Category - Hiring

Are Your Salespeople Riding the Wave?

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The worst seems to be over but our economy is, inevitably, cyclical. Like the rest of us, it has its ups and downs. Yet, when we are in a down cycle, do you get nervous about the economy? And do other factors external to your industry, including world events (such as elections for example) cause you to tighten your belt?

Cycles in the economy and moments of national or world uncertainty are not a time for either anxiety or celebration but a time to be realistic and acknowledge that what goes up, must come down. I certainly don’t mean to be a downer but if we learned anything in the last few years I hope we learned that you need to be lean and mean all of the time, not just when the going gets tough. Your sales team needs to be able to respond to this volatility. If it does not, the competition’s sales team surely will.

During these last few months, with things seeming to lighten up, the opportunities are more fruitful. I am sure your sales team feels pretty good about themselves lately but what is the truth? If your salespeople are accustomed to having sales fall in their laps, especially newer ones, they have yet to be put to the test.

With the buying opportunities seeming to now be coming along more frequently, are our salespeople really good or just reaping the benefits of a comeback?

Right now, your sales team could be the weakest part of your company. It may not seem that way since you have most likely seen an upswing in sales, even slightly and are feeling relieved. Well don’t!

Many salespeople are showing their feathers like a proud peacock but fail to recognize that their sales in these times simply may be coming to them along with the ebb and flow of the economy but with very little true sales ability involved.

A lot of companies wait until desperate times. Then the layoffs and cost cutting begins. Smart companies do not wait. They know that they should evaluate their sales force now, finding out who has effective selling skills to utilize in the slump that may lie ahead.

When assessing your team, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the necessary elements for selling in a good and not so good economy?
  • Which salespeople have those elements?
  • Which of your sales people may not have the necessary skills, and why are we waiting to replace them?

If salespeople are not strong enough to make it through tough times, they probably do not belong on your team at all. Evaluate their skills. Go on a sales call with each salesperson and see how he/she performs in the real world. Another option is to have them each take an assessment that shows the skills they truly have—and don’t have*.

Hold your ground and act as though the economy were flourishing. Keep in mind that the economy is cyclical. When things are good, act as if you were looking for ways to build revenues and cut costs. Do it now, that way, you are not caught off guard when things recede —which they always do. Now is when real sales professionals can shine.

 

For further information on this subject follow the link http://www.schulzbusiness.com/interview-questions.aspx

 

* If you would like to take a free assessment for a salesperson on your team, email me at greta@schulzbusiness.com and I will send you the link.

It’s All about the Process.

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It’s about the process

 

Ryan, a software sales rep, had been having a rough day. He’d been bombarded with questions from several customers and gotten behind on work that he needed to finish before the end of the day.

He then got a call from Wayne, a prospect who introduced himself by saying: “I’ve heard great things about your engineering software package. I saw a demo about a year ago, and was not in a position to purchase it at the time. But since then, it’s become very apparent that I need to integrate it into my system.”

“Wow,” Ryan thought. “This will be easy. It’s about time something went right today.”

Then, Wayne said: “I need to know about the cost, the tech support and how soon it can be installed.”

Ryan immediately went into his pitch. He discussed tech support in detail, covered availability and other options, and explained that the price was $12,000, with 30-day terms.

Wayne’s response was unexpected. He said that $12,000 was quite a hefty price tag and he needed a couple of days to think about all of this more carefully. He’d call Ryan back next week.

Ryan did a double take. “What just happened?” he thought. “This sale was in the bag, a sure thing. He really needs it and now he’s thinking it over? He said he needed the software right away.” And that was the end of the call.

 

So, what happened? Ryan got lazy, plain and simple. He thought Wayne was sold. He thought that all he had to do was give him the information he needed, then write it up. He got fooled into assuming the sale without doing the work. He never got Wayne to talk about why he was looking now, with what seemed to be a real priority about buying the software. The entire transaction was conducted at the intellectual level, without any real understanding of the true need.

So, what happened? Ryan was lured into taking shortcuts. He mistakenly thought the prospect’s enthusiasm was a sure sale.

