Tag Archives: sales leadership

How to Make Your Sales Pitches More Persuasive

By Jeff Beals

We all know that certain kind of person who is so persuasive, he could “sell sawdust to a lumber mill” or “charm wallpaper off a wall.”

Some people are so persuasive they can seemingly talk anybody into anything.  How do they do that?  It helps to possess charisma, but persuasive people tend to employ certain techniques, things we can all use to make our personal and professional lives more successful.

In the 1930s, Professor Alan Monroe of Purdue University married the art of presentation with the psychology of persuasion.

The result of his scholarly work became known as Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, a concept that is still pertinent for today’s professionals. The concept was originally intended to help orators structure persuasive speeches, but it’s equally applicable for a variety of other purposes – making a sales presentation, pitching a proposal or trying to talk your boss into making a certain decision.

Whether you’re addressing a large group or a pitching a single decision maker, keep Monroe in mind as you plot your sales presentations. Monroe’s Motivated Sequence advises presenters to build their case using five distinct steps completed in exact order.

First comes the attention-getter in which you introduce a problem by jolting the audience with something bold and unexpected—a story, quote, disturbing statistic or a big “bet-you-didn’t-know” statement.

Step two is need. This is where you prove the problem is significant and worthy of the listener’s attention. You also want to cast the need as something that won’t be solved without the right approach by the right person or organization.

Monroe’s third step is known as satisfaction. Here you prove that you have the solution to the previously mentioned problem.

In step four, visualization, you paint a picture of how wonderful life will look in the future if they accept and implement your solution. You also portray how terrible things will be if they ignore your recommendations.

Finally, in step five, you tell the audience what action they should take. This is the big finish, where you powerfully and motivationally tell them to go do it!

Think about the presentations, pitches and proposals you make.  Ask yourself how they fit into Monroe’s outline. Are you skipping a step or two?  Many salespersons start with step three, the solution, without making the case strongly enough that a solution is necessary in the first place. Structure your persuasive pitch in such a way that makes the targeted listener more acquiescent to what you are pitching. Make them yearn for your solution intensely before you tell them about it.

Your pitches and sales presentations must follow a logical format that feels right to the listener and syncs with their sense of order. The approach needs to build a persuasive case efficiently and effectively. Persuasive presentations must conform to human nature, which has remained static for ages. If you use human nature in your favor, the presentation is more likely to be successful. If you fight human nature, you’re engaging in futility.

As the late Zig Ziglar once said, “People do things for their reasons, not yours.” Focus on what the listener values during the presentation and take time to draw them in by asking clarifying questions and tying things back to what they told you during earlier communications.

In the end, being persuasive really isn’t a matter of “selling ice to an Eskimo” or “talking a bird out of a tree,” rather it’s about finding what people value and then using the right techniques to convince them that you’re capable of delivering that value.

By the way, as I was looking up colloquialisms about persuasiveness for this article, my favorite was, “He could talk a dog off a meat wagon.”  Now, that’s persuasive.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

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

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events this year. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events next year!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

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

“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

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

The 5 Best Ways to Build Trust With Your Clients

By Jeff Beals

Here are a couple indisputable truths about today’s business environment:

  1. Sales cycles are much faster than they were 10 years ago.
  2. Buyers are distracted and under much more pressure than they were in earlier times.

Because we now operate in a frenzied selling environment, some sales professionals believe there is no longer a need to develop trust. They argue that there’s not enough time to build trusting relationships, and even when you do have time, many buyers prefer to keep their vendors at arm’s length.

I disagree.

True, sales professionals must try harder to build trust, but the end result is well worth the effort.  The good news is that you don’t have to go from not knowing someone to lifelong confidant in one setting.  Build trust a little bit at a time.  When you first meet a prospective client, get to know them, build rapport and establish a relationship.  As you get serious about doing business together, there are five ways you can develop trust.  Keep doing these things over time, and you’ll develop a close friendship with a person who will become one of your all-time best clients.

