Haven’t You Changed Yet? 3 Things Sales People Must Do Now

question guy

Haven’t You Changed Yet? 3 Things Sales People Must Do Now

You know it’s true.

You know that when a prospect calls, fills out a web form or pings you with an email these days that they have already and absolutely done research about you, your products and your company.  Like a lot of research.

I’ve read a dozen studies that say most folks are 50% to 75% through the sales process by the time they get to you, the live breathing sales rep.

Well that stinks.  It’s sure not like the old days.

Remember the days when prospects or clients needed you to tell them all about your company, the products, the pricing and the options?  Yeah, I do.  It was like the early 2000’s was the last time that was real life.  But now there is the internet, the websites, the blogs, the reviews and all that good stuff.  What do the prospects need you for?  (Answer: to confirm pricing, terms and other such mundane stuff it seems).

But it doesn’t  have to be that way.   There are three things you should be doing all the time now dear sales person, before and during that time when that phone rings, that load leads or that email arrives.

 

  • Differentiation is Your Lead Story:  If the prospect is contacting you – they already have a need; so ease up on hitting the needs discovery so hard up front for criminy sakes.  Instead, focus on differentiation and do it presumptively.  An old colleague of mine taught me the critical question sales must always answer for prospects; “Why with all the competitive alternatives available to me, should I buy from you?”  OK – you know that is important but you need do this presumptively without being asked.  “Yes, it runs around $60 a month and what makes that unique versus others that may offer the service is….”  Or “My guess is you’ve looked hard at options here, one thing to consider unusual but awesome about how our products delivers is…..”    Your job with differentiation as your lead story is to snap the prospect out of price or terms shopping – that’s where they think they are when they call you – and that is what you must change.

 

  • Teach Existing Customers Something New Every Single Day:   Some of the best sales reps in the world don’t like the leads they get today.  They really don’t.  The leads they get today as I’ve said are often folks who have so much research available to them that by the time they contact you – you’re just a talking head sometimes confirming stuff they already know.   The best sales people create their own leads.  They educate and teach before the need arises or do so in such a way that they create the need and therefore are front and center playing the role of a human (and way more engaging) source of research and information than the web.  And they teach about new products and services for sure but in such a way that they are problems solvers and industry challenge averters and hurdles faced but that help to succeed.    Maybe you’re in the lead generation business in your role, maybe you are in the closing end of it too.  It makes no difference – teach, teach, and then teach some more.

 

  • Be a Story Teller:  You know what doesn’t work all that well on the web?  Customer Testimonials.  They really don’t.  No offense to any of the talented marketing folks who nurture, create and publish testimonials.  Some are effective for sure; some are even emotionally moving videos about using a product.  But by and large, the quotes, the blurbs and the statements supporting the products and services on a website or brochure are let’s be honest, not always believed to be credible to the prospect.  But a story told by a real sales person like you who had a real interaction with a real customer who better yet,  looks a lot like the prospect you are talking to;  A story told well that way – now that has influence!   Get good at telling stories.  You all have them.   You have those real success stories with real customers.  (Bonus tip; Fit your story into the Hero model for greatest impact;  1) the customer who feared/resisted change or was down on their luck 2) took the leap of faith 3) ran into some unexpected challenges 4) recommitted to the effort 5) achieved mastery and had awesome results!).  Story telling was never part of anyone’s sales training class – that I can assure you; but it darn well should be now!

 

Times change.  Technology changes.  Buying processes change.   Make sure you are too.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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The Luckiest Man In The World

couple-silhouette-istock

I’ve said that every year I’ll republish this post on this date.  How can I not?    Nothing’s changed in the last 5 years except for just one thing;  I feel even luckier.   Happy Anniversary Susan.

 

The Luckiest Man In The World

I admit I’m not an expert on marriage and have the track record to prove it.   But my guess is that you’ll be alright if

You marry someone who feels it is more important to be there for others who have less or are in need, than to be there for everyone.

You marry someone who works hard, never misses a day, and defines her performance only by the happiness of her customers.

You marry someone who when she first met your child of 6 years old, knelt down, looked at him eye to eye, said hello and then gave him a big hug.

You marry someone who loves with all her heart, the movies from the 30’s and 40’s because they always have happy endings.

You marry someone who cries tears of joy almost daily just upon hearing that a total stranger had a baby or if she happens to she see two toddlers walking, holding hands.

You marry someone, a single mother who from her teenage years has raised a beautiful person in her daughter with the crazy belief that “I want to raise her not to be like me”.

Susan, your daughter is just like you and it is the greatest gift you have given her.  My son has known you nearly half of his life and I swear, he loves you as much as I do.

Saturday, I get to marry you.

I think we are going to be more than alright.  It’s a trite statement but there is a reason someone came up with it.  Now, I know.

