Author Archive salestrain

Think Like a Doctor Not a Salesperson

AUTHOR NOTE TO READERS:  This article was written to assist my clients in the advertising sales sector.  I say all the time, “if you can sell a newspaper ad, you can sell anything.”  I think we all can learn from these street smart sales superstars. So, take the info and translate it for your industry.   – Ryan Dohrn, Founder, Sales Training World

Every single sales call with an advertiser is valuable. So valuable that you do not want to waste time asking questions that will not help you close the deal. After 30 years of selling and marketing media, I find that you have three to five questions, and that is about it, on every sales call. More than that and you might as well turn on a bright light and point it into your advertiser’s eyes and take the interrogation to the next level. I am kidding, of course. The issue is that many media sales warriors have been misled to ask the wrong questions. When you first start your training as a salesperson, there is usually a conversation about asking the three critical sales questions that are core to your success. Those three questions normally include the following: Are they the person that can make advertising decisions? What marketing are you currently doing? What is your budget for marketing? But what if I told you that I deeply believe that these are not the best questions to ask on a media sales call? Would you read on? Or would you roll your eyes? Well, thanks for reading on because I feel we need to sell differently, now more than ever before. In previous blogs I have stated that if we keep selling traditional media in traditional ways, we are destined to get traditional results. So, what can we do to be bigger, badder, and better in the media ad sales business? I believe it starts with reformatting the questions we ask. I deeply feel that we all need to think like a doctor and not like a salesperson.

Consider this: you go to the doctor looking for relief from some type of ailment. They will normally ask you these three questions. What is causing you pain? How long has this been a problem? What have you done so far to fix the pain? If we can be in the business of removing pain, like a doctor, we have a repeatable pattern for ad sales success. Let’s start with the old questions and move to the prescription for success.

Do we need to know if the person is the decision maker? Of course. But, if we only meet with decision makers, we will not have enough meetings to get to our sales goal. In addition, in the media business, we are working with a different buying structure compared to “normal” companies. Unlike a copier salesperson, we are working with marketing directors or business owners. Both are in a unique position, unlike an acquisition clerk at a standard company, to make decisions or highly influence decisions. There are normally not many layers to get to a marketing decision. So I suggest that we swap this question out for a new one. Keep reading, it is coming up.

Do we need to know what marketing they are currently doing? Of course. That helps immensely. But, this question leads the advertiser to hijack your sales call and talk about the other things they are doing. You have just invited them to talk about your competition on your sales call. There is a better way to handle this question and get the answer that you need to move your ball down the field towards a touchdown. We need this answer, but we should ask it in a different way. So, I suggest that we swap out this question for a new one. Keep reading, it is coming up.

Do we need to know their budget? Of course. But how many times have you been given an accurate answer? How many times have you been told, there is no budget? Asking an advertiser their budget forces you to live in their often unrealistic reality of what it takes to market their product or service to your readers. You are asking them to force you into their reality instead of guiding them to the actual reality of what it takes to have a presence, be competitive, or dominate the pages of your publication or website. Asking for budget without showing them the reality of marketing is a waste of a question. Again, we need this answer. But I suggest that we swap out this question for a new one. Keep reading, it is coming up.

When it comes times to asking questions of an advertiser, I have a proven three-step process that has worked over and over again. I truly feel it is the prescription for getting the answers we need and for closing deals. It will probably sound like just what the doctor ordered. So, what is your biggest problem or pain point? How long has that problem been painful? And, what have you done to fix that problem or alleviate that pain? Let’s expand on this three-step process of questions, right now.

Question #1: I like to ask, when you agreed to meet with me today, what is the one business challenge or point of pain that you think I can help you solve? This helps the advertiser get specific with you. It allows you to provide them with specific solutions to specific problems. This helps you get clear on their points of pain. They may have one or they may have five. Ask them to get clear with you, and take notes. Sympathize with them. Tell them they are not alone. Reference that you have heard this pain point before and have some ideas to help. Once you know their pain, now you want to enhance the pain … just a touch.

Question #2: Pain is a real motivator in problem-solving and customer relations. If you can be seen as the person or company that removes the pain points a business owner is facing, your secret media elixir will sell like wildfire. After I ask and identify their pain points, I will ask this simple question: “How long has this been a problem?” Normally, the answer surprises me. I am trying to enhance the pain. I want to make it very real for them, especially if they have been advertising with a competitor for years. I want them to subtly realize that they have been advertising elsewhere and this darn problem still exists. I am not looking to make them feel dumb, however. I just want them to see that they still have the pain point and they do not like the pain. Once the pain is real, I dig just a bit deeper by asking my third question.

Question #3: What have you done to fix this problem? I might even ask how much money they have spent to try and fix the issue. Oh wait, did I just ask their budget? Well … sort of. I want to enhance the fact that they have spent money and time and the problem still exists. Again, sympathize with them. Tell them they are not alone. Reference that you have heard this pain before and have some ideas to help.

Your doctor does the same thing when you come to their office. Right? What is the problem? How long has this been a problem? What have you done so far to fix the pain? If we can be in the business of removing pain, we have a repeatable pattern for ad sales success.

Now, I am not suggesting that these are the only questions you should ask. If you read this blog often, you know that there are many other questions to ask. I am simply suggesting that we have limited time on that single valuable sales call, and we want to ask the best questions to get the best results. The other thing is that there are so many age-old sales questions that make us sound like every other media salesperson. In most markets, the questions that you ask will set you apart from the other salespeople that are calling on your same clients. Do you believe that questions separate you from others? The answer is yes.

Two final points. If we keep selling traditional media in traditional ways, we are destined to get traditional results. So let’s change a bit. And remember, if ad sales was an easy job, everyone would be doing it. We are the chosen few. Let’s always be looking to improve our media sales game.

 

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10 Sales Tips to Help You Leave 2020 in the Dust

2020 has been an absolutely c-r-a-z-y year, one we’ll never forget. But now it’s time to jump into 2021 and ramp up for a MUCH better year—a year that’s filled with some crazy success!

The question is, what are we going to do to dive into 2021 with a fervor? And how can we do more with less? (Because I’m sure we’re all being tasked to do just that.)

So I’m going to share with you some ideas that can help all of us drive toward serious success in 2021. When it comes down to it, these are fundamental things that we need to do consistently every year—in sales, in marketing, and in business—to truly become and to stay exceedingly successful.

These suggestions go way beyond the standard New Year’s resolutions people make. Because did you know that 75% of people just like you and me fail on those resolutions by January 28? They don’t even keep those resolutions alive more than 28 days!

Why? It’s because they don’t do these 10 things to set themselves up for success—success that lasts all year long and takes them into the next.

No 1: Set keystone habits first.

Most people go straight to goal setting, when they really need to set keystone habits first. What are they? They are far more important than the big sales goals you will set for 2021.

But what is a keystone? If you look at an arch in a doorway, picture an old castle if you will, there’s a prominent stone right in the center that looks like a wedge. And without that stone, called the “keystone,” the arch would fall. The strength of that arch comes from the keystone right in the center. It’s that foundational piece of an arch that’s going to last hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

What are keystone habits for you and me? Simple things, like getting plenty of sleep. Drinking plenty of water. Reducing stress by getting out and exercising. Things like that.

Think about it this way. Is weight loss a keystone habit? The answer is probably not. But a keystone habit to help you reach that larger goal might be, when you’re at the grocery store, to only shop from the outside aisles of the store, and not in the middle where the less healthy stuff is. Right?

