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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Just Say “No” To Meetings

sales managers with too many sales meetingsIn over 25 years of working with sales managers, I have heard countless stories about how urgent items have displaced important items. When we work with managers, they readily agree that items like these are very important to their success in the job:

Topics: Management successful sales meetings time management sales management

This Should Have Been An Email

coffemugAs an Account Executive, we hated when it happened.

As a Sales Manager, we might have done it a few times... ok... we probably did it a lot. 

We turned an email into a sales meeting (or for us older guys... a memo). 

Topics: successful sales meetings sales management sales culture salespeople

Was It Really a Good Meeting? How to Make Sure Your Prospects Call You Back

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“I had a really good meeting! But. . . I can’t get the prospect to call me back!” or “I had such a great meeting, but I never got an answer to the proposal.” I hear statements like these frequently when working with salespeople. They return from a meeting telling their manager how great it was, but then nothing happens. Wishful thinking sets in. Calls get made to the prospect on a weekly basis, managers ask about it in their weekly meetings, and salespeople start saying, “I don’t know what could have happened—the meeting went so well!”

What does “I had a really good meeting” really mean? For some, it means the meeting was long. For some, it means the prospect opened up and talked a great deal. For some, the client nodded and sounded interested. This list could go on and on.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

Don’t Let Your Ego Get in the Way of a Sale

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We’re all familiar with Ego. If someone says you have a “big ego,” you know that’s not a compliment. At least not in most circles. Your Ego is about your survival. At its best, your Ego is simply your awareness of your own identity and how you interact with the outside world.

Let’s look at five strategies your Ego may be using that may be interfering with the way you interact with business prospects and partners.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

Are You a Salesperson or a Business Person?

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There are so many areas in life where balance is important. I believe a political view too far to the right or too far to the left is not healthy, and a workout routine that is exclusively power lifting will not make you as healthy as a more diverse exercise routine.  

This is true in the sales profession as well. Great salespeople are generally hard workers and focused on the job at hand. But if you spend all your time focused on selling and not on understanding the greater business climate, you will not be as effective in your selling or as helpful to your clients.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales salespeople

A Few Simple Probes Can Prevent You From Missing Critical Information

Businessmen

As a sales manager and a sales consultant, I have witnessed literally thousands of sales calls with competent and hard-working salespeople—professionals who have done their homework on the prospect, prepared thought-provoking questions that make it obvious they know something about the prospect’s business, and who pose questions with a genuine interest in hearing the answers. Sometimes it is magical and they help the prospect clarify a specific problem that needs to be addressed or an opportunity on which they would really like to capitalize. And, sometimes, all they do is get their questions answered and move on. Too bad. 

What makes the difference between an interactive conversation that engages the prospect and one that is rote and turns into simply an information-gathering exercise? Follow up questions. Good follow up questions are never scripted. Good follow up questions show you were listening, that you are interested, and that you really need to learn more about the headline the prospect has just shared. Some simple open probes can reveal a lot of context and detail you need to know about a problem or opportunity—information you will probably never get if you simply move on to your next beautifully-crafted question. For example:

  •  That’s interesting. Tell me why you say that.
  • What do you mean by that? 
  • Really? Tell me more about that.
Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

5 Ways to Nail the Needs Analysis Conversation

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Once you have an appointment with a strong prospect, it’s time to prepare for a successful needs analysis so all the effort you spent getting the appointment isn’t wasted. You want to make sure that you have a strong and thorough needs analysis—because understanding your prospect's business, specific needs, challenges, and expectations is essential to developing a solution that will achieve results.

Topics: Needs Analysis successful sales meetings Sales

Are Sales Meetings Really Necessary?

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I guess the answer depends on who you ask. I bet a lot of salespeople reading this are probably saying, “No!” Most of the managers reading this are likely saying, “Of course.” So, who is right? The answer is neither. All of the emotions and principles that underlie each group’s answer are very legitimate. So, when should a sales meeting happen?

Topics: successful sales meetings sales management

Sales Promotion or Sales Prevention?

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As a sales leader whose responsibility is generating revenue, you would most likely answer that you are a Sales Promoter. But are you? Has an obstacle course actually been created that prevents your sales people from selling? Sales Prevention sounds like an oxymoron, but it exists in many sales cultures.

Sales Prevention exists when there is a misalignment between the sales manager and salespeople's challenges and priorities. Jim Hopes, Managing Partner of The Center for Sales Strategy, conducted a study based on the responses of 400 sales professionals. The results showed that of the top four responses regarding challenges, only one intersected between the sales manager and salespeople.

Topics: successful sales meetings sales management coaching

Tips to Make Sales Meetings Meaningful Instead of Meaningless

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When you think about sales meetings you’ve attended over the years, were you delighted or disappointed? Were you engaged or enraged? Was your time spent in the meetings worthwhile or wasted?

Topics: successful sales meetings sales management Sales