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Not Every No is a Hard No | Not Knowing the Difference Costs You Sales Orders

Not Every No is a Hard No | Not Knowing the Difference Costs You Sales Orders

Sales rejection is a killer.

And I know.

But what dawned on my last week is that lots of sales people suffer from it and that many more of them are carriers.

It’s just a hot bed of sales rejection germs…

Sales Rejection | Are You Infected or a Carrier?

Check out these symptoms:

A genuine belief that a buyer will say no to your offer.

Sometimes praying that the buyer will say no quickly so you can update your sales pipeline and move on to the next sales prospect who you also expect to say no.

You have a tendency to either close to early, before you can guarantee a yes or…

Maybe you close to late, by which time the buyer has forgotten why he was even talking to you…or

You don’t close at all because you’d rather have some sales pipeline of questionable value than an empty pipeline

When your prospect does say no, you take that no utter something about keeping in touch and end the call, update your CRM and move on

How many of these symptoms have you got?

Is it fatal yet? I ask because sometimes we call catch sales rejection, might just be for a day, a week, a month, may just be when we hand out with certain people…but the first step to recovery is recognising we have it, and then how to cure it.

Because there is a cure.

Sales Rejection | The Story of Stephen.

I see Stephen 4 times per yr as part of a sales audit I do for a national client. Steve is a top performer. He’s the guy I ask everyone to chat with if they’re struggling with sales.

Firstly, because he’s a really nice guy, but also because he treats his prospects and his sales pipeline with respect

Steve tells it like it is. He challenges when he needs to, is great at listening, asks fanatstic questions.

BUT the reason Steve consistently smashes his sales targets, his cross sell lead gen, his up sell, and the reason why his average sales order value and customer lifetime order value is higher than anyone else is because Steve know s how to handle objections.

At this, he is a GOD!

So, having spend the week with Steve and his colleagues I move on to do some preliminary work on a sales turnaround project ready for next month.

Faced with a failing sales function, and some real anti-sales, almost sales prevention, selling techniques during sales call review, I couldn’t help but ask myself, when it comes to sales rejection…

What Would Steve Do?

Here’s the guidelines Steve uses for handling objections, minimising sales rejection and turning that sales rejection into an order and an invoice.

Here you go:

Steve only asks for the order when he knows he’s going to get a yes.

So, Steve reduces the times he can get hit with the Sales Rejection virus.

Until that point when Steve asks for the order and expects to get a yes, he uses that time by being a very valuable person to the buyer.

During which, Steve is simply asking questions.

Steve gets the buyer to clarify their thinking.

He challenges some of the buyers believes about Steve’s solutions.

Steve is also working with the buyer to help the buyer understand the cost of not buying. That’s a cost not just within his own business, but within the buyers, competitive market.

After a while, the buyer sees Steve as a very valuable person to talk to.

In fact, the buyer often calls Steve to have a chat about some aspect of the industry, competitors.

The buyer is interested in Steve’s thoughts and views.

It’s almost like the buyer has forgotten Steve is there to take his money off him!

What Else Would Steve Do?

That’s a good question.

Steve never takes the first ‘no’ as and actual ‘no’.

That would never occur to him to take the first ‘no’ and a final sales rejection.

When Steve hears ‘no’ from his contact what his brain does is flip it immediately into…’I’m not sure at the moment, let’s talk some more and then ask me again’

Do you know how much difference that makes to Steve’s sales performance?

Huge amounts, so let’s take a closer look.

‘I’m not sure at the moment, let’s talk some more and then ask me again’

Ok, so how does Steve flip this?

First of all, let’s understand that Steve, wasn’t expecting this response, because, as above Steve doesn’t ask until he’s sure he’ll get a yes.

So the first thing Steve needs to do is look at where the mismatch is, because obviously he and the buyer aren’t on the same page any more.

So maybe he asks…

Ok, so the time’s not right at the moment. What needs to change, for everything to slip into place so you can go ahead?

Now, think about what this question encourages the buyer to do, and how Steve can benefit from this.

Then perhaps Steve asks, 

Right, thanks for that. I understand where you’re coming from now. You know we talked about you losing £X K every month you didn’t have this solution in place? How viable is it really, as we sit here today, knowingly writing of a loss of 6 months worth of £XK whilst you get these other elements sorted? Instead, together, lets find a better work around than this?

What Steve’s just done, because he’s already calculated the Sales ROI for his buyer before the sales close, is be able to quantify the money lost due to waiting

In doing that Steve’s asked the buyer in the nicest possible way…’Are you TOTALLY insane’.

But the buyer won’t hear that. Instead he’ll see Steve trying to help him save money.

What Steve has also done, is make himself part of the fix with the buyer. Now they are a team. It’s a peer to peer conversation – not a battle of wills in a tense sales arena with the buyer running scared as happens here: Anyone Seen My Buyer?

But it doesn’t stop there

And it doesn’t stop because the buyer has given Steve an insight into what the blocks are, now Steve needs to challenge the buyers thinking and reframe those blocks as something else, maybe milestones, gateposts but certainly not full stops in the sales process.

Steve now goes into a counsellor mode with the buyer, where his job is not to provide solutions, but just to ask his buyer the right questions.

Steve wants his buyer to come up with the solution.

And, Steve wants his buyer to have clarity on that solution.

Steve wants his buyer to own the solution, because, when that happens the buyer doesn’t say no to his own ideas!

What Doesn’t Steve Do?

He certainly doesn’t take the first no

He doesn’t take the second or third no either

Doesn’t offer to leave the buyer to take up the conversation with a competitor

He doesn’t say ‘ok, I’ll update my file and give you a call in 6 months to see if anything has changed’

He doesn’t burn sales leads and opportunities

Why Does Steve Refuse to Catch Sales Rejection?

That’s the killer question in this.

Why does Steve not fold at the first no and so many other sales people just accept sales rejection as part of the job?

Because Steve has a single focus that means he’ll never ever be a sorry victim of sales rejection, and her’s why:

Steve never progresses poor quality sales prospects through his sales pipeline…he cuts then loose when he realises either the prospect is not a fit for his solution or the solution is not a fit for his prospect buyer.