Keystone habits are fundamental. What do they look like for you? The biggest one for me is sleep—making sure I get at least eight hours each night. And it’s tough, because I love to binge watch Netflix after a long day of work.

So think about your keystone habits … they’re going to be different from your big goals, but they’re going to set you up for success so you can reach the big ones.

No. 2: As you’re setting goals, identify the “why” in the goal.

Before you think about how you’ll get to your sales goals you’ve got to  think about why. The why is fundamentally important to your success in goal setting in 2021.

Going back to the weight loss example, what would the “why” look like? Why are you trying to lose weight? To be healthier. But why? To live longer. But really, why? So that you don’t die! And you can actually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

So idea no. 2 gets down to the heart of the matter—and making sure you identify the “why” in every goal that you set. Not just the what, not just the how, but the why.

No. 3: Set mini goals to get to your bigger goals.

See, a lot of times the reason you fail on the big goals is because the mini goals have not been set or achieved. And there’s typically three mini goals below each main goal. And when you actually achieve your mini goals, that allows you to get to your big goal.

So let’s say, for example, that your big goal is to exceed your sales numbers in 2021. Excellent. Now what are the mini goals to get you there?

One mini goal might be to establish an active pipeline that you’re working every three days. And perhaps that could start with even another mini goal—like learning how to work your CRM really effectively.

Another mini goal in trying to get to the bigger goal could be that you’re going to learn your sales math, your call-to-close ratios, and then improve upon them.

To sum up: mini goals … set them to get to your bigger goals. And before that? Establish your keystone habits, and then sit down and identify the “why” in your bigger goals.

No. 4: Become a time management master. 

Heading into 2021, we’re all being tasked to do more with less. So, being a time management master comes down, in my sales experience, to time blocking. You’ve absolutely got to learn to time block.

Let’s say one of your mini goals is, “I need to call 25 people each and every day.” How will you reach this? Time blocking. Put it on your calendar and make it repeat each day.

Time blocking is fundamentally one of the greatest things I’ve ever done that’s made the most impact on my sales life, my marketing life … even my personal life.

No. 5: Plan to adjust your plan.

Planning to adjust your plan is part and parcel to your success, because a lot of times we fail at goals simply because the train came off the tracks as we were trying to get to the goal. And when that happened, we simply didn’t know what to do.

So, plan to adjust your plan. Just plan to fail. “WHAT?” you’re saying. The gurus (be careful about self-proclaimed gurus) always say, “You’ve got to visualize winning. Visualize reaching your goals.”

But here’s what I tell people to think about in my sales training. Plan to fail so that you have a plan for when the train comes off the tracks—so you can get back on the tracks again, really fast. Planning to adjust your plan is really about understanding that the vast majority of people are going to fail on their way to getting to the big goal. So because of that, you want to plan to adjust your plan.

When the mini goal train goes off the tracks, how do you see that it’s going off the tracks and how do you get it back on? A lot of it, quite honestly, is simply paying attention.

No. 6: Oftentimes, you will need an accountability buddy.

Think about it. When do you lose the most weight? When you have a buddy. When do you gain the most muscle mass—on your own or with a trainer? Usually with a trainer. You probably need some kind of an accountability buddy.

Now, if you don’t have one, you can use your calendar, your phone, an app to constantly remind you. Whatever you use, an accountability buddy is vitally important in your sales life, your marketing life, and in your business life.

How do you find one? Maybe you pay for a coach. And that’s okay—I have a coach, and I think I’m pretty good at what I do, but I have a coach. And that coach is always asking me, “How are you doing on this? How are you doing on that?”

Having an accountability buddy, in whatever form that takes for you, is very, very important.

No. 7: Know your deal count.

In the sales business, if you’re going to achieve your sales goals, you’ve got to know your deal counts. You’ve got to know your call-to-close ratios.

It’s so difficult to go into a month of selling if you don’t know how many calls you need to make to get a meeting. And then, how many meetings do you need to have to close a deal? And how many deals do you need to get to goal?

To be successful in the sales business, you’ve got to know your numbers so you know what it takes for you to close a deal. I stress this over and over in my sales training.

Here’s an example. I know that if I call 10 people and I work them every three days, out of those 10 people I’m going to get a couple of meetings. Then, out of those meetings, usually about half of them, I’m going to get a proposal in front of that person. And from there, about 30% of the time I’m going to close.

So, when I get to 10 meetings, I close about three in 10. And I think that’s very, very successful.

But I was talking to a guy the other day and he said, “Ryan, I close 80% of meetings I go on. So I need help closing that last 20%.” And I’m like, “Dude, you need to write a book, because nobody closes 80% (without discounting).”

So, know your deal count. I truly believe that if you’re closing 30-40%, you’re doing well out there in COVID land.

No. 8: Recognize randomness when it occurs, and get rid of it.

Randomness kills your day. Randomness kills your goals. Randomness will kill your love life. Randomness will kill your personal life.

Randomness does not help you win.

 

So how do you recognize it and how do you get rid of it? First, it’s very simple. Look for things that work and repeat them. And then look for things that don’t work, and don’t repeat them.

I know it sounds so simple, but people just don’t pay attention. Recognize things that work and repeat those things. Recognize things that are not working and stop doing them.

It’s amazing to me the number of people that do the wrong thing in the sales business, in the marketing business, and in business in general. And they just keep doing it. I believe they think to themselves, “If I just work harder it’s going to work out.”

And I know where this comes from. It comes from having really great parents, grandparents, or somebody who raised you say, “If you work hard enough, you can achieve anything.”

Well, there’s some truth in that. I’m not trying to diminish what your parents or grandma said to you, but recognize, friends: When things aren’t working, stop doing the things that don’t work.

Conversely, when things are working, repeat the things that do work. Pay attention to them. Because these are the things that will make you successful.

No. 9: Set rewards for yourself if you need them.

Maybe your rewards look something like this, “I’m going to do this, and then if this is the end result I get a spa day for myself,” or, maybe for you it’s an expensive bottle of bourbon. Whatever that looks like for you, set rewards for yourself if you need them.

No. 10: Work your plan.

In my sales training, I encourage people to have a whiteboard in their offices. And I encourage them to write down their mini goals and their goals, and then to track themselves. The reason is, you’ve got to work your plan.

What’s your plan? Work it. If you’re not working your plan, nobody else is going to work it for you.

To recap, the 10 strategies I’ve outlined here start with setting keystone habits first. These habits are foundational and vitally important. No. 2, identify the “why” in your goal: why are you setting this goal? Why is it important to you, to your family, to your business? No 3, set mini goals—you’ve got to set at least three mini goals, on average, to get to the bigger goal. No. 4, become a time management master by time blocking your day. In sales, every day we need to prospect, retain, and propose. So block out time for it. No. 5, you’re going to fail, so plan for it. And plan to adjust your plan. The train is going to come off the tracks and you’ll need to recognize it when it does, and then have a plan to get it back on the tracks quickly. No. 6, you may need an accountability buddy. If you don’t need one, maybe your calendar is enough. But you’re probably going to be more successful with a buddy. No 7, you’ve got to know your deal count. You have to know how much it takes for you to get to a meeting. How much it takes for you to close deals. Work that sales math to your advantage. No. 8, recognize randomness and get rid of it in your life. Be deliberate. No. 9, set rewards for yourself. If you need them, set them for yourself. Then, no. 10, you’ve got to work your plan.

There you have it. This is my roadmap for sales success. It’s not the proposal template. It’s not the email templates. It’s recognizing why I’m doing things, how I’m doing things, and setting goals for myself. And here’s the thing, friends. You can do it, too. And then we’ll both see the kind of success in 2021 that we want to see.

