Winter 2014 Sandler Advisor


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The quarterly interactive e-zine Sandler Advisor for Winter of 2014

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Winter 2014 Sandler Advisor

  1. 1. ® Fa l l 2 0 1 3 Managers, Are you Prepared for Change? By Dave Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training “Everything flows; nothing stands still.” The business world is not immune to change. Companies grow in size…and they shrink in size. They expand their market reach, sometimes, and contract it at other times. They introduce new products and services and discontinue products and services. And, they change the ways in which they create, promote, price, and deliver their products and services. Most frequently, as companies experience change, the jobs of their employees, and the ways in which employees must perform their jobs, also change. Many organizations believe that employees who are paid to do a job can simply be told to change. Perhaps the belief is that employees will see the need for the change as the company does, recognize the long-term value to the company (and ultimately to themselves), and readily accept the change. But, it rarely works that way. People will resist—even fight—change they don’t understand or perceive as not in their best interest. (Tweet this) If the objective of the change is perceived to be driven by corporate greed, exploitation, or betrayal, or the end result is perceived to be harmful, they will not buy into it. This fact underscores the need to communicate to the people affected by and expected to carry out the change, the reasons for and the benefits of the change. Also, people cannot change overnight… even if they want to. You can’t train, motivate, or simply tell people to change. People transition through change. (Tweet this) Change must be phased in as existing routines and priorities are phased out. It will take time. – Heraclitus Managing organizational change requires thoughtful planning and responsive implementation which includes communication and consultation with, and the involvement of the people affected by the change. Why? Because, when people face change, they typically experience a range of emotions. And, as they transition through change, their reactions often change—some in a positive way, some in a negative way. They may experience feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression intermingled with feelings of approval, exploration, and commitment. If you were to plot their positive and negative emotional reactions over time on a graph, the curve would look like a sine wave. If you attempt to force change on people, the peaks and valleys continued on page 4 Table of Contents 1 5 The Secret Behind LinkedIn 2 Do You Know the Real Secrets to Successful Selling? 6 Case Study: TDIndustries 4 1 Managers, Are You Prepared for Change? Presenting With Impact 7 YouTube Corner 8 The Two-Minute Coach
  2. 2. Do you know the real secrets to successful selling? By Howard Goldstein, Sandler Training The search for the secrets to achieving success in the sales arena has been going on for as long as there have been salespeople. And, a countless number of books and audio/video programs have been published that promise to reveal those secrets—including secrets to: And, if they are interested in what you have to offer, they have their own needs, wants, preferences, and priorities on which they would base a buying decision—which, again, may be very different from the elements you believe they should be considering. • • • • • • • • • • • So, forget about your company’s advertising and marketing hype that focuses on the features, functions, benefits, and advantages of your product or service. Forget about the awards your company has won…the proprietary processes they have developed…and the superior afterthe-sale service for which they are known. Forget about those things, at least temporarily, until you determine which, if any, are relevant to the real needs of your prospect. And if you discover that some facets of what you have to offer are relevant, only focus on them. Resist the temptation to bring up additional aspects as a means of “adding value.” Most often, the prospect will interpret your “added value” elements as “added (and unnecessary) costs.” Painless Prospecting Creating Rapid Rapport Influencing Prospects Qualifying Quickly Eliminating Price Objections Dealing with Difficult Prospects Delivering Powerful Presentations Closing Sales Overcoming Stalls and Objections Generating Never-Ending Referrals Creating Customers for Life And many, many more. There is, however, only ONE real secret to successful selling…and here it is: There are no “secrets” to successful selling…just important stuff you don’t know. (Tweet this) What sort of “important stuff” might you not know? Here is one particularly important thing: Prospects don’t care about you. That’s right. Prospects don’t care about you, or your company, or its products or services. And, they don’t care about your long list of reasons describing in exacting (excruciating?) detail why you believe they should buy your products and services. Prospects have their own concerns and associated reasons why (or even if) they would invest time considering your product or service—which may be (and most likely are) very different from the reasons why you believe they should. 2 Don’t get me wrong, you need to be well informed about your products and services. However, if you want your prospects to “care” about you, at least enough to engage in conversations, you must be well informed about them (Tweet this)— their businesses, their industries, their markets, their goals, and their challenges. And, that leads to the next thing you may not know: “To whom” you sell is less important than “the circumstances” in which prospects find themselves. What does that mean? In order to better target prospective customers, i.e., identify “to whom” to direct their selling efforts, sales organizations will often create a profile of an ideal prospect—usually based on existing customers. To identify businesses and organizations, the type of data typically used is geographic, business category, organizational structure, and market conditions. For example: Privately held manufacturing companies in the Northeast, generating between 20- and 50-million dollars in annual revenue, employing 50 to 100 