Tag Archives: Sales

Sales Leaders: Make Sure You Are Not the Weak Link!

By Jeff Beals

It’s hard to admit this, but the weak link in many selling organizations is often the sales leader, the person in charge of driving revenue growth but who almost never receives proper training or mentoring. Not only do most sales leaders lack preparation, they receive very little formal support and guidance. Too many sales leaders feel like they’ve been hung out to dry.

One of the best ways a sales leader can maintain high-level success is to have a peer group of fellow sales experts who act as your own executive advisory board, a group that can answer questions, provide guidance and support you through both good times and bad.

In other words, if you’re a sales leader who has not yet joined a mastermind group, you’re missing out.

CEOs have long taken advantage of mastermind groups. But now in 2018, sales leaders are joining mastermind groups like crazy. By finally getting the support they need, sales leaders are recruiting better reps, developing better strategy and figuring out how to hold their sales teams accountable.

What’s a mastermind group?

It’s a group of professionals, usually about eight to 12 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.

If you’re asked to join a well-structured mastermind group consisting of high-quality people, consider yourself lucky. You should jump at the opportunity. Actively and enthusiastically participating in a mastermind group is hands-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. 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 effective 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.

If you hold a leadership position in sales, I have the perfect mastermind group for you. It’s called the “Sales Leader Mastermind Group.” I personally facilitate this group along with my partner Beth Mastre. We are recruiting members right now for our next year which begins November 1st. We have a few spots still available.

Our past members have had very positive experiences in the group, and some of them have even made dramatic changes at their companies because of what they have learned. One of our members credits the group for helping him land one of America’s 15 largest companies as a client.

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.

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 now to read a prospectus about this mastermind group!

Here’s what some of our current members have to say about the Sales Leader Mastermind Group: 

“I can’t tell you how much I have learned this year. We are killing it on the sales side. We are bringing back clients in a big way, and we are chasing even bigger ones. It’s a great story of learning from mistakes and getting focused. Thank you again for leading our Sales Mastermind Group. It has really been a valuable experience for me, and I’ve made some close connections with members of the group.” – Brent Pohlman, President, Midwest Laboratories, Inc.  

“As a leader in your organization, it can be hard to go to other people and ask certain questions or bring up sensitive issues. When you join a group of people who are in the same roles at their companies, the creative energy flows and new ideas come about. Spending time with other successful sales leaders, leads to new revenue strategies and the type of candid feedback that’s really effective. It’s a no-brainer to get involved in a group like this.” – Alan Johnson, Vice President of Business Development, FocusOne Solutions, a C&A Industries Company  

“In the mastermind, I can bounce ideas off a group of high-level people and discuss how to handle strategic items, personnel issues or company initiatives. The idea is for each of us to throw a subject on the table, and then a group of your peers analyzes it and provides feedback. You get to know each other very well and form a deep bond, which means you become a valuable resource for each other.“ – Jason Thiellen, Chief Executive Officer, E&A Consulting Group, Inc.  

Questions? Send me a note at jeff@jeffbeals.com

Happy Selling Season

By Jeff Beals

“Happy Selling Season.”

That’s what I said to members of my mastermind group as we finished our monthly teleconference yesterday.

What’s “Selling Season?”  It’s the period of time between the U.S. holidays of Labor Day (the first Monday in September) and Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November).  It’s autumn, the harvest season.

As a sales practitioner, that two-and-a-half-month period has always been my favorite time of year.

Things get done and business happens during Selling Season.  Children are back in school.  Family vacations are over.  The holidays have not yet started.  People are back at their desks and trying to be productive.  Decision makers are zeroed in on their work and focused on making business decisions during that time.  Selling Season is when hard-working B2B sales pros can “make hay while the sun is shining.”

Upon mentioning Selling Season yesterday, one of my mastermind members asked me if I had any hard data that proves a larger amount of B2B sales happen during Selling Season.  I don’t, but it has always been the case for me.

Over the course of my career, I have basically sold three types of things.  In all three of those professions/industries, I have always been the busiest and had the most success in the early-to-mid fall (the second-best time of year is March through May).

Now that we are at the very beginning of Selling Season, what can you do to make the most of it?

I recommend you go on the offensive.  Selling Season goes by fast, so there’s not a lot of time to sit around and think about what you’re going to do.  Ideally, you prepare for Selling Season during the lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer when things are a little slower.  If you didn’t do that this summer, there’s no use in fretting over it.  Just jump into it and get going.

To maximize this rich time of year, practice of the discipline of “time blocking.”  That means you literally block out times during the week on your calendar during which you will make prospecting calls, direct emails or in-person visits.  Consider your time-blocking periods to be non-negotiable, in that you refuse to do anything but prospect during these protected time periods.

