Business Development Rants and Resources

Calling at Your Comfort Level

A risk sales people often make is calling at their comfort level. This means they make sales calls to people they like, people they think like them or people they are not intimidated by. These buyers are often the Relationship Buyers or Coaches in your strategic sale. Because of their personalities, these people are often in middle management and not in decision making capacities. In order to be successful, sales people have to step out of their comfort zone and reach decision makers. The decision makers may not always have personalities the sales person finds easy to relate to.

Chicago is a huge sports town. I see sales people start a call talking about sports all the time. Theyll talk about whatever is in the media today, what team is hot, or what scandal is taking place. We’ll leave the call and the sales person will have the impression thatthey had a really successful call. The truth is they may or may not have built a connection with the prospect. More often than not they have not built a connection at all. If the sales person was not skilled and kept the conversation at sports they will not have learned anything about the buying process, the goals and objectives, the individual buyers personal agenda. All they learned was how that person felt about changing the name of Wrigley field. This information isn’t so helpul when youre trying to sell your product or service.Some ways for sales people to over come this type of call reluctance and to call outside their comfort zone are to read and be aware of whats going on in the world, not just whats interesting to them.

Learn how to hold a conversation on topics theyre interested in. Stretch. Understand how to create a conversation that is interesting to the listerner. Have an agenda before each meeting of what it is youd like to learn. Make sure you leave the meeting with an outline of next steps.Be careful not to get stuck calling at your comfort level.Broaden your comfort level and you’ll be able to call on any buyer at any time.

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Business Building | , , | Leave a comment

Handling the Price Objection

Saying the price is too high, or we cant afford, it is the easiest way to get rid of a novice sales person. If there is value in your product or service, it is priced to reflect the value, and the sales person knows how to communicate the value, theres no reason you have to drop your price – ever.

I bought an email marketing list a year ago. I wanted the list and the price was right. I was just really busy at the time and didn’t have time to make the purchase. A week went by since I received the quote. The salesperson called and dropped the price by 40%. 40%!! I was willing to pay the first price, I thought it was fair. When the price is discounted that much it feels to the consumer like there was a lot of fluff in the pricing and that theyre getting ripped off. Not good for building trust and customer retention.

I recently tried to contact that list company to buy another list. The company is gone. Perhaps they sold services at below cost. This is never a good idea no matter what marketing gurus or analysts will tell you. If you use your common sense, its clear. Never sell at below cost, ever.The salesperson has to understand the value before they can sell it. Do they understand the competitors? Do they understand their strengths and weaknesses? Don’t kid yourself, your competitors have weaknesses. Do they understand your own company’s strengths and weaknesses? A key point – do they really –LISTEN– to the prospect?

If my list salesperson listened to me he wouldve presented ways to make the sale easier for me, managing my time constraints. Instead, as so many sales people do, he gave the product away.I love to help organizations teach their people how to overcome the Price Ojbection. If you listen to the prospect, its the easiest one to overcome.

May 6, 2012 Posted by | Business Building | , | Leave a comment

Doing it Right

Earlier this month I talked about “earning the right” in a sales process. Recently, I was at an event where I met a salesman who did exactly that. A person with solid sales skills just warms my new business development heart, so I had to share the story with you.

I joined a sailing club. Since I’m a small business owner I spend a good amount of time working. When I’m working I’m totally devoted and committed to what I’m doing. 100% of my time and attention is focused on my goal. My time off is my time off. I was really looking forward to sailing. When I’m out socially I am very vague about my business. I’m not there to sell. I’m there to connect with people and have a good time. I’m in my figurative fuzzy slippers. The captain of the sail boat and the organizer of the event is a broker for marketing services. Hmmm we made the connection pretty quickly that there were business synergies. We did NOT however talk about it on the boat. We talked about sailing, connections, the food we’d have later, the trips he’d been on in the past, the great people that were in the group and enjoyed Chicago’s exquisite skyline in the spring. Our crew consisted of an IT professional, marketing pro, a helicopter pilot, and a high level manager at American Airlines. No one was exchanging business cards. What a relief.

A week or so later, I received a Linked in Connection from the marketing services broker. “yes, I thought.this guy gets it”. We’ve since connected and formally established our mutual synergies. I look forward to doing business with this man for a long, long time.

May 6, 2012 Posted by | Business Building | Leave a comment

A Compliment

I was training one of my callers on a new program. We are helping to increase attendance for seminar that a consultant is holding. His target is companies that do not have performance management systems in place.

I was explaining to my caller that the Consultant wanted to use his own staff to call. I talked him out of it. Calling is a special skill. While I wouldve trained his employees, they wouldve never achieved the results our callers would achieve. They’re not dedicated callers and their skill set would not mirror our professional callers after a few hours of training. My caller replied, “Wow, Alicia, you should be in sales.”

The compliment to me is that my caller doesnt realize that I –am– in sales. My style is to listen to the prospect and then collaborate on the best decision possible. The best decision often includes one of my products or services. Im not selling or manipulating them. Were coming to a joint conclusion. If I provide the product or service, I make a fair profit. The prospect understands that. Neither party feels exploited. This process makes my work fun. When its done well, it seems effortless. I was feeling pretty good the day Karen recommended I go into sales.

May 6, 2012 Posted by | Lead Management and CRM | Leave a comment