Archive Monthly Archives: June 2008

The Best You Can Be

I remember way back in 1962 well before I ever knew I would have a sales career; I was employed by “Plessey” an English Radio Telephone manufacturer in Auckland New Zealand.

At this time I was young and had dreams of becoming a Radio Technician.

During my four year tenure here an immigrant fromEnglandby the name of Ray Woolf joined the company for a short time. Ray’s mother already worked for the organization and Ray took a job on the assembly line. Ray had been trained as a singer in theUKand he had aspirations of entering the entertainment scene inNew Zealand.

It is now 2008 and Ray has had a sensational career winning many awards and he has become a very professional and polished entertainer.

This brings me to today’s rave about being the best you can be.

Mt career took a turn for the better in 1975 when I realized I could sell and it was in the late eighties I got a lesson from Ray about being your very best.

I had been visiting one of my country Hifi retailers Roger Angell in Whakatane NewZealand. I happened to be staying over night and we heard that Ray Woolf and his band (including Billy Christian) a great bass player were in town. They were performing at a local hotel.

We decided to go and see them and to our amazement our group made up of sales staff etc happened to be the majority of people there.

When the show started only a handful of patrons arrived and it was rather disappointing to see such a poor turnout for what was going to be a class act.

When the concert finally got under way I was totally speechless as I witnessed the most professional musical event I had seen in years.

Ray and the boys gave it 150% effort despite the very poor turnout of support. The people who did not come missed a real treat but above all this drummed into my mind about being your very best.

Remember when you are in any sales situation or presentation you must be absolutely on top of your game.

Take a lesson from Ray Woolf just like I did. The fact his audience was small and probably intimidating did not phase him or his band in any way. They gave more than anyone expected that evening and this is a credit to this entertainer and the belief he has in himself.

You too will have witnessed the professionalism shown by similar people to Ray Woolf and when you think of these people try and apply the same faultless level of expertise to your own efforts. Whether you are running a business or making major sales this applies in every case.

Ray Woolf

Ray Woolf…. A Class Act

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Handling Objections

Remember if you have the correct questioning technique well and truly established in your selling skills, you will rarely attract objections from customers or prospects.

If you find this hard to believe I strongly recommend you read the book “Spin Selling” by Neil Rackham. It actually makes me laugh when I look at all the traditional sales blogs and sales training literature scattered around the web on handling objections. There are papers and courses totally focused on this subject.

However when you read Rackham’s book you will soon come to the same conclusion and see there is a real difference between making simple sales and making major sales.

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“Ferrari for Sale”

Ferrari for sale?

Is your Ferrari for sale? Do you sell Ferrari’s?

Do you know selling a Ferrari really is making a major sale. Purchasing this car is not a decision many buyers would make lightly.

However I have walked in and out of many high end car showrooms and was never spoken to by anyone. What is it about salespeople? One would think any company offering vehicles of this cost would make certain their sales people were trained and on the ball.

The fact of the matter is like many other luxury product such as cars, boats and any other big ticket item the sales person is usually an enthusiast first.

You can bet your bottom dollar a Ferrari sales person knows everything about this car. They will know how fast it can go, they will be happy to tell you everything relating to the “history of Ferrari” to all the details about Enzo Ferrari himself.

However will they ask anything about you? Will they ask why you are visiting a Ferrari showroom? Will they ask what motivated you to visit them?

From my own experience when dealing with “high ticket items” the “questions” are few but the “telling” is high. You will quickly find out how Ferrari is doing in the Formula one series but unlikely to be asked a great deal about your interest.

The fact is, it does not matter what you look like, it does not matter whether you look rich or poor. Making Major Sales is a skill and my advice to any company or salesperson involved in selling Ferrari’s, Porsche, Aston Martin or any other Luxury Auto should dedicate their time in learning the differences between making simple sales and making major sales. If their pocket depends on it there is a slight possibility it may expand.

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“Hype” Marketing, Discounts and Low Price

We all know that big deals, discounts, 20 percent off, short time only etc creates HYPE in the market place. When it comes to selling we also know that if we ask many people to buy something the “law of averages” says one in every four will.

Therefore we are constantly being bombarded on TV and in the streets with “HYPE” that creates a buying frenzy.

Professional sales people sometimes get caught up in this hype. They are so enthusiastic about their product or service that just can’t help themselves.

