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March Madness Thursday and Selling

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Mar 21, 2019

The sales process, albeit its own animal, shares certain similarities with the monster that is March Madness.  From prospecting, qualifying, taking the big shot, closing, assessing the opportunity to win, and much more, selling and sport's greatest tournament are linked in more ways than meets the human eye.

MarchMadness123rf

This might be the biggest stretch ever in the history of my blog. How can I possibly tie the NCAA Basketball Tournament (also known as March Madness) to selling? Honestly, I’m not sure…so I will be making this up as I go. Let me begin by setting the stage for selling and how I see it is similar to the event of March Madness.

  • Prospecting > Games that are played by all Division I teams throughout the year.
  • Qualifying > Selection Sunday – based on performance of the teams, 68 teams qualify to make the tournament.
  • Assessing the Opportunity to Win > Selecting your teams from the ‘brackets’ that you think have the best chance to win OR the teams you want to win OR the teams you think will be the upset and give you a chance to win the office pool.
  • Presenting > The Madness begins on Tuesday and Wednesday night in the "First Four" games.  On Thursday, the real fun begins, with a full slate of 16 games where the participating teams play their hearts out, and let the ball bounce where it may.
  • Closing > In some cases, the game is over before it begins (or so it seems that way).  In other games there are more questions that need to be answered (Overtime) before a victor is declared.  In some cases, an unexpected outcome – an upset – a 16 seed beating a 1 seed (looking at you - UMBC - and you, Virginia!)
  • Get a decision > The loser goes home while the winner savors the victory before facing the next big challenge.

And as Paul Harvey used to say, “And now… the rest of the story.”

Think about some of the outcomes of the presentations you’ve made where you were the top seed, or where you were the one in the game with all the right things in place to help you win the business. You have the talent, bench strength, great coaching, and preparation in place.  You have presented to the prospect what you said you would present but then… in the final seconds… someone throws up a “buzzer beater” and there goes your sale.

What happened?

  • The prospect let the incumbent come in and they matched my price.
  • I couldn’t get underwriting to change a covenant.
  • They took it to the decision maker and that person didn’t want to change
  • They said it was too expensive
  • They are thinking it over
  • Etc. etc. etc.

And just like in the ball game, it’s easy to point to the last play in the game that seals the upset – RJ Hunter’s 3 pointer with less than 2 seconds left to win the game for Georgia State comes to mind:

But, when the losing coaches review the game tape with their team, they point out to their players that there were several opportunities that, if the team had performed better ordifferently, the outcome would not have come down to the last shot.

The same is true in selling. It hardly ever comes down to the last shot when determining if you will win or lose the game:

  • Matching price – You should have uncovered earlier who was going to win a price tie.
  • Changing covenants – You should know beforehand the exact specs you need to get the deal done and, if you cannot meet those specs, you don’t present.
  • Decision making – You should know the decision making process before presenting.
  • They said it was too expensive – Why didn’t you know the budget before you presented?
  • Think-it-overs – You must eliminate this as an option when discussing the decision making process.
  • Other – Uncover in advance what can go wrong and deal with those things prior to attempting to present and close.

As the sales manager/sales executive, it is your responsibility to:

  • Put the best possible team on the court.
  • Make sure you have provided your team the resources they need to win.
  • Prepare them with a solid strategy to win.
  • Practice what you expect them to perform.
  • Debrief after they perform so you can help them change behaviors and improve skill

Once you do your job, and you do your best to make sure they are doing their job, then get them on the court and see where the ball bounces.

Additional Resources:

Sales Management Environment – Building the structure to improve your chances for winning.

Sales Talent Acquisition Routine – Hire Better Sales People - get the right people to come to your team to play and WIN against the opponents in your market.

Goal Setting and Business Plan Development – Build a foundation so that your team has the required internal motivation to win in all market conditions.

Topics: Selling, sales prospecting, closing sales, march madness

A Great Sales Read: Go-Givers Sell More

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Wed, Aug 02, 2017

A guest post by Mark Trinkle, President & Chief Sales Officer 

Should your days or evenings include any down time, here is a great book recommendation for you.  

go givers.jpg

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading “Go-Givers Sell More” by Bob Burg and John David Mann.  I just don’t think I have ever read a book that is more consistent with the approach to selling that we both take and advocate to our clients, particularly along the lines of not sounding like a salesperson.

Listen to this quote from the book on the supreme importance of creating value:

“There is something quite utilitarian about the Law of Value.  Its pragmatic beauty is that it places the principal determinant of your success squarely in your own hands, rather than letting it be a factor of your circumstances.  While you cannot control what others do, you can control what you do.  If your goal is to make the sale, then you are dependent on the buying decisions of others.  But, if your goal is to create value for others, you are dependent on nobody but yourself.”

I also love the section of the book that teaches that your compensation as a salesperson is not a reflection of your goodness, worthiness, merit or industriousness: instead, it is an echo of impact. In fact, revenue (or, for our purposes, new business) is the echo of providing value in your conversations with prospects.

So, how about you?  Do you worry about selling something?  Maybe it would be helpful to simply worry about whether or not your prospect conversations are providing value.  As the authors point out, that is up to no one but you.

So, give the book a try. Thanks for reading…now go sell like a champion today.

Summary: When your goal is to provide value, your success as a salesperson is in your own hands. The impact you make on others determines your compensation. So, worry less about selling and focus more on providing value.

 

DOWNLOAD our FREE eBOOK -   Why is Selling So #%&@ Hard?

Topics: Selling, achieving sales success, go givers sell more, providing value to customers

Election Day 2008 - 5 Votes for Better Sales Success

Posted by Traci Powers on Tue, Nov 04, 2008
 

It is Election Day and arguably the single most important Presidential Election of our lifetime. In the spirit of making decisions that make a difference, here are 5 decisions to make that will impact your sales success:

  1. Vote to have clear and extra-ordinary goals. There is something inspiring about having goals and making them extra-ordinary. As Walt Disney said, ‘dream the big dream, there is nothing in small dreams that stir the blood.'
  2. Vote to be a leader within your peer group and be the dominate player in your market. Too many times I hear, ‘we are not the dominate player in our market'. So, what does that have to do with you deciding that you will be the dominant player in your market place? All of you have the product selection, the support and the resources to be the dominant player. Vote for yourself to be that kind of player.
  3. Vote to get decisions from prospects. In other words, get them to vote. Today you can't go to the polls and say, ‘let me think about it'. No, all the thinking has been done. Today you take action and decision making takes place. You can do the same thing with prospects. Ask them to do all of their thinking before you show up so that they are armed with questions, you are prepared to answer them and when done, people can decide. Yes or no is ok, but vote.
  4. Vote for prospecting. You have to understand that you can't get people to choose you unless you are out their campaigning for yourself. Establish your brand by getting into the market. Let people know who you are even if you don't get the appointment. If you call them and let them know who you are the first time, then the second call gets easier.
  5. Vote to qualify who you will work with. Not everyone is someone that fits your vision, mission and goals. Not everyone in the market place qualifies to pick you as someone they want to work with or represent them. You can't approach the market place hoping that you can serve all the people all of the time, it just isn't going to happen. Decide who you are best suited to represent and then do that to the best of your ability.

Thanks for listening to my stump speech today.  Go VOTE!

Topics: Prospecting, Selling, Sales, sales techniques, How to Sell, How to Increase Sales, increase sales

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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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