Traits of Top Salespeople

"Top salespeople are positive: they maintain a positive attitude, even when facing adversity."

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Artificial Intelligence Helps Salespeople Be More Effective

Artificial Intelligence Helps Salespeople Be More Effective

Sales professionals have always been under pressure to close more deals and hit their targets. But now, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), they can be even more effective in their roles. AI tools can automate routine tasks, helping salespeople focus on their jobs’ essential aspects. And by providing insights into customer behavior, AI can help sales teams to understand their customers better and close more sales. So if you’re looking for a way to boost your sales performance, consider using AI tools in your workflow. You won’t regret it!

For example, machine learning and natural language processing can offer sales teams unprecedented insight into their buyers and sales processes. It seems that many sales leaders are already aware of this: according to a Salesforce report, leaders expect the adoption of AI to grow faster than any other tech in sales.

AI is becoming increasingly sophisticated and can now be used to help salespeople become more efficient.

Salespeople are under immense pressure to hit their quotas and secure new business deals. To be successful, they need to be efficient in their outreach and be able to identify potential leads quickly. However, with the vast amount of information available, it can be difficult for salespeople to know where to start. This is where artificial intelligence comes in. AI-powered software can help salespeople by sifting through data and identifying patterns that may indicate a purchase is forthcoming.

In addition, AI can also be used to automate repetitive tasks, such as sending emails or scheduling appointments. As a result, AI is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for salespeople looking to boost their efficiency and close more deals.

Salespeople are always looking for ways to increase efficiency and close more sales. With the advent of artificial intelligence, they now have a powerful tool at their disposal. AI can help salespeople identify potential customers, track their interactions, and predict when they will likely make a purchase. As a result, salespeople can focus their efforts on the most promising leads and close deals more quickly.

AI can help salespeople to meet their quotas by providing them with real-time feedback on their performance. As AI becomes more advanced, it will become an increasingly valuable asset for salespeople seeking to boost their productivity.

Using data from previous sales, AI can help salespeople identify potential new customers and prioritize the best prospects. AI can also automate repetitive tasks, such as sending follow-up emails and scheduling appointments. As a result, salespeople can spend less time on administrative work and more time selling.

In addition, AI can provide real-time feedback on Sales performance, helping salespeople to improve their skills over time. With the help of AI, salespeople can become more efficient and close more deals.

AI can help salespeople identify potential leads, understand customer needs, and recommend products accordingly.

Sales is a notoriously difficult profession. Not only do salespeople have to identify potential leads, but they also have to understand customer needs and recommend products accordingly. It’s a lot of pressure, and it can be tough to keep up with the quotas. Fortunately, artificial intelligence can help.

Salespeople can use AI-powered tools to identify potential leads and understand customer needs quickly. AI can also recommend products that are likely to fit the customer well. As a result, AI can help salespeople work more efficiently and close more deals. In other words, AI can be a powerful tool for salespeople looking to improve their performance.

AI can also automate simple tasks such as sending follow-up emails or scheduling appointments, freeing up time for salespeople to focus on more important tasks.

In any sales position, time is of the essence. The more time spent on simple, administrative tasks, the less time available to sell, and eventually, this will impact efficiency and quota. Artificial intelligence can help to automate some of these tasks.

In today’s competitive market, any advantage that can be gained by using AI should be taken. For example, follow-up emails can be generated automatically after a meeting, or appointments can be scheduled with potential clients without requiring manual input. This frees salespeople to focus on more important tasks, such as closing deals, ultimately leading to increased efficiency and productivity.

By automating simple tasks such as sending follow-up emails or scheduling appointments, AI can help salespeople to focus on more critical tasks. As a result, they can work more efficiently and close more deals. In addition, AI can also provide valuable insights into customer behavior, helping salespeople target their efforts more effectively. Ultimately, AI can be a powerful tool for sales organizations looking to improve their efficiency and performance.

Automating these tasks can help salespeople to avoid human error and improve the accuracy of their work. As a result, Salespeople who use artificial intelligence to automate simple tasks can see an increase in their efficiency and effectiveness.

Using AI, businesses can reduce costs associated with hiring additional sales staff or training existing staff members in new technologies.

