Posts tagged with sales

The Solution to your Sales Problems in 7 steps…part 1

January 6, 2016 by   •  Leave a comment

Selling is tricky. We know this. Nothing new, nothing revolutionary. I’m here to tell you however that you’re fighting this battle with your hands tied behind your back if you’re not following these fundamentals. I didn’t invent them but I’ve been teaching to these fundamentals for over ten years. Do them and you’ll resolve the biggest problems in your sales game. Don’t do them and you’ll continue to be perplexed as to why you’re chasing deals.

1. Set the next meeting date before you end the meeting you’re at. Every time. No exceptions. We all know what it feels like to have a great meeting and then have to chase the person for the next two weeks while their excitement wains and you get more desperate.
2. Establish time frame. If you know when they want to GO LIVE, you solve 30% of the riddle right then and there. You now have a shared goal with your prospect to meet their deadline. FYI “as soon as possible” and “yesterday” are not answers. Narrow it down and establish next meeting dates from there.
3. Budget. Ok, calm down, take a breath and rethink this. Don’t get junk in your head about “they don’t have a budget,” “no one will tell you,” or “it’s rude to ask.” First step is to know your prospects revenue. This is not difficult. ASK. Second step, know how they make IT spending decisions. Third step, ask them how they budget for IT. If they have a process, praise them and fit in. If they don’t have a process, let them know that’s ok and that’s what YOU ARE THERE FOR. Oh and one way to make sure you DON’T get the budget? Ask them “WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET”
4. Referral request. I’m not going to over explain this. At the end of the meeting (THE FIRST MEETING), simply say, “Hey Bob, it was great meeting you. Not sure if you and I will do business, but give me the names of a couple people you know who could use our services.” If you’ve done a great job at selling your self, you’ll get a great response. If you’ve done a poor job and you’ll be embarrassed by the whole process.

In the next part, we’ll talk about the order of selling. Until then, comment or email us. Disagree with us, let us know.

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Best sales advice ever. Get curious or get out

March 3, 2015 by   •  Leave a comment

Right now we at Bering McKinley are putting the final touches on our Sales Workshop.  It’s a compilation of everything I’ve learned about sales from partners over the last decade and from my own experience of selling every work day for the last 16 years.  Super excited to see it all come together.  As I stare at the screen for hours at a time, I sometimes have to remember what it is I’m trying to accomplish with the workshop.  Someone who is helping me put this together asked me earlier today “What’s the NUMBER ONE PIECE OF ADVICE you’d give to a seasoned or rookie sales person?”  I was frustrated that I couldn’t come up with a great answer.  Right now, sitting at Panera Bread in Alexandria, Virginia, the answer struck me, so here it goes.

GET CURIOUS OR GET OUT!

Now, let’s get some background.  The Salary Surfer has contributed a ton to this blog so I do have to give her credit here.  The initial advice I came up with is not as eloquent and is almost offensive but I’ll put it here anyway.  “Leave your d*ck” in the glove box.”  What does that mean?  Well as the Salary Surfer might tell you, women are better sales people because they don’t go into a meeting preparing to show their prospect how knowledgeable they are or how smart they are.  Women, the Salary Surfer might tell you, are their to learn everything they can.  They don’t come at it like a man would.  They are OK learning about their prospect, their business, and their needs.  Often time men want to take control and show that they know everything about the prospect, know about their business, and know exactly what they need to do.

So, let’s draw on that Curiosity…

1. It’s ok to to ask what somoene’s title means.  CFO?  I know it means Chief Financial Officer, but what does a CFO do?  Show your curiousity.  Shut up and learn something

2. How did you become CFO?  Were you a CFO somewhere else?  Were you responsible for IT there too? How did you budget for IT at your last position?

3.  What does your company do?  Oh you make nuts and bolts for NASA?  Can we go see how a nut and bolt is made?  What are they made of? How did you learn so much about this?

4.  How does technology play a part in the making of nuts and bolts?

5.  Why do you make nuts and bolts that way?

6.  How can we help you do what you do better?

That’s what we call establishing meaningful rapport.  Your curiosity in your prospect demonstrates your intelligence, your humbleness, and your difference as a sales person.  You don’t need to be the one doing all the talking.  Establish your credibility by listening, not talking.    And for God’s sake don’t bring a technician with you on the first call.  That ruins everything and interrupts the order of selling.  Remember, sell yourself first, company second, and goods and services last.  Bringing a tech rushes us to goods and services and makes the curiosity part almost impossible!