Communication

Those sales professionals who go out of their way to communicate tend to build trust quicker and more deeply with clients. Detailed and timely communication removes suspicions and reassures clients.  Tell the truth and don’t procrastinate when you need to tell prospects things they don’t want to hear.  As former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell once said, “Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.”

Another important part of communication is to say you are sorry when appropriate. It’s amazing how much an earnest and sincere apology can boost trust.

Moment of Truth

At some point in any given relationship, you will encounter a moment of truth, a time in which you will be faced with an important decision. How you decide to act determines if you “pass” the moment of truth.  If you do pass it, you build trust.  Fail it and the relationship could be irreparably damaged.

What are some moment-of-truth examples? When it’s tempting to lie but you tell the truth.  When you have a choice to do something in your interest or your client’s interest and you choose the client’s. When you go the extra mile to help clients achieve their goals. When you screw up and do everything in your power to fix the situation.

Moments of truth are opportunities.  Embrace them as a chance to prove your trustworthiness and advance the relationship.  Every time you pass a moment of truth, no matter how small, trust becomes at least a little deeper.

Predictability

People trust other people whose behavior is predictable. If you are the type of person who responds to challenges in a consistently professional manner, you come across as trustworthy.

The best predictor of a person’s future actions is frequent past behavior. If you consistently establish frequent past behavior that is trustworthy, it will be much easier for you to be trusted in the future.

Social Proof

Robert Cialdini, the so-called “Godfather of Influence,” believes that social proof is one of the most important components of influence. You are far more likely to persuade someone’s thinking if you remember that “people follow the lead of similar others.”

Cialdini cited a study in which researchers went door-to-door collecting donations for a charity. When people answered the door, the researchers showed them a list of neighborhood residents who had already donated to the charity. The longer the donor list, the more likely prospective donors were to contribute.

In another study, New York City residents were asked to return a lost wallet to its owner. The New Yorkers were highly likely to attempt to return the wallet when they learned that another New Yorker had previously attempted to do so. But learning that someone from a foreign country had tried to return the wallet didn’t sway their decision one way or the other.

If social proof is so powerful, does it not make sense that you can more quickly build trust if respected people advocate on your behalf?  Smart sales practitioners assemble a group of past and current clients who can provide social proof and thus convey a greater sense of trustworthiness to future clients.

Rapid Responsiveness

Because all of humanity’s assembled knowledge is available on the little smart phones we carry in our pockets, people have become accustomed to getting any desired information immediately. That means we have to be ultra responsive to our prospects and current customers.  It’s no longer okay to wait 24 hours to return a message.  It must be done immediately.

Now that so much information is readily available, and people expect lightning-fast responses, you are now viewed as “untrustworthy” if you’re a slow communicator.  It’s almost people think you’re incompetent or perhaps hiding something if you take too long.  Speed is now equated with trust.

In closing, those who flourish in sales for many years endure because they put a premium on people. They build trusting relationships not just for financial gain but because it’s also the right thing to do.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

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

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events this year. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events next year!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

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

“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

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

K.I.S.S. for Sales Practitioners

By Jeff Beals

When I was a nine-year-old in 1978, my family went to an air show produced annually by the U.S. Air Force at Offutt Air Force Base. Countless aircraft were on display, and the Air Force even allowed guests to go inside some of the planes.

But there was one displayed aircraft that was roped off, and a couple intimidating security guards stood by making sure no guests went past the rope line. It was the SR-71 “Blackbird,” which just two years prior (in 1976), had set the world record as the fastest manned aircraft. The SR-71 achieved a speed of 3,530 kilometers per hour (2,193 mph). That meant it could travel from Los Angeles to New York City in little more an hour.

The SR-71 served the U.S. Airforce from 1964 to 1998 and not a single one was lost in combat. Ever since that day forty years ago, I’ve been fascinated by an airplane that could move so fast. I’m also fascinated that human beings had the capability of constructing such a thing in the early 1960s without the aid of computers and other current-day technology.

