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What Aren’t Enough of Today’s Salespeople Doing Or Taking Advantage Of?

Image 1You, today’s salesperson, have a lot on your plate and a lot is expected of you every single day.

Even with all you do, there are missed opportunities and it could be said that, foundationally, it comes down to ensuring every minute of every day is spent doing the things that matter most.

We created a Sales Time Usage Survey and we would appreciate your help. It will, at most, take three minutes of your time to take part in the survey (participate here).

In return, and only if you desire, we will send you the results of how you compare to your peers.

Thank you for your consideration and your participation.

Related to this important topic of making the most of all you do in your daily pursuit of sales relationships, we asked many of the top sales industry influencers the following question. You can read their responses below:

What Aren’t Enough of Today’s Salespeople Doing Or Taking Advantage Of?

Too many sales professionals still fail to proactively manage their time. They waste time between sales calls, waste time on unqualified opportunities, and work reactively vs. focusing on their most important target prospects.  Discipline and intentional work on the right things are key!

Matt Heinz
President :: Heinz Marketing Inc

 

Salespeople are not taking enough advantage of their mindset. They fire, fire, fire, fire….then aim. If you want to make the sales profession better, spend less time with your nose pressed against a screen, and learn to think before you act. That’s something a third grader learns in school.

Gerhard Gschwandtner
CEO :: SellingPower.com

 

Continuing education. And it’s not just salespeople, but we, as a group are guilty. I always ask my clients if they are practicing their craft as much as they are their golf game, tennis game or other avocations. They should practice their vocation just as much!

Butch Bellah
Speaker, Trainer& Author :: ButchBellah.com

 

Independent thinking. Why? Because they’d rather belong than succeed.

Tibor Shanto
Chief Sales Officer :: Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.

 

Today’s salespeople aren’t taking advantage of the opportunities to research the companies in their target sweet spot, nor the people in those companies that they’re going to have to contact. They also don’t research their competitors enough. This lack of research is laziness, and it’s costing these salespeople, and their companies, a ton of business!

Robert Terson
Author & Speaker :: SellingFearlessly.com

 

Cost effective on-line training that is easy to consume.

Why? They don’t know of it, they are too arrogant to realize they can improve, or they are waiting “to see if our company will pay for it.”

Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
Sales Presentation Trainer, Keynote Speaker, Executive Speech Coach :: Fripp.com

 

Sales people are under utilizing the power of social to gain access to decision makers, identify all the influencers and stakeholders, leverage their connections to get warm introductions and position themselves as thought leaders and subject matter experts.

The power of platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are gateways into the minds and networks of their prospects but sales people rarely take the journey – or if they do they turn back before they bear fruit.

Brynne Tillman
CEO :: SocialSalesLink.com

 

Preparation. That’s what’s missing from sales people today.

The excuses sales people share are:  Time and Don’t Need To (know this business inside and out).  After working with sales teams worldwide for over 30 years, the sales people who adopt Preparation advance more sales and close more deals.

When should a sales person prepare?  Only when they want to make a sale. And the preparation can be as short as 5 minutes.

These 3 questions are the minimum ones a sales person should  ask themselves before picking up the phone or getting out of their car:

  1. What’s the objective of this conversation?
  2. What questions am I going to ask to accomplish the objective?
  3. What am I going to say to launch the conversation?

Alice Kemper
Founder & President :: Sales Training Consultants | SalesTrainingWerks.com

 

Most salespeople are not reacting to the market and to leads in real-time. Research suggests that the faster you respond to an inquire, the more likely that deal will close, yet most salespeople are working on their time, not the buyers’ time.

David Meerman Scott
Keynote Speaker & Bestselling Author :: DavidMeermanScott.com

 

Each other.

I train sales reps all over the world and during my training sessions they always ask questions about specific challenges they are facing. My first response to all of them is “does anyone in here have a few ideas on how to address that?”

Inevitably someone in the class has a good answer or good approach they use to address whatever that challenge is.

We rarely stop and think about what we’re doing in sales and we’re always looking for the answer when most of the time it’s right in front of us.

Sales can be perceived as an individual sport but if you leverage your team you can figure things out a lot faster.

John Barrows
Owner :: jbarrows.com

 

Many sales people aren’t actively involved with their current or potential customer until there is an active opportunity. By then it’s often too late, because one of their competitors has likely grabbed customer mindshare and influenced the buying process and decision criteria in their favor.

