The House
of Sales Ideas


Welcome to where the magic happens. Every project, class, system and process I have ever implemented started with a blog post RIGHT HERE. So dig in, there is gold in these electrons.

What you need in the field for a successful Sales Blitz!

In a Sales Blitz every door is an opportunity and if your salespeople aren’t properly equipped they can miss it.

 


How to Organize for Success in a Sales Blitz!

Blitzes can be a source of HUGE immediate sales and long term changing of your business normal but only if they are planned and handled right.

If your reps are spending their time driving around lost the company loses. Set them up for success and have a solid plan, and it all starts with the territory they will be calling on.


Sales….. Like Lightning

“How can we achieve a near-term sales increase combined with long-term sustainable revenue growth?”

Multiple lightning

This is a question that hangs in the air during virtually every conversation between owners, C-Level and Sales Management. One of the tried and true methods to achieve at least half of the equation is to conduct a sales blitz. The trick is how do you morph a temporary sales boost into the “new normal”?

A sales blitz is designed to fulfill the urgent need of increasing sales pipelines immediately. And most sales organizations know the basic “flavors” of blitzes with formats being designed for, at best, impermanent returns. I say both goals of an immediate sales bump and establishing the “new normal” are possible.

It’s a challenge melding lead generation, continual development training and motivational sales meetings, I grant you, but if you run a Blitz using this system be prepared for a revenue growing, “sales climate changing” event.

SIT_BLITZ_MODULES.E.T.U.P. your team for success

Strategy

This step should start minimally 60 days before the blitz. Map out EVERY detail from the initial touch, phone dial, live visit, all follow-up and ongoing relationship builders and more. At the planning meeting ask these questions:

  • What market/area are you attempt to penetrate?

  • What is the goal(s) of the blitz? Short term, Mid Term and Long Term?

  • How can you warm up the market/area you will be blitzing? 

  • What will you use to warm them up? What frequency? What platform?

  • What products fit/are most desired by this market?

  • What vendors should you team with?

  • What should your teams have with them? Brochures? Giveaways? 

  • What will be the competition’s reaction?

These questions are a great starting point but you have to go deeper yet. We all know long term sales success is about the grind. Doing the little things everyday that build best practice habits that ultimately pay off. It’s the same here only we need to “microwave” the process a bit.

 

Education

Day 60 should begin with teaching of an effective lead generation system and every system is made up of 3 things, tactics, strategy and learned skills.

Many of the tactics and strategies that need to be adopted are here http://matriximpact.com/site/?p=1125.

Your team also need SPECIFIC skills. Those skills need to be practiced in real-life simulations tightly tied to the reality they will experience. Here are 5 of the skills that will be required of anyone participating in the Blitz.

  • Client research and its application

  • Tele-Sales: Warming up the drop-in

  • Lobby Intro: Getting past the Gate Keeper or at least gaining needed info

  • Benefit Value Discussion: Setting the hook to continue the discussion

  • Facility  Walk-through Technique: How do you maximize contact with the right person?

  • Wrapping up the visit: Very few drop-ins will result in a sale. The real goal is increase and expand in your sales pipeline

There should be a regular schedule of training leading up to the Blitz event. Refresher classes, reviews and Blitz day reminders for everybody involved. This is why there needs to be a Blitz QB. One who can coordinate information, learning and distribution for all the Blitz teams.

 

Tools

There are many tools needed for a successful Blitz. Call Template, all lead generation letters, impact touches, pairing maps, company intelligence, handouts, giveaways schedules and more, all customized for your business and for the goal of your Blitz.

Blitz Car Stock Blitz Multiple Car Stock Boxes

The key is to be prepared and start the assembling of your tools sooner rather than later.

 

Users & Interface 

Everything management does HAS TO BE hands-on. Management needs to be the great guiding hand in the structure of the Blitz but it also needs to be a participant during the Blitz days. I have had everyone from Middle Managers to Vice President’s of Sales to Owners come up to me after a Blitz and effusively say “John, thank you for making sure I was on a Blitz team”.

Think about it. They get out of the office routine of meetings and problems and get to spend minimum 2 days with sales people and customers. They find out what the ground troops do on an everyday basis and what has changed over the years. They hear first hand customer’s issues and concerns. It can reinvigorate the most curmudgeonly of management and this isn’t even the best reason.