With the ever-changing landscape of technology, it can be difficult for businesses to keep up. To stay competitive, companies must continuously invest in staff training and development. However, this can be costly in terms of both time and money.

By utilizing Artificial Intelligence, businesses can reduce the costs associated with hiring additional sales staff or training existing staff members in new technologies. Artificial Intelligence can provide employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to sell products or services without further training.

In addition, Artificial Intelligence can help identify potential sales opportunities, leading to increased revenue and profits. As a result, utilizing Artificial Intelligence is a cost-effective way for businesses to stay competitive and improve their bottom line.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the latest technologies that has the potential to revolutionize the hiring process. Businesses can automatically filter resumes, identify top candidates, and conduct initial interviews using AI-powered tools. This saves businesses time and money and allows them to focus on more qualified candidates.

Artificial intelligence can revolutionize the sales process for businesses of all sizes. Using AI, companies can reduce costs associated with hiring additional sales staff or training existing staff members in new technologies. AI can also help businesses to target potential customers more effectively and to identify up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. In addition, AI can automate administrative tasks such as lead generation and customer data management. As a result, businesses that adopt AI will achieve a significant competitive advantage.

It is important to note that AI should not be seen as a replacement for human interaction – instead, it should be used to complement human skills and abilities.

In a world where technology is increasingly becoming a more significant part of our lives, it is essential to remember the importance of human interaction. While artificial intelligence can be used to perform many tasks, it cannot replace the relationships that we build with other people. In fact, networking with other individuals is essential to succeed in many fields.

For example, in the business world, building relationships is key to finding new clients and opportunities. Ultimately, while artificial intelligence has its place, human interaction is still essential in our lives.

It is important to note that artificial intelligence should not be seen as a replacement for human interaction – instead, it should be used to complement human skills and abilities. For example, AI can be used to manage large networks of relationships. However, AI cannot replace the need for humans to build and maintain relationships. AI can even help humans to develop stronger relationships by providing insights and data that would otherwise be unavailable. For example, AI can help identify relationships between people with similar interests or goals. Ultimately, AI should be seen as a tool to augment human abilities rather than replace them.

In the future, we can expect to see even more integration of AI into the world of sales.

In today’s business world, time is of the essence. Every second you can save is another opportunity to make a sale, reach a new customer, or close a deal. This is why many businesses are turning to artificial intelligence to help boost productivity and efficiency. By automating repetitive tasks and providing instant access to data and analytics, AI can help salespeople work smarter, not harder. In the future, we can expect to see even more integration of AI into the world of sales. As AI technology continues to evolve, it will become increasingly adept at handling more complex tasks, freeing salespeople to focus on the human element of their job: building relationships and closing deals.

As artificial intelligence technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see more and more businesses integrating AI into their sales operations. AI is already being used to automate many repetitive and time-consuming sales tasks, such as lead generation and customer follow-up. This allows salespeople to focus on more strategic tasks, such as developing customer relationships and closing deals. In addition, AI can be used to create personalized sales experiences for customers, which can lead to higher conversion rates. As AI technology becomes more sophisticated, we can only expect even more significant productivity gains in the world of sales.

The world of sales is constantly changing, and artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role. AI can help salespeople to be more efficient and effective and to find and connect with potential customers more efficiently. In the future, we can expect to see even more integration of AI into the world of sales. As AI becomes more sophisticated, it will be able to do more and more tasks that salespeople currently have to do manually. This will lead to increased productivity and efficiency and new opportunities for salespeople to connect with customers.

Below, I have listed a few AI-based services and solutions. This is far from a complete listing of what is on the market, but exploring these tools will give you some ideas of the problems that can be solved using AI to increase productivity.

ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a game-changer for sales professionals and managers. This advanced AI model, developed by OpenAI, is like having a dedicated research assistant at your fingertips, ready to help with everything from prospect research to crafting compelling sales pitches.

For sales reps, ChatGPT can provide quick answers to product questions, assist in drafting emails or LinkedIn messages, brainstorm solutions to customer objections, or even help role-play sales scenarios to sharpen your skills.

