Genuine, Honest Intent Is The Way To Sales!

perfect-closeJames Muir, author of “The Perfect Close” is a Stand Up Guy! If you’ve never had the chance to interact with him, read his posts or chat on the phone, you’re missing out. It’s not everyday that you get to interact with someone like James. His overall, ‘let me help you’ attitude is strongly portrayed in his book. You won’t be the least bit surprised that you find this book easy to read… And also enjoyable!

Sales is a tricky thing. Sales isn’t for everybody… but we’re continuously ‘selling’ people. Whatever job you have, whomever you interact with, someone is always selling someone something. Stop and think about that for a minute. “The Perfect Close” is talking majorly about B2B, B2C or C2C businesses so I’m going to hit on those types of sales.

“Genuine, honest intent leaves zero room for trickery and manipulation”1

Going into a prospective opportunity with the wrong intent in mind is only going to set yourself up for immediate and long term failure. Over promising and under-delivering is a HUGE issue in the current industry I’m in. The prospective client will buy the competition because they were promised something but then the company couldn’t deliver. Guess what… that prospect comes crawling back to me asking for help. That sales person does not have the client’s best interest in mind and that’s unfortunate.

I lost an opportunity in August because I was honest with the buyer. They wanted a stand-alone time & attendance solution and I educated them on why they didn’t want to do that. I gave them research, statistics and a case study… they refused to educate themselves and ending up opting out of viewing my solution… It burned a little, but at the end of the day, I know they would have increased their workload and I wouldn’t have solved any of their problems.

“If you want to show your client you want their business – tell them. Or, do something special for them. There are far better ways to show you want the business than insulting them with a closing gambit.”2

This goes will with the whole part of having the right content. Closing gambits can work… but put yourself in the buyers shoes. Buyers remorse is a real thing and you don’t want your buyers feeling like that. There’s no point in pressuring someone to make a decision; it’ll end up hurting you more in the long run. If you think I’m wrong, tell me why! I’d be curious what you have to say.

This first portion of the book is focused on intent and I strongly agree with James.

“So, in order for our intentions to be perceived as warmth, it’s vital that we emanate the related traits that science has identified from the warmth attribute. These include:

  • pure intent

  • friendliness

  • helpfulness

  • sincerity

  • trustworthiness

  • and morality (doing the right thing)

These are the signals we want our autonomic system to be sending.”3

What drives you to do what you do? Do you have the correct intent when you meet with new business? When you talk with current business, do you have the correct intent? When someone is in the market for a new product they often give me the same reasons… “We want to save money”, “we’ve been burned and don’t like our provider” or, “We’ve never outsourced this before”.

Becoming the trusted adviser is very important during the beginning conversations with any businesses. I recently took over a few accounts that were very upset. There was some internal issues and the client blamed my company because the new employee didn’t know how to use the solution. I went on sight, heard them out and came up with a plan of action. It wasn’t easy… what-so-ever! But, after two months, they’ve agreed to be a reference for me and my company. I didn’t make a single dollar off of helping them, but sometimes that happens when you’re doing the right thing.

Through out the sales cycle, there are multiple small ‘closes’. Setting the meeting, doing a discovery, showing them the product, negotiating price and talking about partnership. (Long story short). After you complete one, you have to ‘close’ for the next meeting.

“It is common for people to be confused about their ultimate goal and the goal of their most immediate next step. By stripping away the clutter that may exist between the two, we can achieve clarity that gives us perspective as well as the impulse to take the next best action.”4

The sales objective is the end goal… helping the client and closing the sale. The steps along the way, which are stand along goals and typically the most immediate next step. Sitting down with the prospective client and walking them through the process is important. They have to know what they’re signing up for by agreeing to go down your process. If they want to meet and then get pricing, they’ve got the wrong intent and you should walk away.

Ya ya ya… leaving money on the table is so hard to walk away from. But they’re probably not even entertaining the idea of switching… They’re just going to take your pricing back to their current vendor and get their price lowered. It happens and it sucks!

 

There’s definitely more from me to come!

The Perfect Close by James Muir

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Social Selling is an Investment

socialsellingI’ve come to the conclusion that you MUST read Social Selling by Tim Hughes! Absolutely, 100%, you need to read this. There’s only a small population of ‘social sellers’ that know how to do it… so the other 99% can benefit immensely from this book. All of the Ah-Ha Moments within this book will help you in your job!

“To be a social seller is not about how much you post and when. It is also not about how much of the company content you can throw at the wall in hope that it will stick. A Social Seller is a helper.”1

Your goal is to help people during the buying process. If you reach out over a social network and tell them how cool your product is, that is NOT social Selling. Seeing someone ask a question on a forum and you immediately bombarding them with information isn’t social selling either. Your goal is to help them with their issue. Perhaps send them an article. Image if you were to complain on Twitter about your experience with a service and then the competitor said “you should buy from me”. How would that make you feel?

… Exactly… You’d be like WTH. Social Selling takes time and it isn’t something you’ll see the ROI over night. You can’t rush the natural process because you’ll break it.

“In short, social selling is an investment. Your company incurs costs today, but social selling delivers benefits for many months and years to come. By investing in training, technology, and pipeline today, you’re setting your team up for success in the future.”2

It’s true… which can be scary to any sales organization. Most sales leaders in large companies know the breakdown between phone calls, emails, meeting, opportunities and closed revenue. If you pump out 100 calls a day, you’re going to close X amount of business by the end of the year. Those numbers are partially still true. We’re finding that more and more conversations are starting later in the sales process after the prospect has already done their research.

By Social Selling, you’re able to get yourself into the playing field while the prospect is doing their research. Maybe the prospect is just evaluating the market. If they see you as ‘adding value’ to their network and providing insight about the industry, they might come to you with questions. When I want to buy a new product… guess who I ask! My network. They’re going to give me the truth.

“Social Selling is about carefully approaching the right people, slowly and in a considered fashion, one to one, with the correct message. It is not about plastering a ‘good enough’ message over a huge audience, hoping one will be interrupted in such a way that they bite.”3

I’m sure you’ve seen those posts online. “I’ve got the best product, who’s ready to buy?! #Xproduct” THAT is not social selling. That just an example of someone being lazy and seeing if someone will bite. It doesn’t work. Go ahead and try it and let me know how it goes for you.

As long as your talking about your company/product honestly and not only pumping out corporate information, your network will trust you. With corporations take control of everything you post, you’ll get lost in the noise. I’ve done it… I’ve learned first hand.

“Just think of the free advertising your company would get if you allowed your employees to talk passionately about working for you, the pride they have in your products and services, and how they like to serve and excite your customers.”4

This is especially true with the millennial generation, the social platforms we have and the likelihood someone always going to have their phone in their hand. The minute something good happens at work, someone will send a tweet or share an article. People love to brag about the breakfasts/dinners they go to with their employer. I can’t tell you how many times people would post pictures about being a cool company because of the free breakfast (everyday).

Not only is that a sweet example of social recruiting, but companies also want to do business with cool companies.

In conclusion to Social Selling by Tim Hughes, he hits the nail on the head!

“We also don’t foresee a complete switch to social; it will run parallel to and complement the use of the phone and email. I’m sorry, but people who tell you that cold calling is dead are wrong, and are in fact being detrimental to the sales profession, as people believe them.”5

Cold calling and emailing will always be a part of the picture. These tools will never go anywhere. Finding a smooth medium between Social Selling, calling and emailing is the goal. Tim does an incredible job giving examples throughout the book on how to start implementation Social Selling strategies. Do yourself a favor and pick up the book on Amazon!

 

Social Selling | Tim Hughes

Connect with Tim on Twitter – @Timothy_Hughes

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#Social Selling – Personalize, Influence & Resonate With Your Buyers

511zYH2TZILThe art of Social Selling is a continuous process that sales people do. There is no one way of doing it correctly! However, there are a lot of ways you should do it… Notice the word; should. Tim uses a great example to paint a picture of what you shouldn’t do! Image you show up to a networking event (in person event), walk in the front door and yell:

“…’Hi, I’m Tim and I have this great telephone system!’, then launch into my pitch… I’m sure this would silence the room…”1

Nobody would want to talk to you. Everybody would think you’re nuts! This goes for Social Selling and reaching out to people on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc. The minute you connect with them, you blast them your sales pitch. We’re all guilty of it… because it’s the easiest approach. We think, ‘Oh, they accepted… they must know I want to sell them xyz, I’ll pitch them now.’

Good God, no! This is such a turn off. Just wait until it happens to you. This goes for recruiters too! Don’t send your canned, junk, message via LinkedIn after I connect. I’ve got my cell number, my email, my twitter handle and my WeChat information on my LinkedIn. I’ve NEVER had a recruiter hit me up on one of those networks. WHY? Laziness perhaps. Try one of those mediums and watch how fast your response time is.