people. To identify individuals, demographic and psychographic data is frequently used. For instance: College educated urban dwellers between the ages of 29 and 55 who are employed by professional services firms. Developing an ideal prospect profile based on such data is a good starting point. But, it’s just that—a starting point. It’s not the characteristics of the target market that determine the likelihood of finding an opportunity. It’s whether the circumstances in which target-profile prospects find themselves are out of alignment with their intended goals, concerns, expectations, needs, requirements, desires, etc. … and the degree to which your product or service can bring things back into alignment. That’s the real measure of the quality of an opportunity. Why? Because selling is more about creating outcomes for people and less about whether those people fit a particular profile. Suppose, for example, that you sell marketing services and your company has a program to help professional services firms grow their client bases by increasing their online presence. A prospect on your profile list would be considered a “high quality” prospect under the following circumstances: a. growing its client base was a goal, and b. there wasn’t a program already in place that was meeting goal expectations. If a company wasn’t looking to expand
  3. 3. its client base, or if it was, and it already had a program that was accomplishing its objectives, that company wouldn’t be a high quality prospect. Why? Because the “circumstances” wouldn’t justify the investment of their time to explore your program. Why would someone take the time to explore solutions to a nonexistent problem? They wouldn’t. So, before you develop a prospecting message with which to reach out to a prospect, do a bit of research. Find out as much as you can about the President/ Owner/CEO and his or her company, industry, market, and competition. Next, identify the circumstances—challenges, problems, and opportunities the company likely faces—for which your product or service creates favorable outcomes. Then, you can develop an appropriate message to “test the waters” with those circumstances and engage the prospect in a conversation about a timely relevant (to them) topic. Let’s follow through with the previous example. Prospects don’t care about you, or your company, or its products or services. Here is the situation: Market research has revealed the following circumstances: Growth for management consulting firms is lagging behind other professional services. Your company has developed a particularly effective program to help management consulting firms attract and obtain new clients despite the current market conditions. And, here is the opening of an appropriate prospecting pitch: “We work with management consulting firms that are struggling to grow their client lists in today’s business environment. By expanding their online presence and improving their online message, we’ve helped them to not only increase the number of online-generated leads by an average of 60%, but also improve the leadto-client conversion rate by an average of 30%.” The message is primarily focused on the prospect rather than the salesperson and his or her company. It describes the circumstances the prospect may be facing— struggling to grow in today’s business environment. And, it identifies potential outcomes available to the prospect— more leads and more clients. Was this a good read? Share with your network using the Share Icon above. 3
  4. 4. Managers, Are You Prepared for Change? continued of the curve will be more pronounced. Conversely, the earlier you inform people about the change, involve them in the change, and obtain their buy-in, the flatter the curve…and the more quickly you reach the final stage of transition. Managers, the considerable responsibility for implementing change typically falls on your shoulders. To meet that challenge, you must be able to interpret, communicate, and enable. You must understand the reasons for and objectives of the change and identify the benefits that will accrue for your people and your department. To help your people transition through change, you must first identify starting and ending points—where you are today and where you want to be as a result of the change. Then, you will have to identify the “why,” “what,” and “when” elements of getting there. People transition through change. Change must be phased in as existing routines and priorities are phased out. It will take time. You should understand the rationale for, objectives of, and benefits from the change. You will need this information in order to inform your people about the change and gain their acceptance. The more they understand about the change and its upside, the more likely they are to be building blocks of change rather than roadblocks to change. Next, involve the people affected by the change and integral to carrying it out in a collaborative effort of developing a plan. Change will not take place without the cooperation and contribution of your people. You should also establish who will be responsible for what, by when, how it will be measured, and to whom the results will be reported. Each participant in the plan must know exactly what will be expected from him and how he will be judged in fulfilling his part of the plan. Once you implement the plan, you will have to monitor progress and provide appropriate feedback to keep your people and the plan on track and on time. If activities have to be adjusted, that’s OK as long as you keep your focus on the final destination. In the business environment, change is unavoidable. The manager who recognizes the dynamics of change can make the transition through change as painless as possible for the people affected. The more you inform your people about the need for and benefits of change and involve them in the development and implementation of the plan for change, the smoother the transition will be. Change will take place because of your people, not in spite of them. Presenting with impact Want to be By Brad McDonald, Sandler Training BEST of the  BEST? Are your sales presentations more like a Gettysburg Address or a Gettysburg Oration? Few people know that President Lincoln was actually the secondary speaker at Gettysburg. The program for the dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery, four months after the famous 