As the Chief Revenue Officer of Abstrakt Marketing Group and Founder of Sapper Consulting, I understand the importance of having a strong and effective sales team.
I started my career as a sales rep and shared the frustration that comes with prospecting. I eventually got so good at getting meetings from emails that I built an entire company around that practice.
Since Sapper Consulting was founded in 2013, our team has been awarded multiple awards, including the Inc. 250 list of fastest growing companies for 3 years in a row, Expertise’s Best Business Consultant St. Louis, Top Workplaces St. Louis, and more. From there, we joined Abstrakt Marketing Group, where we have taken our business growth efforts to new heights.
In all of my roles, I have had the opportunity to build and manage sales teams. I have worked with salespeople new to the workforce, tenured in the sales field, or transplants from fields such as law enforcement and teaching. These experiences have helped me find ways that work to encourage growth and enable our teams to meet the challenging goals we’ve set for them.
I’ve joined with my colleagues Scott Scully and Eric Watkins to share these experiences in our podcast, The Grow Show, in an effort to help other business and sales leaders.
In this guide, I will expand on my “Tales From Sales” segment on the podcast and provide an in-depth look at how to set up and manage an effective sales team. Topics will be updated with each episode, so be sure to refresh often!
Chief Revenue Officer
Abstrakt Marketing Group
- Why You Should Include Price In Your Pitch
- The Secret to Sales Success? Tone Matters More Than Discovery.
- How Adding a Second Voice to Your Sales Calls Can Boost Win Rates by 250%
- The Power of the Take Away Close
- How to Use Urgency to Drive Sales
- Maximizing Your Team’s Performance With a Personalized Sales Contest
- Rethinking the Myth: Introverts Can Make Great Salespeople Too
- Level Up Your Sales Team Through Weekly Training
- Creating a Sales Analyst Program
- Mindset Matters: How to Create a More Successful Salesperson
- A Sales Secret: Don’t Wait to Talk. Really Listen.
- Riches in the Niches: How to Use AI to Speak Your Prospects’ Language
- Why You Should Treat LDoM Like a Holiday
- How to Influence the Final Decision Maker and Close More Deals
- How To Win A Contract Negotiation
- The Importance Of A Sales Follow Up Process
- Why You Should Walk Your Prospect Through The Agreement
- 3 Outcomes Every Salesperson Must Be Prepared For
- How to Ask Questions and Build Relationships: 3 Tips for Salespeople
- How Involving Multiple Contacts In Your Sales Pitch Can Triple Your Win Rate
- Why EVERY Sales Rep Should Self Source
- Unveiling the Hidden Sales Secret: The Paper Process Puzzle
- Coming soon!
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you think you know what the customer wants, only to find out that you were completely wrong? This can be especially true when it comes to sales. According to a survey of 2,000 buyers and 1,000 salespeople conducted by Salesforce, nearly 60% of buyers want to discuss pricing on the first sales call. On the other hand, only 20% of sellers are comfortable talking about price. This points to an obvious disconnect between what salespeople and buyers expect from the initial conversation. It’s an enormous mismatch. Prospects can get almost all the information they need to know about your product or service without talking to a salesperson, but they can’t get pricing. So why not give them the price on the first call?
Giving prospects pricing information upfront has many benefits for sales teams. For starters, it helps you quickly qualify leads that are likely to convert into customers faster. It also gives you some control over the negotiations process because now both parties have a clear understanding of what you’re offering from the start and can move forward in earnest from there.
So how do you introduce pricing on the first call? Here are some strategies that may help:
- If you can’t give them an exact price, give them a range. A ballpark. It’s fine.
- Explain why your prices are worth it. Make sure you emphasize value-adds like customer service or special features that give you a competitive advantage over other providers in the market.
- Be clear but flexible when presenting options. Offer different packages tailored towards different budgets so that customers receive maximum value from their purchase.
Introducing pricing upfront does require a certain amount of trust on both sides, but when done right, it sets up your sales team for success in closing deals faster with leads who understand exactly what they’re getting in return for their investment in your product or service. So don’t wait for the second call (or worse, a follow up email) —give them the price!
It’s no surprise that sales reps are constantly looking for new strategies and tactics to close deals, but what if the answer is simpler than we think? The sales coaching industry has been hammering in the message that discovery—the upfront questions that you ask prospects—is THE key. But guess what? That’s wrong. To be a successful sales person, tone matters more than discovery. Here’s why: People don’t like being bombarded with questions, especially when they feel like they’re being sold to. Learn how to practice your tone so you can make prospects feel comfortable and have a successful sales call every time!
Everyone is a decision maker. Do you like when people bombard you with questions at the beginning of trying to sell you something? I don’t. I understand why salespeople want to ask me a bunch of questions. They want to get the information that they need so they can determine how best to sell me. Discovery is for the salesperson, not the prospect. And discovery can be infinitely practiced. You can practice “how to find the pain,” “how to understand the decision making process,” or how to “dig when you find the pain.” Many chapters of books have been dedicated to discovery. Here’s my take: You’re practicing the wrong thing.
What should you be practicing? Your tone. Make sure you don’t come off as a sales rep asking questions to make a sale. Instead, create an environment where the prospect feels comfortable enough to share their needs without feeling like they’re being sold to. Your tone needs to be relaxed, natural, excited (if that’s your style). It just can’t create sales pressure. Talk with them, not at them. This will make prospects more likely to open up, giving you the insight you need for a successful call.
In addition to tone, make sure that your value proposition is clear. Convey the value of your product or service in language that resonates strongly with customers—not just generic sales talk. Think about how your product or service can solve the customer’s problem and express it in terms they understand. Relate to their location or industry by discussing similar customers’ success stories. People respond best when they know the direct benefit of doing business with you, so make sure those benefits are front and center in every interaction!
