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Fishy Salespeople? How to Finally Stop Handing Out FREE Fish to Your Sales People

Do you remember the good ole days when sales managers used to just sit back and wait for their salespeople to come into their offices and ask for help? Maybe they needed the old veteran to come in and nail down the close. Well, we all know you just can't do that any more. Sure, that would put a few more sales in the win column (in the short term). But in the long term what are you creating? Nothing but needy, dependent salespeople without an ounce of personal selling confidence. Show your sales people HOW to prospect, HOW to set appointments and HOW to close sales makes your job easier and everybody's paycheck fatter.

sales leadership,sales training,sales performance,sales management training,corporate sales training

Do you remember the good ole days when sales managers used to just sit back and wait for their salespeople to come into their offices and ask for help?

Maybe they needed the old veteran to come in and nail down the close. Well, we all know you just can't do that any more. Sure, that would put a few more sales in the win column (in the short term). But in the long term what are you creating? Nothing but needy, dependent salespeople without an ounce of personal selling confidence.

Showing your people HOW to prospect, HOW to set appointments and HOW to close sales makes your job easier and everybody's paycheck fatter.

If that's the kind of vision you have for your sales team, then it's time to close down the all-you-can-eat fish-fry and open up the all-you-can-catch fishing school.

Wouldn't that be nice? You bet it would. AND profitable, too.

And so we've come to the reason for this article. You see, Self-Sustaining Salespeople are not found; they are developed. Sure, it still takes a certain style of person to succeed in this business, but once you find them, everything else can (and should) be taught. And it's all been broken down into an easy to follow step-by-step system.

But before we teach our future sales stars the secrets to prospecting and closing, we have to help them. HOW? We show them how to make the shift from just hitting their revenue goals to (with our inspiration) becoming Self-Sustained Business Professionals.

Did you notice I used the phrase "business" professional, not just "sales" professional?

That's because to be a superstar in sales, you have possess the proper insight and mindset about business.

That means having a keen insight into the details of your own business cycle, from pre-contact to revenue receipt, as well as an understanding of your prospect's world, and how it relates to their business objectives and what is important to them. Not you, but to them. You must understand how your prospects measure success.

Let me put that another way:

Sales Superstars must understand the business they are in. They must respect the business the prospect is in and they must recognize what the prospect values in that business.

To do that, Sales Professionals MUST become Business Professionals.

I've interviewed hundreds of sales people for every type of position. I found it funny that most candidates were quick to put down a "higher" level of achievement on their resume compared to their peers and the quota objective from prior sales positions.

However, when I asked them what their system and process are to achieve such "superior" results, most (amazingly) could not explain their results from a "business" level.

So, how do you do it? Inspire self-sustain business professionals?

I can tell you that just affirming the objective of executing to revenue is not enough to make it happen. Eavesdrop on any Monday morning sales meeting, and you will see that just about every Sales Manager has the same intention. They may not be "achieving" it, but is always their marching orders.

What those of us in Sales management really need to do is develop a customized Masters level curriculum in "Executing to Revenue" and "Becoming a Self-Sustained Business Professional."

To achieve that ideal, you need to indoctrinate every new sales employee to a system that develops a result-oriented plan, executes to proven tactics and manages the everyday conditions that tend to throw us off track.

Sound good. But can it really be done? And done quickly?

Well, the first step to becoming a self-sustained professional is running your business with critical metrics, processes and systems. Sounds a lot like the way an entrepreneurial business owner runs their enterprise, right?

In the Business of Core Competencies, I help sales individuals and management identify their essential components, and the performance metrics necessary for successful results.

We classify those metrics and discover how they are inter-related with each other and dynamic to preferred results. And by training specifically to these core competencies one at a time, we can control our destinies and routinely achieve our desired results.

You see, there are basically two kinds of people when it comes to results.

Those who point their index finger outward say it's not their fault things didn't turn out well. There were "conditional" reasons for their poor results. But, those who point their index finger inward evaluate what they could have done differently to avoid the negative outcome.

