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5 Really Important Sales Concepts - Today's Lesson - Be Unique

Posted by Tony Cole on Mon, Nov 12, 2018

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In our sales training classes, we spend a great deal of time on the appropriate "attitude" required to be successful in selling. With the right attitude, you can count on consistently executing the required conduct and sales techniques to be successful.  I once heard another sales development expert explain that "sales technique is just a change in language.  You already have a sales language; it just may not be as effective as it could be."  (If you want additional information on "attitude", you can find more posts in our blogs.) 

Today, and for the next 4 days, I am going to focus on 5 really important sales concepts.  You can also call them "techniques" but sometimes problems occur when someone tries to duplicate the exact technique that a trainer uses.  For example, if your facilitator is from the northeast part of a country where the communication style is a little more direct, faster paced and some would describe as "aggressive", but you are a mid-westerner, then you may find yourself failing to bond well with prospects, not because of what you have said, but more because of how you said it.  So, for that reason, we'll focus on the concepts and let you develop your technique. However, with that in mind, don't let your "record collection" or "need for approval" get in the way of executing the concepts. (There I go again- back to attitude)

Today's lesson:  Be unique.

You have your elevator speech, your 15-second commercial, your value proposition, your positioning statement, etc.  It doesn't matter what you call it.  The concept is this:  Have a concise way to describe to someone what you do when you first meet him or her.  Here's the problem.  Everyone in selling has been taught the elevator speech, the 15 second commercial, the value proposition and the positioning statement, etc.  You know it's supposed to describe what you do: 

"I help companies like yours manage their insurance risk." 

"I sell customized clothing to busy executives."

"I own a CPA and tax consulting practice specializing in the needs of companies that generate between 5 and 10 million dollars in revenue".

Sound familiar?  That's the problem.  There is nothing unique about the approach from any one of these statements. Here's the rule about the concept:

What you say should cause the person with whom you are talking to respond either verbally or mentally in one of three ways.  You have to give the prospect a compelling reason to keep listening. When you deliver whatever it is, they should respond with either:

  1. "That's me".
  2. "How do you do that?"
  3. "Tell me more."

Examples:

Insurance:  "I provide people buckets of money in the right amount, at the right cost and at the right time." (How do you do that?)

Banking:  "My clients are companies that discovered that working with a bank should be more than just a place to get money or leave money." (Tell me more.)

Accounting:  "I'm in the business of helping small businesses that are sick and tired of sending the government more money and keeping less." (That's me!)

The idea is to think about what people or companies have chosen to do business with you or your company or why they buy the product and service that they have bought from you. What problem was it that they wanted to go away or solve?  Or what benefit were they looking for that they weren't getting?  Take that information and create your "unique sales approach" (usa).

The technique:  Before you deliver your "usa", you may want to start by telling the person that you are talking to that it is easier to describe what you do by asking a couple of questions. "In a nut shell, what I do is...(deliver your usa)" and close by asking, "May I ask you a question?"

By the way, I work with presidents and CEOs that have at least 10 sales people, generate more than 10 million dollars a year in revenue and want more consistent and predictable sales revenue growth.  If you know anyone that might say, "that's me", send them my way.

Thanks in advance.

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Topics: sales attitude, improving sales, sales prospecting, sales techniques

Hiring The Right People Improves Sales Success

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Nov 11, 2011

There is a saying in sports; “You can lose with great people but you cannot win without them.”  This theory applies to business, and winning in business starts with a winning sales team.  

Let’s return to the sports application first.  Theo Epstein was the general manager for the Boston Red Sox.  The Chicago Cubs hired him away from the Red Sox and his first item of business to address is the hiring of a new manager for the club.  

Below is an excerpt of a recent article about the process he is going through to get the right person for the job.  Earlier in the week, he had made it clear that one of most important criteria for the job was that the candidate MUST HAVE major league managerial or coaching experience.

One media person inquired what type of attributes Epstein is looking for in a manager.

"In the real world, it's hard to find a candidate that has everything you're looking for," Epstein said. "What you do is you weigh your variables and make your sacrifices where you have to. Often times, if you're going to take a candidate without previous managerial experience, even at the minor league level, he has to represent real upside in other areas. In that case, you have to do even more due diligence than you normally would because you're projecting him into that role."

One of the talked about candidates early in the selection process was Ryne Sandberg.  Below is his stellar baseball resume. 

Ryne Dee Sandberg (Ryno)

Positions: Second Baseman and Third Baseman 
Bats: Right, Throws: Right 
Height: 6' 1", Weight: 175 lb.
Born: September 181959 in Spokane, WA (Age 52) 
High School: North Central (Spokane, WA)
Drafted
 by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 20th round of the 1978 amateur draft.
Signed June 15, 1978. (All Transactions)
Debut: September 2, 1981 
Teams (by GP): Cubs/Phillies 1981-1997
Final Game: September 28, 1997 
Inducted into the Hall of Fame by BBWAA as Player in 2005 (393/516 ballots).

I won't list his stats - induction into the baseball players Hall of Fame speaks for itself.  The one thing that is missing is managerial or coaching experience at the major league level.  He was never interviewed for the position. 

The point here is that Epstein had a profile for the position and he stuck with it, regardless of the star qualities of Sandberg. 

The lessons in this story for senior sales executives include:

  • You must know exactly what qualities the candidate must have
  • You must communicate this to likely candidates
  • You must not be swayed by other experience "outside" your profile
  • You can consider other experience but consider the downside
  • You must be prepared for a "project" if you hire outside your profile

Finding the exact right candidate is a long shot no matter what the position.  As Epstein points out, you have to weigh all the information and consider what you are willing to sacrifice.  As you prepare to "upgrade your sales staff", follow these steps for Sales Talent Acquisition and improve your probability for success:

  1. Build a profile for the IDEAL Candidate
  2. Communicate that profile to "attract" the right candidate (in ads, etc)
  3. Screen (assess) the candidate before interviewing the candidate
  4. Create screening and interviewing processes that simulate the environment in which the candidate will have to perform
  5. Make the candidate sell you, DO NOT sell the candidate on the position
  6. Have a detailed communication process in place so that once hired, the candidate knows "exactly" what the objectives and expectations are.
  7. Have a very tight and detailed on - boarding process that ALL candidates go through regardless of their experience.
  8. Inspect what you expect for the first 180 days of their employment

Following these steps will improve your probability for recruiting and sales success.  To help you begin, try this Free 3 Day Express Screen Trial (select the "Sales Candidate" option).

                                   Sales Screen Trial

Topics: hiring sales people, sales talent acquisition, improving sales, sales people, sales candidates, sales assessments

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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