Finally, avoid asking too many questions during discovery phases of the process. Too many questions can make prospects feel overwhelmed and less likely to want to work with you. Word your questions carefully so that a “yes” or “no” response is sufficient for understanding their needs—this will keep things moving forward without making prospects feel like they’re being interrogated!
At the end of the day, focusing on making customers comfortable through understanding their needs, conveying value effectively through language, and avoiding over-questioning during discovery phases of the process will benefit any business looking to improve their sales process overall. So if you want to be successful in sales, remember: tone matters more than discovery.
We sell $6M worth of ARR every single month. And our sales leaders are ON calls. I’m the CRO and I am ON calls. You know what? WE LOVE IT. It’s our natural habitat. Have no fear, we do all the leadership stuff too—but, we’re living it up with sales reps on calls.
Have you ever heard the saying “two heads are better than one”? Well it’s true, especially when it comes to sales calls. Recent research from Gong suggests that adding a second voice to your sales calls can increase win rates by 250% or more. But why is this so effective? And who should be the second voice on the call?
The research from Gong shows that adding a second voice to your sales calls provides multiple benefits.
- It adds an extra set of eyes and ears on the call. This allows for two people to ask questions and provide insights that the original salesperson might have missed or forgotten about.
- Having two people on the call can add another style of communication to the conversation, which can be more engaging than just one person speaking.
- Having a second voice on the call can give customers more confidence because they know they’re talking to someone who has expertise in the product or service they are considering buying.
When you boil it down though, who cares why? It doesn’t matter. Just do it. Take it to the bank.
The next question then becomes, “who should be the second voice?” The answer is simple: your sales leaders. Whenever possible, you should leverage your sales leaders as your “second voice” in order to maximize success on sales calls. Not only do they have expertise in the product or service being sold, but they also likely have experience handling difficult conversations and objections that may arise during a call. Having a second person with knowledge and experience makes it easier for customers to feel confident about their decision-making process and ultimately increase win rates.
Now that we understand why adding a second voice can be beneficial for sales calls, let’s look at how you actually implement this strategy going forward. Here are some best practices and tips for getting started with dual-voice sales conversations:
- Make sure both parties on the call are familiar with each other beforehand so there’s no awkwardness when beginning the conversation.
- Give each person specific roles during the conversation. One person leads while the other provides support.
- If one person gets stuck or needs help answering a customer question, allow them to quickly “pass off” to their colleague so there is no delay in providing an answer.
- Make sure both parties feel comfortable taking ownership over certain aspects of the conversation. This will help keep everyone engaged and focused!
There’s no denying that adding a second voice to your sales calls has tremendous potential for increasing win rates. Research from Gong proves this point beyond doubt and offers tangible evidence that businesses who leverage two voices during customer conversations experience better results than those who only use one person per call. So, if you need help closing more deals or driving higher revenue numbers for your business this quarter, consider adding an extra set of eyes and ears onto your next customer call – it could make all the difference!
Since seemingly the beginning of time, sales reps have been coached that booking meeting #2 is a successful outcome of sales meeting #1. So, about 2/3 of the way through their sales call, they start to panic. Every sales rep has a timer in their heads, and they think that if the sales call ends and they haven’t booked next steps, they’ve lost. But that’s not true. Sales reps lose if sales call #1 ends without knowing if the prospect is truly interested. There are lots of strategies to get a yes or no if you’re not sure of the prospect’s interest, but I want to dive into an old favorite that I think is underused and misunderstood—the Take-Away-Close. This is a simple yet powerful technique for getting prospects to show up for call #2 and increase your forecast accuracy, close rates, and overall success as a salesperson. Read on for more!
The Take-Away-Close technique is a great way to make sure you don’t walk away from a call without knowing if the prospect is interested in what you have to offer. Instead of just closing the conversation, take a few extra moments to probe further and ask, “Hey Eric, I might be misreading the virtual room here, and of course correct me if I am, but I am sensing you’re either not super interested in this or this wasn’t what you were expecting. Am I off base?” Then, pause and give the prospect the time to respond. Whatever they say next, positive or negative, you say “Oh. Can you tell me why?” This question can often lead to further conversation so you can get more information about why the prospect isn’t interested, and it also gives you an opportunity to reinforce your message and showcase how your offering can benefit them.
So what are the benefits of using Take-Away Close? For starters, it helps you increase forecast accuracy by giving you more information about where prospects stand on their decision making journey. Additionally, it shows you which deals are worth spending time and resources on, as well as increasing close rates overall!
The Take-Away Close is an incredibly powerful tool for any sales professional who wants to get more out of their interactions with prospects who initially seemed disinterested or unresponsive. By taking the extra step and asking questions about why they weren’t interested instead of just walking away from the deal altogether, sales reps can increase forecast accuracy, know which deals are worth pursuing, increase close rates and ultimately achieve better results faster than ever before!
Emails conveying a sense of urgency had at least 14% higher click-to-open rates, 59% higher transaction-to-click rates, and twice as high transaction rates compared to their average marketing emails.
If you’re in sales, you know that urgency plays a key role in driving deals forward. But how do you create urgency without sounding too salesy? Leverage the scarcity of your offering. From limited-time discounts to exclusive access to certain features, creating a sense of scarcity is an essential part of driving urgency in every deal.
The idea of scarcity revolves around the notion that something is not infinite. By creating a sense of urgency within your sales process, you convince potential buyers to act quickly instead of waiting. To leverage scarcity, identify what might be in short supply in your process. This could range from limited-time discounts or exclusive access to certain features.
Knowing what kind of shortage you want to create will help you craft a strategy for successfully driving urgency on any given sale or negotiation situation with potential buyers or clients. One potential lever to pull to create scarcity is exclusivity. “We can only accept one customer in each industry or location.” Or, “We’re only going to take 5 new customers this month due to our resources. We don’t compromise on talent and we’re not going to oversell.”
