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?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Even If He Isn’t Right, As Long As He Pays, Continues To Be Your Customer.

Unsolicited emails, phone harassment, salespeople who do not want to understand I'm not interested in buying the product they're offering me, customer service representatives who simply recite non-stop a pre-elaborated script without even realizing they're talking to a 12 years old kid, suppliers who dare to tell you they’re losing money working with you, professionals who play with your time as if the only valuable time is theirs, delivery companies whom keep you sitting at your office all day long until they arrive to receive what you are waiting for, without even bothering to call you on the phone to arrange a specific time advance.

Stories like these, many; and I guess the same thing will happen to you.

When you look back at them, you realize there have been plenty of situations in which a company you hired to render a service has suddenly become a deaf entity which only listens to its own reasons and justifications, without even bothering to ask if you are (or are not) happy with the service they are providing you.

It's as if you stopped being interesting from the moment you signed in and became one more of the pile.

And it makes me wonder, is it that all these companies have forgotten that I am the one paying for their bills?

Well, it's not that I pay them all directly from my pocket, rather what truly happens is that me, and many other clients like me, since the day we decided to trust in these companies, started indirectly paying for their expenses and helping them grow with the money we pay them for their services and products.

And it is not otherwise, although it might seem that for these companies is the other way around.

Even if your customer is not right and as long as he pays, you must continue to consider him a customer.

Do you remember the saying "the customer is always right"?

Well, a long time ago it was changed to a different version that simply adapted to a better understanding of the customer-supplier relationship.

We began to say then: "Even if he is not right, he continues to be your client." 

From that moment on, we stopped seeing the customer as someone who had to be right at all times, someone we had to please even in the slightest thing, who could not be argued or disagreed with.

As long as you use their money to pay your company’s bills, you must call them "customers"

We began to consider the client a normal person (company), with their ups and downs, their best and worst days, with whom we had a professional relationship. And based on that relationship, our customer was paying us for our services or products and we were using that money to keep our businesses running.

We understood that, even if our client might take us to the limit of our patience, we could never turn a professional relationship into a personal one and treat our customer with contempt, disrespect, yell at them, smash them against the wall, or anything like that because, at the end of the day, he was the one who was supporting the development of our projects, with the money being paid to us.

And is that companies are not successful or even grow simply because they have wonderful products. Nope. They do grow because their customers provide the support those companies need by buying their "wonderful" products and hiring their services. Not by anything else.

Or when have you seen a company fully running without customers who buy what the company offers?. It doesn’t happen. Does it?

Who generates the reputation of a product or company? Is it the company itself or its clients?

It seems such companies have forgotten the very important role customers play in the life cycle and development of their business. I'm going to take this moment to review those roles with you:

  • First, we already know that it is the customers who keep companies running with the money they pay for products and services they buy. That is understood (at least, I hope you did understand it)
  • Therefore, depending on how long you can keep relationships with your customers alive and kicking, your business will be more or less stable. The specialists call it "customer lifetime value". Look it up on Google so you can see.
  • Customers generate your company, products or service’s reputation when they begin to talk about and comment it among their network, no matter the kind of network it is. If they do it on a positive way, great news for you. If they do it on the negative side, you have a serious problem on the making.

In order for us to understand each other, you should have clear that your project or business is not going anywhere until the following three things happen:

  • First, have customers who buy from you.
  • Second, that those first customers reward you with their confidence and come back to you and buy again.
  • And third, those happy customers recommend you with their peers who can also buy your products or services.

Simple, right?

But, if it is so simple, how is it then that in so many cases companies seem to think they are the center of attention here and not the customer?

It seems they believe their products are really wonderful, when a product is wonderful only because there are people who buy it very often.

Your project or company is not going anywhere without customers who buy what you have to sell.

I really am amazed every time I hear, or am a victim of situations like those I mentioned at the beginning. And it is that, really as a customer, it makes me feel very frustrated to interact with companies that make fun of you on your own face, without caring just a little bit, shameless and with no remorse at all.

