All posts by Sean McPheat

Hi! I'm the founder and Managing Director of MTD Sales Training - we offer sales training solutions for companies both large and small. I'm blessed to work with 25 of the most talented trainers in the UK....well, I did recruit them! ;-) Today, we've delivered training in over 23 countries to over 3,500 different organisations and 100,000 staff. Our clients include Xerox, Friends Provident, Starbucks, Taylor Wimpey, CISCO, Allianz and Lloyds TSB to name but a few.

What To Do When Your Experienced Sales People Have Lost Their Edge

depressedThey were once the sales people that you could rely on every month to pull in the numbers for you.

But now for some reason they have gone stale.

They seemed to make it look so easy but for some reason they’ve either lost their motivation, their hunger, skills or all of them!

So what can you do to reignite your experienced sales people to get them to the top of the pile again?

Here are a few pointers:

Ask Them To Mentor & Coach Others

Can you take advantage of their undoubted knowledge and skills by asking them to mentor or coach other sales people?

It might get them reacquainted with what they used to and how they used to do it as well passing on vital knowledge and techniques to others in the team.

Prospecting RIP?

Check to see if they are struggling with the hustle and bustle of prospecting.

Are they turning more into farmers than hunters?

Are they better positioned for a relationship and strategic selling role now rather than them having to go out and chase new prospects?

Provide On-Going Sales Coaching

Can you provide on-going sales coaching for them linked to specific objectives? By continually having an ongoing dialogue on the areas that they are struggling on can help them to regain focus on what’s important. It will also hold them accountable for their actions and the changes they are making.

Can They Train Others?

As part of your company induction process can they help to deliver sales and product knowledge training for your new sales people?

By positioning them as someone with a history of high achievement it may get those fires burning again and give them the push to live up to the hype!

In summary…

Of course, if all seems lost you can part company but you’ll have invested so much time and effort into them over the years then this really has to be the last resort.

They’ve probably made your company a stack of money too and have got so much knowledge that it seems a shame to see it going all to waste.

But don’t change things for the sake of keeping them happy though. There has to be a concrete business case for making changes to what they are currently doing and are responsible for.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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How To Tweak Your Mindset To Improve Your Cold Calling Performance

Do you make cold calls to generate leads?

If you do, do you actually like making them?

Well, whether it is your full time job to make them or whether they are part of your job, the vast majority of people who have to make them do not like doing so.

I actually put this down to the way that cold calls are perceived by the person making the call and the fear of failure.

Hear me out here.

I bet the type of calls that you make either have a positive outcome i.e a lead generated or a negative outcome where the prospect does not have a need for what you are offering at this moment in time.

I’ll just back track for a second. I just used the term prospect for the people that you are making cold calls to.

You know what? They are not even a prospect are they when you think about it?

A prospect has just that – prospects of buying your produce of service! Cold call recipients are more like suspects!

I digress but it’s something to think about isn’t it?

As I said before many of you will view a cold call as a success or failure activity.

Let me ask you a question:

How many people that you know actually like failure?

Let me ask you another:

How many people do you know would do something 1000 times knowing that they would “fail” 995 times?

Not many I am sure and herein lies the problem.

It is the way that you approach your cold calls that makes you think that you fail if you do not get a certain outcome.

From here on in I would like you to view making cold calls as raising the awareness of your products and services.

Do not go into the call thinking that you MUST generate a lead for your sales team, instead go in with the attitude that you are just raising the awareness of what you do.

Therefore, if you make 500 awareness calls per day over time you will build up a data bank of statistical performance that you can use.

You see, you cannot determine whether your suspect actually wants your product at the time of your call but you can control how you approach each call and what you say during each call.

Soon, you will know how many awareness calls you need to make to generate one sales appointment for your team and then you will know how many sales appointments your company requires to generate 1 sale.

Therefore, by knowing the stats you can mentally prepare yourself each day knowing that by making your 500 calls you will be generating £15,000 for your company for example and that will help you get through your calls.

