No More Cold Calling

Message to Management: Are You Losing Your Top Talent?

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in No More Cold Calling | 0 comments

note-important-message-hiIf your sales reps are overwhelmed, they might decide the job’s not worth the stress.

The job of sales reps is to sell—to maintain strong sales pipelines and spend their time talking to clients. When you force them to spend hours entering data, coaching new hires, and attending long, boring meetings, they’ll leave.

More than 60 percent of organizations report that a top priority is dealing with “the overwhelmed employee,” according to Sales Benchmark Index. Sales leaders who fail to address this issue run the risk of losing top performers. They also miss the opportunity to increase sales productivity for their teams.

The High Cost of Turnover

Retaining top talent has been a priority for years. We all know the huge expense when salespeople leave. The cost of losing a talented employee can be 1 to 1.5 times that person’s salary plus benefits. Others need to take over until a new hire is found and brought up to speed. And customers resent having to “train” a new salesperson once again. Not always addressed is the danger that other top performers will follow them out the door.

Keep Your High Performers Happy

Check out the Sales Benchmark Index report, “Top Priority: Retaining Top Sales Reps.”  It includes a diagnostic tool to help you identify the time-management challenges of your top performers, and strategies for addressing the problem.

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How do you ensure that your top sales reps aren’t overwhelmed?

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Is Your “A List” Too Big?

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in No More Cold Calling | 0 comments

VIPIf you don’t have time to talk to all of your top clients, you might have too many.

The senior vice president of a major bank recently told me that his team reaches out to their clients once a year. “Each of my reps has 250 clients,” he explained. “They can’t possibly talk to all of them.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Once a year?

When I strongly suggested that all 250 clients didn’t match the profile of their Ideal Clients, he agreed.

The irony is that his trust officers have regular meetings with their top clients. It’s the perfect time to find out who these people know—in other words, the perfect time to ask for referrals.

Narrow It Down

Many organizations believe the best method for developing and increasing sales funnels is to cast a wide net. But that’s how you catch a bunch of tiny fish that aren’t worth your time. To reel in the big fish—the Ideal Clients with money to spend and who are great to work with—you have to be a lot more choosey about where you go fishing.

Where do you start looking for Ideal Clients? They won’t walk into your office asking for you. You won’t find them on social media, and you won’t find them by cold calling or emailing. You will find them through referral introductions from people they know and trust.

Since our current Ideal Clients know other people just like themselves, we should be talking to them on a regular basis—ensuring they’re getting ROI from our solutions and asking them for referrals.

Attract the Clients You Really Want

When you build your business based on referrals from your Ideal Clients, you work with the customers you really want—all while increasing sales and reducing your costs. These are the hard numbers and bottom-line results your boss, executives, and investors will love. (Read “4 Reasons to Lock in Your Ideal Clients.”)

Referral selling works, but only if you work it. Don’t have time to talk to your clients? Get real. Get busy. Get referrals.

Connect With No More Cold Calling

Follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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How many people are on your “A list”?

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Mark Zuckerberg Redefines Value

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in No More Cold Calling | 0 comments

roiDo you have $19 billion?

In the sales world, we equate value with ROI. Not so for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who just acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion. He was thinking way bigger.

A New Value Proposition

This deal can’t be judged by the same standards as typical Wall Street mergers and acquisitions. It’s not about multiples. Those don’t matter in a social-media-driven world.  Here it’s users, not revenue or profits, that define a company’s worth.

Zuckerberg needed to protect Facebook’s interests in the mobile world. With WhatsApp, Facebook got a communications platform the company couldn’t have achieved with its existing infrastructure. Facebook also got an already-established mobile audience with international reach. In other words, Zuckerberg made a strategic, customer-centric move—not just for the present, but for decades to come.

Interestingly, WhatsApp co-founder, Jan Koum, who has written damning posts on advertising, will now join the Facebook board. It’s an outright clash of personalities and belief systems. But it shows the power of innovative thinking and the willingness to step out, step up, and never settle.

Your Turn

What’s the message for those of us in sales? For me, it’s about thinking beyond (and even trashing) our standard metrics. Instead we should be engaging our clients in strategic business conversations. The best of us are already doing this, and the rest better get on board quickly. In the future, sales professionals who fail to do so will be out of jobs.

I know it’s difficult to think beyond the present. How can we imagine a future that doesn’t yet exist? Well, Steve Jobs did it, Mark Zuckerberg did it, and so will I.

I have no clue how this will play out for me, but I’m OK with uncertainty and not having everything figured out. What about you?

Connect With No More Cold Calling

Follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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How do you measure value—in dollars and cents, or in satisfied customers?

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You Can’t Manage Your Friends and Still Be Friends

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in No More Cold Calling | 0 comments

leaderHow do you successfully transition from sales rep to sales leader?

It happened to me. I was an award-winning sales rep who was promoted to sales manager. Now my colleagues (and friends) were reporting to me. I knew them well and thought we would be a winning team. Boy, was I wrong!

A Rocky Start

Becoming the boss wasn’t easy or much fun … at least not at first. I had to set goals with each person and hold them accountable for meeting their quotas. I was no longer anyone’s friend. One person yelled at me, and she finally quit.

In hindsight, I probably didn’t set realistic expectations for our new relationship, and maybe I was too demanding. I was also promoted without any training or guidance.