In order to be most efficient during Selling Season, do your prospect research and pre-call preparation during the weekends, evenings or very early morning hours.  Save the prime contact hours for direct communication with prospective clients.

When you go to networking events, go with a purpose in mind.  Too many sales pros miss lead generation opportunities when they don’t maximize networking events.  This is especially important if your clients tend to be geographically concentrated, i.e. you do most of your selling in one metro area.  Remember that you’re not going to networking events to socialize or hang out; you’re going to meet prospects.

Much of your success during Selling Season comes down to attitude, the right mindset.  Autumn is a time for you to go the extra mile.  Because prospects are more available and more focused on their work during the fall, we all need to work a little harder lest we waste an opportunity.

When you’re tired of calling, find the energy to make one more call.  When you’re tired of knocking on doors, stop by one more office.  When you don’t feel like going to an after-hours mixer, suck it up and go meet some prospects.

If you maximize your efforts and intensity during Selling Season, you’ll have a happier holiday season and you’ll likely be in an enviable position heading into 2019.

Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant.  He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  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.

To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or send an email to info@jeffbeals.com or call 402-637-9300. 

How Can We Improve the Sales Profession’s Reputation?

By Jeff Beals

The good news is that salespeople are considered more trustworthy than stockbrokers, politicians and lobbyists.

Unfortunately, that’s it. Pretty much every other profession is considered more trustworthy than sales.  Ouch.

Now here’s the bad news: only 3 percent of people consider salespersons to be trustworthy.  That’s according to a HubSpot Global Jobs Poll from 2016 that asked 928 people the question: “Who do you consider to be trustworthy?”  Each respondent was asked to choose three job titles from a list of 20 provided.

While salespersons ranked low, no profession did terribly well.  Doctors came in number one, but only 49 percent of people thought they were among the most trustworthy professions.  Only 48 percent thought firefighters were trustworthy.  For crying out loud, firefighters run into burning buildings to save lives and even rescue pets.

Lawyers get a bad rap, some of it deserved, but 12 percent of respondents thought lawyers were among the most trustworthy professions.  That’s four times the number of people who trust sales reps.

And this one kind of  makes me laugh: only 5 percent chose baristas as trustworthy.  Perhaps respondents were mad about screwed up latte orders at the coffeehouse drive-through.

Four percent of respondents named professional athletes as trustworthy.  If I was one of the survey participants, I would have definitely put those prima donnas below sales reps.

The sales profession has made great strides over the years, and it continues to become more professional and sophisticated each year. Nevertheless, old stereotypes about salespeople persist.

Given our profession’s tarnished reputation, how can we become more trusted by customers and more respected by the general public?

Ethics

Research indicates that ethical sales practitioners end up making more money (in the long run) than unethical sales reps.  They also head off potential trouble and are less likely to be fired.  Behaving ethically in no way makes you a weaker sales rep.  It makes you a good one.

Communication

Detailed and timely communication removes suspicions and reassures clients.  Be truthful and don’t procrastinate when you need to tell prospects things they don’t want to hear.  Remember that bad news does not 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.

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’re 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.

Responsiveness

Because technology, people have become accustomed to getting any desired information immediately. That means we have to be ultra responsive to our prospects and current customers.

With so much information immediately available at our fingertips, we now view slow communicators as “untrustworthy.”  It’s almost as if people think you’re incompetent or perhaps hiding something if you take too long.  Speed is now equated with trust.

Trusted Adviser

Those sales pros who put their clients’ best interest first, become incredibly valuable to those clients.  Not only is that good for personal gain, it helps improve the reputation of our entire profession.

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.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  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

“Jeff Beals is a consummate pro. With short notice, he put together an engaging, fun, sales-focused presentation full of specifics – just what our exec team needed. We’ll ask him back for annual company retreat again next year.” – John Baylor, President, On to College, Lincoln, NE

“In the three months since Jeff Beals became my sales coach, I have signed over 20 new, top-tier clients and have positioned myself among the top three sales producers in my company nationwide. Jeff has helped me create a beneficial success plan and ensures, through an accountability process, that I’m actively accomplishing my goals. Not only is Jeff an incredible coach, he’s a true friend, mentor and wonderful human being.” – Carter Green, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Stratus Building Solutions, Oklahoma City, OK

(402) 637-9300

Is Social Media Worth the Risk?

By Jeff Beals

“I’m taking a break from Facebook.”

“I don’t even check Twitter anymore.”

I’ve been hearing statements like these with increasing regularity.

As political vitriol reaches new pitch levels, some people are finding social media to be too unnerving.  While Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter remain an important part of my life, I can understand why a person would want to avoid all the unpleasantries.  It’s almost as if you have to psych yourself up these days before opening your Facebook feed.

