Archive | March 2013

Building Rapport with Prospects

Dear Sales People,

We often heard that building rapport is essential to get the trust and confidence of your target market. Rapport is an action or words that will make your prospect likes you. This one word might be easy to describe but not too easy to do. If you are a sales manager, how would you teach your team to develop this kind of skill?

Well dear sales people and managers, I have a blog here entiled “The Sales Professional’s Guide to Building Rapport with Leads”, written by Corey Eridon from Hubspot (@HubSpot). I hope this will help you get out of this dilemma.

The Sales Professional’s Guide to Building Rapport With Leads

By Corey Eridon

Marketers and salespeople alike are both concerned with building rapport with leads. From a marketer’s standpoint, it’s all about creating lovable marketing. You know, engaging copy, beautiful designs, helpful emails, witty and useful social media updates — that sort of thing. But the goal of lovable marketing isn’t just to generate new leads — it’s also to tee up your sales team with leads that are in a good mood, excited about your business, and ready to talk to someone and take the next step toward becoming a customer.

But that’s where we often leave you; we tell you to hand off the lead to sales, and congratulations, you did your job! But the best marketing and sales organizations don’t operate like that — marketers should help their sales team see things through ’til the close is won, and ensure all the rapport they’ve helped build stays strong during that handoff. That’s why we thought it was important to write a post about building rapport with leads … once they get into Sales’ hands. Because whether you’re in Marketing or Sales, rapport-building is a critical skill that we should all work on improving. I mean, when is it not handy to be good at relationship-building?

So I sat down with some of HubSpot’s internal sales rock stars, and asked them for their advice — how do they build rapport with leads, and what can the rest of us do to be better at it? Here’s what they had to say.

Match Their Way of Speaking

People generally buy from people they like and trust. And who do people generally like and trust? People that are kind of similar to them. I know, I know, we’re an egomaniacal species, but it’s true. Problem is, when you’re on the phone with a lead, you don’t have as many ways to show someone that you’re generally a good person … you just have your voice. That’s why it’s critical you put them at ease by adjusting the tone and pace of your speech to match one more similar to theirs.

Now, that doesn’t mean you throw on a Southern drawl when your lead has one, too. What it means is if you’re speaking to someone who talks extremely fast-paced, you adjust your pace to be a little more “alert,” even if naturally you speak pretty slow. Or if you’re speaking with someone who sounds pretty laid back and is cracking jokes, you play along — slow your roll, and be willing to shoot the breeze for a while. Changing your tone and pacing doesn’t mean that you’re not being genuine; it means you’re good at making other people feel comfortable, something any marketing or sales professional should be proud of.

Use Social Media to Find Common Points of Interest

Social media hasn’t just changed the way marketers do their jobs; it’s opened things up for sales professionals, too. Before you hop on the phone or attend a meeting with a lead, do your research. You should be looking for their public social profiles, and seeing what you can learn about them from those. As Paul Rios, one of HubSpot’s international sales reps says, “Chances are you can find something in common with 99% of humans who breathe oxygen and live on Earth when you look up their social profiles.” If you’re using HubSpot software, it’s really easy to find this kind of information — just pop open their Contact record, and see a history of how they’ve interacted with your brand on social media.

contact profile with social media info resized 600

Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll use every piece of intelligence you gather to build rapport. There’s a line between doing your homework, and being unnatural … or just plain creepy. Danielle Herzberg, a HubSpot channel sales manager, recommends alleviating this by engaging the information from a social profile once she’s already made a phone connect with someone. “It’s less to find out whether they like cats versus dogs, and more to figure out what they care about as a business, what they’re promoting, and then following up to say I read that link to the blog post they shared on, say, Twitter.”

Depending on the cues you read from them in your initial phone connect, you can then assess whether it’s appropriate to get more personal — noting that you went to college in the city they’re located in, or maybe that you have common connections. In fact, you can even occasionally call yourself out for being “creepy,” saying that you were looking at their Twitter account or LinkedIn profile, and noticed an interesting factoid. But if you’re feeling uneasy about this level of personal information, you can always default to using content that leads share socially to start a conversation about something you both have in common, and both care about immensely.

