Tuesday, December 5, 2017

If The Salesperson Is Not In, There Is No One Who Sells.

Do you have a "sales culture"?
A few weeks ago I heard the phrase "create a sales culture" within the company and it really caught my attention because it represents a need that many companies already have and probably have not realized it yet.

Has it ever happened to you to arrive at a commercial establishment to buy something, or just to look around, and nobody comes to you to assist you?

Or when you are, for example, in the corridors of these big stores, like Walmart or Home Depot, and you’re trying to find someone to give you information about a product you're looking for and no one shows up?

Or have you ever found yourself in those places where the people who are serving you seem to be doing you a favor instead of providing you with a service, for which you will be rewarding them with your purchase, if everything goes well?

It seems that in many situations, companies acting this way have forgotten who you are at that specific moment: the customer!

And it is not that I think that every customer deserves all the best attentions in the whole world at all times, or that he is to be paid homage or that all your employees knee down in front of them to pledge loyalty.

Your business will always depend on customers who buy your products or services.

Of course that is not what I mean, but what you can never forget is that YOUR BUSINESS WILL ALWAYS DEPEND ON THE CUSTOMERS WHO BUY.

And it is not otherwise: if there are no customers buying from you, the cash flow is broken, the company runs out of money and can not meet its obligations, from the most basic ones such as paying electricity, water and other expenses, to even the most important ones, such as payroll, employee bonuses, etc ...

Or is it that you have forgotten the money your company has is the one coming from the pockets of its clients, when they finally make the decision to buy the products and services your business offers?

Keep in mind all your business’ expenses are paid with paying customer’s money.

Unless you have a source of infinite funding, which is not usually the case, or you do not mind having to contribute money regularly to your business to cover the expenses, in which case you really should consider if you have a real business or simply a expensive hobby, every business lives on the money they receive from customers who buy their products or services.

That is your main source of financing and energy to run your business.

The best exercise that I recommend my clients to do so they can understand this point with more clarity is that they put themselves for a moment on their customers’ shoes.

Because this is an issue we should better see from two different points of view: as entrepreneurs or business owners, and our own point of view when we are buying things and acting as customers for any other business.

Because we are also customers at many points in time, are not we? And we go to malls and stores in general to buy things. And also when we act as clients, we do feel badly cared for, ignored, even despised by employees of those companies that have not taken the time to cultivate an adequate "sales culture" among them.

Because "sales culture" is nothing more than being 100% aware, at every moment of the day, that the success or failure of your business project depends on the customers who buy your products or services.

It does not depend on anything else.

All your employees and vendors must understand how important your customers are.

And that "sales culture" must permeate every corner of the company, from the person who picks up the phone to the guy who is responsible for delivering the merchandise.

Have you noticed, for instance, that many of the guys who deliver packages care very little that you are happy (or not) with the product you are receiving?

For them, their job is simply to deliver the package, the rest does not matter. If they arrive on time or not, if they treat you respectfully or not, if you are satisfied or not. They just don’t care. Their work begins and ends with the package delivered, and nothing more.

Hence the importance that everyone, at all levels, understand in the same way the role of the client within the business.

Because all employees of your company play a role, one way or the other, in the overall service proposal your company offers and all their actions are important when we think about generating customer satisfaction.

That is why it is important to have a corporate "sales culture".

Would you dare to tell your client to come another day because today you can not sell him what he is looking for?

Of course you would not!

Because you know there is no better opportunity to close a sale than when the client is already in your facilities, with money in its pocket and ready to buy.

What happens then if, that very day, your one sales representative is not in? No other person can procure the sell? No other person in your company or your store can make sure the customer is treated correctly and the sale opportunity is not lost?

All your employees should be properly trained and prepared to service an unexpected customer properly, even if it is not their direct responsibility.

And I think most of this whole situation comes from the fact that, for many businesses, especially the bigger ones, have forgotten the fundamental role of that individual who walks through the aisles of the store, who stops to look at the showcases and then decides to go inside to ask for some information, the person who calls on the phone to ask about something in particular, or even that individual who currently only represents for your business a customer code and a banking account number from which you withdraw money regularly, in the form of services fee, monthly subscriptions and so forth.

That individual is called CLIENT and represents the only way your company has to bring in money and grow, whether it is a customer who is already buying from you, or a potential customer who is yet to make a decision.

In any case, we always have to see the client AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRING IN MORE MONEY, because everything else starts at that point.

Then, and to wrap up this post, you should create within your company, regardless of its size, a true customer centric culture, your own "sales culture" so that all employees and collaborators understand the importance your clients have as the main source of energy (and money) for the business and the need they have to service every customer properly.

And, on top of everything, none of them should ever miss a sale opportunity simply because it is not their direct responsibility or because the sales representative or manager is not available at that moment.

Always keep in mind that a CUSTOMER NOT PROPERLY TAKEN CARE OF, IS ONE WHICH GOES AND BUYS FROM THE COMPETITION, and we do not want that to happen.

Picture credit: Sophie / See portfolio

Other posts in this blog I recommend you to read:
I already bought your product and now what?
Even If He Isn’t Right, As Long As He Pays, Continues To Be Your Customer.
Don’t Ever Make This Mistake: Even Your Best Customers May Consider Other Options

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What Nobody Tells You About Your Journey As An Entrepreneur

A few weeks ago I was talking with my oldest son, Daniel Alejandro, about self-esteem, self-confidence and perseverance.

I stressed that, well beyond every success story that is pushed through our eyes by  different media outlets, there was a long story on each one of them that nobody dared to talk about because for many it would simply be a reason to abandon everything and not even give it a try.

We both like rock and I brought to our conversation the example of my lifetime favorite rock band, Queen, and his multi-faceted vocalist and leader, Freddy Mercury.

It turns out that Freddy Mercury began taking piano lessons at age 7, in 1953. In 1964, he moved with his family to the city of Middlesex, in England, as an 18-year-old guy.

Freddy met Brian May around 1970 (Freddy was 24 years old by that time) and a year later he joined "Queen", which initially didn’t have that name.

On most documentaries, members of the band recall that the band was going through a very critical economic moment just around the time Freddy started composing what would be their most emblematic song: "Bohemian Rhapsody".

"Bohemian Rhapsody" was a piece as it is said "breaker": a 6-minutes-long rock song when the standard for that time was between 3 and 4 minutes. It was recorded using multiple tracks of choirs, what later came to be called "operatic choirs" ... it was a very complex piece, so complex that even friends close to the band doubted it could succeed in the music industry.

And finally, "Bohemian Rhapsody" saw the light in 1975.

Today, in the year 2017 (42 years after its release) this song was once again chosen in Spain among the best 500 rock songs of all time.

Yep, you got that right!: 42 years later.

What nobody tells you: your venture as an entrepreneur can be a very long trip.

I have put special emphasis on the dates to show you something:

  • 1953 - Freddy started taking piano lessons when he was 7 years old.
  • 1964 (eleven years later) he moved to England with his family.
  • 1970 (six years later), Freddy and Brian May meet.
  • 1971 (a year later), Freddy joins Queen.
  • 1975 (four years later) "Bohemian Rhapsody" is finally released and Queen becomes a famous band all over the world.

