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Publisher’s Letter It’s Always a Good Time for Resolutions!
What will You Celebrate? – Bill Sayers
Look back over 2011 to acknowledge your successes and accomplishments and feel good about all you have.
The Fine-Tune Resolution – Paul Stuckey
Staying Relevant in A Changing World – Barry Siskind
Strategic or Tactical Sales Training? – Tibor Shanto
18 20 22
A little fine-tuning may be all you need to produce superior results. Moving Beyond Notes on the Back of Business Cards – Barry Siskind
Trade show contacts are willing to provide the information you need – are you ready to record it properly?
The demographic of trade show attendees is changing – are you keeping up with what’s relevant to them?
It’s not a matter of one over the other, it’s a matter of correctly applying both throughout your team. Eliminate Wonder – Jenae Rubin
Improve your sales process with this easy yet powerful technique - Check In! Creating Marketing Materials – Eric Gilboord
Practical advice from an expert including the summary: 9 Tips for Developing Your Marketing Tools. The 12 Dysfunctional Personal Productivity Personalities – Laura Stack
Amongst your coworkers there’s bound to be a few – here’s some advice on how to deal with them. Q4 2011
on Like us on Facebook to stay updated, and share your know-how with our community
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4 Sales KnowHow
Copyright 2011 Scott’s Directories Scott’s Directories is a division of BIG Directories LP. Business Information Group (BIG) is a subsidary of Glacier Media Inc.
It’s Always a Good Time for Resolutions! T
he start of a new year is a popular time to commit to making change in our lives, but the good news about resolutions is that you can make one anytime you want, and if you’re genuinely inspired you’ll get going on it immediately and possibly see quick results. That’s a liberating notion, and it’s exactly why we need to be looking for opportunities to make a difference every day, not just at the start of a brand new year. There’s always something we can do each day that will produce positive results. Even small improvements make a huge difference over time, and the nice thing about “small” endeavors and subtle changes is that they can be relatively easy to implement. “Taking the stairs” is a good example for bettering one’s health – easy to do a little every day - but done daily, the longterm effect can be very positive. In your own sales routine you could implement a few changes today that will likewise have meaningful and recognizable results as you move forward – almost immediately and over the long run. My article “The Fine Tune Resolution” outlines a path for getting better results by making small adjustments to your routine – but first you need to know where you stand today. By summarizing and analyzing where your sales are at statistically, I’m convinced you can bump your sales totals and income to the next level without an inordinate amount of heavy lifting. You can do this with some fine-tuning and focusing on what you already do best. The key is: knowing where you are now gives you a better handle on where you can go next. The concepts outlined in Barry’s Siskind’s “Moving Beyond Notes on the Backs of Business Cards” and Jenae Rubin’s “Eliminate Wonder” help illustrate just how much positive difference logical and simple ac-
tions can make in your sales performance. Don’t miss that great advice. Laura Stack – the Productivity ProTM – applies an astute look at 12 personality types that could be preventing you from accomplishing all you need each day. She gives you a leg up on knowing just how to spot and handle these familiar characteristics amongst your coworkers. It’s a keen observation on how a better understanding of these traits will keep your plans on track. But to start off, Bill Sayers asks “What Will You Celebrate?” and reminds us to reflect on and be thankful for our successes and accomplishments in 2011 before rushing into another new year. So who needs New Year’s resolutions? Any day of the year is completely adequate for turning over a new leaf, rising above your personal best, and taking the initiative to invoke lasting change that makes a difference. Creating lasting change over the long run requires inspiration and commitment; being less than 100% committed almost certainly guarantees the outcome will fall short of expectations – culminating with mediocre, uninspired results at best. To genuinely desire specific change, and resolving to see it through, are vital first steps in the process of bringing change about. Remember – It’s Always a Good Time for Resolutions. Wishing you all the very best in 2012.
Paul Stuckey, Group Publisher email@example.com For More Articles by Paul Stuckey Click Here
What Will You Celebrate? As 2011 comes to an end what are you going to celebrate? For some it has been a great year. For others it has been a good year. And for others it was a challenging year. Regardless of what kind of year you have had we all need to reflect on the year and celebrate the successes and challenges and what they mean to us.
By Bill Sayers
It is too easy for us in North America to get caught up in all the negative reporting we get everyday. Whether it is on TV, in the newspaper or online there is very little reporting of good deeds and uplifting stories. In business we are always being pushed to do more and to have better results. Rarely does someone come to you say thank you for the work you did yesterday and to celebrate your success. When my daughter was young I used to tuck her in at night. I would ask her two questions. What are the three best things that happened in your day today? And what is the one thing you would change about your day today? As she got a bit older, one night she asked me the same questions and she and I for many years reflected on each day and celebrated the three best things from our day. So I am going to ask each of you to do this exercise for the next month. At the end of each day, take a moment to reflect and ask yourself – What are the three best things that happened in your day today? And then – What is the one thing you would change about your day today? Watch what happens. You will begin to celebrate each day and even on those days when you think there is nothing to be thankful for you will come up with three things!
