Why Are Sales LEADERS So Much More Effective than Sales MANAGERS?

By Jeff Beals

 

A sales manager is the person responsible for making sure the sales staff is in place, equipped to succeed and motivated to compete. Good sales managers think quickly on their feet and take immediate, decisive actions to mitigate any threat to the organization’s ability to sell.

 

Sales managers facilitate the sales process and protect the organization’s ability to do deals. While the term “sales manager” is the typical, generally accepted title of the person in charge of sales, the term “sales leader” is more appropriate. A manager supervises details. He or she makes sure tactical work is accomplished in an efficient manner. A leader makes sure those tactical tasks are completed but sees the business from a broader, more global perspective.

 

Even if your company is a small one, with only one person in charge of the sales staff, sales leadership is more important than sales management. The sales leader empowers the sales staff to carry out their work and rewards them for deals completed. Anyone who serves as a company’s sales manager would be wise to see himself or herself as a leader and behave accordingly.

 

As the sales leader, you need to carefully analyze employees’ personalities and push the right buttons to help them succeed at the highest levels. Urge them to accomplish more while still setting them up for success.

 

“It’s putting people in stretch assignments,” said Joe Moglia, former CEO of TD Ameritrade.

 

Moglia believes two primary things are critically important when choosing people for a job and when assigning new goals to an existing employee: alignment and listening. You can’t succeed with one and not the other. The leader must thoroughly understand the assignment and the people being considered for it. The most talented people in the world will fail if their personalities and abilities are not in alignment with the job. When it comes to listening, the leader must ask the right questions and then focus on what employees say and what body language they exhibit. Listen to find out whether the staff member is really excited about the assignment.

 

Effective sales managers accept responsibility. They realize that they are in charge and accountable for what happens, but they don’t see themselves as bosses. A leader is not a foreman. As a leader, you must depend on the abilities and hard work of your staff members. A successful sales leader is one who establishes interdependence. He or she trusts and depends on the staff while the staff trusts the sales leader to guide, provide resources and create a safe, pro-selling atmosphere.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

People Who Say Relationship Selling Is Dead Are Dead Wrong

Jeff Beals

For the past few years, I have been hearing that “relationship selling is dead.”

In other words, people are so busy and so self-absorbed they no longer have time to build relationships with companies and organizations. People are so time-starved that they no longer are interested in becoming “friends” with salespeople or even the owners/executives of the companies with which they do business.

In 2016, the argument goes, people are simply too overwhelmed for relationship-based selling to be effective.

What is relationship selling? It’s the theory that customers put so much value in the positive interaction with a company or company representative, that they develop strong feelings of loyalty, which sometimes can be even more powerful than the quality of the good or service and its price.

People who think relationship selling is dead are dead wrong at least in my opinion.

As an aside, I tend to bristle any time I hear someone say something is “dead.” Such statements tend to be exaggerations uttered by someone who is trying to sell an unproven replacement theory. The truth is that most techniques and methods and even philosophies and strategies, don’t simply pop up and suddenly vanish a couple years late. Instead of changing abruptly, philosophies and strategies evolve. They phase in and then fade into the next iteration without ever fully going away.

That said, the business experts who claim that relationship selling is dead do have some rationale on their side. Marketing and selling operations are different than they were 10 years ago.

It used to be that salespeople were the only true experts when it came to product features and benefits. If you wanted to learn what a product could do for you or your business, you had to sit down with a highly trained sales rep and ask a bunch of questions. Much of the value that the salesperson provided was in the form of knowledge dispensing. The salesperson was as much a journalist or teacher as a dealmaker.

In almost every industry, customers no longer are so dependent upon a salesperson’s knowledge and experience. The internet provides a wide array of product information and all those blunt reviews on social media can provide incredible insight into products (and much of that insight can be damning).

All this easily available product knowledge has sped up the sales cycle and caused buyers to see products and services as mere commodities. At the same time, if you cater to big companies, you are dealing with professional buyers who are growing ever sophisticated in how they “beat up” their vendors on price.

So, if you run a business or sell things for a living, what do you do?