As a sales manager, ChatGPT can assist in training your team, generating sales reports, or analyzing sales data. The AI’s ability to understand and generate human-like text means it can also assist in creating sales playbooks, coaching guidelines, and other valuable sales resources.

ChatGPT is not just a tool but a team member that is always available, doesn’t need coffee breaks, and is constantly learning to serve you better.

Warmer.ai

Warmer.ai is a new cold email personalization tool. It uses AI technology to write custom intros for your cold emails, saving you time and energy from researching independently. Personalizing the first line in your emails will improve your cold email reply rate and help you close more deals. To use Warmer.ai, you first have to choose the goal of your outreach campaign, then enter your prospect’s LinkedIn or Website URL. Warmer will then scan the site and write personalized intros relevant to your prospect.

Appier

Appier is a technology company focused on building AI solutions for enterprises. Appier’s solutions help organizations develop deep insights into their customer base by using AI to analyze customer databases, segment them, and generate predictions on how they’ll react to marketing campaigns. Appier makes AI easy to implement for enterprises and saves them from having to build their own data scientist teams.

Tact.ai

Tact.ai has changed how salespeople work at leading Fortune 500 companies, like GE and Cisco Systems, by delivering the first omnichannel AI-powered digital assistant for sales teams.

By leveraging the generational platform shift from PC browser-based apps to the latest mobile, voice, and conversational AI-powered experiences, the Tact Sales Assistant acts as a salesperson’s single pane of glass over customer data scattered across CRM, LinkedIn, Zendesk, email, calendar, and legacy databases. Tact’s frictionless experience and contextual insights deliver greater sales productivity, higher win rates, and faster sales cycles for companies struggling with CRM adoption.

CrystalKnows

Crystal’s tools and features are built to give sales professionals improved, more well-rounded insights into the people they work with daily. This includes prospects, current clients, people you meet while networking, and even your own team. Crystal enables you to learn more about a person than just their skills and interests, which is key to successful business relationships – nobody wants to be “sold” to. People want to work with others they feel share their interests and values. Sales professionals need those critical communication skills to earn trust and successfully broaden their business and client base.

Clara Labs

Clara is a scheduling service that coordinates when, where, and how you connect with prospects. Clara delivers unprecedented efficiency and accuracy by combining machine intelligence’s precision and an expert team’s judgment. This human-in-the-loop approach ensures scheduling communication is always clear and swift. Clara works by getting scheduling requests from your emails, automatically engaging prospects to check their availability, and quickly booking meetings. It also handles meeting reminders, ensures prospects have dial-in details, and reschedules if someone requests a change.

Sales teams can use Clara to manage scheduling for their entire funnel, from outbound efforts to handling demos and meetings. Because Clara follows up to get an appointment booked, sales teams will find it incredibly useful in reducing drop-offs, booking more pitches, and ultimately closing more deals.

GetYooz

One of the best accounts payable solutions out there, GetYooz, can reduce your invoicing costs by 80%. As it’s Cloud-based and AI-powered, each step of the purchase-to-pay process is automated. Other tools don’t provide a fully automated experience and need to outsource data
processing to other companies.

So here’s what you’d need to do: gather up a solid selection of products, set them in a display box, find a busy area in which you can set up a stall (you may need to pay for this), set up a pos system to help you track sales and sync them with your main inventory system, and start selling.

LeadCrunch

LeadCrunch.ai finds and engages lookalikes to your best customers, making it easy for you to find new prospects like the ones you’ve already closed deals with. Even better, LeadCrunch engages those prospects with the information most likely to get them to start the buyer journey before you call. The result? According to LeadCrunch, leads convert 3 to 10 times better than cold outreach.

Conversica

Conversica provides an AI-based sales assistant that empowers your salespeople to focus on selling and closing deals instead of chasing down leads. The assistant engages prospects in natural, two-way human conversations and persistently reaches out to every single lead as many times and over as long a timespan as is required. It’s a win/win/win: Sales is more efficient, Marketing is more effective, and prospects have a better experience.

