The last quarter of the calendar year is simply unbelievable. Whether unbelievably good or bad is yet to be seen. Every year, however, every sales team seems to repeat the same challenge.
Many salespeople try to explain this phenomenon with a bit of bravado and “bro-tastic” revelations, but it’s actually simpler than may initially appear.
Conventional wisdom often distills why customers suddenly buy as either:
they are going to lose budget for next year if they do not spend
this year’s budget, or
the salesperson’s claim that they are just “better under pressure” and drive harder to close deals at the end of the year.
While there may be some truth in either perspective, in my experience, the most consistent sales people strive to maintain a more consistent momentum, by learning to SHIFT. Just like when a cyclist approaches a hill, there is some degree of art of knowing just when to shift into a gear more compatable with the incline of a hill, while simultaneously maximizing the effects of momentum gained on the lead-in to the hill. Let’s break it down:
S – Stop. Just stop. Stop all the garbage bravado, trash talking and stop virtually pedaling for a moment. In other words, coast for a moment and catch your breath. Validate your momentum. Assess where you really are in the sales process. With experience, this step is often fairly quick. For less experienced, this may prove more challenging.
H – Hear out all sides. Pick up the phone. Go visit your prospect. Talk with your team. Check in with your colleagues. Most importantly, get a complete, unbiased set of intel. Ask, “what’s happening in the marketplace?”; “are similar deals moving forward?”; “what is your own internal team experiencing?”.
I- Interact to understand. This step is perhaps the most critical. I have observed many salespeople overestimate their own ability to decipher the details they gathered in the step above on their own, overlooking the importance of confirming what you are seeing with your actual prospect. Adopting phrases like “from what I’m seeing from my perspective is ______” and “I want to make sure we are meeting your expectations by staying on track to close this deal by _______. Is that still your plan?” are incredibly valuable. LISTEN and ASK QUESTIONS TO VERIFY what you think you are hearing. The absolute worst action you can take is being overconfident about what you think your prospect is communicating.
F- Find agreement for what’s next. By gaining a full understanding about where the deal REALLY is in the sales cycle, next is to come to an agreement about what you both need and how you can get there together. If they are holding out for a price or other negotiable aspect of the deal, one technique is to agree on a closing timeline that guarantees or incents them to get the deal done. Create win-win opportunities. You want to close the deal. They want to feel good about the deal they strike with your company.
T-Timetable for follow-up. No matter what agreement is struck, drill down more specifically than “we have a deal” by calendaring the follow up. Identifying the next step is much less powerful than sending over a timeline of the next several steps to ensure delivery of the solution you are providing them by a specific date. Both sides should always know when they will take the next steps and/or communicate to maintain momentum.
And there you have it. They key to easily pushing the deal over the top so you can coast back downhill, is to simply SHIFT at the right time.
What proven techniques do you use to maintain momentum of a sale? Share your go-to tactic below!
The holiday season is just around the corner. As always, the conversations around the family dinner table are bound to get uncomfortable. You need a plan….fast!
Adulting does not have to be hard
Admittedly, I find “adulting” to be a ridiculous word. What the hell does it even mean? If what one intends is to suggest that being a grown-up isn’t all that fun, I suppose there is some truth to that…but I also have found it is not all that “tough” if one simply makes a conscious decision to actually be an adult.
I expected to get blown up on this one
Earlier this week, I was inspired to make a statement on social media. You know the type. A somewhat windy, wordy prose about a singular view of some topic bound to attract the nastiest of responses from those trolls who seem to be abundantly living today in every corner of the internet. But…I wasn’t.
The responses were encouraging
In only 24 hours, I received 50 “likes”, 19 “loves”, 20+ comments, 1 share, and ZERO PEOPLE ARGUING AGAINST MY POINT. In a word, I was stunned.
Here is what I posted
Friends – We don’t all agree on everything. In fact, we share unique opinions on lots of issues. I’m making this request in an effort to do MY PART of being more of the change in the world I want to see:
Just stop bashing each other. If someone shares their opinion, it is that- their opinion. They are entitled to it the same way you and I are entitled to ours. If you feel compelled, respectfully offer another point of view, and become part of the dialogue.
