Archives for December 2011

Finishing Strong – A Friendly Reminder

You must have a strong ending to assure a strong beginning!

In writing each blog article, my focus is on you and my goal is to create as much relevant value as possible. That said I hope that you will indulge me for the next few sentences.

Today was a special day. While waiting in the crowded Crown Room in Atlanta I headed back for another cup of their finest java. There he was, right there in front of me. My first mentor. After a few words to break the ice I was relieved that he remembered me from our earlier years of working together. This person is the best leader that a sales professional could ask for. Today at 71 he is going strong- not because he needs to, but that he chooses to. This guy is a warrior! (I would love to peek at his financials.)

I returned to my seat and he and three of his associates joined me. Once the pleasantries and digital photos on our iPhones were exchanged he shifted into full mentor form. His first question although casually presented was “How is your year going to finish?” Tagged to that was “What are your goals for 2012?” My face turned red, but not from not being prepared, instead it was due knowing that what he was asking was true.

How about you?

An eventful year is slowly coming to a close and you hear a lot about ‘finishing strong’ and rightfully so. Unfortunately, many people back off and miss the potential awaiting them even up to the last day of the year.

As our discussion continued my mentor kindly reminded me of a statement that still holds true:

“You can not have a strong beginning without a proper ending”.

In short, creating a strong finish will create a strong beginning.

As you close out 2011 and prepare for 2012 please allow me to pass along a world-class reminder:

3 Steps to assure a strong ending which leads to a strong beginning

  1. Make everyday count. Avoid the trap of following the pack and ending the year prematurely.
  2. Contact those tough to reach prospects. Your competition is at the mall. Set up an appointment for early in 2012.
  3. For those that choose not to grant an appointment identify a topic that is a trigger event to pick up with after first of the year.

Today was a special day and I hope it was for you as well. It was great to be reminded that ‘you can not have a strong beginning without a proper ending’. I hope that you take the time and have a strong ending for 2011, which will create for you a strong beginning and a successful start for 2012.

To your success,
Andy

Success Mirroring a Swiss Army Knife

Great! A flight delay (you know the feeling). Looks like I have some unexpected time.

Let me ask you, ‘What does your sales success and a Swiss Army knife have in common’?

Plenty!

There are many virtues that explain the role of you as a professional sales representative. This is true now today more than ever, in the recession and recovery environment that you compete in.

The single virtue that I am referring to is your versatility.

I spent the day working with one of you! Yep, you! I just finished up a terrific day in the field with a sales rep that has created remarkable rapport with her customers, and has forged a strong bond of trust with her prospects.

Like you, the rep that I am working with has found that many of today’s decision makers are required to generate results while working with limited staff and limited resources, and have done so since the “economic fun” began in 2007. They are ready for something new. They are ready for you; they are ready for a business peer that offers versatility.

Below are five points of versatility that will optimize your sales efforts!

1.    Position your offering to match their strategic direction.
2.    Present new ideas that match their vision.
3.    Provide new techniques that reduce their administrative burden.
4.    Offer your skills to solve their problems.
5.    …

As you become versatile; and function as a Swiss Army Knife you will capture more market share and improve the trajectory of your sales revenue.

Gotta go, they are boarding the flight. Contact me for the fifth point – it’s the best!

To your success,
Andy

5 Keys to the C-Suite

Today I had the good fortune of meeting with a friend that is CEO with one of the premier grocery store chains in the U.S. This individual represents the C level Executive that has the influence and authority to create magic within his organization and industry in a matter of minutes.

After the pleasantries were exchanged and the Thanksgiving stories shared I had one burning question that I wanted to gain clarification around.  That one question was as follows…

“What do you expect from someone trying to earn your business”?

All of a sudden his office was stone cold quiet. His demeanor changed, although remaining pleasant. For a moment I wished that I had not posed the question, but what happened next made it worth while. He said:

At this level you must be able to deliver in five areas.

  1. Create value on the front end: You do that by bringing me ideas.
  2. Connect quickly: You do that by understanding my business.
  3. Get to the point: You do that by respecting my time.
  4. Take ownership: Own the outcome that you promise.
  5. Remain transparent: This continues to build trust.

This time was worth its weight in gold, in that it brought together many principles that we often overlook or are not aware of.

By applying each of these five keys, I feel certain you will benefit in Becoming a First among Equals in your respective organization, market and sales team.

To your success,
Andy

Who is pulling the trigger within your ideal prospect?

You have worked hard in gaining access to one of your ideal prospects. You have researched thoroughly on LinkedIn, Jigsaw, Facebook and several other social media tools to find the most appropriate contact. To take it a step further, you have leveraged your friends and connections to assist you in reaching the appropriate contact. The phone calls have been made, you have saved a ton of time and your friends have added to your credibility with your ideal prospect.

Things could not be better.

After several email exchanges, and face to face meetings your ideal prospect has a need and the timing is perfect.  But as time passes you discover that your appropriate contact has a group of internal constituents that are part of the decision making process. Hmmm…you soon begin to ask yourself, “who really pulls the trigger on this opportunity?” Your contact has the title and budget but others are involved. Some of them you have met and some are a mystery.

What now?

No need for panic; the solution is simple. Each of the stakeholders plays a different role. You just have to match the role with the buying influence. To refresh a bit using The New Strategic Selling concept, there is a User Buyer, Technical Buyer,  Economic Buyer and Coach.  The titles are self explanatory.

So who is pulling the trigger in your ideal prospect?

Each corporate culture is different, so you’ll have to dig in and see who influences the sale and who is the ultimate decision maker. Typically, each role influences but only one makes the final decision. Once you know the buying influences, you are ahead of your competitor who may gain access but eventually fizzle because they won’t have your level of knowledge. Applying your efforts to this will identify who is pulling the trigger within your ideal prospect.

To your success,
Andy