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Selling Category

Comprehensive Marketing and Selling

September 20th, 2016

sell-the-sameOrganizations often say they want a comprehensive or consistent approach to marketing and selling. Their various business groups often say they need something unique. Here’s a look at which things should be the same—and which should not.

Use the Same Basic Definitions

An organization that speaks the same language has good communication and consistent expectations—which feed strong performance. Language involved with ‘marketing’ and ‘selling’ should start with which is which. Here are definitions that fit no matter the department or how simple or complex the products and services:

  • Marketing is the stuff we do proactively to gain prospects’ attention, and regain customers’ attention. Marketing tools include advertising, email, mail, calling, social media (to name just a handful).

Marketing also includes responding to inquiries from prospects and customers. This includes responding when someone calls us, emails us, or walks in and asks for information.

  • Selling begins once the prospect or customer has agreed to discuss the fit between what they want and what we have to offer. Selling does not begin unless and until we have that agreement. This is true even when someone has approached us: just because they’ve got questions, that doesn’t mean we have that agreement.

Why Agreement is the Best Line

No matter how sophisticated or simple the products and services, an assumptive approach generates problems. Using agreement as the gate means employees need to ask for a sales conversation, which helps prevent assumption from the start. (more…)

Rating Prospects: Selling

August 11th, 2015

Rating SystemHow likely is this deal to close? What percentage would you attach to that? What does the pipeline look like?

Rating prospects helps you project new business and highlights where you should focus your efforts. Unfortunately, many rating systems and CRM pipeline features don’t really help you do that. Here are common approaches that don’t work well — and what to do instead. (more…)

70% of Sales Process Baloney

April 27th, 2015

Business fulfills each and every one of themInstead of simply busting the latest sales myth I’d like to honor the man who equipped me to do that, and pass a bit of what he taught on. (Myth busted below.)

36 years ago, after putting it off as long as possible, I entered Professor Keston’s classroom to begin a year of required statistics. A year! Tried to sit in back but those seats were already taken by other psych-major-math-phobes. With dread in my heart, I took a seat near the front. By the time I successfully passed the final I was forever changed. (more…)

Yo! It’s a Sales Poetry Slam

February 23rd, 2015

Sales poetry slamFew people are aware that Rod Mckuen, Emily Dickinson and Theodor Geisel were in sales before they hit it big as poets. Let’s honor their hidden legacy — and have some fun — with a sales poetry slam. Be it in iambic pentameter, haiku, limerick or free verse, add your own using the comments.

Haiku

Oh, silent prospect
You beguile with nothingness
I should let go now

 

Faux-RFP Blues

These prospects like me, of that I’m sure
But not so certain their motives are pure
They’ve answered my questions
Needs, wants, interests, and more
And given full attention when I had the floor
But things became hazy when budget arose
Is this truly about change
Or showing their current what I proposed?

 

How to Change the Inquiry

October 28th, 2014

Tug of war A call or email comes in. Prospect asks, “Do you have…?” or “How much?”

We think, it depends and we offer so much more. We think, we prefer strategic relationships or sell on price, lose on price. In other words, we want to have a different conversation than the prospect does. Here are tips for doing that, starting with some things to avoid. (more…)

Don’t Guess — Qualify

June 11th, 2014

Qualifying“Qualifying” is how you figure out how hot of a prospect you’ve got. Using it wisely prevents frustration and highlights your best opportunities. But it’s not all about you. Qualifying also helps develop strong business rapport with prospects and paves the way for a great business relationship.

A truly hot, fully-qualified prospect is one that:

  • Has need or want for what you’re selling, and sets a high priority on meeting that need or want
  • The timing is right
  • They have control over existing adequate budget or the ability to create budget to buy
  • They are in control of the decision or heavily involved in the decision
  • Last but definitely not least: they are reasonable

(more…)

When Consultants Sell

January 31st, 2013

Consultants who must also sell often experience a number of challenges. Let’s tackle them one by one.

Discomfort With the Sales Role

If our picture of “selling” includes a pushy unprofessional person who cares mostly about their own wallet… It’s no wonder we don’t want to take on that role. Fortunately, that’s an outmoded image no one need take on. The perfect sales approach for consultants is “consultative” selling:

Uncovering each prospect’s wants, needs and interests. And then – when appropriate – offering services and products to meet those wants, needs and interests.

Too Much Consulting, Too Little Selling

This issue is part nomenclature and part…well, part conceit (not that yours truly is personally familiar with that). Here’s the scoop:

Normally, consultants ask questions to gather information to assess the situation. In selling this is called “uncovering wants, needs and interest.” That’s a matter of nomenclature. Once consultants recognize how to apply these familiar skills they’re part way to success.

After some sort of informal assessment, most consultants then give general or high level advice. They talk about how they would solve the problems, improve the situation, help reach objectives. In selling this is called “presenting.” Again a matter of nomenclature but here is where many consultants run into difficulty.

Consultants can get so caught up in showing off their marvelous advice-capacity, they forget the deal is not yet set. They leave the meeting feeling great—then crash when the “client” doesn’t come through with a contract, after all.

There is another problem to bring up before covering how to address the above issues. (more…)

Tips for Using the Rating System

August 19th, 2011

Read “Rating Prospects” first. Otherwise these tips will make no sense. (more…)

The Consultative Framework

August 16th, 2011

There are many different ways to organize sales conversations. I teach and use variations of the one you see below. Its major parts are shown in caps with a bit of explanation below each. See other articles for more on certain elements, and on how to manage selling over several conversations. (more…)

How to Hold Great Meetings

March 1st, 2011

Meetings can be a colossal waste of time. Here are tips for avoiding that, especially for sales and service team meetings held on a regular basis. (more…)

Words and Phrases to Avoid

February 17th, 2011

The words you use can deliver a very large message. Here are some common words and phrases that often deliver the wrong message. (more…)

Is that Fire in Your Belly, or Lunch?

February 16th, 2011

Dear Shawn:

I didn’t get a sales job I really wanted. In the interview, my potential boss said he was looking for people with a fire in their belly. I think in my answer I blew it. How could I have shown him that I have that fire?

Shawn says: (more…)

Selling versus Marketing

August 10th, 2010

A Definition: Selling versus Marketing

Many people use “marketing” as a euphemism for selling but they’re really two different things. Understanding the difference helps set appropriate expectations, which helps prevent frustration. Understanding the difference also helps focus your efforts. Last but not least, understanding the difference prevents behaviors that send prospects running in the other direction. (more…)