In researching Beyond the Sales Process, we learned that the average executive spends less than 2% of their time buying from you. What you do during the remaining 98% of that customer’s time can prevent you from falling into that fatal trap—only getting involved when there is “meat on the table.

Dave Stein
Author, Beyond the Sales Process :: davestein.biz

 

Salespeople are not learning how to uncover a client’s decision criteria and their values, because once they learn how to uncover a client’s values and beliefs, there will be no resistance to your proposal.

Alen Mayer
Sales Expert, Author & Speaker :: AlenMayer.com

 

Sales people do not effectively follow-up on leads. Mostly it is because:

  1. They are conditioned to expect poor quality leads from marketing
  1. They don’t know how to  follow-up on leads
  1. They give up too early – “I called them and they did not call me back so they must not really have been a lead”

This  blog goes into detail about how to effectively follow-up on leads. It also shows the actual vs. the perceived percent of leads that by month-by-month after a lead is generated:

Chart

Dan McDade
President, PointClear

 

As a field coach, I would like to see more salespeople asking more high-quality questions (and fewer low-quality ones).

High-quality questions are purposeful. They yield the information desired. They don’t sound random, oddly phrased, misplaced in the conversation or manipulative. Instead, they invite buyers to share fully and thoughtfully.

To ask more purposeful questions, a salesperson has to pause and consider ‘what do I really want to know?’ The question should be worded to plainly request the information that’s really desired. When driven by an intent to help the buyer, there’s usually a mutual benefit to purposeful questions.

Low-quality questions work against individual sellers and against the profession of selling. I cringe, along with buyers, when I hear trite questions (“what keeps you up at night?”) or obvious set-up questions (“if I could show you how to save, you’d like that wouldn’t you?”). Buyers resist time-wasting, low-value meetings featuring these kinds of questions.

By contrast, buyers respond favorably to questions that make them think or engage them in stimulating conversations. My book, DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected, is packed with high-quality questions from actual sales calls. Salespeople in any field will ask higher quality questions and advance their sales more quickly to a close after reading this book.

Deb Calvert
Author of the Bestseller DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected :: People First Productivity Solutions

 

Salespeople today are not taking enough advantage of utilizing social media.

Other than the time invested, social media is free. Social media has fantastic branding features combined with incredible reach.

Salespeople often think in terms of sales and not marketing. To reach the highest levels of sales, you must learn to market yourself and create a brand. It is easier to do today than ever because of social media.

If you utilize the power of “Intentional Congruence” in cross channel communicating and marketing on social media, you create a power positioning of expertise.

In sales, if you position yourself as an expert giving great content, you will no longer be positioned as a beggar as most salespeople are.

Also, remember that social media is just that social. Interact, engage, create conversations along with utilizing some marketing aspects but do not sell through social directly all the time or you will turn off your audience. It’s social media, not selling media.

Also, on social media such as Facebook, you can now take your customer lists, potential customers lists or segment potential audiences however you wish and reach them with paid ads or dark posts and utilize targeting marketing and retargeting at a very inexpensive price.

Compared to traditional advertising, social media is more effective for a salesperson and allows anyone to create a strong presence and get sales fast for low to no cost.

Mark Tewart
Author of How To Be A Sales Superstar :: Tewart.com

 

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WINNING SALES PROFESSIONALS ALWAYS DO THESE THINGS ::: FSG LINKS

Winner_3_-_366_shadowFRIDAY SALES GROWTH LINKS

This week, we’ll work on growing you into more of a winner in everything you do. Most of these traits are applicable beyond your sales career, so look for opportunities in the links below to grow into more of a winning person…who works in sales.

Return to this blog daily, especially every Friday for my Friday Sales Growth Links feature where I filter online resources to help you grow in your sales career.

Be sure to bookmark and explore our Friday Sales Growth Links archives as well.

WINNING SALES PROFESSIONALS ALWAYS DO THESE THINGS :::

Dan_Waldschmidt_small_shadow-1Dan Waldschmidt’s Blog
9 Surprising Lessons You Can Learn From Winners
Leader of “The Edgy Empire” (@GetEdgy), Dan Waldschmidt (@DanWaldo), writes a blog which has been named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top 7 sales blogs “anywhere on the internet.” This post lives up to that prestigious designation.

KEY QUOTE: “Winners refuse to go through the motions on anything they’re doing right now that isn’t helping them get to where they want to be. When you realize something is a waste of time cut it off completely, immediately.”

