Sales Hacker Chat Recap With Rob Jeppsen

Q1: What Can Sales Management Do To Be More Effective?

Be a leader instead of a manager. Correct before you correct and focus on process over outcomes. We need to find ways to help each rep level up…don’t manage skill gaps, find the next level with each rep for the win. Skill gap focus is too negative. Nobody wants to hear what they suck at. Managers push the “more” button. Leaders push the “HOW” button. Most important leadership skill is to share how. Outcomes are driven by sales stages. Stages driven by activities. Activities driven by skills. Most leaders don’t know the skill to success structure or how to coach to it. Those that do…CRUSH.

Q2: What Are Some Of The Biggest Coaching Mistakes? And How Can We Prevent Them?

The How button comes from understanding the process. Can you “Model Awesomeness?” When a leader understands skill to success model, HOW process becomes simpler. Every rep wants to win…just show them how. #1 coaching mistake is taking over a deal and emasculating the rep. This is a crutch…not a coach. Doesn’t scale. #2 Mistake, no consistency. If you don’t have consistency or cadence, you don’t have coaching. Don’t start/stop! #3 mistake is confusing a pipeline review for a coaching conversation. Coaching needs to develop skills/activities. #4 Mistake: Dictating terms, not collaborating. Don’t put yourself on a pedestal. People on pedestals are easy targets. Mistake #5: Focusing on weaknesses of the past rather than the promise of the future. Be in the inspiration business.

Q3: What Type of Training Creates The Best Results?

Q3 is hard. Everyone learns in different ways. I like the SHOW/SHARE/SEE approach. Training should be about modeling what awesome looks like. Biggest training gap for sales is the difficulty in practicing. So I prefer action-oriented, hands on training vs theoretical stuff. Sales is an action, full contact sport.

Q4: What Quality Do Most Sales Professionals Lack That Prevents Success?

Biggest obstacle I’ve seen is the focus on outcomes. Too many managers focus on working harder instead of smarter. Process beats outcomes every time. Can’t force someone to buy. Process is predictive. Outcomes is looking backwards. If process is good, success is inevitable. If process is weak, success is unsustainable. Choose process and get #predictive!

Q5: What Performance-Based Metrics Generate The Best Results For Sales Teams?

Process tells you when to be patient and when to change things up. Most predictive metric are those related to sales velocity. Speed is the #1 predictor. Measure speed in times from start to close, as well as by stage. It will tell you almost immediately what skills to build. 2nd most important are competencies around opportunity starts. Start enough and handle efficiently and things are good. Track PUSHES. If a deal pushes once, just change the close date. One the 2nd push, circle the wagons. I’ve found pushes are the best indicator of how well a deal is behaving. Bring in resources early if a deal stalls. Best coaches focus on opportunity origination and sales velocity. Get those right and the job gets a lot easier.

Q6: How Has Data Changed The Future Of Sales and Sales Coaching?

Data allows us to be predictive. Don’t just gather mountains of data. Answer the “So What” questions. If data doesn’t help you predict, then it is INTERESTING BUT WORTHLESS. We need to use data to help our reps identify where their next level opportunities are in personal development. This is where the big opportunities are. Not using data to manage opportunities, but to manage personal growth. We use data to help determine the future value of a rep…Not just the close date of a deal. Use data to create “What If” scenarios around activity mgt and skill development.

Q7: What Advice Would You Give Sales People Just Starting Their Sales Career?

Advice to new reps…find strong mentors early in your career. Learn your industry well…we need to educate buyers. Don’t focus on the product…products have no value. They only derive value.
earn to speak the language of value. Final piece of advice: If process is strong, success is inevitable. If process is weak, success is unsustainable. Process is about experiences you create, not words that you say. Sales pitches are forgotten quickly but experiences make you legendary…choose to be legendary…

Q8: What Is The Greatest Issue Facing the Sales Profession Today?

Greatest Issue for sales profession is staying relevant as customer changes quickly. Focus on how they buy & stay relevant. Sales orgs need to understand the industry better than anyone else. We HAVE to be engineers of value. Embrace Change! And things are moving so fast that many reps/orgs don’t stay current or care about it until they get behind. Press Pause! Don’t be so focused on outcomes that you don’t stay current in the changing environment until you’re playing from behind.

Q9: How Should Sales Professionals Utilize Their Leaders Best?