Celebrate 2011? As you begin your planning for 2012, don’t forget to look back on 2011. What were the highlights of the year? What successes did you have? What are the things you want to change and do differently in 2012? Take a blank piece of paper and write down all the things you are grateful for in 2011. The biggest deal you signed, the new car you bought, the commissions you made, the trip you took, time with family, your promo-
6 Sales KnowHow
tion. Start writing and don’t stop until you have filled the page. It may take you time to fill the page – however, I guarantee you that there is a page full of events that you need to celebrate. Remember what I said. In North America we do not take a lot of time to focus on this. We love to focus on the negatives. By doing this exercise you begin to change your view of your self and your business. This subtle shift will help you on a daily basis and how you view your day. I always say to people – There are at least three options to deal with every situation you find yourself in both in business and in your life. Once you believe this and work at it you have a much different view on things and don’t feel like you are “painted into a corner”!
What will you celebrate in 2012? As you are planning for 2012 what are the things you want to celebrate this coming year? What is going to make you happy and bring you joy? What are the targets you want to hit in your sales game? How much do you want to make? How many deals do you want to do? How many new clients do you want to get? Create your goals and plans for 2012. Once you have your plans and goals set, take time each week to review your progress. Plan the next week, review the week gone by (ask yourself those two questions each night) and what needs to happen next week and for the month ahead. Then take time each month to look back and celebrate what has happened. Then make the adjustments you need to make, to ensure your success.
My wish for each of you! As you finish 2011 and begin a new year in 2012, my hope for each one of you is that in 2012 you find the peace, prosperity and patience that will make each one of you successful. I wish great health and happiness to everyone for the Christmas and Holiday season.
Sayers Says……… What are you celebrating? What are the three best things that happened today? What are your plans for success in 2012? Take the time and write down that one page of things you are grateful for in 2011. What will bring you joy in 2012? Celebrate your success every week. Bill Sayers is an inspirational speaker and a visionary business leader. He has spent the past 29 years in the "Sales" arena. He started his career as an inside sales rep and worked his way up the corporate ladder to the level of VP of Sales at an IBM company. During that time he worked for Revelstoke Lumber, King Products, Linotype, Ryder Transportation, GE Capital IT Solutions and IBM. Bill is able to communicate powerful concepts in a manner, which enables practical application in the business world and drives profitable results for his clients. His goal is to help sales people ignite their passion for the game of sales. Passion - Process - Performance www.thesayersgroup.com For More Articles by Bill Sayers Click Here
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Sales By Paul Stuckey
The Fine-Tune Resolution A
n honest review of your sales history over the past 12 months will likely include a few reflections on where your efforts didn’t necessarily produce the outcome you had wanted. Even if you’re performing in the upper percentile and doing better than others in your firm – or in your industry as a whole – you’ll still likely admit there were some instances that you didn’t win. Understandably, you could have sold more. Maybe in the past year you experienced some of the following: Numerous prospects remain in your pipeline, undecided and unclosed although you’ve properly presented your products or services to them. You forecasted closing more of them by now. You lost sales to competitors – for myriad reasons including getting beaten on price (which means if your product is unique amongst the competition and superior in quality, there’s been a misunderstanding of your value proposition as they compared brands X, Y and Z) You were driven to cut price for the clients that you didn’t want to lose – ultimately cutting into the expected profit and your commission, and conditioning the client to expect future discounts.
You have certain types of clients that consume so much of your time after the sale that they become a more “expensive” client as they take up discernable amounts of your potential selling time. The list could go on, but you know first-hand what your particular list of miss-queues might be. Identify the ones that are pertinent to you. Recognizing you could have done more in the last 12 months means your gross earnings stand to make some improvement too – and frankly, that’s a perfectly selfish and legitimate reason for aiming to be more productive moving forward. So go ahead, resolve to take action where you can. Provided your recent sales history is considered adequate, a little finetuning may be all you need to produce superior results. For those sales people who are really struggling, I’m comfortable saying a little fine-tuning in a lot of areas may be all you need. Here’s a path to consider:
1 – Assemble Your Baseline Stats: Improvement must be measurable, so establishing your baseline is an important first step. Crunch the basic numbers to expose patterns and trends about how you sell. The aim is to use stats and records at your dis-
posal to generate meaningful reports and guideposts as reference. We’ll explore these in greater depth in a future issue of Sales KnowHow, but generally here’s what you need to assemble: Outbound Selling Activity Summarize a measure of actions including outbound phone calls for prospecting and following up, your marketing and/ or email correspondence and your in-person presentations and pitches. Honesty is a big factor in setting an accurate baseline from which to build – be fair with your reporting of your current outbound activities and take note of what appears light or too low. Sales & Marketing Metrics To take your performance to greater heights, your personal metrics are necessary information - and the more specific the better. Look to track the tangible results of your actions. Metrics will include the likes of Prospecting Metrics, Closing Ratios, your Average Sales Cycle, and Cost per Order across the backdrop of a Breakout by Products / Services that you sell. Clientele Demographics Information about your clients is most useful when you can specifically identify their unique attributes – both on a company level and personal level. You can really focus your prospecting efforts through this insight so it pays to model your clients as accurately as possible. Start by taking the time to assemble a list of your “best” clients – whoever they Q4 2011
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might be, however you would describe them. The goal is to find more just like them. We should all want to “clone” our best clients. Get to know your personal metrics, review them carefully and highlight where your strengths are, and what constitutes your best client. Remember, you want to replicate those best clients as often as possible. Once you frame your best scenarios, you’ll be ready to…
2 – Identify Areas for Improvement: With enough stats and metrics at your disposal, you’ll notice the ones that indicate a need for improvement - in some way. A professional sales rep can’t deny and overlook the telltale signs of a day not fully maximized or trends that keep getting in the way of closing more sales with the prospects that resemble their best clients. Scrutinize your numbers, and don’t ignore the trends. Make a point of listing your red-flag areas that need some attention and get ready to fine-tune. Need some quick insight on where to improve? - How do your stats and metrics compare to your colleagues selling the same product / service? What was the main commentary from your management team during your last review and have they identified areas they need to see improved in the coming months? If not, ask.