 

You need the time to qualify the prospect and make sure he’s real before giving out information or making your presentation.

In Ryan’s case, a couple of questions would have made a world of difference. He might have said: “Before we discuss pricing, help me understand why this software is so important. I want to make sure the application is correct for you. Would you mind if I ask you a couple of questions?”

It is so important to gather this information before you discuss price so you can truly have an understanding of not only why they want the software, but the consequence of not installing it.

Once you give away your information – whether on the phone, in a presentation or in the form of a proposal – you have given up any form of control and are at the mercy of the prospect.

Remember: It’s not about the sale; it’s about the process.

 

Greta Schulz is known as one of the best top sales speakers and trainers in Florida. She has made a name for herself in the sales training and business training community. From her best selling books to her weekly updated blogs and articles she produces nothing but the best Sales Tips for you.

For more sales training tips and tools, or to ask her a question, go to www.schulzbusiness.com or email greta@schulzbusiness.com.

 

Are Salespeople Born or Made?

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salesperson

 

Are salespeople born or are they made? I hear this question a lot.   Surprisingly, the answer is “made.” Believe it or not, there are learned characteristics that help catapult success in sales.   And they aren’t what you think.

First and foremost, when it comes to sales success, the two most important things you have to have are commitment and desire. You have to have the desire to be successful and the commitment to do whatever it takes to get there.

That being said, the other characteristics are based on beliefs and influence the ability to sell.

Here they are:

  • Takes Personal Responsibility: Someone who lacks this trait always blames someone else (the prospect, the competition, the economy) for his or her lack of success. He has an answer for everything and an external explanation for why he didn’t get the business. So how do you test someone to see if he’s got this trait? Ask this question:

“If the economy shifts downward fifteen to twenty percent, and your goals were based on last year’s figures, how should your goal numbers change?”

  • Can Control His or Her Emotions: Someone who lacks this trait takes things a prospect says personally. He gets excited over comments the prospect makes and does a lot of defending instead of learning why the prospect said what she did. To test for this trait, ask this question:

“If a prospect say’s she’s unwilling to work with us because of a bad past experience, but you know the company is different now and has corrected the problem, what would you do?”

 

  • The Way Your Salesperson Makes His Own Purchases: This is a huge clue telling you how about that person’s selling style. A salesperson that comparison shops will empathize with prospects who do the same. Typically, this person’s number one factor in getting a “good deal” is the lowest cost. That’s trouble. So how do you test the trait? Ask this question:

“When you’re shopping for a large purchase, what’s your process like?”

There’s a whole bunch of other characteristics, but these three are interesting because most employers don’t look for them. Instead, they look for someone who’s outgoing, a “real people person”. Not only is that a not what to look for, but it can hurt you because the salesperson’s underlying beliefs are unknown.

Oh, by the way… when you ask the questions posed above, these are the answers you want to hear:

 

  1. They shouldn’t. Not at all. When the economy is good, salespeople are often “order takers”, rather than being true salespeople. Since it comes easy, they often forget (if they ever had it to start with) their real selling ability. The salesperson has to find a way to make sales happen and not accept that external factors are responsible. I wonder how your mortgage company would if you said this:: “The economy is down, so I’ll only be paying you 80% from now on.” Let me know how that one goes!
  2. Find out why and what happened. The wrong answer begins with “Yeah, but…” and defends something that not only doesn’t work, but also doesn’t get to the root of the real problem. For you to find out, you have to dig deep and ask the right questions.  
  3.  Their process should include things like deciding what he wants, going to one or two stores and    buying it that day. Why is that important? Because the more research your salesperson does and the more comparison shopping they do overrides what you teach them about getting a commitment from the prospect. They believe in looking around and comparing and if it kicks in, they’ll empathize with the prospect that says, “This looks good! But I need to look at a few other proposals.” Translation: “I’m not interested in yours.”

So no matter how friendly and outgoing someone is, don’t confuse it with the characteristics of a good salesperson. If he has some of the above characteristics, he can be taught to sell—even if he’s the quiet and reserved type!