Remember, if sales was easy everybody would be doing it, and they’re not. So we’re either crazy or we’ve found a career that will feed our families for a lifetime.

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10 Ways to Close More Sales Deals—Faster

What a crazy year—it seems like it was March just yesterday! But we’re moving into that time of year when we need to close out 2020 in as strong a way as possible. And we also need to be looking at 2021 and Q1, Q2.

So what are we going to do in the remainder of 2020 to close more sales deals as we roll into the New Year, and close them faster?  Our goal as a corporate sales training company is to help you win!

Here are 10 time-tested ideas that work for me.

1-Present Options and Recommendations in the First Sales Meeting

I’ve said this before in the past, but I want to reinforce this simple fact: the conversion rate is 70% higher when you recommend a product. A full sixty percent of people make decisions based on FOMO, that fear of missing out.

So why it is that so many sales people go on a discovery meeting and then leave that meeting to create a customized solution and proposal?

In some instances, I get it—this specialization that you’re trying to bring in front of your customers. But it’s hard enough to get meetings as it is, much less have to schedule a meeting, go to discovery, leave the meeting to create a proposal, come back and track the person down to present the proposal. Then after all that they’ve got to think about it. And then you’ve got to track them down again.

You might say, “My process is a lot more streamlined.” But I doubt it. I’m here to be real with you.

So when I’m on a sales call, I’m ready to present options in that very first meeting. And I am ready to make recommendations and proposals on the spot.

2-Use Research to Your Advantage

If you want to move from the transactional selling that has been necessary during COVID to relational selling, you’ve got to use research to connect more deeply with customers.

As I share in my sales training, I use tools to do this. LinkedIn is one obvious example. And some of us have LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and it’s a really great tool. I’m also using a Chrome extension with a website called Crystal Knows (www.crystalknows.com). And the shortcut is that Crystal does virtual personality profiling. The extension syncs with LinkedIn when you’re in Chrome to pull up personality profiles and traits of the people that you’re looking at. This tool is not free, but it’s not expensive, either. And I use it all the time.

So, I’m using research to connect more deeply with sales clients. It’s called “building quick trust.” And “quick trust” must be built within 5-10 seconds. You’re going to do that most effectively by having more information on the customer, their company, etc. So dig in on LinkedIn and make sure you’re prepared for all your calls.

I realize this is kind of 101, but are you actually doing it?

3-Ask Better Questions

Your questions simply have to be better. One of your main questions that makes me nuts and that I hear when I’m doing sales training is this: “Tell me more about your business.” C’mon, you’re better than that.

Or “What keeps you up at night?” Okay, c’mon, you’re better than that one, too. And then, “What’s your budget?” You can do better than that.

Those are three questions we do need to ask, but maybe ask them in a more vibrant kind of way so that we don’t sound like every other salesperson that’s calling on that customer.

Here are four that I really like to ask: 1.) “When you agreed to meet with me, what business challenge or problem were you hoping that I could help you solve?” That is one of my absolute favorites.

The next one is similar, but it’s more of a storytelling kind of approach. 2.) “If I could give you a magic wand that you wave, what would you want to see happen as far as our relationship goes—what’s your buy-in from me?” Or “If I could wave a magic wand for you, what business challenge could I help you resolve?”

The next question I like to ask is, 3.) “When you think about competing here in our community and against others in your industry, do you want to be seen as having some sort of a presence out there? Do you want to be competitive? Or do you want to be dominant?”

And the reason this works for me is because, sure, I can ask them their budget for buying whatever product I’m selling. But they’re going to give me a number based on their reality.

Let me stress it again, when I ask this question and give them those three options, that’s going to lead me towards a budget number that’s based more in actual reality–rather than simply their reality.

The other question I like to ask on a regular basis is, 4.) “If everything went perfectly, if our relationship was perfect, you buy the product I’m selling, and then … what do you want the end result to be? What would the perfect end result be for you?”

Or, more simply, you could say, “If I’m going to keep you for a lifetime as a customer, what do I need to do?”

I think those are just better questions than, “What keeps you up at night?”

4-Prepare Yourself to Talk About COVID Delays

Delays are happening right now. People are delaying Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4. Be prepared to talk about it.

Jot down the most common objections you’re going to get on one side of a piece of paper. And on the other side jot down what your answers are going to be. And be prepared for delays.

5-Revamp Your Proposal

You’ve got to think about revamping your sales proposal based upon the research that I hit on before. Let me give you two tidbits that might help motivate you to do this.

From our Sales Training World research, we’ve found that when we looked at 1,200 pages of 100 different proposals that 79% of our test users simply scanned the proposal, and only 16% actually read it. So I think we sales pros need to remove about 50% of the text from our proposals.

Another telling find in our research is that nearly all of the most successful businesses we looked at had proposals that presented three pricing options.

And then, the last finding was that these successful businesses used proposals that were full of pictures and a wealth of examples.

So, be thinking of the research out there and revamping your slide decks, your capabilities decks, and these kinds of sales tools. And again, remember that only about 16% of people actually read what it is you’re putting in front of them.

6-Give More Than One Pricing Option

Why do I love three pricing options? I love three pricing options and I stress them in my sales training because if you give somebody one choice, it’s sort of a yes or a no. If you give them two choices, now you’re starting to get them thinking. But if you give them three choices, they will typically buy the middle option.

So you create your pricing and your proposals around the middle option.

To reiterate, present three pricing options. I want to see a good, better, best in almost every situation. Or a presence, competitive, dominant—or a gold, silver, bronze.  However you word it, present three pricing options if you want to sell more.

7-Set a Very Specific After-Proposal Follow Up Plan

So you’re on the meeting (remember, I suggest you go there with a proposal), and you’ve gone there ready to sell them something—ask great questions, share testimonials, and show them what you’ve got.

Then when the client says, “I need to think about it,” you’ll be ready for that too, and you’ll be ready to implement three steps, which are No. 1, tell them “Let me back up and in 48 hours check in.”

Then No. 2, if they need more time and 48 hours isn’t enough, ask them, “If you need more time, what are we going to do?”

And finally, No. 3, ask “What if we miss each other?” which is how I psychologically try to program my customers. “If you stand me up for this date, then what?”

It’s also worth noting that we need to be prepared for when their answer is “no.” I’m not going to beat them up about it. But I might say, “I’d rather get a ‘yes,’ but if it’s going to be no just tell me ‘no.’” Or, “If the timing isn’t right, tell me ‘no’ so I can quit bothering you.”

A very specific follow up plan that I stress in my sales training is: after I get finished with my sales call, I check back in 48 hours. So, consider these follow-up statements: “If you need more time, let’s text about it.” “If we miss each other, then what?” “What do you need?” And then, “If the answer is no, tell me ‘no,’ I’m not going to beat you up about it.”

8-Talk About the Love You Have for Your Customers

A lot of times salespeople feel like they don’t want to talk about their clients. But you have to.

In the land of COVID, stranger danger is real. People are more likely to buy from you if you’ve helped other people be successful. That’s why I’m always open to share and talk freely about my other clients.

Yet, in nearly every slide deck I see, in just about every proposal that I see, there’s no mention of anybody else that we work with—our clients. Why is that?

“Well, you know, we really can’t talk about other people,” many say. But stop. We’re not talking about being unethical. I’m talking about singing from the mountaintops.

Don’t be afraid. Tell them how much you love your customers and how much they love you, and that they’re going to love working with you, as well.

Go ahead and sing that love from the mountaintops.