If you only take as reference the date when Freddy moved with his family to England, from that moment until "Bohemian Rhapsody" was released, 11 years went by.

Eleven years! It is easy enough to say it but there are a lot of nights and days in such a long time.

Are you prepared to wait as long as your business needs to get started and growing?

Do you have patience enough to wait three, five, seven years or more to see the fruit of your work? Do you have enough confidence in yourself to put your very best effort out and be confident the market will someday react positively to it, even if it takes several years?

And it happens most media often tell us just about the beautiful side of the successful entrepreneurship story, of companies that are created today and in a few months go public to win rounds of millionaire financing and everyone lives happily ever after.

But, I ask myself, why does not anyone tell the story behind that success?

Because many would simply abandon their entrepreneurship boat during the first strong storm.

And sometimes we like to see rose-colored things ahead of us and let ourselves be won by the temptation to think that we will have an easy road to go along, and if not easy, at least with little to no complications, when reality can be completely different.

As I mentioned above, just during the time Freddy Mercury was writing his masterpiece, "Bohemian Rhapsody", the band was going through a critical economic situation and even thought of dissolving the band and giving up on the whole thing, according to the information available on the internet.

Think of that! Can you imagine that the one band that later became one of the most beloved and admired rock bands in the world, would have had to give up just before publishing its most renowned success?

You have to have a lot of confidence in yourself and be 100% convinced on your project so as not to abandon it prematurely.

Beyond what could have been the dreams of glory and personal ambitions, none of them could have imagined at that time that the band would become what it is today, and much less than "Bohemian Rhapsody", that long and complex song would become practically a hymn for future generations of rockers.

Can you imagine how many sleepless nights they had, anguished, stressed out, worried to see that, despite all their efforts and hard work, they still could not get the ball rolling?

Can you imagine how many times they would have discussed among themselves as a consequence of the same tension due to economic problems and lack of progress?

Remember that we are talking about years, not days or weeks or hours: years!

Confidence in yourself, determination and a lot of perseverance will lead you to a successful conclusion.

That is why, while talking with my son I wanted to emphasize that the most important thing to be able to reach the end of the trip is to cultivate self-confidence, always with a positive attitude, giving the best of ourselves, getting passionately and closely involved with our projects, with dedication, with care, knowing how to value each of the things we do, accepting constructive criticism from the people around us, always optimistic, always in search of new spaces, opportunities.

And then wait without despair. Understanding that it is a long distance race and not a spring, as most people say.

Understanding that the biggest challenge is just to wait, to have patience enough to be there, at the edge of the cliff, at all times.

That the challenge lies in knowing how to overcome the obstacles that will certainly come our way.

We must always remember and keep in mind that many are the ones who start their projects with an extraordinary illusion but without conviction, and unfortunately throw in the towel during the first head winds, during the first disturbances, the first bad moments.

That's why I wanted to write this post, to share with you that part of the story that nobody comments for fear of frightening you or fear of draining all your energy.

I have always been one of those who think the more we know about the reality of the road ahead, the better the resources we will use to manage it efficiently and obtain the best possible results from it.

Once, a long time ago, during a sales management training program, the instructor told me: "The best sales managers get prepared to cope with the bad times, because good times can be handled by anyone"

And I believe on that from the bottom of my heart: the important thing is to be prepared to overcome the obstacles that come our way, whatever size and shape they are.

That there are no obstacle on your way? Even better! Isn’t it?

Here I offer you a link to a video in which Queen members explain how “Bohemian Rhapsody” was made.

Hope you like it. Quite interesting.

Other related post you would like to read on this blog:
4 Things You Must Consider For A Healthy Entrepreneurship
It’s Not The Same Thing Being An Entrepreneur Than An Adventurer.
If Things Were Easier ... - The Dog Whisperer's Testimony
Smoke Selling: My Thoughts About Our Need Of Immediate Success.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Keeping energy levels on maximum, the most difficult challenge for any sales rep

Back to life fron your ashes, as the Fenix.
A few days ago I had the opportunity to read the results of a study regarding the behavior of sales representatives, results which were truly worth analyzing.

The numbers caught my attention. It turns out that, according to the studies cited in the article:
  • 45% of sales people give up on the opportunity after only one attempt to follow up with the prospective customer.
  • An average salesperson only makes 2 attempts to close the deal after initially reaching out for the prospect.
  • 80% of closed sales require an average of 5 follow-up calls after the initial meeting.
As I always do, you will find the link to the aforementioned post at the end of this entry. Just to mention, it is only available in Spanish. Sorry about that!

If you look at the numbers closely and put three of them together, you come to realize that more than half of sales people have already abandoned the sales process with a prospective customer well before reaching the five follow-up calls benchmark which the study indicates are required in 80% of successful sales.

It also indicates “it only takes 5 follow-up calls to close the deal” but when decision time has arrived more than half the vendors have already given up.

Why? Which can be the reason behind this high rate of abandonment?

The daily bread for most salespeople: Facing rejection.

One of the most difficult challenges of the sales profession is the continuous exposure we all have to being rejected by those customers who, by either one thing or the other, are not interested in the proposal we have for them, even after we have efficiently done our homework in qualifying our prospects as accurately as possible.

It has long been understood within the sales industry that a good sales representative can have an effective rate between 10% and 15%, even up to 20% in the most successful cases, but that only holds true in really exceptional cases.

That is, in the best case scenario, the most effective salespeople close only 2 or 3 out of 10 presentations they make to new businesses.

If we put the numbers upside down, 8 times out of 10 the representative will be confronted by rejection from its prospective client.

8 out of 10 times the representative will be confronted by rejection from its prospective client.

Just imagine yourself, 8 out of 10 times you have to deal with a negative response from the client and get back to the office with a declined proposal on your hands.

If we also take into account that, depending on the type of product and industry we are referring to, a sale can be closed within anywhere from just a few days to several weeks or even months, then you will easily see that, in addition to dealing with the rejection of non-interested customers, the salesperson must also maintain energies and motivation levels all the way to the top throughout the whole negotiation process, not only its own levels but also those of the prospective client.

And not every sales professional is prepared for such a task.

Being skilled enough to efficiently handle rejection is characteristic of all good salespeople.

On my opinion, between these two points I find the reasons why the less prepared sales people abandon the fight prematurely: handling rejection and lack of patience.

It is not easy to always keep energy levels to its fullest specially after you have been told “no” several times consecutively, just as it is really difficult to do the same after opportunities you were considering basically winners, signed and closed, for one reason or another, take the opposite direction and become “no-no’s”.

It is not easy either to keep all your coolness in those negotiations which can last weeks, months or even years

It is not easy either to keep all your coolness in those negotiations which can last weeks, months or even years, especially when you have a boss breathing on your neck, pushing you to meet your pre-determined sales goals every now and then.

However, there is a solution for everything!

And today I would like to share with you some tips that will allow you to better handle rejection as well as those long periods of time from the moment you start a sales process until that when you sign and close the deal.

Do not take it personal. When a customer rejects your proposal or product, it is not about you.

