sales

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A Midsummer Night’s Sales Dream

Friday, 27 January 2017 05:06
27 01, 2017

A Midsummer Night’s Sales Dream

2017-02-25T12:39:28+00:00

Nick is an enterprise sales guy, married to Helena, a clinical psychologist.

It is a Thursday, 5.13 am at their house, 14 Theseus Court in the heart of a suburb with 15 organic coffee shops.

Nick wakes up screaming.

Helena: Hey, hey, hey…what’s wrong with you…it’s still early.

Nick: I had a shocking dream…did you turn the air-con off?…it’s 38 degrees.

Helena: I was cold…so, come on, you know I love a good nightmare…what happened?

Nick: I was meeting with a CEO and it was just me and him in a really small office and I couldn’t shut up. I just kept talking and pitching idea after idea and sharing all the new product updates. It went on for what seemed like hours.

Helena: So, what did he do?

Nick: He said I was very knowledgeable and that he was very interested….and then he rang me straight after this ridiculously long meeting and told me he was giving the business to another company whose Sales Director was a mute.

Helena: A mute?… as in couldn’t speak?

Nick: Yeah, apparently he had his tongue cut out by his first boss after talking too much in his initial calls with clients….it was awful.

Helena: Then what happened?

Nick: The CEO said ‘But I want you to come back tomorrow for a de-brief’….I did and we walked into an even smaller room and he said ‘Watch this!’

Helena: Watch what?

Nick: He made me sit through 325,000 slides, the same number as my monthly target, going on about the history of his company and all their divisions and departments. It was excruciating. When I got home you greeted me with a Zimmer frame and said ‘Well, aren’t you going to give me a kiss for my hundredth birthday?’

Helena: How’d I look?

Nick: Like your mother…only with no teeth.

Helena: Charming! So do you want me to unravel the dream for you?

Nick: I suppose it’s just the constant feed of how not to sell on LinkedIn, which I already know anyway… and that leftover goat’s cheese from last night.

Helena: Not quite, Nick. It’s actually a bit deeper than that.

You do indeed know how to have a conversation with senior executives, listen and let the discussion unfold… that’s why you’ve been successful…plus you’ve picked up all of my clinical psychology techniques that encourage people to reveal themselves.

But recently, you’ve been inundated with mixed messages from Head Office. You had the Regional Sales Kick-Off with a whole day of product updates and the cult-like fervour of what you should now be pitching with the new system. You then had the divisional off-site function where the product gurus pummelled you with even more slides and a director who told you and the team to lead all calls with the new presentation.

It’s called cognitive dissonance – the disconnect between your attitude and your behaviour. Your dream simply highlights that you have a choice to make. Be true to yourself in the brilliantly conversational way you engage clients or become some weird hybrid that flips between what you do well and the information dumping approach to which you’ve been exposed.

I guess, your dream is telling you to choose.

Nick: Thanks, honey…don’t worry, I’ve made my choice. I know who I am and what works.

You know we still have an hour before we have to get up…cuddle?

Helena: It’s too hot.

Elliot Epstein is a leading Sales Expert, Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Corporate Trainer who gets sales results rapidly and is the author of #1 International Best Seller, ‘Confessions of a Pitch Consultant’

Also available in hard copy for $15 +P&H…just DM or email here.

He has coached and trained high profile executives globally in master level presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching and has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, EMC, Hitachi , Computershare, Lend Lease and Asciano.

This article first appeared in Linkedin Pulse.

Published in   Blog, Executive Level Selling

Holiday Sales Reading Guide

Sunday, 11 December 2016 06:56
11 12, 2016

Holiday Sales Reading Guide

2017-02-25T12:39:28+00:00

books-bookshelf

Like the wafting smell of a barbecue at your neighbour’s house, you can sense the holiday season is not far away.

Many people ask me ‘What’s a good book to read over the break on selling or negotiating or presenting?’

Usually, the response is ‘Give it a rest, go sit on a beach or read something else like the fascinating ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ or a dark Danish crime thriller’.

However, if you are keen to keep the business brain cells alive after they’ve been bashed by food, wine and New Year’s Eve, here is my holiday sales reading guide for you to check out.

Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini. His long awaited sequel to the seminal Influence is a great read on what to do before traditional persuasion takes place.

To Sell is Human by Dan Pink, This #1 New York Times Business Best Seller is still excellent reading for technical sales, pre-sales, project managers as well as sales managers that reinforces many of the key points of engaging people.

The Go-Giver (Expanded Edition) by Bob Burg and John David Mann is a lovely parable worth reading after a massage on the beach with an espresso martini. It might even re-frame your thoughts after a year of global division.

Negotiating the Impossible by Deepak Malhotra has some great stories if you anticipate coming back to work facing contract renewals or tough negotiation situations.

3-D Negotiation by Lax and Sebenius is also a significant tome on fresh ways to grow the pie so that both parties can get more than they might have imagined.

Slide-ology by Nancy Duarte has some clearly articulated ideas on how to make your presentations look and feel great for all audiences.

Storytelling with data by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic is even more focused on how pre-sales and technical sales people can present data without making the client feel that they’re listening to their drunk Uncle at Christmas re-telling the same boring stories about fly-fishing in the 1960’s.

Story Theater Method – Strategic Storytelling in Business by Doug Stevenson contains the seven stories we all need to tell in business and how to tell them.

Finally, click here for ‘Confessions of a Pitch Consultant’ which gets a favourable rating here because I wrote it.

Now a #1 International Best Seller these sales stories are perfect for a poolside beer or champagne, served with mini-burgers. Just a thought.

Also available in hard copy for $15 +P&H…just DM or email me.

Have a safe, happy, well rested and well read holiday season

Elliot

Elliot Epstein is a leading Sales Expert, Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Corporate Trainer who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, EMC, Hitachi , Computershare, Lend Lease and Asciano.

More wins,  better deals at www.salesversusprocurement.com

 

Published in   Executive Level Selling, Negotiation, Presentations

Bad Sales

Saturday, 27 August 2016 06:22
27 08, 2016

Bad Sales

2017-03-23T23:41:06+00:00

There’s a whole genre of Bad movies such as Bad Santa, Bad Grandpa, Bad Teacher, Bad Neighbours and the most recent, Bad Moms ( genuinely funny!).

The premises vary ranging from absurd stupidity to hilariously heartwarming, but one of the keys to their box office success (collectively over $1 Billion) is that people relate to the stereotype being broken.

We don’t see ourselves as robotic stereotypes and whilst people often crave acceptance from their peers or managers, it is not sought at the expense of losing intrinsic individuality.

One of the greatest advantages of selling or consulting is to engage authentically and frequently with other Homo sapiens.

However the trend towards homogenised sales approaches, skills, account plans, recruitment and training is getting worse, not better.

Recently I have conducted five different executive level selling programs and one of my longstanding themes of ‘It’s OK to be yourself, rather than being a life support system for a sales methodology’ has never resonated so strongly.

After all, you got the job for a reason.

The look of relief, liberation and transformation is palpable as professional sales people discover that the person they are with friends and family is the same person they can be with clients.

The only change is a business context.

The meth (odology) pushers are still selling dangerous pills that destroy creativity, ingenuity, individuality and ultimately confidence.

Sales managers reach for more pills to give sales people in an effort to produce results. Sales Steroids are legal though and many are subjected to three and four day regimes to be indoctrinated in the latest Sales meth lab.

Unsurprisingly, sales people come out of these labs slightly giddy, heads spinning, temporarily euphoric, only to crash in front of real clients when the alignment of the methodology to their individuality is about as neat as Trump’s hair in a tornado.

We need a WADA – an anti-doping program to stop turning wonderfully imperfect, highly competent, individual, introvert, extrovert, ambivert sales people into dopes.

We need to coach, mindful of the individual preferences of real people who deal with real clients.

Standardisation is lazy. It’s like emailing sales teams with this week’s key sales messages instead of discussing it with them.

It’s not 1977 where we only had two flavours of yoghurt. One size fits all sales processes leave a chunk of people wearing ill-fitting suits in front of clients.