INK

Now more than ever, enterprises and SMBs are investing heavily in content marketing because one well-optimized article has the potential to drive web traffic, engagement, and conversion– even long after it’s published. Over four million blog posts are written daily, but 91% of content gets zero traffic from Google. INK is an AI-enabled text editor that helps improve the quality and rankability of web content. As you write, INK’s AI researches your competition, analyzes their content, and provides tailored suggestions to enhance your content, unlike rules-based solutions.

Its clean, distraction-free interface works almost like a game. Since relevancy is one of the most important ranking factors, INK provides a Relevancy Score on a scale from 0% to 100% that changes as you tackle each suggestion for improvement. The INK editor helps streamline content creation with one tool rather than relying on many. Use INK to improve grammar, spelling, readability, ranking potential, craft metadata, and more. Also, the INK WordPress plugin helps simplify publishing.

Jasper

Jasper AI is a copywriting tool that uses the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically produce persuasive and enticing copy. This copy can be for your blog posts, landing pages, social media, ads, marketing emails, and much more, allowing you to write 5x more content in a fraction of the time.

Jasper AI was released in January of 2021 by the team over at Jasper.ai led by the CEO, Dave Rogenmoser, and backed by the team that created Proof.

Jasper.ai is one of the best copywriting tools on the market, with over 1000 5-star reviews on several of the most trusted review sites. This is because it produces the highest quality AI content due to being trained by expert marketers and copywriters.

Drift

Drift is probably the best-known tool on this list. It’s a chat platform that has morphed into a full-fledged AI-enabled sales tool. Today, Drift is a sales software that uses artificial intelligence to help sales professionals increase sales productivity and close more deals. It’s an excellent choice for SMBs and even enterprise businesses that want to automate lead capture and the selling process without scaling headcount.

Exceed

Exceed AI is a sales acceleration and productivity software that helps sales teams close more deals faster. The software provides a suite of tools that helps sales reps manage their leads and opportunities, track their progress, and collaborate with their team. Exceed.ai also integrates with many CRM and ERP systems, including Salesforce, Oracle, and SAP, making it easy for sales reps to manage their sales pipeline and data.

Saleswhale

Saleswhale is one of the best AI sales software applications because it helps sales reps focus on the most critical tasks and provides them with the best leads. Saleswhale will recommend you data-backed Playbooks depending on your intended use cases. Playbooks include Recycled MQLs with no sales activity, Post-webinar leads with low intent, and more.

In essence, Saleswhale is an email-based lead nurturing assistant that uses AI. All this means less manual work for your sales reps and more closed deals.

Grammarly

Grammarly helps people communicate with confidence across devices and platforms. Our AI-powered suggestions appear wherever you write, coaching 30 million people and 30,000 teams every day to improve the correctness, clarity, engagement, and delivery of their writing. Grammarly Premium elevates communication for individual students and professionals, Grammarly Business drives organizations of all sizes to accelerate business results, and Grammarly for Developers empowers builders to enhance the communication experience for their end users. 

Otter

Otter.ai is a transcription tool that uses artificial intelligence to generate transcriptions for meetings, interviews, lectures, and other essential voice conversations. Otter empowers everyone to engage and be more productive in meetings with real-time automated notes and transcription. Engage more in discussions by using Otter to record and transcribe in-person or virtual conversations in real-time and collaborate by highlighting, inserting comments, or images.

The list continues to grow.

This list of AI tools for salespeople is just the beginning, and it will get longer every year for many more years. Artificial intelligence has already begun to play a role in sales productivity and will only become more widespread and important. As technology advances, so will AI’s ability to help sales teams close more deals in less time. If you’re not using AI to its fullest potential yet, start looking for opportunities where it can make you more productive. With the right tools, your team can focus on what they do best – building relationships and closing deals. How have artificial intelligence tools helped you increase sales productivity?

Focus on unrealized goals with your prospects and not pain

Focus on unrealized goals with your prospects and not pain

During my recent podcast with Colin Stewart of Predictable Revenue, I discussed the concept that people do not buy from pain but rather from missed goals. I want to build on that topic in this post as it is a critical concept in your thought process.

When people make a decision to spend their own (or their company’s) money, they do so because their goals do not align with their reality. They wish that they were in a different situation and their desire to be in that situation is acute enough that they are willing to invest their time and their money to get closer to that goal.

