Watch Your Language

pitch-me

Are you using sales terminology that was created in the last century?  Does your sales language reflect the professionalism that you must have today to resonate with prospects and customers?

What do you imagine your customers or prospects think when you tell them you want to ‘pitch’ them?  How do you think they feel when you refer to the proposal you are presenting as a ‘deal’?

What does a prospect think when you call them and refer to them as a lead when they were simply requesting information?

Does the language you use reinforce in the minds of buyers and prospects that you are only looking for a sale?  Or, do they appreciate someone who speaks to them as someone who is interested in their challenges, problem, or opportunities?

Today’s sales professionals use language that focuses on collaborating to find the right solution for their customers not on finding the best deal for themselves.  They view requests for information as just that and do not consider the request to be a lead.  They view it as an opportunity to answer questions and find appropriate solutions.  And when the present their solution they never refer to it as a ‘pitch’.

There is a distinct difference in the mindset of a sales person who ‘pitches’ and of the sales professional who provides service, recommends solutions, and collaborates with his or her customers.

This is the second decade of the twenty-first century.  Have you evolved?  Or are you still out their ‘pitching’?

Harrison Greene is the founder of Unique Selling Systems and helps prepare sales people today for the Future of Sales tomorrow.  He can be reached at 508-400-6193 or by email at harrison@uniquesellingsystems.com.

 

The New ABC’s of Selling

always-be-closing

At some point in the last century it became hip to teach sales representatives that they should…

Always Be Closing

Perhaps sales trainers who taught this mantra were under the impression that potential customers would love it if their sales representative greeted them with “It is nice to meet you. “Are you ready to buy today”, like the experience we encounter on the automotive dealership lot when we are greeted with a similar statement. And if the customer didn’t buy immediately, they were trained that they should be closing during every opportunity during the meeting. They were instructed to ask for the sale each time the prospect said something positive. Like, “gee that’s an interesting point”, followed by the sales representative saying “fine, let’s get started right now” or some other canned phrase.

Oh, how in control that was supposed to make the sales representative feel… just thinking that he or she was on the road to super success simply because they had the courage to ask if the customer was ready to buy right now! Did they believe that the customer appreciated being asked to decide before establishing that the customer had a need for the product or service being sold and a right to ask for the sale? Or did they think that just because the customer expressed an interest, they were just waiting to buy right now?  Did they think that the customer liked being treated that way?  Do they like being treated that way?

Well, apparently, some customers were so intimidated by the Always Be Closing approach that they bought immediately. But then… they frequently cancelled their contract or voided their purchase order as soon as they could. Sure, some sales stuck. But what about all those buyers who simply tuned them out and said ‘we’ll get back in touch with you” and never did? And then purchased from a sales representative who was more interested in determining their needs and if the product or service would benefit them? How quickly do you think customers who were pressured to buy would recommend that sales representative to anyone else?

Today, in the second decade of the twenty-first century professional sales representatives should…

Always Be Collaborating

The Internet has changed the way buyers want to do business. Today’s buyers, whether in a business or in a consumer environment, have done their research and know what they want and what they want to pay for it. They desperately need a sales representative to help them sort through their options, to help them develop ideas, and to collaborate with them from the moment they express an interest until they have decided how they should proceed. In short, today’s customers want their sales representative to collaborate with them through the entire buying process.

Collaboration is the sensible way of selling today. Collaboration means that both the buyer and the seller are vested in the buying process to determine the right solution for the buyer. The goal is not simply to get a sale, but to develop the right product or service for the buyer while respecting the buyers buying cycle. Done correctly, acting in the customer’s best interest can sometimes result in recommending another company’s product or service. When that happens, the sales representative establishes a level of Trust with that buyer that results in an opportunity to be called upon again when that buyer has another need. And, it results in referrals from a customer who believes in the sales representative’s integrity.

Does collaboration mean that the sales representative should never discuss helping the customer get started? What is does imply is that if the representative has collaborated and feels trusted, the next steps will easily occur and usually, the customer will ask what he or she needs to do to get started.

