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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Stop Working So Hard And Sharpen Your Axe!

 

Stop Working so Hard! And Sharpen your Axe.

If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.

-Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln's productivity secret was to work smarter rather than work harder by simply using sharper tools to get the job done more efficiently. Inefficient tools waste your time and energy, and simply knowing what to do is never enough. It’s the matter of actually doing it that makes all the difference.

Great leaders grow themselves and their organizations by deliberately managing the present, letting go of old beliefs and behaviors, and purposefully creating a future by adopting new practices.

So, how does Honest Abe's philosophy apply to sales management today? 

Topics: new business development Management Talent Sales

How to Use Body Language to Increase Sales

body-language-sales-prosIt's not just what you say; it's how you say it. In fact, what you say matters a lot less than how you're perceived, especially in sales.

You have to exude confidence and calmness when calling on prospects. Because, if you don't, they'll pick up on it, and you won't be seen as trusted and valued.

If you can master eye contact (including eyebrow gestures), facial expressions, torso and arms behavior, and leg activity, you'll be on your way to a successful appointment.

Topics: new business development body language sales strategy

Tips for Balancing New Business Development and Servicing Current Customers (VIDEO)

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On a scale from 1 to 5, one being extremely easy and five being extremely difficult, how easy is it for you to balance between new business development and servicing your current customers? 

Topics: new business development sales process

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

Are Transactional AE's an Endangered Species?

prepare for direct new business development

As I look into my "crystal ball," I foresee a future where the transactional salesperson is an elusive and rare creature. Have they all been completely wiped out by Artificial Intelligent (AI) computer networks where all advertising buying and selling occurs? Probably not, but I do know they will be an endangered species. In the future, AI networks and computers will be placing a larger and larger percentage of ad schedules. And even for the business that is placed the "old fashioned" way, we'll have a need for fewer transactional sellers. And those sellers will probably be covering not just clusters, but states and regions for your media group.

I know that no one wants to admit it, but advertising sales are changing at an unprecedented rate. The way that companies have done business over the last five years will not exist in the next five years.

But, it's not all bad news. Media companies that want to grow revenue in a marketplace where 50-90% of their revenue is handled by computers or an endangered species transactional sales rep, will have to find people who can call on small and midsize businesses and develop new business. So, while we wait on our computer overlords to takeover transactional business, we should probably prepare for the days of direct, new business development.

Here are three tips to get you ready for our new media world order:

Topics: new business development

Prospecting - You Can’t Step in the Same River Twice

prospecting Early in my sales career, I got a call from a veteran Account Executive across the hall. He worked for one of our other properties and saw that I was working with a prospect he was calling on. He wanted to set up a joint sales call. I was skeptical, since I'd recently met with that prospect, and the manager made it abundantly clear that he had already placed his budget for the year, and he was not open to new ideas.

Topics: new business development prospecting account list management sales accelerator

A Great Way to Establish Trust & Create Value: Think Like an Owner

sales establish trust create valueGetting that first appointment with a new business prospect is difficult because most sellers do not take the time to establish trust and create value in the mind of the prospect.

Unknown salespeople do not have the best reputation in the minds of new business prospects because of the less than honest actions of some sellers. An essential element to overcoming this hurdle is establishing trust and creating value—one way to do this is to think like an owner. 

Topics: valid business reason new business development Needs Analysis prospecting

Finally… The Answer to the Unanswered Philosophical Sales Question

answer to sales questionWhat came first, the chicken or the egg?
No doubt you have heard this question. No doubt the debate continues.

Here’s is the chicken-and-egg version as it relates to sales:
What leads to more cash, more appointments, or more assignments from set appointments?

Topics: Setting Appointments new business development Needs Analysis prospecting

Prospecting is Dead… Long Live Prospecting

inbound marketing prospecting funnelDid you know that your chances of making a sale go up a gazillion percent when the prospect actually asks to be contacted by you? Of course you knew that! So how do you make this happen?

Topics: content marketing lead nurturing new business development inbound marketing

New Business Hack: Know Your Target Persona

identify target audience new business hackOver the last few weeks, I've been coaching a number of salespeople from markets across the country on tactical things they can do within their sales processes to help them connect with a decision maker or decision influencer sooner to grow their new business.

Many things can be done to accomplish this, but one that seems to be resonating with salespeople lately is identifying their target persona so they can clearly define WHO their target is and fine tune HOW they plan to approach a new business prospect. This is not a new strategy, just one that is often overlooked.

Topics: new business development Needs Analysis understanding target audience target personas sales process sales leads