The Sales Expeditor

Creating Urgency Without Using Price

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Mar 05, 2018 @ 22:03 PM


If you see yourself as a transactional seller don’t waste your time reading this article.

Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. In this case insanity means using price to close end of month or quarter business. Why is this insane you may ask? Because you already know what going to happen. You will very likely be chasing your prospects as the deadline passes. What’s worse, some prospects want “the deal” you offered at the end of the month, only later, when they're ready.

Let me be more specific about the downside.

  • You wasted your time getting special pricing approved.
  • You taught your prospect that you will cave on price.
  • You stopped selling consultatively and became transactional
  • You convinced yourself that the prospect was ready to buy.
  • You set yourself up for disappointment.

Prospects don’t buy when you want them to for a few simple reasons. You did not uncover compelling reasons to buy or create urgency, your contact was not the decision maker, you were being played, you rushed the process, or something changed on their end without you knowing.

Prospects act when the pressure or perceived risk of inaction is unacceptable. This connects directly to fear of failure, exposure, job security or advancement or other personal reasons. We don’t buy things because we want them; we buy when we convince ourselves we need them now, even when we don’t. 

The question is not what do you need to buy, but why do you need to buy it. Price concessions assume the prospect is actually ready to buy and needs to act now.

Creating urgency requires you to take a methodical, milestone-based approach. You can’t properly learn what makes it compelling to fix a problem(s) until after you have a clear understanding of what the problem is and the current or future impact.

Here is a sequence of questions you can ask which will expose or create urgency or show you that there isn’t any or not enough. When you don’t find any or enough urgency I suggest you focus on other opportunities. Insanity is just around the corner. 

  • What’s not working or needs to work better?
  • Why is it not working?
  • What is the impact of this?
  • How long has this being going on?
  • What have they done to address it?
  • What happened as a result?
  • Who else cares about this and why?
  • How does it affect them?
  • What is the cost (money, time, emotion, opportunity, etc.) ?
  • How does this impact your contact(s)
  • Are they committed to do something about it?
  • When does it have to be fixed?
  • What makes it compelling to act now?

Some of you are telling yourselves that you already know all of this.

The second instance of insanity occurs when we convince ourselves that what we think we heard is always what the prospect said. In truth, it’s not. In virtually every role-play or post-call debriefing I do, I hear words and phrases that expose the assumptions salespeople make. We are sure we heard them say something when, in actuality, we inferred what they said. This is because we are listening to two voices, ours and theirs. We hear our own voice first and loudest.

If you choose to use price as an incentive that’s your choice, but as a professional salesperson, you are likely selling yourself short. Patterns and habits are hard to break, the first step is being fully transparent with yourself.

If you want more transparency click on the image below and grade your  sales process.

Sales Process Grader 

Topics: Consultative Selling, sales process, closing deals

Everything Leads to Something

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Feb 19, 2018 @ 16:02 PM


Tree Roots.jpeg

On Friday I interviewed a true hunter. I was struck by his mindset.

He was absolutely sure there was no substitute for picking up the phone and calling people. For him social selling, conferences and networking were all a means to an end. His message was to talk to as many of the right people as possible and as quickly as possible. Do this consistently and everything will work out. It’s no surprise he has a track record of consistent quota overachievement and numerous new business awards.

In sales mindset is everything. How badly you want to succeed, a conviction that you must ask the hard questions, knowing you belong, expecting a positive outcome (including no), demanding equality and calling things as you see them occur because you believe.

Along the way he said, "When I call people, I always get the names of at least two other people I can call."

This got me thinking about the simplicity and absoluteness of human connectively. In our technology abundant world, we take “connectivity” for granted, almost to the point of how we see electricity. When we are off grid or off network we notice. Behind the devices and the lights are an endless chain of connections, each talking to another in a very organized and predictable way.

Joe Girard credits his consistent practice of tossing business cards into the stands at baseball and football games for much of his success. It’s quite likely that someone who picked up a couple cards gave one to their friend. And so, everything leads to something, at minimum another fork in the road through which opportunity knocks.

Over the past two years I have had the great pleasure of working with thirty-five corporate clients, twenty-nine, or 83%, come via an introduction.