If you take as a rule of thumb some of the most commonly known statistics about effective salespeople, the first one we mentioned above was "an efficient sales rep may close between 10% and 20% of the sales presentations he makes", you must certainly understand and realize “rejection” is an inherent component of the sales business. 

It is always going to be there, whether you like it or not.

Not having this one thing clear is like a boxer thinking he's going to go to into fight and get out of it without receiving any damage, not even two good punches to the face. That is simply not going to happen: receiving damage is an inherent component of the job, as rejection is to sales.

And it’s precisely the reason why I always recommend my consulting clients to offer their sales teams a consistent, coherent and, above all, realistic sales training, as clear and honest as possible, because if they don’t do so it will only serve to create false expectations on their team and, as such, they will approach the market expecting to receive something completely different from what they are going to get, and frustration will build up immediately.

Unless you have done your job very badly, your customer’s rejection is never a personal thing.

That is why, if you are already on sales or want to get involved with it, you need to understand rejection will always be there. The important thing to keep on top of your head is that prospects are not rejecting you: their rejection is towards the proposal you have put together, the product you are offering or even the company itself, perhaps even for reasons completely beyond your reach and control.

Rejection is nothing more than the customer telling you "you know what? There is something about this whole thing you’ve told me that does not fit me and it prevents me from making a positive decision"

And from this point on, I want to make the following recommendation.

When a client rejects your proposal, is giving you an opportunity to improve and make it better.

And this may sound a little like "offering the other cheek" and it is seriously like that. If a customer rejects your proposal, your product or your own company, there is a whole lesson to be learned between the lines, and you better go for it.

It does not mean that the customer is giving you a second chance, it may not be the case.

What is clear is that if you take your time to calmly analyze the reasoning behind your prospect’s rejection and you take a closer look to those reasons, deeply, in detail, you will gather extremely relevant information which will allow you to make all necessary changes to improve your offer, either for this one (if the opportunity remains open after the initial rejection) or for all your future business prospects.

If you cannot implement the changes by yourself, then you’ll have information to share with your managers so they can take the responsibility to consider it and make all required changes, if at all possible and desired.

In any case, if you do not take rejection as something personal and then analyze it objectively, you can discover very interesting things that usually do not come to the surface when the customer has bought your product without hesitation.

To the active listener, when a prospect rejects a proposal, it opens up an invaluable learning opportunity.

By listening carefully you will be able to realize if your proposal is simply not competitive, if there are new competitors you have not yet learned about, it might be also your customer’s needs have evolved along the road and your product has become obsolete for them.

In short, if you really want to learn how to improve, a prospect’s rejection is an excellent opportunity to learn.

You must be aware, as well as your bosses, of your product’s sales cycle.

At all times, you must be clear how long is the average time it might take your customers to make a purchase decision, also referred to as “your product’s sale cycle”. 

It makes no sense to expect to close a sale in just a few days, when the product's natural sales cycle requires weeks or months.

Nor is it sensible that, at your supervisors’ and managers’ levels, they do pretend to force salespeople to close sales in shorter timeframes, when neither the market nor the product will give room for it. It simply does not make sense.

Above all, sales goals have to be realistic and achievable. And sales managers and supervisor must be realistic too.

There are products that can be sold on a single visit or contact, for which it is normal from the bosses to demand short-term sales goals, but there are other segments that involve long negotiation processes, for which it is a completely different set of rules.

You can not expect for pears to fall from an elm tree. Pretending to sell a lot just because you want so, it is unreal and childish.

And in many cases that's just what happens: supervisors and managers aim to use short-term sales goals as a mechanism to force their salespeople to perform better, not taking into account the product does not have a short sales cycle.

What happens in those cases? It is usually when you get to see those reps who aggressively go for the kill, non-stop until closing the sale, not even caring a little about the damage they can inflict to the relationships with their business prospects with whom, in other conditions and without the added pressure, they could have reached positive agreements for both sides.

I remember working for a company where the sales manager asked us, textually, "do not leave your customer’s office until you close the sale” that is to say, once we had the opportunity to enter the client's office and sit with the decision maker, we would not be leaving until we had closed the sale, no matter what.

Worth it? For short-term goals, it might work. But for the development of long lasting and nutritious relationships, this kind of sales strategies is highly damaging, since its intention is not to develop relationships, but close sales transactions and nothing more.

Your big sale can be just behind the next door you open, or on the next phone call you make.

And this point is really in honor of the sales spirit itself. If you've been a salesperson for some time already, you’re probably familiar with it: "Never give up. Your big sale is right behind the next door you open."

Because if there is something that characterizes every trained and experienced salesperson, is their ability to stand up when everything around them seems to be crumbling.

When I was a teenager and used to play baseball, I remember that whenever I was in a bad hitting slump, I confidently reminded myself "this will not last forever. My big turn at bat is coming right up"and indeed so it happened several times.

"There is no evil that lasts a hundred years," a saying goes. Or maybe this other one that says “There’s a rainbow always after the rain.

And if you do not want to take the “spiritual” one, just think about the following one then: Salespeople do not make money from customers who say "no". Never.

We make money only from clients who say "yes" to what we offer and sign the contract. Is that simple. That is why, although we are rejected hundreds of times, we know statistics do not lie and that out of every 10 presentations we make, we can close one, two or maybe three sales. And that is motivation enough to keep the ball rolling.

Why then get stuck with customers who tell you “No” instead of turning the page over and moving forward?

One of the best pieces of advice I can offer you is that, once a customer has told you “I do not want to do business with you”, take into consideration everything you can learn from the situation, try one last time with the same customer (if the do allow you to do so obviously) and, if it does not work, turn the page over and move forward.

It is not worth at all to let one prospect’s rejection to become an obstacle that prevents you from achieving the goals you want. In addition, there will always be customers who say “No”. It's a natural part of the business.

No one has a product that is so wonderful that everyone will always buy it. Most people would love to but just doesn’t happen.

By now you will realize that, with time and practice, you will learn how to handle your prospects’ rejection much more effectively, you will not take it as a personal thing, you will learn the most you can learn from the rejection and will move forward, always confident behind the next door you open, you will find that great sale you have been looking for and that you deserve so much.

Related post you migh want to take a look at:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Things that you can do to sell like a professional salesperson.

Selling is one of the few areas in which it is extremely necessary to always try to do things in the most efficient way possible, especially because there is a period of time, the famous "Sales Cycle", whose use is vital for the achievement of the best possible results.

What is the "Sales Cycle" and why is it so important?

The "Sales Cycle" is the period of time (sorry about being redundant here) between the moment a sales rep begins to work with a particular prospect until they come to an agreement and sign the deal.

Depending on the type of product we are referring to, this "Sales Cycle" may be longer or shorter. There are products and services that you can sell in a single visit, one day; there are others which require weeks and even up to several months.

It all depends on the type of product you are selling.

Understanding that time is precious and a completely non-renewable resource, we know that every minute that goes by can not be recovered, so every minute of your “Sales Cycle” which is not used on the proper way, becomes a minute lost and will be reflected directly in the profits and losses of your business.

The "Sales Cycle" is worth gold because it directly influences your bottom line.

It is for this direct connection with your business’ bottom line that properly managing the "Sales Cycle" is really SO (with capital and underlining) important!