When a prospect/customer is introduced to the Vice President or Owner the look on their face is priceless. I mean WOW, the VP or Owner took time out of her/his day to come and visit. Few gestures have a greater customer service impact than this.

Sales people MUST take ownership as well. They have to be involved in all strategy discussions. There a a multitude of tasks that need to be divvied up among the sales team.  A sales person has to be the in-office Blitz QB. This is a critical position. Their job is to coordinate all activity. They have to stay in touch with the teams and provide updates. They are also troubleshooters as opportunities or problems come up. Depending on the size of the blitz you can have as many 2 or 3 QB’s to ensure you have proper support.

The bottom-line: from ownership to front-line sales, everybody plays a crucial role in the execution of a successful Blitz .

 

Performance 

This is what it is all about! You need to GUARANTEE your team is prepared, practiced and energized. If you do you will be SETUP! to have a successful Blitz day(s) and to continue your success throughout the year.

After your strategy meeting(s) you need to conduct

  • Weekly update meetings: No longer than 30 minutes but it is CRITICAL to make sure everyone is completing their assigned duties, remember there is no small job when executing a Blitz.

  • Minimum of 3 education sessions: Would you rather your salespeople practice on their customers or with you?

  • Blitz Kickoff: Night before the Blitz you cover every detail and logistic necessary and take all questions. Team & territory assignments, Car stock, Vendor presentation and motivation. Make sure you have daily goals and prizes for performance as well.

  • Blitz Day: Everybody rallies at central location, unless territory demands call in. You go over any final pieces and send them off to kick BUTT.

  • Blitz Day Re-Cap: Everybody reconvenes at central location. You cover the results, hand out daily prizes, share successes, what worked and what didn’t then break for dinner.

  • Blitz Wrap Up: Similar to Re-Cap. You also need to triage all leads  and assign to proper parties. Agree on timing of followup meetings to check progress of leads, generally think 2 weeks out, a month out and 90 days out. This will allow you to see “the toothpaste getting squeezed through the tube”.

Below are the Performance results from a tightly run, well executed Blitz.

Cleveland Blitz Summary from John Kolencik

You need to lay the ground work for continued nurture prospecting that leads to a steady stream of sales revenue for the foreseeable future. This process focuses on installing habits in your sales team and helping to either create or augment a lead generation system. When executed correctly, a Blitz will bring in immediate sales dollars and set the tone for ongoing success within your current selling environment.

A Blitz is not a band-aid type solution to improving sluggish sales. It’s an organic, holistic method to improving today’s sales revenue AND your overall sales atmosphere, establishing a “new normal” to your team’s everyday sales activities and results.


5 Step Process for Increased Lead Generation with Case Study

Today I am going to layout the 5 Pillars of the S.I.T. Lead Generation process. Lead generation success comes down to follow-up and measurement. Understanding what constitutes success in lead generation is where there is misunderstanding. Frequently, people choose only 1 metric to determine success. That is no different than saying that the only thing that matters on a balance sheet is receivables or the only thing that matters in a formula is one ingredient. 

The First Thing to Knowcontact-scale

Understanding the numbers means you must understand the system behind them. The who, what, why, where, when and how of the S.I.T lead generation system not just one sole metric.

Remember, just because people are being “touched” by your lead generation machine does not mean they are going to buy. If you don’t understand the buying cycle and buying proclivities of your marketplace YOU WILL NEVER SELL ANYTHING.

If you see an ad for a cool car do you run out and buy one? If you see an ad for a great looking watch do run out and buy one? The answer in 3 parts is A) Yes if you have large disposable income B) No if you are not in the market (have a real/perceived need) or C) No if you do not have the budget.

There is absolutely NO WAY to determine without talking to someone what factors are the cases and every situation is different. What an effective lead generation program does is put your solution in as many “selling cycles” as possible without initially knowing which ones will bear immediate fruit. What you can know is what marketplaces, titles, applications etc. give you the best opportunity.

The S.I.T. lead generation program is a cumulative effect relationship where success grows with more and more “correct” contact. Make no mistake there is also lightning effect sales that happen immediately. The only caveat to remember is that if people do not have a (real/perceived) need or do not have disposable income you can be the greatest sales person since Tom Hopkins or “Don Draper” but you won’t be selling anything.

Step 1. Refine the definition of “sales-ready”

Many organizations struggle with the exact definition of “lead.” And the biggest difference of opinion usually lies between Sales and Marketing. The questions marketers should be asking are:

  • What do salespeople really want?