Once you’ve identified what type of scarcity you want to create, set up urgency from the start of the sales process without sounding disingenuous or pushy. For example, saying, “Hey, if you don’t sign by tomorrow our best consultant will be booked out,” feels the way it sounds—disingenuous. But if you say, “Just to let you know about our process, we interview and select one partner in every market. We’re going to interview a few and take one,” and then you follow through on that, it creates real scarcity and urgency.
Here are some other ways you can introduce scarcity into your sales process.
- Use limited-time discounts: Offering an exclusive discount for a specific amount of time can drive prospective buyers to make their decision quickly before the offer expires.
- Create tiered pricing: Offer different levels of pricing based on when they decide to purchase (e.g., early bird specials). This helps incentivize quick action from prospective buyers before prices increase as time passes.
- Promote exclusivity: Give exclusive access to certain features only available for a limited time; this encourages people who want those extras to act fast before they’re no longer available
- Highlight availability: Make sure prospects know how many items are left in stock so they understand their options are running out and need to act fast if they don’t want someone else buying up their item
- Leverage competition: Let prospective buyers know that other people are interested in purchasing the same item so they’re aware that supplies are running low and someone needs to act soon.
By using one or more of these strategies, you can leverage scarcity and urgency to drive sales. However, it’s important that these tactics are set up at the beginning of your sales process so it doesn’t come off as too pushy and motivated by desperation.
Understanding how and when to use urgency through leveraging scarcity is critical when it comes to driving successful sales outcomes. It’s essential that this idea is set up early on in the sales process so you can use it effectively without alienating your customer base. If your prospects feel an urgent need for your product or service, they’ll make decisions accordingly.
Success doesn’t just happen in sales—it has to be earned. But motivating your team to perform at their highest level can be a challenge. Old fashioned sales contests are outdated; most of them are stale, unmotivating, and don’t drive the behavior you are looking for. That’s why we’ve started using creative sales contests with personalized prizes to inspire our team and drive performance. Creating a contest where the prize will be selected by someone important in their life is fun and unique for participants.
When it comes to prizes, you already know that the key is to make them attractive. Think: spa visits, dinners out, or special gifts that your team members wouldn’t normally be able to buy on their own. And as a manager, you should know what types of prizes will best fit your team members, but eventually the excitement of these prizes dies down.
To combat that, we’ve started adding a little mystery to our prizes and process. We let participants know that each individual prize will be determined by someone else important in their life AND that it will be a secret. To facilitate this, you make participants pick a person and provide their email address. Then, you email this person, give them the budget and have them send you a gift they think this person would want.
Why has this been so successful?
- Ego – No one wants to fail. But there’s something about failing at work and owning it in your personal life that’s particularly harsh. The gift picker will also be able to help motivate the person since they’ll want the person to receive their special gift.
- Creative – It’s unusual. Someone else picking your prize? Not normal.
- Personal – The prize the person will select will be super individualized.
- Fun – When you announce this contest, people will love it. It promotes a fun energy among the team.
When it comes to getting optimal performance from your team members, personalized sales contests can be an incredibly powerful tool. They motivate employees and bring out a sense of fun and competitiveness that builds morale throughout the entire organization.
It’s a common misconception that the only people who make good salespeople are extroverts. But, it’s time to put this myth to bed once and for all. Introverts can make great salespeople too! Here’s why: Sales is really about asking questions, listening, and solving problems. So, if you’re an introvert with excellent communication skills, don’t be afraid to step into the world of sales.
The most successful sales professionals have an excellent ability to listen and understand their customers’ needs. Introverts often excel in these areas due to their strong communication skills and attention to detail. They’re often great at reading between the lines and uncovering unspoken customer needs. Additionally, introverts are generally more patient, which can be useful when negotiating with a customer or gathering detailed information about a product or service.
Despite these strengths, there’s still a misconception that extroverts make better salespeople because they can “sell” themselves better. This simply isn’t true—introverts are just as capable of developing long-term relationships with clients if given the time and opportunity.
Furthermore, introverted individuals may find that they have greater success selling complex products or services that require a deeper level of understanding from both parties involved. It’s important for hiring managers and recruiters to consider these individual qualities rather than relying solely on assessment scores to determine who makes a great salesperson.
For those of you who are already working in sales, don’t be afraid to lean on your unique set of qualities as an introvert! Networking might seem like an intimidating experience for someone who prefers solo activities, but it doesn’t have to be if you approach it in the right way. Try attending small events or one-on-one conversations where you can focus on building meaningful connections without feeling overwhelmed by too much noise or stimulation.
Additionally, self-promotion is essential for any salesperson regardless of personality type, so work on communicating your successes and accomplishments!
At the end of the day, recognizing the potential of different personality types is key to creating successful teams both inside and outside the world of sales. So when considering applicants for open positions, don’t forget about including those quiet folks who could become your next top performers!
According to a recent report, every dollar invested in sales training returned $29 in incremental revenues.
Whether you’ve been in sales for five minutes or five years, everyone needs to be continually training and learning. As a sales leader, you can help your team level up their skills by instituting weekly training exercises such as recorded call reviews, role plays, competitive simulations, and more. By investing in your people through ongoing training opportunities, you’ll be sending them a powerful message: No one is above getting better.
Listening to Recorded Calls
One of the most valuable training exercises for salespeople is listening to recorded calls. By playing back conversations with customers, both good and bad, your team can learn how to better communicate with prospects and close more deals. This exercise gives reps an opportunity to reflect on their performance, and it also provides a platform discussing what went well and what could have been done better.
