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From the Editor
"Ask an Expert" Briefs
Accepting Responsibility for Your Sales Success
What is it that empowers some people to change smoothly and effortlessly, while getting others to modify their behavior seems like moving a mountain? It is something that is becoming increasingly rare -- a motivating sense of personal responsibility. That is, a deep and imbiding belief that one is responsible for one’s own behavior as well as the consequences of that behavior.
What's an account profile form? An account profile form isa form full of questions, or more precisely, spaces for the answers to questions. The questions are all about one of your accounts, or one of the individuals within that account. The form is the document on which you store that useful information. A well-designed, systematically executed account profile form can be one of your mostpowerful strategies for acquiring a competitive edge.
Before You Can Close a Sale, You Have to Open It!
Every salesperson talks about 'Closing the sale.' The best salespeople understand that before you can close the sale, you must open it. 'Opening' means using well designed and delivered questions to thoroughly uncover as many aspects of the buying decision as possible. Too many sales people mistakenly concern themselves with only the technical aspects of the sale, and neglect entirely some of the other issues...
Communicating Price Increases to Your Customers
No one likes price increases, but they are a fact of life. As a professional salesperson, you can manage this process with excellence or you can allow it to upset you and your customers. Implement these seven strategies and you will handle the inevitable price increase with finesse and confidence.
Dealing with the Producer Who Has Leveled Off
One or more of your salespeople has leveled off. Their performance hasn't improved much in the last few years. Where before you were able to count on significant increases each year, now you cannot. You know that these experienced salespeople can do better, but they seem unable or unwilling to break out of a certain level of performance. You are scratching your head, frustrated, and losing sleep at night wondering how to improve the situation. What do you do?
Entertaining Your Customers
How much time should I spend entertaining my customers? Good question. The world of the field salesperson is changing rapidly these days, and everything is in question. The practice of entertaining customers is one of those issues that needs to be rethought. First, let's consider whether or not you should entertain your customers.
How Can I Sell When I'm Not the Lowest Price?
How many of you are driving used Yugos? Or wearing a suit you bought at a garage sale? Or watching an 8-inch black & white TV? You've got the picture. You don't always buy on the basis of low price, so why should you think that all your customers do? The truth is, they don't. And here's a secret that almost nobody knows, including all those gurus telling you to sell 'value'....
How Sharp Is Your Sales Structure?
How can I get greater productivity out of my salespeople? In one form or another, that's a question every owner and sales manager ponders regularly. As a sales trainer and consultant, it is the basic question that I confront. And it is the underlying question behind every attempt to train salespeople. Investing in training and developing your salespeople is always a good idea. But it isn't the entire solution for many organizations....
How to Get 'Em to Do What You Want 'Em to
That's probably the question I'm asked more than any other. Frustrated CEOs and sales managers express that thought over and over, in one way or another. They harbor a feeling that some of their salespeople just aren't doing what they want them to do, and they don't know what to do about it. If that thought occasionally passes through your mind, read on....
How to Maximize the Power of a Sales Call
No matter how clever the marketing program, how creative the advertising, or how friendly the customer service reps, if you mishandle the sales call, everything else is a waste. Mishandle the sales call and you may lose a customer for years. Handle it correctly and you'll take the first step toward a lifetime relationship.
How to Protect Your Good Accounts from the Competition
The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, dictates that for most salespeople, 20% of their customers produce 80% of their revenue. If that is true for you, it means that losing one of your good accounts to the competition can be devastating to your business. But losing a good account impacts your business in additional negative ways as well. So, how do you go about protecting your most important accounts from the competition?
How Well Are Your Salespeople Serving Your Customers?
That's right. Serving, not selling. I know you are concerned with sales. It's easy to determine how well your people are selling to your customers. That's what sales reports are for. But your customers are more concerned with how well they are being served by your salespeople. Why is that important? Keep reading....
Is Integrity a Sales Strategy?
The more your customer trusts you, the less risk your customer feels in dealing with you, and the less time necessary to invest in understanding the product, service or program you are offering. From the customer's perspective, it's easier and less risky to deal with someone you trust than with someone you don't. And that can translate directly into dollars. I'm always willing to pay more for something if I can buy it with less risk.
Is Your Sales System Clogged with Accumulated Gunk?
What's gunk? Any practice that detracts from the salesperson spending time with customers. In other words, other things the outside salespeople do instead of meeting with customers. When we boil down the job of the typical outside salesperson to its essence, it is clear that the one thing we want of them, the one place that they bring value to the organization, the one thing they do that is the essential reason we have them, is interact with the customers. Everything else is a means to that end....
'How do you create a perceived value to differentiate yourself from the competition when you are both selling a commodity?' That's a question I'm often asked in my seminars. Here's how you make a difference....
Strategic Planning for Salespeople
'Ready, shoot, aim.' Unfortunately, that's the all too common description of the field salesperson's modus operandi. In a misguided attempt to stay busy and see as many people as possible, too many salespeople subscribe to the theory that any activity is good activity. There was a time when this was true. Customers had more time, sales was a simpler job, and any conversation with a prospect or customer was a good thing. But times have changed, and the job of the salesperson has become much more complex.
The 3 Most Common Mistakes Sales Managers Make
Sales manager is an incredibly important and difficult job. Unfortunately, it is often the most under-trained job in the entire organization. Instead of providing information on the best practices and processes of the job, most companies hope that their sales managers will have learned enough during their days as a field salesperson to provide some roadmap as to how to do this job well.
The Five Most Common Mistakes Salespeople Make
Over the decades that I've been involved in sales, I've worked with tens of thousands of salespeople. Certain negative tendencies – mistakes that salespeople make – keep surfacing. Here are my top five. See to what degree you (or your sales force) may be guilty of them....
The Impenetrable Account
How do I sell to an account that is firmly in the hands of a competitor? In one form or another, I hear that question at almost every sales seminar I teach. It's a great question, reflecting one of the most perplexing and frustrating situations every sales person faces. If you haven't yet been faced with this problem, be patient, you will soon be. So, how do you approach this account? In this article, I'll tell you what to do, and what NOT to do, giving you two proven techniques to penetrate these kinds of accounts.
The Value-Added Sales Call
The rules are changing. We are at the beginning of a new paradigm for the field salesperson. The new paradigm is this: Today, not only must the product or service bring value to the customer, but the time you spend with the customer must also be of value to him or her. In this article, Dave Kahle will show you how....
What's a Professional Sales Manager?
I was in the midst of a sales slump when my sales manager offered to have lunch with me and discuss the situation. Afterwards, I was back on track to becoming my company's top salesman in the nation. What made the difference in my performance was the skillful intervention of an astute and professional sales manager. He made the difference in my job performance, and that made a difference in my standing with the company. And that has made a difference in my career.
Your Most Powerful Sales Tool?
Did you enjoy what you had for dinner last night? You are probably wondering what that question has to do with sales. Bear with me a moment, and answer the question. Now, pause a moment, and think about what you did when you read that question. Your mind probably flashed back to yesterday evening, and you saw a picture...
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