Monday, November 1, 2010

Eliminating Price as an Objection

This was sent to then passed on to me today by one of my all time favorite clients, Shelly Aberson a brilliant marketing mind and owner of ANW inc. in Westfield NJ. ( It has much of the same content that I speak of regularly to Triple Win Sales clients and is a good reminder!

At a seminar today in Kitchener, Ontario, (an hour north of Toronto for those of you without Google Maps) James Perly, of Perly Consulting Group, came up to me during a break and said, “I have a new closing method.”
I said, “Great! What is it?”
“We beat our customers over the head with a value stick until they close us, and ask us to buy. We don't have brochures, and the whole meeting is about how exactly we would deliver massive value to the client, all done in a friendly, professional manner. We give the client a full strategic map of how they profit if we’re hired. They buy because they believe we are capable of implementing the plan we have offered.”
I smiled.
James continued, “At the end of our sales conversation we have provided our customers with so much value and perceived value that they ask questions like, “OK, what’s the next step?” or “How do we get started?”
NOTE WELL: This is a pretty interesting concept when you consider that 99% (and I may be a bit low on that number) of salespeople (you included) are trying to figure out some manipulative way of closing the sale or asking for the sale. Or worse, they’re wondering when the best time to close is.
Think about it. Is it more powerful for you to ask for the sale, or for the customer to want to buy? Is it more powerful for you to ask for the sale, or for the customer to ask, “When can we get started?”
Your big question at this moment is, “OK, how do I do that?”
But a bigger question is: Are you willing to jump off the product pitch and price comparison proposal horse and buggy, and onto the value rocket ship?
VALUE is a combination of what you offer that you perceive is in favor of the prospective customer, combined with what the prospective customer actually perceives is in favor of them. Sometimes those are two very different perceptions.
What is your “value proposition?” Do you even have one? What are you saying to a prospect that goes beyond what you do and how you do it and what your product or service is, and how it works? Hard question. Harder answer.
BE AWARE: There are 9.5 key areas where value can be perceived:
1. Ease of doing business with you.
2. Ease of contact with you and anyone in your company.
3. Ease of use after purchase.
4. Increase in productivity for the customer.
5. Availability of service when the customer needs it.
6. Boost in customer moral after product or service is installed.
7. Reasonably affordable and market price aligned. NOT the cheapest – rather the best value.
8. Additional profit to the customer (not savings of money). How does the customer really monetarily benefit from overall use?
9. Assurance to the customer, and perception by the customer that there is a perfect fit.
10. Assurance that there is no risk in doing business or purchasing. Otherwise stated as “their peace of mind.” Total reduction or elimination of their perceived risk in doing business with you. Without this, the first nine points don’t matter.
10.5 Continued value messages to help the customer AFTER the purchase has been made.
SALES REALITY: All prospects and customers want to know the same thing: What’s in it for me? How do I profit? And of course: How much is it? When these elements are part of an overall value presentation, you (the seller) win.
If the customer needs it, wants it, and feels there’s a fit – then they will compare perceived value with price.
Most people buy what they PERCEIVE is best for themselves. They first look at the value and quality. How does this suit me, how does this feel, how comfortable with this (and this salesperson) am I? Or better stated: What is THE FIT?
Then they justify the price – or not. The decision to buy is made emotionally, and then justified logically.
BEWARE: Keep in mind that what I have just told you has NOTHING to do with your literature, your sales pitch, your sales techniques, or your product description. It has everything to do with how the customer perceives things will happen after they take ownership or after they get started.
PRICE REALITY: Don’t worry about a price objection – price is just a customer’s way of telling you that the value is lacking, or not evident.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Selecting Top Talent - Luck or Logic?

I reread this today on the Solutions4Hiring Website (one of our strategic partners for Top Sales Performers) Lately, I would believe that the statistics are even less that 14% of traditional hiring processes yielding successful hires. In a bad economy, resumes are stretched and exaggerated more than ever. Read on for the solution.

The story repeats itself over and over again, in every business: "Our new hire had all the right experience, good references, and interviewed like a champ! But here it is six weeks later, and he's not working out. We can't ignore the fact that he's wrong for the job, and we made a hiring mistake. Now, we have to start all over again!"

Better luck next time? Not necessarily - that is, if you continue to select talent the way you always have, hoping that you'll be luckier next time!