If your leader doesn’t bring coaching to you, reach out and ask for it. Leaders should help reproduce skills in each rep. Take advantage of this. Own your personal development plan.

 

Follow Rob on Twitter @RobJeppsen

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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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3 Things to Improve Your LinkedIn Experience

1. Personalize!

Think of LinkedIn like a real-life networking event. If you walk in and try and tell everybody about your product right away, people are going to be annoyed. They’ll avoid speaking with you all together. Same thing goes for LinkedIn! Timothy Hughes (@Timothy_Hughes) talks about this in his book “Social Selling”.

bad invitePersonalize your message to whomever you’re trying to connect with. DO NOT leave the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Also, don’t try to sell them on your product on the ‘introduction’ screen.

Instead, lead with something genuine! I like to comment something nice about their experience or background. Maybe we have mutual connections in common. Perhaps they’d be an asset to my network because we’re in the same industry. Whatever the case may be, take an extra second and personalize it. You’d be surprised at what people have to say in return.

That took me an entire 3 minutes to look up the most recent post Jason shared, personalize the approach and send the connection request. Now, when Jason accepts, he’s going to see my personalized message and think, ‘Hmm… This guy actually took a few minutes to be relevant. I wonder what he does.’ This could be the beginning to a long and prosperous relationship and I could even help him with a problem someday.

2. Save the Math Equations For Facebook

If you truly care about developing your network, providing value and establishing yourself as an industry thought leader, don’t bother engaging with things that are a waste of time. They seem harmless and it’s an easy way to get a lot of new profile views and connections, but all its takes is one bad ‘like’ and you could ruin your reputation to a potential influencer or buyer. Because… as I’m sure you’ve all seen, you accept a new connection and your feed gets filled with junk.

hide unfollowFor most of us, I don’t want to clog my feed with silly things. Once I see someone like, share or comment on something irrelevant to my ‘world’, I either ‘hide this particular update’ or ‘unfollow user’. I don’t have time to scroll through my feed and see something irrelevant. I go to Facebook and Instagram for that stuff.

Think of it this way; would your boss, mentor or favorite leader find your post worthwhile? If not… then don’t like or comment.

3. Show Your Appreciation!

When someone comments or shares your content, send them over a quick thank you. Envision this: Karen shares my article with her network of 2,000 people. My name, and article have just been introduced to her network. That’s a completely new audience that I’ve been introduced to… Maybe someone in Karen’s network has some questions for me about what I do for a living.

You never know the opportunities that can present themselves unless you do the little things. All of these tips only take a little time to do but will pay off tenfold. If the person never connects with you, even though you personalized it, don’t get discouraged! You can always remove your connection request and try again. (LinkedIn Article on how to do that)

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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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Four Ways to Increase Email Opens by 25%

emailmarketing_0How does your email resonate with your audience? Open rate is the strongest metric to identify how well your email is landing, and optimizing your open rate can make all the difference in your monthly revenue.

If you want to get your email past spam filters and grab the receiver’s interest, we have four sure-fire tactics to increase your email opens and allow you to connect with your market.

Subject Line

Think about the number of emails that land in your inbox every day, and which ones you delete the fastest. The emails that you never open are probably, 1. The most boring, 2. Not relevant, 3. Reeking of sales desperation, and 4. Don’t have your trust.

CAPS LOCK and “Urgent” have lost all meaning in email subjects. Your audience wants to connect with content that means something to them, and email that frequently demands their attention is no different. Your subject line should be compelling enough that they skip the delete key and take a closer look.

We’ve found that the most successful emails keep subject lines short (three words, or 50 characters or less). They regularly use fresh content, so a steady stream of the same subject line doesn’t bore your audience. Your email should deliver information that your audience can use—up your credibility by offering content that helps them in their day-to-day. Even if you’re asking to set up a meeting, use an upcoming industry event and offer content that gives them tips on how to prepare: Getting the Most Out of [event].

Successful email subject lines also use dynamic tags that tap sales intelligence and personalize your email based on the information you’ve collected about them.

Personalization

It’s time to put data collection to good use. [Dynamic tags] let you personalize your email subject line, based on what you already know about your audience.  The effectiveness of dynamic tags can vary between industries and professional roles, so you should test your formats and keep an eye on your winners.

If you’re tracking your audience’s activity on your website, dynamic tags can also highlight their place in the customer journey, and help you segment your audience. Be sure to review your email prior to sending to ensure the right information is populating, and avoid broken dynamic tags.

