Sandler Advisor for Spring 2014


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Sandler Advisor for Spring 2014

  1. 1. 1 Table of Contents Spring 2014 1 7 5 2 6 7 8 Overcoming the “If Only” Trap YouTube Corner Case Study: Sure Systems Seven Beliefs of Successful Sales People Send In The Clowns Harvesting Referrals Via LinkedIn® The Two-Minute Coach By Dave Mattson President & CEO of Sandler Trainingthe “if-only” trap overcoming continued on page 4 ® If you’ve been a sales manager for any length of time, you’ve heard it all. All of the excuses…all of the “if onlys” that salespeople use to preface their explanations for lack of performance. If you’ve been a salesperson for any length of time, you’ve likely used one (or more) of those “if only” excuses. They usually sound like, “If only this or if only that, I could or I would do such and such.” Here’s an “if only” I heard recently: “If only the economy was better, I could get existing clients to buy more.” Well guess what? The economy is better. It’s better this month than it was last month. And last month it was better than the month before… and the month before that. The “if only” may have had some validity at one point in time (emphasis on “may have”), but you only get to use an excuse once. Then, you must do something. You must TAKE ACTION. And what action do you take? The same action you’ve always taken. You get in front of prospects and customers, help them discover reasons to buy your product or service (or buy more of it), make your case, and close the deal. When salespeople make excuses, it’s not because they don’t know what to do. They know what to do; they just don’t do it. Why don’t they do it? For some people, they don’t take action because they feel overwhelmed. (Click to Tweet!) There are so many things they could do, they don’t know where to start. If you’ve been in that situation, here’s a suggestion: start anywhere. You don’t have to do everything…only one thing to get started. It’s the “getting started” that counts. If you can identify one thing that will bring about a bigger result, or it will bring about a result more quickly, start with it. If you want to tackle the “hardest” task and get it out of the way, start there. If you want to pick the easiest task and “ease your way” into the process, do that. Just do something! Other people don’t take action because they are afraid to fail. If fear of failure has ever held you back, here’s a dose of reality: you will fail. (Click to Tweet!) No one does everything perfectly every time. Not you. Not me. No one. 3 Want to Lead? Learn to Recognize Wishy-Washy Words
  2. 2. 2 7 beliefs Selling is not only about delivering quality products and services. “New” isn’t always better. (Click to Tweet!) The marketplace is always changing. Intentions do not equal results. By Howard Goldstein, Sandler Training 1] 2 ] 3 ] 4 ] And, it’s not simply about solving clients’ problems, or providing them with pathways for accomplishments. Successful salespeople view client and customer interactions not as “transactions,” but rather, as relationships based on performance and reputation. They recognize that delivering what prospects expect is not enough. Sure, the clients will be satisfied. But, merely satisfying clients—giving them what they paid for—is not the hallmark of exceptional service. Successful salespeople make it a point to deliver more than what is expected. And, the “tried, tested, and proven” isn’t always the most appropriate. Successful salespeople aren’t afraid to “shake things up” now and then. They are always on the lookout for ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency— for themselves and their clients. More importantly, they put their clients first. If they can provide the same service for a lower fee, or provide a greater service for the same fee, they do so… without hesitation. They understand the beneficial long-term impact of putting the customer first. Competitors come and go. New products and services are introduced. Customer demands change. Economic, political, and geopolitical conditions influence buying patterns. Successful salespeople invest the time and effort to keep abreast of developments affecting their industry, their marketplace, and the needs of their customers and potential customers. And then, they take action to preserve, protect, and enhance existing relationships, and capitalize on emerging opportunities. Successful salespeople know that once the deal is “sealed,” it’s time to perform. And that means taking action—doing whatever it takes to deliver that which was promised. There may be hurdles to clear and detours around which to navigate, but there must never be excuses for lack of performance. of Successful salespeople A scarcity mentality breeds scarcity.5 ] And, an attitude of abundance leads to opportunities…even during times of change and uncertainty. Successful salespeople recognize that there are plenty of opportunities to go around. They don’t cling to an opportunity of dubious value for fear that there won’t be another to replace it. Neither do they make unreasonable compromises to close an opportunity because of the same fear. Rewards are the byproducts of contribution.6] Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an essay on the topic of “Compensation.” The essence of his message is that the world is essentially in balance. And, what you receive is equal, measure for measure, to what you contribute. Successful salespeople understand that to receive more, they must give more… not only to their customers and their colleagues, but to their family, friends, and community. When they give more, opportunities appear. You cannot achieve success in a vacuum. (Click to Tweet!) 7] Successful salespeople realize that achieving high levels of success requires joining forces with other people who will not only hold them accountable for their intentions and actions, but also help them identify and develop new opportunities. Successful salespeople make it a point to deliver more than what is expected.
