Building Business Through Quality Referrals

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Keeping the pipeline well stocked with new prospects and opportunities is a critical prerequisite for sales success. For many salespeople, it means spending a substantial amount of time on the phone, cold calling prospects who may not even want to speak to them. For most people, this activity is a necessary evil (at best) and they would gladly trade off for more time spent with their customers.

For a few exceptional sales professionals, a well-stocked pipeline is a reality. They have been able to achieve a continuous, seemingly effortless flow of new prospects and customers, all while investing less time … Read the rest

Critical Skills for Sales Success

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I’m frequently asked, “What are the most important skills a sales professional must have to succeed in today’s competitive market?” The first step in acquiring the skills for success is recognizing that a sales professional is a professional, just as physicians, attorneys and commercial pilots are professionals.

There are three critical components that form a solid foundation for professional skills development and result in exceptional performance for all professionals. They are systems, skills and disciplines.

The system is a set process or organized procedure that leads to a predictable result. Skills consist of the individual’s knowledge and their ability to … Read the rest

Self-Sabotage — the Cause and the Cure

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The many ways in which salespeople sabotage their own efforts range from obvious mistakes, such as blaming customers when their own products and services do not deliver as promised, to very subtle insults hidden in the things that we say to customers.

On the self-sabotage spectrum, it’s easy to recognize the obvious “I should have known better” mistakes that damage relationships with customers. The far more common and harmful situations occur when our words and actions insidiously erode the customer’s trust and personal credibility that we work so hard to establish. In this article, I’ll focus on how to solve … Read the rest

Executive Access

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Salespeople say, “Executives won’t pay attention. They’re indifferent and won’t take the time to see us.” Executives say, “Salespeople all sound the same. They’re well-versed about their products, but they don’t take the time to understand my business. I’ll see anyone that can show me a solid business case, but they shouldn’t whine if I won’t waste my time to ‘learn’ about their solutions.”

The result of this disconnect is that too many executives never connect valuable solutions that can make a measurable impact on their companies’ profitable growth and carry out their best positioned strategy, and the sellers end … Read the rest

Performance Enhancing Tools for Sales Managers

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When was the last time you:

  • Received an account update full of glaring generalities?
  • Gave in to a salesperson, lowered the price and still lost the business?
  • Counted on the “superstar” to hit a home run and found out he struck out?

Most of us have experienced these frustrating situations and have had to deal with the consequences. In today’s marketplace of increased complexity, constant pressure is placed on the sales team to deliver the numbers, but too often sales managers are expected to select, shape and coach their team to excellence, with few tools.

As a result, they often … Read the rest

Leveraging Value to Retain Profitable Customers

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Is your sales force stuck in the wrong era?

It sounds like a strange question, but if they find themselves forced to compete on price to sell value-added products or services — or even if they’re trying to sell solutions to problems that customers know they have — the answer is probably “yes.”

The business and the sales profession at large have evolved tremendously during the past 50 years. Problem is, the highest percentage of sales organizations haven’t kept pace with the evolution. It’s no longer enough to offer a value-added product. You must leverage your value all the way … Read the rest