Category Archives: Sales Effectiveness

July 14th, 2016

The Neuroscience of Sales: Unseating an Incumbent

neuroscience of sales: incumbency bias

Competing against an incumbent provider is one of the more challenging sales situations that we encounter.  The existing account holder likely has a stronger relationship with the client, first-hand knowledge of the client’s business, and enjoys the benefit of being a known entity.  Remarkably, even with mediocre performance, an incumbent can be difficult to unseat, and a lot of the reason why is attributed to psychology.  There are a few neuroscience concepts that give us some insights as to why customers hold on so tightly and how a challenger might loosen the grip.

Loss Aversion

Loss aversion is the simple idea that the fear of losing something is much stronger than the joy of gaining something — in fact, it is about twice as strong, according to research.  In a competitive sales environment, that means that the value proposition of a challenger needs to be significantly stronger than that of the incumbent if the challenger hopes to win the business.  Loss aversion is how even relatively weak providers maintain accounts.  So why is our fear of loss so strong?

It is human nature to overvalue what we already own; this is called the endowment effect.  It is evident when people are reluctant to part with something they own for its cash equivalent, or if the amount that people are willing to pay for something is lower than what people are willing to accept when selling it (Kahneman, Knetsch, & Thaler, » Continue Reading.

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July 12th, 2016

The Neuroscience of Sales: Resolving the Irrational Objection

the neuroscience of sales & overcoming irrational objections

In sales, we hear them all the time — objections from our customers that just don’t make a lot of rational sense… not to us, anyway. We don’t say it out loud, but we’re thinking, “What? Where did that objection come from?”

The irrational objection is one of the tougher challenges in Sales because we know that there is something deeper that the customer is not comfortable sharing. Also, the customer may not be fully aware of some of his/her deeper drivers. Since the sale will not progress until we resolve the objection, we need to discover what is causing the objection — but how?

Our brains — ergo, our customers’ brains — are wired with biases that cause errors in judgment. Because we may not be aware of these cognitive biases, even skilled questioning may not reveal them. During the sales dialogue, we need to identify and understand biases and get good at using “debiasing” techniques to move the conversation forward.

The Status Quo Bias

The status quo bias is at the root of many irrational objections. It’s really simple to understand — our brains don’t like change. Essentially, we have a preference for things to remain the same until the status quo becomes too uncomfortable to accept. This bias is a powerful and normal reaction for us in response to anything new and » Continue Reading.

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June 23rd, 2016

Building Selling Skills: Avoid Always Saying “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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February 12th, 2014

Improve your Sales Effectiveness with Insight and Dialogue


Improve your Sales Effectiveness with Insight and Dialogue

Selling with insight is all the rage now.  I get why.  As Brian Fetherstonhsugh of OgilyOne has alluded, selling needs to evolve because buyer behavior has fundamentally changed.  While the impact of this is felt differently and more deeply in some industries and verticals than others (context and nuance always matter), the need for most selling organizations to evolve is clear.

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January 8th, 2014

Five Gaps That Impact Sales Effectiveness and How to Fix Them: Part 2


There are critical gaps in your business that prevent sales effectiveness. If these go unresolved, you’ll continue to struggle to hit your numbers. In part two of Five Gaps That Impact Sales Effectiveness and How to Fix Them, we will finish reviewing the list of gaps and recommended fixes.

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December 11th, 2013

Mind the Gap! Five Gaps That Impact Sales Effectiveness and How to Fix Them


There’s not just one big gap that impacts your sales effectiveness. In fact, there are several gaps (or chasms, depending on the severity) that get in the way of achieving peak sales performance. Failing to close these gaps prevents salesforces from achieving their optimal success. The most forward-thinking organizations address this situation by establishing a sales enablement strategy — a dynamic and long‐term initiative that provides the thinking and the tools to engage sales reps, sway buyers, and inform marketers. It’s all about smarter selling that transforms sales execution into a repeatable, results‐oriented process that ultimately creates optimal alignment between your salesforce and your customers’ buying processes.

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July 31st, 2013

What Is Your Sales Effectiveness with Leads? You Decide.

Sales Effectiveness

What Is Your Sales Effectiveness with Leads? You Decide.


If you work in sales, they stink, right? Marketing couldn’t find an iron “sales-ready” lead with a magnet. If you work in marketing, sales reps couldn’t convert a good lead if their lives depended on it.

The reality varies by company, but in my experience the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. I want to be clear about that before I go on, because I don’t believe that the challenge with lead gen is just a Sales problem.  Get together like big boys and girls, and figure it out.

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July 17th, 2013

3 Pitfalls that Still Make Sales Teams Waste Time and Lower Sales Effectiveness


Today’s blog is guest blog written by George Bronten, CEO of Membrain

The Internet is creating paradigm shifts in many industries and professions. New technologies such as inbound marketing, social media and mobility is changing how buyers find information to solve their business needs. When products and offerings look the same to buyers, I am convinced that how we sell will become an even stronger differentiator. Despite all of the technology and valuable information available online, I would argue that there are still three fundamental pitfalls that lower complex b2b sales effectiveness. Unless you have complete control of these, it will be difficult to rise above your competition, no matter how good your products and services are. The three pitfalls are:

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