Come to Our Free Webinar with Sales Expert Jill Konrath

May 26, 2010 - Leave a Response

When you think about it, pursuing a new job is very much like prospecting and meeting prospects in the pursuit of sales.

That’s why you are invited to a free 60-minute webinar this Thursday (May 27) with one of the very best sales experts you will find. Internally recognized sales guru Jill Konrath is presenting “The New Rules of Sales: Achieving Success with Today’s Crazy-Busy Buyers” at 1 p.m. Eastern time (10 a.m. PT, 11 a.m. MT, noon CT). Click here to register.

What does it take to capture and keep the attention of today’s time-starved, frazzled prospects? How can you get their business – especially when they’re under extreme pressure to do more, faster and with fewer resources.

Jill will talk about why traditional sales methods don’t work anymore. Plus, she’ll share numerous strategies from SNAP SELLING, her new book on how to be more productive, improve your effectiveness and win over today’s crazy-busy buyers.

You’ll discover numerous strategies you can use to:

  • Create messaging that cannot be ignored.
  • Eliminate the complexity that drives prospects to a screeching halt.
  • Avoid the commodity trap and become an invaluable resource.
  • Maintain momentum despite the pull of the status quo.

When you learn the new rules of sales, it’s a SNAP!

Jill is a recognized expert in B2B sales, helping sellers crack into new accounts, speed up their sales cycle and win more business. As a frequent speaker at sales meetings and professional conferences, she provides fresh perspectives, provocative insights and real world strategies.

SNAP SELLING, Jill’s newly released book, is already on it’s way to bestseller status. She’s also the author of “Selling to Big Companies,” a Fortune “must read” and 4-year Amazon Top 25 Sales book.  She also wrote “Get Back to Work Faster” in which she shows job seekers how to use sales strategies to land a new position.

*Bonus! 25 lucky attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Konrath’s book, SNAP Selling !

Busy at that time? Register anyway and we’ll send you a link to listen to it at a time that works best for your schedule.

Making a Difference

October 19, 2009 - One Response

Making a Difference
“All customers care about today is price. It doesn’t matter if your product (service) is better, lasts longer or enables them to do more things. If you don’t have the lowest price, you lose.”

Sound familiar? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard discouraged sellers say various iterations of that quote in the past couple years.

No one likes to feel that they might as well be selling wastebaskets or rubber bands. You hate to think your customers could care less about the quality of your products or services. That leaves you feeling empty, like you’re wasting your time and your life.

If you’re like most people, you want to feel good about the products or services you sell. You want to be proud of your services and capabilities. It’s important to believe your product is top-notch and a great value.

Virtually every sales book on the market talks about the importance of being able to relate the features, advantages and benefits of your offering. But, in today’s market it’s just not enough.

To be successful selling these days, it’s imperative for you to go deeper – to understand the difference your product or service makes to your customer. And you must understand it from their perspective, not yours.

Finding the Difference

Use these strategies to better understand the difference your product or service makes to your customers.

1. Situational Analysis
Use your critical thinking skills to analyze your customer’s world. Ask yourself or brainstorm with colleagues:

To the best of your knowledge, how are customers doing things without your product/service? (Identify the top 2-3 ways)
What problems are they likely to be experiencing because of what they’re doing/using today? How might their current methods make it difficult for them to achieve their goals and objectives?
How do these problems affect their business? This part is critical. “Feel-good” terms like lowered morale or upset workers isn’t enough. Think in terms of critical business measures such as productivity, operational efficiency, profitability, costs and time-to-market. How does your offering affect these issues?
2. Ask Your Customer(s)

This is one of the most important things you can do – and it’s much more effective if you do it after you’ve completed the situation analysis. Ask your customer:

About how they did things before they bought your product or used your service.
To share the problems your offering helped them fix and the goals it helped them achieve.
About the value they realized from using your products or working with you.
This is an invaluable exercise. Have your questions prepared and take good notes. If you don’t understand your customer’s response, ask for clarification. You’re at this meeting to learn as much as you can.

Quantify the Difference

If at all possible, quantify the value of your offering. This is what catches the interest of today’s business decision maker.

How much was turnover reduced? How much faster did the product come to market? What specific cost savings were achieved? How long did it take to get these results? What percent increase/decrease was attained? What profits were gained from faster decision making?

Sound like a lot of work? It is … but it’s worth every ounce of effort you put into it.

When you know the difference you make, developing a strong value proposition is easy.
When you know the difference you make, it’s much easier to get your foot in the door.
When you know the difference you make, you can develop great questions that explore customer’s needs, issues and concerns in areas where you have a solution.
When you know the difference you make, it’s possible to move a customer from indifference to urgency.
When you know the difference you make, it’s much easier to separate yourself from the competition.
When you know the difference you make, it’s much easier to keep going when the times are rough.
Remember this: Customers could care less about your product or service. They only care about the difference you make!
If you haven’t taken time from your busy schedule to find it out – do it right away. Not only will you feel better about yourself and the work you do, but you’ll also sell more!

