Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What is all this talk about a Sales Process?

April 20th, 2016

What is all this talk about a Sales Process?

It occurs almost every time I speak at an event or every initial client visit. Whether your organization is using CRM or not I find that most organizations have not taken the time to define, write out and train their sales team on how to use prescriptive a sales process.  Why is this important enough to write about? The Results!

The more prescriptive process you create, the greater success your sales team will experience.  Salespeople tend to lose opportunities when they execute poorly, this is due to lack of training but it is also because they missed something during the sales process. They missed it because they simply forgot to execute at some point or they didn’t have a pathway to follow.  Remember, A level salespeople probably don’t need this kind of sales mapping, but you can move a C level salesperson to a B level by providing tools, guidance and process to follow.

I always use the example of Subway sandwiches and how their counter people are trained to simply walk down the counter by asking your certain questions as you sandwich is built. If your sales teams execute that well you get the production Subway does!

How you define a sales process is important.  Just yesterday I was speaking with a small business who mentioned they had a good sales process defined, in going deeper in our conversation I learned they had no tools, nothing documented and nothing reinforced.  Recently in working with an Acumen client we spent about two hours simply documenting what a salesperson should do on each of the various steps of their sales process, it enlightened the existing sales manager and created the beginning of a new sales driven culture for the company.  What happened?

  1. In forcing the process of “thinking through’ the logical progression and the actual actions the salesperson should take, we altered the second step and changed “what “the salesperson was to say and sell during that stage.
  2. We created one additional professional service product that could be re-sold.
  3. The Sales Manager began to fully understand not only what the steps in the sales process were, but more importantly WHY the salesperson needs to execute on them.
  4. Actual definitions of each action within each stage were specifically defined.  Why is this important?  Pipeline values become more accurate. Let me describe this in more detail.  Let’s assume there is a “demonstration” stage in your sales cycle, next ask yourself, when do your salespeople move the prospect to the demo stage: When it is scheduled? Or after it is completed? This is an example of the kinds of detail that will come out during the process.

This is an example of a Discovery Stage:

Discovery (Opportunity) Stage 3                                                                                                      

  1. Discovery Meeting(s)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (KEY STEP – this is how we differentiate ourselves.)

Salesperson Responsibility:

  • Lead the Discovery Questioning  with a Focus on landscape of the opportunity & Document Current Process
  • Identify Critical Business Issues
  • Identify Roles of prospects Team
  • Goals for Future Business Solution

o   Identify people attending the demo

  • Establish Success Factors
  • Take Good Notes , attached to CRM
  1. Summarized Findings Document
  • Create Findings Document in CRM
  • Review Findings Document for Final Version
  • Contribute Notes to Findings Document
  • Submit Findings to prospect along with appropriate  Case Study
  • Modify sales Pathway and discuss with Prospect
  • Determine if Tech/Support Team support is required
  • Coordinate Additional XXX company  resources, if required
  • Send  Letter from  President   
  • Update CRM

 

  1. During the sales process your companies Value Proposition must be proven. You can build a step or an action that takes place at the appropriate stage that can validate your messaging.  We created what we expect to be a unique idea for the client to prove theirs.
  2. One of the most important aspects of creating a prescriptive sales process is changing the sales process!  What I mean is; if you and your competitors use the basic sales stages in the same sequence and say and do the same things no one stands out and prospect becomes confused. When there is confusion, generally there is no decision.  Change your sales process to stand out, be different and make the customer remember you. Refer to my previous blog on the End of Solution Sales.
  3. We added a last step: a follow up at 90 days post implementation/installation to validate customer satisfaction and ask for a reference letter.

The next step is for the sales manager to roll you the process, teach the salespeople how to execute and then “inspect what you expect” that the sales team is using the process as it is defined. HINT: As a Sales Manager, work through what you think the sales process should look like, then hold a sales meeting to “brain storm” with your salespeople as to what they think the prescriptive process should contain. This will help build a buy-in by the sales team.

