The Sales Evangelist (Value)

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S M T W T F S
     
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Syndication

The most financially profitable way to do business is to shift your focus from getting to giving, and by developing a Go-Giver strategy, you’ll constantly provide value and good things will begin to happen. 

 

Bob Burg is a salesman who has written a series of books about the Go-Giver, a parable about the principles behind the kind of success most sellers are hoping to achieve. Through encounters with a series of different people, the main character, Joe, discovers that his focus has been in the wrong place. 

 

Giving too much

 

Giving means providing value to others. Though it’s typically not possible to provide too much value, begin by determining whether your focus on providing value will set you up to be taken advantage of. There are plenty of people who are takers and who focus only on themselves. They feel entitled to take without giving anything back. 

 

If you’re providing value to someone like that, there’s a good chance things won’t work out.  Realize, though, that there’s no natural connection between being a go-giver and being taken advantage of. Understand, too, that if you’re being taken advantage of, it isn’t because you’re too nice; it’s because you’re allowing it to happen.

 

Being a go-giver doesn’t mean being a martyr or a doormat. It simply means your focus is on bringing value to the marketplace and to others. 

 

No one will buy from you because you need the money or you have a quota to meet. They’ll buy because they will be better off buying from you. 

 

Focus on value

 

The only reason people should buy from you is because they’ll be better off after they do. That truth allows the salesperson or entrepreneur to focus on bringing immense value to the marketplace and to the prospect’s life. When that happens, the prospect will prosper greatly. 

 

Money is simply an echo of value. Focus on the value rather than the money. Value comes first and the money you receive is a natural result of the value you provided. 

 

Money is the thunder to lightning’s value. The value comes first. #thunderandlightning

 

Human nature is self-interested. It allows us to create more human beings. 

 

Successful people deal in truth. They don’t deny inconvenient things, but rather they acknowledge truth and then work within it to make things better. 

 

Start by acknowledging and understanding self-interest. Then put it aside with the understanding that we’re better off dealing with others when we suspend our self-interest. The other person is only going to buy because of their own needs. 

 

Value without attachment

 

Although people often suggest you should give without expecting anything in return, Bob doesn’t exactly agree with that. Instead, give value without attachment to the result. We want people to expect good things. If you’re in business serving other people, you should expect to profit greatly because you’re bringing value to the marketplace. Just don’t be attached to that result. 

 

Give value because it’s who you are and what you do. When that happens you create a benevolent context for success. You develop great relationships with people who feel good about you. They know you, they like you, and they trust you, and they want to be part of your business. 

 

Develop an army of personal walking ambassadors who will refer business to you. 

 

Starting point

 

Imagine you decide at this point to change your ways. Start by asking who the people are in your network and what you can provide to them that will help them by bringing value to their lives. Then make a plan for meeting other people that you can develop know-like-and-trust relationships with. 

 

We’re human beings and we’re different types of people. The reason the Go-Giver took off is because it allows you to be yourself. You can be the person who wants to bring value to the marketplace. 

 

Most people choose a certain line of work because they believe in the mission. They believe in what they’re doing. We’re happy when we’re living congruently with our values. 

 

Go-Giver origins

 

Bob recalls his parents working to make people’s lives better. Then, when he started in sales, he found himself selling a product that offered great value, but he was focused largely on the sales process. Like Joe in the book, he was a seller who wasn’t living up to his potential. 

 

He returned from a non-selling appointment one day to hear advice from a guy in his organization. The typically-silent guy told him that if he wanted to make a lot of money in business, he should establish a target outside of making money. 

 

Target serving others, so that when you hit your target, you’ll get a reward in the form of money. Great salesmanship is about the other person and how he’ll benefit from your product or service. 

 

Economic downturn

 

Bob heard from a roofer during an economic crisis who recognized that his approach had been wrong. He was trying to save money during the downturn, but he realized that instead of trying to give the least he could for the money, he needed to focus on giving more value. 

 

It didn’t necessarily mean spending more, but rather creating a better experience. His business took off as a result. 

 

Technology has leveled off the playing field. We live in a commodity-based society which isn’t necessarily bad. It does mean that you must distinguish yourself. If you sell a widget that your customer can’t distinguish one from the other, it will always come down to price. If you sell on low price, you’re a commodity. If you sell on high value, you’re a resource. 

 

Communicating value

 

There are likely hundreds of way to communicate value, but Bob boils it down to five elements of value. 

 

  1. Excellence
  2. Consistency
  3. Attention
  4. Empathy
  5. Appreciation

 

To the degree that you can communicate these things to your customer, that’s the degree to which you take price and competition out of the picture. 

 

Begin with leadership, and with a leader who is totally committed to make this part of the culture. Anyone can lead from anywhere but culture trickles down from the top. If the leader invests in this and gets buy-in from other leaders, it becomes part of the culture. 

 

Bob Chapman of Barry-Wehmiller wrote a book called Everybody Matters in which he recalls running a profit-focused company. Though there is nothing wrong with profit, it must be sustainable, so it must be the result of the value you provide. Bob attended the wedding of his best friend’s daughter, and the father of the bride made a toast. He acknowledged that the groom was marrying a treasured daughter. Bob took that same concept to his business. 

 

Barry-Wehmiller has thousands of employees, all of whom are someone’s treasured sons and daughters. When the economic downturn emerged, rather than lay off any one employee, they came together as a company and traded work days. They stopped putting into the company savings account until the crisis was over. The corporate family came together in a crunch. 

 

Heart level

 

Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines understood the concept and he restructured the organization to focus first on allowing employees to thrive, learn, grow, and have fun. His team had a higher sense of purpose in their jobs. 

 

As a result, the team takes care of the customers and the customers take care of the shareholders. 

 

Until you know there’s a problem that needs to be fixed, you’ll never take the steps to address it. 

Be willing to shift your focus. 

 

When Bob’s business partner sends a sales letter, he makes an effort to take the “I,” “me,” and “we,” out of the letter. We’re self-interested human beings and we write in terms of how great we are and how great the product is. 

 

We aren’t denying self-interest. We’re acknowledging that you have to work at placing  your focus on others. 

 

Episode resources

 

You can find Bob’s podcast, The Go-Giver Podcast, at his website. You can also grab samples chapters of his books before you buy them. Consider subscribing to his list to get a copy of a written resource called Endless Prospects

 

The Go-Giver way teaches you to build relationships with solid step-by-step information. 

 

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

 

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

 

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

 

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. 