But, most of all, personalize your message! What does EVERYBODY and their mother talk about?! Personalize your message, dangit. As you build your network, reach and connections, you’ll need to begin connecting with ‘influencers’. You don’t have to… but when someone with 30k+ (industry specific) connections on LinkedIn likes/comments on your post, you’re going to gain a lot of exposure. Makes sense right…? You share something that someone loves and they share it. Your network + their network = reach. Simple… In building rapport with ‘influencers’;

“Influencers will want a personalized message just like everybody else. Use your best active listening techniques. Read the material they write and when you connect with them, sell them the parts you like best of all. For example, tell them ‘I’ve read your blog and can really relate with the Networking event theme.’2

Everybody likes a nice pat on the back. Tell them something nice about their LinkedIn profile, share some of their content on other network, comment on their website… the list is endless. I will tell you, from personal experience; influencers aren’t just sitting around waiting for you to like their ‘stuff’. They aren’t going to respond at your first attempt. It took me over a year to connect with a very well known CEO… then, it took me another six months to ask the correct type of question to get a response. It isn’t easy, but it was so worth the wait.

In the attempt to connect with ‘influencers’, we also need to focus on our influence. If you’re not a thought leader, trusted advisor or credible source, how are buyers supposed to trust you in the sales process? I think it depends on the type of buyer… but, if you can engage with prospects on multiple platforms, you’ll build credibility. Or, send over an article you wrote to a prospect and see how much credibility you gain! In terms of influence;

“We have two jobs to do. First, our own influence needs to increase. Second, the influence of others who are not helpful to us needs to decrease. Controlling influence is also a constant process.”3

This is a VERY slow process. It takes a long time to create and if you don’t do it the ‘right’ way, you can destroy your influence in the matter of minutes. A quick guide to establishing influence doesn’t exist. So… you better be in this thing for the long game! You can’t fake your way to the top… sorry.

I’ve found that creating a time frame of when I want to execute on things is very beneficial. That way, while I’m building my network, brand and connection base, I can continuously push out content and engage with people. Creating content is probably the most difficult part only because it’s the most time consuming. But, once you find a topic that gets a lot of engagement, you feel rewarded.

“When on social networks, it is essential that you create resonance in some way. Everyone on a social network is having their attention attracted by something – your job is to be the one who attracts it.”4

#Boom – Plain and simple. Become relevant, resonate with them and provide some value in some way. If you’re in HR sales.. talk about law changes or compliance. If you’re in travel, show them pictures and top 10 places to visit. Sell cars… show someone safest/fastest cars. Just resonate with your buyers! Each social channel has it’s own ‘voice’… so make sure you’re speaking the right language.

 

Don’t worry; There’s more from me to come about:

Social Selling | Tim Hughes

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#Social Selling – What is it and Why Does it Matter?

socialsellingIf you haven’t picked up a copy of “Social Selling’ by Tim Hughes and Matt Reynolds, you’re missing out. (Quick – Amazon awaits) This is a HUGE BUZZ word right now in the sales world. But… do you know why? Of Course you do… cough cough. As we continue to develop within the information age, there is so much ‘stuff’ readily available… all the time. Website’s, content, pictures, white papers, videos, demos, chat bots, customer service teams, review sites, and your social networks. But what about the sales guy? Poof! Who needs ’em?

There’s a handful of statistics out there that say, ‘65% of buyers do their research before contacting salespeople’, ‘50% of the sales process is already done before the sales person is brought to the table.’ WHY?

“Businesses are now finding they achieve better results by asking employees to use social networks to research solutions to problems in a way that removes bias”1

Kinda scary right?! Our future buyers are going to listen to what everybody else has to say and not come to me with questions… Obviously I’m biased… I’ve got the best product and service out there, ‘said every sales person, ever’. Companies and individuals don’t always want to hear about the best features and benefits from a sales person. Often times, they want to hear about what’s gone wrong. A sales person isn’t going to tell a prospect whats gone wrong lately… that’s sales suicide. So, the buyer is going to the internet.

It’s YOUR job to make sure they’re reading the right content. It’s YOUR job to continuously provide value to them while they’re going through the process. You need to find where your buyers are, and engage with them on their channel. They’re not going to come to you… so you’ve got to go to them.

“…Companies need to find and create a community so they move from carrying their own torch, to having a community that carries it for them. They becomes the lord of the manor, with customers, employees and even better still a wider network working to their common good.”2

It’s one thing to share all types of content… and it’s another thing to only share your company’s content. Don’t do the later. It makes you look biased. You’re just regurgitating the same stuff they post. It makes you look like a robot and nobody wants to buy from someone that only shares content about their company. That being said, sharing your company’s content is a good thing and it’s a great start. But you’ve got to add other ‘stuff’ or else your network is going to recognize that and they’ll stop listening to you.

Tim Hughes has been in the sales and Social Selling game for a long time. There’s a reason why he wrote the book! He did a survey on the ROI of Social Selling and…

“The number one piece of advice I received was to know your target markets, listen, engage and interact with them. When you build trust with people, they will also open their networks to you.”3

Ah-Ha! Makes sense, right? It’s 100% true. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been introduced to someone because of what I’ve shared made an impact on them. People talk… a lot! If you share valuable information on line, eventually that information will be shared offline. The possibilities are endless. I could share one article on a specific HR topic that catches the attention of a CHRO. Then they share it with their network… now, imagine the klout that person has within their industry! The snowball starts rolling down the hill and you’ve just tripled your reach. You’ve just made an impact on so many more people!

Now, it’s your job to reach out to all of those people that you’ve come in contact with. DON’T try and sell them right away… that makes you look bad! Show some appreciation and ask them how you can provide more value. Often times, I’ve found, that I’ll get a, “oh, I didn’t know you sold xyz” or “we’re looking at switching this system.. any advice?”. Yippy! You’ve just found yourself a brand new opportunity that wouldn’t have transpired any other way that sharing content.

“Building your online profile and community means you need to talk with many strangers; these people may be prospects, competitors and influencers already.”4

I love the process of Social Selling! It takes a lot of time and energy to build up these networks and trust of others. Don’t get discouraged. ONE huge issue people make; They spend all of their time on Social Selling for a month… realize they aren’t going to hit their numbers and say, ‘it doesn’t work’. Baloney! Social Selling can’t be the only thing you’re doing to drive business. Social Selling compliments calling, emailing and knocking on doors. The process of social selling is; develop trust, provide value, engage with people and then take the conversation offline. Once you’re offline, begin your sales process.

Social Selling is the act of getting in front of the buyer while or before they’re doing their due-diligence. Because, as stated earlier, the sales person is being brought into the conversation at the last minute to put the pricing together.

 

Don’t worry; There’s more from me to come about:

Social Selling | Tim Hughes

Oh yeah… get this! Tim and I are having a chat next week via Twitter. Come join the fun.

SalesHacker-Tim

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An Incredible Guide to Hacking Sales!

hacking salesI don’t care if you’ve been in sales for 25 years or you’re just starting your sales career. This is MUST read. Gold… pure gold! There are so many Ah-Ha Moments throughout the book, it’s hard to choose which ones to write about. Max has taken the entire sales cycle; from figuring out your ideal customer profile to closing the deal, and consolidated it into a book. The examples, testimonials, and tools he talks about are mind boggling. You’ve gotta read it to believe it.

“A good sales process is a science, and science is the new art.”1

Absolutely… 100% true. Being a salesperson takes a lot of hard work and time. Every organization is different, so there’s so many different types of processes out there. Where do you get your leads from? How do you scrub your data? Do you use a CRM? Who do you try to sell to? Do you leverage the internet to educate yourself?

There is so much accessible data in the information age! You can literally find information about anyone or anything. How you leverage that data to begin a conversation is where ‘painting the picture’ begins. (Like that pun… to art?)

Incredible sales tools for leadgen, building lists and scrubbing data on Pages 10-392

There are literally too many awesome tools between these pages to single any of them out. I’ve used a handful of the tools that Max talks about and I now have a list of tools I will try in the near future. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that these tools will help you with your business. They’ll help you find your prospects faster; they’ll help you get contact information and they’ll help you scrub your data to make sure it’s fresh information.

DISCLAIMER: Just because these tools will help you with your job, it doesn’t mean you can only rely on these tools. You still need to call, email and provide value!

“You still need to learn things about your prospects so that you can deliver a message that is relevant to them and provide value in the sales process.”3

Exactly! Researching for prospective clients is just one step of the process. Now it’s your turn to get educated on your potential client! Well… you’ve got the internet for that. Websites, job boards, social media, investor relations… the list is endless. You can literally find whatever you need on the internet. With that in mind, it is the internet and anybody can post anything.