Technology

Take advantage of sales software to optimize your email content and sending patterns, and centralize the best of your data learnings to strengthen your entire sales team’s game.

 

Email Tracking is a great tool to sharpen your email process from a few different angles.

  • Use Email Tracking for an overview of your open rate, in a neat, easy-to-use interface
  • Customize your email with Email Tracking personalization tools.
  • Once you have tested, successful templates, you can use Email Tracking to share templates with your team.
  • While you work, keep track of all of your activity with the Email Tracking Salesforce integration.

There’s no reason not to use the best of technology to help you connect to your audience, and increase your email open rate.

Timing

The patterns of your email can really help you to establish credibility with your audience. Too frequent, and your email will go right in the trash. Not well timed, and it will get ignored. But you still want your email to be at the top of the list when your audience checks their inbox, and a healthy frequency does lead to successful engagement.

 

Set your email cadence by reviewing your open email data. Find the times and days of the week when your email is opened the most frequently, as well as the frequency rate, to determine the optimal send times for your audience.

With applied effort in these four areas, email opens can increase by at least 25%.

As always, split test your email subject line to gauge your best performers. Taking the time now to research your audience and save their data will help you deliver the most relevant content possible. The amount of time you invest will drive your ability to connect, and get those emails opened.

 

About the Author:

Jonathan AllenJonathan Allen is a SaaS strategist and SalesLoft content specialist. He has extensive experience in sales development, account management, and B2B strategy.”

Connect with him on LinkedIn! Jonathan Allen

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Agreements, Trigger Events & Introductions

hacking salesGoing through the sales process can be fun and exciting… especially when the potential client is excited about what you have to offer and the price is right. The last thing you want to do is say the wrong thing when you’re closing the deal.

“There’s a big difference in someone’s mind when you use the word contact versus the work agreement. But often they mean the same thing.”1

A contract can sound scary and make anyone second guess their decision. An agreement on the other hand sounds less threatening. In reality, they can both mean the same thing. The agreements I have clients sign are not binding… so I don’t even bother saying contract because it isn’t one. When you’re going to get a price lock on a deal, then you might need a contract.

Whether you’re engaging with the prospect or they’re signing the agreement, you got to find trigger events to keep yourself in the mix. I LOVE trigger events because it gives me another reason to reach out to the prospect.

“A trigger event that most salespeople don’t utilize is holidays. You can use any major holiday or even a Hallmark holiday as an excuse to send a warm follow-up email.”2

Absolutely! I’ve spoken about trigger events in the past and this is another prime example of an easy touch point. Who doesn’t like to talk about what they’ve got planned over the holiday’s? You can also leave social media to see how they celebrate holidays. If they go all out, like in The Office, maybe you should stop by with a gift basket to say hi! Those little gestures can go a long ways.

Depending on what type of software you’re using to connect with your prospects and clients, you can find all sorts of ways to reach back out to companies. LinkedIn, Twitter and Google are the best engines to find Trigger events.

This next piece really resonates with me because I’ve been experiencing this later…

“The problem is sales is that salespeople tend to be ‘givers’… …if salespeople give throughout the process without getting much in return, they condition the client to treat them like a doormat.”3

I’m a salesperson that likes to bend over backwards for my prospects and clients… This really sucks because people try to take advantage of my ‘giving’ mentality. Feelings like I’m going to lose the business because I say ‘no’ sucks… but it’s better than being walked all over.

While I get first hand experience with this…. I think that’s going to be the only way a salesperson can learn about being a doormat. Fill your pipeline with enough business that you don’t have to worry about saying ‘no’ and being a doormat.

One great way to do that is by asking for introduction!

“Make Introductions Mutually Beneficial. This is important! Try to make introductions only when you truly believe there’s real mutual benefit, even if that benefit on one side is in the future.”4

I think one thing to also include is that you need to ASK. A lot of people are afraid to ask for introductions. I’m not talking about the BS “if you’re not the right contact, can you introduce me to them?” type of introduction. If you actually want to meet someone within a company and a connection of yours is connected, personalize the approach and let that person know why you’re reaching out for an intro.

Whenever I make a new connection on LinkedIn, I also let the person know that they can ask me for introductions to anyone in my network. But, if they ask, I always make sure that they give me a better understanding of what they’re looking to accomplish with the introduction.