 

Tools for sellers

 

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It's super easy, it's helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

 

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

 

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

 

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1128.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 9:15am EDT

Value is in the eye of the buyer, and because assessing value is not as simple as it sounds, companies often get this wrong.
Ken Rutsky specializes in helping companies tell their story in a way that connects it to the customer. He says that value is all connected to the stories we tell.
Defining value
We're trying to sell something. Essentially what we're doing is making a trade of the two things they value the most in order of least to more. Money is the thing everybody values, but often buyers value their time even more. They value the time they spend understanding, evaluating, and implementing a solution or a product.
We're asking our buyers for two rare commodities, so we have to deliver something that is equal to or hopefully greater in value.
As a result, the simple definition of value is what will the customer open his wallet and pay for?
Many sales reps perceive that they are creating value but that may not be the case because assessing value is not as simple as it seems.
Perceived value
Ken said that the biggest mistake sales reps make is overvaluing value. Seems strange to say in a discussion all about value, but it's true.
If we're sitting next to each other on an airplane and I'm showing you pictures of my four kids, by the third kid you've probably seen enough. We tend to get excited about our goods and services just like we do about our kids. Many times, we want to show the client thousands of pictures of it. We overvalue what they'll see in it.
Instead, we really need to relate our product to our customers.
Sales doesn't work the way it once did. Your customer doesn't need you to tell him about your product. They'll go to your website and find out everything they ever wanted to know. 
In the book Launching to Leading, Ken talks about how salespeople should succeed today. Start by creating that shared context with the customer. Realize, too, that it's the customer's context, not yours. 
Viewpoint
You have to start the conversation about your customer's world. Come in educated about how you can transform your customer's world. 
In a recent survey of B2B buyers, business buyers ranked product knowledge as the 8th most important factor in the process. They ranked the seller's ability to understand the buyer's business as the number one priority. 
Number 2 was the ability to teach the customer something he didn't already know. Don't enter the relationship with the intent to sell something. Instead, have a conversation about their business, and then teach them something. 
Teaching is critical to establishing your value as a salesperson. If the customer isn't learning from you, he could just as easily go to your website instead. In fact, most customers are 60 percent through the process before they ever want to speak to a salesperson.
Find a teaching opportunity. 
Stories 
Realistically, it is marketing's job to create the stories, but the sellers are the ones who must deliver them and create context around them. 
Marketing is a one-to-many art. Great sales reps show up and contextualize the stories. Understand the story of your product and how it transforms your customers' business. 
You have to do the hard work of understanding all these things. There is no magic shortcut. 
Empathy
Sales leaders must operate with a sense of empathy. Understand that marketing is working hard to provide the stories and the materials. If marketing feels like they aren't getting the things they need, there's a shared responsibility to make that connection. 
Marketers must have empathy for the pressures and difficulties of selling. Great marketers have empathy for sellers. They understand the need to work as a team. 
Leaders must create that environment of empathy across the organization. 
Confidence
Sales reps have to be competent and courageous enough to show the product very early in the sales cycle. Whether it's a true demonstration or a case study, sellers have to demonstrate value if they want customers to believe it. 
Don't wait six weeks into the sales cycle. Demonstrate early and often. Sellers must have the ability to create and demonstrate their own contexts. 
Teach your customer something and then show them how the product can enable the thing you taught him. It can happen in the first call and then it should happen again and again through the process. 
The teaching diminishes as the process goes along because the customer already understands the possibility.
Your competition may be showing the products sooner because prospects don't have the patience they used to have.
[Tweet "You can lose the sales you don't even know if you're shy about your value. Your customers may assume you're hiding something. #Value"]
Do the homework and understand your customer and everything follows from there. Assessing value is not as simple as it sounds.
"Assessing Value is Not As Simple As It Sounds" episode resources
You can connect with Ken at kenrutsky.com. You can find information about him and his clients, and grab a copy of his book, Launching to Leading. 
Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.
Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.
This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.
TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.
If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.
Tools for sellers
This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It's super easy, it's helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.
Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.
I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.
If you haven't already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won't miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.
Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1106.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 12:17am EDT

During our time at the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council's expo, we've met a number of people who understand the secrets behind growing your business and creating value.
Felix Bratslavsky works at Tampa General Hospital, a very large level-one trauma center that is number one in Florida for transplants. The organization has more than 8,000 employees but they still contract out much of their workload.
Gilda Rosenberg started a vending machine company 35 years ago in Miami and she slowly grew it to include major clients like universities, schools, and hospitals. She calls her relationship with  the NMSDC a love affair that resulted in referrals, connections, and mentorship that helped her to grow her business.
Partnerships
Tampa General has a minority business program that breaks out the four procurement categories from construction and professional services to general goods and services, and medical services and supplies. The hospital has a lot of contracting opportunities and a lot of partners within the state of Florida and even nationwide.
The Minority Business Enterprise program administered by the NMSDC recognizes for-profit businesses in the U.S. that are 51 percent owned, operated, capitalized, and controlled by minorities.
Felix says that MBEs that want to stand out should strive to be a partner. Add value, be cost-efficient, and know about the customer. Understand the customers' goals, their missions, and where they're headed. Bring the solution to wherever your prospective customer is going.
In the case of Tampa General, the hospital recently got a new CEO that is leading the organization down a different path. MBEs that want to engage should recognize that the business has changed paths and they should offer solutions that relate to the path the company is on.
Be an expert in your own business. Instead of coming to the prospect with a variety of items, they should know the situation well enough to narrow the solution down the best possible option and lead with that one.
Homework
MBEs must do their homework and focus on preparation if they that want to get noticed. Organizations receive hundreds of emails every day, so generic outreach will generally get deleted.
Learn the process to get on the vendor application and then build a relationship. Finally, come with solutions. Understand your business and their business well enough that you can have meaningful conversations about each.
If you want to be the next partner, you should already know who your competitors are, and who your prospect is currently using and why they are using that company. You should know whether a contract exists, and whether it's up for renewal.
Companies that do those things win opportunities.
Differentiate
Differentiate yourself by being prepared. When there are so many companies doing the same thing and offering the same service, you have to stand out.
Maybe you stand out on price or on value or even additional services. Whatever it is, make sure that the corporations you're pursuing know what sets you apart.
Finding the right people
Gilda recalls asking a bank for a $5 million loan for vending machines and being treated as though she was crazy. She said that her connections through NMSDC helped her learn how to negotiate the loan process as she interacted with banking people and how to create bids from connecting with hospital CEOs.
Her biggest challenge in the vending industry has been the labor force. Her first route driver stole from her, so she learned that she had to control inventories differently. As the industry grew into a technological one, she had to bring in geek squads.
She also learned how to find the human resources that support your mission and your vision. She said that finding the right manpower still poses one of her greatest challenges even today. The company struggles to find loyal employees who stick around because small companies struggle to sustain high turnover. The cost of training is simply too high.
NMSDC
She experienced a huge lift when she was introduced to the minority certification program. Then, she slowly grew her network and interacted with larger organizations where she landed contracts.
You must prove yourself to the client. She says the most incredible satisfaction comes from helping minorities nationwide. Her suppliers and equipment originate from minorities. And now newer companies want her to introduce them to other contacts.
Gilda calls her mission a mission to help other minorities. She also calls NMSDC the best college she ever went to. Although she studied economics in college, she grew professionally among the members of the NMSDC. She learned to nurture others.
[Tweet "The product and service aren't so important anymore. It's your personality and how you take care of your clients that matter most. #Differentiate"]
Don't think twice about joining the council because there's nowhere better to network. The council's handholding helps businesses by taking extra steps to get you to the right people. And knowing the right people can be the key to growing your business and creating value.
"Growing Your Business and Creating Value" episode resources
You can connect with Felix at (813) 844-3474 or at fbratslavsky@tgh.org or go to the hospital website. You can connect with Gilda at gilda@gillyvending.com. Learn more about the National Minority Supplier Development Council and its offerings at the website, nmsdc.org. If you haven't connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I'm sharing there.
You've heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we're offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.
You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.
If you and your team are interested in learning more, we'd love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.
This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.
I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.
Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1105.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Value, EducationSellers who discover how to be successful without a marketing department, in a crowded marketplace, and when the customer isn't even looking will be successful in almost any circumstances.