Good luck ou tthere!

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I admit it, I’m impressed with Jeffrey Gitomer

December 20, 2011 by   •  1 Comment

Greetings from Alexandria, Virginia.  This is probably the coolest place I’ve been in a while.  The fact that it’s relatively warm in December doesn’t hurt either.  I’m spending the week working out of the FusionTek East Coast offices and loving the surroundings.

I was visiting with David Spire from United Systems last week when he dropped this bomb on me.  The bomb is Jeffrey Gitomer.  Now, I have to admit that as a consultant I like to fool myself into believing that I know everything about everything.  Clearly this isn’t true but when someone asks me, “have you heard about this guy or that guy?” I am usually skeptical since out industry has an abundance of crap floating around passing itself off as good advice.

When David asked me if I’d heard of Jeffrey Gitomer I applied my usual amount of skepticism and paid little attention.   When I took the time to read his website and excerpts from his books I found myself getting very impressed (despite my best efforts).  This guy is a genius, well spoken, and his experiences are incredible.  Not since I was introduced to the Sandler Selling System have I been this optimistic about great sales training existing out in the world.

So without further introduction, I am presenting you with a snipit of Gitomer’s philosophies.  Do yourself and your sales folks a favor and start devouring what this guy is feeding.

12.5 Values of a Sales Professional

1. The value of creating a difference between you and the competition. The key is perceived value. The biggest difference is the difference they perceive in YOU!

2. The value of knowing the difference between satisfied and loyal. Satisfied customers buy anywhere. Loyal customers stay, fight for you and refer. Will they order again? Will they recommend you to others? That is the measure.

3. The value of your ability to speak and be compelling.  If your sales message is boring, they pass. If it’s compelling, they want to buy. Engage them with great questions and ideas.

4. The (value) of knowing everything or being too busy to learn. Stay a student – every day. All the information you need to succeed already exists. You may not be exposing yourself to it. Continue reading I admit it, I’m impressed with Jeffrey Gitomer

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AMC Advance Microcomputing Services Needs a Sales Manager

December 1, 2011 by   •  Leave a comment

Just a quick shout out that the San Dimas, CA company owned by Anthony Chiapetta is beginning the search for a Sales Manager.  AMC is a managed services provider whose performance in the last 12 months has been remarkable.  Under Anthony’s leadership they have grown tremendously in both revenue and profitability.  Anthony has taken the very bold step of creating a top down sales department.  One of the most prevalent hurdles to real growth of managed services providers is the lack of a dedicated sales force.  Typically the owner is the best and only sales person but unfortunately that model does not seem to scale beyond the $1,000,000-$2,000,000 mark.

This is an aggressive move on AMC’s part.  The Sales Manager will be tasked with building the sales infrastructure, recruiting four sales people, training them and getting them all up to quota and beyond.  This is not something that has been attempted by many MSP’s.

Soooooo…if you are a seasoned sales manager who wishes to work in a company with a phenomenally motivated and positive culture, consider contacting AMC.  No bullies, intimidation, or lameness will be considered.  This is the opportunity for high performing sales managers to finally build their dream team from the ground up.  Could not ask for a better scenario.

Visit http://www.amcsolutions.net/articles1-60/HiringSalesManager to find contact information.  You should be able to find the job posting on the Ladders, Craigslist, and Linkedin shortly.

Best of luck to Anthony and all you looking to take on this role!

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Salary Surfer says “manage my activities!”

November 23, 2011 by   •  Leave a comment

Dear Josh,Salary Surfer feeling bored and ignored

Work has been great!  I haven’t produced anything lately but I still have a high salary so I can maintain my current lifestyle.  I would like to touch on 5 mistakes that managers make on a daily basis:

Not checking in with me during the day.  I have the freedom to do whatever I want.  Am I working?  Sometimes.  In between lunch and visiting with friends, it’s hard to put in an 8 hour day.