  • What do they need in order to sell?

Salespeople need to manage their precious time. Quota-carrying reps are acutely aware of the relationship between their time and value to the company. A rep has to continuously ask oneself, “What is the probability of this deal closing? And what is its inherent value?”

Step 2. Qualify leads based on a Universal Lead Definition (ULD)

Regardless of the model you choose, it is vital that the choice is made jointly by Sales and Marketing. Effective demand generation teams will establish a process that defines a lead, establishes a follow-up process and determines how quickly a lead must be moved further down the funnel unique to your industry.

Once a common lead definition has been found, it is the marketing team’s responsibility to filter leads accordingly. Marketing automation platforms and lead scoring processes all help to determine qualified leads for sales readiness. But sales reps will play a vital role in this process, as well. There is only so much that automated systems can accomplish without a human touch.

Step 3. Nurture early stage leads until “sales-ready”

Lead nurturing is “the process of having a relevant, consistent dialog with viable potential customers, regardless of their timing to buy.” With lead nurturing, you are strengthening the relationship you have with potential customers, by adding value, even if they never buy from you.

This is the process of becoming a “thought leader” and changing the relationship you have to the industry from vendor to resource. This one, very crucial differentiation is what determines volume of future success.

In order to nurture leads effectively, you must employ the Big 3:

  • Relevant Content: That which that speaks to their needs at any given time. In B2B, you nurture organizations, not people. By providing an individual with meaningful information, you are helping that person have meaningful dialogue with others in that organization.

  • Timing: Every organization has it cycles. There are exactly 2 ways to determine a timetablecompany’s buying cycle 1) Calling and talking to everyone involved 2) Touching them periodically until the pattern emerges.

  • Consistency: Nature abhors a vacuum. Once you start a lead generation program you end it at peril to your organization. People begin to “expect” information from you at regular intervals. Once that information stream ceases they will find another and it will be a competitor, count on it.

Most people have always thought of lead nurturing as just an automated letter/email workflow. It is really about reaching people in whatever channels they want to be reached with information that is valuable to them. News articles, seminars/webinars, regulatory notices all are potential “touches” and while choosing multiple channels is important, The Big 3 are the Key. Marketing is a mindset, not an activity.

Step 4. Define hand-off process from Marketing to Sales

The hand-off between Marketing and Sales is crucial, and yet remains a common misstep in the process of moving leads through the funnel. In order to make the lead transition as smooth as possible, have a documented process, a process agreed upon by both Sales and Marketing. The following process should be clearly defined and followed to ensure the hand-off is effective:

Be sure the lead is “sales-ready”

  • Leads must clearly fit the ULD

  • Leads must express a desire to speak with a sales rep

  • Leads must be qualified, with supporting information

 Be sure to have a clear handoff process

  • “Don’t drop the baton” — ensure that lead ownership is clear and agreed upon

 Establish a quick, efficient timetable for turnaround

  • Tracking and accountability is key to short and long term success

Ultimately, the S.I.T. program not only increases efficiency, but also shows if your leads are actually helping your sales team convert, as well as measuring the contribution to the pipeline.

Step 5. Close the loop

Effective sales and marketing organizations are ones that communicate well. Regular meetings should be held to gauge progress and success. In these “huddles,” both teams can collaborate to review results, fix procedural errors and refine priorities moving forward.

These meetings will provide your team with honest, actionable feedback from Sales, helping you determine:

  • If your lead information is accurate and helpful

  • If your leads are in the target market

  • If your leads are “sales-ready” (i.e., ready for sales rep involvement)

There is detail to be filled in under each step but that detail is always going to be subject to your industry, market, product etc.

Below is an example of the success you can see with the  S.I.T. process.

Case Study: Prime Coat Coatings

“We have grown the database by over 1000 contacts that we never knew existed until we started this program. We have cleaned up the existing CRM by validating contact information and accurate locations. More organizations now know of Prime Coat than ever before and as we go forward with our Prime Coat 2.0 initiative we will see the fruit from those seeds. For example Prime Coat Indiana is on pace to have a solid year, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 million or so. To date 92% of ALL their 2010 business can be traced to lead generation touches dating as far back as 2006.

Based on information from the CRM and quote system we have quoted approximately $350,000 of business from the touch system. The touch system is defined as anybody who has received letters from us and as a result went to a trade show or called/emailed in directly to the company. We have closed close to $55,000 from the quotes. This is from jobs that are the direct result of either letters or touches that led to meetings at tradeshows.

