Archives for January 2012

Gaining Traction

This morning in leading a sales development exercise one of the participants shared that she is experiencing a rather long buying cycle with one of her key prospects and that her solution is now gaining more traction.

After a few minutes another rep stated that the definition of traction seemed to be different from one rep to the other.

As the group discussion continued it seemed to make sense to take a deep dive and let the creative juices of the group flow – game on! At the end of our session we divided our thoughts into two separate groups – what prevents traction from occurring, and what does it look like in action.

First and foremost we defined traction as it relates to our craft- professional selling.

Traction – the steps in gaining sincere interest with your offering and compressing the buying cycle to reach a solution that achieves and maintains profitability for your customer.

What prevents traction from happening? (The following were just a few)

  • Calling on the wrong person
  • Bad timing
  • Failure to articulate value on the front end
  • Falling short in gaining trust

Now for the fun part! What does traction look like in action?

  • You have buy in – i.e. the top person wants it to happen
  • The buying cycle is compressed – with measurable progress
  • You become a part of their culture
  • A spark that provides great hope and encouragement

What started out as a normal exercise this morning, finished with a group that understands and sees the benefit of gaining traction from each of the prospects and customers alike!

Now that I am on the plane headed home I get to offer my definition:

Traction is the thrill that keeps all of us hanging in there and coming back for more as we work our craft.

To your success,

Andy

3 Benefits of Leveraging your Customers Relationships

The first half of January is in our rear view mirror, and we have the remaining half to go.

In your world, all may be in great order and your year is off to a great start. Or you may be in a position where you have inherited a sales goal that is well above your 2011 trajectory, in which case time is not on your side.

In either case, I would be willing to bet that new business acquisition could increase your sales trajectory well above your own expectations.

The reason I know is that I have been there many times. In fact, over the past few days I have spoken with several reps across multiple industries that are either experiencing the thrill of a new year, or are on the verge of deep concern as they chase their ‘new number’.

First of all, relax. Second, place your number in a folder and focus on building trust and creating value – in doing that your number will take care of itself. There is a proven concept that you know about, but I would like to offer a friendly reminder (we all need reminding from time to time). Remember the practice of asking for a referral from a satisfied customer? You have developed and invested months and years in these relationships – leverage them in a way that benefits them and you as well.

Below are three key benefits in leveraging your relationships to create solid referrals that will create huge upside for you:

  1. A solid referral to an interested prospect will shorten the buying cycle.
  2. You will enter the new relationship in a stronger position because you now have reduced the time to build credibility.
  3. Once the process begins you will be given access to others in your prospect’s organization that would have taken months or years to discover.

There may be instances where your customer places a call to your prospect and they are willing to meet via phone or face to face but the timing is off or the political landscape does not work to your advantage. That is part of sales. None the less, you can use this as an opportunity to ask their advice in suggesting one of their peers that may benefit from your service or product offering.

These are but three of the many benefits that are available to you in leveraging your relationships in creating solid referrals. Give them a shot – you will be glad that you did.

To your success,
Andy

3 Creative Tips to Optimize your Sales in 2012

It has been said that the people we learn from the most are not the ones who teach us what we did not know before, but the ones who help us apply our skill set and experiences that we have quietly honed, give it expression and speak it clearly and boldly to benefit others. This is our desire at Directional Achievement and purpose in our blog series and service offering.

Over the past several years you have been faced with challenges unique to prior years in your profession. As a sales or organizational leader, you have been required to operate with limited staff and limited resources. As a sale professional, the landscape has changed and you have been forced to adapt to these changes with your customers and prospects while facing sales growth demands.

A friend of mine stated recently that to connect and inspire my customers in today’s market “I had to return to the basics in today’s world, not 15 years ago”.

For many of your customers today it is about short-term survival. They are looking for you to provide more value, lead them with your knowledge, and develop a genuine connection. The majority are not looking beyond Q2.

In terms of new business acquisition, to advance in the buying cycle they are looking to see how you can hit the ground running and that, once in, can provide solutions quickly and efficiently.

Here are 3 Creative Tips to help you optimize your sales in 2012

  1. New ideas – Get to the benefit quickly and distinguish you and your offering up front.
  2. New techniques – Sales principles do not change application but techniques do when trying to connect and convey value.
  3. New knowledge – Knowledge provides direction and establishes a clear cut path and commitment.

Your customers and prospects are special people. Inspire them with your creativity and move beyond your competition that is operating with a Rolodex in an iPad World.

To your success!

Andy

[3 Power Questions & Notes for You] written in a forgotten journal

We are five days into the New Year and I see a bright year ahead for us. I say this because I am one of you! I am on the streets carrying the flag, working to deliver value, differentiating my offering and satisfying my customers just like you are – we are on this sales journey together.

Today, January 5th is a great day, my third grandchild was born and I experienced earlier today refreshing yet sustainable changes happening with several representatives that are part of my client base. These changes came from finding, implementing, and paying forward 3 Power Questions & notes that I found in a forgotten journal.

These are….

1. What do you want?
2. What are you doing about it?
3. What do you need to abandon that is not working?

Before we go any further, please let me explain.

In 2008 I was on a return flight to Orlando and happened to be sitting next to a gentleman that was interesting to say the least. During the course of our flight we began our chat in typical fashion and in a few minutes time I knew this guy had real substance based on real life experiences. My business was growing, and while his discussion was thought provoking, I took a page of notes thinking that these would be needed for a ‘later time’, or a ‘rainy day’ as it were. After all I was doing well – little did I know (ever felt this way).

The flight landed, we shook hands promising to connect, and the notes were tucked away in a journal that later found it’s place on a shelf in my study – forgotten.

Fast forward to June 2011.

Circumstances had changed somewhat since 2008. I had experienced business challenges that I had never dreamed possible. Early one Saturday morning I was looking through my library and happened upon several sales books that I had forgotten about, plus the forgotten journal. I picked up the journal and the Delta ticket stub was still in place, taking me to the page with a title at the top [3 Power Questions].

I first read through the questions and a sense of clarity hit me like a bolt of lightening. I read them a second time and had an entirely new perspective. Beginning that Saturday morning June 11th my sales journey took on a refreshing perspective and is going strong today as we head into a new year. In reading and applying these 3 Power Questions & notes they can do the same for you. The first step is to be willing to make some new choices; the second is to take them one at a time. You will be glad that you did – I promise!

I would like to wish you all the best to you in 2012. If you will contact me, I will gladly provide for you the rest of the notes portion of my 2008 discussion which is the most thought provoking and career changing part of all.

By the way, if you are the gentleman that shared this treasure trove with me, please contact me immediately. I along with 40 plus sales professionals, are deeply indebted to you and your insight.

Create your sales legacy,

Andy