  1. Making me work from home.  You pay for an office.  You may think you are saving money by not paying for my mileage to go to the office, but think about how much it is costing you in my lack of production.
  2. Making me do the old song and dance of “Lunch & Learns.”  This is so played out.  1-2 people including myself get to enjoy a fabulous lunch at $1,800.00.  The people that come have no intention of buying.  This also takes up over half of my day.  How many of you could take 4 hours off to attend a luncheon?
  3. I need my manager to make me use my CRM.  I am lost without it, and am all over the place with following up and setting appointments.  If you don’t keep track of it, why would I.
  4. You have a scheduled sales call every Friday, but usually it’s canceled or there is no agenda for the meeting.  I have no idea what to expect therefore why do anything.  I know I can BS you over the phone and you will fall for whatever I am saying.  Again, you don’t ever check up on anything so I know you will not question me about it.

 

I hope this will help managers out there manage their sale people better.  We need you to care about what we are doing.  We love structure and someone that holds us accountable!  It makes us feel like we are accomplishing something and in the end will help both of us succeed.

Salary Surfer out!

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Pricing Managed Services Part 1

January 4, 2011 by   •  Leave a comment

I recently participated in teleconference with Robin Robins regarding Pricing Managed Services.  It went great and I’ve had a lot of requests to share the information.  I thought I’d put it here over the coming week.

Introduction

Pricing managed services is not a science, it’s not an art, it’s simply viewing information in front of you and making a decision based on the facts.  There are over twenty calculators available to you from your vendors, your competition, your friends, and yes even some that you’ve made yourself.  And guess what?  They are all right even if they spit out different answers.  The caveat is that they are all right for the person making the calculator and what their approach was going to be.

I like to compare pricing managed services to launching a website.  It would seem natural that imitating a successful website would be the right answer.  If Coca-Cola has the best website for sodas and if I’m going to start any beverage company I might as well do what Coke is doing?  Wrong!  Coke developed a strategy based on their target market and their product offering to come up with the most appealing design and function.  If I imitate that for my little company it’s going to seem “off” somehow because it doesn’t match my internal vision for my company.  Same is true of pricing managed services.   If I take a vendor’ s calculator and start plugging in numbers they will be “off” somehow.  The reason is because I don’t understand how and why the person who drew the short straw of creating the calculator came up with his formulas.

As MSPs, VARs, and IT Solution Providers you get hit from every conceivable angle with a vendor trying to simplify your life and give you a formula on exactly what to do.  Well, I’m here to tell you that in our experience, no cookie cutter spreadsheet is going to get you where you need to be.  It’s going to take some hard work, some number crunching, and some data collection on top of having some financial goals of where you want your company to land.

As we get started, please consider the following so you can decide how you need to be pricing your offering:

  1. What is my current SERVICE DEPARTMENT GROSS PROFITABILITY?
  2. What was my SERVICE DEPARTMENT GROSS PROFITABILITY before I started offering managed services?
  3. What is my current NET OPERATING PROFIT?
  4. What was my NET OPERATING PROFIT before I started offering managed services?
  5. What is my target for CONTRACT GROSS PROFITABILITY?
  6. What is my target EFFECTIVE HOURLY RATE?

We are going to address each of these items directly or indirectly throughout this exercise.  If you’re unclear how to calculate any of these, please, interrupt or email me directly at josh@taylorbusinessgroup.com.

Let’s get started!

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Adding sales people to your IT company (Part I)

June 19, 2010 by   •  Leave a comment

If  you’ve spent even one hour with me you know how maniacal I get about the necessity for sales people in your organization.  Aside from my direct clients I usually only have limited time to talk to people about their business so I try to leave them with something to go home and think about.  Invariably that topic will be the importance of getting a sales person on your team.

Now, I’ll admit I’m not the most calm and relaxed guy about your business.  You don’t want me to be.  I am going to passionately deliver my message to you about how I think you can increase your top and bottom line.  You don’t have to like it and you don’t have to do it.  However, if you choose to add a sales person let’s keep a few things straight:

1. Save 3 months of base salary for your sales person before you even place your ad.  You will make better decisions if you are about to draw from your cash that you’ve saved for this purpose.

2. Don’t even think about hiring a sales person until you’ve committed at least 10 hours a week of YOUR time to manage, coach, and train this individual.  YOU must be the one to get them excited about your company and work closely with them on setting the proper activity levels and expected outcomes.  Don’t cop out and say “i shouldn’t have to micro manage.”  That’s BS and you’re talking non sense.  Sales people need boundaries and guidance.  Give it to them!

