Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Selling Dimensions - What is Your Natural Selling Style? Part II

We instinctively sell the way we buy. However, to reach higher levels of sales performance, it's necessary to sell the way our prospects buy.

In this series, we'll specify various selling styles based on the work of John G. Geier Ph.D and Dorothy Downey M.S. Their DISC model, widely copied but rarely matched in quality, is a terrific place to begin when attempting to up our game and increase our sales.
Our second category is based on the "High Amber" profile.

Selling Profile #2: The Crowd Pleaser

Here is a brief description of their behavior in various phases of the sales process.

Product knowledge: Assumes it is more important that people like the product (and the salesperson)than it is for them to know how to use it.

Opening: Relax the customer by talking and joking; create an environment where unpleasant issues are unlikely to arise.

Handling Objections: Avoids objections; tells the prospect it's not important or it's better to set it aside for the moment and work on it later.

Customer Knowledge: Displays a sincere interest in hearing about the other person's thoughts, attitudes, and opinions.

Persuasive techniques: Keeps the visit a friendly one; emphasizes the positive.

Dealing with conflict: Avoids it.

Listening: Interrupts - often excited.

Crowd Pleasers will undoubtedly be with us for all time. They are viewed by others to have a superficial knowledge of the products/services they sell. They may pick up too many tabs for lunches and dinners thinking that's what it takes to build business relationships. However, the approach used by some Crowd Pleaser salespeople becomes tarnished by broken promises. Service providers get irritated at following up the over-promising style of Crowd Pleasers. They are friendly and fun to be around. It is important that Crowd Pleasers adapt to today's requirements where logic and reason enter into many buying decisions.

If they are not careful, customers may become dissatisfied because a genuine working relationship may require a balanced approach.
Another descriptive term for this selling style could be: Inducer or Persuader.

We'll continue with other styles in subsequent posts.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Selling Dimensions - What is Your Natural Selling Style?

We instinctively sell the way we buy. However, to reach higher levels of sales performance, it's necessary to sell the way our prospects buy.

In this series, we'll specify various selling styles based on the work of John G. Geier Ph.D and Dorothy Downey M.S. Their DISC model, widely copied but rarely matched in quality, is a terrific place to begin when attempting to up our game and increase our sales.


Our first category is based on the "High Red" profile.

Selling Profile #1: The Dominator

Here is a brief description of their behavior in various phases of the sales process.

Product knowledge: Displays impatience with having to learn all the facts of the product/service they sell. They tend to become an expert only in part of the overall offering.

Opening: Tend to rush in with a hard driving approach.

Handling Objections: Perceive the prospect's questions as a signal for the contest to begin.

Customer Knowledge: Makes a quick judgment about the prospect. Relies mostly on their own intuition.

Persuasive techniques: Seeks to cultivate an impressive appearance in look, voice and mannerism to give weight to their presentation.

Dealing with conflict: Welcomes it.

Listening: Thinks ahead of the speaker. Is often inattentive.


Dominators are not overly concerned about the customer as an individual. They are there to compete. They avoid taking no for an answer. Their goal is to keep talking and leave little, if any, opportunity for the prospect to ask questions or make comments. They attempt to wear down the prospect's resistance and often succeed.

If they are not careful, customers may become dissatisfied because a genuine working relationship may not have been cultivated. Dominators relish the new and different and love to be seen as a leader.

Another descriptive term for this selling style could be: Jungle Fighter.

We'll continue with other styles in subsequent posts.
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sell the way they buy - part four: GREEN

Introduction: In the 1970’s I met two people who had a profound impact on me - John G. Geier, Ph.D. and Dorothy E. Downey, M.S. Their Personal Profile System is accurate, inexpensive, self-scoring and fun. Their four categories of behavior – D, I, S, and C are often referred to as DISC (pronounced like a computer "DISK")
In a follow-up study, Geier surveyed 100 males and 102 females ranging in age from 22-60 years with a mean age of 32.4. They fell into these categories of behavior.


High C behavior (I call this behavior grouping GREEN) – They are represented by those scoring at the top end of the C scale:

This behavior is described as:

Male: immovable, hopeful, satisfied, self-controlled, watchful, protective, logical, defensive, and realistic.

Female: watchful, uncertain, wishful, patient, satisfied, immovable, self-controlled, stubborn, probing, and cautious.