A Smooth(er) Transition

I will never again underestimate the significance of a rep-to-manager transition. In fact, I would go so far as to say that managing the same group of people who once worked alongside you is a bad idea. But sometimes those are the cards you get dealt.

If you do transition, take to heart these five tips from the editors at Selling Power:

  1. Be highly observant.
  2. Be empathetic.
  3. Get help where you need it.
  4. Let go.
  5. Resist the urge to fix mistakes.

Read the rest of the article for more on how to transition smoothly.

Also, remember to give yourself a break. Change isn’t easy, and it always comes with a learning curve.  Just be patient with yourself and your team as you learn the ropes.

Connect with No More Cold Calling

Follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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If you’re a sales manager, what important lessons did you learn when you first got promoted?

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5 Tips for Becoming a Thought Leader

Posted by on Mar 5, 2014 in No More Cold Calling | 0 comments

tipsYou’re the expert, right? So prove it.

Our clients don’t just buy our products and services. They also buy our expertise. They want to work with the best of the best—salespeople who know their stuff, who ask the right questions and deliver tailor-made solutions that get them the ROI they deserve.

Think about it as if you were the buyer. Would you prefer to work with someone who only knows the ins and outs of what he’s selling? Or would you be more likely to choose an expert—someone who sees the big picture and can help you get a leg up on the competition?

What Does It Take?

As I listened to a panel describe their views on thought leadership, I realized it’s not that complicated. But it’s not easy either. Like anything else worth doing, it requires focus, confidence, and courage.

Here’s what it takes:

  1. Have passion for your message. Find your niche, do your homework, and start sharing your great ideas and content. Engage in conversations (online and off) about your area of interest. Look for media opportunities, and become recognized as an authority.
  2. Don’t monetize. Make whatever investments you can to get your perspective known, but don’t expect a financial return. Thought leaders don’t monetize; they provide valuable content for no other reason than to share great information and gain exposure.
  3. Make some noise. You’re the expert, so let your point of view be known—even if it’s outside the traditional school of thought. It’s OK to create conflict. Not everyone will agree with you, but that’s not the point. The goal is to get people thinking and talking about what you have to say.
  4. Don’t sell. Share content that’s helpful, enlightening, and informative—not a thinly-veiled sales pitch. You need to get to know people and develop trust. If you want them to trust your information, you must be genuine, confident, and approachable.
  5. Stay relevant. Continue to share your knowledge and stay current on industry news, as well as what other experts have to say. Share relevant information from other sources that piques the interest of your audience.

It Doesn’t Stop Here

Social media has provided a new outlet to showcase your expertise—and your passion. Brick and mortar establishments are about location, location, location. The cyber-world is about content, content, content. When you provide consistent, relevant, helpful content, and answer people’s questions about your area of expertise, you quickly become known as the go-to person for your topic.

Buyers will gravitate to you. You will be the expert everyone turns to for advice (and yes, to spend some money). After all, you’re not just a salesperson; you’re a thought leader.

Connect with No More Cold Calling

Follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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How do you demonstrate your expertise?

 

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Inertia—Your Biggest Competitor

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in No More Cold Calling | 0 comments

Breaking_StringWhat do you do when prospects aren’t ready to move forward?

Does this sound familiar? You connect with a hot prospect, have several conversations, forge a solid relationship, identify next steps, and even schedule a specific time to talk. It’s all going so well. Then nothing …

Radio silence: You know, when a prospect doesn’t call you back or return your emails. We’ve all been there. It’s frustrating and disappointing. But it doesn’t mean the death of your sale.

All Is Not Lost

Salespeople are not a particularly patient bunch. We want it now … or better yet, yesterday. Our prospects rarely have the same sense of urgency. When they don’t return our calls, we think the worst: They went with our competitors, decided not to move forward, or had no budget. They didn’t get back to us because they were uncomfortable sharing the bad news.

Step back from the ledge: 99 percent of the time, these aren’t the reasons. Our prospects simply get busy, go on vacation, get sick, are traveling, or don’t have the requisite information to respond. When we do connect, there are many apologies.

Then There’s the Opposite

Other times, they’ve decided to stay with what they have—the status quo. Boring!

You question whether this is the real reason or if they’re blowing smoke. Why have they led you down the deal-making path, only to switch gears at the last minute? Inertia is often our most formidable competitor.

What Next?

If you haven’t already, point out the consequences of not moving forward. How will the client suffer by delaying the decision? What will be the overlooked opportunities and unforeseen business losses? What results would the prospect get by implementing your solution right now?

Describing business results means you clearly define the impact of your solution. Share hard data that shows how you could improve the prospect’s business. Talk about the ROI other clients have gotten. Or better yet, offer to have one of your clients contact your prospect, and let that person do the selling for you.

Of course, you should have completed all of these important tasks earlier in your sales process, but it’s never too late to save a deal.

If all else fails, schedule time to reconnect. But don’t wait for that meeting to start providing value. Send interesting articles or offer to connect your prospect with someone he needs to know. Stay front and center, and don’t burn any bridges.

Your goal is to be the only person your prospects contact when the inertia disappears and they’re ready to move forward.

Connect with No More Cold Calling

Follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.

 

What is your next step when a prospect isn’t ready to move forward?

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