You want to make sure that the information you use while reaching out to a prospect is relevant and true. The last thing you want to do is call someone the wrong name or reference bad data. You’ve closed the door before you even had the chance to open it.

“The first message you send to prospective customers is absolutely crucial, so this first-touch e-mail needs to work in your favor.”4

The first message can easily get you in the door or it can easily get you put in the spam folder. Leveraging information about the person’s position, their success, their company, a trigger event, local or similar customers can definitely spark the prospects interest. Personally, I’ve had success with, “Company XYZ, next door, leverages our service, have you and Mr. XYZ met before?”

Companies like knowing that their local business people use a common provider. (I have a geographical territory). Changing laws is another great approach that can spark people’s interests. Customer testimonials with ROI’s is another great example. Be creative and personalize the approach and you’ll do fine. Whether you get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, both are better than a ‘no response’.

“In sales, ‘no’ is the second-best answer. ‘Yes’ is the first, but a ‘maybe’ or not receiving an answer at all are by far the worst.”5

100% agree with this one. I hate the feeling when a prospect says they’ll ‘get back to me’. Then, I spend an eternity trying to figure out how I should check back in. I stopped sending ‘checking back in’ emails a long time ago. Now, I send over links or white papers with information as to why they should choose me and my service.

It’s the absolute worst once the prospect has gone silent for a few weeks and then they email back saying, ‘sorry, we’ve decided to go a different direction.’ God…. It makes me want to pull my hair out. If they would have told me ‘no’, weeks ago, I would have moved on. I think, it’s our right as a sales person to make sure there is a transparent understanding of the sales process. If you don’t want to partner, tell me so I can move on!

 

There’s more to come from me about:

Hacking Sales | Max Altschuler

Connect with Max on Twitter: @MaxAlts

Connect with me on Twitter: @Barta57

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Sales Has Changed | Stop Being Boring | Snap Selling

Photo Apr 19, 09 38 44 (1)Sales has CHANGED… If you don’t think this… then you’re crazy. Seriously though. The old school mentality of ‘always be closing’ is no longer applicable.

“In the new sales climate, focusing on your FABs (features-advantages-benefits) creates insurmountable obstacles. Using clever objection-handling techniques insults your prospect’s intelligence. And employing ‘always be closing’ tactics is the surest way to prematurely end potentially fruitful relationships.”1

It’s black and white… Read it again and internalize it. You and your company do the exact same thing as the company down the street. Literally…

Look at me. Technically, I sell HCM and payroll software. But what’s the difference between me and the other behemoth in the industry? I will out work them, I will out deliver them, I will out communicate them, anyday. It’s because I CARE about the people I sell to. I’m more worried about the success of the organization I’m speaking with than the actual sale.

If it can help your business, I want to help. If it doesn’t help your business, I’ll let you know. The greater good of your organization honestly matters to me. The more I learn about your company… the more help I can offer.

“Once you know your buyer inside and out, you can easily start applying what you’ve learned to create customer-enticing value propositions, messaging, presentations, and proposals. Plus, this knowledge of your customer will be at the heart of all your best, most fruitful conversations.”2

You’ve got to personalize your approach. You have to learn about the people you’re selling to. Nobody wants to be sold to… but to get in front of them, you have to do something so you can get a better understanding of their issues. Nobody really knows their issue until you show them. Then, once you’ve created that partnership, those people will be the best salespeople for you.

When you’ve got a happy client… they’ll bend over backwards to help you… Don’t forget though… It’s okay to ask them for referrals.

“The only chance to truly differentiate yourself today lies in the value you can personally bring to the relationship. And you can bet that your prospects are constantly assessing whether you’re work it. They truly want to work with smart, savvy people who bring them ideas, insights, and information they deem beneficial.”

Being a boring ass sales person doesn’t cut it anymore. You’ve got to give the prospect something and that something has to directly affect them. If you’re not educated in your industry, how can you differentiate yourself? Whatever you sell, if you don’t know what directly affects your market, you’ve already lost.

Look at your current customers for feedback! If you’re helping people do their current job and they love you… you need to figure out what exactly they love.

“Nothing, I repeat, nothing is more important than your customer knowledge. Without understanding your customers’ business environment, challenges, and marketplaces, you won’t get selling right.”3

If you can’t connect with your customer’s needs, you can’t sell anything. You need to understand the people you’re selling to. Does that make sense? Try and put yourself in their shoes! Sales people SUCK at doing this.

Ya… your product is awesome but why should anyone else care. We’re getting bombarded with information all day. We don’t know what’s good or what’s crap.

“Your prospects are busily going about their lives and their work with an already overloaded calendar. They’re not waiting for your call. They’re just trying to get done the things that have to be done.4

Nobody likes being interrupted, so why should someone give you their time? Time is the most important commodity these days. If you’re going to try to sell someone on your product, you need to spark their curiosity and provide value. It’s really easy for prospects to ignore you… so you need to find a way to get their interest!

 

There’s more to come from me about:

Snap Selling | Jill Konrath

Get “Snap Selling” on Amazon.

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Suck it up and get over it. Nobody cares! | Personalize your approach

Something that I’ve been sharing lately, with regards to social selling is the fact that personalization is huge… it goes a long ways and people feel like you care. It’s even better when you can show them you care!

“One-to-one marketing takes time but the ROI is tremendous because so few businesses are actually doing it. I finally figured out that’s why my results are so often the exception instead of the rule. When you’re listening and other people aren’t, you look like a star.”1

I’ll be the first to admit that personalized/one-to-one marketing is difficult and time consuming. You don’t see the ROI right away. But once you get in the groove and things start to click, you truly look like a star. You’ll be able to set yourself apart from the competition within the industry.

Gary jumps back and forth within the chapters to different Ah-Ha Moments. There are so many good takeaways that it’s hard not to want to comment on all of them. As humans, we complain… that’s a fact.

“Problems happen. Life isn’t fair or perfect. Complaining fixes nothing. Only taking action does.”2

Depending on when you’re reading this, you could agree or disagree. Is it 8am in the morning and you’re fired up and ready to go? Or is it 4pm and you’ve been shut down 20 times on the phone today? I’m writing this after being shut down on the phone today… and it honestly sucks because I want to complain so badly!

I can literally hear Gary Vee saying, “Suck it up and get over it. Nobody cares!” That right there is motivation enough to over the want to complain. I suggest you watch some of his most recent posts on Facebook or YouTube. They’ll motivate the heck out of you.

I’ve strived to be nice my entire life! I want people to know I care and that I’m a nice guy.

“Being nice is a choice, and how you choose to speak to people even when you’re pressed for time will reveal who you really are.”3

Man, ain’t that the truth? The more important you become, the less time you’ll have to give to other people. It’s harder to ‘look’ nice when you’re always under the microscope because you’re so busy.

Such an important thing to execute is in type of relationship whether it be work, personal or partnerships is communication.

“Communicate with your team. Communicate with your partners. Communicate with your clients. Communicate, communicate, communicate.”4

Maybe it’s just me, but I see a lot of miscommunication going on within every industry and with a lot of organizations. Communication is what keeps clients happy, doors opens, partners willing and coworkers excited. It’s the difference between doing incredibly well and just okay. It’s not hard to communicate with people… although we worry that if it’s bad news, someone is going to be pissed.

Keep the communication open and make sure you’re happy/excited to be doing it. GaryVee has ALWAYS talked about ‘doing what you absolutely love.’ Why do something that you hate?

“Self-esteem is the ultimate drug of our society. When you have it you give yourself the audacity to dream big, and when you do that, the little things stop mattering and anxiety cannot cripple you.”5

That’s the perfect way to say it. Stay high, stay confident and keep hustling. Nobody can stop you when you hustle.

I went from business to business this morning to meet local businesses. (I wrote the top half of this yesterday) Guess what! I got half my foot in the door at this one company and they said they were in a meeting and that I needed to leave. (They weren’t in a meeting). I smiled, handed them some information and left with 10 times for motivation than when I entered. It was pretty spectacular to feel that.

GaryVee wrote an incredible book and I hope you read it! It’s so worth it. He hits on so many other points too which I didn’t talk about. Do yourself a favor and like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

You can thank me later!