Low C behavior (Low GREEN)
- represented by those scoring at the bottom end of the C scale:


Male: initiating, expansive, individualistic, absent-minded, affectionate, trusting, humourous, and ingenious.

Female: resourceful, persistent, vigorous, eager, forgiving, and rebellious.

Very few people separate male from female in these studies, which is a mistake.

According to Dale Carnegie, it is important to “talk in term of the other person’s interest.” It's important that we as salespeople sell the way others prefer to buy. Unfortunately, most salespeople sell as if they are selling to a mirror image of themselves. They aren't. By doing so, they are mismatched with their buyers almost 75% of the time.

Geier and Downey suggest a negative trigger for the HIGH GREEN buyer is attempting to use excessive charm and a sweet-talking approach. If we operate as if they will buy from us because they “like” us, we are mistaken. They value facts and data and are suspicious of opinions only. They trust statistics and data-based facts.

These social tendencies are quite easy to identify. We’ll look at nuances in subsequent blogs. For now, let's just say these types of buyers dislike social chit-chat, and use an analytical, investigative approach. They like salespeople they feel have done their homework. It’s best to emphasize quality over quantity, and provide validated studies, descriptive materials.

To decrease their fear, think and express yourself in terms of re-shaping and finding the value in slow, methodical changes.

They make choices based on thinking more than on feeling.

Granted, this is high-level material not suited to everyone with these behavioral tendencies. However, it's a start, and opens our eyes to seeing the world as others see it.

Give us your feedback – let’s make this a dialogue.

Please join us as a follower and post your feedback. It will be read.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Sell the way they buy - part three: BLUE

Introduction: In the 1970’s I met two people who had a profound impact on me - John G. Geier, Ph.D. and Dorothy E. Downey, M.S. Their Personal Profile System is accurate, inexpensive, self-scoring and fun. Their four categories of behavior – D, I, S, and C are often referred to as DISC (pronounced like a computer "DISK")

In a follow-up study, Geier surveyed 100 males and 102 females ranging in age from 22-60 years with a mean age of 32.4. They fell into these four categories of behavior.


High S behavior (I call this behavior grouping BLUE) – They are represented by those scoring at the top end of the S scale: This behavior is described as:

Male: protective, probing, wishful, stubborn, satisfied, pessimistic, suspicious, and logical.

Female: probing, wishful, self-controlled, protective, patient, defensive, dependable, practical, determined, and clear-thinking.


Low S behavior (Low BLUE) - represented by those scoring at the bottom end of the S scale:

Male: eager, opportunistic, optimistic, humorous, resourceful, adaptable, wide-interests, and trusting.

Female: expansive, initiating, imaginative, spunky, and rebellious. Very few people separate male from female in these studies, which is a mistake.

According to Dale Carnegie, it is important to “talk in term of the other person’s interest.” It's important that we as salespeople sell the way others prefer to buy. Unfortunately, most salespeople sell as if they are selling to a mirror image of themselves. They aren't. By doing so, they are mismatched with their buyers almost 75% of the time.

Geier and Downey suggest a negative trigger for the BLUE buyer is attempting to group the prospect with others. If we say, “Everyone’s buying this . . .” this is a turn-off to them. They value the fact that they are a unique individual. They have a small circle of close associates and friends and they trust their judgment.

These social tendencies are not as easily identified as RED or AMBER, but the BLUE style is more inner-directed than the previous styles. We’ll look at nuances in subsequent blogs.

For now, let's just say these types of buyers dislike social chit-chat, and often like to set their own pace and stick to it. They like one-on-one conversations and are distrustful of group decisions.

It’s best to emphasize your stability and stress the credibility of your suggestions. They like it when salespeople give them time to comprehend technical data and appear thorough in their efforts. To decrease their fear, acknowledge their possible concerns regarding change. They respond with a deliberate choice of words and resort to a safe position when conflict arises. They don’t mind eating alone and value their privacy and independence.

Granted, this is high-level material not suited to everyone with these behavioral tendencies. However, it's a start, and opens our eyes to seeing the world as others see it. We’ll continue with the other three categories in subsequent blogs.

Give us your feedback – let’s make this a dialogue.

