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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Jim Hopes

Recent Posts by Jim Hopes:

Get Out Of Your Own Way: Asking For Referrals

Ask-for-Referrals

When was the last time you asked for a referral? Go ahead and fill in the date here ______________.  If the answer is yesterday, congratulations. If you can’t remember any time recently, you should stop and figure out why you are not doing this.

Think about it. When you are looking to hire a professional what do you do? Of course, you ask people you know and trust who they would recommend, right? Well, a referral is an implied recommendation. Clients who give you the name of someone to contact feel comfortable about the expertise you bring to the table and its potential to help the business or person they are referring. So, again, how often do you ask satisfied customers for a referral? I bet you are thinking, “Not often enough.”

Topics: referrals sales strategy Sales

5 Greatest Needs Analysis Questions You Can Ask Any Prospect. Not.

needs analysis questionsPerhaps you got excited when you read the first part of the headline. I got excited too, wishing there was a list of “magical” questions that could be asked of any prospect with a great result. The problem is, such a list does not exist. Sorry to burst your bubble.  

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales sales process prospecting

Is There Anything Else We Should Be Talking About?

sales managers and salespeople should ask this questionA simple question, right? Yes. But, very powerful. So many salespeople and sales managers have well-planned, beautifully-executed meetings, but inadvertently leave some of the most useful information on the table simply because they forget to ask this simple, shared-control question that can reveal the real priorities for the person with whom they are speaking.  

Topics: key account growth sales management prospecting account list management

Automate Your Caring

sales managers use calendar reminders for talent managementFor some sales managers who are naturally very strong in relationship talent, doing things every day to invest in relationships with their direct reports comes naturally. For the rest of us, we could use a little reminder to make sure we are taking the right actions that foster strong relationships with our people, and today’s software and app selection can help. 

Topics: Management sales management talent dashboard

Just Say “No” To Meetings

sales managers with too many sales meetingsIn over 25 years of working with sales managers, I have heard countless stories about how urgent items have displaced important items. When we work with managers, they readily agree that items like these are very important to their success in the job:

Topics: Management successful sales meetings time management sales management

What Does Your Body of Work Look Like To Prospects?

prospecting for salesTHE BOTTOM LINE: There is only one reason why a prospect fails to respond to your calls or emails.  She or he is not convinced you will bring any value to them, and thus, your request for a piece of their precious time gets ignored. If they only knew what you have been able to do to help your clients! The problem is they don’t know.

Topics: prospecting

Does Employee Engagement Translate to Hard Dollars?

does employee engagement translate to hard dollarsThere has been considerable talk over the years about so-called soft measures, like employee engagement, which begs the question, is this a nice-to-have element or a must-have element?  I doubt any executive would say he or she doesn’t really care about employee engagement, but when you examine the time and money spent on establishing such an outcome, it would appear most companies and most managers don’t devote enough. 

Topics: sales strategy Talent

How To Create A Ten-Year Experience In Two Minutes

delighting customers with lead acronymI think we’d all agree that long-term relationships are gold in the business arena, and long-term relationships begin with the very first interaction that delights a customer and are fed by every other interaction subsequently. 

Topics: salespeople sales training

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: Needs Analysis Sales

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

sales_call-1.jpg

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