We also have some success at Abbott that are not mentioned in the above numbers. We are seeing Dave Harvey close more in coatings business in the last few months than he has in a long time. He has been averaging approximately 50k a month in coatings business the last 2 months. This is following our lead generation efforts there. They received letters along with Dave Harvey staying in constant contact with them and as a result he should have 4 straight months of over 100k in billings.

What these numbers do not contain is all the potential business out there that we are now lining up, things that we never were going to hear or know about UNLESS we were executing this system. We are injecting ourselves into 100’s buying cycles a week and getting more and more call in’s and emails to the web site. This will lead to a continued, sustained and organic growth. And as we tighten down the rest of our systems the results will only get better.”


How to Improve Your Conversion Rate 50% When Calling Prospects Part 2 of 3

Our last post talked about the research needed BEFORE sending a “warming touch” email and making the first contact call and today we will be talking about the logistics and content structure in the “warming touch” email.

UGH

The goal of the “warming touch” is to remove the “UGH Factor.”  You know when a potential get’s an email and says “UGH, another salesperson” or when they hear your voice for the first time and they say “UGH, Hi John.” If you are positioned as the person who can make a difference in their  business they will see you as a resource, a business person not a salesperson. If you achieve this, they will take your phone call or even reach out to you.

Sending Logistics

You have to contact as many people as possible if you are a sales/business person. But that does not mean you should be sending 1,000’s of emails to 1,000’s of contacts for a couple of reasons.

  • It is impossible to follow up on all those emails.

  • You don’t have enough time to research all of those accounts

  • If you don’t follow up and if you provided quality content it will push your potentials to the competition.

Business abhors a vacuum. If they liked what they saw they will go out and find a supplier. Hello…internet anyone? Send out no more emails than you can research and actually follow-up. For most industries/markets the magic number is 25-50 at a crack, 2 to 3 times a week, minimum.

Content

Every business is different. The body of your content will depend on your product/service but below are the caveats to structure your “Touch” regardless of industry and market.

Length

2-3 paragraphs and maybe bullet points that’s it. People do not have time to read the Magna Carta. Plus, if your product/service provides demonstrative value, it should not take 300 words to make your case.

Self-Serving Drivel

Please do not use phrases exact or similar to these

“I am writing to introduce myself.”

  • Of course you are, that is the purpose for this type of touch, a waste of time.

“XYZ is the largest privately owned ____.” Or “This year we will achieve in excess of $16 billion in revenue.”

  • Who cares, stop bragging, they care about what you can do for them.

  • There is a time and place to talk about the size of your company, this email is not it.

“I would love the opportunity to show you our product/service.” 

  • Of course you would. You just lumped yourself as a me-too salesperson.

I could go on but you get the point.

Relevant an Actionable coach

Remember the research you did in Part 1? This is where it pays off. Every email I send to a potential has something that they can take and use immediately, EVERY ONE. It could be an information article from a third party source, a free webinar invite from a respected leader in their field or an idea from me, what is important is that it is relevant and actionable.

Closing

The dreaded call to action is what most people will tell you is best. I explain to my clients that asking people to call you back is a bit obnoxious – even if there is value and reason. When you do that, your prospects are left thinking, “Wait, you want me to call you? So you can pitch me? You want me to stop doing my job and search for time in my calendar to give you so that you can sell me? Are you kidding?” I take a different tact.

Closing Line Examples

I try to put as much of the onus on me as possible to connect. Here are some ways that I do that. All of the below examples thank the potential, display you are willing to carry the ball to connect and attempt to move the conversation forward.

I start every closing with

“Thanks for your time”

I end every closing with

“Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.”

Always thank them for their time reading your email and let them know you are available to their reaching out.

Example 1

“I will follow up with you in a couple of days.”

  • Simple and direct

Example 2

“I can call you Friday, July 6th at 2:00pm. I’ll reach out to you then to discuss. I hope you’re able to take my call.” 

  • Give the potential a little more direction and maybe some anticipation.

  • You are giving them enough time (at least a week out) to ensure that they’ll have a free spot on their calendar.

  • Downside is they can dodge your call, upside is you can display your follow-up by calling when you say you will and leaving a voicemail if necessary.