But in the end, let us try (as always) to draw a positive lesson from all this.

Then we understood the relationship much deeply and added "as long as he pays"

I hope you have already realized why customers are vital to the development of your business, and that you are also aware of the things that would happen if your customers were not satisfied with what you offer and started to buy from you competitors. You do not want that, do you?

But it is also true that, like all things in life, these relationships have to have a limit, and that limit we set when we added to the phrase "Even if he is not right, he will always be your client," the condition "as long as he pays".

Because it is certainly true every customer is important and you should do your best to keep them happy at all times. Yes. That is definitely true, but ...

In every customer-supplier relationship there must be two winners. Must be a real win-win situation.

We have established the point from which we can say your client loses the right to be the most important part of the relationship and is no longer able to demand from you your best to keep them satisfied. And that point is the moment when the client, stops paying for services and products he gets from you, or the cost of keeping that customer happy is so high that it's no longer worth it.

Yes, because unfortunately, from that moment on there are no longer winner. There are no longer two entities satisfied and the benefits are only being received on your customer’s side: he continues to enjoy your services and products, but is not properly paying for them.

Or, it has been a customer so extremely problematic, that your company will be better off spending that time and effort into serving the rest of your customers base or, better yet, to get new customers.

In this last point I want to make something clear: When you are going to label a customer as "extraordinarily problematic" make sure it is not your own company and the service being offered the reason why your customer is so problematic.

You may realize that, in many cases, the problem is on this side of the table and not on the other one.

Photo Credit: Gustavo Frazao / View Portfolio 

Posts you will like to read on this blog and are related to this one:
¿Can your business exist without customers?
"Til Death Do Us Part" Doesn’t Exist In A Professional Relationship”
Beware With Customer's Tantrums Nowadays

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

D + S: The Two Inevitable Roles That You Assume When You Become an Entrepreneur

Every entrepreneur's dual job: S+D
How many times have you met an entrepreneur like you, who has had a wonderful idea, who has managed to turn it into an interesting product but who, unlike you, has not found a way to make this interesting idea become a profitable product?

And it just happens that in the entrepreneurship world much importance is often given to product development, as if only developing a product with extraordinary quality was reason enough to guarantee the idea will become a profitable business.

In an article posted in this blog a while ago, entitled "Are you an entrepreneur and don’t like selling?" I addressed the same topic, and did the same when I wrote my first book "A Salesman? Me?" - Sales Manual for Entrepreneurs. (As of this moment, only in Spanish)

It has become a recurrent conversation in my routine as a business management consultant: the very important (and inevitable) responsibility every entrepreneur has to engage, to a greater or lesser degree, in the sales management of its project or enterprise.

And you will be asking yourself, "Why is it so?"

Developing a high quality and differentiated product or service is not optional.

The first "D" of this post’s title is well understood by everyone, or at least, those who have decided to become entrepreneurs:  product "Development." Everyone wants to develop the best product / service in the world, with a differentiated value proposal that distinguishes it from the other products existing in the market.

And in such "Development" they concentrate most of their efforts and, generally, of their money too.

It is true that in order to build up your space within the market you must develop a product / service of excellent quality and properly differentiated. Something worth talking about, something you can feel proud of. Of course, that is true.

However it would be sad, at least from my professional point of view, to have an idea that can change the world, a product that can be what people refer to as "top-of-line" and then, due to the limitations that any project may have, you find falling short of your own initial expectations and seeing an abysmal difference between what you first thought of and what you developed at the end.

Of course, I have to say “yes”: Developing a product of extraordinary quality is very, if not extremely important. And although in principle I agree with this way of doing things, I also have to tell you that it is not the most complete approach to the subject..

Again, why?

Businesses depend on the Sales they generate and nothing else.

And that is the second letter appearing on the title of this post: The "S" stands for sales. It's the second role you assume the very same day you decide to turn your wonderful idea into a business proposal from which you and your family can make a living. And maybe it's the most important role you are going to have and one you should never run away from.