 

Connect with Gary on Twitter: @garyvee

Connect with me on Twitter: @Barta57

#AskGaryVee | Gary Vaynerchuk

Get “#AskGaryVee” on Amazon

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One Piece Of Content Can Change Your Life

Did you read my last post from #AskGary Vee? If you didn’t… you better! Here, I’ll remind you what the last quote was…

“Here’s what you must remember: No matter who your audience is, you’re always one great piece of content away from changing your life. Everyone you know started off as an unknown until they did the thing that made them know.”1

BOOM! I wrote a piece of content on LinkedIn and sh*t got real! As of right now, 3/31/16, I have had 8,454 views, 422 Likes, 63 Comments and 94 Shares… It hasn’t even been 7 days since I posted it. Just like that, my voice has been heard around the world. Before you say, “Oh… wow Jordan, good for you. Pfft.”, you could be in my shoes! You can read the post I published on LinkedIn or on my site, The Ah-Ha Moment, between this post and the last #AskGaryVee post.

My motivation is at an all time high and I feel like I’m on fire. 

I’ve connected with so many new people from all over the world. All different walks of life. It’s absolutely amazing! Without my network, that wouldn’t have been possible…

“With one click – or tweet or share or favorite or any number of other social digital acts – consumers’ messages can be spread and their voice amplified well beyond the boundaries of their neighborhoods or even the industries where they work.”2

Do I have to say it again? Literally… ONE piece of content changed the playing field. I was averaging 30 profile views a day… now, I’m averaging 150. Nobody ever thinks it can happen to them… but I’m here to tell you it CAN. My friend Kristina Evans (@TheKristinaShow) recently had the same thing happen to her too. Her LinkedIn share BLEW up and she got over 15,000 profile views in five days. Not to mention the 1000+ comments and 3,000+ likes. Share something that’s relevant to your audience, it can provide value and leaves room for conversation.

Don’t forget though, content can bring the haters. It’s inevitable… Keep an open mind and try not to get offended. We’re living in the information age… people don’t stay mad for very long.

After reading more from Gary Vee, I now understand that it isn’t necessarily about the amount of views someone gets on their content. It’s more about the engagement and the ability people are willing to share. Anybody can view something for a second and then click out of it… It’s about the depth you’re able to reach.

“This is when I realized it wasn’t about width, it was all about depth. It’s about how many people care, not how many people you have.”3

Don’t get me wrong, I love having over 50 views on my content and posts. What’s really sweet is the reach a share can have. One person shares with their network of 5,000 people… Now my face has been shown to their network. That is 5,000 more people than me just posting it. I’m connecting with people in Ireland, Australia and everywhere you can think of. It’s the domino effect and it’s absolutely amazing. You know how it happened?! I posted content!

“It’s stunning how many remarkable reasons and circumstances people can come up with to explain why they haven’t met with success. Or course, the problem doesn’t usually lie with the type of industry or job. The problem lies with the individual who can’t see opportunities when they’re right in front of his or her face.”4

Nobody ever got anywhere in life by making excuses for themselves. Like Gary Vee says, “Nobody gives a f*ck about your feelings, bro“. It’s the harsh reality, but it’s so true. If you want success, it’s time to go get it. I’m a great example of grabbing an opportunity by the horns and running with it. “Well Jordan, what if I fail?” WHO CARES! You learned something from your experience. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out there. Nobody’s gonna give you the golden ticket. You gotta create it.

“Think completely left field. The best way to stagnate is to pay attention to everyone else because they’re doing the same crap over and over. And guess what? The same old crap sucks. Taking an open, optimistic attitude will keep your content fresh and exciting, and allow you to change the world’s perception of your ‘boring’ product.”5

Like the cliche saying, “Think outside the box”. Seriously though. The same old sales approaches don’t work like they used to… Always be closing is nearing its death and some would say it’s dead. Social selling is the way to sell… Instagram and Snapchat are now ‘the’ way to engage with your audience and market products. Who would have ever thought that would happen? Guess what.. it’s here. Stop getting in line with the rest of the people out there and start making your own waves. Taking that first step to post content will change your life.

 

There’s more to come from me about:

#AskGaryVee | Gary Vaynerchuk

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Content Creates Opportunity | #AskGaryVee

 Where did all the good storytellers go? Stories paint great pictures and people love putting themselves in the shoes of the characters. Remember “The Great Gatsby”? That’s an incredible story… Who wouldn’t want to be Gatsby for an evening. Hell, they have parties named after the guy because they’re so epic. Now take storytelling and relate it to sales!

“People buy with with their hearts, not their heads, and the way to every consumer’s heart is through a good story.”1

Tell them a story about you. Tell a story about the success of another client. Tell a story relating to the prospects pain point and how you can help them overcome their issue. Don’t just tell them, help them visualize. You’ll create some type of relationship and that will go a long ways.

If you’re already connected with them via LinkedIn or Twitter, you can use those platforms to help tell stories. Send them a YouTube video, whitepaper, data sheet or even a Twitter video. Personalize your approach and that will build rapport.

Gary talks about content and he creates a lot of Ah-Ha Moments for me. If you’re creating good content and sharing it with people, you’re creating great opportunity to reach a lot of people. But what about curated content? Taking someone else’s content, adding your personal touch and then sending it out onto the web. It’s kinda like how I post some material on LinkedIn or Twitter which was originally created by Paychex. I’m not taking any credit for it… I’m just changing the titles to attract to my network, adding some hashtags and giving Paychex credit.

“…if I added curated content to my original material, it would bring me even more exposure and create more opportunity.”2

It works! You never know what’s going to attract certain people. The internet is ALWAYS changing and there is always new information. Content at 11am could result in a bunch of likes and shares, however, content around 5pm could only get a few. The more content you’re able to spit out there, the more opportunity you can achieve.

I’ll be honest. It’s hard to create a lot of content and post everyday. I’m able to post about 3 days a week… I take roughly 5 Ah-Ha Moments I love from the current book I’m reading and then write about it. It can take me anywhere from 30-60 pages to find those 5 Ah-Ha Moments. Sometimes I’ll find a few Ah-Ha Moments in a row, but they all reinforce the previous moment. I’m trying to give the reader, you, what I think you’ll find valuable.

“Content Creates opportunity, and if you can’t produce the content at the rate your audience wants it or that benefits you, your business won’t survive.”3

Ain’t that the truth. In the information age, content is always being published. So much, all the time. There are so many different platforms to post on. Posting content is better than not posting content… so you just gotta do it! Alongside prospecting, content can help greatly. Why do you think so many companies hold webinars, offer free trials, give away stuff to engage their audience? It’s so they can create some type of connection, present some type of value and then sell you on it. But, you have to make sure that the value created is worthy of the prospect buying. Just because YOU think it’s value… does your prospects??

“Most people don’t jab – bring value – enough before pulling back for that right hook – going in for the sale. They’re less concerned with providing value than with making the sale, and it backfires every time.”4

It’s pretty true. There are all sorts of different ways to look at this too. It really depends on your job, your industry, your sales strategy… the list goes on. People want value… so you need to find a way to give it to them. There’s been a phenomenon online since SEO became important. CONTENT IS KING. Do it and don’t stop.

“Here’s what you must remember: No matter who your audience is, you’re always one great piece of content away from changing your life. Everyone you know started off as an unknown until they did the thing that made them know.”5

Ask Lindsey Boggs (@lindseyboggs) about her experience. She wrote “How I get a 50% Return On InMails“. Since posting, she’s had 22,011 views, 1,327 Likes, 281 Comments… That’s insane. Because of that, she got invited to a LinkedIn conference. Then, based on her SSI, the best at the conference with 99 :-O, she got to shoot free throws with Shaq. Ya… Shaquille O’neal. That’s freaking unbelievable. That just reinforces the idea that anyone is one post away from becoming a rockstar! #AlwaysBePosting

 

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#AskGaryVee | Gary Vaynerchuk

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Dealstorming | Tim Sanders | Part 3

dealstormingAsking questions is always the best way to find answers… other than someone just flat out telling you the answer unsolicited… which doesn’t happen very often. As someone with the mentality of ‘how can I help you’, it is my job to ask open ended question so that I can find the pain points. You’ve gotta keep digging until you know what keeps them up at night!

Previously, I’d use the question, ‘why?’. A lot of the time, people responded negatively because they didn’t want to share the answer with me. Sanders suggest using ‘why is that’ as a better approach and I completely agree!

“With practice, you’ll find that the ‘And why is that?’ exercise is the secret to finding the right problem question.”1

Heck! Say it in your head. It almost sounds like you’re back in the doctor’s office and the doctors’ asking you questions. ‘Why is that?’ sounds so much better than just asking why. Next time you’re having a conversation with someone and they’re giving you a reason, use ‘why is that?’ and see what their response is.

As you continue to dig into the client or prospect, also take into consideration the changes taking place in their company, the industry and management changes. All of these things can change the conversation both internally (dealstorming) and externally (your client).

