Are You Still Waiting for the Return Phone Call?

It still amazes me how a sales person will make A (single) phone call and then sit and wait for their phone to ring with the return call of the week. Duh!

Look unless you used the most amazing and effective voice mail that made such a favorable opinion on the decision maker – they could not wait to call you back, then welcome to the real world of communication and contact with others.

The fact of the matter is – very seldom will you actually get a phone call back from a busy executive these days. They feel they have NO TIME to do anything except what is on their day planner for the day.

So how do you get someone to call you back?

By being aggressive yet patience at the same time. I know they seem to counter each other – aggressive and patience in the same sentence?

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Five Pitfalls to Successful B2B Selling

While taking some time off, I was reflecting upon the issues that hinder success in b2b sales. My thoughts ran the gambit of possible issues including hiring and selection of high quality b2b sales people – sales training and development using the right processes for your industry – quality of sales leadership – the rules, policies and structure of an organization – and finally compensation or incentive programs.

In the long run, I narrowed it down to five major pitfalls to b2b sales success

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No Silver Bullets using a Unique Selling Proposition

Unique Selling Propositions – USP – are often presented as the strongest benefit for a given product or service within a targeted segment of accounts. Many sales consultations “yak” about how you must have a USP and without it you will rapidly move into the commodity sales trap.

Well, that is find and dandy if you only sell one product or service to this targeted group of accounts. The truth is often the product is not unique or different from your competition. Now that is a dilemma. If we are selling the same things, how do you separate yourself from the competition?

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Four Negative Buying Decisions

When I began to look into what buyers and decision makers actually did after I had made a sales presentation, I began to notice different types of decisions that were not the usual “yes” – we want you to start on…

Then I expanded my search for answers by observing my sales clients activities and doing some back checking after proposals or presentations were made – what was the actual decision.

After researching the actual results or decision-making process of buyers, I found four types of negative buying decisions. I want to share these four negative decision patterns with you so you can effectively prepare counters to these actions during your sales process. (That means before you make a sales presentation.)

So, here are the four negative buying decision patterns…

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Use the Farmer Concept to Win B2B Sales

Now I know some of your are thinking – I’m not a Farmer, I’m a Hunter – so this will not work for me. So stop right there and realize a hunter can use different strategies to hunt. Some work better than others. This is an example of what works best – even or especially for hunters.

So let’s start by looking at the process used by a farmer to create a new crop to sell. There are five primary steps to the farmers process or concept. These are…

  1. Cultivates
  2. Plants Seeds
  3. Fertilizes
  4. Protects
  5. Harvest

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Buying Process – Six Steps by the Prospect or Customer

My sales tip on keeping your sales process aligned with the customer or prospect’s buying process raised several questions from the group. The most common question was…

“What is the Buying Process?”

Therefore, today is all about the Buying Process.

There are essentially six steps to the buying process, in fact you could call it a Buying Cycle since it begins and ends at a similar destination. The only difference between the start and finish is your role as the seller. Usually your competition begins the process as the seller and assuming you work the process-staying in alignment with your sales process-you will be the seller in the end.

Here are the six steps…

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Know Where Your Customer Is?

Okay, you’re thinking I must have lost my mind today – of course you know where your customer is regarding their location. However, do you know where they are regarding their buying process?

Knowing where the prospect or customer is in the buying process is one competency that separates the “also-rans” from the high performers in business-to-business selling. B2B sales people who understand their prospect or customer’s progression through their buying process are winning more sales.

Why does it matter? Because the b2b sales people who know where their prospect or customer is-in their buying cycle-are more likely to align their selling efforts or sales process with the buying process.

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Think Simple to Win More Sales

It continues to amaze and amuse me watching sales people operate in selling environment. So what are they doing that amazes and amuses me? Sales people are complicating their offers with all types of complexity.

Okay, yes, I admit it – I have done it too! Sometimes we get too smart for our good and think we need to add all kind of information, variations, variables, formulas, and other mind-numbing ideas for our prospects and customers. This is just a bad move. I know I have lost sales opportunities due to complexity of ideas or solutions.

The key to more success is to keep things simple. Simple influences the sale more than any form of complexity. Simple offerings, simple presentations, simple pricing, and simple understanding of situations all have a positive influence on the sale. Stop with the complexity already! Here are five areas you can add simple and win more sales.

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Five Signals Triggering Your B2B Actions

Recently I was reviewing several account relationships and the current sales process with each account. While involved in this exercise I was careful to watch for certain triggers calling for my immediate actions to keep the accounts moving toward the commitment phrase.

Essentially there are five signals I look for during any account review. These signals will create reasons for a customer call or additional research about the customer. So here are the five signals for you to review on your accounts…

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