9-Get Clear on the Path to Making a Decision

Some people will tell you to step It up in advance. I don’t think it’s the appropriate thing to do. For example, “Okay, what’s your timeline here?” “Do you have the authority to make this decision?” That reminds me of how we used to do things in the ‘80s. And most buyers don’t respond to that.

But if I get to the end of the sales call, and they’re showing excitement, they’re giving me buying signals, I ask them, “So what does your path to making this decision look like? “You seem like you love this idea. Do you love it?” And if they say, “I love it,” then great. I’ll say, “So what’s your path to getting this approved?” and “What do you need from me?”

And then I’ll ask, “What do you think is going to be the biggest roadblock that you’re going to run across? What can I give you—video, can I reformat this slide deck for you, could I record the sales deck using a tool like Loom or Soapbox and give it to you to show your boss?”

A lot of sales trainers out there would say, “Never meet with anyone who’s not the decision maker.” Well, that’s easy to say if you’re not really responsible for selling anything.

I think we have to meet with people that are in the chain of command.

So remember to ask, “What do you need from me?” Get really clear on this with your clients and prospects.

10-Deal with It if Somebody’s Answer is “No”

If you’re going to close more sales deals, you’re going to need to rock through them. If a customer’s answer is no, I’m not going to beat them up about it.

A lot of times people will say, “Never give them the opportunity to say ‘no.’” Okay, that’s a copyright 1996.

You have to recognize that in today’s world we’re having to resell people all the time. So if you really make them angry because you jump back down their throat when you’re in full-press sales mode … if the answer is “no” or “not now,” your answer should be something like, “We’ll get together and we’ll work together at some point in the future.”

Some people will say, “Well, you never get a second chance to sell them.” I just don’t agree with that. I feel like we have to resell these people over and over again.

If the answer is “no,” that just means “not right now.” And actually, that’s alright.

Rock through those deals.

In closing, remember—I say it all the time—if sales was easy, everybody would be doing it. And they’re not. So we’re either crazy or we’ve found careers that will feed our families for a lifetime.

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7 Work From Home Strategies for Success

Let your calendar, not your inbox, drive your day.   Don’t fall victim to the idea of answering an email real quick.  We talk about this in every corporate sales training workshop.  A 30-second interruption can take you 2-minutes to reengage.  Most people thrive when a structure is in place. Randomly working on random projects at random times is not a recipe for success.  Block out time on your calendar for tasks and be dedicated when the time block pops up.  Set the task to repeat daily if needed.

Create mini-goals.   When working remotely, it is smart to set small goals that are very short term. For example, setting a goal to finish a proposal before you take a coffee break. It’s important to set little goals all throughout your day. A big win at the end of the day is normally comprised of small wins throughout the day.

Switch it up. When things aren’t rolling forward to your satisfaction, you might just need to change the routine.  If you used to have great success prospecting for new business at 4 PM and it’s not yielding the result for you that you desire, move the time block to 3 PM. Sometimes switching it up can mean rearranging your office.   All too often people stay the course when things are not working. There can be some great benefits from changing the direction if you’re not getting the results you desire.

Don’t be a web camera zombie. Creating human interaction by sharing your webcam can be extremely beneficial in team environments. All too often, a poor set up in your home office or remote location can make you look like a webcam zombie or a person in witness protection. This is sort of a joke but, it is a reality for a lot of people that work remotely.  Many people say to me, “does sharing your webcam really matter? “  Yes!  Experts tell us that 65% of important cues in conversations are visual.

Set time limits. Here have you ever looked down at your clock and realized that 90 minutes had gone by and you hadn’t even come up for air? It happens to us all. Setting time limits for everything that you do is critical to your success. Experts from various fields have reported increases in productivity from 75% to 150% by simply setting up a timer next to your desk and using it to keep you on task.

Fight the urge to multi-task. According to Neuroscientists at the Mayo Clinic, our brains aren’t built to do more than one thing at a time. And when we try to multitask, we damage our brains in ways that negatively affect our well-being, mental performance, and productivity.  Reduce stress and get more done.  Stop trying to multi-task.

Celebrate wins.   No matter the size or scope of the victory, always celebrate wins, especially if your team is working remotely. Working remotely can be an out of sight out of mind type of scenario. Create encouraging interactions by celebrating wins and uniting your team around common victories.

If there’s one thing that this health crisis has helped us understand is that we truly can survive without being in an office every single day. I truly believe that another thing has been defined, without live social interaction we are just not as happy as a team or as people. So, will we figure out how to work remotely forever? I hope not.

 

 

 

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Are Customer Needs Assessments Dead?

As we navigate the changes in our world right now, I think it’s important to focus on the Customer Needs Assessment as a part of my corporate sales training blog.

If you’re in a leadership role, right now you might be saying, “No, Ryan, don’t talk about not doing a CNA.”

Here’s my point, though. We’re living in a world where people are limited in cash, limited on funds, and certainly limited on patience. For the most part, I think everybody right now is actually limited to some degree in their cognitive abilities. So how do we expect someone we’re selling to to actually understand what they need vs. what they want?

Think about this regarding the Customer Needs Assessment. Very often it focuses in on what they want, and not what they need. Think about all the questions you ask. “What’s your budget?” “What are your goals?” “What keeps you up at night?” “What’s the biggest business challenge for you?” “How can we help you overcome that?”

It’s all focusing on what they want. They want paying customers, they want new business, they want to retain business. Want, want, want.

It really should be called the Customer Wants Assessment, right? Think through this with me before you shut down on the idea. Be open-minded. I sell every day, just like you do. I’ve been in sales and marketing for 30 years. I didn’t stop selling to become a consultant; I love the sales business.

So here’s a radical idea: Maybe we need to find our joy in that, in the sales business.

So this Customer Needs Assessment, where we ask them what they need—it really focuses on what somebody wants. So if we don’t actually guide them toward what they need, they’re going to come back to us in the coming weeks or months and say, “I didn’t get any ROI.” They didn’t get the return on investment that they needed. And so a lot of the time they didn’t get what they needed because we gave them what they wanted.

So here’s what I want you to consider in addition to the CNA: putting forth powerful recommendations.

Let me give you some background on my thoughts here.

There are a lot of impatient people out there right now. How many of you feel cranky right now? I feel cranky. I’m cranky about the world, I’m cranky about politics, I’m cranky about COVID. I’m just cranky. And it’s difficult to deal with cranky people you’re selling to. They try to tell you what they want, and you’re trying to convince them what they need, so I’d like to talk to you about recommendations instead.

Were you aware that Nielsen, the TV ratings and audits company, reports that recommendations are the most trusted form of information? This is a tool we can use as salespeople, and this is something I stress in my sales training. We can coach our customers on why they need something, and what they need to buy. And then we can get them to a point where we not only fulfill their wants, but we actually get to the heart of what they need.

Harvard Business Review had a review of 600 top sales professionals, and here’s what they found out: Most sales reps rely on a customer to coach them through the sales process. Now, the superstar sales reps that I work with in my sales training, we coach the customer. We know the questions we need to ask the customer to find out what it is they truly need beyond what they want.

But still, most customers are going to struggle to identify an exact need. For example, they might say, “I need more customers.” So I may say, “When you say ‘customers,’ can you be more specific? Tell me more. Give me some detail about that.”

So, to guide customers to a recommendation, I’m doing a great deal of comparative selling.

Creating a comparative conversation helps you draw out ego, helps you draw out emotion, and helps you draw out logic.