“Also list recent developments in the prospects’ or client company’s strategy, market position, competitive set, or other relevant topics that could influence your potential deal.”2

I met with a prospect a few weeks back that informed me that the CFO’s son was going to sell health insurance soon. My company probably wouldn’t be considered for health & benefits because they’d choose whatever the son was offering. Something that like could really throw a kink in your deal. The more you know about the decision makers and where they came from, the better understanding you can have of their process.

If I’m prospecting and come across someone that previously used my product at a different company… I’m going to make sure that that client has had a positive experience since the sale was final. There are a few other things that can come into place once you’ve begun the process of retaining the client or signing the deal.

“Constraints can include price, terms, window of opportunity, prospect of customer culture, contractual obligations, prospect or customer budget…”3

That’s just to name a few. You need to have a good idea of these constraints while you’re working opportunities or else you’re going to be wasting yours and everybody else’s time. For instance; if you know for fact that you can not work with government agencies because of x,y,z, don’t bother responding to an RFP or prospecting into those accounts. Trying to dealstorm ideas of how to bypass that objection would take a lot of time and energy… would it even be worth the outcome?

Coming together as a team and dealstorming is all about getting different points of views and coming up with a solution. What I know about sales is going to be a heck of a lot more than my implementation person. But that person might know more about the technology side of our software.

“In many situations, the information revealed in the meeting leads the problem owner to find his solution right away. Too often, common knowledge (what we all know) is driving current efforts, which aren’t working.”4

For the most part, people only know how to do their job and nothing else. We don’t know what we don’t know! Getting together with a group of people in different departments will shed a lot of light on solving problems. Sanders walks the reader through how to choose teams and delegate different jobs within the dealstorming session. Maximize the amount of time you’re together.

How many meeting have you attended that actually started on time? Everybody was in their seat, mouths shut and ready to learn… probably not a lot of you. Sanders harps on adding a 10 minute ‘gathering time’ prior to the actual meeting time.

“By including a gathering time, you send a strong signal to participants that the start time is firm and that they should be on time!”5

I love it! you can get the technology all set up. You can get the ‘hellos’ and ‘how ya doing?’ out of the way too. That way, when the meeting starts… it actually starts. Nobody likes having their time wasted. Especially someone in a position of high power. Don’t forget, if you’re taking someone else’s time, show your appreciation!

 

There’s more to come from me about:

Dealstorming | Tim Sanders

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Dealstorming | Tim Sanders | Part 2

dealstormingDealstorming has really opened my eyes! Sanders is teaching the reader something that they might know… but the depth he is able to go into will blow your mind. The process that he walks the reader through is bound to give you a few Ah-Ha Moments!

“When it comes to problem solving, your network truly is your net worth.”1

This is the second time I’ve written about this quote and I see it on the internet throughout the week. It is so true though. If you’ve got a small network, that’s okay, you better know those people extremely well so you know when they can help you. If you’ve got a huge network, great! But make sure you have some true type of connection so you can call apon them for help when you need it.

The whole point of using your network is so that you can get things done faster! Like I’ve said before, you by yourself isn’t the best option!

“The purpose of collaboration is not collaboration itself. It’s achieving better results in a shorter amount of time.” – Tamara Schenk2

How many of you have ever been in a meeting? How many of those meetings have been productive? People complain about meetings being a waste of time on the daily. Do everybody a favor and only call meetings that are useful. Have an agenda set prior and make sure people have something to do prior so you can maximize your time. I’m not going to tell you how to run a meeting, Sanders does that and it’s awesome!

One thing though, you should do prior to setting a dealstorming meeting, is make sure that there is a real issue you’re looking to solve.

“For sales leaders, the first checkpoint for qualifying and staffing dealstorms is to verify that there really is a problem.”3

Is there actually a problem with retaining or getting a new client? Or could it be that a step in the sales process got skipped and now you’re trying to figure out how you can win the deal. Did the client take the required steps to dispute their issue or did they go straight to the account manager to have them fix it? Calling upon a group of people to fix an issue could waste a lot of time and money. Be careful to put together a dealstorm without actually understanding what it is you’re accomplishing.

When you come to the conclusion that you need to hold the dealstorm, you have to be careful whom you choose. Don’t only bring salespeople to the table… they’ll tell you how to sell the deal. Bring on other departments!

“… draw up a map of who touches an account, from concepts to delivery to billing to analysis and so on.”4

If you didn’t think about this before, you’ve just received an Ah-Ha Moment! For instance, I’m sitting down next week to kick off my first dealstorming session. I’ve asked my manager to add some additional people to our meeting so that we can begin conversations. Implementation and customer service will be joining us for a conversation and I’m so excited about how we can work together. None of this would have come to fruition without Sander’s book.

Another point he makes while you’re going through the process of picking your team, is make sure they know why you’re doing what you’re doing. He uses Simon Sinek’s, “Start with Why.” If they don’t understand the strategic nature you’re taking, they’ll just think it’s another pointless sales meeting. I think something great to add to this statement is; also let the people know why you’re choosing them. Blasting out an email asking for people to volunteer won’t get you very far.

Personalize the approach, and you’re bound to get the response you want from people. Don’t forget, you’re asking them to take time out of their day to help you. That doesn’t come cheap.

 

There’s more to come from me about:

Dealstorming | Tim Sanders

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The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi | Part 5

Losing employees sucks… it also costs companies a lot of money. You never actually think about the cost of hiring, onboarding and training people. Depending on what type of training your company does, it can be really expensive.

“Great talent is great talent – don’t let them leave your building.”1

It doesn’t get simpler than that. This echoes the previous post. Engage with your people and make sure they’re happy. If they’re not happy, find out what will make them happy. Nobody likes toxic employees.

I don’t know how many of you have every seen the Simon Sinek Ted Talk video; Start with why. But this video has helped me immensely in my roles as a sales person.

“Without understanding the why, reps struggle to connect with prospect priorities. Everything about the what and the how of a solution can be found online. …Our reps need to create value and offer insight and ideas that prospects can’t find on their own.”2

There’s that word again; Value! You have to create value with the people you’re trying to talk to. Buyers do a lot of their research prior to beginning their evaluations. If you’re reaching out to them… you need to offer them something different. And to get them to listen, you need to convince them why they should listen to you.

Bertuzzi presents a question that turns into an Ah-Ha Moment!

“Do you sell into a functional area that already exists within your company? For example, do you sell to sales operations and have a sales ops team within your company?”3

Recruiting.. HR.. sales.. Whatever you sell and whomever you sell to, is there a team within your company that does that job? Basically, what she’s getting at; is that you can go directly to that team and learn about their day-to-day. Learn what they do and how they do it. Then, when you’re calling your prospects, you have a better understanding of what they’re doing and how you can help. Makes sense right? Have you done this before?

The more you learn about your prospect, the better talk tracks you can create. The more likely you’re able to sympathize with them.

“Reps need to be fully fluent in prospect challenges, motivations, and status quos. In short, they need to use buyer based messaging.”4

If you’re going to get off of your agenda and onto theirs, you need to know what you’re talking about. Bertuzzi goes on to give some incredible examples of prospecting. The differentiators between a successful rep and a lazy rep. The different types of messaging that actually works. I wouldn’t be doing any of you a favor if I copied it and pasted it on the site. You have to get the book! It’s pure gold.

“Studies have found that it takes between six and ten attempts (including at least four by phone calls) to properly prospect a given contact.”5

Sales reps often give up too early. They get bored and move onto a different account. They don’t want to work for a deal… they’d rather find some ‘low hanging fruit’. They forget about their prospecting approach and leave their process. I am guilty of this recently. I have a huge territory and I’m trying to touch every account. Not to mention, our data is kinda old. Bertuzzi gives the reader great examples of a multi-touch approach. You have to read it yourself! It’s a game changer.

 

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The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi | Part 4

I had a manager tell me at a previous job that I should be going to lunch with different people within the company. “Meet someone in the elevator… see if they want to join you for lunch”. It gives you the opportunity to learn about them and what they do for the organization. Sooner or later, I was able to have conversations will all sorts of people because I took the initiative to learn about them.

Phill Keene (@phillkeene) gives me an Ah-Ha Moment that echos my previous managers comment!

“… I also take a ton of coffee meetings with reps that want career advice. This allows me to recognize the best talent out there and be top of mind when they’re thinking about making a career change.”1

I’m looking at this quote from the view of me being developed. I’m going to take the best rep out for coffee so that I can learn from them. People that have been selling longer than me are usually happy to share their success and sometimes their failures. Also, who doesn’t love talking about themselves? Regardless of what your job title is, try and make it a habit of taking someone out for coffee once in awhile. You could learn something cool about them! It’s a small world and somehow you may need each other in the future.