Please join us as a follower and post your feedback. It will be read.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sell the way they buy - part two: AMBER

Introduction: In the 1970’s I met two people who had a profound impact on me - John G. Geier, Ph.D. and Dorothy E. Downey, M.S. Their Personal Profile System is accurate, inexpensive, self-scoring and fun. Their four categories of behavior – D, I, S, and C are often referred to as DISC (pronounced like a computer "DISK")

In a follow-up study, Geier surveyed 100 males and 102 females ranging in age from 22-60 years with a mean age of 32.4. They fell into these categories of behavior.

High I behavior (I call this behavior grouping AMBER – (At first, we called them YELLOW, but they didn’t like it.) – They are represented by those scoring at the top end of the I scale:

This behavior is described as:

Male: enthusiastic, resourceful, expansive, alert, appreciative, vigorous, optimistic, adaptable.

Female: persistent, discontent, vigorous, resourceful, expansive, adventurous, sharp-witted, informal.

Low I behavior (Low AMBER) - represented by those scoring at the bottom end of the I scale:Male: apathetic, satisfied, watchful, patient, worrying, withdrawn, hopeful.

Female: uncertain, wishful, modest, complaining, realistic, protective, watchful, quiet, reserved, defensive.

Very few people separate male from female in these studies, which is a mistake.

According to Dale Carnegie, it is important to “talk in term of the other person’s interest.” It's important that we as salespeople sell the way others prefer to buy. Unfortunately, most salespeople sell as if they are selling to a mirror image of themselves. They aren't. By doing so, they are mismatched with their buyers almost 75% of the time.

Geier and Downey suggest a negative trigger for the AMBER buyer is attempting to provide a systematic structure. If we say, “This is the logical choice or, we have a proven system. . .” this is a turn-off to them. They value opinions and want interaction with others. They relish the relationship and social aspects of purchasing.

These social tendencies are quite easy to identify. We’ll look at nuances in subsequent blogs. For now, let's just say these types of buyers like social chit-chat, often like brainstorming ideas, skim rather than read detailed reports, and prefer unique, colorful and stylish items. They are willing to take time for conversation but can be delayed in buying while they seek out other’s opinions. It’s best to bring opinions with you in the form of testimonials where clients talk about their relationship with you and your team or clients. They welcome alternatives and enjoy “playful” exchanges.

To decrease their fear, develop ways for them to show-off their choices. Back up their imaginative ideas with practical implementation in which you do the detailed work.

They show readiness to help others with a problem and expect the same from us. Gravitate to social solutions and face-to-face meetings – often over a meal. They hate to eat alone.

Granted, this is high-level material not suited to everyone with these behavioral tendencies. However, it's a start, and opens our eyes to seeing the world as others see it.

We’ll continue with the other three categories in subsequent blogs.

Give us your feedback – let’s make this a dialogue.

Please join us as a follower and post your feedback. It will be read.



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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sell the way they buy - part one: RED

In the 1970’s I met two people who had a profound impact on me - John G. Geier, Ph.D. and Dorothy E. Downey, M.S. Their Personal Profile System is accurate, inexpensive, self-scoring and fun. Their four categories of behavior – D, I, S, and C are often referred to as DISC (pronounced like a computer DISK)

I was reluctant to label a person’s style with one-word, a common mis-interpretation of Geier’s work, so I suggested the primary colors as categories of behavior. Since then, others have gone down this path. Geier is often plagiarized, but his work is still the best application of the DISC material. His profile, Behavior Indicator, makes it clear we are measuring Behavioral Characteristics, not personality traits.

Geier's inspiration came from the work of Psychologist William Moulton Marston who helped invent the polygraph test, and, since he felt young women in the 1930’s needed a role model similar to those written for young boys in comic books, he created the comic book character Wonder Woman. Marston was disenchanted with the Freud emphasis on deviant behavior and wrote a book called The Emotions of Normal People. His contention was that we should study “normal” behavior and draw conclusions from that rather than using deviant behavior as the focus of our studies.

Geier often told me, “A person is much more than an example of a style.” When someone suggested she did not want to put people in “boxes” Geier answered, “I don’t put people in boxes – I find them there.” He also contended, “People do not have weaknesses. A weakness is an over-extension of a strength.”

In a 1977 follow-up study, Geier surveyed 100 males and 102 females ranging in age from 22-60 years with a mean age of 32.4. They fell into these categories of behavior. 