I got a question from a listener named Jon Billings who wanted to know how he could teach people who "don't know what they don't know." For instance, if the customer isn't looking because he doesn't know he has a problem, how do I communicate that?

Especially in the case of sellers who don't have access to a marketing department, how is that even possible?

Educate

Your goal is to educate your prospects so that they will look to you instead of your competition when they need help solving a problem.

Educating is the new sales. Regardless of the industry, you're in, your marketplace is likely crowded.

  • How do you stand out from the competition?
  • How do you help customers recognize you as a differentiator?

You have to challenge the status quo, especially when many of your prospects already have solutions or they don't realize the existence of a problem.

Build Community

[Tweet "You must create content consistently and then share it so that you build a community. That way, when someone is ready, they'll come to you first. #ContentCreation"]

Become a content producer.

Even if you have a marketing department, you should have your own individual brand. Take that brand with you wherever you go.

Even if you change industries, your brand goes with you.

Answer questions

Write down the top 10 questions that customers ask you or that prospects bring up in conversation. Whether they center around cost or service, answer those questions in the form of sharable content.

You can write a blog or produce a podcast. Even better, you can create a LinkedIn article or video.

Focus on the problem while you're answering the question.

For example, what other issues could your prospect focus on if he outsourced his IT services to your company? What opportunity costs exist?

Differentiate

My friend Kyle invited me to do a LinkedIn Live with him recently and we recorded an episode with him for our show as well.

Kyle told us about how he started sharing videos on YouTube answering questions, and though the videos weren't very fancy in his estimation, someone reached out to him from Coca Cola with an opportunity for him.

He's in the tech industry, and though there are countless other tech firms out there that are sending out RFPs. Kyle decided to be different, and it grabbed people's attention.

Tap into brains

You won't want to pitch your prospects right away. Instead, connect with them and ask for their assistance. Maybe you're looking to write a LinkedIn article about things that the directors of large companies dislike and you'd like input from people who are filling those roles.

Get one tip from 10 people, and then when you post the article, tag all of the people who contributed. They'll see your post, they'll likely see your profile, and they'll likely see your website.

Now, when you ask for a chance to introduce yourself in the future, they'll be more likely to at least give you a chance since you connected on LinkedIn.

Potential ideas

Even if you don't have the benefit of written case studies, you may have some client testimonials or some stories you can tell. Talk about the problems your clients once had and highlight how you helped them solve those problems.

Now that you've written an article about the 10 things that directors of large companies dislike, you could also pitch podcast hosts with the idea.

You'll be educating more people and becoming a thought leader. But you must create content around the things that people want to hear.

If you're doing the same things every week and you're seeing a diminishing return, put a little more effort in. You'll be on your way to building interest in something when the customer isn’t looking.

"When The Customer Isn’t Looking" episode resources

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It's super easy, it's helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven't already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won't miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1092.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 8:58am EDT

Troy Rackley, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, WaterHearing from other sellers can help us improve our own techniques, and today Troy Rackley shares his own killer message and how he communicates that he's selling more than water.

Troy grabbed my friend Steven Hart's attention and Steven told me I had to interview him. Big shoutout to the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council for connecting us with entrepreneurs like Troy.

Water problems

Troy's company, The Next Level of Performance, operates everywhere water flows: residential, commercial, or agricultural.

He always begins by asking people what problem they are having with their water. They usually say it tastes bad or smells like chlorine.

Troy customizes his solution for the problem the prospect is having.

He then asks, "Do you drink out of the tap?" to which most of his customers say no. Troy challenges that answer by pointing out that because our skin is the largest organ of our bodies, taking a 15-minute shower is the equivalent of drinking 8 glasses of water out of the tap. The water is absorbed into your skin.

So whatever you're avoiding out of your tap is being absorbed into your body anyway.

Educating customers

Troy educates his customers through a questioning process. It pulls the customer in and they naturally want to close the story loop. They want to know how they can fix this problem.

Troy starts by administering a third-party test to the customer's water. He insists on a third-party test for integrity purposes. He figures if he's the one providing the solution, he can't also be the one telling you what the problem is.

When water companies claim to have tested water for their clients, it's akin to the fox guarding the henhouse. They can literally tell you anything. Troy offers an independent, third-party assessment of what's wrong with the customer's water.

Custom filtration

Troy educates his customers about the undesirable things in their water and then describes the custom filtration system that will address those problems.

Troy calls it water math. The municipalities add all kinds of chemicals into the water to kill bacteria. Troy's company works to subtract those things so it doesn't get to the customer.

Troy personalizes the message. Unlike big box companies who want to push a single idea or product, Troy offers unique solutions to his customers. He's selling more than water.

Not only does it help the customers, it helps his business. He hasn't done any marketing in his business since he started. All of his growth has resulted from word-of-mouth growth. His attention to detail has built a great reputation for him.

Selling more than water

Troy's focus isn't simply on customer service; he strives for customer success. If he can make his customers more successful in their health and finances because they aren't having to buy bottled water, the service becomes secondary.

By making sure that the customer is educated moving forward, he distinguishes between customer service and customer success. Troy eliminates the number of problems that families have to worry about.

If, for example, a customer falls under a boil water advisory, the system eliminates the need to actually boil the water. The company designs the system to create minimal disruption because he says you never know what will happen with municipalities.

His ultimate goal is to make sure that your family never has a disruption to its water supply.

Company growth

Troy's company operates in about 15 states as well as Canada, Amsterdam, Sweden, and Australia, because water is a global issue.

Water touches everything in life.

The company installed its system in a fish farm it owns and they reduced the harvest time by three to five months. The water is so clean that the food is more bioavailable for the fish.

Troy is doing something the industry hasn't even seen. It's an example of disruptive technology.

They moved into residential work because the consumer must be educated. Municipalities will say that your water is clean when it leaves their plants. As a result, it's the customer's responsibility to address any water problems that exist.

Troy wants to help the customer make an educated decision.

Clear or clean

Troy is fond of the phrase, "Just because it's clear doesn't mean it's clean." There are things in water that you can't see that can hurt you. Often, the things you can't see are the greatest threat. Cruise ships are notoriously dealing with norovirus, which originates from the water.

Troy said they have answers to every water issue because they study it and design amazing solutions.

He points to the fact that only one man made minerals, and those are the natural minerals they leave in the water. He's selling more than water.

[Tweet "Understand what you're buying. Be educated in your decision. #EducatedBuyers"]

Sell on value, not expense.

"Selling More Than Water" episode resources

Connect with Troy at nlpaqua.com. There's a contact form you can use to initiate the water testing process on your way to restoring your water.

Learn more about the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It's super easy, it's helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven't already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won't miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1090.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 12:10pm EDT

Brian Robinson, Donald Kelly, Sales MalpracticeWhen we convince ourselves that we have nothing more to learn, we fail to ask enough questions and we sometimes even commit sales malpractice.