I am a Christian who loves people of many faiths, orientations, political affiliations, nationalities, races and sports loyalties. None of those people from which I am “different” are a threat to me. In fact, I often learn much from being their friend and listening. I appreciate it when they listen to my perspective, and honor when it doesn’t persuade them to change their stance.
In what appears to be a race to the “lowest common denominator” of mankind, stand tall – be respectful of others – be positive, and most of all….stop being such a jerk to others. Love people. And, yes….I pray for all of us.
You never know the impression you are making on others.
You spend more of your waking hours AT WORK rather than your loved ones.
Your family is yours. Even if your family is responsible for putting the “fun” in “dysfunctional”!
Not everyone with whom you are forced to interact believes what you believe—and that is okay!
Ask any successful person how they achieved success and most will share with you their story. Learn to emulate success without copying.
To find success in any aspect of your life…start by meeting others where they are by:
Being vulnerable, yet empathetic;
Demonstrating your character through your actions.
Allowing others to gravitate toward you, open up, and contribute with their best.
Just jump in!
You can do this. You can do anything! Even survive that one awkward conversation around the holiday turkey this season. In fact, you just might learn something….even if only to validate what you already believed.
How do you constantly strive to connect with others and model the kind of world you wish we lived in? Share your thoughts below!
A few months ago, I relocated my family back to a city we’d left about seven years earlier. I had lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma for well over a decade and really adored the city…despite exercising my best sales and networking efforts, I was in love – and she was moving to Houston, Texas- so I packed up and went. Looking back, a change of venue was exactly what I needed.
In late 2009, I had exited one career and was underway with a new one, as a leadership and talent development consultant. The problem, though, was that most of my contacts in Tulsa had associated me with my previous career in the investments business, re-branding myself was proving difficult.
Soon after the move to Houston, I had built a new network, was enjoying success in a new career field and actually caught that girl I had chased to Texas. This past fall, we returned to Tulsa.
Now the challenge was to re-establish my network in a city I had left seven years prior (having kept in touch with only a handful of people) with a radically different career focus than 1997-2009 had needed.
It is easy to get sucked into a new job. Your first 100 days feel like a sprint, and if you are driven AT ALL, most people want to make sure they are seen as a contributor as quickly as possible. This new role for me was no different.
This job is a little bit success coach + a scoop of sales messaging + talent development + grit seasoned with a little bit of flip cup & bacon – seriously, these people LOVE US SOME BACON! #baconfriday
Today, I work as the senior sales enablement manager for a SaaS (Software as a Service) startup, ConsumerAffairs.com. It is a dream. Ten years ago, I was part of a scrappy young professional movement in Tulsa that was screaming from the rooftops about what this city needed to become to stop the brain drain in Oklahoma. Today, I work for the very type of company our grew said was absolutely what this city needed…but I digress.
My daily focus centers around activities which enable our sales team to do better, succeed faster, and win more deals. (It’s a really fun job that is a little bit success coach + a scoop of sales messaging + talent development + grit seasoned with a little bit of flip cup & bacon – seriously, these people LOVE US SOME BACON! #baconfriday) Interestingly enough, our team often sells to marketers and senior executives for brands of all size. Lately, I’ve been purposefully scheduling one-on-one meetings with colleagues outside my company, as I re-establish my new network in town.
In late December, I attended our local Association for Talent Development chapter, where I identified a number of people to get to know better. As is the practice for me, I immediately (after meeting them off-line) went to LinkedIn and established a connection. Then, as I often do, I sent a quick message (via the site) to a few, inviting them to visit our new training center and chat over a cup of coffee. One person, however, took over a month to respond. But her message astounded me… As it turns out, her company has BLOCKED LINKEDIN on their network, and she didn’t see my message for nearly a month!And she works for a Fortune 500 company!
As it turns out, her company has BLOCKED LINKEDIN on their network, and she didn’t see my message for nearly a month!