Like you, I have social media friends/connections who constantly spout fervent opinions on a host of socio-political issues.  I strongly agree with some; I vehemently disagree with others.  Nevertheless, I don’t share my political opinions on social media.

For me, spouting emotionally tinted political opinions is bad for business.  No matter what side of the aisle you favor, about 40 percent of the people agree with you, 20 percent don’t really care, and 40 percent disagree with you.  I can’t afford to alienate the two-fifths of the population that opposes with my politics.

Now ideological purists might say, “If you don’t share your beliefs, you’re not being true to yourself!”  Others might say, “By shying away from the political debates of our time, you’re selling out!”

I can see where those people are coming from, but the fact remains: making inflammatory political statements is a risky proposition.  The things you say on social media can hurt you.

Just think of the people who have missed out on new clients and career promotions, because they got carried away with controversial statements online.  We often don’t even realize who we have ticked off.

Of course, nobody is perfect. If you’re passionate about your opinions, it feels good to let them out on a public forum especially if you make a pithy and well-structured argument.  Despite my efforts to restrain myself, I sometimes slip up.  I have said things in public that would have been better left inside my head.

But none of us are immune from the consequences of our words.

So that brings us to an important question: With all the ways it can hurt you, is social media worth the risk?

If you’re careful what you say, social media are probably the most cost-effective way of building and maintaining your personal brand.

Professionals need a widely recognized and highly respected personal brand. When a large number of people have heard your name and have a positive feeling associated with it, you stand a better chance of winning new business, landing a new job and making a bigger difference in the community.

The key is to develop a system of “checks and balances” in your head — anytime you are about to post something, think about your personal brand.

If your purpose for posting a message is emotionally driven, it’s best to pause for a moment and cool down before you start writing. A little time and perspective can go a long way in preventing the consequences that could come from an inflammatory post.

Consider whether the post advances or damages your personal brand. Consider how it will come across to someone who doesn’t know you well or isn’t intimately aware of the subject you’re talking about.

When posting, it pays to think like a journalist. In other words, don’t assume you’re only communicating with close friends or family. Instead assume that the world will read your post. Theoretically, if just one person shares or forwards something you write, there’s a chance your message could go viral.

In some ways, these precautions might feel like a little overkill. Perhaps you think I’m demanding too high of a standard and that you don’t want to worry so much about everything little thing you post. I understand, but remember social media are like fire — if used properly, social media benefit your life; if used improperly they can kill your career.

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.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  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

“Jeff Beals is a consummate pro. With short notice, he put together an engaging, fun, sales-focused presentation full of specifics – just what our exec team needed. We’ll ask him back for annual company retreat again next year.” – John Baylor, President, On to College, Lincoln, NE

“In the three months since Jeff Beals became my sales coach, I have signed over 20 new, top-tier clients and have positioned myself among the top three sales producers in my company nationwide. Jeff has helped me create a beneficial success plan and ensures, through an accountability process, that I’m actively accomplishing my goals. Not only is Jeff an incredible coach, he’s a true friend, mentor and wonderful human being.” – Carter Green, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Stratus Building Solutions, Oklahoma City, OK

(402) 637-9300

When Is It Time to Ask for the Sale?

By Jeff Beals

One of my all-time favorite “sales” quotes came from a man known simply as “The Greatest,” the late boxing champ Muhammad Ali: “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses—behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

At the end of a boxing match, spectators see the glory and adoration of a victorious champion. They don’t see what it takes to get there. They don’t see the hard work or the blood, sweat and tears. It’s the investment of time, effort and discipline leading up to the fight that determines who wins.

The same can be said of the selling process.

Too many people believe that success in sales comes down to the closing, a magical time when a slick salesperson utters the most eloquent, carefully chosen words, thus dazzling a spellbound buyer into helplessly making a purchase.

That’s simply false.

Just as Ali won fights long before he stepped into the ring, sales are made long before closing time.

Sales reps worry too much about closing because they don’t realize it’s supposed to be a foregone conclusion. Follow the proper steps, and the close is an anticlimactic formality, just one step in a long process.

If you’re waiting until the close to win the deal, you’ve already lost. Good closers start at the beginning.

Here are five things you can do throughout the sales process to make closing a breeze:

Lead with Value

The most fundamental element in closing any sale is to determine what the prospective client truly values without ever assuming. The salesperson may have more product knowledge than the prospective customer, but that doesn’t mean the sales- person has the ability to read clients’ minds.

You need to ask probing questions and listen deeply to the answers. If you do this properly, and take the necessary amount of time, you will know just what your prospect wants. When you make your pitch, customize it to exactly what the prospect told you.