 

 

 

 

5 Things; Getting ROI from Sales Training? Free White Paper

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Unfortunately, too many businesses are currently caught up in the trap of being too focused on short-term cost-saving measures, rather than looking at the big picture and investing in their business. So, most are not putting their sales staff through a disciplined and strategically focused training program.

 

Today, they have to know exactly what to do to be successful in building their business. There is overwhelming focus on products and services, and not nearly enough time and attention being focused on the process of sales. The question is: Are you getting your ROI from training?

 

There’s a lot that goes into selling besides going out and making calls. Before, there was what I call low-hanging fruit that was easily gathered by salespeople who were nice and friendly. People liked them, and if they had a choice, they spent their money with them.

 

Today, people are a lot more selective about how they spend their money. They’re looking for professional experts, true consultants to help them build their business. Sales training should be more detailed than just an initial one-day training. Here are five things you can look at to build a successful sales force in this new economy:

 

Have the right management process in place. Organizations often take their best salesperson and make him the manager. This is a big mistake. If someone is an excellent sales person, they often have the traits that will make an awful sales manager. Management traits are very different than salesperson traits. It’s important to remember: Just because somebody is a good salesperson, it doesn’t mean she is going to make a good sales manager.

Focus on the salespeople’s activities. I often hear CEOs and sales directors say: “I don’t need to know what they’re doing when they’re out there,” “It’s not important for me to know what they’re doing every day” and “What’s important is to make sure that in the end they make their numbers.” That’s true. Activities are not just knocking on a door or picking up a business card and making a call. What it’s about is giving them the tools to help them understand what they are doing right and what to change.

Lack of true sales skills. We have often hired salespeople because, when they come in, they’re very friendly, very outgoing and we believe that personality will help them sell for us. That is absolutely not true. We need professionals who understand your products and services in a way that will help potential prospects ask the right questions to uncover what the real needs and the real depth of use would be. The depth of the question is what’s important, and the true professional salesperson understands how that value will be seen by the prospect, as opposed to a salesperson who is out there just being friendly and meeting people. It is not about glad-handing; it’s about being a true expert.

Lack of ongoing reinforcement. We tend to hire salespeople that have either sales experience or, more often, industry experience. Often, people with industry experience are bringing negative baggage with them. My recommendation: Find a process that you believe fits with your organization, that is the most professional and that you can track at every point in the process. Once you have that, have all of your salespeople use that process. It’s too difficult for you to manage salespeople when they each have their own way of doing things. They need to use their own personality and style, but within an approved process that matches well with the philosophies of your organization.

A poorly defined process. Make sure the process your sales department is using is the one that you feel most comfortable with. What are the pieces it should have?

First, it needs to have prospecting. There’s a variety of activities that people do, and you need to understand what your salespeople’s strengths and weaknesses are. They all need to have activities that need to be done all of the time, not just when they’re not busy.

 

The second thing is they need to prequalify every phone conversation. How often do they spend time in front of people that aren’t qualified – can’t make a decision, don’t have budget, don’t have enough money – and putting proposals out there and then following up. That’s not good for anyone.

 

And third: What are they doing when they are on the appointment? Are they actually interviewing the prospects, as opposed to just going in and telling them how wonderful the organization is and hoping they see an opportunity?

 

It’s very important to make sure the process is followed the way you want it to be. It needs to be an interview. After that, there needs to be a true discussion about dollars – about budget or investing. If that doesn’t happen, you don’t want to waste time on a proposal.

 

The next part of the sale process you want to look at is: Are they following up properly? Are they recapping the conversation and the commitments both sides made to move the relationship forward? Typically, a follow-up note or email from a salesperson says, “Thanks so much for the opportunity to speak with you. These are all the things we do, and aren’t we terrific?” That’s not what it should be. It’s a professional recap of what the conversation was, and the last step is your recommendation to the prospect based on what they said was important.

 

I hope that you’re taking your sales force, which is one of the most important things you have to grow your business, very seriously and spending time, energy and money on getting them trained properly. If not, you might as well just close your eyes, throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks. How’s that working for you?

Click Below for your FREE White Paper

5 Issues That Prevent Optimal Sales Performance

 

To Train or Not To Train?