Brian Robinson has been in sales for more than 20 years, but he said that he only thought he knew how to sell while he was in corporate America. He calls his plunge into entrepreneurialism the hardest thing he has ever done, and while it was successful, he said his eyes were opened when he entered the world of "you don't sell, you don't eat."

Brian is the author of the book The Selling Formula, which codifies the steps he used to succeed in that venture.

Intentional questions

Many salespeople do the old "show up and throw up." We're so anxious to get to the presentation that we neglect to ask the very best questions we can ask to uncover the needs. We're seeking sincere engagement from our prospect, so this is the most critical component.

Brian noticed that the best physicians diagnose illness with a list of carefully-crafted questions. That information became especially important when he worked for Johnson and Johnson selling internal devices for laparoscopy. Though the device was clinically superior to anything on the market, he wasn't getting any responses for trial evaluations.

He knew the device was superior, so he combed through the features and benefits and put together a list of questions related to them. He structured them in a specific order and the wording of each was intentional as well.

Asking questions

He tested the questions, and within about 30 days his trial evaluations doubled because of that list of questions.

When word got out that he had produced those kinds of results, people started asking for his list of questions. He passed it along and found that when people followed the questions exactly, they got the exact same results: they doubled their results.

Brian grew fascinated with the whole idea of going deep on questions. He even developed a personal mantra that questions are the key to life.

Although it took several iterations for Brian to get the list and order of questions exactly right, he stuck with it and he achieved success. There's still an opportunity to make it even better, but it's working very consistently now.

Malpractice

Brian defines sales malpractice as providing a diagnosis before you really understand the underlying issues. You won't be able to give your prospect the best possible answer, and until you've uncovered a need, you won't be able to proceed to the sales conversation.

You have to earn the right to have that conversation. If you rush too quickly into the presentation, your sales presentation won't be nearly what it could have been.

The key to all of it is how you create your questions.

Get started

Begin by making a spreadsheet with three columns. The first is your features, the second is the benefits related to the feature, and in the third column write down every question you can think of related to those features.

Then take an 80/20 approach. Of the questions you've written, which 20% of questions will elicit 80% of the most critical benefits of your product? Start with general fact-finding questions and move into those 80/20 in the most appropriate order to identify the needs.

Imagine you're selling premade home-cooked meals. What are two benefits to that service?

One is that you're saving about 60 minutes per meal on grocery shopping, food prep, and cooking time. The other is simplicity. Now generate questions from those benefits.

  • On a weekly basis, how many dinners do you cook for your family?
  • How much time does it typically take you to make dinner?
  • If all you had to do was move something from the freezer to the oven, how would that affect the frequency of your family meals?

Now order the questions from general fact-finding to more specific. Then place the most compelling ones at the top 20 percent of the questions you ask.

Emotional level

Get down to an emotional level. We, unfortunately, avoid this, often because we aren't comfortable going that deep into our conversations. We also tend to approach these conversations with a transactional mindset instead of realizing these are human beings with deep emotional and physical needs.

Go the levels that can motivate us to change. We're trying to make a difference as salespeople. Approach each situation with the mindset that you want to go deeper and ask heart-level questions.

Strive to be seen as a trusted advisor instead of as a sales rep. You'll have a connection at the human level.

Selling the concept

If someone is willing to grab this idea and test it in their own sales conversations, the proof is in the doing. People have been shocked at the effectiveness of this practice because, shockingly, people don't think this way.

Brian said he camped out on the questions because that's where the gold is.

Sometimes management and metrics prompt us to rush the sales process. That causes us to focus on the wrong things. As a result, we end up working twice as hard with less impressive results.

Instead of focusing on outcomes, focus on being so connected to the prospect that the outcome will take care of itself.

We get comfortable where we are, so we live in ignorance. We are amazingly connected to our comfort level. We're addicted to it. But in order to grow, you have to embrace struggle.

[Tweet "You could literally be one question away from doubling or tripling your sales outcomes. That's how important asking the right questions can be. #SolvingProblems"]

"Sales Malpractice" episode resources

You can get the first three chapters of Brian's book, The Selling Formula, by going to brianrobinsonbook.com. He also has content associated with the book available at thesellingformula.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It's super easy, it's helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven't already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won't miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1084.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

Sometimes as sales reps we don’t bring enough value to the table and there are 3 crucial signs you need to add more value so you won’t be judged only on price.

Dion Travagliante runs Madison One Consulting, a consulting practice where he solves problems for SAS businesses. He said he loves the fact that sellers have latitude in their careers and he loves the chase of finding the potential customer and then uncovering the issue and working to solve it.

People have a preconceived notion that sales is just talking with no science, rhyme, or reason behind it, but he calls it a challenging world that you can train yourself to succeed in.

COMMODITY

Sellers often struggle to stand out against other competitors and they struggle against being viewed as simply a commodity. The key is to become the winner of the account.

Dion defines value as improvement in a client or prospect’s individual situation. That centers on solving problems. Any company that is selling something originated around the idea of solving someone else’s problem.

That means as a sales rep, you’re a steward of your company’s solution in the marketplace. That should free you to talk to anyone about the challenges they are facing.

Flip the script. There will always be people who perceive salespeople as slick operators who try to jam products down people’s throats. No one wants to have that persona.

Instead, approach every customer as someone with a pain point whose problem you’d like to solve. If you do, you’ll be better than 95 percent of the sellers out there because you’ll be thinking about someone else.

 

Watch for these 3 crucial signs you need to add more value.

1. NEGOTIATING PRICE

When you’re talking with a prospect and they start negotiating price during the sales cycle. Do not go down the rabbit hole of arguing price.

The worst position you can be in as a sales rep is negotiating against yourself. If the prospect wants to lower the price, it becomes a game of limbo: how low can you go? Instead of just acquiescing, you want to push back on that. They are telling you that they don’t see the inherent value in the price you’ve determined for your product.

You can never negotiate against your own price, but you can flip the script.

If, for example, a single client averages $60,000 and your product costs $20,000, the purchase pays for itself three times over. If your product can speed up the process, the relevant issue is how much money they’ll derive from using your solution.

If the person you’re dealing with is an intermediary and they insist on dropping the price, what they are saying is that they don’t feel confident taking this solution at this price point to the decision makers.

The quicker path is to lower the price. Instead, arm them with more things so they look like the hero when they show up to present it.

2. SEEKING REFERRALS

When your prospect asks you for a referral, what he’s really saying is that he’s interested in what you’re selling and he wants to continue down the path, but he wants external validation.

Mike Brooks, who calls himself Mr. Inside Sales, wrote a book called The Ultimate Book of Phone Scripts where he shares 500 scripts that you can use to address objections. He suggests acknowledging that you’d be happy to connect the customer with a host of satisfied customers but then asking what sticking points still exist.

They want someone else to verify that they should buy this because we’re all somewhat tribal in nature. Get out in front of it.

Your own self-limiting beliefs can prompt you to negotiate with a client instead of seeking to provide enough value to get them across the finish line.

Practice saying that phrase so that it becomes second-nature. Because 90 percent of decisions are made with the subconscious mind, you should train your mind to respond this way automatically.

Courage isn’t the absence of anxiety or fear; it’s acting in spite of it. The people who improve are those that put themselves in uncomfortable scenarios. Human beings learn by pain.

