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In today’s world, artificial intelligence (AI) is getting more powerful and more prominent in the sales process. What does that mean for professional salespeople? There used to be an occupation called “switchboard operator” – now there isn’t. Fifty years from now, will there no longer be an occupation called “professional salesperson”?
Getting the most out of LinkedIn can be a difficult endeavor. To help you succeed in building an informative and powerful profile, we have compiled a list of the 23 most important personal branding tips to use on this social networking website. Follow these helpful rules to stay relevant and create a lasting impression on LinkedIn.
The explosion of social media has created lots of new opportunities for your company when it comes to sales prospecting. Utilizing the tools available to you can expand your business and be a source of continuous lead generation. Or it can cause a very embarrassing publicity nightmare. Here are five rules you should follow to cash in on social media opportunities and become a successful sales professional:
If you've heard the any of the following statements from prospects, then keep reading to learn more about how to determine when to walk away and when to continue investing time and energy.
"I need to confer with other managers here."
"I need more time to decide."
"Call me in about a month."
Have you ever talked yourself out of a sale? Selling is not about telling. It's about helping the prospect relate to your product or service to the satisfaction of their wants and needs. It's also about helping them discover needs of which they were previously unaware. How do you accomplish this? By asking thought-provoking questions and then listening, really listening!
Today I asked a group of salespeople to share something that they wished they'd said to a prospect when they had the chance. I explained they were in a 'safe environment' so it was okay to be honest. The comments were interesting. And when I say interesting, I mean somewhat reserved, restrained and polite.
People from all walks of life can be technically brilliant and do a great job if someone would "just give them the project." Many consultants become consultants because they believe they can provide a better product or service and make more money than if they stayed working for a company. It's great to dream big and recognize your aspirations however I run into more and more of these "technically brilliant" people who look me in the face and tell me they do not sell, so why would they need sales training? This leads to an interesting discussion as to where they get their business from.
Two weekends ago, I got to take my youngest daughter to a 4 year-old's birthday party. I'd forgotten how elaborate some of these parties get, and this was a nice reminder. The parents of this little boy had hired an animal trainer to bring some critters and let the kids see them.
I used to be an engineer before I transferred into sales in 1988. I'm guessing you've heard jokes about engineers in sales. Accountants, contractors, PhD's, and lawyers don't have stellar reputations in sales, either. Yet these professions generally are an intelligent lot. They are quite skilled at what they do, since our daily lives may depend on their specific calculations and recommendations.
Here's how I used to sell:
Research the prospect and prepare a powerful presentation that applied specifically to them
Ask most salespeople to describe the purpose of each interaction with a prospect and they'll probably say something like:
"build the relationship"
"solve their problems"
All good answers, but the real purpose of every interaction with a prospect is to get to the truth.
What's uncomfortable about getting the truth in an interaction with a prospect? Ask any salesperson this question and most of the time their answer will be something like "I might not get their business!"e
The good and bad of relationship-based sales.
Relationship-based sales methods are ideal. Most of the time those relationships are the only thing protecting you from competing solely on price. In sales training, we have a saying: "All things being equal, people buy from people they like. All things being unequal, people still buy from people they like."e
In regards to your business, the expertise you have gained over the years is completely worthless... until someone gives you money for it. If you have a medical doctorate, all you really have is a bunch of student loans until you have patients, and get paid for your knowledge.
Here is the problem: 99% of people out there are already doing what they think is in their best interest. Of course, there's the 1% who hate themselves and are self-sabotaging, but for the most part, you are probably doing right now, what you think is best. But why is that a problem?
Well, if you want to achieve a higher level of success or happiness, no matter your current level, you are going to run into a problem.
David Sandler found three areas where people get stuck in their growth and development:
When you get an email from a prospect with one of the following requests, what do you do?
Send me a quote for..
Provide us with more information about..
We'd like a proposal..
Forward us a brochure on..
If you thought, "reply by email," you just put your prospect firmly in control of the sales process.
The reason is found in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
Do you "sell to live" or "live to sell"? I have been training sales people for over 16 years and have found a common trait in the highest performers: they "live to sell". They love prospecting for new business opportunities. They love being in the role of "closer". Their sales quota is a benchmark that they regularly exceed because just hitting quota makes them "average". They don't hide from the fact that they sell by putting words like "account manager" or "territory manager" on their business cards.
What do all of the world's greatest athletes, politicians and business leaders have in common? They didn't get to be the best on their own. They all had guidance from coaches and mentors, and that guidance is what brought out their endless potential in their field.
What do you really learn by getting a "yes"? Job well done. Keep doing what you're doing. Get comfortable. Right? That's all fine, but realize that while your "yes" may make you happy, it doesn't necessarily make you a better salesperson.
Practice makes perfect. Just like pro golfers, sales experts can't expect to improve without putting in rounds. Listen as Sandler CEO Dave Mattson explains the similarities between Sandler trainers and pro golfers.
What does a marathon runner know about making prospecting calls?
Probably very little. Maybe nothing! However, the strategy the marathon runner uses to prepare for a race can help you become a better prospector. No runner started out as a marathon runner. They trained over time to build their strength and endurance to go the distance. The first day they couldn't run 100 yards before gasping for breath. The first week was torture. The second week was a little better. The third week better yet, and so on. With continual practice, desire and effort, they became a marathon runner
Over the last eight years I have done hundreds of one-on-one performance coaching sessions with salespeople, and the single most frequent question I hear is, "How do I get better?" It's a meaningful question and almost always asked with a genuineness that signifies the person speaking really wants help.
I usually respond to that question with a question of my own that goes like this, "Do you really want to know?" You see, at these moments I'm always reminded of a statement by Dr. Lee Thayer, "Most people prefer the problem they have to a solution they don't like."e
Sandler Training's Karl Scheible explains Sandler Rule #46: "There Is No Such Thing as a Good Try." At best, "try" indicates intention, but not commitment. If the outcome of an action is important, don't "try." Commit to it.
With the great economic storm over the last year, many businesses wisely pulled back into safe harbors for a period of time. In fact, those that failed to make adjustments and continued their course were likely wiped out or at least seriously damaged. Unwise use of credit and perhaps a bit of bad luck has taken its toll on many. However, perhaps you are one of those businesses that made the proper course corrections by making the difficult and sometime painful choices.
There are a lot of good reasons to pick up the phone and reach out to new prospective customers. When it comes to finding new business opportunities, the phone offers a high level of efficiency, is relatively inexpensive, and is a great way to gather valuable information that can help us find business.
I don't know about you, but I have never liked being told what to do. I don't think I've ever met anybody who did respond well to that kind of instruction, even when the person in charge-a coach at sports, for example-clearly knew what he was doing if the message is delivered wrong. It doesn't matter if what you are saying is true, if it's not delivered properly. You can be the authority, but no one cares if you can't deliver your message in a way that others can accept. The fact that you have good prudent knowledge, the fact that you're correct, doesn't matter if not delivered properly.
The rotten economy, if you haven't noticed, may be taking a toll on your health.
"Today's economy is stressing people out, and stress has been linked to a number of illnesses-such as heart disease, high blood pressure and increased risk for cancer," according to a new study in the July 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
A lot of this stress is understandable-but also unnecessary. If you are in sales, a sales system can help you reduce that pressure you are under in a big way. You will be as productive as ever, which should mean less anxiety