Rick, one of my clients, had a demo with a prospect. They did the “show up and throw it up” routine early in their sales cycle. In an effort to reduce the sales cycle, my first question was, “Why do they want to buy?” What’s the customer trying to achieve? Rick could not tell me. I asked Rick if he believed the salespeople knew. He denied it. I gave him a task: He had to determine “Why,” “Why now,” or “What’s the value.” Otherwise no demo.
Also, there is no compelling reason not to buy…No demo. Rick took a chance and is now moving quickly to fully-paid trial implementation. While long-term goals and plans are still important, I have been receiving more inquiries about “what to do right now.” Executives and entrepreneurs alike want to know how to increase revenues and profits immediately.
Referral Marketing Ideas for Business Growth
What are the best ways to make a difference quickly? Concentrate your efforts on revenue generation. That’s sales! Don’t try to do it the old-fashioned way. It doesn’t work that well, as you might have noticed.
These are five quick ways to increase your sales team’s business. Although there are no magic bullets, one of these methods I taught to my client (#2) was effective in closing a deal that day. You can use one technique or all of them. Each technique has its own effect and each one will increase the power of others.
1. The CFO can sell the return on investment.
The pipeline is full but the closing times for deals are too slow, salespeople complain. Maybe that’s the reason why the pipeline is full. Why is this so? Companies have money and, in some cases, they have the needs. Many people fear that their customers won’t buy their wares and are reluctant to spend any money. What is the result? They will only spend money if they see immediate financial return, which is why the CFO is killing so many deals.
What’s the solution? The solution? The payback should be sold. It should be sold to the CFO. Two things will be helpful to your salespeople: A series case studies that demonstrate the benefits of your product and a worksheet detailing the ROI process. The CFO should be involved in the creation of the ROI case. They will only believe it if they do. They will not kill your deal if you make it their idea.
2. Forget USP. Find out your usage cases
Instead of being focused on the benefits of your product, focus on how your potential customers will use it to solve specific problems. Instead of focusing on the “benefits,” which often fall on deaf ears anyway, engage your prospects in discussions about what expensive and quantifiable problems you can help them with.
Mike Bosworth, sales guru, says don’t tell people that your solution is the only one. They won’t believe that you’re a sales “guy”. Instead, ask them to consider your solution. If they agree, then they will accept your solution as fact. Next, ask them to explain in dollar terms what the cost of fixing this problem is.
3. Increase sales training. The 10% solution.
Don’t expect any salesperson, even your stars, to be 100% at every stage of the sales process. They are almost never 100%. But there is a way you can raise the level of every person in your sales organization–immediately.
This process is based on W. Edwards Demming’s principle of optimization. Your sales process can be broken down into as many steps as possible, but they should still be meaningful. Cold calling. Let us know. Making appointments. Identifying the pain. Writing proposals. Presenting. The list goes on. You can find out which reps excel at each step and then have them explain their approach to the rest. You can either do all of the steps in one session or take each step individually. The results will amaze you in either way.
4. The 80/20 Rule is a good rule of thumb. Get rid of the 20 bottom.
In today’s competitive world, there is no place for mediocre producers. Each member of your team should be held accountable for achieving two types of performance benchmarks. Results measurements include revenue and possibly new accounts and repeat business. Action measurements include prospecting calls, appointments and new contacts.
While not every salesperson is a star, everyone should be paid their fair share. They not only make you less money but also affect the performance of the entire organization. They may not be paid very well, but it is worth the effort. You and them both should do a favor and let them go. You don’t have to worry about an empty desk. The warm chair is an expense that your company didn’t need.
If you don’t feel it fair to “dump them”, or if your sales cycle takes too long to measure short term revenue results, offer the problem reps a 30-day plan that will increase their activity in specific ways. It’s enough time to see an improvement, if one is going to occur.
5. Keep track of your results and work harder
Many entrepreneurs fail to evaluate their sales efforts. They don’t know how much work or money it takes to get a new client. They only have the revenue numbers to tell them if salespeople are doing enough. What is the answer? The answer is simple: Track activity and track results. Use the statistics you get to increase performance quickly. You can break down your sales process into meaningful steps and count each rep who completes them. Calculate averages, and establish a benchmark. While you’re at this, you can also analyze the percentages of deals that are closed when you finish that step. This knowledge will dramatically increase your sales forecasts.
Once you have established benchmarks, this is a simple one: RISE THE BAR. Because revenue isn’t coming in fast enough, it’s true. To improve your sales effectiveness, do everything you’ve just read. Then do more. It’s not enough to work smarter. It will require you to work harder. Who doesn’t want that? Refer to number 4.
