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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Jim Hopes

Recent Posts by Jim Hopes:

It’s OK to Say You Are Sorry

In fact, it’s better than OK. The reality is, in the course of any business relationship, something is going to go wrong at some time and it’s smart to get out front of it and to be very transparent.

Here’s a recent example of a problem we encountered in our own company we had to deal with, and an email we sent to the affected clients shortly following the incident as an apology: 

Topics: business relationships Management sales management marketing strategy company culture

Decisions Made Easy: A Sales Manager's Strategic Cheat Sheet

sales manager strategic cheat sheetHow many decisions does a sales manager make in day? 10? 25? 50? That number probably varies, but most people would agree sales managers make a lot of decisions each day as they navigate changing conditions, corporate demands, and plenty of persuasion from their salespeople about doing what they want them to do. Better sales managers make good decisions more often than mediocre sales managers. So, how do they do that?

Topics: sales strategy sales performance sales management coaching

A Sales Manager's Most Costly Mistake

target account brainstormPicture this. You are seven weeks into the quarter and pacing behind last year, and significantly behind your budget. Your manager and your manager’s manager are nosing around to find out what is going on and peppering you with questions about your plan to fix this. Your sales team is growing increasingly frustrated as orders get canceled and prospects fall through. This scenario is hypothetical, of course, but perhaps you have been there. So, how does a sales manager deal with this?

Topics: key account growth sales strategy sales performance sales management coaching account list management

The Comfort of Consistency

consistent sales managerMany of us seek new things in our lives to stay engaged and motivated, but even the most adventurous among us value certain things that are consistent. There are obvious consistencies we depend upon like gravity, the sun coming up in the east and setting in the west, or a manager who is very consistent in setting expectations. You probably didn’t see that third example coming, did you? But it’s true.

If you believe that most people want to do the right thing for their employers, the only thing that could trip them up is not knowing what the right thing is. For that reason, the best managers are boringly consistent about setting expectations their people can internalize and follow.

Topics: Management sales management coaching

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