Despite all the detailed technicalities involved when Lockheed built the SR-71 in Burbank, California during that Cold War era, it was a surprising principle that guided the design engineers – simplicity.

Lockheed’s lead engineer was Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, who preached the importance of simplicity even when designing what would become the world’s fastest aircraft. Johnson once gave his designers a handful of ordinary tools, with the challenge that the aircraft they were designing must be repairable by an average mechanic in the field under combat conditions with only those tools.

Additionally, Johnson developed an acronym that we still use today: K.I.S.S., which stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid.”

Ever since that time, U.S. military branches and countless companies and organizations have used that acronym as a reminder to professionals not to over complicated their work. I sometimes tell myself, “Keep It Simple Stupid” when I find myself making projects unnecessarily complicated.

I’m not sure why so many people are tempted to make things more complicated than necessary. Perhaps it’s some subconscious way for us to justify our professional purposes, our highly-paid jobs and our expensive college educations. Whatever the reason, too many of us fail to break it down and get it done.

Sales practitioners are just as guilty as any group of professionals when it comes to unwarranted complication:

How many of us spend copious amounts of time on excessive prospect research instead of just calling the prospect?

How many of us obsess over the perfect sales pitch with all the audio-visual bells and whistles as opposed to figuring out what prospects truly value and proving how our solution perfectly satisfies that value?

How many sales leaders bury themselves in their offices developing complicated systems as opposed to simply sitting down with their sales reps and coaching them one-on-one?

When you find yourself getting bogged down in needless minutiae for no apparent benefit, it’s time to give yourself a K.I.S.S. moment. Be like the legendary aerospace engineer Kelly Johnson and break things down to their simplest, most fundamental level.

If a commitment to simplicity can contribute to the development of the world’s fastest aircraft, what can it do for your sales practice?

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

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

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events this year. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events next year!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

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

“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

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

What Is the Truth About Relationship Selling?

By Jeff Beals

For several years now, 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.

Today, 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.

Well, relationship selling is still quite alive, but there have been some societal changes that have affected the way we conduct relationship selling.

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 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.

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

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 sell things for a living, what do you do?

Remember that building relationships with 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.”

4. Take Charge – Once you have figured out exactly what the prospect values, it’s time to take charge.  While nobody likes a pushy salesperson, buyers do look to the sales rep to be the leader.  As long as your message is consistent with what your customer values, it’s okay to plant ideas in their heads and challenge them to think differently.

Contrary to popular belief, you could argue that business relationships 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 sales practitioner is the one who constantly delivers client value in a pleasant and stress-free manner and knows when it’s okay to push.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

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

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events this year. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events next year!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

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

“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

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

Don’t Be Afraid to Give Up the Good to Go for the Great

By Jeff Beals

The 19th Century industrial magnate John D. Rockefeller famously said, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

The struggle to move from good to great has captured the imagination of ambitious people for centuries if not millennia.

And it’s not just individuals. Good companies have long fixated on achieving greatness. In 2001, Jim Collins wrote his best-selling book, Good to Great, which changed the way executives talk. For example, “get the right people on the bus,” is now firmly rooted in the global lexicon of business.

In the book, Collins asked big questions…Why do some companies do well when a similar competitor languishes? Why do some companies transition from being merely successful to being truly great? What traits separate the good from the great?

I like to ask similar questions about individual people especially those who sell things for a living – Why do some sales professionals race to the top right away while others spend 40 years wallowing in mediocrity?  Why do 20 percent of sales reps win 80 percent of the business?

After studying top-producing sales pros, I’ve come up with a list of things that can turn you from good to great:

The Foundational Stuff – For starters, the great ones have mastered all the things that “good” sales people do such as working hard, overcoming prospecting reluctance, ethics, professionalism, time management skills, self-confidence, maintaining good records, etc.

Attitude – Top producers religiously abide by three words: responsibility, authority and accountability.  They accept total responsibility for their lives and careers, they know they have the authority to carry out their responsibilities, and they are 100-percent accountable for whatever happens.  If they succeed, they graciously accept credit and never chalk it up to “luck.”  If they screw up, the take full responsibility even if they got a raw deal.  They never blame, and they refuse to be victims.