Set a 90 day plan in place to implement and evaluate the results;  create four or five metrics to measure its effectiveness, validate it is being used and to listen to your team. If it needs to be altered to increase effectiveness that is ok, but before you change-make sure you are fully understand the impacts.

Let me know your thoughts on creating a sales process. What has worked for you? What hasn’t?
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 18 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

Inside Scoop on Lead Follow Up Strategies

September 28th, 2015

Inside Scoop on Lead Follow Up Strategies

Russ Davidson

Ken: This is a guest blog with wonderful insights from a detailed study on Lead Follow Up Strategies by Accounting Software. Enjoy…and STUDY this.

If you’re struggling to connect with web lead contacts, you’re not alone. On average, 80% of B2B sales calls end up in voicemail and over 90% of voicemails go unreturned according to numbers from the sales data verification service, RingLead.

Call volume matters with web leads too, but calling warmer web prospects offers some smarter-not-harder shortcuts.

Recently, Find Accounting Software gathered data about web lead follow-up that was too interesting to keep under our hats, entitled “Case Study: 63,256 Calls Boiled Down to the Most Effective Web Lead Follow-up Strategies.”

The study takes on four questions that every sales and marketing employee deals with on a daily basis:

    1. How does the speed of follow-up affect the results?
    2. How many calls should be attempted?
    3. What is the best time of day to call leads?
    4. What is the best day of the week to call leads?

The quicker we called contacts the more likely we were to speak with them and successfully qualify their interest. Calling within 1 minute of lead submission doubled our first call successful contact and qualification rates.

Would some people be turned off by the quick follow up? Definitely not. In fact, the quicker the call, the better the qualification rate. We qualified nearly twice as many prospects (39.6% versus 20.9%), just by picking up the phone immediately versus waiting an hour.

So how many follow up calls should be made?

Calling contacts a full 10 attempts lead to nearly twice as many qualified leads versus calling only once. Research shows the average number of call attempts salespeople make to inbound leads is 1.3—far too few to maximize contact.

Statistically the first call is your best bet to get someone on the line.

We found that we spoke to almost twice as many contacts on our first call as on our second (42.9% versus 22.2%). From there, the per call contact rates drop off. By the time we reached the 10th call, we were down to less than 1 in 20 individual calls resulting in conversations.

Admittedly, it is hard to get excited about a per call contact rate under 5%. But the cost of making an additional call is cheap (maybe 30-60 seconds). More importantly, over time the contact numbers add up. We discovered that continuing through the 10th call increased our overall contact rate to nearly 80%—almost doubling the contact rate resulting from calling just a single time.

What effect does time of day have on contact rates? We found a few brief points

  1. The difference in the effect of time of day for calls is fairly minimal
  2. If you don’t correct for some variables, the data can be a bit misleading

We generally experienced the most success calling leads in the morning hours. However, the time of the day of call attempts had a relatively minor influence on lead contact. The difference in contact rates for the best and worst hours of the day was less than 5%.

What is the best day to follow-up?

The middle of the week (T-Th) is a slightly more effective time to reach out to lead contacts. Calls on Thursday had the highest contact rate. But day of the week is even less of a factor than time of the day on lead follow-up success. The difference in contact rate between the best day (Thursday) and the worst (Friday), was less than 3%.

In summary, numbers are great, but they don’t mean much without acting on them. In our case, we’ve enacted a number of process changes to increase the effectiveness of our outreach. One measure of the progress can be seen in our follow up times. Over the past year, if you calculate our average follow-up time, we’ve been able to get it down to within 3 minutes. More than half the prospects who request follow-up on our site will now hear their phone ring within 1 minute.

Your Thoughts?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Hiring High Performance Sales Teams #1 of 2

August 25th, 2015

Hiring High Performance Sales Teams Strive for high competency and high commitment (first installment of a two-part series on sales recruiting)

You’ve got sales quotas, plans and deadlines. You can’t reach your sales goals without a complete staff, so when someone leaves it’s terribly tempting to hire the first person available to fill the job.Yet, a helter-skelter, frantic approach leads to hiring the wrong person. That adds expense, disrupts your sales team and, potentially, creates a customer service disaster. As Harvey Mackay says, “The worst mistake a manager can make, especially a sales manager, is to make a bad hire. You can’t build a business if you have a revolving door.”

