Traits of Top Salespeople

"Top salespeople are knowledgeable: they know their product, their market, and their competition very well."

Category: Habit of a Successful Salesperson

What do you do if you want to build rapport with potential clients during a sales call?

What do you do if you want to build rapport with potential clients during a sales call?

In my role as a fractional Vice President of Sales, I frequently coach relatively inexperienced salespeople on techniques to improve their revenue. Recently, I was asked, “What do you do if you want to build rapport with potential clients during a sales call?” It was a great conversation with this inexperienced salesperson, and I wanted to share the highlights of our conversation.

Building rapport is critical in any sales process as it helps establish trust and create a favorable environment for business discussions. Here are several effective strategies to enhance rapport-building during sales calls:

Engage with Personalized Approaches

Start by researching your potential client. If possible, understand their business, industry challenges, and personal interests. This information allows you to tailor your conversation, making it relevant and engaging right from the start. Personalization shows that you value the client’s unique needs and are not merely delivering a generic sales pitch.

Practice Active Listening

Active listening involves more than just hearing the words another person says. Active listening is understanding the underlying emotions and intentions. Show that you are listening by summarizing the client’s words and asking clarifying questions. This ensures you are on the same page and demonstrates your respect and attention to their concerns.

Share Relevant Stories and Experiences

Stories are a powerful tool in building connections. Sharing anecdotes that relate to the client’s situation can illustrate your understanding and empathy. Whether it’s a challenge you’ve helped another client overcome or a personal story that relates to the topic at hand, make sure it resonates with the core issues or interests of the client.

Remember, stories will be remembered. The better you tell stories, the more the listener will remember and appreciate you.

Mirror and Match

Mirroring and matching are techniques where you subtly mimic the client’s body language, tone of voice, or speech patterns. This should be done cautiously and naturally to avoid seeming insincere. When executed well, this technique can lead to increased feelings of alignment and comfort on the client’s part.

Use Positive Language

Positive language can help foster positive interaction. Even when discussing challenges or responding to objections, frame your responses positively. This helps maintain an upbeat atmosphere and encourages a constructive dialogue.

Actionable Advice for Implementation

At the end of your next sales call preparation, take a few moments to:

  1. Gather insightful information about the client and their business.
  2. Plan open-ended questions that encourage discussion.
  3. Think of relevant stories and experiences you can share.
  4. Practice mirroring techniques with a colleague to get feedback on your approach.

By consciously integrating these practices into your sales calls, you’ll find that building rapport becomes a more natural and effective component of your sales strategy. Remember, the goal is to make the potential client feel valued and understood, paving the way for a successful business relationship.

Staying Top of Mind: The Power of Sharing Industry Insights with Customers and Prospects

Staying Top of Mind: The Power of Sharing Industry Insights with Customers and Prospects

Staying top of mind with your customers and prospects is crucial for long-term success in B2B sales. As a salesperson, you understand the importance of improving a company’s revenue generation capability. One often overlooked strategy is the art of sharing industry and management articles with your clients. In this blog post, we’ll explore why successful salespeople who read and share articles can be a game-changer for your sales strategy.

The Value of Industry and Management Articles

Sales professionals are often the front-line ambassadors of a company, representing its products, services, and values. To be effective in this role, they must stay informed about industry trends, management best practices, and emerging market dynamics.

In the ever-evolving landscape of sales, the role of a salesperson has transformed from being a transactional agent to that of a trusted advisor. Today, being well-read is a valuable asset that can elevate a salesperson’s credibility, effectiveness, and success in the field.

Knowledge is synonymous with authority; therefore, salespeople who invest time in reading and staying updated on industry trends, market dynamics, and management best practices are better equipped to provide valuable insights to their clients. This knowledge sets them apart as trusted advisors who understand their clients’ challenges and can offer tailored solutions.

Because reading enhances a salesperson’s knowledge, broadens their horizons, and deepens their empathy, a well-read salesperson is more likely to understand their client’s unique needs and pain points, enabling them to build stronger, more meaningful relationships. This understanding is the foundation of trust.

Sales professionals who regularly consume industry-specific literature, market reports, and business books are constantly expanding their knowledge base. This knowledge encompasses the features of their products or services and a comprehensive understanding of the broader industry context, market trends, and competitors. This knowledge empowers salespeople to speak confidently, answer client questions, and offer well-informed recommendations.

Truly successful salespeople won’t limit reading to industry-specific content, though. You should also include exposure to diverse viewpoints and ideas from various authors and disciplines. This diversity of thought broadens a salesperson’s horizons, allowing them to approach problems and challenges with a more open and creative mindset. They can draw inspiration from various sources, adapt strategies from different industries, and think outside the box when solving client issues. As a result, they become more adaptable and innovative in their approach, which is particularly valuable in today’s dynamic business environment.

Please understand that reading isn’t solely about acquiring knowledge; it’s also about gaining insights into the human experience. Well-written literature, biographies, and psychology books can help salespeople develop a deeper empathy. When they read about the struggles, triumphs, and challenges faced by characters or real-life individuals, they can relate these experiences to their clients’ situations. This enhanced empathy allows them to connect with clients more personally, truly understanding their needs, aspirations, and pain points.