Creativity – Successful sales pros think of good things to sell and then find the right client for the idea.  Top producers often put the idea of making a purchase in the would-be client’s head long before he or she would have thought about it on their own.  Don’t wait for the ideal customer to come to you; proactively create new clients.

Persistence – In today’s crazy world in which many of your clients are simply too busy to talk to you, it commonly takes 10 or more email and voice mail messages before you reach someone.  Don’t give up.

Quick Thinking – Many deals almost die as you near closing time because of some last-minute “crisis.”  This is where outstanding salespeople shine.  Think on your feet, come up with alternatives, get the two sides to come to the table and don’t panic.

Listen Intensely – To be a top producer, you have to listen and truly hear.  It’s generally best to listen twice as much as you talk.  Great sellers don’t script questions; instead they write down the information they need and then ask the prospect whatever probing questions are necessary until they have all that info.

Extensive Product Knowledge – A great sales pro knows what he or she sells. If there were “Ten Commandments of Selling,” one of them would definitely be, “Know Thy Market.”  You need to be able to rattle of facts quickly and know the product intimately enough to answer the detailed questions that come deep in the selling process.

Speed Kills – Now that consumers can find information instantaneously, they expect super-quick service even when dealing with complicated, B2B purchases.  Responding to emails/voice mails within 24 hours simply isn’t fast enough anymore.  We must be as responsive as possible.

Think Long Term – The best sales reps realize that a short-term or self-serving gain is never worth the long-term price.  There’s an old saying that goes, “Client before commission.”  Those who follow this never seem to have trouble making a lot of commission in the end.

Constantly learning – To be a top-one-percenter in sales, you must constantly learn.  Top producers are always looking to improve, always looking for an edge.  They also hunt for new technologies that can make them more efficient or differentiate them from the pack.  Also seek out mentors and coaches.

Think Big –The smaller the deal, the bigger the headache. Don’t waste much time on deals that pay very little. Time is the single scarcest resource in the world.  Use your time in such a way that delivers the biggest bang for the buck.

Specialization – Drill deep in order to go broad!  Those reps who become experts and spend at least 75% of their time in one specialty area, almost always do better than the generalists.  People pay a premium for true subject matter experts.  It’s why surgical physicians bring home more money than general practitioners.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

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

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events this year. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events next year!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

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

“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

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

Would You Benefit by Having a Coach?

By Jeff Beals

What do Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Wayne Gretzky have in common?

They’re all world-class athletes who have won championships?  Yes.

They’re all incredibly famous?  Yes.

But there’s something else they all have in common.  Each had coaches who helped them reach the pinnacle of their sports.

Not only do athletes benefit from coaching, they probably would never win a championship without it.  Well, if coaching is so advantageous for professional athletes, it makes sense that other professionals would gain similar benefits from coaching.

I would argue that sales professionals benefit more from coaching than your typical professional.  Sales is not necessarily rocket science, but it does require you to master an array of differing skills and attitudes.

Mindset is incredibly important in sales, because the profession requires you to be passionate.  An accountant, for instance, can be bored to tears yet still do an effective job.  In many professions, you can hate your job, and even be turned off by the products your company sells, and still manage to be effective.

That’s not the case in sales where it makes a big difference when you’re excited about the product and a believer in the company.  But sometimes even passionate sales reps become discouraged when things go wrong: you hit a prospecting slump; the economy goes south or deals fall through at the last minute unexpectedly.  A coach can help you with mindset, keeping your energy and enthusiasm flowing when things don’t go your way.

Sales also requires a person to master somewhat dichotomous skills.  You need to be both an attentive listener and compelling presenter.  You need to have strong emotional intelligence skills yet be analytical when determining the profitability of a potential deal.

Should you have a coach?  That’s a personal decision, but the research tells us that those sales professionals who have access to coaching enjoy more success.  And that applies to sales professionals of all levels – from chief sales officer to entry-level sales rep.

