Month: June 2019

This site is now ranked in top 100 sales blogs

This site is now ranked in top 100 sales blogs

I am pleased to announce that Feedspot has ranked this blog in the top 100 sales blogs.

Feedspot is a social feed reader compiling news feeds from online sources that user can customize and share with other social network users. Feedspot has over 100k influential bloggers in its database that are classified in more than 1500 niche categories.

Feedspot is a social network for RSS readers. It’s a fast, beautiful and simple way to keep up with all your favorite websites in one place and find new good ones.

7 Most Common Sales Objections (And How To Overcome Them)

7 Most Common Sales Objections (And How To Overcome Them)

I have been impressed with Marc’s vision and message for quite some time. He gave me permission to recreate some of his content here on my site and link to his recent video.

Read the text below the video, but please do watch the entire video. It is a great reminder in some of the basics that we simply forget in our day to day sales lives.

There are so many things that we can be doing both at the beginning, and the end of sales calls to both avoid these situations and to help overcome them. This video is going to show you the seven most common sales objections and how to overcome them.

Objection one: Your price is too high.

Objection two: I need to think about it.

Objection three: I need to run this by so and so.

Objection four: I can’t afford it. I can’t afford it.

Objection five: We’re already working with someone else.

Objection six: We don’t have the budget.

Objection seven: I’m too busy right now.

Marc also wrote a longer post on this topic that is worth your time to read. Jump over to it here.

You should also follow Marc on YouTube and Twitter.

Everyone Sells But Few Can Truly Sell

Everyone Sells But Few Can Truly Sell

We have all heard the line:

Everyone sells.

We have heard it over and over. It is typically combined with some cute anecdote about a child convinces his or her mother for an ice cream cone or a new toy or to stay up and watch a show.

Yes, we all have to convince another person to make a decision in our favor (the essence of sales) but that doesn’t mean that we do it well. Also, the story of the child never includes the number of times that Mom doesn’t buy the ice cream cone or the new toy.

I frequently talk about the failure rate of salespeople. I do not know of a single profession that fails as often as sales.

  • Pilots don’t fail as often (most planes take off and land just fine).
  • Accountants don’t fail as often.
  • Bakers don’t fail as often (most cakes and cookies taste great).
  • Taxicab drivers do not fail as often (most make sure their passenger arrives safely).

In fact, aside from some really tough stats for professional sports (where the truly best-of-the-best play), I cannot think of any other profession where failure is so endemic.

The sales profession is challenging. You need to work hard at it to succeed. You need to learn from the best. You need to improve your skills continuously. If you think you can sell since you are a hit at parties and have a lot of friends, you may soon find that you are a failure as a salesperson. Blunt truth: because the sales profession is so hard, you have to focus on doing everything in sales very well, or you will be considered a failure.

This recent poll by Salesforce.com re-affirms this issue. Most salespeople in that year did not expect to make their quota. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t make some sales. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t cover their specific costs.

It does probably mean that they didn’t make as much money as they hoped to make. In almost every salesperson’s mind, that means they failed.

This is why I wrote my book, Eliminate Your Competition. It is the only book that I know of that is written by a salesperson (me) for other salespeople rather than a sales trainer that stopped selling years (decades?) ago. Granted, I have moved to a sales management role today, but I am still making sales calls every week. I am still driving revenue for my company using the same tools that I talk about in my book.

If you want to get better at sales, I suggest you read my book. You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Good Managers Make You Better

Good Managers Make You Better

My very good friend and respected sales professional, Dean Wiener, published this post on LinkedIn. He allowed me to reproduce the post here. I think his comments are great advice for anyone that is a sales manager and even for salespeople that are looking at their current manager to see if it makes sense for them to continue with their current employer.

Today’s market is extremely competitive for salespeople. Most sales organizations cannot find enough high-quality talent. If your manager isn’t living up to Dean’s standards, you may want to find a better manager.

Conversely, every sales manager needs to look at these words from a sales expert. If you are not adding value to your sales team then you should re-think your style. The big question that you should answer for yourself is embedded in Dean’s original post:

Do you work for your sales team or do they work for you?

