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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Jeff Roth

Recent Posts by Jeff Roth:

10 Tips for Getting Past The Gatekeeper

10-tips-for-getting-past-the-gatekeeperIn the B2B sales process, the gatekeeper is typically a receptionist or an executive assistant or a designated person who is trained and responsible for keeping a prospect from being bothered by irrelevant callers.

Topics: appointment lab Sales sales process

How to Hire Great Business Developers in Higher Education

How_to_Hire_Great_Salespeople_in_Higher_EducationLet’s face it: Colleges and universities are not accustomed to hiring salespeople. They hire educators, administrators, technicians of various sorts, and clerical staff of nearly every type. But they don’t hire great salespeople or what they call “Business Developers.”  And yet, increasingly these institutions find themselves hiring people who are setting appointments,  providing need assessments, solving problems and delivering customized solutions that are addressing the business challenges of rapidly changing technology, employee performance and customer satisfaction.

Hiring salespeople is different. Of course, they need the qualities you look for in every hire—integrity, intelligence, focus, energy, and readiness to execute. But business-to-business salespeople also need at least these four additional traits as well.

1. Empathy

Successful salespeople identify with their customers and pick up on their feelings. They understand their needs and pressures they’re under; they get how business works and can wrap their heads around the challenges faced by each prospect. Yes, they represent the college and its specific B2B offerings, and yes they want to drive revenue for the institution. But the best ones—the ones you want—are geniuses at balancing the interests of the college and the interests of the customer as they assemble a tailored solution.

10 Message Goals in Two Paragraphs: Can You Do It?

10_Message_Goals_in_Two_Paragraphs_Can_You_Do_ItLike you, I get a ton of emails in a typical day. If I read them all, I’d get little else done. So if I don’t see something in the subject line that grabs my attention because it’s relevant to me, that message is gone! That takes care of 50% of the email crowding my Inbox. If I do actually start reading, but there’s nothing intriguing in the first few sentences, there goes another 30% of the daily onslaught. Another 10% or so is internal mail, and my boss reads this blog, so I’m saying for the record that I read those. Which brings us to that last 10% of email, items I may actually read.

How can you be included in my 10%? Or the 10% of the other strangers you’re trying to reach? Make it stand out. Be intriguing and, include a call to action, and keep it short. Sounds simple, right? Try it. You’ll find it’s much harder than you think. Below are 10 message goals that fit into two concise paragraphs and will keep your email message “above the fold,” giving it a good chance of capturing the reader:

Example: Sending an Email to an IT Company

  1. Subject Line – Here’s your one and only chance to make a good first impression. “Less than 30% of IT administrators are certified in Cloud Computing.” Pretty intriguing if I’m an IT company transitioning from servers and desktop applications to a cloud-based, software-as-a-service environment.
  2. Introduction – The reader needs to know who you are and the company you work for… “My name is… and I work for…”
Topics: Digital

Forget Job Title: Listen to the Person who Knows Best

Forget_Job_Title_Listen_to_the_Person_who_Knows_BestIt’s an interesting fact in business that the people at the top don’t always know best. In fact, most of the time, the person who has the skills and experience to offer a solution to a particular customer is the salesperson.

A few years ago, I was negotiating a very large sale that involved complex discussions and choices to be finalized in order to send out a proposal. The standard sales cycle at our company closed in about three months, on average, and I was working with a decision maker to finalize the proposal.

Topics: Sales

A Sales Strategy to Be Persistent without Appearing Desperate!

5 ways to be persistent without appearing desperateI was in a department store looking at big screen TVs and the sales representative approached me and asked if he could help me with something. I told him I was just browsing (but I was really interested in buying).

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

Sales Strategy: When to Up-sell or Cross-sell a Customer?

sales strategy!Take a moment and think of times you were up-sold in the past.  It happens so frequently, that you don’t even realize it.  I wanted to order flowers on a website, another screen popped up and I ordered chocolates and I received free shipping…  I went to the auto repair shop specifically for an oil change and added two additional repairs that my service clerk recommended…  As a sales strategy, is this a bad thing or a good thing?

Topics: setting expectations sales strategy Sales

Sales Strategy: Helping You Find That Special Someone

Helping You Find That Special SomeoneWho are the prospects waiting for you? Before we get started on our journey to find that special someone, we need to define a “prospect” from a “suspect.” In my readings, the best definition I’ve found is:   

Topics: sales strategy Inbound Marketing Sales

10 Resolutions: Setting Appointments to Improve Sales Performance

How SellingHappy New Year!  In 2012, our Appointment Lab has learned that setting appointments for our clients involves clear organizational planning and preparation in targeting the ideal customer.

Topics: sales performance Sales

RUDY, RUDY, RUDY…. A Story about Passion and Persistence

RudyOver the weekend I saw "Rudy," one of the most inspiring movies in sports. For those of you that have not seen Rudy, it’s all about a person’s passion and persistence to accomplish a dream.

Topics: sales performance Sales

Setting Sales Appointments is a Process, Not an Event

sales appointmentDo you think it has become more difficult to set sales appointments in today’s business climate? How hard is it for you to reach decision-makers? How many sales calls does it take you to schedule one appointment? How much time and effort do you put into preparing for a sales call?  How persistent are you in following up on the sales call? 

Topics: Lead Generation Sales