Many people discuss ‘pain’ as the reason that people buy. This belief is not entirely true. Pain is the result of not realizing goals. Therefore, ‘pain’ is a ‘lagging indicator’ of the situation. In a competitive situation where there are no Trappers, pain may be a good driving force. Trappers try to get ahead of the situation and drive the buyer into a situation that is conducive to them winning the order. If you wait for ‘pain’ to occur, you run the risk of involving many more competitors and being much later in the sales process. Instead, you want to control the process, which means that you want to discuss the goals of both the organization and the individual people.

In addition to ‘pain’ being a secondary and lagging situation, it also has very negative connotations. It is much harder to discuss an individual’s ‘pains’ than it is to discuss the individual’s goals. Goals have a very positive feel and therefore make you a valued partner to the prospect. 

A similarity from your everyday life: if you have knee pain then you may see a doctor. While you and your insurance company will likely give the doctor money to cure that pain, it does not give you a positive feeling about the doctor – it is more of a necessary evil. However, you may have a goal of getting into shape and losing weight and therefore join the local gym. You are more likely to develop a long-term friendship with that gym and its employees even though you may give them much more money over the term of your membership. The people who are working in the gym are helping you get to your goal whereas the doctor is solving a problem or a ‘pain.’

Pain means that something is broken. It is a negative. While it may be common in this age of social media to whine and complain about broken things, it does not create a feeling of excitement or enjoyment. The excitement only comes when you are trying to achieve a goal.

The athletes on your favorite sports team don’t work hard in practice because they want to avoid the pain of losing. Instead, they work hard because they want to win. Winning is the goal. The desire to accomplish a goal allows everyone to be motivated to work hard. Talking about pain with an athlete is to talk about losses, hard practices, and injury. The athlete is much more motivated talking about the game wins and the plans to win the next games. The same is true with your prospect.

Pain is also not the reason to choose one product over another. Pain may justify the purchase, or it may start an evaluation process. If all the products solve the pain, then ultimately price and ‘terms and conditions’ will be the deciding factors. However, most evaluations are more concerned about goals and achieving those goals. In my book, I give an example of buying a TV, if your pain is that you have a broken TV then any TV should solve your pain. If your goal is to watch sporting events and feature films on the best-looking and best-sounding audiovisual system on the market, then your list may be more detailed and more demanding. 

Similarly, if your pain is that you cannot get to work in the morning, then hundreds of automobiles, along with some public transportation options, will solve your problem. If you have a goal of getting to work in a sporty red convertible, you will eliminate many of the choices, and the car salespeople must help you meet your goals.

The chosen product will match the goals of the prospect, not just the pains of the prospect.

In sales, we can use this to our benefit. We will center our initial questioning and needs development with our prospect on goals and the ability (or inability) to reach those goals. By doing this with the Discoverer (a role that we discuss more in my book, Eliminate Your Competition), we have the advantage of being a long-term and trusted ally. As the sales process evolves, other vendors are brought in to ascertain their possible remedies, but the prospect sees them as solutions to a problem (pain) that you have helped them identify because their reality was not the same as their goal. You, on the other hand, are a trusted confidant who only has their best interest at heart and you are willing to guide them as they explore their goals.

If you are curious about some of the terms that I use in this post, you may want to 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.

Photo by Tumisu (Pixabay)
Don’t Send Role-based Emails

Don’t Send Role-based Emails

Nearly all great prospecting salespeople send out emails to potential prospects. I even teach some of these tactics in my book Eliminate Your Competition.

However, no respectable salesperson should ever send a blind email to a role-based email address. It is fraught with potential repercussions and almost guaranteed to fail. It is simply not worth it.

What is a role-based email?

As the name says, role-based email accounts are associated with a particular role like sales, editor, admin, etc. A role-based email account is not associated with one single person, but with a group of peoples or a department. Role-based email accounts start with admin@, editor@, sales@, inquiry @, etc.

Downsides of role-based emails

As a role-based email account is associated with a group of people or a department, it is harder to show explicit permission of each recipient. Explicit permission is required by email marketing laws and best practices.

