Monthly Archives: June 2016

June 30th, 2016

Selling Techniques That Can Help You Win Renewals

Practicing Effective Selling Techniques by Avoiding Incumbency Trap

Proficiency using many different selling techniques is a desired objective. It denotes competence, expertise, know-how, and mastery. An over reliance on certain selling techniques can lead sales professionals into traps that sabotage relationships with clients. In this series of posts, I will share four -proficiency traps and how to avoid them. The first was The Technical Trap; the second, The Execution Trap; the third, “The Networking Trap; and this fourth and final trap involves the problem with incumbency mindsets.

A Good Offense can be the Best Defense in Winning Renewal Business

No matter how entrenched sales professionals become in a client organization, at some point they are likely to face competition for renewals. The trap is in taking an incumbency mindset to defend the business as-is instead of forming a fresh deal strategy that is better positioned to win.

When sellers think like incumbents, they want to defend the relationship and preserve everything the way it currently stands. They justify why they should be retained, based on factors such as their long-standing relationship, past excellent service, or the higher costs of transitioning to a competitor.

The problem with this selling technique is its defensive posture. What the situation requires — and what competitors will do — is take the offensive. As an incumbent, we should ask ourselves: What can we » Continue Reading.

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June 28th, 2016

Professional Selling Skills & The Importance of Networking

professional selling skills & networking

Your Client Network May Not be as Strong as You Think

Proficiency in sales is a desired objective for individuals interested in building their professional selling skills. It denotes competence, expertise, know-how, and mastery. Yet, certain proficiencies can lead sales professionals into traps that sabotage relationships with clients. In this series of posts, I will share four proficiency traps and how to avoid them. The first was The Technical Trap; the second, The Execution Trap; and this third involves networking within the client organization.

Your Professional Selling Skills Can Be Improved by Focusing on Constant Networking

Sales professionals are usually quite good at building a network of relationships within client organizations. The trap they fall into, however, is taking these networks for granted. They fail to track how the structure, politics, or budget priorities change over time, and they overlook relationships that should be cultivated with other influential stakeholders.

Some buyer-seller relationships have been so longstanding that sales professionals begin to feel a little too secure. They may have earned trusted advisor status with key stakeholders and built a large network of contacts at different levels. This is all good — until it isn’t.

Few, if any, client organizations are static. Change can be fast or slow; come in spurts or be ongoing. In an increasingly challenging sales environment, change is to be expected and anticipated. » Continue Reading.

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June 23rd, 2016

Building Selling Skills: Avoid Always Saying “Yes”

selling-skills-avoid-immediate-yes

When you are thinking about developing your selling skills you might focus on your ability to demonstrate execution proficiency. This sales proficiency is a desired objective for anyone who wants to improve their ability to build client relationships. The ability to execute against client requests denotes competence, expertise, know-how, and mastery. Yet, providing an immediate “yes” to all client requests can sometimes lead sales professionals into a trap that winds up sabotaging relationships with clients. In this post I explore the sales trap that involves excellent execution. To learn more about other common sales traps, check out this article on The Technical Trap.

Your Selling Skills Should Be Built on more than Execution

Sales professionals who build client relationships based on responding to their requests with outstanding performance can find themselves in an execution trap.

Consider this scenario:

You have a legacy program or solution in place, and because you have such a solid relationship with the client, he/she asks you to do something else. You are such a known entity that he/she feels comfortable making this request, and you respond by doing what is asked. What could possibly be the problem here?

The trap is that your strong client relationship gets diluted every time you immediately say yes. When you simply do what the client asks, you become just another order-taker. Instead of seeing great value in your ability to execute with excellence, » Continue Reading.

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June 20th, 2016

Build Sales Skills: Avoid Relying on Technical Expertise

build sales skills & avoid technical traps

Improve Your Sales Skills by Avoiding Over Reliance on Technical Expertise

The ability to demonstrate technical proficiency is a desired objective for anyone who wants to improve their sales skills. It denotes competence, expertise, know-how, and mastery. Yet, certain proficiencies can lead sales professionals into traps that sabotage relationships with clients. In this series of posts, I will share four sales proficiency traps and how to employ alternative sales skills to avoid them. The first trap involves an over reliance on technical expertise. To learn about other traps to avoid, check out this article about the dangers of always saying yes.

Your Sales Skills Should Be Built on more than Technical Expertise

Sales professionals who possess superior technical expertise can easily fall into the trap of making this the focal point of relationships with clients. In doing so, they tend to overlook the strategic, organizational, and personal value they could be providing.

As soon as a client need is identified, these technically savvy sellers jump straight to solutions. They talk about themselves, their company, and their expertise to solve the problem. The dialogue becomes focused on the seller, not the buyer, so the client is less engaged. The scope of the solution discussed is limited to the initial need uncovered.

Improve Your Sales Skills by Employing Strategic Dialogue

To avoid this trap, a more strategic dialogue approach can be implemented — one that frames client needs » Continue Reading.

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June 16th, 2016

Using the Sales Process to Measure Success: 3 Sales KPIs Everyone Should Follow

Sales KPIs

Sales KPIs Everyone Should Follow

Sales KPI measurements are an important part of your organizations sales process. Sales is a measurement-based business. Metrics are tracked for quota attainment, sales by product line, sales by segment, sales by territory, new business versus renewals, forecast versus actual results, number of sales calls, etc.

Lagging indicators of success, like revenues, are cumulative. They describe commitments and deals that have occurred. They mark the status of an opportunity at the end of the sales process.

Leading indicators of success are incremental. They are based on actual customer behavior and reactions to what the sales rep does or says. They predict future customer commitment and provide insights into the status of an opportunity during the sales process.

Sales Process and Sales KPIs

So what key performance indicators – Sales KPIs – are most important to track? Following are three sales KPIs everyone should follow, you might be able to capture some of these metrics in your team’s CRM. They are a blend of lagging and leading indicators because both are necessary for transparency into the progression and ultimate outcome of opportunities. Focusing on these three will tell you whether you’re going to be successful – and whether, at the end of the day, you have in fact been successful.

Forecast accuracy is an important leading indicator. » Continue Reading.

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