Sunday, June 30, 2013

How to Conduct a Sales Discovery Call

When a potential customer agrees to a discovery call or first meeting, it is paramount to maximize that time. Are your discovery calls launching a business relationship, or failing to connect? 

The best discovery calls build rapport, generate trust and help buyers make informed choices. The key to a perfect sales discovery is excellent preparation. Here are eight items to focus on:

1) Do Your Homework

Zero in on what sparked their willingness to speak with you, and review your lead tracking system for all related data. Spend ten minutes exploring their company website, community forums, and social media channels.
TIP: Research four names of people in your prospect's department on LinkedIn prior to your call.

2) Focus on Their Needs

Put the spotlight on your prospect’s issues and establish yourself as a valued resource to help them make the right decision when they’re ready to buy.
TIP: Let them do 80% of the talking. Favor listening over pitching.

3) Ask Upfront Questions about Buying Ability

Get to the bottom of timeframe to purchase and decision-making while steering around budget allocation questions. If they need it, they’ll find a way to pay for it.
TIP: Directly ask questions like, "When are you looking to have these improvements in place?"

4) Share 2-3 Benefit Statements

Make a direct impact with 2-3 benefit statements relevant to your prospect's pain points. Select specific topics based on what you've learned.
TIP: Think "how," instead of "what," in your delievery. List the steps in your process of working with clients to explain how your company helps customers.

5) Get Your Prospect to Elaborate

Enable dialogue, and avoid dominating with a presentation. Think two-way conversation, and ask, “why?” to learn the true meaning of their needs.
TIP: For every statement they make, ask three questions to expand on the topic.

6) Provide Solutions to Objections

Know the difference between an objection and a question that’s a desire to learn more. Clarify issues and illustrate how your product or service will address their concerns.
TIP: Regularly rehearse up to twenty possible objections and handling tactics. Anticipate possible objections prior to each discovery session.

7) Establish Understanding and Agreement

Restate details of your prospect's needs and understanding of how you help their business. Use notes jotted down during the call.
TIP: Outline expectations, outcomes and a timeframe for moving forward in a concise Letter of Understanding (LOU) as a follow up message to your prospect.

8) Measure Success! 

Create business metrics that allow measuring the time between sales stages. Generate customized pipeline reports based on discovery call criteria.
TIP: Add checkboxes in your account records to get more specific in filtering information in reports.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

20 Motivational Sales Quotes to Amp You Up

I just finished reading Dan Pink’s latest book, “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others,” in preparation for his Sales Performance webcast.  In the book, Dan slams old school sales tactics and reveals why knowing how to move others is crucial in today’s digital era.

 So I felt inspired to compile a list of my favorite sales quotes to get you and your sales team moving for the week. Plus, it's Tuesday afternoon – not quite midweek yet – so I’m sure you can use some motivation too! Feel free to bookmark this post – and come back to it whenever you need a boost of motivation. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

5 Business Success Tips from Cake Boss


When Buddy Valastro’s famed Hoboken New Jersey shop, Carlo’s Bakery, opened their doors over a hundred years ago, they tracked each of their orders on a single piece of paper, and back in 1910, that worked pretty well. The only problem was, when Carlo’s hit the big time in 2009 with a hit reality show, Cake Boss, they were still taking orders the very same old-fashioned way.

Here are five takeaways from Buddy about the difference between doing business using the old-school version, verses his new online platform.

1. You can have your cake and eat it too

“The one thing I always wanted to do when I grew my business was to be able to maintain quality,” says Buddy. By creating an online platform for operating his business and taking orders using iPads, he’s actually been able to increase efficiency in terms of all the processes in the creation of cakes to deliver a more consistent product.

2. You need a back end engine for your cake to rise

When the business was still small, I was talking to Leo Minervini (now his CIO) and Leo said, “You’re getting so many hits on your website every week,” says Buddy. “I said, ‘I know, but how are we going to make the cakes?’ We needed an infrastructure to support a larger business.”
Carlo’s Bakery implemented a back engine in the cloud, what they dubbed “Cakeforce” to track every aspect of the bakery from production to delivery, so that they could scale their operations to a larger size, and improve communication between various people involved in the operation. Now, the business can support operations, such that they’ve been able to increase efficiency by 60% and begin national delivery of their products.

 3. Turn hungry fans into satisfied customers

With 366,000 Facebook fans, Buddy needed to find a way to capture those fans and turn them into customers. Using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Carlo’s bakery staff can now interact with those same fans online through social, and when customer’s share their positive experiences about Carlo’s famous cakes, thousands of fans are able to hear about how much other people love their products.

4. Cooking reactively to proactively

In less than eight weeks, Carlo’s was able to turn what was a chaotic work environment into a proactive work environment, where instead of operating in a fog of confusion, there is now more visibility about what’s selling best this month, cannoli’s or fudge, and where the best profits are really coming from.

5. Delivering better customer experience

With 20 million dollars in sales annually today, Carlo’s bakery has been able to grow and at the same time deliver better customer experiences. Making cakes is a lot more complicated than it looks on the show, explains Buddy. “It’s the person who takes the order; it’s the person who makes the sponge, the person who fills it. The person who decorates it. The person who delivers it. It’s a lot of people who have to interact with this cake.” And that means a lot of room for error.
When Carlo’s used a paper system, they used to make mistakes, because every change had to be tracked manually, now by using a digital platform, not only are they getting orders out the door correctly, but the bakery has been able to enhance customer experience, and increase customer loyalty.

Friday, June 7, 2013

6 Tony Robbins Insights That Will Change Your Sales Game

When it comes to helping people improve their lives there is nobody in the game with stronger credentials than Tony Robbins. The “Michael Jordan” of thought leaders, Tony has affected millions of people around the world through his performance coaching.

Tony has certainly made an impact on me. Last year Marc Benioff invited him to be the closing keynote at Dreamforce, the largest software event in the world. There he laid down sales coaching like I’ve never seen. Through his books, videos, and presentations, Tony gave us each new insights into effective selling.
Tony empowers his readers and audience to improve themselves. So we’ve scoured the web and found source after source of his advice:


#1 Know Your Purpose
In your day-to-day sales world, you MUST have a sense of meaning. Walking into the office, grabbing a coffee, checking your email, and taking your day “on the fly” is just not gonna get it done. When you’re at the office everyday you have got to know what you’re going to get done that day. Knowing your purpose will make the biggest impact you can imagine.

# 2 Give positive meaning to everything
The sales rep’s life is all about risks. The more you take the more you win (and lose). It’s how you respond to the losses that makes you special. Keeping a positive attitude, regardless of the issue, will keep your head in the game and ready for the next opportunity.

#3 Realize that everything you do has a consequence
A sales rep's interactions with customers can either be positive or negative. There’s no neutral in sales. Every action you take matters. It’s not just about being on your best behavior, it’s about knowing your strengths and lining them up to reach your desired outcome.

#4 Know that everyone is unique, different, and amazing
Sales is a competitive world where people put themselves on the line every day. They often get shot down. Looking at the world through the lens that everyone has meaning will positively affect every facet of your performance. Don’t get deflated when buyers and competitors don’t behave like you want.

#5 Be driven by your desire for adventure
What drives you? Your past? Your competitors? Or even your fears? Or are you focused on your successes - on solving the next client problem and taking the next step for your company? It’s important to know what moves us and makes us do what we do.

#6 Expect the unexpected
What are you going to do when something unexpected happens in sales? By the way, something crazy always happens in sales. Why do you think we’re always the storytelling life of the party? When any situation arises, it’s important to respond with the right action that helps you solve a customer problem and take the next step.