That’s why I recommend that sales leaders spend 15 to 20 percent of their time in “recruiting mode.” You must invest that necessary time and effort to increase the odds of hiring the best. It’s the number one challenge in the channel, hiring top talent. In my book,Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams, I also provide a New Salesperson On Boarding Training Plan.

As the sales leader, you are the key contact for candidates and have the greatest impact on whether they say “Yes!” to your offer. Here are a few tips to help increase your odds of selecting the right candidate for the job and building a winning sales team.

Prepare Ahead of Time  Thorough preparation lets you:

  • Establish rapport with the candidate
  • Listen, instead of talk
  • Complete adequate interviews (use our Scorecard plan)
  • Seek meaningful credibility rather than be moved by surface characteristics such as appearance
  • Make thoughtful decisions, not based on personal preference or prejudice

Therefore, plan ahead. When scheduling, allow ample time to address your questions and those of the candidate. Determine when you are most alert and “on top of your game” and interview only during your best time of the day. Conduct interviews in an environment (on-site or off-site) where you are free from distractions. Turn off your cell phone.

Before the interview, decide on the five to seven most important characteristics that will make a person successful in the job. If you’re lucky enough to have two great candidates available, use their “score” on these characteristics as a tie-breaker.

Plan to make the interview highly interactive so that you can truly gauge the candidates’ competency and commitment in a short time. What kinds of problems and obstacles might an applicant experience in the job? Think of three or four scenarios for them to address. Challenge the candidates with pertinent, applicable questions and see how well they think on their feet—just as they would in a sales situation.

Competency and Commitment  When recruiting, focus your thinking on two concepts—competency (sales skills) and commitment (attitude and culture alignment). Remember that you need the right combination of skills and attitude for this person to be both productive and to assimilate into the company’s chemistry and culture.

If the current opening is for a major executive sales position, the candidate must be a competent sales expert. For the entry-level sales representative, on the other hand, commitment and attitude become the most important ingredients. This facet is as important as the skill level. Having the “right fit” means skill and attitude.

Potential employees usually fall into one of four types. Understand these and you can more effectively choose the right person for the job and for your company.

High competency, low commitment—This person has strong sales skills but needs an attitude adjustment. Ask yourself: Is it the person or the previous company that caused past concerns or problems? Will your culture provide a self-motivational environment for this candidate to succeed? Do you have the time and energy to help coach this candidate to success?

Low competency, high commitment—this person needs sales training but has a great attitude, a great entry-level profile. You need to consider: Does your company offer education and training for entry level-sales representatives? Do you have the time or resources to train entry-level candidates? Is there a mentor program in place?

Low competency, low commitment—End the interview and move on. It is one thing to need sales training. It is a no-win situation if the candidate also has a poor attitude.

High competency, high commitment—Hire these people on the spot. Do everything in your power to create an environment where they can “hit a home run.” They have the sales skills and attitude for success.

Critical Points to Remember Here is how to be sure you hire the best and leave the rest:

  • Design a consistent, systematic interview process
  • Define now the ideal sales representative and write the job description
  • Construct a list of base questions to ask of all candidates
  • Communicate to all internal participants the job description, sales profile and your expectations

A good recruiting program brings rewards beyond just a stellar array of candidates. Interviewing is a valuable way to gain intelligence about the marketplace. You can gather tips about unhappy accounts. You can learn about competitors’ strategic changes as well as their weaknesses in customer support and product or service availability. Interviewees may even offer leads to sales people.

Hiring good salespeople is one of most important tasks a manager faces. Few decisions are more essential to the success of your company than who represents your products and services. The time and money required for an organized recruitment process pales in comparison to the payoff.

