Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A magic wand to create sales?

Why not?

I was working with a customer a couple of days ago and at the end of our coaching session he mentioned he had an appointment with a new open prospect which they hoped to sign. "Great" I said. "What's the plan?"

The owner commented he'd get them in, have a chat, discuss rates etc. etc.

I said "Why?" "Why what?" he replied. "Why discuss rates?" He said, “Because that's how everyone does it in our industry.”

"Silly me" I said! "Try this and see how you go."

I asked my client to bring in the new customer, thank them for taking the time to come in, and then go to the flip chart. Draw a magic wand in the middle and explain to the customer that that this is a magic wand where anything is possible! Then ask a beautiful question of the soon to be customer. "If you had a magic wand and could build the perfect relationship between a customer and a business like us what would it look like?"

Then I told him to sit down and be quiet. Let the customer map his own proposal. All you need to do is ask for clarity as he goes. Then, when finished, stand up and circle all the things that you do now as a given. Then anything that is a little left field ask him to explain further.

Wham bam thankyou Mam, you have a proposal already done and designed by the customer for the customer! Remember the human brain works in pictures first, words etc. second, so allow your customers to design the perfect proposal, then sign it off.

This client of mine rang me Monday to celebrate "Boiler you are a genius!" he yelled. "Why" I asked?

"We did what you said and the prospect has now signed and for above market rates – all signed on a flip chart!" He could not believe it was possible to sell that way.

Guess what – it is.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Get some real action into your sales pipeline.

As you know, sales leads can grow cold quickly. Every lead and opportunity is like a ticking bomb. If your recon says that somebody is shifting, looking to buy, you have to move within a few hours, not days. If you get a web lead that looks promising, you want to call that lead within minutes, not hours. Research shows that the odds of calling to qualify an online lead decreases by more than 6 times in the first hour.

As you convert sales-ready leads in your sales pipeline into opportunities, ask yourself:

Is there a great fit for your product or solution?

Is your prospect actively looking for a solution?

What is the prospect's timetable for finding the best solution?

What are the competing solutions?

What does the company have to lose if it did nothing about the problem?

What is the company's process for making a decision?

What are the company's preferred steps involved in a purchase?

Is there a budget?

What is the full potential of this opportunity?

Do I have access to all the decision makers, and how many of them can I convince?

How long will it take until the sale is converted?

What are the potential obstacles that stand in the way of the sale?

What are the realistic chances of closing this sale? (25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent)

These questions will help you prioritize the opportunities in your sales funnel, and they will help you develop a realistic sales forecast every month.

Action 1: create a list of your most important and most urgent opportunities, and refresh this list daily by checking it against the questions.

Action 2: check again and if the prospect does not fit find more prospects to open.

Good luck.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sales Recruitment - How do we get the best sales people?

Over the last couple of weeks I have been listening to the Banjar tribe and getting feedback on the apparent lack of good sales people and the terrible job recruitment agencies are doing in finding them.

That got me thinking:

Where are the next generation of sales recruits who will become our sales stars?

How do we find them?

Can you test for them at a early stage?

Do recruitment agencies really know how to find the best sales person?

Clearly, in this post GFC world where the order taker is filling the glass cabinet next to the dodo, we need a different approach to recruitment for sales jobs. In our minds, here at Banjar Group, sales recruitment is one of the top three competencies of a good sales manager. You must get this right.

So what to do? Our top tips:

Make sure you are crystal clear about the type of sales person you want and need. Do a cyborg behavior map* to eliminate any guesswork.

Define the characteristics well so that no one in the company is in doubt. Always be looking for the sales cat. They can surface in the most unlikely places.

Design brilliant questions for interviews that reflect sales outcomes for your business. Some examples may be; "Can you describe a time when you had to create a list of new prospects for a certain product," or "Can you describe your current sales process please."

Audition. Yes you heard me. The theatre, Australia's Got Talent, movie producers, all audition to find the best from a short list of hopefuls. Develop a scenario based on your sales environment and give the candidates a room, pens, laptop etc. and ask them to prepare a basic sales strategy and plan of attack to sell X product. Give them 20 minutes to prepare and then have them present back to you. Then go through Q & A. You will very quickly see their sales skills.

Stop accepting recruitment agency data base lists of bad and worn-out order takers. Look far and wide because true sales cats live and work in all sorts of places. They maybe serving at the club, behind the local bar or on the counter at Myer.

Be sure of what you want and go start looking.


* Cyborg behavior map – if you have not done this with us please contact me and I will advise how it works mike@banjargroup.com.au

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

What sales problem did you solve today?

I found this in Selling Power and thought, "Yes that really makes sense."

An extract from the wonderful work of Dr Norman Vincent Peale - author of The Power of Positive Thinking.

Problems Are Opportunities in Disguise

Dr. Peale suggested that salespeople can be more successful in dealing with problems: "A problem is a concentrated opportunity. The only people that I ever have known to have no problems are in the cemetery. The more problems you have, the more alive you are. Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. I often say, when the Lord wants to give you the greatest value in this world, He doesn't wrap it into a sophisticated package and hand it to you on a silver platter. He is too subtle, too adroit, for that. He takes this big value and buries it at the heart of a big, tough problem. How He must watch you with delight when you've got what it takes to break that problem apart and find at its heart what the Bible calls 'the pearl of great price.' Everybody I've ever known who succeeded in a big way in life has done so by breaking problems apart and finding the value that was there."

So what sales problem did you solve today?

Do your sales techniques and questioning style have a problem solving inclination?

Think about the great sales calls you have had. Was there a problem solving inclination? Success does leave clues.

Be positive and solve one problem for one customer tomorrow. They may just love it, and you.


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

What is it that all good sales people have?

In our sales lab we know that high performance sales comes from training and developing good sales people through four specific stages.
  1. Build a sales process
  2. Conduct activity around that process
  3. Develop 'swagger' from the wins and losses of your activity
  4. Create sales effectiveness and efficiency through refinement.
That's how to be a good salesperson, develop a high performing sales team, start a restaurant or grow a business.

In our minds, we see the 'swagger' as being the key enabler of a good sales person. Although the word swagger can often convey arrogance or an overly assertive manner when it comes to sales people, we keep coming back to it. For the record, swagger means: 'to walk with a swaying motion; hence, to walk and act in a pompous, consequential manner'.

Call it whatever you like, but there's no doubt certain qualities make a good sales person stand out from the crowd. The characteristics of a good sales person, are hard to describe and unquestionably rare.

Good sales people, with exceptional talent, usually have a sense of calm urgency, a coolness matched with persuasion, confidence with empathy and directness with rapport. All behaviours that would seem at odds in the dictionary but perfectly describe what we call 'swagger' or 'sales essence'.

If you have a better word to describe these sales cats, please let us know.