High D behavior (I call this behavior grouping RED) - represented by those scoring at the top end of the D scale:

This behavior is described as:

Male: initiating, daring, forceful, opportunistic, adaptable, confident, poised, inventive, assertive, and enterprising.

Female: expansive, eager, optimistic, initiating, confident, active, adventurous, and opportunistic.

Low D behavior (Low RED) - represented by those scoring at the bottom end of the D scale:

Male: anxious, moody, preoccupied, satisfied, protective, aloof, and indifferent.

Female: self-controlled, hopeful, honest, realistic, methodical, reserved, inhibited, and patient.

Very few people separate male from female in these studies, which is a mistake.

According to Dale Carnegie, it is important to “talk in term of the other person’s interest.”  It's important that we as salespeople sell the way others prefer to buy. Unfortunately, most salespeople sell as if they are selling to a mirror image of themselves. They aren't. By doing so, they are mismatched with their buyers almost 75% of the time. 

Geier and Downey suggest a negative trigger for the RED buyer is attempting to group this person with others. If we say, “This is the most popular model, everyone is buying them, we can’t keep them in stock . . . etc.” this is a turn-off to them. They want something unique and results-oriented according to their gut-feelings and first impressions. They relish the new and different.

These behaviors are quite easy to identify. We’ll look at nuances in subsequent blogs. For now, let's just say these types of buyers speak at a fast-pace. They are typically loud and respond quickly, often sharply. They sound authoritative and want to be seen as being in command of the situation.

To decrease their fear, project your ideas as an extension of their thinking. Get to the point and speak quickly and firmly. Offer firm conclusions in contrast to tentative suggestions. Keep discussions focused on their objectives and, remember, they are not interested in being a team player, they see themselves as leaders.

They expect others to listen carefully and respond in a timely fashion. Suggest  options (no more than 2-3). They like to be in control of the decision.

Granted, this is high-level material not suited to everyone with these behavioral tendencies. However, it's a start, and opens our eyes to seeing the world as others see it.

We’ll continue with the other three categories in subsequent blogs.

Give us your feedback – let’s make this a dialogue.

Please join us as a follower and post your feedback. It will be read.



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Consultative Selling

Most companies pay lip service to "consultative" selling. I can't tell you how many times I've heard managers tell me they want their salespeople to be this way - but are unwilling to do what it takes to get there.

One manager told me he wanted his salespeople to become business advisors to his clients. When asked, "Are they qualified to do that," he though for a moment and replied, "Not really." Huh?

Order taking, product peddling salespeople have jaded buyers into treating all salespeople as vendors and beating them up on price and specifications.

That said, what a pleasure it is meeting with prospects who actually know how to buy and want a consultative approach. It amazes me to hear salespeople and their managers claim they sell "solutions" but obviously do not. They pitch a generic "solution" and get upset when the prospect is unwilling to pay for their "value-added" (translate: "expensive") services.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck - it might be a salesperson masquerading as a consultative seller.

For further insights and instructive videos take a test-drive of the Dale Carnegie Secrets off Success app for itunes Click Here

I appreciate the visits from England, Ireland, Africa, Australia, Egypt, Russian Federation, Germany, Barazil, India and the Middle East to this blog as well as our participants from Ontario and colleagues from the United States.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Speak For Yourself

A common habit in our business culture is the habit of what I call, universal speaking. This is the bad habit of including everyone in our conversations as if they are the same as us.

For example, "When you get up in the morning you need that first coffee...

When you meet a new client, you have to establish rapport ...

When you hear more than seven no's, you get discouraged..."

Harmless? I think not.

This habit actually serves to distances ourselves from our commitments and others. By including everyone in the universal "you," we imply that everyone has the same experience as we do. We also cut ourselves off from others by closing the door to the possibility that other's do not have our experience with life or shares our values and viewpoints.

You don't speak for me and I don't speak for you. Speak for yourself and invite others to do so. This is particularly important in a sales encounter where we are attempting to connect with prospective clients and do business with them.

If your doubt this contention, go to a movie and listen for reactions to it. Different people experience the movie differently. Yet they sat in the same theatre watching the same movie.

Ask yourself, "What's it like to be the other person? What do things look like from their viewpoint?

For further insights and instructive videos take a test-drive of the Dale Carnegie Secrets off Success app for itunes Click Here

I appreciate the visits from England, Africa, Australia, Egypt and the Middle East to this blog as well as our participants from Ontario and colleagues from the United States.. Please join us as a follower and post your feedback. It will be read.