Competitive Role Plays
To encourage collaboration in the team, try running competitive role plays against each other. Role play scenarios are a great way for your people to think on their feet and practice adapting to different customer needs and situations in real time. Plus, making it into a friendly competition between team members creates a fun environment that will keep them engaged in the learning process.
Another important part of weekly training sessions is reviewing decks together as a group. This gives everyone a chance to understand how solutions can be tailored to meet customer needs while still driving revenue streams for the company. The key here is helping reps understand the importance of presenting solutions that ensure everyone wins—the customer and the company—and that one should never come at the expense of the other.
Roll Play Competitive Situation
It’s not just about closing deals; it’s about understanding how to navigate common rebuttals as well. From preparing bids and quotes, creating proposals, and responding quickly under pressure, being able to handle whatever comes their way with confidence is essential for success in sales.
Finally, close out each session with an open Q&A session where everyone can ask questions or share insights with each other in a safe space. Having a platform for open dialogue amongst peers encourages transparency in problem solving, creativity in exploring solutions, and relationship building between colleagues on all different levels within the organization—all critical components when it comes to growing successful teams across any industry sector.
65% of employees say the quality of training and learning opportunities positively influences their engagement.
As a leader in sales, you want your team members feeling supported when taking initiative towards personal development goals—something that can only be accomplished if you’re willing to jump in yourself every now and then! Your people will take your participation as a signal that no matter your tenure, skill, lifetime sales, or position in the company, there’s always an opportunity for growth. Investing in regular weekly training will show your people that you’re committed as a leader and also as a mentor who cares about helping them reach their potential professionally and personally!
In order to have a high performing sales team, you need to attract high performing sales talent. But with so many competing priorities, it can be difficult to find the time to recruit and retain top talent—not to mention prepare them for whatever the future may bring. Enter Nick Saban’s Analyst Program: a revolutionary approach to building a world-class sales team that can handle anything from turnover to growth.
Nick Saban knew that his coordinators – the top assistants for the football team – were going to leave the Alabama football team for higher paying or more prestigious jobs after almost every season. Year after year he knew he’d have to replace some of the brightest minds in college football. The problem to solve was not how to get them to stay. At some level, this was impossible. The actual problem to solve was how to make sure that there were always coaches waiting in the wings who could step in and not lose a step.
That is how the “Analyst Program” at the University of Alabama was born. The Analyst Program was a way to hire assistants with the potential to become great coordinators but, for whatever reason, were not ready yet. Saban hired the best future coordinators he could find and called them “analysts.” These individuals learned the culture and style of the team and got on the job training for their next job. There was no guarantee on timing for a promotion. In fact, there was no guarantee of a promotion at all. All that was guaranteed was that they would get incredible training and, if they put in the work, they’d have an opportunity.
How We Built Our Analyst Program
- We told our team that we were starting a sales development track to identify and train future salespeople.
- We explained the expectations of being in the group (hourly commitment, might not become a sales rep for many months, etc.)
- We had them “opt in” to the group; no one forced them to join.
- We had the team memorize the slide deck. They send 5 voice recordings of our slides every night.
- We had weekly training for an hour where we went over sales best practices and mock calls
- They have access to all call recordings of our sales teams’ calls
- And maybe the most important part? I personally led this team. I received their call recordings. I provided the feedback. I led the training.
Perhaps one of the most important factors is who leads the Analyst Program team. As the sales manager, you’re responsible for making sure that each individual is learning from their experiences and growing in their abilities as salespeople—all while helping contribute to our overall success as a team. With Nick Saban’s Analyst Program, your job will become easier; you’ll be able to provide your team with valuable resources (slide decks, training sessions) that equip them with the skills they need for today’s ever-changing market—and whatever may come tomorrow. In just a couple of months, you will develop an amazing group of future salespeople who will be ready to step in if/when the organizational need arises. And, as a bonus, you’ll build awesome relationships with this group.
Nick Saban’s Analyst Program has been revolutionary for Alabama’s football team and it can make an even bigger difference in your sales team. It will allow you to build an effective sales team today, and prepares you for whatever may come tomorrow (growth or turnover). If you’re serious about developing world-class salespeople, this program should be at the top of your list! It has certainly helped us develop ours into some of the best performers in our industry!
Are you managing sales reps who are facing a slump? You’re not alone. It’s normal for salespeople to hit a slump every once in a while, but one thing you must remember is that mindset matters. Salespeople face a lot of rejection. If they’re only losing 75% of the time, they’re an amazing seller! A salesperson with a 25% close rate is considered a legend. It’s important that you teach your team to have the mental perseverance to push through rejection. Oftentimes when salespeople have a slump they want to change everything about their approach. This is not the answer! Instead, they should listen to the sales calls from when they were more successful and try to do that exact same thing. It’s all about finding a groove and staying consistent with it.
Optimistic sales pros outperform pessimists by 57%. That’s even true when pessimists have better selling skill sets.
Being able to push through rejection is a difficult thing to teach. A successful salesperson should be able to turn rejections into wins by finding creative solutions. The key is to not give up after a few “No’s.” Being persistent and diligent can also help in closing more deals.
You should also instill in your team that they’re not competing against a number, they’re competing against a perfect sales call. And the perfect sales call they had two months ago is probably not different from the perfect sales call they can make today. So even though it’s natural to want to make big changes during a slump, DON’T! It’s best to make small changes instead of completely overhauling the talk track.
As you inevitably coach your sales team as they’re facing a slump, make sure they take the time to listen to calls from when they were performing at their best, as well as other successful sellers, and replicate that. Having the right mindset when it comes to selling is essential for greater success in sales.
As a sales representative, it’s easy to fall into the trap of talking too much. We’re all so eager to pitch our services and close the sale that we forget about one important thing: listening. But listening is actually one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. By actively listening to prospects, you can uncover important topics, answer their real questions, and address their needs correctly, thereby significantly increasing your chances of closing a sale. So next time you’re with a prospect, don’t wait to talk. Make sure to really listen.
