Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How To Sell More Big Deals

Throughout the first two weeks of March, I will be show you that there is an opportunity for a big deal is lurking in your account base by focusing on six areas.  Before we get started on Friday, here's a story to start us off.

Jill stepped into Kevin’s office, closing the door behind her. “I just ran into Tom,” she announced.

“He said he turned in his notice. Can you believe it? Until the downturn, he was always one of the top salespeople around here.”

Jill was an account executive at BigPrintCo. A trim blond in her late 30s, she had been selling printing for more than a decade. Kevin was the company’s top salesperson. He was in his mid-50s, but looked younger, with sharp brown eyes that missed very little. Jill plopped into the brown leather chair in front of Kevin’s desk. “Tom told me selling isn’t fun for him anymore.” She sighed. “I confess I’ve been thinking the same thing. Too many customers don’t seem to care about anything except a low price.”

Kevin shrugged. “I’ve been selling for more than 30 years now. There have always been customers who bought on price. The best salespeople recognize price equates to value. When you find a way to give a customer more value, you command a higher price.”"How do I do that?” Jill frowned. “We’re better than the competition, but customers will settle for less.”

“Customers buy because we solve problems for them.” Kevin leaned forward. “Look for bigger problems to solve. When I solve a bigger problem, I provide more value, get a better price and it’s a bigger deal as well.”

The wheels starting turning inside Jill’s head. ”You close more big sales than anyone else at BigPrintCo.” Her tone was thoughtful. “I always wondered how you did it.” ”I’m always looking for big opportunities,” Kevin said. “And I found one at Roger’s Sportswear not long ago. We have printed their catalogs for years, but it was always a bid situation. A couple of months ago, I learned they were looking for ways to reduce their printing budget. I started asking questions and discovered their mailing list was a mess. It was tough for marketing to maintain good data quality because their team is short-staffed. Once I understood the pain points, I constructed a new solution. We now manage the data and will print all the catalogs. The dollar volume Roger’s Sportswear spends with me will go up, so I’m happy. And the client is happy, too, because the way the deal was structured, their total budget went down.”

Jill’s blue eyes opened wide. “I have a customer with the same problem.” She jumped out of the chair and headed for the door. “I’m calling them right now to see if they’re interested in the same type of solution.”

Kevin watched her go with a grin…

An opportunity for a big deal is lurking in your account base. Finding it may not be easy, but it could be very lucrative when you focus on six areas.  Check back over the next couple of weeks for more.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Protect Your LinkedIn Connections

Learn how to protect your LinkedIn connections in less than a minute.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Online To-Do: February 2012

For those of you in the print industry, this month's online to-do is for you.  Print Media Centr is a great resource!  They strive to provide  information and resources to the Print & Integrated Marketing Industry in an informative and fun way.  Their website is full of wonderful information and I encourage you to follow them on Twitter as well at @printmediacentr.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Quick Sales—How to Make Them Happen

There is nothing better than finding opportunities to make quick, easy sales. And yes, we can all do more of that by following these four steps.
  1. Understand who you're talking to and the limits of their authority. What budget do they control? What decisions can they make? Quick sales come when the person has complete authority to purchase.
  2. What does the buyer complain about on a regular basis? Can you sell them something to fix it? If the answer is yes, do they value your solution?
  3. If the buyer thinks your solution has value, can they afford it?
  4. If they can afford it, address potential objections and close the sale.
When the buyer wrestles with a problem you can solve, acknowledges your value and can afford the solution, it's an opportunity for a quick sale. Close it, and then ask yourself where you could find similar opportunities.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Video Training

For those of you new to the Sales Is Not For Sissies blog, I wanted to let you know about my Sales Is Not For Sissies YouTube Channel.  With tips and training for companies and individuals looking for proven ways to increase sales, there are videos on a wide range of topics and we are creating new videos all the time.  Visit the Sales Is Not For Sissies YouTube Channel now.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stay Top of Mind - Part 3

If you want to stay top of mind, the third ingredient in the recipe to doing so is to be interesting. A call to say, "Hi Bob. I just wanted to call and see if I could do anything to help you," is better than no call at all-but only slightly.

On the other hand, if you're brimming with excitement when you call to tell customers about a new development at your company and how it helps them, they're more interested because that's more interesting.
By investing time in creating top of mind awareness on a regular basis, I guarantee you'll miss few opportunities and sell more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stay Top of Mind - Part 2

When it comes to staying top of mind, the second ingredient in the recipe is to provide information with value. Give customers good reasons to call you back. Make them want to learn more. Send articles or samples, or share success stories. By providing information, customers think about how they would be better off if they bought from you and that increases the odds of getting a call when they're ready to buy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stay Top of Mind - Part 1

Salespeople miss opportunities all the time for one simple reason. The potential customer forgot to call them when they were finally ready to buy!
The recipe for top of mind success calls for three ingredients.  This week will review all three ingredients. 