I am the luckiest man in the world.

****

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Originally published June 9th, 2009

Bailey

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Bailey

Life got in the way of today’s post.

The beautiful lady you see here, her name is Bailey.   And this picture was taken by her Dad (my brother) at the beach yesterday afternoon which is her favorite place to be.

Bailey’s struggle is becoming more than she can bear and her suffering ends today.

I see the saddened emails, texts and even tears from the aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and friends this week who know this day is coming.  Bailey has been a part of so many people for so many years.

But we can’t really imagine how hard this is for our brother James.   Please know we love you and are there for you.

It’s cliche and trite to say that Bailey or any loved pet was such a good girl.    But she really was.   Let me share just one thing about her with you.   My brother works in a pretty tough space helping young adults – many who have seen and felt suffering first hand in their young lives.

For years Bailey went to work with him every day and those young people loved her.   She greeted everyone equally.  She never judged or intimidated or abused these kids.   She offered some normalcy, someone to hug or to touch or to just sit quietly next to.

Oh were we to be so good as she.

 

Till Next Time,

Mark

Refreshingly Heartwarming

training

Refreshingly Heartwarming

I sat in on a training class yesterday for a couple of hours yesterday morning.    It was heartwarming.  Odd word to use I know, but stay with me; it’s something you’d like to see all the time I suspect.

The class was essentially about a slew of new products and all that goes with that.    The trainer was pretty smart so she let the group after about 30 minutes; take some time to dive into a catalogue she made with all the new product pictures, sizes, quantities etc.

I was in the back of the room flipping through the pages myself when I heard the first “Ooohh” and then some “Ahhh’s” and then a few “Oh my gosh(es)” .   Soon the whole crew was engaged in chatter and page flipping and laughter and shouting out a bunch of “Oh look(s)!”.

I was kind of surprised and curious because this training was a lot about change and workarounds and for sure some new processes, procedures, conversions and quoting to come etc.    So I asked the group what all the excitement was about.

This is the cool part; the heartwarming part.

“My customers are always asking me for this stuff…!”

“They are going to be so happy we have this now…..”

“I’m not going to have to tell them “no” or try and do some crazy outsourcing”

“Now they can get it one place, it will be so much easier for them….”

And it went on.

“They want these quantities so badly!..”

“They are going to love what we can do with these now on both sides!”

“I had a customer last week – she would have liked this so much better..”

So it was then I realized how different this moment could have been.

It could have been easily a lot of “Thank god, it’s about time I’ve got something else to sell…!”  or the opposite in  “Great, now I have to sell something else that’ll be added to my quota..”   or “This is just more stuff we have to remember…..”

I’ve been around a while, I’ve seen all of that before and I get it.

But this was different.  And it’s a testament to these folks and their leaders and their culture.  And it’s a nod to the product and business leaders who author the changes.  And best, the reaction bodes as promising for growing the business as anything I’ve seen.   The folks in this training class have a great affinity for their customers; that is the heartwarming part.  And when they see new products – their first thought is a refreshing “I’ve got something else to help these people with….”

How awesome is that?

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Say Something Nice (& 3 Ways To Do It)

Say Something Nice ( & 3 Ways To Do It)

 

Your mother was right about having something nice to say.  Especially if your clients are businesses.

 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a little more free time, just maybe this one Friday, to spend with your kids?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry so much about being half way through the month and the pile of bills on the desk is already 8 inches high?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you felt like you could be more confident about what people thought of you?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry about being safe or being taken advantage of by anyone?

Wouldn’t it be nice you felt like you can’t focus on the important things because you are so darn busy?

Wouldn’t it be nice to not always pray that nobody really knows just how confused you are about some things some of the time?

 

It sure would be.

But I’m not talking about you.  I’m talking about the small business owner you.  He or she is thinking these things all darn day and you can help them.

You serve these people.  You help these people.  You love these people.

And chances are what you do and what you have helps every one of them with all of the angst they have above.

Maybe you can help them put that best face forward to the whole world both online and off- line.  Maybe you can get them more calls, more visits, more leads and more money for that stack of bills.  Maybe you can take hours off their plates with your super cool products, services or widgets so they can take this afternoon with the kids.  Maybe you can secure their payments or their business or their workers and lessen the worry.  Maybe you can help them feel it’s OK not to quite understand digital marketing or financial products or even  custom full color print because heck, you’ll teach em’.

Make no mistake.  The products you are schlepping are worth nothing.  They are silly, stupid and dumb.   It’s what they do that matters.  And further, it’s what they do emotionally that really matters.

So go out there and help these people.  Make their day.  Don’t talk about pricing and sizes and subscriptions and colors and shipping fees.  Help them take a load off and ease a bit of their burdens.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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