However, as with all things in life, if we follow a series of guidelines, we can make better use of our “Sales Cycle” time by looking at how professional salespeople do.

What are the guidelines they use to use their "Sales Cycle" time efficiently and effectively?

Concentrate most of your time on serving customers who can actually buy from you.

As I wrote above, in sales, time really turns into gold and every minute you invest in a customer that does not represent a clear business opportunity for you, it is a minute you could be investing in another one which could truly buy.

In the same way that in HHRR is often said "contract slowly and fire quickly," when we refer to sales the same thing also happens: you must study the market very calmly to be able to choose business prospects with good potential and then, once the sales process is underway, you should quickly discard those who do not have a palpable interest in doing business with you.

We could summarize everything in this short sentence:

"Slowly and calmly select the best prospects, and quickly discard those who do not represent a real opportunity"

That is, take the time you need to select the best prospects for your product and then, once you’ve already initiated conversations with them, quickly discard those in which your assumptions turned out to be incorrect.

Beyond the sale itself, concentrate on developing good and fruitful relationships.

Closing the sale is a natural process and occurs as a result of a job well done. If, as a salesperson, you strive to develop relationships of trust and mutual benefit with your customers, you will be able to sell more easily and build permanent sources of business opportunities.

Keep in mind that the sale closes when the customer feels confident that your proposal is the one that truly meets their needs, that you - as a professional - will not leave them hanging behind after closing the deal and that they will be able to count on you in any situation that is required and if any problem arises.

Developing this trust and cultivating it is the best way to guarantee a client for a long time.

Ask the questions that are needed to know your client in depth, listen carefully to what they have to say, and you will surely find in their answers information enough to make your selling job better.

The moment your client feels that you are really interested in knowing their real situation and looking for the best way to help them solve their real problem, then you can say you’ve earned their trust.

And that is critical to the development of a long-term relationship.

Clearly identify what your customer needs.

It happens frequently, because of the desire to close the sale and bring the business home, that you may fall into the temptation of talking more than it is required, focusing your presentation on product features and forget about listening carefully to your client to clearly understand what they need.

And, if you can not understand the real needs of your customer, how can you be sure that your product is what fits?

Let's suppose a simple situation, you sell a computerized platform for business administration. You meet with a client whose main problem is that, in the way he is managing his business now, he has no idea how much money is to be collected, who his main debtors are and he feels distressed because, even though they have a very interesting turnover, he does not see the money coming in.

Do you think it's really worth explaining him how your product will allow them to keep all accounting entries up to date, in a simple and efficient way, with a very user friendly interface?

Of course it will not! What will catch their attention the most will be explaining them how simply requesting a report of outstanding accounts receivable they will have in their hands an accurate and up-to-date listing of all the money that is due to be collected, which companies are owing money, when are invoices going to be past due and which are already past due. That is the right answer to their need!

Do you notice how clearly identifying the customer's need in this case, allowed you to choose that attribute of your product that was aimed directly at it?

Make your sales presentation in a convincing way, without unnecessary pressures.

Depending on the type of product you are selling and the volume of the sale itself, there are times when pressing the customer to make a decision immediately becomes counterproductive.

I know in many books and sales conferences it is recommended to create the sense of urgency, explaining your customer that it is a time limited offer, the last unit of product you have in inventory and other arguments whose objective is to push for an immediate decision.

Pushing your customer to make an immediate decision can be counterproductive depending on the type of product you are selling.

However you have to know very well if those kinds of pushing arguments are right for your product and the way your customer makes the purchase decision. Usually, if your sales cycle is a long one, it will do no good to push your customer for an immediate decision as there is no possible way he can simply skip their purchase decision making protocol.

You might also think for a moment that the perfect sale happens when the customer makes the decision to do business with you, so, from a professional point of view, I think it is best to give your customer all the information and explanations  that are necessary to make a favorable decision for your company and your proposal, keeping in mind the purchase decision is to be taken by the client without any unnecessary pressure on your side.

If the customer notices you’re so desperate to close the sale, he will feel uncomfortable. Who would not feel this way?

Respond effectively to all doubts and concerns your prospect presents to you.

A professional salesperson is not afraid of questions that the customer can ask. Quite the contrary: understands these questions show the customer is interested in the product being offered and simply wants to be clear on all the information he’s receiving and ask those much needed questions to better understand what it is all about, and be sure he would be making the right decision.

Be worried when you are with a prospect who does not ask questions or have doubts. Such prospect is not interested in what you offer.

Answering these questions and doubts effectively is the standard rule for any professional seller. It is the only way in which the ground will be smoothed for the customer to make a purchase decision.

And once you have completed the round of questions and answers, always ask your client if everything is clear, if there is any more issues to be checked, if there is something still pending.

If all is well, if everything is in order, then you can calmly move to the next stage of the sale: how much will it cost?

If everything went well, ask the client to make a decision.

Finally, to top it all off and if everything has gone well, ask your client to make a decision.

If there is no doubt, if the price is right, if your product meets the main need of your client (the famous "pain point"), then what problem could there be for the customer to make a decision?

If the customer is really interested in what you offer and doesn’t have any doubts, why not ask him to make a decision?

And in the event that it was a decision that could not be taken at that precise moment, what problem would the prospect have in telling you when you could expect to receive an answer from them?

Remember that we are talking about a professionally made sale, in which the client is participating in an active and serious way. Obviously, if you have reached this point with a poor quality prospect, all the work could go down the drain.

But if you did your homework as you were supposed to and followed the recommendations I give you here, you should really have no problem getting a positive response from your prospect.

As you can see now, it is not as complicated to sell as the true professionals do.

Like everything else in this life, it is simply a matter of adding to your daily sales routine a series of steps that will allow you to make better use of your "Sales Cycle" time.

Picture credit: Peshkova / See portfolio

You might want to read the following posts:
How can you professionalize your sales team? Why do you need to do it?
Things I've Learned Throughout My Career As A Professional Sales Representative Which Can Be Very Useful To You.
4 attitudes you can learn from a professional sales representative.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Focus On Maintaining Relevant Conversations On Their Favorite Places.

Nowadays it is impressive how many distracting elements exist in our environment that make us lose our focus and not concentrate on whatever it is that we are doing, at any time during the day.

Many years ago, the biggest source of distraction we had in the office was the telephone, or in the worst case, an annoying coworker. However, nowadays, fingers of our hands are not enough to count them all.

Each of them with its own arguments, its own attractions, but at the end of the day, sources of distraction for us.

I want to illustrate this post, sharing with you this story I made up: My friend John lives in a very nice neighborhood, north of the city, in which there are only two bars.

Paco's bar is one of them, a bar like those we are all familiar with, one without a comfortable atmosphere the truth be said, but you can always have a good time there if you are in good company. The prices can not be said to be very cheap either, but again, to share with some friends just for a little while, it works fine. It also has a television screen, not a very big one, but enough to enjoy your favorite game.

Four streets further up there is a new bar, which is called "La Cervezada", John's favorite. It is a very modern bar with a beautiful decoration, the tables are extraordinarily comfortable, it has a gigantic television screen and prices do not have anything to envy to any other establishment of the same type. You could even say that it has almost the same prices one will find in Paco's bar.