Miniature Closes

Remember that closing involves a series of small commitments before you get the big commitment to buy.  These little commitments are sometimes referred to as “miniature closes.” By simply agreeing to meet you, a prospect makes a mini commitment, and that’s a mini close for you.

Instead of crouching ready to pounce on a close, focus on the next step in the process (the next small commitment.)  Each time you get one of these commitments, you’re a little closer to the end prize.

Just keep working the prospect through all the steps in the selling process in the proper order, with adequate time at each step.

Storytelling and Humor

Stories are a powerful selling tool. An opening story when you first meet a prospect can break the ice. A compelling story during your pitch can peak a prospect’s curiosity. A carefully selected story can effectively answer an objection. A motivational story about a previous client near the end of the presentation is a nice way to bring the whole process to a close.

Stories disarm and reassure people, allowing them to picture how great life is using your product or service. In the sales world, stories trump data and facts.

Humor helps as well. Making the process a little lighthearted can have many of the same benefits of storytelling. We all like to laugh—it’s like exercise but less painful. It releases endorphins into your brain, making you feel better about moving forward.

Ask for the Order

After you gone through all the steps, it’s time to ask for the order. Even though the close is a formality, a foregone conclusion if you’ve done everything right so far, the typical clients will still wait for you to tell them it’s time to move forward.  They see you as the leader of the transaction, so they will rely on you to tell them it’s okay to make the purchase.

Unfortunately, this part can make salespeople feel nervous. After all, you have put so much effort into making the sale that you fear getting your feelings hurt and your confidence bruised. Plus, you may have already spent the commission!

Those are normal fears, but when the time is right, just ask the question. The good news is you don’t need a cheesy gimmick to seal the deal. You know what the client cares about, and you know you have an ideal product solution, so all you have to say is “Let’s get you started” or “Are you ready to do this?” Avoid clichés like “What will it take to get you in this car today?”

Know What’s Next

I once watched an outstanding pool player demonstrate his craft at a sports bar.  The guy could sink unbelievable shots, but his best skill was setting up the next shot at the end of the current one.

Sales pros need to think the same way: each sale should set up the next.  No sale is made in a vacuum. Keep gathering information and building the relationship. You want a lifetime of sales from your customers, not just one.

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.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  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

“Jeff Beals is a consummate pro. With short notice, he put together an engaging, fun, sales-focused presentation full of specifics – just what our exec team needed. We’ll ask him back for annual company retreat again next year.” – John Baylor, President, On to College, Lincoln, NE

“In the three months since Jeff Beals became my sales coach, I have signed over 20 new, top-tier clients and have positioned myself among the top three sales producers in my company nationwide. Jeff has helped me create a beneficial success plan and ensures, through an accountability process, that I’m actively accomplishing my goals. Not only is Jeff an incredible coach, he’s a true friend, mentor and wonderful human being.” – Carter Green, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Stratus Building Solutions, Oklahoma City, OK

(402) 637-9300

How on Earth Do You Motivate Salespeople?

By Jeff Beals

It’s an over-used cliché, but managing sales teams has often been compared to herding cats.

Since the beginning of modern business history, sales leaders have struggled with how to motivate salespeople to go the extra mile and exceed their sales goals.

A rare few, perhaps 20 percent of sales reps, are naturally competitive and highly ambitious.  Those top producers consistently do well.  But what about everyone else?  How do you get the mid-level producers to do a little more?  How do you get the low-level producers to do at least something?

Motivation can be a tricky subject for managers.  Different people want different things from their jobs.  One person may be money-motivated. Another person may seek personal satisfaction and growth.  Others might be inspired to work hard because of the difference they are making in a clients’ lives.

In the 1950’s, psychologist Frank Herzberg set out to understand employee satisfaction.  He surveyed countless employees from various industries, asking them to describe situations in which they felt good and in which the felt bad about their jobs.

The result of this work became what’s known as Herzberg’s “Motivation-Hygiene Theory.  Herzberg discovered certain things are tied with satisfaction (motivators), while other things are consistently associated with dissatisfaction (demotivators):

Motivators

Achievement – The perception that a sales employee has that he or she is growing and improving.

Recognition – People love awards and intangible recognition as well.

Work itself – The best sales people simply enjoy the art of selling.  They enjoy products/industries.  To use this motivator to your advantage, you need find ways to add more meaning to the job.  One way is to link the rep’s work to a larger goal or purpose.  Help them understand why their work matters.  Be assured that people will find value in knowing how their work contributes to the goals of your company.

Increased responsibility – The desire to expand duties and authority.