Armed with knowledge and empathy, well-read salespeople are better equipped to offer tailored solutions. They don’t resort to one-size-fits-all approaches but instead craft strategies and recommendations that specifically address each client’s unique needs. This level of personalization demonstrates a genuine commitment to the client’s success. It reinforces the perception that the salesperson is a trusted advisor with the client’s best interests.

Reading also improves a salesperson’s communication skills. Exposure to well-crafted prose and persuasive writing helps them articulate their thoughts more clearly and persuasively. They can convey complex ideas in a simple and compelling manner, making it easier for clients to grasp the value of their recommendations. Effective communication builds rapport, and fosters trust.

Combining knowledge, empathy, and effective communication creates the ideal environment for building deeper, more meaningful client relationships. Well-read salespeople can engage in insightful conversations, actively listen to client concerns, and provide thoughtful solutions. Clients, in turn, feel heard and valued, leading to a stronger emotional connection and a greater likelihood of ongoing collaboration.

The business world is changing constantly, and being well-read ensures that salespeople can adapt to new challenges and opportunities. They can pivot their strategies and recommendations based on the latest insights, demonstrating their agility and commitment to their client’s success.

Well-read salespeople often position themselves as thought leaders within their industry. When clients perceive a salesperson as a source of valuable information and insights, they are more inclined to seek their guidance and trust their recommendations.

Knowledge generates awareness, and this awareness creates authority. Well-read salespeople better understand their capabilities and the solutions they provide. This assurance resonates with customers, making them more likely to trust their suggestions.

Sales is not only about promoting products or services; it’s also about resolving problems. Well-read sales professionals are adept at locating and tackling their clients’ issues in imaginative and effective ways, showing off their problem-solving skills.

I regularly discuss that there are three things that each salesperson sells to every prospect:

  • their product,
  • their company,
  • themselves.

Because most products have an equivalent competitive product and competitive companies are usually quite adequate and rarely convince a prospect to NOT purchase, it is not unusual for a prospect to buy due to their trust towards the salesperson. Being well-read assists the salesperson in building credibility and potentially becomes the difference between winning the order or losing the order.

Reading is a multifaceted tool that enriches a salesperson’s professional and personal growth. It equips them with knowledge, broadens their perspective, and deepens their empathy – all of which are essential for building trust-based relationships with clients. Through a commitment to continuous learning and reading, salespeople can elevate their effectiveness and stand out as trusted advisors in their field.

The role of a salesperson has evolved into that of a trusted advisor who guides clients toward the best solutions for their needs. Being well-read is a powerful tool that helps salespeople embody this role effectively. It enables them to offer valuable insights, build strong relationships, and position themselves as experts in their field. So, whether you’re a seasoned sales professional or just starting your career, remember that the path to becoming a trusted advisor begins with gaining your prospect’s respect.

Tips for Effective Article Sharing

Now that we’ve established the value of sharing industry and management articles, here are some tips to make the most of this strategy:

Engaging with clients goes beyond transactional interactions. Sharing articles initiates meaningful conversations and encourages clients to share their thoughts and insights, further strengthening the relationship.

1. Curate Relevant Content: Ensure that the articles you share are directly related to your clients’ industries or pain points. Tailor the content to their specific interests to make it more meaningful.

2. Add Personalization: When sharing an article, include a personal note explaining why you thought it would be valuable for the recipient. This personal touch shows that you’ve considered their needs and interests.

3. Consistency is Key: Don’t make article sharing a one-off activity. Consistency is vital to maintain top-of-mind awareness. Create a schedule for sharing articles, but avoid overwhelming your clients with excessive emails.

4. Encourage Discussion: Encourage clients and prospects to share their thoughts and opinions on the articles you send. This can spark meaningful conversations and help you understand their challenges and goals better.

5. Measure Engagement: Use analytics tools to track open rates and click-through rates for the articles you send. This data can provide insights into which topics resonate most with your audience.

Long-term relationships are the most invaluable in sales. Well-read sellers have sufficient understanding and proficiency to nurture strong client connections that can result in repeat business and referrals. By sharing key articles and 3rd party information, you will build a longer-term relationship with your prospect.

Staying top of mind with your customers and prospects is a strategic imperative in professional selling. Sharing industry and management articles is a powerful and subtle way to maintain meaningful connections, foster trust, and position yourself as a valuable partner in your clients’ success journeys. Embrace this practice, and watch as your revenue generation capabilities soar to new heights.

Header Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava
You Need Timed Repetition to Influence Your Prospects

You Need Timed Repetition to Influence Your Prospects

In the world of sales and marketing, there is a principle known as the “Rule of 7.” The Rule of 7 is a principle that states that a prospect needs to see or hear a message at least seven times before they take action.

The idea behind the Rule of 7 is that a prospect must be exposed to a message multiple times before being motivated to take action. This principle was first introduced in the 1930s and has been used in the sales and marketing industry ever since. However, exposure alone is not enough. The timing of these exposures is just as important as the frequency.