According to research by Michigan State University, the typical interviewing process in use by most companies is at best only 14% effective in predicting successful job hires. The remaining 86% keeps your recruiting manager extremely busy managing the proverbial revolving door of resumes, applications, hires, and fires. In turn, your business profits suffer from lapses in staff coverage that equate to lost opportunities, erosion of customer satisfaction, continual training expenses, and burnout for the remaining employees. That's not counting your plummeting business reputation as seen by the outside world. Negative impact is so serious from continual talent churn that studies now show it is a contributing factor to the decline of company stock prices - and a reason for quality employees to carefully avoid working for those companies.

So, now that talent churn has been proven as a serious negative impact on your company's bottom line, what are the options to remedy ineffective hiring practices? Choose one:

1. Interview more people, faster!

2. Throw all your resources at recruitment!

3. Find and implement a more effective process!

If you chose "3" above, then you are on the right track. You are beginning to realize that continuing to hire as you always have will not move your business forward successfully. Today, with intangible assets (intellectual talent) accounting for up to 80% of the total market value of US corporations, something has to change. A new emphasis on identifying and retaining top talent is far overdue.

One such emphasis is on creating a clearer definition of the key jobs your company has to fill. You will have a much better chance of finding the right fit for a job if you DEFINE THE JOB and then HIRE THE MATCHING TALENT to fill it. A logical approach, the concept is still too new for many businesses to comprehend, as they repeatedly practice talent mismanagement through "fire, ready, aim" instead of "ready, aim, fire!" Besides, is it possible to measure a JOB and then apply the SAME measurement to TALENT?

Yes, you can do it. You can define jobs and identify matching talent with factual, unbiased measurements to improve the rating on your company's talent management scorecard. It's a matter of beginning your next hiring process by assessing the JOB first, and quantifying its top 3-5 "key accountabilities." The result will be a template for objectively assessing and hiring MATCHING TALENT.

Add this new assessment methodology to your current hiring process to help prevent poor hires, and the related drain on your business profits. Investments made in selecting the right talent for evolving jobs continue to be the most valuable investments in the future success of any business. You can increase your "luck" in finding the right person for the job by adding a new and measurable "logic" to hiring talent!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Blue Ocean Strategy for Small Business

I recently finished a Blue Ocean Marketing Workshop Strategy for a small business client of mine. I've been all over converting big business strategies (utilizing my own spin of course) to small business ones and working with clients to implement and execute them. Of course I've been doing this mostly because I've been re-reading some of my all time favorite business books this summer. The objective of creating and executing a Blue Ocean Strategy is to get out of the crowded competitive (red) ocean waters and focus on a market strategy where there is uncontested market space (blue ocean) and unlimited upside potential. A great exercise for every small business to utilize is the Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create grid, which helps identify this uncontested market space,giving you a greater value proposition and unparalleled differentiation in the mind of potential new clients. There is no better time to create some new and effective marketing and sales strategies than summer, and no better time to execute than the third and fourth quarters of the year. As usual, call us at Triple Win Sales with any questions or requests for help. Have a wonderful end to July!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Master these 6 skills to get more Sales

My biggest challenge with new sales training clients is to migrate them from the "we do this and we do that and we've been around forever.." style to one of "this is how we can help you achieve your business goals, mr. customer". This is why I particularly appreciate these 6 tips that will help small business and large business grow their sales.

1. Learn the Power of Silence . You probably have a list of strategic questions to ask along with clarifying questions that you will use as the need arises. After you've asked a question, be silent and let the other party speak. On far too many occasions, I have heard sales people answer their own questions. I have heard sales reps drag out their questions in order to fill a silent gap. I have heard other members of the sales team jump in with their versions of the answer to show off their prowess and knowledge. In any conceivable scenario involving two people communicating with each other, the same rule of thumb applies--the person that is asking the questions is directing the conversation. If you are doing all of the talking, then your prospect or client is directing the conversation. Learn to be silent and listen.

2. Use Vocal Control to Direct the Conversation . Back in the '90s, I picked up a series of educational sales tapes by Zig Ziglar. On one of those tapes, Ziglar ran through an exercise that highlighted the importance of vocal intonation. By taking a single statement, like "I did not say he stole the money," and applying emphasis on the different words, he showed how we could give this one simple statement seven meanings. A question like, "What do you do here" can also have several meanings with the appropriate verbal markings. Asking, "What do you do here?" can be taken as a generic question referring to your contact's company. On the other hand, asking, "What do you do here?" places the focus on the individual you are speaking with. Moreover, asking, "What do you do here ?" references the current location over everything else. Again, by verbally marking certain words in your questions and statements, you can better structure your consultations to carry more impact and meaning.

