How to Differentiate Yourself & Create Value in a Digital World

One of the most important aspects of creating value for customers in the digital age is an understanding of the radical changes that have occurred in the way we buy. We are now in a new sales landscape largely due to the availability of information on-line. You can take any industry, product or service and …

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If you’re not investing in your Sales Manager you’re missing a trick!

Investing only in frontline sales training won’t get you peak performance results. Today smart companies across the globe are waking up to an important fact.

They must invest and empower their sales managers to achieve maximum performance.

We must stop this erroneous notion that by promoting good sales people they will naturally become great managers. They won’t because ‘Sales Management’ is a completely different role.

So, here are 5 reasons why every company should be investing in training and developing their sales managers.

  1. Set the pace. – They are the ones that set the pace and create the atmosphere for the whole team to achieve high performance.
  2. Direct link between boardroom & field. – They are the ones who can effectively communicate the strategy and direction from the boardroom and translate that into meaningful sales activities to be implemented in the field.
  3. Know their numbers. – They must understand their sales figures, and be able to read them like a book! Spotting pipeline pitfalls and forecast potential blockages with the ability to help their team overcome them.
  4. Leverage their experience. – They need the tools and coaching skills for a strong Knowledge Transfer, developing everyone by multiplying their skills throughout the team.
  5. Breed Loyalty – A good manager will be able to win the hearts and minds of their team. This is another valuable quality when you consider the high cost and impact of staff retention on your organisation. The person in the role of sales manager can dramatically affects the bottom line, but they need to know the qualities required to lead.

When you think about these 5 points is very evident that investing and empowering your sales manager is the key to superb results.

For additional insights checkout, the attached visual – -The Essence of Thriving Sales Organisation’ and listen to the podcast – ‘Empowering your sales manager to lead the team.’

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Is your ‘Bloated’ pipeline ruining your sales results?

This past week I’ve been catching up a client who has made dramatic improvements to their conversion rate. Originally, when we first met they told me “We have loads of inquiries coming in and our sales people and running to keep up with the quotations, but we are still seeing a drop in our win …

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Can you afford to lose £500k this year?

“Why don’t more of our new recruits become real top producers?” “We always seem to be re-hiring for the same positions!” Does this sound familiar? Retaining current talent and attracting new talent has a massive impact on business success. I’d like to make a case that for every time a sales person leaves it cost …

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Are You the Catalyst for Real Sales Growth?

Whether you are a sales manager or a salesperson what are you doing to drive sales results? This week I’d like you to stop and think for a moment about the time, energy and effort you are putting forth to win your sales opportunities versus the time you invest in yourself. If you are a …

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What is your sales focus?

Many companies are still not moving fast enough in adopting a sales focus that delivers value to buyers.  The training their salespeople receive still encourages them to lead conversations based on the attributes and capabilities of their product or service. Whilst this may have worked in the past it’s a real turn off to today’s …

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As a Sales Manager…Who do I push, when and how? Without being a PITA!

I was recently asked the above question, and it’s a good one. As sales leaders, we all want to be in full control of our forecast, pipeline and close to our sales team. However, as this question suggests there is a fine line between being really on it, and being a pain in the a**. …

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Are your Sales Metrics Helping or Harming your Customer Relationships?

When you think about productivity do you recognise the power of the KPI’s you choose? I want to share with you a real-life experience whilst working with a top multi-million-pound manufacturer of construction products. I discovered the impact of different metrics when working with their Technical Services Team. This team were responsible for answering all …

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Are you Leveraging the telephone technology – to its highest potential?

As we discussed last week creating powerful correspondence is a great way to engage with new prospects.

However, to get the maximum benefit from this activity you need to be really effective on the telephone. Unfortunately, today many people feel self-conscious about speaking on the phone. They hide behind email which is a shame because the telephone is one of the greatest tools for creating rapport and relationships with people.

Even more so today with the opportunity to hold interactive skype calls where you can have 1-on-1 meetings that are brief, friendly and engaging.

So, let’s think for a moment about the correspondence we created. If you haven’t seen this go to the previous podcast where you can see an example, which we will use for our telephone follow up today.

