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November 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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As we head towards the end of 2011 I’ve been starting to review my sales results for the year, the clients that I’ve won, the ones that I have lost and the prospects that are in limbo.  It’s this last category “limbo” that causes me quite a bit of angst because I simply don’t understand why it has to be.

Let me clarify.

My prospects that are in limbo (aka unresponsive) are folks that I have met with and at the conclusion of the meeting asked me to submit a proposal for services. (Key into those all-important words please…they asked me to submit a written proposal as a follow-up to the meeting).

Now before I go on please understand that I am particularly rigorous in my “screening and qualifying” of potential clients. I want to make certain that there is a good fit between the services that I provide and the requirements that they have. I’ve been known to turn down a Request for Proposal. I don’t think that it is worth anyone’s time to propose something that you know you can’t do well.

And maybe that’s why I am particularly flummoxed by the prospects in my sales funnel that are MIA.

Of course I’ve attempted to follow-up and have used all sorts of methods to get back in touch. My voice mail messages are compelling, my emails well-positioned and still, nothing.

Why is that?

  • Are these folks feeling shy because they asked for a proposal for services but knew they didn’t have the budget? (I always inquire about budget before submitting a plan.)
  • Did they suddenly lose their decision-making power or did they fool me all along into thinking that they had that responsibility?
  • Are they particularly adverse to any sort of confrontation and do they perhaps think that by rejecting the proposal they might prompt a hostile response from me?

It seems that falling off the prospect grid happens a bit more often now even when I pay scrupulous attention to making certain that the proposals are truly desired.

And it’s not just me. I’m hearing this from more and more of my business colleagues and from my own clients as well.

Yes, there seems to be an increase in “no reply” and all we salespeople can do is just keep trying.

So remember that you can’t lose what you don’t have. Be persistent in your follow-up and don’t automatically “assume” that the prospect isn’t interested.

No reply isn’t no. You deserve an answer.

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Sales Results are Suffering

August 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales | 1 Comment
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If your sales results are less than good (great?), please ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you “rely” on email for prospecting and reactivating dormant accounts rather than using the telephone to make personal contact?
  1. Have you slacked off on your networking efforts resulting in a greatly reduced volume of new contacts and connections?
  1. How much new business prospecting have you been doing? (Really!)
  1. Have you taken a good look at your product or service offerings? (When was the last time that you did an in-depth SWOT analysis?)
  1. Are you “depending” upon social media to do much of the business development work for you and are you thinking that your web site and marketing efforts are most of what you need to win new business?

What were your answers? Do you need to make some changes?  If so, move fast because the all important Fall selling season is upon us.

All I’m Asking For Is A Little Respect

August 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Sing it Aretha!

Respect. One of the basic human wants and needs. We all want respect, crave it in fact and will often work hard to obtain it.

But ask yourself, do you respect your clients? No really, don’t answer quite so quickly. Do you R E S P E C T your clients? Here’s what I mean:

Do you return calls and emails in a timely manner and for that matter, do you know what “timely” means to your clients vs. what YOU consider to be timely? (Hint, they’re often not in sync.)

Do you keep your clients apprised of what’s going on with their project and do you do this proactively or simply wait for them to “check in” with you for a status update?

Do you promise the world and then scramble to do the job while the scrambling results in a less than stellar work product?

Do you provide your client with out-of-the-box thinking or are you pleased that they will accept “just what you give them”?

Do you miss deadlines?

Do you change the budget and do so without ample warning?

Do you do ANY of these things?

Yep, it’s all about respect.

3 Top Tips to Build Sales NOW

August 4, 2011 at 7:25 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training | Leave a comment
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Business has improved a wee bit but certainly not enough for any of us to be cavalier about where our next project is coming from.  Here are three tips to help you build business right now:

1)    Be flexible, creative and make an offer that people WANT. Don’t be rigid and stick to what you’ve always done before. These are different times and old tricks just might not work.  Do you know what your prospects want, what they crave, what they’ll say “yes” to?  You don’t? Then why not do a survey and find out. The best way to increase sales to provide products and services that the market wants.  Even if you’re a superstar salesperson, if they don’t want it, you’ll probably have a difficult time getting them to buy. Why work so hard? Ask the right questions and the market will tell you what they want and need and perhaps even what they will pay for it.

2)    Have you looked at your existing database lately? The fasted ROT (return on time) comes from your existing clients, dormant accounts and even those prospects that never said “yes” but are still in that undecided stage. So take a close look; do it now! Start with the clients that have given you the least amount of business and find out if that is because they truly have no more sales potential or are they giving a portion (perhaps the larger portion) of their business to your competition. (You didn’t really want to leave business on the table, did you?)

3)    How good are you at staying on the grid? If you allow yourself to be “out of sight, out of mind” then you are simply not getting as much out of your prospecting efforts as you should. We are all inundated with marketing messages and if you are “checking in” and “touching base” then you are being banal and not winning the attention and interest of your prospects. Remember the three I’s (information, invitations and introductions). Deploy them and you will be a sales superstar.