Show You Understand Their Pain Points

Speaking about caring immensely, Gary Vaynerchuk, HubSpot adviser and speaker at last year’s INBOUND conferencegave a keynote address in which he called upon all of us to “care immensely, or die.” This couldn’t be more true in the rapport-building process. No matter how much you bond about the weather, their kids, your shared alma mater, how much you care will ultimately come down to your ability to show you understand their pain points, and want to help.

To extend and strengthen the initial rapport you’ve already built, transition to a conversation that demonstrates you’re committed to understanding their pain points, and helping them find a solution. You may think this is just valuable to advance the conversation toward the close, but it’s more than that — it advances it toward the close, because you’re engendering even more trust in the lead by investing time into truly understanding their problem, and enabling yourself to actually help them.

Dan Slagen, head of global marketing relations at HubSpot, had this to say about the subject: “Every partnership we’ve successfully forged at HubSpot was because we were addressing a fundamental need of a partner, at the time they needed it. It doesn’t matter if I flatter them, offer the world, or anything in between; if the timing isn’t right, and I’m not providing a solution that really helps them meet their goals, all the warm and fuzzy feelings mean nothing.” This kind of rapport-building is critical, too, in case you don’t win a lead’s business the first time around. If you showed you understood their pain points, when the timing is right, you can bet you’ll be the first one they call next time around.

Ask Leads to Confirm Your Rapport-Building Is Working

If you’re working with leads on the phone, it can be hard to tell if your rapport-building is working. If that’s the case, sometimes you can use cues that validate you’re on the same page. For instance, you can blatantly say, “I can’t see you guys around that conference table, but are you nodding your heads, or are you checking your email?” Searching for this little bit of validation can help break any perceived awkward tension, and get a lead to agree that either you’re on the right track and everything’s gravy, or you lost them somewhere, and there’s a reason why.

Be sure to use this tactic in moderation, though. Herzberg likened overusing this tactic to a girl asking if she’s pretty every ten minutes — you need to own some level of confidence that you’re reading their cues accurately. For example, after you’ve done this once or twice, it’s wise to say something like, “I’m going to assume silence is a good thing, and that you’ll interrupt me if I’m saying something you’re not on board with.” This shows that you have a strong enough rapport that you want the dialogue to be open and honest.

Don’t Be Afraid to Call Leads Out

Sometimes, your attempts to build rapport can go sour. If you start off on (or veer onto) a bad foot with someone for some reason — hey, we all have bad days — don’t be afraid to call out the elephant in the room. “I like to articulate that I sense their tone has changed,” Herzberg advises, “and ask if I said something that offended them.” You might say, “Until I brought up X, I felt like you were really into our conversation, and now it feels a little closed off.” Throwing yourself under the bus is a great way for the lead to step in and save you, and it gets a conversation back on track much quicker than ignoring the problem.

It can also help to do a little active listening if you’re having trouble building rapport with someone from the get-go. The lead may just want to do a little bragging. Let them. Sometimes you need to put in a little extra up-front time stroking someone’s ego in order to tee yourself up to have more difficult conversations later down the road.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Some people are naturals at building rapport, and for others, it’s a learned skill. But the point is, it can be learned! Herzberg recommends that those looking to improve this skill pick a handful of leads, and visit their websites. Then visit their ‘About’ page, and learn something about each lead that you could use to start a conversation. For instance, in what city are they located? Are you planning a trip there? Did you go to college there? Have you ever visited? Do you have a boyfriend that’s moving there who is having a tough time finding an apartment?

Then, pull in a co-worker or manager and actually role play a conversation based on what information you’ve gleaned. The most important part is making it feel and sound natural, because leads can totally sense when rapport-building is just another thing on your checklist. I mean, if you just bond about the weather for 15 seconds, it’s pretty obvious what you’re doing, and your good intentions are quickly wiped away. Instead, have an earnest conversation.

Once you’ve gotten good at finding ways to open up the conversation, practice the transition to a business conversation. Remember, even if you forge a strong personal bond with a lead, they still have business they need to accomplish. If you don’t get good at transitioning to the business conversation, you’ll reach a point at which you’re wasting their time. And that sure as sugar isn’t good for rapport.