1863 battle, listed Dedicatory Remarks, by the President of the United States after Oration, by Hon. Edward Everett, the main speaker. Everett spoke for two hours, Lincoln…two minutes. In a letter to Lincoln written the following day, Everett praised the President for his eloquent and concise speech, saying, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.” A sales presentation doesn’t carry the gravity of the Gettysburg Address. But many are all too frequently akin to Everett’s painfully long oration in that they bore and confuse the prospect, lack a compelling argument, and provide too much unsolicited information more than they excite or arouse curiosity. Worst of all is that most lead to a “THINK-ITOVER” and not a decision. Don’t believe it? Just ask yourself when the last time was that you got excited about a proposal or presentation for which you were on the receiving end. Are yours that much better than everybody else’s? If you want to present with impact, and create a curious, stimulated audience, here are some tips; a few are taken, with respect, from our sixteenth president: • Open unexpectedly. The human brain is normally on autopilot and not fully engaged in what others are saying. If you start with, “Folks, I’m so excited to share our proposal with you today, I know you’ll love it,” the continued on page 7 4 recognized as the Introducing A n e nt i r el y n ew l eve l of distinction for Sandler-trained Sales Professionals. Sandler Training® Certification measures sales training knowledge and successful application, moving beyond classroom to success in the field. How would your sales skills stack up? Speak to your Trainer today for more information or to see if you qualify.
  5. 5. The Secret behind By Keith Daw, Maximize LinkedIn, CEO coach, and Sales Trainer Ask most people, “What is LinkedIn?” and you’ll hear one of two responses: “A professional Facebook” or “A professional networking site.” I will give you half credit for either, but, LinkedIn is far more than simply the marketing and promotional piece 95% of people talk about. LinkedIn is the most powerful prospecting, qualifying, and referral generating tool available. Companies, teams, and professionals who have a system, a plan, for incorporating LinkedIn within their weekly and monthly activities are far more efficient and effective with their prospecting efforts. (Tweet this) Period. During Maximize LinkedIn training sessions, I teach the following: beyond the importance of looking professional and having something smart to say on your profile, LinkedIn is being laser-focused when searching for suspects and qualifying hard to determine whether to make them prospects. Who do you need to speak to within an organization? How are you connected? Better still, are you requesting the introduction in a manner which DOES NOT make you sound like the stereotypical salesperson? Who has looked at your profile within the last week? Month? Is this important? It probably is not, unless allowing potential clients to walk by unnoticed is a big deal to you. Have you looked at their profile? Did you share something valuable and relevant in their world? The quality of your contacts is paramount to your success with LinkedIn. Your ability to get strong (not warm) introduction directly to the individual(s) you wish to speak to is priceless. (Tweet this) Should you upgrade? Yes, if you plan to use LinkedIn for prospecting, upgrade to a premium account. In nearly two years, I have yet to see a client who has implemented the Maximize LinkedIn plan, and NOT paid for their subscription several times over. Companies, teams, and professionals who have a system, a plan, for incorporating LinkedIn within their weekly and monthly activities are far more efficient and effective with their prospecting efforts. Period. The two most common questions I receive regarding LinkedIn are, “How do I find and qualify the right prospects?” and “I have hundreds of connections and no idea what to do with them; can you show me?” Maximize LinkedIn was designed to systematically address these two questions and a myriad of others. There are four methods to uncover suspects: By individual, company/organization, via advanced searches (industry segment, geography) and through an alumni feature. Have a name from a business story or colleague? Know the name of the company, but not the person with whom you need to speak? Enter them into the white box at the top of the screen, hit enter, and the magic starts. The key is identifying the 2nd Connection; someone who knows how awesome you and your company are and would be willing and able to make an introduction to the desired individual. Here is where most people struggle, however. If you accepted any and all LinkedIn connection requests sent your way, the odds of a quality introduction are quite slim. If you have not worked for them, with them, or have not spoken to or met with them about their business, do not accept them (until you do). The age old adage, “Garbage In, Garbage Out” plays true on LinkedIn searches. If you attended a four-year college or university, the Alumni Network tool allows you to research and directly contact your fellow alumni via graduation year, geography, company, or industry segment. Have a client who keeps promising a referral, but has not delivered? The little magnifying glass within their Connections section of their profile is the most effective way to identify specific contacts with whom you would like to speak. Imagine the power of hand-selecting your own referrals from your most trusted colleagues? Yes, it happens. Every day. So ask yourself…do you know how to Maximize LinkedIn? LinkedIn (with design) is a registered service mark of LinkedIn Corporation. The services of Sandler Systems, Inc. are not affiliated with or sponsored by LinkedIn Corporation. 5 Keith Daw Keith Daw is the Vice President of Business Development and a trainer for McDonell Consulting & Development, Inc., a licensed Sandler Training® center. In addition to working with professionals and companies in the areas of leadership development, sales and sales management, and strategic customer care, Keith has developed Maximize LinkedIn as a powerful resource for his clients and business community. The Maximize LinkedIn training has been delivered to thousands of professionals and companies regionally, nationally, and internationally over the past two years.
