Simple Sales Tracking Blog

So how much is this going to cost me? aka “Don’t drop your pants on price”

I was with a client the other day and they mentioned a conversation they recently had with a prospect.

After a warm referral they made the initial phone contact, and a few minutes into the call the prospect asked the dreaded question “Can you give me a price? My current provider charges $$$ what can you do it for?”

This left the client stuck, as the price mentioned was his standard hourly rate he paid his staff and so was not even in the running.

Don’t worry though; we all get tripped up from time to time when it comes to these types of questions around price.

Here are some ideas to help you negotiate your way around that nasty elephant in the room we call ‘price’.

– First off, don’t ask about their budget. This is one of the biggest no nos in sales. If you do this, you have already created a ceiling. If you come in higher than the price they expect to pay for your offering, you will have a battle on your hands to get them to come round to your price point.

– However, if they ask about price early on, you can reply by simply saying “I need to know more about your needs before I can give you a price. All our solutions are customised to the client” – you can’t prescribe until you have done a full diagnosis.

– Watch out for benefit buckshot, as this can kill you in a sales interview. Benefit buckshot is when you reel off the benefits of using your product or service in quick succession. It’s kind of like shooting a shotgun in the air and hoping a duck is flying past. More often than not the client then says “well we are already getting that from our current supplier, how much discount can you give me if we don’t include that in the price”. Be wary of this and remember – It’s only a benefit if the prospect tells you it’s a benefit.

– Another key thing to remember is not to sell on the phone. If you have been referred to a prospect, the only outcome you want from that first initial phone call is an appointment to meet in person. Otherwise you may find yourself having to justify yourself or sell on the phone. Questions like “what can you do for me” and “what makes you different from my current supplier” are killer and best avoided or handled in person.

– When you start to negotiate on price, or even justify why you charge a certain amount, you are arguing with the prospect. The key to getting around this is showing the return on investment that your prospect will receive if they go with you. This may mean they save money or make money. Either way, by showing a strong return on investment, you will avoid having to stand up for your pricing, or debate about your price points.

– Ok, so if you really have to drop your price, then for goodness sake change your deliverables!! If they insist on paying less, then perhaps they pay more up front, or you may suggest a staged delivery. But remember, if you are crafting the perfect solution for your client; beware about cutting corners here and there in order to make it more appealing financially. If you change the price you must change the conditions!

Happy Selling!

Hayden Burgess
Sales Trainer and Programme Developer
Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy

New report and charts added

New Sales Tracking Charts

The first in a series of new reports and charts we’re developing is now ready for your review.

The first of those is a new manager-only report named Team Member Activity. The goal of this report is to give you insight into the same kind of information that each of your team members view on their own Start Pages – including New, Won and Lost Opportunities, Current and Overdue Tasks and Current Appointments – filtered by date range. By default, when you run the report it will show you all the information created or due for the current week. Sorry, if you’re not an Admin or Manager on your team, you won’t have access to this report.

In addition to the new report is a new charting series which enables you to graphically display your sales, grouped by your custom fields. So, for example – if you have a custom field for Industry, you can see all your Leads, Opportunities and Accounts per industry in a nice bar chart. The charts can be interacted with as well as exported as a downloadable image.

Just like the reports, you can access the new charts from the Reports tab.

Filed under: New Features, , , , ,

Easily switch between company or group accounts

We had some great feedback on the new reports for the Report Center as well as suggestions for new ones. If you missed our last email, please consider sending us your feedback – it’s not too late yet.

Along with the handful of design changes this week, you may have noticed a new menu option named “Link to Account…”. This is something that’s been on the requested list for a while and we’re excited to get it into production. Note – this setup option is visible only to those with Admin level access, however accounts can be linked for those with any level of access.

There are 2 reasons why you might like to take a closer look at this new capability:

  1. You have more than a dozen users who work in separate divisions.
  2. You use Simple Sales Tracking for more than one company.

With the ability to switch between accounts, you can jump from one company (or division) to another without having to logout, then back in again. If you want to organize your sales people into teams and restrict access so that each member has access and visibility only to those in their team, then linking accounts is a perfect solution.

Filed under: New Features, , , , , ,

Tell us what you’d like to see in the new Report Center

We’ve got a couple of new developers on board working out the final parts of a new API and Outlook plugin (we’ve had some delays – but it’s finally coming together now). Once they’re finished, we’re going to be starting on a new Report Center within Simple Sales Tracking – which will include new Reports and Charts/Graphs.