(Note: If you’re truly not good at building rapport, all is not lost … as long as you’re good at earning people’s respect, and quickly. It’s a common misconception that charm wins you deals, but charm alone does not make a great salesperson. An ideal salesperson can do both — charm peopleand earn their respect — but ultimately, the ability to help a lead is the most important part of being great at sales.)

Remember, Rapport Isn’t Built in a Day

Or was that Rome? Either way … rapport-building isn’t something that happens once on the connect call, and then never again. It happens all the time. Read the content leads are sharing on social media, send them links to content you think they’ll find helpful, engage in conversations they’re having on forums or in LinkedIn Groups, send emails that they’ll appreciate. These are the kinds of actions that show you care about actually helping them, and are invested in the relationship — instead of just bonding over superficial subject matters because you were told salespeople should build good rapport with leads.

How else have you been able to establish a good rapport with prospects? Share your tips in the comments!

For most people, building rapport is a talent or skill but base on study it can be learned. It is like the scenarios happen in the hospital, when nurses instinctively build rapport with the patient because it is important to have connection. Trust is an important thing. It’s happy knowing that you have this talent or you’ve learned it!  Thanks for spending time with me again!

God bless

Jack

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Keep Your Team United with Crushpath

Hello People!

In our modern day today, everything is high tech! It means that we can do everything in an instant such as sending message, you can use a cellphone to deliver your message and you do not have to send a mail and wait for weeks! You can receive the answer in just minutes.

Same goes with team communication and motivating a team. You do not need to set a meeting every now and then to address some issues. With sales software, you can communicate with your team easily, you can guide them and give them everything they need in one place. Your team can decide easily and plan an action when everything they need is already presented to them. Why am I talking about this thing?

Well, I just read something similar to this written by Jennifer Smith (@Jensmith1000) of Crushpath (@crushpath). Here it is!

Crushpath’s Team Selling: Fewer Meetings, Better Internal Communication

By Jennifer Smith

Adding Teams to Crushpath

Sometimes a sale is like a relay, from a great sales pitch to the final closing, many people on your team might work the deal.  A good baton pass can make the difference between standing proud on the high podium of sales success and ending up like this:

McKayla is not impressed

So how do you make those internal handoffs as tight, fast, and easy as possible? A CRM doesn’t help, because it’s not sales software, it’s customer management software. Crushpath keeps your coworkers, leads and customers totally synced by allowing you to create “teams” for each deal. Internal coordination goes into hyperspeed because everyone on your side know what’s going on at all times—plus, if you can add all the movers and shakers on the customers’ side.

Say you have an Ops Manager and a Sales Engineer who always get consulted during the course of a deal? Pull them into Crushpath and make it easy to work together.

Say there are a number of people influencing the decision on your customer’s team?  Add them all so that you can communication directly and keep great records of it without ever needing to update your CRM database.

Here’s how to use teams to sell faster:

  • Click the Deals button in the orange navigation bar at the top of the page.
  • Select the deal to which you want to add members. (If you haven’t added a deal yet, do that first.)
  • You’ll be taken to the Activities tab; make sure you click the Teams tab located in the upper right hand corner, below the orange navigation bar.
  • Click the + button between the two columns: My Teamand Customer’s Team
  • Select Add to My Team or Add to Customer’s Teamfrom the dropdown.
  • Enter the email address of the person you want to add—if you’re adding to your team there is a space for a message. The people you add to the customer’s team don’t even know they’ve been added.
  • If the person is in our system already, they’ll immediately appear in the deal. If not, you can add some information about them on the next page.
  • Click Save.

Now to get back to the sports metaphors: Get to the finish line as fast as humanly possible!

No matter what kind of sales software you’ve chosen in keeping your team, being organized and on top of everything will give you to a motivated team and eventually more sales. How do you keep communication open in your team? Does the issues addressed right away or given proper attention to get resolved? We want to hear your voice!

Thanks,

Jack

In Sales, People is Everything!

Hey Guys,

This is very gorgeous day and I want to share something with you that have been shared with me by my best friend. This blog is very timely and this was entitled “In Sales, “Location, Location, Location” is Not Always Everything” from Reachable Blog (@Reach_able).

I say that this is very timely because business now operates online so location is not that vital anymore in sales roles unlike before. This content has tips on how to build relationship with people to increase productivity. Read the entire blog post below and tell me what you think about it!

