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The Sales Perception
Firstly, welcome! Thank you for getting this far. I genuinely hope you find our content interesting. I am not a natural writer, and being introverted you could imagine how many times I read, read and read again this blog to make it seem less insular. I truly wanted to put my own thoughts into a format to get people’s attention and interest.

The Sales Perception

Why is it when people talk about a sales person, your immediate thought is a car sales person or an insurance sales person or even a cold calling sales person?

Did your mind instantly flash to someone who looks like Del Boy, or one of the lads from Phonejacker? Yes? Unfortunately most people do….

It is no wonder that in a recent Gallup’s survey on honesty and ethical conduct of business professionals, the poll highlighted that insurance sales people and car sales people ranked at the bottom of the list (at least we came ahead of politicians, who in fact are just glorified sales people anyway). As a professional sales person, it is a real shame that sales people in general seem to be tarred with the same “car-sales-person” brush.

Whilst I am positive there are sales people out there that do look as cheesy as Del Boy, honestly, once you made the brave decision to say, buy a car or a few steak knives, did you end up actually finding Del Boy? Not many of you? Can’t remember, Nor me.

So with our reputation starting to mend, with our image beginning to change, what is next for the lowly sales person? My biggest concern due to the rise in laziness, is that instead of Del Boy, you now find sales people or the customer facing people chatting between themselves, totally oblivious to your presence. Even more frustratingly, sometimes in a totally different language. The only thing that I have encountered that topped these two fundamental sales flaws was a local shop on King Street, with no colleagues to chat too, they just stood just blankly staring at me wondering why I entered into their domain of solitude?

Result = high-tailed out of there? You bet…

When I am then brought in to rejuvenate, motivate and teach sales etiquette within these businesses, I find that staff either genuinely do not understand how truly vital the customer is to them keeping a job or they have no pride in the brand they are selling for.

I have often found that at the beating heart of the shop/store/outlet, unfortunately, the business owners are either too busy to focus, have lost their passion, can not relay their vision or just totally blind to the fact they are portraying a greater detrimental image to their customers than someone a little overzealous and eager to claim the sale.

At least a pushy salesperson often lands a sale.

Stay tuned, more to come in further posts…

5 Tips to Becoming a Sales Star
The following tips are in no particular order. They are 5 things that I have always found to be significant in my own progress as a successful portfolio manager within varying industries. 

 #1 Sales Stars will learn to recognise risk and reward within their portfolios.

Some businesses may require more work and finesse but will bring a higher return.  Other sales leads may require minimal work and may yield a large number of small sales but the low investment required will still justify the smaller revenues generated or the lower margins.

“In some cases, a well-organised sales portfolio may show that certain companies and clients require more work and yet they rarely yield returns that justify the amount of investment required to nurture, develop and manage them. “Warren Buffet

The Sales Star, with the guidance of senior level management should carefully evaluate all activities within their sales portfolio’s to determine where to invest time and resources to generate the highest returns (revenues and profits). You won’t succeed in sales if you can’t do this effectively!

Great salespeople have an intuitive ability to understand this risk reward relationship regarding their pipeline.

They will manage their sales pipeline intelligently. View the pipeline as more of a sales portfolio, and are not afraid to integrate successful strategies from other industries into their own sales techniques to try and “test” to see which ones work, and which ones don’t.

 #2 The close of the sale begins right at the start.

The sales star by having a plan in place, will know the outcome long before they get to the end of this routine process, and they do it by ensuring that; they have a well qualified prospect, they know the prospect’s dominant buying motives, they have identified all of their potential objections before they are even expressed, they have carefully observed the various buying signals from the prospect and they have given an effective and interactive presentation.

They know long before they ask their closing question what the answer will be.

How?

By being effective at people reading, by asking intelligent, effective and appropriate probing qualifying questions, by being good listeners and by asking a variety of trial closing questions throughout the sales process. They don’t try and force a fit. They discover the prospects sense of urgency or they create it.