Header photo courtesy o f La solitudine del manager by Sgt. Pepper57 on 2017-05-31 14:59:13

I Need Leads!

I Need Leads!

This post originally appeared on my company blog series Skinned knees—what an MBA didn’t teach you for rebel sales in a software startup on the Agile Stacks, Inc.website. The next in my series, I get down to the brass tacks of how every morning likely starts out for you. Hang in there because even veterans start here.

“I need leads!!!” Did any salesperson not say those words?

It is even more frequent with a startup.

There are no leads. There are very few references (maybe none). The product is relatively unproven.

It takes a unique customer to buy from a startup, and it takes a special sales team to work for a company that has 0.00000% market share.

Sure it is exciting to build something from scratch. If it works, it will be incredibly rewarding (hopefully personally and financially). You rolled the dice! You are all in!

But even with all of that excitement, it is still hard work. The leads are not there. There is never enough.

As the VP of Sales, what are you going to do? Not only are you the lead salesperson on all big deals, but you are also the cheerleader and motivator for your sales force.

Every day is straightforward even though it is tough. Here are my thoughts that get me through the day.

You Are Going To Work 80 Hours A Week

OK, if you didn’t already know this going in then let me spell it out – you can kiss your significant others goodbye in the morning and then kiss them goodnight before you go to bed. That’s about as much time as you are going to see them. No, I don’t mean you are in the office fourteen hours a day. In sales, you are on the phone all the time because of the time zone differences. So up early for east coast then calling late for the west coast. And when that really big prospect comes in the door, the hours don’t matter so much as building that relationship at all costs and all times of the days. It’s just the way it is.

You Are Going To Network With Everyone

I really don’t think you get much advice on this. You are going to call *everyone.* That goes from grandma and uncle Joe to the highest level target audience you can get at a prospect. So don’t leave any stone unturned because you simply never know who is networked to whom outside your immediate Level1 LinkedIn connections. For example, our head for BD is an adjunct at his alma mater. Through other professors, we now have a potential market in the education sector that we never imagined could be profitable. And it just so happens that professors are a great hunting ground for enterprise software.

You Are Going To Attend Every Show

Let me qualify this statement…. attend every show you can access free of charge. As a startup ourselves, the glamour of hitting the largest shows in our market is very tempting. So tempting that I probably flood my VP of Marketing’s inbox with so many suggestions that I think he is now blocking me (he is my editor on this blog, so we will see if he leaves that line in the post).

The point of marketing events is not to spend money on sponsorships. The point is to meet people in your market face-to-face so they see you as a key player. In sales, we have to be everywhere at once, or at least give the perception that we are everywhere at once. I recommend getting as many free expo floor passes as you can and network with a purpose.

  • Educate everyone on what you do.
  • Listen to what they are saying about you.
  • Listen to what they are saying about your competitors.
  • Make your pitch better on the follow-up with this person.
  • Find a lead to close!

You Are Going To Cold Call For Hours

Enough said. Look at my last two bullet points. Leads take time and hard work.

You Are Doing Cold Email For Days

Statistics show that somewhere between six to seven touches are required before a prospect makes any real decision about you. We live in an era of omnichannel sales and marketing. Use it to your advantage as low-cost ways to keep your prospect thinking about you. Also, it’s just a polite thing to do to call someone then send them an email afterward even if you got their voicemail.

You Are Going To Do Whatever You Have To Do

This almost goes without saying, it all bubbles up to that one line. No job is below or above the VP Sales. Whatever you have to finish TODAY, you must do. That means sales is building their own pitch decks using canned templates from Prezi or PowerPoint. There is no marketing team that creates aesthetically phenomenal templates for you like in larger companies.