Coaches come in a variety of forms, but most are informal coaches.  The typical way to get a coach is to find someone in your company who can advise you and help you grow as a professional.  That can be a boss, an experienced colleague who wants to give back or even a person from a different department or company who enjoys helping people succeed.  Some sales pros will work with a retired sales leader they happen to know.

Of course, you can also hire professional sales coaches.  There are many companies that provide this service.  If you go that route, ask around and find someone who has had a good experience with a sales coach and feels like they got a lot of value for their money.

What do you look for in a coach?  First and foremost, you want a good listener.  You want to find a person who wants to see you succeed but won’t just simply give you all the answers.  A good sales coach will do some teaching and advice sharing but mostly helps you come to your own conclusions about how to build a more successful career.

I recommend you share your goals with your coach and use those as part of your conversations.  Great athletes have goals they’re trying to achieve.  Along with their coaches, those athletes constantly monitor the progress they’re making and push themselves to greater heights.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

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

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events this year. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events next year!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

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

“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

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

How to Stay Motivated in Sales

By Jeff Beals

Leading a sales team is not easy. Consider these scenarios based on true stories:

Scenario #1

Your sales team is in the running for what would be the biggest contract in company history. You invest countless staff hours and other resources to win the business. For a while, it looks promising.  You build a trusting relationship with the primary decision maker and have demonstrated how your offering perfectly fits their need.  The prospect starts using phrases like “When we work together…” and “You will be responsible for…” and “We really need you…”  You now consider that decision maker to be a friend.

Then suddenly your main contact starts being vague and evasive and is slow in returning calls. Two weeks later, the decision maker, your new “buddy,” sheepishly tells you they chose a different provider. It makes no sense to you that the other company was chosen, because they don’t provide the things that the prospective client originally told you were the biggest priorities.  You feel frustrated, defeated and misled. Worse yet, you were counting on that business and it vanished.  You’re incredulous and wonder, “Why did they lie to me?”

Scenario #2 

It’s never easy to attract an elite sales rep from a competing company despite your  non-stop recruiting efforts.  You need a couple more sales reps but at least the ones you have are good especially, your top producer, Jim.  It seems like there’s nothing Jim can’t do. Year after year, he breaks records. And he has such a great attitude!

Then one day without warning, Jim resigns to take a new sales position elsewhere.  He thanks you for being a good leader and for providing the resources he needed to succeed over the past 10 years but says he needs a change. His decision is final.  You never had a chance to make a case for him to stay.  The pit in your stomach feels terrible. You and the rest of the leadership team talk and act as if there was a death in the family.

*****

If you have been leading sales teams for any significant amount of time, these scenarios likely ring true.  While sales is not rocket science, it’s not easy.  One of the most important skills a sales leader can possess is the ability to bounce back when life punches you in the gut.

With all the emotional, high-risk/high-reward scenarios playing out each year and with so much riding on your ability to lead the sales process, how do you cope with disappointment?  How do you cope with the pressure?  How do you avoid burnout and stay motivated?

These ideas will help you keep it fresh and keep the completed deals flowing:

1. To cope with the inevitable rejection in a sales career, concentrate on your victories. Celebrate each one of them in your own way. Some people will tell you that if you simply expect success, you don’t need to celebrate victories.  I disagree.  Appreciate everything.

2. Keep in mind that selling is a noble profession. Without sales activity, the wheels of commerce grind to a halt.  Your work creates jobs and feeds families. Sales is the lifeblood of your company.  Without you and your team, there would be no company.

3. Remember that character is king. Focus on people – the hopes and dreams of the clients you serve and the real needs of the team members you lead.  Draw inspiration and motivation from the people who surround you.  When you remember that the things you sell have real impacts on real people, it helps you ride through the rough patches.

4. Embrace the competitive side of sales.  Do you enjoy sports?  If so, you probably love competing and watching other people compete.  Sales is game.  Try to accumulate little (and sometimes big) victories each day.  Playing to win removes the drudgery of day-to-day work.