The science of memory

For the sales message to be effective, it must be remembered between occurrences. This implies that salespeople should have a basic understanding of how memory works so that a great salesperson can purposefully create messages that have the desired effect.

Memory experiments provide empirical evidence for the effectiveness of the Rule of 7 in sales. According to short-term memory capacity, most adults can store between 5 and 9 items. Miller’s (1956) theory of the “Magic number 7” suggests that short-term memory can hold 7 (plus or minus two items) because it only has a certain number of “slots” in which items can be stored. If we want our marketing messages to be remembered, we must ensure they are repeated at suitable intervals.

There are two ways in which capacity is tested in memory experiments. One is span, which refers to the number of items that can be held in memory simultaneously. The other is the recency effect, which relates to things presented at the end of a list as more likely to be remembered than those shown in the middle.

Items can be kept in short-term memory by repeating them verbally (acoustic encoding), a process known as Rehearsal. Suppose we want memorable sales messages. In that case, we need to repeat them at the proper intervals so they can be rehearsed and encoded into long-term memory. For example, a study by Atkinson and Shiffrin (1971) found that the duration of short-term memory is between 15 and 30 seconds.

Another study by Jacobs (1887) used the digit span test to test short-term memory capacity. He found that people find it easier to recall numbers rather than letters. The average span for letters was 7.3, and for numbers, it was 9.3. To make our sales messages memorable, we need to use simple and unique phrases that can be easily recalled. We should also use numbers in our sales messages whenever practical.

A study by Cowan (2001) found that working memory capacity is limited to four items rather than the seven items suggested by Miller. This means we need to be even more strategic in using the Rule of 7 and ensure that each repetition provides valuable information that can be easily encoded into long-term memory.

Memory experiments provide evidence for the effectiveness of the Rule of 7 in sales. However, we also need to be strategic in using the Rule of 7 and ensure that each repetition provides valuable information that can be easily encoded into long-term memory. Doing so increases the chances of our prospects remembering our message and taking action. By understanding the capacity of short-term memory and the importance of repetition at the proper intervals, we can create marketing campaigns that are effective and influential.

The Forgetting Curve

To understand the importance of timing in marketing, we must first understand the concept of the forgetting curve. The forgetting curve is a psychological phenomenon first discovered by Hermann Ebbinghaus in 1885. The forgetting curve shows that we forget information at an exponential rate. In other words, we forget most of what we learn within a brief period.

According to the forgetting curve, we forget up to 90% of what we have learned within the first week if we don’t reinforce that knowledge. This curve means that if we want to remember something, we must revisit that information multiple times and at the proper intervals, to avoid forgetting it. The same principle applies to marketing messages. Suppose we want our prospects to remember our message and take action. In that case, we must reinforce that message multiple times at suitable intervals.

So, how often do we need to expose our message to our prospects, and at what intervals? The answer to this question varies depending on the source. Still, the consensus is that it takes between 5 and 12 exposures to get a prospect to take action. However, it’s about more than just the number of exposures but also the timing of those exposures.

In a study conducted by the Association for Psychological Science, researchers found that the timing of repetition plays a crucial role in memory retention. The study showed that participants exposed to information at spaced intervals were better able to recall that information than those who were exposed to that information at massed intervals. In other words, it’s better to space out your marketing messages than to bombard your prospects with them all at once.

Spacing out our messages allows our prospects’ brains to rest and process the information. This gives their brains time to encode the information into long-term memory, making it easier to recall later. On the other hand, if we bombard our prospects with messages all at once, we overload their brains, making it difficult for them to process and retain the information.

Message content

In addition to spacing out our messages, it’s also essential to consider the context of those messages. For example, if we are trying to sell a product or service, we must consider the prospect’s buying and seller’s selling cycles.

During the seller’s Discovery and Scoping stages, the prospect must be made aware of their need for our product or service. Our sales messages during this stage should focus on understanding the prospect’s goals and how our product or service can help them achieve them.

During the Scoping stage, the prospect tries to understand how to achieve their company goals and initiatives. Our sales messages should focus on our product or service’s unique benefits and features during this stage.

Finally, during the Validation stage, the prospect is ready to purchase. Our sales messages during this stage should focus on closing the deal and providing social proof.

To effectively influence our prospects, we must tailor our sales messages and space out those messages at the proper intervals. For example, during Discovery, we might send an initial email introducing our brand and providing valuable information about the prospect’s goals. Then, we might follow up a week later with another email or blog post that dives deeper into the benefits of our product or service. Another week later, we might send a case study or customer testimonial demonstrating our solution’s effectiveness. By spacing out our messages and providing valuable information at each buying cycle stage, we are more likely to influence our prospects and turn them into customers.

It’s also important to consider the medium through which we send our sales messages. Different mediums have different levels of effectiveness depending on the context of the message and the target audience. For example, email marketing is a highly effective medium for B2B marketing, as it allows us to personalize our messages and reach decision-makers directly. Social media marketing and outreach might help to “surround” the prospect, allow for a more extensive reach, and provide for 3rd party validation of the message. General social media posts will enable us to get a larger audience and build brand awareness.