In a lot of sales calls, the salesperson is so ready to talk. In the beginning of the call, they ask a few questions, just to get information, but don’t create a real dialogue. After these questions, they immediately move into their pitch then offer to answer any questions at the very end. Along the way, there are little clues that you could follow to make closing a deal more likely.
For instance, I was listening to a great call the other day. The prospect said, “We used to work with another company in your industry, we don’t anymore, and now we’re moving on.” And the sales rep had the good sense to go with “Oh, interesting, tell me more.” And that sparked the whole conversation. Had that question not been asked, it still would have been a very pleasant call, and that person would have gotten off, and they would have had to have their own internal dialogue and discussion about “Is this company us different from the other experience that I had? And if so why? And if not, why not?”
Listening to your prospects has a two-fold benefit: first, it helps you understand what they actually need. Many customers don’t know what they want—and that’s okay. It’s your job as the sales rep to listen and ask probing questions to uncover the true needs of their business or project and then offer solutions tailored to those needs. That’s why active listening is so important for successful selling. By digging deep into conversations and getting to the root of their problems, you can better understand how your product or service can help them reach their goals.
Responding With Relevance
Another great benefit of listening is that it allows you to respond in a more relevant way. Instead of giving the same generic pitch you give everyone else, you can tailor your response based on the specific needs of each customer. This shows that you value their time and effort, and that builds trust between both parties, which is essential for closing a sale.
Finally, listening effectively also allows you to leverage data from past conversations. You can use this data to deliver targeted messaging, strengthen relationships, and increase the chance of a sale closing successfully. You’ll gain insights on how best to speak with prospects in order to give them the most valuable service possible.
At the end of the day, if you want more closed sales, it pays off to really listen instead of waiting to talk as a sales rep. Active listening helps uncover important topics, ensures you answer your prospects real questions, addresses their needs correctly—all resulting in more successful sales!
As sales reps, we’re all familiar with the saying “Riches are in the niches.” But as you are pitching prospects in different industries, how are you speaking their language? How are you making sure that prospects feel like you know their specific pain, you know their specific situation, you’ve been there, your team has been there, and you can deliver for them.
If you’ve ever heard one of these phrases, this tip is for you:
“In our business, it’s not revenue. It’s assets under management.”
“In our world, it’s not employee size. It’s about bed count.”
“In our business, we don’t care about company size. We care about square footage.”
“In our business, we don’t care about employee count. We care about seats.”
Well, thanks to AI tools like Chat GPT, it’s now possible to craft a tailor-made message for each and every prospect. No longer do sales reps have to fumble through conversations using generic industry terms—AI can help them sound like an expert and make sure they hit all the right points.
The Benefits of Niche Markets for Sales Reps
Niche markets offer major advantages to sales reps. By focusing on a niche market, they can establish themselves as experts in a particular field, allowing them to build credibility with prospects and create long-lasting relationships with customers. Furthermore, by targeting specific industries, reps can hone in on specific issues that their prospects are facing and craft pitches that cater directly to those challenges. Ultimately, this helps them close more deals.
Understanding Your Prospects with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
In order to craft a custom message for each prospect, sales reps need to become experts in their target industry quickly. Fortunately, advances in AI have made this process much easier. For instance, GPT prompts allow sales reps to access industry-specific language quickly and easily. This eliminates the need for hours of research and allows sales teams to spend more time creating pitches that will really resonate with their audience.
We’ve been using this prompt:
I want you to act as if you are an industry expert in the industry I provide.
I’m going to provide you with an industry.
For each industry, please send me a summary of
- The types of products or services they sell.
- The types of companies that would buy products or services from the industry provided.
- The decision makers within those companies that would likely buy those products or services.
- List the top 8 jargon words and their definitions used by this industry
The industry is (INSERT INDUSTRY).
This allows us to create, in literally three minutes, what we call battle cards for each industry. So now, when the sales reps are going into these calls, they’re armed with these battle cards, they have all the vernacular, and they’re seeing more successful outcomes. And it happens in a nanosecond, and enables them to talk to these industries in their language. And that makes an enormous difference in the mind of the prospect.
How Else Can Sales Representatives Use AI?
- Automation can help sales teams generate leads faster and more accurately, segment customers based on their preferences, and reach out to prospects with personalized messages that are tailored to their interests. This creates a more efficient process that yields better results in less time. Another key benefit of AI is predictive analytics. By leveraging AI-driven insights, sales teams can anticipate customer needs and gain a competitive edge in their market. Predictive analytics can be used to identify trends and patterns in customer behaviors, helping salespeople make informed decisions about how best to engage with prospects.
- Chatbot technology is another way for sales teams to leverage AI. Chatbots are programmed with natural language processing capabilities that allow them to replicate human conversations and respond quickly to inquiries from customers or prospects. This type of automation can save time and resources while delivering superior customer service experiences—a win-win situation for everyone involved!
- AI can be used to optimize sales processes by helping sales teams make data-driven decisions. From forecasting demand for products or services accurately to providing actionable insights about performance metrics, machine learning has the potential to revolutionize the way your team does business.
Ultimately, understanding niches is essential for success. The ability to find common ground between yourself and your prospects is key when it comes to closing deals efficiently and effectively, and AI provides a great toolbox full of resources that enable you to do just that! Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a newbie just getting started in the world of selling, it pays off big time to invest a few minutes to help learn more about each niche!
As sales managers, it can be easy to get stuck in the same routines month after month. But why not make each Last Day of the Month (LDoM) a day to celebrate? With fun activities, additional incentives, and some themed decorations, your team can get an extra boost of energy just when everyone needs it most.
