Trust Your Instincts? Not So Fast.

I loved baseball as a kid. Years ago, when my wife and I became friends with Don Drysdale and Annie Meyers, all my memories of watching those heart-pounding games came back. Don introduced me to Hall of Fame stars. Ernie Banks was one. “Mr. Cub” and I, and his twin, boys became lifelong friends. At one point, Ernie came to work for one of…

Data Analytics Trump Gut Instincts in Hiring, Training and Managing Salespeople

In 2017, Dustin Johnson became the number one professional golfer in the world. Like the sales profession, the PGA Tour is a highly competitive business. Players work closely with coaches, nutritionists, psychologists, trainers in the gym, and data analytics to continually perfect their game. Go to a PGA event and you’ll see a line of semi-trucks armed with machine shops to customize player’s equipment…

Take a Confident Leap into the New Year

No doubt you are anxious to bring this busy year to a close and take a well-deserved break. Before you do, give me a moment to look back with you on 2017 at the key trends outlined in CSO Insights’ 2017 World-Class Sales Practice Report. Quota Attainment The percentage of salespeople making quota dropped from 63 percent to 53 percent over a five-year period.…

Nothing Sells Until You Qualify. Here’s How:

The CEO of a mid-size manufacturing company invited me to speak before his annual sales meeting early next year on how to close more business faster. I asked why he thought this subject was timely and what triggered his interest. He said the company’s sales pipeline was filled with solid opportunities but, for reasons he didn’t understand, the leads were not closing. Of equal…

Can You Sell Prospects Without Needs?

Everyone in sales has been trained to find a prospect’s need and fill it with our solution. After all, that’s why people need to interact with salespeople. But if the prospect has no problem or issue to solve, he or she doesn't need us. Like you, I get random phone prospecting calls where the salesperson does not recognize this point. I’m pitched so many…

Two Traits of Top Salespeople You Can’t Teach

In a recent client assignment, the CEO of a mid-size manufacturing company asked me what the single most important trait of a salesperson. What would you say? Persistence?  Closing skills?  Ability to listen? The CEO wanted to add more top performing people to his sales team. My quick response:  “Good question, it’s the ability to bring perspective to prospects.” As I thought about this…

What Your Doctor Can Teach You About Sales

Think back to when you last visited your doctor. If we watch how our doctor uncovers our need, we can learn a lot. As a patient, you are your doctor’s prospect. You suffer from pain. You’re willing to talk to your doctor because you want to resolve the pain, solve the problem. But you do not yet know or realize the specific nature of…

Trusted Advisors Lead with Perspective

Helping prospects begins with awareness. What’s their unique situation? What’s the context of their business, the industry environment?      What’s their vision of what they want to change? Invariably, salespeople lead presentations with their who-we-are-what-we-do-why-us pitch. Then they offer solutions without any (or little) situational awareness. Clueless pitches end up viewed as commodities or, worse yet, the offending salesperson loses outright to the competition or…

To Sell Implied vs. Explicit Needs: Why Care?

Recently, I sat down and re-read (for the tenth time) my old copy of SPIN Selling. It was yellow highlighted and red underlined in key areas I wanted to remember and refer to later. SPIN Selling is one of those books that’s still relevant today. Author Neil Rackman’s sequential questioning process is central to our ability to sell the prospect on the problem and…

What Are You Really Selling?

At last, you meet your target prospect. You build rapport. When you think the time’s right, you launch into describing your new-to-the-market product, packed with great features no competitor can beat. Awesome. You’re on your way to a sale, right? Wrong! Don’t talk product right off the bat. It’s a classic mistake of newbie salespeople, sometimes even veterans. First, discuss the business issues the…

Copyright PleinAire Strategies, All Rights Reserved