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5 Must Have Sales Trends You SHOULD Be Monitoring

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Dollarphotoclub_52147028-reWe are often asked by the media for our take on what is happening in the world of sales and what we think the future holds in that world. The question often is phrased in terms of what trends do we see emerging in various markets and how should sales teams adjust their processes to match them.

This idea of watching for trends is vital in a salesperson’s world. Too often, we see ourselves left behind simply because we react to what is happening.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If we keep our research and studies of what is happening in our markets to a high level, we actually see the trends happening before they have an impact, so we can not only keep up with them but have a chance to adapt our procedures before they take hold.

Trends can be described as a general direction in which something is developing or changing, or a general tendency or course of events. They tend to follow certain patterns in many cases and this helps us maintain the pace with changes.

So, what are the trends you could be observing and monitoring, and what benefits would it bring if you did?

Well, you could start off with Product trends and evolutions. This means identifying the updates to your products and those of your competitors. You are able to discuss the advancements with colleagues and clients alike, identifying the benefits these advancements are making. Are they evolving to save clients more money, increase production, offer more profit opportunities, add more strength to their marketing? Whatever the improvements accomplish, they are something that would take your offering further in the market place.

Then, there are Technological trends. These will obviously have an effect on product improvements and they can add to the benefits you can offer to prospects when you discuss the opportunities they being at each level of the improvements. Technological advancements can make your product much more appealing in the market, so keep up to date with your product improvement department and assess how they affect your sales potential.

On a wider scale, Economic and Market trends will always have an effect on the way business is conducted. By being aware of what is happening in areas that concern and affect you, but over which you have little control, you are able to adapt to the changes quicker and offer the necessary changes to products and services that will keep your customers up-to-date and ahead of what changes these trends will have on their business.

Other trends are based on Buyer perceptions. These are things you can follow and adapt to as time progresses. These perceptions can be general, short, medium or long-term, and very specific. Depending on your industry, if you are able to keep up with the changes your buyers are looking for, you start to identify how those adaptations needed to process the changes can be driven to achieve the close relationships where buyers will believe and trust you to deliver what their requirements are.

Linked with this are Service Expectation trends. This requires you watching what different requests are made by your customers and the effect they are having on what you are selling and dealing with. If the expectation trends are towards a changing level of service, it means you can keep up with the expectations so you offer something your competition won’t yet have caught up with.

The main point is that, if you keep paying attention to the trends that are happening and are able to keep track of them, you offer your customers the opportunity to stay alert and in front of their competition.

The trends that affect your industry and business will be kept in view and you’ll be able to adapt to them much quicker so there’s less likelihood of you being left behind and better chances of you building closer relationships as clients see you as real assets to their future plans by informing them of the opportunities available because of the natural, and sometimes cyclical, trends developing at every stage.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment

There’s More To Farming Accounts Than Repeat Business

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Small green plant in boy's palms, isolatedWhenever salespeople think about prospecting, it often has two distinctly different reactions. For some it can be a challenge that they relish, looking forward to seeking out new opportunities and building new relationships. To others, it can fill them with dread, preferring root-canal work to running the risk of being rejected.

Prospecting is often viewed as a necessary evil, the main way that the pipeline can be kept full. But it doesn’t have to be the frightening experience that many anticipate.

Let me ask you…would you rather ask a complete stranger for their business or someone who you already know?

Dumb question, with an obvious answer. So, how can you achieve additional sales opportunities with customers you already know?

Well, we first have to view a client as a prospect for more business. You need to have a ‘repeat-business’ mentality. And there will always be further opportunities for more business from existing customers.

But you may be thinking you’re already getting the most possible business from your client, so how can you get even more?

There’s more than just one way to think about new business. Remember, your current customers and clients can be a source of extra business for you in different ways.

For instance, if you’ve done a great job for them, is there someone else they know who could benefit from your services? How about them introducing you to a client of theirs? What about someone you could link up with on LinkedIn?

Could you attend a networking event or conference with them? Their industry may have many opportunities for meet-ups, and if they could take you along to one or two of those meetings, you may meet other prospects who might be interested in you.

Third-party influences may help you to spread your messages wider and open up other opportunities. They may not have been in your immediate network, so it’s good to check the network of your client so you could link up.

So, think how your current customers could be another prospecting opportunity for you, within and outside their company.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Customer/Client Retention | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Is A Sales Objection An Unanswered Question?

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Business man and cloudWhen we ask buyers what they look for in their suppliers, we often get a response along the lines of ‘we want someone we can trust and makes us look good in some way’.

This is a fairly obvious conclusion, but it begs the question ‘why don’t salespeople recognise this when in the sales process and what can they do to improve the situation’?

Well, one interesting situation occurs during the conversations with prospects when what we sometimes call objections or obstacles are placed in front of us. Many salespeople fear this time because they think they have to ‘overcome’ them and it’s sometimes seen as a battle rather than a continuous building of relationships with the prospect.

What is often puzzling is how some salespeople resort to tricks or techniques to get round objections. They’ll say things like ‘is it me that’s causing the problem?’ so they can make the prospect feel a little guilty.

One way we can think of objections is that really they are just questions that haven’t been answered effectively yet.

