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Sales E Books

The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Sales Promotion or Sales Prevention?

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As a sales leader whose responsibility is generating revenue, you would most likely answer that you are a Sales Promoter. But are you? Has an obstacle course actually been created that prevents your sales people from selling? Sales Prevention sounds like an oxymoron, but it exists in many sales cultures.

Sales Prevention exists when there is a misalignment between the sales manager and salespeople's challenges and priorities. Jim Hopes, Managing Partner of The Center for Sales Strategy, conducted a study based on the responses of 400 sales professionals. The results showed that of the top four responses regarding challenges, only one intersected between the sales manager and salespeople.

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Topics: successful sales meetings, sales management, coaching

How to Get a Standing Ovation After Your Next Sales Meeting

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Is your sales meeting agenda something like this?

1) Housekeeping
2) Where we are
3) Where we need to be
4) Get there the way I tell you
5) Go do it  

All this in 45 minutes…. No wonder you haven't gotten a standing ovation yet! Talented salespeople want to be nurtured—they want to get better at what they already do well. The agenda above does nothing to support that. It's time for a new agenda.

Salespeople like to make good use of their time, and if they're not out selling, you better make it worthwhile for them to be in a sales meeting. Take topics 1, 2 and 3—listed above—and send them in a regular weekly email. And work one-on-one with your salespeople to help them each accomplish their sales goals individually. Then use 30-45 minutes a week as a team for small doses of training on topics that are timely and relevant to their sales success.

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Topics: Management, successful sales meetings, Sales

Ugh. Another Boring Sales Meeting?

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Sales meetings are often seen as a necessary evil by both salespeople and sales managers—the salespeople often think they are a waste of time (and sometimes they are) and managers generally hate putting them together (and a are often not that good at it). So, here are five tips to help you produce a sales meeting people will want to be part of, with less work on your part to provide all the content:

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Topics: successful sales meetings, Sales

A Few Simple Probes Can Prevent You From Missing Critical Information

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As a sales manager and a sales consultant, I have witnessed literally thousands of sales calls with competent and hard-working salespeople—professionals who have done their homework on the prospect, prepared thought-provoking questions that make it obvious they know something about the prospect’s business, and who pose questions with a genuine interest in hearing the answers. Sometimes it is magical and they help the prospect clarify a specific problem that needs to be addressed or an opportunity on which they would really like to capitalize. And, sometimes, all they do is get their questions answered and move on. Too bad. 

What makes the difference between an interactive conversation that engages the prospect and one that is rote and turns into simply an information-gathering exercise? Follow up questions. Good follow up questions are never scripted. Good follow up questions show you were listening, that you are interested, and that you really need to learn more about the headline the prospect has just shared. Some simple open probes can reveal a lot of context and detail you need to know about a problem or opportunity—information you will probably never get if you simply move on to your next beautifully-crafted question. For example:

  •  That’s interesting. Tell me why you say that.
  • What do you mean by that? 
  • Really? Tell me more about that.
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Topics: successful sales meetings, Sales

Is a Customer-Focused Selling Approach Still Valid?

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In a recent meeting one of the sales managers asked, “Is it still really valid for salespeople to take a customer-focused selling approach anymore?” At first I was taken aback, wondering what he believed the alternative was, but I soon came to realize that he wasn’t implying that salespeople shouldn’t have the best interest of their clients in mind. What he questioned was the process where you ask for the prospect's time to learn about his or her business so you can sell the right solutions. 

Prospects are no longer willing to give salespeople time to teach them about their business. And with what is now online, they shoudn’t have to. 

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Topics: successful sales meetings, Sales

Was It Really a Good Meeting? How to Make Sure Your Prospects Call You Back

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“I had a really good meeting! But. . . I can’t get the prospect to call me back!” or “I had such a great meeting, but I never got an answer to the proposal.” I hear statements like these frequently when working with salespeople. They return from a meeting telling their manager how great it was, but then nothing happens. Wishful thinking sets in. Calls get made to the prospect on a weekly basis, managers ask about it in their weekly meetings, and salespeople start saying, “I don’t know what could have happened—the meeting went so well!”

What does “I had a really good meeting” really mean? For some, it means the meeting was long. For some, it means the prospect opened up and talked a great deal. For some, the client nodded and sounded interested. This list could go on and on.

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Topics: successful sales meetings, Sales

Are You a Salesperson or a Business Person?

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There are so many areas in life where balance is important. I believe a political view too far to the right or too far to the left is not healthy, and a workout routine that is exclusively power lifting will not make you as healthy as a more diverse exercise routine.  

This is true in the sales profession as well. Great salespeople are generally hard workers and focused on the job at hand. But if you spend all your time focused on selling and not on understanding the greater business climate, you will not be as effective in your selling or as helpful to your clients.

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Topics: successful sales meetings, Sales, salespeople