Sales professionals spend innumerable hours attempting to obtain customers; unfortunately, there are also times when it is not only appropriate, but necessary, to sever relations with a problem client. An all-inclusive list of infractions is not practical, but it is possible to cite the most common examples of client misconduct. If a customer has engaged in one or more of the following, for instance, the relationship might have to be terminated. The client has 1) initiated or participated in criminal activity 2) engaged in inappropriate or reckless behavior 3) subjected a member of the sales team to verbal abuse 4) made demands that are outside the scope of contractual obligations It is impossible to foresee every circumstance, but there are Learn More.
Sales Tips & Techniques Blog
Our Sales Tips And Techniques Blog is the voice of our experienced sales training executives and sales assessment consultants. Here you will find a clear and concise summary of the best ways for managers to hire and train salespeople, along with incorporating innovative industry examples that will help to improve the output of a company’s representatives.
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Joe Smith, a salesman with ABC Industrial Supplies, called on a prospect, the Wagner Chemical Co., in January. He met with the company’s purchasing agent, Allison Stevens, who spent twenty minutes with the visitor. No sale. Two months later, Angela Jones, another sales professional at ABC, called on the same company. She, too, met with Allison Stevens for twenty minutes. But the following day, Wagner Chemical signed a long-term, highly-profitable supply deal with ABC.
Johnson’s Widget Sales (JWS) used to be one of the most successful suppliers in the industry, but the company’s top salespeople kept leaving the firm. Today, JWS is struggling just to tread water. Tim Johnson, the owner and CEO, can’t understand why his highest achievers typically stick around for a year or two, and then move on. His pay scale, after all, is about average for the industry. So, what’s the problem? What can Johnson do to retain his best employees? He could, of course, pay his most talented people more money. Perhaps Johnson’s compensation plan could pay a higher commission to salespeople who meet their quota. Ours is an opportunity society, in which rewards—financial and otherwise—go to those willing Learn More.
Sales professionals face many challenges, but perhaps the most daunting is how to handle the objections of prospects. Stumbling blocks can be encountered at any stage of the process–from the gatekeeper on the initial cold-call, or much later, after a proposal has been submitted and presented. Here are a few of the most common objections, and how to deal with them: The gatekeeper, for example, might inform you that “We’re happy with our current provider,” or “We’re not looking right now.” You could respond by informing the gatekeeper that you are working with several other companies in her industry, and you stopped by to introduce yourself so that, when the time comes, you will be an option for her company Learn More.
Most sales professionals are capable of giving sales pitch presentations; unfortunately, many are tiresome and irrelevant. The simplest way to avoid giving a mundane presentation is to target your audience. Generic sales presentations never have the same impact as those that are tailored. Typically, however, an audience includes multiple types of people, which means you will need to address several different agendas. Accounting and purchasing professionals, for instance, will focus on cost. CFOs and accountants are often incentivized almost entirely on cost, but this is a short-term, short-sighted “solution.” It might be worthwhile to mention that the cheapest vendors often peddle an inferior product or service, which entails additional cost later. Purchasing a lower-priced product that routinely breaks down or Learn More.
Although virtually anyone can learn the principles of selling, not everyone can be a successful salesperson. Mastering techniques and principles is one thing; having the desire and drive to apply them is another. Joe may learn the fundamentals of selling—prospecting, building trust, analyzing customer needs, studying product lines, making presentations—but this is no guarantee that he will be an outstanding salesman. Joe might lack the necessary willingness and ambition; he might not be a “people person.” Junior may inherit the family business, but distinctly lack the personality traits prerequisite to the sales profession. Furthermore, even if Junior is intelligent and outgoing, there is no reason to assume he is prepared to be a CEO. (The principle also applies in reverse: Learn More.
Sales leadership is analogous to football in the sense that medium-to-large-organizations tend to have two or more “layers” of management—comparable to coaches and assistant coaches in the NFL. Every team has a head coach, who oversees the entire program, and assistant coaches, who specialize in running backs, quarterbacks, linebackers, and so on. Likewise, the typical sales hierarchy consists of a CEO or VP (head coach), supported by several sales managers and account managers (assistant coaches), each with their own “players” and specific realms of responsibility. Sales leadership training, then, could be described as “coaching the coaches.” A sales manager might be considered a “sales coach“. Sound leadership training recognizes the fact that sales managers are charged with a task shared Learn More.
Sales training is a fairly common endeavor, but many companies do not get much of a return on their investment. Despite the lofty aspirations of executives and managers, sales training, when conducted improperly, is simply another means of squandering time and resources. Here are the eight most common sales training blunders: 1) “Homegrown” training, instead of hiring a professional firm. In-house programs are typically created by someone with insufficient knowledge of adult learning theory and models. 2) Training on product. The flawed assumption behind this approach is that product knowledge is the equivalent of sales training; that, if an associate understands how the product works, then by default, she will know how to sell it. Product training and sales training Learn More.
Few challenges rival the complexity of turning around a troubled enterprise, but the newly-hired VP of sales need not stumble around in the dark. Prudent guidelines are available to help navigate the battered ship out of troubled waters. To begin with, the VP must immediately obtain the “lay of the land”: Are the financials of the company so dire that bankruptcy looms? Who are the firm’s primary customers, and are those accounts in jeopardy? Which product lines are performing, and which are not? How effective is the marketing department? What is the condition of the supply chain? Are there customer service issues to address? Is the business languishing because of low morale? What financial resources are available, and to what Learn More.
Virtually every sales team is susceptible to morale problems, but vigilant leadership can minimize the frequency of attitude decline, and the toll that it takes. Although the general outlook of a sales team—its collective attitude and tendency toward optimism or pessimism–is difficult to quantify, it is apparent that morale can make or break an enterprise. Consequently, declining morale must be addressed and corrected in short order. The most astute executive forges their own workplace culture, and keeps a finger on the “psychological pulse” of their sales team. They are keenly aware of the potential sources of morale problems. Quite often, a single individual is responsible for declining morale. An incompetent or dictatorial manager, for instance, is a menace to the Learn More.