What this means is, that by the time the buyer is ready to be closed, Steve knows its a great fit, there is huge value for the buyer and that the buyer knows this.

Which means it’s not about shoe horning a solution in, it’s simply working out the the final details based on a foundation of great advice, trust and education.

Steve doesn’t carry low level prospects with a vague interest in buying with a low value payback on his solutions. He leaves those to the other competitors in his field.

Sales rejection, and the potential to be subjected to sales rejection starts at the very beginning of the sales qualification process.

Steve knows this.

That’s why he has the best sales conversion rate. The highest average sales order value, the biggest lifetime order value. Why he smashes his cross sell lead generation target and why CSI score is the highest in the team.

Discover How You Can Avoid Sales Rejection Too

You can join us on or bespoke or open B2B sales training courses – you can check out the dates for the Sales Improvement Workshop here

Or,  to embed a B2B sales training course and continuous sales improvement culture into your sales function, take a look at TurboCharged Sales

To discuss how to build a productive, efficient and high performance sales team, call Carol on 0779 002 1885 or email carol@mortonkyle.com 

Sales rejection need not be a sales killer but leaving handling sales objections to the end of the sales process definitely increases the chances of experiencing the symptoms which could so easily be avoided.

 

 

3 Sales Questions No-One Uses Any More

3 Sales Questions No-One Uses Any More

So, your’re a progressive sales person, you understand the concept of ask great B2B sales questions and then listen.

And, it works, you’re doing ok.

Great.

Now, you can kick these 3 B2B sales questions out of your tool box.

No-one uses these any more, and I’ll explain why now.

B2B Sales Questions to Avoid:1

What Keeps You Awake at Night?

Never ask the prospects this.

I was with an MD a few weeks ago, and up until I went in, he’d done the sales training for his team, and this was his favorite question to have his sales team ask their prospects.

NO!

In today’s sales arena, the sales person should have a fair idea of what’s troubling the decision maker before they even start.

Sales people do their research before they get to the prospect.

Now, well prepared, well researched sales professionals will now use their very precious time with the decision maker to demonstrate value, explain how they’ve solved challenging problems, in fact this same problem, for many people in the decision makers industry.

They’ll use the time to explore impacts, challenge the buyers thinking maybe, reframe the problem and potential solutions, explore details.

One think they won’t do is ask the buyer what’s causing him to lose sleep at night.

Likewise:

Tell me about your industry and what’s happening now?

How competitive is your industry sector?

Instead:

If you’re really looking to add value and bring an additional dimension to the prospects thinking, you’ll need to get comfortable with telling the prospect three things:

What key problems you’ve solved

For who

And how

So any questions you ask should be geared around driving curiosity so that the prospects response is ‘ you know, we’ve been struggling with the same thing…tell me how you did it’

B2B Sales Questions to Avoid:2

Tell me about your business?

For the same reason as above, a well professional sales rep knows that this question is redundant if he’s done his research.

You should know the prospects market place before you tip up and waste his time.

Instead, you might want to ask about market conditions versus particularly strong competitors within the buyer’s space, new market advanced and the implications to the buyer’s organisation, legislative changes because this is an easier way to get the prospect to give you all the information you need…before you deliver your disruptive position.

Diagnoses before analysis just makes you yesterdays sales has been.

B2B Sales Questions to Avoid:3

Tell me about your competitors

You must know who their competitors are and how the war is being waged then you really need to think about how much value the buyer is getting from talking to you.

Unlike a few decades ago when a buyer expected you to know not some much about his business, industry and sector, that’s not the case anymore. The sales person is not the one needing educations.

Buyers, and wait for this, expect to be educated, informed and entertained by the sales professional.

Summary:B2B Sales Questions to Avoid

Selling has changed.

Sales people are catching up…or trying to.

Get rid of with old sales techniques, tired sales scripts, dated sales pitches so that your buyers miss all the value they could gain from you.

Happy Selling

Carol

If you’re currently reviewing your sales training or sales coaching needs and would like to discuss how to improve your sales results contact Carol on 0779 002 1885 or email carol@mortonkyle.com

Likewise, if you know your sales function has huge sales potential that’s not being fully used. Or you’d like to improve sales performance but just don’t know where to start, or if you’d need to health check your sales function, then take a look at or Sales Insights Service 

Free Sales and Business Development Insights.

Sales and business development insights into your inbox every Wednesday. Great for team meetings, sales training sessions and daily huddles – register here – totally free – The Advanced Business Achiever

How High Performing Sales Teams Close More Sales

How High Performing Sales Teams Close More Sales

High Performance Sales Closes are like Unicorns.

They exist, but no-one has ever seen it. Yeah, you know it.

And the truth is – really successful sales people ask for the business, of course they do, but they never, ever hard close, because they just don’t need to.

High Performance Sales Pro’s 

Have a totally different way of closing more sales.

They simply don’t rely on the close. Not at all.

They don’t ask for the business until they know the answer will be YES!

In fact, some of the sales high flyers will wait for the buyer to ask…where do I sign?

Are you asking yourself just how do they do this?

They angle their prospect interaction so that the buyer is begging them for the opportunity to buy. Talk about turning the tables.

You know what also happens?

They close faster.

Typically discounting less.

And they close more sales, more often.

High Performance Sales Closes Rely on One Thing

And it’s not the close!

Think of it like this…

Your ability to create a ‘sales no-brainer’ for your prospect is directly related to your sales success.

If it’s not a no-brainer it won’t be a fast, easy close. In fact, it might not be a close at all.

So, now your sales pitch is not about closing but it is all about creating a no-brainer!

If you can create a situation where the buyer has to conclude – ‘well, I’d be mad not to do this’ …then you have an order. Typically an order on your terms.

That’s how to he a sales super star.

How close to ‘no-brainer’ are your sales pitches?

Because close just doesn’t cut it.

Selling ice in a hot place – name your price. That’s no-brainer.

Even the national/state lottery…for some people, it’s a no-brainer to buy a ticket. Sure the odds are crippling, but for such a small amount, it’s worth a go. Plus it’s easy.

So, is your sales pitch a no-brainer for your prospects?

Then don’t bother wasting their time.