3 – Fine-Tune to Win In auto racing, a million-dollar car can roar around the track with what appears to the spectator to be great mechanical music but the driver will report back that something just doesn’t feel right – the car is too loose around corners, for example. Back in the pits the crew chief will crunch stats, analyzing the data feed from the car and recording the lap times - and through those observations understands that the car at that point is clearly not poised to win the race. Despite 99% of everything working perfectly, the car needs adjustment before it can be a contender. Once the car comes into the pits,
the crew rush out to change tires, add fuel, wipe away the debris from the front air intake and they do the most important thing of all – they make a couple of quick turns of the wrench to fine-tune the suspension setting. Minor changes to one aspect of the car can make a world of difference to its overall performance at track speed. In the world of racing, small adjustments performed mid-race have often helped cars come up from the back to take the checkered flag. It’s just one example of where fine-tuning makes a huge difference to something apparently “firing on all cylinders” already. Now’s the time to decide what adjustments you’ll try, and your options will be many. But we’re looking for small, fine adjustments that will make a big difference – if they work. You can decide what works and what doesn’t by measuring the results, and the great thing about fine tuning is you can go back and try something else. Fine tuning is the way to zone in to the perfect balance, and therefore requires subtle variances until you reach the right result. If the fine-tuning works now, the results over time could be significant. Try to keep in mind a timeless approach by marketers – the A/B split. Simply stated, A/B splits are an approach to creating 2 variants of marketing pieces to test in a small audience, and then after gauging which works best, using the winning variant to go out to a larger target audience. For example, how you handle telephone calls, inbound and outbound, should be considered and variations should be attempted and gauged. Trying something a little different can be fun, and seeing it work is gratifying. You might experience the “I should have tried this long ago” sensation once you see it working. How can you improve your phone call dialogue, your approach to objections, or your follow up “script” as example?
4 – Keep Track of Your Time: By resolving to improve, you’ll need to commit to maximizing your time which includes eradicating anything that stands
in your way of reaching your goals. Treat each day like gold; protect your time. Prioritize your day and stick to those prioritized tasks as best as possible; ignore the activities that don’t get you closer to your sales goals. When picking a time to handle administrative chores, apply your time wisely. Once you choose an area or two for improvement, you’ll benefit from keeping track of how you spend your time each business day – and quickly eliminating the time-wasters.
5 – Reassess as You Go / Make Adjustments as Required: Too often we set a goal and forget about the need to periodically reassess. It’s important to track the progress of your goals and adjust accordingly as you go. In these changing times you might need to adjust your goals every quarter to maintain a tighter correlation with overall market expectations. Reassessing may be the best way to ensure you are always “fishing where the fish are” as the year progresses. Setting lofty aspirations that are unrealistic is not a fulfilling proposition. Not re-visiting your stats, your metrics, and your personal observations on what’s happening can also keep you at a plateau which seems impossible to break free of - and in challenging economic times you can’t afford to overlook relatively simple ways to improve your prospecting and sales skills. Fine tuning throughout the year is a logical approach to finding the right solution to problem areas. So to repeat, who needs New Year’s resolutions? Any day of the year is completely adequate for turning over a new leaf, rising above your personal best, and taking the initiative to invoke lasting change that makes a difference. Remember – It’s Always a Good Time for Resolutions. Wishing you success in the months ahead! Paul Stuckey Publisher, Scott’s Directories For More Articles by Paul Stuckey Click Here
Sales KnowHow 11
Moving Beyond Notes on the Back of Business Cards
By Barry Siskind
Want to hear the worst follow-up phone call to a contact you met at a trade show? It goes something like this... You: Hi, It’s Barry Siskind with ABC Company and we met last week at the Green Show. Contact: Yes I remember you. What can I do for you? You: We only had a few short minutes to talk about your situation at the show. The purpose of my call today is to arrange to get together to discuss your concerns and see if there is something that I can do to help. Contact: Sounds good. You: How about next Wednesday? Contact: Sure, what time? So far this sounds pretty good. Now here comes the bad part... You: Before we commit to a time I have a few quick questions to ask. Contact: Sure. What do you need to know? You: What exactly is the scope of the situation you are trying to solve? Contact: Huh! You: Where are you located? Do you make the decisions for this change? Have you allocated a budget? Contact: Wait a minute. Didn’t you ask me those questions when we met at the show? You: Yes, but… Contact: Why are you asking me again?
12 Sales KnowHow
The answer to the contactâ€™s last question is simple. You forgot.