  3. 3. 3 Want to Lead?Learn to Recognize Wishy-Washy Words An effective leader has a very finely tuned listening filter, one that detects and tactfully establishes clarifications for “wishy-washy words.” (Click to Tweet!) Words like “probably” or “try” seldom make it through that filter without the leader asking, “When you say ‘probably,’ what does that mean?” or “Help me understand: What do we want to see finished on this project by this time next week?” Such questions cause the speaker to clarify what is actually meant. What’s more, effective leaders know how to send these messages without making their conversational partners feel threatened, judged, or intimidated. In our sales training sessions, we Sandler trainers speak of salespeople who have “happy ears.” These are sellers who give the most optimistic possible “spin” to the wishy-washy words they encounter from prospects, based on what they as sellers From Sandler Training and Dave Arch want to hear. Sales managers usually nod their heads in recognition when I talk about his, but the truth is, this happens in just about all communications where no effective filter exists. It’s up to us to build and strengthen that filter. The most effective leaders are those who have learned that the optimistic assumptions they make around wishy-washy words never serve them well! It takes time and practice and tact to build up a wishy-washy words filter that leaves people feeling okay about themselves. I suggest a game to make learning this skill more fun. The next time you have a conversation with one of your followers, just notice how many wishy-washy words you hear. (Click to Tweet!) My record is seven for one conversation! The first step is simply learning to recognize words and phrases that soften commitments and assessments. These are words like … • About • Around • Roughly • I’ll/we’ll try to • Should • Maybe • Something like • Nearly • In the neighborhood Once you begin noticing these words … start expressing gentle curiosity about what your followers actually mean when they use them! Excerpted from the new book, TRANSFORMING LEADERS THE SANDLER WAY, from Sandler Training and Dave Arch. Sandler UpfrontContract Funnel Pain Reversesell Close Qualified Fulfilled Balance Monkeyspaw Attitude Prospect Lead Cookbook Batting IRTheory Behavior Success Action Nopressure Competitive No Triangle Wimps SPRING 2014
  4. 4. 4 In every failure, there is a lesson about how to do that thing better the next time. Fail enough times and you will succeed. If you take no action, you fail by default…and learn nothing. It’s that simple. You know it. You’ve heard it before. Enough said. Fear of ridicule from others prevents some people from taking action. If you’re worried about what others will think about you if you abandon the “excuse du jour” and go out and accomplish what they said can’t be done, you’re focusing on the wrong thing. Do what you know is right for you, not what the herd mentality dictates. Finally, some people don’t take action because they don’t believe that there’s enough time. Well, here’s another dose of reality: there’s always enough time. It’s not a “time” issue, it’s a priority issue. If you really want to accomplish something, then give the activities necessary to accomplish it a higher priority than other activities. Get up earlier in the morning. Watch less TV at night. Work through lunch. There’s always a way. What you’re willing to do and what you’re willing to give up are opposite sides of the same coin. Sales managers, don’t get too comfortable. You’re not off the hook. I heard a sales manager for an insurance company proclaim that he could meet his territory expansion goals “If only I could get my people out of the office to prospect.” Well, Mr. Manager, what’s preventing you from “getting them out of the office”? (Click to Tweet!) Have you developed and implemented a prospecting strategy? Have you identified specific activities that you’ll hold your salespeople accountable for performing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Are you providing the coaching and training to help your people skillfully perform those activities? Do you have a method for monitoring their activities and results? In all likelihood, what your salespeople are not doing is directly related to what you’re not doing. You’ll get action…when you take action. So, here’s the bottom line: The only thing standing between you and what you want out of life is you and what you aren’t willing to do. When you’re willing to do whatever it takes, you can accomplish anything. Overcoming the “If Only” Trap - continued from page 1 Want to be recognized as the BEST of the  BEST? An entirely new level 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. Introducing
  5. 5. 5 Every member of a circus has a specific job that matches their talent. If the lion tamer quits, the circus doesn’t plug the open job position with a fire-eater. It’s a safe bet that the lions would have ferocious objections to working with an unskilled lion tamer. The circus management would not ask the existing juggler to do the job of the trapeze artist until they hire someone else. Unqualified applicants would not try to fake their way through the interviewing process for the open tightrope walker position simply to fail on the job. While it’s absurd to believe this type of employment practice would ever exist at a circus, it is a very real practice in companies globally today. Unqualified candidates are hired or an employee qualified for their current position is moved to one they are unqualified to do. Unlike a circus where it is quickly and visibly apparent if a contortionist can contort, it is not clear cut in a company if a leader can lead. Job requirements have been merged, melded and multiplied to the degree that if a job description exists it is no longer current. Effective job alignment is unlikely if neither the supervisor nor worker understand