Archives for May 2012

[3 Simple Coaching Techniques] from a League League Baseball Coach

What does a six year old, his coach, and a Little League game have to do with sales success?

Plenty!

How can their basic coaching principles help you on your next sales appointment? A quick story for you…..

Like many of you, I started playing sports at an early age. For me, this continued through high school and most of college. It had a big influence on me and still plays a role in my life today. You see, each week this Spring my grandson Benjamin has had a Little League game. He plays third base, and I am there at 5:30 sharp to watch him! He and his teammates are well coached and are offered encouragement regardless of the missed ground balls, strike outs, or forgetting their hat on game day.

This past week, I was able to get on the field to take a few photos of Benjamin and his team mates. While doing so, I could hear ‘Coach Chris’ close up as he coached each player on their way to the batters box. His instructions were simple as he stooped down and his eyes met theirs:

“As you step into the batters box ‘Prepare’ by aligning your feet correctly with the plate. ‘Adapt’ to the speed and height of the pitch, then swing if the pitch is good. ‘Follow through’ on your swing to create solid hit. Then run like a rabbit toward first base!

So how can these three simple coaching tips benefit your sales success?

  1. Prepare: take a moment to review your customer’s website for a quick reminder. Then create your Pre-Call Sales Objectives with primary and secondary questions.
  2. Adapt: once you connect with your customer, adapt based on their feedback. If they are hesitant, open slowly by asking basic questions that are about them and what they are trying to achieve.
  3. Follow though: once the call is over, your follow through and follow up is often the difference maker in establishing a solid relationship. It can truly differentiate you and your organization.

While your days of playing Little League may be a fond memory, or perhaps you had a different interest and skill set, you can use these simple tips to serve as a reminder in creating a memorable outcome and building solid relationships.

If I can do anything to to support your success please contact me.

Now go and create an unforgettable sales appointment!

To your success,
Andy

[Secret #4] Refresh and Renew

How are you increasing your Customers Life Cycle?

To increase your customers life cycle, Secret #4 is a must…but to be able to do so you must think differently. You must think in terms of continual renewal.

For this to happen, two critical steps are important:

  1. New ideas — not a rewrap of the SOS (same ole stuff) but something that is a ‘parity breaker’.
  2. An organization that is willing to listen and has the foresight and wisdom to implement your new ideas (at least at one level).

I would encourage you to give the following three steps strong consideration.

  • Sales: The future is here! Sales and purchasing frequency are beginning to decline. But there is hope.
  • Key Point: It is time to gain approval and to implement your new solution to match their new challenges.
  • Tips & Tactics: You are now viewed as part of their culture and a reliable resource. With your new offering, check your steps in step #2 and begin the process once again- careful to adapt to your existing relationships and their existing needs.

In their world — the real world, the landscape has changed. Gone are the days of riding a product and a brand into the sunset and expecting to survive.

Today’s buyers and product users are multitasking everyday–simply trying to get them to take your call(s) is a challenging task. They are looking to you to create fresh ideas that reduces their administrative burden and increases their bottom line.

You are in a position of honor and have earned the right. Think, offer your fresh ideas and you can have a customer for years to come.

What has been your experience in accomplishing secret #4? You offer your thoughts in the moments section below. I am sure we all can benefit from what you have to say.

To your success,
Andy

[Secret #3] Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

With the previous phase, the customer has agreed to take the plunge. Their vulnerability is at an all time high, however you worked closely with them through implementation phase and you are off to a terrific start.

Now it’s time for the next phase of the cycle: Growth and Maturity.

During this phase the vulnerability challenge can shift in your direction. At this point, more often than not, the strongest temptation is to become complacent or to cut corners. You have worked too hard to let that happen.

Think about it…you have ‘carte blanche’ to walk in to your new customer and meet with certain people that many of your competitors have only dreamt of meeting. Great…let’s keep it that way!

Rather than letting the above bad habits affect your customer and open the door for the incumbent to reestablish (or a new competitor to gain an audience), this phase can provide a solid platform to expand your opportunity to an even higher level.

Consider the following…

Secret #3: Growth and Maturity Phase

  • Sales: Sales and purchasing frequency have increased and the maturity phase is on the horizon. What you do now will determine your future.
  • Key Point: Maximum relationship stabilization and customer loyalty through adhering to your value proposition while adapting to their new challenges and needs. Offering new, fresh innovative ideas is your top priority! Remember their needs are evolving- so should your offering and solution!
  • Tips & Tactics: An organic growth plan should be well underway which includes cross and up selling initiatives. Adapt to their needs. Begin your renewal plan and work diligently to obtain ‘buy in’ from the influencers regarding your new thoughts and ideas. Leverage your key internal and external relationships. Study your competition to and the incumbent to see how they are adapting to your customer market and needs.

The highest priority now is to keep your eye on the ball. In doing so you can continue to enjoy growth and stability that others can only imagine.

