Six Steps to Seven Figures

I am often asked for a simple, effective, no-nonsense approach to goal setting that
can be used by anyone to start the year fast and focused.

What follows is what I affectionately call the Six Step Makeover.

It’s a simple process that’s easy to learn, easy to apply, and easy to get results from.

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6 Hard Questions for Yourself when Slumping

Thinking about Sales SuccessRecently was talking to client who was struggling with his results for the past couple of months. He had lost his confidence and was questioning everything he was doing – without any new success.

So after a while of listening he point blank asked me to help him.

So, I started by asking six hard questions to begin his sales results turnaround. Then I realized he may not be the only person with a b2b sales slump, so I decided to share the six questions to help others to gain clarity of the their situation and move forward successfully.

Here are the six Hard Questions…

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B2B Selling has Changed – Have You?

I don’t know if you have noticed a major change in selling, yet, I started to notice some major changes in the B2B Selling World during the past four years. And, yes, the Great Recession has a major role in the changing dynamic of our world of selling.

First, let’s look at some of the trends started during the past four to five years.

  • Consolidation of Industries and Niche Industries
  • Customers demand lower costs
  • Product Knowledge is known by our customers & prospects
  • Old techniques and tactics are basically useless
  • Real Decision Makers have disappeared from the Sales Process

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Track Leading Indicators to B2B Sales Success

One of the most interesting topics about goal setting and achieving greater results in upcoming quarters is to be tracking specific indicators. Now the truth is – most b2b sales people (and sales management) – are only tracking lagging indicators. Thus, a lack of predictability of achieving any form of serious growth goals and objectives.

Most people are tracking their sales results and possibly their gross margin data, however, these are all lagging indicators. Meaning these data is found in the history statements of what you have done and there is no way to change the past.

Leading indicators are those specific guides or triggers – usually related to your sales process – which then followed lead to certain levels of success. And, tracking your leading indicators every day will lead to greater success and sales results.

I first discovered these leading indicators back in the late 80’s when I was still doing activity based sales (the traditional model of selling). It was a simple system for tracking my personal results. I basically tracked five things – 4 leading and 1 lagging indicator.

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Tired of the StatusQuo? Challenge the Decison Makers

Okay, how many of you were terrorized by the title of the post?

I will venture a guess – all of your who enjoy the comfortable path of no possible conflict with a customer or prospect.

This is same attitude which has helped to create the commodity pricing environment we all hate – or should hate since our margins are squeezed big time.

What I’m talking about is directly related to the impact of the great recession of 2008-2009. Buyers and sales people alike got scared of making a mistake and the old comfort zone has taken center stage in our b2b sales world.

Yet, some new research on highly successful b2b sales people has come out. In fact, the July-August edition of the Harvard Business Review is dedicated to sharing information about this new research on high performing b2b sales people.

It seems these high performers are doing something different.

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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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Is It Getting Harder to Succeed in B2B Sales?

Seems to be a recurring theme these days when talking with B2B Sales people today. With the exception of a small group who consistently tell me they are doing extremely well.

Why the polar opposite  responses to the same concept? Many b2b sales people are doing poorly while others are doing great.

So, I guess it is time to dig into the reasons for this difference of both opinion and performance.

Here is what I am finding from my research…

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Recognize Four Sources of Customer Urgency

Look, the truth is, b2b sales people all want the customer to have a sense of urgency when working with us. It simplifies the sales process because they are pushing to get things done.

So why are there times when the customer seems to be moving at the speed of a Glacier?

A lack of a sense of urgency to engage with you is due mostly by a lack of need for having a sense of urgency. What you need to see from your customers or prospects is one of four sources sparking a sense of urgency on their buying cycle.

Here are four sources of customer urgency…

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Ever Hear This? – “Let me Think about Your Offer”

This week I am going to address several questions I get from you – the readers of these sales tips.

This first question is about what you will do when a potential customer says to you – “Let Me Think about Your Offer.”

There are several ways to respond to this statement, unfortunately, most are rooted in the traditional sales model where a sales person is in some form of combat with the buyer. Things like…

  • You have agreed to everything we have discussed, what is it you feel you need to think about at this moment?
  • This offer has a limited time period, are you sure you want to risk missing the deadline for ordering?
  • Is their someone else you need to talk with to move forward on this?
  • If so, can I meet with them also in case their have some questions about this offer?

That is just a short list of possible responses using the traditional model of selling.

The real reason for any delaying tactics on the part of a qualified buyer are based upon three things. These are the three – with the third reason being the most likely reason.

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Three Ways to Increase Your B2B Sales Results

Like most b2b sales people I believed there was only one way to increase my b2b sales results – By Getting New Accounts.

This was my self proclaimed method of increasing my results and all my planning and strategy was based upon finding new customers.

Then a Sales and Marketing Guru told me there were three ways to increase my sales results and I should be constantly thinking about finding all three due to the accelerated rate of growth I would receive.

Now, accelerated rate of growth got my attention, so I listened intently to what he had to say. So, now you’re thinking – what are the three ways to grow my sales?

The Three Ways to Grow Your Sales Revenues are…

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