Tuesday, April 28th10.3°C
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Sales Meeting Minute

Do you dare to dream?

I have never been able to understand why some people can only see as far ahead as the end of the current day. Instead of aiming for long term goals, they just wallow in their everyday problems. Sure, the job of running a business, selling, and hanging on to your clients day-to-day can be a full time job. But a crucial part of that job – any job – is to look far ahead, to anticipate change and new challenges, and be prepared for them.

If you know what you are trying to accomplish over the long haul, that often provides sufficient motivation for doing the day-to-day “grunt” work to get you there. What difference does it make on a daily basis what you have to do, if each day gets you closer and closer to the end result? What difference does it make if you are turned down or turned out by a close-minded prospect? What sense is there in spending today pouting over what happened yesterday or, even worse, what might happen tomorrow? If your goals are clear, and you understand the path to achieve them, then it’s simple arithmetic: do this plus that to arrive at your goals.

But it’s not always that easy to stay motivated over time. Imagine brick-laying. It’s easy to look at each brick as identical to the last, and look at bricklaying as drudgery, meanwhile forgetting that – together, one by one – those bricks are building a great edifice. By establishing a goals program, we help ourselves to look beyond the day-to-day “bricklaying” to see our progress in relation to the overall goal.

After all, even an eagle must build its nest one twig at a time. Only then can its nest become its launching pad!

By keeping our goals in sight, and our daily grind in perspective, we keep ourselves motivated through the dark days when we feel like we’re slipping backwards. And, by establishing intermediate goals, or milestones, we provide ourselves with opportunities to enjoy an occasional high, days when we can look back and see that we are making significant progress, moments when we can look ahead and see that we are on course. These moments of celebration give us renewed enthusiasm for moving through obstacles, and not around them. They answer the question, “Why?”

Goals do not have to be glamorous or earthshaking. They do not have to reach into the next decade. They just have to be ours – small goals. Goals that take us through tomorrow into next week, next month, and as far into the future as we dare to dream.

But, they must exist if we are to be motivated to achieve. We can’t borrow goals from our neighbours. We can’t order them out of a catalogue. So where do we obtain goals? They are in our minds, intimately woven into the fabric of our personalities.

Copyright 2015 Sandler Training and Insight Sales Consulting Inc. All rights reserved.

John Glennon is the owner of Insight Sales Consulting Inc, the authorized Sandler Training Licensee for the Interior of British Columbia. He can be reached at [email protected], toll free at 1-866-645-2047or view his website at www.glennon.sandler.com



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Customer retention

It’s a generally accepted notion that acquiring a new customer is more expensive than retaining an existing customer.  Add to that fact a sluggish economy where businesses are scrutinizing budgets and considering alternative suppliers, and it’s easy to understand why it’s important to have a customer retention strategy in place.  After all, current customers (as well as past customers) have already demonstrated that they want and are willing to pay for your products and services.  It makes good sense to hold onto them.  Doing so is crucial to the growth and success of your business.

A sales guru once described a five-step magical process for customer retention.  The five steps are: 1) Follow Up; 2) Follow Up; 3) Follow Up; 4) Follow Up; and (you guessed it) 5) Follow Up.
 
OK, there’s nothing magical, or even remarkable, about the process. I suppose the guru was trying to drive home the point that if you don’t want your customers to drift away, then, in addition to normal buyer-seller interactions, you should maintain regular contact with them throughout the year.

Makes good sense.

But simply “following up” is not enough. The real “magic” is how, when, and in what manner you maintain contact. Making monthly “keep-in-touch” phone calls is not sufficient. So, let’s look at five follow-up strategies you can implement to cultivate a closer relationship with your customers.

1.    Send a “Thank You” card to new clients. (Yes, a card…not an e-mail.)  An elaborate pre-printed card with a foil-stamped company logo isn’t necessary…or desired.  A simple card with your hand-written message, “I look forward to working with you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any reason,” is all that’s needed.  Make sure to include your cell phone number and e-mail address.

2.    At regular intervals, send to your customers a printed copy of your company’s newsletter, or an article or white paper that is relevant to their businesses or industries. Add a hand-written note—“Thought you’d find this interesting.”

3.    Send birthday cards to your customers.  (You do know their birthdays, don’t you?)  Again, no elaborate card with a company logo or imprint. A simple birthday card with your hand-written note, “Enjoy your day,” is sufficient.

4.    Send information about new products or services to your customers. Add a handwritten call-to-action note.  For example, “Let’s discuss.  I’ll call on Tuesday at 10am.”

5.    Send customers printed copies of articles relevant to their personal interests. (Yes, you should know something about your clients’ personal interests.) And, as you’ve already guessed, add a personal note like, “Saw this in the Business Journal…thought you’d like to have it.”  

The underlying theme is: communicate in a personal manner.  Most salespeople are so focused on their work that they don’t take enough time to meet with, talk to, and listen to their customers.  Much of their communication takes place in a most impersonal manner—via e-mail.  While that’s a valid means of communication for day-to-day business interactions, there’s little room for it in a customer retention program.
 
Little things that you do throughout the year remind your customers that you are thinking about them and you care about and appreciate their business.  Customers who feel appreciated are much less likely to jump ship when your competitors come knocking at their doors.



Stay out of sales limbo!

Have you ever had a series of good meetings with a prospect … gathered all kinds of information … and given what you thought was a great presentation … only to receive a response like, “Let me think about it”? Or, “I have to share all of this with my boss”? Or, “We’ll get back to you”?

And then you never heard another word?