You will then know the impact of making an additional 100 calls per day overtime and what it means to your bonus levels.

There’s an old saying – If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

So, in summary – change your mindset and you will change the way that you view making cold calls and you will feel more comfortable making them.

Also, understand the wider context of what you are doing in terms of calls to leads and appointments to sales ratios and it will help you to remain focused on the job in hand.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of BigStockPhoto)

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The 4 Most Common Buyer Types (And How To Sell To Them!)

One feature of modern, relationship selling is that we need to understand about peoples’ preferred buying behaviour if we are to sell to more of them.

It is a fact that people buy differently.

Some people prefer to buy quickly, others slowly.

Some people need a lot of information and detail, for others a sheet of A4 with bullet points is all the information they need.

Some buyers make purchases on impulse; others take their time and try to avoid risk.

Some buyers are very loyal; others will automatically choose the cheapest option.

Some buyers can be quite intimidating to the point of being rude; others are quite passive and easily manipulated.

This makes selling a real challenge.

To sell to all these different buyer types we need to be able to adapt our selling behaviour and make the buying process easy for each type of buyer we come across.

To begin this process we need to look at 2 aspects of buyer behaviour; assertiveness and responsiveness.

People who are assertive are confident and know what they want.

They are not afraid to put forward opinions and are willing to listen to the opinions of others.

They are not afraid of conflict and will be more than happy to argue their case.

People who are highly assertive can be seen as being aggressive while people who lack assertiveness are often passive and get taken advantage of.

There are times when it is appropriate to be more or less assertive and we need to recognise when these times are.

Responsiveness means the extent to which people are willing to respond to us and our questions.

Some people are highly responsive and will give lots of information about themselves, their problems and needs.

Others are unwilling or unable to respond in this way and we see these people often as being negative or difficult.

There are four basic styles of behaviour and these are determined by the way, in which people relate to one another.

The Analytical Buyer

People who lack assertiveness and responsiveness are called Analyticals.

The analytical buyer distrusts salespeople because they lack precision.

Analyticals like to analyse and compare things.

They take their time and are wary of making quick decisions.

They deal in facts and like things to be objective rather than subjective.

They tend not to confident in social situations and hate small talk.

They avoid risk taking and like things to be put in writing and in detail.

They find salespeople to be intimidating especially if they feel under pressure.

Their main tactic for getting rid of salespeople is to stop replying to their voice mails.

How to deal with the analytical buyer….

  • Don’t push them into making quick decisions
  • Take your time – slow down
  • Take action rather than words to demonstrate helpfulness and willingness
  • Sticks to specifics – analyticals expect salespeople to exaggerate
  • Their decisions are based on facts and logic and they avoid risk
  • They can often be very co-operative, but established relationships take time
  • Consider telling them what the product won’t do – they will respect you for it, and they will have spotted the deficiencies anyway
  • Discuss reasons and ask `why?’ questions

The Amiable Buyer

The amiable buyer is highly responsive, but not very assertive.

They are very friendly, good in social situations and prefer friendly relationships to conflict.

Many salespeople are amiable in their nature.

Amiable buyers lack assertiveness so will agree to appointments and meetings, but are they wasting your time?

They tell you what the competition are up to, but what are they telling the competition about you?

Look after your amiable customers.

They are loyal and unlikely to move to a competitor because that involves a certain degree of conflict and they hate giving bad news.

They are nice people to be around, but find difficulty saying no and in negotiations tend to give everything away.

How to deal with the amiable buyer…

  • Be their friend
  • Work, jointly, seek common ground
  • Find out about personal interests and family
  • Use personal assurance and specific guarantees and avoid options and probabilities
  • Take time to be agreeable
  • Focus discussions on `how’
  • Demonstrate low risk solutions

The Expressive Buyer

The expressive buyer is highly assertive and highly responsive.

They are impulse buyers with low boredom thresholds and a short attention span.

They love to buy concepts and will make quick, if not always good, decisions.

