I have spoken many times about objection handling and closing when it comes to selling. The message however does not always get through. Did you know that traditional closing techniques just do not work when making major sales? Trying to overcome objections during a larger sale can also cause you problems as well and contribute to lost sales.
The skills required for making big sales can be demonstrated quite clearly with the research Neil Rackham carried out in his Newcastle study way back in the early 1970’s.
Rackham found that successful sellers focus on objection prevention, NOT on objection handling. The research analysed how they did it and described it in his books. The sales courses aimed at specific industries also explain these skills in detail and if you are able to practice and obtain these important skills you will find a major improvement in your sales ability.
The same thing applies to closing the sale, Racham found the closing techniques used in smaller sales can lose you business when making major sales. Most commonly taught closing techniques do not work, the skill is to find better ways of obtaining customer commitment in the major sale and once again in our dedicated sales course we place a huge emphasis on this skill.
For some strange reason the average sales course goes into great detail and training about handling objections and closing techniques. In virtually every case these relate to making simple sales. In my experience I have collected and read numerous books on sales training, and most sales managers teach this method to their sales teams. However if you are involved in making major sales and you adopt these training techniques it is very clear you be heading in the wrong direction.
In our courses we teach the techniques that have been proven to work through dedicated and tireless research by Neil Rackham of Huthwaite Research.
There are very few sales people in the world who have these skills, few organizations teach it and the reason is simply because they do not know about it.
My passion is being able to show a potential sales person how to advance to super sales person in a few short steps in record time. If you sell big ticket items and you are involved in making major sales we can help you providing you can read, listen and ask questions.Continue reading
Everywhere you look there are discounts. The consumer electronics industry is just one place where you see week after week big discounts on TV screens, DVD players and the like.
Who is responsible for these discounts? We know the retailer is giving away margin and in fact many of these retailers are going out of business very quickly. Some retail outlets advertise their prices will not be beaten. The owners of these companies always complain about lack of margin or their competitors when something goes wrong. With all of the research carried out world wide the real problem lies with the sales people. It is a known fact that people generally do not make a purchased based on price alone. There are many other factors that determine the motivation for a purchase.
However we also know there is very little sales training provided to retail sales people. Product training yes, Sales Training no. Why is this?
We believe the real reason for this is simple. The business owner really does not understand there is a serious difference in skill set between selling something simple like an audio lead and selling a sixty inch Plasma TV panel. If you are involved in retail selling big ticket items you will find many hints and tips on this blog on making major sales.Continue reading
This is for any sales people currently working as a sales person in the consumer electronics industry.
The consumer electronics industry is a tough market. The audio and video section of that industry is cut throat. Unfortunately most sales people selling loudspeakers and high quality audio products are passionate about what they do, passionate about the industry but don’t have the real skills to sell. I have compiled this book solely for these audio sales people to enhance their sales. After nearly thirty years in the AV business my passion for good loudspeakers has never wained.
The book “How to Sell Loudspeakers” will be released early in 2012 and will only be available in physical format. If you are selling high end audio products and you want to increase your sales contact us and we will advise you the minute this book is off the press.Continue reading
One of the things that we get asked the most about at the Sales Management Mastery Academy, especially by those members that are in sales but want to get promoted into sales management and move their career forward and start managing and supervising other sales people is, “How do I actually get promoted?”
This is something that we do cover inside of the academy for our paid members.
I thought that it would be a great idea to do a show about it today because we have gotten many questions on it recently. A couple of interview requests online have asked the same question as well.
For the New Year of 2011, we wanted to give you 6 killer tips on how to get promoted into sales management if you are a sales person right now. If you are a sales manager now, this is something that you may want to advise your ambitious sales people on. One of the roles of a sales manager is to find out what their career goals are. You, as a sales manager has the unique opportunity to mentor and assist those sales people that have the potential leadership qualities that may be a good candidate for sales management or maybe some other position within the organization that you work for. So this applies to you as well.
6 Killer Tips to Get Promoted To Sales Management
The greatest sales people in the world don’t always become the greatest sales managers.