Example 3

“I’ll reach out to Mary to see if you have some time free to discuss next week.” 

  • By suggesting that you’ll reach out to their executive assistant, you’re showing that you’ve done your homework by following the correct protocol for the continued conversation.

  • Not asking anything from them and their busy schedule.

Example 4

“I have time free on Friday, July 6th at 2:00pm. Are you free at that time to talk?”

  • By closing this way, you’re asking them to do something, although it’s minimal. They just need to check one date/time in their call.

  • Sometimes I’ll offer two times a week out for them to choose from and then say, “Which date/time works best?”

End of Part 2

Remember, we want to leave the taste of value with the customer; giving them something relevant and actionable they can use immediately. You want them to look forward to your call not dread the moment. Today’s post gives you a great structure to apply your content regardless of market or product/service.

If you want some specific examples please feel free to reach to me at johnk@matriximpact.com or give me a call at 216-347-6729.

When we wrap up this topic in part 3 we will be covering content of the follow-up call and the follow-up voice mail.

In the meantime, you can either make sales or make excuses but you can’t do both!


Selling to the Government and Municipalities

I recently had a great conversation with an old friend about this topic, specifically about making a presentation to a group of decision makers and influencers. Below is the summary of my advice to him.

Rule 1: Don’t waste precious time talking about how great your company is, how many locations or how much yearly revenue it achieves. Customers want to know SPECIFICALLY how you can solve their problems and how you can save them money.

  • Governments/schools are two verticals highly resistant to change but they dopresentation-scale
    understand budgets and DOLLARS.

  • Tie problems/issues together with their price tags EARLY and often in your presentation.

  • People can’t cognitively get their head around the big numbers quickly. DO NOT try a big, dramatic reveal just before presenting the investment (not price). If you try and pull a “ROI rabbit” out of your hat at the end of a presentation they will initially think it is a “sales trick.” Build the ROI case slowly from the beginning, so they are doing the math as they go.

  • Now, when presenting the investment (not price) customers already have the simple math down and are thinking “this solution amortizes itself over x years or months.”

Final Point: The first thing government, schools and the like think when seeing they can save money on a potential solution is what they can buy with the savings. Remember the nature of budgets in governments, municipalities and schools is if you don’t use it, you lose it.  

  • What else is in their plans?

  • What projects could they fund with the savings from your project?

  • How would it make the decision maker(s) look like heroes?

coach-scaleIf you can answer these questions, if you can make the DMs heroes or make a dream project come true you are not a sales person but a savior and the sale closes itself!

Remember the words of Seth Godin “People rarely buy what they need, they buy what they want.”


5 ½ Reasons Why You Should Include Simulations in Your Hiring and Training Processes

People are your most precious resource. Nobody WANTS to make a mistake in hiring or promotions. When it comes to training Andy Grove, the Intel visionary, said it best, “The most important charge a good manager owns is the responsibility to continuously train his/her employees.”

Below are the 5 ½ reasons why simulations should be an integral part of your hiring, promotion and training processes.  

  1. The 5 to 1 Ratio

A mis-hire/promote costs the company 5 times the candidate’s annual compensation ($50,000 salary costs the company $250,000).gaugered-850x610-2

With training its just as easy to see the ROI. A business parable for you:

CEO said to the CFO ‘We have to train our people to get better.’

CFO says ‘Yea but what if we invest time and money to train them and they leave us to go to our competitor?’

CEO shoots back ‘What if we don’t train them and they stay?’

Whether it is a mis-hire or a less than adequately trained employee the impact on client relations, revenue, productivity, supervision time and morale is negative and it is huge.

  1. The Power of Proof

Have you ever had an interview where the person told you they couldn’t do the job? Or have you ever had a person who “stretched” their abilities in the interview and as a result you were cleaning their messes for days, weeks or months after?

A best practice simulation provides you “Point-to-Point Correspondence” with the job. When the activities found in the simulation are a replica of activities that are required on the job, you get an accurate portrayal of skill level.

This is also why simulations are critical to training. Do you really want salespeople “practicing” on customers? Of course you don’t! General George Patton once said “The more my troops sweat in peacetime the less they bleed during combat.” Simulations are a must in all continual development.

  1. How do They Handle the Debrief

Once they perform in the simulation how do they respond to constructive criticism? Are they thin-skinned? Do they gloat? Is their self-confidence warranted? Many times, you find out the best and the worst of people by observing how they handle coaching.