Sometimes in the advertising business, where I spend a lot of my time, I’ll say things like, “Who do you feel does a great job of marketing here in our community?” I suppose they could say, “Nobody does.” But typically they give an example of somebody.

And then I’ll say, “Do you want to be like them, better than them, less than them? Do you want to be competitive with them, or do you want to dominate them?” I work to determine what’s the circumstance for them.

What I don’t ask them is what their budget is. Because if you ask them what their budget is, they’re probably going to give you a number based on their reality. Not the reality of marketing in the community where you live.

My next tool to guide customers to a recommendation is sharing success stories through comparative selling.

Let’s say, for example, that you sell in the software space. When you create a comparative conversation, you’re actually comparing the customer that you have on the phone to other customers that you’ve had in the past that are very, very happy.

Here’s an example. When I sell, I ethically share stories about my current clients. I share what they love about me, what they love about the software, what they’ve loved about the company, what they’ve loved about the experience–and I can begin to compare customers.

I use these comparative conversations so I can recommend products based on the happiness of other customers, realizing that other customers’ happiness will oftentimes translate to the happiness of this new customer that I’m trying to get.

It’s easy—and it’s all about sharing success stories.

But sometimes we salespeople don’t like to do this, and the reason we don’t is because we feel like we’re talking about a customer behind that customer’s back. But we’re not. What we’re actually doing is shouting from the mountaintop how happy other customers are with us.

And if they’re happy, then this new customer probably will be, too. And happiness is ultimately what we’re seeking.

Now, you might get really technical about this, and you might say, “Well, Ryan, I’m not looking for happiness, what I’m looking for is making sure they have the ROI that they demand.” But I am here to tell you, when push comes to shove what most people want to do is what others have done to be successful.

Just last weekend I was talking with a friend of mine. She said, “I’m having some great luck losing weight.” I said, “Cool! I would love to drop 15 pounds. I think it would make me happy and make my wife happy. What are you doing?”

And she told me about her weight management plan. So I immediately went home and looked it up online to find out how I could get involved in this.

The point is, her success story led me to make a great buying decision, for me. This is a simple buying example, but it can resonate through everything you do.

Consider that when you have a linear conversation, a one-way conversation with a client, what you do is keep them inside their own bubble. And it’s not until somebody gets out of their bubble—OUT of it—that they realize, “Oh, other people out here are happy, they’re being successful, and I want to be like them. What are they doing? What is their weight loss plan? How did it work for them? What made them happy?”

As a salesperson, if I can help customers be happy—happy like other people–then all of a sudden they start buying what it is that I’m selling. It’s a simple sales concept that works and that resonates with customers.

I’ve had the opportunity to walk through and be a part of almost every sales training program in America, from Carnegie to Sandler. And a problem I see is that they focus on a one-way conversation where you identify somebody’s pain and then you fix that pain.

That’s great in theory, but as a salesperson you can actually take it to the next level by telling them about other happy customers whose pain you have eliminated. It’s about proving that you have done something for other people.

It’s about getting beyond the old fashioned Customer Needs Assessment to start recommending products, sharing success stories, and creating comparative conversations.

And remember, in these conversations, be mindful of the questions that you ask. Make sure those questions take you to a better place.

So, what are the questions?

I try not to ask the same questions that have been asked for the last 10-15 years, the ones that make you sound like all the other salespeople that have shown up either face-to-face, on Zoom, or on the phone.

I strive to ask the questions that other salespeople don’t. In that vein, I don’t ask, “What keeps you up at night?” I would rather ask a question, something along the lines of, “If we could help bring you one perfect customer, what would that customer look like?”

Or, “When you agreed to meet with me, was there a business challenge you were hoping that I could help you solve?”

I’ll say it again, rather than asking, “What’s your budget?” … especially in the ad sales world where I spend a lot of my time in the advertising business, I’ll say, “If we could help you be bigger and better than your nearest competitor, what would that look like?” “In the past, what have you done to solve these types of problems?”

Or I might use something back from my good old Sandler days like, “What is the biggest challenge that you’re facing right now that you think I can help you solve?” Or “How long has that been a challenge or a problem for you?” “What have you done in the past to fix that problem or remove that problem from the greater equation of your business?”

When you ask your questions, remember these ideas I espouse in my sales training programs: Most people want to be led. Most people like recommendations. Most people don’t like a linear conversation—they want to know what others are doing and what you have done to help other people.

So, in closing, the Customer Needs Assessment isn’t dead, necessarily, but if we don’t breathe some new life into it, if we keep doing the same thing we’ve always done, we’re going to get the same result. If we want to see a different result, we’ve got to do something different.

That’s why we’re advisors … try to be an advisor, don’t be a salesperson. Breathe some new life into your Customer Needs Assessment.

And managers out there—sales directors, sales leaders—look at the questions your salespeople are asking prospects and customers. Make sure that they’re updated. Make sure they reflect the current situation that we’re in.

Then finally, always remember. If sales was easy, everybody would be doing it. And they’re not. So we’re either crazy or we’ve found a career that will feed our families for a lifetime.

 

About this blogger:

 

Ryan Dohrn is an award winning sales coach and offers sales training to thousands of sales executives each year.  He is also an international motivational speaker and the author of the best-selling sales book, Selling Backwards.  Ryan is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media, a boutique sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on sales training and sales coaching for companies in 17 unique industry sectors from media to tech to aviation.  He is also the owner and Publisher of SalesTrainingWorld.com an online portal for sales training success.

 

Contact information:

Ryan R. Dohrn

President/Founder, Brain Swell Media LLC

Publisher, SalesTrainingWorld.com

Ryan@BrainSwellMedia.com

 

http://www.BrainSwellMedia.com

http://RyanDohrn.com

http://360adsales.com

http://sellingbackwards.com

http://SalesTrainingWorld.com

 

Follow him on Twitter.com/ryandohrn for daily tips and advice.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/ryandohrn

 

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7 Ways to Reignite Sales Conversations in a Post-COVID World

The dramatic impact that the novel coronavirus has had on the United States and the world is undeniable. There are many different ways to view what has happened, and I do not wish to be political—I trust that everyone can handle politics in their own way.

For our sales conversations, though, I believe that we need to start getting back to business—whatever that means for your particular company as it relates to sales and marketing.

In that vein, let’s talk about seven ideas to help us get back to business from where we now stand. These are realizations I’m finding to work well for me in my own sales life, and that I’m sharing with others as part of my larger sales training efforts.

Idea 1: The time to get back to sales conversations is now.

There are a lot of people out there talking on the internet and social media about selling during COVID-19—and it was tough. I must reiterate: The conversations out there were tough. And now, at the time of this writing, we’re almost two months into this and the conversations are largely OK now. Maybe one out of 50 folks I’m calling on has been personally impacted or has had something happen in their families, and they’re not ready to talk. I get that. I totally get that.

It’s for those folks, when I get them on the phone, I just apologize, sympathize, and say, “Hey, when you’re ready to talk, I’m here.”

But one of the things I hear sales reps doing right now in my sales training (marketers, too) is starting every conversation with, “Hey, Bob. How are you doing?” And that’s just wrong.

Now, if you’ve known the person for a considerable period of time, then you might consider them a colleague and you might start the conversation that way.

But if you’re calling on a new prospect, and you don’t know them from anybody else, I think asking them about their personal health is not the best way to start the conversation.

In addition, everybody is starting the conversation that way. And unfortunately, it leads to a pretty negative start to a sales call.

So what I like to do is put a little different spin on it. I might say, “Hi, Bob. I’ve got some news to share with you—some good news, as a matter of fact. Would you have time for a new idea?”