They don’t want a lot of detail and will not read detailed proposals.

They are not good listeners and like brainstorming sessions.

They are confident and flamboyant, but not great when it comes to detailed thought and analysis.

In negotiations they start off strong but get bored and will often make a concession just to get things over with.

Expressive buyers generally tend to buy on the day.

Get some sort of commitment from them while you can.

Once you have gone they will be moving on to their next project and will have forgotten about you.

How to deal with expressive buyer…

  • Look for the flip chart in their office
  • Let them do the work. Ask open questions
  • Seek opinions in an area you wish to develop to achieve mutual understanding
  • Discussion should be people as well as fact oriented
  • Keep summarising – work out specifics on points of agreement
  • Try short, fast moving experience stories
  • Close them down today, get some commitment

The Driver

The Driver is highly assertive, but not very responsive.

This is the typical negotiator.

Tough, uncompromising, doesn’t suffer fools gladly and determined to be in charge.

Drivers want to be in control and can appear to be aggressive if you don’t give them what they want.

They seem unfriendly at first and will impose time deadlines on meetings.

The Driver doesn’t want to be your friend, so the typical salesperson will irritate the Driver, who will often bully the salesperson into submission.

The Driver drives a hard bargain and wants to win.

How to deal with the drivers…

  • Be assertive. Use eye contact. Stand up for yourself
  • Plan to ask questions about and discuss specifics, actions and results
  • Use facts and logic
  • When necessary, disagree with facts rather than opinions
  • Keep it business-like, efficient and to the point
  • Personal guarantees and testimonials are least effective – better to
  • provide options and facts
  • Learn how to say no

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of BigStockPhoto)

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The 5 Stages Of The Buyer’s Decision Making Process & How To Utilise It

How do you make a decision?

Ever thought about it?

Many of us have, and have used the facts behind decision-making in identifying how they should work with clients.

But many more haven’t studied this subject and consequently lose the ability to influence buyers in making decisions that will progress a sale and take the prospect on a journey of discovery.

Actually, most people make decisions at a deep psychological level without really identifying how the process is taking shape.

We all go through a process of making decisions without realising it, most of the time.

Just think about when you decide what to have at a restaurant, or what car you want to buy, or where you want to go on holiday.

You may think that many of your decisions are instinctive, but actually you are always going through a process, even subconsciously.

If you’re able to see what these stages are in the process, it will help you help the buyer to come to a natural conclusion, and it will answer many questions you may have as to why someone hasn’t made the decision to go with your product.

Let’s take a look at the stages and see how we can deal with them when discussing progress with a prospect:

Stage 1: Unawareness

At this point, the prospect isn’t aware of what options or choices they have. In a restaurant, they haven’t seen the menu yet.

In a sales situation, they have little idea of what your products can do for them.

If they look on-line, they are unaware of you until your marketing prowess opens their eyes.

The next stage is the obvious one:

Stage 2: Awareness

They may look on-line and checkout your website.

They may read your brochure or literature and see what it is you do.

They may get a phone call from your company.

Whatever way it happens, they now go through a series of connections that makes them aware of your product or service.

This awareness is simply that; aware of what or who you are. That has narrowed it down dramatically.

Think of the billions of people who don’t know about you (unless you work for Google or Facebook or Amazon, that is!).

This awareness is the next stage of decision-making.

Stage 3: Understanding

This starts to play at the intellectual level. In other words, they have a logical understanding of what you have to offer.

It could be anything from seeing the choice on the menu to knowing the range of offers you have to checking out the hotel amenities.

This understanding level narrows down the process, as it allows buyers to see for themselves what their business or lives would be like with your product or service.

Stage 4: Conviction

Now, emotion starts to play a role. It may look like you are very competitive price-wise, but that doesn’t convince people you are right for them.

At this point, they must be out of their comfort zone.

They must either associate pain with their current position so they need something or someone to solve their problem, or they see opportunities for the future that you are able to help them achieve.