Just like the greatest baseball players don’t necessarily make the greatest coaches. Or maybe the greatest football players don’t necessarily become the best football coaches. Nonetheless, in order for you to get promoted, you do have to catch the eye of your superiors, in this case your sales manager, or your boss’s boss, or maybe the GM, or VP of sales.
The best way to do that as a sales person is to excel in the sales role. It is not necessarily a pre-requisite for great sales management, but it certainly puts you in a tremendous position to succeed. Anything that you can do to increase your effectiveness as a sales person, and continue to produce results consistently, year in and year out, quarter in and quarter out, whatever the timetable is for your organization, it will certainly get the higher ups in your organization to stand up and take notice and think, “hey maybe this is a person who potentially could move into management at some point in time. He certainly knows how to sell; maybe he could pass this on to the sales people in his charge once he gets promoted.”
Number 1 is to excel in your current sales role.
Volunteer and initiate
Someone told me these very early in my career; to take on new responsibilities. Do things that the average person just isn’t doing.
Maybe there is a sales meeting coming up and your sales manager is probably creating 4 or 5 different presentations, maybe he/she is looking for creative input on the agenda. The best thing to do is to approach him/her and ask if there is anything that you could do at the next sales meeting. Maybe doing a case study on one of your successful sales calls, or how to prospect, or maybe an in-depth discussion on a particular product and how you are using that to sell more effectively, or maybe something like a targeting strategy session that you spearhead, something like that. The first thing that I did when I wanted to become a sales manager in a very small organization is that I would always ask my sales manager what I could do. He said that he wanted me to do something on a ½ hour on something that I could make up. If you have a sales manager that is willing to let you do that, the obviously he trusts you and has faith in your judgment. I chose a topic called “Micro Opportunities: How to Make the Best of Your 2 Minute Sales Call”. I did it in about a half hour. It didn’t necessarily lead to my promotion, but it showed that I was ready to take on the additional responsibility and/or maybe a supervisory position.
Did that one initiation help me get promoted? It certainly didn’t hurt. Because I did well in that first presentation, and I prepared for it quite extensively, he gave me other opportunities to do other things in the organization that definitely led to my promotion. If you are a sales manager, encourage your people to do this, it will lighten your load at a sales meeting. Who doesn’t like another presentation done by somebody else?
But if you are a sales person looking to enhance your own visibility and put you in a position to be promoted, this can be a great tool.
Use your sales manager
This is something that a lot of people don’t do. Maybe they feel that their sales manager will take it in the wrong way, but it is important to tell your sales manager that you are ambitious and that you want to become a sales manager and move into the next role.
Ask them to be mentored. Talk to them about your goals and ask for honest feedback. Ask, “What do you think that I need to work on for better ability lead other sales people? What do you think that I should do?” Solicit their feedback.
Use your sales manager, they are in is in a position that you want to be in, so ask them quite frankly, “What do you think my areas of opportunities are? What do you think I need to work on?” Then, on the Monday call in ask, “Hey were there any challenging sales management problems this week? Can we talk about them without breaching confidentiality with the other sales reps? Maybe we can talk about them in a case-study format?”
Use your sales manager.
Get to know people within the organization
This isn’t brown nosing. This is just a good way of doing business. Get to know as many people as you can within the organization, especially your sales manager. Also get to understand them. Get to know your sales managers boss.
Then, what a lot of sales managers neglect, get to know the other sales managers in your organization. Use the regional sales meetings as an opportunity to chit chat with them at the bar. At a lot of organization, they use the input of other sales managers, not just the direct sales manager, but other sales managers and they ask “hey what do you think of this guy/gal for the sales promotion in Chicago?” Sales manager, not just your sales managers could have influence over your position; get to know them. This will certainly put you in a good position, so that you have credibility and character references. Obviously if you’ve done well in number 1, others will see that you’ve done well in your sales career, so why not give them this opportunity.
Get to know people in your organization.
