Archive for the ‘Sales Culture’ Category

Fixing a struggling sales team…

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

…When you’re on it.

Have you ever been on a sales team that’s failing to hit the numbers, month after month?

If you are hitting your own numbers, it’s tempting to just keep your head down and continue coming out on top. But the overall numbers matter to the health of the company, which means they should matter to you as well.

In fact, if you’re not on the direct sales team, hitting those goals matters because money for raises and bonuses comes from increased revenue. So yes, it DOES matter to you, no matter what.

So what can you do? Step up and solve the problem.

The most likely problem is people aren’t following the sales process. Perhaps they don’t know how to sell premium pricing. Or perhaps they don’t have the confidence to make or handle the calls.

Whatever the problem, realize you are there to be a part of the solution. And realize that the solution can never work unless people get honest. Almost all sales discrepancies have to do with people not being authentic about following the sales process or making the right number of sales calls.
You’ve heard the old statement…the truth will set you free.

What can you do today to help your organization hit its revenue goals?
Encourage your colleagues to be honest with management about how they need to do things better or different. When the company wins, everybody wins.

EVERYONE is in Sales

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

The CEOs of some of the companies I work with do something special every week—a weekly radio address to their team where they celebrate the “wins” of that week and commend the individuals that got them there. The purpose of this address is to get everyone excited about the victories, but more importantly to get everyone understanding that they play a pivotal role in the success of the company.

It takes a lot of contributions at every level to make that success happen. But at the end of the day, success comes down to bringing in revenue. In other words, no matter what your position, it all comes down to sales.

Everyone from the CEO to the custodian benefits from the success of the company, and everyone ultimately feels the pain when the company doesn’t do well. That’s why all employees must see a direct connection between their work and the sales that bring in the revenue.

Just because “sales” isn’t in your job title, doesn’t mean you’re not accountable to bringing in revenue.

The fact is that every business needs more customers at a higher price. That’s the game—no matter what your position. If you can’t prove through a weekly report to your boss that you made at least five times your salary for the company that week OR decreased company expenses by double your salary, you’re not paying your way—plain and simple.

So, get focused on those revenue-producing activities—everything else is noise.

Acres of Diamonds: Show Me the Money!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
© Virusowy |

© Virusowy |

Last year I finally read Acres of Diamonds. It’s a century old, yet its truths are timeless.

This pastor, lawyer, speaker, politician, and university president – who collected $11 million from his speech by the same title and donated it to students – spoke of the riches that are available to all of us and how we search for them in all the wrong places.  The acres of diamonds, you see, are in our own backyard.

He tells of struggling merchants who know nothing about the people living near their businesses, nothing about their families or their kids, their joys or sorrows or aspirations.  They just plain don’t care about people – and THAT’s why they’re poor. They don’t see opportunities because they don’t know that people will show you how to help them—IF you just listen.

A metaphor for business? My thoughts exactly.

Here’s a thought. What would happen if you eliminated all the drama from your sales team? Work would no longer look like an adult day care because people would be accountable for their own problems and solutions.

What if instead of having to manage people, a sales manager could focus on improving sales?  No managing the frail egos of people who complain about minutiae; every sales person 100 percent accountable for his or her results; no dealing with “hurt feelings” – because you’re dealing with grownups who know that their feelings are their choice.  Just imagine it.

Stay with me here. In this little dream, the sales manager would spend:

•    a third of his or her time generating leads for the sales team;
•    a third making the sales operation optimally effective;
•    a third coaching the players on positioning, strategies, techniques, and sales skills.

How would that change things?

Are you ready for the change? It’s not that hard. Simply make sure that you instruct people to own their problems and find solutions fast. If anyone comes to you with a gripe or a whine, stick your fingers in our ears and shout, “I’m not listening, I’m not listening.”  Tell them to come back to let you know what they did to create a quick solution.

Do this and sales will accelerate!

Turning Your Market into a Buzzing Hive of Opportunity

Saturday, January 9th, 2010
© Inventori |

© Inventori |

If I owned a tattoo shop for businesspeople, I’d ink the same thing over and over onto client after client:  Life gives to the givers and takes from the takers.

It’s not just pithy, you know—it’s true.  If you want to put your business on the receiving end of the giving, it’s time to dig in and give like crazy to your customers.  The key is to abandon the terrible goal of “customer satisfaction.”  You don’t want satisfied customers.  You want customers who are passionate.