You can check out a longer list of 29 lessons from Dan here#neverstopwinning

[Reading Time: 1:30 minutes]

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Mark_Hunter_small_shadowThe Sales Hunter Blog
10 Things Top Performing Salespeople Do Regularly
Author, keynote speaker and award-winning blogger Mark Hunter (@TheSalesHunter) gives us this helpful top 10 list of the patterns or traits we all should be sure to consistently include into our work days.

KEY QUOTE: “This list leaves me with one conclusion. The only thing holding back any salesperson from becoming a top performer is themselves.”

Some of these will take more discipline than others to develop into traits, but they’re worth the effort. #neverstopimproving

[Reading Time: 1:30 minutes]

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Keenan_small_shadowA Sales Guy Blog

An Unexpected Trait of The Truly Successful
CEO, keynote speaker [and professional ski instructor] Keenan (@keenan) doesn’t pull punches in his consulting, writing or speaking gigs. It’s helped set him apart. This thoughtful post features Keenan’s observant side as he shares how each of us can benefit from a common trait he’s found in successful people from all walks of life.

KEY QUOTE: “I was extremely impressed with her humility and commitment to learning from every interaction and apply those learnings moving forward. It’s her humility and commitment to learning as she goes and ultimately applying the learnings that will make her successful.”

Do you possess this valuable trait? If not, begin developing it today…then, apply what you learn. #neverstoplearning

[Reading Time: 2:00 minutes]

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Colleen_Francis_150x150-1Engage Selling Blog
The King of Sales Skills
Founder and president Engage Selling Solutions Colleen Francis (@EngageColleen) is a sales veteran with more than 20 years of experience. This video sales tip is about what successful sales teams constantly do to remain strong and growing.

KEY QUOTE: “Sales leaders are often asking me, ‘What’s the one skill that my team needs to get better at that’s gonna make a huge difference in whether we hit or don’t hit our goals this year?’ And I believe it’s ‘Opportunity Creation.’ Notice I didn’t say prospecting or cold calling….”

You may believe you’re already doing this, but what would happen if you did it more effecticely? You likely have room for improvement. #neverstopcreating

[Viewing Time: 2:11 minutes]

>>  Read past Friday Sales Growth Links posts <<

 

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HOW TO [REALLY] GROW AS A SALES PROFESSIONAL ::: FSG LINKS

Growth_349_shadowFRIDAY SALES GROWTH LINKS

I believe strongly that you need to work on growing yourself into a more well-rounded, confident and overall better and better version of who you are before you expect miracles from sales strategies and tactics alone.

Growing as a person, as you use a variety of selling practices, will help propel you above and beyond what those strategies and tactics could ever do for you alone.

This week, we’ll work on growing you as a person to help you get closer to turning into that sales professional you’ve always thought you could one day become.

Return to this blog daily, especially every Friday for my Friday Sales Growth Links feature where I filter online resources to help you grow in your sales career.

Be sure to bookmark and explore our Friday Sales Growth Links archives as well.

HOW TO [REALLY] GROW AS A SALES PROFESSIONAL :::

Kim_Lachance_Shandrow_144x144Entrepreneur Magazine
10 Ways to Become a More Confident Person [Infographic]
Entrepreneur.com senior writer (@Entrepreneur) and tech journalist Kim Lachance Shandrow(@LaShandrow) offers this comprehensive guide to growing your confidence. You’ll need to put in some work to get there, but it’ll worth it.

KEY QUOTE: “Without getting too Stuart Smalley self-help hokey here, do yourself a favor and accept that you can one day wake up feeling strong, capable and confident. Ready to take on the world. But not without strutting outside of your comfort zone first and often.”

Personally, I grow in confidence most after trying new things and putting myself in new situations. What will you try first? #putyourselfoutthere

[Reading Time: 4:30 minutes]

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Justin_Bariso_144x144Inc. Magazine
An FBI Agent’s 5 Steps to Developing Mental Toughness
Author and the founder of Insight, Justin Bariso (@JustinJBariso), wrote this article for @Inc magazine this week. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn from those needing mental toughness in a completely different industry.

KEY QUOTE: “Mental toughness. It’s the ability to push through difficult (and even painful) situations while maintaining peak performance. It’s what separates the elite from the above average, and is only gained through training and hard work. For entrepreneurs and business owners, it means having the grit you need to get through the hard times, and the presence of mind to avoid getting caught up in the good times.”