You’ll do far more harm that good.

You’ll be entering a competitive sales race that will exhaust you and tie up your resources with no guaranteed reward.

Why would you do it?

The 5 Key Element of a No-Brainer Sales Pitch

You must show the prospect/buyer:

  • A ROBUST ROI for your product/service
  • The true cost involved in him saying no to you
  • How his current thinking can be improved. To do this you need to respectfully challenge him so as to reframe your product/service as the solution
  • An easy way to do business with you
  • How your product/service is without competitors

If you can’t do all of these, at the very least, then you’re just one of the many mediocre sales pitchers out there.

Don’t be those guys.

High performance sales closes don’t exist. High performance sales people do. It’s your choice.

What Next?

You can join us on our next Sales Improvement Workshop. This is run as an open course and also as a bespoke inhouse course, onsite sales training on a day to suit you.

Or if you’re looking for a sales process and sales methodology training to embed in your own business, then check out TurboCharged Sales.

And finally, if you’ve no idea where to start but you know you need to improve the sales results within your business, book our Free Sales Health Check

And, if you’re struggling to sell because of buyers going AWOL after you’ve sent the sales quote – don’t get caught out – read How to Follow Up Sales Quotes

There are no magic high performance sales closes that will totally change you sales results, because that sort of change needs a change of heart, mind, positioning and the skills to influence and persuade.

Happy Selling

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

Cold Calling Techniques – So Your Buyers Love You

Cold Calling Techniques – So Your Buyers Love You

Cold Calling Techniques? Really, but I get most of my business from inbound leads, so then why do I need to do cold calling?

And that’s a fair question.

But at some point you’ll need to move that nurtured lead out of the social media play ground, so you can move it on to your sales forecast via your sales pipeline, so he can eventually make friends with your accounts team.

Or, maybe you’ve spotted a firm you’d really love to work with? The fastest way to cut through the noise is to pick up the phone and get chatting.

You might have read about cold calling is dead? That’s the message from by people who are bad at it. Ignore them.

It’s still the number one skill you need in sales if you want to make things happen. Fast.

Especially if you’re looking for an injection of high quality and qualified sales opportunities into the sales pipeline.

Listen, I’ve audited sales functions, in firms that have questionable futures. Lack of new business, closely followed by low sales hunting focus, will kill any business.

Don’t let it kills yours.

Roughly translated, if you’re waiting for your email to ping, your tweet to drive business to your sales pipeline. Your LinkedIn profile to set the world alight. Or your business page to deliver enough business for your firm to consistently grow, alternatively you think existing customers will feed you enough business, well, then you really need to read this…

Cold Calling Techniques For Self Starters

Well, cold calling has changed, but the name hasn’t! Cold calling, and cold calling techniques have definitely grown up as the sales and marketing spheres have merged, so what does that look like now?

Research is Key!

No one needs to be calling a cold prospect any more. It’s the fastest and easiest way to tell the sales prospect that you’re a lazy sales person…

Cold Calling Technique 1: Research all of your prospects and their firms.

Numbers Don’t Matter. Contacts Do!

5 full blown sales conversations per day with a business, the decision maker, the referrer or the influencer will trump 20 calls with low rank juniors who try to convince you they’re the decision maker.

That’s where your research comes in to play…you won’t be easily fooled or distracted and you’ll not be filling your sales pipeline with wanna bees!

But what’s even better?

10 full blown sales conversations!

Cold Calling Technique 2: Don’t confuse an increase in call quality with a decrease in call quantity…do both to be really sales smart.

Quality Matters. A lot.

Stop calling firms where you can see no fit. So, it seems we’re back to research again, BUT, research companies where there is a fit and discard others. Reflect on some of your best customers, are they in a particular niche, sector, industry, location? Are there more firms out there in the same sector, who could possibly use your services?

Cold Calling Technique 3: Always be researching, looking for niches, scanning the industry press, awards pages, news…and try to do it outside of core selling time.

When reviewing your cold calling techniques, you’ll also need to consider the following:

The prospect is expecting to speak with an expert advisor…someone who knows their business, is curious, is able to respectfully disrupt the prospects current thinking, potentially solve a quantifiable business problem using a solution with a robust ROI

The prospect is expecting you to listen to him. Not broadcast. Ask intelligent questions and assess the common ground and value in continuing the conversation in more depth.

Cold calls have a bad rep…with everyone, so get cute about negotiating gatekeepers or even better, avoiding them all together. Use your networks to facilitate worthwhile introduction and warm ‘cold’ calls.

Don’t waste time, because unless you can get the gist of your value to this prospect across in 20 seconds then you’ll likely be on very shaky ground. Creating value fast is critical. Have you got your super fine tuned intro so you’re not the bumbling idiot asking the prospect if they had a great weekend?

Cold Call Techniques – Your Mind Set

Your mid set is critical to your success, so

Welcome the Rejection

Do this because the faster you get to no, the faster you can start to unpack the prospects thinking. Most prospects will say no at least three times before they say yes. And that’s ok, but only as long as you continue after the first no.

Influence and Persuasion

This is no longer about what you say about yourself. It’s about what everyone else is saying about you. Make sure you can name drop, reference and refer to your experience in the industry in a relevant problem solving capacity

Peaks and troughs in your sales performance?

This is a sign that at some point your got comfortable. A sign you didn’t keep up with the research and cold calling, new business development. Maybe you got busy. Perhaps you earned a good bonus. Maybe you lost your cold calling mojo…depending on your sales cycle, this will hurt you. If you want solid stable sales performance then keep up with the research, and with the cold calling and the pipeline filling, because there are no short cuts.

Keep away from the negative people in your sales team.

This is you, living the life you want. Listen to the losers, the moaners and see what that does for you sales mojo.

To set your cold calling, new business efforts on fire, come and join us The Sales Improvement Workshop – run as an open course or in your business as a bespoke course.

You can also book your Free Sales Health Check

Alternatively if you’re looking for a focused new business development b2b sales training course to embed into you business check out TurboCharged Sales.