You are more likely to put yourself on a black list if you send role-based emails. Various blacklist services like Spamhaus treats marketing emails sent to role-based email accounts as spam. Because such role-based email accounts are either harvested or used without the explicit permission of recipients.

Role-based email account not only increases the risk of spam complaints but also pulls down the overall engagement rates of your marketing campaigns. The majority of the email service providers like MailChimp maintains a suppression list of role-based email accounts meaning emails will not be sent to such email accounts for maintaining email deliverability rates and protecting senders reputation.

A better way

If you must send blind emails to people, don’t send it to a role. Instead send that email to a person. You should follow the suggestions I put into an earlier post to find the email address of real people at your prospect and send that individual a personalized email.

One of the best tools that I have seen is Hunter. I first learned of Hunter from Emanuel Carpenter and his book Brain Dump: 167 Tips & Tricks from a Six-Figure Sales Prospecting Legend. You should read that book if you want to develop great skills for prospecting.

Carpenter, E.R. Brain Dump: 167 Tips & Tricks from a Six-Figure Sales Prospecting Legend (Kindle Locations 617-622). Forest Wade Press. Kindle Edition. (content reformatted to make it easier to read on this site)

Photo by buggolo

Do’s And Don’ts For Your Sales Kickoff

Do’s And Don’ts For Your Sales Kickoff

I am a big fan of Sales For Life, so when I read their recent article on sales kickoff planning, I had to mention it here. This is the time of year when many companies are starting to plan their next sales kickoff (SKO).

You would think that companies could do this well, but the statistics show that success is far from easy. Many companies may be falling short, according to BrainShark’s State of Sales Kickoff Meetings survey. Despite billions of dollars spent on these events annually (not to mention hours upon hours of preparation), three out of four attendees (74%) say their company’s SKO doesn’t merit an “A” grade, with 29% rating it a “C” grade or below – leaving ample room for improvement.

Jaime Shanks of Sales For Life creates some great Do’s and Don’ts. Here are my favorites:

Do

  • Bring clients in to share why and how they bought. Let your sales team understand what it’s like to be in your customers’ shoes. Have them share their buying journey.
  • Get the skills part of your training early in the event – tired minds don’t absorb. You don’t have to use this time for product training as it’s the easiest for reps to get a hold of that information. Try focusing on skills development early in your SKO and then product training.
  • Make your event fun and gamified. You already know sales reps are competitive so bring them competition and fun.
  • The most successful companies we’ve observed have made their SKO a business function with a celebration wrapped around it and not a celebration with a little business wrapped around it.
  • Set clear expectations around attendance and consequences for non-attendance or non-participation.

Don’t

  • Don’t try to do too many activities – focus is the key. Focus on tying everything back to the main company goals and objectives for the year.
  • Don’t focus so much on product training. You have all year and all the support in the world to disseminate that information. Use this time to teach new selling skills like courses in social selling mastery, digital sales, ABSD, storyboarding, video selling, objection handling, effective sales research and so much more that doesn’t involve product knowledge.
  • Don’t have leaders and reps in different sessions. This is the perfect time for each to gain new perspectives and learnings from each other. Being on the same page should be a part of your theme.
  • Don’t accept latecomers who slept in because of a difficult night the night before. Your company may have invested millions so treat it that way.

Header Photo by Editor B
Six Ways To Gain Credibility

Six Ways To Gain Credibility

I have spoken of trust, honesty, and credibility before. When you understand that you sell three things:

  1. Your product.
  2. Your company.
  3. Yourself.

In nearly every sale, you probably have a competitive product that is very close to the same features and benefits as your product. You rarely have a massive competitive advantage in your product. Also, it is very rare that the quality of your employer is so much better than your competitor that it is the deciding factor in the decision-making process by the prospect. Alas, it is usually the salesperson and the sales team that makes the most difference to the prospect. Does the prospect trust you? Does the prospect think you are honest? Are you a credible vendor to the prospect?

John Care is a good friend of mine that has published two books and runs a consulting company that helps technical sales teams. One of his books is titled The Trusted Adviser Sales Engineer. The very description “trusted adviser” is the cornerstone of making sure that the third item that you sell (you) is the best that it can be. While John’s book is targeted to Sales Engineers, every person on the sales team can learn from his words of wisdom. I have recreated a couple of paragraphs from John’s book and also his six ways to gain credibility.