The solution is to ensure that you record all of the contactâ€™s information when you first meet so the follow-up phone call can be seamless and simply a continuation of the conversation rather than starting all over again. Numerous industry studies have shown that nearly eighty percent of all leads are mishandled. One of the reasons for this lost opportunity is that the leads collected at the show were less than adequate in the first place. Taking leads at a trade show is all about quality rather than quantity. A handful of good quality leads puts you in a stronger position to convert those leads to business than a pile of business cards or ballots. The trick is to ensure that the information learned about the contact is recorded on the spot. One big mistake many exhibitors still make is writing contact information on the back of business cards. There are a number of problems with this: The back of a business card is small and therefore restricts the amount of information you can record. It also means that without a formal recording tool, business card leads are inconsistent from one to the next. This puts your salespeople or dealers and reps at a disadvantage when they follow up because they know very little about the contact before they make the call. Many companies print on both sides of their business card. If you had planned to write information on the business card, you are now stuck. Many companies use electronic business cards. Now you are really stuck. Many cultures take great pride in their business cards and it might be a personal offence to write on the back. To avoid the business card pitfall ensure that you have arranged to use some form of lead recording technology in your plans. There are three choices: The electronic lead retrieval system. You have probably seen many of these devices in use. They take the form of scanners, QR readers, Card swipe, Smartphone apps etc. Over all these tools are excellent methods of gathering contact information. Many of these systems can be customized allowing you to enter specific fields of information that will help you when following up. A manual lead sheet. This is a simple low-tech solution for those situations where your organizer does not provide an electronic system. Your lead sheet is a pre-printed form that acts as a script for your sales people to follow to ensure that they gather consistent information from contact to contact. (For a copy of my lead sheet template e-mail me at email@example.com) A hybrid is used in the situation where the electronic system only provides you with part of the information you need. You can
upcoming webinars The following titles will be available to download from December 2011 to June 2012 How to Use Entertainment to Drive Trade Show Booth Traffic Create and Experience For All Three Generations Who Walk The Trade Show Floor Create a Trade Show Booth That Attendees Cannot Ignore Get ROI From Your Trade Show Giveaways Develop Powerful Booth Staff Create a Simple, Smart and Strategic Exhibit Budget Plan Turn Your Tradeshow Booth into an Experiential Environment Measuring the Value of Your Trade Show Program Steer Trade Show Crowds from the Aisles into Your Booth Select the Right Trade Show Turn Tradeshow Leads Into Sales To purchase one of these webinars click here $99 per connection - Save 20% at checkout with this discount code: 47fbcda4
then supplement it with a manual lead sheet and gather the bits of information you still require. Business has moved beyond taking lead information on the back of a business card. To be truly successful at your next show give some serious consideration to the technology you will use to record contact information. One further thought. Once you have decided on how you will gather information, train your staff so they are comfortable getting the information you need. Q4 2011
Sales KnowHow 13
14 Sales KnowHow
Staying Relevant in A Changing World
By Barry Siskind
ne of the great benefits of attending an exhibition is the opportunity to network with industry colleagues, suppliers and buyers. Yet, we see people with their eyes cast downward, mesmerized as their fingers fling across a miniature keyboard at lightening speed. Has face-to-face interactions faded into the ether, never to be seen again? Have we turned a corner on human interaction and lost our way? The answer may not be as simple as yes or no. The real culprit in the mix is demographics. The baby-boom generation (ages 40-63) were comfortable meeting people face-to-face. It was how they developed trust and confidence in the people they chose to do business with. They developed a keen sense of what was acceptable behaviour and what wasn’t. If a stranger was friendly, professional and offered a genuine handshake and a smile, this group was more apt to deal with them as opposed to those who looked like sharks stalking their next meal. Then came the World Wide Web and the personal computers which grew from an interesting machine on our desk to a necessary tool in our pocket. The Generation X (ages 28-39) and the Millennials (ages 18-27) grew up in this age of technology where modern advances seemed to take them further away from human contact. The older generation shook their heads in disbelief, the younger generations opened doors of opportunities their parents never thought possible. Now those organizations who hope to achieve above average results from their exhibit investment need to change. Those companies who have moved away from displays that simply showcase a product or service to one that offers the attendee an opportunity to engage in the solution are seeing unbelievable results. Those who are stuck in the dark ages are being left behind. How do you embrace change and create an exhibit plan that is relevant, measurable and meaningful? Here are a few suggestions that will point you in the right direction. Know your customer. Your customer isn’t a corporation but the individuals it employs. Who are the individuals that are most interested in your offerings? What are their likes and dislikes? How to they connect with their world? What sites are they most active in? How do they define the community to which they belong? These are the type of questions you should be asking. Embrace technology. If you don’t have a social media pres-
ence, develop one. The longer you procrastinate, the greater is the tendency to become irrelevant in the eyes of those you are trying to communicate with. Know your products/services. Go beyond features, benefits and advantages which was a selling tool used with the babyboomers to the new world where customers decide on what elements of a product or service are most relevant and meaningful. Create a display that quickly captures their imagination. You can’t tell this generation of visitors you understand their perspective, you need to show them. This requires careful thought to everything that is visible including your signs, graphics, demonstrations and product displays to ensure that your audience connects instantly. Engage…engage…engage. Ensure that each step in your exhibit plan opens an opportunity to engage the visitor. This will include everything from the shows you select, the display and how your staff interacts with the audience. The trick is to focus your exhibit plans around the question, “What is most relevant to my customers?” If you are not sure then you need to do the research. We are entering a new era where many of the rules and techniques that worked so well in the past are no longer producing results. If you take the time to understand how the demographic of your attendees is changing and take the appropriate steps, you can’t go wrong. © Copyright 2011 Barry Siskind Barry Siskind is author of Powerful Exhibit marketing. He is also President of International Training and Management Company who offers a number of services to exhibitors including the creation and implementation of a mystery-shopping program. Contact Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. For More Articles by Barry Siskind Click Here
