Thursday, December 29, 2011

How to maximize your field reps sales potential

Field Sales is a very different type of selling. It requires a unique type of rep who has no fear and can make a great first impression. Being organized on the road has its own challenges. Here are some of the best practices we have seen for being successful as a road warrior:

1) Marketing Tool Box. To avoid papers sliding all over your car, pick up a portable filing cabinet from staples or an office store and protect your contracts, marketing slicks and paper work from heat, cold, folded corners and being trampled. This will ensure you have all the paper tools you need and will make it obvious when your quantities are low. There is nothing worse than showing up and having to show a brochure with a boot print on it or a contract that looks like it went through a wash cycle.

2) Get a Tablet. Instead of relying on paper or to augment your paper requirements, invest in a tablet. Tablets still have wow factor and you can easily show products, services on a tablet without the pomp and circumstance of booting up a computer. Your prospects will think you are tech savvy, organized and credible. It doesn’t have to be an $800 ipad. An 8g anything will do. I picked up the Blackberry Playbook when it was on sale for $199 for one of my clients reps and it has helped them tremendously – even the simple stuff like email on the road becomes faster.

3) Use a CRM for field Sales. Not all CRM’s are created equally. Many of the CRM’s are great for in office sales or reps that go back to an office in between meetings but choosing the right tool for your road warriors is important. Front Row CRM has some very cool features for field reps. It has a mapping feature that shows you other prospects/leads/customers on a physical map so you can plan your route better. If the reps enter notes as they go, the Manager can see the actual route they took to coach them on better uses of time. It also has a CRM updating feature that can be used via TEXT in the event you don’t have a tablet. This is a stand alone or a bolt on to other CRM systems. CRM that works, is easy to use, simple to populate and actually facilitates sales is key to a field reps success

4) Keeping you office clean. I believe all companies with field reps should pay for an inside and outside car wash once a week. Keeping your car clean forces you to stay organized, helps you feel professional and in the event that a customer sees your car rolling up, it doesn’t look like it’s been off roading.

5) Fuel. Fuel is important. Your body and mind need good fuel to keep you at top performance which can be challenging when you are on the road. Drink lots of water and pack fruit & veg snacks. Apples, grapes, oranges, carrots, celery will all keep for days in a cooler. Don’t over think this. Just grab an apple on the way out or hit a grocery store between meetings. If you feel good, you will sell more.

And to state the obvious - you absolutely need a GPS!

It’s little every day changes that make a long lasting positive impact.

Happy Selling!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Objection Handling

It’s important that you have solid clarity of all the details in order to be able to truly overcome an objection. There are 5 steps to objection handling:

Acknowledge: Empathise and identify with their concern

Question: As for specifics including Who What Where Why and tell me more

Listen: Be patient and truly understand what the prospect is telling you

Position: Discuss the benefits and connect the dots to their business

(Here is where you could use the Feel, Felt, Found technique)

Check: Has the objection been addressed and ask for further feed back with a question

Here are some common Objections and some questions to ask that will help you uncover the true objection and position yourself to resolve the concern.

Happy with their current provider/service

• Perhaps you could clarify for me – Is it your service or your service provider that are happy with?

• What is it that you like about them

• When was the last time they did an assessment of your requirements or services?

• How do you feel your business would benefit from new technology? Cost Savings? Increased productivity? Efficiencies? Being more Competitive?

• It would be helpful if you could be specific about who your current service provider is and if you have more than one provider for one or more service

• How are you kept up to date on new technology, products and services?

• How proactive is your rep/provider?

• What features do you like about your service?

• Is there a specific feature or product you would like to see from your current service provider?

• Have you ever had an outage? How was that handled? What is your outage process?

Not Competitive

• Could you be more specific? Price? Solution? Product offering?

• Are you speaking with other providers regarding this service?

• I would like to confirm that we are truly comparing apples to apples. Can we move through the solution and truly understand the similarities and differences?

• Some line items may be included in the pricing where as with other suppliers they may be a separate item. Could I help you do a detailed comparison?

• Is there a specific part of the quote/pricing that jumps out at you?

• Was there anything noticeably different in the quotes?

• Do you have a budget?

• Is cost the most important factor in your decision?