3. STATUS QUO

When you’ve done the discovery call and you’re in the demo and the prospect says, “You know, I think we’re going to stay with our current solution,” that’s an indicator that you haven’t provided enough value. The prospect is telling you that it seems like a lot of work to transition to your option, so they are going to stay where they are.

They are telling you that you haven’t exhibited enough value to drive them to switch. Sales decisions are made emotionally and then justified logically.

Todd Caponi, in his book The Transparency Sale, talks about the psychology of sales and the fact that if your customer’s logic is preventing them from closing the deal, you need to stoke some emotional flames.

You must provide enough value to make switching worthwhile.

BEST SALES REPS

The best sales reps try new things. They put themselves into difficult scenarios that allow them to learn. They also end up selling more.

Always think about the prospects and their solutions. Get out of your own way and help your prospect solve a problem and better his solution.

Ask pointed questions. Figure out the plight. You’ll come off as more genuine than if you toss around buzzwords.

“3 CRUCIAL SIGNS YOU NEED TO ADD MORE VALUE” EPISODE RESOURCES

You can connect with Dion at madisononeinc.com and you can email him at dion@madisononeinc.com.

Grab a copy of the two books Dion recommended: The Ultimate Book of Phone Scripts by Mike Brooks and The Transparency Sale by Todd Caponi.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple PodcastGoogle PodcastStitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1083.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 12:38pm EDT

Sellers can guide prospective customers through the purchasing journey by holding prescriptive conversations with buyers. 

Tom Pisello launched into the topic of prescriptives because he was a product manager who was launching products in the marketplace, with a sales force that had never engaged these particular customers.

In an attempt to help buyers make decisions, he created prescriptive tools that would help customers analyze their existing situation and compare it to the new product.

Buyer frustration

The B2B purchase decision is more challenging than ever for buyers because there are six to 10 decision makers in every decision. Buyers spend incredible amounts of time on their own gathering, processing, and deconflicting information.

And 94 percent of buyers have participated in a buying cycle that just evaporated. Buyers are frustrated. About 84 percent report that the buyers' journey is taking longer than they expected.

There's a big opportunity for sellers as well as a challenge for them to overcome: to help buyers through a journey that has become much tougher and longer than ever before.

The problem is that most sellers show up to meetings talking about themselves: about the company, the product, the services, themselves, and the customers they are working with. Then when the competition shows up for their meeting, they do the same thing.

They all sound exactly the same, so the buying process becomes a shootout.

Flip it around

Instead of talking about the typical things, talk about the challenges the prospect might be having. Then, use that to do some teaching about the challenges you're seeing at other companies.

Then, pivot to a Socratic approach. Ask probing, diagnosing questions to identify whether your prospects see themselves in the other customers you described. Do a little bit of cooperative discovery.

If you sell office furniture, start by sharing current research about what makes a good office setup. Is open office the way to go? What about standup desks? Instead of pitching yourself or your product, share information about productive office environments.

Talk about the challenges of collaboration and flexible work environments. Mention health and engagement. Talk provocatively about these challenges and how they affect your prospect.

The book The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson tackles this approach well.

Share examples

This leads naturally into you sharing stories and examples about how you've helped other customers with their office furniture needs and about how successful they've been as a result. From there you'll use the Socratic method to dig deep.

Be careful how much of a challenge you present early on because it's possible that you haven't earned the right to do that. Start with something provocative, but then pivot away from the research to your questions.

The goal is to move into a collaboration with the customer.

Guide the customer

Buyers prefer this process because you're solving a problem and uncovering problems they didn't even realize they had. But even for issues they knew they had, you're putting some numbers to them. You're clarifying how their employees will be impacted by the purchase of office furniture.

That's why pivoting from research to personal is important. You're putting it into a perspective your customer can understand and telling the customer exactly what the problem is costing and how you can help solve it.

You're helping them to prioritize all of these challenges and becoming a prescriptive consultant to them.

As a seller, it's your moral obligation to act as a guide to the customer.

Because the buyer's journey has gotten complicated, you need to provide a map of sorts so the customer knows what to expect. Then be prepared to proactively provide information to the buyer along the way.

If you know the company will ask for a business case, proactively provide it. Don't wait for the customer to ask.

[Tweet "Be an evolved seller who is ready for requests that occur during the buyer's journey. Inspire the customer to buy and then provide the right content at the right time. #EvolvedSeller"]

Proactive sellers

The buyer's journey is hard. As you're proactively providing content, you can also use smart sales enablement systems to track whether the content is being consumed. If they aren't consuming the information, they may not be as far along in the process as you think they are.

You've got to anticipate every step so that you'll have the visibility to know whether you're progressing or not.

Bring up your buyer's objections before they become objections. Realize that your prospects spend two-thirds of their time gathering, processing, and deep conflicting. Streamline that for them when you can.

Inspiring content

Marketing plays a vital role in putting together inspirational content.

We must identify the content that will inspire our customers. We're not talking about content that is only about the products or services. It must be shorter, based on the challenges they are facing.

Then we need to enable sales to use the Socratic questioning.

Look back to your last presentation to determine whether you led with information about the product or service or whether you addressed challenges.

"Prescriptive Conversations With Buyers" episode resources

You can connect with Tom at tpisello@mediafly.com. Check out his blog Evolving Sellers From Pitch to Purpose or grab a copy of his book The Frugalnomics Survival Guide. Keep an eye out for his newest book Evolved Selling™: Optimizing Sales Enablement in the Age of FRUGALNOMICS.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It's super easy, it's helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven't already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won't miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Direct download: TSE_1076.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 4:21pm EDT

Joe Sweeney, Donald Kelly, Understanding People

Human behavior plays a huge role in sales and understanding what makes people tick is one of the most important concepts sellers in all industries should seek to learn.

Joe Sweeney has worn a variety of different hats over the course of his career, but he loves human behavior and he says it's the key to success in sales.

Buyers

You must understand why someone would buy your product. Joe's philosophy, as described in his book Networking Is A Contact Sportis that networking, business, and sales are about giving and serving rather than getting something.

People ask about the number one mistake that salespeople make, and it's believing that the process is about us. We think it's about our product. It's not.

Joe gives talks all the time and he starts by saying, "You don't sell anything. What we do is help people get what they want."

Instead, sellers tend to take the opposite approach and we talk about ourselves and our product. But your buyer doesn't care about that. All he cares about is whether your product can solve his needs and relieve some of his pain points.

Criticism

Joe said he spent a portion of his life criticizing other people because he represented a lot of high-net-worth people who did stupid things.

When, for example, he encountered a woman outside a hospital dying from emphysema and smoking a cigarette, he made the connection. The pleasure she got from nicotine was greater than the pain she experienced from emphysema.

The takeaway is to get good at understanding what makes people tick without criticizing them. All human behavior makes sense, even when we don't.

  • Don't be critical of their actions.
  • Understand people's needs and wants.

Keep everything simple.

3 Common Needs

Although we could all likely point to hundreds of needs, we really have three basic, common needs.

  1. We need to belong to something bigger than ourselves.
  2. We need to love and to be loved.
  3. Finally, we all want to know that our life has meaning and that we've made a difference.

The greatest sales companies in the world have understood that.