In Sales, “Location, Location, Location” is Not Always Everything

Editor’s Note: This article by Reachable CEO Al Campa was originally published on Business 2 Community.

With all the changes in business, one thing remains the same: business is about people. Despite globalization, technology revolutions, social networks, and razor-thin competitive margins, business is still about people working with people. People who can’t connect effectively with others rarely do well in business.

Consider sales, for instance. We buy things from people we have a positive relationship with; people we like and trust. And if those relationships stay positive, we keep buying from them, even if they switch companies and sell something different.  The relationship and trust endure.  Recent research indicated that a prospect is five times more likely to return a sales call if they have some type of personal connection to the sales person.  This results in a 243% increase in effectiveness throughout the sales process.  Sales managers would die for a 24% increase in effectiveness, let alone a 243% increase.

So one would assume that when companies assign sales territories and determine which sales reps will sell to which accounts, they would consider the strength of social relationships – or “social proximity” – in their assignments, particularly since there is a goldmine of relationships they can leverage, from their employees, customers, and partners.  But most don’t.  Most sales territories are still determined by geographic boundaries and physical proximity. Sales reps are assigned to nearby zip codes or area codes, or they are assigned by state boundaries where they live.

Here are three reasons why you should consider social proximity selling for your organization:

Increase productivity for outbound prospecting.  The recent research I mentioned earlier showed that for every 1000 prospecting calls made, only 345 are returned if there is no personal connection but 849 are returned if there is a personal connection.  That is a 243% increase in productivity.

Improve conversion rate for inbound leads.  Inbound leads can be prioritized by the strength of the personal connection somebody in your organization has to a prospective account.  This enables you to focus your sales resources on opportunities where you have an inside edge.

Get deeper penetration into target accounts.  Target accounts can be assigned based on who has the strongest personal connections to them.  This will allow you to leverage established relationships with key influencers and decision makers in order to extend your presence within key accounts.

In the past, it would have been difficult to determine who had the strongest connection to a particular person or account.  But now, solutions are available that can mine social networks, email address books, and CRM systems for connections between your company’s expansive network of contacts and your target customer.  Incorporating this social proximity into your sales process could significantly increase sales productivity and drive top line revenue growth.

No man is an island. We all need one another to survive and to be successful. Helping others will make your business succeed and building trust will gain loyal customers. Do you have loyal customers? What is your strategy to gain them? Share us your secrets!

All the best,

Jack

TenXer: A Program That Makes You Study Your Working Habits

Hey Guys,

I love watching videos because I can easily get the idea or I can easily understand the thing that I wanted to know since it is both audio and visual. So, this is also the reason why I am sharing videos with you guys to make you easily grab the point of the topic.

This video shows the new method of studying your work habit. It is made possible by tenXer program. They are able to track your progress using their innovative tool. It serves as a wake-up call to the end user to hit his objective within time frame. You will never missed important mails as this tool will alert you once you exceed the average time in responding them. Moreover, the featured program about twitter rank position is the best to know if your number of followers falls. Since you are aware, you can do something about it before it’s too late. You will never left behind with sales competition through acquiring this productivity tool. Watch the video by building43 to understand it better.

Programmers: tenXer Lets You Study Your Work Habits in a New Way

By building43

 

The video is very suitable for newbie in the business. You are able to track you work efficiency with this tool. It prevents delays and makes you to be aware with important things you need to accomplish. Therefore the tenXer program is designed to develop your job accuracy and time frame to reach your goal. Now, tell me, are you going to use this tool? Why and why not?

 

Cheers,

 

Jack

Boost Your Productivity!

Hey Buddies!

What’s up? I am sitting in my couch today and chillin’ out! I am reading something you might be interested in. I know that every day in your life, you are thinking about how to increase sales. How about Time Trade? Have you heard about it?

If you haven’t heard about it, I have it for you. It came from Time Trade (@timetrade) itself, posted by Alex Kevork. This is a blog of Justin Shepard inspired by his own experience using Time Trade. Read on how it helps him to increase sales.

Guest Blog: How TimeTrade Doubled My Productivity

By Alex Kevork

Justin Shepard of ByAllAccounts took the time to blog about his experience with TimeTrade and we thought we’d post it here in case you missed it. Read below for a first-hand account of how TimeTrade can help double a rep’s productivity.