the responsibilities of the position. Too often performance is not reviewed unless it is horrific. The first step in fixing job alignment issues is to define the position. (Click to Tweet!) Spend time to answer the question, “What do we pay the person in that position to do?” Ask each of your employees to answer the question, “What does the company pay me to do?” Next, express your answers in six to eight highly specific bullet points. Most, but not all, will be measurable. For example, if you have a sales position, the bullet point of “prospect for new business” is too general. The following are more specific: • Set twelve new prospecting appointments with Vice Presidents of Finance or CFOs • Attain quarterly sales goal of $250,000 in new business • Conduct three financial seminars per quarter • Coordinate with the engineering team to customize software per the client’s request Once you have clarity on the position requirements, answer this, “Does the person doing this job have the right job competencies to be successful?” This is a more difficult question to answer. Use objective and subjective data to assess the job alignment. Behavioral assessments that include job specific competencies will give you objective data. Awareness to moods, attitude, interactions and appearance will give you subjective data. Be open to the possibility that you have top talent in your organization performing the wrong job. Spend time discerning what the highest value activities of each employee are and evaluate how they are being utilized in your organization. When you need a clown, take a page from the Greatest Show on Earth and send in the clowns. send in the   clownsBy Darby Fazekas, Vice President of Business Development, The Devine Group Darby Fazekas is the Vice President of Business Development for The Devine Group. She secures new client relationships and manages our global reselling alliances. Her leadership has grown the company’s distribution from 4 countries to a full global presence, with instruments available in multiple languages. Darby’s key focus is to ensure our partners have the knowledge and expertise to take The Devine Group’s enterprise-wide solutions to market. Her more than 20 years of experience spans the entire employee life cycle including recruitment, development, and advancement. Darby earned her Bachelor’s degree in Interpersonal Communication and Marketing from Ball State University. She is a member of the Global Speakers Federation and brings the Talent Management topic to National and International audiences. Be open to the possibility that you have top talent in your organization performing the wrong job.
  6. 6. 6 Sure Systems ( is a local provider of information technology consulting and management services located in Calgary, Alberta. The company specializes in providing IT services to small- and medium-sized organizations. In late 2012, CEO and sole salesperson Alex McGillivray was at a crossroads. “Our company was already committed to a principal-led selling model, where I was the only salesperson. The irony was that I, as the principal, was uncomfortable with the whole idea of selling. I never even liked thinking of myself as a sales guy. I was an engineer. Selling had always been kind of a dirty word to me. It was all about pressuring other people, and I didn’t really want to pressure people. But I felt like that’s what I had to do to close deals. I was overwhelmed, overworked, behind my goal, and in a rut.” McGillivray came to Sandler looking for help in the following areas: • Increase sales performance • Reduce personal stress • Shorten sales cycles • Reduce average working week hours McGillivray participated in weekly coaching meetings. As McGillivray recalls: “I was my own worst enemy. I was stressing myself and everyone else in the company out, spending too much of my time chasing proposals that went nowhere, and basically doing whatever prospects told me to do. I was jumping through every hoop they put up, and I was collecting a lot of ‘wait and see’ responses for my trouble. So that was all pretty stressful.” “Very early on, my Sandler trainer shared some critical principles for dealing with this kind of problem, which is something a lot of salespeople go through. One of the most important of those principles was the Up-Front Contract. “Establishing an Up-Front Contract means setting up clear agreements ahead of time for what’s going to happen in the meeting. (Click to Tweet!) I saw that part of the reason I wasn’t getting clear ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ answers was that I wasn’t setting any meaningful ground rules in the relationship as it got started. So I started working on that. SURE SYSTEMS CASE STUDY: Have a success story to share in the next issue of the Sandler Advisor? Submit your organization’s story at About the Company: Sure Systems is a leading provider of Information Technology (IT) consulting and management services in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Company Website: It took a weekly commitment for me to reach a point where I was good at creating low- pressure exchanges in which both sides could identify a positive outcome. I now get to a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer much more quickly. That has made a huge difference in terms of the length of our sales cycle, which is now considerably shorter. Our opportunity size is now larger, too. That means the company’s income picture is a lot brighter than it was a year ago! A completely unexpected benefit has been reduced turnover at our company. The Up- Front Contract and the other Sandler principles have made me a better manager, and have led to some positive cultural changes at our company. I’ve shared the principles with everyone on our staff. “Everyone in the organization needs a little Sandler.” Results • Overall gross quarterly margin increased from 16.6% to 49.7% • Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization were 2.0% of sales in 2012, and 9.5% of sales in the first 11 months of 2013 • CEO’s average work week went from 60+ hours to less than 40 hours • Sales cycle shorter • Average opportunity larger • Annual company turnover down by 67%