6 Steps to get more out of your day
Time is our most precious resource, let’s face the facts. It seems like it passes so fast and we never seem to have enough. We won’t have any more and it’s impossible to slow down. We can make the most of what we have. These are some easy steps to make the most of your day.
- The night before, plan your day. At the end of each day, write down all you need to accomplish your goals for the next day. Gather all information, including phone numbers and pertinent paperwork.
- Prioritize the list. Number each item and take on the tough jobs first. It’s tempting to take on the easiest jobs first. Think about how you feel when you think of the unpleasant jobs that you might have to do while you are doing the easy stuff. Imagine how much happier you will feel once the nasties are gone and how motivated that will make you feel.
- Keep to your list. Don’t get distracted. It is tempting to check your e-mails and answer the phone as soon as they arrive. Although it is difficult to ignore the phone, you can always disconnect the line and leave it to voice mail. You can also turn off your email program. You can agree with yourself that you will check your email every two hours.
- Keep in mind the Three D’s – Do it. Delegate it. Or dump it. Each piece of paper should only be handled once. You can either do something now, delegate it to another person or throw it away. Remember, “Only do it when you are able to.” 5. Do not procrastinate. Procrastination is the “Thief of Time.” It is so easy to put off things until another time or until “I’ve had enough time to think about it.” Do it now!
- Your leisure time should be planned – Choose activities that require you to be there at a specific time and place. Book a class with a personal trainer or a session at the gym instead of “going to the club”.
- Be honest with you – Continue asking yourself “Is this what will get me there?” If the answer is no, change what you are doing.
This is the easiest and most effective way to get more out your day, and more from your life.
7 ways to stay sharp in sales
A top-performing sales team selling financial services out Boise Idaho is managed by one of my best friends. His company is consistently rated the best-producing office in North America by his team. We exchange ideas about selling and challenge each other on philosophies. I have always listened attentively to his past performances.
I don’t know if the story he shared with me was true. He was a master of practical jokes. I will give him the benefit-of-the doubt, except that I have not yet been to Africa. It is a wonderful tale with an interesting message, even if it has a little embellishment.
Charles tells Charles that the African natives have a clever method of catching monkeys. They hollow out a coconut shell by making a small cut at one end. The hole should be large enough for a monkey to reach. They attach the string to the end of the coconut shell and place peanuts inside. Finally, they hide behind trees until the monkey arrives. The monkey sniffs the peanuts in the shell and reaches in to grab them. But its fist is too full of peanuts to pull through the hole.
The natives pull on the string to reel in the monkey. Because the monkey won’t let go of those peanuts. The monkey could just let go of the peanuts. He can’t have them, he must have them. His story may have some truth, I think. I searched Google for “catch monkeys with a coconut”. One hit came up on a website about bladder cancer. It also included an article on relaxation. This article refers to an African legend that says monkeys are caught using coconuts that have a banana in them. Seriously!
Let’s just assume that this monkey-catching method works. If you’re anything like me, chances are you won’t get the chance to test it. This is not something I recommend that you do at your local Zoo!
Why not tell the story? Are you ever caught with your hands full of peanuts or a hand full? Are you able to grab something and not let it go? Are you a slave to the peanuts and not willing to look at other options? Are you flexible and creative in your thinking? Are you open to trying new methods and techniques? Are you open to receiving advice from others? Are you able to observe the success of others?
Charles’ greatest strength is, I believe, his ability to simplify things. He then shares his knowledge and the secrets to success with his team. Then he walks the talk and sets an example. He believes in his team, and they believe in him. He is the kind of leader who wouldn’t use coconuts for monkey capture. Instead, he would sit down with his team and convince them to follow him home using his big smile, power of persuasion and persuasiveness. They would, most likely!
Charles continues to give simple tips on how to “get those peanuts.” This seems to be the foundation of sales success.
- Prospecting is a must. Everybody is a potential source of new business or a referral.
- Make sure to keep your calendar full of appointments. “A body in motion remains in motion; a body at rest remains at rest.”
- Your presentation skills should be flawless. “Confidence sells.”
- Your customers can be a goldmine for future business. Treat them well and they will take good care of you.”
- Set stretch goals. “Great things happen when you make them happen.”
- Hard work is a great way to get the job done. “Honest, intelligent effort is always rewarded.”
- Have fun. Enjoy what you do, and you’ll enjoy it.