I’m going to give you a simple challenge for the next two weeks. All I ask is that you commit to it fully and see what happens.

  • Identify and call five people from your social/personal network. Get together with three
  • Each week, call five clients from a previous job, find out how they are doing, and tell them what you are doing
  • Each week, identify five prospects in your Linked In network using second level search and ask your connection to make an introduction.
  • Each week, call five current clients and check-in, ask how you can help and ask for an introduction
  • Each week, find five people you can help and do something for them
  • Talk to five people each week when you are out and about i.e. coffee or grocery line

Why do this? Besides getting out of your comfort zone which is always a good thing, you are practicing talking to people, asking for and offering help, and putting yourself in the flow of human connections.

Send me an email at the end of next week and let me know what has happened. Remember, you must fully commit. What’s the downside? Status quo.

What to find out more about what makes you tick? 


Topics: referrals and introductions, prospecting tips

Do You Leverage the Most Powerful Selling Tool of All?

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Feb 05, 2018 @ 14:02 PM


Depending on which data you use, the percentage of salespeople who make quota each year is no bigger than around 50 percent. While no one is happy about this and the year-over-year quota attainment doesn’t vary by much, many of us seem to have accepted this as being “normal”. There are few business leaders I’ve meet who would tolerate performance like this in other departments and in a moment, I'll share a powerful tool that can help every salesperson attain quota, regardless of skill level.

The top priority for virtually all the companies I work with is new business.  This is a combination of new accounts, expansion of share in existing accounts, selling a company’s complete product and service lines, and penetrating other groups and divisions.

Salespeople that don’t make quota typically have a pipeline without enough (number and size) quality new opportunities while a small percentage of salespeople have good pipelines but aren't very good at closing.

As a sales development expert, experience has proven that real, sustainable sales force improvement requires a change in culture. This means greater transparency, more accountability, constant focus on training and coaching, the recruitment of stronger salespeople, impactful sales management and great systems and processes. The return will be profound, but it takes time, effort and commitment.

Everyone needs short-term wins.

Do you have a structured, milestone based, KPI driven referral and introduction program? If the answer is yes, I’m preaching to the choir. Unfortunately, it’s a rhetorical question and the vast majority of companies and sales organizations say, "No." Your size, sophistication, verticals served, products and services don’t change this answer by much.

Among the many reasons why, discomfort asking clients/customers for help is at the top of the list. This may well include you. Here are some of things I hear when I ask, "Why?" 

  • What if they say no?
  • I’m not sure if they are really happy.
  • Have I / we done enough for them?
  • They might be uncomfortable being asked.
  • I don’t want to upset them.
  • …..

If you have an established business with some happy repeat customers, you must create and execute a formal process that nurtures and drives introductions and referrals. This includes everyone.

An effective process sets the expectation that you will be asking for help (with introductions) when the time is right. It nurtures existing customers, fostering their desire to help you and assures you are helping them in unsolicited ways. Everybody from the CEO to line staff needs a role, defined expected behaviors and measurable metrics. It needs to be fun, rewarding and celebrated.

I’ve asked thousands of salespeople what percentage of their time is spent in “real high-quality selling situations”. I have never heard more that 25%. The power of introductions is significant particularly when measured against effort. It’s ongoing, helps with pipeline challenges, improves relationships, is great practice and can leverage the entire company.

The table below uses traditional, generic conversion ratios to show how much more effective and simpler it is to generate revenue when you are getting quality introductions.


You can do this - it's easy.  It's actually easier than what you are doing today!

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: getting referrals, referrals and introductions, reps making quota

The Case for Using Audio for  Great Sales Coaching

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 @ 13:12 PM


Have you ever recorded a new voicemail greeting only to re-record it multiple times because the words were not right, your tonality was off, the flow was bad or you just didn’t like how you sounded?

When we call a business for customer support, virtually every major company has a “This call may be recorded for coaching” message. Many technology companies with inside sales organizations use call recording software, yet many don’t leverage these tools for coaching.  When I ask a group of salespeople how often they listen to their own sales calls  less than 10% typically say yes. When I ask about the frequency of calls they record the number is even lower.  If salespeople simply asked more and better questions and more relevant questions their success rate would rise, yet almost no one reviews and improves their single biggest asset - how they sound on the phone.

