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4 Steps To Become More ‘Sales Savvy’

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Not sales savvyBeing sales savvy is to have the business acumen, practical knowledge and active ability to carry out your sales job effectively and efficiently.

Most salespeople would mark themselves fairly high when asked if they are savvy when it comes to selling.

Very few would admit they don’t know how to promote their products or are unable to improve in their overall skill-sets.

Increasing your savvy-ness in sales will always be beneficial, as you will provide additional value at every step of the customer journey.

Here are some steps you can take to increase your abilities and become more savvy:

Become a highly-educated sales professional

This doesn’t mean going back to high school or university; it means finding out as much about your products and services as you possibly can. Then it means identifying how your customers can benefit from them. Finally it means knowing how your customers’ business can improve by using your services.

By being the expert in your area of responsibility, you encourage more and more businesses to approach you because of the benefits you will bring them.

Become a person of influence

You need to get your name known widely by writing articles, joining networking groups, adding information to LinkedIn and giving people reasons to see you as influential. To influence people, you need to become valuable to them. This means you show them how being a business partner with them will increase their productivity or productivity. Your influence is increased by showing them the results you have gained with other similar companies or businesses within the same industry. Buyers are more willing to discuss opportunities if they see you as an asset to their business, rather than a supplier of goods and services

Become street-smart in everything you do

This means recognising what works and what doesn’t, and learning from what does and what doesn’t. Savvy salespeople don’t ever fail; they learn so that they don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over. That isn’t failure…it’s improving at every step. You need to recognise how what you do gets the results you want. Then you need to see how each small step can be improved or corrected so that you progress closer and closer to your goals

Become a person that is results-oriented

Most salespeople become so engrossed in the actions they need to carry out that they miss seeing the big picture and get dragged down into how many calls they need to make or how many prospects haven’t been contacted. Instead, work on the results you are required to achieve, identify the best use of your time to achieve those goals and create opportunities to improve results by analysing the quality of the tasks you carry out in the time available rather than just hitting numbers. I’d rather my team get sales results than hit a call target.

Becoming smarter by becoming more sales savvy is a great way to improve your attitude and your abilities in every facet of your job. By highlighting how you can always be on the lookout to increase this key skill will give you plenty of opportunities to see success.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Mindset | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Are Your KPI’s In The Way Of Your KRA’s?

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Key Performance IndicatorMost salespeople we train know they need to achieve their KPI’s, as this is the key measurement against which their performance is analysed.

Normally these performance areas revolve around the number of calls they need to make, the amount of leads they need to generate or the time spent on each lead.

It is necessary to have these performance indicators so you can identify where your time is most usefully spent and they give your management the opportunity to see where development needs are required.

However, sometimes we see salespeople so bogged down with indicators that they are either impossible to achieve fully or there are so many of them that it’s simply impossible for them all to be ‘key’ indicators. In fact, one salesperson told one of my trainers he had over 50 KPI’s he had to meet.

That seems nonsensical to me, as no-one can spend their time hoping to achieve that number of goals. So instead, I ask my team to concentrate on KRA’s, that is, Key Result Areas.

Now, it may sound pedantic or petty, but there really is a big difference between the two.

Take, for example, the Call-Centre KPI of answering the phone within a certain number of rings, or the salesperson KPI of calling so many prospects in a week. It’s entirely plausible for these KPI’s to be hit every single time; yet the outcome may not be a satisfied customer or a new client.

I pay my guys on the number of clients they close because that is when we get the money rolling in. The fact they answer the phones quickly doesn’t always necessarily close the deal. Granted, not answering the phone quickly or professionally may lose the deal but it doesn’t automatically close it.

So, I ask my team to concentrate on results. I call these the ‘What to achieve’ goals, or the Key Result Areas. What they do to achieve them are called the ‘How to Achieve’ steps.

The KRA’s are the results I want. The KPI’s are the steps to achieve them.

I’ve often found that if I give a team member a KRA, they find different ways or steps to achieve them, without being constrained by a series of KPI’s.

I use KPI’s whenever a team member falls short of a target, so they can get back on track. But I’d rather them get 5 sales from 15 calls than 2 sales from 50 calls. They may hit the KPI of making 50 calls, but if they don’t get the results I want, it could be constituted a waste of valuable time. Quality beats quantity every time.

So, don’t let your KPI’s get in the way of your KRA’s. Ensure they help you achieve what you need rather than just be there so you can say you’ve been efficient. Efficiency doesn’t always equal effectiveness.

