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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How to Deal with Price Competition

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If you are in sales, you can’t avoid price competition altogether, but you can take steps to reduce the focus on price. You need to behave in such a way that you are working with the prospect to create specific value, using your product or service as part of the solution. The alternative is that you present general value by pitching your product or service as the solution—inviting the type of product comparisons that lead to price negotiation. 

Creating specific value for each customer BEATS presenting general product value to every prospect.

Topics: discussing price Sales

Ideas Are A Dime A Dozen

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Everybody’s got one. In fact, ideas are not only cheap and plentiful, but their overuse often obscures the work we should really be doing—gaining an understanding of what the prospect is trying to get accomplished. I see so many salespeople (and sales managers) default to premature ideas that end up nowhere.

The temptation is to vomit an idea the minute we see or hear a possible need in the customer’s business. Bad practice. Ask a few more questions and dig a little deeper about what business results the prospect is looking for, what problems exist for them in the marketplace, what opportunities are out there for their category of business they have yet to realize, or what conditions are specific to their category of business. 

Keep in mind that all your competitors are talking about ideas as well. The prospect has heard it all before. What makes an idea valuable is that it addresses a very specific need in that prospect’s business.

Topics: Sales Needs Analysis

Selling Digital Advertising: The Magic of the Digital Needs Analysis

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Over the past couple of weeks, I have had several account managers ask me questions surrounding a digital client needs analysis. Everyone wanted to know those three or four questions that would magically give them everything they needed to put together a fool-proof digital solution. The truth is: there are no magical questions.  

There is nothing special about a digital client needs analysis. When selling digital advertising, you need to learn about your prospect's business, their competition, and their primary business challenges.

Topics: Digital selling digital advertising

4 Essential Email Marketing Tips to Know for 2018 + More

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

A lot has changed in email marketing over the last year. You need practical, actionable ways to revitalize your email marketing over the coming year. Here are four ways to boost your email marketing strategy in 2018.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

How to Set Yourself up to Recruit and Hire Top Talent this Year

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Here it is, the beginning of another new year and the perfect time to make sure you are setting yourself up for success in 2018. If you manage people, one of the best ways you can do this is to ensure that you have a strong talent bank — even if you do not plan on making a single hire. 

A strong talent bank allows you to set the bar high for your team, hold people accountable to meeting expectations, and move forward without missing a beat if one of your people chooses to leave.

Here Are 5 Pro Tips for Strong Recruitment and Selection in 2018:

Topics: Talent hiring salespeople

How to Craft a Proposal that Won’t Get Rejected

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"The end depends on the beginning (and everything in between)."

Yes, we have heard this a thousand times, but no truer words have been said when it comes to developing proposals. I had an epiphany pretty early in my sales career. I had been on a sales call to a restaurant, and they asked for a proposal. I rushed back to my desk so excited with the opportunity to get to present, only to stare at my computer for what seemed like an eternity. Crafting that proposal took a lot longer than it should have.

Later, when looking back, I realized it was because I didn’t have enough information. I had missed the mark on a number of things. Here's a little advice on how not to make the same mistake.

Topics: Sales Proposal

Improve Sales Performance by Changing the Conversation

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If you really want to develop new business with prospects—or even existing clients—try changing your conversation from WHY they should be buying your product to HOW they should use your products and all your other resources to meet their specific needs. (Of course, you have to know what those are, so plan and execute an engaging conversation to discover those needs.) Prospects don’t really want to talk about your product anyway—it’s boring to them.

Topics: new business development sales strategy Sales

Three Ways to Test Your B2B Brand’s North Star

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When you look up in the night sky, there are millions of stars. So many that it’s sometimes hard to find even the easiest constellations. But one star everyone knows is the North Star. Why is that? It's different in a few signficant ways.

Topics: professional branding Sales personal brand

How to Use the ‘Rule of Three’ to Create Engaging Content + More

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

1. How to Use the ‘Rule of Three’ to Create Engaging Content — Copyblogger

What’s so magical about the number three? It’s no accident that the number three is pervasive throughout some of our greatest stories, fairy tales, and myths. It’s also no coincidence that some of the most famous quotes from throughout history are structured in three parts, nor is it surprising that the Rule of Three also works wonders in the world of comedy. It all comes down to the way we humans process information, and that’s why the Rule of Three will make you a more engaging writer.

 

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

The New Word of Mouth

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Personal recommendations are a powerful thing. Good or bad, they have the power to persuade us in one direction or another. Think about it—when most of us have little to no knowledge about a particular company or product, we typically ask those whose opinions we trust: family, friends or coworkers. As we all become more and more connected, most of us have also begun to rely on digital reviews.