Stronger Value Propositions

October 19, 2009 - Leave a Response

Stronger Value Propositions

In order to get customers to consider changing from the status quo, you have to give them a good reason. A really good reason. They need to know about the tangible business results they’ll get from using your product or service.

One of best ways to waken a prospective customer out of their “everything is okay” slumber is to “jolt” them with a statement about the significant difference your offering can make. And the bigger the jolt, the better.

That means you can’t just say, “We help you increase sales” or “With our products your service costs go down.”

You need to be explicit. Metrics are a must.

How much did sales go up?
What kind of savings were realized?
How much did you lower the cost of goods sold?
What was the financial impact of the time saving?
And be exact. Customers don’t believe rounded numbers any more. Don’t say you doubled sales. Say they increased by 114% in 5.33 months. The more specific your number, the higher its credibility.

Some of you are probably panicking by now. No statistics, right?

Well, you’re not alone. Sometimes it’s difficult to measure one’s impact. Sometimes customers hate tracking things. Sometimes what you’re doing is so new that no one has numbers. Sometimes your marketing department gives you nothing to work from.

But don’t let that stop you! Here are 3 ideas you can use to create stronger value propositions – complete with metrics.

Why You Must Assume – Even Though You’ve Been Told It’s Something You Should Never Do
Don’t get me wrong! I love being a consultative seller. It’s literally a part of my sales DNA. But a few years ago, I discovered that “being consultative” didn’t convince decision makers that it was worth their valuable time to meet with me.

To show you what I mean, let me take you into their world and put you center stage as the designated future customer.

You’re busy working at your desk – and have been since 7 a.m. this morning. The phone rings. You glance at the clock and see that it’s 2:57 p.m. You can’t believe that it’s so late already. Your “to do” list is longer now that it was when you started.

But you’re expecting a very important call at the top of the hour so, without even a glance at the originating number, you pick it up.

“Hello,” you say.

“Pat,” the voice on the other end of the phone answers. “This is Terry. I’m the account executive from Global Solutions. I’m glad to finally catch you in. Do you have a few minutes?”

You shudder. You’d have never answered the phone if you thought you’d end up talking to a salesperson. “I’m expecting a call at 3 p.m.” you reply tersely, hoping to shake yourself free from this unexpected interruption.

“Not to worry,” says the voice. “I’ll be brief. As I said, I’m from Global Solutions. We specialize in state-of-the-art services to help companies like yours with all your solution needs.

I’d like to set up a time to meet with you to find out how you’re handling your needs in this area – and share with you how Global might be able to help you out. I’m wondering how your schedule looks next Thursday?”

“You’ve got to kidding!” you blurt out. “You expect me to take my precious time to meet with you and tell you how we’re doing things here? I’ve been slaving at my desk since bright and early this morning without even a break for lunch.

“Yet you have the audacity to request a meeting with me when you can’t even give me a valid business reason for doing so?”

The voice jumps in, “Pat, I would never assume to know your needs. Every business is different. And I couldn’t possibly recommend anything without learning more about your goals this year and how you’re currently handling things.

“Plus, I’d like to understand these problems you’re facing, as well as their impact on your organization. It would be presumptuous of me of me to assume.”

“And,” you butt in, “You’d don’t think it’s presumptuous to request a meeting with me when you haven’t even taken time to learn about my company. Sorry, that just doesn’t work with me. If I meet with you, you better bring something to the table.”

The voice on the other end stammers, “I would never want to assume anything.”

“You just don’t get it!” you say emphatically as you slam down the phone, disgusted with another so-called ‘consultative salesperson.’ As far as you’re concerned, all they’re doing is wasting your valuable time without offering anything in return.

—–

What just happened here? It’s the end of a consultative sales era as we know it. Prospective customers simply don’t have time for it today.

Instead, they need you to be assumptive! That’s right. You need to assume – even though you were trained that to do so was to make an ASS-out-of-U-and-ME.

In short, you need to demonstrate expertise right up front in order to earn the right to be consultative.

So how should you approach a prospective customer? How about something like this:

“Pat. Terry from Global Sales. I know how much the economy is having an impact on manufacturing companies like yours. What we’ve found is that way too many organizations are paying way too much on their software licenses.

“We’ve been able to trim their expenses by up to 22.7% in the first year. If you’re like other CFOs, you’re looking for dollars everywhere in your budget. Let’s set up a time to see how we can cut your costs in this area. Sound good?”

Feels completely different, right? You’ll get appointments – not brush-offs – when you start assuming.

To be effective in today’s crazy business environment, you need to be assumptive to demonstrate your value. Yes, you have to spend time doing research up front. Yes, you need to craft a personalized message.

But that’s what it takes to get in the door. And after that, you can put your consultative sales skills to good use.

Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies and founder of the Sales Shebang, is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and industry events

Hello world!

August 2, 2009 - One Response

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