To view a free video on “HIRING THE BEST” go to: app.wagmob.com/ken

Next blog: profiling job candidates. 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers,

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:   www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Know When to Say When

June 9th, 2015

Salespeople: Know When to Say When

 Ken: Today we have are offering a guest blog from Adam Honig who is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies

 

There are many skills a salesperson needs to perfect to become a legendary seller.  But pushing hard for a sale, no matter the circumstances, isn’t one of them.  Sometimes it’s best to know when to say when. Here are three ways you can show restraint, and still get ahead.

Bite your tongue and stop selling

If you have done your research and talked through solutions with your customer, then you should have a pretty good plan hammered out on how to sell them what they need.  But sometimes, mid-sale negotiations, it starts to feel like a slam dunk sale.  You may get greedy and on the fly rethink your solution.  Instead of selling them the original package for X dollars, you stretch the original concept and propose to sell them a whole new solution that is double the cost.  They get nervous, re-evaluate, drag their heels, and you eventually lose the deal. The whole deal.

C’mon salespeople, show some restraint!  Instead, once you have reached your objective, whether it be in a meeting or on a call, know when to stop selling. Just shut your mouth and know when to say when. To ensure you do this, purposefully make a plan before each interaction with the client. You need to communicate with your team to make sure they’re on the same wavelength with you…. and also keep the client in the loop. Stick to this game plan and before you know it, you will be celebrating the victory of a sale.

It’s already dead and rotting, so bury the opportunity

When you are working a ton of deals, do you sometimes feel like you are spreading yourself too thin?  Juggling with a few too many balls in the air? Perhaps it’s time to drop some of those dead-end opportunities. Knowing when to say enough is enough on pursuing an opp is a necessary skill.

Two strengths salespeople have are passion and confidence, which can also become our weaknesses. We all want to win, and this causes us to hold onto deals longer than we should at times. While confidence is needed in sales, overconfidence can cause an overestimation of our ability to close any and all deals. As a result, we can hold onto deals way too long; fighting for them for that sense of accomplishment. However, when too much energy is focused on a deal that barely closes, how secure is that sale, how happy is that customer, and how many solid deals did you lose in the mean time?

At my last company when we won a deal, it would be active in our CRM system on average for 90 days. Deals we lost? We kept them in our CRM system for on average 200 days!

Deals that aren’t going anywhere not only sap your energy and emotions, but they keep your eye from the deals that matter.   Have you not heard from them in over a month? Are they not a good fit for your product? Yeah, they probably did get your messages, and are just ignoring you for a reason. Take the hint, it may be time to kill the opportunity and move on.

Make them want what they think they can’t have. Or can they?

Imagine being on a call and the prospect seems so uninterested in your product that you just want to throw in the sales towel and say “yeah, maybe YOU aren’t right for OUR product”. Assuming you aren’t fired on the spot, what if then that prospect turns your negative questioning around and starts to convince YOU why THEY are right for your product.  I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes a little push-back can work.

I like to refer to this sales technique where a salesperson basically challenges the prospect to reject an offering as the “negative close”. Examples include questions like “this project will never get funded, right?” or “it’s unlikely you can get approval for this, right?” The idea is to get your prospect to disagree with you.

Part of the challenge in sales is getting your customers to be honest with you about their reservations with your product, or their timing and budget for a purchase. It’s not like they are always trying to hide something from you. Often they themselves don’t even know the answer.

Giving a prospect an easy way to say “no” can help you qualify a deal quicker and move onto other more lucrative opportunities. You’ll find out what your potential client is really looking for and if he/she has the budget to back his/her desires. It’s a time saver for all involved.

As long as your tone is right and you don’t use it too often, you can use negative responses in your favor.

In conclusion

In sales, sometimes showing restraint may be a path to success.  Don’t be afraid to kill already-dead opportunities. Take a chance and push back on a prospect to reject an offering. And  learn when to be happy with reaching your objective in a meeting.  Know when to say when, sales guys!

