No One Ever Got Fired For Hiring (Fill in Name Brand Company)

May 17, 2011 at 7:52 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, sales, Sales Training, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

We all know the cliché: no one ever got fired for hiring IBM. Or AT&T. Or Google.

This all too common practice of hiring the “big dog on the porch” is a relatively safe one. You select the biggest and most well known entity and the responsibility (blame!) for any sort of screw up can’t be laid upon your shoulders. Whew. What a relief.

And so masses of business people hire resources and companies and employ this underlying selection criteria (make the safe choice and don’t risk your job/status/reputation by picking the less well known (albeit highly credible) resource…yes, play it safe!).

And yes, full disclosure right here: I am hardly the “big dog on the porch” yet for 24 years my firm has been providing clients with high quality, cost-effective, results-driven training and consulting. But our history of success and extensive testimonials from satisfied clients didn’t mean much this past week when I lost a piece of business because as the firm stated, they “felt more comfortable” going with the name brand. And although the selected organization provides a fine work product it will be a generic off the shelf solution that will not address this client’s unique situation as detailed to me in their initial discussions. I guarantee it.

I do understand that my small firm does not have the bandwidth for some projects but this wasn’t one of them. This was a program that I would have nailed perfectly.

But in the end it didn’t much matter and so the hunt for new business continues. Let the little dog prevail.


Curiouser and Curiouser

April 4, 2011 at 8:35 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Marketing, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

Curiouser and curiouser. So said Alice when she started to change shape. Yes, strange things can happen when you least expect them. But is that how you want to ensure your success…getting business when you least expect it?

One of the big issues these days seems to be the overall uncertainty about the flow of new business. Peaks and valleys can seriously impact work flow and profitability and sales reps must be mindful of the following action steps to minimize the situation.

1. Make certain that you are doing enough prospecting and that your sales pipeline is as full “as it needs to be”. Everyone has a different “close rate” and depending on what you project will come through as new business helps you to determine just how many prospects need to be in your pipeline at the same time.

2. Ask questions. Be curious! If you ask the right questions prospects will tell you what they want, when they want it and what they will pay for it. Don’t be afraid to initiate a dialogue. Uncovering exactly what a prospect WANTS can help you to close the sale.

3. If you’re not opening new accounts be certain to ask yourself if you are fishing for prospects in the correct / best pond. Do your prospects perceive your offer to be of value? Is your product or service priced appropriately?

And finally, are you patient, persistent and persuasive? If you can’t answer “yes” to each one of these qualities then you are probably leaving business behind.

Fast. Faster. Fastest.

March 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, entrepreneurship, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

How fast are you? No really, how fast are you?

3G. 4G. It’s all about fast. So…how fast are you?

And here’s why it matters. How fast you are might just determine if you get the business…or not!

It’s simple:

1. Return all calls and emails in a timely manner. Timely means different things to different people but in our hyper fast Internet age, same day response is strongly advised. (Within a few hours would be even better!)

2. Use your “away message” when you are unable to respond quickly. People make assumptions that you are either too busy or not interested in their business and they will go elsewhere.

3. Be proactive and if you know that you are going to go “off the grid” for an extended period of time reach out and tell your clients and prospects. By keeping them apprised you are demonstrating that they are important to you.

In this wired era it is impossible to be out of touch. Smartphones enable us to be just a call, text or email away and our clients and prospects expect it.

Of course you can, and should, disconnect at times. It’s important to carve out space and disengage but make certain to take the proper steps before you do so.

How to Go From Good to Great (as a Networker)

February 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, small business, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

I’ve been doing this networking thing for a long time and I keep hearing about people that are “great” networkers. I am often introduced to these folks and I must admit that while sometimes I am in full agreement with the pronouncement of greatness, there are times, well, I am a little more than under-whelmed.

So how do you stack up? Are you a great networker? Ask yourself these 5 simple questions and arrive at the answer yourself.

• Are you truly proactive in your networking connections or do you tend to be reactive and wait until one of your contacts asks you if you happen to know a FILL IN THE BLANK before making an introduction (i.e. needs-based connecting)?

