CustomerCentric Selling® Sales Training Blog

Sales Tips: How to Put Icing the Cake

Posted by Jill Perez on Jun 29, 2015 2:42:44 PM

Sales Tips: How to Put Icing on the Cake

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

cupcakeA seller has done a thorough diagnosis of a Key Player’s current way of doing business in an initial call. Several areas have been uncovered where capabilities within the seller’s offering appear relevant to addressing them. The allotted 30 minutes is nearly up and the seller summarizes what she heard as she wants to make sure the buyer and she are on the same page. After the summary, she asks if it was accurate and the buyer confirms that it was.

This has been a good call. The next conversation will be a chance to present only the parts of the offering that should be relevant to the buyer. After that, the seller will seek agreement that if the buyer had those capabilities he would be able to achieve the desired business outcome. Many sellers would end the call at this point. 

Mary isn’t satisfied with just making good calls and wants to go the extra mile. The diagnostic questions were relevant and facilitated a healthy exchange with the buyer. Rather than pose several yes/no questions, many began with the word: How. However, the fact is that they were her questions.

Rather than end the call, Mary asks one more question: Is there anything else I should know? This is an easy question that doesn't have any downside. The responses will likely be either: 

  • "No, this has been a good conversation and I look forward to our next call." In this case the seller has given the buyer the chance to control part of the call and he or she has declined. Many buyers will appreciate this courtesy. 
  • "Now that you asked….." Of course this is the better response. A seller will know more at the end of a call than they otherwise would have. Many competitors don’t ask this question.

One of Jim Collins’ books has the title: Good To Great. This simple question can allow you to improve the quality of your calls.

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Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique

Sales Tips: Who's Driving the Bus?

Posted by Jill Perez on Jun 25, 2015 10:20:00 PM

Sales Tips: Who's Driving the Bus?

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

driving-the-busIt is astounding to see how often the phrase “changes in buying behavior” is invoked in articles about selling. In my mind, vendors that for decades have clung to traditional sales and marketing approaches have made some flawed decisions in reacting to perceived buying behavior.

B2C buying has served as the canary in the coal mine for B2B buying. Many approaches apply but I believe a line has to be drawn in the sand. For complex B2B offerings costing more than $50,000 (a figure I’ve arbitrarily chosen) the landscape should be considerably different because there are many people involved in what becomes a committee decision.

The deluge of inbound website activity has left vendors little choice but to make some changes. The biggest confusion that I see is that inbound visitors have been viewed and therefore treated as though they are buyers. People have seen studies over the last 5 years that show increasingly higher percentages of buying activities are completed before salespeople are involved. While true in many cases, I don’t think this data is accurate for B2B transactions over $50K.

I can accept that up to 80% of product/offering evaluations can be completed without seller involvement, but there are many buying activities that need to be completed before enterprise purchases can be made. The questions become:

  • Who does most of the work in evaluating offerings? I believe the answer is researchers who are not buyers. When you step back, you realize that grading of website activities (#visits; duration of visits; pages views; time spend on pages; webinar sign ups/attendance; etc.) likely means that low to mid level staff are the only people that will score high enough activity levels to be considered “qualified.”

  • Why are they evaluating offerings? I think there are many instances of DIY evaluations that stem solely from curiosity about what’s available in the market more from user than buyer perspectives. Without budget and awareness by Key Players most of these evaluations will fall under their own weight. Without budget or funding, no buying will take place. It is possible sellers won’t be involved at all.

  • Why treat evaluators as though they are buyers? Don’t get me wrong, interest in offerings should be a good thing, but to my previous point, part of nurturing is making B2B researchers aware of potential value and payback that can be realized by implementing offerings. For that reason I believe the role of researchers is to serve as coaches in helping sellers gain access to higher levels so that value can be established.

  • What activities beside product evaluations are necessary if purchases will be made? Before a PO is issued the business objectives of Key Players should be defined, the reasons those objectives cannot be achieved should be uncovered and buyers should understand the capabilities they need to address those reasons. In addition potential value and payback must be documented, vendors must be evaluated in a number of areas that include financial viability, support, quality, reputation, references, expertise, terms and conditions must be negotiated, etc.