An additional Ah-Ha Moment from Max is that:

“You will win because distribution is king, and these tools will allow you to own distribution at a repeatable and scalable level. Always be testing, measuring, and optimizing no matter how good the numbers are. You can always do better”5

It’s so true! We can always be doing better, providing more value and intriguing our prospects and clients. The end of this book, Hacking Sales, came very fast. It’s an incredible read because there is so much information. It’s insane how many different products are out there that will help you do your job.

You’ve got to read this book!

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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

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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

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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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#AskGaryVee | Bet On Your Strengths | Hustle Smart

The Ah-Ha Moments are at an all time high right now. The questions that Gary is answering through this book motivate me to read more and read faster. It almost seems like he’s my mentor! Something that especially caught my attention is how we need to focus on our strengths.

“I never worry about what you don’t have, but about what you do. Because I believe in betting on your strengths. Everyone is different, and everyone will bring a different set of skills to the table.”1

While interviewing with Paychex, this is something I kept in mind even before I read this book. When it came time for me to talk about my strengths and experiences I’ve had, social selling and online engagement was exactly what my boss was looking for.

My strengths sure paid off! Taking a ‘social’ approach to sales isn’t something that’s hit the mainstream yet… People do it, but they don’t do it correctly. Convincing a manager to let you ‘social sell’, that’s never heard of it before, takes guts. He knows I’m capable of what I told him I can do… but he’s gotta see it. Right? There has to be an ROI. So… once he saw it, the encouragement to do more motivated me!

“Pumping everyone full of confidence makes for a more creative, risk-taking environment.”2

I’m sure we’ve all had bosses before that were really good about giving praise. And we’ve also had bosses that weren’t so good at giving praise. Whom did you like better? Not to toot my own horn, but I got some 1 on 1 praise the other day. Guess what! I’m even more motivated. Man, it feels good too.

This, right here, is one question that I absolutely love!

“What is the one tangible thing people can do to change the direction of their lives?

Hustle.”3

It doesn’t get any easier than that. Work your ass off. Want to know why I went from college football into international football? Hustle! If you’re going to brand yourself, be a successful entrepreneur or do something no one else has ever done before, the recipe is Hustle. You gotta grind! Wake up early and go to bed late. At the end of the day, you should be mentally exhausted. It’s one thing to be productive and it’s another thing to be running in circles.

“Hustle is not just working obnoxiously hard – it’s also working obnoxiously smart.”4

I’ve written about it before. There’s a difference between being productive and being busy. Busy doesn’t mean shit. Just because you’re on ‘the grind’ and busy all the time, doesn’t mean you’re actually getting anything done. Consider reevaluating how you ‘hustle’. You could find that you need to start hustling smarter.

Gary hits on a point not many people talk about; circumstances.

“Don’t ever let your circumstances determine your outcome. You are bigger and better than that. You can always control your own destiny. Use what you’ve got, find what you don’t, and make your dreams come true.”5

Stop using ‘but’ when explaining why you failed. No more cop outs. Stop giving yourself an excuse. If you want to do something, do it. Find a way to get it done. Guess what. This website didn’t develop itself overnight. I can’t tell you how many people I tweeted asking questions. I googled everything to figure out how to make it. Just because I didn’t know how to do it, doesn’t mean I can’t figure it out or ask for help.

Stop worrying about the outcome before you’ve even taken the first step. You’ll thank yourself later.

 

There’s more to come from me about:

#AskGaryVee | Gary Vaynerchuk

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Dealstorming | Tim Sanders | Part 5

9781591848219Social Selling!

Social Selling is a word that is trending all throughout the internet. Believe it or not, there are A LOT of people out there not doing it… and there are A LOT of people out there doing it wrong.

“Incorporating social selling into your day-to-day prospecting approach consistently can make a big difference on your total performance. A recent survey revealed that ‘72.6% of salespeople who in corporate social media into their process outperformed their colleagues.’ These tech-savvy sellers make contact where the ‘smile and dial’ crowd continues to get voice mail.”1

Social selling is here… NOW. You need to incorporate this into your daily routine before you get left in the dust. There are multiple things that play into social selling, so I can’t exactly tell you what you need to do. However, send me an email, and we can talk about how to get you started. My favorite guys to follow are @JackKosakowski1 and @gabevillamizar. There are about 15 people I follow and like in terms of social selling… but I like these guys messaging the best.