If you engage with your people, regardless the job you have, the more supported you’ll feel. The more supported you feel, the happier you’ll be. Bertuzzi has some incredible stats in here about retention.

“It’s time to gear up for what can feel like another fulltime job: engaging, developing, and motivating reps. The fourth element for accelerating revenue growth with sales development is retention.”2

Retention is hard! I see great people leave their companies everyday. Heck, I was one of those people in December of 2015. Obviously, you can never predict when people are going to leave your organization, but if you’re engaged, you should see the red flags. Good culture, good compensation, continuous learning and planned out career path is what’s going to help you keep people. If people are showing up to work everyday not knowing what their future holds, they may look else where.

“Today, reps expect a learning culture, they expect to grow professionally, and they expect you to deliver in those areas.”3

The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing. If you’re striving to be the best you possibly can, you need to keep learning and keep pushing people to teach you. There are so many websites out there that offer free courses. If you’re the boss and you’re not teaching your people… you may see them looking elsewhere.

We’re in the information age… and we’re getting hit up on LinkedIn weekly about new jobs. It’s exciting to feel wanted by a different company. Richard Bronson said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Your people should know that you care about their success!

“… What about hitting my number? … hitting your number is important. But I believe two things to be true. One, if you build up your people, they will overachieve. Two, hitting goals for any fiscal year is a marker of a job well done. But changing the career trajectory for dozens and dozens of people is the measure of a professional life well lived.”4

It doesn’t get any more selfless than that. If you really care about the success of your people and strive to make them better everyday, their numbers will come. Don’t forget; people are all at different walks in their careers. Can you think back to a manager that changes your career? Take a second and think about it! Where are they now? Maybe send them a thank you email!

“Making sales coaching a priority is a business decision. Coaching improves retention and performance.”5

What better outcome can you ask for? Retention and performance is huge! You’re not losing your people and your people are performing well. #Boom

 

There’s more to come from me about:

The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi

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The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi | Part 3

When business is booming and companies need more employees to keep up with all of the success of their salespeople, it’s time to hire! Bertuzzi walks the reader through the mindset and process of hiring salespeople… I want to take it one step further and say that you can use her method to hire other positions as well.

“I’ll argue that the focus on recruiting needs to be upgraded from important to urgent.”1

It has to be a priority. I’m sure a recruiter is reading this right now and laughing at how obvious this statement is. Or, “Don’t tell me how to do my job, Jordan. You don’t have any idea how hard it is to find legit candidates.” You’re right, I don’t. But I can tell you that I get approached at least once a week with some lame ass excuse as to why I should leave my company and go work for theirs.

Finding the right people takes time. If someone is a passive candidates, meaning they already have a job, you really have to convince them to take your call. The job market is good enough right now that people can turn down job offers. Keep that in mind when you’re sending a generic LinkedIn InMail to someone. Why should they listen to you?!

“I felt that if I could get the right people into the system, even if I did a mediocre job at training and management, they would find a way to win. But if I got mediocre people in, even if I did a world-class job at training and leading, it wouldn’t matter.” – Mark Roberge2

That really says it all. People are a HUGE part in the process of having a successful company. If your people suck, the business is going to suffer. If hiring isn’t going to be a priority… how do you expect to get good people?

Passion… the people you hire must have passion for sales! Passion helps you overcome continuous defeat. I once had an entire  month where only one person picked up the phone when I called. They hung up on me right away. I made a few hundred calls that month and felt destroyed. My internal drive is what got me through that rough month.

“All the cash, leaderboards, and praise in the world can’t keep someone striving in this role. It has to come from within.”3

Now, if you’re only going to be in this role until you figure out what you want to do… money can definitely help. A lot of grads jump into sales because they have a business degree and that’s what you do. Then they realize that they weren’t cut out for sales… If you want to excel and have a career in sales, it must come from inside!

Competitiveness is another HUGE trait salespeople need to have. Recruiters typically target athletes because they’re competitive. Have you ever heard of the company ‘Athletes to Business’? I shouldn’t have to explain that business model, but it makes sense, right?

Lately, I’ve been hearing about companies creating such a competitive landscape that people are backstabbing their own coworkers to get a sale. WTF is with that!

“Alison Gooch shared that she looks for ‘compassionate competitors-reps who like to win, but not at the expense of their teammates.'”4

Don’t create such a cut-throat culture to where people are screwing over their own co-workers for an extra buck. That doesn’t end up working well for anybody. If you’re a manager… you’d be the one to decide who gets the bigger paycheck, etc. That would suck, if you ask me.

Another great trait that should be considered when hiring salespeople is curiosity.

“Curious people ask the best questions. Reps who are genuinely curious have an advantage when prospecting. Questioning is in their DNA; they don’t have to fake it.” – Peter Gracey5

That’s another awesome way of putting it. The questions become genuine and the prospect feels better about telling the salesperson their problems.

Bertuzzi writes about how to write compelling job descriptions, interview questions, compensation plans… all of the things that attract BDR’s and sales people. Each organization is going to have their own process for these, but I highly recommend reading her examples. These examples could help you lower your attrition among salespeople.

 

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The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi

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The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi | Part 2

Sales DevelopmentAs I get further into “The Sales Development Playbook”, I’m learning so much more about the process of creating a well oiled sales team. Inbound sales, Outbound sales, Allbound sales… You’re probably thinking, “Oh, Jordan… you’re so smart and you make it sound so easy. Why don’t you just start you’re own sales company??” Ha Ha Ha. That’s not what I’m saying!

I’m saying this to show you the value that this book can bring to all organizations! Bertuzzi breaks it down and she breaks it down really well!

 

“The first rule of sales development is no fighting in front of the kids.”1

It pretty true within any company and with any position. No arguing about processes in front of your employees. Feuds between different managers will pull employees apart if they’re there to see it. Management has to be on the same page or else you’re just wasting time. Have you ever had two managers and they both tell you something different? It’s frustrating because you want to make sure you’re doing your job but at the same time you know you’re going to make one of them upset because you’re following the other ones orders.

Great reminders are on every page throughout this book! Most of them are sales development related… given the title of the book. But I truly believe that you need to

“Make sure your team members know that they’re contributing from the get-go. They have a tough job and suffer massive rejection every day.”2

If you’re in sales, you know exactly what I’m talking about! EVERYDAY… rejection. If you’re not… you still deserve the reinforcement that you’re contributing. Celebrate the small wins. Maybe your employee conducts a great interview, finishes writing an article, leads a meeting, adds value to a meeting,  learns a new concept, learn something new… whatever it is, let them know they’re contributing! You’d be amazed what people are willing to do when they get recognized.

On the sales side of things… we usually have a good idea of whom we’re approaching. We know what type of accounts and we know who we need to talk to.

“Sell to everyone; Close no one”3

In the process of learning how to work smarter, you need to know who is more likely to buy from you. If you spend too much time trying to close someone that isn’t going to buy, you’re just spinning your wheels. Spinning your wheels doesn’t help you exceed your quota. Bertuzzi does an incredible job segmenting prospects into different brackets. She calls this the

“The ABCDs

  • A: A-list
  • B: Bread & Butter
  • C: Compelling Events
  • D: Dead Ends”4

It’s pretty simple once you’re able to separate your prospect into these categories. Let’s start backwards… Dead Ends… Don’t bother wasting too much of your time on this group. You’re thinking, “Well Jordan, I’m an incredible sales person and can sell anyone.” Great, prove me wrong. If they’ve been using a provider for 30 years and send out an RFP for your product… you’re going to be column fodder. It doesn’t matter what you sell or how well you sell it, they’ll always stay with that provider.

I saw this A LOT while at Cornerstone. A prospect had used SAP for 30 years and they want to see what else is out there. The rep is excited because they have a chance to hit their number with one sale… It was a dead end and they wasted countless hours trying to sell the team on our product. It sucks because we all think we’re the best, but in reality, you lost before you started. It’s our job to not even get hung up on those.

When compelling events take place, it’s usually a great opportunity to introduce your product! New c-level team, new decision makers, current product breaks, customer service sucks, lawsuit, bad quarter and new laws are all something that can compel someone to do something. New laws is a huge one in my market! Be the first vendor to reach out to a prospect educating them on the law changes and you have given yourself a good chance to win their business.

Let’s say gluten-free bread and butter… I’m allergic to bread. This is where you can really thrive! These are your go-to accounts. Depending on what you sell, these accounts are what your current user base is made up of. I can’t tell you who your gluten-free bread and butter account are, so make sure you know!

The A-list is a dream come true. These are the accounts you’d die to do business with. You’ve got something they need but they don’t know it yet. They’ll change the direction for your company and your career.