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Training

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Training is an intrecle and ongoing part of sales force development. Not only initial product training but ongoing sales process training to include; prospecting, calling at the top of an organization, closing and the activities it takes to get there consistently.

Training

“To have growth in products, you need to have growth in people”

  • Reinemund, CEO PepsiCo. Inc.

Training is an interesting subject. Most organizations believe at least at some level, that training is important. And most organizations believe that they have training in place. Typically when they say they have training they are referring to product training. Product training is the training of how the actual product(s) works. Thought it is important to understand this information, we tend to spend lots of time learning the ins and outs of product knowledge but not much time on how to take it successfully to market.

Most executives believe that “presenting” the features and benefits of the product and showing the knowledge of their product will sell it. It is only one part of the process and if I told you it was the less important of the two I am sure you would disagree…but it’s true. The other and most important part of the process is the ability to ask the right questions to get your prospects to “self-realize” that your product or service is a fit for them. This is not a natural way to approach selling; therefore training is an essential part of success in a sales organization.

A majority of sales organizations say they don’t have a sufficient amount of time to train and develop their sales teams. Another “reason” training doesn’t happen is that executives believe the sales manager has the responsibility to train. That is only partly true because training properly takes specific time and energy placed on the training task.

Often organizations overlook their greatest potential source of power-the power to increase sales performance by developing their people.

Executives attempt to solve sales training issues by hiring an ‘experienced’ salesperson. Someone that has been in sales before and just let them ‘do their thing”. This is an issue because we don’t know how successful they really were in the past and no matter how closely aligned your products or service is to what they sold before, it becomes difficult for them to break out of that mold.

If this issue is present it will show itself in many ways; one is each sales person is working as an island, meaning they all have their own way of selling, their own process-or lack there of. The difficulty with that is management can’t appropriately coach each individual without a process. Though each person has their own personality and their own style, a consistent process helps keep the entire sales organization on-track and adds the ability to forecast and coach for continual success. If your team is presently not hitting any of the benchmarks you’ve set look at their process. Is it broken?

 

Greta Schulz is President of Schulz Business, a Sales Consulting and Training firm. She is a best selling author of “To Sell IS Not To Sell” and has a Second Edition coming out in the fall2015.  She works with fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips go to www.schulzbusiness.com and sign up for ‘GretaNomics’, a weekly video tip series or email sales questions to greta@schulzbusiness.com

To Train or Not To Train?

Best Selling Author Greta Schulz joins GoDaddy Garage

GoDaddy

September 22, 2015

For Immediately Release;

 

Greta Schulz Joins The “GoDaddy-Garage”

Greta Schulz is now a contributing editor and writer for the “GoDaddy Garage”. “The Garage” is a new blog that GoDaddy is publishing that will have in-depth articles about web site development, online sales, content marketing, and the use of WordPress with GoDaddy along with other helpful information. The articles will be written for newcomers, on line marketing veterans and everyone in between.

Schulz is an experienced marketer and is president and CEO of Schulz Business SELLutions, located in Palm Beach, Florida. In addition to her own business, Schulz is a national columnist and writer of “SELLutions” which can be seen in over thirty business journals across the country. Schulz was also a contributor to the New York Times best selling book entitled “Masters of Sales” along with a bestseller she penned herself called “To Sell is NOT to Sell.” She works with small businesses as well as members of the FORTUNE 1000. “I was very flattered to be asked to join The Garage at GoDaddy,” she said. “GoDaddy is one of the most well recognized brands of any type anywhere, and the leader in the Internet e-commerce business community. I am very excited about writing for them.”

As a nationally recognized expert in sales, Ms. Schulz helps organizations of all types improve sales and build business referrals. She is also in demand as a motivational speaker for companies and organizations around the nation. Ms. Schulz has a business degree from the University of Miami and is the married mother of three.

For more information go to:

press@SalesExpert.info

www.SchulzBusiness.com

Top 5 Sales Hiring Mistakes

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“Joanne is leaving and I need someone for that territory! I need help do you know anyone?”