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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What buyers want and what they get from most salespeople

What buyers want:

Products and services that generate or save real dollars.

High value contact time with salespeople who create genuine value before signing agreements.

Accurate, unbiased and plausible business cases for their purchase decisions.


What buyers typically get from most salespeople:

Salespeople selling the wrong products and services for the wrong reasons on price alone.

Salespeople asking irrelevant questions followed by an obvious generic sales pitch.

Little, if any, connection to the buyer’s specific needs or wants.

Generic, boiler-plate proposals or spec sheets.

80% of most organization’s sales are still booked by the less the than 20% of salespeople who do not fit the above sales model costing both the seller and the buyer millions.

Quick-fix, technique based seminars or complex strategic approaches miss the target. Some organizations have long ago given up in frustration trying to elevate their salespeople’s competency. Others know what they are doing misses the target, but what choice do they have? Plenty, and here are a few suggestions.

  • Study the buyer, not the product.
  • Know the application of products and services, rather than specs alone. 
  • Listen from the buyer's perspective. 
  • Listen for aspirations and values as well as product needs.
  • Give no prescription without diagnosis.

Take a test-drive of the Dale Carnegie Secrets off Success app for itunes Click Here


Friday, March 5, 2010

SANDI

Years ago, an experienced sales manager told me, "Dave, remember SANDI - Salespeople Always Need Daily Inspiration." This reprint from Dale Carnegie's book is a terrific affirmation for salespeople as they end their week.


Just For Today
From Dale Carnegie's How To Stop Worrying
and Start Living

1. Just for today I will be happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness is from within; it is not a matter of externals.

2. Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.

3. Just for today I will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse it nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.

4. Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

5. Just for today I will exercise my soul : I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out.

6. Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticise not at all, nor find fault with anything and not try to regulate nor improve anyone.

7. Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not to tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.

8. Just for today I will have a program. I will write down what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. It will eliminate two pests, hurry and indecision.

9. Just for today I will have a quiet half-hour all by myself and relax. In this half-hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.

10. Just for today I will be unafraid, especially I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to love, and to believe that those I love, love me.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Olympics are about losing too

I watched this year's Olympic Games more than any other year. I watched Canada snag gold in events I've never watched before and loved it.

I saw Canadians win and lose. I watched a bobsled crash before my eyes, and two women pop up okay. (If you consider having painful friction burns as being okay.) I watched the United States hockey team win a silver medal - or did they lose the gold to Canada? I'll let you decide.

I watched hockey teams shake each other's hand after a hard-fought game, a tradition I've loved to watch for years. I watched athletes wave to the crowd after hard falls and crashes.

One of my early sales mentors warned me about my mindset towards winning and losing. He said, "Anyone can be enthusiastic when they win. The true sign of character is how you act when you lose."

He also told me he was a successful failure; his closing rate was 1 out of five presentations. "Dave," he said, "I see five people a day while many others see 5 people a week or less. I hear four "no's" a day. They hear four "no's" a week. That's one of the secrets to success. How many "no's" can you handle?” Tolerance for hearing "no", or handling the disappointment of losing, is a little-recognized secret to success. 

Would you hire a silver or bronze medalist? I would - in a heartbeat. The Olympics are over in a flash, but the character, dedication, and commitment it takes to get there lasts a life-time.

Don't misunderstand, I love to win and hate to lose. But I also know that every hockey player on the losing team has been on a winning team and vice-versa.

Yes, you win some and you lose some. But losing is part of winning.


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Monday, March 1, 2010

Sales Intelligence

Aberdeen Research* released a new report around the theme of Sales Intelligence-preparing for smarter selling.

The one big challenge and requirement for sales data mining is still an inability to identify the most likely buyers of our product or service.

Maybe it's time to revisit our popular "What does a moose look like?" post.

Click here

The Aberdeen report* goes on to say that the bottom 30% of aggregate performance scorers have 74% of their salesforce falling short of annual quotas! Whew! In contrast, the top 20% of performing companies have 48% hitting quota. 

This is a horrible track record, even for the best organizations. 

I wonder if sales organizations will ever wake up to the sales their people leave on the table? Every time we work with salespeople on their performance, they increase sales from 12 - 80% or more. This indicates that sales left on the table is still an issue ignorded by most managers.