You can also sign up for our free weekly sales training, straight into your inbox, keep ahead of what your competitors are doing, remain current with whats’s new in cold calling techniques, claim your free subscription to The Advanced Business Achiever 

Happy Selling

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

Are You a Sales Closer or a Sales Loser?

Are You a Sales Closer or a Sales Loser?

Great sales closing questions are often the final piece of the jigsaw. The questions that many sales guys forget to ask (read: wimp out of asking!)

Great Sales Closing Questions means you increase the chances of getting an order – RESULT!

And that’s a shame because when you do ask great closing questions it means, obviously, there’s a far greater chance of you being able to close, being able to close quickly, and being able to close the sale at the price you want.

At the very best.

And the worst? The buyer shares with you any objections they may still have, or maybe you get a deferred decision date, or you learn more about his buying process or the internal decision making…

Great sales closing questions are the ultimate win-win questions, saving you time, money, stress and a flaky sales forecast!

Not everyone asks great sales questions, mainly because they’re too busy sales broadcasting, by rote, not engaging brain but very much enjoying the sound of their own voices…

Or they simply too afraid to ask…

Or they think the buyer won’t want to answer

And a million other excuses!

Is any of this relevant to you?

You get to the end of a sales pitch and you promise to send a proposal?

Or you think you can’t close because you need to get prices? (Rookie Mistake 101)

Or you want to end on a good note, no ask an awkward question before you leave?

Not true….none of them.

What Do Great Sales Closing Questions Look Like?

Great question – thanks,  glad you asked (see what I did there?)

I like the direct approach, but here’s a stages approach for you.

Let’s look at trial close questions and then final close questions

Great Sales Closing Questions: Part 1: Trial Close Questions

You can put these into your own words or use verbatim, your call…

  1. What’s the best thing you’ve heard about our product/service today?
  2. What’s the worst?
  3. What were the highlights of our service as far as you’re concerned for your business?
  4. How as your perspective changed during our discussion in terms of how you might use this solution in your business?
  5. What’s the biggest take away from what we’ve discussed today?
  6. How do you see this working for your business?
  7. If you were to have to sum up the biggest benefits for your business in using this product/service, what would you say they would be?

See, all very conversational, all very open, no hidden agenda, just asking the buyer/prospect what his thoughts are…simple as.

These questions won’t even get you in trouble…

Yet, some sales people, still fail to ask these great sales closing questions.

Those sales people will fail for three reasons:

  1. They forget to listen to the very important information they get back from these questions…pure gold
  2. If they do listen, they listen with the intent to reply, when in fact much of what comes back will lead you to ask more questions to get to the granular detail
  3. They don’t follow up the trial close questions with final close questions…

Great Sales Closing Questions: Part 2: Final Close Questions

Straight to business, at this stage the prospect knows whey you’re sat there. He knows you’re not just there for coffee and a place to keep warm (right?!?)

Ask:

  1. So, from what we’ve discussed today, when shall I expect your order?
  2. Based on what we’ve discussed today, will you be giving us your business?
  3. Can you see any reason why you and I won’t be working together?

You can amend the language however you see fit, but I like this format.

Short questions, direct, no ambiguity.

And most importantly, they are so direct, you’ll give the buyer no time to scramble any creative story…you’ve more likely to get a truthful answer.

Yes or No…which is what you want.

A yes is great.

A no is not a disaster…you can start to re-qualify

Next Step

Hopefully you’ll try some of these out.

Trust me, sometimes buyers are left totally confused by many sales people who go through a great, detailed and considered sales pitch but fail to ask for the business.

Don’t be the Confusing Sales Person, the Sales Loser who could have been a Sales Closer. Had they just asked for the business…

When the worst that could happen is that you get an order, or you learn, where’s the bad news?

But you know what? 

There is a better way because it’s an easier way. A way to close sales that high performing sales professionals use all the time.

A way that means those high performers don’t rely on just those great sales closing questions.

Do you want to know what it is?

Just hit the link Tell Me What High Performing Sales People Do to Close More Sales

You can also sign up to The Advanced Business Achiever – weekly sales training directly in your inbox every week.

And, if you’re looking for some hard hitting B2B sales training – you can call or email – 0779 002 1885 or carol@mortonkyle.com to discuss our tailored sales training solutions

If you’re looking for a sales improvement and B2B sales training course to embed in your business, then check out TurboCharged Sales and The Sales Improvement Workshop.

Remember: Great Sales Closing Questions are the final push of the boulder you’re carried all the way up the mountain, don’t put in all that effort and let the boulder smash down the mountain when you’re so close to glory…just ask the tough questions!

 

Setting Appointments with Senior Decision Makers

Setting Appointments with Senior Decision Makers

Setting Appointments with Senior Decision Makers is tough. Tougher than it used to be.

Setting Appointments with Senior Decision Makers

20 years ago, on average, I’d speak to 30 decision makers a day. Get 5 appointments. Close 3 and pipeline 2 for next month.

Life was good. This kind of predictability worked.

Not so much today.

Today, working with sales teams across the UK, great B2B sales teams speaking to 20 top class decision makers a day is rare.

Possible but rare.

So when these sales professionals do get past all the many sales prevention hurdles, they know exactly what to do.

And what not to do.

After all, they typically have one throw at the dice when setting appointments with senior decision makers

Do’s and Don’t’s – Setting Appointments with Senior Decision Makers

Savvy sales pro’s know that they have about 15 seconds to grab attention – so they don’T waste that precious time asking how the prospect is feeling.

Instead they make an outrageous claim they can back up that does three things, it shocks the prospect into paying attention, it forces a curious reaction and the outrageous claim begs solves a huge buyer/prospect problem.

Bland does just doesn’t cut it.

The next thing they do….is to ask great questions. REALLY GREAT QUESTIONS.

Questions that challenge the buyer’s thinking. With questions that beg for bigger conversations. Questions that disrupt the buyer’s current understanding…

Of course, the savvy sales pro also knows how to listen.

Listen to what the buyer says, and what he doesn’t say.

When it’s a full throttle conversation. When the savvy sales pro has done everything they need to do (and if you’re wondering what that is – check out this guide – The Guide for Setting Appointments with Senior Decision Makers).

And when they can see a good fit, a need, budget, authority and pain, then the savvy sales pro bows out and gets busy setting appointments with senior decision makers.