They know the difference between factors, which they can control and conditions, which are outside of their control. They seek out and modify routines and behaviors that are within their control, to improve efficiencies in gaining the required results.

So, ask yourself: Are you inspiring self-sustained professionals or management-sustained individuals?

Interesting question, isn't it?

Self sustained business professionals identify the essential elements and components that comprise your selling process. They realize how they affect your desired result dynamically, and make adjustments in routines and tactics to assure consistent results. No matter what month it is!

Now, here's a sure-fire method to identify self-sustained business professionals in your sales organization.

Evaluate the sales results for the month of December. Who was at or above quota? Realistically, December has only 13-15 selling days versus the normal 20-23 selling days in the rest of the calendar year.

December brings with it holidays, personal vacations, and general mental re-grouping for the new year. For most B-to-B selling individuals, if you don't have your number by mid-month or so, you might as well forget it.

But, if you understand your essential core competencies and performance metrics that lead you to desired results, you will customize a plan to achieve those results. You will start to execute to the plan prior to the holiday month, and your December revenue goal can be routinely met. And the same goes for a personal vacation month.

Makes sense doesn't it? Great! So, what are you waiting for? Go inspire those Self-Sustained business professionals on your team!


How to Deal With Salespeople

Persistent sales people can tear your day apart. Here's how to protect your time and sanity.

leadership, communication, sales people, time management, respect

If you're an executive, you may feel like a open jelly sandwich at a picnic.

Every crazy critter in the world wants to bite into your budget. Here's how to protect your time and preserve your sanity.

1) Ask questions

Many salespeople work from a script. Rather than let them read it, interrupt with, "Excuse me." Then determine the purpose of the call by asking questions such as, "What are you selling?" or "Why are you calling?" Set bounds on the call by stating that you will take one minute to hear their offer and that you have a timer. Cut through the enticement by getting the facts that you need to decide if their offer has value.

2) Just say no

If you have no interest in the offer, tell the salesperson, "No." If you have no interest in the company, product, or service, ask to be removed from their call list. Be polite and firm. Simply say, "We have no need for your service. Please remove my name from your list." Avoid small talk, arguments, or complaints. All of these waste your time and lead to nothing. In addition, savvy sales people appreciate candor. It frees them to proceed with their business.

3) Decline literature

If you attempt to rid yourself of a salesperson by asking for information, you cause three bad things to happen. 1) You guarantee a return call ("Hi, did you get what I sent?"). 2) You waste the salesperson's money. 3) You add to the mail that you have to process. Thus, decline literature unless you are interested in the offer. Similarly, decline appointments, trial samples, or invitations that you know you would cancel. And never ask for a proposal if you have already selected another provider.

4) Return phone messages

Sadly, some people attempt to say "no" by ignoring the caller. This is a terrible strategy for two reasons. First, the caller does not know what you are doing. They will conclude that you may be traveling or sick and thus call again, and again, and again. Second, ignoring someone is rude, especially if you asked the person to call you, send a proposal, or provide information. (Special note: every vendor is also a customer. Insulting people can backfire by costing you business.) If you want to end a dialogue without talking to the person, call (or have an assistant call) and leave a message during off hours (early morning, late evening, weekends). Most good business people appreciate candor and understand the word, "No."

5) Use voice mail

Strategic voice mail can protect your time. Rather than leave an outgoing message stating that you will return calls, leave a message that helps screen calls. For example, your message could state, "Hi this is Pat Smith. Leave a message if you have an work related issue. If you are selling wingnuts, do not leave a message because we are not buying them." or "If you are selling something, call Chris at Extension 101." In the latter case, Chris may be someone assigned to screen sales calls.

