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Archive for November, 2010

Are You Financially Independent?: Change Your Attitude Towards Price Negotiations

November 15th, 2010

“How and when you discuss money during your sales process has a greater impact on selling success than your price”

A few years ago, I engaged the serivces of a Dublin based PR company to help me promote an event I was organising. I found the two partners of the firm to be pleasant hosts and experts in their field. After a few minutes our conversation moved from small talk to the business matter at hand. It was a fairly straight forward deal so we had almost concluded our meeting within an hour. There was just one important matter we hadn’t yet discussed – money. It didn’t look like they were going to bring the topic up, so I looked the two partners in the eye and said “we should probably talk about money now!”

Their response was intriguing. One of the partners shifted uncomfortably in his seat, the other went bright red, turned to her colleague and tellingly stuttered, “this is where I leave you guys to fight it out” and she left the room.

Both were clearly uncomfortable discussing money. Their attitude towards money was undoubtedly hurting their pocket and doing nothing to inspire confidence in me.

We all grow up with a conceptual view on money. Think about how money was discussed in your home. Perhaps it was rude to talk about money? Maybe you grew up with a belief that money was scarce (“money doesn’t grow on trees you know”).

If, like me, you studied The Merchant of Venice in school, perhaps you’ll recall the dark, money lending character Shylock who wanted his ‘pound of flesh’?

Recall the imagery from Yeat’s September 1913…..

“But fumble in a greasy till

And add the halfpence to the pence”

Consider some biblical references to money…..

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”……..

and my favourite……….”The love of money is the root of all evil”

It’s no wonder that we look forward to discussing money as much as a visit to the dentist.

The problem is that if you are uncomfortable because of these ‘hidden’ money messages, you will without doubt communicate your feelings to your prospect. The real problem is that your prospective customer doesn’t automatically associate the discomfort he observes with your childhood messages! It’s much more likely that he will interpret your discomfort as a lack of conviction and confidence. The minutest hesitency, sideways glance or voice inflection is liekly to trigger your prospects unconscious defense system resulting in stalls, think it overs and delays.

None of these options helps you close the sale.

Worse still, because we avoid discussing money, we fail to set the ground rules on how and when we are going to get paid. Merely putting your terms in an email or referring to them in your proposal or quotation, does not establish an agreed set of mutually acceptable ground rules.

The result is that we may end up putting ourselves under financial pressure and find ourselves chasing customers for payment. This invariably means we’ll incur avoidable overdraft fees and the overhead of credit controllers.

Far better to look your prospect in the eye and say “John, one of the conditions attached to my offer is that I get paid on time, in full, every time. I never want to have to chase you for payment. If you can’t make that commitment to me now, we can shake hands and part on friendly terms, but let’s not do business. Are you comfortable with that?”

You may of course fear that having such a frank money conversation may cause your prospective customer to back off?

Not if you have sold him on doing business with you. Let’s face it, if a prospect isn’t willing to commit to paying you on time, every time, when do you want to find that out?

So, if you want to avoid price pressure, discounting and tighter margins and you want to get paid on time, every time, adopt a different attitude towards money. Imagine you believed that you were ‘financially independent and you didn’t need the money’ what would you say and how would you sound?

Illustration by Rob Green


Video: Sandler Rule #20: The Bottom Line of Professional Selling Is Going to the Bank

November 12th, 2010

Salespeople are not given awards for “developing the warmest relationships,” and certainly not for “gaining the most approval from others.” Salespeople get awards and recognition for opening new accounts, increasing sales numbers and exceeding quotas. As a salesperson, your job is to go to the bank. Go to the bank as often as possible, repeat the steps that have gotten you there in the past, and lose the habits that ever slowed your progress there.

As Sandler’s Gerry Weinberg explains, there are still a disturbing amount of things that can pop up and slow progress to the bank-many of which are caused by the salesperson. Keep a close eye on the motivation and goal behind every single meeting, email, phonecall and handshake you do, and ask yourself if it is getting you closer to the bank. If not, then it may be time to reevaluate your process.