Sales KnowHow 15
Strategic or Tactical Sales Training? A
lot of sales improvement programs start at the strategic level and go light on the execution, the tactical side – the “how do I do this?” While this may seem to be intuitively the right and noble way to go, in reality it yields less results than approaching things the other way around; that is leading with the tactical, the tactics of “how to…” Unless you run your sales force as a military unit – with all the command lines, discipline, and rules – you will always face the challenge around the balance between strategy and execution or tactical aspects of sales success. This challenge is even more pronounced with sales training or education, do you build your training around your strategy; or do you
16 Sales KnowHow
deliver training focused on the tactical aspects of driving that strategy forward? While the logical answer may be a combination of both, my experience has shown that with few exceptions, when it comes to front line sales teams, it is more effective to focus on changing the tactical. Get them to change their tactics, this usually compels them to seek and implement a strategy in the process. The fact is that one can buy in to a strategy without changing their behaviour, leaving results the same; change behaviour – and you change results, which allows you to drive your strategy. Many sales people view strategy as out of their control or domain, unless directly tied to their day-to-day activities and rewards, they see it as just talk, and generally something for executives or leaders not for the frontline.
By Tibor Shanto While sales consultants spend a lot of time working with the leadership on strategies and how to implement them, there is an assumption that this will resonate with the frontline, who will buy into it and move forward. The missing piece is the fact that much of the output of this process is designed and presented for consumption by the executives, who see and define things in a way that is different than the way the frontline needs to relate to it, and make use of it. This is a concept we are all familiar with when selling, speak the language of the audience you are addressing. Just as we recognize that we need to speak to a manager, a user, purchaser and VP in different ways, even when describing the exact same solution, the same is true for the sales organization. The VP of Sales will have a different view and a different need of strategy from the frontline rep, who in turn will have different tactical needs than the VP. Consider many of the challenges faced by organizations rolling out CRM, getting low adoption, and by extension, low returns and advantages. The reason often given is that the CRM was sold to the leadership as a means of gaining greater control over and visibility into sales and the pipeline. No one would argue that this is a worthwhile endeavour, or the fact that most CRM’s could do that, if there was enough of the right data. Many studies show that sales people were not told what is in it for them, how to use it on a tactical level in a way that helps them sell and gives management the visibility they require to monitor sales, market factors, and other elements they take into account in formulating their strategy for moving forward. It is similar when it comes to training, while strategy is important to the sales organization, what sales people are looking for is a way to execute the sale in a way that helps their clients, themselves, and supports the organization’s
objectives and strategies. For the strategy to work, it needs to be executed, to be executed one needs to deal with the tactical aspects of the sale. While it is not a question of one versus the other, it is a question of balance and what you are looking to achieve. Most sales leaders want their teams and companies to succeed, this is why they develop, hone and update their strategy in a dynamic way. While it is important to share that strategy with everyone involved, even customers, it is not, nor should it be, at the top of the frontline reps’ priority list. The frontline reps’ contribution to the success of the strategy is executing it, and that is what training should focus on. It is important for VP’s and Sales Leaders to be aware of and involved in the tactical training of their teams, it is not up to them to go out and sell daily. In the same way, it is important for frontline reps to be aware of strategy, but core to their success and obligation to the company is the tactical execution; and that is what their education must focus on in order to meet their required contribution to the collective success.
Sales KnowHow 17
Eliminate Wonder I
t’s frustrating to leave a sales call and wonder, “What did I miss?” or “What can I do now?” or “What does he really want?” If you’re like me, you don’t like hearing “I’m not interested,” “My budget’s spent,” or even worse getting no returns to calls or emails after making a presentation. One of the biggest reasons this happens is… you didn’t find out how what you are presenting meets or misses their needs. Additionally, you want to make sure your Buyer agrees with the ideas you shared; and if not, to find out what is missing. The easiest time is to uncover problems is when you are discussing the point there may be an issue with. It is difficult to unearth concerns later. You’ll probably just hear, “I have to think about it” and be left wondering, “What does he want to think about?” Good news! It’s easy to eliminate wonder. Just add this simple tactic to your sales: Check In. Checking In is finding out how your customer or prospect feels about what you just discussed. Additionally, Checking In tells you when to move on. Avoid moving from one point to another before you know how your Prospect feels about what you just said; Check in! Otherwise, you might as well be talking to a wall. When you Check In, you assure what you presented is important to your prospect. Before you talk about or present a new topic, simply ask a Check In question…
• How does that sound? • How does that meet your needs? • How does this match what you were looking for? You’ll notice there are 4,362 more ways to Check In. Any way you phrase the question, make sure it is not a Yes/ No question. You want a conversation, a dialog with your prospects. Check In questions are natural, so you don’t need to memorize them… and the process is the simplest sales tactic you can add to your repertoire.