3. Ask for Clarification . If you are unsure of a statement or a question that your prospect has put on the table, do not be afraid to ask clarifying questions. As human beings trying to communicate with one another, we sometimes forget that everyone has different experiences, which gives everyone a unique and different perspective. If we communicate using vague instructions and concepts while assuming that everyone is familiar with what's in our heads, we can count on a certain level of misunderstanding to take place. If a client or prospect says that they have problems with employee engagement, ask them for examples and scenarios that clarify what employee engagement means to them. Then, once you have concrete examples of what they mean, recap to the best of your understanding to check if both of you are on the same page. If yes, then you can move forward with the sales process. If not, go back and gather more examples. The last thing you want to do is to expend resources solving something that your prospect does not consider a problem because you misunderstood what they were saying.

4. Maintain Mental Awareness . If you have asked a question and your client is speaking about their challenges or their environment, you have an opportunity to focus and understand their statements and combine ideas to design a solution. You can also focus on the fact that your numbers are down and how much you really need to make this sale. Or, you can even drift off to how much you are looking forward to your "date night" and you can't wait for 5:30 to arrive. Even after you have mastered the skill of asking questions and you are adept with letting your prospect talk, you need to maintain mental awareness and stay focused on what your prospect is saying. We talk a lot about the dwindling attention span of our prospects and how little time we have to get their attention. Attention deficit is not something that only our prospects suffer from. Sales people suffer from the same challenge. To listen effectively, we need to exercise our will to keep our attention focused on what our prospects are saying. Don't stray and think about your shopping list or date night. Stay focused on the conversation and take notes on the discussion at hand. Not only will you create a viable solution, but your prospects will appreciate the attention.

5. Take Your Ego Out of the Picture . Sometimes it is hard to take the emphasis off of us. We want to appear knowledgeable and we want to make a good impression. We want to position our presence in our client's minds as the top dog with all of the answers, or at least more answers than our competitors. At this point, the sale becomes all about us and how we can look good, sound good and feel good. When this happens, our perception is clouded and our goals become murky. The reason we are there at the client site becomes "we want to look good." Remember that the best way to make a lasting impression with a client or prospect is to pay attention to them and show them some appreciation. Put your ego on the sideline until after the sale is complete.

6. Leverage All of Your Informational Resources . Now more than ever, you always need to do your research before you show up at your prospect's door. However, their website is not going to tell you everything. Your greatest source of information is your network of contacts inside and outside of the company. Become a skilled investigator, adept at asking questions to gather relevant information and assemble that information to create a credible picture of their environment. Social networking sites like LinkedIn will let you see which of your contacts are networked with a possible prospect company. Get as much information from as many sources at your disposal to gain a more complete picture of your prospect's situation and create a solution that will turn them into raving fans.

When you are conducting your consultation, remember that it's all about them, the prospect. Enhance your skills in listening and awareness and put the focus of this newfound power on your prospect or client. As long as you keep your attention focused on them and not on what you are doing, you'll have an excellent chance to collect exquisite information on your prospect. Enough to move the sales process forward to the next stage.

Good Selling! As always you can always email Triple Win Sales for help!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cruising and Safety Signs

It never occurred to me how many safety label and warning signs there are out in the universe until I spent the last week aboard a cruise with my family. Maybe it was more obvious than before because I've spent the last three months working with the sales force at Clarion Safety Systems out of Milford, Pa. A hazardous warning system is something that we are always, even if perhaps unconsciously, looking out for. It took my 3 kids and 4 nieces and nephew's obsession with falling overboard or getting hurt to realize just how many signs there were all around us attempting to keep us from harm's way.

What signs are there in your organization that are telling you that your sales or marketing efforts aren't working?? There are probably a lot more than your conscious is telling you so. Every time I walked around the deck of the ship this week, I made an affirmation to do something differently yet positively about my life. Make one of those today and call Triple Win Sales ( to help you increase your sales and marketing! 973 635 0177 And for more info on Clarion's safety warning systems contact Derek or Gary today at or

Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What the Heck is Sales 2.0 and Why you Should Care

I found this blog online today at Hubspot although it was written by Nigel Edelshain and edited by me. It speaks to exactly what we help our clients with!