Remember that building strong relationships with both prospective and current clients is still important. People like to have positive and trusting relationships with the people who provide them with products and services, but you have to build the relationship in a way and at a pace that appeals to them. These days, you have to do things a little differently:

1. Value – You must constantly focus on delivering what your customers value without assuming what they value. Only the customer can decide what is valuable to them, not you. Nobody needs to be buddies with a vendor just for the sake of having more friends. First and foremost, a business needs to provide exactly what a customer wants/needs. After that, you can differentiate yourself from the competition with a positive relationship. As long as the clients are receiving what they value, the advantage goes to whichever provider can develop the most positive connection. Life is short and full of stress, so when everything else is equal, we’d rather work with people we like.

2. Teammate – Since so much product information is available before prospects even pick up the telephone or send an email, the salesperson’s job has changed. Instead of being an all-knowing information provider, successful salespeople are coaches and guides. They listen carefully to what prospective customers want and then steer them to the best choice. If you do this properly, you WILL build a relationship that will yield fruit long into the future.

3. Speed – Because the marketplace is more hyperactive than in years past, you need to move quickly. You can still build long-term relationships but you don’t have much time to get started. Prospective customers expect calls to be returned immediately. They expect answers now instead of waiting a couple days for you to get back to them. If you’re a business leader, empower your staff to provide answers as autonomously as possible. Any delay, especially early in the selling cycle, can cause the prospect to drift over to your competitor. Gone is the old standard that “you have 24 hours to return a message.”

Contrary to popular belief, you could argue that relationships in business are even MORE valuable than they were in the past. While customers have more knowledge and options at their disposal, they’re simultaneously under more stress. The successful business owner or sales person is the one who constantly delivers client value in a pleasant and stress-free manner.

People will pay for that piece of mind, and they’ll certainly be loyal to it.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

Presentation Anxiety: How a Little Stage Fright Helps You Sell and Speak Better

By Jeff Beals

When you see the old films of Elvis Presley performing live on stage, you can’t help but notice his energy, his extreme talent and his confidence. A person would have to be awfully confident to perform the way Elvis did especially considering how edgy he was for that period of time.

Wait a minute…Not so fast.

A look at Elvis’ life history might surprise you. At times, Elvis suffered from stage fright, that terrible feeling characterized by shallow breaths, accelerated heartbeats, dizziness, sweaty palms and a dry mouth.

Well, if the King of Rock & Roll struggled with stage fright, the rest of us shouldn’t feel so bad. Almost everyone deals with that inconvenient form of social anxiety at least sometime during his or her life. I speak professionally, and I still get a tinge of it every once in a while.

Fortunately, stage fright can be managed. Learning how to control it is important, because most professionals have to speak publicly on a periodic basis. In a loud and crowded marketplace, your success may very well depend on your ability to deliver the goods in front of an audience. The better you are as a speaker, the more business and career opportunities you’ll enjoy.

Know that stage fright is a very natural part of doing a presentation. Some nervousness is a good thing, because it pushes us to prepare, concentrate and do a good job. When you run the risk of embarrassing yourself in front of a large group of people, you are likely to focus on the task and do your best.

The key to overcoming stage fright is to manage it. Here are a few tips that help me deal with it:

Accept stage fright as a fact of life – The first few times you speak, you will be nervous. As you become more experienced, most nervousness will subside. For your first speech, just stand up and force yourself to do it. Once you start speaking and get a few sentences out, the nervousness usually fades.

Stall for a bit – If your heart is pounding and your lungs are breathing rapidly as you approach the podium, take a few moments before you jump into your script. Straighten your papers, adjust the microphone, thank the person who introduced you and say something nice about him or her. Look out at the audience and smile before you begin talking. This small sequence of events can help you catch your breath and settle into speaking mode.

Don’t let the joke be on you – A lot of people will advise you, “tell a joke at the beginning; it loosens up the crowd and calms the speaker’s nerves.” That’s true as long as the joke is actually funny. A bad joke goes over like a lead balloon. If you are not positive your joke is funny, and that you are capable of delivering it properly, don’t do it. Nothing flusters an inexperienced speaker more than a joke that bombs.

They’re only human – You may have heard this age-old advice: “pretend the audience members are all wearing underwear.” I can’t say that I’ve ever done this, but I like the spirit and intent of this advice. In other words, audience members are only human. They have as many or more problems and inadequacies as you do. Don’t build them into some monolithic gathering of super beings. Most of them would be nervous too if they were in your shoes.

A friendly face – Pretend you are talking to one person you know very well. It could be a spouse, parent, best friend, whoever. This personalizes the audience. For most people, it’s much easier to talk to a trusted friend instead of a room full of strangers.