It also opens a window to know how they learn best. Through the Debrief you will discover what they will and won’t respond to. This can be invaluable as you continue to train and develop your team.

  1. Go to the Video

When recorded, simulations help reduce, if not remove bias and subjectivity in the hiring process in one BIG way, “The eye in the sky does not lie.” You don’t want a he said/she said situation in any business scenario, but especially in simulations.

Here’s a great example of the benefit of recording simulations: A hiring manager who got a ‘good hit’ off a candidate, in an interview, might get a completely different feeling after watching a recorded simulation. The candidate might be the most charming person in the world, but when the time came he didn’t have the skills he trumpeted. In any business, that is a disaster averted.

Recorded simulations are irreplaceable in training as well. There is nothing better than being able to go back and review specific areas for either praise or correction. Plus, reviewing with individuals their recorded progress or regression is a very powerful training tool.

  1. Onboarding

Even if somebody is an A-Player it does not mean they are perfect. Too many onboarding programs fail to adapt to the candidate, thus slowing the speed to effectiveness of the new hire.

Simulations don’t just weed out bad candidates. They also help you to assess a good candidate’s specific strengths and weaknesses in a hyper-accurate way. This allows you to design/implement an onboarding process to speed them to productivity. Not to mention it helps in offer decisions like salary negotiations.

5 ½.  Positioning Your Company as the Best

The War for Talent is upon us and there are only so many A-Players out there. The mistake most organizations commit is purposefully making the hiring process easier out of fear of losing the candidate.

Thomas Payne said, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” Being with the BEST requires paying the PRICE. Candidates learn respect for the position and respect for the company by demonstrating how seriously the company takes the hiring process. The best gauge_greencandidates don’t want to be with some company that just rolls over. Remember everybody wants to belong to The Club that is impossible to get in.

87% of people who voluntarily (i.e .Quit) leave a company do so because of a lack of growth and development opportunity. Its human nature to want to improve, to develop new skills, succeed and advance. If you have good people, make them better.
Use simulations to continually train and develop your team. And you know what they call the company with the top employees… they call that company the BEST!


To ensure you are hiring A-Players and for training to be impactful and ‘sticky’ both have to be closely tied to how things are actually done in your organization. This is why simulations are such a critical management tool.


Are You Holding Yourself Accountable as a Leader?

coach-scale

I spend my days helping organizations grow their sales an average of 42%. The longer I am in this field the more I realize NOTHING is more important than having the right people in place, especially in leadership. One of my favorite quotes on the subject comes from Alexander the Great: “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”

We can set processes in place and develop naive sales people into savvy business people but if the people at the top don’t get it we may as well go to the window and throw our money out of it.

This is a BIG area of concern for every sales leader out there in the coming year. I promise to do everything I can to help you keep your eyes on the prize and doing the things needed to be a success but in the end it comes down to you. Or as I like to say “you can either make sales or you can make excuses but you can’t do both.” 

Couple questions to ask yourself:

  • “What are you accountable for as a leader and are YOU meeting those expectations?”
  • “How do you hold yourself accountable?”  Do you have an“accountability partner” or do you just “wing it”?
  • “Do you have clearly defined and communicated expectations?”
  • “How do you keep FOCUSED?”

Below is the text from a one page reminder Click Here for the PDF version of this http://www.slideshare.net/JohnKolencik/are-holding-yourself-accountable-as-a-leader

“As leaders, we enjoy the responsibility of helping our people develop in a way that encourages them to hold themselves accountable for their attitudes, their work, and their results.

We need to be as disciplined, resourceful, and resilient in our efforts as we ask our people to be in theirs.

Relentless leadership is embracing the fact that the need for reinforcement never ends and uncomfortable conversations are a necessity. This is how something special is created.”

Click Here for the PDF version of this http://www.slideshare.net/JohnKolencik/are-holding-yourself-accountable-as-a-leader

 


Be Hassle Free

I was clicking through the cable stations the other night and settled on a rerun of “The West Wing” for some background noise. Not particularly paying attention until toward the end of the episode I heard a line from the character of ‘Danny Cocannon’ talking to ‘Charlie Young’.

Charlie was lamenting dating the President’s daughter because of various issues, I couldn’t tell you what (again background noise). Then I heard Danny say “If it was me I would want to be the one hassle free person in her life” BOOM. Isn’t that EXACTLY what we should be to our customers?