Or in some cases, you are the social media team by retweeting relevant articles to your market that you hope will show prospects you are bigger than you actually are. Just this week, I received kudos from my leadership for being the best employee advocate on social media. Follow me on Twitter at @soshaughnessey and on LinkedIn. It takes minutes out of my day, but the traction I am getting with thought-leaders is priceless. And it doesn’t hurt I am up 400%+ on impressions. Additionally, these touches show prospects that I am passionate about my value proposition as they connect to the value points I tweet about. I know this is an indirect form of lead generation, but it is lead generation nonetheless.

You are also going to spend writing or critiquing marketing materials (I am finishing this post on the Monday of a 3-day holiday weekend). You are going to be involved in the web site redesign project. You will be involved in marketing events. All of this leads to getting the messaging right so when you make contact then you get the leads because you are prepared.

There is literally nothing that you are not going to do as the VP of Sales and that is exactly why you want the job. In a young startup, there is no job that is this invigorating or this demanding. You know the work is long, but you also know the rewards can be achieved.

Even if yesterday sucked, it doesn’t matter. Go out there and do it some more. You are in sales. Go make it happen. Tom Hank’s character in a League of Their Own said it best, “There is no crying in [sales].” And from another Tom Hanks movie (Apollo 13) “Failure [in sales] is not an option.”

Header Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Don’t Sell Your Product Before You Sell Yourself

Don’t Sell Your Product Before You Sell Yourself

If you think your only job is to sell your company’s products and services, think again. Before you can ever close a sale, you must sell the customer on why they should buy from you and your company.

Unless a customer has done business with you before, the only thing they might have decided when they start to talk to you is what type of product or service they are considering. In reality, all they may know is that they might not be achieving their corporate or personal goals. Talking to you has nothing to do with their decision to work with your company. And, at this point, they are not sold on why they should. In fact, they may not even be sold that their missed goal can be solved by buying a product or service.

Customers engage with you for a variety of reasons. They may have seen an ad or found the company on the Internet. You may have cold-called the company or networked with the company via social media. They may have been referred to you. It has nothing to do with their decision to work with your company.

This is why it is imperative for salespeople to answer the question, “Why should I buy from you?” You must sell your personal credibility before you can sell anything else. Think of it as a job interview.

As a job candidate, you do everything you can to put your best foot forward, from the way you dress, to how you listen, and how you answer questions honestly, thoroughly, and correctly. You strive to prove that you are the right choice, that you have the skills, commitment, and passion that will benefit the employer now and in the future.

The same applies when customers interview you. They need to know why they should buy from you as well as buying from your company. They look for a professional who is committed to listening and understanding their needs. The key word here is listening. This is the only way to understand their needs thoroughly. It is imperative that you listen before you try to answer questions.

What’s at stake?

Giving customers a reason to buy from you and your company has immediate and long-time benefits. In the short-term, customers will be delighted with their experience and tell their friends. This has the potential to increase your social network and increase your personal worth. In the long-run, it means that customers will be back for service, accessories, and more.

On the other hand, if you don’t develop a relationship built on trust and confidence, you will always end up selling on price, just like everyone else. Even if a customer purchases a product or service, they may never be back, and, they may warn others to steer clear of your company.

What’s involved?

You must be the best professional that you can be. You must embrace work as a profession, not as just another job. A professional salesperson is proud of his craft and tries to be the best that s/he can.

In my book, Eliminate Your Competition I discuss there are three things that you must sell:

  1. your product,
  2. your company,
  3. yourself.

Since most products have competition that solves the core of the same problems, products rarely win the deal by themselves. Since most companies are high quality, the company reputation rarely wins the deal. The big variable in all sales opportunities is you. You can show that you are a better partner and a better advocate than the other salesperson. You can show that it is better to buy from you than to buy from the other person. You may purchase my book from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Customer loyalty isn’t what it used to be. People don’t return simply because it’s where they purchased previously. They re-purchase because salespeople took the time to build a relationship. They gave the customer a reason to buy from their company. When you have a relationship with a customer, everything is more straightforward. But remember, even one mistake can cause a loyal customer to leave. It is up to you to sell them on your company, sell them on your professionalism, and then, to keep them sold through simple, consistent communication.