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Stop_341_shadowFrom day to day, all good sales reps are bombarded with a list of best practices for our craft – but few of us are focused on the challenges of altering our current approach and behavior to reflect the changing customer conversation.

It can be hard to step outside of our current practices, and think outside of the box – which is why I’ve done a little digging to come up with a list of five things the experts recommend you STOP doing today, to improve your sales strategy and drive more valuable customer conversation:

  1. Don’t Waste a Good Crisis
    In his article Don’t Waste a Perfectly Good CrisisJoe Calloway (@joecalloway) describes the opportunity available in crisis – specifically, that inherent in the aftermath of a recession. Calloway believes that when most companies are tightening their belts, it’s prime time to set yourself apart from the competition by increasing customer contact. Calloway says –“The historic economic meltdown of 2008 gave us an almost limitless supply of practical business lessons. Perhaps the most impactful of those lessons is that there can be tremendous value in a crisis.“When taking action is just an option, it’s easy to continue having meetings about it. But when the banks stop making loans, customers are canceling orders, revenue is plummeting, and your cash flow is slowing down to a trickle, you begin to realize that more meetings aren’t the answer. You have to do something and do it now.”


  2. Stop Using Sales Lingo
    In his LinkedIn article Stop Doing These 3 Things in SalesMichael Manzi (@MikeManzi7) of OfferPop (@offerpop) offers warning against lapsing into technical talk in your conversations with clients. He gives an overview of “sales speak” and describes how it can easily create disconnection, alienate customers, and breed distrust, saying –

    Sales talk assumes that the other people on the line are not human. That somehow they’re impressed when we use big words and long sentences. We think that if we say paradigm, fundamental, ROI and industry, we’re going to pull out the check books of VP’s at major companies.In reality, it makes the prospect do the “sales Heisman”. One hand on their wallet and the other hand up to defend you from getting to it.”
  3. Quit Thinking of Questions
    In his article Why You Shouldn’t Focus on Questions When SellingKeenan (@keenan) talks about the benefits of considering the client conversation from a new angle. He suggests that asking questions is not nearly as valuable as the consideration of what information you actually need to gain from your prospective customer during dialogue, saying -“The next time you are preparing for a sales call, don’t focus on the questions you want to ask, consider focusing on the information you want to know. Once you know what you’re looking for, the questions will roll off your tongue until you get what you want.”
  4. Don’t Snooze – Cat Nap
    In her recent article When it Comes to Sales Territories, Think Like a Cat, sales-pro-turned-comedy-writer Amanda Caswell (@AmandaCaswell) shares her tongue-in-cheek advice on remaining on top of client contact by developing good follow-up skills, saying –“Very rarely do cats sleep so soundly that they can’t hear what’s going on around them. This characteristic is actually a survival instinct. As a sales person, your sense of survival in the industry should be based on never getting too comfortable. Always stay on top of your game by checking in with your clients and potential prospects even on the days you’d rather just zone out.” 
  5. Don’t Assume You Control the Conversation
    In a recent Huffington Post articleVala Afshar of SalesForce (@ValaAfshar), interviews Tiffani Bova (@Tiffani_Bova) of Gartner,  as they discuss the new data-driven environment of sales. Bova describes the new customer relationship, stating that customers (as opposed to technology) are redefining perception of market disruption, saying –

    “The reality is, your sales teams are no longer in control of how customers explore or evaluate you as a provider, and sales needs to step up.Today’s sales organizations must shift from trying to control their internally driven sales cycle and truly embrace the new customer-driven buying cycle — otherwise, prospects will eliminate you from their consideration list and buy from your competition”

By following this expert advice, and altering your sales behavior accordingly, you’ll find yourself participating in more valuable, authentic customer dialogue – which will result in increased trust, improved customer loyalty, and higher revenues. Why not give it a go?

For more information on how you can streamline your sales, contact me today:

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Fear_4_-_343_shadowFear is a powerful force. Have you heard about these interesting fears?