Because, even when you can hire a sales agency or an individual to manage the sales area on your business’ behalf, it will always be of your greatest interests to observe how, as the days and months go by, your business’ sales keep growing, ¿ or will it not?

Of course everything works great when sales are on the right track and flow normally. Who would complain at a time like that?

No one complains when the sales go well. Why would they do it, if there is plenty of money to spend?

Who would complain when all is well and there is enough money (and sometimes more than enough) to pay for company’s commitments, and even enough to grow a bit, although not very clear on what kind of growth or in which direction?

However, what would you do, for instance, if the sales agency or the individual you commissioned sales management for your business does not do a good job and your sales start to decline?

What are you going to do then? Quit your project and throw it all away? Of course you will not do such a thing!

But then, what do you do in that case? Obviously the answer would be to look for other alternatives, but the decrease in sales in your business is a very serious problem that you have to solve right away.

And it is precisely here where we all come to accord on that very one point: Who is responsible for solving your business’ sales problems?

The sales agency you hired for, or the person who was doing the job? Or is it your sole and unique responsibility?

Product Development and Sales (D + S): The very essence of your business success.

That is why in my consulting sessions I always emphasize this point, when the topic arises during the conversation: As much as you can delegate tasks to people and companies extraordinarily competent, the one person interested in DEVELOPING the highest quality product possible and with a value added proposal differentiated and appealing, it’s always going to be yourself as the owner and creator of the project.

And after devoting so much effort to develop the product, you are the first person interested in monetizing all those efforts and turning your project into a profitable business. Who wouldn’t be?

And “becoming profitable” only happens when the SALES of your business grow in an orderly and consistent way, regardless if you have hired only a salesperson or a full scale marketing team for that matter.

Keep in mind that, at the end of the day, it is your business, it is your project, your dream.

When people refer to your entrepreneurship being some kind of a child you give birth to, they are referring precisely to this sort of extremely close relationship that is established from the very first minute between your project and your own.

As much as you can find responsible and efficient companies and people on whom to delegate many of the several tasks involved in running a business on a safe and secure way, it will always be your responsibility to ensure that D + S are performing optimally, that your company is developing a product of excellent quality with an added value proposal differentiated, and also has put into motion a sales process sufficiently well structured, planned and executed to generate the best results possible.

Could it be otherwise?

Photo credit: View Portfolio / Robert Kneschke

Post that complement the content of this one which you would like to read:
Are you an entrepreneur and do not like selling?
What Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Sales and Why?
You Need To Update Your Own Personal Processor: From Being A Spectator to Taking A Main Role In Your Play

Monday, February 20, 2017

Why Do You Always Need to Promise More Than You Can Actually Deliver?

Don't ever promise mora than you can deliver.
Don’t you realize that the secret for your customers to always be happy with your business is quite the opposite: Promise less and always deliver above the expectations you’ve created for your customers?

I don’t know who came up with the wonderful idea of teaching sales team that, in order to close the sale, it was necessary to promise customers castles in the air, even when it was completely clear those castles were simply impossible to build.

However, it is a practice that has spread like gunpowder and, unfortunately today, many sales representatives, usually the rockies, resort to it to engage their customers.

Cases that have personally happened to me I could mention many and surely you could too as I am positive you’ve been through the same situation yourself: Who hasn’t ever been approached by a sales guy of those who intend to make us think that "there is nothing their company wouldn’t do for us" or that "they would do even the impossible to keep all their customers completely satisfied"?

There is nothing more tiresome than a salesman who fills his mouth with hollow promises.

And, in the heat of the sale, these kinds of promises are usually like catalysts that put energy levels to the top for both sides, the side selling and the one buying, generating a lot of expectations that become then very difficult to manage and fulfill.

I had also fallen prey to this bad practice, especially when I was starting out in my career as a sales representative: I memorize the sales script completely, I believed on my heart all the things the sales manager told me the company would do to ensure my customers satisfaction and, armed to the teeth with these infallible arguments, I then went out to the street to make promise after promise, only to later find myself surrounded by customers who complained because the product did not do what it was supposed to do and the things that I had promised them were simply cheap promises.