The HARDEST part about social selling is seeing the ROI right away. It’s like going to the gym. You have to go more than once to see result. You need to put time in each day to make it happen. If you’re not social selling, chances are you’re not maximizing your potential. Social Selling gets you in the door, but once you’re there, you have to provide value!

“During our next dealstorm, it hit me: “Show them, don’t tell them.” We collectively came up with a way to powerfully illustrate our total value proposition to the ad agency account planners, using a graphic we called ‘The Iceberg.’ It combined an image with the numbers.”2

Yea… This is an Ah-Ha Moment! Give your prospect a visualization of what you’re offering and what goes on ‘underwater’ and they will fall in love with you. I am definitely borrowing this image so I can share it with my prospects and team. In the SaaS world, prospects often get ‘vendor blur’. It when the prospect doesn’t remember what the vendor does because they all kinda do the same thing. Then, they end up picking the vendor with the cheapest product. If you give them a visual that resonates with them like ‘The Iceberg’, it’ll separate you from the competition.

Ideally, when showing someone a visual of what you have to offer and how it’s going to fix their problem, they provide you feedback. Try imagining your sales pitch from the prospects view. Does everything make sense? Do you see the value in what you have to offer?

“Too often we see the world through our day-to-day experiences or based on our role at work. By adopting a new point of view, you open up possibilities for creativity in everyone on the dealstorm team.”3

Whether you look at this quote from the dealstorming perspective or from the prospect perspective… it can provide you with a lot of insight. In a dealstorm, you can get the view point from a lot of team members. From the prospect’s perspective, it can help you win a deal. Maybe you can relate more with a prospect when you’re learning about their pain points. The more you connect with a prospect, the better chance you have at them becoming a champion for you. Having a champion within an organization can make or break your deal.

“They get you and your offer in front of influencers and decision makers by vouching for you and opening doors. Later in the process, they marshal support for your company and drive others to action.”4

A lot of times, these champions will give you information that you don’t already have. While working at Cornerstone, one of my reps told me that their champion was in a meeting with the decision makers and they were narrowing the vendors down to three. The champion texted the rep and told them that they needed to drop the price or else we won’t be considered. The price was dropped and Cornerstone stayed in the picture. Obviously, we never want to lose a deal based on price… but that was the driving factor in narrowing down the vendors. Without that champion, we would have been gone.

“When people perceive you as a giver, they are usually ready to reciprocate by telling you what they know.”5

I’ve written about this many time! Once you can get off of your agenda and onto the prospects, you’re improving your chances of earning business. Help fix someone’s problem and they’ll return the favor. There aren’t a lot of sales people that take this approach. The ones that do… are rockstart sales people.

“With the dealstorming process, you now have a tool that not only produces measurable results, but by its collaborative nature created influence, power, and transparency for those who lead or participate in one.”6

Leaving you with this quote should encourage you to purchase this book and read it! There is so much incredible information throughout the book! Sander’s digs into his past to share stories from himself and other success people. I look forward to reading about his future success!

 

Connect with me on Twitter @Barta57

Connect with Tim on Twitter @sanderssays

 

Dealstorming | Tim Sanders

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Dealstorming | Tim Sanders | Part 1

9781591848219The value that Dealstorming brings to life is the collaboration among people to get the job done.

“Gather a team, put your brains together, and make it rain!”1

The information coming from a collective group is so much more valuable than one person. Everybody has different personalities, viewpoints and opinions. You’re going to find a solution if you have a team to help you. I ran into a snag last week at work. I found out that one of my prospects was apart of an association and they didn’t think they could buy my product. However, they’d entertain a call to see if there was another way I could help… Guess what.

I reached out to six other people; four within my organization and two external people. After a few conversations with experts on the association, I learned that the prospect had been mislead in which vendors they could purchase. The meeting has been set and now I can do a little educating. If I hadn’t reached out to those people, I never would have been able to compete for their business.

“As it turned out, sales genius didn’t come solely from individual sales reps, my researchers, or me. Sales genius, I discovered, is a team sport. It was about all of us in the room finding and solving problems as one.”2

Different ideas come from different individuals. Have you ever worked on a project and then asked someone for feedback? Then realized that the feedback they gave you was really valuable… but you never would have realized you needed to make the changes they were suggesting? It’s truly amazing what other people can offer. Don’t just choose anyone though! Make sure you choose wisely because sales in only getting tougher.

