Avoid Getting Your Quote Shopped

SQC smallProblem:  Lisa was angry.  It had happened too many times.  She recalled the old movie, “Network,” where the veteran news anchor said, “I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore!”

After submitting yet another proposal, she determined that she was just one of several vendors who were being used to satisfy the prospect’s need to obtain competitive bids.  They had already selected a vendor (often the incumbent), and Lisa’s numbers were just needed for comparison and leverage for a better deal with their current supplier. read more

Closing Deals In Complex Sales

SQC smallProblem:  Mark was a high tech salesperson, selling complex hardware and software solutions to distribution companies.  Relatively new to the job, his ability to close was frustratingly poor.  But he was in good company, as the other salespeople in the company suffered from the same problem.

Analysis:  Bernie was Mark’s sales manager, and was “old school.”  He was a disciple of J. Douglas Edwards who, along with Dale Carnegie, were early pioneers in sales training.  Bernie has been in sales for 30 years and had learned his craft well.  He was proud of the fact that he had been successful selling a variety of products, starting with vacuum cleaners and progressing to aluminum siding, and then retail computer parts before landing a job with a hard drive manufacturer.  Recently, he convinced the president of this company to hire him to manage the sales effort.  He loved to regale his troops about his closing prowess, telling them that the best salespeople were the ones who could sell something to someone who didn’t need it.  Of course, his techniques were highly manipulative but they worked well in vacuum cleaners and aluminum siding (remember the movie Tin Men?) He subscribed to many sales technique blogs and required his people to memorize the closes.  The sales trainers he hired to train his people reinforced these manipulative techniques.  “Tell them our story and then go for the close,” exhorted Bernie as he rehearsed his people in selling features and benefits.  Of course, Bernie was the problem. read more

Set the Trap… for Yourself!

SQC smallProblem: Jack had been with the company for only two years, yet he was considered their most technically competent salesperson. He was the “go to guy” when the other salespeople needed someone to talk to about solutions, specifications, and competitive information. He was an expert when it came to product knowledge, yet he had the worst closing rate and was the lowest paid salesperson. read more

Beware of What you Send Before Your Meeting

SQC smallProblem: Dennis was the VP of Sales for a medium sized application service provider and was concerned about the high number of appointment cancellations his reps were getting. As an example, he related something that had happened about ten days before. Apparently Richard, one of his reps, had made an appointment with a prospect that looked like they’d be a good fit for the company. A day after the appointment had been made; the prospect called back and asked that the rep send “some information” about the company prior to the meeting. Richard felt that this was a good sign of interest and complied, sending a fairly extensive package of information. It contained spec sheets on some of the products, a partial client list, company history, several recent news releases, etc. Then two days before the appointment was scheduled, the prospect called and canceled, saying that they had looked over the material that was sent, and they felt that a meeting would not be necessary. This, explained Dennis, happened too often. read more

Sound Like a Salesperson? Get Ready for Rejection

SQC smallProblem: Jason was new to the company and was trying to develop his territory. He didn’t lack enthusiasm and was making his objective of 100 cold phone calls a day. He felt pretty good about that since he saw others make far less. But still, he was not making nearly enough appointments to keep his pipeline filled and wondered how he was ever going to achieve his income goals if things didn’t change. read more

No Secret Formula

SQC smallProblem: Many salespeople wish there was a secret formula to prospecting successfully for new customers. We often hear salespeople moan, “If only more people would listen and talk to me. We know they would buy our service.”

Analysis: Prospects are bombarded with sales messages and buying opportunities. One recent study estimated that on average each of us is exposed to more than one thousand messages every day. Add to this the complexity and pace of business, prospects have no real way to cope but to screen out much of what they hear and see. Further, prospects buy for their own reasons and at the time that is right for them-not for your reasons or timing. read more

Excuse Making

SQC smallProblem: Bert, VP Sales for ABC Company, was explaining to the CEO why they were 50% short of goal. “Our prospects tell my salespeople our pricing is 25% higher than our closest competitor, business is terrific so why risk change, and they (the prospects) don’t understand Web-based e-commerce yet.” Bert continued, “I can relate. We are pretty new. Maybe our goals are too ambitious.” Ms. CEO replied, “Those are all probably good reasons, but it’s your job to make goal, so deal with it.” (The CEO presented similar reasons to the Board of Directors for being off target.) Bert accepted that these were serious issues that had to be dealt with and worked with his people to make more effective calls. However, the environment didn’t change. Customers continued to have challenges around ABC’s solutions. ABC ended the year 50% off projection, Bert was gone and the new Sales VP took a new approach. read more

Making the First Ten Seconds Count

SQC smallProblem: Stan always felt uncomfortable in those first few minutes when meeting a prospect for the first time. He sensed that his prospects felt the same way when he met them. He wondered how his anxiousness affected his prospects and what impact it had on his sales calls and his income.

Analysis: You’ve heard this one a million times, but it’s true. You have only 7-10 seconds when first meeting someone to make a favorable impression. People will form an impression of you when you first meet and anything less than perfect starts you out with one foot in the hole making it difficult to regain rapport and credibility. Statistics published by W. Brooks show that making an unfavorable first impression will reduce your chances of getting the business by 93%. Making a favorable impression is one of those areas of selling where a slight edge can make a huge difference. read more

Why Should They Give You an Appointment?

SQC smallProblem:  One of the biggest challenges that salespeople face is getting appointments.  People are constantly bombarded by marketing messages via the media enticing them to purchase.  Prospects receive daily calls from salespeople who want to see them, so it’s no wonder that they treat most requests for meetings with skepticism and suspicion.  This unfortunate fact of life makes the salesperson’s job that much more difficult. read more