The difference between a pleasant surprise and total frustration is in the expectation generated.

And this is why I told you at the beginning of this post that the secret to build a successful relationship with your client is precisely found using the opposite to this sales strategy: promising things you know you can widely deliver and then surprising your customers with results totally beyond their expectations.

Cheating? No, it is not cheating or selling you short. Quite the opposite. It is simply about being very honest with yourself and your business, recognizing how far your products and services can actually go, and how much satisfaction you can really generate for your customers.

When you promise more than you can deliver, you are digging your own sales grave.

These things are usually best understood when you put yourself on your customer’s shoes for a moment.

Imagine the following situation: You hire the services of a company that, from the very beginning, promises you that "they will not request your approval of the project until you are completely satisfied with what they will be developing" and then, after the first few coming and goings, reviews back and forth, some of them because you are a very demanding customer, the others because their capacities are not as thorough as they offered, they begin to push you to approve the project even though you are not completely satisfied.

How would you feel then? Defrauded, right? You then come to realize the promises they made at the beginning of the relationship were simply what people called "car-sales-guy promises" that is, promises made simply to close the sale and nothing more.

Now, let's take a moment to go to the other side and put ourselves in the following situation: You hire the services of a company whose initial promise is "to put all the best of their talents and efforts to develop a project that fully satisfies you and that is up to your requirements as a customer".

Only by exceeding your client's expectations, you will make a really positive impact.

In this second case, you find a supplier who is not promising "castles in the air" but a really average promise, that is, the normal thing: they will put the best of their talent and effort to develop a product that suits you. Nothing more and nothing less. You could even say is nothing brilliant.

A dose of humbleness will help you promise just enough to have very happy customers, for a long time.

As it turns out, when they deliver their work, you see how they have listened to all your suggestions, understood the problems you wanted to solve, embodied in the product the essence of what you wanted to achieve and, in addition to this, they’ve even done a couple of great suggestions about how it could be made even better.

How would you feel? It is obvious and the word just one: AMAZED! Positively impacted, satisfied and happy. Obviously. Who would not feel this way after such a positive experience?

And I wanted to offer you such an obvious and clear example, because the difference between one strategy and the other is so clear and obvious from my professional point of view, that there is no other way around.

The real key to generating a satisfied customer is to always give yourself and your company the opportunity to fully meet their expectations. But for doing it you need to be sure you have the ability to meet those expectations broadly because if not, you would be making a fool of yourself.

That is why you should never promise more than what you know you can deliver  reasonably. Listen to me well: it does not mean at all that your product does not have to grow or improve. None of that. Your product should be better every day, continue to grow and develop itself to keep up with advances on the market.

What should always be in tune with your product growth and development are the promises you and your sales team make to customers when trying to close the sale.

That's what's truly important!

Picture credit: Miti / Ver portafolio

I also recommend you to read the following posts:
Already bougth your product, now what?
Are You Aware Of The Tricks Your Salespeople Use To Close More Deals?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Putting My Own Home In Order: Being Kind Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be Brave

¡Thank You!
First of all, I must thank each one of you for your patience and for having understood this unexpected absence on my side, which between one thing and the other, has extended for several months until now.

Different personal circumstances have come together with my daily professional duties to prevent me from having time enough to sit down and put all my thoughts in writing about the different themes that have came up in meetings with colleagues, clients and friends, which are directly related to the professional sector I specialize in and to which this blog is aimed.

My mother came to visit us in early spring and what was supposed to be a simple vacation trip of sharing, spending time with her grandchildren, her daughter-in-law and myself, her son, unfortunately became a relapse on her medical condition which kept her indisposed for several months, during which I became her nurse, her assistant. In one word, her shadow.

Thanks God, she is back at her home, in a stable, controlled health condition and receiving required medical treatment so that no surprises occur again.

