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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Be Like Mike: The Power of Practice for Improving Sales Performance

Power of Practice to Increase Sales Performance-1

Besides being arguably some of the best athletes ever, what do Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Tiger Woods have in common?

They’re all, or were, known for being the hardest workers during practice. Jordan and Brady were famous for being the first on the court and practice field and the last to leave. Tiger hit thousands of golf balls on the range every day. They began their careers practicing hard and with a mindset that they would get out of the game exactly what they put into it.

Persistence, discipline, competitive spirits, drive, and resilience — athletes and salespeople share a lot of common traits. However, one noticeable difference is that salespeople rarely practice or rehearse.

Topics: Needs Analysis sales management

5 Ways to Show a New Business Prospect You Care

show a new prospect you careThe things you do are often more powerful than the things you say. 

New business prospects are more likely to increase their engagement level when they know a seller truly cares about them and their business. Think about your own buying habits—are you more likely to do business with someone who cares about you compared to a slick talking salesperson who only cares about making a sale? 

Topics: Needs Analysis sales strategy prospecting

Want to Accelerate the Sales Cycle? Slow Down!

Want to Accelerate the Sales Cycle Slow Down

Studies show that reaching out to leads within an hour of them contacting you makes you seven times likelier to have meaningful conversations, and up to 50% of sales go to the vendor who responded first. There’s also a tenfold decrease in your odds of making contact with a lead if you wait more than five minutes to reach out after they submit a web form.

Whether it’s from clients, management, or themselves, salespeople are under a lot of pressure to perform faster when it comes to their sales process. We live and work in a fast-paced, “want it now” culture that can feel overwhelming at times. Sometimes there’s only one solution to closing more deals, and that’s to SLOW DOWN!

Topics: Needs Analysis sales process sales accelerator

Top Questions to Ask to Determine Advertiser Measures of Success

11 Questions to Ask to Determine Advertiser Measures of Success

How modern marketers measure advertising effectiveness is one of the most searched topics in digital marketing today. Most agree results are crucial; however, there doesn’t seem to be one right answer when it comes to determining advertiser measures of success.

As you’re building a relationship with a new business prospect or an existing customer, it’s important to have open and upfront conversations about how the advertiser measures success.

Topics: Needs Analysis sales process measure of success

Silence is Golden: 3 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills

improve listening skills manager"Silence is golden"—usually this is said right after your children leave the room and you finally have a moment of peace.

As much as that is a "funny" joke for parents, the concept of silence is a rare one in today's world. Are we ever "silent?" And when I say "silent," I don't mean staring at our phones for hours at a time.
 
In the context of sales, silence has another meaning. Silence is an opportunity to stop talking, be quiet, focus, and listen. Yes, I know this is a radical concept for those us that are gregarious, loud-mouth, salespeople.
 
How many times have you gone on an appointment with an account executive, expecting to hear your rep ask questions and then wait to hear the client's answers, only see them never stop talking! They are so excited to a) have an appointment and b) thrilled to "pitch" their product that they never take a moment to listen to what the client has to say. It's horrible, and it happens all the time. What a waste of new business appointment! How can you sell someone anything if you don't know or understand what they want to achieve? You can't.
Topics: Needs Analysis sales performance prospecting

How to Ask Better Needs Analysis Questions

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Have you ever set a goal for yourself to run a race? Whatever the motivation, you decided to do it. It may have been on a whim, but nonetheless you realized there was more to it than showing up the morning of the race and running. You probably found a race that suited your ability, recruited a friend to join you in the adventure, set a training schedule, and off you went. By no means did you show up for registration the morning of with no prep at all. Well, I hope not anyway. If you did, it probably didn’t go as well as you would have liked. You may have looked back and asked yourself what you could have done differently to change the outcome. I’m guessing the answer is, almost always, more training so you were better prepared.

Running a race without adequate training is no different than showing up to a first time meeting with a new prospect unprepared. Yet, it happens. Preparing yourself to ask better needs analysis questions will help you not only finish the race, but to finish with the intended outcome: to get an assignment from the prospect.  

Where to start? Here are a few suggestions for how to ask better needs analysis questions.

Topics: Needs Analysis

Curiosity Killed the Cat, but Saved the Sales Rep

Ask-Questions-in-Sales-Meetings

Have you ever noticed how many questions little kids ask? Every parent has a story to tell about the funny or embarrassing questions their kids have asked at the most inopportune times, all those occasions their child has scrunched up their little face and asked, “Why is Grandma so wrinkly?" or "Why do we have to go to school every day?" or "Why do I have to eat those gross green things?” If you don’t take control of the conversation, the third degree can go on indefinitely—because the curiosity in children is limitless!

Somewhere on the journey from childhood to adult professional, though, much of that unfettered curiosity gets left behind. I would argue that we have become a society of head-nodders where people are often afraid they’ll look dense if they ask a question. You’ve seen it—people nodding in agreement, as if they completely understand, when you are certain they don’t. Their fear of losing the respect of others actually keeps them from learning. 

Topics: new business development Needs Analysis Sales

Needs Are Important, Results Are What Matter

needs-resultsWe all have needs, and those needs drive us to spend time and money addressing them. In sales, we count on the needs of our prospects and clients to motivate them to buy. For decades, it has been a good sales process to focus on client needs. Needs are good, but they are not the complete picture.

Learning about client needs used to set the better salespeople apart from the package pushers.

On a personal level, we don’t focus on our needs to solve a problem. We focus on what we want. When we’re hungry, we focus on getting food, when we’re tired we focus on getting some sleep, and if we need to hit a goal this quarter, we focus on getting the next sale.

Topics: Needs Analysis sales performance

6 Tips to Help You Secure a B2B Sales Appointment

secure a B2B sales appointmentJust getting the appointment can be one of the most difficult steps in the entire sales process. Having a referral or industry success story can make this task a little easier (so, use them if you have them). But, what do you use if you don’t have either at your disposal? What if you just can't get the appointment?

Topics: valid business reason Needs Analysis sales process

A 4-Step Needs Analysis Process that Really Works

4 step needs analysisIf you are struggling to uncover desired business results that lead to cash, perhaps it is time to modify your needs analysis process. Here’s a new model that is getting rave reviews — feel free to take it for a test drive during your next discovery meeting with a new prospect.

Topics: Needs Analysis sales strategy sales process prospecting