Your solution has to be worth investing in, to solve their problems or take them on the journey to improved results.

When they see this happening, they have an emotional connection to the results and are convinced your solution will be the change they are looking for.

Stage 5: Action

If the first four steps are carried out effectively, this stage is the next logical step.

You as the sales consultant now can eleviate the fear of making this decision to take action.

If this is the area where most of your sales stall (lack of closing ability, etc), it’s probably because you haven’t built a solid foundation with the previous stages.

If everything has been done satisfactorily beforehand, the decision on behalf of the buyer to take action comes naturally.

The real danger here is in trying to make the buyer jump too quickly through the decision-making hoops.

Many salespeople will try to jump from understanding to action to quickly.

They forget that the buyer has to connect with the solution first.

Without doing that, you run the risk of creating fear in the buyer’s mind because you haven’t followed their natural pathway of making decisions.

So, try to identify where you are with each buyer on their decision-making cycle.

Be aware of the progress you need to make with each individual and, if you solidify each stage before moving on, you have a much better chance of linking in with the way they make their decisions.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of BigStockPhoto)

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How To Show The Prospect The Future’s Brighter With You

Sigmund Freud had a way with words.

One of his theories was that pain can be more immediate than pleasure, leading us to become more concerned with avoidance of pain and hence paying more attention to it.

Many salespeople have heard this reckoning and have identified how recognising a client’s ‘pains’ and ‘problems’ can have a big effect on the decision-making process.

But the main caveat here is that many clients don’t realise they actually have a problem.

‘Find-out-what’s-wrong-and-fix-it’ salespeople are sometimes at a loss in this situation.

They are so used to talking to people who are in ‘pain’ (loss of profit, lower productivity, lack of results, increasing costs, high levels of change, etc.) that when a prospect says that they don’t perceive anything bad enough to make a decision to change, they don’t have many other options to offer them.

So what’s the option?

Well, try moving away from the pains (the negatives) and start highlighting the gains (the positives).

This requires you to start creating opportunity-thinking in the buyers’ minds, focussing on aspirations and possibilities that might not have considered before.

This involves a shift in focus by salespeople from highlighting what is wrong with situation to what could be right with future change.

What this means is the customer now is not concentrating on what is wrong (and conceivably there might not be anything worth changing for) but on what possibilities there may be with your products and services for their future.

It would sound something like this, if one of our business development guys was talking to a prospect:

“You’ll recall, Mr Prospect, that we discussed the idea of coaching your senior salespeople in advanced communications techniques. I know your team have attended many courses on this subject, and have seen improvements as a result. What I’d like to show you is how the return on your future investment will mean greater profitability for you and job satisfaction for your senior people too.”

Notice here that the emphasis is on the future benefits, not the current or past pains.

In many cases the prospect doesn’t see the need for change.

At that point, you need to shift the focus away from what is not happening to what could happen in the future.

If there’s nothing wrong at the moment, no convincing arguments on your part are going to change that perception.

Instead, change the modus operandi.

Start focusing on what benefits the future changes will bring, so it becomes so compelling to the prospect that they are drawn in that direction, thinking about the returns they will achieve, the increased production or the higher profits.

That way, you take them out of the comfort zone of current thinking and show them the opportunities of future ideas.

Try it, and see if the results you get are measurably better.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of BigStockPhoto)

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The Top 10 Sales Blog Posts Of 2016 – As Voted For By You!

2016 has been a strange old year – if you thought Brexit was enough we were then Trumped by the States later in the year!

We’ve brought you bi-weekly tips all year long and will continue to do so again in 2016!

From sales management to prospecting, we have tried to cover as many bases as possible to improve your overall sales processes and performance.


