Sunday, March 29, 2009

Winners in All Professions Always Rise to the Occasion in Their Darkest Hour

It is my firm belief that winners in all professions always rise to the toughest occasions to become victorious.

On September 17, 1954, the current heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano was facing off for the second time in a title defense against Ezzard Charles. In their first match-up, Charles had went the distance with Rocky in fifteen rounds but had lost by a decision on the scorecards.

In their second fight, Charles landed a punch in the 7th round which had split Marciano's nose very badly. The referee told Rocky and his corner that he would allow him to fight just one more round. He would then have to stop it after that because of the severeness of the cut. Because the cut was caused by punch, a stoppage by the referee would mean that Charles would win by a TKO and become the heavyweight champion.

Keep in mind, Charles had went the distance with Rocky in their previous fight. Charles was also a dangerous fighter, and had even killed a man in the ring. Against all odds and knowing the only way he could retain his title was by winning with a knockout in the following round, Rocky came out and put away Charles with a knockout in the 8th. Marciano went on to retire as the only undefeated heavyweight champion in history, with a 49-0 record with 43 knockouts. This was only made possible by the way Rocky had risen to the occasion when he was put in the worst possible position.

In sales or in life in general, you will face such a challenge at some point regardless of how talented you are. If you are prepared and believe in yourself, you will rise to the occasion to become victorious. Winners always do what no one else believes they can do. Marciano's career serves as one story of many of how winners always rise to the occasion in their darkest hour.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Just Got Done Recording a Podcast on Sales Management 2.0...

I had the pleasure of recording a podcast today with Brad Trnavsky and Jerry Kennedy on the Sales Management 2.0 Podcast. The subject is about the importance of rewarding your top salespeople and how this can positively influence your entire sales force.

I want to thank Brad and Jerry at Sales Management 2.0 and encourage my readers to check out their Sales Management 2.0 Podcast series. The podcast that was recorded today will post on their site in about a month or so. I'll be glad to let everyone know when this happens.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Latest Sales Bloggers Union Post on Sales Technology

I recently posted on the SBU's latest category, sales technology. Please check this out when you get a chance about how customers are now expecting that salespeople receive their emails in real time. Be sure to also check out some of the contributions from the various SBU members on the subject of sales technology. The Sales Bloggers Union website has also been growing by leaps and bounds with new readers, so make sure you continue to check out the various topics that are coming up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Are You Afraid of Taking a New Direction in Your Sales Career?

Sales is a challenging profession in both good and bad times. If everyone could do it, it would no longer be one of the highest paid professions. Therefore by default, a sales career brings with it a natural fear of failure.

For salespeople who are starting out or even those who are veteran salespeople who are struggling, there comes a point in which you know internally that you need to take a new direction. It is always tough to change, to try new things, or just take responsibility for your own success. Hey, it is tough just to pick up the phone sometimes and take action.

I can only tell you that you are not alone. Every successful person encountered fear along their path to success. Many times when I encountered fear, I found the following quote always gave me strength and put things in the proper perspective.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." -Ambrose Redmoon

Your fear will never go away. The trick to conquering fear is to not allow it to control your actions. Just like the man said, there are things that are far more important than fear. The recognition of this will not only lead you down a path of success in your sales career, but also in your overall life.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why Should You Focus on Building Your Own Credibility First as a Saleperson?

It is certainly critical in sales to have credibility. It is also important for a prospective customer to have faith not only in the salesperson, but the company that they will be doing business with, too. If this is the case, why should the salesperson's own street cred be put ahead of the company's credibility in the sales process?

There are certainly many reasons why this should be done in the correct order. First, if your own credibility is confirmed, isn't it natural for the customer to trust your company as well? Don't you think that if you are providing outstanding sales representation for your company, that it will be assumed that your company is trustworthy and respected for hiring an outstanding individual?

Secondly, how many times have we seen good companies that are represented by poor salespeople? Indeed, many times prospective customers have a good opinion of the company only not to buy because the salesperson has poor personal credibility or lacks any sort of professional selling skills.

And lastly, don't you want to be recognized as a trustworthy and credible individual by your customers? Is their a possibility you might work for somebody else in the future? You bet their is. If your sale with your customer is only built with your company's credibility, how can you expect to do business with them again if you move to another company or industry. While you certainly owe it to your own company to build their reputation among your customers, it is wildly important you don't leave yourself out in the process.

Whatever you do, do not make the mistake of not building your own credibility first in your sales interactions with your prospects and customers. After all, a lack of personal sales credibility is a major obstacle that keeps so many salespeople from being successful.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don't Waste Your Time with Scripted "Talking Points" in Sales

As we all know, political parties and politicians regularly use "talking points" to further their message & political ambition. While one could argue in either direction on whether or not this is actually successful, I would certainly avoid scripted talking points with your prospects and customers.

Day in and day out, all of us get hammered with marketing from TV ads, radio ads, newspapers, billboards, Internet ads, and yes - salespeople. Do you really think your prospective customer has time to hear a scripted talking point on how great your company is? Can you not see that this will actually hurt your selling efforts?