However, regardless of the medium, the key is to space out our messages at the correct intervals and provide valuable information at each stage of the sales cycle. Doing so increases the chances of our prospects remembering our message and taking action.

The biggest challenge of using the Rule of 7 in sales is that it is a lot of work and can be haphazard. Effective planning needs to occur, and a system is required to use the knowledge of how the mind works. In my book Eliminate Your Competition, I explain the 6-3-1 program, which touches the prospect 13 times with four communication channels. It systematizes the Rule of 7 in a straightforward process every salesperson can use to engage with new prospects.

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 retailers like AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

The Rule of 7 is a marketing principle that has stood the test of time. However, it’s about more than exposing our prospects to our message seven times. The timing of those exposures is just as important as the frequency. By spacing out our messages and tailoring them to each stage of the buying cycle, we increase the chances of our prospects remembering our message and taking action. Marketing is a process requiring patience, persistence, and strategic thinking. By understanding the importance of timed repetition, we can create marketing campaigns that are effective and influential.

Header photo by Vlada Karpovich
5 Sales Success Tips By A Multi-Decade Sales Professional

5 Sales Success Tips By A Multi-Decade Sales Professional

My good friend, Dean Wiener, published the following post on LinkedIn about some of the “secrets” to his success over many decades. He was kind enough to allow me to embed his post into this article.

Let’s explore each of these items in a bit more detail.

1. I attach my solution to a big problem/pain/goal.

As a salesperson, it is your job to understand your prospect’s needs and offer a solution that meets those needs. However, simply offering a product or service is not enough. You also must demonstrate how your solution can address a specific problem the prospect is facing. Doing so will make you much more likely to close the sale.

Attaching your solution to a goal the prospect wants to achieve has several benefits.

  • First, it helps you to focus on the most critical aspects of your product or service.
  • Second, it allows you to position your solution as the best possible option for solving the problem.
  • Third, it makes it more likely that the prospect will take action and buy from you.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for problems.

First, ensure that you are addressing the prospect’s real problem. If you try to attach your solution to a problem that does not exist, or one that is not relevant to the prospect, you will not be successful. This is why I suggest that salespeople look for company goals to attach to rather than simply looking for problems. By looking for goals, you can be confident that the company will devote resources to achieving the goal. They may choose to live with a problem because other problems are more immediate or damaging. A stated goal that they want to solve that problem ensures that resources are applied to the problem.

Second, clearly explain how your solution can solve the problem. The more specific and detailed you can be, the better.

Third, ensure your pricing is aligned with the market’s expectations. If your prices are too high, prospects will be hesitant to buy from you. But if they are too low, they may not perceive your solution as valuable enough to solve their problem.

Finally, attaching your solution to a big problem is just one part of the sales process. You also need to build rapport with the prospect, establish trust, and address any objections they may have. If you can do all those things, you will be much more likely to close the sale.

Start by attaching your solution to the prospect’s most significant problem or goal to increase sales. This will help you focus on the most critical aspects of your product or service and position your solution as the best possible option for solving the problem. Just remember to focus on real issues that prospects are facing, and be sure to explain how your solution can solve those problems clearly and concisely. Do all of this, and you’ll be well on closing more sales than ever!

2. Early and consistent engagement with the decision maker

To be successful, salespeople need to have early and consistent engagement with the decision maker. This statement may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many salespeople make the mistake of trying to engage with the decision maker too late in the process. By then, it’s often too late to turn the tide and win the sale.

Why Is Early Engagement Important?

Salespeople who engage with the decision maker early on in the process are more likely to build a relationship of trust and respect. This is because they can establish themselves as a credible source of information and insights from the very beginning.

Early on, engaging with the decision maker also allows salespeople to better understand their needs, wants, and pain points. This, in turn, allows them to tailor their pitch in a way that will be most relevant and resonant with the decision maker.

Finally, early engagement allows salespeople to establish themselves as trusted advisors. Being there from the very beginning, the salesperson can help guide the decision maker through every step of the process and ensure that they’re making well-informed decisions.

Why Is Consistent Engagement Important?

Once you’ve established early engagement with the decision maker, it’s essential to maintain that engagement throughout the entire process. This means following up regularly, keeping them updated on your progress, and proactively addressing any concerns or questions they may have.

Consistent engagement reassures the decision maker that they made the right choice in working with you and instills confidence in your ability to deliver on your promises. It also allows you to continue building trust and rapport, which are essential for maintaining a good working relationship.

3. A strong and effective champion selling on my behalf

A Champion is not a coach (although the Champion might give advice). Champions have influence and may have power. Regardless of power, champions have respect among the top decision-makers. The ultimate Champion says, “I will quit if we don’t buy this product.”

You can have more than one Champion, but the Champion must be loyal. It is not just about achieving the goal but about achieving the goal with your product.