The first is to maintain regular, frequent contact with customers. Don't let more than a month go by without touching the customer with a piece of mail, a phone call or an email-or all three if you think the customer will be ready to by in the near-future.
Check back on Wednesday for the second ingredient in the recipe for staying top of mind.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Business Development Strategies: Looking for Immediate Revenue

You have ten minutes to make phone calls, and you’re looking for immediate revenue. Who should you call?

The pyramid is your guide. Start at the top and work your way down.

First, call customers who could buy more from you right now. Get a meeting to talk about immediate needs. Let them know other ways you could serve them. Find out what is coming up so you don't miss an opportunity.
What if you’re already the preferred vendor at an account and getting the majority of the work? If you’re wondering if calling them is the right way to spend time, consider three factors.

·         Are there threats to your position in the account?

·         When was the last time you had a face-to-face meeting? If more than a month has passed, make a call and schedule a meeting.

·         Is there something new you want to sell them? If the answer is yes, go talk about it.

Second, call prospects you have met with 3 or more times. Meet with them to find a way to get an opportunity and convert them into customers.
Third, call prospects you have met with once or twice. Continue the process of developing a relationship and identifying a need. Focus on building trust, demonstrating competence and identifying a problem you can solve to move them forward in the sales cycle.
Fourth, call suspects. These are leads who you haven’t met. Call to get an initial introductory meeting.
In ten minutes, you can call three people. If you’re looking for immediate opportunities, be smart and selective about who you dial and you will sell more. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Would Get Your Customer a Raise?

Your customers were hired to do jobs. When they perform well, they get raises. If you can help them look good to their boss by helping them solve a problem or accomplish a goal, they are happy to talk to you.
Plan your "Let me help you get a raise" selling conversation by filling in the blanks below.

· My customer's job is _____________________________.
· They look good to their boss when they_________________.
· My product/service helps them accomplish this because______.
· This is important because   ________________________.

If you're not completely sure what your customer is responsible for within their organization, ask. We all like to talk about ourselves, especially when we are talking to an interested listener.   

Monday, February 6, 2012

While You're Waiting in the Lobby

The next time you visit a customer, take advantage of the time you spend sitting in the lobby to think about the following:
  • What do you want to accomplish in the meeting?
  • What would stop you from achieving it?
  • How will you overcome those obstacles?

Spending a few minutes thinking (instead of checking e-mails on your smart phone) sharpens focus and improves performance. And it's an easy way to make smarter sales calls.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sum it Up and Sell More

Great salespeople know how and when to paraphrase. By restating what the customer has said, they demonstrate they were listening and give the customer an opportunity to clarify when necessary.

Summing up information helps you understand the customer's buying criteria and their definition of value. For example, the customer tells you about a problem they want to solve. The conversation is wide-ranging and covers a lot of ground. After thirty minutes, you think you have a solution. To find out if you're on the same page as the customer, you sum up what you heard.

The customer responds one of three ways.
  • "That's exactly right. Can you help me?"
  • "No, you heard me wrong."
  • "I don't think you understood exactly what I meant. Let me clarify."

Summing up information keeps you focused on the shortest route to success, and it pays to do it at least once in every selling conversation. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stress-Buster Strategies

Here are four steps for organizing non-routine selling tasks:

Bob was thrilled when a new prospect asked him for a proposal on a new service. He assumed it would take him about two hours to complete. Because Bob underestimated the amount of time, he didn't start until 3 p.m. on the day before the proposal was due.

Five o'clock rolled around, and Bob was still working. Worry plucked at his nerves. What if he couldn't finish the proposal in time for the 10 a.m. meeting? That would be a disaster! He would look disorganized and unprofessional.

Anxiety increased and Bob's output slowed to a crawl. At 7 p.m., he stared at what he had written. Three pages finished and two more sections to go. What if he was taking the wrong approach? What if he had the customer's buying criteria wrong? What if the price was too high?

He slogged onward, finally finishing at ten. Exhausted, he gave the final product one final read-through. "This will have to do," he said.

Bob turned off his computer and headed for home, vowing the next time he got a big opportunity he would not procrastinate.


Salespeople are optimists by nature. Usually, this trait benefits us, but occasionally, our sunny view of life causes us to underestimate the amount of time a non-routine task like a proposal will take. To avoid anxiety and late nights, follow these steps:
  • Make a complete list of everything that must be done.
  • Prioritize the steps.
  • Estimate how much time each step involves.
  • Total the time and develop a realistic schedule.
One last tip . . . when you take on new tasks, get started sooner! It's the smartest way to avoid stressing out over the possibility of missed deadlines.