Those clients can tell and that’s the bottom line. They’re subjected to sales meth addicts daily and they can see exactly what you’re doing Spinning, Challenging or Snapping to try and lead them to buy your widgets.

They’re over it.

They want more.

They want the real you.

As Nietzsche said “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist”

If you’d like to know more about we can help you unlearn your way to authentic sales results, email me directly elliote@salientcommunication.com.au

Elliot Epstein is a leading Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Corporate trainer who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi, Lend Lease and EMC.

He is internationally renowned for ensuring sessions are engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.

Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two individual children.

www.salientcommunication.com.au

www.salesversusprocurement.com

Published in   Executive Level Selling

The Greatest Decision Maker of All Time

Thursday, 04 August 2016 04:58
4 08, 2016

The Greatest Decision Maker of All Time

2017-03-23T23:39:56+00:00

James was sitting in the coffee shop with his sales manager, Sophie preparing for their meeting upstairs on Level 31.

Sophie: ‘Today, I’m going to introduce you to the greatest decision maker of all time’

James: ‘What, Donald Trump?’

Sophie: ‘Funny….You really should read material that contains more than cartoons and coloring pages’

James: ‘Don’t worry, I read Harvard, AFR and subscribe to a bunch of sales blogs… I know the latest trends in selling, LinkedIn, ROI analysis, client personality styles…remember that offsite with the weird facilitator in the orange socks that kept categorising us as blue sheep or green dogs or something. He suggested pigeon-holing all of our clients as if they were one dimensional…then we all got pissed’.

Sophie: ‘I remember the bar bill very well…now to today. We’re meeting Mr Selfin Terest, Intergalactic Head of Global Infrastructure and Resources’.

James: ‘Wow….the big cheese….Selfin?…isn’t he Scandinavian or Belgian or something?

Sophie: ‘Dutch’

James: ‘Well, as Nigel Powers famously said ‘There’s only two things I hate. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch’.

Sophie: ‘Concentrate, will you?….Selfin has your proposal and he has agreed to discuss it with us now’.

Level 31 (After pleasantries and stale water is served)

Selfin: ‘Let me be really honest with you…when we first came to see you, we asked for a solution that was innovative and cost effective that gave us an edge over our competitors’.

Frankly, whilst the ideas you’ve put forward have lots of potential, we can’t see the payoff for at least three years’

James: ‘Yes, that’s the ROI we discussed at the start based on justifying the investment and….

Sophie: ‘Let Mr Terest finish please James’.

Selfin: ‘We’ve chosen a less expensive solution that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but certainly plugs a hole for the next 12 months. Rest assured, we’re happy to revisit it then and thanks so much for all your time and effort… I’m sure it won’t be wasted for other bids you have’

Back in the coffee shop

James: ‘I don’t get it. We put months into this, it covered their projected growth over three years and gave them a chance to get ahead of their competitors.

Sophie: ’ Yes, James …but there’s one thing you didn’t uncover….Selfin is moving back to the Netherlands next month and he doesn’t believe his team here is capable of such a transition, regardless of the merits of the solution. The last thing he wants is to be jumping on planes to sort out a new implementation that he is still accountable for in his global role out of Amsterdam’.

James: ‘How the hell do you know all that?’

Sophie: ‘ While you were working on the proposal I was working on Selfin and questioning his every move, pattern of decision making, career objectives and immediate goals. That’s how I found out about his family’s decision to move back. We both know how underqualified his team are, so I knew we were dead in the water with our so-called ‘innovative solution’. I didn’t tell you because I wanted you to go through it yourself…and besides, I’ve sandbagged another deal for you anyway’.

James: ‘Bloody Selfin Terest’

Sophie: ‘Exactly, James – the greatest decision maker of all time’

James: ‘Thanks Sophie …anyway, good news is there’s a PokeStop at this café and I think there’s a Pikachu nearby’.

Elliot Epstein is a leading Sales Expert, Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Corporate Trainer who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Computershare, Lend Lease and Asciano.

He is internationally renowned for ensuring sessions are fresh, engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.