  7. 7. 7 YouTube Corner HARVESTING REFERRALS via LinkedIn® From Sandler Training and John Rosso LinkedIn is a great networking resource, but most salespeople I meet haven’t mastered the art of using it to generate referrals. Here’s one technique that’s worked for me. Let’s assume you, Bill Jones, are one of my first-degree LinkedIn contacts, and I see that you’re directly connected to John Smith, to whom I want to be connected as well. What do I do? I send you an email— not a LinkedIn message, since those are more likely to be ignored—but a regular email message that says something like the following: Hey there, Bill, I happened to notice on your LinkedIn profile that you’re connected to David Smith over at Acme Corporation. How well do you know him? Would you be willing to introduce me? Typically, you will reply with something like this: Sure. I know David very well. He and I went to college together. I’d be happy to introduce you. My return email to your message will say: Bill, I got your message. I really appreciate that. My experience is that an email introduction can work very well for everybody involved. I have attached a template for your review. Please feel free to edit and change it in any way you want. The template I attach will look like this: David, this is John. I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce the two of you. David is a good friend of mine, and John is a sales training specialist who is engaged with a number of my clients and who does top-notch work. John, I would ask that you reach out to Dave and set up a time to speak. If either of you want me to be part of that conversation, or have any questions, please reach out. All the best, Bill Assuming you approve of my proposed message, or something like it, you will then send the message out to me and to Dave. Then I will send an email in response: Hey, Bill, thanks so much for the introduction. Dave, I’m really looking forward to speaking with you. I’m out of the office on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, but I will be back in on Thursday. I will reach out to you by phone then. What’s the best number to use to reach you? I’ve just set up a phone appointment! Remember that the whole principle that makes networking on LinkedIn work is having some kind of actual person-to- person communication with your first- degree contacts! (Click to Tweet!) If I’ve never had any interaction at all with you before I reach out to you about Dave Smith, the technique I’ve just outlined probably won’t work. Don’t try to extend this kind of appeal to someone with whom you really have no contact or experience. Excerpted from the new book, PROSPECT THE SANDLER WAY, from Sandler Training and John Rosso. Download 10 Ways You Can Use Linkedin to Prospect More Effectively now! Click Here.
  8. 8. 8 Today’s question comes from Andy who sells various videography services. He asks, “How do I politely, but quickly, weed out tire kickers so I don’t waste my time with people who will never buy my services?” Andy explained that he is wasting too much time putting together formal presentations for prospects who are only “fishing for information.” While the expense of creating the presentations is minimal, the time is considerable. Andy’s question reminded me of a local amusement park. (Bear with me.) In the park, there are some rides that are free—primarily intended for young children accompanied by adults. And, there are other rides that require a ticket. Posted in front of those rides are signs stating, “You Must Have a Ticket to Ride.” (Click to Tweet!) Andy, I suggest that before prospects get to view a formal presentation (and you invest your time creating one), they, too, must have a “ticket.” That is, they must meet certain criteria. (More about that in a moment.) Here’s what I recommend: For each specialty service, develop a preliminary presentation—a free ride of sorts. Think of it as a two- minute commercial that not only allows you to succinctly highlight the unique aspects you bring to the table, but also provides you with an opportunity and framework from which to ask your prospects some questions and determine if they meet the criteria (akin to buying a ticket) required for an eventual formal presentation. What criteria must they meet? They should have some concrete ideas about what they want. If prospects are “looking into…,” “thinking about…,” or “interested in…” one of your services, you should ask questions to identify why they are “interested,” for instance. You should ask questions to determine the specific outcomes they are after and the significance of those outcomes. And, you need to discover the timeframe within which they are prepared to act. Also, you’ll want to find out if they have given any thought to the size of the investment required. You won’t be asking for a financial commitment at that point, but only attempting to get a sense of whether or not they have given the matter any serious consideration and if they are in a position to make the likely required investment. Howard Goldstein, Sandler Training © 2014 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. LinkedIn is a registered service mark of LinkedIn, Ltd. The services of Sandler Systems, Inc. are not affiliated with or sponsored by LinkedIn, Ltd. 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. If you feel the prospects express a reasonable amount of importance and urgency regarding the outcomes they seek, you can issue them a ticket to ride—an opportunity to view your formal presentation. If they don’t meet the criteria, the free ride should suffice. Was this issue a good read? Share with your network using the Share Icon.