Or, “Hey, Bob. I see some light at the end of the proverbial business tunnel, and I’d love to chat with you a little about some new ideas. What do you think?”

I think that’s a very appropriate way to start a sales conversation. In fact, I think it’s so important that I want to caution you again, when you start the conversation, “Hey, Bob. How’re doing?” you might get somebody who says back to you, “How the (blank) do you think I’m doing?” And again, I’m not at all saying that you shouldn’t sympathize. What I’m saying is that everybody is starting the conversation with, “Hey, how are you going?” and a lot of the time it leads to a pretty negative conversation and gets things off to a fairly negative start.

In the end, though, how you kick off the first conversation is up to you and to your personal preferences. For me, it was a bit tough to get past the “Hey, how are you doing?” It really was, and so I get that.

To recap, if you’ve had a relationship with somebody for years, it’s natural that you’ll want to ask them how they’re doing.

But otherwise, my advice is to always start the conversation with a bit more positive phrasing—to kick off a more positive conversation.

Idea 2: Recognize that a lot of people are still working from home.

Here’s what’s really interesting about COVID-19 on a positive side, if there is a positive side. And that’s that everybody pretty much knows how to do a GoToMeeting or a Zoom meeting. They’re comfortable with it and that makes it a little bit easier to sell that way.

We taught my mom how to run a Zoom meeting the other night. So c’mon, if I can teach my mom how to run a Zoom meeting, if you do happen to run across somebody who really doesn’t know how and is not the most technologically savvy, you can teach them, too.

But since many people are still working from home, the odds of catching them in a non-distracting environment are good. There are always spouses and kids and pets, but there isn’t typically the normally distracting business environment. (And if you looked your customer or sales prospect up on LinkedIn, you might be prepared and already know they have six kids, or whatever the case may be, as they’re working from home.)

So to recap here, recognize that a lot of people are still working from home.

Idea 3: Respect that prospecting times have changed, marketing times have changed, and reception times have changed.

So first off, let’s talk about pre-COVID times. In pre-COVID times I’d be telling you to call folks at 11:15 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. I choose 11:15 because most people don’t book meetings before lunch, so there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to get through to them. And then 4:15 because most people don’t book meetings before going home, so your chances of getting through to them are pretty good.

Well, during COVID and post-COVID, 4 p.m. has become the new 5 o’clock. So for me that afternoon time block has definitely changed. It’s turned into more like a 3:15 prospecting block.

But what about the morning time block? I’m noticing that a lot of people are responding to emails earlier in the day. So what I’ve been doing is changing the 11:15 time block to more like a 10 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. time block—specifically for prospecting.

Here’s the takeaway on that. Look at your client list, monitor your CRM, and look to see when people are responding to your sales calls. Then, as always, friends, keep your emails, keep your marketing short.

Recognize that from a marketing standpoint it’s best to reach people not at random times, but at times that you’re going to get the very best open rate. And be aware that times have changed.

Idea 4: Work with people on their deadlines.

In a post-COVID world, there’s going to be urgency of deadlines as people get back to some semblance of normalcy.

So rather than asking needs, goals, and desires, what I’m really focusing in on are, “What are your deadlines?” Or, “As you get back to work, what are the deadlines being placed on you?” And I look at this from a technology perspective, from a marketing perspective, and from a sales perspective—and then I work backwards from those deadlines.

See, a lot of times in the sales world we sell forward, meaning that we work with folks and we try to push them into our sales funnel, rather than us working with their particular sales funnels or buying cycles.

So one of the things I’m doing and that I’m teaching in my sales training is how to really get intimate with sales contacts’ and prospects’ deadlines. My questions might go like this, “What are your deadlines? “What do you have coming up?” and “What’s going on for you?” And that way I back myself into success as a sales person. I use their own deadlines to potentially drive the conversation forward from my perspective.

Idea 5: You are more likely to do business with somebody post-COVID that you’ve already done business with in the past.

Why is that? That’s because there are two things in sales that really stop us. No 1., with new customers there’s that “stranger danger” effect, and stranger danger is real.

And no. 2, there are going to be valid health issues—safety concerns that your prospects and customers have.

Some of you in the past have been really big on getting face-to-face with your customers. And I’m going to say that over the next six months or so, getting face-to-face is probably going to be pretty unlikely.

The good news though, as I said before, is that people are getting very proficient with Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Meet, and that kind of thing. So I think that video selling has become a new thing that is very important for all of us to embrace.

In addition, you truly are more likely to get a referral from a past customer. So, what’s your referral program? Personally, I like to refer business. I think it’s good for business. I think people appreciate it, but you have to ask yourself, “What am I really going to get in terms of a referral?” And then you have to consider whether or not you have a good referral program.

Idea 6: You must set time blocks and create a good rhythm.

Doing this can really help you get focused. When you’re setting these time blocks, ask yourself, “How has the time zone changed in a post-COVID world?” Think of that, and then realize that you need to get religious about those time zones, those time blocks.

Block them out. Pay attention to those time zones. And really live and die by them. Get consistent. Randomness is really not going to help you.

I share in my sales training that I also use lists in my CRM to keep me focused. Whether you tag customers in those lists, or whatever you do in your process, in those time zones I like to work a lot of lists in my sales efforts. And I think that’s vitally important for sales success.

Idea 7: Sales is a numbers game that you can use to your advantage.

I love relationships, but when push comes to shove math doesn’t lie. So make sure you understand how many sales calls you will need to make and how many emails will you need to send to get a meeting booked with somebody.

And then once you book that meeting, how many sales meetings does it take for you to actually get a closed deal? Use that math to reach sales success.

So to close, it’s OK to sell in a post-COVID world. Of course, be sympathetic, but just realize that now is the time to sell. Get back to work. Stay ahead of the game. And I think we’re going to be successful in a post-COVID world.

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10 Reasons to Open Your Sales Ears and Listen

Listen more to sell more. It’s a premise that sounds so simple. And most salespeople will tell you they’re really good listeners. But I’ve sat in on a great number of calls in my sales training, and I know that’s not actually the case.

So let me walk you through the sales call–and show you how to listen more to sell more. Here are 10 key ideas and tips to help you listen better and get strong sales results.

1-Experts report that 80% of critical sales information is heard, not spoken.

Keep this in mind. If you want to be a great listener, be mindful not to talk 80% of the time in a conversation with your prospect or client. The real opportunity lies in listening.

2-Active listening is extremely helpful in building rapport.

Active listening is about paying attention. It’s about taking notes and repeating things that make sense back to people so they know you’re listening.

You would be surprised at the number of times I hear people say, “Ryan, I don’t like to take notes because it’s distracting.” Okay, so take note of the major things, and then occasionally stop to think back, after listening actively, and summarize with the important things that were said.

For example, you might say, “Mr. Jones, as I’m taking a few notes here, I want to make sure I don’t miss out on some things you say that are really important.” Then you can say, “What I’ve heard you say is 1, 2, 3. I’ve got some great ways to help you with that.”

3-To prove you’re listening, repeat back—but paraphrase.

Active listening involves repeating back to people what you’ve heard, but it’s important to paraphrase it. Don’t just read it back to them word for word, because that’s annoying. Paraphrase it.

4-Listen for adjectives that your client is using, and then use them yourself.

When I sit down with a sales client who’s saying, “I’m looking for wise ideas,” or “I’m trying to be very marketing-savvy,” or “I’m looking for things that are really unique,” I write down the words “wise,” “savvy” and “unique.”