You may find you become more creative and innovative by aiming for your fewer Key Result Areas than for your greater Key Performance Indices.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Lessons For Sales People | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Can You Create Selling Opportunities Out Of Nothing?

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Sales out of nothingOne of the keys to opening the door to a buyer’s wallet is to determine the position they are in at this moment, and how that position could change in the future.

It’s really important to ascertain the ‘mode’ that a buyer is in, because if we try to ‘pitch’ our product or service to someone who is in the wrong mode, then no amount of salesmanship will succeed.

We need to determine which of three modes the buyer might be in at present:

  • The ‘OK with my current position’ mode

This is where the potential buyer is happy with their current position and doesn’t need to change

  • The ‘alternative’ mode

This is where the potential buyer recognises that their current solution doesn’t fit their current or future needs and is actively looking for something different

  • The ‘dissatisfaction’ mode

This is where the potential buyer may be dissatisfied with the current situation but is not actively seeking an alternative.

Depending on which mode the buyer is in will determine the the price a buyer is willing to pay for your services.

Buyers will pay the value they associate between their current position and their next buying mode. 

If the buyer is in the ‘OK now’ mode, the difference between what they have now and your solution is normally too high for them to consider buying from you.

When the buyer recognises that the solution they now have doesn’t meet their needs, they move into the ‘dissatisfaction’ mode. This means that the value of the difference between their current situation and what you provide decreases, and they become a potential buyer.

They see the perceived value of your services as higher than when they are OK with their current position. The value they see you offering means they are more likely to give you a higher profit margin because they associate your product with success for them or their business.

When you make greater profits, you are able to assign more sales resources to servicing the needs of these clients. So, you create a spiral of ‘expectations’ that are met with the quality of your back up service.

This continues to add value to the relationship with the new client and hence takes them out of the ‘dissatisfaction’ mode and into the ‘OK’ mode, meaning they will be less prone to leaving you and going with the competition.

How do you get someone to move from an ‘OK’ mode to one of dissatisfaction’?

You should raise the buyer’s expectation of how his current solution should be performing. 

You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Show him how your product can make his business more successful (better productivity, less downtime, greater profit opportunity, etc) 
  • Show the buyer how your solution can help him stay ahead of his competitors (offering a better solution at a lower price or at greater value, etc) 
  • Show the buyer how your company can be a more desirable partner to his business in the long run, so that it increases your value to him even if they are in the ‘OK’ mode at the moment 

All three of these steps will encourage the potential buyer to think of your solution when they have any dissatisfaction with their current position. Not all potential buyers are in the market right now. Where you need to be is in the buyer’s mind when they are ready to change.

That’s when they are in the ‘dissatisfied’ mode and when your solution will make everything ‘OK’.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Buyer Types, Sales Planning | Tagged , | Leave a comment

6 Quick Ways To Improve Your Influencing Skills

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hypnotistMany of our delegates on our sales workshops want to improve or increase their influencing skills because they want to impress potential buyers into buying from them.

This is natural, because we want to give reasons to buy and hence gain more opportunities.

The skills we need to influence or persuade others doesn’t have to be forceful or manipulative.

In Robert Cialdini’s book ‘Influence: The psychology of persuasion’, he sets out six specific techniques that will help us influence others when done ethically and with honesty.

These six will help us achieve influence because the potential buyer doesn’t feel manipulated; instead, he feels it’s the right thing to do.

The first technique is ‘reciprocity’. This is a common law in human nature. If we are given something, we feel obliged to return the favour. So, if you are able to give of your time and expertise to help a potential; buyer, they feel that they have to, in some way, reciprocate.

This obviously doesn’t mean that they view it as a bribe. As soon as the buyer senses we are doing something for ulterior motives, he will feel under obligation and will probably resist. But when the value is seen as honestly given, they are more likely to see you as a benefit to their business.

Technique two is known as ‘commitment or consistency’. Here, you need to have strong belief that your products and services can benefit your customers and their businesses. You need to look and act professionally at all times with these buyers so they recognise a high degree of value associated with personal and intellectual strength. By displaying this confidence and strength of character, you increase the value your are perceived to give.

The third idea is ‘social proof’. This means that people will do something if they see that others are doing it and benefitting from it as well. When buyers see that other companies of similar size to them in industries similar to theirs are succeeding with your products, they are more likely to see the benefits themselves and buy into your solutions.

