How Good Is Your Storytelling Skills?

Recently I have observed several sales people doing customer calls and noticed a glaring deficiency in their skill sets.

Quite simply it is the ability to engage their customer with their storytelling skills or in their case a total lack of story telling skills.

The ability to capture the imagination of the customer and quickly engage or engross them into your story will give you a huge competitive advantage over the feature and benefit legions calling on your customer.

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Nice Voice Mails Get Deleted Today

Really? Nice Voice Mails Get Deleted!

Welcome to the new world of the busy executives and decision makers. Anything not related to what they need or gets their interest is in automatic delete mode.

Most B2B Sales People call a targeted prospect and leave the following voice mail…

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Not Getting Your Phone Calls Returned?

Seems like no one is returning phone calls these days. For that matter, who is actually answering their phones these days?

I know I have experienced this growing trend in the world of B2B Selling. And, at first I believed these people were just plain rude and courtesy had left the building! Well, the truth is there are other reasons – well, some are just plain rude. 🙂

The fact of the matter is important people have no time any more. It’s true. I watched an excellent role play at a recent presentation showing exactly how busy people are these days. So, later, I actually chatted with some of the decision maker types that I know ( some actually called me back and others I met at Chamber sponsored meetings.) to learn what there world is really like.

It is amazing these executives and key decision makers have any time to do anything – which explains why so often actual decisions are no decision and the status quo lives on at their companies.

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Stop Educating Your Buyer – Start Finding the Opportunity

Earlier I wrote an article about how the buyer does not need the b2b sales person anymore. And, this statement or information is true. Yet, there are some systematic issues which are creating confusion within the sales organization.

Okay, first, the amount of product knowledge training is still out of control. During the Great Recession, companies figured they could constraint expenses by using more product knowledge training – which could be handled by internal staff rather than outside sales advisers. The data has been showing organizations have been spending upwards of 85% of their “sales training” budgets on product knowledge.

Second, it is true product knowledge does help the sales person to be more creative in recognizing sales opportunities when they are dropped in their laps. And, a side effect is the higher confidence factor when a b2b sales person understanding their products and product lines well.

Third, the majority of product knowledge training is a total waste of time and resources!

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Buyers Do NOT Need B2B Sales People Anymore!

Before you think I have totally lost my mind, take a moment to read what I have to say about this topic – because I believe it has more Truth than I thought I would see in my lifetime.

Sure I read the book from Neil Rackham – one of the most acclaimed sales researchers in modern times – as he stated buyers do not want to be bothered by aggressive and pushy sales people anymore. That much I truly believe is correct based upon my interaction with so many buyers and decision makers.

Yesterday, I listened to a Marketing Expert talk about how much times have changed relative to actually how much a buyer needs a sales person. He stated prior to the widespread use of the internet, buyers actually needed us for product information and ideas for solving their problems.

Today, that has changed, the buyer can get as educated as they want from their laptop or tablet by searching the internet for product information, success stories, how to use our products, applications of solutions and even do some price comparisons – all without a sales person to talk with for one minute.

Does that ring any bells for you?

Okay, so what do you need to do to counter this change in need focus on the part of the buyer?

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Are You Working Hard – Enough?

Over the weekend I had a couple of conversions with sales people who started their part of the conversion by stating…

“Man, I’m busting my butt at work – been putting in long hours at the office.”

They were using this statement as some sort of badge of honor for victim-hood. I know I sound a little hard on these folks and I know it sounds harsh on those who feel the same way as my friends. Well, so be it.

The true is we need to work hard at our professions if we are going to keep up today. The real question is “what ” are you working hard on? This is the key to understanding the big picture of life.

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Six Methods for Engaging the Buyers Brain

This neuroscience research is amazing regarding how the brain actually works. And, when you apply this research specifically to how the brain makes decisions to buy things, well, your world of opportunity just grew exponentially.

Now, I figure most of you know about the left and right hemispheres of the brain and they influence things – especially behavior. In fact, behavioral style is one of the hardwired traits discussed the management book – First Break All the Rules by Buckingham. (If you are in Sales Management this is an important book to read.)

However, let’s get back to the primary subject – engaging the buyers brain.

Also, the research has shown there are three unique regions within the brain and the real decision maker is the “old brain” or reptilian brain which is located in the brain stem. This answered a lot of questions for me – first, questions about how I made instinctively driven decisions and choices. Then, there were the decisions and choices my clients made about all types of subjects – several which displayed NO logic at all. (First, clue is little logic is used.)

So the real question becomes “how do you engage the reptilian brain?”

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Neuroscience and the b2b sales process

When I began to learn about how the brain works due to the research being used in the neuroscience studies, I began to see the light. Which light is that? The light at the other end of the tunnel indicating a train is coming and I need to pay attention.

Now must b2b sales people are still following the same old sales “tracks” laid down in the last century. They continue to hang in there using these old methods since they did work for the b2b sales people in years past. And, in some industries the old tracks still work with some old school or commodity based buyers.

Yet, the more progressive companies – both sellers and buyers of progressive companies – no longer tolerate the practices of the old b2b sales tracks. They want something new and better for the real world of today.

Okay, what is different you are thinking? A good thought or question.

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Are You Optimistic or Pessimistic?

Based upon your answer, you could be setting yourself up for future success or future downturns.

I know the above statement sounds very absolute – like an either – or situation. True is it is fairly close to an absolute issue based upon both experience and some high performance research.

Now, before I get too far into this b2b sales tip and my comment box gets full of objections, I will say I have found some exceptions. The key word here is “exceptions” rather than a norm.

The key point here is optimistic b2b sales people usually are more successful in the long term than their evil twin the pessimistic b2b sales person. Now, I use the term “twin” for a specific reason. When a b2b sales team have all been trained in the new b2b sales model and have equal quality accounts to call upon, then they are twins relative to the opportunities presented.

However, the truth is the optimistic group usually out performs the pessimistic group over the long term. Why? Because they miss more opportunities due to things like destructive self-talk, slip of the tongue events with buyers, and a lack of positive energy to demonstrate and energize the buyer.

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