Tomorrow’s sales representatives who can adopt the mindset that their job is to help their prospects and customers find the right solution at the right time and at the right price will be Top Producers.

An excellent book that is helpful reading is: From Selling to Co-Creating by Regis Lemmens, Bill Donaldson, and Javier Marcos.

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Harrison Greene is the founder of Unique Selling Systems and specializes in The Future of Sales. You can read more about the Future of Sales at uniquesellingsystems.com.

Harrison Greene can be reached in Lake Nona, Florida at 508-400-6193 or by email at harrison@uniquesellingsystems.com and his Linked In profile can be accessed at linkedin.com/in/harrisongreene.

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A Career in Sales?

A career is sales is a career full of conflicting energy. It is a career that most people can’t endure because rejection and resistance coupled with a parent-inflicted warning that ‘strangers mean danger’ outweigh the positive attitude necessary to become a professional sales person.

Sales professionals focus on positive results and it is the success they receive that energizes their soul. The success they realize is not only financial. Pros view success as helping their clients solve their problems with solutions that are effective for their clients. They never succumb to the old adage that snake-oil selling sales managers often evoke: “Sell it to them whether they need it or not, just make the sale.”

The salesperson of the future must learn how to unlearn many of the maxims and old sales adages they might have been taught.  Slogans like “Always Be Closing” and asking ‘Why Am I Here” are remnants of days long gone.

Professional sales people are proud of the service they render to their customers. They feel that if they really understand the needs of their customers and find solution that help their customers, the financial reward with be realized over and over again because they know that satisfied customers will recommend their sales person to others.  They view collaboration as more important than closing because they know that if they truly collaborate, their clients will ask to get started when the client is ready.

So, if you are considering a sales career, determine if you can provide more positive energy that will endure during the inevitable rejection and resistance that you will receive. And, tell your parents that talking to strangers is fun.

Remember, selling has very little to do with winning. It has everything to do with helping.

______________________________________________________________________Harrison Harrison Greene is the founder of Unique Selling Systems and helps sales organizations prepare for The Future of Sales. He can be reached by email at harrison@uniquesellingsystems.com or by phone at 508-400-6193.

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Virtual Reality… In Sales

Quantum shifts are occurring in the selling profession today.  These shifts are not a harbinger of the future.  They are the future.  And it is happening — now.

One of the major shifts in the sales process is that 80% of the average sales representatives in a Business to Business sales environment will lose their jobs.

The average representatives who have a demonstrated skill in areas like customer service, appointment setting, validating warm inquires, entering information into the CRM, etc., will be retained to support Top Producing Sales People.  This will enable the Top Producers to spend more time actually working with prospects and clients, developing new business through relationship-based consultative skills, and establishing collaborative associations with their potential customers and clients.

As part of this collaboration, Top Producing Sales People will be able to immerse their prospects and clients in a complete understanding and feeling of the product or service they are recommending to them.

One of the tools that will significantly impact clients is Virtual Reality Presentations.

Imagine the impact on a client who is able to actually walk through the details of the product or service in which they are interested with the ability to immerse themselves into every aspect of the product or service.  Imagine how a client will feel when, instead of looking at yet another PowerPoint Presentation, they will be able to feel intimately familiar with the product or service they are considering.

Now, for the first time, sales training has taken on a new dimension.  Role playing (the most dreaded training activity) now becomes one that the trainee observes in detail, as if he or she was actually part of this sales interview and presentation.

Product knowledge training is now robust and fun to learn because VR enables representatives to immerse themselves into the product in an exciting and comprehensible way.

Virtual Reality is now enabling this to happen through VR devices like Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard and many others.  VR is changing the landscape of sales and, while in its infancy, is helping forward-thinking sales organizations make the buying experience more collaborative, immersive, and exciting, energizing, and effective.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Harrison Greene, is the founder of Unique Selling Systems and partners with companies offering cutting edge technology solutions that revolutionize the sales process. He has been intimately involved with all aspects of the selling process as a sales representative, sales manager, and as V.P of Sales.   For the last 20 years he has consulted with large and medium sized sales organizations throughout the United States.