They don’t talk themselves out of the opportunity by talking themselves out of the next sales step…

Setting Appointments with Senior Decision Makers – Common Lethal Faults

  • Being just like every other sales person that’s called today
  • Not challenging the buyers thinking
  • Addressing the same old problem in the same old way
  • Failing to educate, entertain and build curiosity
  • Failing to use the precious first 20 seconds
  • Talking more than listening
  • Mistaking a structured sales conversation with a focused goal with a lovely chat
  • Missing buying signals just because someone is being nice to you
  • Giving the prospect everything they need in the call
  • Not knowing when to ask for the appointment

What’s the difference?

Probably about 10 appointments per week.

10 appointments per week, per sales person, times 52….

You can do the sums.

Worth doing something about?

You can start by downloading your guide to Setting Appointments with Senior Decision Makers

Or you can call 0114 236 1221 or email carol@mortonkyle.com about comprehensive sales training courses specifically designed for front line sales and lead generation staff responsible for setting appointments with senior decision makers.

You can also sign up for our weekly free sales and business development newsletter.  The Advanced Business Achiever – perfect for daily sales huddles, sales coaching and weekly sales refreshers. You can get your free copy by hitting the link.

Remember: it all starts with that first call to generate that first appointment. So why not make sure your sales team, your lead generation team and your appointment setting team have the greatest chance of sales success – sign up for our sales training specifically for new business sales teams and sales hunters – Setting Appointments with Senior Decision Makers.

Why an Accurate Sales Forecast is the Key to Monthly Sales Success and Predictable Sales Growth

Why an Accurate Sales Forecast is the Key to Monthly Sales Success and Predictable Sales Growth

Any accurate sales forecast is a guaranteed gift towards your bank balance, your sanity, and your stress levels!

A truly accurate sales monthly forecast means you know where you’re going, and how you’ll get there. Easy sailing…

So why do so many sales people and business owners fail to use the monthly sale forecast to their advantage?

Accurate Sales Monthly Forecast – Urban Myth or Unicorn?

Most sales leaders I know like the idea of an accurate sales forecast, but genuinely doubt their team’s ability to deliver it.

And, by the end of the month, they’re just glad to have either a great sales month or a chance to do better next time!

But the truth is. you and I have all seen great sales monthly forecasts fall apart. We’ve seen them fall apart probably on more than one occasion. Often just one week before month end! That happens.

So, you might suspect that when you drop a prospect in the sales forecast that it’s a best guess…because that’s what lots of sales people do.

And that’s where it starts to go wrong. An accurate sales forecast is not a best guess.

It’s a document of record.

I guarantee if you start to think about it as such, you’ll find a huge difference in terms of you being able to predict your sales success. This means you’ll find it easier to hit your target and predict your sales growth…and take control of your earnings.

What Does an Accurate Sales Monthly Forecast Look Like?

Confirmed Order Details w Decision Maker Uncovered Specific Needs Solution Agreed Prices Agreed Budget Available Date to Sign Off Agreed Delivery Date Agreed Contract Sent Purchase Order Received Invoice Date Order Value
Acme Limited  √  √  √                
Jelly Bobble Inc  √  √  √  √  √  √    √      
APV Ltd  √  √  √  √  √  √  √        
dtx SA  √  √  √  √              

I like this format because it focuses the sales persons mind, and also, it’s easy to see the solidity of the deal at a glance.

I’m not only advocating this template as a formal document. I’ve seen it used very successfully as part of self management. It’s a great self reality check for how solid a deal is for both the sales person, the sales manager and the sales leadership function, but that’s not the most powerful part of this template.

By far the most valuable element is that it forces you, as the sales person, to ask those sales based questions that can often just pass the sales person by.

But, you see, it’s these very questions that make the difference between a sales forecast and an accurate sales forecast.

And that means the difference between solid stable growth, predictable sales performance and a stress free sales environment and a hand to mouth, peaks and troughs sales sea saw…so, which would you rather have?

Building an Accurate Sales Monthly Forecast = Asking Structured Questions

You might want to check out some of the recent BANT articles I’ve written here about how to qualify prospects.

Why Sales BANT is Not Enough and Has Anyone Seen My Buyer? 

These articles will give you a broader understanding of the value of asking those qualifying critical questions.

After all, and accurate sales monthly forecast is all based on how well you know the prospect. Based on how well you know the deal and how you’ve used your skill and sales questioning to ring fence the risks and deliver a sales order. A good accurate, stable sales monthly forecast means you’ve qualified the sales prospect well.

Good Quality Questions Create Accurate Sales Forecasts

Here are some of the key questions you might consider in qualifying your sales prospect and ensuring your sales plan comes good at the end of the month.

It’s important to look at the format, the detail and the accountability you are conferring to your prospect to work with you, honestly, openly and with a high level of transparency.

So following the template above, when you’re thinking about creating your accurate sales forecast it’s perfectly acceptable to ask and re confirm the following, through all the stages in the sales process:

  • You’re the person who will make the final decision on this? Who else needs to sign off on that decision? Who holds the budget for this purchase?  What part do they play in deciding who to buy from?
  • We agree that the costs associated with doing nothing provide a clear and definitive ROI using our solution/product/service?
  • That if, as discussed we provide you with the solution/product/service as discussed at $£X then you are happy to buy from my organisation?
  • And that budget is available now? /And that budget for this purchase will be signed off by dd/mm, so you can get delivery by dd/mm then we can agree I can go ahead and raise a contract so you can send me a purchase order by dd/mm…?
Accurate Sales Forecast – Why is this Important?

It’s important because you as the sales person gets to see where the variable or undecided factors are.

Otherwise you are a sales person operating in the dark. The sales person trying to read the mind of your sales prospect. There’s no certainty in that situation, for you or them.

Using these questions and the template above you know exactly how solid a prospect is. You’ll know what detail you need to chase down to convert a prospect to an order, also the sales prospect knows what they need to do if they want to buy your service.

What Else Contributes to Inaccurate/Accurate Sales Monthly Forecasts?