“Today, tough sales are the norm.”3

Man, ain’t that the truth. The list is never ending. You’ve got the internet… you can compare price, service, competition, reviews… just about anything. There are purchasing teams, consultants, influencers, people who think they’re influencers but aren’t, and the never ending madness of people changing jobs. If your champion decides to change jobs… you’re starting from scratch. Start-ups trying to get some traction in a market. Heck, don’t forget about the ‘research companies’ that determine who the big players are in each industry.

“Customers on average have completed nearly 60% of their purchasing decisions before having a conversation with a supplier.”4

You better hope that your buyer is looking in the right place to find your product, or you’re shit out of luck. Having to re-educate the buyer on what your company sells or stands for is difficult. The internet is full of information and you need your buyer to consume the right type.

When you get the opportunity to re-educate your buyer, because you will, you need to get off your agenda and onto theirs. They already know their pain points and they’re looking to you to help fix them. It’s now your turn to understand them and find more pain points so you can bring more value.

“Their insight is yours: When the going gets tough, the ambitious get innovative.5

If you want to win that deal, you better bend over backwards to figure out the answers to their questions. If you don’t have the answer, get together with your team to find the answer. Get innovative and come up with outcomes that nobody else thinks of. Don’t just give up. Find another way… find a better way to get it done.

 

There’s more to come from me about:

Dealstorming | Tim Sanders

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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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“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 | 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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“Not Taught” | Jim Keenan | Part 1


I wanted to start off my new writing adventure with the man, and book,  that gave me the motivation to take the leap; Jim Keenan. He prefers to go by Keenan… So we’ll call him Keenan from here on out! Keenan wrote the book “Not Taught and if you haven’t picked it up yet, you’re missing out. The parts of his book that I chose to write about resonate with me right now. Six months from now, I could re-read the book and have a whole new list of things to talk about. Where he caught my attention and pushed me to get uncomfortable was on page xxi.

 

“It’s not fair that no one is teaching you these keys to success. I wrote this book to change that. It will open your eyes to more than just the changes happening around you; it will show you what it’s going to take to compete in this new era of information and friction less communication”1.

This really resonates with me because I’ve worked for three different organizations in three different industry’s in the past two years. I’ve been able to see and experience different types of training, mentoring and goals. All of which are behind the times in terms of ‘thinking outside the box’. That’s a cliche way of wording it but it’s true. In the age of information, people do their research before looking to buy. They want to look at reviews so they can read the good, the bad and the ugly. If someone calls to buy my product from me, I’m already late to the table. They probably already have a good grasp as what I have to offer compared to the competition. Keenan has helped create a road map for myself so that I can compete and win against the competition!

“We were made to connect with one another!”2     View Jordan Barta's profile on LinkedIn

Before we go any further, send me a connection invite. Maybe there is someway we can work together or refer each other business. I’ve established connections with people all over the world and in many different industries. Who knows!

“The key is to be seen as active, engaged, and generous on social media. Then you will get noticed. With notice comes reach, and with reach comes influence, and I cannot undersell the importance of influence to success in the twenty-first century.”3

BOOM!

Now you can clearly see why I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone to start my writing adventure. I’ve very active on LinkedIn & Twitter…So now it’s time for me to brand myself and start establishing klout. To add gasoline to the fire, I leverage #socialselling. If this is your first time hearing about Social Selling, you need to step your game up! Become an expert or thought leader in your field and share content. When you’re able to provide valuable insight for a certain topic, people will come to you for answers. My goal with this website is to turn books into Ah-Ha moments for sales people.

“If you want to be successful in today’s world, you need to create brand you and promote the shit out of it”4

Keenan asks some very valuable questions through out the first quarter of his book. He wants you to start thinking about YOU. Where do you come in? What value can you bring? How do you differentiate yourself? Who is your target market? If you don’t have the answer to these questions yet… that’s okay! Sit down and start thinking. When I created blogs in the past, I failed. Why? I wanted to make money off the blog and drive traffic to affiliate websites. I wasn’t providing any value to anybody!

“The simple truth is, value drives everything”5

Value is why we do things. What is the value of working out and eating healthy? To live longer, feel good and look good naked. That is my goal! I want to provide as much value as possible while taking this journey to write.

Please leave feedback so that I can learn from you, the reader! What do you want to read about? How long should my posts be? I’ve got thick skin and can take the constructive criticism.

 

Get “Not Taught” on Amazon!

There’s more to come from me about:

Not Taught | Jim Keenan

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