A week doesn’t pass without someone asking about looking for a new sales employee. I hear it all the time. So why is everyone having such a problem? Here are some common hiring mistakes we see and what you should avoid.

1) Looking for new employees when one is leaving. I think we all know the value of a good employee. Make no mistake, if you hire (and manage) right, your organization runs like a well oiled machine and I defy anyone to argue that. “Get the right people on the bus in the    right seats” the famous quote from the top-notch book Good to Great by Jim Collins. That     being said why are we looking for employees only when we “need” one. You always need      them if they are great and greatness doesn’t come along only when you are looking so be  looking all of the time.

Our biggest problem with looking when we “need” someone is the desperation factor. We   often hire to fill a need by hiring “the best of the worst”. When we are feeling pressure    from a department or another employee to lighten their load we often make a decision not    for the “best person” but the “best for right now person”. This will hurt you in the long run every time.

 

2)Hiring off of a resume’. When I say it is a mistake hiring off of a resume’ I don’t mean to presume you actually hire when a good resume comes in without other important considerations. What I do mean is being impressed by the background they have had; whom they’ve worked for and what they’ve done. Background is less important then things like eagerness to learn, commitment and desire to be successful. Hire for attitude, train for skill.

Hiring-Sales-Superstar 

3)Hiring in your image. Allowing the likeability factor to take over the actual decision of the best candidate. We like people that are like us, that we relate to but in hiring that is not to be used as a gauge. We all make decisions emotionally, meaning we decide on things in our life business and personal by our gut, by what we feel. In some cases it’s enough but in the decision of hiring someone to help you grow your business, there needs to be much more then you like them.

 

4) Selling the candidate on the job. We are passionate about our organization and all of the good things that we offer. Because of that, we sell the candidate on how great the job is instead of really qualifying them first. One of the most important things we need to do in an interview is to ask good questions and listen for the answers. It is called an interview for a reason. Do not get caught up in telling the candidate all about the job, what it takes, the duties the company benefits etc. Do not get caught up in this sale. You may find out too late the things you could have found out upfront.

 

5) Overlooking a teachable, trainable candidate for one with “experience”. The idea of hiring someone with experience is sales is understandable. It seems like a good idea for someone who can just fit right into a job and start off fast and furious. This is often not the case. Though it takes more work and effort to train someone it often proves to be much more lucrative in the end because you have taught them in your way. Unfortunately sales people seem to have more bad habits then good ones when they leave a job. Though this can be an overstatement it is more often true then not.

 

The key is to be looking for someone better then your best person, all of the time. If one of your salespeople said to you that they were going to look for new business only when they lose existing business, you would probably fire them. Then don’t do the same thing. As an executive, your prospecting responsibility is looking for top-level salespeople all of the time. Not just when you lose one.

 

How’s your organization doing? Take a free assessment and find out;

www.CorpSalesTest.com

 

Top 5 Hiring Mistakes

Business people standing with question mark on boards

“Joanne is leaving and I need someone for that territory! I need help do you know anyone?” A week doesn’t pass without someone asking about looking for a new sales employee. I hear it all the time. So why is everyone having such a problem? Here are some common hiring mistakes we see and what you should avoid.