If you click on either report thumbnail above, you’ll see the sample report drafts that we’re looking to introduce. I’d really appreciate your feedback on those and any other ideas that you would find helpful from both a sales manager and team members perspective.

A handful of new fields will need to be added to support concepts like targets/budgets, so if your report idea includes information that’s not currently captured in SST – include it anyways.

You may have noticed the new filter boxes on the list pages. Over the next while another one of our developers is working to improve / streamline some of the UI. No big changes – just some refinements. If you have any questions about any of them – don’t hesitate to ask.

Filed under: New Features, , , ,

How many sales are you losing through poor Sales Process?

“To train or not to train?” – that is the question

Many businesses spend thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising to generate inquiries and yet spend nothing on training their salespeople to convert these same inquiries into sales.

A common misconception is that if the salesperson has great product knowledge they can make the sale. These types of salespeople rely on what we term “show and tell” selling which leads to price focused buyers rather than needs based selling.

Many sales are lost as a result of poor or even non-existent sales processes. The analogy I often use is when baking a cake you follow a recipe and if you do you get the same result each time. When you decide to change the recipe and say use less baking powder you may still get something that is edible but not the best result.

Well it is the same with many salespeople who have never had any formal sales training – they may have a recipe/process they are following but some of the key ingredients may be missing, resulting in missed sales which invariably leads to increased cost of sales not to mention lost sales revenue.

When you consider the cost of making a sales call can be from $90 to $500 depending on type of call and then take into account the lost opportunity costs it often comes down to leaving sales to chance.

I meet many businesses who would gain immediate sales from sales systems but will delay sometimes up to 12 months before starting.

The great thing about sales training is that it is entirely measurable and the return on investment can be seen almost immediately.

The cost of missed sales can be huge even for small businesses. An example might be a business where an average client may spend $200 per month over 12 months – this adds up to $2400 p.a. If the average client stays loyal to this business for 5 years then the average lifetime value is $12,000.

Now if our untrained salesperson is fumbling one sale per week over 46 weeks this amounts to $552,000 in lost business and over 5 years this could come to $2,760,000 and remember this is per salesperson.


From Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Company, who once was asked by a wholesaler why he invested so much in training his people, when ultimately they might leave.

His reply was “what if I didn’t train them, and they stayed?”

Action Steps:

Review your sales processes – do you have systems for:

• Asking for referrals
• Managing new leads
• Identifying potential prospects
• Making appointments using the telephone
• Conducting sales interviews
• Quantifying your prospect’s problem in dollar terms

Hayden Burgess is a Sales Trainer with Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

Starting 2016 the right way

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas and New Year’s break, it’s crazy to think we are already one month into 2016.

With that in mind, I wanted to write about one facet of something that many of us have a challenge with. I’m talking about prospecting and more specifically, referrals.

Let’s start the New Year off prospecting strong with these three tips to get the most out of your referral system.

  • Many of us make the mistake of thinking too much about if a prospect is right for us, all we should be asking is – Do they potentially have a need for what we offer? If yes then add them to your suspect list.
  • The same goes for the person referring, if you are making an introduction for a colleague, don’t look too far into it, they know best if they can potentially help the prospect. It is up to them to discover this through good questioning.
  • Cold referral – A colleague has handed a client/prospect one of your business cards and said ‘give them a call if you need….’
    ◦ This is akin to a cold call because there is no trust established, all they know about you is what is on your card – save these for C and D prospects
  • Warm referral – A colleague has mentioned your name to their client/your prospect.
    ◦ Again this is not ideal, your name has been mentioned but there is no next step for them, you can’t start the relationship based on this.
  • Hot referral – Now this is key, your colleague has introduced you to their client/your prospect and let them know that you will be giving them a call.
    ◦ These are ideal as the prospect is expecting your call AND you get a buying signal because if they were totally uninterested in what you have to offer they wouldn’t meet with you in the first place.
  • Once you have established a list of the prospects you would like to work with, share it! Share it with your colleagues, at referral groups or at networking groups. Be specific about who you are targeting, it makes it much easier for people to refer to you.

Many people we meet through our business say they are too busy to prospect, or the phone doesn’t stop ringing.