Perhaps our greatest need is the first one: the need to belong to something bigger. It's counter-intuitive today because with all the social media we falsely believe we're all connected but the truth is that we're less connected than we've ever been.

Stated another way, we're more isolated now than ever.

Need to belong

The company that really understands this concept is Harley Davidson. Its number one competitor is BMW which far surpasses Harley, but Harley outsells everyone.

The Harley Ownership Group, or HOG, makes its owners part of something bigger. It's about belonging.

Remember the old TV show Cheers? Its tagline captures this desire. Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.

In this technology world, we pretend that we're connected to a massive network but we aren't.

Need to be loved

Coca Cola marketed to this need with the ad about teaching the world to sing. It was kind of a kumbaya moment with people holding hands singing together.

They portrayed the feeling that if you drink Coca Cola, you'd feel all this love. Coca Cola understood the Maya Angelou quote: People will forget what you say. People will forget what you do. People will never forget the way you make them feel. 

Joe asks his groups, "What are you doing to answer the needs of these people? The belonging needs and the love needs."

Need to make a difference

We all want to know that our lives have meaning, and Mastercard captured that with the ad campaign that assigned prices to different products.

Fishing poles, $29. Worms, $3.25. An afternoon fishing with your teenagers, Priceless.

Most of us approach the sales process with the sense that we have to tell people about our benefits. Instead, we should take two steps back and work to understand what makes people tick.

Understand needs

Work to understand your buyers' needs. The greatest companies do it and I recommend that your listeners do the same.

If you're going to be really good in sales, you should wow people.

If you sell office furniture, what would differentiate you from the competition?

Find something personal, and then do something memorable. Little things in sales mean everything. #BeMemorable

Imagine that you have a customer who likes Egyptian art. At the close of your interaction with the customer, hand him a piece of Egyptian art that you printed out. It cost you nothing, but none of the other competitors will have done that.

Making money

Joe suggests that sales isn't about making money. Although that's a by-product of sales, it's really about creating an environment where we can service people. You can do the same thing in education and in government.

Morph your sales job into a servant leadership role.

Joe's sister-in-law told him that she always assumed that business was a bunch of greedy people trying to make money. There was a negative energy around sales.

Joe reframed it as a positive thing and created a forum where people can serve each other and get what they want in life.

Daniel Pink wrote a book called To Sell Is Human all about humanizing sales. I needed that as a young seller when I was guilty of seeing CEOs as something other than human beings. I didn't see a woman who runs a business and has two kids in middle school.

Sales development

Joe said he hates networking and what it represents. We tend to think of an alpha male chasing someone down with a business card. It's about understanding pain points and needs and then responding to them.

Many salespeople are too aggressive and competitive because we feel the pressure. Instead, we have to reframe networking and sales.

It's not about us, but that's a tough concept in this narcissistic culture.

Joe suggested using a 5-10-15 process in which he holds a minimum of 5 meetings, 10 pieces of written correspondence, and a minimum of 15 phone calls.

It's less about the numbers and more about the system. Your listeners could start with a 2-4-6 system. Make a plan that keeps you accountable to yourself.

We're basically all independent contractors and this kind of system will create internal accountability.

"Understanding What Makes People Tick" episode resources

You can connect with Joe at joesweeney.com/networking where you can access inexpensive online training programs. They can help your listeners move the needle in their business and sales lives but also in their personal lives.

You can also grab a copy of his book, Networking Is A Contact Sport.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It's super easy, it's helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven't already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won't miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Direct download: TSE_1074.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 11:01am EDT

Donald Kelly, Building Value, Selling

If you're giving your customers things that you value instead of focusing on things that your customer needs or wants, you should be aware of the 5 things you get wrong when it comes to building value.

We're dedicating the month of April to a discussion of building value, and we're starting with the fundamentals of building value.

1.  We fail to solve the problem.

People will only change if they see a distinct need for it, and sometimes our customers don't even recognize that they have a problem. Or, in other instances, they may have found a solution or a band-aid to the problem that seems to be working.

People don't fix things that seem to be working.

Your job as a seller is to ask the right questions to help them consider or see the importance of addressing their challenge. Once you're able to help them identify the problem, we must provide a clear solution to help them address it.

Donald Miller has a wonderful three-step process that lays out exactly how you can move through the process.

If the buyer doesn't have confidence in your ability to guide him through the solution, you're likely going to lose the deal like I did when it happened to me.

2.  We focus on what we like. 

I've taught this principle over and over again as the platinum rule: treat others the way they would like to be treated. It's a step up from treating people the way that you'd like to be treated.

Don't focus on features or benefits that you like. Focus on things that the buyers like.

Buyers may choose to work with you for a variety of reasons, but not all of your product's features will be important to the buyer. Not all of your service's benefits will matter to him.

Once you've identified the problem that the buyer needs to address, and you've given the buyer a clear plan, avoid the urge to give the buyer things he doesn't need. Give him the things that are important and necessary for him and nothing more.

You may have 100 features, but the buyer likely has one problem that is costing him a lot of money. He needs the feature that will solve that problem. Yes, he'll get much more than that with your product or service, but focus on his main problem to start.

Over time you can educate him about additional features.

3.  We don't listen to the customer.

This ties closely to number 1 because we often continue talking even after the buyer has agreed to buy.

Our conversations and discovery meetings are intended to help us discover things about our prospects. It's not intended to be a lecture.

Sometimes sellers believe that if we're talking, we're winning, and that simply isn't true. Think of it like dating: you want the other person to perceive that you're interested.

Studies indicated that you shouldn't talk more than 30 percent of the time, and that will only happen if you come prepared with meaningful questions. That will help the buyer express himself and his challenges.

Once you've listened, you can pitch to the one thing he needs the most.

4.  We think we must have the lowest price.

This issue emerges frequently with sellers who think that value means having the lowest price, but it simply isn't true. I've lost deals before to companies that were bigger and more expensive than my own product or service.

When I looked back, they didn't care that we were cheaper. They were concerned that I didn't focus on their problem and show them a clear path to solve it. They didn't have the conviction that I was the one who could best help them.

If you've done a fantastic job of identifying their problem and you've helped them find a solution, they'll see the value in what you're offering. If, for example, their problem is costing them $50,000 a year but your solution will cost them $5,000 a year, that's a good saving for them.

[Tweet "Lowering your price doesn't necessarily build value. Solving a problem builds value. #BuildValue"]

Show me that you understand my problem and that you have a solution. Then show me that you've solved this kind of problem before. That will give me, as a buyer, confidence in you as a seller.

5.  We believe that more is better.

We often mistakenly believe that offering our customer more is better because it's a way to increase value.

You might be giving away so many add-ons that your company loses money. In the future, your customer will likely expect the same kind of discounts and bonuses. If the customer stays with you for only a year, you will have lost the client before you could recoup your losses.

Resist the urge to give away everything for free. Enjoy the silence in your conversation. Don't jump out and start talking too quickly.

They may not be looking for more value but rather just contemplating the purchase.

Keep things simple for your buyers and remember that less is often more. We know a lot more than our buyers about our product, and they don't need to know everything that we do.

Avoid these mistakes and you'll have much better success building value.