Comedian Demetri Martin gets at the difference between satisfaction and passion when he calls graffiti “the most passionate literature there is.”  It’s always something like “U2 ROCKS!” or “I LOVE SHERYL!”  He wonders why you never see “indifferent graffiti,” like “TOY STORY 2 WAS OKAY,” or “I LIKE SHERYL AS A FRIEND,” or “THIS IS A BRIDGE.”

Of course he knows why, and so do you.  That’s why it’s funny.  People don’t act on mere satisfaction.  They don’t express mere contentment in five-foot-high spray-painted letters.  They act on PASSION.  And the best thing you can do to turn your market into a buzzing hive of passionate customers is to spend the first 90 days of your relationship giving and giving and giving.  And giving.

Research has shown that businesses with ongoing client relationships (as opposed to one-time transactions) generally have 90 days to convince the client that they’ve chosen the right business.  Let those 90 days expire and you’ve lost the best chance you’ll ever have to capture them heart and soul, earning their undying devotion—and getting them to buzz to their friends and colleagues about the great decision they made.  Yet many businesses close the sale, then turn their attention to other sales, other prospects.  And the honeymoon’s over before it even begins.

You want to make those first few weeks a time of tremendous generosity on your part so your new client knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he or she made the right choice.  Short, sweet, personal touches are best.  If you know your client is relocating, send a pizza during move-in week.  Send over a lawn-mowing service.  Promote their businesses in your lobby.  Send laminated articles pertaining to their business or offer shredding service.  Offer a customer orientation program to help them maximize their own potential.

If you let your customers know that you are not just satisfied but THRILLED to have their business and eager to make their lives easier and better, why on Earth would they keep it to themselves?  Your name will end up in a thousand sentences beginning with “Oh my gosh, you won’t believe…” as they share their good fortune with everyone they know.  Be of extraordinary service to your customers, especially in the first blushing weeks of your relationship, and you won’t be able to STOP the buzzing even if you tried. 

And who’d even want to try?

Creating the Mind that Buys

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
© Nikolais |

© Nikolais |

You’re watching the Super Bowl when one of those unforgettable commercials comes on. You grab your sides with laughter. How do they come up with these things?

The next day everybody at work is talking about that great ad for…for…

What the heck WAS the product?

We’ve all seen those ads—so packed with distracting wall-to-wall cleverness and funny characters that there’s no room in your head to notice and remember the one thing those three million bucks were supposed to make you remember: the name of the product.

The same thing applies to the sales process. Who hasn’t seen a salesperson, fresh from a seminar on cross-selling, suddenly spread a dozen different account options like a Japanese fan in front of the poor customer? Her expression falls into a blank and frightened stare. Heck, I’ve BEEN that woman.

The mess of options throws her mind into a tailspin. And why shouldn’t it? She can’t process all of the variables at once, she knows the salesperson is working from a different set of motivations than she is, and she doesn’t want to make a decision she’ll regret—so she goes into defensive mode to keep from making a mistake. People want to spend their money wisely, and it’s harder to think clearly about one option when it’s in a forest of others. So she stammers something about needing to check with her husband, and out the door she goes—possibly for good.

Ford Saeks put it best when he said a confused mind never buys. Have your sales and marketing people tattoo that axiom on their brains. Choice is a lovely thing, but give people too many choices and they won’t make one at all.

Barry Schwartz drives this point home in The Paradox of Choice—Why More is Less. More couples form in speed dating events with six options than with twelve. More customers bought jam from a street market vendor with four choices than from a similar stall with eight choices. I remember when I had eight choices for the color of my computer desktop. Then it went to 256. Now it’s 11 million. Is this really helpful?

Even if a customer does manage to make a choice, they are likely to be less happy about the one they selected because they know about the advantages they turned down in the other options. People who were offered a plane ticket to Las Vegas valued the gift more highly when it was offered in isolation than they did if it was one of several choices.

You confuse ’em, you lose ’em. So keep it simple.

Keep marketing pieces to a single central message. Make one offer per pitch. In the sales process, add additional options slowly, allowing the customer’s understanding to keep up. In the process, you will have made purchasing your product or service as simple as possible for the customer.

Hard to think of a better definition of successful sales and marketing.