The Sales Expeditor

Seven Tips for Simplified Selling

Posted by Chris Mott on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 14:10 PM

Keep_it_Simple.png

Have you ever gone to buy something, asked a salesperson for help, and left completely confused?   

Why is it that we (salespeople) make simple things so complicated?

I believe that in a desire to sound intellegent, cover all the bases, and educate our prospects, we often confuse, put-off, and alienate the very people we are trying to help.

In my post today, I discuss this problem, and offer some simple solutions:


 

If you are committed to improving sales productivity by recruiting salespeople who "Will Sell", click on the icon below for a free trial of our Sales Candidate Assessment.

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial
  

Topics: Consultative Selling, sales process, coaching salespeople, questioning and listening

Traffic Jams, Ice Flows and Sales Process

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 @ 11:04 AM

traffic jam, sales processOn a recent trip for the Inbound Marketing Summit, getting out of New York City was a painful process.  We left by 3pm expecting to beat the traffic, but had an entirely different experience on the return trip to Boston.

You may be wondering how traffic and ice relate to sales process.  Before I discuss this, I want to comment on the Summit.  If you haven’t been paying attention to “Inbound Marketing”, I suggest that you do.  Consider what I heard: 80% of the world’s data has been created in the last 2 years.  Assuming this number is off by 30%, it’s still a head-popping statistic.  Recent research shows that prospects have made up to 60% of their buying decisions prior to speaking with a salesperson.

Consider the implications of these data points and the profound impact which they have on the sales profession.   I ask sales and sales leadership professionals this question:  When they first begin talking to a prospect, “How often do their prospects have incomplete and or inaccurate opinions about the best way to solve their problems?”  The answer is always, “Very frequently.” 

If 60% of the buying decision has been made prior to the salesperson entering the conversation and the prospect's planned solution is lacking, salespeople must first help prospects to understand what they missed in their research.  Said differently, they need to unsell them prior to helping them determine what the best solution is.

How many of your salespeople, even the most productive ones, can do this consistently and effectively?

Now back to ice, traffic and sales process.  What frustrated us the most was how one minute we were whizzing along at 70mph only to be stuck in bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic the next minute.  This continued for close to 100 miles.

Several years ago, there was a study which reported that ice freezing in streams is a good model for predicting traffic congestion.  Ice forms first in the slow moving, shallower pools along the banks.  A small disruption in the flow of water there changes the main current and causes it to cycle through, slowing down and accelerating.

Back to the sales process.  Many of the delays experienced when attempting to close a sale can be attributed to 2 things: 

  • The prospect lacked a compelling reason to buy and
  • Something changed.

The most impactful elements which we can control are:

  • A properly defined sales process,
  • Consistent execution of the process,
  • Great sales coaching in the context of the process and
  • Improved recruiting and onboarding of new salespeople.

The best way to determine how effective your salespeople really are, is to accompany them on random, unplanned sales calls and only observe.  Experience shows the following will happen.

  • If there was a call strategy, it will be only partially executed.
  • Major milestones will be skip or missed.
  • Your sales process will not be executed consistently.
  • Your salespeople will begin presenting much too early.
  • Follow-up questions will go unasked or will be ineffective.
  • The prospect will control the process.

The biggest problem will be how the salespeople interpret the results when the call ends.  In virtually all cases, their perspective of how the call went will be overly optimistic.

Selling has changed and sales organizations must adapt.  Science and process need to become the new norm.  Sales leaders must be excellent coaches and embrace sales infrastructure with an operational mindset and your sales organizations must move toward a more process-oriented approach.

We have a few upcoming events targeted toward CEO's, VP's and Managers.  At a minimum, they will be great events to learn about the services which we offer.  The first one is our Annual Sales Leadership Intensive in Boston, MA on May 14-15.  Contact me if you have questions about getting registered.

The second is our Annual Boston Area Executive Luncheon on May 21st.  If you are going to be in the Boston area, please plan on joining us.  Contact me and I'll work on getting you a discount code for free registration.

 

Topics: sales management best practices, sales process, sales training, sales force development, effective sales coaching

Why CRM Systems Don’t Ensure Consistent Sales Process

Posted by Chris Mott on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 @ 11:01 AM

describe the image

Implementing and improving the use of CRM systems is a high priority for most C-Level and Sales Leadership executives.  Many believe, often mistakenly, that CRM ensures the consistent application of a structured sales process.  The assumption, that by defining the opportunity milestones and weighting their values, translates into consistent sales process execution.  While there is great value in using CRM systems, there are two problems which undercut their impact.