Start now; the sooner you take action, the sooner more business will flow into and through your sales funnel.

Any questions, give me a call.

Under My Thumb

July 12, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hah. It’s been awhile since sales reps were so cocky as to feel that prospects and clients were, in fact, under their thumb. Nope, when the economy got soft and business started to suffer, sales reps everywhere (and in every industry) could no longer be in the least bit cavalier about their prospects and accounts. Under your thumb? Not a chance.

Prospects and clients have ALWAYS had the power to prove just how much they want and need your services. They do it by accepting your proposal and then by continuing to work with you and in this environment, heck, in any environment, you need to show the “love” on an ongoing basis.

They’re NOT under your thumb. There’s always competition waiting to eat your lunch and if you want to rest easy (ok, easier) and be confident that your clients are firmly in YOUR court, may I suggest the following:

  1. Go over and beyond what is expected. Doing a good job is no longer enough. Strive to be “great” and make your clients raving fans.
  1. Don’t BS. Presenting a less than honest picture of what you can do and how you can do it will lead to disappointment on the part of the client and they will go elsewhere.
  1. Be on time and on budget. (Nothing more to say about that!)
  1. Become a resource and not a vendor. Resources are valued and are not as often subjected to budget scrutiny. Vendors are replaceable; business resources not so.
  1. Show your appreciation for their business. Do it frequently.

Take my advice, unless you’re Mick Jagger, you shouldn’t be singing this tune.

Why Can’t I Close More Business?

July 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training | Leave a comment
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This is a question that is put to me with some regularity: “why can’t I close more business? What am I doing wrong?”

Despite the type of business or size of the company, the issue of “difficulty with closing” is put to me by frustrated sales reps, sales managers (usually stated as “why can’t THEY close more business”) and business owners alike.

It’s simple, right? JUST ask for the order. But no, it’s not as simple as that; in fact, it’s not simple at all. Closing is actually one step in a complex sequence that done correctly will help you to win business.

But remember winning new business is the end result! Before you can get to the end there is an intricate sales dance that must be executed flawlessly. What you do first, and then throughout the interaction or series of interactions, will set you up for the “right” to ask for this business.

Follow these steps and you’ll find yourself in a better position to win increased new business.

• Make certain that you have clearly and succinctly explained your service or product’s core value proposition. What “improvements” will you make in your prospect’s business or personal life?
• Utilize exquisite probing to uncover your prospect’s wants and needs as well as to uncover potential hesitancies that will stand in the way of a successful “close”.
• Have a response for all objections and stalls. These are critical moments in the sales dialogue. If you are unprepared you might just lose the prospect’s interest and attention.
• Don’t proceed too quickly. Engage your prospect and allow time for a dialogue. The faster you move through the interaction, the less time to allow the prospect to visualize just how your offering can benefit them.
• Make certain that when you are ready to “ask” for the business it won’t come as a total shock and surprise. Remember that closing is the last step in the sales interaction. It shouldn’t come out of left field.
• Utilize trial closes to get a read on what your prospect is thinking and if they are in sync with what you are offering.
• Timing is everything. Think about your process and adjust as you move through the sales cycle.

At the end of the day prospects need and want you to attempt to close the business. If you don’t, they are left hanging and are uncertain about what to do and, when uncertain, their only recourse is to respond negatively.

So now take a close look at your prospect database. How many of them remain to be closed? What percentage do you think will turn into business and within what time frame?

Pick up the phone and start to deploy some of these tactics and see if you can improve your closing ratio. Start now!:)

I’m No Lady Gaga, But___

June 27, 2011 at 11:18 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales | 2 Comments
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I’m honest enough to admit that I was late to the Lady Gaga party. When Gaga hit the scene I scoffed that she was nothing but a Madonna wanna-be (Mmmm, the Lady Gaga of “my” generation) and hadn’t we seen this all before (cue music, sigh, roll eyes). But as the months rolled by and I heard more, saw more and read more, I gained a new found respect for this young woman that seems to call her own shots, define her territory and create an immediately recognizable brand, all the while capturing and retaining the adoration of her Little Monsters.

Now I would never (never!) be so presumptuous as to do any sort of Gaga and Adrian comparison. That would be really nuts, right? But for amusement’s sake, let’s play this out a step or two.

You see (like Lady Gaga) I also aim to gain the dedication and loyalty of my clients, contacts, referral sources and prospects extending myself at all times and in all ways by being a trusted ally and friend ready, able and willing (most of all willing) to lend a hand when needed.

The “buzz” around my personal brand has indicated that I’ve been successful in demonstrating my commitment, and it is something that I think about and attempt to improve each and every day.

What about you? Are you like Lady Gaga? How are you growing your base of fans and most of all, do your fans know how much you care? How do you demonstrate your appreciation and respect for their business and / or friendship?