This seems like an obvious topic, but a lot of sales managers and people forget about this. They think as soon as I get into the role, then I’ll figure out learn how to become a manager, but it is better to start getting educated first.
Figure out what your role and style are. Sometimes the best way to do this is to think of certain sales/management situations and think about how would I handle that if I were him/her? Think about what your style is. If you are very friendly, open, and gregarious, maybe then that is your sales style. If you are more serious, direct and to the point, maybe that is what your style is. Figure out what your style is and then pick up education, and take some classes.
Another idea is to join some paid membership sites as well, such as The Sales Management Mastery Academy; it is a good way to pick up ideas on motivating, leading and coaching people.
You can even use that as a reference in your interview saying, “I have taken all seven courses in the Sales Management Mastery Academy and this is how I am preparing myself”. Something like that is very effective.
There are hundreds of sites, and I encourage you to look at them all. This is certainly something that could prove very effective. You will show that you are serious and that you have done your homework if you have thought about how you would handle certain situations, and you have identified your sales management style.
Through the academy we talk about the practice being more of who you are and not some other management style because your sales people will see through that very quickly and you’ll become an ineffective sales leader as a result.
Visualize how you would handle future situations
If you do the education and then you start to think, you are talking to one of your cohorts, and they are explaining a challenge. Instead of giving them advice, think about; “How would I handle this situation if I were the sales manager? How would I like it to be handled?”
You may not know how your friend is motivated or how best to coach them, or how best they should be led, all of these things that you will learn, but you can start to think about how you would handle the situations, using some of the education that you have picked up, or using some of the books you have read, or using information from sites you have visited, or through bogs you have visited, so by visualizing how you would handle things, in advance of them happening, that is really how you are best prepared for them.
Granted once you become a sales manager, you are going to come in contact with situations and experiences that are new and that you have never encountered before, and every day you will see things that you have never seen before, but you can relate these experiences to other experiences that you have had. By visualizing things in advance it helps you prepare for situations that will occur once you are handed that opportunity to be promoted into sales management.
Copyright (c) 2008 Law Offices of Jonathan Cooper
Many small business owners that I’ve encountered are surprised to learn that under New York law, anyone in a product’s chain of distribution can be held liable for injury that results from the foreseeable use of the product. This law includes a retailer, who may have just put that product on his shelf without ever opening the box, and a distributor, who merely transported the product from one destination to the other. Under this scenario, neither the retailer nor the distributor was actively at fault for the product’s defect or the plaintiff’s accident – and they can still be held liable. Does that sound scary from the retailer or distributor’s perspective? It sure is.
The Plaintiff’s Burden of Proof in a Products Liability Action
In very basic terms, in order to prevail in a products liability action, a plaintiff needs to prove two things: first, that the product is defective, i.e., the product is so likely to be harmful to persons or property that a reasonable person who had actual knowledge of its potential for producing injury would conclude that it should not have been marketed in that condition, and, second, that the defect was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s injuries.
The plaintiff can meet this burden of proof by demonstrating one of the following: (1) this specific product was defectively manufactured; (2) the product was defectively designed; or, (3) the safety warnings accompanying the product were inadequate.
At first blush, this law seems particularly tough on middlemen like the retailer and distributor, which presumably have little to no input in either the manufacture or design of the product, or the warnings that are placed on the product. However, it bears mention that these entities reap the financial rewards from selling the product. Consequently, the courts have opined that in the interests of assuring that a plaintiff with a legitimate defective products claim has a viable and readily available party from whom he or she can be compensated (as opposed to a foreign manufacturer with no connection to the plaintiff or place of occurrence), it is fair to hold the middlemen liable for the product’s failures.
This law does not leave retailers or distributors without recourse; to the contrary, they are still entitled to seek indemnity and/or contribution from the responsible party (generally, the manufacturer). On the other hand, clearing the technical and procedural hurdles necessary to get indemnity from the manufacturer is often far from simple, particularly where the manufacturer is foreign.