No More Games, Let’s Just Talk: How TimeTrade Doubled My Productivity

This is not an advertisement for TimeTrade.  Nobody put me up to this, nor am I being held at fake finger-in-coat-pocket gunpoint by some over-eccentric staff member demanding a testimonial for ransom (not to suggest that anyone at TimeTrade would ever do such a thing, but I want my point to be made clear.)  This is not a marketing ploy, but rather an honest reflection of the ways in which appointment scheduling software has impacted my performance as a sales development professional. I’m sure there are other products out there similar to TimeTrade that work great.

Having said that, TimeTrade works wonders for me. I began using the product in October of last year, and my productivity has doubled ever since. By “productivity has doubled”, what I mean is that the number of opportunities that I create per day is twice as high with the software as it was before I started using it.  Why is that? With TimeTrade I can spend more time talking to prospects, and less time playing games.

Games I no longer have to waste my time playing thanks to TimeTrade:

“Calendar Invite Battleship”.

Ever try setting an appointment between two busy people via email, and end up sitting there sending and declining time proposals back-and-forth, hoping to blindly hit one of the few open time slots in each other’s schedules like some game of calendar invite battleship?

“The 7th at 2:00?”

“…miss! The 10th at 4:00?”

“miss! the…”

If so, you know that (unlike the real battleship) this is not a fun game to play, and it’s a waste of time on both ends. But, much like the real battleship however, it’s far easier and over much quicker when you can see the other person’s board. In a way, that’s what TimeTrade does—it shows you my board. With a TimeTrade link embedded in my email signature, one click brings you to my calendar to see exactly which appointment times I have or don’t have available, and (with your own calendar handy) another click reserves a time that works well for both parties. Easy, convenient, time-efficient (click, click “the 3rd at 9:00?” “hit!”)

Phone-Tag & Cat-and-Mouse.

Before I had TimeTrade, I used to feel like I was always trying to chase people down on their phone. I also felt like when I actually would catch people, it wasn’t at a great time. Wasting time on the chasing and waiting game is bad enough, but the last thing in the world I want to do is in anyway bother or seem intrusive to prospects. But, if you pick the time you want to speak, then I’m not catching you off guard or at a bad time.  In fact, I’m doing the opposite—fulfilling your request to have a conversation on your terms. Now, not only do I not have to chase you around or feel like a bother, but when you schedule an appointment with me, I know that you’re genuinely interested in our product and what I have to say.  In that regard, you might even say that TimeTrade adds an extra layer of lead qualification to a certain respect.

I am also opposed to using a “hard-sell” approach, because I simply don’t like being pushy or pressuring folks (not to criticize those who do, it just doesn’t work for me personally).  Instead, I try to be as polite and personable as possible, while still being informative of the benefits of our product. I don’t sell, I help prospects buy. TimeTrade caters to this preference because by attaching my calendar link in email blasts and posting it on our website, the prospects come to me, and all I have to do is be friendly and tell them what they want to know.  And many times these appointments are with those I wouldn’t have ever called. Again, that means no more wasting time (ours and theirs) calling people who aren’t interested. And, all the time I used to spend chasing can now be used for something more productive, like researching and preparing for upcoming appointments, which are never hard to set with a calendar that fills itself.

My tagline for TimeTrade:
 More conversations. More quality conversations. No more playing games.

About ByAllAccounts:
ByAllAccounts provides a unique combination of transaction detail, data quality, and custodian coverage specifically required for the professional wealth management market.  Thousands of financial advisors rely onByAllAccounts to efficiently scale their business, increase held-away assets in their billing schedule and deliver exceptional client service. Each night, hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of financial data records flow through our patented aggregation engine. Visit their blog athttp://www.byallaccounts.com/blog/.

Now buddies, are you interested to use time trade? There is no harm in using something that will help us to be productive but it is still depends on your preferences.

I like this line though, “More conversations. More quality conversations. No more playing games.”

What are you thinking right now? Share it!

Cheers!

Jack

Learning the Buying Cycle

Hey guys!