Every single purchase ever made in a business had a champion. Since salespeople are rarely present during the final decision when the Decision Group is asking, “Is everyone ready to buy this product?” the Champion is the person that says, “We should buy this product from that vendor to achieve the goal of the company.” Someone always makes that statement; therefore, there is always a champion for every B2B purchase. The issue is that you may not know your Champion.

Champions are respected stakeholders within your prospect’s business who meet very distinct criteria:

  • They have power and influence (power and influence are non-negotiable)
  • They are selling internally for you
  • They have a vested interest in your success

If your Champion has the other two qualifying criteria but is without power and influence, they are a Coach, not a Champion. Whereas you can work with your potential Champion to help them sell internally for you and to have a vested interest in your success, power and influence are non-negotiable. If they lack it, you can’t change this factor, and you will need to find a true Champion. 

Selling Internally is easily identifiable.

Often sellers think it is not easy to identify if their Champion is selling internally for them, but it is easy. You ask your Champion: “Has our solution come up in discussions with other stakeholders?” If it hasn’t, then this is a red flag for your deal, but if it has, then it is vital to understand how your Champion acted in the discussions. 

  • Did they talk about your solution positively?
  • Did they stick up for your solution if anyone had any criticisms? 

You can find out the answers to these questions by asking your Champion. 

Having a vested Interest doesn’t mean bias.

For a Champion to have a vested interest in your success, your solution’s value must align with your Champions’ goals. This can mean your solution will solve your Champion’s problem, making their job more manageable, or they’ll get a bonus or promotion. 

Having a vested interest doesn’t necessarily mean a bias towards your or your company—quite the contrary. Your Champion will lose credibility if they are seen to be biased.

4. Clear/differentiated solution tied to value/metrics

If you’re in sales, you know that the competition is fierce. To succeed, you must ensure that your selling effort has a clear and differentiated solution tied to your product’s value. In other words, your product needs to offer something unique that sets it apart from the competition and provides value to customers.

A value proposition is a statement that outlines the unique solution that your product offers and the benefits that come with it. Value propositions are essential for any sales effort. For a value proposition to be compelling, it needs to be clear, concise, and tailored to the specific needs of your target customer. It should also be differentiated from the competition so that customers can see why your product is the better option.

A compelling value proposition will do more than list the features of your product; it will also address the pain points of your target customer and show them how your product can provide a solution. For example, if you’re selling a new type of software, your value proposition might address the need for a more user-friendly interface or faster performance. Whatever it is, make sure your value proposition is clear and easy for customers to understand.

Once you have a compelling value proposition, you must ensure it’s communicated throughout your entire sales process. This means using it in your marketing materials, such as website copy, brochures, and email campaigns. It should also be incorporated into your sales pitch so that potential customers can see how your product can solve their specific problems. By communicating your value proposition throughout the entire sales process, you’ll be able to increase closes rates and win over more business.

An effective selling effort must have a clear and differentiated solution tied to the product’s value. This solution must be communicated throughout the entire sales process to increase conversions and win over more business. If you’re unsure where to start, begin by creating a powerful value proposition that addresses the specific needs of your target customer. From there, make sure to use it in all of your marketing materials and sales pitches so that potential customers can see how your product can help them solve their specific problems. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to success in no time!

5. Committed compelling event (go-live) with a date attached.

To close a sale, salespeople must identify a specific event that will incentivize the prospect to purchase. This event is known as a “compelling event.” Without a compelling event, the prospect has no reason to act now and may never act.

Compelling events can take many different forms. For example, a prospect might face an impending deadline, such as the end of a fiscal year or the expiration of a limited-time offer. Or, a prospect might be experiencing pain points that your product or service can address. By understanding the prospects’ needs and identifying a compelling event, salespeople can close more deals and drive revenue for their company.

Types of Compelling Events

As we mentioned before, compelling events can take many different forms. Some common types of compelling events include:

  • An impending deadline: This could be the end of a fiscal year, the expiration of a limited-time offer, or any other time-sensitive issue.
  • Pain points: Is the prospect experiencing problems that your product or service can solve? If so, addressing those pain points can be an influential motivating factor.
  • A change in circumstances: Has the prospect recently changed their business (e.g., they’ve merged with another company, acquired, etc.) that has created new needs? If so, your product or service may be able to fill those needs.
  • Competition: Is another company trying to win over the same prospect? Positioning yourself as the better option can create a sense of urgency and help you close the deal.

Identifying Compelling Events

So how do you go about identifying a compelling event? There are four key steps you can take:

  1. Research the prospect: Start by doing your homework on the prospect. In addition to basic research like reviewing their website and social media presence, try to find out as much as possible about their specific circumstances. The more you know about them, the better positioned you’ll be to identify a compelling event. This research may require talking to others in their organization or conducting secondary analysis (e.g., reading industry reports).
  2. Build relationships: Once you’ve done your research, reach out and build relationships with key decision-makers at the target organization. The goal is to get to know them personally and understand their specific needs and challenges. The better you know them, the easier it will be to identify a compelling event.
  3. Listen carefully: When talking to decision-makers, ensure you’re really listening to what they’re saying (and not saying). Pay attention to both their words and their body language; they may give you clues as to what’s really on their mind. Frequently, prospects will provide you with information that will help you identify a compelling event without even realizing it.
  4. Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask probing questions that will help you uncover someone’s real needs and motivation for buying. For example, you might ask them what their top priorities are for the next fiscal year or what challenges they’re facing hampering their ability to achieve their goals. By asking tough questions, you’ll be able to get to the heart of what’s important to them and identify potential compelling events.