The reasons for not recording and listening include: 

  • I don’t know how 
  • It will take a lot of time
  • I’m not sure what to coach people on
  • People don’t like listening to themselves
  • I don't think it will really help?

Salespeople frequently struggle with transitions because they spend too much time in some areas and not enough in others. If you break a call into simple parts; the introduction, rapport, expectations, questioning, summary and next steps you can identify the areas that need the most work. 

One of the biggest obstacles to being effective on the phone is expectations. Identifying a clear, appropriate, desired outcome and getting the prospect to agree to this upfront helps enormously. Pre-call strategy helps but what actually happens on the call is usually quite different from what was strategized and practiced. Without hearing the actual call, sales managers must coach to the outcome instead of what caused the outcome.

To have real impact on their salespeople, sales leaders must help their salespeople identify what they could have done differently and how this will improve their conversations and their outcomes.

Common opportunities for improvement are:

  • Did the salesperson ask one question or three at a time?
  • Did the prospect answer the question?
  • Did the salesperson repeat the question if necessary?
  • Are salespeople asking for clarification on the “labels” used, i.e. happy, fast or expensive?
  • Do salespeople allow their prospects to finish?
  • Are they interrupting?
  • How often are they summarizing?
  • Are they saying things to keep their prospects comfortable?
  • What was said that your salespeople missed?

A simple way to get started is to have a salesperson pick a call they want to review. Using the questions above as a guide, listen to it and make notes on the challenges / opportunities for improvement. Then, listen to the call with the salesperson and stop at the point(s) where you heard something important. Ask them what they heard. Your goal is to get them to identify the areas for improvement. Ask them what may have caused the challenge identified and what would have happened if they had done something different.

You may have to tell people what you heard, but resist your desire to explain. When salespeople self-discover their challenges it sticks, when you tell them, it may not. 

As for those who don’t use audio coaching enough, the question you need to ask yourself is, am I going to continue to accept my own rationalization for not leveraging this powerful tool? Can you imagine elite athletes not watching game film? I can’t!

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: sales management, Sales Coaching, chris mott, coaching salespeople

Sales Selection - Should You Go for Skills, Industry Experience, or Talent?

Posted by Chris Mott on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 @ 10:11 AM

Image Copyright iStock

I have met with hundreds of salespeople who appeared viable, only to see them stumble badly in their sales interview. Often, they were candidates whose resumes were full of relevant experience, came highly recommended or were great at quickly establishing relationships.  Here are some reasons as to why this might happen.

Sometimes, experience provides hiring managers with a false sense of security, believing that candidates will quickly ramp up, require less training and present with credibility early in their tenure. However, without proper vetting, experience can be very misleading. Lacking a clear understanding of whether the candidate possesses the required competencies for the specific role and day-to-day responsibilities, experience which appears to be strengths could actually be weaknesses in disguise. Expect challenges if the competition, decision makers, pricing strategy, size of company and resistance from their prior selling environment are different from your selling environment. For example, salespeople who have great industry background in a long sales cycle will likely have a hard time adapting to a shorter sales cycle.

One of the biggest challenges occurs with something we call, Why Buy vs Why Me?This occurs with salespeople who have sold products or services that customers will purchase, but they must determine who to buy it from. Getting those salespeople to sell products or services where the question is "Why buy at all?" is extremely difficult. In the services space this is particularly problematic. Salespeople that have sold “why me?" focus on differentiating the value of the solution instead of helping their prospects discover that they have challenges that need to be addressed.

Many companies, particularly later in the selection process when multiple interviewers get involved, spend too much time “selling” the opportunity. For salespeople who are good at relationship creation, this significantly limits their ability to gather critical information. This can result in hiring people who are good at bonding and rapport but not consultative selling. The capacity to build strong relationships quickly is critically important but it’s only step one in getting people to open up and talk honestly.

There are many salespeople who are students of selling. Whether this comes from training, reading or other sources it’s a good thing but knowing what to do is not the same as doing it. For example, think about the last time a salesperson had the correct strategy prior to a sales call and then returned having done something completely different. Candidates who are articulate and knowledgeable will sound great but frequently their expertise is more theoretical than behavioral. 

