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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

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

The Sales Pipeline is More Important Than Sales Activity

status of the sales pipelineIt seems like every sales manager I have talked to lately wants to talk about activity and how to enforce minimum activity expectations. It took a few of these conversations before a simple truth became obvious to me: Pipeline is way more important than activity.

Topics: sales performance sales management salespeople sales process sales pipeline

5 Steps to a Precise Internal Sales Diagnostic

internal sales diagnosticThis article was originally published on Sales & Marketing Management.

Sales leaders are responsible for more than closing deals. Teams depend on them to see the big picture, measure current strategies, and evaluate new opportunities. Sales diagnostics help leaders see their operations from all sides so they can identify bottlenecks and keep revenue climbing.

Topics: sales performance Sales sales process sales diagnostic

Quickly Determine What’s Helping or Hindering the Sale

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Some sales go from step to step and lead smoothly to an agreement and an order. Other times, things stall and you’re not sure why. It might happen at one of the three tipping points in the sale process. There are many reasons a stall can happen, and there’s a quick way to determine what is helping and what is hindering the process.

At some point in our life, we’ve had someone tell us to draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper, and write all the pros for a decision on one side and the cons on the other. The formal name is a “decision balance sheet.” Ben Franklin was known to use them. What makes this simple exercise effective is that it helps us put on paper what we already know — but haven’t thought enough about. 

Another variation of this process is a force-field analysis. It’s used in social science. Our founder Steve Marx applied it to the sales process. The force field approach looks at the forces that are influencing a situation. It looks to see if they are driving movement toward a goal (helping) or blocking momentum toward a goal (hindering). 

Topics: Sales sales process

3 Huge Objection Handling Mistakes Costing Salespeople Deals + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, and today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.
 
1. 3 Huge Objection Handling Mistakes Costing Salespeople Deals — HubSpot
For many sales people, objection handling can be a difficult thing to navigate. But if you see it in a new light, it may be an opportunity for a longterm relationship. 
Topics: Social Media lead generation Sales sales process sales training

Keep It Simple, Sales Manager

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Today we have a guest post from Sherrie Roberts. Sherrie has been crushing sales goals and breaking records for over 20 years from local broadcast to national networks and rep firms. Serving in roles as salesperson, sales manager, General Manger and Founder.


Government is not the only entity wrought with bureaucracy. It’s known to rear its ugly head in all businesses. Systems and policies are certainly vital to accomplish missions and keep chaos at bay. Yet bureaucracy is proof you can have too much of a good thing. Too often we become so ensnared by rules and with making them, that common sense takes a back seat. 

There’s this thing called the “naked rule” that has become somewhat of a mantra in my management career. Once, in a meeting discussing a unique issue that had arisen, one leader proposed a new policy to address said issue. Yet another leader responded, with brilliant hyperbole, “So if an employee showed up naked to work, would we really need a rule that says you have to wear clothes to work?” Thank you Captain Obvious for saving us that day from yet another policy that wouldn’t solve anything. In this case, it would have created unnecessary complication—as is so often the case.

Topics: Sales sales process coaching

How to Use Tension to Advance the Sale

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Salespeople often slow down a sale or lose it altogether because they are not willing to create tension. I am not talking about relationship tension. I am talking about task tension.  

You want to get to task tension as quickly as you can. This is what sales acceleration is all about. However, smart salespeople know you need to create a foundation of relationship—essentially reducing relationship tension so you can create task tension. You can’t rush to task tension until you remove relationship tension. You remove relationship tension by helping the prospect see that you are someone who can be trusted and could bring value.

Topics: business relationships Sales sales process

Put That Coffee Down! The New ABC of Sales

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The traditional ABCs of selling were "always be closing." Coffee was only for closers, and closing was a single, major event. The concept of "always be closing" is valid in that it’s important to always be moving the sale forward.

Too Many Pending Lists Give No Indication of the Last Move Forward

Before Google, LinkedIn, or social selling, Steve Marx, founder of The Center for Sales Strategy, taught that closing is a series of small yeses leading to the ultimate yes that confirms the sale.

Topics: Sales sales process conversions

A Sales Process that Matches the Buying Process

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Some say that the holy grail of sales is consistent and predictable revenue. Many are on this seemingly never-ending quest but find it both elusive and always just out of reach. A strategic sales process is the only thing that will help you reach your goals. 

Topics: Buying Process Sales sales process

Use Consumer Psychology to Help Reel In More of Your Ideal Prospects

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You can make the best and the most spectacular recommendations to your prospects, but what use is it if the prospect doesn’t share your point of view?

In B2B sales, you’ve probably spent a lot of resources to score an appointment. You’ve generated leads, qualified them, answered initial questions. And you don’t want to lose your ideal prospects now. Consumer psychology can help you reel the prospect in to sign on that dotted line.

Topics: salespeople sales process