He can be reached in Lake Nona, Florida at 508-400-6193

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Give Me Real Leads

 

One of the questions most sales representatives ask during a hiring interview is “Do you provide me with leads or is this a cold calling sales job?”  Since cold calling is a relic of the past except for selling to very small family owned businesses where it is possible to just walk in and make a “pitch” to the owner, most companies budget extensively to generate inquiries for their sales people to contact.

In working with many sales organizations throughout the country, I have observed a great discrepancy between what most salespeople consider to be a valid inquiry because of completely bogus reasons like:

 I contacted this lead two years ago and they were not interested. 

This company is not really the kind of company to which we sell.

I met their sales manager at a trade show last year and he was a real dunce

They don’t use our product.

And this list goes on.  What most sales people really want is for customers to call them so they don’t have to hunt for them.  They want orders.

Now here is the really strange part.  Most sales managers never review the leads they give their sales people with them or hold them accountable for contacting the inquiries.

Ask most sales managers how many leads they generated at the last trade show they attended and they will pull out a drawer full of them that haven’t even been contacted.

Marketing and senior management are told that the trade show was a huge success because they met so many cool people who they will be following up with.  Strangely, they don’t ask how many were received, how many were contacted, how many appointments have been scheduled with them, and most importantly, where they are in the pipeline.

The truth is that leads generated at trade shows are not even tracked to determine if they were good leads or not.

What is the answer to this common sales problem?   The answer is that 80% of the sales people are going to lose their jobs within the next five years.  The only salespeople of any value will be extremely talented top producing sales people who go after new business with an attitude that leads are a valuable way to begin a relationship with a company.

Top Producers know that leads are gold and have to be mined.  So, they dig in and refine the opportunity.

The Future of Sales is already enabling savvy marketers to develop leads that have been ‘vetted’ and determined to be valuable.  Inbound lead generation is providing inquiries from buyers who want to know more about the company and its products and services.  Those leads are funneled by computerized algorithms to the best qualified representative to handle that lead.  Those same systems will follow-up with the representative to determine action taken and reports will be given to marketing and sales management that indicate how well the leads are being handled by the representative.  Top sales representatives will embrace this because it will free them from time consuming data entry tasks so they can focus more on relationships.

Mediocre representatives will either be forced out or put into other more specialized areas that do not require talented sales people such  customer service representatives, account management,  data entry, appointment setters, and sales administration.

The Future of Sales will be bright Future for Talented Sales People.

© 2016 | Harrison R. Greene | All Rights Reserved

Harrison R. Greene helps sales organizations and their representatives prepare for the Future of Sales. 508-400-6193 | Harrison@UniqueSellingSystems.com

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The Great Disconnect

There has been a huge disconnect between sales and marketing for years.  Thankfully that is starting to change.  More companies are now focusing on the SMarketing department… the combination of sales and marketing working together.   As a result, companies are now experiencing marketing that is also based on the sales department’s feed back enabling them to provide sales with smart, warm leads.

However, there is another Great Disconnect that needs to be addressed if sales organizations are going to excel.  This great disconnect is in that many senior managers don’t really understand what their sales people need do to generate sales in 2016. The C-Suite seems more focused on the results than on the process their sales teams employ.

Here are five common myths that many senior sales executives make about their sales organization:

Our Sales People Have Received Good Training

The reality is that most sales people are being trained to sell using methods and processes developed in the late 1990’s that are ineffective today.  Sales people today need to transition from selling to co-creating.