Demotivators

  1. Company policies/procedures
  2. Supervision
  3. Working conditions
  4. Compensation

Are you surprised by the “demotivators” list?  Many leaders are shocked to see that compensation is not a motivator.

Herzberg calls the demotivators “hygiene factors.”  He uses that term, because hygiene is related to maintenance.  In other words, good hygiene is a daily thing you should do to stay healthy.  Hygiene factors, or demotivators, do not give us positive satisfaction or lead to higher motivation, but if they are absent from our lives, they result in dissatisfaction.

In other words, compensation is more of a base expectation, something you get in exchange for your work.  Because of that, compensation is not enough of a differentiator to make us stay at one job versus seeking another.

Plus, compensation is highly replaceable for top producers.  They realize they can get paid well anywhere they go because of their talents and work habits.  If money is an equalizer, they look for other quality-of-life factors.

What does this mean for you if you’re a leader of sales professionals?

Realize that fair and clearly communicated compensation packages are important, but they aren’t enough to motivate people.  Find ways to incorporate achievement, recognition, meaningful work and increased responsibility into your motivation repertoire.

Just like a prospective customer determines what is valuable to them, employees determine what they care about.  We need to be sensitive to what makes each person tick.

By the way, don’t confuse a lack of confidence with a lack of motivation.  If someone is underperforming, candidly assess whether it’s motivation issue or a confidence issue.  If confidence is the problem, the next step would be to look into increased training, coaching, field observation with feedback, role-playing and/or mentoring.

UNIQUE HELP FOR SALES LEADERS:

Being a sales leader can be a lonely existence. There are simply not a lot of places you can go to seek guidance without exposing your personal concerns and weaknesses inside your company.

That’s why my partner, Beth Mastre, and I have created the Sales Leader Mastermind Group.  It’s a collection of sales leaders who meet regularly, share ideas and grow in their profession.  The group has been meeting for a year and has been a smashing success.  We’re expanding the group from 8 to 12 members and are looking for a few sales leaders to join us.

Would you benefit from having such a resource?  If so, check out the prospectus HERE.

The Sales Leader Mastermind Group is a serious commitment, but it will change the trajectory of your career and your company.

Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant.  He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  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.

To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or send an email to info@jeffbeals.com or call 402-637-9300. 

Harness the Power of Referrals to Make Prospecting Easier

By Jeff Beals

A client of mine once needed help opening a branch office in a different city.  I called a commercial real estate company owner I knew in that town.  The owner connected me with one of his young sales reps who was excited to receive the referral.  The rep thanked me profusely. I thought, “Well, I chose a great guy to do this deal!”

But that turned out to be the last time I heard from him.

Six months later, I ran into the client I had referred, and he told me he ended up doing a deal in that city. I asked how the rep to whom I connected him. My client’s response was troubling: “I actually never heard from him, so I used someone else.”

I was incensed. I called the sales rep and asked what had happened. He stammered a bit and basically told me he let the client “slip through the cracks.”  That was not something I wanted to hear.

The rep should have given my client extra attention simply because it was a client referred by someone. He should have sent me a short email each month during the deal keeping me up to date or at least notifying me each time the deal passed a milestone. I entrusted him with one of my precious clients, and he let me down.

By blowing off a referral, the young sales rep missed out on a golden opportunity, because referrals are one of the most important tools we sales practitioners have in our toolboxes.

You want to know the quickest path to prospecting success?

Use referrals.

It’s getting harder and harder to cut through the clutter and reach influential decision makers. That’s why referrals have never been more valuable than they are today.

In an era when buyers are jealously protective of their time, a referral from a trusted source is your ticket to the show. The higher up a prospect is in a company, the more important referrals are.

Reaching busy decision makers is not the only reason you should ask past/current clients for referrals.  By asking for business leads, you could find out about prospects who otherwise would remain hidden from your view.  There are essentially thousands of prospective clients out there who you do not yet know and who have not heard of you.  A referral is your ice breaker, a chance to know someone who could someday become one of your best clients.

Additionally, referrals can get prospects thinking about making a change even when the thought of changing hadn’t previously entered their minds.

For example, let’s say there’s a client who is marginally happy with their current vendor.  They’re happy enough that they don’t feel compelled to look around but they’re not so satisfied that they wouldn’t consider an unexpected solicitation from someone who referred you.  A referral could be just enough of a catalyst to make them consider a new provider. Referrals are catalysts.

Have No Fear

Despite the power of referrals, some sales professionals are hesitant to ask their current/past clients.  Perhaps they are worried the request will be an unwanted interruption in the client’s busy day.  Perhaps they’re worried they didn’t do a good enough job for the client.  Perhaps they fear “going to the well one too many times” — they already took time from the client when doing the deal, so they feel guilty taking more of the client’s time now.