They are in the prospect’s presence to sell not educate. They are there to do business or develop business. From their opening remark to their final closing statement their attitude is I am here to sell or set up future sales opportunities. This does not mean that they are applying pressure or hard-selling. It means they are serious about helping the prospect solve their problems or take advantage of opportunities.

#3 Focus on one sale at a time and you’ll make a living. Build a trusting relationship and you can make a fortune.

Some salespeople focus on just closing the sale. Successful salespeople focus on closing the sale and building a relationship.

Selling is not about only closing the current prospect on a particular product or service that solves one of their pressing problems.  It is about building a trusting relationship with them. By becoming a trusted resource, we help in solving their on-going problems, or satisfying their continuing and evolving needs and desires.

Sales stars know that the lifetime value of a client is far more than the value of one sale or transaction.  They take along view of the relationship. It is not just about this sale but future sales, referrals and building customer trust and loyalty.

#4 They will work as hard to keep the business as they did to get it in the first place.

A key concept to keep in mind while selling is that the close of the sale is not the end of the sales process, but the beginning of the sales relationship.

After-sales service is the key to keeping sales closed and keeping customers satisfied and buying again. It can often be a subtle test to see if you can really deliver.

The key is to promise a lot and deliver more. In other words, exceed customer expectations – wow them with service. Poor salespeople continuously promise a lot and deliver less, or promise a little and deliver next to nothing.

Sales superstars know that to ensure repeat business, customer loyalty, positive references and qualified referrals that their after sales service must be one of their strengths.

#5 There is no better investment than investment in yourself.

Over the years, one common denominator in sales super stars is their willingness to invest in the continued improvement of their skills, attitudes and philosophy.

Life is an interesting relationship between paying the price of investment and looking to gain a return on the time and money spent. Interestingly this is the same relationship you are trying to sell to your prospects.

There are hundreds of books to read, audio CD’s to listen to and seminars to attend. It is never to late to start. The important factor is passion and dedication.

Sales stars don’t wait for their businesses to invest in them and their future value. They take full responsibility for the quality of their life and learning. They are pro-active in seeking out learning opportunities. They use professional coaches, have mentors and belong to mastermind groups.

They are constantly taking advantage of networking opportunities looking for all types of people who can help them improve.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, we would love to hear from you. Contact me directly on daniel@yoursalesexperience.com or comment below.

Have a fantastic day!

Never forget “the experience delivered today, will generate the income for tomorrow”.

Yours in Sales & Service,

Dan

 

Excuse my ignorance…

Today I learned that fifteen years ago, world leaders committed to eight goals to drive global action, ranging from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education. These goals were called the Millennium Development Goals.

For those as unaware as I was, these millennium development goals (MDGs) expire in December and a new action plan is to be adopted at the 70th UN general assembly held in New York this year.

The MDGs attracted plenty of criticism over the years, a key argument being that they placed too much emphasis on human development issues, such as education and health, and underplayed the importance of investments in energy and infrastructure that support economic growth and job creation.

Importantly for me, a target driven Business Development professional, critics aside, the question had to be; Were the goals achieved?

“The eight easy-to-understand goals generated incredible global traction, focusing attention and mobilising resources to where they were needed most.”

As I eagerly trawled the internet, I managed to find one interesting article, published by the Guardian that showed, as one world, how successful we actually were. And, well, in my view, I think given the enormity of the goals, I would be pretty comfortable with the results.

Given the pretty significant targets, such as halving the proportion of the people living in extreme poverty and halting and reversing the spread of HIV/Aids, achievement of any of these globally significant goals should of been all through the global media headlines, in newspapers worldwide on a regular basis, front page news…..

Maybe it was, maybe I missed it… Did anyone else see it?

I know, as we all do, that the media prefer the more important stories of death, violence and terror. President Obama’s recent interview summed it up perfectly; If it bleeds, it leads. Looking back on the amount of wasted time I have thrown at these media outlets peddling violence and propaganda, I feel slightly embarrassed that it has taken 15 years for this amazing news story about global unity and success to reach me.