So whether I’m talking back to the person on the phone, in person or on Zoom, I use words that resonate with them, like “savvy” and “wise.” So I might say back to them, “I think this will be a very wise solution, Mr. Jones,” and “I think this will be a savvy solution for you.”

The idea is to listen for the adjectives that are meaningful to your prospects and then use those adjectives back.

One word of caution, though: Be careful to steer clear of words that get over-used, like “awesome.”

5-Listen for tempo and mimic it.

Listen for the tempo of your client, and then mimic that tempo. So if you’re a person who talks fast, like me, and you’re dealing with somebody that talks quite slowly, make sure you’re listening for their tempo—and then mirror that tempo to the best of your ability.

6- Listen for volume and mimic it.

If your client is a quiet talker, you need to mirror their volume, as well. If they’re a loud talker, mirror that. But keep in mind that there’s nothing harder than listening to a person who’s talking really fast and then they’re at volume 10.

So as a listener, consider the tempo and volume that are comfortable to hear.

Now, what if you’re a person who talks slowly and speaks softly, and they talk loudly and quickly? Just pay attention, listen to them, and mimic their speed and volume within reason.

A quick word of caution here, though: If you’re talking to someone who has an accent, don’t mimic that—just tempo and volume.

7-Clarify your understanding by asking for specifics.

You can increase your comprehension all throughout the sales call by listening and asking for specifics. For example, “Mr. Jones, can you give me some specifics on that?” Or, “Mr. Jones, can you give me a few more specifics on A, B and C.”

Ask for specifics.

8- Listen for clues to close the deal.

Phrases like the following signal that your prospect is ready to close the deal: “I need to do this really soon.” “My boss is upset, and I need to get something figured out.” “We’ve got a challenge that we’ve got to figure out in the next 30 days.”

So, be listening for clues—some people call them “buying signals.”

In my sales training, when I listen to clients’ calls, though, I’m not always hearing them listen for these clues. For example, a salesperson I’ll call “Roman” sent me a call to listen through, and his prospect actually said, “Roman, I’m ready to go. This is great. Let’s close this deal.” And Roman was so caught up in his slide deck that he just kept going on.

I wish I’d been there so I could’ve stomped on his toe and said, “Hey, Roman, pay attention. He wants to buy now. You don’t need to sell him anymore.”

9-Don’t interrupt.

There’s almost nothing more annoying that someone who interrupts.

So, as a listening skill, if you have an answer ready to give to a client, don’t be sitting on the edge of your seat. Don’t be sitting there with your mouth open, ready to go. Don’t interrupt.

Now if you do need to interject something, wait for the appropriate time. You might raise your finger when it’s time to jump in. Signify that you have something to say.

But don’t interrupt. Interrupting is irritating on so many levels.

10-Ask questions, but smart ones.

Ask questions that have a real purpose. Don’t ask questions just to ask questions.

Make sure they’re good questions, though, and be careful to avoid open-ended questions that are trite and overused. Here’s an example of what not to do: “So Bill, what keeps you up at night?” That’s not a good question—and it sounds kind of creepy.

Also avoid, “Tell me what’s working for you right now?” Because here you’re inviting your prospect or client to either say, “Nothing,” or to talk about your nearest competitor and what they’re doing for them.

Here are some great questions you can consider instead: “What would one new customer mean to you?” Or, “What can I do to save you money this month?”

Or this one: “When you took this meeting with me, was there a problem you were hoping that I could potentially solve?”

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To sum up, listening is a skill that every salesperson says they’re good at. Yet when I evaluate sales strategy, most of the time I find that salespeople are preaching.

Remember this: When you’re preaching, you’re not listening—and when you’re not listening, you’re not selling.

Listen more to sell more.

Remember, if sales was easy, everyone would be doing it!

Your coach, Ryan.

 

About this blogger:   

 

Ryan Dohrn is an award winning sales coach and offers sales training to thousands of sales executives each year.  He is also an international motivational speaker and the author of the best-selling sales book, Selling Backwards.  Ryan is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media, a boutique sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on sales training and sales coaching for companies in 17 unique industry sectors from media to tech to aviation.  He is also the owner and Publisher of SalesTrainingWorld.com an online portal for sales training success.

 

Contact information:

Ryan R. Dohrn

President/Founder, Brain Swell Media LLC

Publisher, SalesTrainingWorld.com

Ryan@BrainSwellMedia.com

 

http://www.BrainSwellMedia.com

http://RyanDohrn.com

http://360adsales.com

http://sellingbackwards.com

http://SalesTrainingWorld.com

 

Follow him on Twitter.com/ryandohrn for daily tips and advice.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/ryandohrn           

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6 Simple Ideas to Achieve Your Sales Goals

Idea #1:  Set goals that are realistic.  All too often the goal is just too large to accomplish in the period of time that you have allocated.  This seems so simple, yet it is the number one offense of New Year goal setting.  As a sales training coach, I very often cut my clients goals by as much as 35-50%.  Trust me… be realistic.  Push.  Stretch.  Grow.  But, be realistic if you want to succeed this year.   

Idea #2:  Set focus points.  After you make a list of your goals you need to set a path to achieve the goals.  These are the things that you will need to do in order to reach the goal.  For example… I want to grow my sales revenue by 75%.  Ok, great.  What is that number?  Say it is $100k.  What are the three things you will need to do to accomplish that?  Perhaps, clean up your CRM?  Maybe get to work at 7am every day?  Perhaps you will need to get some sales training?  Without focus points, goals are dreams at best.   Get specific.

Looking for anther perspective on setting sales goals?  Click here. 

Idea #3:  Eliminate random patterns in your life.  Each day should not be a new day in “sales land”.  Identify patterns in your life that are random.  If they are important to your sales process then turn them into time blocks and commit to them daily.  Use your calendar to keep you on track.  If they are not important to your sales life, eliminate them.  If you do not know if they are important, ask your sales coach.

Idea #4:  Identify repeatable patterns of success.  Last year there were things that went right.  Identify those things and repeat them.  Identify things that did not go right and do not repeat them.  Seems simple right?  Then, when do so many salespeople repeat things that do not work and hope for a different result?  Because from birth you have been taught that if you work really really hard you can achieve anything.  This is not true.  Sorry.   Working hard at the wrong things will get you no-where.  Not sure where you’re off in your sales process?  Get some help. 

Idea #5:  Understand that sales is a numbers game.  Break down your numbers into bite-sized pieces.  Rather than stare at a $200,000 goal, break that down.  Then create a plan to attack the smaller pieces.  Once you have the number broken into manageable pieces, then back your self into your numbers.  For example, if your goal is $200k and your product sells for $10k, then you will need to close 20 deals.  If you close 50% of the clients that you meet with, then you need to prospect 40 potential clients.  As a sales coach, I would advise you to prospect 50.  You need a buffer to stay on track.               

Idea #6:   Get some help.  I must warn you that goal setting is easy.  Reaching those goals is not only hard… it is near impossible without some help and guidance.  Think about this… when do you lose the most weight?  By yourself or with a partner?  When do you gain the most muscle mass? By yourself or with a trainer?  This blog is not about me as a sales coach or sales trainer.  This blog is about you.  What do you need to be a success?  Tiger Woods has a swing coach and he is one of the best golfers in the world.  Behind every great team is a great coach. 

Ryan

About this blogger:    

Ryan Dohrn is an award-winning sales coach and sales trainer.  He is also an international motivational keynote speaker and the author of the best selling sales book, Selling Backwards.  Ryan is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media, a boutique sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on sales training and coaching for media and technology companies.