So, here are the 10 best sales blog posts of 2016 as voted for by you:

1 – 21 Questions That Will Build Instant Rapport  – 144 LinkedIn Shares

2 – Use These 6 Opening Statements To Make Your Sales Interactions More Effective  -110 LinkedIn Shares

3 – The 4 Word Statement That ALWAYS Builds Value   – 109 LinkedIn Shares

4 – How Modern Day Gatekeepers Are Ruining Your Sales Figures   -100 LinkedIn Shares

5 – The 8 Main Obstacles ALL Sales People Must Overcome   – 95 LinkedIn Shares

6 – 4 Strategies All Successful Salespeople MUST Employ   – 91 LinkedIn Shares

7 – The 6 Most Common Mistakes Salespeople Make In Their Opening Discussions  – 90 LinkedIn Shares

8 – 5 Factors That Prevent You From Being A Sales ‘Nearly Man’   – 86 LinkedIn Shares

9 – “I’ve Been Selling This Product For Years” – So What?   – 84 LinkedIn Shares

10 – What Do You Do When Your Customer Wants To Vent?   – 67 LinkedIn Shares

So there we have it, your top 10 sales blog posts of 2016.

From all of us at MTD Sales Training, we hope you have a great Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Happy Christmas!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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6 Ways You Can Fulfil Your Prospect’s Needs

Many salespeople struggle to find the best way forward when they have to work with existing clients because they still put the emphasis on their own products and services.

The more successful salespeople spend their time identifying the real needs of the businesses they are working with and creating opportunities for them to advance their businesses.

This opens up chances to talk about their services in a much more beneficial way.

But what exactly are the main needs of the businesses you deal with?

Aren’t every business’s needs different?

For questions about identifying needs and wants and also moving the sale forward, click here to download ‘450 Sales Questions’

Yes, they are, but there is a pattern, a composite list if you like, of similar needs and wants that link businesses together.

When you know these needs, you are able to to link the products and services you have with those needs and help companies to build their own customer base with your help.

What are these composite needs and how could you provide more help to businesses by using them?

Tony Robbins, one of my favorite speakers and coaches, speaks of six basic human needs.

They ,in essence, sum up everyone’s character and talks to us at the personality but also spiritual level.

We can also apply them to business needs too, and I’ve listed my take on these components below.

The first is the need for certainty.

As humans, we have an innate need to feel certain about things.

When we are certain about how things work and how others behave we can predict what will happen in the future and so feel safe.

When we are certain about others, we can trust them.

When we feel safe, we can relax and reduce our constant scanning for threats.

For questions about identifying needs and wants and also moving the sale forward, click here to download ‘450 Sales Questions

As businesses, we need to have some certainty about the future, the economy, the legislations we work to and that our suppliers will be able to provide us with the ideas and services we need to be productive and profitable.

As salespeople, we can provide that confidence by being consistent in keeping our promises to our clients, by showing our trustworthiness and by building strong relationships with the buyers of our products so they see they can have that confidence we will deliver when we say we will in the way we said we would and in the best time frame possible.

Next comes the need for variety.

This sound the opposite to certainty, and in a way it is.

While certainty is important, too much is boring.

We also want stimulation and novelty to add interest and fun to our lives.

This is why people try new things, take risks and gamble, even when they do not need to do so.

As businesses, we also want to offer variety in the way we do things for our customers, the services we offer and the products our customers experience.

Without that variety, we get staid and monotone.

Our competitors take over from us and we lose market share.

As salespeople, we can offer variety by changing the way we work with our buyers.

We need to stimulate their thinking and bring some kind of innovative thinking to way we work with them.

If we see different ways that we can market our products to clients we open up chances for this need for variety to be shown and demonstrated.

Thirdly, there’s the need for Significance.

We need meaning in our lives and want our lives to have purpose and direction.

We want to be important and for others to look up to us.

We may gain this in many different ways, from becoming well-qualified to being friendly and helping others.

As businesses, this significance is gained by becoming important in the specific market we operate in, creating new offers and showing our competitive nature in the products and services we offer.

Some show this in the way they define their businesses, others find a niche in the way they develop products and others may steal an advance by their price points.

Whatever way they do it, businesses strive to be significant among their competitors.

