Category - Marketing

Are Your Salespeople Riding the Wave?

business surfer

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 you selling the book or the movie?

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I’m going to try my best to do a great benefits statement so the customers know exactly what we do.” We put so much time and energy into coming up with this big introduction/benefit statement, but, honestly, it’s not as important as any of the other things that we do.

This thought is on the mind of most salespeople. They feel that they have to have some great, two-sentence explanation of what they do, and that will help sell it.

Now, it is important to summarize what you do, but that is not what sells. Let me illustrate this point. Think about the last time you read a book, and then saw the movie. Which is typically better? Well, almost everyone I talk to says the book is better. Why is that?

When you read a book, you have the ability to create what the scene looks like, what the characters look like, even the voices and sounds therefore the story becomes yours. When you put something in your own brain, you are able to create what it looks like, and what it sounds like, and what it feels like to you. You attach more directly to the story because it becomes your interpretation of the events – as opposed to some producer and director’s interpretation. This is the same reason why telling someone what you do and the “features and benefits” of your product or service is much less powerful then asking great questions and getting them to see how it can help through their own eyes.

When you tell someone why they should work with you, what the benefits are, what the advantages are, those are your interpretations of the benefits or the advantages that you offer. When you ask really good questions to get people to think about what is important to them, it is their idea.

Ask if they had success in a particular area, or how you can change things. It is this kind of thought-provoking questions that allows a prospect to see the advantage, on their own, your product is supposed to bring. So, asking questions is really much more important than coming up with an important benefit statement.

There are a couple different types of questions. Big-picture questions are thought-provoking questions that get the customer talking about the overall situation. For example, talk about the goals they set for the organization, and where they are along the line of those goals. “Right now, it is (plug in the date) and if it were one year from today and you were to look back and say, it has been a very successful year, what would have to have happened?”

Another might be: “What are the things that you fear the most over the next 12 months, and what are you doing to avoid them?”

The key is to ask big-picture questions and get people to think. The successful questions ask people to think about the answer and put themselves in that place before they do. Big-picture questions are typically used at the beginning of the conversation to get a prospect to open up sooner. You listen to the answers carefully and move through the conversation successfully.

The second type of question are what I call advantage questions. They come directly from what you believe are the advantages of your product or service. For example, if you sell advertising in a very high-end magazine, you might say: “Talk to me about how you get in front of high-income individuals now.” Then a follow-up question like: “If you had the ability to get in front of more of them, what would you say?” Again it forces them to think about not only being in front of potential clients that they’re trying to get in front of, but it has them think about what the message would be. It begins to develop where you’re going to go with your recommendations or proposal in the end.

So, rather than you telling them what they can do with your product or service, this allows them to come up with their own picture of how they might use your product.

Remember, when you go to the movies, it is purely the director and the producer’s interpretation. When you read a book, it’s your interpretation of those words, and you have the ability to create your own picture. It’s much more effective when it’s yours.

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

5 Keys to Successful B2B Marketing

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Successful business to business marketing involves a tricky balance that even major business conglomerates can struggle with. To stay ahead of competitors, it’s important to constantly revisit your marketing campaign, analyzing your goals, revenue and client market. Whether you are revamping your B2B marketing strategy or just getting started, the following five keys to successful B2B marketing can help you on your way.

1)  Define Your Brand  

Before you can begin to market your brand, you need to have a strong brand definition. What can your product do that others can’t? What makes you stand out? What gives you an edge over the competition? Before pitching your brand to potential clients, you must be able to answer all of these questions, and answer them with confidence. Whether you’re selling paper towels or high end jewelry, if you can’t define your product’s personality in five words or less, then you need to tighten your marketing pitch. Statistics show that the average consumer attention span is now just eight seconds, that’s lower than the attention span of a goldfish. To capture the attention of the modern consumer, ensure that your branding is concise, snappy, and has a voice of its own.

2) Hire Your Focus Group

As you prepare your pitch for your B2B sales venture, include members of your focus group in the decision-making process. For example, if your product is aimed at women between the ages of 25-34, your entire marketing team should not be made up of men between the ages of 45-54. If hiring your focus group is impractical (if your product is aimed at six year olds, for instance), then test the effectiveness of your pitch through your social media platforms (here we’re assuming that parents will liaise on behalf of their children). As you introduce your product to the wide world of social media, you’ll begin to receive the kind of consumer feedback that should play an integral part in the creation of your pitch.

3)  Identify Your Client

Successful B2B marketing is not about selling to the first client who will buy your product, it’s about finding the best client for your product. Before pitching your product, identify your niche. Who do you want to sell to, and why? Remember picking essay titles in high school? The narrower the focus, the better the results. You can’t market to everyone, everywhere, or your pitch will lack the spice of individuality that attracts high end B2B buyers. Before choosing your buyers, do as much research as possible on their B2B reputation, the products that interest them, and the demographics to which they cater. The better you understand your client, the more easily you can convince them that your product is exactly what they’ve been looking for.

4) Ready Your Pitch

Your buyers don’t know how great your product is, and your pitch is your only chance to convince them that it’s marvelous, flawless, and indispensable. Remember that B2B buyers have not just their own interests in mind, but the interests of their customers as well. Your pitch is the first step in a complex decision making process, so be ready to answer any questions that your buyer might throw at you. B2B buyers are more rational, careful and calculated than the average consumer, so flashy gimmicks are not necessarily going to work. It’s not enough to make your buyer want your product, they have to need it.

5) Cultivate Positive Client Relationships

As you build your marketing success, keep in mind the importance of cultivating and maintaining positive client relationships. Once you’ve made a successful sale, ensure that your product delivers as promised, and keep lines of communication open between your business and your buyer.    Always think of the value-add.  What can you offer your customers, that others aren’t offering?  What pain points can you solve for your target audience to improve brand loyalty?  Shopify, for example, offers templates, such as a Bill of Lading template, to facilitate the business needs of their customers.  You don’t have to be a large e-commerce platform to offer these widgets – in many cases simple apps and tools can go a long way in creating customer loyalty.   For any growing business, B2B referrals are crucial, and you won’t get them if you miss deadlines, fail to communicate with your clients, or deliver misleading pitches. As tempting as it may be to cut corners early on to optimize your ROI, it won’t help you in your end game. Offer fair prices, maintain a positive attitude, stick to your integrity, and your B2B relationships will not fail to flourish.

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Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.

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