• Where do you specifically feel we are not competitive? SLA? Price? Solution?

In a contract

• Is this a verbal contract or a signed contract?

• When was the contract signed? What is the term of the contract?

• If I could show you cost savings, and the numbers make sense, would you consider switching?

• Could I do a cost analysis of savings vs. any penalties?

• Could you share with me some of the main Terms and Conditions of the contract?

• Does it have an auto renew clause? Will your rates increase with the Auto renew?

• Were there any sticking points with the contract?

• What services are specifically contracted?

With the “In a Contract” clause the goal is to set a reminder to follow up 6 months prior to the contact expiry and note it in Goldmine and to offer them other Avega services including Conferencing and Social Media.

Not Interested

• Are you interested in New Technology? Better Service? Saving Money? Being Competitive? Educating yourself on communication trends? Getting a second opinion on solutions?

• What are you not interested in?

• Tell me something about your business that would help me understand what is important to you

• Are phone & internet a service that your business depends on daily to run your company?

• If your business depends on phone and internet, why wouldn’t you be interested?

• How do you communicate with Customers? Vendors? Other employees? What percentage do you use phone to communicate? What percentage do you rely on Internet and email to communicate?

• How critical is phone and/or internet to your business

• If Phone and internet are critical infrastructure, isn’t it worth looking at more closely?

• If I could demonstrate improved productivity and greater efficiencies by having the right solutions, would you agree to look at this service in more detail?

Be that active listener and truly seek to understand the objection. Take your time and be deliberate in your questions and finding the heart of the matter. Happy Selling!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Trial Close

The Trial Close Separates The Sales Pros From The Amateurs
By: Nick Moreno

Too many salespeople never ask for an order. Obviously, these salespeople never last very long in sales. Others only ask for the order once they are convinced the prospect is ready to be closed. These salespeople are missing out on a very powerful sales tool, the trial close. It’s a key tool that will increase sales performance. Let’s look at why a trial closes work.

Trial Close And The Sales Process

The trial close is about asking for the order when you assume the prospect is probably not ready to be closed. Let me explain why you would ask for the order when you believe the prospect is not ready to hand you the order. Thinking about a trial close yet?
First of all, your assumptions may not be accurate. Some trial closes actually close the deal. You may have thought the prospect wasn’t ready but in reality the prospect was anxious to do business with you. So, congratulations! Your Trial Close resulted in success.

Trial Close Is A Compass

Most of the time, your assumptions will be correct and the prospect is not ready to be closed. The Trial Close is a great way to uncover why the prospect isn’t ready. The Trial Close is like a compass that allows the salesperson to discover where they are in the Sales Process.

Trial Close And Objections

When your prospect balks at handing you the order, you want to know why. At this point, you will surely get some questions, concerns or objections. Thanks to the Trial Close you now know what’s on your prospect’s mind. Your job is to successfully address all those questions, concerns and objections. Once you do, you absolutely must, once again, ask for the order.

When To Trial Close

The trial close should be used right after you’ve presented your product as the answer to your prospect’s problems, wants or needs. You’ve presented all the benefits your prospect will enjoy by using your product or service. You’ve also cost justified the purchasing decision. The only thing left to do at this point is to trial close. That’s when to implement an effective trial close.

Trial Close With Confidence

Since you may feel your prospect isn’t ready to be closed you may be hesitant about confidently asking for the order and that would be a big mistake. Whenever you ask for an order, you must do it with confidence and that confidence must be evident even during a trial-closing attempt.

As you can see, the Trial Close is a powerful sales tool and you now know when and how to implement it. As a sales strategy, you can’t ignore the usefulness of a solid trial-closing attempt. I hope you’ll use it often and I hope that this advice will have you earning more commissions with your Trial Close.
To your sales success!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Objection Handling using LACE

Objections happen. If you perform the sales or persuasion process well, you will succeed in seriously reducing the number of objections, but they may still happen.

Objections can be transformed into an opportunity. For example, you can increase understanding of the other person's circumstance and to get closer to them, building a more trusting relationship.


Before you can act on the objection, it helps a great deal if you can understand properly not only the objection but also the thought and emotion behind it.