It’s been my obligation to share with you something new and interesting with regards to sale. I am so happy that I can be able to help in my little ways. I know that you have spared me your precious time so with that I am grateful and promise not to let you down.

For today, we are going to study about the buying cycle. The objective is to know how it works and how to make it works in our way. It is very handy when we are creating our sales promotion program. Knowing how to influence the buyer is a sure sale. This is from Sharon Drew Morgen (@sharondrew) blog and I am gladly reposting it here!

THE BUY CYCLE: WHEN DOES IT START AND HOW TO INFLUENCE IT

By nrelyea

BUY CYCLE

Buy CycleWhen you think about a buyer’s buy cycle, what do you consider? Are you merely focusing on how they are choosing you over the competition? Or how they will finance their purchase? I’d like to suggest that the buy cycle begins far earlier than when they are choosing a purchase.

A buying decision does not begin when buyers are deciding on your solution, but when they have an idea. And by attempting to influence a buying decision merely around your solution rather than the point when the buying decision is forming (far earlier in the buy cycle than their solution choice), you are severely limiting your closed sales.

BUY CYCLE VS SALES CYCLE

I’ve been working with the buying decision journey since 1988 when I ran my first in-house training called Facilitating Buying Decisions to KLM. Indeed, the field of sales has been a bit slow to catch up, preferring to focus on the solution placement end of the buying decision path. But this is merely the last 10% of the types of decisions and activities buyers must manage, and ignores the 90% they are doing behind-the-scenes that you could be influencing.

Here are some questions to think about:

  • Do you know what percentage of the Buying Decision Team your prospect(s) represent? Because if you are only speaking with one or two people, even your buyer doesn’t possess the full fact pattern of how, what, where, when they will buy, and theirbuy cycle is either unknown or irrelevant. Until everyone shows up and adds their 2 cents, the buyer will not have the full set of buying criteria.
  • Do your prospects recognize every single person or group or department that will touch the final solution? Until they bring everyone in – and they will not know this when you first connect with them even if one of the folks tells you what their buy cycle is – they cannot choose a solution or there will be disruption. In other words, until everyone says yes and offers ideas as to what they want as an end solution, there is no need to work with the buy cycle as it will be too early.
  • Can you understand all of the internal change management issues the buyers must contend with before they can buy? Does the buyer understand all of their change management issues? Until all of the people issues, policies, politics, strategic issues, historic problems and vendor issues are settles, buyers cannot buy. Their internal issues – their system – is sacrosanct.

WHEN DOES THE BUY CYCLE BEGIN?

The buy cycle starts when someone in a buyer’s organization has an idea. Then they must bring together some people, consider how efficacious the idea is, see how it will fit with what they are planning and doing, and see if they can resolve their issues internally before considering an external vendor.

If you are not helping your buyers through their entire buy cycle, you are dependent on the time it takes them to do it, putting you totally out of control until you are in a competitive situation. And, since they don’t know how disruptive your solution might be, or what they will need to address to maintain a stable environment as they make a purchase, the time it takes them to do this is the length of the sales cycle. They cannot, cannot buy until all of their ducks are in a row.

I have been teaching Buying Facilitation® for 25 years – well before the field of sales began thinking about buy cycles or buying decisions or buying decision paths. I’ve developed a scalable model to help buyers buy and written books (the best being Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it) and trained hundreds of global corporations in the art of the buying decision process.

If you’re interested in the understanding the complete buy cycle, or the buying decision path, you’ll be able to influence your buyers along the full spectrum of decision issues they must address rather than focusing merely on the last 10%. You can enter earlier, have more influence, and differentiate yourself from the competition if you help your buyers buy.

If you wish to discuss training in influencing the hidden parts of the buy cycle, contactSharon Drew Morgen.

If you’d like to read more on the topic, go to Sharon Drew’s top ranked blogwww.sharondrewmorgen.com .

THE BUY CYCLE: WHEN DOES IT START AND HOW TO INFLUENC IT

When you think about a buyer’s buy cycle, what do you consider? Are you merely focusing on how they are choosing you over the competition? Or how they will finance their purchase? I’d like to suggest that the buy cycle begins far earlier than when they are choosing a purchase.

A buying decision does not begin when your buyers are deciding on our solution, but when someone has an idea. And by limiting your desire to influence the buy cycle merely around your solution, you are severely limiting your ability to enter the buyer’s buying decision path as early as possible.

