Simple Sales Tracking Blog

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, , , ,

The Cost of Delaying Training

Many businesses delay sales training as other systems and budgeting demands take priority.

These delays come at a cost as sales are the only function in any business, with the exception of not for profit type businesses that bring in income.

You can have the best products in the world but unless somebody actually makes a sale – nobody in the business will be paid.

The majority, if not all, of the businesses that fail ultimately do so because of the lack of sales.

The lack of a sales process leads to salespeople missing many sales opportunities.

If we look at McDonalds they didn’t achieve consistency by waiting to hire the very best trained people. Rather they created a system through the use of checklists, processes and repetition and then trained people to use it. This approach applies to any business that is striving for consistency in the results they achieve.

The very best salespeople are systematic in their approach to selling while ordinary salespeople are haphazard and tend to “wing it”

How would you be feeling if just before your routine surgery you overheard your surgeon telling the nurse he hadn’t done any prep and was going to wing it this time? Sounds ludicrous however many salespeople know the fundamentals of selling however have no set process they follow.

I like to use the analogy of baking a cake when talking about sales processes.

My wife follows the programme “Chelsea Home Baker” and I happened to watch the finals with her. One thing I noticed was that the contestants all spent time writing out detailed plans and checklists for their baking even down to estimated timelines for each element of the bake.

Most of us have a rudimentary understanding of baking and could probably follow a recipe to produce something edible. If we were to continue practicing eventually we would become very good bakers.

The problem occurs when we’ve been using the same recipe and we become over-confident and eventually stop following the process relying on memory and experience to produce results.

This often leads to ingredients being left out which in turn leads to some pretty inedible results.

The same occurs with many salespeople.

The trouble with leaving major ingredients out of our sales process is missed opportunities leading to inconsistent results.

So what does a sales process consist of?

  1. Sales Plan – Targets, Time Lines
    2. Prospect Plan – Prospect Profiles. Suspect Lists
    3. Prospect Research Process – Key Information
    4. Sales Interview Process – Questioning Process, Closing Process
    5. Follow-up and Contact process – 90 days Maximum

With this in mind, consider your current selling process and answer “Yes” or “No” to the following questions to see how your processes stack up –

1 Do you have a system for optimising referrals?
2 Do you have a system for calculating the cost of your prospect’s problem?
3 Do you have a list of the key questions you should ask each time to uncover the prospects needs?
4 Do you have a presentation process?
5 Do you have a follow-up process?
6 Do you have a prospecting system?
7 Do you have a pre-interview planning process?

How did you score?

If there were a number of “No’s” then these are the areas you will need to focus on.

Many see training as a cost to the business where in fact it is an investment.

The key question I always ask companies I am meeting with is – “How many extra sales would each salesperson need to make to recover the investment?”

The answer more often than not is – “one new client”

Quote:

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?”

 

Hayden Burgess

Hayden Burgess  is a Programme Developer and Facilitator for Sales Impact Group.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

Next Release to Simple Sales Tracking Scheduled for Tonight

The next release of Simple Sales Tracking is scheduled for tonight, so we thought we’d give you a quick heads up of what’s on the way. There are a few big improvements and we think you’re really going to like them!

One of the main ones is the introduction of Opportunity Stages to the sales pipeline. Opportunity Stages are fully customizable – so you’ll have better control and flexibility over your sales pipeline.

One big change to the software has to do with how the detail pages for Accounts, Opportunities, Leads and Contacts are layed out. You’ll find all of the same information that was present before, as well as some extra – but presented in a 3 column format. View a sample of an Opportunity Detail page.

As you’ll notice, we’ve put a greater emphasis on Notes – which will now include not only any notes you or other team members write, but also any activity updates that have to do with that record. We’ve also introduced Notes to Contacts, which did not exist previously.

In preparation for our social integration, we’ve added the ability to upload a photo or logo for any Account, Opportunity, Lead or Contact. Once the social integration is complete, you’ll have the option to have Simple Sales Tracking automatically import this information, if it’s available, from popular social sites – like LinkedIn.

Filed under: New Features, , ,

Top Five Easily Avoidable Mistakes of Sales Presentations

We’ve all been there, you walk out of a sales interview that was almost across the line and wonder to yourself, what could I have done differently that would have made for a different outcome.

Luckily as humans most of us learn from our mistakes and with that in mind here are five easily avoidable mistakes of a sales presentation. If you keep these in mind and avoid them you will be well on your way to making more sales and making the most of your selling time.