I don’t know if you’ve heard something called "The Caregiver Syndrome". It is what happens to people who take care of a sick person for an extended period of time: Once the patient is back to normal and doesn’t need to be taken care of so closely, the caregiver feels his life is empty, with no meaning, among other things too.

It feels very strange when you don’t know where to start each day, when you feel like you’re missing something at all times.

Well it’s what happened to me after my mom got well and went back home. It took me a lot to get back on my tracks and focus on my daily work, my professional and personal routine.

But in order not to make this story a soap opera, I simply wanted you to be aware of it so that you could understand the reason behind my absence.

Thank you again for being there and for rewarding me with your confidence and for always reading the things I put together here.

There are thousands of things we can learn every day if we keep our eyes open

This absence has also helped me have an inner encounter with myself as a person, beyond the professional who writes these lines. Usually accustomed to living every day from one task to the other, from one to-do-item to another, running from one place to the next one, we generally have very little time to make a pause and look back at all things in perspective, with the calmness necessary to be able to objectively evaluate them.

That has been my case. For me, these months that have gone by have been moments in which I have had the opportunity to face the biggest challenge we all have as independent professionals:

To be able to align all the roles we play in our lives, while not losing our judgment during the process.

After all, every day has only 24 hours. Neither one more nor one less. And there are times when you have to put everything on its corresponding place and dedicate your time and attention only to the things that really matter, those that are really relevant and leave aside those that can be taken care of later, or even completely removing from your routine those you simply can’t take care of.

Beyond all things, we are human beings, under different roles throughout our lives: somebody’s children, parents, brothers, couples, friends, coworkers, mentors. You name it.

Recognizing ourselves in this diversity of roles simply makes us understand that, first of all and above everything else, we are human beings and in every moment of our lives the best we can do is to give the best of ourselves to whatever occupies our attention and time at that specific moment, focusing our efforts to make it the best way possible.

In the midst of the vortex that we live every day, amid the speed and stress that usually characterizes our lives, there are basic values we must continue to cultivate no mather what, such as humbleness, authenticity, sincerity and gratitude.

While my mother was ill at home, I realized it was a perfect opportunity for me to give her back the time and dedication that for so many years she gave me, without asking for anything in return. It was an excellent time to show her my gratitude.

Her relapse made me realize our bodies are not invincible machines, but simply human bodies, vulnerable, fragile, which we must take care of the best we can, if we do not want to suffer the consequences down the road. Her relapse made me look at myself in a much more humble, sincere and authentic way.

Now you will easily understand the reason why I use to say we can learn many things if we simply keep our eyes and ears wide open every day, trying to get the best out of each of the situations we live.

Recognizing yourself in your own vulnerability as a human being makes you a sound professional, authentic, sensitive and, above all, reachable.

Being humble, grateful, vulnerable, doesn’t mean you can’t be a strong leader or a successful entrepreneur. Being human, fragile and vulnerable does not make you less professional. It’s quite the opposite.

A good opportunity to put my own home in order.

Nevertheless, I also had the time to put my business projects in order. It's always a good idea to take some time aside to do it, because the dynamics of the day-to-day routine tends to keep us very busy at all times, turning us into a firemen instead of business people, preventing us from spending time to plan ahead new projects, even from properly managing the projects we already have underway.

When you put your own house in order, you have the opportunity to set priorities on what’s really important.

With all things back to normal in my life, I will now have the opportunity to sit down and properly collect all my thoughts about multiple issues that have came up in meetings with clients and co-workers, issues that tend to become obstacles for many entrepreneurs as they are building up and developing their business.

For now, I want to end this post thanking you for your understanding and patience, and reiterating my commitment to continue offering you throughout the posts of this blog, my professional opinion about different topics, which I believe can be useful to help you carry out your business, your company and, maybe, your very life.

Because you and I are, first and foremost, human beings, who are making the best of their efforts to offer products and services to the market, and we all face the challenges of having to balance out all the different roles we play, day in and day out.

See you here next Monday.

Picture credit: Novos / See portfolio

You might also like reading the following post:
On Top Of Everything, And First Of All, We Are Human Beings.