18 Sales KnowHow
By Jenae Rubin President, Sales Powerhouse
When the answer to your Check In question is, “That sounds great,” go onto your next point, or close the sale if the time is right. If you hear, “Well this isn’t really important to me,” or something else that lets you know you aren’t in harmony with each other, you’re lucky, because they’ll probably tell you why, and – finally – you won’t have to wonder or try to figure it out! Finally, you won’t get to the end of a sales call and wonder what did I miss, what can I do now? Checking In allows you to know what you need to address. When you don’t Check In, you don’t know where the problem is. Checking In is one of the easiest tactics to employ. And it makes “I’m not interested” and “I have to think about it” go away. I know I hate those objections! If there are concerns, he will tell you. And this is a thousand times better than hearing, “I’m not interested” or “My budget’s spent” or any other fake objection. Remember this: When you don’t Check In at the right time, Clients are not generally willing to elaborate later. If you weren’t interested in asking at the right time, they are not generally willing to take more of their valuable time to explain it to you. So, unfortunately when you skip this step, they frequently decide you are not right for them. Then all they need to do is get rid of you. Prospects don’t feel they owe you an explanation, but they are willing to participate in a conversation. So, remember: Selling is not Telling! Have a conversation and include Check In questions in your conversation. Add this simple step to your sales process, and you will stop wondering, what can I do now? Here’s to successful, stress-free salesTM, Jenae Rubin
Jenae Rubin is the president of Sales Powerhouse – Overcome Overcoming Objections. and may be reached at Jenae@SalesPowerhouse.com or 954-290-9896. Copyright 2011 Sales Powerhouse, Inc. This article may be reproduced with credit and copyright intact. For More Articles by Jenae Rubin Click Here
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Sales KnowHow 19
g n i t a Cre g n i t e Mark s l a i r Mate It’s Harder Than It Looks M
any small business owners/managers view the creative development of marketing materials as a burden to be avoided at all costs. Conversely, others look upon the task as a source of excitement and amusement. After all, everyone is constantly exposed to marketing materials on a daily basis. Since you know all about your business, how difficult can it be to make a brochure? Neither attitude is in the best interests of your company. The preparation of your marketing tools is a serious and often frustrating experience. Many small businesses (and many larger ones) have been known to run around at the last minute, creating brochures and hand-outs for a trade show that will be starting the next day. Printers, who often bear the brunt of the pressure, usually ask for the delivery date when they first discuss a new job. Although it may seem to be exhilarating to do everything in a short period of time, you may later realize that important points have been left out of your presentation materials. If you do leave something out and a prospect (potential customer) asks to see a list of the benefits of your product or service, don’t place yourself in the embarrassing position of having to write them out on a scrap of paper; the prospect shouldn’t have to take notes. Suggesting they go to your website for the information says you don’t care enough to be prepared. However, if you prepare ahead of time, the information will be readily available to the prospect and reinforced in all of your marketing materials.
20 Sales KnowHow
Perhaps your materials lack focus and the prospect is left wondering who you are and exactly what you do. After reviewing your brochure, he or she may have more questions than before. It may appear to the prospect that you merely offer the same services that your competitors do at an unjustified premium price. Some companies develop their marketing materials over a period of time. These materials, which usually include a collection of ads, brochures, and a website that bear no resemblance to each other, send inconsistent messages about the company. In these instances, the business card, the sign outside the office, website, social media pages, posters, brochures, and other presentation materials all have different logos, looks, and even conflicting descriptions of the products or services offered. Marketing materials should also include very clear and specific contact information. There are some wonderfully creative and exciting ads that present products or services you might need right now. However, if the company has neglected to include contact information, you can’t make a purchase because they didn’t tell you where or how to get in touch with them or a representative. Sounds crazy but this happens all the time. Sometimes your advertisement may make sense to you but not to the reader. When someone is not living with your products or services on a daily basis like you are, they may not understand your industry’s language or may miss a selling feature that you have taken for granted.
For Developing Your Marketing Tools Plan Your Materials in Advance. Also, try to adapt creative concepts and looks to different media and sizes of materials. The basic look of a magazine ad often can be adapted to a poster or to a sign in a store. These materials will help your company maintain a consistent look and will reinforce a specific message. Be Clear on Your Message. It is difficult for the reader to know who you are or what they are to do if you try to deliver too many messages.
By Eric Gilboord www.EricGilboord.com
Be Clear On The Objective. The communication piece must say clearly what you want the reader to do. Avoid Combining Two Or More Businesses. Offering two products to the same target group within one brochure or ad might seem efficient. The risk of confusing the reader could cost you potential sales. Do Not Assume. The reader does not know your product as well as you. They are not thinking about your product or service on a daily basis and may not pick up on its selling points if presented too subtly. Be straightforward and direct in what you say. Do not make the reader work too hard. A clever twist of words may be more of a challenge than the reader is prepared to take on. Include Contact Information. Make it easy for customers to contact you by providing several ways to get in touch: by telephone, fax, e-mail, websites, social media pages, toll-free numbers, etc. Use Professionals For Their Individual Skills. Do not expect a writer to provide the visual impact that a designer can offer. Printers or production people can rarely write compelling copy. Not all designers are qualified to make websites. I think you get the point. Your expectations do not qualify suppliers. Encourage Outside Resources To Speak Up. Let them challenge your thoughts, bringing an element of objectivity to the creative development process. Original ideas from others are part of what you are paying for. Fresh eyes can be as valuable as the skills you hired them to provide. Test Your Creative Ideas. Use small print runs and split email blasts. Show materials to those connected to your business as and others not in your target group or industry. Remember, you are looking for clarity and understanding of your message, not creative development tips from unqualified sources.
