Attention Sales Leaders: When Do You De-Recruit Your Star Players?

By Jeff Beals

If you’re a sales leader, you surely know how difficult it can be to recruit top-performing sales reps to your company.  It’s a supply-and-demand scenario: exceptional sales talent is rare, therefore everyone covets it.  The high value and chronic scarcity of great sales talent leads to constant recruiting, the wining-and-dining of sales stars in hopes they will bring their talents (and their books of business) over to your company.

While sales leaders have many responsibilities, one of the least discussed but most important is the management of egos. Professional salespersons tend to be a self-confident and highly independent lot. What’s more, they tend to be highly competitive. In managing egos, the sales leader needs to be clear about his or her expectations and exactly what the selling expectations are for sales rep and sales manager.

In many shops, there is great pride (and respect) that comes from being the number-one salesperson for the month, quarter or year. That competition is generally a good thing, but you do have to manage egos. Not everyone can be the number-one salesperson, which is tough when you have several outstanding ones.

As far as who is the best sales rep on the staff, competitive people ultimately realize that competition itself answers the question. When you accept a big-time sales position, you know the standards are going to be high. You know your colleagues on the staff are going to be ultra-talented and highly motivated. Unless you’re naïve or unless the leadership has set up an unfair system, you know why you’re the number two person and not the best.

The sales leader’s job is to recruit talented reps and then keep motivating them to become better and better salespersons.

So, how does a sales leader manage a team of big egos and teach them to be disciplined members of a team especially after wining and dining them during the courtship process?

“De-recruit” them.

From the minute they sign an agreement with you, it is time to start de-recruiting them.  But you do it in a way that keeps them confident and motivated.  Help your sales reps to “keep it real” and not get too high on their own supply.  Give them all the resources they need (and all the resources you promised while recruiting them) but make sure they know they are expected to produce and earn their own business.

De-recruit them but do it carefully.  It’s a fine line.  Your sales reps must produce and they must be accountable.  Top producers don’t mind high expectations, but if you de-recruit your new people too harshly, they’ll leave for one of the many other companies that would love to have them.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques.  He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. 

To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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How to Harness the Power of a Little Gift

By Jeff Beals

A revolutionary retail concept came to life northeast of downtown Dallas in 1985.  That’s when the first Blockbuster Video store opened.  The business boomed and quickly soared to great heights.  At one point, Blockbuster boasted more than 9,000 stores worldwide.

Nothing lasts forever, and some things only last a short while.  As fast as Blockbuster rose, it came crashing down.  The company was unable to keep up with Netflix, Redbox and other competitors with fresher business models.  Blockbuster went kaput in 2013, and today only a handful of franchised stores still carry the Blockbuster name.

While its glory days are long faded, Blockbuster did one thing in particular back in 1994 that made a long-lasting impact on the retail industry:  Blockbuster invented the gift card.

Before Blockbuster’s creative breakthrough, retailers issued “gift certificates,” pieces of paper, instead of those slick, colorful cards with magnetic strips on the back.

It was a stroke of genius.  Gift cards were like a box-office smash hit.  People loved them, and other retail businesses copied the idea.  In 2001, Starbuck’s created the first gift card that could be used over and over again.  Nowadays, gift cards are ubiquitous in the retail industry.  According to Smithsonian magazine, Starbuck’s now sells more than 1,500 gift cards per minute!

Why are gift cards so popular among customers?

They are convenient.  They are easily portable. They allow a shopper to use their gifted dollar amount over the course of multiple purchases or trips.  They are refillable. Choosing gift cards does not require the purchaser to invest the time and energy that are required when purchasing a traditional gift.  People love receiving gift cards, because they can purchase whatever they want on someone else’s dime.

There is yet another reason people enjoy receiving gift cards – They are more valuable than cash. 

That’s right; when it comes to perceived value, gift cards are more desirable than plain old cash.  I know that statement sounds crazy.  If I receive cash, I can use it in any way and in any place I desire whereas a gift card limits you to the business that issues it.

Nevertheless, gift cards are more valuable.  Why?  It’s partly because the giver still went to at least a little trouble and customized the gift at least a little bit.  That makes gift cards a smidge more thoughtful than a check written out to you or a fifty-dollar bill stuffed in an envelope.  Another reason might be the card itself – they are designed with colorful, glossy images that appeal to the eye.

Gift cards work so well because they are desirable gifts.  Now I’m not saying it’s a smart move to buy one for your special someone – that might land you in the doghouse!  But for business gifting, the gift card is hard to beat.

Since gift cards are so effective in the professional world, it’s time to use them to your benefit.  Gifting is a very powerful way to make you, your career and your business more successful.  People remember and appreciate the gifts they receive.

If you are trying to motivate your employees, gift them once in a while with a free-lunch gift card to the restaurant near your office.  You want to thank a current client?  Gift them.  Are you trying to smooth over a relationship after you had a conflict with a colleague?  Gift them and send a contrite note as well.  You want to get into a prospective client’s office?  Gift them.  Send a gift card and a personal note customized to that prospective client and then follow up with the phone call a few days later.  Mention that you hope the person received the gift card and ask to talk briefly.  If you took the time to send a gift, most prospects will feel at least somewhat “obligated” to talk for a few minutes.

You want some really good news?

Gift cards don’t have to be high-dollar-value in order to make an impression.  For a routine or small “thank you,” a $10 gift card to a nearby coffee shop should do the trick.  Even client-thank-you and prospective-client-door-opening gift cards don’t have to be terribly expensive.  Depending on the situation and person, something between $25 and $100 should suffice.

Thanks to a now-defunct movie rental business, your work is easier.  Gift cards are a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, sales professionals, managers, and anyone who depends on volunteers.  Employ the power of gifting and reap the rewards.  Carve out a line in your company’s or department’s budget for gift card purchases.  A relatively small investment can bring a mighty return in the form of new clients and retained business.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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How to Win the “Contested Close”

By Jeff Beals

I’m a big believer in doing everything right before closing in order make the close anti-climactic.  If you have established a relationship and figured out what the prospective client truly values, then the close is generally a formality, a foregone conclusion.  All you have to do is ask, call the question, seal the deal.

Closes are easy when the prospect has a trusting relationship with you and you truly understand who they are and what they’re all about.  But what happens when the prospect has established a trusting relationship with you and your competitor at the same time?  What if the prospective client falls in love with two competing vendors?

This is a contested close. It is not terribly common but it does pop up from time to time.

When you find yourself in a contested close, be prepared to go into battle and fight until the very end.  Never give up.

I like to think of contested closings as being analogous to the fourth quarter of a tight football game or the bottom of the ninth inning of tied baseball game.  Keep battling so you are properly positioned in case the chance to win presents itself.  You never know what could happen at the very end of the game or the end of the sales process.  Like athletes competing to the final whistle, salespeople who keep fighting put themselves in position to snatch victory at just the opportune time.

If you are mired in a contested close, it might mean you tried to close too soon.  In other words, the prospect is not ready.  Take a few steps back in the process and go return to the fundamentals: ask more questions, build trust and search for ways that your product or service provides what they value.  Focus on your value differentiating factors.

You might also do some competitor research if you know which company or individual is competing with you.  Find their weaknesses as a provider and think about how your solution might be better.  Generally, it’s not a good idea to point out the competitor’s weaknesses directly.  Instead, accentuate your positives in the areas where you know the competition is week.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA

402-637-9300