  • How have approaches been changed so that when they are contacted by knowledgeable buyers, sellers can align with them? I hope you’d agree that sellers that either treat these buyers as novices or prematurely try to change the requirements will provide negative buying experiences and run the risk of not making the short list of vendors being considered if the evaluation gets that far.

What I find most ironic is that researchers (not Key Players) are the root cause of knee-jerk changes vendors have made in processing inbound interest. This is a consequence of vendors confusing researchers with buyers.

In a strange way it has provided a common ground of sorts for vendors and executives within their prospects and clients. Vendors have always been concerned about controlling their cost of sales by trying to focus only on qualified opportunities. In a similar sense unauthorized DIY evaluations have and continue to waste valuable time researching offerings that ultimately won’t be purchased and therefore won’t provide any value (return on research efforts). 

It makes you wonder if vendors and executives they call on are better or worse off than they were 15 years ago before the rush of evaluations via the Internet. It seems to be in the best interests of both parties to ensure potential value/payback exists before resources are expended. This could allow a win-win by reducing the costs of sales as well as evaluations.

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Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique

Sales Tips: Making Sense Of Vague Advice

Posted by Jill Perez on Jun 24, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Sales Tips: Making Sense of Vague Advice

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Stock Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After graduating from college, IBM spent a year teaching me about computers for the SMB market, business fundamentals and selling skills. In retrospect they provided a great amount of knowledge but it was left up to each seller to decide how to make calls on owners or executives of small businesses to have them consider migrating from manual ledger cards to automated systems. It was a mountain to climb.

light-bulbMy sales manager frightened new people into making the prescribed number of calls, but did little to impact the quality of calls that we made. When he made calls with me, little skill transfer took place. It wasn’t Jeff’s fault. Like many sellers he couldn’t describe in adequate detail HOW he sold. His approach was intuitive and differently every call.

I’ll never forget the advice he shared after assigning my quota and territory:

Call high, stay high and don’t lead with product.

It was like Curly in City Slickers telling Billy Crystal to find the one thing that was important in life. When asked what the one thing was, Curly’s reply: That’s for you to find out! 

Jeff’s advice was of absolutely no use to me. The first few months I made terrible calls on business owners in my territory. IBM taught me about hardware and software and I mistakenly thought my job was to educate buyers. They had neither the time nor inclination to be educated. I struggled to get traction or mindshare with them. 

Three months into my sales career I took a step back over a weekend and tried to figure out why a small business owner would buy a computer system. Some scotch was involved and ultimately the epiphany came. Business owners wanted reports (billing, inventory control; accounts receivables, sales analysis; accounts payable, general ledger; etc.) so they could improve bottom line results. Hardware and software were nothing more than means to an end and business owners didn’t need (nor want) to know all the esoteric details.

I had mistakenly believed I was selling computers. I should have been selling computing that could provide information. Jeff’s cryptic advice now made sense. I realized the first step in selling was getting buyers to realize their manual processes were labor intensive, but more importantly were holding the business back.

Calling on senior executives is about uncovering desired business outcomes and discussing product usage rather than product. After my weekend of reflection, things improved. Jeff recognized my pipeline was growing. As a result he dispensed his second piece of advice: Plan your work. Work your plan.

This gem was easier to decipher but far less helpful than his first, albeit cryptic advice.

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Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique

Sales Tips: Patience Is a Virtue for Sellers

Posted by Jill Perez on Jun 17, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Sales Tips: Patience Is a Virtue for Sellers

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

patienceEarly in my sales consulting and training career I encountered an irreverent, funny and deceptively intelligent person named Bob Populorum. He defined selling as a hurt and rescue mission. When sellers call on executives they must establish sufficient credibility so buyers will share goals or admit problems they are willing to spend money to achieve or address. It’s a watershed event in their relationships with buyers. The first core concept of CCS® applies: No goal, no prospect.

Mistakes sellers make stem from their impatience. Once goals or problems are shared, many sellers immediately try to rescue buyers by telling them the solution, a phenomenon I call “premature elaboration.” Sellers are well intentioned but there are two (2) problems in jumping to the rescue:

  1. Sellers are shooting blind because they have no way of knowing if their generic “solution” will address a buyer’s needs.
  2. Buyers aren’t ready to be rescued until they and the seller calling on them understand the shortcomings of how things are done without the offering being discussed.