 They Accept that 80% of the Sales Force Brings in 20% of the Revenue

They fail to realize that this is unsustainable and that most of the 80% need to find other jobs.  Those of the 80% who have exceptional skills in areas such as customer service, setting appointments, maintaining a CRM system, sales administration,  etc. should be retained to support the top producers—the 20%.  This will free up the top producers to focus more on new business development, collaborating and co-creating with customers, while enabling them to become trusted advisors to their customers.

 They Seldom Have a Chief Sales Officer (CSO) Who Rose to the Top of the Company From Sales

 Most companies who don’t have a CSO rely on a Chief Marketing Officer who has an MBA and no real sales experience and to whom senior sales managers report.

Yet most C-Level executives are the first to proclaim that their business is dependent on sales but don’t give it a representation in the C-Suite.  Sales should have a seat in the C-Suite.

They Fail to Recognized That Both B-B and B-C Sales Have Become More Transactional and That the Role of the Sales Person is Being Marginalized Because of the Transparency of the Internet

 Buyers value sales people who are there for them when they are ready to buy, when they need to collaborate, and when new products are being developed.  They need a Buyer’s Agent to fill that role and Top Producing Sales People need to learn how to be viewed as that Agent.

 They Continue to Cling to the Old Adage, “Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak”.

Today’s sales people need to be experts in understanding the business challenges of their prospect’s and must be prepared to help them solve those challenges.   In essence today’s sales person needs to be part of the complete buying  process with their customers in order to help their customers find the best solution

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Harrison Greene is the founder of Unique Selling Systems and works with senior management to develop the Sales People of the Future.

©Unique Selling Systems 2016 — UniqueSellingSystems.com

 

 

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Are You Relevant?

Change.  That’s the operative word and it is pervasive.  Change has become the norm, not the exception.  Change is the new normal.

We are confronted with change daily.  All segments of society are affected.  Change is no longer exclusively a business phenomenon.  It has become a societal phenomena, and it is happening at the speed of light.

Change is no longer dependent on attitude.  Listen to how we used to be instructed to deal with change:

Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”.

Viktor E. Frankl wrote, “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves”.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Things do not change; we change”.

These great philosophers saw the power of individualistic change.  They inspired millions to take a good hard look at themselves.  They wrote what humanity needed to hear in order to cope with the change that has always existed.

Today there is a type of change that did not exist until about 50 years ago.  That change is Technological Change.  It does not depend on attitudinal acceptance.  It forces individualistic acceptance or rejection that is not dependent on our attitude.  Rejection of the power of technology is not an option; it is a requirement for survival in this century.   Acceptance trumps attitude.  Accept it or become irrelevant.

One segment of business that typifies the power of technological change is the profession of sales.  Most sales organizations know that change has begun.  Most sales representatives see it invading their domains.  CRM (Contact Relationship Management) software is now adopted by most companies as a required business process.  Salesforce.com, the leader in CRM systems, has become one of the largest and most admired companies in the world.

CRM’s were originally developed to help sales people by enabling them to list all of a customer’s information (address, phone, email, etc.) for each company and the contacts within that company.  And, it enabled the representative to enter notes and other valuable information.  It was the solution to transparency within the organization; anyone with access to the CRM could see what sales people knew about their customers.  Soon, the CRM became linked to customer service, marketing, finance and other departments, enabling them to be in the loop..

Interestingly, CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization Study which surveyed more than 1,000 firms worldwide found that only 12.6 percent of the firms that are leveraging core CRM solutions reported seeing major increases in revenues per rep as a result of that investment alone.  More is needed.

Big data, algorithms, and analytics have given companies the power to understand their clients, their competition, and their sales people in ways never imagined previously.  They can spot trends, instantly adopt change, and measure results that informs the way they sell.  Sales that used to be developed by sales people are now developed by technology.  Transactional selling systems are now used by both B-C and B-B sales organizations

Companies that understand the value of CRM’s linked to other technological changes are not waiting for sales representatives to adopt them.  These changes are enabling sales without sales representatives’ acceptance or involvement. In the immediate future we will see top performing, highly trained, sales representatives involved in only very strategic selling environments that require buying decisions from many different constituencies within the company and that are driven by long selling cycles.   These sales representatives will be the “savants” (top producers who are highly skilled, superbly trained, technology competent, and who know how to build relationships, understand the buying processes of the companies with whom they work and who are seen as value creators by their clients).  These representatives will develop the new business and others will be transitioned to customer service reps for the delivery of products and services.  These representatives will ‘serve the savants’.