Here’s what you need to celebrate LDoM:
- Themed decorations/contests
- Additional incentives (I’m talking hourly contests)
- Good music
- Lots of snacks
- Team dresses up (we do business professional or something that fits that month’s theme)
But what about the business results? Well, it turns out that celebrating LDoMs can help you close more deals as well as boost team happiness! Your team will be more motivated to put in the extra effort when they know there’s something special waiting for them at the end of the month—and your customers may even be more receptive when they sense that your team is enjoying the process of delivering value together. Moreover, an enjoyable office environment makes your company more attractive to potential recruits—so don’t forget to share photos from your celebrations on social media!
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that LDoM should be treated as a holiday—not just another day at work! With a few simple steps, you can create an atmosphere in which people feel happy and productive on their last day of the month every single time. So get creative with incentives, decorations and contests today—and give LDoM its due celebration!
You know as well as I do, understanding your customer is critical in the sales process. You need to understand who they are, the challenges they’re facing, and the best way to present your solution in order to move them toward making a decision. But more often than not, it’s not just one decision maker; it’s a group of people with different perspectives and preferences. How do you influence such a complex set of stakeholders and close more deals? The answer is simple: turn your prospect from an influencer (someone who has a part in the decision) to a champion (an advocate for your product/service).
When it comes to sales pitches, the key is to make sure that the influencer, or person you are speaking with, becomes your champion and advocate. This means truly understanding their decision-making process and finding out what they need to hear in order to convince the final decision makers.
There are an average of 7 decision-makers involved in the B2B buying process.
One of the most effective strategies to use when attempting to get an influencer on your side is to ask them a series of questions. For example, if the influencer was making the decision alone, would they go ahead and buy it? If they respond no, you should ask them why. This will provide you with valuable insight into their decision-making process and what objections they may have.
Another great question to ask when someone says that something is too expensive is “How do you mean?” This gives you time to gather your thoughts and also provides you with an opportunity to gain clarity on their perspective.
Once you have a good understanding of the objections and needs of the influencer, it’s time to move on to outlining the benefits of your product or service. Focus on how it can help them reach their goals and address any of their objections. Explain in detail why your solution is worth the investment and the ways it can save them money and time in the long run.
At the end of the day, closing sales is always difficult and requires a lot of hard work. But by taking the time to understand who is making the final call on a sale, you can craft pitches that help influence them in favor of purchasing from you every time! With this knowledge, you’ll be able to increase customer satisfaction, generate more revenue for your business, and ultimately become a successful salesperson. So take some time today to get to know your customers and build relationships with them—it could mean all the difference in closing more deals in the future!
Are you committing this negotiation sin with deals you are about to close?
Here’s the scenario:
You’ve done everything right in the sales process.. The prospect is ready to buy.
The last step is having a call to discuss the last few concerns/asks/contract red lines.
All to often here’s how this call goes :
Prospect: We’d like to make minor change #1.
Salesperson: Yeah – we can do that.
Prospect: We’d like minor concession #2.
Salesperson: That should be fine.
Prospect: We’d like this HUGE concession.
Salesperson: (already having given in twice already) uhhhhh…
At this point, you’re stuck.
The sin is that you negotiated this deal term by term and not as a whole.
If this sounds familiar, then it might be time to take a lesson from the world of sales and try a different approach – one that focuses on negotiating as a whole rather than term by term. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to use savvy negotiation tactics to come out with the best possible deal for both sides.
When it comes to contract negotiation, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Focusing too much on one particular clause can mean that you’re missing out on the bigger picture and losing sight of your overall goals. To avoid this, it is important to start by understanding the client’s perspective and what they are trying to achieve with the agreement.
Asking for a comprehensive list of their requests before beginning the negotiation will help you understand where they are coming from and what kind of deal they are looking for. If a client is hesitant to offer up this information, remind them that it would be beneficial for both parties if they shared everything on their list (concerns, terms, red lines, etc.), so that you can go from there. This will save a lot of back and forth between both parties.
Once you have a good handle on their needs and expectations, it’s time to start considering how you might be able to meet them. Before making any offers or concessions, try to look at the agreement as a whole and think about how each element affects the other parts. If a particular term isn’t working for either side, see if there is something else that could be put in its place that could still maintain the spirit of the agreement but provide more value or better protection for both parties. Negotiating as a whole rather than term by term allows you to take into account all of the elements involved in an agreement, helping you come away with a better overall deal.
Preparing yourself beforehand will ensure that you can identify points where compromise might be possible while remaining firm in areas where flexibility may not be achievable or desirable. With careful consideration and good communication skills at hand, any sales representative can become an expert negotiator!
In Episode 18, I dived into the sales follow-up process and the importance of really, really narrowly defining for your sales team. Often, what happens is a lot of time and thought and energy goes into the sales process. You define your discovery call, your initial presentation, your pitch deck, your CRM process, etc. Often, what sales leaders are missing is the next part of the process. There is no follow-up procedure. Follow-up is so critical in so many different stages of the sales process, and it means a million different things to a million different people.
So, one of the things every sales leader should do IMMEDIATELY is define a sales follow-up process. If you don’t have a defined step, or play for your team to follow after the initial contact has been made, then you’re leaving money on the table. It doesn’t matter how good they are at cold calling, or how perfect their pitch deck is – follow-up is what turns conversations into closed deals.
One very effective way to manage the sales follow-up process is to create it in a CRM. We have a defined set of plays that we give our team when it comes to following up with prospects and customers. We’ve got probably 25 defined plays that you can run whether it be an email, phone call, text message, etc. Each of these plays clearly defines what the next follow up step should be and when it should be executed based off of the prospect’s status and logs that it is completed.