BUY CYCLE VS SALES CYCLE

I’ve been working with the buying decision journey since 1988 when I ran my first in-house training called Facilitating Buying Decisions to KLM. Indeed, the field of sales has been a bit slow to catch up, preferring to focus on the solution placement end of the buying decision path. But this is merely the last 10% of the buying decision path, and ignores the 90% they are doing behind-the-scenes that you could be influencing.

Here are some questions to think about:

  • Do you know what percentage of the Buying Decision Team your prospect(s) represent? Because if you are only speaking with one or two people, even your buyer doesn’t possess the full fact pattern of how, what, where, when they will buy, and their buy cycle is either unknown or irrelevant. Until everyone shows up and adds their 2 cents, the buyer will not have the full set of buying criteria.
  • Do your prospects recognize every single person or group or department that will touch the final solution? Until they bring everyone in – and they will not know this when you first connect with them – they cannot choose a solution or there will be disruption. In other words, until everyone says yes and offers ideas as to what they want as an end solution, there is no need to work with the buy cycle as it will be too early.
  • Can you understand all of the internal change management issues the buyers must contend with before they can buy? Does the buyer understand all of their change management issues? Until all of the people issues, policies, politics, strategic issues, historic problems and vendor issues are settles, buyers cannot buy. Their internal issues – their system – is sacrosanct.

WHEN DOES THE BUY CYCLE BEGIN?

The buy cycle starts when someone in a buyer’s organization has an idea. Then they must bring together some people, consider how efficacious the idea is, see how it will fit with what they are planning and doing, and see if they can resolve their issues internally before considering an external vendor.

If you are not helping your buyers through their entire buy cycle, you are dependent on the time it takes them to do it. And, since they don’t know how disruptive your solution might be, or what they will need to address to maintain a stable environment as they make a purchase, the time it takes them to do this is the length of the sales cycle. They cannot, cannot buy until all of their ducks are in a row.

I have been teaching Buying Facilitation® for 25 years – well before the field of sales began thinking about buy cycles or buying decisions or buying decision paths. I’ve developed a scalable model to help buyers buy and written books (the best being Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it) and trained hundreds of global corporations in the art of the buying decision process.

If you’re interested in the buy cycle, or the buying decision path, at least learn more about what’s going on instead of relegating your thinking to merely the last 10% of what the buyer does when choosing and buying a solution. You can enter earlier, have more influence, and differentiate yourself from the competition if you help your buyers buy along with your selling.

If you wish to discuss training in influencing the hidden parts of the buy cycle, contactSharon Drew Morgen.

Knowing the behavior of the buyer will give you an idea of what strategy you should use to close a sale and to make the customer hit the “buy button”. If you are happy that you have read this, we welcome your comments. If this helps you closing a sale, we are also expecting a comment. Comment box are made to be filled with comments of our dear readers so that space is for you!

Sincerely,

Jack

Inside Sales Technique

Hi everyone!

Let us start a brand new day with a smile in our faces. There are many things to be excited about each day like right now, you are excited what’s new to read here right? 😛

Well, I stumble upon this blog reposted by Matt Bertuzzi (@mattbertuzzi) from Inside Sale Experts Blogger entitled “Making the Transition: From Lead Gen to Closing Business” Obviously, this is about inside sales techniques, on how to be productive. You are not just working for nothing, you are aiming for results or the fruit of your labor so do your job right and reap your price. Here, I’m reposting it too!

Making the Transition: From Lead Gen to Closing Business

By Matt Bertuzzi

I saw this question on LinkedIn the other day:

I was immediately reminded of something I saw from Chris Corcoran, Cofounder of memoryBlue. Chris was kind enough to let me repost the following:
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Lead Generation to Inside Sales – Are You Worth The Risk?

Many high tech salespeople earn their stripes in lead generation for the complex sale. It’s a low risk way for companies to test and train sales professionals without allowing inexperienced reps to blow deals.  However, most lead gen reps don’t view the role as the zenith of their professional sales career; instead they have their sights set on the next rung of the ladder. Contrast that with companies, and more specifically sales managers, who are hesitant to hire someone for a closing position unless the sales professional has experience closing deals.