© Copyright 2011 Eric Gilboord Eric Gilboord is a specialist in making marketing easy for business owner/operators and any staff with sales or marketing responsibility. He demystifies marketing so they can use it to generate sales today and grow their businesses faster. He demystifies marketing so they can use it to generate sales today and grow their businesses faster. Eric believes in blending traditional marketing with new media/social media. ROI is a must. Eric is a popular speaker, coach, columnist and author of many articles and books on moving a business up to the next level. The Expert Business Calls for Marketing Advice...That’s Easy to Understand. For more information call 416-686-2466. To sign up for his marketing tips newsletter and to read his blog please visit: www.EricGilboord.com Follow Eric on Twitter (ericgilboord) Find Eric on LinkedIn Eric’s ‘Get It Done’ Treasure Map Marketing Plan Workshop Show Me the Way For more information please visit: www.EricGilboord.com For More Articles by Eric Gilboord Click Here
Sales KnowHow 21
12Personal Dysfunctional Productivity The
veryone has a productivity personality. It’s the collection of strengths, weaknesses, and day-to-day habits that come together to determine how a person works best. I’ve written often about how important it is to get a handle on your own personal productivity personality, but it’s important that you don’t stop there. After all, most of us depend on others at some point in our day and the individual work styles and attitudes of those around us can have a huge impact on our own ability to get things done. That’s why I put together a list of the 12 dysfunctional personal productivity personalities. Hopefully this list will help you smile (rather than cringe) the next time a coworker’s bad habits start to drive you up the wall. I’ve also included some thoughts on how to deal with each of these pesky personalities. So here they are, in no particular order:
1. Scrappers. The scrapper’s desk look like a modern art exhibit, covered in scraps of paper and sticky notes. They write important notes on whatever is close at hand, whether it’s a fast food receipt or the back of an envelope (a scrapper’s favorite). Handling the scrapper: You can’t force scrappers to adopt a comprehensive planning system or put all of those little scraps into Outlook or a BlackBerry (although you could try to
22 Sales KnowHow
coach them). What you can do is make sure that items pertaining to your work don’t get lost in the shuffle. Send follow-up e-mails detailing key meeting take-aways, check in before important deadlines, and never fail to follow up on a delegated task. 2. Pilers. Pilers have a lot in common with scrappers, except it is generally much more difficult to navigate your way through the piler’s office. They keep everything and file nothing. There will be boxes on the floor and every inch of desk space will be occupied by stacks of paper, generally piled up to the point that an archeologist could use them to figure out what the piler has been working on for the last five years. Handling the piler: The best thing you
can do for the piler is simple: don’t add anything to the piles. Chances are that any document, book, or report that you put in the piler’s hands is going to end up in heap someplace, where it is probably as good as gone. Never hand your only hard copy over to a piler unless you are ready to kiss it goodbye. Also, be sure to set clear deadlines. Their idea of giving something a high priority is placing it on their (generally largest) “immediate attention” stack. Don’t ask them to do something “right away,” ask them to do it by a specific date. 3. Multi-taskers. Multi-taskers always have a thousand things going on at once and generally take pride in it. They flit from task to task, getting many things started but few things
completed. And they often appear frazzled, overwhelmed, and scattered. Handling the multi-tasker: Always use caution when working with a multitasker. He or she will rarely admit that they don’t have the capacity to take on another task and can easily become distracted by competing priorities. Always double-check, very directly, with multi-taskers to make sure that they can and will do what is expected in an agreed-upon timeframe. 4. Interrupters. “Gotta minute?” It’s practically the interrupter’s catch phrase. They will constantly show up at your desk, interrupting your day and derailing your train of thought. Their interruptions are sometimes trivial and sometimes relevant, but almost always ill-timed. Handling the interrupter: You have to be honest on this one. If someone asks if you have a minute, don’t be afraid to tell them you don’t. The more cautiously you guard your own time, the more others will begin thinking twice before asking for it needlessly. A polite response to an interruption is to simply point out that no, you don’t have any time right now but would be happy to meet later in the day if needed. Beyond that, a simple “Do Not Disturb” sign can go a long way – just don’t abuse it. 5. Procrastinators. Some people seem
clinically incapable of doing anything before the last possible moment. They start things with just enough time to squeeze them in before the deadline. You’ll also notice that procrastinators tend to put off high-value (often challenging) tasks in favor of more pleasant, less critical ones. Handling the procrastinator: Don’t let a procrastinator drag your project team down. The best way to get out ahead of a procrastinator is to plan in advance and evaluate results on an ongoing basis, not just when the work is done. If your procrastinator is expected to deliver a weekly progress report, they’ll be more likely to stay on track. Of course, you should probably steer clear immediately before your meeting. That will be crunch time. 6. Socializers. Socializers waste inordinate amounts of time chatting with coworkers and keeping up with the personal lives of everyone at the office. They’re great at planning the company party, but tend to fall short in other ways. Handling the socializer: Socializers do what they do because they get something out of it – interaction, stress relief, distraction from work, whatever. If you don’t have anything along those lines to offer, they’ll lost interest in you pretty quickly. You just need to be sure not to play along. If you’re in the habit of nodding your head and smiling
