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April 2009 in Korea
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December 2010 Kuala Lumpur
March 2011 Singapore
I had a chance to speak to a group of sales leaders in Boston a few weeks ago. The topic was Motivating the Sales Force, and as is typical, the exchange and Q&A led to some great blog post fodder.
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Have you ever spoken with someone who was a passionate expert about a certain topic or interest? In those conversations, have you ever felt lost and the terminology/details start to sound like babble? I think this sometimes happens when we talk about the impact and importance of sales process.
Sales experts are passionate about the value of companies using a repeatable and criteria-based sales process. And yet when we talk to executives about their company using a sales process, what we say quickly turns into babble for them. This is because most executives seem to think that they have a process and that their people are working by a sales process. But, we usually mean something different than they do. Sales process is very different from sales practice.
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Please do this exercise:
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Have you ever been at a party, gathering or meeting which was going well and then suddenly someone arrived and everything changed? The mood darkened, the conversations chilled and the fun seemed to run away. What happened?
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Sales people or sales leaders seem to feel comfortable bringing in a third party to validate their solution or reputation. Sometimes this is done in the form of blurbs on a website, references, testimonials, case studies, awards or industry recognition. Most of these are used after a qualification appointment and provided as part of a proposal. Sometimes these are used very early in the funnel as a way to engage. But the real value in referencing a third party actually happens during the qualifying conversation.
Every now and then I find myself helping a well-intentioned sales professional to get better. I describe them as so because they have developed techniques and tactics over the years which they see as a vital part of their sales toolbox, yet to me they sound tired and gimmicky. It can be difficult to get away from these bad habits and unfortunately some people are still teaching these verbatim. In my book Sales Shift – How inbound marketing has turned sales upside down making it more difficult and more lucrative at the same time, I discuss the ways in which sales tactics and methodologies have changed over the years. I believe that our marketplace (more informed and astute than any before) is forcing the following 6 most tired and ineffective sales tactics into retirement:
The majority of my articles have been on questioning and qualifying potential clients. I have written about how much talking compared to listening, types of questions and when best to ask. I have discussed the relationship impact on the way in which we ask questions as well as the role of the person with whom we are speaking. I have even talked about why we ask questions and how our own mindset can affect the quality of the conversation.
I want to share something that I discuss in my book Sales Shift - How inbound marketing turned sales upside down making it more difficult and more lucrative at the same time. I will be speaking at July's Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco where I hope to discuss these points in more detail. (If you would like to attend and hear me speak, the organizers are currently offering a reduced ticket promotion.)
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I started reading The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin and absolutely loved it after the first few pages. First of all, as a musician and art lover, I really appreciate his point regarding the need for (and yet the underappreciation of) creativity in business. There are also some great points in the book to really impact the way in which we sell and feel about selling. Let’s build on one of my favorites:
I feel compelled to start this post with a disclaimer – I don’t usually buy things spontaneously when watching TV. But the other night I saw a commercial for “Side Socket” and immediately picked up the phone, pulled out my wallet and dialed the number. Why I did this (it fit a real need in at least 2 locations in my house) is not important. What is important is that I was SOLD.
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