(You Can View the clip here  Be The 1 hassle free Person)

We should be the one hassle free thing in our customers’ life. As salespeople we spend most of our time strategizing on how to find the customer, how to question the customer and how to negotiate with the customer so we can win the sale. What if INSTEAD we spent a little more time thinking about things from their perspective?

Our customers, by definition, have to be decision makers. As a general rule, they must have some level of authority and responsibility. So what daily tasks, problems and ordeals accompany those two duties?

  • 100’s of phone calls
  • 100’s of email
  • Management reporting and meetings
  • Employee problems
  • Internal power struggles
  • Logistical challenges
  • Other vendors issues
  • Personal issues

I know what you might be thinking. “My boss doesn’t care about these things” or maybe “I have quota to make I can’t worry about their problems.” Well I am here to tell you if you don’t worry about their problems you will NEVER solve your own!

There are 1000’s of things that can crop up at any time for our customer and we are only ONE of  them. The patience and professionalism we exhibit in working our way into customer’s daily schedule will determine how they perceive us and ultimately the level of success we experience.

Below are 5 ways we can Be Hassle Free in the face of these daily dilemmas:

  1. Only call if you have a REASON or NEED to call, not because “I just wanted to…”
  2. Email if you have something relevant, helpful, informational etc. not the joke of the day or “I was just checking in.”
  3. Respect their time! Recognize you are only one small part of their day and make the time you share with them COUNT. Be prepared for every meeting, phone call and presentation. Never waste their time.
  4. If they choose to share any problem situation with you tread carefully. YouARENOT the business equivalent of Dr. Ruth, but you can find information online that might address their concerns.
  5. Be humble and empathize but DO NOT commiserate. Realize there will be problems you can’t help with but let them know you understand their situation and will be as supportive as possible.

It comes down to this; we need to find a way to become a POSITIVE in the customer’s day. Whenever they see your number on caller ID they should want to take the call because they know you will share something of value with them. You might be calling with an idea or with information about their industry or maybe even a solution to their problem. Whatever it may be, they have to WANT to talk to you.

Be the one hassle free thing in their daily existence; an oasis from the desert of problems they face. Provide valuable resources and make their life easier. Find something they need that has NOTHING to do with your business and HELP THEM. You have to go OUTSIDE your job description and do things your competitors wouldn’t even think of if you truly want to help people.

It is a lot of work I know but I promise, if you do, the business relationship will grow and your sales will skyrocket. It is a choice you have to make everyday so choose wisely, the job you save just might be your own.


Instant Lead Generation: The Structure of an Effective Case Study

We all want to write about our successful exploits so potential customers may learn from what our established customers have experienced. The problem is we often lack the most effective way to get our message out. We also fall prey to the inability to explain the impact, results and ROI so value is immediately understood and ROI is instantly perceived.

Following the  Matrix Case Study Structure will ensure your potential customers understand the “story” while also realizing the TRUE ECONOMIC effect of your solution.

1) State the  Business Problem in plain language, the simpler to understand the better. Stay away from clever turn’s of phrase or industry specific vernacular (words like vernacular for example).

2) The Consequence of not fixing the problem MUST be stated ASAP, if not the question in the reader’s mind is “Why am I wasting my time?”

3) The Reward of the fixing problem must be stated IMMEDIATELY after the Consequence. Readers are tuned to radio station WII FM What’s In It For Me?” 

4) Explain the specific results the customer received as a by product of the implementation, making sure you “speak” in dollars and performance as well as systematic/procedural improvements.

5) Discuss any business lessons learned through the prism of explaining the solution. Don’t leave out any “warts” in the implementation. This level of disclosure will establish trust regarding you personally and your results.

6) Wrap up with a CURRENT snapshot as to how well the current customer is doing (complete with dollar and systematic/procedural updates) or with a simple conclusion of the experience.

Some folks LOVE the Call to Action Premise, “If these are the types of issues you face and results you want please contact us at…” I tend to NOT use them because they are obvious. You should always be following up TELE-PHONICALLY when you are aware of somebody requesting/downloading etc., a case study so a call to action is moot if you are ON your game.

Each contact you make should be progressing the relationship just don’t forget to ask for feedback about the case study. If they were not compelled to contact you by its presentation why not?  What can you do differently? What are they looking for? Be responsive and listen to your customers and potential customers. Make your tweaks, rinse and repeat and start counting your cash….