My friend John usually stops by almost every day when he comes back from the office, expecting to meet ther some of his neighbors, have a couple of beers or some coffee, enjoy a little chat and then head home.

The fact it is your favorite site, does not mean that it is your customer’s preferred place too.

However, none of John's friends like the new place and prefer to stop by at Paco's bar. This bothers John a lot because he is sure that if they got together at "La Cervezada" they would enjoy a better time, but that is not the opinion of his friends. All of them prefer to always meet at Paco's bar.

What did our friend John do in the end? Easy: when he wants to share with his friends and spend some time with them, he goes directly from the office to Paco’s bar. He always has the opportunity to go to "La Cervezada" if he doesn’t mind being alone, but if it is about being with his friends, then it is at Paco’s.

What does this all mean?

You must focus your attention on sites of interest to your customers.

As my friend John learned, if he wanted to share with his friends, he had to go to Paco's bar. The same criteria you must use when it comes to making the most of your time and avoiding unnecessary distractions: you should go to the places your customers are interested on, regardless of whether those places are not your favorite ones.

And even more now that you have so many different options to choose from, and so little time to be present in all of them.

Time really turns to gold when it comes to managing your presence in digital environments. Use it wisely!

No matter that facebook is your favorite channel, or any other for that matter. If your clients prefer to be in a different place, then that would be the place you must go to and not a different one.

Keep in mind that, at the end, the goal in digital environments is to find your customers and not to have them chasing you all around. You will be wasting your time if you try to convince your customers to leave their favorite places and go to those places you like better.

It's not about that. The key is to be able to identify where customers prefer to get together and join them there.

Once you meet them at their preferred site, then focus on having a relevant conversation.

And this is much easier to explain. Has it ever happened to you that you find yourself reunited with some friends and you are approached precisely by that one guy who only talks about boring subjects, which are not of interest to you? How do you feel at that moment?

The same thing happens to your customers when you approach them and the only thing you do is to have a boring conversation, which is not of their interest, perhaps only focused on the benefits of your product and services.

Differentiate yourself by the value you share in your conversations with clients, suppliers and friends.

No one wants to be approached by the person who has the most boring and least relevant conversation in the world.

Do not do that to your customers! Since you have taken the time and trouble to approach them in their sites of preference, then make the same effort to maintain a relevant and interesting conversation with them.

Only this way you will really be making the most of your time, being present where you really need to be, and maintaining relevant, interesting and nutritious conversations with your clients, which will surely help you build much stronger and stable business relationships with them.

Remember, the key is to have relevant conversations on places of their interest.

Picture credit: Nicoletaionescu / See portfolio

Related posts I recommend you to read on this blog:
Differentiate Yourself By The Value Shared Through Your Conversations.
What Can You Talk About With Your Customers When You’re Not Selling To Them?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Simplification of the Sales Process: When It's About Selling, Shortcuts Are Not Worth It.

There Are No Shortcuts In Sales.
I had my first job as a salesman at age 19. At that time, I was an "Account Executive" for an advertising agency in Venezuela, or in other words, I belonged to the team of people responsible for taking care of our customers needs at all times.

For us, it was a simple process:

1.- First we had a meeting with the client to understand to the highest detail what exactly they wanted, which were the parameters we had to take into consideration to put together our proposal for them. In brief, we had to collect all required and relevant information so that it would assist us in working on a clear and efficient way.

2.- All this information was then brought back to the agency and presented to the production and creativity teams, along with account supervisors, of course, so that we could all be on the same page and get to work on developing the most appropriate proposal, according to what our client specifically requested.

3. Once both creative and production teams had prepared the corresponding proposal, we all met again so they could explain us all the rationale behind the proposal prepared, all the reasons that had led to the selection of each product and recommended pieces, so that we could have a complete understanding at the time of "selling" the proposal to the client.

4.- Finally we had to schedule a new meeting with the client to make the presentation of the project and "sell it", explaining in detail each of the arguments used by the agency to prepare the project and clearly indicating how, according to our professional criteria, our proposal adhered to each of the guidelines given by the client on the initial meeting, ending of course with the explanation of costs involved and all relevant details.

For us it was extremely important to have the opportunity to meet physically with the client so that we could have the opportunity to explain in detail the work we had done, face to face.

Who can clearly understand what you have done if you do not take the time to explain it thoroughly?

And it was very important to have that meeting with the client to explain our project or proposal, because each of the pieces, and elements on it had a reason to be there: from the headlines used for ads in magazines, to the model chosen for the product picture, everything had been done using our best professional judgment and based on what the client requested.

We really needed our client to completely understand the reason for each thing and how everything, as a whole, had been designed with our best of criteria, so that we could be confident our proposal would meet their needs while allowing them to reach their goals at the same time.

Nowadays, perhaps as a result of the immense amount of technological gadgets we have access to, many companies make the mistake of skipping the steps of the sales process and take the risk of having customers not completely understanding the work they have done, simply because they do not take the time required to explain everything in detail.

When there are no explanations given, anyone can be right. Is that what you want for your customer?

You might be familiar with some of the following phrases: "We already have the proposals for your brand’s logo. We did email them to you. Could you please take a look at them and let us know what you think?"

Or maybe with this one: "The sketch you asked for your product’s website is ready and you can review it clicking the following link. Check it out and tell us if you want to make changes or if you think everything is fine."

Or worse yet: "We have already prepared the economic proposal for the implementation of your project. We have sent it to you by email, copying department managers. When you have the time to look at it, do we discuss it together?"

Perhaps it is because of the ease of being able to communicate with the client via email and send them things, or perhaps because it is so easy to convert almost everything into a .pdf or .jpg file, but the fact is that we have left in our client’s hands one of the most important stages on the sales process: the presentation of our project or proposal.

How can your client correctly value the offer, if they do not know all the reasons backing up your recommendations or the criteria you used to put it all together?

How can your customer know that you chose a particular photograph because it was the one that best suited corporate branding?

Or how can he know the music track you used for the corporate video is in tune with the favorite music of the brand’s target audience?

Avoid the shortcuts: Defend with passion all proposals you prepare for your client, face to face.

If you do your job with professionalism, dedication, passion, and really take into consideration every detail of what the client told you during the initial meeting, there should be then many reasons that could allow you and the company you represent, to clearly differentiate your proposal and help the client perceive with clarity and security, how your proposal will help them achieve their objectives.

If your work is professionally made and meets customer expectations, the price is no longer a problem.

That's why it's so important to take the time to thoroughly explain your work to your client. If you take the time to make a proper presentation and the work is really professionally done, the price ceases to be a problem in most cases.

But if you do not take that time, anything can happen, starting with the fact that your client might feel his project is not important enough to you therefore you are not willing to set time aside on your agenda to meet with your client and explain it.

Remember that successful selling occurs when the customer can make an informed decision, that is, when he knows all the details of your proposal. If he does not have that information, the decision is no longer informed then and you could end up losing the sale.

It is very simple: remember that in sales, as in many things in life, there are no shortcuts.

Do not allow yourself to lose a project in which you and your team have invested a lot of time, because you simply did not have the time to properly present it to your client.