All they want to do is broadcast to their prospects and customers how good this item is, or how good this service is. The reality is in this day and age with fast lane business, IPHONES, Smartphones, Cellphones and all the other gadgets that speed things up we must take stock.

My tip of the day is to ask all of you people involved in “Making Major Sales” to slow down, think about your customer, ask the correct questions that may uncover solutions that your product or service just might fix.

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Sales Presentations

At the risk of repeating myself I want to cover “Sales Presentation” or Sales Presentations” again.

Most professional sales people know what a sales presentation is but most sales people prepare one and deliver it before finding the facts about their customer.

If you are  in the business of “Making Major Sales” ( a sale that requires more than one interview with the prospect) you need to gather as much information about that customer you can.

In general most people love talking about themselves therefore as a professional sales person SHUT UP and listen.

Try to get the customer to tell you everything they can about their business. When did it start? Where have they come from? Have they multiple branches? Who makes the decisions? Are you speaking with the correct person? What issues have come up over their business history? Where are they going? How many staff do they have? If they have other branches do those branches make their own decisions? If so who are the contacts?

What private interests does your prospect have? Show a GENUINE interest as suggested by Dale Carnegie and make a note of it. Find out their likes and dislikes, who are their competitors? Where are their competitors located?

Most sales people are too interested in TELLING not selling. They are all too keen to tell the customer about how wonderful their product is without doing any ground work first.

If you happen to be selling anything from aircraft, to SMARTPHONES, to IPHONES or to INSURANCE etc make certain you get ALL the information you can about your customers CURRENT situation and make sure you understand it perfectly.

Once you have all this information it is still not the time to mention your product or service. There are more questions requiring answers such as what problems they have, what those problems mean and what needs done to have them resolved.

Tip of the day:

Remember, a great salesperson knows how to ask the right kind of questions and uncover what the customer REALLY wants. If your customer exposes a problem your product or service can solve it is STILL not the time to introduce your product or service.

Why? Because you MUST find out what that problem means and how it effects the business.

Only then are you getting somewhere near where the elite sales people already know where to go.

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More from Dale Carnegie

If you are in a big sales team and sometimes get a little flack from your fellow salespeople then take heart at what Dale Carnegie had to say:

1. Remember that unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment.

2. Do the very best you can.

3. Analyse your own mistakes and criticise yourself.

4. Ask others for constructive criticism.

If you are making major sales in your own business or in a sales team the best thing to do is be your very best. If your company does not provide any form of sales training (most do product only training) make sure you do it yourself. Read all the books by Neil Rackham and practice what he preaches. Making major sales is a completely different skill from making simple sales and the more training you do the more skills you will aquire. That means in the end the more money you will make. Once you become a true professional salesperson the world is your oyster.

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Dale Carnegie

My life changed way back in 1972 when my good friend Andrew Smith (APT) sent me on a Dale Carnegie course.

The course was over fourteen weeks one night per week and by half way through I changed my vocation and knew all I wanted to do was sell and work entirely for myself.

I have never forgotten the lessons learned on that course and this one is the most important.

If you want to get on in life you must get people to like you and here are the six ways:

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

2. Smile

3. Remember that a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

5. Talk in terms of the other persons interest.

6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

ALL of this is vitally important if you are making major sales. If you are involved in sales training or sales management you must impress these important aspects onto your sales staff or participants.

How many sales people do you know who really have these skills? It is not rocket science, and all of these skills are worth mastering.

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Popular Smartphones

Do you use a “popular smartphone”?

I guess most salespeople do, however PLEASE do not let it ruin your chances of making major sales. There is a serious problem out there and it is very disturbing.

I was in Melbourne Australia a while back and I was having breakfast at a popular cafe at 7.30 am. Next to me at a big table was a sales team enjoying a breakfast meeting. There were around ten people including a sales manager leading the group.

He was trying to get started with what appeared to be a structured and well planned program. During this time his cellphone rang three times and in each case he answered it. This distracted the remaining group and after that third call a female salesperson got up and angrily made this point. “If that cellphone is not switched off now I am leaving this meeting”.

Naturally the sales manager was upset as the whole restaurant overheard, however is this not a valid argument?

What on earth would have happened before smartphones? Would these calls have taken place? I do not think so and it baffles me why a sales manager would turn his phone on at anytime when running a motivational meeting for staff.

