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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

You Can Get Anything In Life You Want If…

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. . . you just help enough people get what THEY want. I heard this truth many years ago from the legendary Zig Ziglar. It’s so simple and so powerful, it should be the basis for everything a sales professional does. But, simple and easy are two different things. Most sales professionals are so wrapped up in their products and services that nearly everything that comes out of their mouths sounds either like a monologue about features and benefits or a manipulative question designed to get the prospect to say they have a need which the salesperson’s product magically fills. 

But, what if you made this statement the basis for every move you made? If you really believe you can get anything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want, how would that change… 

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

3 Ways to Make Your Sales Team LOVE Role Play!

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The words "Role Play" immediately bring feelings of fear, dread, and anxiety for most salespeople. 

But why? 

That's easy. Most sales managers use role-playing as a form of punishment. We've all either done it or had it done to us.  

As a manager, we are often frustrated by a salesperson, team, or project when they fail to make the progress that we expect. We try all kinds of solutions: motivation, incentives and sometimes "threats," but when those don't work, what do we do? We summon the team for a meeting. A meeting where we ROLE-PLAY! That'll work! Right?

Well, it can, but only if we do it right! 

Topics: Needs Analysis sales management Sales

Curiosity Killed the Cat, but Saved the Sales Rep

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Have you ever noticed how many questions little kids ask? Every parent has a story to tell about the funny or embarrassing questions their kids have asked at the most inopportune times, all those occasions their child has scrunched up their little face and asked, “Why is Grandma so wrinkly?" or "Why do we have to go to school every day?" or "Why do I have to eat those gross green things?” If you don’t take control of the conversation, the third degree can go on indefinitely—because the curiosity in children is limitless!

Somewhere on the journey from childhood to adult professional, though, much of that unfettered curiosity gets left behind. I would argue that we have become a society of head-nodders where people are often afraid they’ll look dense if they ask a question. You’ve seen it—people nodding in agreement, as if they completely understand, when you are certain they don’t. Their fear of losing the respect of others actually keeps them from learning. 

As we grow up, we naturally become more self-conscious, so much of this may be related to those normal insecurities. Or, who knows, maybe all those times our parents said, "Stop asking so many questions!" curbed a bit of our inquisitiveness. Or maybe expressions like "curiosity killed the cat" have actually impacted our innate desire to pry.

Topics: new business development Needs Analysis Sales

What is Your Sales Strategy—Pitching Proposals or Providing Solutions?

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The best B2B salespeople follow a sales strategy that includes the use of a needs analysis meeting with new business prospects or existing customers. Do you?

Without a needs analysis the sales process breaks down transforming salespeople into peddlers—pitching, hoping and praying… pitching, hoping and praying… pitching hoping and praying! 

A better approach involves a conversation with customers and new business prospects to uncover business problems or opportunities. 

Topics: new business development Needs Analysis sales strategy Sales

Magic Needs Analysis Questions

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Like buried treasure, salespeople have been looking for a short list of magic needs analysis questions forever. So where is that list, and what are the questions on it? Not sure where the list is, but here is an insight into which questions can really get the prospect talking and revealing the trouble or growth opportunities that you might be able to address: Ask questions early on that are relevant to their unique situation today. You can build these questions easily with just a little research. For example… 

Topics: Needs Analysis sales strategy Sales

5 Lessons I Learned as an Ad Salesperson and as an Ad Buyer

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I have had the rare pleasure of being on both sides of the advertising desk, both as an advertising salesperson and sales manager, and as an ad buyer at a marketing agency.

For 15 years, I sold and managed for radio stations in Dallas and Chicago and loved every single minute of it. Radio was my career, my hobby, my passion. I never thought that I would ever leave radio. Then one day, an “advertising guy” called me and wanted to take me to breakfast.

I spent the next 6 years as the Vice President of Business Development for a mid-size full-service advertising agency in the suburbs of Chicagoland. The ad agency side has been an incredible adventure. I had direct access to clients and had become the consultant that I was trained to be in radio. I worked hand-in-hand with the client as we grew their businesses together. No longer was I an adversary, but truly a marketing partner. 

Here are some of the secrets that I've learned from being on the “other-side-of-the desk”: 

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales media

Seems Like Everyone is Under Investigation

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If you are paying attention to the news, you may have noticed that lots of people are under investigation from both sides of the political spectrum. The dictionary definition of investigation is “a formal inquiry or systematic study.”

While running a workshop last week, I was reminded of the power of a salesperson when they slip into investigation mode. That systematic process is the key to building trust and demonstrating value in the early stages of a relationship.

No matter what you are selling, you should go far beyond just needs analysis or selling features and benefits of your product or service. You want to have a business conversation, looking for a desired business result that you can help them accelerate. 

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

5 Ways to Nail the Needs Analysis Conversation

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Once you have an appointment with a strong prospect, it’s time to prepare for a successful needs analysis so all the effort you spent getting the appointment isn’t wasted. You want to make sure that you have a strong and thorough needs analysis—because understanding your prospect's business, specific needs, challenges, and expectations is essential to developing a solution that will achieve results.

Topics: Needs Analysis successful sales meetings Sales

In Your Sales Strategy, Are You Psyched Up For the Close?

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Will that “moment of truth” be looming in the next meeting with your prospect – the meeting where you look him or her in the eye and ask for the order? Or, will the next meeting be the one where you confirm the details to implement your plan... because, the prospect already knows most of what is in your proposal (they helped you build it), the price range, and most of what it’s going to take to buy your solution? I hope it’s the latter.

Topics: Proposal valid business reason Needs Analysis sales strategy sales performance Sales

How Do You Tantalize a Prospect?

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Is a prospect’s first impression of you a list of bold claims about your product and how superior it is to competing products? I hope not. It’s boring to the prospect. You see, dangling product in front of a prospect is usually ineffective for many reasons:

Topics: new business development Needs Analysis Sales