A Step Ahead
 
with Skip Miller
 
February, 2010 Vol 4, Issue 2
Getting run over by Time? 
 Too Busy to be Competitive?   
 Time
Have you noticed the world is spinning faster?  I mean it must be.  You and I find ourselves running out of time to do all the things we have committed to do.  Salespeople and managers tell me they do not have enough time to:
 
         Prospect (of course)
         Territory management
         Input data into CRM
         Write e-mails
         Follow up with customers
         Sell
 
as well as,
 
         Close business
         Forecast correctly
         Interview/Hire
         Corrective action
         Spend time at home
         Visit with family and friends
         Meet with boss
 
Among other things that fill our day, these seem to be the most pressing...or did I forget something?  Priority management or time management skills would surely help, but who has the time, right?
 
Well take note, here's the good news; your competitor has the same time issues.  So here is a way to differentiate yourself from the competition and create value with your prospects. 
 
Take your time in your communication with your customers.  Differentiate yourself and;
 
* Make sure your spelling is correct in all communication (I need lots of help with this one!)
*   - try to use the customer's name as often as you can.  
* Don't sell the customer, act like part of their team.
* Offer to do the dirty work; it usually takes a few minutes and you get many brownie points
* Add the personal touch - it always helps
* Set time limits - customers don't  mind a few days delay as long as they know about it up front
* Respect your customers time.  Stop the useless chatter unless you are trying to gain rapport.  You customer has a million things to do too.
* Ask about their business.  Really be interested.
 
Later on in this newsletter, we review RedZone, and how to stay focused on your top priorities.  Time management tools are essential and to not use them, well...wastes time, effort, and keeps quota obtainment at a minimum.
 
Slow down, do less, and do it better.  It's not the person who gathers the most oranges who wins; it's the one with the best oranges.  The sales person with the best oranges gets more value for their crop, they have an easier time selling since the competition is selling price, and they get more satisfied, repeat customers.
 
Slow down.  The world will start spinning at your pace, and so will your customers.
 
 
skip
 
In This Issue
Hunting Buffalo
The January Value Star Challenge

Only a few spots left!  

 
Advanced Sales School Ropes Course
 
April 12-14, 2010
 
Transform your top salespeople! 
 
success
 
Sales Cycle Optimization
 
Pipeline Velocity
 
Customer Communication
 
Preparation & Presentation
 
Personal Growth
 
 
Skip - On the Airwaves!
 
Jim Blasingame Logo 
 
 
Skip was recently interviewed by the Small Business Advocate Network 
 
 
Do you have enough prospects for your sales pipeline for the next 90 days? Skip Miller talks with Jim Blasingame about what businesses that sell to other businesses have to do quantify how likely their current prospect list is to produce the sales volume required to be successful, including how to make the "trial close."
 
 
Hunting Buffalo - Time and Territory Management
  
Buffalo 

Let 's start with a story.
 
"How can I spend my time more wisely?" asked the young student to the wise sage.
 
"Silly boy," answered the sage.  "Have you not learned the way of the great hunter?"
 
"No, wise one, please tell me."
 
"An ordinary hunter goes into the woods to hunt game for his family.  With geese, ducks and pheasant, the hunter knows there is food out there, and with a lot of work, he gets some food every day.  The hunting is long, but he comes home with a bird so his family does not starve."
 
"This is wise, is it not?" asked the youth.
 
"Yes, but the ordinary hunter must hunt from sunup to sundown just to kill enough birds to feed his family for a day.  The great hunter is different, however.  The great hunter hunts birds, but he also spends some time hunting buffalo. If he kills a buffalo, his family can eat for a month." 
 
"It seems the great hunter is wiser, but also that he works much harder than the ordinary hunter," the boy observed.
 
"This is not so young one," said the sage. "On days when he finds no buffalo, it is true the great hunter can take a little longer to get his birds. But when he does find a buffalo, he gets a month's worth of food for a day's worth of effort."
 
Did you ever notice it often takes the same amount of effort to close a $100,000 order as it does to close a $5,000 order? You get used to hunting birds, you know where the birds hang out, and quite frankly, you like hunting birds.  Bird hunting winds up consuming so much of your day that you have no time to hunt buffalo. So you tell yourself there are no buffalo in your territory.  Everyone else's territory has buffalo, but yours is strictly for the birds.  
 
It's true that selling to buffalo is different from selling to birds. But we're talking about cold calling here, and how to make time to do it.

 
 Hunt More Buffalo
It's All About Value/t
 
The Value Star
Valuestar
Remember our January challenge? 
 
We told you to have business planning - Value Star / t conversations with your best customers and prospects. 
 
To review the 5 ways of creating value:
 
         Return on Investment (ROI)
         Time
         Risk
         Leverage
         Brand
 
How did your conversations go?  One company we're working with took us seriously.  Look at these comments from GPA's sales team:   
 
 
"2 days after our sales meeting I had a business review with my best customer.  We've had an 9-10 year relationship and they give me over 1M in business.  My  hour meeting turned into a 3 hour discussion about parts of their business I didn't even know they were strong in"    Tom
 
Remember:  JUST BECAUSE YOU'VE BEEN DOING BUSINESS WITH THEM DOESN'T MEAN YOU TRULY UNDERSTAND THEIR BUSINESS.  VALUE STARRING YOUR BEST ALLOWS YOU TO GO DEEPER AND FOSTER AN EVEN STRONGER RELATIONSHIP

"After the follow-up conference call I scheduled a meeting with one of my toughest customers.  Last year we had numerous problems with deliveries and service.  I decided to Value Star my appointment and walked out with a ton of ideas for product placement.  I even found out their brand vision for 2010 was "Speed to Market" which of course is right in our wheelhouse - Through the whole planning process my customer smiled and walked me to my car afterwards.  Months earlier, I couldn't walk in his place without a bodyguard.  The day after the review I received a quote for 200K sheets"        Mary Ann
 

"In my 20+ years of selling I've never had a sales call go as well as that last Value Star meeting went"    Greg 

"The first customer I talked to loved the questions so much he was going to use them with his sales team - especially the risk question linked with a time element. He smiled throughout the call and gave me incredible answers.  I now have a great understanding of additional areas we can add value and generate business.    Damien   

"When I started asking the Value Star questions the customer looked at me like I was from Mars.  But he opened up more than he ever had in the past and I now have a great opportunity for a 200K piece of business"    Lorenzo
 
Remember:  VALUE STAR QUESTIONS WILL DIFFERENTIATE YOU FROM ALL THE OTHER SALESPEOPLE IN THE WORLD!  YOUR CREDIBILITY WILL INCREASE EXPONENTIALLY AND YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL VIEW YOU IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LIGHT! 

"I just saw a customer that did 800K with us but we don't have their overall business.  The C-Level person I met with has always been extremely difficult to talk to as he's got a less than 10 second attention span and he usually ushers me out the door before then.  This time I Value-Starred him and actually engaged him for 30 minutes AND HE BROUGHT UP OUR CONSIGNMENT PROGRAM which I was then able to get him to sign"   Kathy

 
Do you have any success stories using Value Star of any of our other tools?  .  Let us know what you're doing!
      
 Target
 
February - We celebrate Groundhogs, Valentines and past Presidents.  Your year is underway.  One month in the books and this one is truncated.    
 
1. If you haven't seen your big customers and asked ValueStar/t questions -               WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
 
2. How's your prospecting pipeline?  Build it up!
 
3. Do you know what your dressing room is?  How are you transferring ownership? 
 
Keep stressing these important skills and you'll make your first quarter the springboard to a fantastic year! 
 
Happy February!    
 
Skip and team