Recently Charlie and I were talking about work I was doing with interviews for a client. As I was reviewing profiles and setting up my standard interview questions, he suggested a list of questions that I must ask all candidates. I had a few on my list already but this one is one I never would have thought to ask, but it surely is something everyone can relate to.
Elizabeth had just gotten the call every sales person hopes for each day. A target account in her territory reached out and asked that she come right away to help them with a big problem. Knowing her technical expertise could be very valuable in this situation, Elizabeth felt sure that winning the project was just a matter of not making a fatal mistake. Her competitive fires were stoked and her confidence at an all-time high as she made the appointment to be there three days later. Despite the repeated requests for her to drop everything else she had going, Elizabeth held firm and kept the date she asked for at the outset of the conversation. She had seen this movie before so this time she was determined to keep her emotions under control and the prospect on a leash instead of rushing head long into another disappointment.
There are so many lessons that have been taught to us, learned by us and in some cases, forced upon us.
As the calendar hits mid-June and I can hear the kids in the neighborhood celebrate the last day of the school year I ponder what they learned about life as well as their scholastic advancement. Those ideas provoke thoughts about what salespeople learn from one year to the next, or are they just repeating their earliest days in sales over and over, not really growing from the experiences along the way. So often when I am working with a sales team someone will complain about a prospect that will not return a call or a customer that expects to buy everything at the lowest possible price. Inevitably someone says that is just the way sales is and that complaining never makes it different. In other words, just live with it because that stuff just goes with the territory.
The next episode of Charlie & Company Talk Business, Life and Everything In Between is here. Charlie Hauck, president and owner of Growth Dynamics, and Sarah Waple, general manager, spend some time with Chuck Swope and Nicky Lyddane of SwopeLees Commercial Real Estate.
We are pleased to announce our next session of High-Performance Sales Program (HPSP) is currently enrolling. The expanded 24 live virtual sessions will be presented over 12 months and allow for participants to schedule unlimited individual coaching sessions.
Bob was exhausted after seeing over 15 accounts in the past week. He had talked about football, politics, family and even some industry news in order to get the client engaged in a conversation that might give him an opening to pitch his latest and greatest widget. He was convinced that his skills at relationship building would pay off big time when all his new "friends" decided to buy something. When his boss asked how his activity could be so high, yet his results so mediocre, all Bob could say was "Yes, but they really like me!"
It's all too easy to spend a lot of time making "Howdy" calls with people you know and that are willing to talk about anything but business. Professional visitors like Bob don't have a plan to move the sales process forward because they are afraid they might lose a friend that could one day turn into an order. Worse yet, many of Bob's clients are probably too polite to tell him that they don't have time for idle chatter, and that they really wish that he not call on them anymore. Bob could get more production out of every call if he learns some ways to define his objectives and outcomes for every conversation and meeting. Even if he doesn't get an order, he would find his results would improve dramatically if he could just make a "sale of the moment" on every call.
Obviously, there are times when admin or service calls are warranted, but here are just a few ideas to "Name the Meeting" when the objective is to get a sales process going. Below is a mix of our standard meeting names and some expanded ones that still fall into our in the ways, updates and discovery type meetings:
Fact Finding - This is a qualification visit; a discovery meeting where we are looking for Problems/Priorities, Authority, Investment issues and Timeline. Does this account qualify for our time?
Decision - All the decision makers will be in the room with the understanding that at the end of the meeting they will trade your presentation/demo/proposal for a decision.
Fortify - Purpose of the meeting is to fortify our relationship with an existing customer. Preparing them for competition assault. Investing time to get to know upper management and/or support people in case our direct contact leaves.
What do I have to do to lose you? - This would be with existing customers to recommit them to continue their business.
Close the Conversation - The best way to get a stalled deal moving is to gently try to take it away by offering to never, ever bring it up again.
Alignment - Need to make sure we are on the same page. Prospect/Customer is saying one thing but doing another. Assumption is the mother of all mess-ups! The end result is clarification of expectations, agreement and understandings on any aspect of the sales process.
Face the Music - This is a bottom line visit! This is a meeting where the prospect/client is trying to either pull a fast one or take advantage at our expense. We will approach this meeting as an adult, not an angry child. We are calling them on their bad behavior. We will not be a victim. Resist the urge to prove yourself right.
Decision by Committee - Our proposal is being presented to a higher authority. We want to be the one making the presentation. Our fall back position is to do artificial decision making with our inside sales person by rehearsing their presentation. We also suggest being a fly on the wall by sitting outside the door and can be brought in as technical consultant to answer questions.
Let's make a deal - Prospect has committed to do business, but also wants to negotiate. This meeting needs to have the upfront agreement that the prospect is sold and we are just working out details. Never do anything unless we know the next step.
By the way, you might find these meetings go better if you find a way to gently tell the prospect ( or ask permission) the name of the meeting too, so that they have an expectation of where you are going together.
What are the names of the meetings you have most often, and what are the names of the meetings that are the most important? Can you think of a situation where NAMING THE MEETING would have helped in the meeting?
Final Thoughts for the Morning:
As a leader, you must consistently drive effective communication. Meetings must be deliberate and intentional - your organizational rhythm should value purpose over habit and effectiveness over efficiency. Chris Fussell
The majority of meetings should be discussions that lead to decisions. Patrick Lencioni
Your Top 3 Goals & Tactics for the Week
LAST WEEK: Update us on how things went last week with your stated Goals and GD Tactics.
THIS WEEK: Please share your Top 3 Goals for this week and the GD tactics you plan to deploy.
“The weather is changing; flowers and trees are popping out and I am exactly the same” thought Sam. Sam has been in sales for her entire career. She knows she does well enough as she has climbed the ranks through various companies, but she tends to plateau with medium accounts. Sam has yet to earn some of the major accounts and or territories that make salespeople’s careers. She has always been one to read all the top business books, listen to podcasts every chance she got, attends conferences, and even enrolled in a few training classes that promised to help her reach the next level, but nothing ever changed, despite putting all the things she learned into practice immediately. Sam felt ready to make some significant life changes on her own and earning more commissions would make it all possible. Now, she really wanted to see if it was her turn to be one of the big-time players.
Forget desperate housewives. What really scares buyers are desperate salespeople. How many times have you run into a salesperson that is not in sales for the love of the game, or to be the best at what they do? They act as if they need a sale to pay their bookie by Friday! Buyers have come to loathe this fast talking, pushy pitchman stereotype.
If you joined us on Friday, Dec. 11 or had something come up, thank you for your interest in our webinar "Kill It or Close It" presented with Turner Time Management. We are happy to partner with Steve Turner, owner of TTM, as he provides excellent technology time-saving tips and tricks to those he works with. Please be sure to visit his website and learn more about what Steve does.