Every month, our sales development representatives work hard to locate and rope in sales qualified leads for our account executives. We have a small army of SDRs who are tremendous…and heavily reliant on LinkedIn for much of their outbound efforts…
On its own, LinkedIn serves a variety of purposes: gathering background on a potential connection; gathering basic intelligence on a company; connecting with new prospects; and, yes, keeping a conversation going after meeting someone at a professional function! This reality, though, served as a good reminder.
At the ATD meeting, my connection had actually given me their business card, but I didn’t simply email her directly…Instead relying on the method that I would most likely have expected to hear from someone following up under similar circumstances. It never occurred to me that her company would have an IT policy that was so restrictive as to block what is arguably the world’s largest business networking website. Today, I received a frantic message after she happened to find my message on LinkedIn by coincidence. We’re setting up coffee for later in the week….over email!
Let this tale serve as a strong reminder that if we get stuck on the one-track thinking that is centered on what WE expect, it just may be the same kind of thinking that prevents us from actually connecting with others the way THEY want (or otherwise NEED) us to connect with THEM.
In 1983’s classic role-reversal comedy, Mr. Mom, Jack Butler (Michael Keaton) struggles to adapt to the world of a stay-at-home parent. For the uninitiated, here’s a clip of one of my favorite scenes where the Jack’s “know-how”, gets the better of him:
Much has changed since 1983, not the least of which is the impact the Internet and social media have changed the landscape of how salespeople can build connections and actually sell across platforms like LinkedIn.
Are You Doing It Wrong?
In earlier posts, I’ve shared my lack of understanding why some people call themselves LOINs (LinkedIn Open Networker) and what possible benefit that could deliver, beyond simply “fancying-up” the long-fabled “spray and pray” prospecting method.
For many years, I kept my LinkedIn network exclusive to people I had met off-line at least once. In more recent years, I have maintained a high degree of what I call “connection integrity”, while allowing an occasional connection when it’s requested by someone with whom I can logically understand why they’d like to connect.
Most often, these connections are typically:
industry recruiters (though I’m somewhat selective),
industry colleagues (sales leaders, professional speakers, consultants, and other talent development professionals),
people affiliated with groups for which I have recently spoken or published an article to their membership, or
sometimes those with a shared outside interest (alumni groups, shared hobbies, common political interests/issues).
As a sales leader, I have watched as our Sales Development Representatives (SDRs), through trial and error, have actually found remarkable opportunities via social media connections-notably using Twitter AND LinkedIn Sales Navigator platforms. As a team, we are constantly sharing ideas to help each other succeed and exceed the expectations set by our executive leadership team.
…add value with every interaction, demonstrate thought leadership, and THEN politely ask for an opportunity to learn more about THEIR business prior to actually pitching [the prospect] anything.
The Premature LinkedIn Pitch
Just this week, I received an invitation to connect from a gentleman in the middle category above. We appeared to share approximately 40+ connections in the professional speaking/consulting world, so I decided there was likely little harm in connecting. When I accept virtual unknowns to my network, I often send a quick “thanks for connecting” note which may or may not include a link to schedule an introductory call with me. Typically, the response is either “thanks, let’s stay in touch” or “I just scheduled a call!”. Then…this actually happened:
On Tuesday, Scott Cooksey said the following:
Hello, Bob! Thanks for connecting. I see we have MANY common connections. I look forward to your thought-leadership! Scott
[Five hours later], Bob D*********, M.Ed., DCH said the following:
My latest book (#44), “************* ******* ********** : How to Prevent, Preempt, and Respond to Every Sales Objection You Get” is now available from booksellers around the world.
If in your travels you encounter sales consultants, trainers, and coaches interested in helping salespeople prevent, preempt, and respond to real objections in real-time, please ask them to contact me.
Our company will provide the support documents FREE (facilitator’s guide, flashcard learning contest guide, sales manager’s guide, company rollout plan, etc.), and they can buy the books wholesale direct from our distributor. Sample facilitator’s guide and more information on www.ObjectionFree********.***.
Here’s the background.
Research with thousands of salespeople confirms:
• Objections that stop most sales are common and repetitive.
• Specific Buyer Beliefs when missing or weak cause these objections.
