The A Player in Sales

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The following is a list I have complied over the years on the attributes of the Sales A Player.  Where do you fit in?

  • I know my product’s features, and more importantly its benefits, cold.
  • I talk to someone new every day.  Today’s unknowns are tomorrow’s customers.
  • I am proactive instead of reactive.
  • I ask for the order.
  • I’m a business person as well as a sales person.
  • I paint a picture of success for my prospect.
  • If I am on the phone, I smile as I speak.
  • I out-listen and out-explain my competition.
  • I am genuinely passionate about my product and it shows.
  • I am prepared for any objection or stall my prospect may have.
  • I have done my homework about their company.
  • I have done my homework on the person I’m meeting with or calling.
  • I’m prepared with an order form that can be filled out on the spot, ready to be signed.
  • I’m prepared with my questions about my prospects and customers, and their business.
  • I’m prepared with ideas that may help them.
  • I’m relaxed when speaking with a prospect or customer.
  • I’m confident, not cocky.
  • I’m friendly AND professional.
  • I don’t start until I have established rapport AND found common ground.
  • I ask more and talk less.
  • I don’t speak until they have finished speaking.  Otherwise, it looks like I am not listening.
  • I walk into the sales call with ideas, and questions, not a pitch.
  • I don’t talk about what “we do.” I talk about how they win.
  • I ask for, and make sure I understand, what they’re hoping to achieve.
  • I listen with the intent to understand, and then respond.
  • I uncover my customer’s reasons and motives for buying.
  • When appropriate, I answer with questions, not just statements.
  • I dare to inject humor when appropriate. Not jokes, humor.
  • I take notes to make certain I remember what was said, what was promised, and to show respect.
  • I make my demos and presentations customized for the prospect.
  • I often clarify a statement with a question before I answer.
  • I discuss money openly like any other subject.
  • I use testimonials to prove points and create a buying atmosphere.
  • I am more patient than anxious. I wait for them to ask, and then tell.
  • When I hear a buying signal, I ask for, and confirm the sale.
  • I don’t leave without formalizing the next steps in their buying cycle.
  • I organize my day because I know time is money.
  • I know the steps in my sales process and take them at exactly the correct time.
  • I know it’s okay to say, “I don’t know the answer to that question.  But I will get it for you.”  And then get them the answer ASAP.  I know this builds trust and confidence with them in me.
  • I know it’s okay to win a deal alone, but never to lose one by myself.
  • Every call has a purpose for them and then for me.
  • I plan business not only this month or this quarter, but for next year.
  • I know how to use all my selling technology tools.
  • I know how and when to use my internal resources.
  • I speak in simple terms, not simplistically.
  • I ask questions that challenge my prospects and customers way of thinking.
  • I reframe what I believe to be the situation before presenting or closing.
  • I send a meeting follow-up document after an important meeting, and especially if money is discussed.
  • I know my customer’s Internal Rate of Return (IRR).

 

 

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Buying the business

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Is it ever okay to discount so heavily that you are just “buying” the business? I think it depends. I am one who says sell your value and understand the value you bring to your customer. However, there can be a situation when it really is the best thing you can do with a bad situation. Here’s one example.

We were working with a prospect, who did not let us know until we got near the point where they wanted to make a decision, that there was an incumbent vendor with whom the CEO felt comfortable. Our contact told us, “The boss just feels good about them.”
So, after multiple attempts to reach the CEO, we wrote the following email to him (bypassing our contact):
======================
Hello Bob,
Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with Ted multiple times about your research and requirements for an enterprise XXX solution. I wanted to reach out to speak with you directly about this decision, since it can be very strategic for revenue growth.
From our conversations, I understand some of the key considerations to be:
• Point 1
• Point 2
• Point 3

With our application’s compatibility with your application and the underlying systems platform, our solution seems to line up very well. I’ve also personally worked with companies in similar markets to yours, who have been very successful in using our product.

A couple examples of customers that have used our platform as a differentiator are XXX for asset management and YYY Software for inventory management.
When would be a good time to talk for a few minutes to discuss your goals for this project so we can help make it a success?
Thanks,
Sales rep
==========================

The CEO responded and said he was open to seeing a demo of our product. We did the demo and while he paid attention, you could tell he was not totally convinced. He also mentioned something about our price being kind of high. I took the price comment as an excuse for him to say, “At least I looked.” At the end of the demo he said, “We’ll get together as a team, go over everything and let you know.”  Sure.   We asked:

“What are the determining factors in choosing a vendor?”
Answer – There are a lot of things; functionality, price, development time.