By Laura Stack
while others talk your ear off, then you are part of the problem. Politely point out that you are trying to keep your day on track and need to get back to what you were doing. 7. Meeting addicts. Some people apparently just love to call meetings. Maybe they really enjoy the setting and the interaction or maybe it honestly has never occurred to them that it is possible to get things done without putting half the department around a conference table. Either way, the result is a lot of time wasted by everyone involved. Handling the meeting addict: First of all, don’t be afraid to decline a meeting when it’s appropriate to do so. Simply state that you don’t feel your presence is needed and ask that you be kept in the loop on any important outcomes that might affect your work. Second, don’t be afraid to suggest an alternative to a meeting. When you get the request, simply call the organizer to ask if the matter could be handled by e-mail or conference call. In fact, you might be able to resolve the issue on the spot and save everyone a lot of time and disruption. 8. Crisis creators. We’ve all been there. A lack of planning by one person leads to a crisis for everyone else. Even minor issues are exaggerated into a fullblown disaster and everyone involved
Sales KnowHow 23
ends up feeling stressed and drained as a result. Crisis creators seem to always be fighting fires and coworkers are often dragged into the fray. Handling the crisis creator: Unfortunately, we often have to step in and help fight fires even if they aren’t our fault. If a certain individual is constantly working in crisis mode, it is important that you don’t play into the drama. Keep a cool head and don’t get overly stressed. Then, once the crisis is resolved, insist on a debriefing meeting to figure out what went wrong. Once crisis creators realize that problems aren’t going to be forgotten once the crisis is over, they’ll be more inclined to stay out of trouble in the first place. 9. E-mailers. They send an e-mail for everything. It doesn’t matter how simple or how complicated an issue is, an email message is the answer. They never use the phone, they never walk across the hall to deliver a ten-word message, and they usually LOVE the “Reply All” button. Handling the e-mailer: Usually you won’t have much luck influencing the e-mail habits of a colleague, although you can specifically request the recipients do NOT Reply to All but respond to you directly instead. What you CAN do is set clear expectations concerning your own use of e-mail. If you only check your messages a few times each day, tell people that so they don’t expect you to treat Outlook like an instant messaging service. People are generally pragmatic about things and if e-mail isn’t a good way to get a response from you, they’ll stop using it for everything. 10. Packrats. Packrats have never thrown anything away in their professional lives. They don’t worry about the company’s records retention policy, because they retain everything, no matter what. They are often overwhelmed by their own treasure trove of obsolete documents, but will come in handy if you ever need to take a look at the final report from that project that was cancelled in 1986. Handling the packrat: Packrats are sometimes highly organized creatures, but are often more worried about the thickness of their project files than they are about what’s inside. Never trust a packrat to manage priorities or to take away the key points from any given interaction. Be direct about what you need from them so you don’t end up with a ton of unnecessary research or extraneous background information. Just the facts, please. 11. Perfectionists. By insisting on doing everything perfectly, perfectionists generally fail to accomplish much at all. They can never finish, because it “can always be better.” They work hard, but complete little. Perfectionists keep meticulous meeting notes, promise the world during planning sessions, and often seem to crack up just as the project is coming together.
24 Sales KnowHow
Handling the perfectionist: When you are working with a perfectionist, it’s a good idea to plan for frequent touch points throughout the project. Rather than expecting to reconvene at the end, schedule several synch-up meetings along the way. Define the level of expectation and the exact deliverables. This will help keep the perfectionist working in manageable (if imperfect) chunks and also give the person a chance to dazzle you with little presentations throughout the project. Perfectionists just love that. 12. Workaholics. The workaholic works an 80 hour week and never misses an opportunity to remind you of it. Puzzling, though, is the fact that they seem to accomplish less than others working half the hours. The workaholic typically has no boundaries between work and home life. Handling the workaholic: Remember that to a workaholic, “end of day” does not mean five o’clock. Usually, it means “before tomorrow.” When you are expecting something from a workaholic, keep in mind that you will likely see an e-mail roll in at 10:45 p.m. Also remember that there is no sense of urgency to a workaholic. Since they plan to be working into the evening anyway, they tend to waste time during normal business hours. You can subtlety nudge them in your direction by saying things such as “I’d like to have that by three o’clock so that I can be out the door on time tonight.” I have no doubt that at least a few of these 12 dysfunctional productivity personalities will have you smiling and thinking of someone you work with. But also keep in mind that each of us has a little of one or more of these personalities in us as well. So as we work to deal better with our chronically troublesome coworkers, we should also be willing to improve on our own little areas of personal dysfunction. Now THAT is productivity improvement!
Make it a productive day! (TM) © 2011 Laura Stack. Laura Stack is America’s premier expert in personal productivity. Since 1992, she has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces. She is the bestselling author of four books, including SuperCompetent. To have Laura speak at your next event or to sign up for her free monthly newsletter, www.theproductivitypro.com. For More Articles by Laura Stack Click Here
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Sales KnowHow 25
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