  6. 6. TDIndustries CASE STUDY Business Challenge When we first met TDIndustries in 2011, it was a 65-year-old company with an ambitious 10-year growth plan. Trouble was, meeting the plan was going to be next to impossible without a drastic adjustment to its sales model. TD’s sales force was taking a reactive approach rather than a proactive one, focusing on managing and selling to existing customers rather than aggressively seeking new ones. In order to meet its growth plan, the construction side of TD’s business needed to double over 10 years; its service side needed to triple. TD didn’t have a process or a program in place to make that happen. One thing it did have was the knowledge that it needed world-class sales training, and fast. That’s when we entered the picture. Sandler Solution We started off by doing a lot of listening. We heard about TD’s pain, talked about its struggles, asked a lot of questions and then got to work creating a customized plan for its sales team. The plan, which honored the fact that every customer is different, took a multi-focused approach that included: • • • • • • Boot camps for both its sales force and its sales leadership designed to help them understand the Sandler selling system, why it works and how it works. Monthly webinars covering specific sales topics. Quarterly reinforcement training that allowed Sandler principles to become second nature to TD’s sales force over time, resulting in lasting changes rather than ineffective quick fixes. Digital library of sales training materials that TD’s team members can access whenever, wherever they want. Accountability benchmarks identified by TD sales leaders with guidance from Sandler trainers. Sales certification program to keep TD’s sales team working toward its goals. Results We gave TD’s sales professionals a scientific, methodical approach to selling. We combined it with tools to guide them step-by-step through every new business opportunity. In less than three years, the company’s sales conversion rates went from five percent to 50 percent, (Tweet this) with the business units that truly embraced the Sandler system having absolutely no issues hitting their sales goals – and, indeed, hitting them for the very first time. From a cultural perspective, TD’s experience with Sandler has been significant. “Life is much better than it was before from a financial reward perspective and from an empowerment perspective,” says one TD executive. In the words of another, “We changed the game. Now we don’t waste time on bad deals or chase RFPs like our competitors do. We create opportunities, (Tweet this) and Sandler made all the difference in helping us do that.” Sandler helped us move from being a team of ‘farmers’ to a team of ‘hunters’ when it comes to developing new business. In Sandler, we found our world-class sales training organization. – Kyle Hogue, Senior Sales Manager, TDIndustries 6 Company description: One of America’s largest and most respected mechanical construction and facility services companies Accolades: Included in “The 100 Best Companies to Work For in America” by best-selling business authors Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz; named a National Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Principle-Centered Leadership; made Training magazine’s inaugural Top 50 Training Organizations list Key challenges: The need to empower its sales force to proactively seek new business rather than simply managing accounts that found their way to its door Sandler solution: Multi-focused approach that gave TD’s sales force the skills, confidence and tools to transition from a reactive approach to a proactive one Company website: Have a success story to share in the next issue of the Sandler Advisor? Submit your organization’s story at
  7. 7. Presenting With Impact continued audience is probably heading out the door, at least mentally. When Lincoln opened with a biblical allusion, “Four score and seven years ago….” the audience had to engage their brains to figure out just what that meant. • Use imagery and metaphors. Lincoln’s usage of the imagery of birth, life, and death in reference to a nation “brought forth,” “conceived,” and that shall not “perish” no doubt stimulated the imagination of his listeners. Instead of promising reliability, you might say, “George, neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow will keep us from delivering on time,” thus conjuring up the ever present mail man who George sees visiting his office daily. Now George has a picture to which he can relate. • • TALK LESS! Silence CAN be Golden, especially when it’s yours! Two minutes may not be enough time for you to deliver your message, but it was long enough to create the most memorable speech in American history. Most people like to hear themselves talk more than they like to hear you or me talk. People generally need fewer words to absorb and more time to PROCESS what they are hearing. (Tweet this) Break up your presentation with questions, probes, and pauses. Get your audience engaged and talking. conclusions