Without practice, what are your team’s chances of success at a high-stakes sales meeting?
If the stakes are life and death, like they are for the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron, the question is not whether, but how much you should practice. Flying multiple 22-ton jets at speeds up to 500 mph, and with as little as 36 inches between them — side-by-side or upside-down — the stakes don’t get higher. Pilots must have a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet-flight hours. On top of their individual proficiencies, the squadron practices as a unit on roughly 120 training missions prior to its first Blue Angels performance.
A group sales meeting or pitch is neither a show nor a life-or-death moment. Yet, the stakes for a group sales meeting are high enough that you’ve asked others to contribute to the effort. Your “pilots” all bring individual proficiencies, but how much practice do you generally do as a unit prior to an important customer or prospect meeting?
PRACTICING FOR A TEAM SALE
Practice is about application with the intent to improve. Successful selling squads practice together not because a manager tells them to; effective teams practice as a group because they realize:
Without it, they have a random chance of winning, and they’d rather stack the odds. Feedback is essential to strengthen individual contributions and the team’s performance. Repetition reduces anxiety for all » Continue Reading.
Ever been to a mess of a sales meeting or pitch? Perhaps you have seen the following happen:
Moments before the start, the salesperson is crawling around under the conference table searching for the dongle to hook up the projector. Everyone is present and accounted for, but the pitchbooks are MIA. The pitchbooks arrived, but one of your team members didn’t. Presentation materials include typos and mistakes.
Playing the Organizer role for a selling squad is, in my experience, one of the heavier lifts for most salespeople. It takes project management skills, advance planning, attention to detail, and patience. Did I mention these things are a challenge for many salespeople?
Organizing a selling team engenders confidence among your colleagues, and for customers, it creates the look of a focused and cohesive team at a sales meeting. Being a strong Organizer will also enhance your ability as a Recruiter for future selling team efforts. Not to mention avoiding 11pm runs to the UPS Store the night before a pitch, or embarrassing mistakes during a customer meeting.
5 WAYS TO ORGANIZE YOUR SELLING SQUAD
So, regardless of how organized you generally are, how can you play the Organizer role successfully for your team? Here are five best practices to help:
Share information: Great Organizers facilitate information-sharing among team members so that they all have information that is current and that will help them perform their roles at the » Continue Reading.
Creating an effective selling squad is the first step on the road to winning a group sales meeting. Building the right team can help you advance an important sales opportunity or retain a key customer. Assembling good people onto the wrong team can be costly — to budgets, to your company’s chances to win other opportunities, and to your own reputation.
Putting together great selling teams requires you to play the role of Recruiter. And, as a recruiter for a team pitch or sales meeting, you are faced with three basic questions:
1. How Many? 2. Whom? 3. How Will You Ask?
For meeting attendees, the easy answer to the first question is: you should bring a comparable number to the customer stakeholders who will be attending your sales meeting. For example, to meet with three decision makers from a buying organization, you might aim for a selling squad of three. Taking too few people risks being unable to address significant areas of interest for the customer. Taking too many can cause your customer to question individual competency and cost structure.
There is a subtler answer to this important question: limit participants to those who will play a significant role in your sales meeting. What does significant mean? At a minimum, each member should be addressing capabilities or answering questions for 10 minutes or more during the meeting. By setting this threshold, be » Continue Reading.
Team selling today is no longer required just for blockbuster business-to-business sales pitches. Whether you are in consulting, investment banking, or technology or are a financial advisor, home remodeler, or lawyer, pivotal meetings with clients and prospects now often involve more people — on both sides of the table. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, “…the number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.”
Significant technology advances in recent years have enabled customers to gain information about their options faster, and without you. In addition, economic instability, geopolitical concerns, corporate scandals, and public relations blunders have created mistrust and heightened attention to risk and return on investment. Clients now arrive at meetings and calls ready to give all their stakeholders a voice and wanting to look behind the curtain to the people in your organization who will own the work after the sale.
The ability of sellers to form teams that add value and present a compelling case to buyers is no longer optional but is required in today’s complex sales environment.
For many sellers, executing a successful team presentation might feel like the luck-of-the-draw, but this is simply not the case. Richardson Senior Consultant and Trainer Michael Dalis demystifies team selling in his new book Sell Like a Team: The Blueprint for Building Teams That Win Big at High-Stakes Meetings.