• There are many ways to establish these beliefs.
• Before you buy something, this book for example, what’s just one thing must you believe about it?
• If you don’t believe that, what objection comes to mind?
• But, if you did believe that, what happens to the objection?
• You just demonstrated that a missing Buyer Belief caused the objection and that when the belief is in place, the objection goes away.
• Probability has it that right now you know salespeople who are facing sales stopping or stalling objections, the answers to which are in this book.
• Could these potentially stalled or lost sales be enough to cost-justify the $9.95 for the eBook or the $19.95 for the paperback? Buy the paperback and get the ebook for $2.99 on Amazon.
Action plan for managers, trainers, and coaches:
[**redacted for content**More bullet points listing related items for use…]
A preview of the book content is available on ********* and a lot more information is available on www.ObjectionFree*******.***.
Yesterday, my reseller in Finnland contacted three CEOs with this information and made three sales for hundreds of books and multiple days of coaching and facilitating for each one.
I’ve got access to a lot of resources so let me know how I can support your goals in 2017.
Needless to say, I was quite disappointed that my acceptance of his request to connect was taken as an invitation to be drowned in an unsolicited pitch from someone I do not really know anything about.
The Critical (Snarky?) Reply
Feeling a little spirited, I crafted this reply [which, by the way, my wife said was kind of crappy. I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are.
Was I out of line? Leave a note below or message me!]
Bob- Let’s try this again.
I accepted your invitation to connect based on our many mutual connections. Your immediate response was a very lengthy, impersonal pitch to me. Typically, that type of occurrence will immediately have me dis-connect you from my network. To me, it fails to truly build any type of professional interaction salesman to salesman, prior to me really knowing you you are, what you are about, or whether there is an opportunity for our connection to be mutually beneficial. But…. I am curious.
Your claim infers perhaps this particular book is your 44th, which either means you author a lot of shorter (perhaps insightful) ebooks (likely in an effort to draw me deeper into your buying funnel) OR, I am a total baffoon for not actually knowing who you are.
In my role as a Sr Sales Enablement Manager for a Software as a Service (SaaS) startup, I am always looking for ways my SDRs can improve their results when connecting with prospects over LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
Typically, I encourage them to add value with every interaction, demonstrate thought leadership, and THEN politely ask for an opportunity to learn more about THEIR business prior to actually pitching them anything.
Does the strategy you used in our connection often result in a) fruitful dialogue? b) book sales or c) frustration for your efforts? Perhaps we are going about it all wrong.
P.S. In a much shorter request today from someone in my network with whom I DO have a relationship, I actually helped him out by purchasing one of his books- without even finishing his pitch. His book went to #1 today at Amazon. [True Story!]
As I was about to publish this article, I checked my LinkedIn mailbox one last time, and found this [excerpted] from Bob
(Additional commentary from me below is in red):
I’m sorry about the impersonal email. Since I completed this book and started being active on LinkedIn last September, I’ve added 2,280 connections. It was getting away from me, but that’s really no excuse. Lesson learned. Thank you. And no, you’re not going about it wrong. I let time constraints interfere with good research to determine how I can help you before asking for your help. See one of my books on the topic (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AHHJIEK). LOL.[Humor is always good to restore good faith!]
On the reaction, it’s overall been positive. Probably at the lower end of around 10% response to this and similar response emails I’ve sent. But, we’re seeing book sales steadfastly increasing both domestic and international and I’ve had about a dozen trainer/coaches contact me about using our coaching and facilitating materials…. [Great context for the ask…]
[In the past we] charged $10,000 per trainer for Value Selling Strategies. Some charge upwards of $35,000. With our new “publisher” business model, we’re not charging for the support materials (facilitator’s guide, etc.), we’re not requiring certification (the process is exceptionally easy), and I’m personally providing any additional support needed (at no charge). [Value statement interesting…]
I’m really scrambling. Our big ad just came out in a catalog used by 65K salespeople who sell books as premiums to their corporate clients. We’re doing a full PR campaign with Smith Publicity (specialize in book PR). Our focus is on bulk corporate sales (rather than on sales to the general public) and by encouraging our resellers to set up accounts directly with our distributor (Ingram), we’re just counting backend sales. Yea! [More context]
Number of books: There really are that many books. I started in the business 30 years ago and have written over 70 training courses of which 50 have been converted to web-based training….Back when we were a bricks and mortar company, we had our own printing press. We now outsource that to IngramSpark. [Directly addressing my challenge from my reply- good thing I left some “room” for my assumption to be incorrect – it was!]