• Do you pre-qualify the folks with whom you have been introduced before having a phone or in-person conversation? Do you frequently make assumptions that someone might not be “good for you” because they are not “logical” connectors for your type of business, or do not seemingly have access to the types of contacts that you require?

• Do you go beyond the obvious and make connections based on more “sophisticated” indicators. For example, if you know people that get most of their business introductions from a specific type of referral source, do you introduce them to each other even if they would have no other way for them to do business or network together?

• Do you make connections on a regular basis, perhaps even establishing a quantitative goal for each week?

• Do you ask the people that make introductions for you if they would like to be kept in the loop or if it would be okay to follow-up without keeping them included in the email thread? Do you say thank you?

Sales Can Suck: How to Get Your Groove Back

February 1, 2011 at 9:47 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

Sales can be a challenge and sometimes it seems as it there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Days of cold calls that go nowhere. Networking events at which you stand around clutching your glass of wine like a life preserver and seemingly no “good” people to meet, endless rounds of meetings that end with “we have to think about”–well, you get the idea. Challenging, right?

So how do you get your groove back and recharge? Here a few simple things that you can do:

1. Take a bit of time to stand back and assess the situation to see what you can do differently to get different/better results from your sales efforts. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. We all know that yet lots of us get mired in inertia and ultimately do the same old thing the same old way and guess what…get the same old (bad) results.

2. Seek the advice and counsel of your trusted advisers. We are “in the frame” and therefore cannot see the picture. Seek some clarity and guidance.

3. Do something that “feels good” and which gives you pleasure. Take some time to rejuvenate and stop beating yourself up. Sometimes a day away from your office and work can help you to get on the right path.

4. Work on a project on which you know you will succeed. There is nothing worse than having a long string of failures. Your confidence gets undermined and a success will help to raise it up again.

5. Keep things in perspective. Everyone in sales has their highs and lows but if you take the time to understand what you might be able to do differently, the circumstances can and will change.

Hey Sales Reps: Is Your Closure Complex Being Compromised?

January 28, 2011 at 10:09 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, entrepreneurship, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

Yes, despite the fact that the economic downturn seems to be slowly turning around, companies are still gun-shy and seem slow to pull the trigger and say “yes” on proposed projects.

As salespeople we all know that we want, no need, to close new business. Anything less and we’re not happy.

So with that in mind, there are things that can be done to help lessen your prospect’s fear of closure.

1) Baby steps: Sometimes we ask our prospects to bite off more than they are comfortable with. We ask for full commitment before they are ready to commit. The solution to this is to “stage” your project and instead of asking the prospect to say “yes” to a very large and sometimes financially burdensome endeavor, you can start with just a small piece. Let them see you in action and get comfortable with what you can deliver. When they see your competencies and are comfortable with the deliverables, then you can close them on the larger program.
2) Money back guarantee: Okay, so I don’t really mean “all” of their money back but why not make them feel less exposed and offer them some sort of satisfaction clause. It doesn’t have to be money back, it could be additional hours or work put against their project. Whatever it is, it will make them feel more comfortable about saying yes.
3) The give-away: Yes, take the high road and give something for nothing. Can you provide a few extra hours of your time to ensure that your prospect will succeed with what are proposing? Can you offer an add-on or item that might cost you little yet has a high perceived value? Think creatively. Don’t we all appreciate “something for nothing”.

By taking a good look at some of these tactics you might be able to improve your close rate and have fewer prospects “stuck” in the sales pipeline. Give it a try.

Don’t Be Like the Jets: A Case of Too Little, Too Late

January 24, 2011 at 8:21 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

I watched the Jets last night. I’m not really a big football fan but I am a huge fan of New York and so my interest was drawn to the game.

It wasn’t real fun to watch with the first half being pretty dismal and the second half, well, a case of too little, too late.

Sad really. So much work, so much anticipation.

Too little, too late.

Watching the game I started to reflect upon some of my clients and the situation they found themselves in when they called on me for help.

They were gung ho and pumped to get moving. Sales reps were hitting the phones, hitting the streets, networking their hearts out.

But ya know that, in some cases, it was just too little, too late.

Starting to get back in the game when the competition has your back to the wall is not the very best time to take action.

The game has to be played right from the very beginning in order to have some reasonable assurance that you’re going to be able to win.