Most of us don’t do a good enough job of this so before you cast aside any thoughts that Lady Gaga can’t possibly be a business role model, think again.

How to Make the Sale After Your Fling With Social Media

June 23, 2011 at 7:29 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Marketing, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, social media | 1 Comment
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We are all aware that social media plays a huge role in our current sales and marketing landscape. Creating visibility, softening the market, starting and/or maintaining a dialogue with customers and prospects alike, well, I think we can all agree that’s it’s a pretty terrific tool.

But…and this is a VERY big but, if you have anything other than an internet based business you had better become reacquainted with the importance of old-fashioned sales skills, the kind that existed well before Mark Zuckerberg made his mark or Linkedin became the darling of business prospectors.

Yes for most businesses it is people that woo, wow and win clients and if you forget that fact and get lost in the land of facebook, linkedin and twitter, you might find yourself with less business that you might have had if only you had deployed sales best practices.

–Make sure that you know the value and improvements that your business provides to customers so that you can present these benefits concisely and coherently when engaged in your business prospecting efforts.  To that end, embrace your points of differentiation but be sure that what makes you different is truly what your prospects “want” and need.

–Understand the critical importance of effective probing and seek to uncover everything that you possibly can about your prospects and clients. Asking questions helps to gain rapport and is always more insightful than simply checking their status update.

–Be prepared for pushback and hesitancies. This is always true but especially so during our current economic situation. People are nervous and conservative and it takes extra sales ability to help them to pull the trigger and say “yes”.

–While ABC (always be closing) is a cliché, it is certainly important to be proactive when leading your prospect to a “next step” for that is what closing is, simply a next steps scenario of which both you and your prospects are aware

–Don’t lean on technology instead of the “personal” touch.  Make it a point to reach out and call your prospects and customers on a regular basis. Too overwhelmed and busy to make the calls? Break them up into very small allotments. You CAN make 1-3 calls per day, can’t you?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to underestimate the power of social media. As the owner of a small business, I thrill at the fact that, to a certain extent, it has leveled the marketing playing field. But people do business with people and when companies forget that fact, all the social media in the world won’t save the day.

Keeping the Faith—OR—Do Something To Make Certain Those Dormant Accounts Find Their Way Back To You

June 6, 2011 at 7:26 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Faith is a wonderful thing and yet having it, in great quantity or not, will do little to help you regain business from dormant accounts.

You know the situation.

The project is completed and there is nothing left to do. You did a good job and the client is more than satisfied but you heard me, there is nothing more for you to do.  (And yes, you’ve explored ALL of the tangential projects as well.)

Yes. It’s over and time to move on to other projects and clients however although you are moving on, must you really get “divorced” from your previous, and now, dormant account?

The answer is a resounding no. Separation perhaps, but not divorce, because there is always the potential of a renewed relationship on yet another project further down the line.

But just how will you get that next project / renew the relationship?

Might it be by “keeping the faith”?  Definitely…NOT!

While faith is fab it does little to renew business relationships. You have to continue to add value to the business relationship even when that relationship is in a hiatus period. You want to maintain a connection but you must do it in a way that provides a benefit. That means sharing information and invitations. Extending worthwhile introductions. It doesn’t mean “checking in” or “touching base” and other overtures that will waste your (inactive) client’s time.

Yes, maintaining the relationship in such a manner that your reach-outs are desired.

So feel free to keep the faith but make certain to deploy sound sales and marketing tactics too. Then, and only then, might you see that client again.

Sales Reps: NY, NY—If You Can Make It Here You Can Make It Anywhere

June 2, 2011 at 7:44 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
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I’ve lived in NY for most of my adult (working) life but have had the opportunity to do my “thing” (sales consulting and training) nationwide.

Here’s what I know: NY provides exceptional opportunities with a robust and vast business population across most every industry segment. NY also has some of the best and the brightest and a rigorous competitive environment, and the people with whom you are trying to connect are inundated by messages and outreach from these very same talented people.

What’s a sales rep to do?

Well, assuming that you don’t intend to pack your bags and move to a small town in the mid-west there’s some clear and simple steps that are mandatory to making it here in NY:

1) Make certain that you are visible and occupy a spot on the playing field. Don’t allow your competitors to take over. Utilize the tools available to you (social media, email marketing, telemarketing, direct mail, PR, advertising, trade shows, networking, etc.) and obtain / maintain mind share.

2) Become an exquisite networker. The more people with whom you connect and the more people that you connect to EACH OTHER, the more influential you’ll become. Having “great networker” as part of your personal brand will win you recognition and ultimately, new contacts and business opportunities.

3) Make time management your best friend. People work hard in NY and the hours are long. You know that if you make a prospecting call at 6 or 7PM you have a good chance of finding that person in their office. We start early, end late and you must figure out your own time management scheme or you run the very real risk of burn-out.

Now, for the refrain…if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

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