“What makes a customer actually trust you? It is much more than your technical knowledge and capabilities, as those are the basic table stakes that customers expect of any [salesperson] with. For [a salesperson], it is a combination of honoring your commitments, speaking the truth, and acting in the best interests of the customer – even if that may occasionally conflict with the best interests of your own company.”

“The downside is that once [a salesperson] loses credibility with a customer it can be very difficult to regain it. Giving vague or misleading answers to a question or being factually incorrect are classic examples of this.”

  1. Tell The Truth. Always. Plus, you get the benefit of never having to remember what you said!
  2. Be Considerate With That Truth. Younger [salespeople] can sometimes be too blunt – directly saying, “that is never going to work!” to your client may not be the best approach.
  3. Use I Don’t Know Wisely. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so, and then promise to go get it for the customer . Don’t make stuff up! You can only do this a few times in a meeting – excessive “don’t knows” shows that someone is in the wrong meeting.
  4. Show Passion. Show some passion and enthusiasm for your product/ solution/services and for helping the customer. Do relax and take a breather so you don’t speak too quickly from an adrenaline high.
  5. Utilize Your Credentials. It’s OK to cite your credentials, but don’t overdo it and do make it relevant. So yes – you can put CISSP, ITIL or vExpert on your business card and eSignature, but just use one. A raft of acronyms after your name is excessive. (Note: “MBA” isn’t going to make much difference in most countries. ) Also, be sensitive to cultures – it is much better for someone else to cite your credentials in many parts of the world than to use the US testosterone “in-your-face” approach.
  6. Do The Research. Know as much as feasible about the company, their issues, and the people that you meet. Just saying “I read that article in the Straits Times yesterday” can really help – as long as you actually did read it!

You can purchase John’s book wherever books are sold. I suggest that all my readers get a copy and read it, regardless of your role in the sales process

 

 

Care, John. The Trusted Advisor Sales Engineer (Kindle Locations 266-270). Mastering Technical Sales. Kindle Edition.

Care, John. The Trusted Advisor Sales Engineer (Kindle Locations 412-414). Mastering Technical Sales. Kindle Edition.

Care, John. The Trusted Advisor Sales Engineer (Kindle Locations 422-444). Mastering Technical Sales. Kindle Edition.

 

A Thank You Note For Those With Lousy Handwriting

A Thank You Note For Those With Lousy Handwriting

I recently encouraged you to send handwritten thank you notes to your prospects and customers. What do you do if you have lousy handwriting?

First of all, don’t be so hard on yourself. Your lousy handwriting is part of the reason that the note is so important. However, there is a solution for those of us that have lousy handwriting that is so bad that we cannot read what we wrote. If you still want to send a personalized note: use Bond.

Download the basic version of the Bond app, and you can type out a message, pick a card and handwriting style ranging from the messy cursive of “Gramercy” to the clean all-caps “Hudson” and upload your signature and address. Then everything else, from postage, envelope stuffing, sealing, and drop-off, is taken care of by Bond. You don’t see the note or deal with the hassle of mailing it. You get an email when it ships.

Bond offers about 20 different handwritten house styles. After the note and address are composed, and the type style is chosen, robotic pen-writers (who never worry about hand cramps) write the notes on selected paper and envelopes. The notes can be reviewed online before being snail-mailed.

You can also utilize your own handwriting style via an intake form that requests you write various sentences and characters. All alphabet letters are covered, and Bond’s software generates a couple of dozen variations for each written letter.

When the note is written, the software employs the variations of each alphabet letter to compose a unique version of the chosen handwriting style for each note.

I have no financial interest in Bond, I am just a happy user. When I signed up a long time ago, they allowed me to send a sample note to myself so that I could see the process and the final product. From that point on, I use Bond whenever I post a thank you note to a customer.