Having this system in place helps ensure that our reps are consistently connecting with their prospects and generating a pipeline. We track all these activities in our CRM so we can measure results over time and see which plays are working best for us.
In conclusion, having an effective sales follow-up process in place can make or break a deal. Whether you choose to manage your follow-up process through a CRM or some other system doesn’t really matter as long as everyone follows the same established procedure. Doing so will help ensure consistent pipeline growth while also giving you valuable insight into what works best for your team over time!
We’re going to fast forward right to the end of the sales process. Everybody’s favorite part is signing the agreement. And here’s the tip I want to give to salespeople at sales leaders, a step in your sales process needs to be walking people through the agreement. You need to walk people through the agreement. This gives you more control, saves time, and helps address your prospect’s questions easily and in real time.
First, walking people through the agreement helps ensure that your contract has actually made it to the right inbox and is seen. Sending a contract over email doesn’t guarantee it’s been received. Contracts are typically coming from Docusign, PandaDoc, or are sent manually but with an attachment that could be flagged by the prospect’s SPAM filters. This meeting ensures that your prospect is actually reading the agreement.
Second, by walking people through the agreement, you can quickly answer any questions they might have about it. You can explain why a certain language is in there or why certain processes need to happen after signing. This isn’t something you want to wait for them to figure out on their own. You want to address their questions immediately and completely so that everyone is on the same page before signing anything.
And finally, taking the time to walk people through the agreement shows your prospects that you care and generally puts them at ease with signing a document they might not immediately understand. At this point in the process, your job is more than just closing a sale; it’s making sure your prospect feels comfortable with their decision and knows exactly what they’re getting into when they sign on the dotted line.
Walking people through an agreement should be part of your standard sales process because it gives you more control over how deals close, ensures contracts are seen and understood properly, helps answer questions in real time, and shows prospects that you care about their experience. It may take up some extra time upfront, but this extra effort will pay dividends down the road as having happy customers who know exactly what they’re getting into leads to long term success for everyone involved!
Have you ever been on a sales call that just seemed to go in circles? You’re sharing your pitch, but it’s not quite landing. You’re feeling a bit desperate and like nothing you say is making an impact. Well, the good news is that at the end of every sales call, there are only three possible outcomes – and as a salesperson, it’s up to you to be prepared for all three. Before you start every sales call, you should have the prospect agree that you’ll agree on one of three buckets before you hang up.
For the first outcome, the customer loves what you have to offer and is ready to get started right away. This is the ideal scenario for any salesperson – they are excited, enthusiastic, and have all the information they need to make a purchase. To recognize this outcome, pay attention to their level of enthusiasm. Do they seem interested in what you’re pitching? Are they asking questions? If so, chances are they are close to making a commitment.
The second outcome is that the customer likes what you have to offer but needs more time or input from other stakeholders before making a decision. This situation requires patience, as it may take some time before a purchase is made. However, if the customer expresses interest during the call, it’s an indication that further discussion will be necessary before a commitment can be made.
The third and final outcome is that your product or service isn’t a fit for them at this time. This can be a difficult situation for any salesperson as it means that no sale has been made and there may not be any future opportunities with this particular customer. It’s important to remember that even though this outcome isn’t ideal, both parties can still part ways as friends – after all, business relationships should always remain amicable!
By understanding these three possible outcomes of every sales call, you will empower yourself with knowledge and equip yourself with the skills needed to navigate whatever situation arises when it comes time to wrap up. So next time you’re on a sales call, keep these three outcomes in mind – your successful sale might depend on it!
Questions are the lifeblood of sales. But questions can also be tricky to navigate—especially if you’re not quite sure how to ask them without coming across as too pushy, or worse, offensive. That’s why it’s important for salespeople to know when and how to raise inquiries in a way that builds relationships rather than alienates potential customers. Here are three tips for asking questions in a way that is both professional and persuasive.
First and foremost, be curious. Asking questions shows you’re interested and engaged in a discussion. However, don’t be afraid to ask even challenging questions in order to better understand the customer’s needs, motivations, and objectives. By being curious, you demonstrate that you are genuinely invested in their success.
Second, if you’re about to ask one or more difficult questions it can be helpful to preface them with something like “just out of curiosity…” This allows the customer to pause and reflect before answering, making them feel like they have control over the conversation.
Finally, when asking more direct or possibly combative questions, it’s wise to start with something along the lines of “Hey, can I be super direct and honest here without offending you?” This not only sets a respectful tone for your inquiry but also signals that you genuinely care about your customer’s feelings.
In conclusion, asking effective questions is an important skill for salespeople as it helps build relationships with customers rather than alienate them. Be curious in general when asking questions; preface tricky inquiries with “just out of curiosity”; and always frame direct questions by showing respect for the customer’s feelings. With these three tips in mind your sales conversations will go from awkward and uncomfortable to professional yet persuasive!
It’s no secret that involving multiple decision makers or influencers in the sales process can increase your win rate. But what if we told you that it can double, and even triple? That’s right – our data shows that when you have more than one contact at a prospect’s company involved during the sales process, your win rate will go up.
To begin, you’ll want to make sure that you get multiple contacts at a prospect’s company involved in your sales pitch. This is especially important if the decision makers are higher up. Whenever possible, try to get them on the call too – this will help ensure that all questions can be answered and objections quickly addressed in real time so you can properly forecast and close the deal more quickly.
Research shows that when two from the same organization are involved in the sales process can double your close percentage. In fact, our data suggests that involving three or more contacts at a prospect’s company in your sales pitch can even triple your win rate!