Imagine a candidate who comes referred, quickly and effectively builds relationships, and knows your industry. Which of the following is your starting point?

  • They look like a great candidate, or
  • I need to ignore all of that and interview them as if I know nothing about them?

I’m all for having a candidate referral program but that’s as far as it should go. That leaves talent as the primary quality you should seek.

I know you may be a New England Patriots hater, but their coach, Bill Belichick, says he looks for three things:

  1. Love of football
  2. Work effort
  3. Unselfishness.

In addition to a love of sales it’s essential that new hires have significant passion to improve. Passion combined with humility with help salespeople work through the highs and lows of selling, open the door to impactful coaching, improve your sales culture and help lower resistance with prospects.

Would you benefit from having more salespeople with these traits? Accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessments will help you select salespeople with the sales core competencies required for success in the role.  These are the best.

Topics: sales recruiting, hiring sales candidates, sales selection, sales assessments

Sales Leaders Should Function Like Chiropractors

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Nov 13, 2017 @ 20:11 PM

Image Copyright iStock Photos

I was at the Chiropractor this morning having a sometimes too frequent adjustment. Terry, who I’ve seen for years, has a photo of a perfect road that turns sharply, exposing torn asphalt, then straightens into a perfectly paved road again. The caption says, incident, acute care, rehabilitation and maintenance. Today I was in rehab. I’ve learned (Rather slowly) that when I stop the maintenance it usually leads to rehab or acute care.

The term manipulation (one definition) is to move something from one position to another i.e. my vertebrae need to be moved from out of alignment into alignment. When I’m on track this is quick and painless and when I am not on track I need multiple visits and the recovery (muscle, bone and ligaments) takes longer and is more painful.

Developing salespeople is challenging primarily because it requires that salespeople change their behavior in response to another person’s actions. Building a strong relationship tends to compensate for the need to change behavior. Salespeople have needed to develop expertise delivering a value presentation and invest time with their prospects. That has changed.  Today, your salespeople must be capable of being the value in the same way that advisers do requiring salespeople to change their behavior. To succeed at this, practice, role-play, demonstration, risk taking, great planning and fundamentals must be embedded in the sales culture and sales management DNA.

Consider the following statements. Do they sound familiar?

  • Sales managers are often too hands off
  • Their coaching involves diagnosing the situation and providing feedback on next steps
  • Role-play has a more limited role
  • We don’t test people’s ability to react in the moment, i.e. “your price is too high, what do you say?”
  • Weekly practice time is very limited or non-existent
  • We don’t know enough about the details of our salespeople financial situation
  • We as managers don’t practice

Unless your top performers lack the passion and incentive to be better as salespeople, and many do, the salespeople who need more rehab and acute care will generally be your mid and lower tier performers. However, depending on how much growth potential they have and how quickly this can be realized, you may get great value from investing your time in them.

For sales development to have an impact, you need highly motivated (to be better) people, a well-defined milestone-centric sales process, that you hold people accountable to following. Schedule and hold daily / weekly 1-1 meetings, regular small group practice, clear measurable KPI’s, salesperson-created personal development plans which are reviewed weekly, the ability to ask, not tell, lots of patience, the desire and willingness to allow people to make mistakes, learn in their own way at their pace and a high degree of personal humility. Sounds easy huh? Oh, and one more thing. You must love coaching people more than selling!

Topics: sales management, sales leader

Why Thinking is Such a Bad Thing for Salespeople

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 @ 14:10 PM

Image Copyright iStock Photos 

I recently conducted several two-day sales intensives with dozens of successful veteran salespeople. We spent much of the time discussing how their thinking impacts what they do and don’t do on sales calls.

As with most of the salespeople with whom I have worked, their pre-call planning was woefully incomplete and focused on what the prospect wants to accomplish. Understanding the prospect's agenda is critical, but developing and confirming a meeting agenda will usually result in a positive step forward. That is consistent with a defined sales process and a required sales best practice.