You’ll only benefit from developing a greater degree of mental toughness. #betougherthanthem

[Reading Time: 4:00 minutes]

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David_Berezin_144x144CloserIQ Blog
6 Scientific Tips for Being a Better Salesperson
Freelance writer David Berezin (@DavidB_NY) wrote this blog post for @CloserIQ back in June and I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it. Each tips comes from very credible scientific research sources.

KEY QUOTE: “…the Harvard Business Review surveyed customers about their biggest grievances with salespeople. Of the people surveyed, 26% said their biggest grievance was salespeople not following their companies’ buying process. This shows the importance of adapting your pitches to the way your customers and their companies make decisions.”

There’s something to be said for going with your gut, but take note of what research continues to tell us. #improveyourselftoday

[Reading Time: 2:00 minutes]

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Lindsay_Kolowich_144x144HubSpot Sales Blog
7 Handy Tips to Stay Motivated at Work [Infographic]
Lead writer of the @HubSpot marketing blog, Lindsay Kolowich (@lkolo25), found an especially valuable infographic last week you’ll surely find helpful in growing you as a person and as a sales professional in your sales career.

KEY QUOTE: “Motivation. It’s the difference between getting things done and remaining horizontal on a Netflix binge. If you’re feeling a bit ‘meh,’ here’s how to kick yourself out of it.”

This resource is especially practical. Don’t miss it. #getthingsdone

[Reading Time: 3:30 minutes]

>>  Read past Friday Sales Growth Links posts <<

 

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FRIDAY SALES GROWTH LINKS ::: RECOVERY TIPS, CASTING OFF, NETWORKING & RESPONDING WELL

Boss_308_shadowThis week’s links are about recovering well from a lost sale, casting off unhelpful things, how most networking efforts are useless and what to do if you have a bad manager.

Come back and visit this blog every Friday for my Friday Sales Growth Links feature where I filter online resources to help you grow in your sales career:

PROFESSIONAL GROWTH :::

MarrsCoaching.com Blog
What Happens When You Lose A Sale?
Pierce Marrs (@piercemarrs) offers a valuable blog post with the option to listen to Marrs read the text to you. I highly recommend it. The post offers direction on what to do, and understand, after losing a sale.

KEY QUOTE: “…I respectfully told him the truth. I could not meet the deadline and that he should buy from my competition. It was a difficult decision but the right one for him. I have no concern about having a chance when he does another project because I treated him the way I would want to be treated and he understood that. I did not lose my customer. I just lost that sale. There is a big difference.”

You won’t win them all, but you’ll win more sales if you recover from the losses the right way. #winthenexttime
[Reading/Listening Time: 3:30]

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TheSalesBlog.com
The 7 Things You Must Leave Behind to Get Ahead
Anthony Iannarino (@iannarino) is back again this week with a new resource. It’s a challenging one, even for me after all of my years in our industry.

If you approach this blog post with an open mind and willingness to be honest with yourself, the two minutes you spend reading this will give you an excellent  ROI:

KEY QUOTE: “… to say you believe something without acting in accordance with that belief is the same as not believing it.”

I wish I was handed this list back when I started my first job in sales. I really do. #takethechallenge
[Reading/Listening Time: 2:00]

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Harvard Business Review
99% of Networking Is a Waste of Time
Greg McKeown (@gregorymckeown for @HarvardBiz) boldly titles his latest article, but he has some great examples to back up his claim told to him by a man known as “Mr.Davos” because of his incredible ability to effectively network at the highest level at every event he attends.

KEY QUOTE: “Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They are attached to people.”

Now you can be incredibly effective during your next conference, even if half of your colleagues have no idea why you’re doing all that you’re doing [or not doing]. #networklikeyouowntheplace
[Reading/Listening Time: 3:00]

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EyesOnSales.com
Six New Ways to Handle: “I Need to Talk to My Boss/Partner/Corporate” Etc.
Mike Brooks (@top20percent) has a real knack for putting together detailed nuts and bolts posts about what to say and do in specific selling conversations. This post is no exception.

KEY QUOTE: “these techniques won’t always work at overcoming this stall (sometimes they will, though!), but they will let you know how much of a stall this put off is, whether or not it’s a smokescreen, and how much of a shot you have at overcoming it, side-stepping it, or setting yourself up for a successful next call (or if there should even be a next call with a prospect).”