Taking a step back, if buyers knew why desired business outcomes couldn’t be achieved they would try to address them without help from salespeople. The “hurt” amounts to asking questions to help buyers understand what’s broken in the way they currently operate. One further caveat: Sellers should uncover areas that are broken that can be addressed by capabilities within their offerings.

Having the patience to ask relevant diagnostic questions allows sellers to: 

  1. Understand the buyer’s situation before discussing their offerings.
  2. Share only those capabilities that address barriers to achieving the desired outcome so that they share specific rather than generic solutions.
  3. Help buyers quantify the potential value of achieving the goal being discussed by finding out how much problems cost buyers that are uncovered.

Being patient can be especially difficult for experienced sellers. They’ve had these conversations several times before and therefore see “solutions” long before buyers do. Understanding it’s the first time through for buyers can allow sellers to do thorough diagnoses (hurts) before earning the right to present solutions (rescues). Buyers want to know how things are broken, the specific capabilities they need to address them and the value of fixing them. 

Ben Franklin said:  People are best convinced by reasons they themselves discover. As it relates to selling I think Bob Populorum would agree to tack onto Franklin’s phrase: by answering relevant questions posed by patient salespeople.

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Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique

Sales Tips: Are Your Sales Cycle Activities Planned or Random?

Posted by Jill Perez on Jun 10, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Sales Tips: Are Your Sales Cycle Activities Planned or Random?

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

chess-smallerMany sellers have a bad habit of taking their initial contact (often mid to low-level staff) and taking that person as far as they can in terms of trying to sell their offerings. If it will ultimately be a committee decision they make a mistake in not getting access and commitment from others to qualify the opportunity.

A large part of navigating through complex B2B opportunities is to have a plan. Within CCS® we show sellers that there are three (3) phases of buying cycles:

  1. Solution development entails getting buyers to share desired business outcomes, diagnosing why those outcomes can’t be achieved and then showing only the capabilities within an offering that can help them achieve the results they are looking for.
  2. Evaluation is the phase where buyers (often mid-level staff) take a detailed look at offerings. Vendors will be compared, implementation issues will be considered, cost vs. benefit can be determined, vendor support and viability are researched, etc.
  3. Commitment is the final phase and usually only one (1) vendor is taken into Phase 3. Prior to choosing a vendor, committee members go through risk in determining if the desired results have a high probability of being achieved. If so, the final hurdle is price and most buyers will negotiate to get what they feel is the best possible deal.

Our recommended approach is that Phase 1 should be done with Key Players to make sure there is sufficient business value. Competent sellers should be able to complete Phase 1 with executive buyers without any need for support people to be involved. If there is a consensus amongst the Key Players that there is sufficient value, then a Sequence of Events with steps and estimated dates leading to a buying decision can be negotiated and documented. This nets out to agreeing upon the activities within Phase 2 and an agreed estimated date when a recommendation will be made.

If a seller becomes the vendor of choice, Phase 3 will hopefully result in an order but could degrade into “no decision.” Less talented sellers, whether having proactive or reactive entry points, go as far as they can with each “buyer” and try to climb org charts one level at a time. Most people they call on can’t say yes but can say no. Sellers run the risk of having long sales cycles that fall under their own weight because they are done “bottom up.”

Ultimately both buyers and sellers benefit from a “top-down” approach. Studies have shown that executive buyers like to be involved early (Phase 1) and late (Phase 3) in buying cycles. Similar to a vendor’s cost of sales in Phase 2 there are lower level resources that must be involved in the evaluation. Spending vendor and prospect resources only makes sense if there is sufficient value and evaluations take much less time when there is a written plan in place.

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Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique

Sales Tips: Column A vs. Column B

Posted by Jill Perez on Jun 7, 2015 10:31:23 PM

Sales Tips: The Difference Between Column A and Column B

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

running-smallerManaging salespeople is a very challenging job. One way to define a manager’s responsibility is trying to ensure sellers are working on opportunities they have realistic chances of closing. In many instances, managers have to look at opportunities from “disqualification” standpoints because most sellers are over-optimistic and seem to take comfort in the quantity of opportunities in their pipelines. Managers have a higher focus on the quality of opportunities.