E: elliote@salientcommunication.com.au

www.salesversusprocurement.com

Published in   Executive Level Selling

The Scary Sixth Sense of Selling

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 05:48
12 01, 2016

The Scary Sixth Sense of Selling

2017-02-25T12:39:29+00:00

It’s been over 15 years since Bruce Willis walked around in The Sixth Sense not realising he was already dead. (Apologies to anyone under 25 who may not have seen one of the most famous twists in movie history).

In that time, an eerie sixth sense has developed.

‘I see dead deals…’

Deals that have all the persuasion of a local government councillor discussing bin night, deals that involve an audience as big as Carols by Candlelight but not the real decision maker and deals that are really exciting for the seller but are on par with cleaning the oven for the client.

But, one of the key reasons for new business dropping off like the Aussie Dollar is related to another sense.

It’s not taste, sight, hearing, smell or touch.

It’s the sense ….of entitlement.

Despite 400 Petabytes of data being written about how true persuasion puts the client at the centre of the call, there are still a lot of people who feel entitled to drive, pitch and talk a lot in client meetings.

It’s not about you. Get over it. Sell your ego on eBay while it’s still got currency.

Here’s a true story that crossed my desk (everyone says that – nothing actually crosses my desk except coffee stains).

It happened a few weeks ago on Remembrance Day – November 11.

A client in the middle of a 10.30 meeting with a potential supplier mentioned that he had family ties back to World War One and would like to observe a minute’s silence at 11.00 am to remember the fallen who had fought for our country.

At precisely 11.00 am they stopped talking, bowed their heads slightly and remained silent.

As the client’s head came up a minute later, our intrepid sales guy said ‘So, given you’ve had time to reflect for a bit just now, did you think about the proposal we were discussing?’

I believe that guy is now working for NASA circumnavigating Pluto without a space suit… or shuttle.

The initial reaction to such insensitive crappery is to laugh it off with incredulity and a side order of ‘What a moron’.

But hang on a second….

How did it even occur to him that his proposal was the central theme of the meeting?

Perhaps, because he felt he was entitled. After all the client agreed to meet him.

Granted, this idiot is off the scale but how many of us are keen to steer the conversation back to our company, our proposal, our story, regardless of what the client says.

We are all taught and told to listen to the point where the word itself sounds trite and there are eye-rolling sighs of ‘Yeah, yeah…listen to the client’s needs and then find something of value back- Wow, you’re a guru, Elliot, what an original concept’.

But time after time we don’t, because:

  • We’re keen to get our own three messages across
  • We think we’ve only got one meeting to tell them everything
  • We don’t like what the client is saying
  • We were taught to look for buying signals and jump in at the first opportunity to present our ideas
  • We want to qualify them and ask them our prescriptive questions.
  • We’ve got budget to get and I need to talk to tell the client what I want him/her to buy

We are not entitled to NOT listen.

Deeply, conversationally, with empathy, with pauses, with care and without an agenda

.I see people on 240% of budget because they genuinely listen to everything the client says, every single time.

I see dead deals because the client doesn’t feel heard.

Elliot Epstein is a leading Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Sales Expert and Corporate Trainer who gets results rapidly through innovative sales training.

  He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presentation skills, selling, negotiation skills and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Computershare and Lend Lease.

 He is internationally renowned for ensuring sessions are engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.

 Elliot is based in Melbourne where he listens to his wife and two children

 

E: elliote@salientcommunication.com.au

www.salientcommunication.com.au

www.salesversusprocurement.com

Published in   Executive Level Selling

Sales Gain from Jarryd Hayne

Sunday, 06 September 2015 11:50
6 09, 2015

Sales Gain from Jarryd Hayne

2017-02-25T12:39:29+00:00

Many people have both succeeded and failed at reinvention.

Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten have unsuccessfully tried to morph into leaders.

Bruce Jenner successfully transitioned into Caitlyn Jenner.

Now, Jarryd Hayne has achieved success with his monumental reinvention from Rugby League to American Football (NFL).

But in our wonderful world of business development the opportunities for reinvention are taken about as often as Donald Trump’s Mastering Humility Classes.

There are three key areas from which we could gain a lot of revenue and growth.

