Super Bowl? Fans who are passionate about the “Xs and Os” of football know there are great “game plan coaches” and great “game day coaches.” The best are great at both. They have a great plan (game week), and great execution (game day). To be a great sales leader, you need a great plan AND great execution. You can’t just give the pre-game speech, and you certainly can’t coach in hindsight after all the points are on the board (think month-end revenue). You have to be a great game day coach, ON THE FIELD!  The best sales plan in the world will only get you so far. Here are the keys to being the best game day sales coach you can be.

Topics: sales management coaching

Sure, You Can CLOSE, but Can You OPEN?

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If you follow the stock market you know McDonald’s stock has been on fire of late! Maybe the secret to their success is hiring people who can open and close!  

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Closing gets all the love, and all the headlines. The big closes lead to high fives and mentions in the company newsletter, and keep you coming back for more! If you can’t close, you can’t sell. “Coffee is for closers!” 

But can you OPEN? Not open the conversation, open the door to the opportunity. One sure fire way to close more deals is to get more, higher-quality appointments. It’s tougher than ever to get attention and establish credibility, and you need to do both to get the first appointment with the very best prospects. It’s no longer sufficient to pick up the phone and leave a “get to know you and your business” voicemail, or pop in for a cold call with confidence. To be a great “opener” you have to do your homework, and your homework has to result in a valid business reason for the prospect to meet with you. 

A great valid business reason should express why the prospect would want to meet with you (not the other way around) and has three core elements:

Topics: valid business reason Setting Appointments