However, having a strong prospecting and referral system is key. You will be glad you planned ahead and filled up your pipeline for the long winter months.

Oh, and the best way to get a referral? ….To give one.

So let’s start this New Year off the right way, help each other out, and in time it will come back around to you tenfold

Hayden Burgess is a Sales Trainer with Sales Impact Group


Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , ,

Lead Sources as a Drop Down List


Earlier today we published the latest release of Simple Sales Tracking. Included in the release are a number of small changes and minor bug fixes.

The most important change has to do with how Lead Sources are managed. In the past, the only option was to type in the Lead Source for your Accounts, Opportunities and Leads on a case-by-case basis. In our latest release, you now have the option of creating a drop down list of lead sources. The list of available Lead Sources are managed by your group administrator, in the Admin area.

From there, Lead Sources can be added, changed or removed entirely. If one is changed, the change flows through to any matching Lead Source marked against an Account, Opportunity or Lead.

If you’d like to continue to type in Lead Sources manually, all you need to do is delete the Lead Sources from the list in the Admin area.

As always, if you have any questions about this or anything else in Simple Sales Tracking – please don’t hesitate to ask.

Filed under: New Features, , ,

Have you seen the white whale – the danger of relying on one or two large clients

In Herman Melville’s eponymous 1851 novel “Moby Dick” the crew of the Pequod seek out the mysterious and legendary white whale Moby Dick. I was thinking about the novel and how it relates to business and it got me thinking. The crew of the Pequod are driven and in a sense kept alive in treacherous waters by the idea of their white whale, and there is an allegory here for us in business.

Too often we rely on a whale to keep us afloat; these whales are often one or two large clients who give us all our business.

Unfortunately what can often happen is these large clients are drawn away, close up shop or change hands. When we lose them it can be the thing that sinks a business, or in this case a ship. It is just as important to bring on smaller clients as it is larger ones; it is often the smaller clients that keep you afloat from month to month while you are waiting for your next order from your ‘whale’.

This is also why it’s important to prospect. Too many businesses tell me that they rely on word of mouth, they do a great job for one client and they give them their next client. While this is good in theory it doesn’t always work that way, and it means we are leaving the fate of our business to the gods. Even if you have too much work on your plate to handle, ask for that referral, you can always action it later but if you don’t ask now how can you expect to fill your sales funnel two or six months down the line?.

In order to stay in control and not be taken down by the white whale you need to become a proactive salesperson. In sales speak we talk about reactive and proactive sales people, the difference between the two is like the difference between buying your meat from the butcher and hunting it yourself. The proactive sales person is always looking for new opportunities to grow their business whereas the reactive sales person just waits for it to walk through the door.

At the end of Melville’s novel after pursuing Moby Dick for three days, the boat and crew are destroyed when the whale turns on them, the Captain Ahab, drowns in the icy sea. My message here is don’t let your white whale sink your business when they turn on you and say they are moving to another supplier. Remember your A client is someone else’s A prospect.


– Always be prospecting – If you are offered a referral but are too busy, tell your referrer to hold off, but the important thing is to ask! When you attend referral groups always ask for referrals by name don’t get caught in the “I’m too busy at the moment so I don’t need any referrals” trap.
– Don’t rely on one big client to keep your business afloat – I hear this all the time, and most often the people saying it know they are in a precarious position but don’t do anything about it. Smaller clients are just as important when cash flow is key.
– Be a PROACTIVE not a REACTIVE salesperson. Don’t wait for your next client to walk in the door or hope that someone you did a great job for will mention you to their mate. Stay in control of the situation and make your own luck.

“The day you decide to do, it is your lucky day “ – Japanese Proverb

Article by Hayden Burgess – Sales Trainer – Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy

What makes the best salespeople? aka the myth of the “gift of the gab” salesperson

It’s an age old adage that never seems to be shaken off. The idea of the ‘gift of the gab’ salesperson. It conjures up images of the sleazy car salesman with a polyester suit, and slick back hair who applies pressure and coercion in order to get his next commission cheque.

Fortunately for us in these days this is pretty much just a myth. The truth of the matter is that the dynamics of sales have changed greatly in the past 20 years with the advent of needs based selling. In his book “To Sell is Human”, Daniel Pink tells us that “the correlation between extroversion and sales performance, which is how many times you make the cash register ring, is almost zero”.