Technology is enabling this to happen now. If you have any doubt about that, look at Amazon and Alibaba.  Their technology has empowered buyers to buy.  The technology enabled buyers to get what they want, when they want it with the assistance of a new type of sales person called technology.

Both business to consumer and business to business companies are adopting systems like this and their success is not attitudinal.  It is technologically and ROI oriented.

A long standing model has been that 80% of a company’s revenue comes from 20% of their clients.  And for many companies 80% of their revenue is produced by 20% of their sales representatives.

No longer.  Companies don’t need and can’t afford the 80% of reps.

They have found the new representative named Mr. or Ms. Technology.  Technology will enable them to eliminate 80% of the sales team and morph the good ones from the 80% into customer service and inside sales assistants.  They will enable savants to produce more.

Look at the numbers.  To illustrate them, consider a company that does $100 million in sales revenue annually.

  • Assume that there are 20 sales reps.

 

  • 20% of them or 4 reps will develop an average annual revenue of  $20M each
  1. Each top rep. is paid $175,000 yearly
  2. Each top rep. costs the company .00875 of revenue

 

  • 80% of them or 16 reps. will each develop an average annual revenue of $1.25M each
  1. Each average rep is paid $80,000 each
  2. Each average reps costs the company .064 of revenue

What company today can afford to pay 80% of its sales staff $80,000 each for a return of only $1.25 M each?

What company can pay out $1,280,000 for 16 reps to generate $20,000,000 in sales when they can pay 20% of its sales staff $700,000 to generate $80,000,000 in sales?

Instead, progressive companies today are applying that $1.28M salary paid to 16 average reps towards marketing, big data, analytics, and more effective web-sites, blogs, inbound lead generation, and automated systems to fulfill business generated by those enhancements.

They are staffing more highly trained customer service/inside sales reps to serve the needs of Top Producing Sales Reps (the Savants).

Progressive companies are  increasing their search for more Savants who can be supplied with more warm leads, better customer service, and sales support.  This increased support will enable a heightened sales volume offsetting the necessity of paying for average producing sales reps.

Skills assessments like Assessments24/7 are being used to determine where the average sales representatives might fit into to this new model.  Some will be qualified to be terrific customer service representatives, some will be used to set appointments from warm leads for the Top Producers, others who are suited for transactional selling will fulfill orders, and some will be assistants for the Top Producers charged with keeping these Savants doing what they do best—developing new business.

The handwriting is not on the wall: it is creatively impacting sales teams today.

Are you and your company prepared to be part of this massive change to the structure of sales teams?

If you are not, you have some real decisions to make about your career path.

If your company is not, it might be on the verge of becoming irrelevant.

If you are prepared, keep learning, keep enhancing your knowledge, and decide exactly where you best fit in.  Are you a savant or do you prefer helping top producing savants become more effective?  Perhaps you love to service the customers the top producers develop.  Or, maybe your niche is transactional selling using the new tools for fulfilling buying requests.

A successful company will be built on adopting technology and utilizing sales people in these new roles.  Their survival depends on it.

A successful sales career will be built on understanding where you will utilize your skills tomorrow.  Get ready.  Stay relevant by understanding what you are really good at doing.  Then, Just Do It.
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Harrison Greene, is the founder of Unique Selling Systems and partners with companies offering cutting edge technology solutions that revolutionize the sales process. He has been intimately involved with all aspects of the selling process as a sales representative, sales manager, and as V.P of Sales. For the last 20 years he has consulted with large and medium sized sales organizations throughout the United States.

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