Compelling events are essential for closing sales; without them, prospects have no reason to act now and may never act. By understanding prospects’ needs and identifying a compelling event, salespeople can drive revenue for their company and close more deals. There are many compelling events—deadlines, pain points, changes in circumstances, and competition—and salespeople must identify the right one for each individual. Researching prospects, building relationships with decision-makers, listening carefully, and asking probing questions are all great ways to uncover someone’s real motivations and identify potential compelling events.”

Header Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash
Sales Training is Crucial for Businesses

Sales Training is Crucial for Businesses

The sales profession is incredibly difficult, and failure is common. There is no profession (aside from marketing) where the expectations are so significantly missed. It is not unusual for 10-20% (or even 30%) of a sales team to not achieve their company-set goals. If accountants failed at that level, most companies would get fined by the SEC and the IRS. If product engineering failed at that level, the products we buy would constantly fail.

Some of this is the way that companies set their quotas. It is common practice that companies will set quota (i.e., the expectation of success) so that only 60-70% of the sales team achieves quota.

Doing sales training well could be significant. 37% of salespeople do not think their company can provide the techniques and training they need to be successful.

Salespeople are not typically trained in universities, with only 59 universities offering a major in sales. Comparing this to the above professions, accounting is offered in over 1,800 universities. This means that sales managers cannot rely on the university system to offer them quality candidates.

Universities Don’t Offer Sales Education, So Businesses Need to Offer It

It’s no secret that the traditional university education system is lagging behind when it comes to teaching students the skills they need to succeed in the modern workplace. As we can see above, this is no more evident than in the sales field. With the ever-changing digital marketing landscape and data analysis’s increasing importance, today’s salespeople need to be equipped with a more diverse skill set than ever before. However, universities fail to keep up with the times, leaving businesses to pick up the slack.

The Importance of Sales Education

To be successful, salespeople need to be able to understand and employ a wide range of skills, including but not limited to market analysis, lead generation, product knowledge, presentation skills, objection handling, and closing techniques. In addition, with the rise of digital marketing, many salespeople now need to be proficient in using various software platforms and tools such as Google Analytics, Hubspot, and Salesforce. The problem is that most universities don’t offer courses that adequately prepare students for a career in sales.

It’s no secret that businesses invest a lot of money in sales training to fill the gap of the lack of university-led training. In fact, U.S. companies spend over $70 billion annually on training and an average of $1,459 per salesperson — almost 20 percent more than they spend on workers in all other functions.

The Case for Businesses Offering Sales Education

Given the current state of affairs, businesses can’t afford to wait for universities to catch up; they need to take matters into their own hands and start offering sales education themselves. By doing so, they can ensure that their employees are equipped with the skills they need to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace. In addition, offering sales training can help businesses attract top talent and retain their best employees.

Universities aren’t doing enough to prepare students for careers in sales, so businesses need to step up and offer sales education themselves. By doing so, they can ensure that their employees have the skills they need to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace.

Sales training is crucial for businesses because it helps them close more deals, increases customer satisfaction, and grows revenue.

Here’s a closer look at each of these three benefits:

  1. Sales training helps businesses close more deals.
    Sales training gives salespeople the skills they need to succeed. When salespeople are properly trained, they’re more likely to understand their customers’ needs and pain points, know how to tackle objections, and have the confidence to close more deals.
  2. Sales training increases customer satisfaction.
    When salespeople are properly trained, they can provide potential customers with the information they need to make a purchasing decision. This leads to happy customers who are more likely to become repeat buyers and sing your company’s praises to their friends and family members.
  3. Sales training grows revenue.
    It’s no secret that businesses exist to make money. By investing in sales training, businesses can see a direct return on their investment in the form of increased revenue. Skilled salespeople mean more closed deals, which leads to a boost in the bottom line.

Effective sales training includes role-playing.

Role-playing is one secret ingredient that can make all the difference in sales training. Role-playing allows trainees to practice their new skills in a low-stakes environment by simulating real-world sales scenarios. Not only that, but role-playing also helps trainees to better understand their customers’ needs and how to best meet them.

Why Role-Playing Works

In a role-playing exercise, trainees are placed in simulated sales situations and must use what they’ve learned to succeed. This allows trainees to get a feel for using their new skills in the real world and helps them identify areas where they need further training. Additionally, trainees are more likely to retain the information they’ve learned by seeing firsthand how their newly learned skills can be applied.

Role-Playing Helps Trainees Understand Customers’ Needs

It can be difficult for trainees to understand customer needs if they’ve never been in a sales situation before. This is where role-playing comes in. By putting trainees in simulated sales situations, role-playing allows them to experience firsthand what it’s like to interact with customers and understand their needs. Additionally, by allowing trainees to try out different approaches, role-playing can help them determine which approach is most effective for meeting customer needs.