Not Being Prepared.

This may seem like common sense but many salespeople do very little preparation before a sales interview. The more prepared you are the more confident you will feel walking in the door. Consider what information you need to obtain about your prospect in advance, what industry are they in, who are their competitors, what are the possible challenges they may face?. Good preparation will save you on the day.

Being late

Well this one just rolls on from my previous point, but once again many salespeople make this mistake. They believe their time is more important. But consider this, in the prospects mind if you are five or ten minutes late without an explanation, how does this reflect on the delivery of your product or service?. Plan to be early but if worst comes to worst phone ahead and let them know if you are running behind.

Focusing too much on your product.

This is perhaps more harking back to the old days of selling but it is still very common. We want to go in and spout on about the great things our product or service can do for the prospect, how we can solve all their problems if only they would sign on the dotted line. You will get more sales across the line if you focus on the prospect and their needs first then worry about what your product can do for them later.

Giving price too early

Say you are going to buy a new PC, you have in mind that you want to buy a basic laptop that you can use to browse the internet, watch movies and do basic word-processing. The salesman at the electronic store instead quotes you on a workhorse desktop PC that will cost twice as much. The mistake was instead of asking you what you were after he made an assumption and quoted the price too early. When making your sales presentation make sure you uncover if they have a need for your service and justify it before price is ever mentioned. Only then will they be considering how, not if they can afford to use you.

Focusing on ourselves instead of helping the prospect

There is so much competition in the business world that sometimes we can be so focused on trying to sell sell sell that we forget that we provide solutions where there is a need for what we offer. If we are pushing to get everyone across the line even if they don’t need our services we are doing ourselves and our clients/prospects an injustice. Find out if your prospect has a need for your service, qualify them, then set about filling that need.

Hayden Burgess

Hayden Burgess  is a Programme Developer and Facilitator for Sales Impact Group.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

Important changes to Simple Sales Tracking

New sales calendar view

As the release date approached for our first quarter release, we realized we were planning to release a lot of changes and improvements all at once. Instead, we’ve decided to split the release up into 2 or 3 parts. The first part was released last night.

The upcoming release will include the other changes we mentioned in our previous newsletter, including a revamped Start Page – with charts and more summary data.

Highlights of what’s been released in Part 1:

 

  • Increased File Storage – We’ve doubled the file size limits on uploads and increased overall storage from 200Mb to 1Gb. Soon we’ll be releasing an option for even greater storage.
  • Follow Up and Expected Close Dates – These are now included in the Calendar, Start Page Reminders and Appointments Report.
  • Additional Security Profile – We’ve created a new “Manager” security profile. Read more about this later in the email.
  • View combined calendars – Previously, you could only view one calendar at a time. Now, view a combined calendar of all users.
  • Choose Acocunt, Opportunity or Lead when entering a new Task or Appointment
  • Easily view associated Account, Opportunity or Lead when viewing a Task or Appointment
  • Increased space for your logo and have it display on login page.
  • Added search box for messages.
  • Revised organization of Admin page.
  • Easily lock-out a user from the Admin page.
  • And there’s more on the way…

 

New Manager Security Profile

In the past, each team would default to having a single Admin person. A lot of the time this worked fine, but occationally, there was a need for more flexibility.

In this latest release, we’ve given you the ability to create as many Admin or Manager users as you need.

The new Manager profile gives a user with that profile the ability to view any records, even if you’re operating in the Closed Model for security access. This was only possible previously if the user was an Admin.

Admin users are also by default made Managers, but they also retain access to the Admin area – whereas Managers do not.

 

 

 

 

Filed under: New Features, , ,

Major Release Scheduled For Early February 2015

We’re excited to announce the upcoming Q1 release of Simple Sales Tracking for early February 2015. Thank you for your questions and feedback – You’ve helped to make Simple Sales Tracking a sought after product that continues to push the boundaries of our industry and grow at an exponential rate.

A Few Highlights of What’s Planned:

 

  • Automatic Contact Info – Optionally, build and help keep your contact’s information up to date, with real-time social integration.
  • Zapier.Com Integration – Leverage your data and connect to 300+ 3rd party applications.
  • Increased Storage Capacity – We’re blowing the lid off of storage space. Get ready for a lot more document space.
  • Chart-based Reports – Get ready for visually stimulating chart-based reports.
  • Enhanced security configuration options
  • Associate multiple contacts with Leads
  • More branding customization options
  • Display Follow Up and Expected Close dates in Calendar
  • Visually catogorize appointments by type
  • And much more…

Filed under: Company News, New Features, , ,

AMEX Now Available as Payment Option

AMEX-LogoIn the past, as a Canadian company, we’ve had some restrictions around charging in USD through American Express credit cards. This was a restriction put in place by AMEX.