1. Stop controlling the sale

Controlling the sale was invented by a bunch of narcissists and perfectionists around the time your grandfather was receiving corporal punishment for not completing his cursive writing correctly.

‘Tell the client this, steer them here, deliver these three key messages, ask a few questions, then qualify them hard, ask for the order, overcome their objections, did I mention three key messages yet and make sure it’s in the system by Friday or the CRM fairy will visit you at midnight and sprinkle soot in your mouth’.

The only people who want to be controlled are paid up members of Masochists Anonymous and British Tory MPs.

Nobody else wants to be steered and controlled, least of all by a person with the title of BDM, Sales Manager, Account Director or even Intergalactic Head of Sales.

How about we just have a professional business conversation with all its imperfections and see where it goes.

2. Role Blindness

Apparently we can’t promote or hire Stacey or Ashley because they haven’t specifically sold 4mm elongated grey gronks and flanks to enterprise level clients, especially in Financial services on Wednesdays.

I’ve seen 23 year olds and 53 year olds with a huge variety of skills and experience being overlooked for sales roles because they didn’t meet perceived exacting criteria – the same criteria that has led to stagnant growth for the past two years.

The next comment is ‘ Why can’t we find good people and get some fresh thinking in here’

Er..perhaps you need to hire, promote and train them to find out.

3. Selling to the same people the same way

 OK, so you’ve sold your widget to a particular industry and they like it so you decide to target more clients in that industry.

By all means, go your hardest and you’ll probably win some new deals.

But what if the rectum falls out of that industry (see Mining) or the sales cycle ends up being longer than the US Primaries.

There are loads of new opportunities out there like:

  • Go Direct/Channel or vice versa
  • If you’re SMB focused, try Enterprise and vice versa
  • Change the mix of your solutions so it appeals to different markets
  • Change the inside sales/field sales model
  • Change your suppliers/vendors/channel partners – you’re not married to them and divorce is legal anyway

Rather than deciding for yourself who your clients should be, ask one important question ‘Who needs you right now’ Go there first.

Jarryd Hayne threw away a million dollar NRL contract to pursue a career that had a greater chance of failure than success.

You don’t have to have the same appetite for risk but take a look at what you could change as to what you sell, who sells it and who buys it.

It’s not that scary, the rewards are huge and anyway helmets are available on eBay.

Elliot Epstein is a leading Sales Expert, Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Computershare and CUB.

He is internationally renowned for ensuring sessions are creative, engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets. 

Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and children who are subjected to reading this blog before you.

Published in   Executive Level Selling

Selling In An Australian Voice

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 05:43
28 07, 2015

Selling In An Australian Voice

2017-02-25T12:39:29+00:00

For a hard-working, resilient, fun-loving nation we Aussies have not exactly led the world in innovation.

Yes…we have pockets of ground breaking success such as the Cochlear Implant, Penicillin, the Pacemaker and even the Wi-Fi you’re using right now.

But we don’t have a Silicon Valley or an Israeli Technology Culture.

So, we import stuff like Ikea furniture, European cars and…sales methodologies.

We deploy these methodologies despite a glaring mismatch between the natural, conversational Aussie style of communication and the prescriptive methods these techniques and templates recommend.

We do not have the formality of France, Germany or even the UK.

We do not inherently have the ‘control the sale’ mentality of Donald Trump’s America.

We also do not have the hierarchies and reverence of China, Singapore, Japan or Korea.

So, why would we change our language, style and approach simply because we’re engaged in selling?

In fact, we should be exporting our conversational style to the world because in B2B Sales today, clients are sicker than the Donald’s hair at being pushed, challenged and sausage machined to buy.

Those of you who have been through one of my Salient Programs know that it is liberating, exciting, natural and engaging for clients when you speak like a real human being rather than sounding like Stephen Hawking reading a sales playbook.

Clients don’t want your canned, qualifying questions – they know what you’re trying to do.

They don’t want your hubris, when you tell them you know better when they have 25 years experience in their own industry.

They want someone they can trust to listen (and I don’t mean for buying signals).