6) Be open to possibilities

Realize that the caller is another human being, trying to earn a living. In addition, that caller may also be a customer or able to influence your customers. Thus, rather than immediately reject every call, consider that some of the offers may help you improve your business and make your job easier. Treat callers with the respect and courtesy that you expect from others. You will find valuable opportunities when you give them a fair chance to explain why they called. And you can always say, "No."


How to DeaI with Dealers

Photo dealers, like cameras, come in a staggering variety of sizes, types, and quality grades. Whether they're found in small, local camera stores, big department-store chains, discount houses, or mail-order companies, they all have one thing in common—they'd like to make a sale.

photo, photograpy

Photo dealers, like cameras, come in a staggering variety of sizes, types, and quality grades. Whether they're found in small, local camera stores, big department-store chains, discount houses, or mail-order companies, they all have one thing in common—they'd like to make a sale.

At the elite end of the dealer spectrum are salespeople who know what they're talking about, honestly want to help you get the best equipment for your purpose, take time explaining features and options, and have competitive prices. At the other end are quick-buck artists who are simply out to make the most profit in the least amount of time and could hardly care less about your long-term satisfaction or repeat business. Many dealers, especially those with the lowest prices, fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

What constitutes an ideal dealer? It really depends on you. If you're generally in the market for new equipment and know exactly what you want before walking into the store, your most important criteria may be low prices, reliability and liberal return policies. If you expect your dealer to take time providing information and guidance, it may be well worth spending a few bucks extra to go to a full-service dealer.

Whatever type of dealer you choose, when you find a good, honest one who steers you right, stick with him—a photo enthusiast can have no better ally. And if you do encounter one of the dishonest, discourteous bad apples, run for the nearest exit or hang up the phone. The following tips should help you to figure out which dealers are which.

1. Do your homework. Dealing with salespeople is a lot easier if you know what equipment you want and have a good idea of what it should cost. To narrow down your selection, mull over your photographic needs and wants, then read test reports, news reports, brochures, and ads on equipment that interests you. To check prices, look them up in newspaper or other print ads or scan the mail-order ads in this publication. Once you cull your choices, examine the products in person.

2. Ask questions. The quickest way to find out whether a dealer knows what he's talking about and is honest is to ask a lot of questions. A good dealer will know the features of the equipment he's selling and be will to explain differences between competing brands. His opinions will be presented in a reasonable manner. Beware of dealers who disparage major brands with strong language or try to foist off little-known brands. Be suspicious of dealers who are loath to sell you what you want, refuse to honor their advertised prices, or charge extra for normally included items like lens caps and battery covers.

3. Stand your ground. Once you've come to an informed decision on buying a particular piece of equipment, stick with it. Don't let yourself be switched to something else because the item you want isn't in stock or you can get a "great deal." And don't settle for the salesman's demonstrator—you want a fresh camera in a box.

4. Keep your cool. If a dealer says something outrageous, has an obvious hidden agenda, is impolite, ignores you, or takes you for a fool, don't get mad or waste your time arguing with him. Just depart gracefully. Don't go back. And warn all your friends about his business. If you're actually cheated, report it to the Better Business Bureau and local or state consumer-protection agencies.

5. Check the record. Before you make a large purchase from a store unknown to you or in a strange city call the local Better Business Bureau, consumer-protection agency, or the consumer advocate of the local newspaper. Even good stores may have a few complaints on file, but if you find that a store has records of excessive problems, steer clear of it.

6. Expect the expected. Don't expect the harried clerk at a discount store to debate the fine points of four different point-and-shoots in the midst of the lunch-hour crunch. Don't exprect the mail-order phone salesperson to be a technical whiz who knows exactly which autofocus system does what. In short, be reasonable. Don't pay more than you have to, but don't expect the local camera store that lets you browse to meet the low discount price to the penny.

7. Be fair. Don't spend 45 minutes picking a dealer's brain and then buy the camera down the street for $10 less. If his price is way out of line, tell him so and give him a chance to make the sale. Not only will this assuage your conscience, it will encourage good dealers to stay that way.


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