If you have done a good job of serving the client while at the same time building trust, have no fear or hesitation asking for a referral.  In fact, you could make the argument that the referral actually strengthens your relationship with them.  It’s kind of flattering when a vendor wants me to make referrals on their behalf.  It shows me that I was an important and prestigious client.

Asking for a referral puts you and the client on the “same team” and creates more of a friendship between the two of you.  Furthermore, saying nice things about you to others reinforces and reminds your client why you’re so awesome.

Some clients might actually be a bit offended if you don’t ask for a referral. I once had a client with whom I worked a long time and built a nice friendship. After a couple years, I finally asked for a referral and testimonial.  Her response?  “I was wondering why you never asked me for that!”

Who Should You Ask for Referrals?

  • A person whose name, title and profile make you look impressive
  • Someone who will say great things about you
  • Someone who is very pleased with your product or service
  • Someone with whom you have mutual trust
  • Someone who has a large number of valuable contacts

When Should You Ask?

There’s no set time in the sales process when you are supposed to ask for a referral. That said, it’s probably best right after you have done a great job and your client is basking in your good work. Some sales pros are hesitant to ask a client from long ago.  Don’t fret if time has gone by.

Simply call and say something reminded you of them and how much you enjoyed working with them.  Then ask for a referral.

Referral Process

If prospects agree to give you referral, the best option is to have the referrer connect you directly They could make a coffee or lunch appointment for the three of you or perhaps send an email introducing you (“There’s someone you NEED to meet!”). If this isn’t an option, perhaps the referral giver could arrange a three-way phone call.

The second-best option is for the referral giver to send an email or make a phone call letting the targeted person know you’ll be calling and why they should talk to you.

If the referral giver isn’t willing to do either of the first two options, you will have to initiate the contact with the targeted person mentioning the referral giver’s name.  Before making this call, make sure you have referral giver’s blessing to go ahead and make the call.

Before you talk to referred targets, learn all you can by asking the referral giver about them and by researching them online.

Keep the referral giver informed throughout the sales process. It’s simply a matter of courtesy and is especially important if the referral giver is due a commission or referral fee.

Always be grateful for any referrals you receive. When clients allow you to use their names to seek business from their cherished contacts, they are putting their reputations on the line just to help you.  That means you have an obligation to treat those referrals with the utmost care and respect.  Caring for referrals is a sacred trust in the sales world, so take your job seriously.

New Prospecting Masterclass Will Help You

If you want to get your prospects’ attention, you need compelling language that convinces them you bring relevant value.  That’s what my prospecting masterclass is all about.

If your sales team is not prospecting as effectively as it could, schedule this in-depth masterclass for your office.  It can be a half- or full-day program.  Either way, it will give the sales reps in your company actual language they can use to turn cold prospects into paying clients.

Click HERE for an outline of this interactive prospecting workshop!

  Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant.  He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  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.

Why Sales Reps Hate Telephone Prospecting and How to Fix It

By Jeff Beals

Earlier this week I made a critical error – I picked up the phone even though I didn’t recognize the number.  It was actually a live human, and he had this to say:

“Good morning, Jeff. I represent an overseas SEO and web-development company. We have a team of 70+ IT professionals and we aim to deliver high-quality services at cost-effective prices and without compromising on client satisfaction. We can work for half the cost of our U.S.-based competitors. Our team handled over 400 SEO projects and obtained 15,000 manually built links in the past year.  I know you’re busy, but I’d love to sit down with you in the next week or two to go over our package and pricing.”

The caller got through that entire text before taking a breath.  I sat there listening partly out of fascination that he could talk so fast and partly because I was amazed that people still start phone conversations that way.  The caller chose the worst possible start to a phone call.  His message

It reminded me of my high school days in the 1980s, when I worked as an outbound telemarketing sales rep.  For five hours each evening, I would call people when they didn’t want to hear from me (usually during dinner) and tried to sell them something they didn’t need.

We telemarketers had a very sophisticated selling strategy:  If you talked fast enough, you might get through your whole script before they hung up on you.  And we had a second strategy: If you barfed up enough features and benefits, the prospect might be so dazzled, they’d buy the crappy service you were peddling.

There’s a reason why most sales reps don’t enjoy telephone prospecting.  They don’t do it properly.  When you sound like a cheesy salesperson, your prospects will do whatever is necessary to get off the phone as quickly as possible.  Here are four things you can do to make telephone prospecting more effective for you:

1. Research your prospects before calling – I try to take an hour or so on Sunday evening each week to do background research on the prospects I plan to call that week.  I look at their personal career paths, study their company and research their industry.  I look for things that are unique about them and try to determine what they value.