5. Take pride in your resilience. It feels good once you have successfully persevered through difficult times.  Remember that feeling anytime you feel hopelessness and then do what it takes to feel that way again.  Great leaders are resilient. Three of my favorite quotes from former British prime minister Winston Churchill will help your bolster your resilience:

  • “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”
  • “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
  • “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”

6. Make it fun for both your team and yourself.  Those who don’t find ways to enjoy their work typically don’t survive long in a brutally competitive industry. Find the joyful and positive aspects of your work and focus on them.

7. Tell the truth even when it hurts.  Integrity leads to success. You will be rewarded with high levels of client and employee retention.

8. And finally, as you sell today, imagine what your legacy will be years down the road.  Your work in leading a sales team literally shapes the future.  Isn’t that pretty important?

ATTENTION SALES LEADERS:

If you hold a leadership position in sales, I have the perfect resource to help you become even more successful!

It’s called the “Sales Leader Mastermind Group,” and it kicks off this fall.  I will personally lead and facilitate this group along with my partner Beth Mastre.  I’m recruiting members for it right now.  There are four in-person meetings per year – All the other meetings are virtual, so you can join in no matter where in the world you might be.  My mastermind group members will also have their own personal discussion forum.

Sales leadership can be a lonely existence.  Joining this group will help you create a stronger sales culture, attract talented sales reps and drive more revenue while you better manage both your personal and professional life. Click here to see an info piece about this mastermind or contact me personally at (402) 510-7468.

Important Differences Between Sales Leaders and 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.

Sales leaders have so many responsibilities – recruiting reps, training them, keeping them motivated, forecasting/budgeting, working closely with marketing, etc. – but there is one area of a sales leader’s job that is crucially important but often underrated: resource acquisition.

The most effective sales leaders do what it takes to make sure their sales teams have the tools and budget they need to close deals.

Attracting new clients is so important that every organization should devote considerable resources. That said, not all do. Leaders of various organizational departments in a company jockey and position for resources. Some are better at it than others. If the sales leader isn’t good at playing corporate politics, the sales staff might be at a resource disadvantage against the competition.

If you’re a sales leader, do not let this happen. One of your most important duties is to provide your sales team with everything it needs to succeed. You don’t ever want to give your salespersons an excuse for not performing. Lack of resources is a convenient excuse for a sales person but should not be an excuse for a sales leader.

One of the best ways to ensure abundant sales resources is to establish your personal clout inside your organization. This is accomplished by doing good work and practicing good internal politics.

Clout is affected by timing. Make a pitch for greater sales resources right after you score a high-profile victory. Make the pitch when the higher-ups most value you and believe they could least afford to lose you.

ATTENTION SALES LEADERS:

If you hold a leadership position in sales, I have the perfect resource to help you become even more successful!

It’s called the “Sales Leader Mastermind Group,” and it kicks off this fall.  I will personally lead and facilitate this group along with my partner Beth Mastre.  I’m recruiting members for it right now.  There are four in-person meetings per year – All the other meetings are virtual, so you can join in no matter where in the world you might be.  My mastermind group members will also have their own personal discussion forum.

Sales leadership can be a lonely existence.  Joining this group will help you create a stronger sales culture, attract talented sales reps and drive more revenue while you better manage both your personal and professional life. Click here to see an info piece about this mastermind or contact me personally at (402) 510-7468.

7 Reasons Why You Should Join a Mastermind Group This Year

thinkgrowrich-napoleonhill

By Jeff Beals
 
Napoleon Hill wrote one of the most popular business books of all time back in 1937. It was called Think and Grow Rich, and in the 80 years since it was published, more than 100 million copies have been sold.

Though it was released during the Great Depression Think and Grow Rich remains shockingly relevant for professionals working in the 21st Century.  The book was the result of Hill’s 20-year study of highly successful individuals who had amassed great personal wealth.

After studying the habits of exceptional people, Hill developed 13 achievement philosophies that lead to success.  One of those philosophies was called, “The Power of Master Mind.”