>> Be sure to bookmark his extremely valuable archive of posts. #dontmissthisresource
[Reading/Listening Time: 4:00]

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO :::

Score More Sales Blog
When You Have a Bad Sales Manager
Lori Richardson (@scoremoresales) once again appears in my weekly list of links with this recent post. She gives excellent advice to determine your next steps and what they should be depending on your situation.

KEY QUOTE: The number one reason someone quits a company is because of his or her direct supervisor.”

Bookmark Lori’s blog so you don’t need to wait for me to highlight her next valuable post. #badmanagergoodadvice
[Reading/Listening Time: 2:00]

>>  View past posts for Friday Sales Growth Links  <<

 

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

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YOUR SALES CAREER: WHAT SINGLE SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE WILL CHANGE IT ENTIRELY?

Are you willing to undo major perceptions and rewire your understanding of your role in sales?

Here’s the catch: You’ll need to try something new.

If you do the same things in the same ways and you’ll generally get the same results, right? What if you’re one of the ones who is always wanting to improve and will try new things in order to achieve greater results?

Is that you…or, could that become who you are? That’s one thing about advertising you can control, how much you develop and grow as a sales professional.

Bill Caskey (@billcaskey) has put together a very interesting proposal around the concept of “the flower and the bee” in his recent blog post, “The One Thing That Will Change Your Sales World.”

Caskey explains:

The ‘flower and the bee’ phenomena goes like this: in nature the flower must pollinate itself. It sits there waiting for the bee (one of the many ways pollination happens) to pollinate it. The flower does not labor, nor does it stress about bees showing up. Bees, on the other hand, are scurrying about trying to find food, and pollinating the flower.
In business, sales people are typically the bees and the customer is the flower. Sales people scurry around the country looking for food.

Why does it have to be that way?

The article goes on to outline an action plan built upon the idea of constructing a very specific sales platform. This is something, he states, that “98% of people will not do.” And in my opinion, I believe he’s correct.

You may take an initial look at his 3 step plan and think you’ve heard them before, but he goes on to detail the purposes and execution of each step. Reading all of it will help you see how it’s all connected.

QUESTION ::: What’s the weakest part of your sales skill set? Would you be willing to make big changes in order to see significant growth? What would you change?

Let’s talk about it…

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

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ARE YOU A SALES PROFESSIONAL OR A SALESPERSON?

Sales-ProfessionalsAs I begin to work alongside the team behind the SalesFitRx app, my goal is to draw from my experience to effectively curate the truly valuable resources for you, the sales professional.

But first, to ensure we are on the same page, let’s look at some of the ways a true sales professional distinguishes himself or herself from a salesperson.

I recently read an article by John Graham called, “18 Characteristics of a Professional Salesperson.” There were a few key characteristics I wanted to highlight. I’d start with one of the single most important differentiators:

#7.  Seeks performance improvement. Comes away from sales presentations and asks, “What could I have done better?”

Perhaps the biggest reason I am beginning to blog here today is because my gracious hosts at SalesFitRx created an app I believe in for this very reason. It’s an app for sales professionals [and professional sales organizations] only; for those who want to improve their sales skills and will use any available opportunity to do so.

You will not see me mention the SalesFitRx app too often in my future blog posts; that’s not my role here. But keep an eye on the topics I’ll be covering. They will align well with why the app exists [and is award-winning], and also with you who, I hope, are the true sales professionals improving at every turn…even when it isn’t easy.

These points also stood out to me among the rest of the characteristics mentioned in the article. In my experience, these are also proven differentiators:

  • #3. Asks questions. Wants to understand the issues or the problem before offering solutions. 
  • #5. Keeps promises. Doesn’t leave a customer hanging or wondering. Does what’s agreed on without being reminded. 
  • #6. Knows that learning is endless. Doesn’t get to a particular knowledge level and stop, while others stick with outdated products, concepts and solutions. 
  • #12 Understands the harm of “cutting corners.” While taking the easy way out is often camouflaged as saving time, professionals know it can easily become a slippery slope. 
  • #14. Welcomes challenges. Sees difficult tasks as growth opportunities rather than as bothersome interruptions. 
  • #15. Wants to be ahead of the curve. Constantly works to be seen by customers as thoughtful and forward thinking.

QUESTION ::: If you were to tell me 3 or 4 traits that indicate to you the difference between salespeople and sales professionals, what would they be?

Let’s talk about it…

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

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