Third=party testimonials on video, statistics on how others have improved, case histories on what others have done to succeed with your services are all examples of social proof.

Then, there’s ‘likability’. Jeffrey Gittomer says that ‘if you’re not likable, get out of sales!’ and there’s some evidence behind the truth of that tongue-in-cheek statement. We all know that people do business with people they like and trust. So, we need to recognise things that will make us likable to others and practice these often and with sincerity.

Following on is the level of ‘authority’ that you display. If you come across as an expert on your industry, you are more likely to be listened to. Identify a subject that is close to your potential buyers’ hearts and write an article on it. Share it on Facebook, link to it on Twitter, and place it on all your group sites on LinkedIn. Create an infographic about it and get it published.

The more people who see your articles and share them with others, the more likely it is that you get known as an authority in your business and industry.

Lastly, Cialdini speaks of ‘scarcity’. Anything scarce is perceived as having a high value, as you will recall if you’ve ever been gasping for air while in the swimming pool, or dying for a drink on a hot day!

Cialdini states that ‘not only do we want the same item more when it’s scarce, we want it most when we are in competition for it’.

Witness the queues outside the shops on ‘Black Friday’. See the clamour in the Apple stores when a new product is launched. Notice how advertisers use the ‘Hurry, last few available’ strapline when they want to entice customers.

Scarcity can be used if you are able to show the benefits of a limited edition model or a product that you can’t get many of. Identify how the specific buyer could benefit from this and how the competition would love to get their hands on it too. This will increase its perceived value and create more interest.

Cialdini’s six principles offer an insight into human dynamics and can be used with integrity within sales if you are attempting to influence buyers’ decision-making processes.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Communication Skills | Tagged , | Leave a comment

3 Quick Tips On Building Long Term Client Relationships

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Customer retentionWhenever we discuss salespeople’s skill-sets and the development of such, we always get round to the power of building relationships and the long-term benefits of maintaining and sustaining the connections with clients.

The value of doing so has been covered many times, and it is always advantageous to revisit the reasons why these long-term networks can improve profitability and productivity alike.

While we know it’s important to keep these relationships going, how do we start them in the first place? What can we do to preserve the relationship and build trust so that the sales just keep on coming?

Here are three of the best tips for this:

Identify what you customer wants from you that will support their long-term goals

Very often, we concentrate on how we can sell more to customers through improved quality of products or offering discounts for multiple sales and the like. However, it might be that the customer needs more specific areas of support in maintaining their business interests with their customers.

Here, you would be better off looking at how you can support their efforts and long-term goals by identifying the level of service they require from you to accommodate the increase in performance they are requiring. So ask questions like, “What can I do for you that will improve your productivity with your customers? How can we support your marketing or sales efforts so that it is easier for you to break into new markets?”

The more assistance you give to clients that helps them achieve their goals, the more likely it will be that their improved results will be down to you. Hence, they’ll associate you with their success in the future.

Build up a network of supporters within the customer’s business

If you are only talking to the buyer or the person responsible for making final decisions, you run the risk of being held ransom whenever there’s a need for changes. That one person may hold all the purse-strings or they may be the only decision-maker that has the power to use your services.

It’s much better to get to know others within the business, networking with them to see what other people’s goals are in working with a supplier. You are then able to spread your influence throughout the company, rather than putting all your proverbial eggs in the one basket.

Determine who would be the best contact in accounts. Identify who in production would be an ally of yours. Seek out the best person in the marketing department who will be your friend when it comes to building relationships at a sales level.

The more you spread the word around the company about your usefulness, the less likely it is for one person to make or break your relationships.

Make the customer more profitable using your company than not using you (and prove it!)

It may be beneficial for a customer to buy from you when you discount your products once. But if you want to maintain business, you need to prove how your products and services are actually affecting their results.

If you sell photocopiers, you need to prove how much extra savings your thousands of copies are actually making them over competitors’ solutions.

If you are selling consulting services, you need to prove the value of your services and build your reputation on what future opportunities might occur when using you.

Building reasons why the customer or their business is better off using you gives compelling reasons for them to use you again and again. Repetition is the key to gaining further business, so create chances to prove how your services are improving results, in whatever ways are important for the customer.

By identifying what you can do to activate the ‘repeat-business’ switch in your buyer’s mind, you are building reasons for them to stay with you and increase opportunities to maintain the account for the long-term.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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