Selling tools

Please stop selling me! Can't we just talk?

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I answered the phone. The salesman was a little nervous. “I’m new at this,” he said, as I corrected the way he said my first name. I wasn’t bothered by him not pronouncing my name correctly, although it’s usually the last name that people butcher. 

How to manage salespeople

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Successful sales management requires a certain kind of discipline that is very, very difficult when you're also running the company, trying to do marketing, managing product creation, dealing with government regulations, and so on. However, like anything else, it has to be done - and done right - in order for the company to run smoothly.

Here's what has to happen.

1) A daily sales meeting - with everyone - for about 15 minutes. That's all. You can even hold the meeting standing up - which guarantees that it won't go over the 15 minutes. It's very important to keep this meeting short, because otherwise you won't do it every day. It will be too time-consuming.

Is "selling" obsolete?

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Back when most people lived on farms, there were "snake oil salesmen," who came around to tell residents, one by one, about a cure-all elixir. The salesperson had to be very convincing, and sell as many people as possible in a short time, because the stuff didn't actually work. He had to be in the next town before the people in the previous town discovered the truth.

Fast forward to when people moved to the cities. Buyers saw ads, and then used any means they could to determine if a product was right for them. They would visit a store, call a salesperson, get a brochure, read an article in a "consumer reports" magazine, and so on. The salesperson, and the company's ability to get covered by the press, played a large role in the completion of the sale.

Are your marketers using yesterday's methods on today's customers?

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It took a while before the Web really changed the way people bought things, but it has happened. Now people go to the Web first and research the heck out of a subject before they buy.

They scrutinize, analyze, and agonize. They Google and re-Google, fine-tuning their search term until they start getting the desired results. They know exactly what they want and they keep searching until they finally find it, then compare their options, read the reviews, and consider the price and the functions. Once they are satisfied they have found the right product and are comfortable with the company selling it, they place an order.

Miss the signal, lose the sale

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A group of consultants are in a conference room, pitching a new client. One of the consultants is making the pitch. We'll call him the salesperson.

So far, the client has been alert, sitting up straight, listening, eyes fixed on the presentation being displayed in the conference room. Then the salesperson says something that disturbs the client, and the client shifts in his chair. His brows furrow a little. His eyes are no longer open wide, but squinting slightly. His hand comes up to the front of his face, palm on his chin, fingers over his lips.

The client has just sent a signal to the presenter. It is an unmistakable signal, if the presenter is properly attuned to body language. The signal says, "Hmmm. Wait a minute. This doesn't sit well with me."


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