Again, I apologize for the impersonal response and will follow yours and my own teachings. My overall goal is to build a global network of independent trainers, consultants, and coaches. One of our resellers in Finnland is going to bring on several of his contacts to help build the business in the Scandinavian countries and Spain (he’s buying another home there). Another reseller in Brazil may do the same. We’re also going after the community college market – huge! [Owned the misstep and reinforced his global effort.]
I’ve got a lot of resources available so let me know how I can help your achieve your goals for 2017.
By being quick to respond to a message like the one I sent him, much repair was done for our connection. In fact, I have decided to keep Bob as a LinkedIn connection. Futher, I extended an invitation to him for an interview as we prepare for season two of the Success Charger Podcast later this year!
Do you need a coach or a cathartic shove from an Audacity Coach? Coach Jennie explains the difference and helps you overcome self-sabotage in this episode of the podcast.
Coach Jennie and I met a few years back in an online community she was co-facilitating called “Hungry Entrepreneurs”. In fact, I participated as one of the “Hungries” by contributing a chapter to a community-produced eBook cleverly entitled “EBooks Suck, But They Don’t Have To…”. (Want a FREE COPY of the eBook? Just CLICK HERE and we’ll get it headed your way ASAP.)
Jennie has a new book slated for release on September 1, 2016, and we have learned pre-orders will begin in August. All the details for that project can be found at HildaTheBook.com [Go there now and sign up to be first to get the scoop when it’s available and you’ll get a copy of the book’s preface straight away…trust me, it’s hilarious!]
Too often, entrepreneurial people can feel isolated. That is exactly who Coach Jennie is looking too help. She ONLY works with people who want a push, or as she calls it a “cathartic shove” and a shot of audacity to inspire them into action.
In this episode, we talk about suffering with self-sabotage; how to pick the clients you WANT TO WORK WITH and say no to the rest; how Jennie leverages a podcast with a unique format to attract her key clients; and how to make yourself massively available to people who want your expertise….who would never pay for it.
After you finish this episode, get deeper inside Jennie’s brain at:
For the last few weeks, I have been building new workshop to help sales organizations speed up their ability to open the door for new, profitable, lasting client relationships by exploring some relatively simple concepts that deliver results more quickly.
“Great and inspiring leaders of the world think
opposite of most everyone else.”
For one of my clients, however, there was the critical request that a message of increased productivity be delivered while simultaneously preserving a high degree of personal autonomy central to the company’s culture.
In laying the foundation for this topic, I was reminded of this brilliant TEDx Talk from Simon Sinek, who suggests that many marketing and sales organizations have simply been telling their story all wrong. To understand why certain standouts have achieved rock-star-like status, he simply explains how they shifted the way they were telling their own story to customers.
In this talk, delivered at the TEDx Puget Sound in 2009, Sinek provides a simple explanation for how companies like Apple are able to connect more significantly with buyers by flipping the script on how they tell their story. He shares that “great and inspiring leaders of the world” think opposite of most everyone else. Explained by what he calls the Golden Circle, it’s revealed that the key to faster connection is to start with why you do what you do ….then explain how you do it …THEN share with the buyer what your product or service actually is.
Consider flipping the script with your prospects and customers this week by talking FIRST about WHY you do what you do. We’d love to hear your success stories below in the comment section. Let us hear from you!
As a Success Charger, admittedly, you’re different. You see opportunity where others only see roadblocks, but let’s be honest about this one.
What is wrong with simply having a “hobby”.Why does EVERYBODY seem to think they have to be “hustlin” or “grindin”. When really, so many of those same people, are just…well….”Strugglin”.
