A Step Ahead
with Skip Miller
September, 2009 Vol 3, Issue 9
Putting The Cart Before the Horse
cart before the horse 
I think it was my Dad.  One day I was doing some work in the yard, and my Dad stopped by to look what I was doing.  I can't even remember what chore I attempting, but I remember him saying, "That looks good son, but it also looks like you've put the cart before the horse."
I smiled and continued on with my task, and finished 2 hours later, having to redo what I had done 4 times. 

It still doesn't make sense to me when we talk to sales people and managers that when the topic of prospecting comes up, two things are obvious.

1.  The sales person wants to blurt out who they are and what they do in the hope something sticks.  Rationalization occurs with, "Hey, they have to know all about us, right?  

2.   If the prospect does discuss needs and problems, the sales team has no idea how to capture the information, except with a notebook and pen, or a CRM system where the information may never be heard from again. 

Pospecting to new and current accounts should not be as hard as we make it.  Framing it up for the prospect in less than 15 seconds is OK, but the prospect only wants to talk to you because they have a question on their mind they want to ask.  LET THEM TALK.  How?  By asking them questions...  What questions?  Welcome to Network of Concerns (Thanks Stu!).

How do I capture the information?  In this newsletter, we discuss WarBooks, and will also show you some leading Warbook technology.

Prospecting and going broad and deep in current accounts is hard enough without practice.  You need to be a master at questioning, not just features/benefits.  You need to get the prospect involved with the customer data capture process, not just do it behind the scenes.  It's a mutual value proposition, not just all about you getting the sale.

Learn to have a real interest and master questioning techniques.  The more you learn about the customer, their needs and their problems, the better you will be at finding a solution.  One more time, it's not all about you 

End of the 3rd quarter.   

Sales managers, you have one more month to go before you execute Q4 game plan and start thinking about 2010. Now is the time to go tactical.  What contests, buddy program, metrics or focus can you put on the next 30 days to get the sale team to clean up the maybes and have a good solid pipeline for Q4. 

Salespeople, the definition of close is not getting an order...it's getting a decision, yes or no without delay.  Get the Q3 decisions out of the way, either yes or no, so you have a clear runway at Q4.   No need to keep the maybes around, even if they do make your forecast look good (see definition of fools's gold).

Have a great September.  Ask for decisions.  Capture pertinent data.  Ask great questions.  Put the horse in front of the cart and watch for the cart to come across the finish line full come December.
Good Luck! 


In This Issue
ProActive Selling Tool - WarBooks - Prepare for Battle!
Skip on the Radio - Want more business? Prospect More!
It's Tool Time!
ProActice Selling

This must-have book offers a wide variety of effective selling tactics designed to keep the customer at the center of each stage in the sales process.  When you shift your focus from the selling process to the buying process, you'll start thinking more like a buyer, and soon you'll know instinctively how to use the fight tool at the right time. 
Skip will show you how to:
 - Call high, stay high, and speak the language of the real decision makers. 
 - Increase the effectiveness of all your sales interactions - in person, in writing and on the phone.   
 - Own the selling / buying process from start to finish, and own the deal.  

Increase your

Sales Velocity!

 In this live webinar, Skip will share inside information about ProActive Sales and how he has helped countless companies, already at the height of success in their respective fields, achieve an even greater level of sales productivity and success. 

Skip is one of the most sought after speakers on sales productivity. In this webinar he will share customer stories and a few best practices that include using MindManager to enhance client relationships and increase sales productivity and close rates.