Not once did he mention already using the other vendor and feeling comfortable with them, which we knew. At this point, we had a decision to make. Wait for the axe to fall or try to get something out of the deal. I typically choose the ladder. On a deal where the prospect is at least willing to pay for any labor costs such as Professional Services, and they do not eat up much or any of my time, I like to get what I can and become the incumbent. After a week I had my sales rep send the following email to the CEO:
===========================
Hello Bob,
Thank you taking time to view the features and benefits of our product.

It is our understanding ABC has been using, and feels comfortable with, . While may have a fine product and company, for , we have been told many times our solution is the best on the market.

Bob, we have decided to not let cost stand in the way of letting you take advantage of what many consider to be the best technology for . To that end, here is our offer if you are willing to make a decision this month:

For your system you will have:
– Bullet 1
– Bullet 2
– Etc.

Price – $X per month …… At this price point monetizing our solution with your customers should bring you an excellent, new revenue and profit stream.

We also suggest purchasing two days of Professional Services at $X per day, to make sure everything is set up correctly for maximum effectiveness.

Some may say, we are just buying the business or we must be desperate. Only the former is true. We are doing great. We are 121% ahead of where we were this time last year and have had double-digit growth over the last four years.

However, there are some cases where we see such a great fit, that we are willing to pay to have you as customer and help spread the word. Attached is our proposal.

We look forward to bringing you on board and making your new project a huge success.

Best regards,
Sales rep
==================
No professional sales rep or manager wants to be in this position. However, you must consider all the facts.
Are they going to expand their initial purchase down the road?
• Can you sell them add on’s later?
• Do you need reference customers?
• Is your company in a growth mode where you need critical mass?

Is this always the right approach? Absolutely not. But every deal needs to stand on its own and must be evaluated that way.

Sales training for Reps – Learn to really listen for what your prospect is NOT saying.
Sales training for Managers – Rather than just walk away, always consider what you can get out of the deal.

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Show then tell.



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This is a very simple point but one that’s often overlooked. There is a grocery store near my house that I frequent. If I’m looking for an item there and I cannot find it, I usually just ask one of the store employees. What happens next is the important part of this lesson. The store employee drops what they are doing and walks me to the item. This is a subtle, but effective sales strategy. Aside from me feeling important and good about their service, it solves an issue for me; time. I usually squeeze going to the grocery store in between my other tasks for the day. I want to get in and out as quickly as possible. They know that about me, and most of their other shoppers.

As you’re giving a demo or presentation, one of your prospects may ask you a question about an additional feature or some additional functionality within your product. Don’t simply say, yes we can do that. If you were planning on showing that later in the presentation, and there are other features that need to be shown first because they build on each other, say “Good question. I am going to cover that in a bit.” However, if it is a standalone feature just go ahead and show them how it’s done. If you don’t, they’ll be thinking about their question when you want them focusing on what you are presenting. They may also think you are hiding something. Relating this back to the grocery example – you are getting a request of something that is important to them and showing and/or acknowledging it, and “walking” them to what they want, right then. You also start to build trust with this approach because it shows you are listening and are considerate of their time.
An exception; if the decision maker is on demo and asks to see something, stop and show it right then. And compliment them for asking the question.

Tip: Set the stage for your demo by having your questions written out and mentally placed at the right point in your presentation. This also gets them engaged and makes the session interactive.

Bonus demo tip: After the introductions, start off by asking each attendee, “I know your time is valuable. What is the most important thing I could show you today?”
Sales Homework — In addition to practicing your demo in a sequential order, move things around and practice demonstrating features (with benefits) in a random order.

Sales Managers — When your sales reps can demonstrate any single feature in any order, it goes a long way toward showing product knowledge mastery.

Click http://sales-getters.com/build-a-course.html to bring Louie onsite.   I have been successfully selling products and services for over two decades. My first job was at the age of 10, working at a hot dog stand in Skokie, Illinois. It’s where I first learned the value of, “you want fries with that?” which you can read about in the course.

I have won sales awards with every company I have worked for, or have run. In 2002, my company, MindIQ, was included in the INC. 500 list for one of the fastest growing private companies in America, over a five year period.

I have encountered probably every type of sales situation you will ever run into. What you will learn in this course is not theory. I have lived, and continue to live 262 business days a year, every one of these sales lessons.

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Train like a pro.

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Click http://sales-getters.com/build-a-course.html to bring Louie onsite and train the right way.

Day 192 — Train like a pro.
No sales rep ever lost a deal or an account for out-hustling the competition. It’s important in all aspects of business to work hard and give it your all. But in sales, it’s essential. Your competition doesn’t care about your mortgage. They don’t care about your kids’ college education, your car payment or your dinner tonight. They are playing to win because in sales, there is no money for 2nd place. The sale only rewards the winner. The sooner you accept this fact, the sooner you can get into the winning mindset. And that is where you need to live.

I was driving home from work listening to an Atlanta sports radio show on a Monday after an Atlanta Falcons win the day before. They were interviewing a Falcons player who had an excellent game. It really struck me what he said: “I believe in my heart, that if I’m not out there practicing and preparing every day for Sunday, then my competition just got a day up on me.” Adopt this mindset and you will have an excellent game.
Every day, give it all you’ve got and watch the results. Learn, practice, deliver. Every day.

Aside from going through all the training lessons in this course, here are few more things that will get you on top and keep you there:
* Under promise and over deliver.
* Do what you what you said you would do.
* Show up early.
* Be prepared.
* Stay late.
* Send thank you notes.
* Continually train to improve your skills.
* Continually ensure your support and customer service departments are helping when your customer needs them.
* Continually let your customer know the status of their order and anything else you need to keep track of to make sure your customer stays happy.
* If it’s not working, adjust.
* Always tell the truth.
* Always be thinking of new ways to bring in and close new business.
* Be yourself.

Sales Homework –List four more things you do that show you’re leaving it all on the field.
1.
2.
3.
4.
Sales Managers — If you can get all the members of your sales team to give it their all, you’ll have your group on fire and the sales will show it. Continually coach and reward all the attributes above, plus the attributes your sales reps provide in their homework. Then, as a sales manager, you are leaving it all on the field. If you “like” this video please click the Like button. I have been successfully selling products and services for over two decades. My first job was at the age of 10, working at a hot dog stand in Skokie, Illinois. It’s where I first learned the value of, “you want fries with that?” which you can read about in the course.

I have won sales awards with every company I have worked for, or have run. In 2002, my company, MindIQ, was included in the INC. 500 list for one of the fastest growing private companies in America, over a five year period.

I have encountered probably every type of sales situation you will ever run into. What you will learn in this course is not theory. I have lived, and continue to live 262 business days a year, every one of these sales lessons.

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Losing a sale.


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I haven’t won every sale. Neither will you. I was once in a very heated competition. After a huge effort on my part the prospect awarded the deal to my competitor. When they first sent me the email letting me know they selected someone else, I was furious. I wanted to pick up the phone tell them they were crazy, and worse; stupid. In my heart of hearts I believed we had a better solution for them.
You’re obviously going to do your best and try to win each deal, but some are just going to get away from you. Once the deal was finally irretrievable I wrote my prospect the following email:

Hello Beth,
Thank you for the note.
I want you to know I have appreciated getting to know you and your team.
I certainly wish you the best with your new project. If I can be of service in the future don’t hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely,
Louie Bernstein

Did I get the business after this email? Nope. But what I did was leave the door open. I didn’t act like a sore loser, which nobody likes. Let’s say, for example, the implementation goes bad with my competitor’s product. Or, it turned out their product wasn’t what they had promised. Do you think my prospect would have called me back if I had acted like a spoiled brat? No way. So keep your cool and be a professional.
And yes; not for this particular sale, but this type of email has gotten me business after the initial sale was lost. Copy both the email and the attitude.

Sales Homework — Your homework for this lesson is to keep this email handy and work so you never have to use it.

Sales Managers — Go for the win every single time. But coach your sales reps to accept defeat gracefully and like a professional. Never burn your bridges. Click http://sales-getters.com/build-a-course.html to bring Louie onsite and start accelerating sales and profits. If you “like” this video please click the Like button. I have been successfully selling products and services for over two decades. My first job was at the age of 10, working at a hot dog stand in Skokie, Illinois. It’s where I first learned the value of, “you want fries with that?” which you can read about in the course.

I have won sales awards with every company I have worked for, or have run. In 2002, my company, MindIQ, was included in the INC. 500 list for one of the fastest growing private companies in America, over a five year period.

I have encountered probably every type of sales situation you will ever run into. What you will learn in this course is not theory. I have lived, and continue to live 262 business days a year, every one of these sales lessons.

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Handling Sales Ojections

When a prospect gives you an objection the natural thing to do is react and tell them how wrong they are. That’s what amateurs do. NOT professional sales people. You need to let your prospect’s objections bounce off you like water off a wet duck.

Remember that objections are a prospect’s way of:
* Looking for more information.
* Trying to get clarification on a point.
* Stalling.
* Negotiating.
* Being difficult.

When a prospect throws an objection at you picture a couple boxers in the ring. When one of the boxers throws a punch that barely hits or grazes the other boxer, the recipient feigns a response. He looks at the other boxer with, is that all you got? It’s very similar in sales. You need to acknowledge the objection was thrown and show that it hasn’t hurt you by cushioning it and responding – with a question. Your counter punch to the objection is a well prepared question. The key is to not take the punch too hard. You want to relax and cushion the blow.

Some examples:
Objection — We’re happy with what we’re using.
Cushion — It’s always good to have a smoothly running operation.
Objection — Your price is too high.
Cushion — Price can certainly be a consideration.

Sales Homework — List five objections for your product, and a cushion and question for each.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Sales Managers — Having your sales reps act like a skilled boxer in the ring will give you added confidence knowing they can “hold their own” in any situation.

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Louie Bernstein Receives AA-ISP’s TOP 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals in 2013 Award

Louie Bernstein Receives AA-ISP’s TOP 25 Most Influential
Inside Sales Professionals in 2013 Award

selling workshop
American Association of Inside Sales Professionals – AAISP

Atlanta, GAApril 10, 2013 — Izenda announced today that the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) recognized Louie Bernstein as part of the 2013 AA-ISP Inside Sales Leadership Summit Awards Banquet held on April 10th at the Palmer House hotel in Chicago, IL.  Only 25 were selected from over 1,000 nominations received.“We’ve seen revenue more than double and profits more than quadruple since Louie joined Izenda.  More importantly, we’ve created a true oasis where our employees can pursue their dreams and passions in a focused professional environment. We have evolved from a niche player to a market leader that can challenge even the largest BI companies. It’s been an incredible journey”, says Sanjay Bhatia, Izenda CEO.Louie is the Chief Sales Officer (CSO) at Izenda, a Business Intelligence software company in Atlanta as well as founder of Sales Getters, a sales training and consulting company. “Winning this award is a great honor for me.  To be included with some of the best sales minds in the country is extremely humbling.  It helps round out a career where striving to be a top professional salesperson and executive, have been such a major part of my life”, says Bernstein.

“It is an honor to recognize Louie as this year’s recipient of The TOP 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professional Awards.  Louie has proven his dedication and commitment to advancing the profession of inside sales, which is the mission of the AA-ISP,” stated Bob Perkins, Founder and CEO.  “We are confident that Louie will continue to have an impact on the inside sales community for years to come”, stated Perkins.

A complete list of companies and individuals recognized by the AA-ISP will be published on the AA-ISP website, go to www.aa-isp.org.

 

About Sales Getters
Sales Getters is sales training and consulting company based in Atlanta that offers free video sales training.  Louie Bernstein, the founder, is the author of How to be a Professional Salesperson. This course is sold worldwide and provides a daily (262 lessons) dose of practical, real-life sales advice for the novice sales person up through experienced sales managers.  Sales Getters also delivers a one-day, onsite workshop.

About AA-ISP

The AA-ISP is an international association dedicated exclusively to advancing the profession of Inside Sales. The association engages in research studies, organizational benchmarking and leadership round tables to better understand and analyze the trends, challenges, and key components of the growth and development of the Inside Sales industry. Our mission is to help inside sales representatives and leaders to leverage our information and resources through published content, local community chapters, national conferences, career development, and an Inside Sales Accreditation program.

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Listening

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This could easily be the first lesson in the Sales Getters Sales Training Course. If you aren’t a good listener, you’ll never reach your full potential in sales. There is nothing as self-defeating as not listening to what your prospect is saying to you.
There are several keys to good listening:
1. Look the person who is speaking in the eyes. Don’t glare, but consciously make eye contact. This will signal to the other person that you are paying attention; even if you are not.
2. While the other person is talking don’t be thinking about what you are going to say next. Not only is this a bad habit, you’ll miss what they are saying.
3. Occasionally, repeat back all or part of what they said or asked you. Keep it conversational and don’t be a parrot. If your prospect says, “Louie, I am going to have a tough time getting this past the Operations Committee.” It’s okay to reply with the question; “Max, Operations can be tough. How do others get things through them?” Max then knows you heard him.
4. Listen for tone and inflection. It’s true that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Your prospect may be telling one thing and meaning another. You have to listen carefully to detect this nuance.

After developing good listening skills you can sometimes tell what a person really means. I had prospect tell me, after we had sent a proposal and agreed on the date to review it, that he had not had time to look at it. I could tell from the tone of his voice he had no intention of looking at the proposal yet. When I pressed him with, “Larry, you’re really not interested enough yet to start going through our proposal, are you?” Larry replied, “No.”

Sales Homework –
1. After each of your calls this week, write down the salient points you think you heard from your prospect. Double-check to see if what they actually said is consistent with their actions. They may be saying one thing while meaning another.
2. Start practicing the listening skills listed above.

Sales Managers During your sales meetings practice a “total recall” at the end of the meeting to see how your sales reps listening skills can improve.

Click http://sales-getters.com/build-a-course.html to bring Louie onsite and start accelerating sales and profits.

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Prospects versus Customers

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Do you act differently with your prospects than you do with your customers? Don’t.
Put yourself in their shoes. What if you act one way during their buying cycle and another way after they’ve given you their money and their confidence? During the buying cycle you’re calling every day, bringing gifts and getting your prospects all the resources they need. Don’t stop doing those things. You probably don’t have to call as often because there won’t be as many details to cover. However, while there may be fewer calls, your calls should still deliver the same amount of value to your customer.
This approach is simply good business because:
1. You want your existing customers to buy additional products and services from you.
2. You want them to tell other prospects how good you were after the sale.

You cannot be one type of person before the sale and another type of sales person after the sale and have a profitable, long-term career in sales.

Sales Homework — Look at your customer list and make sure you’re treating your current customers the way you’re treating your prospects. List three things you can do this week to enhance your existing customer relationships.
1.
2.
3.

Sales Managers – Coach your sales reps to raise their game to this level of professionalism. Click http://sales-getters.com/build-a-course.html to bring Louie onsite and start accelerating sales and profits. If you “like” this video please click the Like button.

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What if they do nothing?

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This is an excellent question to ask your prospects, but one that can cut both ways. So, to make sure this question works for you, make sure you know the answer. For example; let’s say you’re selling a product that’s a huge improvement over what your prospect currently uses. They’re okay with what they have in place no matter how inferior it is compared to what you are offering. In this case, if you can ask them, “What happens if you just stick with what you currently have?” You’ll probably get an answer like, “We’ll be okay.” And that’s the truth. But, they’re just okay.
This question will be much more effective, however, if they do not have a solution in place. It can lead to the following questions:
• Will they lose or continue losing money?
• Will they fall behind the competition?
• Will they lose their leadership position?
• Will their current customers leave them for the competition?
• Will it hinder their productivity?
• Will it increase costs?

Make sure these questions are asked at the right time and for the right reason. If your prospect does say, we’ll be okay; one way to respond to this is to ask the question “Is “okay” good enough for you?” When they respond they may tell you how to sell them. For example, they may tell you “We want your product over what we currently have, but cannot justify the expense.” At least then you have something to work with. If you have prepared a favorable ROI, now would be the time to pull it out and present your case. If, on the other hand, they come back with just, “Yes, okay is good enough” you need to keep drilling for reasons that allow you demonstrate the value of what you are offering is vastly superior to what they currently have. They need to feel a sense of urgency to switch. This urgency will probably be based around one the bullet points/questions listed above.
Important: How you respond can vary based on the person and title to whom you are responding. For instance; “We’re okay” coming from a support person or administrative assistant is different than hearing those words from a CFO or CEO. Practice your response for both types of prospects. Typically, someone without profit and loss responsibility will utter that phrase just to get you off the phone. Whereas the CEO will (if they really care about their company) respond favorably to your questions on why “We’re okay” is just not good enough.
Sales Homework — List three more questions that get your prospect thinking about why it would be better for them to leave their comfort zone and switch to your product rather than stay with what they have.
1.
2.
3.
Sales Managers — Don’t let your sales reps be discouraged when their prospects don’t want to switch. Coach them to find a way through good questioning. Click http://sales-getters.com/build-a-course.html to bring Louie onsite and start accelerating sales and profits.

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