So, if sales is not just about being the big extroverted gift of the gab personality, what factors make the best salespeople in 2015?

– Adaptability

When you are meeting with a client, consider what type of personality they may have, are they extroverted and want to talk a lot or are they introverted and more interested in the finer points of what you have to offer. If you can adjust your personality style to the situation you will have a much better chance of closing the sale. In Pink’s book he notes that the average wage for an adaptable salesperson is $208 per hour – almost double that of the average introvert or extrovert personality.

– Always add value

Whether it is a client or a colleague, always aim to help. If you are constantly adding value to those around you, you will be more satisfied in your role for one, but you may find that it will come back to you in spades. Even if that buyer doesn’t say yes to you straight away, you have at least enlightened them to a problem they may be having and they were previously unaware of. Share a referral with a colleague or give them some timely advice and this will only be to your advantage.

– Have a process

Do you know why Toyota is the most successful car manufacturer in the world? Process. The Japanese have a very process driven culture and this is what allowed them to overcome Ford
and GM in the race to the top. It is the same in sales, when you have a process, or a blueprint to follow, you are taking out a percentage of the risk that comes from being unprepared for an
interview. What if you missed that crucial question that would have got you over the line? Have a process that works for you and stick to it.

– Sell yourself

And by that I don’t mean your physical body! Whatever you are selling, you must always sell yourself first. How many times have you heard of that great salesperson that works for an unreliable company and takes all their best clients with them when they leave? It has to be about selling yourself first, build that trust, then comes your product/service and finally price. People buy the value you deliver, the peace of mind they get from dealing with a reliable salesperson who will look after them through the whole process.

“You can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want”
Zig Ziglar

Article by Hayden Burgess – Sales Trainer – Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

How to get through the winter slump

Winter is pretty tough; it can be cold and bleak. Unfortunately, for a lot of businesses winter correlates with a slump in trade. Often we accept this as part in parcel of being a business owner and as a result fail to plan for this time of year.

A wise person once said the best thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by periods of worry and depression (or something like that).

But it doesn’t have to be this way! By planning ahead and getting our sales funnel in order we can stay on top of things so we are prepared for winter and with that ready for the prosperous spring and summer that follows.

Here are some ideas for getting ahead of the winter slump.

– Always be prospecting

We say prospecting is a 24/7 activity, always be looking for your next client. This may be as simple as noting down business names when driving through your local industrial area, reading the local paper and sharing your suspect list with colleagues. Take note of what is going on in the business community, who else can you add value to?

– Target specific businesses

Many of us attend networking and referral groups, but more often than not attendees stand up each week with the same spiel – “Hi I’m so and so from so and so business, we specialise in this and that if you know anyone who is interested, please get them to give me a call”. The problem with this is it’s a rare occasion when someone actually says to a colleague, “Hey I’m looking for something, do you know anyone who does that?” It’s an even rarer occasion that this occurs when you are actually looking for the referral. So instead, at your next event, target referrals and businesses you would love to work with and ask for them by name. See what happens.

– Use winter as a time to reskill your sales team

Sometimes no matter how much we prepare; there will still be quiet spells. Use this time to upskill your sales team; look at their KPIs, their weekly sales activities and their sales funnel. When you are a growing business, you must constantly review your salespeople, their sales process may be working for them but is it working to grow your business?

– Review your current clients.

They say it now costs ten times as much to bring on a new client as it does to maintain an existing client. So for every dollar you spend on retention of existing clients you will need to spend $10 to gain a new client. Now is a good time to review your current clients who haven’t bought off you in the last six months. Consider how you can add more value to their business. You may have a range of products; your client is buying products A and D from you but who is providing B and C? Your clients already know and trust you; it is your responsibility as a provider to make sure you are fulfilling all their requirements.

I hope these ideas help, if you implement just one it could be the influencing factor that makes the rest of this winter and the next more profitable and less stressful. Stay warm everyone!

Article written by Hayden Burgess – Sales Trainer – Sales Impact Group

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,


Simple Sales Tracking is web-based sales CRM software for the tracking, analysis and forecasting of individual and team sales pipeline and contacts.

Built with simplicity at its core, focus is kept on key sales tasks, while eliminating unnecessary ones, helping to ensure buy-in of the entire sales team.
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