That’s right…Napoleon Hill invited the mastermind group.

In 2017, sales professionals are joining mastermind groups like crazy. They have become super popular over the past five to 10 years even though Hill wrote about them eight decades ago.

What’s a mastermind group?

It’s a group of professionals, usually about eight to 15 of them, who meet on a regular basis to help each other be more successful in a confidential setting.  Leadership can be lonely, because there simply aren’t a lot of places you can seek guidance inside your organization without compromising confidential information or admitting your personal weaknesses.

“The Mastermind principle consists of an alliance of two or more minds working in perfect harmony for the attainment of a common definite objective,” Hill wrote. “Success does not come without the cooperation of others.”

I benefit from membership in a mastermind group. I’m part of a mastermind group of 52 sales speakers/consultants located around the world.  We’re ostensibly competitors, but we help each other be successful.  We view the world from an abundance mentality, which means we work together to increase the size of the pie rather than fighting for pieces of a smaller pie.  Just today, one member of our mastermind group sent a message on our private discussion forum seeking advice as to how she could better serve one of her clients.  Several mastermind members chimed in with ideas.

If you are asked to join a well-structured mastermind group consisting of high-quality people, consider yourself lucky.  You should probably jump at the opportunity.  Actively and enthusiastically participating in a mastermind group is hand-down one of the single best things you can do to up your game and improve your life.  Here are seven reasons why:

1. You’re no longer on a deserted island.  Once you join a mastermind group, you’re no longer alone.  Instead, you’re part of a confidential group of outstanding leaders.  Many masterminds allow only one person per industry.  That means you can openly share information without your direct competitors hearing about it.

2. You gain transferable knowledge.  The legendary businessman Henry Ford visited a beef packing plant in Chicago many years ago. Ford took great interest in the way workers processed the beef from whole carcasses into small cuts of ready-to-sell meat. As he observed, it occurred to Ford that if the process was reversed, all the cuts would go back together to form a whole steer carcass again. The metaphorical light bulb switched on in Ford’s head. “I can build automobiles this way,” he thought. Ford returned home to Detroit and promptly created the famous assembly line.

If your mastermind group includes people from different industries, you can learn amazing ideas and apply them to your industry allowing you to jump ahead of your competitors.

3. You constantly learn new things.  In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey advises us to regularly “sharpen the saw,” meaning we take time to open our minds and increase our skills.  Your profession is constantly changing; a mastermind group can help you stay on the cutting edge.

4. You develop better habits.  A good mastermind is highly supportive yet also holds you accountable. If you say you’re going to tackle a new project one month, your fellow mastermind group members will expect to hear about your experiences the next month.  This helps you avoid procrastination.

5. You benefit from a “personal board of directors.”  A mastermind group functions as your own advisory board. You can go to them and seek counsel for just about anything.  Peer-to-peer advising is incredibly powerful because it allows you to get things off your chest, figure out what to do before you do it and discuss possible outcomes before they happen.  Just think how successful you can be when you have a group of people who are invested in your success just as you are invested in theirs.

6. You might find new clients. While this isn’t necessary an expressed benefit of many mastermind groups, some of your fellow members might be ideal clients for your organization.  Mastermind members tend to become friends. They bond together.  There’s nobody better to do business with than somebody you completely trust.

7.  You become more confident.  When you have the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of a potential decision with a group of talented and experienced people, you will carry out your decisions with much more confidence.

While mastermind groups are indeed powerful, don’t join one unless you are ready to give it your full commitment. It does require time and effort.  If you can’t find one that suits your needs, you might just start one yourself!

Hey, if you have a leadership position in sales, I have the perfect mastermind group for you!  It’s called the “Sales Leader Mastermind Group,” and it kicks off this fall.  I will personally lead and facilitate this group along with my partner Beth Mastre.  I’m recruiting members for it right now.  There are four in-person meetings per year – All the other meetings are virtual, so you can join in no matter where in the world you might be.  My mastermind group members will also have their own personal discussion forum.