Contact information:

Ryan R. Dohrn

President/Founder

Brain Swell Media LLC

803-634-3886

Ryan@BrainSwellMedia.com

http://www.BrainSwellMedia.com

http://RyanDohrn.com

http://360adsales.com

http://sellingbackwards.com

Follow him on Twitter.com/ryandohrn for daily tips and advice.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/ryandohrn

On-Target Sales Prospecting in 6 Steps

Most of your sales prospects really don’t want to talk to you—at first. You’re probably acutely aware of this as you approach them and try to build new business.

Even though these prospects may truly need you and your products to grow their businesses, they simply don’t have much time for you. So that’s where sales training is critical to help you build a prospect list that’s laser-focused for success.

I’ve figured out six steps to on-target prospecting that work for me. Put these into practice, and watch for measurable results in your acquisition of new business.

1.) Define your prospect.

Do you have certain criteria you use before you put someone on your prospect list? I’ve noticed in my coaching that a lot of sales reps are fairly random in who they aim for. To see results beyond random ones, come up with a list of 3-4 qualities of the ideal prospect before you just put a company on your list.

Defining the ideal prospect is really about using a test to help you see who’s on target. My test is, do they currently buy the types of products I’m selling–or have they in the past? If the answer is yes, they’re on the list.

If it’s no, I wouldn’t necessarily NOT put them on my list if I feel they’re a great fit, but they’re not going to be at the top.

One last tip in defining who should be on your list: Every prospect doesn’t need to be a whale, or a massive potential account. Whales are harder to close. Don’t load your list with nothing but massive potential clients.

2.) Identify your call-to-close ratios to fine-tune your prospect list.

To create a highly targeted Top 10 or Top 20 list, you’ll need to know how many prospects you need to get to goal. And that’s all about your call-to-close ratio.

To calculate your call-to-close ratio, consider this. If your goal is $10k, for instance, and your average deal is $1k, then you’ll need to close 10 deals to get to $10k.

But unless you close 100%, you’ll need to meet with more than 10 people to get your 10 deals. So basically, just double it. If your goal is $10k and your average is $1k per deal and your close ratio is about 50%, you’ll need to meet with about 20 people to close 10 deals.

If your close ratio is 20% … you’ll need to meet with more people to get to your 10 deals.

So you want to create your most targeted Top 10 or Top 20 list … or you might need a Big 50 or a Hot 100.

3.) Create email that connects.

Email is obviously a primary way sales reps reach out to people, but in sales training we’re told that nobody wants to read our email.

The only way to cut through the clutter is to keep emails simple and relevant.

Emails that hit the bullseye follow a three, three-and-three format. Three words in the subject line. Three sentences in the email. The email must address one of three needs.  Can you save them money, make them money or save them time?  What can you do for them?  I use the 3-3-3 formula all the time and it works.

4.) Craft voicemail that cuts straight to the core.

Once again, realize that practically nobody wants to listen to your voicemail. So be strategic. If you start out with your name, nobody will listen. You will be deleted.

In my sales training I always stress to format your voicemail—30 seconds max—in three parts, something like this …

  • Share some insight you have about their business
  • Give a success story from your work with another similar company
  • Say why they should call or email you back

5.) Cultivate the best time to prospect.

This is about reaching out to people at a time when they are able to reply.

I’ve found that the two best times to prospect are at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Because most people don’t book meetings before lunch, and they don’t book meetings before they go home.

Obviously, you might have a best time to call on people based upon your business or product category. Every product is different. Every territory is different. And every country is different.

6.) Put in place a smart pattern of follow up frequency.

The pattern of three works well here, too. You’ll find that I refer to it time and again in sales training, and that’s because the power of three works and it’s well documented.

So if I reach out to someone with an email or voicemail on Monday, I’m not going to call again on Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m going to reach out again on Thursday—three days later.

A colleague of mine refers to this as “polite persistence.” And using this pattern can increase your sales when you incorporate it into your ongoing sales training and development.

To sum up, new business prospecting is critical to sales success. If you dedicate one hour every day to practicing the targeted sales training process I’ve outlined here, you’ll find your sales hitting the mark and exceeding what you thought possible.

About this blogger:

 

Ryan Dohrn is an award winning sales coach and offers sales training to thousands of sales executives each year.  He is also an international motivational speaker and the author of the best-selling sales book, Selling Backwards.  Ryan is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media, a boutique sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on sales training and sales coaching for companies in 17 unique industry sectors from media to tech to aviation.  He is also the owner and Publisher of SalesTrainingWorld.com an online portal for sales training success.

 

Contact information:

Ryan R. Dohrn

President/Founder, Brain Swell Media LLC

Publisher, SalesTrainingWorld.com

Ryan@BrainSwellMedia.com

 

http://www.BrainSwellMedia.com

http://RyanDohrn.com

http://360adsales.com

http://sellingbackwards.com

http://SalesTrainingWorld.com

 

Follow him on Twitter.com/ryandohrn for daily tips and advice.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/ryandohrn

 

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Get Fired Up! Re-Ignite Your Sales Life.

All sales reps at, one time or another, wake up and really don’t want to sell.  Maybe it is just one day.  Maybe it is all week.  Whatever the case, you have been bucked off the horse and you know that you will be in a world of hurt if you do not get back on the horse and ride again.  Trust me, this happens to all of us.  As a sales coach, I will get on a call with a sales rep that is normally ON FIRE and they will say, “Ryan I just don’t feel like selling today.”   I get it.

Lets explore six ways to re-ignite your passion for sales.

1.  Change your environment. When times get tough I find a new spot to work. Whether it is a coffee shop or a pool, I change my scenery.  I have gone to the lake and rented a pontoon boat.  I have rented a hotel room with a balcony and a great view of the pool. I have even caught a cheap flight to Vegas.  Change your scenery to re-inspire yourself.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST ON THIS TOPIC, Click here!!

2. Go back to your core training and use math to your advantage. You have heard at least 300 times that every “no” is one step closer to a “yes.” Right?  For those of you that have read my book Selling Backwards you know that I work my “Big 50 prospect list” religiously. I work 50 clients every month to get 10 quality meetings. From those 10 meetings I present 8 great proposals. From those 8 proposals I close 4 or more deals. What is your prospecting plan?  Figure it out and grind it out.

3.  Try the non-sales approach. Go to a web site like Inc.com and find a great article that will be applicable to your prospect or client list.  Maybe an article on motivating your team.  Then, share that article with your clients or prospects.  I truly feel that 40% of your sales communications should be non-sales related. You will be blown away at the number of times a non-sales email will generate business.

4.  Seek out inspiration. Watch a Tony Robbins video on YouTube. Listen to my podcast. (Wink). Read an inspirational book or blog.  Read Brendon Brouchard’s book The Motivation Manifesto.  Get inspired. Seek out motivation. It probably will not seek you out.

5.  Dress for success and rock it out!  What?  I’m not joking. Put on a suit or your best outfit and jam to your favorite and loudest music. I mean JAM IT OUT!  Go all out. Put on the makeup. Wear the suit only reserved for interviews. Do your hair. Do it. Dress like you are meeting with the CEO. Then, turn up the volume. Fake it until you feel it.

6.  Find some love. Call on clients that love you. When things are really crazy and I feel overwhelmed I will often call on clients that love me or I will call my Mom. Why?  Mommy loves you no matter what.

We will all fall off the horse now and again. No big deal. Get up.  Dust yourself off and get back in the saddle.

Need a sales coach or sales training?  We are here to help.  Reach out:  Ryan@BrainSwellMedia.com . 803-634-3886

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