To your success,
Andy

What do you think? What has been your experience in this area? (let me know below)

[Secret #2] That Increases Your Customer’s Life Cycle

In our May newsletter we addressed [4Secrets] That Will Increase Your Client Life Cycle.

I would like to invite you to come along on a fun journey that will take a closer look at these secrets. These are not ‘the’ way but instead ‘a’ way that can help you with your client life cycles.

Secret #2 New Business Won and Implementation Phase

Congratulations on a job well done! You have skills that many only dream of.

As a sales professional you have a lot riding on your shoulders. Deep down we all love it (let’s admit it). Your company is looking to you to bring in new business thus securing your future and that of your organization.

Wow, what a feeling! You just received word that your prospect has made the decision to partner with you and your organization. This is great! For all sales professionals, this is a time of celebration. For many this is a career changer. Either way your path is taking a new, positive direction and you will be operating at a new level.

You have discovered the lead, nurtured the lead and now it is time to deliver (and to continue to deliver) on those promises that you have made.

What you do now in this phase determines not just the Client Life Cycle – but the quality of the Client Life Cycle. In short, a strong implementation is a must. Succeed and you will have a solid relationship for years to come – creating benefit and stability for you, your organization, and your new customer.

Secret #2 New Business Won and Implementation Phase

  • Sales: Dependent upon the industry sales may escalate at a different rate as you work through the implementation phase.
  • Key Point: Start strong! The commitment is made and new relationships begin. Vulnerability is at an all time high. Encourage and stabilize the new relationship prior to transferring to the maturity phase. Establish a time frame to calibrate and adjust to shifting priorities as you move forward. Celebrate and get down to brass tacks.
  • Tips & Tactics: Remove any concerns by spending time with those that are slow to transition. Also careful to work with those that still have strong ties with the incumbent(s). Encourage with the benefits of your offering in enhancing their outcome. Maintain a close eye on your incumbent and like competitors.

Again, congratulations! You are at a new level and everyone is at a better place because of you and your team! Stay tuned until next week when we take a closer look at Secret #3.

To your success,
Andy

[4 Secrets] That Will Increase Your Client Life Cycle

What is the secret that certain companies have that regardless of the economy, changing buying groups, or leadership changes they stay the course? They are on top of their game!

Over the years we have grown up with several companies that have maintained their growth under the above circumstances, while some of these companies continue to flourish.

What is their secret, and how can you learn from them to increase your customer shelf life? I’ll be unpacking this over the next few weeks, but here are some secrets to help you increase your customer’s shelf life.

Secret #1: Recognize that all customers fall into the same model

The customer life cycle serves as means to measure where we stand with the customer and react to their needs. Newly acquired customers require more time on the front end. The customer life cycle is to be used as a simple tool to post their growth over time and to understand that all customers will not follow and develop identically.

Secret #2 New Business Won and Implementation Phase

  • Sales: Dependent upon the industry sales may escalate at a different rate as you work through the implementation phase.
  • Key Point: Start strong! The commitment is made and new relationships begin. Vulnerability is at an all time high. Encourage and stabilize the new relationship prior to transferring to the maturity phase. Establish a time frame to calibrate and adjust to shifting priorities as you move forward. Celebrate and get down to brass tacks.
  • Tips & Tactics: Remove any concerns by spending time with those that are slow to transition. Also careful to work with those that still have strong ties with the incumbent(s). Encourage with the benefits of your offering in enhancing their outcome. Maintain a close eye on your incumbent and like competitors.

Secret #3: Growth and Maturity Phase

  • Sales: Sales and purchasing frequency have increased and the maturity phase is on the horizon. What you do now will determine your future.
  • Key Point: Maximum relationship stabilization and customer loyalty through adhering to your value proposition while adapting to their new challenges and needs. Offering new, fresh innovative ideas is your top priority! Remember their needs are evolving- so should your offering and solution!
  • Tips & Tactics: An organic growth plan should be well underway which includes cross and up selling initiatives. Adapt to their needs. Begin your renewal plan and work diligently to obtain ‘buy in’ from the influencers regarding your new thoughts and ideas. Leverage your key internal and external relationships. Study your competition to and the incumbent to see how they are adapting to your customer market and needs.

Secret #4: Continual Renewal

  • Sales: The future is here! Sales and purchasing frequency are beginning to decline. But there is hope.
  • Key Point: It is time to gain approval and to implement your new solution to match their new challenges.
  • Tips & Tactics: You are now viewed as part of their culture and a reliable resource. With your new offering, check your steps in step #2 and begin the process once again- careful to adapt to your existing relationships and their existing needs.

Maintaining your customer’s life cycle is a possibility that often lies in capitalizing on the investment that you have made in cultivating key relationships, avoiding complacency, and creating fresh and innovative ideas.

My hope is that these four secrets will serve you as well as they have served others by increasing your clients life cycle.

To your success,
Andy