A frequent qualification question managers use (as I did years ago) is asking salespeople: Has budget been approved for this initiative? For a complex B2B offering it is difficult for buyers to get numbers accurate enough to go through the budgeting process as there needs to be a detailed assessment of their needs, requirements, scope, implementation efforts, professional services, etc. that will affect what the total cost of the offering will be. 

Given this scenario, if the seller has been told the buyer has already secured budget, it appears safe to make the assumption that another vendor has been involved, shaped requirements and provided a firm estimate that was used to allocate budget. In CCS® vernacular there is a favored vendor (Column A) and other vendors are being brought in with a worst case being they are primarily there to empower the buyer to get the best possible price from Column A. 

I came to realize a far better qualifying question for sales managers to use would be: Whose numbers did the buyer use to secure budget? The best answer is that the seller provided planning numbers that were plugged into the budget toward the end of the previous year. If the seller doesn't know how the budget was secured, then it is logical and best to assume another vendor’s numbers were used.

In my experience, unless a company is in bankruptcy or is in the public sector, if budget is a problem then the seller isn’t calling high enough in the organization. That doesn’t mean that organizations have unlimited funds, but if a seller presents a strong business case, decision makers often have the ability to reallocate funding that had already been committed. This amounts to another seller getting a “no decision” outcome in either being told the purchase will be deferred until next year or the organization decided not to move forward.

Once attendees in sales training workshops understand the difference between being Column A vs. Column B, I’ve posed the same question for over 20 years: Over the last several years, in what percentage of you wins did you start out as Column A?  The answers I’ve gotten average out to about 80%. I think this causes several conclusions to be made:

  • “In-basket” selling when buyers who are already looking invite sellers to be involved will likely yield low close rates.
  • The alternative to waiting to be contacted by buyers that are already looking is to find buyers with latent business needs.
  • If companies aren’t looking, no budget exists for a seller’s offering.
  • When doing bus dev, sellers should target Key Player levels that are high enough to take budget earmarked for other offerings.

A seller’s quality of life and win rate are far better when they initiate opportunities at high levels and begin buying cycles as Column A.

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Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique

Sales Tips: The "B" Word

Posted by Jill Perez on Jun 3, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Sales Tips: The "B" Word

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Adam R. at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sales managers have a difficult job. In many instances, they have to look at opportunities more from a “disqualification” standpoint. I say this because sellers are often over optimistic in wanting to increase the number of opportunities in their pipelines. A common qualifying question that managers ask is: Has budget been approved for this initiative?

budget-chainsIn my experience, unless a company is in bankruptcy or is in the public sector, if budget is a problem then the seller isn’t high enough in the organization. That doesn’t mean that organizations have unlimited funds, but if a seller presents a strong business case, decision makers will often reallocate funding that had already been committed. This amounts to another seller getting a “no decision” outcome in either being told the purchase will be deferred until next year or the organization decided not to move forward.

Think for a minute, however, what it means if an inbound caller during the initial contact with a seller indicates they have budget approved for a B2B expenditure. Sellers may want to temper their enthusiasm because for a complex offering, buyers will usually have to get a seller involved to define their needs and make a recommendation that included estimated pricing. I interpret budget already being in place to be an indicator that sellers are coming in as at least Column B. They may be invited in to compete primarily to provide leverage to negotiate a better price from the vendor that started the buying cycle.

A better qualification question for mangers to ask would be: Whose numbers were used to establish the budget? If the seller indicated they provided budgetary numbers toward the end of the previous fiscal year, then it is far more likely he or she is Column A. If a buyer has funding already approved then it would be better to assume you’ve got some work to do in trying to become column A.

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Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique

Sales Tips: 7 Reasons Why Sales Training Fails

Posted by Jill Perez on May 31, 2015 9:57:00 PM

Sales Tips: 7 Reasons Sales Training Fails

By Frank Visgatis, President & Chief Operating Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

covering-eyes-1I had the pleasure last week of meeting with a company that is proactively evaluating their company sales process even though they are currently making their revenue targets. Many times I’m contacted by someone whose house is already on fire and they are looking to buy insurance.