Think about these factors and reflect on the impact they could be having on your sales forecasting ability…

  1. Qualifying is not a one time event. Qualify and re-qualify as often as you need but especially when there are changes taking place. Be that shifts in time scales, new people entering the discussion, shifts in agenda etc
  2. Don’t rely on your sales CRM to forecast for you. In the main I’ve found sales CRM sales pipeline generation and management the cause of much distress and false hope. Use it, but have the reality check on high alert.
  3. Use your judgement. If a deal wobbles a few times, starts to drag, the prospect avoids your calls, then read the signs and re-assess, no real prospect is so busy they can’t stay in touch one way or another.
  4. Honestly is critical in your sales forecast. If you insist on fabricating, padding or listening to your ego, then you’ll find people losing faith in your pretty quickly. Your judgement is flawed and your word’s not to be trusted. That’s not a rep you want.
  5. You need to get smart about new business development. That way you’re not tempted to hang on to dead deals, and chasing prospects who’ve died on you.
  6. Accountability – state your numbers, commit your focus and own it. No shirking. Don’t be that sales guy!
  7. If things are going pear-shaped – go talk to someone. Don’t put your head in the sand…get a 2nd view and draw up an action plan. Don’t panic, or start discounting or give up…
Accurate Sales Forecast – Now Consider This

Dropping a prospect out of your sales pipeline is acceptable. It’s much better to do that than cloud a picture where you need absolute and razor sharp clarity.

You’ll find the clarity especially when it comes to working out your Sales Recipe

How to Generate an Accurate Sales Forecast
Gaining clarity in this area and generating an accurate sales forecast is the key to turbo charging your sales results and your sales bonus

If you can get clarity in this one area, you’ll find your ability to fully turbo charge your sales efforts, your sales results, and therefore your sales bonus!

So, in summary, an accurate sales forecast is neither an urban myth or a unicorn, but it is magical in terms of what it can mean for your business, your bonus and your sanity.

Happy Selling

Carol

carol@mortonkyle.com

0779 002 1885

P.S. Easy read sales and business development training tips directly into your inbox once per week. It’s all spam free. Great for you in house training, your sales coaching, daily sales huddles and business development drives. Register for your free subscription here – The Advanced Business Achiever

And if you’re looking for a way to quickly increase the chances of getting a great sales result at the end of the month – well this program takes just 21 days – try it – TurboCharged Sales 

If you need help with your monthly sales forecast and creating an accurate sales forecast, then check out The Sales Improvement Workshop

Why Sales BANT is Not Enough

Why Sales BANT is Not Enough

What is Sales BANT?

BANT is covered in almost every article on how to close good quality sales, appointments, demonstrations, meetings.

For those that haven’t come across it before here’s the basic premise – the person you’re engaging in the sales process needs to be qualified against the following profile

Budget – are they the budget holder? Is the budget available for this purchase providing the solution satisfied the need?

Authority – does this person have the authority to make the decision to buy? r are they a referrer, or person of influence?

Need – is there a need for what you are selling? Has this need been sufficiently quantified as being big enough to justify an investment

Timing – has the timing been agreed? Providing the solution is suitable to satisfy the need, has the sign date been agreed?

A typical BANT usage might be something like this…

Ok, Mr Buyer, just so I get some insight into how we’ll proceed can I just ask you, have you already got budget signed off for this purchase or does it need to go to the board? (Budget)

Great, and will it be your decision alone as to buy from me, or will you be making broader recommendations to the board? (Authoity)

Ok, understand, we’ve agreed that our solution can deliver what you need in terms of X, Y, Z, we agreed those are the critical and crucial criteria for you going ahead, and that our solution will alleviate the issues we’ve identified in X, Y, Z? (Need)

Excellent, and further to (the next action) you’ll be able to send the purchase order number across so we can get delivery for the week after next. (Timing)

Excellent thank you.

Obviously, this is a top line BANT summary. I encourage sales professionals to use BANT all though the sales process.

We cover it in more detail in all of our sales training courses and sales coaching programs. You can contact me for more details on carol@mortonkyle.complus it’s a subject we regularly reference in The Advanced Business Achiever – just hit the link for your free copy

Magnify the Power of Sales BANT

BANT is only part of the story. It’s an important part. However, on it’s own the power of BANT is very restricted, it’s a shout into the wilderness. It’s one hand clapping.

Very simply, BANT tells you that you are in the right position(or not) and you’re talking to the right person (or not) and you have some steer on the buying/decision making process. This is really important when you’re chasing quotes, really important. Ask anyone who has been randomly chasing the prospect who disappears once the quote has been sent. Hit this link  Anyone Seen My Buyer? – if you want to have buyers chasing you to buy from you

So how do you really amp the power of BANT?

You do this…

You combine BANT with Sales ROI (for more details on Sales ROI just hit this link to discover how High Performing Sales people work Sales ROI)

How to Combine Sales BANT and Sales ROI

Concentrating just on the Needs section in BANT.

Need is the most powerful motivator for change. Whether that’s to amend behaviours, persuade someone to buy a product/service or simply make different choices…

Those decisions are all driven by need. The bigger the need, the faster, easier, more compliant the buyer will be during the buying process

So, if you can create a powerful enough need with your buyer, then you have a huge motivator to use with your buyer to help them select to take action. To take action fast. That makes a big difference, especially if you’re working in a highly competitive space (and who isn’t working in a competitive market?)

8 Key Ways to Increase the NEED Factor in BANT Using Sales ROI

  • Fully explore the current ‘pain’ points associated with the current solution
  • Explore what those pain points have cost the buyer in the past
  • Extrapolate, realistically, what those pain points could cost the buyer in the future if nothing changes (this is the cost of doing nothing)
  • Remember that the pain could be pain other than financial. It could be stress, loss of clients, brand damage, reputation, ill will among colleagues who have to pick up and solve the same problems again and again or failure to comply with authority etc
  • Once you’ve fully explored the past and future costs, add them together…that can be quite the motivator in itself!!
  • Next, look at some blue sky thinking. Note – you’d be totally weakening your NEED factor if you look at the blue sky scenario building before exploring the pain, since people will typically do more to escape pain than seek pleasure.
  • Knowing the Pain/Pleasure Principle, check out some what if questions…what would it mean to your business if you could do X? What would it mean if you never had to deal with that again? How would you feel if you could illuminate that issue all together? What would that mean to your bottom line? What would that mean to your work relations? Your client relations? Whatever is relevant…
  • Next, go back to the pain position and summarise the cost of doing nothing.