A lot of things in sales are driven by data. There is so much stinking data out there being collected, it’d blow your mind if you knew what was being collected.

“… if you can invest $1 in improving processes or improving data, I’d choose data ll day every day.”5

Data literally makes the world go round! The better data you have, the better you are able to plan out your day, week, month, quarter and year. My current CRM has the capability to keep data on EVERYTHING! Guess what… when I run a report on something super specific, I get results. Those results help me close deals.

I loudly echo Bertuzzi and have to add that you need good/great data!

 

There’s more to come from me about:

The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi

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The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi | Part 1

Sales DevelopmentWhat an absolute pleasure it has been reading, “The Sales Development Playbook” by Trish Bertuzzi. Everything I’ve learned in the sales world has been extremely beneficial so far… this book helps push the envelope. Because we are officially in the information age, organizations can access information whenever they need it. With an ever changing buyer and larger buyer groups, you have to make sure you’re a head of the game. Trish will help you with that!

“The companies that win today are those that are willing to reach out, stand out, and point out flaws in status quo thinking. …It is, at its heart, about service.”1

I honestly can’t tell you how many cold calls I’ve made or how many cold emails I’ve sent. But what I can tell you is, my success has come from thinking outside of the box. Setting myself apart from the competition and providing value. Connecting with someone and saying something other than, “Want to buy my product?” You have to approach people like the way you want to be approached. Don’t forget; you’re a buyer and someone is always selling to you.

An interesting thing that a lot of people seem to learn early on in their careers is that all companies have their own way of doing things. There isn’t a copy and paste method that every company can use.

“… your model needs to be ‘just right’ for your organization.”2

This can go for positions other than sales too. Find the process that works best for you. As far as sales goes, it really depends on what you’re selling. Bertuzzi uses the example of the CRM market because it’s a mature market. The majority of companies have one and use one. So, if you’re a new CRM company, how do you set up your sales processes? What’s the difference between you and Salesforce, SugarCRM or Microsoft Dynamics?

After you figure those things out, it’s time to set a meeting to try and sell something! This is where Bertuzzi hit me with the “Ah-Ha” moment!

“If you’re selling a disruptive solution, asking BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timing) type of questions makes no sense. There isn’t going to be a budget set aside for problems that prospects don’t know they have.3

Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “What if I’m not working in a disruptive market?” Great question! If you work in a market that is more mature, like myself, you have to figure out what problems they’re currently having. Maybe you can get them to switch solutions solely based on price. I see it everyday. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… it’s a duck… but cheaper. If a company saves a couple grand a year because they switched providers, the CEO/Owner is going to be happy.

Bertuzzi opens the readers mind up to a new acronym that can be used; PACT.

“PACT: Pain, Authority, Consequences, and Target Profile”4

There has to be a pain and they have to be aware of that pain before they buy. It’s your job to make them aware. A friend of mine is a travel agent. Whenever I write, I try to put myself in her shoes to make sure my writing sounds good to other people. What would her clients pain be?? Booking flights, hotels, excursions, dinners and making sure it’s within their budget… and the list goes on. People think travel agents charge too much… have they ever tried using one… nope. Did you know that if you book through an agent, they can typically get you better rates and free stuff? The true value of an agent is all the extra amenities they provide. Boom! I get my travel knowledge from @DeniseSchaefer6

Authority… we all think we have it. You have to ask the right questions to get to the decision maker. If you’re talking to the HR person and the decision maker is the VP of HR, you need to get a meeting with the VP. Too many times it happenes to sales people where they think they’re meeting with the decision maker. Then the find out that the VP wasn’t even aware of the meetings.

Consequence… What will the consequences be for them if they DON’T switch. The last thing a company wants to do is buy something that they thought was great and find out that it opened up a new can of worms. The problem they wanted to fix is now an even bigger problem. You need to dig into the scenario of them not purchasing.

Target Profile… Oh man, this one is huge! While selling to HR, I come across IT people that kill the deal. You have to make sure that those key players are in the meeting. You need to align with culture, technical and office politics. It’ll make your life much easier!

 

There’s more to come from me about:

The Sales Development Playbook | Trish Bertuzzi

Get “The Sales Development Playbook” on Amazon.

 

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Everyone Communicates, Few Connect | John C. Maxwell | Part 4

If you can create a connection with someone where you can exude conviction, passion and credibility, you’re headed in the right direction. If you’re going to connect with someone, you also need to make sure that your communication goes beyond words.

“As a species, we remember 85 to 90 perfect of what we see but less than 15 percent of what we hear.” – Sonya Hamlin1

Make sense right… now think about it. A lot of the things we do, we have a visual. Being in the information age, we’re always seeing new things… so you need to stick out… BIG TIME. I’m sure you spend all day on Twitter, LinkedIn Facebook and YouTube… so what catches your eye?

You need to be able to do that with people when you’re connecting with them. I know sales people that wear fun ties and socks. You can guarantee the prospect is going to remember them. Sales people often put images of their children on their computer so the prospect can ‘AWW’ at how cute their family is. You’ve only got a few seconds to win people over, so you better make the most of it!

“Expand Your Range of Expressions”2

Be excited, smile, move your eyebrows… use emotions to help tell a story or convey a message. Why do you think comedians are so good at what they do? Because they’re able to tell a joke and put emotion behind it.

I took American Sign Language growing up and the number one lesson everyone learns, other than memorization, is that you have to use facial expressions to convey a message. I challenge you to watch this TED talks. It’s pretty entertaining and only 5:55 long.

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude. That will either enable you to connect with people and win them over, or it will alienate them and cause you to lose them.”3

It’s another one of those things that you forget on a daily basis. Words are one thing, but the attitude behind it is how people feel about you. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s those people that are confident and charismatic and then there’s those people that aren’t. That’s the different between half full or half empty type people. We all know a few of each and we all know which are easier to talk to and connect with.

My favorite “Ah-Ha” from this section of the book is about charisma.

“Here’s the bottom line on charisma. You don’t have to be gorgeous, a genious, or a masterful orator to possess presence and to connect with others. You just need to be positive, believe in yourself, and focus on others.”4

Sounds too easy… right? It’s not! After moving over to my new job, I had no idea what I was talking about when it came to the product. So What! I picked up the phone, called people with a positive attitude and began a dialogue. I even had to answer questions with, “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’ll find it and get back to you.” It’s all about the state of mind and being helpful!

I’m very capable of being positive, engaging with people and problem solving… AND I bet you are too!

“Your message must be your own. So must your style. Work to discover that style and to develop your skills as a connector in every kind of situation.”5

I can not reiterate this enough! Whatever you do in life, make it your own. Add your own personal flair! You don’t need to recreate the wheel, but you need to personalize everything. It’s really common in sales roles to get email templates from coworkers. I LOVE it! But, in order for you to like the email, internalize the email and use the email, you need to add your personal touch to it.

I have an email I created that has an outstanding open and response rate. I’ve given it to other people to see what type of success they would have. Guess what… all they did was copy and paste it… and they had little success. Then they came back to me and complained that it didn’t work. I immediately asked them, “Did you make it your own and personalize it?” Their response, “No.”

So I sent them back to their desk and asked them to personalize it… and bam. They received the responses they were looking for. This goes the same for connecting with people. It isn’t a cut and paste technique. One way may work for someone that doesn’t work for anybody else.

 

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There’s more to come from me about:

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect | John C. Maxwell

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“Not Taught” | Jim Keenan | Part 4

“Experience Doesn’t Matter – Expertise does”1

To paraphrase Keenan’s definitions of both experience and expertise, I’m going to make it very simple. Experience is based on hours spent doing something. Expertise is based on knowledge, understanding and being able to execute. If you’re still not 100% sure what I’m referring to, check out this YouTube video where Keenan breaks it down.

It’s absolutely insane when you see job posting for entry level jobs that are requiring more than a few years of experience. Experience doesn’t mean crap in most cases! Experience means that you are showing up for work, doing the same thing everyday and expecting that 3% raise at the end of the year because you didn’t burn the building down.

Expertise is showing up to work and asking questions; why, how, when and what happens. The more you know, the more you can offer in return. If you don’t know, ask. You know when you’re new to a company and someone says, “feel free to ask me anything or reach out if you need help”? ASK! Get help. Learn as much as possible from that person and then move onto the next. They’ve already been in you’re shoes. Don’t recreate the wheel… Improve on it and gain expertise faster!

“There is no growth without reading, period.”2

Seems like everybody should know that one… Where do you think I’d be if I didn’t read this book?! I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I wouldn’t be networking with people all over the world. This book, for me, is like spinach to Popeye. My goal each day is to learn something new and have an “Ah-Ha” moment. The mental accomplishment feels so good… you should try it!