Here's a tip: If salespeople say "these leads are no good" re-visit their competency in converting leads to sales. It's also a good idea to re-visit your customer profile and determine how to get connected to the high-value prospects in your market.

If your organization requires salespeople to find new business, then you need people who love to uncover opportunities and are not afraid of making "cold-calls." New business development calls should be called "gold" calls, not "cold" calls!

* Link to Aberdeen Report Click Here

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Tube video highlights Dale Carnegie Principle

Salespeople often say they are genuinely interested in others, but many still violate this key Dale Carnegie principle.

Click below to view a brief video highlighting the wrong way / right way to express this key principle.

http://www.youtube.com/user/pal8583#p/u/3/AaEmUXyWVMA

Click below to see Warren Buffett telling us about a diploma hanging on his office wall. Hint, it's not his college diploma.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7gXaPY524I


Friday, February 19, 2010

The First 90 days

The first few years of a person’s life have a huge impact on their future. Many of our values, instinctive behaviors, and responses to our environment begin to develop before we are six years old. For example, under pressure, some people “freeze” while others get “hot under the collar.” This dates back to when we were infants and kicked off our blankets in the night. We began to get cold and fearful. Others had experiences where their mothers tucked in the blankets and we were unable to kick them off, resulting in us becoming hot and scared. We have no cognitive skills, so our panic is embedded into our body responses. We’ve all seen others behave in what appears to be “childish” behaviors when they are under pressure.

The first 90 days of a person’s employment with a company is equivalent to their first few years as an infant. Under pressure, we revert back into these early responses to outside stimuli. Surprisingly, most organizations “ease” people into new positions. They give people material to study; send them to seminars, company orientations, and visitations of various departments in the organization. This all seems constructive, but with what result?

When a person receives only classroom training during the first few days of their “life” with the organization they eventually reach a point of stress and revert back to this early behavior. We hear feedback like, “I wish my manager would spend more time with me,” or “We need more training around here,” or “How do they expect me to sell this new line with no training?”
To avoid this trap, ask yourself, “What behaviors do we want people to demonstrate when sales are down or we are under pressure?”

As a manager, I developed a training system that produced spectacular results even years later. We want salespeople to prospect for new business when their pipeline shrinks. Therefore, I had new salespeople calling 200 potential clients in their first few days with the company. Of coursed they were unable to sell our products and services at that point, so we had them promote a low-cost preview session. They learned to call a high volume of prospective customers in a short period of time. They asked for money, albeit small amounts. In essence, they began their careers calling potential customers and selling them something from day one. They learned the value of massive action. Several things happened. One salesperson quit before the end of their first week. We uncovered a hiring mistake in less than seven days – a valuable lesson, inexpensively learned.

The remaining salespeople became very good at using the telephone. They also began their “life” with us developing skills that would serve them well when hard-times hit in the future. Months later, these salespeople were producing sales, even in slow periods. They instinctively picked up the phone when the pipeline was light with prospective customers.

Suggested action: Review your on-barding process. Is it designed to entrench behaviors people will require when times are tough or the pipeline is almost empty? If not, well you know what to do.

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Ask for our fr.ee report: Filling Your Pipeline, for 13 different ways to kep the pipeline filled. Email me at: dmather@dalecarnegie.ca and request the report by name.
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We are teaching Sales Advantage February 24 and 25th.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Are salespeople made or born?

Well, yes we were all born - but are future salespeople born with natural sales talent?
I asked this question to over 60 Realtors and their answers surprised me. Over 64% of them felt that salespeople were "born." It's as if they felt that you either had sales ability or you didn't. Wow!

In his book, Talent Is Overrated, Geoff Colvin makes a strong case that our culture vastly over-rates the significance of "talent." He goes on to say, ". . . many people not only fail to become outstandingly good at what they do, no matter how many years they spend doing it, they frequently don't even get any better than they were when they started. . . In field after field, when it came to centrally important skills . . . people with lots of experience were no better at their jobs than those with very little experience." Scary thought!

But wait, there’s more …he adds, “Occasionally people actually get worse with experience. More experienced doctors reliably score lower on tests of medical knowledge than do less experienced doctors . . . research confirms that merely putting in the years isn’t much help to someone who wants to be a great performer.” Whoa!