2. Lead with value – When you do call the prospect, start the conversation with issues and concerns that the prospect likely has.  You know this because of your pre-call research.

3. Ask questions and listen intently – If the prospect is amenable to chatting, ask probing questions that reveal the prospect’s problems and concerns, the things they value and care about.

4. Focus on outcomes, not features and benefits – Once you know what the prospect values and cares about, only talk about the ways you can satisfy that value specifically and exactly.  When you do talk about your products and services, focus on the outcomes you provide rather than features and benefits.

Would you like to see a couple good ways to start a prospecting call?

Let’s say I sell copier machines, and I call the office manager of an accounting firm:

“In my work with other accounting firms, I have found that office managers like you hate three things about copiers: one-sided lease agreements, ridiculously complicated machines and unresponsive repair techs.  We have a new membership program specifically built from an office manager’s point of view.  Twenty-five of my clients have switched so far. I’d be happy share what this means to you.”

Now, let’s say I’m a Realtor, and I call a homeowner I’d like to represent:

“We’re finding three things holding back homeowners who would like to move to a new house: What if my current house sells too fast; what if the new house is too expensive and what if we have to settle for a house that doesn’t measure up?  Fortunately, I have some ideas that will get rid of those worries for you.”

In both the examples above, the caller catches the prospect’s attention with a compelling statement and then focuses on things he or she believes the prospect cares about.  How does the caller know what the prospect cares about?  Because the caller is an expert in the field and researched the prospect before calling!

How can you tweak your telephone prospecting messages so that they are more compelling and value-based?

Prospecting Help

If you want to get your prospects’ attention, you need compelling language that convinces them you bring relevant value.  That’s what my prospecting masterclass is all about.

If your sales team is not prospecting as effectively as it could, schedule this in-depth masterclass for your office.  It can be a half- or full-day program.  Either way, it will give the sales reps in your company actual language they can use to turn cold prospects into paying clients.

Click HERE for an outline of this interactive prospecting workshop!

What Does Sales-Rep Job Hopping Mean to You?

By Jeff Beals

Workers in the United States are choosing to leave their jobs at the fastest rate since the internet boom 17 years ago, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, and it’s paying off for them in the form of bigger paychecks and more satisfying work.

The Labor Department reported that 3.4 million Americans quit their jobs in April, near a 2001 internet-fueled peak and twice the 1.7 million who were laid off from jobs in April.  The job-hopping phenomenon is not limited to certain industries, instead occurring across the economy.  Workers are buoyed by a strong economy and the lowest unemployment rate in years.

As you might imagine, young people are switching more than older employees.  Approximately 6.5 percent of workers under age 35 changed jobs in the first quarter of last year, according to the article, versus 3.1 percent of those ages 35 to 54.

What does this dynamic employment market mean to you?

If you’re an employee, it means that you may have more choices now than at any other point in your career, perhaps ever.  But you now have the “curse of choices:” some employees may agonize over leaving a comfortable or safe job versus chasing a new opportunity that pays more and offers more enjoyment/career satisfaction.

If you’re looking to hire or retain talent, your job is getting harder, and it’s probably going to get worse in the future.  There is growing evidence that artificial intelligence (AI) is actually creating more jobs than it kills thanks to the massive productivity gains it causes.

So how do business leaders make sure they have enough talent in a talent-scarce environment where workers are becoming more restless?

First and foremost, you need to create a motivational culture that people don’t want to leave. Second, compensation needs to be competitive.  Third, you need to recruit perpetually.  Recruiting talent is the lifeblood of a company.  Even when you’re “full up,” you need to keep recruiting at least a little because personnel situations can change fast.

This is especially true if you lead a sales team.  More than 26 percent of sales jobs are expected to turn over this year.  Even during down economies, it’s difficult to find talented, motivated sales people who are willing to work on commission.

Here are a few ideas to help you find the sales talent you need:

  1. Look for a vendor who is good at selling. That talented salesperson who sells things to your company might enjoy becoming a part of your company.
  2. The same thing goes for a client.  Obviously, you have to be very careful about this, but if the situation is right, there might be a sales rep from one of your client companies that might be a good fit for you.
  3. You can post ads online, but for many companies in many industries, this turns out to be a waste of time and money.
  4. Engage a recruiting firm?  Some companies have a lot of success with this.  Other companies prefer to bird-dog for sales reps on their own.
  5. Good, old-fashioned networking is the best way to bird-dog for reps.  The key is to network efficiently and with the end goal in mind.  Only network at events and in places that are target rich.  Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
  6. Seek referrals from your current reps.  Ask your reps, “Who would you like to work with?”  Some companies give incentives to reps who recruit people.
  7. Social media is critically important. You most likely won’t directly fill vacant sales jobs solely through social media, but it will help.  Social media builds brand familiarity and credibility.

