Sales Methods

Use a carrot or a stick? 6 steps to getting the best results from your sellers.

By Keith Dugdale

“It’s like banging my head against a brick wall.”

This is what one of my clients said to me recently, expressing her frustration at getting a group of engineers in the business to adapt their sales behaviours in order to improve their sales results. She is by nature more of a ‘stick’ person than a ‘carrot’ person, but no amount of pleading, cajoling or threats of being blacklisted to the CEO seemed to be working for this particular group.

This to me, and I am sure to many of you, was not a surprise. Rarely in my experience do I see sales behaviours change as the result of being whipped into action with a stick.

Why the stick approach rarely works

Never a better case of a stick approach not only not working, but being entirely inappropriate, are the recent claims that READ MORE

What’s Your Galactic Growth Strategy?

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 [...]

How to write subject lines that make buyers want to open your emails

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 [...]

This is the single most important part of a great sales email

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 [...]

Why most sales emails don’t work

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 [...]

I’m Social but I’m not Selling

by Ben Paul

Taking your clients or prospects to the rugby or theatre? Buying them plenty of drinks and having great conversations about sport, the weather, their kids or dare I say it, the Bachelor? You’re getting on great but this relationship is unlikely to lead into profitable work for you or your organisation. In fact, it may even have got to that critical stage where it is now almost awkward to actually ask for the work. There is a real danger that your client has put you firmly in the “friend zone”. As the Bachelor would no doubt tell you, this isn’t a profitable place to find yourself.

Why it hurts in the “Friend Zone?”

Businesses have been investing in client hospitality for many years now, with little real tangible return on investment. In the last couple of decades, it is likely that this return has diminished even further. It turns out that having a good social relationship with your client may not actuall [...]

The top 8 habits of a Rainmaker

by Ben Paul

Most firms I’ve worked with or for, tend to have one or two people whom others look to with amazement and respect, as those who can ‘build relationships and win work’. Typically called rainmakers, these individuals seem to have an innate gift to be able to develop and win work for themselves and the firms they work in. Often, others look to them for help and advice, but in many cases it is not always that helpful. I’ve heard phrases like “just do what I do” or “all you need to do is be proactive, go out and meet people and the work will come.”

This lack of useful or practical advice isn’t necessarily due to the rainmaker not caring, or trying to be difficult or protect the secrets of their success. It is most likely because this has become second nature to them, it is almost impossible for them to point to what it is they do, that can be taught and learnt. In many ways they are what we would term as “unconsciously competent” – that i [...]

The Big Sales Pitch

Post by Ben Paul, Director – New Zealand

I need to talk about my stuff!

I’ve noticed a growing trend across many salespeople and professionals, the desire to talk about what it is we do and what we offer. Deep down, we all know that this is probably something of a conversation killer. Things may have been going along very well and then suddenly, the client or target, is subjected to the big sales pitch moment. Then the person you’re meeting is most likely polite, may even say thank you, that sounds interesting and perhaps even “why don’t you send me a proposal on that?”

If that sounds like your typical meeting or even a successful meeting outcome to you, be warned it isn’t. It is most likely that the client has asked for the proposal to store on file, or as a polite way to end the meeting (see this post on the dangers of jumping to your solut [...]

What should you do when your client asks you for a discount?

You’ve got this great client. Let’s call him Phil. You’ve been working together for years, and you think the relationship is pretty rock solid. And then one day Phil calls you out of the blue and says ‘Look, we’ve enjoyed working with you all these years, we’ve really enjoyed it, but times are tough. We’re gonna need you to give us a 20% discount going forward please.”

How do you react? Should you give him the discount to make sure you retain his business, in the hope that times will get better and you can put the price back up? Or should you say No and risk losing Phil’s business for good?

Being asked for discounts seems to be a trend that’s on the rise – and in my world, that’s symptomatic of the types of relationships we have with our clients (but more on that later). The other thing I’m also seeing is an increase in the number of times organisations themselves are putting pressure on their sales teams to bill lower, win work at [...]

A Sales Evolution or Revolution? What’s changed in sales methods over the past 30 years and what it means for modern sales-based organisations.

How does a sales-based organisation know which sales methodology is best?

Solution selling, SPIN selling, Insight Selling, Smarter Selling, RAIN Selling, Consultative Selling, Challenger Selling….and the list goes on. Over the last 30 years, sales ‘experts’ and authors the world over (us included) have devised, formulated and promoted a range of different selling methods that have all spelt the demise of the traditional ‘push’ sales approach.

And it seems that with every new method, the authors claim to be introducing a revolutionary new approach. But are they really?

David Lambert, my co-author on Smarter Selling, and I weren’t so sure. We suspected that each new method was really just putting new labels on existing approaches, or making a small evolutionary change to existing sales methods. More than anyt [...]