A hall-of-fame Canadian football player told me, "Don't let comments about 'natural' talent fool you. When a player weighs over 260 pounds and is coming after you, the natural reaction is not to block and tackle. It takes hours, months, years of practice to instictively react in productive ways."

So what’s an ambitious salesperson to do? After 37 years of making sales calls and coaching others to high-performance, here’s what I see.

Techniques of selling can be learned, but we cannot teach others to want to sell. People have aspirations that are inexplicable to others. Why some people get a “charge” out of creating sales from nothing is a true mystery. But it’s visibly evident.

Selling is as much an art as a science. As a matter of fact, an overly granular approach to sales may be counter-productive. That said, I’m amazed at most salespeople’s lack of fundamental knowledge of their craft.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Well yes, but in the words of  Charles “T” Jones, “You can put salt in his oats and make him thirsty.” Within minutes, I can tell if a person is truly interested in elevating their competencies or simply looking for “tips and tricks” to part people from their money. Frankly, I find the former much more challenging and rewarding than the latter.

Selling is less about “gift of gab” and more about listening and connecting. When a prospective customers says to themselves, “He gets my situation and he gets me (how I think - what’s important to me..”), then we’ve done our job well.

Selling is more about finding a fit between what we offer and what a prospect wants and needs and is less about pitching a canned “solution” or spouting generic features and benefits.

Going back to our headline – we’re actually born selfish and narcissistic. If we weren’t we’d probably die. Babies seem oblivious to anything but being hungry, smelly, or wet. However, once we reach 2 or 3, it’s time to reach out and interact with others. After 19 or 20 years it’s probably a good idea to get over ourselves and try to do what Dale Carnegie suggested, “Become genuinely interested in other people.”

Who can resist a smile like this one?

“Become genuinely interested in other people” is easy to say, and most of us probably think we are that way. Over the years, I’ve been more manipulative and shallow than I’d be willing to admit at 25. Life is more fun, for me, when I challenge myself to be more skilled than yesterday and find opportunities to practice my craft. Selling is, to me, a profession requiring skills, knowledge and a healthy dose of self-awareness.
 
Download our e-book: Make 2010 your best year ever - the year of the customer. We have one version for owners, executives and managers and a special edition for individuals.
 
We appreciate any feedback you give us and promise to listen and respond.
 
Click here: e-book - year of the customer
 
Click here: Be your most amazing in 2010
(for individuals)


Email Me your Comments or observations: Click Here

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sales Wisdom - I challenge you to guess the source (Revealed Below)


“In every sale you are dealing with people. Fundamentally, they all buy the same things, for the same reasons, and in the same way, regardless of whether they are buying automobiles, clothing, or soft-drinks. When you know the what, why, and how of buying, you will be able to help your prospects buy, which is the easy way to sell!
The four buying motives on which all buying is based are as follows:

1. Gain and protection
2. Economy
3. Comfort and convenience
4. Satisfaction of pride

While all four of the buying motives influence the sale of all products and services, all prospects do not buy for the same reason. . . . A good salesperson in my opinion has to study buymanship just as much as salesmanship. After all, a salesperson who knows what prospects buy, why they buy, and how they buy, can sell and serve them better than a salesperson who just understands their product and has a good sales talk." *

The reason most prospects object or throw up a self-defense of sales resistance is because they want more information. When they say "No," they often mean "I don't know." So tell them more.”

These quotations came from a sales manual written for salespeople in 1946, the year I was born. Of course selling has changed since then. We have the internet, global competition, many more choices, and sophisticated buyers and sellers. However, we are still selling to people.

In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, solid principles of selling and persuasion are still required. Dale Carnegie's advice, "Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view" is still ignored by the vast majority of today's product-peddling salespeople. A few, very few, highly principled and practiced salespeople connect with prospects every day and sincerely help them buy. We all feel lucky when we find such a salesperson. They are rare.

Selling skills are learned. According to Canadian Author Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of focused-practice to master a skill. Over the years I've been privileged to work with rare salespeople willing to do what it takes to genuinely help their prospects make the best buying decision.

I'm thankful for that, and continue to seek out salespeople willing to go that extra mile.

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* These quotations came from a sales manual written for salespeople in 1946.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Management Wisdom

You cannot motivate other people. What you can do is provide a motivating environment in which they motivate themselves.

