Archives for December 2012

Your Most Valued Asset as a Sales Professional?

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The question often asked is “What are the most valuable assets of a sales professional?”

Today during a morning training session, the question was posed a little differently as “What is ‘the’ greatest asset of a sales professional?”

I think this question was answered today when one of our sales representatives phoned me with the news that he had opened a new customer after a lengthy buying cycle. After the congratulations were given, I called the customer to say thanks for her trust in our organization and the opportunity to assist her team in reaching and exceeding their 2013 sales expectations.

Just before hanging up, I asked her what were the factors that influenced her decision?

After a short pause she stated that, after weighing all of the options, her team’s decision went in our favor based on our representative conveying a genuine ‘desire to help’. She further stated that his manner clearly demonstrated that partnering with our organization wasn’t about his future commissions or pleasing his boss (me), or growing his company, it was about a desire to help her team and organization. There it is, it is simple as that.

I thanked her for her time and wished her and her staff a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Let me ask you….

How do you recognize this type of sales professional? Does your toughest competitor practice this approach? Do you or members of your team use this approach? How can you benefit from this story to enhance your success in 2013?

Lets take a look at seven influencing characteristics that define the ‘desire to help’ approach:

  1. Taking the time to identify their prospects requirements and expectations.
  2. Effective questioning to identify the types of problems they are trying to solve.
  3. Giving serious thought to matching the strength of their offering with the above feedback, and presenting it effectively.
  4. Timely follow up.
  5. Conveying a message of ‘commitment’ to the prospect and their desires – not merely showing an ‘interest’.
  6. Understanding how develop relationships with others within their prospects organization.
  7. Staying close to the situation as priorities shift throughout the buying process (and they did).

After my conversation with our new customer, my next call was to our Rep., asking what was his mo-Jo in making this happen? Sure, I read the reports in our CRM but I wanted to hear of his experience first hand. I recorded the above seven characteristics on a Chick-file-A napkin as fast as I could, in order to pass them along to you!

So there you have it. You can take a ‘desire to help’ approach in identifying needs, solving a set of problems and turn your prospects concerns into a smile. Simply because you care!

To your success,
Andy

Enthusiasm is Contagious

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There is nothing like enthusiasm … real genuine enthusiasm is contagious.

While walking to my car on Monday of this week after a training session, I was asked the question “In a tough economy what are key differentiators that cross all lines in growing business for a sales professional?”

In listening to this question, my first thought was “Here we go, this person is looking for the silver bullet that really doesn’t exist.” However, after giving this some thought, there were three responses that came to mind.

Here they are, beginning with the third and working toward what I feel is #1:

#3 – Identify those problems that your product or service solves. Once these have been identified then master your delivery and presentation techniques. Remember, your customer will buy the solutions that your product and/or service provides.
#2 – With the above accomplished, become the ‘go to person’ in your market. With time, your reputation as a problem solver will proceed you.
#1 – Enthusiasm (in fact contagious enthusiasm). This is much different than hype. I have found that even the sales professional that is understated yet has a high level of enthusiasm is effective. More often than not, at the core of their enthusiasm is belief. From belief they transmit confidence and from confidence, enthusiasm.

After a few short minutes with this person you feel better. Decision makers are influenced by their belief, confidence and enthusiasm. As a result this is part of their success as a professional sales person.

This often begins with their voice mail message. I have a friend that is an industry leader. He has built several businesses in one industry. I recall the first time that I called his cell phone. After a few rings his voice mail message stated – “Hi this is James. At the sound of the tone please leave your name and number and I will call you back immediately.” Nothing new here … but he finished with “Make today great, and tomorrow even better!

I have to admit when I first heard this it seemed a little over the top. Then I had an opportunity to build a business relationship with this person. I learned of his success and track record. Wow!

As time passed, it was clear his enthusiasm was (and is) not only contagious, it is genuine. At the core of his enthusiasm is all of the above qualities that make him a success.

You can have the same influence on your customers and prospects if you choose to!

There is nothing like enthusiasm. Real, genuine enthusiasm is contagious.

How about you? What has been your experience? How are you creating a sharp distinction with your customers and prospects?

To your success,
Andy

Heading into the Home Stretch

As we head into the home stretch of 2012, I would like to thank you, my valued customer for a terrific year. Everything that we have accomplished this year is due to you and your support.

With this in mind, there are five thoughts that I would like to pass along for your consideration:

  1. Fuel your momentum with your customers: You have ten more days to reach out to your customers. Take a moment to do so, even if it is a card thanking them for their business. Better yet create a usage report, send to them and ask for an opportunity to view the results with them before the end of the year. Ask them for a special project or a result that they would like to accomplish beginning in Q1 2013. This fuels your momentum going into the new year.
  2. Fuel your momentum with your prospects: Dig deeper to see what they are trying to accomplish in 2013, mention that you may have a few solutions for them to think about and ask for an appointment for early January.
  3. Avoid the temptation to pack it in for the year: Your competitor may be choosing this route- but not you. I learned this lesson from a strong leader while in the work comp arena in 1998. December is a typical slow month for that industry. with a strong focus on each day in December we had our best month of year.
  4. It only takes one: Over the years, I have seen how one customer that has been won, changed entire companies – for the good. Why can’t that one company, that one difference maker be your prospect? Call me and let’s discuss a few ideas that I have seen produce these special results.
  5. A Great Attitude Surpasses a Great Product: Your customer is buying you. People are moved by positive confident people over a great product or service. Make your customers laugh. It easy for a buyer, decision maker, etc. say no to a product or organization, but tough to say no to a positive experience with you, a positive professional sales professional.

Thank you for making 2012 a terrific of growth and service! As you head into the home stretch, take a moment to thank your customers for contributing to your success in 2012, you will feel better for doing so, and they will as well.

To your success,
Andy