Usually, I recommend you arrange to do your follow up calls 48 hours after they receive your correspondence, so it’s fresh in mind.

Let’s look at a successful formula to make this call, and we’ll take the toughest example – someone you have written to but have never spoken with before.

I would never cold call them without having written a personal letter or email to them in advance. I like to do this for two reasons.

Firstly, you feel more confident when you’ve taken the time to write a professional letter to someone.

Secondly, it builds trust in the other person that even if they haven’t seen the correspondence sent they will give you time to explain why you wrote to them in the first place.

So, let’s look at what to say on your follow up call. First of all, you want to introduce yourself by name and your company. But here’s something most people don’t do, they don’t give their prospect a ‘first call notice’. What do I mean by that? Well, you need to say something like, “you and I haven’t had the opportunity to speak before, but I wrote some correspondence to you last week”. By saying you haven’t spoken before, you’re giving them that ‘first call notice’ it lets them relax mentally. If anyone has called you and given their name but you don’t remember it you automatically start to go through a mental rolodex! You are thinking to yourself. Do I know Peter, should I remember him? Etc., etc. They’re not concentrating on what you’re saying. So, the first call notice is important to avoid this happening.

The next area to focus on, just like the sequence of your letter, is your industry expertise. You could say something like, “I’ve been working with other professionals in your sector for x number of years now”. Then you want to site job title expertise, you can do this by saying, “some of the concerns I’m hearing from other sales professionals in your position are…”

Then you can mention some of the challenges you highlighted in your letter.

After mentioning those key issues, you can show how you can help simply by saying, “I’ve been able to help our clients solve these challenges in a number of interesting ways.

Finally, you want to create curiosity and give an invitation.  Simple say, “I’ve been sharing some of these experiences and insights recently and I’d welcome an opportunity to learn more about your own objectives and see if these ideas can add value to your operation. When do you think there might be a good time to have a chat about that in the next couple of weeks?

This follow up approach is simple, it follows the same format and content of your letter for the telephone call, you’ve shown how you can add value and offered to share some specific examples with the person to help improve their business.

All of this correspondence and telephone work is focused on how you can help the other person. You’ll notice I spent very little time talking about myself my company, products, service or how great we are!

So, with this in mind I wish you great success in leveraging the telephone to create some fantastic new business relationships.

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Creating powerful correspondence that engages them every time

How much of the unsolicited mail or email you receive goes in the rubbish bin?

I’d like to bet pretty much 90% does. Why is that? Well, typically because this correspondence is focused on them. It all about ‘How good their company is, their products or service.’

So, I’d like to flip ideas on this conventional marketing approach on its head and instead focus on stimulating interest but focusing on the key issues or interest of your customers.

But what should you include to produce this type of communication?

Here are the 4 steps to create engaging correspondence.

  1. Introduce yourself personally and your organisation.
  2. Note your expertise in working with their peers in the sector.
  3. Share how you have helped overcome key business issues they face.
  4. Invite to share some fresh ideas and experiences to see if they can add value.
  5. Include a date & time you will call to see if the issues were relevant and of interest.

Next, think of the deliver method you will choose, most people will email this content, but how many emails to you receive in a day? 30-40? And if it’s from someone you don’t know there’s a strong likelihood you will simply hit the delete button before even reading it!

How many personally addressed letters did you receive last week? Probably none right or this month even?

So, why not consider writing personal correspondence to prospects using quality stationary and even hand-write the envelope for a personal touch. Automatically, you start to differentiate yourself as someone who’s thinking differently from the herd.

Be sure to follow up at the appointed time (1-2 days from delivery) as promised.

Last week a client called me who initially rejected this as an old-fashioned snail mail approach. However, he was pleased to report some of his rookie salespeople had taken up the idea and written to twenty prospective clients. They received three calls back from prospects requesting meetings and following their own telephone follow ups a further two meetings had been arranged. He confessed he never thought this approach would work but now he’s glad they tried it out.

So, I encourage you to drop a line to some ideal prospective clients and start some new and engaging conversations this week!

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