You landed in sales limbo — the perpetual exile prospects call “very interesting” — for one reason and one reason alone. You didn’t qualify the prospect’s decision-making process. Prospects have a process by which they make buying decisions. It is important that salespeople uncover this process before scheduling any presentation. Most salespeople make an effort to ensure they are talking to a decision maker, but they don’t always find out who else plays a part in the decision process, what exactly the approach is, how the decision is ultimately made, or what the time frame for making the decision is . . . until after they’ve made their presentation or submitted their proposal. Without this knowledge in advance, the salesperson risks making a presentation of the wrong information to the wrong person, at the wrong time, and/or in a manner inconsistent with the prospect’s decision-making process!

As you uncover the problem, the available budget for solving it, and decision-making process elements of the opportunity, you must constantly evaluate the opportunity to determine whether or not it meets your criteria for a “qualified” opportunity. If you do get far enough along in the process to make a presentation, your prospects use that presentation to evaluate your product or service to determine whether it meets their criteria for a best-fit solution for their needs. It only makes sense for you to discover those criteria, including the decision making process, in advance of your presentation! After all, if you don’t know what will be expected of you during your presentation, or how or by whom your product or service will be judged, how can you even begin to plan an effective presentation?

For some types of sales, a prospect’s decision-making process may be simple — made by a single individual based on just one or two criteria. In other cases, the process may be more complex. The decision may end up being made by several individuals, each of whom has his or her own perspective and concerns about the purchase, as well as differing degrees of influence and leverage on the decision. All too often, in those more complex situations, salespeople deliver presentations knowing only a few of the relevant criteria, to people who cannot, on their own, say “Yes!” That’s why it’s so important to uncover a complete description of the decision process before you begin formulating solutions and developing proposals or presentations.

If you cannot meet the requirements of the prospect’s decision-making process, or if some aspect of that process (such as the timing of the decision) is inconsistent with your goals, then the opportunity is not a good fit and should be disqualified.

Here are the kinds of questions that will give you good information about the decision-making process:

  • “How are you planning to make the final decision?”
  • “Who else is going to be involved in that?”
  • “By when do you need to make the decision?”
  • “How would you go about making the decision to work with one vendor rather than another?”

If your prospect is unwilling to share this information, then it’s very likely that there’s something going on behind the scenes that is not necessarily in your best interest. If you can’t fill in the blanks, disqualify the prospect.

In most cases, when you ask these kinds of questions respectfully, as one professional to another, one of two things will happen. You’ll either get the other person to open up, and get a much clearer sense of what the decision-making process is … or you’ll get a clear indication that this opportunity is not really worth pursuing. Either way, you’ll stay out of sales limbo, and your closing ratio will go up!

 

Copyright 2015 Sandler Training and Insight Sales Consulting Inc. All rights reserved.

John Glennon is the owner of Insight Sales Consulting Inc, the authorized Sandler Training Licensee for the Interior of British Columbia. He can be reached at [email protected], toll free at 1-866-645-2047 or visit www.glennon.sandler.com



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Arrogance sank the Titanic

"Captain, Titanic – Westbound steamers report icebergs and field ice in 42 degrees North from 49 degrees to 51 degrees West, April 12. Compliments, Barr."

The message was delivered to Captain Smith on the RMS Titanic who made no alteration to his course. When a second warning came in, the captain brought it with him to lunch, eventually handing it to Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line. Ismay kept it in his pocket for five and a half hours before posting it on the ship's bridge.

A sixth message on the subject that day, came from The Mesaba, which warned that The Titanic was heading straight for a vast belt of ice, stretching some 78 miles across her path.

In the wire room at 11pm, Jack Phillips was so fed up with warnings that his response to the California's announcement was that "We are stopped and surrounded by ice." and "Shut up, shut up. You’re jamming my signal. I’m busy."

Forty minutes later, the 'unsinkable' Titanic had hit an iceberg. Two hours and 15 minutes later she slipped beneath the icy waters to make her 4km to the bottom of the ocean, taking 1,500 souls with her.

Arrogance happens when, in the presence of warnings and the absence of evidence you believe you know better. Arrogance sank the Titanic.

 

Arrogance causes you to:

  • Stop asking
  • Stop listening
  • Stop learning

Salespeople are arrogant. Great salespeople are aware of their arrogance and manage it well.

 

Rooting out Arrogance

  • Believe that you are second best. You will not come across as arrogant and you’ll try harder.
  • Remind yourself that being smart and intelligent is not an achievement. You did nothing to deserve it.
  • Be thankful for what you have, every day.

Arrogance sank the Titanic. Don’t let it sink your sales career.

 

Copyright 2015 Sandler Training and Insight Sales Consulting Inc. All rights reserved.

John Glennon is the owner of Insight Sales Consulting Inc, the authorized Sandler Training Licensee for the Interior of British Columbia. He can be reached at [email protected], toll free at 1-866-645-2047 or visit www.glennon.sandler.com



Read more Sales Meeting Minute articles




About the Author

John Glennon is an authorized licensee of Sandler TrainingSM in the Interior of British Columbia.

John is an accomplished sales person and manager with over 17 years sales and sales management experience. Beginning in sales in 1990 as a sales representative, he progressed to territory manager, sales manager, division manager and national sales and marketing manager roles throughout his career.

In 1997, John became a student of the Sandler Selling System. This introduction changed his sales career and over time propelled John and his career to new heights.

Successful in accelerating growth through strategic leadership, John knows firsthand the value of a sales training approach that follows a learning philosophy of ongoing reinforcement. He is experienced in driving the behaviours, attitudes and techniques required of an effective sales team.

Sandler Training is offered on a regular basis from their Kelowna, BC training center and through innovative distance learning programs to the rest of the BC Interior.

www.glennon.sandler.com




[email protected]
1-866-645-2047




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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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