Role-Playing Builds Confidence

Another benefit of role-playing is that it helps build confidence. Sales can be daunting for anyone, especially if you’re new to the job. Role-playing allows trainees to build their confidence by practicing their sales skills in a safe and controlled environment. Additionally, role-playing allows trainees to get feedback from trainers and other participants to improve their performance and build up even more confidence.

Role-playing is essential to any successful sales training program because it allows trainees to put their new skills into practice in a low-stakes environment. Additionally, role-playing helps trainees understand customer needs and build confidence. If you’re looking for a way to improve your sales training program, then consider incorporating role-playing into your curriculum.

You may want to check out my article on maximizing your sales training budget. In that article, I list four ways to make sales training fit into your tight budget.

Sales training is essential for any business that wants to close more deals, increase customer satisfaction, and grow its revenue. If your company isn’t investing in sales training, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities — because you’re leaving money on the table!

Header Photo by Jeremy McGilvrey on Unsplash
Successful Salespeople Must Learn To Lead Or Follow In A Sales Situation

Successful Salespeople Must Learn To Lead Or Follow In A Sales Situation

When it comes to sales calls, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Some prospects want a salesperson who will confirm their existing thoughts and perceptions, while others are looking for someone who will challenge their assumptions and prescribe a new solution. The key is to be able to read the situation and adjust your approach accordingly.

If you sense that the prospect is resistant to new ideas, it may be best to focus on reaffirming their existing beliefs. However, if the prospect seems open to new possibilities, you’ll have an opportunity to introduce them to a solution they may not have known about. By being attuned to the prospect’s needs, you’ll be able to deliver a sales pitch that hits the mark.

What selling style do prospective buyers prefer? A survey by Harvard Business Review shows that 40% of study participants prefer a salesperson who listens, understands, and then matches their solution to solve a specific problem. Another 30% prefer a salesperson who earns their trust by making them feel comfortable because they will care for the customer’s long-term needs. Another 30% want a salesperson who challenges their thoughts and perceptions and then prescribes a solution they may not have known about.

A successful salesperson knows that the key to making a sale is understanding the prospect’s needs. The best way to do this is to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. Only then can the salesperson begin to match their solution to the specific problem the prospect is facing.

This process begins with identifying the need, which can be done through active listening and probing questions. Next, the salesperson must determine whether their product or service is a good fit for the need. If it is, they can then begin to present their solution to demonstrate how it will solve the prospect’s problem. By genuinely taking the time to understand the prospect’s needs, a salesperson can increase their chances of making a successful sale.

In any sales situation, building trust with the prospect is essential. This can be done in several ways, but one of the most important is to make the prospect feel comfortable. When a prospect feels at ease, they are more likely to be open to what you have to say. They will also be more likely to remember the interaction positively, which can help to build long-term relationships.

There are a few simple ways to make prospects feel comfortable.

  • First, use open body language and make eye contact.
  • Second, avoid controversial topics and steer clear of anything that might make the prospect feel uncomfortable.
  • Finally, be genuine in your interactions and take an interest in what the prospect says.

Anyone who’s ever been on a sales call knows that the key to a successful pitch is making a personal connection with the potential customer. One way to do this is through open body language. This means keeping your arms uncrossed and your hands visible.

It also means maintaining eye contact throughout the conversation. This shows that you’re interested in what the other person has to say and that you’re trustworthy.

Additionally, open body language can help put the other person at ease, making them more likely to listen to what you have to say.

It’s essential to be respectful of your prospect’s time and to stay on topic during a sales call. You should avoid anything that might make the prospect feel uncomfortable, or that could potentially be controversial. Stick to discussing the product or service you’re selling and trying to gauge the prospect’s level of interest.

Know when to lead the prospect

Some prospects want a salesperson who challenges their thoughts and perceptions during a sales call. They want someone who will listen to their needs and prescribes a solution they may not have known about. This type of challenge can help make a sale, but it can also be daunting for the salesperson. It requires them to understand the prospect’s needs and come up with a solution that meets them. Additionally, the salesperson must communicate the solution’s value effectively to the prospect. This can be a challenge, but it can be overcome with practice and understanding of the sales process.

The above-mentioned HBR article noted that under 20% of accounting and IT staffers want to be challenged from a departmental perspective, while 43% of the engineering department does. Over 50% of marketing and IT prefer a salesperson who will listen and match a solution to solve their specific needs. The sales department preferred having a salesperson listen and translate their needs and being challenged; HR was equally split across all three selling styles.

An interesting explanation for selling style preferences is based on whether the buyer is comfortable with conflict. 78% of participants who preferred a salesperson who would listen and solve their specific needs agreed with the statement: “I try to avoid conflict as much as I can.” Conversely, 64% of participants who preferred a salesperson who challenged their thoughts disagreed with the statement and were comfortable with conflict.