As salespeople, we can build on our client’s needs for significance by helping them increase market share for themselves, open new markets that didn’t exist for them previously and help them develop practices that work efficiently for their existing and future clients.

Next comes the need for Connection.

Without company, we easily get lonely.

We are social animals and connecting with other people is important for us. In this ways, we bond with others as we form friends and extend our sense of who we are.

Just as variety balances certainty, so outer connection with others balances the inner need for significance in ourselves.

As businesses, we need some connection with the outside world so they know how we can help.

No business can survive without that connection to outside markets.

It’s often said that you might have the best product in the world, but if it’s not marketed well, it’s next to useless.

As salespeople, we can assist our clients by creating opportunities for them to connect with their prospects and customers.

By going beyond the normal salesperson-client relationship, we increase our chances of being valuable to our buyers, as they see we help them to connect effectively to their market opportunities.

Those first four needs assist businesses at the ‘personality’ level, helping them to become a force in the market place by being recognised through their services and product quality.

The final two needs look at the spirit that the businesses can offer, those etherial qualities that often differentiate one business from another.

The next need is that of Growth.

Beyond fulfilling the previous needs, we want to learn and become more than we are.

For this purpose we study and want to develop our careers.

As a higher need, we can live without it and some people seek little in way of growth, while others are highly motivated to make something more of themselves.

As businesses, if we don’t grow, we stagnate and allow our competitors to take over our market.

Growth and development permeates the spirit of those companies who succeed and contribute to the success of others.

They seek suppliers that enable them to achieve their growth plans and allow them to become more dominant in their market place.

As salespeople, buyers welcome us if we create opportunities for their businesses to improve market share, increase productivity, improve quality or build profit opportunities.

We need to assist businesses in this key component on value-add, helping them see how your products will help them grow and achieve the goals that would make them successful in their and their customers’ eyes.

The last need is that of Contribution.

Combining growth and connection, contribution takes into account other people and the world at large.

If we are active in contributing to other individuals and groups, rather than just ‘belonging’, we increase our connection with them and it feel good as our sense of identity is expanded.

As businesses, we often want to go beyond just selling and providing products and services, and we want to feel we are contributing more to society in general.

Often business’s ‘sense of identity’ is tied to their contribution to the community, green issues, health and safety or similar.

This ‘contribution’ shows we care about things greater than profits and allows others to see us in a different, more favourable, light.

As salespeople, we can assist businesses in this need by providing chances for them to see how they can build community spirit, open their doors to the public to see their success in the community, or contribute in some way to their successful operations through their own services.

This build even more value in the buyer’s eyes as they see you’re not just in it to sell products; you really are interested in the success of the buyer’s company.

Each of these needs create an opportunity for us in sales to build relationships with clients, and take us away from being simply a supplier of products and services to being a really valuable asset in many ways to the buyer’s business.

They begin to see you as someone who has their needs in mind and allows you to open up more market opportunities, not just for current but also for new customers too.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of BigStockPhoto)

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10 Quick Tips On Gaining The Ultimate Competitive Advantage

Sales is one of the most fluid of industries, mainly because of the massive amount of changes that it has been involved in over the years.

The only consistent factor that has existed has been change.

Thinking about what has to happen for a sales consultant to be successful, one thing that naturally comes up is their ability to achieve, maintain and retain a highly competitive advantage.

What is it that contributes to this success?

Many salespeople we have asked tend to fall back on their products or services for that competitive advantage.

They often think that if their company could just produce the next ‘big thing’ in their industry, the competition will melt away and they just need to decide which island they will buy with their commission.

Most buyers, though, will inform you that competitive advantage seldom revolves around facts or figures or services or even products.

What buyers want from their suppliers is a consistency of help in making their business more successful.

So what do we think will make the difference today and tomorrow in giving you the edge in the success stakes?

We believe it’s your ability to become extremely valuable to your market place and customers through what you learn.

In other words, you will become very valuable to future prospects based on what you know that they don’t know.

If you were to have the best knowledge about how businesses should be set up to use your product effectively, customers will see that they can trust you to help them achieve more than they are achieving at the moment.

Imagine approaching a prospect who is struggling in their industry against bigger or more productive or more profitable competitors.

Unless you have the holy grail for their business and they immediately win the jackpot, what can you suggest this company does to turn round their fortunes and make inroads in their market?

That’s the million-dollar question, the answer to which will increase your value a hundred-fold to them.

Your knowledge and expertise is what is priceless to a company like that.

Who is paid most money these days (outside of the overpaid prima-donnas in the premier league!)?

Yes, it’s those people who have the knowledge and ability to add value to a company’s strategic fortunes.

Where do they get their knowledge from?

Mainly through targeted research in areas that most important to the future operations of business that matter to them.

What can you learn from this?

Well, in order to get a distinct competitive advantage, you must become an avid learner of new ideas, concepts and trends.

There are plenty of ways to do this.

Identify people who are in-the-know about current trends and subscribe to their websites, blogs and LinkedIn articles 

Create files in which you can save articles, information, knowledge and writings that offer insights into what’s happening now and in the future. 

Get to know the meanings behind these ideas for your industry. Ask yourself, “If this came true, what implications does it have for the future of my clients and prospects?” 

Decide on the short-term measurements you can use to assess success in your market. What could you do to improve those short-term results? 

Design and create articles and blogs that build your knowledge awareness in your market place. 

Start sending information you have accrued to your prospects you would love to have business from. 

Start contributing information to specific LinkedIn Groups so you build a quick reputation for yourself with people who matter to you. 

Develop strategies to contact companies and share your knowledge with the key personnel, without trying to sell a thing. 

Become the person of choice when these prospects are starting to look for solutions. 

Show your expertise at speaking events, Rotaries, Lions Clubs, seminars and the like, where people go to listen to experts.

Your knowledge and expertise will prove to be a massive asset to you and your company over the next few years.

Start planning now to see how you can add value to every company you work with.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of BigStockPhoto)

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5 Quick Tips On Building Better, Long-Term Client Relationships

We all know that partnering with a client’s business helps you to establish long-terms relationships, often provides improved profit opportunities and adds value at every touchpoint you have with the buyer’s company.

It offers and delivers results you simply wouldn’t achieve at a more shallow level.

What is it, then, that makes businesses open their inner sanctum to you and your company, allowing you to build relationships and contacts that are gold-dust to you, leaving competitors in your wake?

Here are five comments from Chiefs of various businesses that give an insight into the needs and wants of decision-makers in positions of authority:

It’s important today to be direct and respectful.

You need to demonstrate integrity and authenticity to us.

Within reason, the more you disclose, the more your customer will disclose.

When entering negotiations, we try to work on the same side of the table as clients.

You should too. If you understand what we want and need to succeed, we both lay a foundation to build on in the future.

This might mean walking away from some volume business.

It’s about knowing and understanding the customer’s reasons for doing business

Rick Cheatham (Leader of BTS Sales Practice)

You need to understand the business case a decision-maker has to make, and then help supply the data and the metrics that builds that case.

That communicates value.

You them show you understand your customer’s P&L and the impact it has.

The best salespeople work with our business plans and our performance dashboard.

It’s about plugging into our management system.

Great partners ask us how they can track the results we are achieving with their services, so they can prove their value on an ongoing basis, and they can justify it concretely.

Mark Little, VistaPrint

We like to partner with suppliers because it’s efficient and gets rid of the clutter.

There’s a natural point where either the depreciation of the equipment or the new technologies that are available to our business become compelling.

The most effective salespeople are working with customers on their strategic plans and establishing greater value while the customer is satisfied.

They help customers with their evaluation processes, and identify the levels of investment required to achieve their short and long-term goals.

That helps salespeople to formalise and structure a strategic approach so the customer knows exactly what they can expect from their supplier.