Picture credit : freshidea / ver portafolio

Post I recommend you to read on this blog:
Smoke Selling: My Thoughts About Our Need Of Immediate Success.
Why Do I Have To Sell More If I’m Fine With What I’m Selling Now?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Why did I choose to talk in a simple and straightforward manner?

I am of the opinion that the most effective advertising is one that has a direct message, clearly and perfectly aligned with the real reasons that drive a specific audience to consume a specific product or service.

Is quite frequently that I get to be negatively impressed when I listen to or watch ads made by important brands using messages so convoluted, so difficult to understand and to digest, that I can only ask myself: "Do these messages really have a positive impact on the audience they are aimed to? Do they really generate the effect that is pursued or are they only serve to fatten the pride of the person who created it?"

I am going to share with you a story that I lived some years ago in the company in which I had my best and most rewarding professional experience. By that time I was the advertising sales manager and the company was looking to hire a marketing manager.

It turns out the candidate who got hired came from a major international corporation and had vast experience backing him up, an experience of many years. But what struck me most was his way to sell himself as the best one ever!

Yes sir! The person in question had a mouth worthy of the best salespeople in the entire world. I really had to take off my hat in front of him. The way he used his words and the way he handled his vast experience to make others felt worthless was amazing.

When your ability to talk is superior to the results you are able to deliver, you are simply a "smoke seller".

My boss then fell victim to this guy’s spell and from that moment on, he started to make decisions based on what the marketing manager indicated basically because he was strongly influenced by what he thought the guy was rather than because of those recommendations were the proper ones to better help us achieve our business goals.

My situation as advertising sales manager was a bit difficult. I had to lead my team and align my group with the company's marketing policies. It was my responsibility.

However, when we had management meetings, it was very difficult for me to defend the direct information I was receiving from our market through my sales team.

The marketing manager, who had never been on the road with our product trying to sell it, and without even sitting down with the sales team to get a closer feedback from the market, continued to recommend the actions he considered proper and that had given him positive results in the past, for completely different products, without even adapting them to our specific situation at that time.

In order for the communication process to be effective, your interlocutor has to clearly understand what you are trying to say.

It was then that I decided to stop the nonsense and started putting the realities of the market on the table, exactly the same way I was receiving them from my customers: the numbers, the reasons why our customers decided to make business with our competitors and not with us, the complaints they had about our audience and product itself, and the recommendations they all gave us so that we could do a better job.

It was then that I started to talk in a clear and straightforward manner: If we implement action "A", we stop making more money. If we implement "B" instead, we are going to make more money. Supported, of course, by market information. In our meetings, I began to clearly emphasize why we were not putting ourselves in front of the right audience and recommending things the market itself indicated as correct directions.

When things are true, they do not need superfluous explanations or tricks to get people’s attention.

When I started to talk to both the marketing manager and my boss this way, it was then that things began to change. The influence of the marketing manager was no longer so strong and we began making decisions in which the marketing actions were truly aligned with sales and focused on assisting us to achieve better results, thus helping the company reach their overall business results.

From that moment on, everything changed and we were able, thank God, to reach our third best sales year ever, out of 15 years the company had been in business.

Every target market has its own language. Identify which language your market uses.

Has it ever happened to you that the doctor tries to explain what you have and uses words that are completely indecipherable to you? Have you ever been "deaf" in front of someone, only because he uses a language you are unable to understand?

My wife is a dentist and I remember clearly how, during our teenage years, I got awfully bored in the meetings we had with her group of friends, because all they did was to talk about teeth and more teeth.

I remember I built a strong friendship with the husband of one of my wife’s girlfriends, because we were always making company to each other when we went to parties and group meetings because, while they were talking about their teeth and their things, we were talking about ours, in our own language, one that we both clearly understood.

If you use the language your client uses, you can create with them much more durable and nutritious relationships.

My clients are, for the most part, business owners and entrepreneurs who come from professional backgrounds different from mine. Almost none of them has had a strong sales training as I have had, so almost none of them knows the meaning of the terms we, professional salespeople use.

Would it make sense then that I wrote each of this blog’s posts as if it was going to be read by someone who speaks my same language? Would it make sense that I try to communicate with my clients using a code that they do not understand?

Well obviously it does not. It would not make sense at all because the only one who would understand the message would be me, and those who have a professional background similar to mine. And the person who really is important, my client and those who share their same language, would be left out.

That is why you must use a language your client or the person you are going to be talking with understands completely. As we, professional sellers, like to refer to: "your target audience."

Only by using a language that is totally familiar to them, your relationships will become closer and more productive.

And the more straightforward and clear your language, the better. Try always to use words they understand easily, preventing your message from lending itself to secondaries thoughts and, generally, misinterpretations or simply, the message does not reach its destination with any strength at all.

Picture credit: Ogerepus / Ver portafolio

Related articles that I recommend reading on this blog:
Who is following whom in social media?
Are you really listening? ... but really?

Monday, July 17, 2017

To Really Disconnect You Only Need Will Power... and a Strong Motivation!

Happy Summer Break!
One of the things that I am a fervent defender of is the need we all entrepreneurs have to cultivate all areas of our lives, not only those related to our respective businesses, but also those that are much more important and that sustain everything else and make it all work out: Our intimate, personal and family life.

Not only of bread the man lives, but also from spending a few days disconnected, in the company of his loved ones.

So I will take advantage of this post to let you know I will be offline for a few weeks, until the first days of September, because it is my time to dedicate myself in body and soul to the most beloved and precious things that exist in my life: my wife and two children.

It is they who give meaning to everything else, they are the greatest reasons I have to continue this journey and always moving forward.

As always, even though  those will be days of resting and disconnecting, I will use them to continue working on my things at a slower pace, to continue developing the new projects I have and which I will share with you when the next course begins.

If you have a specific topic you want us to review, remember that you can always contact me through the form located on the "Let's get to know" page of this blog or my email joel at joelpintoromero dot com

Yes, unfortunately, one has to write it that way so the robots that steal e-mails do not capture it and start sending me junk mail to my inbox.

With all this said then, we will see each other again the first week of September, with the same enthusiasm and energy as always, and with more new topics to share with you.

May you also have the opportunity to disconnect a little and enjoy some days in the company of those people who you love the most.

Keep in mind the title of this post: To really disconnect, you only need will power ... and a strong motivation :-D

And if you can not get disconnected, have a great and productive summer then!

Happy summer break!

Photo credit: The picture is mine. Taken from a lounger on the beaches of El Altet, the city we live on.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Where Did Your Digital Manners Go?

Where did your digital manners go?
People say "common sense is the least common of all senses" and not in vain because it seems that, despite the tremendous advances in technology, we - the users of such technologies - have begun to fall behind and are not moving forward at the same pace.

There are things that should be, as we said in Venezuela, "square", that meaning obvious, do not requiring further explanation, that everyone understands and agrees upon, and that most people take them into consideration.

But the reality is, unfortunately, a different one.

And as always, examples, that I have plenty for such situations: Three weeks ago (maybe more) I sent an email to the programmer of a company with which I was starting a business relationship, to clarify some doubts I had regarding their product catalogue.