Absurdly I can pretty much name every single terror group known to man, but I could not, before today give you one of these Global UN millennium goals.

Refocusing back to the the MDGs, now I appreciate; even with global economic growth, and the rise of global economies like China which must have impacted the statistics in a positive way, surely this has to be the greatest global anti-poverty push in history?

With 189 countries signing up to the declaration, committing their countries to a set of time-bound and quantified goals and targets, I can fully understand why Philanthropist, Bill Gates was quoted as saying that the MDGs are “the best idea for focusing the world on fighting global poverty that I have ever seen”.

Even without the global media support they should have received, the MDGs have became a global rallying point for the humanitarian cause and galvanised efforts to help the world’s neediest people.

“The Millennium Development Goals focused international aid efforts and galvanised people into action.” Matt Wade, SMH

With the new action plan to be launched in 2016, covering sustainable development goals (SDGs), which are more ambitious and cover a wider range of issues, including a greater focus on climate change, human rights, migration and employment. Some have argued that 17 is too many, and that the SDGs risk becoming unwieldy and overly bureaucratic. Others have argued the goals offer a much more comprehensive set than those that came before them and are therefore more likely to succeed.It would be great to hear your thoughts on:

1) Any interesting articles you have read on these goals;

2) Whether the proposed SDG’s have set the bar to high? Do you think 17 goals are unachievable, or;

3) Do you feel that aiming high, even if it ends in failure, will actually end in a better global state?

Yours in Sales and Service.

A more enlightened human.

Dan

Group BDM Total Solutions Group MD Our Sales Experience

Successful Accidents?

“Success is no accident”

What our customers value of the goods and services we offer will inevitably change over time. If we do not keep at least a small step in front or in step with our customers, then we become irrelevant and your competitors end up winning. Keeping in step means continually improving/updating/revitalising/cancelling our products and services.

It means continual attention to the conversations we have with our customers, focusing on their needs and priorities and what motivates them to buy from our companies.

“If you want everything you want, you need to find and sell to people who want what you got”. Zig Ziglar

Its integral to understand that value is dynamic, not static. Companies and sales people that don’t help in moving their customers forward are holding their customers back, and missing out on real opportunities to not just help themselves achieve their goals & targets, but the overall companies goals & targets.

It’s a big question that most entrepreneurs ask daily… what are your thoughts? How would you stay relevant to your customers?

Yours in Sales & Service.

Dan

Managing Director

www.oursalesexperience.com

What does your subordinate expect?

My 5 Tips of Sales Management from the view of your subordinate.

1)     Never walk into a your first team meeting and feel like you have to set a benchmark then and there as being a hard nosed, aggressive sales manager that wont take any shit and wants immediate results.

There is no quicker way to lose respect, demotivate your team and sign your P45 than this. I have seen this several times, and 2 things always happen. 1) Your good team members leave (and then you end up leaving); 2) you leave. This approach has never EVER worked. In my most recent experience of this, our team were number 1 in the UK & Ireland, and had been for 2 years. Our previous Senior Exec moved up to a more senior role, and our new Senior Exec wanted to leave his mark from day 1. Within 12 months, 4 team members had left (including myself) and the team was 3rd from bottom of the 64 Commercial Centres across UK & Ireland. In my 19+ years of Sales & Business Development, I have never seen a team combust like that before. The benchmark was set… as being quite possibly the worst Senior Exec in history.

2)     Don’t forget the importance of praise on its own

Always give praise where it is due, and never double barrel the praise with a ‘feedback sandwich’. Give praise, give feedback, just do not do both when praise is due. From a subordinate point of view, the feedback sandwich (in my career history) did not work unless my line was truly trying to deliver a very difficult message, although most of the time I knew that message was coming anyway. The whole ‘you are amazing, you are not amazing, by the way, you are amazing’ always left me walking away thinking, huh? If someone has been amazing, drag them into the room, high five them, give them a hug (is that still PC?), whatever you feel is appropriate, smile and say ‘wow, amazing, keep it going, ‘cos you are HOT HOT’.