They want someone who can pitch an idea only when it’s in full context of the client’s overall success.

They want someone who says ‘Mate, you haven’t got enough budget to do what you really need to do’ as opposed to ‘I’ll see what I can do on the price to get it over the line’

They want someone who is authentic, not doing a really good job of pretending to be authentic.

I’m calling it AUSthenticity….now that’s not only going to help you win business wherever you are in the world, it’s actually worth bottling and exporting.

 

Elliot Epstein is a leading Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Corporate trainer who gets sales results rapidly.

 

He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi, Computershare and CUB.

 

He is internationally renowned for being refreshingly engaging, brutally honest and relevant to winning business in highly competitive markets.

 

Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two increasingly expensive children.

 

E: elliote@salientcommunication.com.au

www.salientcommunication.com.au

Published in   Executive Level Selling

Do You Want A Proposal With That

Friday, 12 June 2015 04:09
12 06, 2015

Do You Want A Proposal With That

2017-02-25T12:39:29+00:00

There are three certainties in life. Death, Taxes and a manager asking if you’ve sent the client a proposal yet.

This unsolicited proposal behaviour is getting worse, not better with many CRM systems requiring a tick in the box for a sent proposal before it recalibrates the magic opportunity management machine.

There are two massive opportunities to differentiate, save time and give the client what they really want to make decisions.

1. Stop Offering to Send a Proposal

You’re on the the last dregs of your coffee in a meeting with a potential client and the words come out of your mouth like a boring politician ‘on message’.

‘How about I send you a proposal’

‘Sure, says the client’ . After all it’s not going to require any work on his/her part and it can be deleted faster than SnapChat if it’s not interesting.

So, there you are at 7 pm in the office, your boss proudly looking at how hard your working.

You’ve made the perfunctory call to your spouse to say you’ll be a little late and spoken to the one kid who’s there or awake about how tunnel ball was fun or how the maths teacher was too strict.

Then you get back to your ‘unsolicited proposal’. What’s in it?

Mostly, there isn’t enough diagnosis of the client’s real needs established so you default to a mix of your company overview and the fact you have $40 Billion behind you and a global presence  (or at least an office in Perth).

You add five heaped tablespoons of product, a teaspoon of services, a very mild seasoning of the perceived client’s issues together with a dash of testimonials and a pinch of estimated pricing/fees.

It’s about as tailored and well fitting as a $99 suit….in microfibre.

It’s taken you three hours to do two or three of these, you’re tired and you’ve got 129 emails still banked up. But your CRM box is ticked!

The client receives this wishy washy effluent and reads a quarter of it if you’re lucky and then the tedious game of ‘Did you get the proposal?’ begins.

It’s worse than watching ‘Family Feud’.

If you’re doing any of this, please ‘STOP IT’ . Go home. Have dinner with a client or radically, even your spouse if you’re still talking to them.

NEVER ask if they would like a proposal.

If they want one, they’ll ask for it at which point please say ‘ Sure, what would you most like to see in it?’

If you really want to send them something, have a tight 5 slide/page credibility document that you can send in 1.4 seconds and set their expectations for what it is.

 

More on Salient Sales Training Courses

2. Only Ever Write Customised Proposals Written In The Client’s Language.

If the client asks for a proposal and you’ve double checked what they want, by all means spend a bit of time and ensure :

  • The Executive Summary is about what’s in it for them, not you.
  • Your biggest, fattest testimonial or logo takes up a whole page.
  • The language is about their people, their processes, their challenges.
  • The pricing is clear and has options.
  • Use pictures of their plant, equipment, locations, maps.
  • You deliver it in person or over video conference( based on a size of deal you nominate).

Alternatively, they may just want a one pager or a simple quote. Yes, really.

Unlike McDonalds profit enhancing Fries Question, asking the client if they want a proposal simply wastes your time, possibly theirs and potentially your family’s.

If CRM and Sales Manager pain persists, see a doctor… or call me. I’m unlikely to send you a proposal.

More on Salient Sales Training Courses Melbourne

 Elliot Epstein is a leading Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Corporate trainer who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Computershare and CUB.

 He is internationally renowned for ensuring sessions are creative, engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.

 Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two expensive children.

Published in   Executive Level Selling

18 05, 2015

Why Your Sales Methodology Is Stifling Success

2017-02-25T12:39:29+00:00

US Comedian, Jerry Seinfeld suggested that the tuxedo must have been invented by women on the premise that ‘Men are all the same, might as well dress them the same’.

Unfortunately too many sales methodologies are based on similar thinking and if the tuxedo comment is sexist, I’m going to coin the phrase ‘Sales-ist.’

Like ice cream flavours, depending on your preference, you can choose a methodology that’s designed to build consensus or challenge decision makers or be customer-centric, be solution-centric, seller led, buyer led, forecast led, focused on large accounts, mid-tier accounts or even baby bear accounts.

You choose, Goldilocks!

More from Sales Training Courses Melbourne

 

Now many of you will have your favourites and swear by them as is often the case when people feel it’s the methodology that has made them successful.

Whilst there are a lot of good principles in different methodologies, I think it’s more about you.

This week is my 12th birthday consulting and coaching leaders, sales people, pre-sales experts to win significantly more business. (Not counting the 15+ years before that actually doing it)

During this time I’ve coached thousands of people including the philosopher, the ego-head, the dyslexic, the self assured, the intellectual, the Year 10 dropout, the OCD, the introvert, the impostor, the sycophant, the drug addict, the 4 times divorced, the driven, the lazy, the unflinchingly decent and the self-esteem bandits.

They’re called human beings.

Each one has their own personal and professional background that they bring to the sales process and client engagement.

This is where there is still too much sheep dipping no matter how many times you see ‘tailored’ in the workbooks.

My mobile phone plan is tailored just for me too….just as I also believe Megan Gale will be interested in me some day.

So, unless you have 5000 reps selling soft drink, where a standardised methodology is a good thing, what are the options for you to develop consistent sales success in B2B Sales?

People learn from doing, not watching so here are three things you can do.

1.Only learn on live deals. Frameworks that use historical data are less relevant tofuture success.

Discuss, coach, guide on real opportunities where the sales person has a real voice on what’s going on and there’s a chance to do something about it.

Focus on the steps that are most relevant to that client at this particular moment in time.

So what if they skipped step 3 in the process, if it wasn’t the key issue?

2. There is more than one way to win a deal. Look around the office.

Jacinta sells very differently to Nathan, right? Learn from both. Leverage all the internal skills and opinions to see how real business is won.

Some sales managers say Jacinta is too reliant on relationships and Nathan is too technical – we need to change this and stick to a formula’.

Do we? Or do we just add new creative approaches, skills and ideas into the mix and coach them to try them rather than change who they are?

My Year 10 dropout for example, still said ‘Youse’ and hated filling in sales process sheets…not overly professional, but her success was borne out of courage in going deep across all decision makers and her understanding of her client’s real needs was outstanding.

My intellectual philosopher was considered a ‘wanker’ by some colleagues and he would reference Nietzche in his sales frameworks.

Yet he had a laser-like ability to dissect the commerciality of the deal so that clients clearly understood the whole story.

3 Too much process stifles creativity. The left field ideas, the courageous ideas, the game changers, the work to massively differentiate as opposed to producing flaccid sales messages is limited in rigid (tailored) methodology.

Finally, a voice from the customer.

After interviewing and befriending many Chief Procurement Officers and senior decision makers I discovered a little known game they play.

It’s called ‘Guess the methodology’.

Yes, these people who get pitched to every week have to do something to overcome the tedium of self indulgent meetings and poor presentations, so they grab a coffee and try to guess what the sales person has been trained in and then predict what’s going to happen next.

Hours of fun!

It doesn’t help you differentiate, though.

Amidst the noise of competition and sales messages out there, authentic, creative, human conversations focused on the client are the differentiator.

Combined with creative, fresh ideas and coaching, your human-ness is your differentiator.

As Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself, everybody else is already taken’

Sales Training Courses 

Elliot Epstein is a leading Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Corporate trainer who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Computershare and CUB.

 

He is internationally renowned for ensuring sessions are creative, engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.