"Building Value" episode resources

You've heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we're offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we'd love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Direct download: TSE_1067.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

The marketplace is crowded, so if you understand how to instantly increase the perceived value of your offer, you'll be better able to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Bob Britton got his start in business as an auto mechanic and he had an opportunity to buy an existing business. He figured owning a business couldn't be that hard, so he jumped in, assuming he could do a better job than the people he had been working for.

He endured a season of failure but eventually started to improve as he learned the sales game. He realized that auto repair involves selling something that no one wants to buy, that no one is prepared to buy, and that no one ever has the money to buy.

He grew the business from a one-man show to a multi-million dollar business and then went on to other things.

Communicating value

If you can't clearly communicate your value and what sets you apart from everyone else, you're competing constantly on price. It's the only way people know how to measure. But if you're a value proposition, people will focus less on price and more on what they're getting. It's up to business owners to figure out what those value propositions are.

Begin by understanding what value really is. What you think is valuable is probably 27th on your prospect's list of what's valuable.

[Tweet "The thing we get wrong over and over again is that we don't take time to think our way through all the different things that our customers could consider valuable. #SellingValue"]

Consider even the smallest thing that might be considered valuable. Look beyond the obvious things like saving time or money because everyone claims to offer those.

Starting point

Understand that perception is everything. When you're creating your value proposition, if your prospect believes it's important, it is. Perception is everything.

That determines how we start. Begin by looking at the business drivers which are often saving money and making money. But drill down deeper.

  • Why would a customer use your offer?
  • What does the customer really care about?

Think of things like operating cost, downtime, uptime, labor cost, customer retention, market share, productivity, profitability, time to market, lifetime customer value, and any number of other concerns.

Asking good questions

Too many salespeople "wing it" when it comes to this process. They don't think about the questions they ask and they rely on general ones instead of working to be specific.

People will give us a limited amount of time and effort. Ask specific questions that move people in a distinct direction.

Many sellers will ask about concerns, but that's too general. Limit the question instead. What is your number one concern? Being specific will give you a lot better information from the customer because they'll talk about the thing that is top of mind.

Then, flip that around. Ask your prospect the one thing that he hates about your industry. It takes some guts to ask this, but the information you get back will be the most valuable feedback you've ever gotten.

Bob asked people the number one thing they hated about auto repair on his way to building a million-dollar company. He used all that feedback to differentiate himself from his competition.

Digging deep

Your clients can give you information that will help you tweak your business and increase your revenue. You won't have to push harder. Your clients will give you a to-do list that will help you improve.

Be willing to ask what your current clients dislike about working with your business. It will feel intimidating but they won't crucify you. They'll help you identify the things that are keeping them from buying more.

You may not need to dump more money into your business. You may not need to increase your leads but rather to just improve your close rate.

Next steps

Once you've identified the business drivers, identify some sort of movement. People won't change unless your offering is significantly better than the status quo. People don't buy offers; they buy new things.

What's your movement? Increase, improve, accelerate, reduce, enhance, balance, free up, eliminate, minimize, revitalize, shrink, maximize. What kind of movement can you offer your clients?

Then add metrics to your value proposal to make it stronger and more believable.

Avoid using round numbers which sound less credible. When Bob was running the auto repair business, while everyone else was charging $87 an hour, he charged $98.68 an hour. When people asked how he came up with that number, he said that he figured out with his accountant the exact minimum he could charge to deliver the best service.

It's a psychological effort that will surprise your customers and shift their thinking. It will position you as different than everyone else.

Do your homework. Don't wing it because it won't give you the results you desire.

Prepare

People may throw little tests out at you to see how you'll respond. If you aren't prepared, you'll end up losing credibility because you don't answer well.

Business drivers, movement, and metrics are the three things that create a tremendous amount of value for your business.

Do your homework. Position yourself as different, new, unique, and special.

Be creative. The competition has never been greater and the market is shifting. More people are becoming salespeople so you have to do everything you can to differentiate yourself.

"Increase the Perceived Value of Your Offer" episode resources

You can connect with Bob at his website, marketingautomationgroup.com and opt-in for a free 7-day course. He constantly produces new content designed to help you increase your perceived value.

You've heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we're offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Direct download: TSE_1063.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Paint a PictureIf you paint a picture for your customers of where they are now versus where they want to go, you can help them make a buying decision.  Show them how the positive change will happen, or what might happen if they don’t change. It will allow them to logically justify an emotional decision.

Jeffrey Gitomer was my first ever guest and he taught us something interesting on that very first podcast: People love to buy but they hate to be sold.

Think about that.  Nobody wants to feel tricked or manipulated. That is the last thing that you want to do as a sales rep. You want to help them to buy.

Your job is to guide clients through a process that educates them.

Become an artist

The key is to paint amazing pictures that feel so real and so vivid that your clients can see the value being offered.

Imagine we have presented our business case and the prospect is loving it. They know it is amazing but they will naturally start to compare it to their current situation.

What are we doing? What are our sales reps doing? How much time are they spending? Are we wasting time?

It is time to paint the picture for them.

Asking ‘why?’

Toyota once used the ‘Five Whys’ concept to get to the root of a problem; to fix the real issue of any problem instead of the surface-level problem. As an example, suppose I take my car into the shop because I have a flat tire from hitting a pothole.

As a sales rep, there are many things you could sell me. I need a new tire, for sure. Do I also need glasses so I can see potholes in the future? Maybe I didn’t see the pothole because I was speeding. Perhaps I was late and I need to buy an alarm clock.

What if I was running late because I am not disciplined enough to properly prioritize my day? Will a new tire or a pair of glasses help with the root of my problems? No.

When it comes to your prospect, once he agrees with your business proposal and realizes that he is in the same scenario you're describing, that is the time to share with him how you can deliver.

Paint the picture that directly represents his business and his situation. Ask him what you need to know.

Do you feel the scenario that I’ve presented fits your situation? Why do you think that is the case? What have you tried before to address this same problem? What are your goals?

Become a consultant

Become a consultant that will help solve their problems. You’ve already painted a picture with your business case. Once you have your answers - once you have more details - you can effectively execute the demonstration.

Know your client’s timeframe and budget.  Go over who will be involved in the process and the criteria for future decisions. Everything discussed during the buyer’s journey needs to be referenced during the discovery call as well. It helps make the closing that much easier.

[Tweet "Paint the picture of where your clients are now, why they shouldn’t be in that situation, and how your product or service can help them. #SellSolutions"]

Underpromise and overdeliver

If I know I can deliver 4x, I often promise 3x because it is a simple fact that my clients will be much happier if they accomplish more than they expected.

You can help the prospect realize that the decision is theirs. It is not being forced upon them and it is not manipulative. Rather, with your help, they realize where they are and the challenges they face in moving forward. We have had meaningful and educating dialogue that provided solutions and opportunities for change. The buyer’s decision is now up to them.

"Paint a Picture" episode resources

We are currently in the Beta portion of our new TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The first section is about prospecting, the second is all about building value, and the third is about closing.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn't the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It's super easy, it's helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven't already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won't miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1050.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lee Salz, Sales Differentiation, The Sales Evangelist

Sales differentiation helps salespeople win more deals at the price point they want, and today Lee Salz talks about building a framework that will allow you to personalize your sales.

Sales reps in every industry must differentiate themselves in today's market. It's crucial for sellers to have room to "color" the sales process.