This is important:  If you’re a sales leader, be sure to sign up for my webinar, “How to Recruit Rockstar Sales Reps,” which will take place on Thursday, August 16th at 10:00 a.m. Central Time.

We’ll share with you:

  • The simple, right-in-front-of-you places you can find top-shelf sales reps
  • How to get prospective sales reps excited about your company’s culture and growth opportunities
  • How to differentiate yourself from all the other companies competing for the best talent

It’s only $49, and each attendee will receive the “Recruiting Blueprint,” a printable resource which provides you with a step-by-step process that will help you win the sales-rep recruiting race!

Click here to register!

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.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  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

“Jeff Beals is a consummate pro. With short notice, he put together an engaging, fun, sales-focused presentation full of specifics – just what our exec team needed. We’ll ask him back for annual company retreat again next year.” – John Baylor, President, On to College, Lincoln, NE

“You brought great value to our event. The 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

(402) 637-9300

 

What Do Sales Reps Fear the Most?

By Jeff Beals

Which part of the sales process is most difficult for you?  Which part intimidates you?

Hubspot.com set out to determine which part of the sales process causes reps to struggle the most, and the survey results were quite interesting:

Prospecting 42%

Closing 36%

Qualifying 22%

That is the exact order I would have predicted before I even read the study.  The only thing that surprised me was that prospecting didn’t have an even higher percentage.

When speaking to sales reps, I sometimes like to conduct an unscientific survey of the audience.  With a show of hands, I ask them which part of the process is their least favorite.  “Prospecting,” usually gets 60 to 70 percent of the votes.

Why is prospecting more intimidating and less enjoyed than other parts of the sales process?

Well, to start, let’s look at the definition of prospecting:

“Prospecting is the art of interrupting someone when they don’t expect to hear from you in order to provide them with something they need that they might not yet know.”

The key word in that definition of “interrupting.”  Most people are uncomfortable interrupting someone especially when it’s a stranger who is not expecting to hear from you.

And we know that when you interrupt someone, you are risking rejection, one of humanity’s biggest phobias.  If you research, “top 10 phobias,” the fear of rejection pops up frequently.

Most people HATE being rejected.  As social beings, the avoidance of rejection is a powerful motivation.  It’s hard-wired into our DNA.  It’s a matter of survival, because people need other people to survive. That was especially important in prehistoric times when primitive humans banded together to raise food and protect themselves from external threats.  If you didn’t fit into the tribe, you were left on your own to fend off predators.

Even though we have evolved into sophisticated beings with technology at our fingertips and complicated social structures to protect us, it’s hard to shake our ancient traits.  While a fear of rejection helped us to survive 5,000 years ago, it can hinder us in today’s competitive business environment.

How can you overcome your natural predilection to avoid rejection at all costs and push forward as an effective prospector?

Envision success – Like an athlete preparing for a big game, you have a higher likelihood of succeeding if you picture yourself doing well in advance.

Keep it in perspective – It’s not the end of the world when you get rejected.  It may have meant life and death in primeval times, but in the 21st century, it’s just a speed bump.  You will live to fight another battle.

Externalize it – For most of us, it’s normal to take rejection personally, which means we internalize it.  Try to see the rejection as something outside of you, external to your life and your personality.  A sales rejection is NOT an indictment of your personality.

No self-fulfilling prophecies – Avoid a defeatist attitude.  To avoid being disappointed, some sales practitioners start to assume the prospect won’t pan out before even contacting him.  That can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, meaning you’ve lost before you even begin.

Build a big list – Make sure you have a large number of leads in your pipeline, so you’re not too dependent on any one lead or prospect.  Rejection hurts more when you don’t have any other prospects to take the rejector’s place.  Plus, too few leads make you desperate.

The right kind of leads – Study who you have been targeting in the past.  Is it really the right group of people?  Should you be targeting a different prospect profile?

Have a plan – Those sales reps who have a well-developed personal plan for prospecting tend to fear rejection less.  A good plan means you have a dedicated prospecting time and a step-by-step system you follow when engaging new cold prospects.

Persistence – Because most prospects are so busy, it is now taking about 9 attempts to get a cold prospect to return your call or email.  However, most sales reps give up after 2.5 attempts.  If you give up too soon, your pipeline will be too skinny, which makes you too dependent on too few leads.

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.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  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

“Jeff Beals is a consummate pro. With short notice, he put together an engaging, fun, sales-focused presentation full of specifics – just what our exec team needed. We’ll ask him back for annual company retreat again next year.” – John Baylor, President, On to College, Lincoln, NE

“You brought great value to our event. The 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

(402) 637-9300