This means they can meet the needs of their customer for at least the next two or three years of the relationship

Greg Shortell, Nokia

Everything you do should send out these messages loud and clear:

  • We value our customers
  • Awards mean nothing: It’s about the pursuit of perfection
  • We approach everyday as if our customer was number one and we are number two
  • We never succumb to arrogance or complacency
  • We have a long way to go if we want to be called the best in our industry

You should make every effort to communicate, and to us that means listening more than telling.

You need to continually find new and innovative questions to ask and ways to ask them.

Mike Wells, Ex-Lexus, now Group VP of Sales, Toyota

Many salespeople’s approach revolves around the effectiveness and efficiency of their products.

What we need are people to help us achieve our business goals.

Your marketing department should help our marketing department with a new product launch, category or channel.

Your customer service people should help our team with information to provide the value we need.

This helps us see your business as a whole, and not just a one-man outfit.

You need to speak to our financial brains about the impacts you can have across the functions.

You need to embrace our technology.

We use it for a reason, so help us get the best from it.

Use systems in real-time to gather, analyse and share information with us and our support staff.

Today, immediacy is a value-add and is a great measurement of success.

Dale Hayes, Head of UPS Corporate Public Relations Group 

To me, each of these comments is a glimpse into the mind-set of people who are influential in making decisions for the whole of the company, and help to establish the culture within it.

If you are able to dig for and develop the account to create and capture value-building opportunities, you open up so many avenues of opportunity to build long-term partnerships that will enhance your reputation and repute with current and future clients.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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3 Quick Tips On Leading Your Prospect Directly To The Close

Most people like to envision a future full of promise and profits.

It helps us to set goals, have purpose and build strategies.

It’s always better to look forward to the future rather than loathe it.

As a sales consultant, how can you help buyers to build this vision?

What can you do to encourage them to listen to your ideas and see what life would be like if they chose your solutions?

During the negotiation stage, it opens up a lot of opportunities for us to show what this future would look like.

The journey needs to be clear and not committing you to a particular course of action, but allow the buyer to feel that any decision he makes with you in mind will be great for their future.

Here are some ways you can lay down the route and encourage your buyer to take it.

Suppose we….or suppose you….

This offers suggestions of how movement could be made.

It could also suggest movement from both or either side.

It may set the scene for a possible solution or part of one, by painting a picture of what may happen.

For example:

“Suppose we were able to bring those deliveries forward,

a) How would that change things for you?

b) Would that help you to meet your deadlines?

c) How would that affect your customers’ orders?”

How would it be if….

This enables the prospect to see what the result would be if they followed a specific course of action.

You don’t make any offers at this point; you simply identify what would most important for the buyer, so you can ascertain if the direction you are planning would be acceptable and agreeable to them.

For example:

“How would it be if…..

a) We were able to bring those final orders forward?

b) You started your orders next month instead of in two months’ time, so we could bring them into this financial year?

c) You increased your order so we could offer you a better price?”

What if….

This is similar to ‘suppose’ as it offers a dangling morsel to the customer and helps them to visionise a future that might be possible.

Again, by identifying a ‘what-if’ scenario, you aren’t committing to anything at the moment, but may be able to shift things if the customer was agreeable to moving.

For example:

What if…..

a) We were able to help you increase your market share by assisting with your marketing proposals?

b) You were able to increase your productivity with our XYZ model? How would that build your profit opportunities?

c) You could change your processes so that customers were able to buy more on-line and we could support your change processes? How would that help you?

Each one of these builds opportunities for advancement and aids the buyer to see a picture of what their future might be like if they accepted a change in circumstances.

They allow you to play around with options and don’t commit you to anything at that moment.

You’re only surmising or supposing what could or might happen if these changes were acted out.

The ability to switch direction and offer alternatives gives you a better chance to see how you can advance, especially if you’ve encountered some obstacles in the sales process.

Build these visions together and you might come up with ideas that neither of you had thought of before.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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