Fair or unfair, you’ll have to win the chicken or the egg argument—how am I supposed to get closing experience unless someone gives me an opportunity to get closing experience—because managers may see you as a project that they don’t need on their already overcrowded plate.

In order to win this debate, you’ll need to prove that you’re a sales professional worth betting on.

Here’s how.

Record Your Calls.

Peyton Manning is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of football. The New York Times wrote an article “Peyton Manning’s Case for Being the Best Ever” detailing how he out-prepares the competition each week and chronicles his legendary film study habits.

In order to outpace the pack, invest time each week breaking down recordings of your prospecting calls.  Pick one or two calls each week and complete a detailed call evaluation where you dissect the call. My team selects their strongest call and weakest call of each week for this exercise.

Share your call recordings and evaluations with your manager, the VP of Sales, or the strongest closing rep and ask them for their feedback and coaching.

This exercise will help you accelerate how quickly you improve your selling skills. If you want to eventually become the “Peyton Manning of Sales,” you’ll need to match his famous work ethic.

If your company’s telephone system doesn’t have this functionality you can get a USB call recorder for less than $200.

Get Face Time.

Lobby for a standing weekly 30 minute meeting with your manager to review your results and activities.  Many sales reps hope that their management leaves them alone. Seeking out an audience with management is a rare role reversal that few desire. Plus it makes you accountable for producing results every week.

Identify the strongest closing rep at your company and befriend that individual. Birds of a feather flock together. Of course you’ll want to find out how that individual got into a closing role and ask for advice on how you can follow suit. More immediately, ask that individual what you can do to help them become more successful.

Offer to take your VP of Sales out for coffee, breakfast, or lunch and ask for advice on how you can succeed under their leadership. Insist on picking up the check. This small but not insignificant gesture signals that you value their time and are willing to invest in yourself.

Invest in Your Career.

The sales trainers I know tell me there are two types of salespeople who attend their sales training: 1) the ones whose companies pay for them to go and 2) the ones who invest in themselves by paying their own money to go.

I’m told that less than 3% of sales reps fall into that second category.

Read.

Mark Twain nailed it over a century ago. Here’s my tweak to his famous quote:  “The man salesperson who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man salesperson who can’t read them.”

There are dozens of great sales books out there. Reading and applying the material will sharpen your sales skills and help you demonstrate you can handle the responsibility of closing deals.

Produce Quality Results.

Develop a portfolio of highly qualified sales opportunities that ultimately close. Pay extra special attention to the qualitative aspects of your leads and try to carry these sales opportunities as far as possible prior to involving your closing teammates. Your goal should be to know more details about your sales opportunities than any other salesperson in your company.  Try to “out qualify” not only your lead gen contemporaries, but the closing reps too.

Demonstrate that you can consistently surface, qualify, and drive the sales process to the point that the deal advances to the next stage of the sales process with clear and mutually agreed upon next steps.

Bottom line: amass a war chest of sales opportunities that are likely to close, regardless of who ultimately gets ink on paper.

“There is very little traffic on the extra mile.” – Unknown

If you’re given a list of prospects, augment it through your own personal research. If you have one name at a target prospect, find ten. Extend your research so you’ve got a compelling reason to speak with each person.  Ask any experienced litigation attorney, and you’ll hear that cases are won or lost at trial because of what happens prior to trial. The same holds true in prospecting.

Invite yourself to participate in the initial meetings you surface. If you run into resistance, offer to join in “listen only mode,” provide detailed call notes to the closing rep and your manager, and perform all post call follow-up for the rep.

The good news is you can become an elite lead gen rep—one worth risking a closing role on—by simply doing all the little things that most lead gen reps won’t do. The choice, of course, is up to you.
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I absolutely love this. For me, the advice to read, ask & know more are hugely important for success in any profession. Gigantic thanks to Chris for the thought-provoking words.

What advice would you give to reps looking to make the transition?

Most of us are curious of new things but some of us are afraid of it.  But actions create changes that will fully affect our sales life. If what we have done before is not working, why are you afraid to change your ways? Doing steps above regarding inside sale report will boost confidence and make things organize and manageable. Let us change for the better! Tell us your thoughts about changes!

All the best!

Jack