First, most sales processes are defined using business-specific criteria.  These functional milestones include getting a signed non-discloser or conducting a technical webinar.  They're important, but don’t force salespeople to accomplish nor defend whether they've met critical sales-specific milestones.  For example, has the prospect articulated the business need, not the application need, to the salesperson?

If your CRM system traps too many company milestones at the expense of sales process criteria, many opportunities, which are forecasted as "late stage" in your pipeline, are likely poorly-unqualified.

To illustrate this, when we evaluate a sales organization, we have the salespeople report on proposal-ready opportunities.  We ask them questions to determine if they are indeed proposal-ready.

What a funnel of proposal-ready opportunities should look like:

sales funnel 

What most sales organizations' funnels look like:

  sales funnel

 

I challenge you to test this by asking your salespeople to describe the decision process and criteria, which decision-maker can squelch the deal and how they know that the prospect will leave their existing supplier.  Ask them to describe the specific expectations for an upcoming meeting, why this is the strategy and what the prospect is expecting to happen - not what their plan is.

The second problem with CRM systems and sales process is how sales leaders manage opportunities.  They focus on the current month's “closable opportunities”.  The result is a short-term, purely tactical approach, focused almost exclusively on how to close the deal.  Process is pushed aside and, in many cases, the sales manager takes over.  This results in sales process execution accountability and commitment becoming less important than revenue.  Salespeople continue to execute the process steps improperly, get bailed out by their sales leaders, reinforce bad behavior and learn little.

If other company departments, the challenges of inconsistent process adherence and/or execution makes it unlikely that change could come quickly.  Why do companies and its leaders tolerate this?  In many cases, they seem to encourage it.  Are you committed to finding ways to address this challenge?

Take our sales process grader and see what you need to work on.

 

 

 

Topics: Baseline Selling, sales process, growing a sales team, best sales leadership training, convert more sales, crm, Pipeline

Fostering Magic Moments on Sales Calls

Posted by Chris Mott on Fri, Dec 07, 2012 @ 14:12 PM

Closing Skills, Listening, Awareness, Sales Process, sales culture, sales assessment, sales competencies, grow salesIn the movie “Ghostbusters”, Bill Murray’s character closes a deal when he says to the New York City mayor, “You will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters.”  After a long pause, the mayor agrees to work with the Ghostbusters to save the city.  If you haven’t seen this movie clip, be sure to watch it.  

Being intentional in sales allows us to create “magical moments” where everything changes thereafter.   In this clip, the Ghostbusters first explain the consequences of the problem.  Bill Murray then puts the solution in a context about which the mayor cares (registered voters) and then goes silent to let the moment happen.  How often do your salespeople trample their work with too much dialogue?

Magical moments can’t necessarily be planned; they must just happen.  They’re caused by chemistry, emotion, process awareness and the willingness to take a risk.  

So what are magical moments?  They’re points in the process when bonding happens, insight occurs, prospects get emotionally connected to the issue, trust is demonstrated and prospects know you “get it”.  

Intuition helps a lot.  For example, how is the person likely to feel when you first meet?  What can you do to improve the connection?  When you sell to a friend, “your relationship” is the elephant in the room, so acknowledge it, validate its importance and ask if you can agree to put it aside during conversations.  

In a recent meeting, we heard an SVP demonstrate his intimate understanding of the business and how it works.   It was comprehensive, succinct, passionately articulated and offered a vision with enough detail to bring it alive.   My colleague recognized this and commented that his description was the most clearly-articulated message that he’d ever heard.  You could see how much positive impact this had on the SVP physically and it was a magical moment.  Afterward, his peers said that they too were blown away by what he’d said and thanked us for recognizing and acknowledging this.  

Salespeople often go too fast on sales calls.  Sometimes they need to slow down to speed up.   Intuition and the universe talk to us all the time but we don’t always listen well.   When someone says something that impacts us, we know it.  The challenge is do we take a risk and respond.   Risk is a funny thing.  In sales, it’s virtually nonexistent since we typically haven’t closed the deal yet and therefore have nothing to lose.  However, our fear convinces us that we’re in danger and then provides a crazy rationalization for not acting.

Magical moments are always around us.  Your salespeople need to learn to see them and act on them.  The irony is that when we do so, it’s frequently by accident.  Then we’re awed by what happened!  The key is to be intentional.  

Being intentional can be taught and fostered through role-playing and coaching.  To learn more about growing in this area, feel free to contact me.

Click me

 

 

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, sales assessment, grow sales, sales process, Closing Skills, Listening, Awareness

Subscribe to Email Updates

Scan the QR Code with your smartphone for immediate access to Chris Mott.

Chris Mott LinkedIn

Sales Leadership Intensive

http://www.kurlanassociates.com/sales-leadership-event/

hiring mistake calc