In my opinion it degrades those staff and takes the whole focus off the meeting. The same thing applies and is equally important when in front of a customer. Real Estate sales people generally make a habit of it and it surely sends the message to the customer about who is the most important.

My tip of the day is to just think about the importance of this post.

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Sales Benchmark

If you want to find out who the top companies are I suggest you check these people out.

Sales Benchmark

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The Way Buying has Changed

Here is an old article from the Sydney Morning Herald back in 2006.

The Title was Brave New World by Owen Thomson

Date: 29/07/2006

This is so true and is a solid reminder today.

 

The way we buy has changed and the role of the sales professional has evolved as a result, writes Owen Thomson.

Money-making opportunities abound in the world of sales, so it’s hard to imagine a shortage of eager professionals looking to capitalise. But according to experts, that very scenario is one of the challenges facing Australian businesses.

 

The number of sales positions has increased markedly in the past year, aligning with the growth in the economy generally.

 

James Fennessy, managing director of sales performance improvement organisation Huthwaite Asia Pacific, says there are often more sales positions than there are quality people to fill them. The biggest issue facing organisations, he says, is not only finding, but also retaining top sales staff. “Competitors are coming in trying to throw them an extra 10 or 15 grand a year to attract them away,”

 

Fennessy says. “We’re seeing that right across the board, whether it’s in health care, financial services, IT or the telecom sector. Job prospects are absolutely excellent.”

Lenga agrees that the skills shortage at the top end is a real issue; expert salesmanship is a vocation, he says, demanding several key attributes. “It’s a particular skill-set that’s required, involving a lot of relationship building and a lot of comfort around numbers; the ability to make cold calls; the ability to sell as well as the confidence to sell.”

 

As if talent shortages weren’t enough, Fennessy says all industries are also having to take a different approach to selling. In an overcrowded market, products lose their individuality, so winning over customers is not as easy as it once was.

“What’s happened over the last five or six years is that products and services have begun to look more similar, so the importance of a quality sales force has become more important,” he says. “One of the big challenges in the sales game is now creating competitive distinct value.” Because the nature of the sales role has also evolved enormously in the past five years, many sales reps who were successful in the old world are ill-equipped for the new one. “Five or six years ago, all sales guys needed to be was a talking brochure because their products had something unique about them,” Fennessy says. “Today, salespeople need to create value through their ability to help customers understand problems, issues and challenges that they don’t know they have. Customers are looking for a different kind of relationship. What they’re saying is, ‘Don’t sell me a product, be a business partner.’ “

Peter McKeon, managing director of sales training and solution development company Salesmasters International, says it’s not only salespeople who need to move with the times. “I think that many organisations lack the necessary accountability and discipline in their sales forces,” he says. “It’s, ‘Here’s your car and mobile phone, go out and sell.’ Most are under-trained and simply not maximising their opportunities. We need to get a lot more customer-centric: ‘Here’s me and my car, dropping into do a PR call’, as opposed to a true sales call.” McKeon believes many who are already in the sales field need to improve their game. “The vast majority of people in the sales fraternity in this country, if you were to rate them on a scale of one to 10 … I would suggest that the majority of them would be running at around a four or a five,” he says.

“I think people could do a lot more with their customer base than what they’re currently doing.”

 

CASE STUDY: CHRIS LAMBETH, PHARMACEUTICAL SALES REP

Chris Lambeth has been a pharmaceutical sales rep for drug company Aspen Pharmacare for 12 months. A former vet, the 30-year-old Sydneysider switched careers after realising his original choice wasn’t for him.

“It was a brand new challenge, completely different to anything I’d done before and so I just ran with it,” he says of the change in direction. These days Lambeth spends a lot of time on the road, visiting medical professionals in his prescribed

territory and keeping them up to date about what his company has to offer.

“I do part of the inner-west, extending down south a little bit and also part of the city,” he says. “I take care of all the GPs and hospitals in that area. We also have a country territory where we go for a week or two a couple of times a year.”

Lambeth’s favourite aspect of the job is the independence. “You’re in charge of your territory,” he says. “From Monday to Friday, you plan your week, how you

structure things and how you make appointments. You have quite a bit of control over the way you do things … while at the same time, you’re constantly seeing people and meeting new people as well.”

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