I've got three young kids. My youngest is very little. I've noticed that when my kids go on play dates, they spend the first several minutes sizing up "the opposition" before they dive into play. Once they get going on the play portion of the event, they never look back. In fact, it's usually hard for them to hear me at all, which presents particular problems when it's time to leave.
Right now the inbound marketing movement and the Sales 2.0 movement are around 3 to 4 years old, and I believe we're sizing each other up rather like my kids, deciding whether it's OK to play together.
My prediction is we're about to get on like a "house on fire" and not want to go home. To me, inbound marketing and Sales 2.0 are natural playmates.

So what the heck is Sales 2.0 anyway?
Sales 2.0 is about sales people using Web 2.0 tools and social media to sell more effectively.
The inbound marketing movement has realized that traditional "interruption based" marketing is becoming less-and-less effective and that era is coming to an end. Similarly the Sales 2.0 movement has realized that "interruption based" selling is becoming less effective (particularly volume cold calling) and that era is coming to end too. (We sales people are slower to learn than marketers, as most innovation in the sales profession took place in the 1890's. So that era is certainly due to end.)

I have to admit I'm an inbound marketing "fan." But there are cases where inbound marketing is not enough on its own. In these cases, Sales 2.0 is going to be essential to small business owners and marketers. Some cases:
1. Target Accounts: If your business is about selling something expensive, you often have a finite target account list. Depending on how specialized the thing is you sell (usually equated with how expensive it is), then there may only be between a few hundred and a few dozen companies that want it and can afford it. In this scenario, you need a proactive approach to selling. Inbound marketing alone is not going to be enough.
I always imagine a sales rep in this scenario whose boss comes to him and says "how are we getting on penetrating GE" and the rep who loves inbound marketing too much says "we're waiting for them to hit our website and download a white paper".
2. After Inbound: So what happens after someone does download that white paper from your website (after they've been magnetically attracted by your inbound marketing)? You get in touch with them, right? If they fill in the right values in your Web forms, you get in touch with them fast. You may even call them.
When you call, you are suddenly in "outbound land." Sure, you have a bit more permission since the person hit your site and filled out a form, but usually you still have a lot of selling to do. So being smart about selling is still going to critical, otherwise you are going to blow your hard earned inbound lead with some ineffective "Sales 1.0" sales techniques.
3. Further down the Funnel: Whichever way the lead gets to you, sooner or later it's going to be the sales team's ball. There's a whole bunch of tools now that can make sales people smarter in the ways they progress deals to closure. All these tools fall under the Sales 2.0 mantel...but I'm not going to talk about them on this post.
I believe inbound marketing and Sales 2.0 are natural playmates. Inbound marketing has been conceived by marketers for marketers. Sales 2.0 has been conceived by sales people for sales people. Both have been catalyzed by the Internet and all the changes it has brought about in buyer behavior.
With a bit of luck, inbound marketing and Sales 2.0 together may even fix the infamous divide between marketing and sales departments. If that happens, we will truly never "want to go home".

email Laura at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The New Years Resolution EVERYONE needs to Make!

Learn how to be great at Sales. That is the one New Years Resolution everyone needs to make no matter who or where you are. No matter what your current position is, you are selling something to someone all the time. Even if you are a stay at home full time mom (one of the hardest jobs in the world ever), you are selling your husband, your kids, your kids teachers. You need to know how to sell effectively. Period.

Here is one tip that will require no new skills or secrets. Anyone can do it. Don't give up too soon and Don't quit. Here are some statistics that my TAB colleague Joe Zente shared w/me. They paint an amazing picture:

48% of Salespeople NEVER follow up with a prospect
25% of Salespeople make a Second contact, then quit.
12% of Salespeople make only Three contacts, then quit.
Only 10% of Salespeople Make More than Three Contacts.
At this point, you may be saying “So what?” Well, here’s what:
2% of Sales are made on the First Contact
3% of Sales are made on the Second Contact
5% of Sales are made on the Third Contact
10% of Sales are made on the Fourth Contact
80% of Sales are made after the Fifth Contact.
These stats indicate that the different between making one call and four calls per prospect can increase your sales by 400%, but only 10% of salespeople do it. The results of persistence past the fifth call can be even more dramatic.

So why doesn't every sales person commit to being more persistent? There are many reasons but the top two are fear of rejection and need for approval. This is why before you ever hire a salesperson, you should always do a thorough online sales assessment that test for qualities that you can't interview for like self confidence.

Commit this year to be more persistent and better at Sales. Of course, I'm always happy to help. . . . .