Dan Pink’s book, Free Agent Nation, rocked my world when I read it nearly 10 years ago. In the text, he explains how the world is basically shifting from what we think of as a traditional employment world, to a “gig economy” world (I’m pretty sure “gig economy” is a newer term, but you get it, right?)
There’s only one problem. Too many of the very companies who would prefer to pay for talent ONLY when they REALLY NEED IT, have build vast systems to support a “traditional business model” and they often find themselves ill-equipped to actually execute on a plan that the “gigsters” would LOVE…. Being able to work on projects as a free-agent on an “as-needed” basis with enough frequency to be able to effectively blend work with the lifestyle they prefer.
I think we’re on our way to seeing Pink’s reality, it’s just taking longer than many people would like. Leaving many with a strong DESIRE to be a free agent stuck in a purgatory between what they really want and the harsh realities of the ever-expanding cost of living. (Television used to only cost the price of the TV itself, you know….and it wasn’t that long ago. Now….$200+ month is not uncommon just for the “content”.)
So this week, we beg the question, “Do you REALLY have a side hustle, or is that stuff you work on after work just a “hobby”….and by the way, there is NOTHING wrong with having a good ol’ fashioned hobby.
Sound off in the comment section below or drop us a quick note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your take.
Does your side hustle make money? Do you actually do anything for fun anymore, or are you trying to “monetize” EVERYTHING you do? Or, are you a hipster who still goes to coffee shops for the **gasp** actual coffee?
Let’s face it, people are either working very hard to get closer to you, or equally as hard to get away from you.
What we say (particularly how we say it) has tremendous impact on others willingness to connect with us in a meaningful way.
In recent months, I’ve been facilitating some amazing discussions with leaders around the ideas coming out of the research of Dr David Rock. Particularly, his brain-science model for explaining our threat/reward behaviors and what triggers them through use of a model he calls SCARF.
In this episode, Scott gets into an explanation of SCARF and how it opened up an even deeper way to explain HOW we connect with one another to build meaningful, productive relationships.
Scott Cooksey works globally with business professionals to develop their ability to build profitable, lasting relationships by levering the power of connection. Learn more about having him speak for your industry event, conference, mastermind group, team or even one-on-one at www.IdeaCharger.com
Lori Harrison will gladly tell you she had no idea in the world she was building a business when she began sharing her story on Facebook to a bunch of her friends. Today, she and her husband Jeddie Harrison are at the top of their game in a vibrant and successful business build on…well…southern charm and doing what seemed right.
Multi level marketing companies often receive a bad rap. And while certainly there are some sketchy offerings in the “MLM” space, there ARE in fact several companies that do quite well. Mary Kay Cosmetics comes to mind as a shining example of proof (You forgot about Mary Kay being one of the original MLMs didn’t you?)
I’m not here to say MLM is right for you. It may very well not be. The story I wanted to bring you, though, is one about authenticity, following your heart, and proof that sticking to your guns can make it possible to build a business…even if you don’t realize that’s what you are doing. For the entrepreneurial at heart, this is a story about “the dream” others around you cannot see. The lifestyle you know is possible while others run the rat race.
In recent years, there is a newer player on the scene inPlexus. Frankly, I didn’t know much about who they were until some friends simply shared a “pink drink mix” dumped into a bottle of water while we were at their house. While we didn’t “buy in” as reps, I have to admit, some of the product has found its way into our house, and we use the supplements, too. But that isn’t what this story is about.
When our friends here in Houston cornered me about someone I went to high school with in Oklahoma over two decades ago, I got more curious. Turns out, it was Lori…so in true Success Charger fashion, we booked her for an interview, and are bringing it to you here today!
Want to CONNECT more?
Lori’s Facebook Page (You might have to message her to connect…she’s popular and maxed out the “friend” numbers!)
Watch the FULL UNCUT INTERVIEW as it unfolded. It’s on our show’s YouTube channel under “Success Charger Podcast”. There’s some goofy tech issues and deeper conversation. It includes about 30-40 minutes of bonus content!
Please leave thoughts, comments, suggestions and whatnot below in the comment section! PLUG IN!