Despite the proactive nature of this recent meeting, I still felt compelled to share with this organization some lessons I’ve learned over the past 20+ years of helping companies define and implement a company-wide sales process.

Namely, I find that there are seven (7) fundamental reasons that sales training initiatives fail:

1. No real management commitment to change.

  • While some senior management think they are setting the proper tone by kicking off a workshop, it is like nails on a chalkboard when I hear them say something to the effect of, “If you take just one thing away from this training…” Think about the message that’s just been sent. What has been effectively communicated to the group is that this is about tactical skill development, not organizational change.

  • The other sure sign of failure is when the first line sales managers refuse to participate in the same training they expect their salespeople to embrace. I often hear comments such as “This is good for my people. I don’t need to go through it though.”

2. No integration with Marketing or Support.

  • The reality of the situation is that anyone who touches the customer, even if it is once removed via the creation of messaging (e.g. product marketing) must be in lockstep if change is going to happen and consistency is going to be the standard.

3. It’s education, not training.

  • Think about it. What do you do if you want to get better at something? You practice. Salespeople only have two opportunities to practice their craft. They can role-play with a manager or a coach who can guide them through the learning process, or they can practice on an innocent prospect who might have spent some money with them. No role-plays = no skill development. I often see training classes with a single lead instructor and 30 students. At various times they will do breakout sessions where the students are told to “go off and role-play” with no facilitation. These typically devolve quickly into 30-minute group chats.

4. The training is generic – “you connect the dots.”

  • To introduce a completely new process to someone, expect them to learn it, and then expect them to connect the dots on how it relates to their everyday selling reality is simply too much to ask. Whether it’s customization in advance or integration of their products and services into the learning experience through group exercises, the student needs a clear vision of how this will help them moving forward.

5. Your CRM system doesn’t support the process.

  • Salespeople have to feel they are getting value in exchange for information. That’s why many CRM initiatives fail as well. If, as a salesperson, I have to input 37 data fields just to create a new “opportunity,” chances are I’m only going to do it when I absolutely have to. This means that management has no real visibility into the pipeline and is why sales forecasts are so often inaccurate.

6. No follow-on reinforcement.

  • Two, three or four days of training followed by “good luck and Godspeed.” If management doesn’t have a proactive plan of not only how they are going help their salespeople actually implement a new approach but also how they are going to consistently reinforce what has been learned, the knowledge and skills have a very short half-life. It’s well documented that even under the best of circumstances, students will only retain between 20 and 35 percent of what is covered in the training.  Whether it is via technology or good old sales management, the learning shouldn’t stop when the training is over.

7. No consequences – managers don’t inspect what they expect.

  • In at least some cases, this relates directly back to reason number one. If adherence is viewed as optional, salespeople will typically only adopt the parts they “like,” which usually aren’t the ones that help the company drive meaningful change.

There’s a lot of “drive-by training” that takes place out there. Don’t be the next victim.

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Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique

Sales Tips: 4 Misconceptions of "A" Players

Posted by Jill Perez on May 27, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Sales Tips: 4 Misconceptions of "A Players"

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

a-player-003691-editedOne of the foundations of CustomerCentric Selling® is codifying selling behaviors of the best salespeople (“A Players”) to enable others to emulate calls that they make. Based upon a Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) survey, we say about 13% of salespeople are “A Players.” A recent Miller Heiman survey concluded 8.5% of sellers are “world class.” In my mind there are some misconceptions about “A Players” that I’d like to share with you.

#1 – “A Players” can sell to any industry.

I believe “A Player” behavior is situational. For companies having a wide variety of verticals, they will often find their top performers get the majority of their revenue from specific industries that they are familiar with. An “A Player” that is very familiar with Manufacturing might struggle to be as effective with a Financial Services company.

#2 – “A Players” are effective selling to all titles.

In many cases, “A Players” have worked in verticals (sat on the other side of the desk) and therefore relate very effectively when calling on those titles. If they came from Operations they would likely have a harder time calling on people in Finance, Marketing, IT, etc.

#3 -Why not just hire all “A Players?” 