Once again I do repeat: I was starting a business relationship with them, that is, I was their customer and they were the vendor. Guess what happened? Days and weeks have gone by and I still do not receive response from the programmer.

Do you want a golden rule? Treat your customers the same way you want them to treat you.

Consequences? I have already made the decision to do business with another company because if this is the way they treat their customers, I cannot imagine how it is going to be down the road of our relationship.

The same thing happens to me on whatsapp: I send messages to people I am doing business with, the time goes by and I do not receive a response. And you know that in whatsapp it is easy to know if the person has read or not your message, because you get the two little blue check marks to confirm it.

Have not you had one of those telephone conversations with sales representatives of any company, in which you feel simply overwhelmed, run over, not even been able to articulate a single word to explain you are not interested in what they offer?

That’s the reason behind today’s post title: Where did your digital manners go? Who told us it was okay to be a rude dude now?

Regardless of the tool, the communication process remains the same and the same rules continue to apply.

Do you remember the”good speaker and good listener’s rules”? Those which stated that we had to listen carefully, not to interrupt the person who was speaking, wait for our turn to talk and use an appropriate tone of voice?

It turns out that now it is normal to skip all those good manners rules.

Now, as we are in a digital environment where we are basically anonymous - people hidden behind the screen of a computer or a mobile phone - then it is valid to skip these rules, be disrespectful, raise the tone of our voices, not to respond to the person who is directly talking to us, and so on. You get the idea.

And as always, I ask myself: Since when is being educated optional?

Especially when we talk about professional relationships. Maybe on a personal level you can do whatever you want, because everyone is free to decide the image they want to transmit to the world, and that's okay. It is your decision, you are free to do it and it is you who will be responsible for the consequences.

But in a professional environment?

Some time ago I was talking on LinkedIn with a colleague who claimed to specialize in "ethical marketing" and when he invited me to his group, I could not keep myself from asking him anything other than: What is it with "ethical" marketing? Is it possible to do "unethical" marketing?

That is, do I have the option to choose whether or not I am an ethical person? ... then, do I have the same option of being an honest or dishonest person, a liar or a sincere person? Are these values ​​really optional?

At this point in my life, I firmly believe those values are not optional and should never be. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable in a professional setting and even less in our relationships with the people we call, or who we should call, "customers".

A battered customer is not only a lost customer but also money you stop receiving.

And again I could accept if you were to tell me that in your personal environment you can do whatever you want, because it's true. I take it. But not in a professional environment and, even less, when you are referring to your customers.

Here is an example to illustrate the point: I had the opportunity to work for a major international corporation which had a "Customer Recovery Department" whose job was to visit each of the customers who had decided to cancel their contracts and do business with another company.

The approaching strategy was very simple: To these customers the company will be  offering their very best prices and additional benefits so that they sign back in, even making better offers than those that were made to get brand new customers.

Does it make sense? I do not think so, and if it does, it does very little sense. Why?

Because a customer who has withdrawn has already made the decision to leave your company and do business with your competition. That is to say he has already gone through all the stages of discontent: he already got upset with your company, and perhaps wanted to give you a second chance, he got annoyed again, then thought about signing with another company and then didn’t, he gave it a try with you again, then became disenchanted of your service one more time and finally decided to leave.

Already the divorce is signed. Your customer signed with another company. What are you going to do now?

It is proven by many formal studies that the cost of recovering this gone customer is much higher than the cost of getting a brand new one, and even higher than the cost of keeping your customers happy.

Is it worth it to treat your customers badly? Treat them in a disrespectful, arrogant, insensitive way?

Do not you realize that by doing so, even by simply allowing your employees to do so, you're doing a very deep damage to your business?

Just think for a moment that a client who has already decided to sign off is a client that hardly returns, so the money you were going to be receiving from him is lost, and almost forever.

I believe a golden rule you should always keep as a north in your business is to always "treat others in the same way you want them to treat you", and I would just add that "if they are your customers, even more so".

Being polite is not optional, nor should it be. It is something that you must take into account in your professional and business relationships.

Being educated is on the core of being professionals, is of good and correct people, of human beings, and an educated and courteous treatment is the minimum one any human being deserves.

Photo credit: Thomas Teufel - View portfolio

Post you will like to read in this blog, related to this topic:
Loyalty and CKCH: When is it that you really lose a customer?
All it took was a bad experience one day with one employee
I already bought your product. Now what?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Do You Know Which Is The Key To An Efficient Sales Process?

The Key To An Efficient Sales Process
Whenever I make a statement like this, I like to use an example to illustrate it.

In this case I would like to tell you about the phone conversation my youngest kid had with the sales representative of a company a couple of weeks ago.

I was working at my desk, when the phone rings and my youngest one, Gabriel David, picks it up.

Suddenly, I began to listen to my son in an anguished tone, because he didn’t know how to get rid of the person who was on the other side of the phone.

From the things my son said, I assumed that the person would be the representative of a telephone company, whom have us all accustomed to those sales-driven, pushy phone calls, in which the seller does not even pay attention to a single word we say.

When I heard my son was already having a bad time, I said, "Gabriel David, tell him you're only a 12-year-old boy and ask him to leave you alone," and so my son did. It was only at that moment that the person on the phone decided to hang up.

And I asked myself after thinking about the whole situation: Did not that person realize that he was talking to a child? Did not that sales representative realize that he was not going to close the sale as long as we kept on talking to a child?

We all want to sell the most. It doesn't mean though we can sell to everybody.

Obviously we all know we want to sell our products and services.

In fact you have a business because you want to sell the products and services you offer. However, to have a really efficient sales process there is something you definitely have to take into account.

Have you noticed how the bigger buildings have to have strong, solid foundations? The same things goes for your sales process: to be truly efficient, solid, it must have a solid foundation.

Which are these foundations?

The key is to know who you are targeting to.

It's obvious we all want to sell. The purpose of running a business is to sell the products and services you have to offer. Only by selling, and as much as possible, your business will move forward and grow.

However, taking into consideration time is really the most valuable and limited resource we have to manage our business, we must necessarily ensure that time is used in the most efficient manner, at all times and in all areas. And sales is no exception.

All the time you spend in a non-buying prospect is more useful when used to approaching one more likely to buy.

That is why the key to having a really efficient sales process is based on the selection of individuals who will be the center of all your attention and efforts.

Furthermore, while it is true we all want to sell as much as we can, it is also true we can’t sell our products to everyone.

There is no product so generic that everyone is going to buy it. Such product doesn’t exist. That is why you must make a very careful and serious selection of the people to whom you are going to direct all your sales, marketing and communication efforts.

In short, you have to define very clearly who is your target market, which is the market you will be approaching to and will spend most of your time and energy on.


It’s natural for most business owner to have the desire of selling their products to the largest market possible no matter what, without any kind of distinction or segmentation.

However, in this post we are not talking about whether or not you can sell to everyone but about the key to having the most efficient sales process.

And it is at this point, when we talk about efficiency, that it becomes evident your need to be very selective when choosing a person or company as a possible sales opportunity (or sales prospect) for your products and services.

You must always start by defining your product’s natural target market.

All the products that exist in the market have a natural audience. In fact when any entrepreneur decides to develop a product, they do it based on the results of a analysis (sometimes more serious than others, according to each person or company) of the existing market conditions at the time.