3.  For the love of all things holy, please don’t give me an aneurysm by making the following mistakes; hiring at the first interview, not having a compensation plan IN WRITING TO PRESENT AT THE TIME OF OFFER,  not verifying references, not having a 90 day plan.

Sales people are tough to find, train, and hire.  We know this.  Don’t keep hiring your first sales person over and over again making the same mistakes.  Have a plan, stick to the plan, the plan works.

In Part II I’m going to give you some real world and current examples of my friends and clients going through this process right now.  I’ll protect their identity  to spare their ego, though I should make them public to shame them into doing the right thing next time!

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Setting the right sales call expectation for your shiny fresh new sales person!

March 8, 2010 by   •  Leave a comment

You’ve hired the right person, you’ve put them through their orientation, you’ve even found someone who will prospect and get their own appointments! Congratulations. Now what? Here are four things to get that newbie thinking about:
1. Ask questions about technology; how do they use it? what role does it play in their business? what is frustrating? what’s working or not working?

2. Once you’ve uncovered a “pain”, relax, slow down, don’t get over excited and start trying to throw solutions at the prospect. Instead, start asking probing questions. Find out what solutions they’ve attempted. Ask if any other companies have offered solutions.

3. If there is an opportunity, start talking about time frames and budgets. Here’s a hint, the prospect never has a budget or doesn’t want to tell you the budget. This is where selling comes in…help them understand why you need that number, how it speeds the delivery time to getting their pain solved, how it helps you craft the right solution that they can actually afford. If you’ve begun to build a trusting relationship, you can get this number.

4. Insist that your newbie never leave that prospect without the next meeting and an objective for that next meeting. This is crucial! Too many sales calls end with a “call me next week.” Everyone is excited and motivated until next week comes and you can’t reach your new buddy. The calls are unreturned, the emails ignored, and suddenly that hot new opportunity is reduced to nothing. Get the follow up appointment on the spot.

These are simple topics for your weekly sales meeting.  Be patient, even your seasoned vets can fall out of these habits.  Coach and counsel your newbies consistently to train the behavior.  They’ll get there.

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Hiring sales people – ABI – Always be Interviewing

March 5, 2010 by   •  Leave a comment

The thing I notice most frequently with the VARS and MSP’s (managed services providers) that I meet is that they have a hard time (if not impossible time) breaking through that $2,000,000 annual revenue mark.  After noticing this for several years I have  determined that the difference between those who do break the $2M mark and those who don’t  is simple; the existence of a sales force.  Through brute force, many owners can get their companies up to that $2M mark.  Once they commit to being a sales driven organization that $2M mark is seen only through the rear view mirror.

Once we start talking about hiring sales folks the conversation quickly turns to the horror stories of sales people from the past.  Here’s a short list of the most common mistakes my clients say they made:

1. Hiring their unemployed sales expert friend, neighbor, or relative;
2. Paying a very high base salary;
3. Not tracking sales activity;
4. Commission program too rich;
5. Getting “sold” in the interview and hiring the wrong person;
6. Not meeting regularly with their sales person.

Most of these issues can be resolved and not repeated by creating the habit of Always be Interviewing. Sifting through sales resumes and meeting with potential sales people is the only way to gain the confidence you need to say no to mediocre sales candidates. It is easy to get “sold” in an interview if you’re only interviewing a couple of times a year in order to fill an immediate vacancy.

Keep a rolling ad out in the community through all the standards channels, let the world know you need sales candidates, every person who you encounter is a potential sales person for you.

I would challenge you to interview at least 2 individuals every week. Make at least one of them a sales candidate.

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Hiring Sales People

March 4, 2010 by   •  Leave a comment

Spending day with a client. Set up a couple sales interviews. First was a no show. They have been using a nice mix of sources for candidates. This particular candidate was a craigslist.com candidate. Looked interesting on paper. Did some research on the candidate and came across his Facebook page. Appears that most of his day is spent playing Farmville on Facebook. Now I understand why he was a no show! In this economy it is amazing to me that someone would blow off an interview. Perhaps our 10% unemployment rate has as much to do with the labor pool as it does with the availability of jobs?

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