Our solution had been to support only Visa and Mastercard; however, we’ve been increasingly requested to bring in AMEX support.

To support AMEX, we’ve partnered with US-based payment processor, Stripe.  They’re an industry leading payment processor and we’re pleased to have them setup with Simple Sales Tracking.

If you’re new to Simple Sales Tracking, you’ll be offered AMEX as an option from today onwards.

If you’re an existing client and would like to switch to using your AMEX card, please update your billing profile on the Admin page of Simple Sales Tracking with the new card information.

Filed under: Company News, , , ,

Top Eleven Networking Tips

As business people many of us see networking as something you just have to do. It means we can tick the box to say that we have been out and about drumming up contacts for future business.

However it is vitally important to make the most of your time at networking and referral group events. We have to consider that the time spent is taking us away from other important business activities, or if outside business hours family and recreational time. Therefore the more efficient we are at making the most of these events, the better.

Here are some ideas to make the most of your networking time.

  1. Don’t try to talk to everyone!
  2. Treat networking at referral groups as you would any other social interaction, don’t just focus on the business side of things, be friendly and useful first.
  3. Don’t dismiss anyone! You may think you do not need to know or meet this person, but you don’t know who they may know, or where they may be in the future, give everyone the time and respect they deserve.
  4. Your first goal at every meeting is to help someone else, build the trust first, help another, and eventually they will reciprocate.
  5. Be more interested than interesting!! its not all about you, no one wants to listen to someone else talk about themselves and their business for 15 minutes, they will be looking at their watch and making excuses to sneak off to get more canapes.
  6. Introduce people who have similar interests and may benefit from the relationship, help someone else first.
  7. Always follow up! Be prompt and follow up when you say you will, people will appreciate your punctuality, it says I value your time and I come through when I say I will.
  8. Never sell at a networking event!! There are many reasons for this, just don’t do it.
  9. Ask good questions in order to get a strong idea of what the other person’s business offers, only then are you in a position to help them.
  10. Be clear when introducing what your business offers, people are not interesting in in depth explanations of your products and services, use case studies of how you have helped others to explain what you offer.
  11. Add value! This goes with the previous statement, when discussing your business make it about them not you, how can you help them? This could be as simple as updates on current regulations if you are in the health and safety industry, or changes to tax laws if you are an accountant.

Finally, be picky, don’t be the person who goes to every networking event who talks to everyone but never makes any strong connections. Have a purpose at each event, make the most of every interaction. You need to get a return for the time invested.

Hayden Burgess

Hayden Burgess  is a Programme Developer and Facilitator for Sales Impact Group.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

New features Released Today

You spoke and we listened. Thanks to your feedback and others like you, we’ve made a number of changes to Simple Sales Tracking – which went live last night.

The largest of the changes has been a popular request. You’ll find on the Accounts, Opportunities and Lead list pages that you can now choose which columns of information you’d like to display. No longer are you stuck with the defaults. Customize them to show what’s most important for you and your sales activities.

Have a suggestion to make Simple Sales Tracking better? Tell us about it by email or on @simplesales on Twitter now.

Complete List of New Features

This latest release includes the following new and improved features.

  • Details for Appointments: Just like with Tasks, you can now include extra details about an Appointment.
  • Appointments in Search Results: Appointments will now be included in search results.
  • Improved Search Results: Search results (from the search bar on the Start Page) have been improved to include searches in additional fields – like Lead Source and Address.
  • Associated Opportunities Correction: To reduce confusion, the Associated Opportunities list on your Accounts detail pages no longer include the detail of the Account itself. Only the associated sub-Opportunities.
  • Accounts Downgrade: Any account can now be downgraded back to an Opportunity. First, make sure the Account has no sub-Opportunities.
  • A bit of CleanUp: Depending on your setup, you may find a bit of tidy up on the Start Page.
  • Page Settings: As already mentioned at the beginning of this email update, Account, Opportunity and Lead list page columns can now be customized.

Filed under: New Features, , , ,

About

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.
Go to SimpleSalesTracking.com

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