Bio on author, Adam Honig:

Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the ‘No Jerks’ hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

 

Do you Dominate the Conversation?

December 1st, 2014

Do You Totally Dominate the Conversation?

 This week I have asked a friend of mine to share one of his blog posts, Bob Terson has much to share, this topic is one of the secrets to sales success. Ken Thoreson

Two recent conversations I had—one on the telephone, one face-to-face in a restaurant—influenced me to write today’s blog. Both were with professional sales trainers, who shall remain anonymous; I have no wish to embarrass anyone. Both men have successful businesses, are in their late 40s, early 50s, with lots of experience under their belts—we’re not talking about a couple of rookies here. Both were interesting and likeable, except for their wearisome need to (1) completely dominate the conversation; (2) brag incessantly about how unique and successful their methodologies are, that no one else does what they do; and (3) constantly interrupt and direct the conversation back to themselves, which after a while became annoying to the Nth degree. Really, I couldn’t complete a thought without getting interrupted. It was so blatant it short-circuited my brain and I started looking for it.

  1. Dominating the Conversation: I have no doubt both sales trainers I spoke to, when they’re training people, preach the direct opposite of what they were personally practicing; otherwise they wouldn’t be successful. A true sales professional understands what my late father liked to point out—there’s a good reason we have two ears and only one mouth; he wants to get the other guy talking, so he can ascertain the information necessary to serve the prospect/customer. So, let me ask you, Do you practice what you preach?—personally, as well as professionally?
  2. Brag Incessantly: I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but let me remind you—no one likes a braggart! It’s boring as hell and all it actually does is reveal the depth of the braggart’s insecurities. Deep down he’s trying to convince himself, as well as you, that he’s cool as he’s portraying himself to be. A confident individual, the real McCoy, has no need to tell you how wonderful he is, how successful he is, none at all. He’s Cary Grant in North by Northwest, not Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.
  3. Constantly Interrupting: If you consistently interrupt others, you’re showing them that they don’t matter to you, that you have no interest in their thoughts or opinions, not one bit. You’re demonstrating in no uncertain terms that it’s all about you—period, they don’t count a shred. You can tell them you care, but keep in mind what F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “Action is character.” It’s never about what you say; it’s always about what you do.

Let me suggest you monitor yourself at all times when conversing with people—personally, as well as professionally. If you catch yourself dominating the conversation, bragging, interrupting, immediately put a halt to it and say something like, “But enough about me; tell me about yourself—I’m all ears.”

Then listen like your life depended upon it. All the great ones are good listeners.

 

Robert Terson has been a sales professional and entrepreneur his entire adult life. He retired from his advertising company in 2010 after 38 years in business. Today, Bob writes, speaks and generously shares his time with others. Bob also does some LIMITED coaching and training. He lives in suburban Chicago with his wonderful wife Nicki. He blogs regularly at SellingFearlessly.com and you can follow Bob on twitter @RobertTerson and LinkedIn. His book “Selling Fearlessly“, released in October 2012, has received rave reviews and is available at Amazon.com.

 

Be Bold:know that you don’t know!

December 9th, 2013

Be Bold: Know that you don’t know!

Ken:  This a guest blog by Jeff Shore on his new book.  I have written on this topic often, I believe it is almost a lost art in selling… I stress this with all my clients.

“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”

~Thomas Berger

SUMMARY: Top sales professionals have this in common: they always want to be better. The best and easiest tool to use in an effort to get better is this: Ask questions!

In order to be in a constant state of growth, it is important to know that you don’t know! What I mean by this is that while an individual sales person can knock themselves out to improve their technique, put in countless hours, and chase down every possible hint of a lead, unless they expand their knowledge by way of those around them, they will still remain limited in their success.

The mantra to keep in mind in regard to being better at what you do is this: always ask questions!

Asking Questions ? Growth = Success

There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained from the people around you. Understanding the sales process from the perspective of your co-workers will enrich your understanding of your piece of the process and enable you to be better at it.