Topics: referrals Digital reputation management

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.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

A Great Sales Story: Getting the First Appointment

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After a workshop I was leading about earning a first appointment with prospects, one of the folks in attendance shared an incredible success story with me.

Topics: Setting Appointments new business development Sales

Killing Your KPI’s

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I bet when you read "Killing your KPI's", your first thought was this was going to be a blog about sales high performers, right?

Not really!

I'm literally telling you that you should KILL your KPI's. As in buried and dead. As in no longer around.  

Ok, that might be a little over the top, but I fear that if I don't push the envelope, you won't get my point about why you shouldn't be basing your sales success on just Key Performance Indicators.

Topics: sales management Sales

5 Skills Every Sales Development Rep Needs to Master in 2018 + More

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

1. 5 Skills Every Sales Development Rep Needs to Master in 2018 — HubSpot

To be successful next year and beyond, sales development reps need to think outside the box. With the right skills, they’re more valuable than ever before. Here are five skills to focus on gaining or honing. And if you’re a manager, here’s what you should be teaching to your team.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Let’s Get Real About How Many Contacts It Takes To Get An Appointment

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There certainly is a lot banter these days about how many contacts a salesperson must make in order to secure an appointment. We all know it takes more than 2 or 3 calls, but how many does it really take and why?

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

The Lesson of the Bad Apple

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If you put a bad apple in a bushel of good apples, the bad apple won’t become good. In fact, when a bad apple starts to rot, it emits a gas that can indeed start to rot the good apples. But even if the bad doesn't completely rot the good apples, it's important to lock on to the fact that the bad won't get better by being with the good.

Topics: sales management sales performance

A Sales Tune-Up for Better Performance

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Over time, organizations can begin to lose performance. It can start to feel like the organization is missing a beat, not hitting on all cylinders.  If it was your car, you'd take it into the garage and get a tune-up, but what do you when it's your sales team? 

How about a sales tune-up for your organization? 

A sales tune-up is the perfect way to assess your sales organization through a comprehensive, analytical sales diagnostic. It's a time to step back and assess your organization in a factual and objective manner. A sales diagnostic allows you to dive deep into your numbers, your processes, and your people and objectively determine what is working and what isn't.

Topics: Sales sales management

Don’t Let Your Ego Get in the Way of a Sale

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We’re all familiar with Ego. If someone says you have a “big ego,” you know that’s not a compliment. At least not in most circles. Your Ego is about your survival. At its best, your Ego is simply your awareness of your own identity and how you interact with the outside world.

Let’s look at five strategies your Ego may be using that may be interfering with the way you interact with business prospects and partners.

Topics: Sales successful sales meetings

6 Soft Skills Every Salesperson Needs to Get Ahead + More

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

1. 6 Soft Skills Every Salesperson Needs to Get Ahead — HubSpot

To know how successful a salesperson is, just look at their numbers. Understanding why they’re succeeding is trickier. In sales, success is a reflection of two things: The strength of their hard skills and the strength of their soft skills. Here are the six soft skills every rep needs to get ahead -- and more importantly, how to develop them.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

What Does “Sales Strategy” Mean Anyway?

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I hear managers and execs talk all the time about the importance of sales strategy. “Strategy” is one of the words that gets used a lot. (In fact, Webster’s Dictionary says it is in the top 10% of most popular words.) After all, who gets heat for talking strategy? C’mon!

The problem I see in the field is that most sales “strategies” are not really strategies at all. If you look at that definition of strategy, you see, “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal, usually over a long period of time.” That means a strategy doesn’t change (or if it does change, this doesn’t happen very often), is long-term, and describes a set of consistent behaviors. Many sales strategies I see are more like tactics: making more calls in a defined period of time, approaching a new group of prospects, or introducing new offers to move the market forward. I am not saying these things are bad, but I am pointing out they are tactics, not strategies. Tactics can be helpful IF they support a strategy.

Topics: sales strategy Sales goals

What Trait Do Great Sales Leaders Share With Pilots?

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Pilots learn that the best way to land a plane is to look long toward the horizon, not directly beneath them. Great sales leaders do the same thing. They focus on the horizon, not just what's right in front of them.

Pilots learn that when landing, you are better off looking down the runway at the horizon than the ground rushing up underneath you. You need to balance keeping your eyes focused on the horizon, while peripherally watching your height above the runway to achieve a smooth landing. We have all felt the runway slam when a pilot gets this wrong.

Topics: sales performance

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 sales management