Title:   Mindjet and Skip Miller on Closing More Sales Faster

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2009

Time: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer

Space is limited! 
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Guarantee your 2010 sales number!
Ropes Logo
Are you an "A" Player?
Our Advanced Sales School w/ Ropes Course is next month!   
You'll get the advantage you need to keep performing at the top of your game!  You'll push yourself and be challenged in ways you never thought possible.  
Our 3 day program features a Ropes / Adventure course in the Redwood forest, along with intensive ProActive sales training from Skip Miller and his dynamic team of presenters.  
We have been doing this school for 15 years, and we're still getting letters on how the students are using the tools.  Tap into your extra resources so you can learn how to achieve ALL your goals!   
Sign up today!  Space is limited! 
Advanced Sales School  
Oct, 12-14 - Saratoga, CARopes course ladder
Call Teri at 408.399.9243
or go to www.m3learning.com and register now.
Special Early Registration until September 15!
Group Discounts available!
The True Art of the Sale
ProActive Selling Tool 
          Prepare for Battle!  
               *** Excerpt from the Best Seller "ProActive Selling"
You've increased your prospecting efforts since reading last month's newsletter.  You're focusing on RedZone accounts and are starting to do your homework to prepare for the initial meeting.  But you're asking yourself some of the following questions:
"What homework is important to gather?"
"How much information is too much and/or not enough?"
"How do I organize this information in a useful state?"
The answer is to begin your WarBooks, the physical repository of the history and company information you need on your RedZone accounts. And yes, the pen is so more mighty than the sword! And while the pen may be mighty, there is new technology that may be able to help you even more.  Join the free webinar discussed earlier in this newsletter that we're putting on September 17th to learn how to use MindJet to manage all this information you'll want to gather:  
Pen on books
- this is the section where you build your case on why you should be spending so much of your time with this account. 
What has the history of this account been with your company?  What have they purchased before?  Who has ordered what from you before, and why?  If the prospect has not done work with you before, who have they done business with previously, what have they purchased, and why? 
Company Information -
this is the section that lists what the company does and what is important to them. 
Suggestions on where to get information
·         Annual Reports
·         Prospect's web-site
·         Prospect's competitors' web-sites
·         Market research information
·         Google
·         Magazines / Periodicals
·         The prospects themselves

What information should you gather?    You should know more about them then they know about themselves.  Answer these seven WarBook questions and you're well on your way to understanding. 
1.       What is the customer's annual revenue?
2.       What is the customer's annual earnings? 
3.       What is the 2-yr history of revenue & earnings? 
4.       What is the customer's current market share
and market size? 
5.       What are their projections for market share & market size the next 2 years? 
6.       What are the customer's top two competitive advantages, and how do you contribute in making them more competitive? 
7.       What is the mission of the company, and what are the top three items on the corporate agenda? 
Why should you gather this information? 
Every salesperson knows the trick.   Every month, every quarter, you're working on deals.  However, there are always one, two or sometimes even three deals that are really important.  These are the ones that will make or break the quarter or the year.  These are the ones you do a WarBook on. 
As a salesperson, you have the choice to work on RedZone accounts.  You can be a solution-oriented, consultative, ProActive salesperson; or you can be a vendor:  Put a dollar in, get a Coke.  You can vend. 
Which salesperson are you going to be?  Go back to the seven WarBook questions and try to answer them for your top two prospects.  Can you answer them?  If so, congratulations.  If not, why not? 
When you're in front of a senior manager of the prospect, don't break out a brochure or your PowerPoint presentation full of features and benefits.  Have a discussion about the answers to the WarBook questions and you'll be talking the prospects' language!

Skip on the Radio!  

Jim Blasingame Logo
Want more business?  Prospect more!
Skip Miller recently joined Jim Blasingame, the Small Business Advocate, to discuss proven tips and best practices for prospecting effectively, including a contest among the sales staff for the best "jerk" story at the end of the week.
With only  a few months left in 2009 it's time to start preparing for 2010.  Your prospecting efforts today will guarantee you success tomorrow.   
How are you doing on your growth goals?  While fall and winter are almost upon us, you've got to be treating the next few months as your Spring Training.  Only you can truly assess your strengths and weaknesses, fine tune your skills, and get ready for 2010.  it will be here before you know it. 
As always, you know I'm here to help you in any way I can.  Call me, e-mail me, or text me - I'm here for you!
All the best for a great September and fantastic finish to your year!