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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson

Recent Posts by Mike Anderson:

The One Question You Haven’t Asked (But Your Client Wishes You Would)

one-question-you-havent-askedLike many of you, I try to prepare very carefully for every client interaction. Your preparation will dictate whether you are granted face time for that first appointment (and subsequent appointments), and it will dictate how much information you are allowed to gather in a needs analysis meeting. But the nature of sales often leads us to focus on our own objectives when preparing; we want the appointment, or we want to learn about a specific objective a client might have that we know can translate into a selling opportunity.

If your customer-focused approach is sincere, there is one question—a simple question that can be asked a multitude of ways—that can help you gain even greater respect and revenue from this customer.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales sales process

How to Protect Yourself From a Not-So-Great Valid Business Reason

How_to_Protect_Yourself_From_an_Idea_That’s_Just_Not_That_GoodThe other day, I was writing what seemed like a pretty smart piece for The Marketing Mind blog. That’s the site where we capture a wide variety of consumer and industry trends.

Our goal is to convert topical issues into valid business reasons to help sellers get appointments, and needs analysis questions that lead to meaningful challenges they can help their clients solve.

Topics: valid business reason sales process

Are You Hearing Objections or Objectives?

objectives-vs-objectionsIn sales, it is easy to make self-defeating assumptions when a prospect pummels you with one objection after another. It is easy to think that for some mysterious reason that they’re not really telling you, the client doesn’t like you, your company, or the products and services you represent. The problem may be that you’re focused on objections rather than objectives.

If you’re spending too much time dealing with the prospect’s objections, it’s probably because you’ve lost sight of the objectives.

A thoughtfully executed needs analysis defends you against late-stage objections, because the right questions lead you to the prospect’s objectives. And by “thoughtfully executed,” I mean: 

  • Study everything you can about the client ahead of time, using commonly available sources like their website, news releases, location visits, their presence in social media, and even an inside coach or two if you can find them.
Topics: Sales sales process

Someone New Could Control the Money. Are you Ready for Her?

iStock_000034447556_SmallMore than anything else, I write about industry, economic, and consumer trends at The Marketing Mind Blog. But there is one trend that deserves some attention here on this sales-oriented blog: 2014 has been the best year for job growth since 1999. That’s according to a story from CNN Money, but it’s not hard to find other evidence of solid employment growth.

Topics: Sales

Do you Sell Building Blocks or Bundles?

building-blocksLast week, my daughter-in-law arrived at our house with two really enthusiastic grandkids after a stop at the mall. My granddaughter was carrying a brand new Build-a-Bear. And my grandson was all fired up about a new bag of Legos he was allowed to buy… and couldn’t wait for help from Grandpa in building something really cool.

Topics: Sales sales process

What's Standing Between You and Your Clients?

standing-between-you-and-your-clientsI’m going to share an experience that I know every person reading this post has had. Recently, I was reaching out to my _____________ provider (insert healthcare, insurance, ISP, wireless, credit card, etc.), and had to run the gauntlet of their automated phone service. You know the one: Press 7 for this department, press 9 for that representative… mind-numbingly trying to navigate an automated phone menu simply to find a human who can help me with my issue. Even worse are the systems that invite me to “speak” my need—they claim to be able to understand me, but they constantly end up sending me to the wrong option.

Topics: personal development

Time Management is a Piece of Cake

piece-of-cakeDuring the holiday season, most of you consumed more than your typical share of desserts and goodies. That reminds me of something I think about whenever I cut into my holiday pie or cake: 

Topics: Sales salespeople

What Prepping for a Needs Analysis Meeting Means Today

needs-analysis-meeting-researchTruly professional salespeople have long known that it is foolish to squander valuable needs analysis time asking questions that could have been answered by scouring the target account’s website and other conveniently available sources. Years in business, origin of the company, number of locations—and other very fundamental information—can be easily found on most client websites. Spending any meeting time on these issues—aside from kindly acknowledging the organization’s heritage—is not only a waste of time, it can be taken as an insult by the prospect. It signals that you did not find this meeting worth diligent preparation.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

Lead Generation is Useless Without Need Generation

Lead_Generation_is_Useless_Without_Need_GenerationLead generation and inbound marketing are two (of the many) hot topics in the marketing industry right now. But to make lead generation a smart strategy instead of just another marketing buzzword, it is critical to understand its role in the marketing process.

We used to live in a purely “push” world, where sales organizations would shove their product information and sales presentations toward the customer. Now, we’ve moved into an era where “pull” is just as important as push. Your company no longer controls access to the information about a product or service; that information is readily available online (from your company, from a competitor, or from some third party). The customer has the power, the will, and the skill to find that information on their own. Lead generation could be thought of simply as your company’s effort to be the prospect’s chosen information source and resource.

Topics: Sales

Are you in Love with Customer Focused Selling, or Just Fooling Around?

“There is no disguise which can hide love for long where it exists, or simulate it where it does not.”

-Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Are_you_in_Love_with_Customer_Focused_Selling,_or_Just_Fooling_AroundI sincerely believe that most of the salespeople we work with aspire to be truly customer-needs-focused in everything they do with or for clients and prospects. Recognizing the Key Account potential of a given prospect, they realize the relationship should be taken very seriously, and every move should be thought-through well before taking action. Just as with an authentic romance, they realize that instead of talking about themselves (or their company, products, and services), they should get the other party to talk about their interests, aspirations, and needs.

But temptation can be very strong. When another quick sale might help the seller get to budget, or when they’re being pressured to bring in one more deal to help the sales department meet a quota… it can be very easy to allow one’s focus to shift toward the immediate transaction rather than the long-term relationship they started out looking for.

Topics: Sales