So, when you come to ask your Need based questions in BANT, they might sound something like this…

Ok, understand, we’ve agreed that our solution can deliver what you need in terms of increasing your brand reputation with your customers after some of the issues you’ve had before, will allow you to have total confidence in the promises you make to your customers, and will really improve the relationships in the warehouse and customer service teams since they won’t be taking as many complaint calls… we agreed those are the critical and crucial criteria for you going ahead, and that our solution will alleviate the issues we’ve identified in losing the X account at Xmillion per yr, losing part of the Y contract at Y million per yr and having the Z tender going back out to review? 

See how powerful that statement is now you’ve fully quantified the prospects position if they do nothing?

(As a separate aside, just consider how easy it is to chase a quote once you’ve identified this level of need!)

Why Does Using Sales ROI with BANT Help You?

Because using one without the other is just one hand clapping. You’re going through the motions but nothings really happening, compared to what could be happening!

If you’ve gone to the trouble of speaking with the key decision maker, then the next task is to motivate them to take action. BECAUSE motivated buyers take action, they take action quickly, and they see value (which helps you protect your margins)

Some people might call it persuasion, and that’s ok, but either way, think of it as making it easy for the prospect to say yes! Making it easy for the prospect to make a decision. Making it even easier for the prospect to make a fast decision (because that means your competitor can’t sneak in at that last minute!)

That way you’ll be creating a real no-brainer sales proposition…and let’s face it, who says no to the no-brainer proposition?

What’s Next?

Try it out.

You’ll wonder how you ever closed without it. You’ll also start to understand why some of your sales didn’t close when/how they should.

Happy Selling…enjoy!

Carol

0779 002 1885

carol@mortonkyle.com

P.S. If you want to get sales and business development insights into your inbox weekly. Stuff like this to help you with your sales pitch, maybe sales coaching, daily sales huddle or sales meetings. Sign up here for The Advanced Business Achiever – totally free (and SPAM free). Give it a try, you’ll definitely get some benefit. It’s a nice little fast read digest of hints and tips to help improve sales results and sales performance…

P.P.S. Check out more Free Sales Improvement Guides here – free and instant downloads

 

 

 

High Quality Sales Appointments | Fill Your Sales Diary with High Quality, Qualified Prospects

High Quality Sales Appointments | Fill Your Sales Diary with High Quality, Qualified Prospects

Sales Appointment Setting 

Sales appointment setting is where the magic starts – lots of high quality  and well qualified sales appointments means there is a steady stream of sales opportunities to convert into orders and invoices.

A full diary means plenty of opportunities, and is a key leading factor in predicting sales success.

A half empty sales diary is just that little bit more stressful. In fact, I’d take it as a flashing red light that something needs to change.

But, consistently filling the sales diary full of high quality, well qualified sales opportunities on a regular basis is a major challenge for many sales teams.

Some sales teams can fill the diary ok, but the quality is so-so.

Often sales teams suffer from high cancellation rates.

And some sales people just struggle to hit the that critical mass of quantity of appointments they really need for a great sales pipeline.

So, whatever kind of sales appointment setting nightmare you’re suffering from, help is here, because in just 1 day I can show you how to really boost the quality and quantity of sales appointments in your sales diary.

Because – the truth is – a hot sales diary means a productive sales pipeline….means more invoices!

High Performance Sales Appointment Setting – Creating High Quality Sales Opportunities

As an appointment setter/business generator in any organisation it all starts with you.

You open the door, you qualify the prospect, you assess their potential value, you tailor your activity to give a healthy mix of long term prospects and short term wins, you push over walls and barriers to set up the opportunities.

This  sales appointment course is ideal for you if you are looking for ways to increase your effectiveness by adopting simple methodologies that will yield an increased conversion rate of quality opportunities and fewer cancellations.

Disocver how you can get more from your contacts, reaching higher level decision maker contacts, with potentially higher level requirements, using enhanced telephone profiling and needs driven questioning.

Using these developed sales appointment setting skills you’ll effectively and efficiently boost your pipeline with good quality prospects. Delivering better quality appointments and more of them.

What’s Covered?

You’ll develop your thinking around:

  • The Profile of a Perfect Prospect
  • The Psychology of Buying
  • Pre-Call Preparation to Lower Defences
  • Creating Confidence, Credibility and Curiosity
  • What Are You Selling?
  • What Are They Buying?
  • Getting to Yes
  • How to Qualify the Prospect in Call
  • Becoming an Industry Consultant
  • 6 Stages of Qualification
  • 6 Key Objection Handling Techniques
  • Trial Closing and Testing Commitment
  • Minimising Cancellations

Sales Appointment Setting – Course Outcomes

At the end of the course you can go back to your desk focused, motivated and with the skill set to book high quality appointments whenever you want.

You’ll be able to:

  • Negotiate gatekeepers professionally.
  • Present yourself as an industry consultant and not ‘just the appointment setter’.
  • Engage in a well constructed conversation rather than a sales pitch.
  • Quickly establish the needs of the buyer.
  • Fine tune your sales message depending on the buyers needs.
  • Test their commitment to addressing their needs.
  • Use trial closes to build commitment.
  • Identify and create buying signals to validate commitment on key criteria.
  • Gain referrals, even when no appointment is made.
  • Successfully remove or minimise any objections.
  • Use the weaknesses of the competition to capitalise on your company strengths.
  • Minimise no shows.
  • Fill the pipeline with good quality sales opportunities.
Sales Appointment Setting Training – Course Duration

Fully bespoke to your business, your current hurdles and your current objections.

This is the fastest way to improve your sales appointment setting and see an increase in the high quality sales opportunities dropping into the sales pipeline.

Sales Appointment Setting – Fees

This program is delivered on an in house, totally bespoke basis – call to check availability and rates.