 

Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two expensive children.

www.salientcommunication.com.au

Published in   Executive Level Selling

Why Shark Tank Decisions Are Flakey

Saturday, 18 April 2015 14:40
18 04, 2015

Why Shark Tank Decisions Are Flakey

2017-02-25T12:39:29+00:00

I love our Australian Sharks in Network Ten’s Shark Tank and you can learn a lot from their decision making.

Andrew Banks’s urbane style appears a second away from saying ‘Come, come, Mr Bond, you get as much pleasure out of making a killing as I do’

Queensland’s Steve Baxter’s warmth belies that he looks like the kindly, younger brother of Wolf Creek’s Mick Taylor.

Janine Allis’s smiling pitch assassinations are masterful and John McGrath quashes the idea that Real Estate people don’t have a heart.

Naomi Simson is the voice of Aussie common sense, even if it channels Julia Gillard when it’s time to say ‘Oim out’.

However, these seasoned, successful, single wardrobe wearing multi-millionaires would have you believe that their decisions come down to getting a serious return on their investment based  a lot on numbers together with the perceived passion of the business owner.

Perhaps not.

Here’s why and the significance for you in your pitches.

Numbers aren’t the magic solution.

 Putting aside the funsters who couldn’t count to 21 unless they were naked, there have been plenty of pitches for reasonable businesses where the requested investment wasn’t too high, the presentation was professional and the valuation modest enough to comfort the most anxiety ridden bean counter.

Yet they didn’t get a single Shark’s money.

Why?

The Sharks couldn’t be stuffed working with something not sexy enough.

Most people (except for Naomi) thought a business selling Pegs with a hook was about as exciting as visiting your ex-partner’s Nanna.

The Sharks have limited time and the cost of mentoring was greater than the raw numbers in the business.

Let’s face it, some people could suck the energy out of a room as soon as they walk in.

There have been nine times already when a Shark has said something like ‘It would help if you listened’

(Do your clients think you are coachable or a pain and difficult to deal with?)

The Sharks liked the presenter, but didn’t ‘loooove them’.

Not fickle. Practical, given the amount of time they’ll spend together.

So it isn’t just about the numbers.

 

It is or isn’t ‘Them’.

 Janine is drawn to food and beverage businesses like a half price Jimmy Choo sale.

Apart from a weird bottletop thingy, Andrew seems more interested in eating the food than investing in it.

Everyone blinked at a baby showering chair except John McGrath, the Real Estate guy who knows what really happens in rental and new properties.

Even the emotionally charged Disabilities Based Child Care Centre only received two offers out of five because certain Sharks felt they weren’t best fit.

If it’s not ‘them’ they won’t do it, no matter what the spreadsheet looks like.

So, what does all this mean for your pitches?

Your pitches can learn more from Shark Tank than passionate presentation skills and getting the numbers right.

Your clients are like Sharks.

Base camp is getting the numbers of the deal right, the ROI, the cost/benefit story.

Presenting persuasively and engagingly is important but only the next rung up.

The really great pitches tap deep in to the history, patterns, egos, personalities and emotional peccadillos of their clients.

Great pitches are steeped in emotionally connected strategies for individuals, not business to business strategy.

Great strategists know that if the client has never bought high end consulting services before, they need to come up with a tonne of proof and comfort to assuage ‘we don’t normally do this’

Great Pitch Leaders have learned how to sell Transition from their experience watching deals sour despite making ‘business sense’ because the client couldn’t be stuffed transitioning from one supplier to the other.

Next time you watch Shark Tank, note what you think really drove one person’s decision over another.

Then look at your own upcoming deals and ask yourself about your strategies.

After all, you don’t want your new, high potential client saying ‘I’m Out’

Elliot Epstein is a leading Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Corporate Trainer who gets sales results rapidly.

He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching.

He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Computershare and CUB.

 

If you would like to improve your win rate (our clients’ rate is 79% over 10 years) on highly contested, competitive bids,

Email directly elliote@salientcommunication.com.au

Please feel free to share/re-post/comment/tweet or print and use for your budgie cage as you see fit.

Published in   Presentations