But why is this? Well, there are several reasons for this phenomenon. Firstly, having multiple contacts involved can help build trust and rapport between your team and theirs. Secondly, it allows for different perspectives to be discussed and considered – making it easier to troubleshoot any objections or obstacles that may arise during the sale. Thirdly, this strategy can mean different decision makers have their own set of goals and objectives – which need to be acknowledged and accounted for in order for a sale to take place. And finally, it helps create transparency throughout the entire process – ensuring everyone is on the same page when it comes to understanding how the sale will play out over time. As a bonus, it will also help your long term retention and account management for so many decision makers to know exactly what is outlined in the contract and have their expectations set properly.
As you can see, involving multiple decision makers or influencers in your sales process isn’t just beneficial – it’s essential! Our data shows us time and again that engaging with multiple contacts within an organization leads to better outcomes for both parties involved. So next time you’re preparing for a sales pitch – don’t forget to involve as many people as possible – you may just be surprised by how much of an impact it has on your win rate!
All sales reps (not some) need to self-source meetings.
There is no greater champion of the SDR/BDR structure than me.
If your company isn’t leveraging appointment setters for sales reps (I’m partial to outsourced appointment setters 😉), they’re losing productivity.
That said… I’m equally passionate about sales reps setting their own appointments. Even if they’ve got meetings drowning their calendars, they MUST be self sourcing.
Self sourcing is the ability to be independent and take responsibility for your own success. Rather than relying on outside sources of leads, a sales rep who self sources can connect with prospects on their own terms. This allows them to build relationships, gain valuable insights into their target market, and ultimately close deals more quickly and efficiently. Self sourcing also helps to make sure that the sales team is continuously staying up-to-date with the latest trends in their industry, so they are always prepared for new prospecting opportunities.
Not only does self sourcing give you an edge in terms of your time management and customer relationships, but it also allows you to stay ahead of the competition. By networking and reaching out to potential clients, sales reps can create connections that other companies may not have access to. This gives them a unique advantage when it comes to closing deals and securing customer loyalty. Additionally, by adding value through personalized conversations rather than relying solely on automated emails or cold calls, sales reps are able to stand out from the crowd and make real differences in the lives of their clients.
When you rely solely on external lead sources, if those resources suddenly dry up (which they sometimes do without warning), then you’re left scrambling for new prospects and ways to keep your pipeline full. However, if every member of your team made sure to have one new appointment set on a daily basis (given our show rates and close rates) it’s probably two more new clients monthly – which would be a drastic increase in income!
Self sourcing is absolutely essential for any successful sales team because it ensures consistent growth for both your goals and income as well as providing an edge over competitors by building relationships through personalized conversations rather than relying solely on automated emails or cold calls.
In the world of sales, understanding the decision-making process is crucial. We invest time and effort in identifying the key stakeholders who will ultimately say “yes” to our solution. However, there is a significant nuance that often goes overlooked—the paper process. This distinction between decision-making and the practicalities of the agreement can make or break a deal. In this section, we’ll shed light on this critical aspect and provide insights to help you navigate it successfully.
Imagine this scenario: You’re engaged in discussions with your champion, the person who holds the purse strings and has the authority to sign the agreement. They confirm that they are the final decision-maker—a significant milestone. Excitedly, you proceed to send over the agreement, anticipating a swift close. But here’s the catch: Two days later, when you follow up, you discover that the decision-making process and the paper process are disconnected. The agreement needs to go through legal, compliance, and, increasingly, the CFO. Suddenly, you find yourself outside the decision-making loop, and valuable time has slipped away.
This situation illustrates two critical misses. First, you underestimated the timeline, resulting in inaccurate forecasting. Second, and more importantly, you failed to engage the key individuals involved in the paper process early enough. While they may not hold the power to say “yes,” their ability to say “no” can be just as detrimental.
So, here’s a tip for both sales leaders and salespeople alike: Take the time to identify the individuals who touch the agreement and have the authority to sign off. Understand the paper process inside out, recognizing the potential roadblocks and decision-making bottlenecks. By having a clear understanding of who can say “no,” you can strategically engage them earlier in the process.
Sales leaders, it is crucial to encourage your sales team to delve into the paper process and ask the right questions. This awareness will enable them to provide accurate timelines, anticipate potential obstacles, and set realistic expectations with prospects. Incorporate the paper process into your training curriculum, as it is an integral part of the overall sales journey.
Moreover, involving the relevant stakeholders early on can be transformative. They have unique perspectives and considerations that can shape the outcome. By proactively engaging them, you present the opportunity to align their needs and expectations with your solution. Framing your message in a way that highlights the benefits and addresses their concerns is essential. Show them how your offering will save time, streamline processes, or alleviate their workload. By positioning your solution as a valuable asset rather than an additional burden, you increase the chances of a successful partnership.
Consider the example of an insurance broker discussing premium savings with an HR representative. While the potential cost reduction is significant, it may require substantial additional work for the HR personnel. Effectively conveying the benefits and demonstrating how the solution will ultimately benefit them is crucial to overcoming their initial resistance.
As the sales landscape evolves, it’s imperative to expand our focus beyond traditional sales techniques. By recognizing and addressing the nuances within the buying process, we enhance our chances of success. Let’s invest time in understanding the paper process and engaging the key stakeholders effectively.
In conclusion, don’t overlook the intricacies of the paper process. Embrace it as an opportunity to navigate potential roadblocks, involve the right people, and secure successful outcomes. By doing so, you position yourself as a strategic partner, ensuring a smoother path to closing deals and fostering long-term relationships.
Being able to lead a sales team is an honor. There’s no greater rush than watching your sales team refresh their inboxes on the LDoM and seeing the contracts roll in. And if you’re lucky, you’ll keep seeing deals roll in. But if you’re like 99.99% of sales managers, you’ll need to rely on more than just luck to close deals. Leading a sales team is hard work, it takes all of the practices above for your team to perform to their fullest potential.
For more of my insight on how to improve yourself as a sales leader and therefore improve your entire sales team, connect with me on LinkedIn.