Sales leadership can be a lonely existence.  Joining this group will help you create a stronger sales culture, attract talented sales reps and drive more revenue while you better manage both your personal and professional life. Click here to see an info piece about this mastermind or contact me personally at (402) 510-7468.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

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

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

“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

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

“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

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

Replying to RFPs Is a Waste of Time (Most of the Time)

By Jeff Beals

When I was in high school (circa 1986), I auditioned for a couple of Hollywood movies.  One of the movies was being filmed here in my hometown while the other one held auditions here in addition to several other cities. I tried out just for fun, and knowing the long odds, I never expected to be chosen.  Though I wasn’t offered a part in either film, the experiences were eye opening for a 17-year-old kid.

The first audition was a positive experience. It was a comedy film written for a teenage audience. I tried out for the lead role, which was fittingly enough, a nerdy high school kid who was forced to fight an intimidating bully who had just transferred in from another school. I had an appointed time to show up and spent about 30 minutes with the casting director and his entourage. I read several scenes and then answered interview questions. I felt like I was actually being considered for the part.

The second audition was a “cattle call,” in which several hundred would-be movie stars showed up at a local hotel ballroom. After waiting a couple hours, I was brought into a separate room with a group of six other guys. They lined us up, looked at each of us in comparison to one another and then told half of us to go home. I was one of the guys told to leave.  That was it.  I waited for hours only to be sent packing having never said a word.

Do you want to know why I received so much more attention in the first audition than the second?  I was actually recommended for the first movie by a local talent agency that had been hired by the movie producers.  At the second audition, I was just one of 250 nameless, faceless unknowns.

Why do I tell you this story?

Because it reminds me of the Request-for-Proposal (RFP) process in the world of sales.  As a general rule, I hate RFPs and I only respond to them under rare circumstances.

I hate RFPs, because they are just like that cattle-call movie audition. Think about it this way:

  • A company decides it needs a new vendor, so several employees sit down and think of all the things they do and don’t want and then dream up a bunch of hoops for would-be vendors to jump through.
  • They send the RFP to every potential vendor they can think of.
  • Prospective vendors practically do backflips trying to meet all the RFP requirements and end up rushing to meet the deadline.
  • The company that issued the RFP then examines all the proposals that were submitted and compares them.  Ultimately, they decide that some of the proposals are basically offering the same products/services, so they choose the lowest-priced bid.
  • And it can get even worse.  The finalists are sometimes pitted against each other in a bidding war to see who is willing to discount their price to the lowest number. It’s a race to the bottom.
  • The “winner” ends up doing a lot of work for too little money.

This is not a recipe for high profitability.

Generally speaking, I recommend you respond to RFPs only when your relationship with the client is so strong that you are essentially guaranteed of winning.  Some companies have policies requiring that vendor relationships go out to bid periodically. If this is the case at one of your best client companies, tell them you will help write the RFP.  You can then write the RFP to favor you and the way you do business.

If you don’t write the RFP or at least have heavy influence on the RFP, it very well could be an expensive waste of your time replying to the RFP.  An exception would be when the RFP is a mere formality designed to make shareholders feel better and you are the pre-chosen winner.

Now, I realize that there are some industries where RFPs are a rooted part of the culture. In other words, they’re so common that there’s no getting around them.  That’s not the case in most industries.  When at all possible, avoid RFPs.  Just like the cattle-call audition, you have little chance of winning.  Meanwhile, you spend tons of time and money preparing a proposal and get no revenue in return. If by some miracle, you are chosen, you’re probably going to get skewered on price.

Just say “no” to RFPs!

By the way, that movie for which I was actually considered turned out to be a box-office flop, earning only $1.5 million during its opening weekend. But it did play on cable television for many years.  To this day, I’ve never watched the entire show but have seen bits and pieces of it.  I’ll never forget the first time I stumbled upon it. I was flipping through television channels and landed on something that looked mildly interesting.  As I started watching the show, it felt so familiar. Then I realized that I was watching the very scene I read during that audition.  It was fun to think what could have been…