By Keith Dugdale
People love asking about challenges in sales meetings.
In my many years of observing sales people, ‘What are your biggest challenges?’ would only be surpassed in popularity by an equally doomsday style question ‘What keeps you up at night?’.
Don’t get me wrong – asking about their challenges can be a very good question, and is certainly a better question than ‘what keeps you up at night?’ which has become as frequently used in sales meetings as Big Macs are seen in McDonalds. If you’ve built a level of trust with the other person before you ask it, it can definitely unearth a whole host of interesting information, and hopefully gives you an opportunity to give the other person lots of ideas about how they can tackle these challenges (and not just with your own product or service, of course).
But this doesn’t mean it’s a good question to ask everyone….and particularly to ask CEO’s.
If it can be suc [...]
By Ben Paul.
Now that January is fully upon us, it is that time of year again when many businesses and departments within businesses start to look at their plans and strategies for the year ahead. But what does this actually entail? Will you simply review and tweak last year’s plan or follow the same format or structure that you’ve carried out every year? If you do you won’t be expecting radically different results.
I was thinking about this after I’d come out of the movie theatre having thoroughly enjoyed Disney’s latest instalment of the Star Wars Universe, Rogue One. Clearly the investment in Star Wars from Disney was around tapping into our childhood memories and producing as many films as close to the originals as possible to help the dollars come pouring in. Clearly Star Wars is one cash cow that can be almost endlessly milked, as sequels and side stories all have box-office and merchandise spin-off success.
However, how can you find a way to gr [...]
By Ben Paul
The main aim of many salespeople and those tasked with bringing work into their organisations, is to make contact and then get meetings with the senior decision makers. This, for many, is one of the biggest challenges they face, and even if they get that meeting, they soon find that they have been passed down the prospective client organisation to someone less senior.
So what is it that means the Senior decision maker – often at the C-Suite (CEO, CFO etc) level, doesn’t want to give up their time to you? It could just be the box that you have put yourself in. Do you genuinely think:
Last Friday I received 56 unsolicited emails.
56 in one day. And that’s just the one’s that managed to get through my spam filters (note that when I say unsolicited, for many of them I probably did sign up or get added to their mailing lists at some point in time).
Of those 56 I clicked on 11 and deleted the rest without opening them. I counted this because last week I had a question from someone on my video training series about writing compelling sales emails asking me about what to write in a subject line to make someone want to open it.
It’s a great question – you can write the best sales email you have ever written in your whole life, but if the subject line sucks, it will get deleted before it has a chance to get read. Of the 11 that I chose to read based on their subject line, 7 of them turned out to be spam (or what I consider to be spam – content that has no real relevance to me and what [...]
Every day around the world billions of emails are being sent – quite literally. In 2015, research by The Racadati Group found that around 2015 Billion emails are being sent globally each and every day.
Amongst all of these emails that are shooting all around the place are millions and millions of sales emails. And as I said in my last post, I bet the majority of them are pretty bad – which means that the chances of a decision maker not only reading your email, but then taking the time to reply to it and agree to a meeting is slim.
Unless what’s in your email is pretty darn compelling.
What to include in a great sales email
The way you structure a sales email and the content you include in it is critical. But before you even start thinking about that, there’s an element that is even more critic [...]
Without trusted relationships in business, what do you have?
Suspicion. Wondering whether the other person has your best interests or their own really at heart. Worry about what another person’s motives really are.
Obviously none of these are overly conducive to building trusted relationships that drive collaboration, winning work and people simply enjoying working with other people. Most people I speak to know that trust is important, but don’t really understand what it actually means to build trust – they see it as something intangible, something that takes a long time, and something that feels potentially hard to do.
Recently I was fortunate to have a chat with Duff Watkins for the AmCham Podcast. We talked a lot about what it takes for people and organisations to build trust and be seen as more trustworthy, and I wanted t [...]
Have you ever sent off a sales email to someone you really wanted to get a meeting with but got no response? Or if you got a response it was along the lines of ‘no thanks’ or ‘I’m too busy’ or ‘I’ve already got a provider that I’m happy with’?
If you’re anything like most of my clients, then the answer is yes.
Most of the time they’re a bit puzzled by this. They’ll say ‘but our product/service is great, and totally what they need!’. But when they share with me exactly what it was that they sent off, I can tell them straight away why it didn’t work.
Why most sales emails don’t work
The reason why most sales emails (or sales calls) don’t get the response that the sender was hoping for is because they are far too self-oriented. They tell the buyer:
- Who I am, who I work for, what my position is.
- What great product/servic [...]
by Ben Paul
One of the most common issues I hear from clients and others organisations is how they can talk to their contacts once the work has been completed. It is almost as if they have only had one sole reason to speak and that is to deliver the service for which they can send their invoice for. Then once that final invoice is sent, well what do you talk about?
Why your client doesn’t respond to your messages outside of the project
I’ve even had some people tell me that it is their client who either doesn’t want a relationship with their suppliers or that they are just simply extremely introverted or rude! There is of course a slim chance that this could be true but in my experience it is highly unlikely. So why aren’t they responding?
- The only value you give is in the work you do. Which is great, it is important for any business to deliver their service or product well. However, assuming you have compet [...]
by Ben Paul
To be successful in your career, you will need to develop and build new relationships with people. However, does the mere thought of this start to make you feel anxious?
When you’re looking to change how you do things in any way, even if it is just a small adjustment it can be very difficult. In challenging or highly complex markets, that fear of doing something different can really hold you back. In fact, if you tend to see risks rather than the opportunity in a new situation, this behavioural preference can prevent you from building new relationships. (If you are unsure of your behavioural preferences you can discover what they are by taking our free octagon behavioural assessment here)
I often ask people, if you were given the choice, “Would you rather go back to your desk and get on with your day job, or go out and talk to a total stranger?”
To be truly great at sales, you have to be able to hand over control to the buyer.
Whether it’s control of the topic of conversation, control of what and when they want to hear certain stories or information from you, or control of the next steps. Unfortunately, giving up this control can feel counterintuitive to many sales people. The irony is that the more you give away control, the more the client wants to work with you and often the bigger and sooner the sale comes in. But it’s not easy – if it was,everyone would be doing it.
I was recently chatting to a client of mine who told me about a meeting she’d had with a prospective client that she thought went really well. At some point during the meeting, she got wind that there was a project in the offering – so when she thought the meeting was drawing to a close, she pounced.
“Can I send you a proposal for that project?” she said.
She beamed when she told me this story – “I’ve got [...]