Nothing Sells Until You Qualify. Here’s How:

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…

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 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…

Vault Over No-Decisions to More Revenue

Sales is not an exact science. The unpredictable, even irrational, human factor element makes sales more art than science, despite the massive amount of data at our fingertips. That’s why so many CEOs and sales leaders become frustrated when forecasting pipeline accuracy because they must depend on the claims of their salespeople. Let’s say the CFO wants accurate revenue projections for the quarter. Knowing…

Is the 80:20 Rule Zapping Your Sales Revenue?

Who’s booking the bulk of your revenue? If you’re paying attention to your monthly sales reports, you know the answer. Sales leaders often find a large percentage of new business comes from a small number of salespeople. Each quarter, as you measure your sales team on how they performed against quota, more than likely you face the universal 80:20 rule: 20 percent of your…

Drive New Revenue: Balance Your Mix of Hunters and Farmers

What’s the difference between a hunter and a farmer in sales? Hunters excel at prospecting, generating new opportunities, and closing deals. They love this part of the business; they dread the servicing side. Farmers are better at managing and growing current accounts. They enjoy spending time with prospects, customers or clients and servicing their needs. Is it that simple?  And why should you care?…

5 Behaviors the C-Suite Expects of You

In client discussions, I am commonly asked: “How do I get my salespeople trained to reach the decision makers in the C-suite?”  Rarely do most salespeople succeed at this coveted skill. Companies jump in to train their sales teams to enter the C-Suite, then wonder why it failed.  They were unprepared. Evaluate salespeople’s capabilities first. Not every salesperson possesses the capability to open doors…

What Wins the B2B Complex Sale? Logic or Emotion?

The saying “People buy on emotion and justify with logic” has always made sense to me. However, in B2B sales, salespeople often lead a prospect discussion with facts and figures. In my experience, this focus leads to analysis paralysis. When consulting, especially in financial services where I have considerable experience, I find salespeople jump into their “logical” mindset right away. I pull them back…

CEO ALERT: What You Don’t Know About Your Sales Team Can Put You Out of Business

How do you feel when someone offers you constructive criticism? Appreciative?  Irritated?   Or do you ignore it? When I used to consult on executive compensation issues, I would evaluate pay and benefit programs, then benchmark results against peer companies. If my study showed executives were fairly paid or even overpaid, the client reacted negatively. When a friend or colleague offers you constructive criticism, the…

The Million-Dollar Mistake: A Bad Sales Hire

In less than two years, it won’t matter. Because your “bad hire” will quit or get fired anyway. Or will it? Now consider that 47 percent of companies claim new salespeople take ten months or more to become fully productive1, and barely half of those ever make quota2, and you can see why the cost of a bad sales hire is financially disastrous for…

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