June 7, 2013 12:00 AM
One of the secrets to sales success goes back some 3,000 years to ancient Greece. The philosopher Socrates used carefully crafted questions to help his students learn more, using knowledge they already had.
Now, many top salespeople use “Socratic questions” to qualify prospects and understand their pains, passions and priorities. These top performers then match their ideas, stories and information to meet the prospects’ buying criteria. Sales success is all in how questions get asked.
June 3, 2013 12:00 AM
No matter how much your sales associates love working for your company, none of them love it so much that they would do it for free. And while a base salary and commissions are nice, the sales contests and incentive programs you provide are key to demonstrating that your organization recognizes and appreciates the associates who go the extra mile.
May 31, 2013 12:00 AM
Social media has clearly become a force in business that won’t be dismissed. Unfortunately, while most companies understand that, few have developed the capability to leverage this ubiquitous communication tool to advance their sales teams’ efforts.
May 29, 2013 12:00 AM
The marketing content pipeline is closely related to, yet distinct from the sales pipeline. By delivering the right content via the pipeline, marketers are able to interface with customers early on in the lead generation process and then continue to feed salespeople with the materials they need throughout the sales effort.
Marketing can prepare to contribute to the pipeline by first conducting market research – the core component in the beginning of any lead generation/customer acquisition effort.
May 20, 2013 12:00 AM
No matter what business you’re in, customers today demand immediate solutions in real time. What they need, when they need it, and how they want to receive your product or service are important factors that drive consumer buying decisions. High demand for speed and accountability require businesses to ramp up both technology innovations and customer service capabilities to be the first, the fastest and most reliable.
May 17, 2013 12:00 AM
When does 1 percent equal 11 percent? You think “Never!” but this isn’t fuzzy math. It’s the impact you can have by changing your discounting.
A 1 percent change in discounting has an 11 percent impact on your operating margins, according to McKinsey and Co. This is a seemingly small improvement with huge potential. So, what are you doing to get that 1 percent back for your company?
May 13, 2013 12:00 AM
Today’s sales world has changed. An unstable economy has forced corporate layoffs and other cost-cutting measures to reduce overhead, and financial uncertainty has been a catalyst in the demise of salaried sales jobs that are being replaced with a burgeoning pay-for-performance sales model in an effort to make sales departments more productive, efficient and cost-effective.
May 9, 2013 12:00 AM
Peter Drucker famously said that the job of marketing is to make sales obsolete. The conventional wisdom is that it’s starting to happen. Whether you call the process a funnel, a life cycle or a decision journey, marketing is said to be taking over the early and middle stages and pushing sales into a marginal role at the end, where contracts are negotiated and signed.
May 8, 2013 12:00 AM
Managers often assume that poor performers are disengaged and unhappy with their jobs. Not so, says a new study from Leadership IQ, an Atlanta-based consulting firm, which surveyed more than 200 companies.
May 6, 2013 10:48 AM
Fans of A&E Channel’s “Mad Men” will recall one of the final scenes of season 5 when Peggy Olson, newly departed from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, is happily holed up in a drab motel room with a grin on her face and a glass of wine in her hand. She was on her first business trip, and she had the look of a woman who had arrived.
May 6, 2013 01:59 PM
A recent New Yorker feature on Apollo Robbins described the Las Vegas-based entertainer as a “theatrical pickpocket” who, in pursuit of his craft, has incorporated principles from aikido, sales and Latin ballroom dancing.
May 6, 2013 12:00 AM
Once upon a time, business deals were sealed with a handshake and a person’s word. But in today’s business climate, sales organizations run on complex global systems where face-to-face interaction is increasingly rare. In a sea of enterprise bureaucracy and a hyper-competitive global market, sales organizations can easily lose sight of simple yet powerful ways to drive performance and keep talented salespeople happy and productive. And, let’s be honest: What’s a more powerful motivator than fast, efficient and highly rewarding sales compensation?
May 3, 2013 12:00 AM
I was lucky enough to attend the Ohio State vs. Nebraska football game at Ohio State last fall. It was a raucous affair in which OSU pounded Nebraska into submission. But that wasn’t the best part. The best part was the halftime show by The Best Damn Band In The Land. They showed me something that I knew I needed to share the minute I saw it.
May 2, 2013 12:00 AM
Willy Brandt, the former German chancellor, gave the best advice anyone selling to foreign markets can possibly get: “If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen sie Deutsch sprechen."
It’s true. If you want to do business internationally, you’ve got to communicate in the language of your target market. And no matter how small you are, you can be successful in foreign markets if you plan well and avoid five common mistakes.
April 29, 2013 12:00 AM
I love Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
The book’s subtitle is “Powerful Lessons and Personal Change.” Amen. What I most like about the book is that it is simple. There are 7 habits. They are easy to understand. I am not saying that I am good at all of them, but I understand and appreciate them and try to follow them in my business and personal life.
April 21, 2013 12:00 AM
How often does the image a company builds through advertising and marketing match its treatment of customers through less glamorous touchpoints, like pre-sales, contract negotiations, on-boarding and billing?
If it’s not often enough, then your reputation and profitability are suffering. Any time your staff engages customers there is the opportunity to delight – or, unfortunately, to disappoint.
April 20, 2013 12:00 AM
People pay hundreds, nay, thousands of dollars to gain leadership insights that will catapult their careers forward. If you like your wisdom wrapped in the wackiness promulgated by muscle-headed motivation speakers, you may end up spending thousands more treating the burns on your feet after a hot coal walk. But that’s another topic for another day.
The thing about leadership lessons is they can come from the most unexpected sources, which is something you have to be aware of so they don’t rush right past you.
April 19, 2013 12:00 AM
A Forrester Research report revealed that 88 percent of executive decision makers want to have a conversation, not a presentation. This means that if you, as a marketer, want to enable your sales team to deliver successful sales conversations, traditional tools such as PowerPoint won’t cut it.
April 17, 2013 12:00 AM
One Saturday morning in June 2006, Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe posted a three-minute video online showing the two of them dropping 500 Mentos mints into 100 bottles of Diet Coke creating, in their words, “a miniature Bellagio fountain show.”
Voltz and Grobe, former circus performers, say they told just one person about the video and by that afternoon, 4,000 people had watched it. By that night, total views hit 14,000.
April 15, 2013 12:00 AM
Wikipedia describes crisis of faith as “a term commonly applied to periods of intense doubt and internal conflict about one’s preconceived beliefs or life decisions. A crisis of faith can be contrasted to simply a period of doubt in that a crisis of faith demands reconciliation or reevaluation before one can continue believing in whichever tenet is in doubt or continuing in whatever life path is in question.”
Crisis of faith
April 14, 2013 12:00 AM
There’s no arguing that technological advancements have enhanced business communication, increased productivity and provided a plethora of options for everything from sales meetings to product demonstrations to real-time training.
April 11, 2013 10:33 PM
In sales, these four words most often will determine whether or not you deliver excellence and in doing so, close the sale:
While not seeking to minimize our profession, these four words can literally mean the difference between success and failure in any sales organization.