Get a little smug – Remind yourself that the audience is there to see and hear YOU. That means you are doing them a favor. You are providing them with education, entertainment and energy they do not currently have. They are lucky you are willing to take your valuable time to give it to them.

Confident body language regardless of how nervous you may be – When you are introduced as a speaker, stand up, and walk confidently toward the podium. Look the introducer in the eye and give him/her a firm handshake. It’s hard to explain why, but an outward show of confidence helps you feel more confident on the inside too.

Pauses aren’t as long as you think – Don’t panic if you lose your place or if you become short of breath during the speech. Simply pause until you find your place. To the speaker, pauses seem ten times longer than they really are. Actually, pauses are important speaking tools. They break up the monotony and can wake up a drifting audience member.

Dream about the end – With each sentence you utter, you move closer to the end reward – the applause. Remind yourself that your hard work, concentration and endurance of stage fright all pay off when the presentation is done.

Be proactive – The more you prepare, the more confident you are about your material. Secondly, as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Practice not only makes your speech better, it makes you more comfortable. The day before a speech, drive to the venue. Simply seeing the place and knowing the route to get there can put your mind at ease.

Arrive at the venue early – If you are weaving in and out of traffic desperately trying to beat the clock, you will be flustered before you even get there. Arriving early allows you to chit-chat with audience members ahead of time. This helps you to bond with audience members and serves to “warm you up” before going on stage.

Finally, take some time the day before or the morning of the speech to “visualize” success. It is common for coaches to have their athletes imagine themselves making great plays. I believe in the power of positive visualization and use it frequently. When I am driving to any important event in which I have to perform or accomplish something, I imagine myself being confident, knowledgeable and successful. Try it sometime. It works.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

 

Do You Do What You Say You Do?

By Jeff Beals

The melting snow and winter road salt made my car so dirty I could hardly see through the windows.

But I did manage to see a gas station sign that said “Carwash.”  I pulled in and filled the tank but the pump computer never gave me the option to purchase a carwash, so I went inside and approached the clerk standing at the cash register.

“The pump outside didn’t let me purchase a carwash,” I said.

The clerk responded.  “Sorry, the carwash is broke.”

I certainly didn’t want to hear that.  “Geez,” I responded, “The carwash is really the only reason I came here.”

The clerk didn’t have much sympathy for my plight.

“That carwash hasn’t worked for two years,” he said with a tone of voice that implied I was an idiot for somehow not knowing that.

I was incredulous as I pointed to the tall sign in front of the building.  “You mean to tell me that the car wash has been broken for two whole years and you still have a big sign along the street advertising a carwash?” I asked with emphasis on my words.  “Isn’t that kind of misleading?!!?”

“Sorry, I don’t know what to tell you, man.”

Defeated and irritated, I left that gas station and found a different place to wash the car.

This little experience got me thinking about my own work – is there anything I’m doing in my work that unintentionally misleads clients?  Am I promoting something I can’t deliver?  Is my sales communication as clear and unambiguous as it should be?

I imagine the workers at that gas station were so accustomed to seeing the sign that it never occurred to them to remove it.  Or maybe they just never got around to it.  Either way, there is a moral to my two-year-deceased carwash story:  It’s a good idea to assess your communication.  We should all make sure we are saying what we really intend to say.  We need to make sure we don’t mislead customers, stakeholders or colleagues.  We can get so comfortable with the message and so used to the words, that we don’t really see or hear them anymore.

Be careful, because some unsuspecting guy driving a dirty car might take your message at face value and actually think you’re offering a working carwash.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, sales consultant 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.

FREE eBOOK: Would You Like To Profit From the Networking Events You Attend?

Everyone knows you need to network in order to find new clients or land a new job, yet most people don’t do a very good job of it.  Why? Because they don’t network with a purpose. Don’t fall behind the competition!  “Goal-Based Networking,” a brand-new, free eBook, will help you turn networking into new business or professional opportunities.

What do you get?  23 quick-reading pages with networking and prospecting advice you can implement today. This eBook will make networking both enjoyable and profitable for you!

Download the “Goal-Based Networking” eBook Now >>

Why Don’t They Return Your Voice Mail?

By Jeff Beals

As I was standing outside the studio waiting for my daughter’s dance class to end, I was doing what I always do when waiting – reading and sending messages on my phone. Text messages. Email messages. Instant messenger.