Based on this analysis the entrepreneur considers there is a clear and feasible opportunity, that there is a need that is not properly covered, or even not covered at all, and therefore there is the opportunity to create a product to fill in that gap.

Your initial target market must always be people who need, or might need, your products or services.

And behind every need, there is a person, a community or a company. And that's where you find your natural market, the main one.

Your natural market is the audience you should focus your attention on, because they are the people who truly need, or will need the products or services you offer at some point or time.

Again let's look at an example: You sell acne creams. Who will be your first customers? Which will be your natural market?

The answer is obvious: your natural clients, your target market gathers all the people who have an acne problem. And the same criterion applies to all products and services.

If we make an honest and adequate analysis of the product we have, we can certain and easily find out which the natural market is, most often called the "target market", that is, the audience you will have to be approaching to from the very first moment.

Yes, it is clear that you can end up selling your products and services to many people, not only those within your natural market, your target market. That's true.

But as I told you at the beginning of this post, we are talking about an efficient sales process.

And it is at this point in the sales process, when it comes to identifying your market for potential customers, that the more specific and thorough your selection of those people you are going to approach, will be key on achieving your best performance therefore the best results of your efforts.

If the quality of your "potential customers" is very low, your salespeople will find it much more difficult to close the sale, so the process will cease to be efficient.

And the opposite is also true: the higher the quality of those prospects, the easier it will be for your sales team to close the sale, so they will sell more in less time. A much more efficient sales process.

Now do you see why choosing the right target will be key to developing an efficient sales process?

Photo credit: Kardd - View portfolio

Other articles in this blog that are related and you will like to read
How can you professionalize your sales team? Why do you need to do it?
How Can You Recognize When A Prospect Is Really Good And Not Just A Waste Of Time?
How Can You Be More Effective When Making Sales Calls?
Are You Aware Of The Tricks Your Salespeople Use To Close More Deals?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Do you know what "Little Sales Theater" means and what it is used for?

"Role Play" Sales Training
It is always good to take from life all the lessons that it can give us and, in this case, the examples are abundant and in many areas, both on the personal and professional side.

If you have noticed medicine students, for instance, do not practice on living patients. No. They practice with corpses, with people who have died and donated their bodies for research and study purposes.

Why is it done this way? Because it would be really impossible for medicine students to do their practice on living patients. Can you imagine such an awkward situation?: "Sir, let me cut open your chest because we want to take a look inside and see how your heart works."

Would it work? Of course it would not!

Athletes also do the same thing: They spend countless hours practicing their respective activities to make sure they dominate it openly and are fully prepared to play at their best level.

If professional athletes practice for so many hours to be their best, why should not a salesperson do the same?

Student pilots also do the same and when they want to develop their flying skills during very deteriorated weather conditions (heavy rain, storms, low visibility, strong wind gusts, etc.) they do not do it on real airplanes, they do it in simulators.

Again, why is it done this way?

This is done to minimize the risks associated with flying an airplane in very adverse conditions, since there are not only material risks to take into account, but also risk to people’s life as well as lots of damages caused by an airplane crashing into the ground.

Well in sales, it's the same story. We have to do it the same way, if we want to reach the level of real "professional salesmen".

What's the reason behind the use of  the "Little Sales Theater" training?

In a market so competitive as the one we are living in today, in which the opportunities to have a face-to-face appointment with the person making the purchase decision for that important company are very difficult to achieve.

We need to be very well prepared to take advantage of those 15 or 30 minutes that the client will give us and during which we have to capture all their attention, interest and, God permit, convince them that our products and services are the most appropriate option to fulfill their needs.

Therefore those 15 or 30 minutes have to be taken advantage of in such an efficient way, that would it be useful for you that your sales representative is poorly prepared and does not have the necessary skills to do the job right?

Would it serve you that because of that poorly done job, with a client that has taken so much time and effort to arrange the initial meeting with, they finally decide to do business with another company just because you lost your one opportunity?

Is it really worth it to waste your client's time that way, bringing in a poorly prepared salesperson?

Again, of course it is not!

That's why we make use of the "Little Sales Theater" training, because the first thing it offers you is a safe environment in which your salespeople, and perhaps yourself, can practice their sales pitch, can listen to the different questions every customer usually brings up, can correctly identify customer’s objections and learn how to go around them efficiently, in a setting where no unnecessary risk is taken.

During the realization of the "Little Sales Theater" training, which is formally called "Role Playing Sales Training", two people participate: one impersonates your customer and the other is regularly the sales “trainee” or the person willing to master its selling skills.

Usually the sales supervisor or the most senior salesman plays the role of "customer" because he or she is the one who better knows most of the things a  customer can say and do during a normal sales presentation.

And the whole idea you must already have it: During the "Little Sales Theater" training session participants will simulate all the conditions they would go through as if they were making the same presentation in real life, from the initial moments of every sales visit (properly approaching and greeting your customer, maintaining eye contact, and so forth) until the closure of the visit itself, making appropriate commitments, review of achievements, etc.

What are the advantages of taking the "Little Sales Theater" training?

Including in your team’s sales training practicing role-playing, that is, the "Little Sales Theater" allows them to enjoy the following advantages:

  • They can make all the mistakes they want because the person they will be practicing with will surely be an immediate supervisor and their job will be to detect any faults and correct them on the spot.
  • They will be able to increase the difficulty levels of the sales presentation at will, being able then - in simulation mode - to face the most difficult and annoying customers in the world, without this situation generating unnecessary stress.
  • They will be able to perform as many times as they want, without this implying they have to leave the office nor depend on the time their customers might have available. It will only depend on the time the sales manager has available, or perhaps a sales team colleague.
  • They will not waste valuable opportunities, being able to practice in advance all their future sales presentations, especially those scheduled with particularly important or difficult clients.
  • They will arrive at each sales presentation much more prepared and confident, knowing they have been able to review in advance all the questions the client could ask and that they already know the answers they must offer.
  • They will not risk damaging your company’s reputation, or their own, by making poor quality, ineffective or insufficiently prepared sales presentations.

And the most important thing is, of course, that you do not lose money!

It is very simple: Your company does not lose money because it does not waste what could be valuable opportunities to get big and important customers, depending on salespeople who are not deep and conscientiously prepared to make every sales presentation.

Remember that there are no bad employees, but supervisors who do not do their job properly.

And just in case you're wondering at the moment "Why do I have to make so much effort so that my salesmen are well prepared? Are not they supposed to be the ones who want to make money? "

I would like to ask you now: Who is the one who loses with the poor performance of a poorly prepared salesman?

Is it your business or the salesman?

What about all those customers who your "bad" salesman as visited while working for you, and whom he has left with a bad taste in their mouth?

Who was the one who actually ended up losing? Your company or the salesman who already quit?

Picture credit: Elnur / see portfolio

Some additional posts I recommend you to read in this blog that relate to this one:
What Role Should Salespeople Occupy Within Your Company?
Corporate reputation and sales reps’ responsibility.
What Role Should Salespeople Occupy Within Your Company?
How can you professionalize your sales team? Why do you need to do it?