If you are approaching prospects with statements like "my company is #1 in our industry" or "we never have customer complaints", it might be time to re-examine your selling methods. While the general public has an expectation that even politicians they vote for will lie a little, I will promise you that this courtesy will not be extended to you as a salesperson. Even if your talking points have been scrutinized to reflect the most accurate picture possible, it is only the perception that counts in sales. Never make statements that can be perceived as dishonest.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Being Memorable is Important in Your Sales Interactions

Being memorable is certainly important in your sales interactions. One of my fellow SBU members, Tim Rohrer, recently reminded me of the importance of this. His article simply titled, Be Memorable, is excellent and you should certainly check this post out when you get a chance.

While a down economy does present an opportunity to get in doors that you might not otherwise, it also brings an onslaught of salespeople making calls in an attempt to keep their jobs. If you are going to succeed, you need to be memorable in your sales interactions with prospective customers.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Would You Rather be Liked or Seen as Competent by Your Customer?

A big debate has been taking place for some time now in the sales community on how important it actually is to be "liked" by your customers. Others argue that competency is more important. So what is it? Would you rather be liked or seen as competent by your customer?

First, let me state that I feel both of these areas are critical to making a sale happen. In a perfect world, there is no question that I would like to have both of these things going for me with a customer. This is especially true for salespeople who work with customers who purchase on an ongoing basis.

If you put a gun to my head, however, I would have to say that competency is more important. Why - you might ask? The fact of the matter is that a sale takes place because you end up reducing expenses, recovering lost revenue, increasing productivity, or making life simpler for your customer. If a customer legitimately believes that you are impacting these areas, it is hard for them not to pull the trigger on the deal - even in the face of not liking you personally.

That being said, let me again state that being liked personally is important, too. If the deal between you and a competitor is real close, this can make the difference. However, at the end of the day, business is about making money - not making friends. Never forget that.


Friday, March 13, 2009

One Statement and One Question You Should Never Use with a Prospective Customer

While there are many questions and statements you should never make to a prospective customer, there is specifically one statement and one question you should never use.

"Mr. Prospect, I will work to earn your business." - You might ask, don't you want to let your prospect know that you will work hard to get their business? Don't you want the prospect to know that you are a "can do" individual that can get the job done for them? My response is simple and and there are several reasons why you don't want to do this.

First, if you make a declaration that you will work to earn a prospect's business, guess what they are going to make you do? You guessed it, they will end up running you around in circles to get their business. Can you blame them? You were the one after all who told them you wanted to "work" to get their business. Before you know it, your prospect will forget that you even have other customers and prospects to call on!

Salespeople get paid by solving problems by the way of offering profit-justified solutions that are win-win for both sides. Instead of showing someone how hard you work (which by the way - you are already doing in most cases), why don't you show your prospect how you can impact their bottom line? In the end, the solution you provide to your prospective customer is the primary driver that will land you the business. Whatever direction you take, do not make the mistake of making the "anything it takes" statement the motivating force behind getting their business.

"Mr. Prospect, could you tell me what you like about your current vendor?" - This is another common and cliche question that most salespeople have been taught to ask. And there is "no question" that this question is a big mistake.

Why in the world do you want your prospect to be reminded about everything they like about who they are currently doing business with? By asking this question, you are re-enforcing why they are doing business with your competitor.

This question undoubtedly makes you look petty, also. It will look like a cheap information grab that serves only your purposes. It will be seen as a self-serving path in which you can push their buttons and manipulate them into buying from you based on what they already like.

All that being said, you should also not reverse the question by asking them "what they don't like about their vendor". This question is so direct and pushy that you will find your prospect will defend their vendor in most cases. In the end, this looks like another cheap parlor trick to manipulate them into doing business with you.

The questioning process is critical to making a sale happen. Don't waste your valuable time on questions that many salespeople are already asking and in most cases won't lead to sales. Differentiate yourself from other salespeople by asking questions that uncover specific problems for which you can provide a profit-justified solution. After everything is said and done, this is what will ultimately transform prospects into customers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another "Five Minutes with Vito" Book Giveaway Courtesy of Sal Aliotta

I wanted to inform everybody that I am starting another book giveaway this month for the book - "Five Minutes with Vito". I will be giving away four books this month and the drawing will be held on March 20th, 2009.

I am going to make entry for this giveaway simple. If you sign up for email updates, you will be entered for the drawing. If you are already currently signed up for email updates, then you are already entered for this drawing. I will announce the winners after March 20th, and you will have five days to claim your prize by responding with an address for me to send this book to. If I do not get a response within five days, I will award the book to another individual.

I would personally like to thank Sal Aliotta, President of Sandler Training in Evansville, for the donation of these books for the giveaway. Sal has a strong background in both sales & management and also offers a great selling system from Sandler. If you are a company or an individual in the Evansville area who is struggling or looking to increase sales, you should certainly contact Sal. Sal can be reach by email at sal@winssi.com