Like seemingly everyone these days, I’m awfully busy. When you have a lot on your plate, you take advantage of little chunks of down time in order to stay on top of your busy world. Waiting for dance class to end gave me five minutes of catch-up time.

At one point, I looked up from my phone, and something struck me as funny. There were eight other parents standing around the studio door all doing the exact same thing I was. Each of us had our eyes glued to handheld screens while frantically using our thumbs to type out “critically important” messages.

You have undoubtedly observed and been a part of such a scene countless times. Anywhere you have people waiting – airports, doctor offices, the drive-thru lane at Starbuck’s – you have people engrossed in smart-phone communication.

But do you want to know what I did NOT notice among all of us parents patiently waiting for our future Broadway stars? Talking. Everyone was on their phones but nobody was using them to talk. All of the communication was typed. That’s a change from the recent past. Five to 10 years ago, people would have been talking on their phones while waiting.

People have discovered that texts and emails are way more efficient than phone calls and voice mails. Several studies conducted by business consultants and time-management gurus have concluded at only three-to-seven percent of all business-to-business voice mails are actually returned by their recipients. Even worse, only about a third of people even bother to listen to voice mails in the first place!

Why have we become so rude and insensitive? It’s a lack of time. Many people feel overwhelmed and consequently find voice mails and live phone calls to be too time consuming and fatiguing. It’s much easier to communicate in the quick, asynchronous world of texts and short emails. We now have an epidemic of blown-off and completely ignored voice mails.

Are you frustrated about the lack of messages you leave that are never returned? If so, you’re not alone. Do you still prefer to leave voice mails? There are no guarantees in this “post-voice-mail world,” but the following ideas should increase your callbacks:

Focus on the Recipient’s Value – Make your voice mails interesting by focusing on what the recipient cares about. Remember that people are more interested in their lives and their business than they are in you and yours. Research recipients before you call them. Talk about what interests the recipient or what matters to his or her business.

Be Interesting – Think of a strong idea you want to convey in your message and say it. Surprising or insightful messages have a much higher likelihood of being returned. Boring, rambling messages as well as messages that are too focused on the caller’s interests are easily deleted and not returned.

Don’t “Touch Base” – Never say you’re calling to “touch base” or “check in.” Those are useless reasons to waste a prospect’s time. Always say something of value. Similarly, avoid this infamous voice mail line: “I’m going to be in your city next week, and I would like to take 20 minutes of your time to see how my company could help you.” Big mistake! That message is focused on the caller’s interests and convenience rather than the recipient.

Use an Old Advertising Trick – Use an enticement. Hint what benefit the person will receive if they return your call. Then spark their curiosity, saying you have something to share with them that they will find valuable or interesting. If appropriate, you might want to offer a gift, something for free, such as a free report, counseling session, market advice, etc. Then encourage them to call you back. Another trick is to ask a thought-provoking question at the end of the message. That could compel the listener to call you back.

Conserve Your Words – Say a lot in a little amount of time. Voice mails need to be short, preferably less than 20 seconds. In that short time, convey a captivating message. Be like a newspaper reporter writing an article in that you put the most important idea in a powerful and information-rich lead sentence.

Don’t Give Up – You’re being naïve if you think one message – no matter how creative it may be – will do the trick. People are so busy that they just assume callers will eventually call them back. I’m not saying you should carpet-bomb people with daily messages, but sometimes it takes several attempts to finally break through. This is especially true with high-ranking decision makers.

What if you follow all this advice and still have trouble getting through? In that case, it’s time to warm up your thumbs and start texting. Research has shown that recipients are far more likely to answer a text message than a voice mail. It might not have the same personal feeling as a phone call, but if texts are the most effective way to get to a recipient, shouldn’t you use them?

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ’em!

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, sales consultant 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.

FREE eBOOK: Would You Like To Profit From the Networking Events You Attend?

Everyone knows you need to network in order to find new clients or land a new job, yet most people don’t do a very good job of it.  Why? Because they don’t network with a purpose. Don’t fall behind the competition!  “Goal-Based Networking,” a brand-new, free eBook, will help you turn networking into new business or professional opportunities.

What do you get?  23 quick-reading pages with networking and prospecting advice you can implement today. This eBook will make networking both enjoyable and profitable for you!

Download the “Goal-Based Networking” eBook Now >>