Assumption #1: The manufacturer has the requisite minimum contacts with the forum of the claim. In order to obtain personal jurisdiction over the foreign manufacturer, you must demonstrate that the manufacturer either transacts business or has some other tangible nexus with the forum state (see, e.g., New York Civil Practice Law and Rules §302).
Assumption #2: The manufacturer’s host country is a signatory to the Hague Convention’s Service of Process Rules. If Assumption #1 can be satisfied (which is uncertain at best), you will still need to assure that your legal papers are personally served on the manufacturer. This in turn requires that the manufacturer is not only readily located, but can be served under the Hague Convention’s rules.
Assumption #3: The manufacturer is a viable entity with collectible assets. It goes without saying that a paper judgment against a defunct corporation is utterly worthless.
So how can a domestic retailer or distributor protect itself against products liability claims? Here are a few suggestions:
3 Easy Steps to Protect Your Retail Business Against Defective Products Claims
Step #1: Make sure that those entities above you in the chain of distribution carry adequate products liability insurance from a domestic, well-reputed and established insurer that specifically names your company as an additional insured on the policy. Do not rely on the manufacturer’s claim that you are named on the policy; get confirmation directly from the insurer (I have seen instances where the declaration sheet provided by the other party to the agreement was a complete fabrication).
Step #2: Make sure that you have an agreement that indemnifies you against any claim of a product defect that is not of your own doing. Stated otherwise, if you are a retailer or distributor, you should be indemnified against any claims of manufacturing or design defect and/or inadequate warnings.
Step #3: Try to assure that those companies directly above you in the chain of distribution have a domestic presence, such as an office or agent for service of process.
While following these rules may cost some time and money in the short run, these safeguards are indispensable, for they may ultimately save your company from needless exposure to financial ruin.
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Too often we believe that customers are strictly price driven, but have we considered that they may not know what other factors to consider when making buying decisions on the products and services you sell? Do you strictly talk about your physical product/service, or do you create a visual of the IMPACT your product or service will have on their business today, 3 months from today and a year down the road? The truth is if you create an ongoing stream of business productivity knowledge for your customers and prospects, you will significantly increase sales, differentiate yourself from the competition, and create long-term loyal customers.
I have been hired to conduct sales training for a variety of industries, and here I’d like to share an example of what I’m talking about in regards to “Knowledge Centered Selling”. I had been asked to hold sales training sessions for a group of “copier” salesmen. We first tackled the best way to pick up more business from current clients, so I asked the question, “What are you really selling?” “The answer is NOT copies.”
What they are selling is increased productivity gains, leading to a more efficient and profitable business. Our goal was to make sure the client understood this. After a new copier was placed, the dealer sent a follow up letter explaining the finer tips of maintenance. A few weeks later a fax was sent with details on efficient methods of keeping files organized. A month later a CD was mailed on how to run an office by check list, with templates included. We sent information on how to go paperless overnight. Every 20 days some form of Knowledge Centered Selling on running a better business was sent to the customer. Most of the knowledge had very little to do with the copier, BUT, the company increased sales to existing customers by 56% over the next 12 months.
The salesmen realized that if their customers believe they are buying a “box”, they are going to try to buy that “box” as cheap as possible. On the other hand, if their customers perceive they are buying huge productivity gains, while gaining a valued business advisor, the next sale is a slam dunk and the relationship cemented.
Having completed our current client campaign, we moved on to the Knowledge Centered Selling concept for prospective customers. I explained that when a competitor is entrenched in a good account, there are two options available for getting the account to come your way. The most common is to cut prices to a point where profit margins are very slim. This is pretty short sighted for long term business health. Instead, I recommended the second method. Develop a series of informative letters similar to the ones going out to current buyers. I told them to limit the sales points about their equipment to one out of every three or four contacts. By teaching the prospect how to solve the office productivity problems in their company, the copier salesmen set themselves up as the “go to people” to solve office problems. They soon learned that even when a prospect did not buy, they received a much warmer reception and the prospect was a lot more forthcoming during the sales process. At the end of 12 months, the company experienced an increase in client base of 34%, not to mention the increased commissions paid out to the salesmen.