your prospects reach will have more potency than the ones you make for them. (Tweet this) President Lincoln made one small mistake in his address. He said, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” I guess he was right about Edward Everett’s oration. If you want your sales presentations to be memorable and lead to action and not boredom then try something different. Take some tips from Abe Lincoln; he might just have been the best salesman ever! Don’t RESCUE. Let your listeners work out their own questions and answers as much as possible. Too often sales people want to jump in and solve every minor objection. The When you want more Sandler Training… Join us online. SANDLER ONLINE® Sandler Online provides 24/7 access to Sandler Training audio, video, and written resources organized into specific sales and management categories. Access Sandler’s expertise and engaging content whenever and wherever needed. Speak to your Trainer today for more information or to gain your SANDLER ONLINE® access. YouTube Corner 7 Watch Now The third annual Sandler Client Summit will be held on March 13 & 14, 2014 at The Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Spa in Orlando, Florida. Find out more from your Sandler Trainer.
  8. 8. Howard Goldstein, Sandler Training Today’s question comes from Tracy, the owner of a graphics design company for which she does most of the selling. This is how she explains her problem: We sell a fair number of corporate identity packages from leads generated on our website. I typically close 60-70% of those leads. The price range for the three packages we offer are clearly stated on the site. When I first talk with prospects who find us via the web, I ask them if they are aware of the pricing for the different packages. Even if they say “yes,” which they almost always do, I quickly review the pricing for each package. At that point, they will typically choose one. Once again, I’ll review the price for the chosen package and ask them if they are OK with it. At the second meeting, I present them with two variations to pick from, and they have no trouble choosing one of them. They always tell me how pleased they are with my designs, and then, in the same breath, tell me that my price is a bit more than they are prepared to pay. These are the very same people who told me at our initial meeting that the price for the package they chose was “OK.” Even though I close most of the sales after some “negotiating,” I know I’m unnecessarily giving away profit. What should I do? Tracy, your instinct to ask if prospects are aware of your pricing is correct. However, you need to go a bit further. Being aware of your pricing, even being “OK” with it, doesn’t mean they are willing to pay it. From what you describe, for many of your prospects, your price range is “OK” in the sense that it’s an OK place from which to start negotiating. Before you begin working up designs for prospects, review what they want and why they want it. Essentially, reaffirm the importance of obtaining a top quality design. Then, confirm that the investment they are prepared to make is indeed within the range you charge. Here is what you might say/ask (inserting the appropriate investment amount): I’ll work up two designs from which you can choose. If you choose one, are you going to be 100% comfortable making a $_____ investment? If not, we should talk about that now. Would you like to start? If you are going to have a “discussion” about price, the time to have it is BEFORE you begin working up designs. (Tweet this) Once a prospect says that he or she is 100% comfortable with your price, you have effectively taken the heretofore inevitable “your price is too high” objection off the table. Salespeople (and perhaps you, too, Tracy) have all sorts of notions about what would happen if they attempted to discuss budget, fees, funding, investments, etc. before presenting something that would justify an amount. Rarely are the scenarios they conjure up positive ones. Why? I suppose the scenarios emanate from a belief that prospects view the selling interaction as primarily one-sided. That is, one person wins at the other person’s expense. Consequently, salespeople reason that asking about budget before showing anything to substantiate any size investment would be interpreted by the prospect as a tactic to get the upper hand. So, to avoid being characterized as a manipulative salesperson, they don’t ask. But, “ask” is exactly what they (and you) must do. Tracy, to avoid being “nailed” on price when you are attempting to close the sale, nail it down before you begin working up designs. (Tweet this) You may be a bit uncomfortable at first, but your profit margin will be the beneficiary of your efforts. © 2013 Sandler Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. S Sandler Training Finding Power In Reinforcement (with design), Sandler, Sandler Training and Sandler Online are registered service marks of Sandler Systems, Inc. Sandler Training Certification (with design) is a service mark of Sandler Systems, Inc. 8