Need help refining your routes to the bank? Here are some people who can help.


Maintaining Sales Motivation: Why Do You Work?

November 10th, 2010

Why? Why do we get up every day and go to work?

Because we have bills to pay: Really? Listen to the news-not paying your bills is now as much a status symbol as a Gold Card in the 1980′s.

Because that’s what is expected: Really? In most companies, the last time you saw your job description was the day you interviewed-and you don’t know what is really expected, do you?

Because employees depend on us: Really? Management texts say a great manager implements systems that will operate well when management is not there.

Really it’s because Mom or Dad said so!

Accountability is imprinted into our brains early in life. “Clean your room,” “Finish your homework,” and “Be home by 10″ are all part of our basic wiring. In high school, if you didn’t show up with your homework, you were publicly humiliated and punished with detention. Sounds bad, right? Actually, it works. We did the work because we run from pain before we run towards pleasure. Ever get that sickened feeling in your stomach before a big test? Well, that shouldn’t disappear entirely after school. What is that, exactly? Self-accountability.

How are you accountable? You need to do 10 cold calls, get five referrals, and schedule two appointments daily. Who knows you didn’t do this? Only you and you can lie to yourself to justify your behaviors all day (the lawn really looked like it needed mowing and that two hour lunch with a great client was to ensure the renewal next year!).

Do the right things to be accountable:

  1. Have an accountability partner or coach – I call mine every day at 6pm (yes). This person should not be your spouse or significant other.
  2. Keep a journal and do a debrief to yourself in writing every day. Rate everything with the standard “should you have been doing this activity at the time you were doing it?”
  3. Have clear behavior goals in mind and know every day what you will accomplish! Who are your top 20 targets?
  4. Know why you are working – have a dreamboard near you during work hours. Want a Porsche? Have a picture nearby. Travel? Have a picture. Jewelry? Have a picture. House, wealth, etc? Have a picture. No college debt for your kids? School pictures work great. Make that dream or goal of yours ever-present and as tangible as possible, and you’ll have no problem staying on track.


Video: Dave Mattson Explains the Variety of Sales Training Solutions at Sandler

November 5th, 2010

Not everybody learns the same way, and there is no singular solution to every challenge. Dave Mattson, Sandler Training’s CEO, touches on the variety of options offered with Sandler Training in the video above. Whether it’s a sit-down, in depth meeting with your trusted sales coach or a quick fix on the go with the Sandler iPhone app, our clients get exactly what they need, when they need it and in the most effective form for their situation.

To learn more, visit sandler.com.


Sales Training Is Useless without a Proper Diagnosis

November 3rd, 2010

What really goes on with a doctor’s visit?

Ideally, you realize that you have some symptoms that are preventing you from functioning at 100%. You then get an appointment with the doctor, they ask you a fair amount of questions about your symptoms and lifestyle, and then they make some recommendations-usually involving a prescription of some sort.

So how would you feel if you just went into the doctor and they gave you some pills without investigating the problems?

Maybe a little skeptical? Craning your neck to see if there’s a medical school diploma anywhere in the office? It goes to show you that as much as we all focus on the solution, we still realize the importance of a thorough, accurate diagnosis of the problem if we want to actually get better.

In a recent conversation with a new client, we discussed a salesperson that was struggling. We decided to call the sales person into the office and sort things out. When we asked the salesperson why she thought the goals were not being met, she shared that she was not comfortable prospecting. After a few more questions about prospecting the owner pointed out that the prior week the salesperson shared that she didn’t like to close.

So, rather than working on prospecting techniques or closing techniques (managing the symptoms) it became very evident that real problem for the sales person was fear (the disease). It was not that she didn’t know how to prospect or close it was the fact the both prospecting and closing represented risk. Until we were able to fix the salespersons’ aversion to taking risks and fear of rejection, treating those symptoms wouldn’t do any good in the long run.

We need to make sure we are working on the right part of the problem! When you go in for a sales training session, be sure to take enough time to clearly articulate and explore the disease behind the symptoms. Once you’ve got the proper diagnosis, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

Illustration by Rob Green