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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

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

The Top 7 Sources to Find Leads

lead sources and ideas for sellersBefore choosing which prospects to target, it’s best to generate a long list of leads so you can narrow to the best leads. Using the categories you’ve identified as a good fit your business, decide which sources on this list are right for you to generate your own list of leads.

Topics: lead generation prospecting account list management

Don’t Forget this Proven Sales Strategy to Get an Appointment

appointment.jpg

Anyone in sales knows that it can be tough to get that first appointment with an ideal prospect. You might have to leave a voicemail, send an email, try to connect on LinkedIn, show up at their house, or volunteer to clean out their garage!

When trying to stand out, don’t overlook the option of sending a business letter. 

You know what we’re talking about right? A short message on your letterhead, placed in an envelope, and sent via the Post Office.

If you decide to use this as one way to get in front of prospects, here are some guidelines to follow.

Topics: valid business reason sales strategy prospecting

Avoiding Wasted Time on Bogus Prospects by Evaluating These 3 Things

avoid wasting time on bogus prospectsHere are three questions for sales managers and sellers:

  1. Who has time to waste with prospects that don’t have the cash to purchase the kind of solutions you sell?
  2. Who has time to waste trying to get an appointment with a prospect that is impossible to gain access to?
  3. Who has time to waste with prospects that have a consumer base beyond the scope of your products?

Most sellers are time-starved with no time to waste… especially when it comes to developing new customers. Investing time selecting quality, new business, target prospects makes all the sense in the world because some prospects are better than others, and qualifying them will help save time in the long run.

Topics: prospecting

Using Industry Insights to Get in the Door

using industry insights to get in the doorHave you ever stopped and wondered how many other salespeople are trying to get a meeting with the same prospect as you? It’s a pretty overwhelming number when you think about it. Day-in and day-out, decision makers are being bombarded with voicemails, emails, drop-ins, and various other methods your competition is using to gain access.

In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s tough to cut through the clutter. Leading with a compelling insight that you can turn it into a valid business reason (VBR) is essential for your prospect to want to connect with you.

Topics: valid business reason sales strategy sales process prospecting

What Will You Do This Week to Help Your Salespeople Get Better? (VIDEO)

Trey

I've always found it fascinating that the greatest athletes of all time  -- whether it be Michael Jordan or Tom Brady -- always practiced. Every single day, they would go to the gym or go to the field, and they would practice the basics.

I find that interesting, because in sales, rarely do we ever practice. Pretty much every needs analysis or presentation is game day. We walk in, ready to play, and hope it works out. We don't spend much time rehearsing, practicing, or game planning, and I think that's a mistake. 

As a sales manager, it's your job to help your salespeople get better at what they do. So, how do you do that? 

Topics: sales strategy sales process prospecting account list management

Persistent with a Purpose: Persistence Does Pay Off When Done Right

sales persistence can pay offEarly on in my sales career, there was a prospect that I was determined to close. Everyone on my sales team had tried to gain access to this decision maker, and some had gotten as far a conversation, but it never evolved from there. When my manager suggested I try to approach this target prospect, I eagerly accepted the challenge. In my head, I confidently thought, “I can make this happen.” Ha!

I spent months calling, dropping by, leaving voicemails, and sending emails. I never managed to get through to anyone, but I remained persistent and didn’t give up until one day I was told not so politely to go away.

Often during my career, I have reflected on that cringe-worthy experience. I had been persistent (outright annoying), and at the time, I had truly thought that persistence alone should get me in the door. As I began to develop and grow as a salesperson, I began to see the power of not just being persistent, but being persistent with a purpose. I learned the importance of earning trust and offering value to the prospect. Unfortunately, I had to experience some tough lessons before I got to this point.

Topics: sales process prospecting

3 Tips to Get Acknowledged by Your Prospects Without Being the Big, Bad Wolf

get acknowledged by prospectsThere's a nursery rhyme that reads...
"I will huff, and I will puff, and then I will blow your house down!"

Topics: sales strategy sales process prospecting

Ways to Engage in the Conversation About Price

sales price conversationTalking about price with a new business prospect can be tricky. If you do it too soon, you might scare away a prospect. If you wait too long, the sticker shock might blow your proposal out of the water because it exceeds reality. 

Here’s a list of recommendations and things to consider about the topic of price along with three effective ways to prompt the conversation (including some easy to use ROI formulas).

Topics: discussing price sales process prospecting

Turn Goals into Reality with a Solid Prospecting Plan

successful sales prospecting planWe are now a few months into the new year. Often, at the end of the prior year, I spend time talking about the year ahead. I ask the sellers that I coach what they want to accomplish. Where do they want to be at the end of this year? We discuss their professional sales goals, and then we begin to make a plan together to help them achieve those goals.

I encourage them to make sure they understand the importance of high priority prospects or what we call target accounts. Ensuring sales teams understand how to identify, develop, and close (or walk away) is a critical part of sellers achieving their objectives throughout the year.

Topics: key account growth prospecting account list management