How to Succeed at Sales: Running Your Race

June 21, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

Skilled long distance runners all have their unique style of racing. Some start out of the gate in a flash and then slow down as they approach the finish line. Others progressively pick up speed and really crank it up as they head into the final miles. Both styles can be successful if the runners have taken the time to train properly for the race.

Just like runners, salespeople are goal-oriented individuals working to reach the finish line in the best possible time. Instead of clocking miles, the race is about prospecting, networking, and upselling in a manner and style that works.

Whether you prefer a fast sprint or a more slow-paced strategy, the key is to be in the race. The best racers and salespeople experiment with a variety of styles and train hard to be the best that they can be by maximizing their own personal strengths. To best determine your own personal selling style, take a 360-degree training approach that includes the following:

Find a Coach or Mentor
Having a successful colleague that you look up to, who is willing to fill the role of coach or mentor, is vital to your success. They will not only teach you through example but can also provide the motivation and inspiration you need to achieve your goals.

Take Advantage of Educational Opportunities
Attend seminars, go to events that feature guest speakers, read books and take advantage of all the educational opportunities that are out there for salespeople. Learning is something that you should be doing your entire career, and there’s lots of great information out there to help you refine your skills and techniques.

Take Good Notes
Keep track of what works and what doesn’t work for you. Maintain a daily journal of your activities and track your progress. You’ll begin to see patterns that will help you determine the most effective strategies that you should be using on a consistent basis.

Listen to Your Own Intuition
All salespeople have their particular ways of managing prospects and customers. What works for one may not work for another. If you’re a high energy, driven salesperson, use this trait to generate enthusiasm and urgency in those you’re selling to. On the flipside, if you’re a diligent, slower-paced professional who likes to build and grow relationships over time, you can be just as successful as your fast-paced counterparts. However, you’ll need to use your own unique approach that is in synch with your personality and comfort level.

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Sales Tip: Is It Nagging or Is It Persistence?

June 17, 2009 at 7:03 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, sales, Sales Training, small business | 1 Comment

There is definitely a fine line between nagging and persistence. Who wasn’t told to stop “nagging” when they were a child? The truth is that children are the very best salespeople. They take the art of persistence, and oftentimes nagging, to impressive levels.

For salespeople, it is instrumental to understand where that line is drawn between persistence and nagging. This requires the ability to recognize when a request or a question is self-serving and doesn’t offer a benefit for the person being queried. Persistence is a good thing. However, to be perceived as persistent, yet not a nag requires the mastery of the following skills.

Respect
Persistent salespeople are very aware of their prospects’ and customers’ time. They respect others’ time constraints and understand that their priorities most likely don’t include listening to lengthy sales pitches.

Value
When reconnecting with someone in a persistent mode, it’s absolutely necessary to have something of value for them. Don’t be tempted to just “follow up” or “check in”. Instead, have information, an invitation, or an introduction to present to them. You’ll be deemed far less self-serving by bringing something of value to their table, and they’ll be far more receptive to your repeated attempts to get them to buy something.

Sensitivity
Knowing when to rein it in is essential. Even though you can’t lose what you don’t have, you can irritate prospective customers so much so that they will nix you from all forms of communication. Once again, respect and consideration are the rule.

The best salespeople are skilled in remaining persistent and not getting discouraged while never crossing the fine line of being a nag or nuisance. Being able to do this is one of the most valuable skills that a sales professional will learn and it requires ongoing practice to refine and master.

Best Practices on Sales: Three Ways to Gain on the Competition

June 16, 2009 at 11:57 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

While the economy certainly has taken its toll on almost all of us, smart salespeople are using these recessionary times to deliver a higher level of service to gain on their competition. There is definitely a shakedown of sorts currently underway in many industries. Complacent companies and their representatives are finding it difficult to stay afloat using worn out strategies that no longer work. Up-and-coming businesses and forward-thinking sales professionals are seizing the opportunity to capture increased market share through a “more, faster, better” approach that attracts customers even during this extended downturn.

The silver lining of this recession is that fast-thinking, savvy, and smart salespeople are getting the opportunity to grow their businesses by gaining on their slow-moving, bloated, and unfocused competition. More than ever, prospects and clients are demanding service and value and will quickly shift loyalties away from those who don’t deliver – even if they’ve been tried and true vendors. Here’s what you need to do to gain on the competition and position yourself for increased success as the “green shoots” that signal the end of the recession begin to appear.