Team Selling Skills Unlock Revenue
Prior to the great recession and the proliferation of online information sources, team selling was often limited to blockbuster business-to-business sales pitches, but now every sales person in every industry must have the ability to form an effective team to win business. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, “… the number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.”
Sell Like a Team offers practical insights into the importance of developing the ability to form effective selling teams that are comprised of both sellers and non-sellers.
According to Dalis:
“… As sellers, we tend to focus on getting our salespeople ready. The sale is often made by more than one person … I’ve got to have a senior person, a subject matter expert, and a technology specialist come and join me. They haven’t had sales training, but they are » Continue Reading.
In just over a week, Richardson will be heading to Atlanta, Georgia to take part in the ATD 2017 International Conference and Exposition. We have quite a few things planned at the conference. Read on to learn more, and be sure to visit us at booth #1329 if you’re attending the show.
At 4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 22 in room B203, Richardson’s Chief Product Officer, Christopher Tiné, will host a session that examines how the latest research on Millennial learners, the neuroscience of selling, and digital delivery is driving the development of the next generation of sales training products. This session will walk you through best practices and strategies to engage your learners in a way that will drive more revenue for your organization.
Meet the Author of Richardson’s New Book, Sell Like a Team: Michael Dalis
On Monday, meet the author and get a signed, advanced copy of “Sell Like a Team: The Blueprint for Building Teams that Win Big at High-Stakes Meetings” written by Richardson Senior Facilitator Michael Dalis. Sales is now a team sport, and to win, you have to build and manage selling squads that work in complete alignment – not just during client meetings — but before and after as well. In Sell Like a Team, learn the process of creating and managing selling squads that execute and win in every » Continue Reading.
Richardson’s annual research survey of field reps, senior sales professionals, and sales leaders across industries aims to paint a clear picture of existing sales challenges and how they are evolving. We asked 350 sales professionals to tell us about the biggest challenges their buyers face when making purchasing decisions.
26% said combating the status quo would be the greatest challenge their buyers face making purchasing decisions in 2017 21% said comparing their options would be the greatest challenge their buyers face making purchasing decisions in 2017 16% said building internal consensus would be the greatest challenge their buyers face making purchasing decisions in 2017
Buyers can be too comfortable with the status quo, adverse to the risk of something new and hesitant to stretch outside of their current comfort zones. They may be tired of change or skeptical. Even those who welcome change may feel degrees of concern, stress, or anxiety.
Comparing options is made increasingly complex with the more information there is to consider. When sellers present something that buyers consider irrelevant or not tied to their specific issues, it only adds to the noise in decision making.
With more decisions being made by committee, building internal consensus grows more difficult. Sellers who engage all stakeholders, providing relevant insights and demonstrating value, can help move the process along.
Richardson’s Insights into Buyers’ Decisions
Creating a compelling case to combat the status quo doesn’t just mean sharing impact data. As » Continue Reading.
Richardson’s annual research survey of field reps, senior sales professionals, and sales leaders across industries aims to paint a clear picture of existing sales challenges and how they are evolving. One of the study questions explored challenges sellers face in closing sales. We asked 350 sales professionals to tell us what would be their most difficult challenge in closing sales deals in 2017. Responders provided the following answers:
24% of respondents said competing against a low-cost provider would be their greatest challenge to closing sales deals in 2017 19% of respondents said positioning competing value propositions would be their greatest challenge to closing sales deals in 2017 16% of respondents said creating a compelling case for change to avoid a “no-decision” would be their greatest challenge to closing sales deals in 2017
While the top three challenges remain the same year to year, the percentages add color to the story. In 2016, “competing against a low-cost provider” took 47% of the responses, showing just how keenly this challenge was perceived. One year later, the ranking among all three challenges is more even, an indication that sellers realize the importance and interplay of several elements involved in closing deals. Creating a compelling case against stalled decisions or “no-decisions” takes understanding the customer’s buying cycle and helping customers sort through what matters most in order to find value among the options.
Richardson’s Closing Sales Deals Insights
In today’s information-rich environment, buyers have the » Continue Reading.