Origins

When Lee was a kid, he had a job as a pickup and delivery driver for dry cleaning. The guy he worked for didn't own a dry cleaning business; he simply knew it was a hassle to drop off and pick up your clothes.

He developed a contract with a couple of different dry cleaning firms and he charged a premium for the service. The idea took off, and Lee was intrigued by the idea that he was able to add a 40 percentage point premium by differentiating the service.

He didn't actually put the idea into play until his 50th birthday after he had learned a lot about the industry.

Philosophy of differentiation

Lee said the philosophy translates for every possible seller. No matter what industry you're in, what size company you're in, whether you sell products or service, whether you sell B2B or B2C, and it doesn't even matter what methodology you use in your sales.

The premise is simple: win more deals at the prices you want.

Differentiation around what you sell

Differentiation around what you sell relies on the ability to translate your passion to the person sitting on the other side of the desk.

If you can't communicate your own passion about your differentiators to the person on the other side of the desk, you might as well not have anyone sitting there.

The idea is to build passion and help salespeople communicate it in a meaningful way. You want your customers to believe they must have what you're selling.

[Tweet "Companies have an obligation to share their differentiators with their salespeople and to explain how to position them with buyers. #SalesDifferentiation"]

It's a responsibility that falls to marketing, business owners, and sales leaders.

Marketing and sales differentiation

Marketing differentiation is one-directional communication for the masses. Think trade shows and websites. It screams to the marketplace, "Hey! Look at us! We're here."

It demonstrates all the available potential.

Sales differentiation is two-directional communication with an individual, specific buyer.

It takes all of the potential and personalizes it to an individual specific buyer.

Everyone buys for a different reason so if you leave all the capabilities out there and rely on that to drive buyers, you'll fail.

You must have salespeople who gather all the potential and bring it to the individual level.

[Tweet "Solution is often used haphazardly, but it means you take what someone is looking to accomplish and align it with what you offer. #SalesSolutions"]

Add those two things together and that meets the definition of solution.

Two differentiation workshops

It doesn't matter what you're selling.

Make a list of your most common competitors who also sell what you sell. Work with your team to do the analysis.

Answer two questions:

  • Why do you win?
  • Why do they win?

Make a list of the decision influencers, the people commonly involved in the decision to buy what you sell.

Again, answer two questions:

  • What is keeping them up at night relative to your offering?
  • Given what is keeping them awake, how can you help?

If you engage your team in these two workshops, you'll get a series of differentiators that will serve as raw material to work with.

From there, develop a communication strategy that helps you build passion around those differentiators.

Differentiation around how you sell

Every interaction between a seller and a buyer provides an opportunity to offer meaningful value that your competition doesn't provide.

Consider this: Would you prefer a restaurant with outstanding food and mediocre service or mediocre food and outstanding service?

Most people will choose the outstanding service.

That means you could have the best product features and functions but your failure to differentiate how you sell could cause you to lose.

From that very first phone call to the time they sign on the dotted line, you have an opportunity to build a great experience.

Customer service vs account management

Don't equate the two as the same.

Customer service occurs when your client asks you for something. The measurement of success should be timeliness and accuracy in the response.

It's the proactive set of activities and behaviors that you'll provide that adds value in the relationship that has nothing to do with the product.

Look at every touch point to find every opportunity to do something different that your client will find meaningful.

Recognizing your competition

Your true competition exists in your battle to earn face time with your prospects.

No executive has the responsibility to meet with salespeople every hour on the hour. In order for us to earn that meeting, we have to create intrigue in the first moment.

Imagine operating the way the police do. When they knock on your door to ask questions about a crime, they don't randomly choose your home for a conversation. They follow a trail of evidence that leads them to you.

They've put together a theory, and you should do the same with your sales efforts.

Instead of blindly calling people and sending emails, put together a sales crime theory, based on the answer to this question: why should they want to have a conversation with us right now? Instead of asking why we should talk with them, ask why they should want to have a conversation with us.

Put together a messaging strategy based on your research that will help them recognize what you have to offer.

Sales Differentiation resources

Lee's book Sales Differentiation:19 Powerful Strategies to Win More Deals at the Prices You Want is available in bookstore, at your favorite online book sources, at Amazon, and a variety of other places.

You can also go to salesdifferentiation.com and register for Lee's video series. The videos are typically only available to workshop clients but he's making them available to the people who purchase the book. Go to the website, click on "bonus," fill out the form, and start taking advantage of the videos.

"Sales Differentiation" episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It's super easy, it's helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

This episode is also brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn't the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven't already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won't miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1048.mp3
Category:Value -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

If you struggle with sales and the challenges that go along with it, you aren’t alone, and today Ted Ryce shares how he overcame his own struggles and how you can overcome sales plateaus.

Ted has been a health and fitness professional for the past 17 years in Miami Beach. He has worked with tons of celebrities, CEOs, multi-million dollar companies and personalities like Richard Branson and Robert Downey, Jr. He now has a health, fitness, and personal development podcast called Legendary Life Podcast.

Ted figured out early on that he actually is a salesperson. Sales never came easy for him and so today, he shares with us the challenges he faced and how he overcame them so you can learn from his experience.

Don’t undersell yourself

Ted poured a lot of effort and resources into the fitness industry, and though it helped, he hit a plateau where he wasn’t getting more clients. For the money he invested, he expected to have a mile-long waiting list.

He was in desperate need of new clients when a guy expressed interest in training with him. Ted saw it as a chance to grow his client list and raise his prices.

Looking back, he realizes that because he didn’t have confidence in his business or his cost, he didn’t justify the cost to his prospect.

Determine your value, and stick to it.

Differentiate yourself

Once you play the price game, everyone loses, including other people in your industry. You have to differentiate yourself and have a reason for charging as much as you do. You must explain it so that the prospect can understand the cost.

Have a reason for charging more, not coming from a place of being awesome but in a way the prospect can understand.

In Ted’s case, he realized there would always be people who would work for less money, so he started to highlight how his training was different.

He offered a holistic approach that included sleep and other physical and health challenges, and he specialized in injuries. He also had a background of working with CEOs, so he marketed himself accordingly.

Sell what the client wants

Don’t sell yourself or what you want to sell. Sell exactly what the client wants.

Ted worked to determine exactly what his clients needed, and then he sold them exactly that instead of selling what he wanted to sell.

He also made peace with the idea that some customers would need something different than what he was selling, so he would be willing to refer them out.

Match what you do with what someone else needs.

[Tweet "When you value your product or service in the right way, price no longer becomes an issue. #Value"]

Reach more people

Once you’ve narrowed your message, find ways to reach the people who can benefit from your product or service. This is a great way of selling yourself without selling yourself.

Go out there and do more presentations. Do a podcast. Eventually, they will look at you as a leader in your industry.

People will apply the things you’re sharing, and if it helps them succeed, they will view you as a subject-matter expert.
Take things step by step. Stay at it. Take lessons and courses. Listen to podcasts. Stay on course to make consistent improvements. In 3-6 months time, you’re going to see major changes.

Stay consistent, keep at it, and don’t give up.

"Sell Value" episode resources

You can connect with Ted on the Legendary Life Podcast, and check out the Be The Change group.

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It's super easy, it's helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

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