Starting on page 97, Keenan goes into something that EVERY boss needs to read. If you’re a boss and you’re reading this, internalize it, think about it and consider changing how you measure your people.

“We glorify busy. We still measure and applaud our success by the time we put into something (the effort) rather than by what we delivered (the output). That’s not OK in the information age.” 3

Mind freaking blown. Sounds simple right?! After reading this, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to remove ‘busy’ from my vocabulary when talking about work. Really, it just sounds like you’re saying, “I’m doing stuff”, so people leave you alone. I’ve worked for companies where you have to work four hours, then you get a 30 minute lunch break and then you have to work another 4 hours. If you show up late because of LA traffic…  you get in trouble, and well, you better leave the house earlier. It only took me six hours to do my job everyday, but I had to stay for eight to get paid. Guess what happened to that company. Poof, they’re gone.

Stop measuring your success by how many hours you’ve done something. Start measuring success by WHAT got done.

“In today’s world, we only want to know one thing – can you get it done?”4

Chapter 12 ends with a section that a lot of people take for granted.

“Being happy and having fun is awesome… Go be awesome”5

I LOVE it! Happiness is contagious. People want to hangout with people that are happy. Ask yourself how many people do you hang around that aren’t happy? I bet it’s a pretty low number. One of my favorite saying from my high school football coach is, “Everyday’s a good day, some are just better than others”. It’s so true. I had a coworker ask me one day, “Are you always this happy?” I had the biggest freaking smile on my face and said, “YES!” Who doesn’t want to be happy?!

Go out there and be a happy, change creator that has an expertise in something you love.

Connect with me on Twitter @Barta57

Connect with Keenan on Twitter @Keenan

 

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Not Taught | Jim Keenan

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“Not Taught” | Jim Keenan | Part 3

The responses, tweets and emails I received from people about my posts really motivated me to write more and more often. THANK YOU for the encouragement and kind words; you know who you are. It’s never easy to leave your comfort zone and start doing something that you’ve never done before… but as Chris Brown puts it, “Look at me now.” Keenan wrote a blog posting on his site… about me… and I am so extremely honored!

“The world has changed

It demands more than doers-it demands thinkers. If you’re not prepared to be a world-class thinker, success will elude you. …You have to create solutions that move you and the organization forward. You have to get comfortable working with new and untested date.” 1

Don’t people always say, “think outside the box”? How about Jillian Michaels, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. That explains it all and reinforces the idea of a change creator! If you’re not leading the charge for change, someone else is going to do it. They’ll be the one that gets the promotion. I can hear you thinking it right now, “But I’m scared. I’m too shy. Nobody will take me seriously. I don’t have the expertise.” So what! Nobody’s perfect. Take the initiative, speak up and get the group excited. You’d be surprised the little things people remember.

While at my last organization, I was in a meeting with 35 other people and a few of them were brand new. The newbies never talk because they didn’t have a good grasp on what we were talking about. About half way through the meeting, one of the new guys, Matt, raises his hand and makes a comment about email subject lines. I was blown away! Right then and there, Matt separated himself from the rest of the class. Be like Matt!

“True selling means understanding the needs, goals, and problems of your prospects, friends, family, bosses, collaborators, and everybody else with your sphere of influence.”2

This is something that is overlooked all the time! Sales people are always after their quota and the next meeting. Always chasing that extra dollar. We don’t often stop and think about the people we’re selling to. “Oh, they’ve got an RFP out… looks like we’ll bid. Our product is better, so we’ll win!” or, “All of our products are the same… so we’ll low ball on price”. NO! That is completely the wrong idea. Just because those ways work sometimes, doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it. You won’t last very long in your industry if that’s how you plan to do it.

“To be good at sales, you need these three related skills: problem finding, problem solving and storytelling.”3

This part of the book is just freaking killer! We’ve all heard things like this or thought them… but the way Keenan writes it, it makes much more sense.

“The best salespeople are badasses at finding problems. They ask a million questions”4

Asking questions gets you to the root of their nightmares. Ask open ended questions so that they can tell you their problems. If you can get a prospect to vent to you about something, you’re doing it correctly. While you ask questions and talk about their business, you’re gaining their trust. People buy from people they trust. Remember: you’re not there to sell them a product. You’re there to help fix their problem and offer a solution.

By problem solving, we’re creating the solution. That part isn’t all that difficult to understand. If the prospect knows we’re meeting to discuss HR software, based on my questions, my software should exceed their expectations. If I can’t fix their problems, then I better suggest something else. The last thing you want to do is sell them something they don’t need… that’ll really piss them off. Negative reviews last longer than positive reviews.

“Better solutions create better outcomes, better outcomes equal greater value, and everyone loves greater value. …Find the problem, solve the problem, and then tell a damn good story.”5

Paint a mental picture for them. “Here’s where you are currently… Here’s where you could be if we partner.” Show them the true value of partnering with you and how that partnership will blossom into something beautiful. If their current provider has bad customer service, give them your cell number and tell them you’ll take their call at any hour of the night. (You better live up to your word!) Show them the value they’re looking for and the pricing conversation won’t be all that difficult. One of my favorite quotes is from Warren Buffet, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get”.

Influence + Engagement + Knowledge + Value = Sales

 

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Not Taught | Jim Keenan

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“Not Taught” | Jim Keenan | Part 2

After getting the stamp of approval from the man himself, Keenan, I am back at it again to give you, the salesperson, that “Ah-Ha” moment. After spending a few days and not writing, I was really excited to get back online to pick back up where I left off. Before we move on to a different quote from “Not Taught”, I want to talk a little more about value. If people can see the value of what you’re selling, it’ll be easier to begin a dialogue with them.

Take into consideration the process of cold calling someone. IF your prospect picks up the phone and you drop the line, “Hi Mr. Prospect, I want to talk to you about your processes to see if we’re a good fit”, you haven’t presented with them any value and the conversation is going to go cold fast. Now, imagine picking up the phone and having some type of value proposition lined up. “Hi Mr. Prospect, I want to talk to you about your processes because I’ve been working with similar organizations like yours and I’ve helped them lower their attrition rate and increase their bottom line.” Boom! You’ve caught their attention. Name drop a local client, reference their LinkedIn profile or mention a recent story in the news about them. Catch their attention and provide some type of value as to why they should take your call.

“In Today’s ever-connected world, people are constantly on the lookout for value. They want to know what they get from you, why engaging with you is worth their time or money, and why they should pick you over someone else. It’s up to you to tell them and then show them. Building and promoting brand you makes that happen.”1

This screams “Ah-Ha” moment. I am connecting and engaging with people on social media whenever I have a chance. Jill Rowley (@jill_rowley) has always said, “Your network is your net worth”. I strongly believe in that statement! People talk… a lot. And when you can show value, your name will spread like wild fire. This also screams “Ah-Ha” because of what I’m doing. I am building and promoting brand me! Keenan has invested time in me by responding to my LinkedIn messages, Tweets and commenting on my last post. Find something you can passionately talk about and give it a go. But remember, you have to show people the value.

I made the comment in my last post about having experienced some out dated sales approaches. To go along with that, having a few years of experience with cold calling, I often come across a prospects response, which is the famous saying, “That’s the way we’ve always done it”. Man, how frustrating that can be! But Mr. Prospect, I’ve got THE product that is going to change your world… still doesn’t matter. They’ll never change, unless they retire, of course. That brings me to another “Ah-Ha” moment because it has to do change.

What are you? A Change Resistor, Change Acceptor, or Change Creator?

Change Resistors: “I like things just the way they are”2

Change Acceptors: “We wait and see what’s happening”3

Change Creators: “Change creators are today’s problem solvers”4

Of those three options, which one are you? Of those three options, which one is your boss? How about your company? I always want to be a change creator! Trying to stay ahead of the game and solve problems before they happen. Go ask Gabe Villamizar (@gabevillamizar), from HireVue about his implementation of Social Selling to his sales team. The numbers are outrageous! Gabe is a change creator and he provides an incredible amount of value to not only his organization but also the Social Selling community. By the way, follow him because he is doing some incredible things for the industry.

Uber, Amazon & AirBnB are great examples of Change Creators. Examples of change Resistors… Blockbuster, Hollywood Video & Blackberry. Change Acceptors… most organizations out there, kinda coasting by.

Try adopting a new software that can help you in your role. Most companies give out free trials, so why not give it a try? What do you have to lose?

The world is going to change whether you like it or not! Instead of sitting on the train and watching change pass you by, get up and go drive the train. It’s more fun that way.

 

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There’s more to come from me about:

Not Taught | Jim Keenan

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