  • Alliumphobia: Fear of garlic #Dracula
  • Allodoxaphobia: Fear of opinions #Stalin
  • Caligynephobia or Venustraphobia: Fear of beautiful women #MeInJuniorHigh
  • Gnosiophobia: Fear of knowledge #KimJongUn
  • Lutraphobia: Fear of otters #What???
  • Microphobia: Fear of small things #Goliath
  • Nephophobia: Fear of clouds #ChickenLittle
  • Pogonophobia: Fear of beards #MyWife
  • Rhytiphobia: Fear of getting wrinkles #Hollywood
  • Soceraphobia: Fear of in-laws #SomeHusbands
  • Xyrophobia: Fear of razors #Samson

And my personal favorite:

  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: Fear of Long Words

When it comes to our buyers, we often encounter different forms of Atychiphobia: the fear of failure.

Buyers don’t want to sign the contracts which may prove to be disadvantageous for their employers. We may think of them as being gun-shy, but they didn’t get to their positions by making poor choices when it came to spending their company’s money.

I recently read an excellent blog post by the head of Smart Selling Tools, and one of the most retweeted B2B marketers, Nancy Nardin (@sellingtools). Her post is titled:  Don’t Spook Your Prospects: 5 Sure-fire Ways to Keep Your Prospects From Fleeing in Fear.”

The big idea of Nardin’s post is this:

“Decision-makers are under pressure and short on patience. In a word, they’re easily spooked. They look for reasons to run away—or to avoid salespeople in the first place. Put these five tips into practice and assure your prospects they’ve got nothing to fear.”

In the post, Nardin gives us a quick, scannable view of each of her five tips in large content headers, and each tip is encapsulated in a single paragraph.

We’re busy people who want to learn quickly. Nardin gives us just that. But not just that, the tips are excellent.

You’ll find a nice collection of important reminders as well as some tips you think you’ve heard before but are, instead, her own personal take on each of them.

Go read Nardin’s post now.

[Reading Time For Nardin’s Post: 3:00]

QUESTION ::: How have you had success alleviating the fears of your buyers?

Let’s talk about it…

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Skydiver_X_330_shadowMany years ago, I checked a big item off my Bucket List…before I even knew what a bucket list was.

I had always wanted to know what it was like to go skydiving.

After years of talking with people who had jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, and feeling no satisfaction in really knowing what it was like, I decided to take the plunge.

Looking back, getting in the airplane wasn’t the difficult part. For me, getting into my car and driving to the skydiving school was the tough part. That was because I received vital information in my training to help me understand how safe it really was.

So, getting into the plane and taking my seat felt very much like I was getting on a carnival ride (which, incidentally, are statistically more dangerous than skydiving).

It was a tandem jump and the instructor asked how I wanted to exit the plane. The idea of a somersault came to mind, so he smiled, we jumped and did our somersault.

We did a freefall for 60 seconds from 13,500 feet down to 5,000 feet. At which time I gave the instructor the assigned signal and reached back and pulled the ripcord.

With a jolt pulling us both upward, everything went silent. No more slicing through the air as gravity pulled us toward the ground. It was peaceful. The two of us were able to talk. We even practiced the landing as I had full control of the parachute.

We even zoomed into a cloud and did a corkscrew turn out the bottom of it. It all ended with a perfect landing.

There are moments in every day for a sales professional when a certain amount of courage is needed. Typically, we don’t consciously think about it in those terms, but that’s what’s happening.

In my experience of going skydiving, I learned an extremely valuable lesson that’s served me well over the years. It is this:

Much less courage is typically needed once we do what we need to do to understand all of the information we need to know.

This lesson plays well into the message of our featured resource today.

The man known as “The Deal Doctor,” Jeff Hoffman (@mjhoffman), wrote a post on the HubSpot Sales Blog titled: The Best Sales Voicemail I Ever Received … Was Just a Voicemail.”

The big idea of Hoffman’s post is this:

Both emails and voicemails each have their best times to be used. Knowing when to use the correct form of communication at the right time, with the information the buyer needs, leads to a more sales.

Hoffman leads with a story, a strong example of what worked for him in the role of a buyer. It’s great insight. Then he gives us a simple question to ask ourselves when we need to know which form of communication is best.

Hoffman’s question ties together closely with my skydiving experience and the lesson I shared with you a few paragraphs ago.

Read Jeff’s post to see what his question is, and then be [completely] honest with yourself whenever you ask yourself that question. If you answer yourself with the truth, and then act accordingly, I also believe your sales will increase.

[Reading Time of Hoffman’s Post: 2:30]

QUESTION ::: In which situation(s) do you consistently find yourself taking the easier route of communication

Let’s talk about it…

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