“A Players” are selective about organizations they want to join. Painting with a broad brush, they are less likely to migrate to large organizations that are guerillas in their spaces. In my mind such organizations typically “grow their own” top performers. Their comp plans, high degree of structure and longer windows for promotions won’t be as attractive as earlier stage companies or start-ups. “A Players” also have egos and like to be recruited by senior executives enticing them with equity for performance. 

#4 – “A Players” don’t need process.

As talented as they are, I refer to “A Players” as “unconscious competents.” By that I mean they are extraordinary at what they do, but every sales cycle is different because they rely largely upon intuition. They are “winging it” and sometimes may skip steps that should be covered. The top performer of the first CCS® client shared with me that he was able to close 50% more business by more stringently qualifying (more accurately disqualifying opportunities that weren’t worthy of his time).

Having a process to codify “A Player” behavior should benefit the entire sales organization. More importantly, putting a sales process in place can make revenue generation more predictable by applying consistent qualification criteria to a company’s entire pipeline.

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Register for one of our sales training workshops to improve sales performance through a buyer-oriented sales process, or read more sales training articles for helpful sales tips and techniques from CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company.

Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique

Sales Tips: Why You Should NOT Sell at Low Levels

Posted by Jill Perez on May 21, 2015 3:31:31 PM

Sales Tips: Why You Should NOT Sell at Low Levels

By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was recently reading some blog posts (I can’t recall if it was Sales Best Practices, Linking Sales Leaders, etc.) where people were commenting on and debating the direction being given by a well-known sales bottom-stairtraining provider. As best I could tell, the provider was directing salespeople not to waste their time attempting to contact senior executives when prospecting and developing new sales opportunities. Instead they were advocating that salespeople should engage with low-level people. Why were they advocating this? I don’t know. The blog had more than 40 entries and I didn’t have the time to go back and plow through them. 

However, I can attempt to guess why. Maybe the person giving the advice:

  • Had lack of practical sales experience.
  • Was ill-equipped to speak with senior executives about business issues.
  • Had a lack of professional courage.
  • Had no business development plan.
  • Possessed poor prospecting and business development skills.
  • Had concluded that prospecting is too difficult.
  • Couldn’t handle the rejection, etc.

I could go on and on with why some someone might take the low road. However, stop for a moment and:

  • Think of all of the time you would be spending with people that can’t buy, that don’t have a business goal, problem or need that has to be addressed?
  • Think of all the ‘opportunities’ that end up in a pipeline or on a forecast that will never turn into business.
  • Think of all of the uncomfortable conversations explaining to your management why you are wasting your time.
  • Think of the opportunities you’ve lost because your competitor was engaged with executive decision makers and you were stuck attempting to sell to people who were unable to buy anything. 

Let me see if I can make it a little clearer.

Imagine for a moment you are a door-to-door, in-ground swimming pool salesperson in Phoenix. It’s summer. The first week in August. The temperature is brutally hot, in excess of 110 degrees. The streets in the neighborhood you are targeting today are desolate, as people remain indoors to escape the excessive heat. Your ‘market’ should be very receptive to what you are selling! You approach the first home and ring the doorbell. Within moments the door opens and two young boys, approximately 10 and 12 years of age greet you. Let’s call them low-level people within the organization. After saying hello and introducing yourself, you ask them, “Would you guys like an in-ground swimming pool?” They come unglued! They go out of their minds responding, “YES!!!” Finally, Mom or Dad, the senior executive team, comes to the door. You ask them the same question. Dad tells you he has no interest in purchasing and installing an in-ground swimming pool. He recently accepted a new job in another state, and the family will be relocating within the next 120 days. Get the picture? The needs and requirements of low-level people are very often different than the people who have the ability to make a purchase decision and authorize the expenditure of the organization’s money.

Simply stated, you can’t sell to someone who can’t buy. When prospecting, target the individuals who have business goals, problems, or issues; are responsible for addressing them; and can cause the money to be spent to purchase your product or service.

REGISTER NOW Next public workshop is coming to Boston, August 3-6. Don't wait until it sells out - save your seats now!

Register for one of our sales training workshops to improve sales performance through a buyer-oriented sales process, or read more sales training articles for helpful sales tips and techniques from CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company.

Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique

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