Find the objection

First, listen some more. Ask questions that elicit the background and detail of the objection. Listen not only to the objection but to the emotion behind it. Seek to 'read between the lines'.
The objection as stated may well be a cover for the real objection. Probe for more detail. Ask 'what else' and 'how come'.
Find remaining objections

Find out whether there are any other objections. Ask 'Is there anything else'. Tip the bucket. This can cause you more work now and it may seem that it is better to let sleeping dogs lie. But if you do not do so, then when you get towards what you hope is closure, they may easily pop up to frustrate you once again.


Once you have discovered the objection, the next stage is to acknowledge not only the objection but the person, too.
Accept the person

First and throughout, accept the person. Accept that they have a right to object. Accept that you have not fully understood them.
You do not do this by saying 'I accept you' or anything like this. The simplest way is through your attitude. Objecting can be a scary act, and people can fear your reaction. By not reacting negatively, by accepting the objection, you also accept the person.
By accepting the person, you build both their trust and their sense of identity with you. You also set up a exchange dynamic where they feel a sense of obligation to repay your acceptance.
Accept the objection

Accepting the objection means understanding how it is reasonable, at least from their current viewpoint for them to object to what you may believe is an excellent offer.
It also means accepting the work that addressing the objection will require of you. Objections can be frustrating and if you object to the objection, you will have a mutual stalemate.


Now it is time to get serious. With the increased understanding and trust, you have an ideal opportunity for a trial close.
Get their commitment

Get a commitment from them such that if you can satisfactorily address their objections, they will agree with you and make the purchase.
This is also a good method of identifying further objections. If they say no, then loop back and elicit these. Eventually, they will run out of objections. If you can address these, it's in the bag.
Make your commitment

This is also the point where you may well be making a commitment to them, to resolve their objections. This may be difficult and cost you in various ways, from calling in favors from other people to putting in additional effort.
The decision you have here, is 'Is it worth it?' Persuasion is often an exchange, and you always at liberty to back out.

Explicit action

Now it is time to address the objections, to take explicit action on the commitments made.
There are two types of objection: real ones and accidental ones. Accidental objections are where the objection is due to a misunderstanding. Misunderstandings are usually easy to address, with an apology and an explanation.
Real objections take work, but if they can be resolved, you've got the sale!
Persuade your way through

Persuading your way through an objection means working to change the way they view the objections. You can wear them down such that they no longer view the objection as being worth pursuing. You can also change the way they view them more positively such that they have an 'aha' experience that leads them to perceive the objection as being no longer important.
Concede your way through

You can also concede your way through, giving in and effectively buying their commitment. If they object to the price, you can always lower it. If they don't want it now, you can come back next week.
Concession can be both a useful approach, especially if you are in a hurry, and a threat. If you give them an inch, then they may want to take a mile. But this is not necessarily so, and a prepared concession strategy can pay dividends.

Thanks to Changing Minds for this objections handling techniques!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What a CEO should do...

By Mark Davis

I’m a believer that CEOs shouldn’t own workstreams. If they own a customer relationship, marketing plan or product function they won’t be available to invest time in supporting their team. You should be available to help someone on your team when they urgently needs a question answered in order to do their job.

When companies are first started, however, CEOs wear lots of hats and own workstreams that they should divest as the company scales. Owning legal tasks, HR to-do’s, office space procurement, accounting and others are all inevitable, but are roles that CEOs should work to delegate as resources become available.

But what roles should a CEO keep?

Here’s my list of roles that I plan to maintain as Kohort scales:
Strategic Alignment: Ensuring that everyone on my team is working toward the same macro objectives in lockstep, by facilitating communication.

Culture: Setting the culture of the company through office setup, policies and leading by example.

Talent Optimization: Working to maximize the talent of the overall team through hiring decisions and working to ensure each team members maximizes their potential through mentorship and active support.

Fundraising: Raising money to keep the company growing at the appropriate pace.

It’s worth noting that this doesn’t mean that CEOs shouldn’t do sales calls or engage in customer service. They should as long as those activities help their team succeed in their roles. Moreover, a CEO should do any task, no matter how menial, to help their team succeed. Take out the trash, pickup lunch and clean the office - whatever it takes to help your team win.

Also, all of these tasks that the CEO owns are cerebral except for fundraising – that’s the task you never get to fully delegate...