Examples of desired outcomes are:

  • The prospect is 100% committed to changing how they buy something
  • If certain things happen the prospect will get the financial decision maker involved
  • Agreement to fully discuss the cost of the current problems

Assuring that meeting outcomes are win-win requires salespeople to challenge or push back on their prospects. Early in the sales cycle, salespeople tend to accept the amount of meeting time a prospect offers instead of respectfully asking for the amount of time needed. Later in the sales cycle, instead of defining the parameters of a successful trial and what happens when it’s completed, salespeople are often OK with simply reaching the trial stage.

The actual lessons from the training, submitted by the salespeople below, illustrate why salespeople fall short.

  • Always make sure key decision makers approve next steps.
  • It is okay to say “No."
  • Do not be afraid to ask the tough questions – you can always apologize.
  • Stop wasting time - Reach higher in the organization.
  • Bring a conversation to your level or terms to establish equality.
  • Be skeptical of good news.
  • I assume I’m further along in the sales process than my customer is.

Behind each of these lessons is a belief which strongly influences behavior. Because these beliefs occur without us being fully aware of them we “think” ourselves into the wrong action.

If you don’t recognize that spending time with non-decision makers is a waste of time you won’t reach higher in an organization. When you are not OK saying No, you will work only on the prospects agenda. Getting excited when you hear what sounds like good news prevents you from verifying that it is actually good news.

Identifying and becoming aware of non-supportive selling beliefs is the only way to change behavior. Take a few minutes right now and evaluate your beliefs and how they impact you as a salesperson or sales leader and read Dave Kurlan's terrific article for his slant on sales beliefs.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, chris mott, self-limting beliefs, sales effectiveness, negative self talk

Are Your Salespeople Great Ambassadors?

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Oct 07, 2015 @ 12:10 PM

Recently, I was at a conference and the terrific keynote speaker shared a story about a one million dollar account, the no-brainer annual renewal, and how the salesperson completely blew the deal with one ill-conceived sentence. In this scenario, the salesperson completely failed to understand and appreciate some of the sensitivities of his corporate audience. It is important to recognize that Management is responsible for recognizing these challenges while providing skills coaching to a salesperson's Ambassadorial temperament.  

Have you have ever conducted a customer feedback survey? If so, you have likely heard things that made you cringe. Customer-facing people will create, reinforce and often taint client and prospect perceptions of your company. Problems with messaging, tone and clarity usually have quite a lasting impact. 

In this video, I discuss this and offer some important insights.

Do you want to know more about what motivates and holds your salespeople back? Take a few minutes to complete the checklist below.


Topics: chris mott, coaching salespeople, account management, win-loss analysis

Selling Value When Your Prospect is a Price Shopper

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Oct 01, 2015 @ 10:10 AM

Have you ever been in a scenario where you had to sell value, but your prospect was interested in nothing other than how low you could go? That might be an exciting proposition if you were trying to win a Limbo contest, but if you are trying to win the business and protect margin, you may have quite the challenge on your hands. In order to sell value to price shoppers, salespeople must be very highly skilled along with having supportive sales DNA and beliefs. Additionally, it will take lots of practice. Salespeople who tend to become emotional could lose objectivity and if they identify with buying based on price, they won't push back. If salespeople aren't comfortable having a financial discussion, they won't be effective at discussing the very issues that create value.

In this short video, I explore this challenge and sales management's response.

Is it important for you and your team to be more effective at handing price shoppers? Are you losing too many deals and wasting too much time? Get some quick feedback on your sales force and the other things that might be causing this.


Topics: Sales Coaching, chris mott, selling value, price shoppers, improve win rates

Are Your Salespeople Really Selling Consultatively?

Posted by Chris Mott on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 @ 12:09 PM

Do you sell consultatively? Salespeople and sales leaders frequently think that they are, when in reality, they are either selling transactionally or applying solution selling. Does that statement bother you? Does it raise any questions? According to Objective Management Group and its data from evaluating and assessing close to a million salespeople, salespeople possess an average of only 48% of the attributes of a consultative seller. 

My video post today discusses this in some detail. Watch it and then go ask your saleseople to define consultative selling. You likely be frustrated by the answers.  

If you need to hire salespeople who have great consultative selling ability, read our whitepaper on sales selection.

whitepaper banner

Topics: Consultative Selling, recruiting sales people, chris mott, hiring great salespeople, selling value

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