You may be asking, “But KC how can I create a pertinent information flow, when this is not my thing?” Creating the ongoing information flow can be accomplished two ways. First you can start clipping magazine articles, internet postings and excerpts from books that you personally found valuable. Have a staff member use these as guidelines for putting together helpful hints and tips. The second method is to call upon someone who has developed a complete Knowledge Centered Selling program in your industry and license the use of their program in your market. If you wish to create audio CDs (one of my favorite methods for touching customers) you can simply record productive ideas onto CD. Be sure to use a professional recording studio and put the knowledge in story format.
In summary, the more informed my customers are about my products and the impact they can produce in productivity gains, lifestyle, etc., the more likely they are to buy the real features they want and need. The more knowledgeable your prospect or client, the more they will buy from you.
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However it brings me to a point:
I saw Michael Phelps being interviewed on television and he made a very valid comment. Winning does not come without hard work. Michael Phelps has had to work really hard to achieve all these gold medals. Up at 5am and off to the pool. Goodness knows how many hours a day he practiced.
If you are employed in the field of making major sales then you need to practice your sales skills. In fact you need to put far more energy into sales training than meets the eye.
You may not have to get up like Michael Phelps early each morning but if you do not understand the difference between making a major sale and making a simple sale you need to take stock of yourself. Funnily enough most sales people do not know there actually is a difference. I suggest you follow these tips:
Practice makes perfect and if you are selling big stuff you must apply yourself.
Get hold of all the books on the subject you can.
Read all the books by Neil Rackham and learn the skills of selling just like Micheal Phelps has learned the skills of swimming that has had him reach the very top.Continue reading
What is the responsibility of the Duties Manager, the Sales Manager and the Regional Sales Manager?
The Duties Manager, Sales Manager and Regional Sales Manager of any SALES organization must understand the skills of selling.
I just wonder how many interviews take place for Duty Managers etc where this issue is ever mentioned. For some reason almost all organizations choose their Regional Sales Managers, Sales Managers etc strictly for their product knowledge.
Obviously it is important to have an understanding of the product or services you sell but from my own experience at Xerox Corporation the new salesman with little product knowledge was usually more successful than many salespeople who had been with the company for years.
One reason could be the fact of not confusing the customer and focusing entirely on the skills of selling. Most of the sales managers, regional managers and duty managers at Xerox understood well the difference between making major sales and making simple sales.
It is still a mystery to me why most sales training material available today still pushes the old fashion methods, covering objection handling. When they do not show the very distinct difference between making major sales and making simple sales.
It is the responsibility of the Duty Manager, Regional Sales Manager and the Sales Manager to clearly understand these differences and pass them on to their sales staff.Continue reading
These tips will help on how to make certain you get it right from the start.
When you first visit a customer or prospect you are probably bursting with enthusiasm and just cannot wait to start talking about your product.
What can go wrong?
Well it is very simple really, if you start talking about your product (like most sales people do) it is quite possible your client may just say they are not interested.
This means you may walk away not only without an order but also without understanding a thing about the persons business.
This issue is one of the biggest problems many sales people have. It is absolutely vital you find out who your customer is? Where they come from? Where are they are going?
Who is the decision maker? Are you speaking with the right person? How many branches do they have? How many people do they employ? What do those people do?
What motivates them?
All of these questions are ONLY questions about the customer’s situation. They are not questions about any other issues. These questions must be asked for two reasons.
To give you a clear and concise understanding about your prospects business and how it works.
To give you a solid base and platform to ask questions that may possibly uncover potential problems, which in turn will give you a further platform to ask more questions to find out what those problems mean and what solutions may be available for solving them.
Without the correct answers you may miss the opportunity for any business at all, and even if you do by some sheer chance secure some business there may be other orders left sitting on the table.
Get it right from the start when making major sales.
If you are a professional salesperson ask your regional sales manager if he or she understands the difference between making simple sales and making major sales.