You can also check this out – Discover How to Generate High Quality Sales Appointments and to Fill Your Sales Diary.  It’s a very quick read guide to accelerate your sales appointment setting and improve both the quality and quantity of those all important sales leads.

Carol 

0779 002 1885 

carol@mortonkyle.com

P.S. to receive sales improvement and business development insights into your inbox every week which is perfect for sales training sessions, sales coaching and daily sales team briefs, then register here for your free subscription to the Advanced Business Achiever

AND…if you’re looking for an in house Sales Training and Sales Improvement course, then check out TurboCharged Sales

Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels

Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels

Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels…

Building highly qualified sales funnels is the single most important task in building any growth model, scaling your sales team, and therefor, building your business.

Anything else is just risky, costly, as well as unpredictable.

Is that what you want?

So…

How Would You Describe the Health of your Sales Funnel?

Spot on…it’s my guiding business tool?

Getting there – still some lingering prospects in there but they’ll be sorted soon?

It works on paper but it’s not producing the sales results I want?

The metrics are there but I don’t know what to do about improving them?

What sales funnel?

Or any variation of the above!

Why Should I Even Bother Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels?

This is something I typically hear from people, sales leaders, business owners who have never known the absolute joy and certainty of having a smooth-running sales funnel, producing, managing and closing highly qualified sales leads, as often as they need, with the margin they need, at the frequency they need.

And that’s ok.

Trust me when I tell you I’ve seen all sorts of sales funnels. The great news is once you’ve got a working sales funnel…it’s like having your own ATM machine where you hit and it pumps out cash.

There’s a degree of certainty about the results it produces, what part your sales function needs to play, you can tell the marketing team what they need to produce in detail, account management becomes a breeze and the money keeps rolling in.

As long as you don’t get lazy, complacent and comfortable…you’ll only have to set your sales funnel up once then refine it until it becomes the highly qualified sales funnel you and your business needs.

Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels – What Does That Mean?

Well, first of all, lets look at what a Sales Funnel is.

A sales funnel houses your sales process.

At the top of your sales funnel you have a wide entry – this is where the sales prospect is first identified as a potential target, worthy of engagement and spend, so it might be a list purchased against strict criteria, it might be twitter followers, LinkedIn contacts….

This follows though, post a level of suitable marketing activity, then the prospect acknowledges they have ‘seen’ you.

A prospect at this stage has migrated from the marketing stage of the sales funnel to a more directed stage in the funnel, it may be someone who has downloaded your white paper or your lead magnet. It might be someone who’s contacted you for further information, asked for details or spoken with you proactively via some form of social media.

The key to all this is the vital work QUALIFIED Sales Funnel. If you want to get your prospects in to this stage of your sales funnel and you want to watch what they do and how they interact with your business then check this out

Anyway, back to the structure…Rubbish in the top…rubbish quality or no business out the other end…you look busy BUT nothing’s happening.

This is why having strict go/no-go criteria about what level and type of prospect enters the top of the sales funnel is key. Too broad is as bad as too skinny. Likewise you’ll need some go/no go criteria at every stage if you want your sales funnel to stay healthy and producing

So, potential prospect enters at the top and as the sales process progresses, with very tight go/no-go criteria at each stage, so the funnel gets more selective regarding the quality of the prospects it lets through.

There is a go/no go set of criteria here at the top of this page – you’re version might look different.

What Building Highly Qualified Sales Funnels Means for Your Business

Each one of these stages in the sales funnel has a metric. For example:

How many prospects passed from one level to the next? Higher than expected? Lower?

Why did you reject? What are the remedial actions at this stage that could convert a dead prospect to a live prospect again?

Knowing your metrics at each stage and your conversion options at this stage has many huge benefits:

Lost business is minimised – this can save you fortunes, and keep your competitors running hard

You are able to act in a timely manner to any deal that’s falling off the expected path

For more insights into what metrics to use – you can start by downloading – 7 Sales Metrics To Measure, Manage and Monitor

Sales Forecasting Using Highly Qualified Sales Funnels

You can identify weeks, months, maybe even years (depending on the sales cycle duration) what your sales figures will be…which means you can make corrective action to boost sales when you still have the time.

You will be able to continuously monitor the quality, profit, value of the business you’re chasing

No deal falls through the net

In fact, a strategic and robust highly qualified sales funnel answers all the management information questions you need to run your sales function like clockwork…of course you need a motivated sales team who honestly report activity and a sales methodology that’s robust enough to train sales teams to ask the tough questions, and this is where having the go/no-go gates really pays dividends.

Types of Sales Funnels

Building high quality sales funnels is not always a one off…in some instances you’ll need a sales funnel for different products and services because the sales process for those products and services is different.

This is where it’s worth considering how you are selling each of your products and services – some sales funnels maybe based on different sales methods – some of your products/services may respond better to Challenger sales methods, some will be SPIN based, some more strategically focused and often sales funnels need to be tailored to encompass various methodologies at different stages.

Note: this is reflected in the sales structure of the pitch, the reporting metrics and the no/no-go gates.

The Single Most Common Flaw with Building High Quality Sales Funnels Today…

Is this; firms forget that even though it’s called a sales funnel. It’s actually a Sales and Marketing Funnel!

If you start building your high quality sales funnels at the point where the sales process formally starts, you’re actually starting it half way through the process…and missing a vital, key stage in the sales funnel.

Other common flaws are:

  • Over filling the sales funnel
  • Not being quick enough to cut away or spend time re-qualifying prospects that have stalled
  • Using discounting to attempt to flush solid sales prospects through the sales funnel at a faster rate
  • Not focusing enough on filling the top of the sales funnel
  • Putting any sales prospect in there, rather than focusing on high quality

If you’re looking to at how you should be building highly qualified sales funnels in your business, you can call for a confidential chat 0779 002 1885

Alternatively, if you are looking for some insight into how your current sales funnel could be improved to further improve the sales results of you business, you can book your Sales Audit and get the results back within 10 days. Find out more here – Sales Insight and Fast Action Pack

Happy Selling

Carol

0779 002 1885

carol@mortonkyle.com

p.s. One of the other real benefits of a highly qualified sales funnel is that it makes recruitment of sales people and onboarding a breeze…call me to find out more