Think about the details and nuances of your own work that you know for a fact people aren’t aware of. Remember that every person knows such things about their own job. When you know these things about the work others do, that information will make you better at your own work!

When you need help in a sales process, you most likely think of going to your sales manager. While this is appropriate, instead of just asking for help, take opportunities with your sales manager to ask things like “What are some of the frustrations in your job.” And, don’t stop at your sales manager when asking questions. What questions could you ask your division president, your department head, or your lender?

APPLICATION IDEA: Stop right here and think about whom you might practice your curiosity skills on and what you might ask that person. Then schedule it. Now!

Asking appropriate questions at appropriate times does not communicate ignorance. A timely and thoughtful question communicates a desire to grow and an interest in those around you. When done well, asking questions makes the people around you feel respected, which is a bonus to increasing your own knowledge!

Get curious about how other people in your industry do their jobs and what challenges they face. When you are bold enough to ask questions, your world will change!

“I have no particular talent. I am just passionately curious.” Albert Einstein

About the Author:

Jeff Shore is a highly sought-after sales expert, speaker, author and executive coach whose innovative BE BOLD methodology teaches you how to change your mindset and change your world. His latest book, Be Bold and Win the Sale: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Boost Your Performance, is forthcoming from McGraw-Hill in January 2014. Learn more at jeffshore.com or follow Jeff on Twitter.

More About the Author:

For more than three decades, Jeff has guided executives and sales teams in large and small companies across the globe to embrace their discomforts and deliver BOLD sales results. In a crowded field of sales experts and training programs, Jeff Shore stands out with his research-based BE BOLD methodology. Combining his extensive front-line sales experience with the latest Cognitive Behavioral Therapy research, Jeff has created a highly effective, personalized way to reset sales paradigms and deliver industry-leading results. Jeff doesn’t just teach you how to sell, he shows you how to change your mindset and change your world.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving! thanks for your support

November 20th, 2013

How to Amp up your sales letters

November 1st, 2013

How to Amp Up Your Sales Letter and Ensure a Response

How to Amp Up Your Sales Letter and Ensure a Response
A sales letter is one of the best tools you have to make an impression. It’s important, and it’s something you want to get right the first time, but it’s not necessarily something that has to be obsessed over. There are a few basic rules that, if followed, can lead to a sales letter that leads to, well, leads. Follow this guide to creating an amazing sales letter that sells.
A good sales letter is always personalized to the potential client – avoid boilerplate copy!
Personalize
Resist the urge to write a boilerplate letter and then add a name, a company, and a few tidbits designed to give the impression of a personalized correspondence. If you add a few nuggets to make it appear as if you wrote your sales letter specifically for them, it will appear as if you added a few nuggets to make it appear as if you wrote your sales letter specifically for them.
Write each letter individually. If you take a form-letter shortcut, it will show. Absolutely no one will respond well to a letter they can tell was sent to a million other people with a few adjustments made to trick them into thinking it was just for them.
It’s All About Them
In its purest form, sales is the business of convincing people you can do something for them. Your letter should not focus on what “we offer”; it should focus on what “you’ll get.” By writing about what you can do, you’re coming from the perspective of doing something for yourself. The entire tone and context should revolve around how the prospective client’s situation will improve if they choose to do business with you.
Put the Ball in Your Own Court
Never end a sales letter with the onus on the client. If you leave it up to them to follow up with you, you’re taking all the control away from yourself and putting it into the hands of someone who you can’t be certain will ever call back. It’s not polite to ask the potential client to call you if they’re interested. It’s bad business.
Your pitch should be followed by a promise to follow up with them in a day or two days or a week. If you leave it up to them to call, plan to be sitting by a phone that isn’t going to ring.
Rely on Your Words
Resist the urge to add a loud graphic element or flowery background to your letter. A sales letter is not the place for graphic design. Let your words do the talking. A sales letter should be short, smart, and to the point.
If you’re not a great writer, that’s fine. Be honest about your limitations and hire a copywriter. A sales letter, in its purest form, is a large concept boiled down to a few paragraphs consisting of a few sentences each. Putting graphics and images and design on a sales letter is like a restaurant putting too much seasoning on a piece of fish – it makes the diner wonder what they’re covering up.
Avoid flowery graphics or bold design motifs. Let your words do the talking.
There is no magic formula for a good sales letter. It should focus on what comedian George Carlin called “language economy” – using the least amount of words as humanly possible to get the point across. Be honest, speak in plain English, and be brief. Most importantly, end things with the understanding that you’ll call them, not the other way around.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about small business, personal finance, and how to accept mobile payments.