People do things for their reasons, not ours.

People always pursue personal pay-offs.

(The above comes from Dr. John Geier PhD., author of the Personal Profile System.)

Lack of motivation is usually a response to a feeling of hopelessness.

Much of what sales managers do with salespeople is de-motivating not motivating.

Salespeople are not lazy – they’re just scared.

We offer the above as thought stimulators. Challenging our thinking helps us stay open to changing ideas and knowledge. An old philosopher said: "The mind is like a parachute, it works better when it's open."

Email Me your Comments or observations: Click Here

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Facts and Fallacies About Selling - Fallacy #9

Young people do not want to enter selling as a profession.

Reality:

Few professions offer earning above-average money and building a reputation for fair and considerate treatment of customers as sales. It is important we clearly communicate this opportunity to our rookies. The hard truth is that, in sales, we all need to earn our keep.
Since the bulk of salespeople are marginal, average incomes seem low.

When asked, “What does your average salesperson make?” We answer, “Are you planning to be average?” We’re serious. It’s not uncommon for highly competent, professional salespeople to earn six figure incomes. Selling at the highest level of competency is one of todays most secure and well-compensated career opportunities. Organizations are desperate for salespeople who consistently seek out and do business with new clients. Getting clients to switch from doing business with competitors is a necessary competency in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace. Simplistic selling skills are not enough.

Our new generation of young people are competitive, yet team-players. They can be self-reliant, but want to work as part of a team to achieve something bigger than themselves. They want, and require direct, clear, and specific feedback. They are not afraid to practice core skills, but are suspicious of simplistic theories about sales and often resist obviously manipulative tactics.

The want tips, but lose patience when other drone on about the past.



Email Me your Comments or observations: Click Here

Friday, January 15, 2010

Welcome to 2010 - How's it going so far?


At the beginning of each year, many business people commit to worthy sounding resolutions. Others have given up on this practice since they tend to disappoint themselves by January 31. New Year’s Resolutions have fallen into disfavor based on many examples of broken promises such as the crowded health club parking lots in January that quickly thin out as fitness resolutions die a quiet death. Here are several suggestions to increase the probability that 2010’s business resolutions will stick.

We invite you to make 2010 the year of the customer

If you don’t do this, your customers will! We’re fascinated listening to business people who say they are customer focused or customer driven, while their business models are focused on internal issues or self-oriented profit needs.



Years ago, focusing on customers didn’t really seem to matter. I know
this sounds bizarre, but customer demand was higher than capacity and the seller was in the driver’s seat. In those days, organizations set their business goals based on their targeted profit margins.
 
Whether we recognize it or not, the customer is clearly entrenched at the centre of our business universe. Incidentally, organizations that ignore or deny this reality are in deep, fundamental trouble. (We’re sure you can name names.)
 
It seems we’ve been deluded into thinking that simply improving products or services, lowering prices, or aggressive marketing is the answer.
 
Please don't skim over this assuming you are customer-focused or customer-centric. You may be, I don'y know you so I cannot tell from here. However, our experience with local and name-plate customers is that they are rarely as customer-centric as they claim. When surveyed, customers often rate organizations lower by 60-80% than they rate themselves.

  It's a new year in a new landscape


Typically, we design products (services) that we think serve customer’s needs, and then aggressively take them to market using traditional, mass-market or direct sales techniques. Invariably, the market responds with apathy, strong resistance, or resounding silence other than a giant sucking sound as they take their money elsewhere. Today’s business climate is unforgiving. This old business model will not work and it could lead to your organization’s demise. Innovation is critical, but blind guesswork or arrogant product development is the kiss of death. A large global, ex-giant corporation in the latter part of 2009 proudly declared, after some of the biggest losses in their history, that they have finally decided, as a last resort, to actually listen to their customers.


We hosted our annual goal-setting workshop in Toronto. We had a record crowd - thank those who attended. Here are links to the two e-books we offered at that meeting. We have booked several on-site workshops as well.
 
Download our e-book: Make 2010 your best year ever - the year of the customer. We have one version for owners, executives and managers and a special edition for individuals.
 
We appreciate any feedback you give us and promise to listen and respond.
 
Click here: e-book - year of the customer
 
Click here: Be your most amazing in 2010
(for individuals)


Email Me your Comments or observations: Click Here