Get To The Point – Bottom Line Up Front

Get To The Point – Bottom Line Up Front

I recently read a great article to help sales professionals remember to be direct and concise in their conversations and communications with their prospects and customers. The article is by my old friend, John Care, who has written a couple books that are the premier advice books in the pre-sales technical sales world. If you have the job of being the “smart person” on the sales call, then you need to read John’s books. If you regularly have technical experts on your sales calls, I highly advise you to purchase this book for each of your team members (links below).

John’s advice is to remember the acronym BLUF. BLUF is a military acronym for “Bottom Line Up Front.” The purpose is to place the most crucial piece of your communications at the start of any discussion. Visualize that as being on a cell-phone with only 15 seconds of battery time remaining. Why use BLUF instead of the usual corporate fluff? Because it gets your message across faster and saves everyone time.

Reverse the situation and think about all the times you have patiently waited for someone to get to the point. Remember that whenever you start with the background (“once upon a time”) and take minutes to get to the point, then busy people will just ignore you. By the time you get to the Very Important Point, you have lost their attention. The same principle applies to email. Any time I need to read the History of the Universe merely to find out what the sender wants me to do – I am far less likely to take action.

If you have read my book Eliminate Your Competition, then you know that I think using acronyms and acrostic devices are critical to helping our customers and prospects remember things. These tricks also work for us on the sales team. By remember BLUF, you will be more effective in your communication. 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.

Make sure you click through and read John’s full explanation of BLUF here. Also, don’t forget to purchase a copy of his excellent books for everyone on your technical team. These books really are the standard for pre-sales professional teams. Everyone that has that job should read John’s advice.


 

Header Photo by geralt (Pixabay)
Effective Salespeople Know How to Write

Effective Salespeople Know How to Write

Probably the most critical skill of a salesperson is to be able to communicate effectively. Some sales managers will even have a job candidate do a presentation as part of the interview process. Also, many sales managers will review resumes and cover letters for signs of poor writing.

If you want to be a top producer in sales, you need to be able to write effectively. You will be writing emails and letters to prospects and customers. You will be writing proposals. You will be modifying presentations. You should also be writing LinkedIn posts and blogs. Effective writing is a required sales skill.

In my book “Eliminate Your Competition” I gave you several examples of newsletters and prospecting letters. 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.

Your ability to communicate your ideas and your thoughts will improve the more you do it. In this post, I am not overly concerned with how you structure your communication. In this post, I want to make sure you are not writing with 4th-grade grammar and 2nd-grade spelling skills. If you are using the Microsoft Office suite of productivity tools, you can have that tool give you suggestions on spelling and on grammar. Unfortunately, it is not the best tool available, and I suggest that you look at Grammarly.

Grammarly is a great tool. It can be embedded into your browser or in Microsoft Office, or you can just use the web tool.

Once you create a Grammarly account for free, take a tour of the Grammarly editor. It shows you how to get feedback on your writing quickly, make your writing clear and adjust feedback to your preferred writing style.

Then open a new document and set a goal for your writing. You can set writing goals based on your:

  • The intent, e.g., inform, tell a story or describe
  • The audience, e.g., general or expert
  • The Style, e.g., formal or informal
  • Desired Emotion, e.g., mild or strong
  • Targeted Domain, e.g., academic, business or technical

When you’re ready, merely paste extracts of your writing for proofreading, grammar checking and catching spelling mistakes. Or you can write directly in Grammarly and then paste your work into your writing app of choice. After a few seconds, this proofreading tool underlines grammar mistakes similar to what you see in Word.

Grammarly Premium also provides a more detailed explanation than the free version (or Word) about why you made a writing mistake. This is particularly useful if you want to improve your knowledge of English grammar.

The free version contains most of the features of Grammarly Premium apart from an advanced grammar checker, a plagiarism detector, and some vocabulary enhancement suggestions. In other words, the free version of Grammarly is ideal for salespeople with a minimal budget for writing tools.

Grammarly Premium provides detailed information about each of your grammar mistakes. It also provides additional writing insights and an ability to set writing goals. It also finds and fixes more errors than the free version.

You can pay for premium on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. I currently pay for a monthly premium subscription as this strikes me as a nice balance between affordability and managing my expenses.

Yes, this blog post (in fact nearly all of my writing) was double-checked with Grammarly.