Hindsight is always 20/20 and that’s too clear a vision to waste. It is human nature to tuck away memories of extreme moments, so more often than not, our greatest lessons stem from the mistakes we make.
In business one of your most powerful, money-making assets is the lessons you learn when things don’t go right. In 1959 Ford lost $250 million on the Edsel and in 1964 it turned out the Mustang. A million of them were sold the first year. In 1977 20th Century Fox made the mistake of signing over all product merchandising rights for all Star Wars films to George Lucas for just $20,000. They lost over 3 billion. In 1975 Eastman Kodak developed the first digital camera – and then opted to sit on it and the core technology for the cell phone, and in 2013 Apple and Samsung split the profit on the 120 million smartphones sold.
Take time to reflect on the call that didn’t work; the deal that fell through and the renewal you didn’t get, and use what you realize to take your mistakes to the bank. What can you do to improve the process that you used on the ones that got away?
- Was there any pre-call research?
- Could your call script be better; your tone of voice more confident?
- Did you call the right person; someone with the authority to invite a second call?
- Did you push for a sale instead of a second call?
- Were you able to separate them from the last “no thanks” you got?
- Did you offer them something helpful?
- Did you assume you had all the answers rather than listen for their need?
- Were you respectful of their time?
- Did you leave yourself available in the event they reconsider?
- Did you leave a quality last impression?
The Renewal You Didn’t Get
- Did you give your client a reason to renew?
- Did you give them reason not to renew?
- Did your product update to stay current with the needs of the buyers?
- How was your after-purchase service?
- Did you foster a business relationship that had the ability to grow?
- Did you keep your product competitively priced?
The only bad mistake is the one you don’t learn anything from; the one you repeat. When something doesn’t work, make time to figure out why. Life is supposed to be a learning experience. Turn “no thank-you” into revenue by using it to make you better at what you do.
Speed and impact are two critical and decisive factors when you are in the sales profession, especially when your activities are being scrutinized by the ‘time-is-money’ shot-clock. Your reps must consistently be on top of their game if they want to meet or exceed quota. On a revenue-weighted scale of all-out performance, what you really want for them is to have the maximum amount ofimpact in the least amount of time. Andy Paul refers to this as MILT in his book Zero Time Selling. Mr. Paul discusses his MILT concept in detail with regard to interacting with prospects. Read more
By estimate, there will be approximately 70,000 people at this week’s spectacular Dreamforce event, Salesforce.com’s annual conference and expo being held in San Francisco. Its impressive agenda is all about how the social revolution is changing the way we do business. The event will impact and illustrate how business trends are adjusting to and dictating emerging technologies. There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that an astounding number of companies use Salesforce. Although the company will not reveal its sales figures or its total customer tally, industry estimates have put the number of clients in the neighborhood of 132,000 organizations and over 4.5M subscribers. Without the risk of overstating the obvious, that is a remarkable amount of customers. Read more
As sales leaders, we place a high degree of focus, energy, and resources on lead generation to keep our sales pipeline full, and of course, flowing steadily. And rightly so, we direct an equally high degree of these same assets toward the other end of the pipeline where – if all goes according to plan – we chalk opportunities up in the plus column as closed deals.
Your success at both the beginning and the end of the pipeline is crucial for obvious reasons. Yet it is how effectively we move deals through the middle of the pipeline that calibrates our over-all level of success.
To build an analogy, the beginning and the end of the sales pipeline are the pillars of the sales process. They are the columns supporting the bridge to revenue. But it is, in fact, the middle of the pipeline where a salesperson must perform their greatest feats. Read more
The next target name and title for your new B-team salesperson pops up on his screen. He takes a quick look at the company web site and then punches “dial”. His conversation starts the exact same way his last conversation did. He doesn’t have any context for how your company can help his target, instead using a “One Conversation Fits Most” approach.
How much better would his sales numbers be if he could cater each conversation to the person on the other end of the phone?
1. Research the company as it relates to what you’re selling: It’s not enough to get an overview of the target, for example, understanding that they manufacture and sell lenses. Your team needs to get a quick overview that is relevant to the product that they want to sell. Using recent articles about the company might have tremendous hints for their needs (for example, if they have new management or if they recently opened a new location). In addition, current articles about their industry might point to pain that they’re having that your company can address (for example, if there is a huge market for a new size of lenses and they are going to need to ramp up production). If you can start your conversation with a relevant bridge between what you’re selling and what they need, you are much more likely to engage a sale… than with a generic conversation. Read more
Sellers seeking to be more successful are putting more emphasis on proper sales call preparation. Competition is fierce and prospect’s available time is scarce, so seller’s have to be prepared to make the most of this limited customer-facing time…. whether on the phone or in person. Having an effective call preparation process can significantly improve results. ShadeTree’s Dynamic Conversation Playbooks suggests that the “Prepare” phase of a call consists of:
The better a salesperson understands his/her customer’s business, the better able the salesperson is to help the customer improve their business. Improving a customer’s business rarely has “price” as the leading topic of interest. Price never plays a factor in something that a buyer doesn’t want or doesn’t understand.
Yet, with the pressure to deliver quarterly revenue targets, many sales mangers and performers grab the price lever, believing that price is the fastest way to accelerate a sale to close. Let’s examine a simple approach to getting invited to the short list party… one that doesn’t include pricing/discounting. Read more