Now I know that the Jets staged some fairly miraculous comebacks this year, pulling out a win when everyone thought that they had lost.

And business people can do that as well.

But really, isn’t it better to start playing your hardest and smartest right from the get go?

For the Jets there’s always next year.

But for many businesses there isn’t another year to be had. Employees get laid off, profits disappear, businesses close.

So take a good look right now, here at the very beginning of the New Year. Are you playing your hardest and playing smart?

Can you do something differently to ensure a win for this year?

Hello. Is Anyone Home?

January 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

Hello. Is Anyone Home?

So you’re in the city or business district in your community. Look around you. How many offices are in your immediate vicinity? 5,10,20 or more. If you’re like me and in NYC, at any given time and on any given street, you might see buildings soaring 50 stories or more and well, there are a vast quantity of low rise buildings as well.

So what’s up? With all these offices and purportedly all of the people that work in these offices, where, oh where, are the prospects?

You know what I mean. You call and reach voice mail. You call again and the same thing occurs. And again. And then again. What’s going on? Well, nada.

No one is home. Or is there. You don’t know do you?

There are no pat solutions to this problem but there ARE a few things that you can do to help improve your “reach rate”. Here are just a few:

1) Place your calls early in the morning, after “traditional” office hours or even at lunch. You may have a better chance of having the prospect pick up their phone at these “odd” times. During the busy part of the day that now seems to stretch from 9-5 with few exceptions, getting to someone before his or her day has started or after it has ended is often successful.
2) Deploy email after the 2nd or 3rd attempt. Mention that you’ve tried to reach them by phone to no avail and that you would like to schedule a phone appointment. Give them specific dates and times and make it easy for them to hit “reply” and give their okay.
3) Send “snail mail” and time your phone call to follow the mail by just a day or two. And, try to make your mail interesting and unique. This is where dimensional mail or a specialty item might come in useful. (Of course you will have somehow already screened and qualified these prospects. You don’t want to spend money on expensive items without being somewhat certain that the prospect has a degree of sales worthiness.
4) Make sure that you leave an excellent voice mail that may even prompt a prospect to call you back. Callbacks are rare even when the message is good but it doesn’t hurt to give it your best shot. And, when given the opportunity by the phone system, take a moment to listen to your message. How do you sound? Is your tone professional and energetic? Do you like the words that you are saying? This might be just the time to tweak your message.

It’s expensive and inefficient to attempt to do in-person cold calls and here in Manhattan, you can’t get past security anyway.

And really, since no one is “home” isn’t it more efficient to fine-tune and perfect your telephone prospecting skills. Try some of these tips and see if you are able to “connect”. Good luck.

Born to Run…Errrr, Sell

January 3, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

Yes, some people were born to sell. Naturally extroverted, intrinsically good listeners, blessed with what is commonly referred to as a “thick skin”, these folks often gravitate towards sales and more often than not, they excel in the position.

But what if you share little if anything with these “natural born” sales superstars? Are you doomed if you find yourself in some sort of sales position and, after all, who isn’t selling these days?!

The answer is a resounding “no”. Do not start running for the hills if tasked with sales. Help is on the way. Here are some tips and techniques that can help put you on top of the sales game.

1. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of practice. Say it again—P R A C T I C E!
The more prepared that you are the more confident and comfortable you will be, and confidence is fundamental to successful sales endeavors. Practice your telephone pitch, practice your in-person presentation, it might even help to practice what you say / do at networking events.

2. Know your “stuff”! Nothing helps to build your confidence like being in control of the information that you need to present. Even an experienced sales rep can get tripped up when faced with a question to which they don’t know the answer. Become a master of the facts!

3. Relax. You are speaking to another human being made of the very same flesh and blood as you. Take a deep breathe and remember to control your rate of speech, tone, manner and inflection. Your tone of voice can contradict what you are saying. Make certain that they are in sync.

And lastly:

Don’t take negative responses personally. A prospective client might not be interested in what you have to offer and they might not be polite and courteous when expressing their feelings. Still, they are negatively disposed towards your product or service, not towards “you” and there is a vast difference.

These tips can be learned, embraced and when they become habit you will be a better salesperson.

Any questions on how, check out “The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success”. (Yep, I wrote it!)

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