Are Your Ready for 2014?

September 23rd, 2013

First Quarter 2014

Are You Set Up?

Ken, are you crazy?  I have not finished the fourth quarter yet!  But as budget planning begins and business strategies begin to be set, it is your responsibility to be ready for 2014.  What do you need to have on your to-do list for the next 60 days? I have listed the top 10; let me know what I have missed or what is on your list?

1.      What are your revenue objectives by each quarter for 2014?

2.      Review your existing teams carefully, analyze each person’s strengths, weakness, rank the following on a scale of 1-5, (5=great), are they good enough to stay on your team for 2014?

  1. a.      Sales skills
  2. b.      Product/industry knowledge
  3. c.       Operational knowledge
  4. d.      Sales planning

3.      How many new people do you need to recruit? When do you need them fully up and trained? Hint: hire them NOW.

4.      Review your marketing/sales operational teams.  Do they really understand your market, your customers, and the benefits you bring to them?  What do you need to do to improve their business knowledge?

5.      Is your compensation plan effective? Did it achieve the results you wanted? Have your business objectives changed and therefore your 2014 compensation plans may need to be altered.  (Take our sales compensation assessment on our web site: www.AcumenMmgt.com)

6.      Re-assess your CRM/Sales Metric Dashboards for the entire year, what trends can you find or what activities need to be enhanced? Hold an individual salesperson review meeting to assess performance.

7.      What will be your “theme” for 2014?  Define what the top 3 objectives that you need to focus on during each of the 1st and 2nd quarters?

8.      Schedule a “personal self-assessment” meeting, either with your manager or your peer team or even perform a confidential 360 analysis by using your sales team to comment on what you are doing well and what needs to be improved.

9.      What new elements within your sales training plans for 2014 do you need to plan for?  Outside training? A book club? More role playing?  What do you need to do to improve the professionalism of your team?

10.  When is your 2014 Sales Kick-Off Meeting? Where will be held? What will you announce and how will you energize your team with vision, fun, and direction? 

 Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 14 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Ken’s latest book is “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”. www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.           Ken@AcumenMgmt.com   www.AcumenManagement.com  

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Never Make a Cold Call Again!

September 3rd, 2013

I m not sure how many of my readers subscribe to our  monthly newsletter: “Why Sales Managers Succeed!”, if you don’t please sign up on my web site; www.AcumenManagement.com

In case you don’t receive the newsletter, I wanted to include one of the three sections in this month’s edition. I hope you enjoy, Ken

Never Make a Cold Call Again

During a recent client sales meeting we talked about the power of networking, we assigned every salesperson to at least one networking/association event per month. If you aren’t “connected” in your marketplace do it!  That discussion lead to the best new thought of the year! Create an Acumen Power Network Map! 

What is it?  Here’s the secret steps: 1) Identify  a raving fan of your business, 2) Google/LinkedIn/Jigsaw search that person’s business relationships and 3) create a map of all associations/Boards/activities  they are involved in, 4) list all individuals who are members of that association or people who also serve on those Boards. Next, 5) identify what companies those individuals work in and target those organizations that fit your company’s  ideal client profile and last 6), ask your “raving fan” to make a referral introduction to your targeted organizations! Do your homework and count commissions.

For an example send me an email and I will send you a sample Acumen Power diagram:  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 14 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Move up and move ahead!

Acumen Mgmt. provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.           Ken@AcumenMgmt.com   www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com