  1. Looking for new employees when one is leaving. I think we all know the value of a good employee. Make no mistake, if you hire (and manage) right, your organization runs like a well oiled machine and I defy anyone to argue that. “Get the right people on the bus in the right seats” the famous quote from the top-notch book Good to Great by Jim Collins. That being said why are we looking for employees only when we “need” one. You always need them if they are great and greatness doesn’t come along only when you are looking so be looking all of the time. Our biggest problem with looking when we “need” someone is the desperation factor. We often hire to fill a need by hiring “the best of the worst”. When we are feeling pressure from a department or another employee to lighten their load we often make a decision not for the  “best person” but the “best for right now person”. This will hurt you in the long run every time.
  2. Hiring off of a resume’. When I say it is a mistake hiring off of a resume’ I don’t mean to presume you actually hire when a good resume comes in without other important considerations. What I do mean is being impressed by the background they have had; whom they’ve worked for and what they’ve done. Background is less important then things like eagerness to learn, commitment and desire to be successful. Hire for attitude, train for skill.
  3. Hiring in your image. Allowing the likeability factor to take over the actual decision of the best candidate. We like people that are like us, that we relate to but in hiring that is not to be used as a gauge. We all make decisions emotionally, meaning we decide on things in our life business and personal by our gut, by what we feel. In some cases it’s enough but in the decision of hiring someone to help you grow your business, there needs to be much more then you like them.
  4. Selling the candidate on the job. We are passionate about our organization and all of the good things that we offer. Because of that, we sell the candidate on how great the job is instead of really qualifying them first. One of the most important things we need to do in an interview is to ask good questions and listen for the answers. It is called an interview for a reason. Do not get caught up in telling the candidate all about the job, what it takes, the duties the company benefits etc. Do not get caught up in this sale. You may find out too late the things you could have found out upfront.
  5. Overlooking a teachable, trainable candidate for one with “experience”. The idea of hiring someone with experience is sales is understandable. It seems like a good  idea for someone who can just fit right into a job and start off fast and furious. This is often not the case. Though it takes more work and effort to train someone it often proves to be much more lucrative in the end because you have taught them in your way. Unfortunately sales people seem to have more bad habits then good ones when they leave a job. Though this can be an overstatement it is more often true then not.   The key is to be looking for someone better then your best person, all of the time. If one of your salespeople said to you that they were going to look for new business only when they lose existing business, you would probably fire them. Then don’t do the same thing. As an executive, your prospecting responsibility is looking for top-level salespeople all of the time. Not just when you lose one. – See more at: http://www.schulzbusiness.com/blog/#sthash.MY7l607I.dpuf

Are You Hiring ‘A’ Players for your Sales Team?

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What if the bottom quarter of your sales team produced as much or more revenue than the top quarter? What would that do for your company?   What would happen if you replaced the bottom quarter of your sales team with A players that get consistent over the top results?   When I talk to CEOs about this issue and ask these questions, they often give me these excuses, (because that’s what they are, excuses);   Belief- We get fooled into thinking they are A players when we interview them. By the time we figure out that they aren’t, we are already too invested”. Reality- You aren’t assessing them properly. Sales people, especially ones that have had many sales jobs are professional interviewers. They know what to say and how to say it so you will be completely impressed and blown away by how much “potential” they have. We are blinded by the charisma and charm they have! You need a non-subjective sales assessment to help give you additional tools to get out of the emotion, the falling in love, and get to the heart of what this person is about.   Belief- “We really can’t afford to pay for A players”. They tend to be expensive. Reality- Guess what? You are already paying for them through your lost business! Additionally if we monitored better the progress of a new hire and stop allowing excuses to drag out the pain, we would know sooner and loose less.   Belief- “We have loyal C players in sales that have been with us in sales for years, through thick and thin. We can’t just let them go!” Reality – Just let them go? How long have they been C players? If it just started, maybe you need to find out why and give them an opportunity to improve. If its been going on a long time, you at least need to wan them or see if there is another position that might be better for them internally.   Belief – We want to hire fresh new players in sales but we cant afford to train them. Reality- Typically go get raw talent and train them your way is the better way to go. You can afford to hire them, put money into training and monitor as you go. If they aren’t beginning quickly to “get it”,  cut your losses quickly. We tend to hand on to seasoned salespeople longer because they “must just need more time”. In that case then the ‘newbee’ might be just the answer.   Belief- I’m not sure where to find A players. When I am looking for someone new I can rarely find someone I would consider an A player. Reality- Of course not! A players aren’t out looking through the regular channels! They are either on a job and you need to typically seek them out or they put their feelers out when they are looking and are scooped up immediately! If a great salesperson is an asset, not a liability, don’t you want additional assets all of the time? Here is the question I would ask you. If you found an A player today, someone better then your best salesperson, wouldn’t you find a place for them? Of course you would, so why aren’t you looking every day!! That’s right! You or your sales director should be interviewing at least 2-4 candidates a week! Even when you don’t have a spot for them. How else will you find the gold!!!

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