3)     Stop focusing on the numbers and more on me and the team

Get to know your customer facing team, as each member is different. Take some time to sit down and impart some invaluable best practice sharing and wider market knowledge. One of the best managers I have had, let me listen to or join in on one of his sales calls/meetings every week as a new starting junior of the team. It helped change my tone and my language (body and verbal), as well as instilling a real respect for him and the work that he did. I was even prouder when he overheard one of my sales calls, and using some of his language he came over, patted me on the back and said, “mate, awesome”. He genuinely loved that I had listened to him well enough to mimic what I thought I could deliver when I spoke to a customer. The figures will come, when your team is firing.

4)     Stop allowing the team to sit in the office and make sales calls from the desk

With technology now moving faster than ever, sales people are getting more and more lazy. I appreciate outbound telephony, or overseas sales; these are impossible not to allow (although with Skype & Facetime this is also enabling face to face contact). Those that make the effort to meet the customers face to face win the business, fact. There is nothing more frustrating (when you are doing well) than sitting in a meeting where the whole team is getting the hairdryer treatment for another poor week, when the last 2 months you have seen the vast majority not out of the office. Get on them early. Kick them out of the office, whatever it takes. We all want to see the team doing well.

5)     Allow us the time to invest in ourselves

Apart from 1 to 1 sales coaching, allow your team members time to do some professional development. This may include, audio book work, sales professional book reading, training courses; whatever they feel is best. Give them some ideas, but allow the decision to come from them. These professionals are offering genuine expert advice, and yes, whilst this is from the perspective of 1 expert at a time, there just may be something in that book that connects with them. It may also help them understand some part of the sales process better, and whilst there may never be the “magic pill of sales stardom”, it will build confidence and push them to test the new knowledge on customers.

What are your thoughts? Are there tips you feel should make this top 5 but haven’t?.

We hope your having a fabulous week!

Dan

Managing Director

www.oursalesexperience.com

 

 

 

 

Why is the customers experience so important?

Some fantastic stats.

Its never always the product or service that was purchased that gets remembered:

  • Its the person delivering the sale,
  • and the experience within that sale.

Today, try and get eye contact and smile at everyone.

Deliver something memorable!

Yours in Sales and Service

Dan

Managing Director

www.oursalesexperience.com

Art or Science?

Is Selling an Art or a Science?

Does it have to do with your creative charisma or the ability to read body language, tone of voice & perfect timing to close a sale?

An interesting topic that has been brought to closer attention in the last few years.

Personally I am in favour of both, with a touch of best practice sharing.

What are your thoughts? Are salespeople just charismatic thick skinned individuals with a gift of the gab, or people who have trained and read and analysed their customer and market.

We hope you have had a fabulous week!

Dan

Managing Director

www.oursalesexperience.com

Sales Statistics

Dedication, persistence and believing that your product or service is genuinely needed by your customer.

These stats do not surprise me at all. Taking yourself out of the sales person shoes, and into the mind of the customer; would you ever buy a product or service that the person selling it to you didn’t believe in? (unless you actually needed to buy it and do not care what the sales person has to say).

Being persistent in a polite way shows that you actually believe in the product or service enough to continue to develop the sales process further.
If we all started out thinking that we have 12 calls to make to close this sale, achieving 5 is amazing. If we continue to think that 1 call is good enough, we will continue to underachieve.

I am the firmest believer that when a salesperson actually believes in their product or service it helps deliver a truly authentic pitch. As a customer you want to hear the passion in their voice, the fact that they recommend the product or service  personally, and furthermore either own one or have a view to own one in the future. Never forget, the service delivered today will be generating the income for tomorrow. Please follow this link to see how to become a Sales Star in 5 simple steps. Yours in Sales & Service.

Dan – Managing Director

www.oursalesexperience.com