Are Relationships Important in Sales?

Those of you who know me understand that I am a bit of an analytic: I love data. That’s one reason I focus on Dave Kurlan and The Objective Management Group articles in my newsletters. And this month is no exception. I have said that, today (in contrast to the 60’s, 70’s 80’s, etc.), relationships have never been less important; good for getting an opportunity but not so much for closing business. Is that statement correct? Well, let’s look more closely. How does one define…

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Long Sales Cycle vs. Delayed Closings?

One of great lessons I learned in my 14 years as a Sandler Trainer was that if you think you have a long sales cycle, you do (or will). The reason for that long sales cycle is more likely a delayed closing problem: A six month sales cycle becomes a 9 month sales cycle, and so on. People in a long sales cycle tend to lack a closing urgency. Since they know it takes a “long time to close”, they don’t want to “push” it.…

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Qualifying Too Early Can Kill Opportunities

One of my first steps in working with clients is to develop a clear, defined sales process: Sales Process: The macro view of the clear, defined sequence of steps to identify and move an opportunity through discovery, qualified, proposal and close. Note that sales process is different from a sales methodology: Sales Methodology: The micro view of what techniques, “moves”,  systems and skills used within the sales process to identify and move an opportunity through discovery, qualified, proposal and close. One of the values of…

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The Best Salespeople…

Are salespeople born or made? Based on my informal surveys of groups I speak to, about 95% of current salespeople never thought they’d end up in sales; they somehow fell into it. In these same groups, about 95% of those that KNEW they were going into sales had a parent who either was in sales or owned a business. These two groups got different messages from their parents. I’m in the first group. My parents made it clear to me that I should become a…

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Measuring Change in Sales Effectiveness

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Hope is not a strategy.” Yet companies often rely on hope when hiring salespeople, and more importantly, when on-boarding them. I understand that leaders don’t have time to babysit new sales hires, but lack of effective management is a key reason why new hires fail. Growing effective salespeople is a key responsibility of leadership. So given that requirement and a lack of time, how can you know you are improving sales effectiveness? The Dave Kurlan article here is a…

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Predictions for 2018

By now you have your business’s 2018 revenue goals established. Each of your salespeople know the number they have to hit and how they will achieve it. Now it’s time to execute. A key question for any business is: “Can your current sales team hit the company’s goals; do they have the skills and ability to execute against your plan?” 2018 looks to be a pretty good year. The business climate is strong. But can your sales people succeed in their goals with decade old…

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Don’t Short Change Your Sales Force

Selling has changed in the last 10 years; many sales people haven’t adapted. The manufacturing company I worked for years ago described itself as a “sales organization”.  As I reflect back on that team, they were independent, resourceful, driven, money motivated with a strong work ethic and outstanding product knowledge. They found a demand and they’d go fill it. We also happened to have a few world class, innovative, industry changing products. Once the word got out, people would want to see them, and once…

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The 5 Biggest Sales Hiring Mistakes And Resume Claims That are Fake

  Recruiting salespeople and sales managers is an important part of my business. Most of the leaders I work with have had a failure in recruiting salespeople, usually their first hire. Why? Salespeople are different, and they must overcome different challenges. A newly hired Salesperson is provided with a job description and management’s expectations for success. The salesperson understands what must be done, the related deadlines and how he will be measured. In order to succeed, he must hit his numbers while overcoming the following…

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How to Get New Salespeople to Ramp Up Quickly

Finding sales people that have the potentially exceed quota is easier than successfully on boarding them. And they won’t exceed quotas if they are not thoroughly on boarded. We are able to find people who pass a very complete and stringent sales assessment, interview them on the phone and in person-with more than one manager, validate their resume, verify they fit our culture, and that they aren’t drug addicts, etc. But if they aren’t managed they will fail. It seems that some leaders don’t understand…

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Reasons for Poor Sales Performance

When working with sales people and organizations on questioning skills I always teach a technique developed by Sakichi Toyoda and used within the Toyota car company. As Wikipedia defines it, “5 Whys is an iterative interrogative technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationship underlying a particular problem.” I teach this to help people understand the root cause of an issue. If one understand the root cause, or real issue, they can question deeper and more effectively to find the right solution. Of course this works…

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