Be More Service Driven
Customers are less tolerant of poor service than ever before. They know that times are tough and expect salespeople to work for a sale. Those that don’t can be easily replaced by another individual or company willing and able to offer quality service.

By focusing on providing personalized, proactive service, you’ll not only win customers, you’ll also retain them and develop a reputation that will generate even more customers that come through referral. When possible, learn what service strategies that your competition is using, and then expand on those to create the maximum service-driven approach to growing and keeping your customer base.

Be Faster and First in Your Category
Does it take a week for your competition to generate a proposal, or a month to deliver an order? Can you improve upon their times? If so, it might be your ticket to taking customers away from your competition. If you are the first to offer a new product, on the cutting-edge of new technology, or just faster than the other players in the market, make it known. Speed and timeliness are qualities that customers particularly appreciate in this current market.

Be a Better Resource
Customers stick with valued advisors and resources even in difficult economies. Position yourself as an expert and offer the value-added service of being the go-to person when your customers need insight and information.

The economy is beginning to show signs of a recovery, and the time is right for salespeople to ramp up their efforts to attract new business. By using these three techniques, you’ll discover the right mix you need to not only gain on your competition but pass them on the road to sales success.

The Blatant Truth: Sales Training is not an Option

June 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, sales, Sales Training, small business, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What if you train them and they leave?

What if you don’t train them and they stay?

My prospects are frozen and no matter what I do, many of them are just not moving through the sales funnel. They view sales training and sales strategy consulting as “discretionary” and rather than sharpening their skills and looking at how they can thrive in the current economic downturn, they’re taking the total opposite approach and going into hiding.

Of course I have done what I can. I’ve demonstrated value, stayed on their radar screen, provided flexible pricing, and patiently addressed every hesitancy and stall.

But for some, it has not been enough and they’re stuck in my funnel. They’re worried that they will train people that they might have to lay off or people that will ultimately chose to go elsewhere.

To them I always smile and state my tag line:

What if you train them and they leave?

What if you don’t train them and they stay?

Sounds good but at the end of the day, they are still frozen.

How to Screw Up a Good Introduction

June 1, 2009 at 8:13 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Branding, Customer Service, entrepreneurship, Networking, sales, Sales Training, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Networking isn’t a short-term strategy. It’s not about power selling and moving onto the next lead. Smart networkers understand this concept. They know that their networking success is largely dependent on nurturing relationships and helping others. Through their generosity and efforts, they are confident that they will reap the benefits of networking over the long-term.

Unfortunately, there are many misguided networkers out there that thoroughly don’t “get” the give and take of networking. They only consider introductions as opportunities to sell and irritate fellow business professionals with their short-sighted, myopic view of networking. They don’t take the time to explore all of the potential opportunities and feel that is more important to lunge ahead and aggressively sell to anyone who is put in contact with them.

Not only is this overt approach to networking obnoxious and irritating to everyone else. It’s simply not effective. Networkers who, for whatever reason, have adopted this strategy are often the same individuals who claim that networking events and groups are wastes of time. What they’re not seeing is that their approach is turning everyone off to the point where no one wants to help them.

If you’re having a lack of success with your networking efforts, it’s well worth your time to explore how you are approaching introductions. Some questions to ponder:

Are You Taking the Time to Get to Know New Contacts?
Relationships of all types, including those with networking contacts, require a period of discovery. How can you begin to explore how you can help each other until you understand each others needs, wants, capabilities, likes, and dislikes? Fellow-networkers will pick up very quickly if you’re not interested in getting to know them. Time invested in establishing the ground work of your relationship will be time very well spent.

Are You Looking For Ways to Help Them?
Only after you have a good understanding of how you can possibly work together can you begin to offer suggestions. Use the information that you’ve gathered to find logical, thoughtful ways to help.

Are You Uncovering All Possible Opportunities?
Again, networking is a process not a one-time effort. Don’t stop at one attempt to assist a new acquaintance. Keep them in mind and remind them that you’re working on ways to make this relationship beneficial and productive.

Are You Making Yourself Available?
Out of sight, out of mind definitely certainly applies to networking. Keep in good contact with your new networking acquaintance and provide them with all of your contact information so that they can reach you. If you’re both focused on helping and understanding each others goals and objectives, you’ll go a long way towards creating a relationship that will be fruitful and rewarding to both of you in the months and years to come.

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