Let’s take a few examples:

Objection: “Your price is too high”. That’s a frequent objection we get and often means we haven’t built the value yet.

Unanswered question: “Why should I pay that price and what benefit will I get if I do?” Now that’s a different animal altogether.

Objection: “We’re not interested and don’t really need your product”. For some this is a killer, and we often walk away.

Unanswered question: “How would your product solve my challenges, sort my problems and bring me benefits? What pain does it take away from me?” Ah, now we’re talking…if I’d known you needed proof, I wouldn’t have tried to prescribe and answer before diagnosing your problems.

Objection: “I’m happy with my current supplier, thank you”. Yes, I’m in my comfort zone, so don’t rock the boat, baby!

Unanswered question: “How would my business problems be solved or my potential be realised if I used your services?” Essentially, I need proof that you will be giving me what I need, and I haven’t been persuaded yet.

Objection: “We like you, but we’re going to wait a few months before we buy”. Yes, the old stall method that gets you off my back for a while.

Unanswered question: “What would be the benefits to my business if we started this now rather than later? How much I can gain be doing something now, and how much would I lose if I didn’t?” If I knew what would be best, maybe I’d be better equipped to decide, but currently I’m not.

These are just some examples that show how many objections are really just questions that, if answered effectively, would dissipate into thin air.

So, when you are working with a prospect to help him solve his business problems, be aware of building value in the solutions before you make suggestions as to what they should change. Without sufficient reasons for change, it’s not surprising that prospects will come up with obstacles that stand in our way. Identify the questions that may come up, answer them in your conversations with them, and then proceed toward securing commitment. That way, they will see the benefits without the disadvantages.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Objection Handling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Have You Built Enough Reasons For The Prospect To Choose You?

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

businessman thinkingOften, we find when with a prospect that the time has come to present a solution to their needs and wants. In the old days, we would say we are ‘going for the close’.

It’s at this point that we should take a step back, mentally, and consider whether we have built up enough trust, confidence and belief so that the prospect is able to positively make decisions to commit to the next stage of the process.

Here are a series of questions you can ask yourself to see if the time is ripe to ask the decision-maker for a decision:


Have I built up enough value in my products and services for my prospect?

Have we discussed the money value of my solution? (Cost savings, productivity, etc.)

What other value is there? (Health and safety, non-monetary improvements, etc.)

Do you genuinely believe your solution is the best one for the company you are working with?

Does the prospect understand and value the benefits of the solution to their business?

Can you clearly demonstrate those benefits quickly and easily?

Can you support those benefits with evidence from real examples of other companies you have helped?

Is a decision to buy my offering better than a decision to use another company?

Have I minimised the risks to the prospect in making this buying decision? (Financial, time of implementation, loss of productivity, etc.)

Have I created enough urgency to encourage the prospect to move forward now? (Impact of not choosing my solution, etc.)

Naturally, this would be done over a period of time. You can’t sit there in one meeting and answer every one of these questions in a few seconds. So, I advise that you prepare for this meeting by reviewing these questions.

If you find you haven’t had built up enough need, or you haven’t convinced the prospect of the overall benefits of agreeing to your solution, you may find objections being brought up . Objections occur when the value of what you are offering do not outweigh the price or cost of change that the prospect is having to go through.

So, look at those questions when you are at the point of ‘close’ and try to see it from the prospect’s viewpoint. If they’re not clear on all that information, you can be assured you won’t progress. Make sure you’ve convinced them that you’ve solved their challenges and built the value, then you can be confident in securing commitment.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Prospecting | Tagged , | Leave a comment

4 Ways To Stop Sounding Like You’re Begging For Their Business!

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

business begging man to womanI was asked to go on a sales call once by a Sales Manager with one of his sales people who wasn’t bringing home the bacon.

He asked me to observe this salesperson to see what might be done to assist his development.

What I noticed was he was being a really nice person, minding his manners, listening well and behaving in a proper business-like way.

Actually, he was being a pathetic, pitiful, grovelling, snivelling, sorry excuse of a salesperson, who was literally begging for the business!

He was saying things like “What could we do to get your business?” “How can I help you more on this?” “Yes, we’re really sorry we can’t do that…is there anything else you would like us to do?”

All-in-all, a very poor example of how to solve people’s problems and build value, and I told his sales manager exactly that!

The truth is, if we sound like we are begging for their business, we run the risk of sounding desperate and that our needs are greater than the prospect’s. You open yourself up to price reductions now and in the future, as the value you offer is a poor second best to the price you charge.

Here are some examples of sounding like you’re begging:

“What time is convenient to you?”

“When do you think you might be in a position to make a decision?”

“Would it be OK if I diarised a follow-up call in two weeks?”

“Our company policy doesn’t allow that!”

Instead, it would be good to show that you are an expert and don’t have to beg for the business. You could say something like:

“Let’s arrange a mutually-convenient time for us both”

“Let’s set a time to discuss the decision”

“I’ll call you within the next two weeks to discuss any questions you might have”

“Let’s see how we can work this out”

By being more assertive and not resorting to what can in any way be considered begging, we build our reputation with the prospect as someone who can be trusted and is offering something of real value, rather than someone who creates the impression they are totally and utterly desperate!

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Stories, Sales Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment