A Step Ahead
with
Skip Miller
 
February, 2009 Vol 3, Issue 2
 
OMG, it's X?!% February?
 

OMG

So when did you realize it?  Looked at the calendar and saw January had been taken down?  Wrote a check and figured out January did not have 36 days? 
 
Whatever the case may be, you are 1/3 into the first quarter.  Many of you are already throwing in the towel for first quarter and ramping up for second quarter. 
 
Remember, you have to make up what you miss in Q1 to be whole by the half way mark.
 
Suggestions?
 
1. Follow the money.  There are a lot of companies doing well.  Figure it out.  Companies that help companies save cash...doing well.  Companies who sell somthing that costs a lot of up front cash...not doing so well.  Target the companies who are doing well.  They maybe having new problems cropping up and could use your help.
 
2. Target.  It's rifle time, not shotgun time.  What are you doing to target your lead generations and sales prospecting efforts?
 
3. Pay for play.  Now is the time to get people working smart, not just hard.  Great sales people do not have to prospect too hard, since they have a network and great contacts.  Pay them to get their hands dirty, not just "be on track to make the number".  Get people excited about finding new business...major business for that matter.
 
4. Value selling rules.  You have two choices.  Choice #1, buy new business.  Choice #2, find a prospect with some problems they have to solve and be a part of the solution...and stay the heck out of purchasing!
 
OK, Q1 does not look as rosy as you hoped, but there are some things you can do ProActivily.  Just a few weeks ago you may have said, "I should have done that 4 months ago".  Well, do it now.
 
Here's to making the first quarter work!
 
 
Skip 


Tools
What's hot, what's not?
 
Repeated from last month.  I like it too much not to say it again...."Demand for this article to be reprinted has been so great...."
 
Tried and true just doesn't work anymore.  Take a risk, see what is working, and win.
 
 
joker
 
 
Not
Face to face sales calls.  Seeing the same people just to ask them, "How's it going?."  These can also be called doughnut drops, or fancy donought drops.  If you are going to see a customer face to face, it better be with someone who is ready to spend money.
 
Hot
Qualification skills...big time.   Getting 5 or 6 out of 10 from 2 out of 10.  You have to qualify over the phone, over the web, over the internet.  Qualification skills isn't just for the new or inexperienced sales people, it's is also important for the major account sales people.
  
Not
Products, new products, and better products.  If you are a company that is going to dedicate more than 35% of your company's sales kick-off meeting to products, you are doing it all wrong.  It's about the value your customer will get from the solution you will be a part of.
 
Hot
Financial and ROI questioning skills.  Anybody read Understanding Financial Reports from Merrill Lynch?  Google it and you'll be suprised how easy you can you can turn all that financial "stuff" into benefit selling. 
 
Not 
Prospect - Qualify - Demo - Propose.  It is absolutly amazing the number of companies still selling demos and proposals.  Please get a clue.  The goal is not to sell a proposal or a demo.  "Once we get them in the demo, they will see the value."  You are dreaming, right?
 
Hot
Having the prospect qualify themselves.  Come up with a questionaire or a visual buy cycle map that walks the prospect through an evaluation of your product and service.  Think of homework assignments your prospect must do before you give them a demonstration or a proposal.  In these tough times you have to improve the quality of the pipeline, not just the quantity.

In This Issue
Tools
Take Action
Tips and Things
M3 Learning Links
Join our mailing list, logon to:
 

Take Action

 
It's Here, it's Here!!!
 

More PSM

 
More ProActive Sales Management is out.  Just got my copies yesterday.  22 mistakes sales managers have made and what to do about them. 
 
Sales management is one of the most important and skillful professions in business today, and yet we still don't get it right.  You spend years in sales, do it well, get promoted, and then realize that what you did to become a great sales person has nothing to do with being a great sales manager.
 

So, you overcame these issues, learned new skills, and became good at this management thing.  Congratulations.  Now it's time to be better.
 

How?  Here is a book that tells you what not to do, what to avoid, the bad decisions, the stuff we wish we would never have gotten into.  This booked is based on hundreds of sales managers having modeled it, tried it, done it, and flopped.
 

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.
James Joyce (1882 - 1941)
 
Who's going to argue with that?   In sales, everyone agrees you end up learning more from your losses than your victories.  The lessons learned from your sales and sales management mistakes are ones you remember, right?  So, it's time to learn from other sales managers who have made some mistakes and want to pass them on to you.  Some big mistakes.  The ones you have probably gone through, are in the middle of, or are going to go through, and do not know it yet.  Scary thought, eh?
 

This is not to say that just because something goes wrong once you shouldn't keep trying. There are always those second chance circumstances where you need to just keep trying. 
 

What we are suggesting is that when you come to sales management decisions, the really important ones, you may want to play the odds. Don't think that your situation is unique, because it's not.  Speed kills, and the longer you delay in making a decision, whether it's a wrong decision or even a right decision, the more it will hurt you.  In this book we're going to look at 22 big sales management mistakes anyone can make so that you can avoid making the same ones, and quite frankly, get better without having to fail so large.
 
 
Call now - 408.399.9243 .  Ann will even get me to sign it!
Selling Value
Our Value! class is getting popular.  Time to get on board.  Two day class or 1/2 day working session.  Just right for your A players.  Call us now.  It's not a secret on how to sell solutions and how to sell value, it's just another tool in the tool box.  qualify tool
 
Call us and find out how to get your sales team up and running with qualification and Value skills for 2009.
 
The trick is not selling value.  The trick is getting the customer to perceive the value your solution offers to a problem they are having.  Simple, right?
 
It's not about your value proposition; it's all about them.  See you in class.
Tips and Things
  
 
Shotguns and Rifles - (from KYSO Prospecting)
 
Targeting the right prospects
hunt 
 
 

            You use a shotgun to target a market.  It could be a vertical market like automotive.  It could be a geographic like the city of Phoenix, or it could be customer oriented, like past customers who have bought product A from us before.  However you want to shotgun, be broad and specific.  Even though a shotgun spreads a wide berth, you still have to aim it. 
 
            You don't go out into the wild and just start shooting hoping to hit a duck.  You have to pick a lake, a field or a place where you think the ducks go, and then you have to point the gun in the general direction of the ducks before you pull the trigger.  Same thing in prospecting.  If you want to hit a duck, or a prospect, use a shotgun approach to gain a general direction and then start hunting.
 

            Using a rifle approach to prospecting is a way to get very specific and actionable. There are three things you can do to be very productive in using the rifle approach in prospecting.
 

1.      Create Goals - How many by when is a key here.  All your goals in prospecting must have a quantity and a statement of when this quantity will be met.  Qualitative goals using the words soon, many, a lot, ASAP are goals you will never obtain, since soon is not a date in your calendar and so on.  Write the goals down.   Studies show a written down goal has a 3x probability of being obtained over a non-written one.
 

2.      Be Timely - Work to the prospects time, not yours.  Again, the prospect is usually available early in the morning, late at night, 10 minutes before the hour, and 10 minutes before and after the lunch hour.  Work to their timeframes, not yours.
 

3.      Create Influence - Use the rifle approach to be able to influence your cold call to a warm call, just like you did in the warm call approach, but be a specific as you can.  It will require additional homework, but for a major prospect, it may be worth it.  Is there someone you know who knows the prospect so you can use a reference?  Is there something you have read about the company and the person you are going to try to reach that you can use?  Is there someone in your company who has specific contacts or information that can be used in getting through to a top prospect?  Be specific so you can leverage your first call
 
 
Target 10-20 key people per day, and call them often.  Most sales people say, "Hey, I called the guy four days ago.  He's not interested".  The prospect is saying, "I have got to find time to return that call.  Where did I put that number?".   Persistence wins all the time.


 
 
    
                                 Do not give up on February.  Now is the time to make it happen.  Remember, without an I-Date, you have a maybe.  Get those I-Dates, build those Trip-Tiks, and you'll make it.  Time to work hard...they don't call it work for nothing!
   Skip