To be successful in sales, it’s crucial to be able to read your prospect and adjust your approach accordingly. Some prospects want a salesperson who will confirm their existing thoughts and perceptions, while others are looking for someone who will challenge their assumptions and prescribe a new solution. The key is to be able to read the situation and adjust your approach accordingly. When you can lead and compliment when appropriate, you’ll be well on your way to sealing the deal.

Header photo by Sora Shimazaki:
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 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. 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, 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 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. 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.


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.


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 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 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.


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 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 led by the CEO, Dave Rogenmoser, and backed by the team that created Proof. 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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?

Prospecting With LinkedIn

Prospecting With LinkedIn

You have to improve and capitalize on your personal relationships with the companies in your territory. You should probably focus on the top five to ten companies that most closely align with your perfect customer. If you do not know someone at one of your top 10 accounts, that is not a reason to skip them. You must build that relationship.

You will create these relationships by leveraging:

  • Your best clients.
  • Your former employers and former co-workers.
  • People that your prospect respects.

The best way to make a connection to your unknown prospects is via the social platform LinkedIn. The site is arguably the most important social platform for business and especially for salespeople. According to HubSpot, 65% of B2B companies report that they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn. 

According to Jim Keenan, the social sales specialist in the “The Impact of Social Media on Sales Quota and Corporate Revenue” report, 78.6% of salespeople using social media to sell outperformed those who weren’t using social media. Also, social media users were 23% more successful at exceeding their quota by at least 10% than their non-social media peers. In 2012 non-social media users missed quota (by more than 10% or more) 15% more often than social media users.

LinkedIn is often identified as the place to go to look for your next job. Certainly, it is used extensively by recruitment consultants the world over to find and approach candidates. But to simply look at it this way is to do the network a significant disservice.

LinkedIn is a great way for you to build your personal brand. As I have explained elsewhere, customers buy from you based on three criteria – your product, your company, and you. LinkedIn is an excellent way to build that third component of your value portfolio.

You should be using LinkedIn as a source of new leads and tangible revenue. In fact, for business to business, LinkedIn is a critical tool that can make your prospecting faster, smoother, and, ultimately, more profitable.

Contacts are the power of LinkedIn.

If your contacts are predominantly family, friends, and old school pals, you’ve got some work to do. Your first-level contacts open up a route to a full range of second and third-level connections. This is how you scale your network. Strike while the iron’s hot – whenever you meet anyone (online or off), always follow up quickly with a connection request while you are still fresh in his or her mind.

You need to use LinkedIn to map out the decision makers within your target prospects. In a complex sale, there are numerous people involved in making and influencing a purchase.

When you meet an individual, you can learn a great deal about that person. Many people are quite open on their LinkedIn profiles. You can frequently discover which team they’re on, which office they work out of, and what projects they’re focusing on. With a little detective work, you can quickly build up a picture of who you should be talking to, what they’re like, and what they’ve done before. Make sure you read the recommendations that they have written and that are written about them, as this gives you an idea of who influences them.

With LinkedIn, you can almost always learn enough about someone to make your call more relevant and useful to them. And it’s not simply a case of digital stalking. 

You should pay particular attention to changes in profile, status updates, connections in common and anything they’ve posted to a group (which can be reason enough to call them in the first place). 

Comment to meet people

One of the easiest ways to become known to a prospect is to like or comment on anything that the prospect has posted. This won’t propel the prospect to reach out to you, but at least you will not be a stranger. After a couple of appropriate comments, the prospect will likely be much more interested in having a conversation with you.

Commenting on your prospect’s activity is also important within the forums or groups. You should join the groups that your top prospects frequent. When you are viewing your prospect within the group, you can follow their activity. Following a prospect allows you to have their updates and conversations in your LinkedIn feed.

If you are not connected to the prospect, then use InMail to make that first introduction. InMail is LinkedIn’s internal email system and allows you to send an email to any LinkedIn user. It ensures your email gets through to their inbox. LinkedIn claims that an InMail is 30 times more likely to get a response than a cold call.

LinkedIn has a fabulous search function. With their advanced search, you can find people by title, company, location, or keyword. By intelligently mixing the different filters, you can get deep and identify key individuals quickly and easily.

You can also save your search criteria and get a weekly report listing anyone new who matches the criteria. For example, you could save a search for Database Administrators in the retail industry within 50 miles of Atlanta. Then, each week, you will get an email with anyone new who matches the search criteria.

Information is king.

This statement is particularly the case when it is account news. With information, you can make appropriate decisions. As any salesperson will know, change creates opportunity. People join, people leave, companies make important announcements – any change can present a good reason to get in touch and offer to help. More than that, information on your prospect allows you to:

  • Respond to the events affecting your customers and prospects.
  • Have background talking material during your sales calls.
  • Find opportunities.
  • Establish financial justification for your opportunities.

There is a lot of information to gather about your accounts. You need a quick and convenient way to review the highlights of your account news so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. 

LinkedIn makes discovering these changes easy. You can follow any company that has a LinkedIn page. That way you’ll see anything that changes directly in your updates. It’s an easy way to stay up to date and spot new opportunities.

Header Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay