Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do You Have An Effective Followup Strategy

Writen by Tim Connor

Customers and prospects have a great deal on their plates today. They have the demands of their customers, bosses, fellow staff members, suppliers and a variety of organizational, government, financial, department and industry issues that take a great deal of their time and energy.

When salespeople call on these busy prospects or clients they must realize that what they are selling is not the most important thing in that prospect's life. Although what they are selling might be of interest and value to them they often just do not have the time to do the salesperson's work, the follow-up.

More often than I can state over the years, when I have followed up with a prospect that has been considering my services, I have heard, "thanks for getting back to me. I had every intention of calling you but have just been too busy. Lets get this program rolling."

Why don't salespeople follow-up? And, what are the benefits of an effective follow-up strategy? Two critical issues that will determine the success of salespeople today. Why don't salespeople follow up?

1. They fear a no or a rejection.

2. They believe if the prospect is really interested they will call and help the salesperson do their job.

3. They are too disorganized and are not even aware that they should follow up.

4. They lack a positive attitude about their product, service or offer.

5. They know the prospect is not going to buy, so why bother.

6. They believe the prospect is too busy to talk with them or to see them.

7. They are too scattered.

8. They lack confidence in themselves or their organization and its services or products.

9. They believe their competitors are going to get the business anyway.

10. They don't have an effective follow up strategy.

11. They have nothing else to say or offer.

12. They knew they had a poor prospect anyway, so why bother.

Guilty of any of these? I have been, and I have been selling for over forty years. It is easy to fall into the – no follow up trap. It is just as easy to prospect effectively, present your product with confidence and professionalism and then the follow up is a natural conclusion to the previous step, if you didn't close the sale on that visit, for whatever reason. Here are a few ideas to consider when you next follow up a sales call.

1. Don't open with a closed ended question like, "have you made a decision yet?" Rather, "where are you in the decision process?"

2. Don't ask, "did you get the information I sent?" Rather, "what is your impression of it?"

3. Don't ask, "when can we get together to discuss our next step?" Rather, "let's get together next Monday to….."

4. Don't ask, "do you have any question about the proposal?" Rather, "Is there anything in the proposal that would prevent us from getting this order started?"

These are only four examples. Now see if you can come up with several of your own.

Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That's Life, Peace Of Mind, 91 Challenges Managers Face Today and Your First Year In Sales. He can be reached at tim@timconnor.com, 704-895-1230 or visit his website at http://www.timconnor.com.

Hospital in Tennessee Thailand Hotels

8 Business Plan Mistakes To Avoid

Writen by Jo Ann Joy

It is hard to get a funding from a business plan, even a very good business plan. You can give yourself a much better chance of raising capital if you avoid eight common business plan mistakes.

Your business plan may be the first thing investors see, and it is important that your business plan be written professionally and excellently. Investors see thousands of business plans each year, and the ones that get funded are less than 1%. You will greatly improve your chance of getting funded if you avoid these mistakes.

1. Mistakes in Overall Content

A well written business plan finds the solutions to problems that customers are looking for and will pay money to solve. The plan dos not need superlatives to say that it is great. If it is great, the readers will come to that conclusion. Also, be sure your plan presents a focused strategy to solve only one problem in the target market.

2. Stating "There is no competition"

Every business has competition, either direct or indirect. A competitor is everybody else that is trying to sell to the same target market. Your plan should show how you differentiate yourself from competitors and show that you are stronger in the market.

3. Too Long and Technical

Your plan must convey your business idea concisely. Any detail that you believe is important can be included in an addendum. Also, your plan should not be too technical or scientific. Keep it simple.

4. Poor Organization

There is a logical way that business plans should be put together, and each section should logically flow into the next section. You can finds hundreds of resources that tell you what the basic sections of a business plan should be, and you or any professional you hire should follow this advice.

5. Incomplete or Inaccurate Financial Statements

You must use the right terminology in describing the financial condition of your business. The financials should contain enough detail to fully support your important assumptions.

6. Unreasonable Financial Projections

All the numbers in your financial projections should be reasonable and similar to financial projections of other companies in your industry. Your financials must include Income Statements, Balance Sheets, and Cash Flow Statement, and they all must be prepared in compliance with GAAP.

7. Writing Errors

You must use proper spelling and grammar and cannot be redundant. Be sure your plan is attractive, interesting, easy to read, and professional looking.

8. Timing Mistakes

Have your plan in final form long before your presentation to investors. You may not have the 500+ hours required to write a business plan. Then you must hire a business consultant to write your plan. Be sure to have another objective person read the plan thoroughly and give you some feedback on its effectiveness before you show it to investors.

About the Author:

Jo Ann Joy is the CEO and owner of Indigo Business Solutions. She has a law degree, an MBA, and a degree in Economics. She also is a licensed realtor and has contacts in the local real estate industry. Her background includes commercial and real estate law, accounting, financial planning, mortgages, marketing, product development, and business strategies.

She ran a successful business for 10 years and has written and given presentations on many different legal and business subjects. She is not a traditional attorney. Rather, she is a strategic business attorney who works closely with clients to create and implement strategies that will greatly improve their performance and success.

Please contact Jo Ann by phone at (602) 663-7007, by fax at (602) 324-7582, by email at joannjoy@Indigo
Business Solutions.net
, and by mail at 2313 East Ocotillo Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85016

Hospital in Tennessee Thailand Hotels

Monday, September 29, 2008

Business Career Executive Coaching Article Perfection Vs Excellence

Writen by Ruth Zanes

"(Howard) Hughes never learned how to convert his knowledge to practical application. Instead he sought a perfection that assured failure." - From Empire: The Life, Legend and Madness of Howard Hughes by Donald L. Bartlett & James B. Steel

How many times have you heard someone (it may have been you) proclaim or complain that he/she is a perfectionist? You may have noticed that going for perfection is a fool's game. You simply cannot win when you set perfection as your standard.

There may be rare and unusual situations where perfection is assumed to be an appropriate standard. Frankly, I can't think of one - no, not even life and death situations such as heart surgery demand perfection in the process. Each stitch does not have to be sewn perfectly in order to affect the outcome. Perfection is present in the ultimate result, as evident in the patient's survival or death, not in the process.

When "perfection" is the goal it is usually out of an exaggerated desire to be right, to avoid criticism or risk. The focus is on "how am I doing?" rather than on producing a specific outcome. Excellence, on the other hand, is a way of life. It is the context in which high achievers and peak performers produce and contribute to the quality of life. High achievers and peak performers get things done by taking action looking for appropriate outcomes and measuring their success based on the quantity and quality of their results.

The bad news is that being a human being means we have the abilities and the failings of human beings. We make mistakes. We get tired. We get distracted. We fail to communicate clearly and accurately. When we set perfection as our goal, all of our actions are based on attempts to conquer our natural human limits with little or no intention on the ultimate outcome. The search for perfection limits our ability to act meaningfully.

Acting in accordance with standards of excellence allows us to produce superb results and opens the door to experimentation and creativity.

Ruth Zanes has been a Business, Career and Personal Success Coach since 1985. Her broad range of experience prior to coaching includes consultant, business ownership and corporate executive for some of the world's largest corporations. Contact Ruth at: http://www.unlimitedresourcesinc.com

Hospital in Tennessee Thailand Hotels

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why Not Take The Sales Quiz To See How You Are Doing

Writen by Tim Connor

Sales Quiz

Why not give the following sales quiz to your sales staff. It will give you an idea of their understanding and application of some of the critical issues, concepts and techniques that have an impact on their sales performance and results. If you feel your team could benefit from an in-depth Custom in-house sales training program, please give me a call. I will be happy to discuss a custom curriculum for your staff with you. Please give me a call if you would like the answers to this quiz.

Other quizzes are also available on the following topics: Customer Service , Relationships, Management, Happiness, Success, Motivation

See the end of this quiz for the answers.

1. One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is________________________________________

2. Attitude is important in sales because_________________________________________________

3. Product features are_______________________________________________________________

4. Product customer benefits are_______________________________________________________

5. The close of the sale is____________________________________________________________

6. Sales objections are_______________________________________________________________

7. One of the most important sales skills is the ability to____________________________________

8. The number one cause of failure in sales is_____________________________________________

9. Rank the following in order of importance as they relate to sales success:

-Product knowledge

-Sales skills

-Attitude management

-People skills

-Prospect qualifying

-Closing techniques

-Presentation skills

10. People buy what they____________________________________________________________

11. People buy ________________________and then justify their decision ____________________

12. Your prospect will tell you what you________________________________________________

13. Rank the following in terms of most prospects concerns:





-good terms

-organization reputation

-product reliability

14. The close of the sale should start____________________________________________________

15. People like to buy but don't like____________________________________________________

16. Your best source of new business is_________________________________________________

17. The value of testimonials and references is____________________________________________

18. You (can't can) sell something you don't believe in.

19. When is the best time to ask a customer for a referral___________________________________

20. If you have a good product it will sell itself. True/False

21. The objection you will have the greatest difficulty overcoming is__________________________

22. You shouldn't ask for the order until you have covered all of the product features True/False

23. Selling is an event not a process. True/False

24. After sales service can increase customer loyalty True/False

25. It is harder to sell on the telephone than in a personal sales call True/False

26. Verbal messages are more accurate than non-verbal signals______________________________

27. The most important element of the sales process is:_____________________________________

28. Once you have lost business it is difficult to regain it: True/False.

29. Every prospect deserves equal selling time: True/False.

30. Cold calling is the: Least/ Most effective way to prospect?

31. The Internet is making it: Easier/Harder to sell?

32. The close of the sale is the end of the sales process: True/False.

33. You can make up for a poor prospect with a good presentation and/or product: True/False.

34. A planned presentation is more effective than a spontaneous customer-driven approach.


35. It is better to ask more closed-ended questions than open-end ones. True/False

36. If a poor prospect will see you they are worth your time. True/False.

37. You should make ________ number of calls on a prospect until they buy.

38. People buy from people they_______________________________________________________

39. Sales records are important because_________________________________________________

40. The number one concern of most prospects is_________________________________________

41. You can competitor proof your relationship by________________________________________

42. If you are a good negotiator you will close more sales. True/False.

43. A prospect profile is an effective way to prospect because_______________________________

44. Solving after sales problems is considered good customer service. True/False.

45. Planning your sales message should be done in your: office, the prospects office.

46. Every sales presentation should have a certain amount of small-talk. True/False.

47. When a prospect challenges your price you should_____________________________________

48. Getting past the gate-keeper or voice-mail is one of the most difficult challenges of a salesperson.


49. The most important skill in selling is________________________________________________

50. Anyone can learn to sell. True /False.


50 correct answers……….You should be giving the test.
45-50 correct answers……….You are a real sales professional.
40-45 correct answers……….There is hope for you yet.
35-40 correct answers………..With luck, you may make it.
30-35 correct answers………..You are losing a lot of business.
30 or less correct answers……You need help big-time – call me today.

Correct Answers: Sales Quiz

Keep in mind that the answers to several of the questions are subjective. In many cases there is no right or wrong answer only - a best or better answer. This quiz is not designed to give you an in-depth explanation for each answer but rather to stimulate your thinking. With this in mind let's take a look at what I believe - after over 40 years of selling and teaching people to sell worldwide – what some of the best answers are.

1. They talk too much. They give information before they get it.
2. It impacts every aspect of the sales process and sales relationship.
3. Characteristics or traits of a product or service.
4. What the features do for the customer.
5. The beginning of the customer relationship.
6. Positive necessary sales signals.
7. Read people, listen and ask good questions.
8. The fear of rejection. 9.

1- Attitude management.

2. People skills.

3. Prospect qualifying.

4. Sales Skills.

5. Presentation skills.

6. Product knowledge.

7. Closing techniques.

10. Want, need, like, desire, can afford, will benefit from.
11. Emotionally / / / / / Logically.
12. You need to tell them to sell them.

1. Service.

2. Quality.

3. Convenience.

4. Good terms.

5. Product/service reliability.

6. Organization reputation.

7. Price.

14. From a sales attitude standpoint: the beginning of the sales process. From a skill or strategic standpoint: when the prospect is ready to buy.
15. Being sold to.
16. Your current customer base. Next - past customers. Next - Referrals.
17. They give you credibility and reduce buyer fears and mistrust.
18. Can (but not much and for long)
19. All the time.
20. It depends on how badly the customer perceives of his or her need. Many times poor salespeople are able with the help of good prospects to make up for poor sales ability.
21. The one that is the most consistent with your own values or beliefs.
22. False.
23. False.
24. True.
25. False.
26. False.
27. Getting accurate information early in the sales process.
28. False.
29. False.
30. Least.
31. True and False. It depends on a number of factors.
32. False.
33. False.
34. False.
35. False.
36. False.
37. It depends on a number of factors.
38. Trust.
39. They help you see where improvement will be helpful or necessary to achieve greater sales success.
40. Can I trust you and believe you. Are you looking out for my best interests or your own.
41. Being a better on-going resource for your customers.
42. False.
43. It helps you spend time with only the best prospects.
44. It depends.
45. The prospect's office.
46. False.
47. Raise the perceived value.
48. True.
49. The ability to ask well thought out, timely, and intelligent questions and then listen.
50. True.

Tim Connor, CSP
704-895-1231 Fax
tim@timconnor.com - Email

Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, relationship, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; He can be reached at tim@timconnor.com, 704-895-1230 or visit his website at http://www.timconnor.com.

Hospital in Tennessee Thailand Hotels

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Environmental Expectations

Writen by Kurt Mortensen

Your environment and the expectations of that environment should be persuasive. In a theory they call the Broken Window Theory, James Wilson and George Kelling suggest that a building full of broken windows will cause people to assume that no one cares for the building or its appearance. This in turn will spur more vandalism. In other words, the environment's condition gives suggestions that lead people to hold certain assumptions, and people then act on those assumptions.

In his book, Tipping Point, Malcom Gladwell uses an example of the Broken Window Theory as he explains the New York City subway clean-up. The subway system was in dire need of rebuilding--a multibillion-dollar endeavor. With the system about to collapse, the focus was understandably on issues like reducing crime and improving subway reliability. As a consultant hired by the New York Transit Authority, George Kelling, urged officials to utilize his Broken Window Theory. David Gunn immediately assigned people to start cleaning up all the graffiti. Removing the graffiti seemed to be of such little consequence compared to everything else there was to worry about, but Gunn was insistent.

The graffiti was symbolic of the collapse of the system. When you looked at the process of rebuilding the organization and morale, you had to win the battle against graffiti. Without winning that battle, all the management reforms and physical changes just weren't going to happen. We were about to put out new trains that were worth about ten million bucks apiece, and unless we did something to protect them, we knew just what would happen. They would last one day and then they would be vandalized.

Gunn set up specific goals, timetables, and even cleaning stations. If any train came back with graffiti, it had to be cleaned immediately before it could go out again. For the vandals who had spent their nights, toiling into the wee morning hours painting their murals, it sent a strong message. Seeing their masterpieces already painted over again by the cracking of the next morning's light told them they were wasting their time. The entire anti-graffiti campaign took years, but finally, the incidence of graffiti subsided.

The hope and expectations you can create in your persuasive environment will forecast your ability to persuade. One experiment was conducted on the influence of light. Lab rats were placed in jars of water to see how long they would keep trying to swim before giving up. Some of the jars were placed in complete darkness, while others had light shining into them. The results were dramatic! The rats in the dark swam for about three minutes before succumbing. The rats with the light swam up to thirty-six hours--more than 700 times longer than the rats in the dark!

In another study, volunteers were asked to participate in an experiment on prison environments. Half of the volunteers posed as prison workers, while the other half posed as prison inmates. The results were astounding. Previously tested to be psychologically sound people, the participants rapidly became more and more hostile, crude, rebellious, and abusive--both those acting as inmates and as guards! One "prisoner" became so hysterical and emotionally distressed that he had to be released. The study was supposed to last two weeks but was called off after only six days!

Kurt Mortensen's trademark is Magnetic Persuasion; rather than convincing others, he teaches that you should attract them, just like a magnet attracts metal filings. He teaches that sales have changed and the consumer has become exponentially more skeptical and cynical within the last five years. Most persuaders are using only 2 or 3 persuasion techniques when there are actually 120 available! His message and program has helped thousands and will help you achieve unprecedented success in both your business and personal life.

If you are ready to claim your success and learn what only the ultra-prosperous know, begin by going to http://www.PreWealth.com and getting my free report "10 Mistakes That Continue Costing You Thousands." After reading my free report, go to http://www.PreWealth.com/IQ and take the free Persuasion IQ analysis to determine where you rank and what area of the sales cycle you need to improve in order to close every sale!

Hospital in Tennessee Thailand Hotels

Responding To Bird Flu Pandemic Readiness From Customers

Writen by Lance Winslow

Soon large corporate clients will be asking you if indeed you will be able to manage incase of a Bird Flu Pandemic. They will want to know if indeed your company will still be around to supply them in the event there is a Bird Flu Pandemic? What will you tell them? Are you even sure you will be around? Have you got a plan? You might wish to start thinking of one now. Meanwhile here is a sample letter response you can send back in case you are blind sided by such a readiness inquiry to such a question from a Corporate Client; Sample Response to Bird Flu Pandemic Inquiries

Subject: Bird Flu Pandemic Readiness

Thank you for your inquiry dated; (date) regarding our readiness to handle a Bird Flu Pandemic has been considered and we have our plan in place, there fore there should be no disruptions in our services or deliver of products to your company.

We recognize the Bird Flu Pandemic is a serious issue, and have been working to correct the problem for (amount of time). Plans are already in place and will be completed by: (will be in place by date). We are firmly committed to providing you our product(s) and service(s) without disruption caused by a Bird Flu Pandemic, and (have) (will have by date) people and resources in place to address the coming of the Bird Flu Pandemic.

We (are already Bird Flu Pandemic ready) (will be Bird Flu Pandemic ready ) in the following key areas of our business:

Area __________________ Date Ready_________________


Business Management

Production planning

Plant operations

Distribution and Delivery

Please call us with any concerns or questions.

------- ------- -------- -------- --------

This should provide you with the proper timely response to the inquiry for your dedication to seeing the Bird Flu Pandemic thru, but you still need to develop an outline and a plan of how you are going to deal with all a Bird Flu Pandemic. Consider all of this in 2006.

Lance Winslow

Hospital in Tennessee Thailand Hotels

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Good Franchisors Do Not Sell To Hostile Franchise Buyers

Writen by Lance Winslow

Having run a franchising company for a decade and then retiring I always thought that it was quite interesting when a franchise buyer was completely hostile and combative during the application and approval process. You see in franchising it is not about selling franchises, it is about choosing the best candidates to promote your brand name. If you get a loser in there and they are hostile, renegades or mean to customers they ruin your image, team spirit and you just end up with too many problems or litigation down the road.

I use to ask these hostile types; "Do you really care about a win-win situation that can be achieved in franchising? It can be done. And yes it's hard work and it does take sacrifice on both sides to make things gel. But it's worth it."

If any franchisee goes into a franchise with hostile intentions they missed the whole point. If a franchiser is greedy and is willing to sacrifice the profitability of his franchisees, they are missing the point. All the attorneys in the World and boy there are a few won't fix the problem. A franchisor is so much smarter to get hard working, intelligent, team player type franchisees if it wishes extend it brand name smoothly and rapidly region after region. Consider this in 2006.

Lance Winslow

Hospital in Alabama Thailand Hotels Booking

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Top Speaker Says There Are 5 Reasons Selling Comes First Amp Customer Service Second

Writen by Dr. Gary S. Goodman

Why there is a nearly unlimited budget available for pampering salespeople, while the customer service department suffers budget cuts and downsizing at the first signs of a business slowdown or recession?

There is a simple, brutal and realistic answer to this question.

Salespeople are more valuable to their companies than customer service personnel.

As President of Customersatisfaction.com, a company that provides service and sales training, aren't I foolish to say this?

Perhaps, but I'm right.

Sellers are valued more, for five reasons:

(1) Everything sellers achieve is calculated based on results that are denominated in dollars, and measured in profits. Service people pat themselves on the back for answering the phones in a timely way. Salespeople cheer when they take a call, or make one that achieves a "yes," a tangible result. Big difference! One unit lauds activities, while the other lives and dies based on outcomes.

(2) Sellers have much better internal P.R. Their victories are conspicuous, and they are touted in internal newsletters, outside trade publications, and at quarterly and annual meetings often located in glamorous and glitzy resort settings.

(3) It's more likely the company President cut his teeth in selling and not in operations, so he or she has a natural inclination to identify more with those that are seen as doing the "heavy lifting."

(4) Selling is perceived as more difficult and challenging.

(5) "Respect goes where the money flows." (Yes, you can quote me!) Sellers earn much more dough than mere servants.

Customer service professionals can gripe and moan about what I've said, or actually DO something about it.

Specifically, when they start to monitor, measure, and manage their units for RESULTS, and denominate those outcomes in dollars and cents, while introducing a rational merit pay system into their ranks, their fortunes will definitely improve.

And I'll be first in line to cheer them on!

Best-selling author of 12 books and more than 850 articles, Dr. Gary S. Goodman is considered "The Gold Standard"--the foremost expert in sales development, customer service, and telephone effectiveness. Top-rated as a speaker, seminar leader, and consultant, his clients extend across the globe and the organizational spectrum, from the Fortune 1000 to small businesses. He can be reached at: gary@customersatisfaction.com.

Hospital in Alabama Thailand Hotels Booking

Take The Wish And Hope Out Of Hiring Great Salespeople

Writen by Andrew Rowe

If you're like most hiring managers, you may have made the mistake in the past of hiring a sales person because you had too few candidates, and as a result of that, you "wished" and "hoped: that the candidate that you did have would turn out to be a great sales performer. We all know that when we wish and hope that someone is going to turn out to be a superstar, this often comes back to bite us. I've experienced this in the past, and I know a lot of other sales managers and vice-president's of sales who have experienced this in the past as well.

One of the key things that we absolutely have to do when we have too few candidates is to be doubly rigorous about the process that we put our few candidates through, in order to make sure that they're fully vetted. This means adding more people to the interviewing team and pushing back on our own natural tendency to want to justify a hiring decision by scrutinizing and playing devils advocate with ourselves regarding the candidates skills, abilities, experience, domain knowledge, and their actual sales achievement history.

Oftentimes the best way to do this is when you only have one or two candidates for a position, step back from the process and let it rest for a while. Don't make an immediate or hasty decision. Why should you hesitate? What happens if you lose the one candidate that you have? The fact is that by stepping back from a decision for a little while, often times it will allow you to gain the clarity needed to make the right decision.

What's the alternative? Making a hasty decision and wishing and hoping that a candidate is going to work out will often lead to huge expense, many months of lost time, and tens of thousands of dollars in lost sales. The best way to avoid making a mis-hire is to make sure that you don't make a decision if you think there's a chance of a mis-hire. If a candidate goes through your interviewing process and your conclusion is "maybe," then you should conclude that the hiring decision needs to be "no."

If you are a hiring manager who's been wishing and hoping that that one candidate that you have for a sales position turns out to be the right person, make sure to eliminate wishful thinking by following these easy steps:

Observe Sales Candidates' Behavior

So often, as a hiring manager or in the process of interviewing salespeople, we get caught up in a sales candidate's natural ability to speak smoothly and to sell themselves in the interviewing process. The real question is, how do they behave through the interviewing process? One of the key things that I do is to step back from the eloquence and the good speaking skills that I hear in an interview and actually watch to see how a candidate performs when I assign them simple homework duties. If you're in the business of hiring sales people, always assign homework and follow-up tasks to sales candidates at the end of each interview. Then watch and measure closely whether or not a job seeker actually performs the assignments that you've given them. You'll be amazed to see how many sales people actually don't follow up and follow the instructions that you've given them, even once you've spelled out exactly what you want them to do.

Salespeople who don't follow up on homework assignments through the interviewing process should be immediately set aside or discarded as candidates for sales positions in your company. Why? Because how they behave and how they perform with assignments in your interviewing process is a direct reflection of how they will perform and how they will behave when following up with your clients if they come to work for you! That's why it's critical to be very objective on this subject and to measure and watch for the right sales behavior. Make sure to set clear standards of discipline for this as a part of your sales interviewing process.

Assigning Sales Interview Homework

Here are some of the tasks that you can easily assign to a salesperson to follow up on:

One task can be to assign them the task of developing a sales achievement history and sending it to you via email. A sales achievement history should list their annual sales quota and achievement against that quota for the preceding several years.

Another homework assignment is ask a salesperson to go away and think about the opportunity that you've discussed with them during the interview, and then come back to you with a specific email or letter which outlines why the opportunity is a good one for them, how it matches with their skills, and why the career growth that you're offering in your company would match with their needs.

Another easy homework assignment is to have them come back with a simple task such as completing a writing assignment or sending you samples of their previous correspondence with customers, sales presentations they've created, or something else that will demonstrate their communication skills. Another simple homework assignment is to have your sales candidate put together a sample sales presentation for you, and have them pitch it in order to show you how they would propose to go to work for your company.

All of these homework assignments are opportunities for you to assign work to a candidate prior to hiring them and watch how they fulfill their tasks. It's a great way to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to hiring top sales performers. If a candidate is unwilling or incapable of following up on those tasks in a professional manner, then they clearly should not be considered as a candidate to go to work for your company.

Making Great Sales Hiring Decisions

If you're putting sales candidates through an interviewing process, make sure that you include non-sales team members in the interviewing process each and every time. Include people from Finance, Operations, Human Resources, Engineering and/or Manufacturing. Why would you do this, you ask? Well the fact is that different members from other departments in your company have a completely different perspective and a different skill set when it comes to interviewing people. It's the non-sales interview team members that often times produce the best perspective or provide a different set of inputs on a particular sales candidate -- which is important to your overall hiring decision.

For example, a Finance or Engineering person often times can measure a sales candidate's analytical capabilities, such as their ability to perform simple tasks such as analyzing numbers, preparing forecasts, doing technical requirements evaluations, etc. By having other types of people from different departments in your company participate in the interviewing process, you can develop a much broader perspective about the capabilities of your sales candidates as it relates to the totality of their job. Then you won't only evaluate whether or not they can talk and communicate well. So think about this as you move forward. Always include non-salespeople in the interviewing process.

Cube Management helps companies accelerate their sales, by providing the Sales & Marketing talent they need to grow their business. Cube is a leading recruiting and consulting partner to mid-market and emerging growth companies in the technology, manufacturing, healthcare and business service sectors. We work across the spectrum of Sales, Marketing and Business Development, providing holistic solutions that drive revenue and profit success. Cube Management combines Strategy, Process and People, to produce great results. Download the Cube Management Recruiting Guide and the Cube Management Inside Sales Guide.

Hospital in Alabama Thailand Hotels Booking

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sales Management Do The Inmates Run The Asylum

Writen by Rick Johnson

Handling sales people that can put up the numbers but break every rule in the book, someone that can't get along with their peers and someone that drives inside sales people crazy can be very challenging for a sales manager. This will create a situation that ultimately will affect overall company performance regardless of this sales person's individual success. This is especially true if this sales person holds the sales manager hostage knowing his numbers help keep corporate off the sales managers back.

Do you pay the ransom?

This type of sales person knows the score and generally uses it to their advantage. The only way to handle a situation like this is to call the bluff. But it must be done in a calculated way by using objective numbers to your advantage. The first step is to determine if this sales person is really responsible for the sales performance or are they just a member of the "Lucky Territory Club." The second question relates to the true potential of the territory this sales person is assigned to. Are they maximizing market share growth and profitability? In other words, their performance may look good based on the goals set but are those goals too low and do they reflect the real potential that territory represents. Consider doing a fair share analysis for this territory. (E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com for a sample Fair Share Analysis)

What's the root cause?

The next action is to step back and try to examine the situation from an outside perspective. Seek help from your mentor, your boss or even human resources. This type of situation doesn't happen over night. Reexamine your culture, your management style and the accountability of the organization. Is this type of behavior common place? Has it been tolerated before? Have you as the sales manager set precedent in the past?

In today's environment Lone Wolf sales people generally don't have as much ownership of the customers as either you or they think they have. If your company has a good reputation, services the customers well and have practiced tier level team selling, your risk of losing business by terminating this type of sales person is minimal.

Doing nothing is not an option

Allowing this type of behavior with no consequence sends the wrong message and it also gives permission to others that if they were that good at putting up numbers for the company they could do anything they want. Once you look at it from an outside perspective and see if the company has had complicity in the situation, then it is good to do a little self analysis to see if "you" have complicity in the situation. Frankly, in a situation such as this it is highly unlikely that the sales manager is not responsible for allowing this to happen. It is not about accepting this behavior, which is wrong; however, if the sales manager had reacted at the first sign of this type of behavior, this would never have happened. The solution, whichever one you choose, will likely involve improving the personal skill sets of the sales manager and creating boundaries for the sales team. Without establishing boundaries the situation will repeat itself.

The Solutions ---- Termination, coach, mentor or train?

This type of situation with an employee has limited options; we can either fire or teach. If an employee's performance is not what is expected, it generally can be traced to a lack of training or they lack competency. However, if their performance deficiency is related to attitude (their numbers are good) we must consider the following:

• Is this employee motivated to learn and change
• Do you have the time and resources available to invest in behavior modification
• Is this employee worth the investment

If the answer is no to any of these questions --- Terminate

If the answer to these questions is yes --- a personalized coaching and mentoring process must be established with clear ground rules and timelines for acceptable improvements.

The biggest issue is that of motivation to change. Often times a Lone Wolf will not feel the threat of what can happen to them. As a result they don't cooperate and work on changing their behavior. They have become complacent, arrogant and live in a comfort zone. This arrogance is what blocks their ability to realize that they need to change. If this type of response is recognized early on, termination is still an option.

Who pulls the trigger?

The last piece of the puzzle is to understand who will make the decision and what course of action to take. If the consequences of the actions compromise the strategic direction of the company, it becomes a decision that should involve discussion with the executive team. That does not mean the sales manager is relieved of the responsibility of dealing with the problem. It simply means that additional input is required before pulling the trigger. It is entirely possible due to the importance of the decision to the company that the CEO may make the call.

Don't pay the ransom

It is never a good idea to pay the ransom. You are only delaying the inevitable. Being held hostage to improper behavior due to the fear of losing revenue is short term non-strategic thinking. If you find yourself in a position where a sales person can actually make or break your company then you have not done an effective job as the manager. You may be a major part of the problem. It is just not acceptable in today's business environment that any sales person owns the account base so strongly that it can jeopardize the success of the company. Start the process of rehabilitation or termination.

Step 1 ----- Coach, Mentor & Train the employee to create behavior modification that brings them in alignment with the firm's values, beliefs, and integrity.

Step 2----- Reestablish accountability with the entire sales team

Step 3 --- Start the recruiting process for the possible if not probable replacement of the employee.

Sales management is not easy. This is especially true in today's environment with the generational influence, the evolutionary transition from the Lone Wolf sales approach to the Lead Wolf team selling solution provider. Remember, compassion for the employees is both a strength and a weakness. If you find yourself being held hostage by this type of employee and he has been with the firm twenty years, follow these guidelines. However, if the answer is termination don't get caught up in the self imposed guilt about maintaining integrity due to the employee's tenure. Think about what you're doing to your integrity and the company's integrity in the eyes of the rest of your employees by not dealing with the situation effectively.

http://www.ceostrategist.com Dr. Rick Johnson is the founder of CEO Strategist LLC. an experienced based firm specializing in leadership development, strategic planning and the creation of competitive advantage in wholesale distribution. CEO Strategist LLC. works in an advisory capacity with distributor executives in board representation, executive coaching, team coaching and education and training to make the changes necessary to create or maintain competitive advantage. You can contact them by calling 352-750-0868, or visit http://www.ceostrategist.com for more information. CEO Strategist – experts in Strategic Leadership in Wholesale Distribution. Sign up for Rick's fr*e*e monthly news letter – "The Howl" email rick@ceostrategist.com and just put The Howl in the subject line..

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Top Ten Strategies Large Corporations Use Against Small Businesses Amp Their Countermeasures

Writen by Daniel Lowery

1) Fighting attritional battles—a common practice of giant corporations is to start a price war to drive down profits. With more capital, they can afford a loss for longer than their smaller competitors. Incorrect Response—when smaller businesses cut prices it actually helps the corporation because their greater resources eventually insure they'll win. Correct Response—avoid the attritional battle by selling different items, bundling equivalent products with other merchandise and setting diverse price structures.

2) Building a superstructure— Wal-Mart, Office Max and Home Depot build gargantuan superstores known as category killers because they are designed to remove all competition for that type of business. Incorrect Response—trying to carry as much inventory as a huge chain store plays into their strengths. Correct Response—modern entrepreneurs can compete with superstores by finding areas where they are weak. Small businesses should have specialized products and services that the chain stores don't have. Such as catering to children, the affluent or certain ethnic and regional groups to name just a few.

3) Monopolizing Resources—you think the Sherman and Clayton Anti-trust Acts ended monopoly practices? Think again! Prosecutions at the anti-trust division of the justice department are at an all time low. Wal-Mart, Microsoft and other corporations routinely violate anti-trust law because the fines are so low. Even if legal action is taken, it can take years to see any results. Incorrect Response—in today's business climate seeking anti-trust relief is mostly a waste of time. Correct Response—find a substitute for the product that is being monopolized. For instance, an independent, movie theatre owner was forced to pay exorbitant prices for first run movies from the motion picture companies. Instead of accepting these inflated charges he substituted classic movies for newly released films. By doing so, he bypassed the big studio's monopoly.

4) Hijacking employees—corporations will often raid smaller businesses for their employees. Incorrect Response—to enter bidding war to keep your valuable employees. Correct Response—have new hires sign a non-competitive clause that prohibits them from working at rival firms. Treat existing employees so well they won't want to leave.

5) Arbitration—although it is made to sound great, arbitration takes all the teeth out pursuing legal action for business disputes. It is also costly to initiate. Thereby making it useless for settling small matters. Incorrect Response—assuming arbitration is a fair way to resolve business conflicts. Correct Response—don't sign agreements with arbitration clauses. If you do, have it modified as close to a court proceeding as possible. Especially focus on getting complete discovery.

6) Playing a one-sided game—considering opening a franchise? While they're repeatedly touted as the safest way to own a business, consider this: a) The franchise agreements are all written in favor of the franchiser. b) There are sometimes hundreds of restrictions in advertising, hiring personnel, product line and many other areas. c) Franchisers promise the franchisee a certain territory, but constantly violate this agreement. d) Working with a franchise combines the worst of self-employment and having an autocratic boss, i.e. long hours with little pay and a lot of rules. Incorrect Response—signing one-sided agreements and then trying to work the mega-corporations afterwards. Correct Response—avoid playing the corporations game. Play your game instead with your own rules. If you are tempted to become a franchisee at least get the federally mandated Uniform Franchise Offering Circular. This gives you a record of the franchiser history and is an excellent indicator of your probability of success. Also, check with Dun & Bradstreet and the FTC web site http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menu-fran.htm.

7) Changing the rules—just when you learn the old rules, corporations will create new ones that highly favor them. Corporations will use political influence to get exemptions from the minimum wage, safety regulations, pension obligations and others. Incorrect Response—complaining to the corporation about their injustice. Correct response—expose their inconsistency to the public. Their hypocrisy often causes them to rescind their rules.

8) Policies—a slight variation on the rule change strategy. Corporations act as though their policies are law and then expect everyone to follow their one-side decrees. The "aggressive" accounting policies that led to the recent corporate scandals are a good example of this. Incorrect Response—accepting the unfair policies as law. Correct Response—recognize policies aren't law. Make corporations follow your contract and the law, not their policies

9) Definition game—corporations will suddenly re-interpret a word or phrase in a contract to give themselves an unfair advantage. Incorrect Response—accepting the alterations of words. Correct Response—make sure all contracts are clearly written. Legally challenge all revised definitions.

10) What's yours is mine—corporations frequently conduct bogus audits, withhold paychecks and tie up other funds with their franchisees, partners and contractors. Then they negotiate their return for their benefit. Incorrect Response—fighting a drawn out court battle. Correct Response—let your adversary know their pursuits will lead to undesired outcomes such as bad publicity, increased taxes or counter suits.

You can learn more of these corporate strategies as well as the small business countermeasures in "Battling The Corporate Giants: The Ultimate David and Goliath Story" available at http://www.pdbookstore.com/ The author, Daniel L. Lowery has over 17 years experience in sales. He has spent the last 11 years operating a cellular phone franchise in southern California.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Assuming Anything In Sales Is To Invite Failure

Writen by Tim Connor

One of the biggest mistakes many salespeople make is to assume. To believe that something is true without any verification, validation or evidence. In the area of the spiritual this is accepted practice and can be a healthy way to go through your life. In your sales career it can be the kiss of death. Assumptions are lethal. They give you confidence without any proof. They can set you up for disappointment, failure and at the worst breakdowns in communication.

I have heard the following more times than I can remember.

I assumed,

- that I was talking with the decision maker.
- they meant it when they said they would call me back.
- they understood the benefits of our product/service.
- they didn't have a problem with our price.


There is only one way to determine what your prospect or customer;

Does not like

And that is to ask them. Assuming vs. asking will guarantee a setback almost every time in your sales career. Asking, while you may not like the answer as least you are working from a position of knowledge and not uncertainty or unknown.

During the past several years no fewer than twenty-five of my weekly sales tips have focused on some aspect of the ability or need to ask good questions. If you want more information on this subject, my best selling book, Soft Sell, has an entire chapter dedicated to probing and asking questions. Or you can order my new special report – Sales Success – it's all in the Questions. This 25 page document shares everything you need to know to integrate this critical technique into your sales approach. It is only $8.00 and I can email it to you as an attachment if you would like to order it. Just give me your order details by email and I'll get it right off to you.

Many salespeople are great at probing and asking questions when they are trying to determine the status or circumstances of a new prospect. However, many stop this probing once they get an affirmative or confirmation that the customer is buying. Let's say your prospect says, "Yes, we want to place an order now." Do you stop asking questions or do you assume a yes is a yes and a now means now?

Let me ask you,

- Have you ever lost a sale that you thought was in the bag?
- Had to start all over again with a new contact at your prospect's organization for any reason?
- Had a sale close in two years when you thought it would close in two months?

Most of the really successful people in sales that I know or have known are or were not geniuses. Many of them are not even very smart and some are downright stupid. But, all of them have two things in common:

1. They are ruthless in the pursuit of information through questions.
2. They constantly invest in gaining increased and improved knowledge of the sales process.

Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That's Life, Peace Of Mind, 91 Challenges Managers Face Today and Your First Year In Sales. He can be reached at tim@timconnor.com, 704-895-1230 or visit his website at http://www.timconnor.com.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Top Performers Have These Critical Communication And Questioning Skills

Writen by Dennis Sommer

Do want to be known as "The Expert" or "The Guru"? Do you want to advance your career and income? If you answered yes to both of these questions then you need to become a "Top Performer" in your profession. Whether you are now a Manager, Executive, Consultant, Sales or Service Specialist, then Communication and Questioning skills will be one of the keys to your success. Experience and knowledge in your area of specialty may make you an above average performer, but to be a "Top Performer" start implementing the following 13 Communication and Questioning skills and action items today.

Top performers are successful by being honest, respecting a clients intelligence and focusing all their energies on how to make a difference in a clients life. After reviewing the following "Top Performer" Communication skills and action items, you will know how to be more effective, efficient, and successful.

Improve written, verbal, and listening skills to get your meaning across to key decision makers.

1. Always tell your customer why they should buy/use your offering. Use plain English (no technical terminology) and describe the benefits. Example, "Produce a widget in ½ the time" or "Services are performed in ½ the time and at ½ the cost".

2. Listen naively instead of defending and debating. By keeping an open, unbiased mind and keeping the customer talking, provides valuable information that can be addressed in the future.

3. Customers will better understand information if told as a story. Instead of showing and describing numbers, statistics and technical points, tell them a story about customer experiences with the offering, how they used it, and the value they received.

4. You have a 50% greater chance of success by translating raw data into simple words, knowledge, and wisdom that customers can use to make smart decisions. Turn raw data into a story.

5. Highlight how easy your offering is to use.

Questions to ask your customers daily.

1. Ask your customer, "What makes our offering different over a competitors?" This will provide honest, unbiased feedback that will help position your offering with current and future customers.

2. Call customers personally to see how they like your offering. Ask, "Does "XYZ" offering meet or exceed your expectations?". Then ask if they have any questions.

3. Ask customers, "What can I do to win more of your business?". This direct question will provide valuable information for the future.

4. Continue to ask your customer "What's new?" You will increase your odds of learning more, quicker. Do not assume you are up to date on what is going on.

5. Ask customers open ended questions using "Why". Example, "Why is it important to increase your production?".

6. Ask the customer "What are the little things that annoy them?". Then fix these details.

7. Ask the customer "Do you ever expect to make a purchase?". This sets off events of deep thought and consideration.

8. Ask the customer "What are they looking for and what is most important?".

Copyright 2006 Dennis Sommer

Dennis Sommer is a widely respected and world renowned authority on sales, business development and leadership performance improvement. He is a leading adviser, author, and speaker providing clients with practical strategies that improve personal and organization performance. With nearly twenty years of business development and leadership experience, he has consulted on over 200 critical business and technology initiatives for Fortune 1000 companies. Dennis can be reached at Dennis@btrconline.com or http://www.btrconline.com

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

If You Comp Them They Will Come The Simple Way To Motivate Your Sales Force

Writen by Patrick Gray

In most companies, the sales force is the most loved and simultaneously feared organization in the company. Often perceived as the corporate "breadwinners," any attempt to change the behavior or process of the sales force is met with skepticism and trepidation.

"You just can't risk upsetting the sales force! Do you know how much revenue is at stake here?"

Any initiative or strategy that might change the way sales works, or perhaps more closely track what it is the sales forces actually does is perceived as a threat in all levels of a sales organization. New systems or processes mean only one thing to sales: a learning curve that means less time to sell, which in turn leads to lower commissions. Therein lies the simple answer to all change management challenges when dealing with a sales force: commissions.

Arguing that commissions are the key lever to influence sales may seem to imply that salespeople are a bunch of money grubbing capitalists, forsaking all else in pursuit of the almighty dollar. This however is largely untrue, rather the sales force is one of the few areas in most corporations where a very simple metric, and corresponding lever exist to manipulate behavior. Commissions are both a key part of compensation, but also a hard, numeric metric to indicate how well a particular person has performed. If Jane received higher commissions than I did, there's a very strong case that can be made that Jane is a better salesperson than I.

Whereas many positions have complex evaluations, peer reviews and other "soft" analysis, in sales, you either made the sale or you did not. At the end of the day, a customer needs to cut a check to pay for the sale, so you know exactly what that sale brought in to the company's top line.

At their most simple level, commissions give the salesperson a "piece of the action" they generate, and encourage a beneficial behavior: selling more products. This is where some level of sophistication enters the process. Rarely does a company simply give a salesperson a fixed percentage of each sale, rather higher margin deals usually receive a higher commission, or new product sales are rewarded more than sales of an older product to an existing customer. Combining your commission model with your process improvement strategy is where the magic happens. If your sales force is consistently selling products in a manner that creates extra labor and sunk costs on the backend, change your commission model to encourage sales that follow the new and improved process, and generate higher profit on the bottom line rather than big dollars on the top line. All it takes for the new commission model to be wholeheartedly embraced is for one salesperson to get a higher commission using the new model, or for a hard line rep to lose his ticket to the annual sales meeting in Hawaii before word will spread that the company is serious about change.

I'll never forget a discussion I had with an Operations Exec at a large office equipment company, which I'll call BigCo for the purposes of this article. He had recently assumed the new role, and was telling me of his first experience with Sales leadership. A SVP had come into his office the prior week and proudly announced that one of the sales reps was closing a multi-million dollar deal with one of the large overnight package handling companies. The sales rep had promised that BigCo would move all of their shipping to this carrier and hand wrote this clause into their contract, and the SVP was thrilled that this deal would put sales well ahead of its quarterly revenue metric.

The operations exec, who had just signed a multi-year deal with their current carrier, and recently completed a nine month project to optimize BigCo's logistics operation, was stunned. He did some analysis on the costs of switching carriers and revamping the systems and processes he had just put in place, and even with the million or so of revenue generated by the sale, the entire deal would result in the company losing two to three times as much. On their next meeting, the operations guy tore up the contract in front of the sales SVP, to dumbfounded silence. Even with the reams of figures showing how detrimental the deal was to the company as a whole, he still spent quite a bit of time on the sales forces' "Top Ten Most Wanted" list.

The moral of this story is that sales comp must be analyzed from a holistic perspective. What is good for sales may not be good for the company, and the implementation of new systems or new business processes is the perfect time to perform this analysis and determine an appropriate commission model. Make no mistake that this is difficult work, but once completed, getting the sales force to change is as easy as sending out an email detailing the new commission model. Old behaviors, which were not profitable to the company as a whole should not be highly compensated (if at all), and profitable deals, which use the systems and processes correctly should be the most valuable to the salesperson. As soon as reps realize the new plan is there to stay, more "good" deals will begin appearing almost overnight.

The magic here is the simplicity of implementing the change. Existing motivational structures such as compensation, bonus programs and free trips to an exotic location are already in place, the new commission model simply changes the focus from what is good for sales to what is good for the company as a whole. If a new CRM system is deemed as good for the company, the commission model should provide compensation if a deal is correctly entered into the new system, and reduced commission (or no commission) if the systems and processes are not used. If you want to get even more rigorous, you could track the time required for back office processing of a sale, and deduct compensation for difficult to process (more costly) deals.

Despite all the dire predictions on sales acceptance of a new system or process change, like any other employee most salespeople want to be high performers (if they do not, they should be shown the door, but that is a topic for another time). If you add systems and overhead without showing any benefit, in the form of commissions, your company will join the litany of those complaining about and fearing their sales forces. If your commission model is designed to reward use of tools that benefit the company as a whole, not only will your sales force rapidly accept the new systems and processes, but will be bringing in new business that provides the highest margin for the entire company.

Patrick Gray is the President of Prevoyance Group, the leading consulting company dedicated to helping companies ensure their large IT projects deliver organizational value on time and on budget. To find out how to increase the value produced by YOUR IT organization and become a hero in the C-suite, please visit http://www.prevoyancegroup.com/whitepaper for a complimentary whitepaper.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Prm 101 The Basics Of Partner Relationship Management

Writen by Kausik Dutta

What is PRM?
PRM, or Partner Relationship Management, can be defined as a business strategy, internet system, or software program aimed at improving communications between businesses and their channel partners. It allows partners to access leads more efficiently, collaborate on deals, improve their ability to do business, and build solid partner relationships.

It allows companies to track indirect channel sales and gain more coverage or exposure without spending more money.

How Does PRM work?
PRM has complete channel visibility and allows companies to provide more information quickly and easily to business partners and collaborators. This means faster deployment, higher use by partners, customizable branding, ease-of-use, and real-time access to data.

Channel partners also have access to executive dashboards and myriad reports that are easy to use and customizable to their own preferences. Essentially, becoming a partner means you become an affiliate and create your own customized application based around your company. A good application will come complete with partner training, account management, and a host of other training materials.

Who does PRM benefit?
PRM benefits both the company and the affiliate, or channel partner. Channel partners receive high levels of training and the ability to manage all their direct and indirect sales channels, and the parent company gains more product or service sales. Additionally, most PRM applications offer tools to manage the relationship.

What are some PRM applications?
PRM applications are created around the same idea as a spreadsheet, where values can be filled in and tabulated to quantify, analyze, and interpret data. A PRM application can both collect and analyze information simultaneously.

What is an Online PRM system?
An online PRM strategy allows companies to manage and streamline administrative tasks by making real-time information available to all partners via the internet. This can include spreadsheets, schedules, and much more. Web-based PRM allows new information to be accessed immediately without any time lapse. It is different from a software-based PRM program in that it allows for live, as-it-happens updates; thus, information remains current.

How do PRM systems help businesses?
PRM systems help immensely in driving sales and increasing a company's exposure. It allows businesses to recruit large numbers of partners to essentially sell their product. Thus they gain a wider audience for their wares without spending more money. The partners get commissions off sales and reap the benefits of channel partnership. It also allows multiple businesses to work together without having to match up all their business and sales strategies. Many companies like the comfort and professional flexibility it offers.

When should a company use PRM?
A company should use PRM if they are large and have multiple channel partners. PRM isn't so great for little company unless they are specifically set up as an affiliate site whose sole interest lies in spending a little money to create a potentially larger investment. Generally speaking, any company that uses any kind of partnership to sell their product is an ideal prospect for partner relationship management.

Salesforce.com is the world's first on-demand application service and a giant in the field of CRM. With over 24,000 customers, over 500,000 subscribers, and a 97% customer satisfaction rate, Salesforce.com continues to lead their field. To find out more about them, please visit www.salesforce.com.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Sales Plan Whats A Sales Plan

Writen by Wendy Weiss

In the past, if you said the word "plan" to me, I would bolt and run. I'm the "creative type," a former ballet dancer and choreographer—I'm terrible with details. When I was dancing professionally, all the details were taken care of; all I had to do was show up and dance. Even when I was choreographing, as long as I met my deadline for when the dance needed to be complete, I could go with the moment, go with the impulse and see where the dance led.

A hearty dose of reality hit when I began to run a dance company. All of a sudden, I had people—employees, volunteers and dancers—waiting. I had to know where we were going and how we were going to get there. It was a different world. Every decision had impact down the line. If we were going to have a spring season, I needed to know what we would be performing and where we'd be performing it. How many dancers would I need? What about costumes? Were we going to commission music? What would it cost? How would we pay for it all?

It took a long time for me to grasp the impact of having a plan. Because I was running a small, grass roots organization, there never seemed to be enough time, people, money or resources. I was always putting out fires. Every plan I developed changed the moment I keyed in the last sentence and printed it out. Plan—who has time to plan? Especially when the plan keeps changing!

Over time, I began to see the planning process as a road map. You know your ultimate goal. You figure out the best way to get there. Your plan needs to include contingencies and have enough space that you can deal with fires and still move forward. And sometimes, the plan changes; it might need some adjustment or "tweaking." As long as the goal remains the same and as long as you keep taking steps forward to achieve that goal, your plan will help you get there.

In sales, your goal is revenue-driven. How much money do you want to make? Or a better question: How much profit do you want to make? Then, how are you going to achieve that?

Your basic plan should start with a dollar amount and work backwards. If, for example, you want to gross $500,000 in sales this year, on average, how many sales would that be? What is your average sale? On average, how many prospects do you have to see or speak with to close one sale? So, how many prospects would you need to see or speak with to close the number of sales you would need to reach your goal of $500,000? What steps do you need to take to see or speak with that many prospects?

Wow! What a mouthful! Here is a mathematical formula:

Value of average sale =______________
How many prospects to close one sales: _______________

Gross sales ¸ average sale = total number of sales needed

Number of prospects to close one sale x total number of sales needed = total number of prospects

(This formula is from a dancer who counts up to 8 and starts over again! If I can do it—you can do it!)

© 2004 Wendy Weiss

Wendy Weiss, "The Queen of Cold Calling & Selling Success," is a sales trainer, author and sales coach. Her new program, "Cold Calling College," can be ordered by calling: (866) 405-8212. Contact her at wendy@wendyweiss.com. Get her free e-zine at http://www.wendyweiss.com.

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Pointless Targets

Writen by Frank Salisbury

I recall a heated discussion with a sales director some time ago where I proposed that the long-term effect of setting activity targets for salespeople would eventually lead to failure. He vehemently made the point that he had systematically imposed activity targets on his sales force and that the result had been to treble average income per salesperson within 18 months.

What he didn't say, something which I found out when I investigated further was that he had at the same time:

• reduced his sales force from 450 to 300 – letting the bottom 150 hundred producers go, and

• the average income per salesperson at the time he took over was one quarter of the industry average

There are two types of targets most often associated with selling and sales coaching:

• Financial targets – results, and

• Activity targets

Given the choice between buying activity management systems and implementing a performance coaching system to bring out the best in salespeople, my unfortunate experience is that many senior management teams will inevitably choose activity management. The reason? It's easy. OK, so you have to push people around a little; you might have to dismiss a few non-achievers; there will tears before bedtime; but it's a relatively easy thing to implement and to control. Yet my firm conviction is that it is easy because it doesn't work. It works in the short term – granted, and there's even a place for it during field induction and as a mechanism for performers to appraise themselves, but as a coaching tool it is a non-starter.

I believe that you teach salespeople about activity, not tell them about it. If you teach people, by example, that activity is important –that's quite different from demanding levels of activity. The danger with the latter is that you will have your salespeople deliver the activity without a corresponding increase in business. I have numerous examples of salespeople forging activity levels simply to keep the manager happy. In the meantime the cuckolded manager sinks into a quicksand of statistics trying to work out where it going wrong.

I recently visited an area sales manager who was having problems with a non-performing salesman:

When I entered his (the manager's) office there was a mountain of paper on his desk. He proceeded to tell me about Jack Newton who was under performing and had been doing so for some while. He told me that he had insisted that Jack increase his customer interviews from 8 per week to twenty per week. The manager showed me the charts he had put together showing the pattern of calls and results. When he opened it up it filled the surface of the desk in front of me. It was very impressive. It must have taken him quite some time to put together. Jack was now calling on an average of 21 customers per week. His results had not increased. I arranged to meet Jack, with his manager present and I asked him to bring his. When we met I opened Jack's diary and I pointed to the first name entered on Monday morning. I said – Jack. If I ring this person up, will he know who you are? Jack looked in pain. Yes of course, he said. I said – Jack if I ring all of these people up, will they all confirm they know you? Jack paused – Yes. I said – Jack. I'm going to ask you one more time, just to save me the trouble of telephoning all of these people, which is what I intend to do, how many of the names in this week of your diary will confirm that they have met you? Jack paused longer than he had before – most of them he said. But not all of them I said. No he replied. Out of the corner of my eye the manger was sinking into the furnishing of his chair. Jack, I said slowly, this is now really the last time I'm going to ask you, when I ring these people up, how many will confirm that you have been to see them; that you attempted to sell them your service; that they were not a personal friend?

Over a couple of months Jack had falsified 80% of his activity. It wasn't his fault. He was responsible, but it wasn't his entire fault. The manager had forced him to achieve an arbitrary activity target. The manager had abdicated his personal responsibility of spending a few days with Jack showing him that activity mattered but that it isn't the only thing that matters. See more people is too easy a remedy.

There's a distinction between what your role has to be a) with new starters, and b) with experienced salespeople – whether they are overachieving or not. The principle is that you train and manage people up to the line, and you coach people after the line. Up to the line is where you set your benchmark – the basic minimum requirement; above the line is where you seek to help people excel at the job. You cannot help people to excel at the job until they reach the line. Below the line are your minimum expectations. The elements which are below the line could include the requirement to learn a sales structure. It could include knowledge levels. It could include procedures. Below the line is where you apply the rules. There is no negotiation below the line. You make it clear what is expected and you implement it. These are the rules which are spelt out at recruitment. You make it clear what will happen when someone starts in your team. You do this before they join the company – not after. All too often I've met salespeople on an induction training courses where their idea of what the job entailed and reality were miles apart. You make it absolutely clear what you expect them to do, and how you expect them to do it.

You may produce figures which show that from a particular level of activity that a particular financial outcome is being achieved within the sales force. You may produce figures to show that the relationship between activity and income leads you to believe that the more people that you see, the higher the potential results. You may choose to ignore the fact that top salespeople see fewer customers than their lower performing colleagues. But you need to ask yourself the question – what is it you want from the salesperson? Activity or results? Forget the relationship between activity and performance – what is you want – activity or results? If it's results then apply the rationale I have laid out in detail above. If it's activity, then perhaps you have lost the plot. The most important thing to you as a sales manager and a sales coach is results and your job as a coach and a trainer is to improve on performance. Anybody can increase activity. Activity is but a measure of performance. If performance is low one of the elements of increasing it can be increased activity. It is the easiest way in which to increase performance. It involves playing the numbers game.

That's not to say that you can't influence activity – but it's not coaching, it's training. Part of the central training programme could and should contain basic training on the activities that go towards making up the prospecting part of the sales job. It right to expect that people work hard in return for what you pay them, but that's a philosophy that new people will learn from what they see about them. The greatest influence on that will be you, and the rest of the sales team. The greatest influence on the rest of your sales team is you.

You influence people about activity by making sure that you reinforce the central training by meeting the new starter immediately after the training programme. You job is to check that they have accepted the philosophy of the company (which could include work ethic); that they have acquired whatever level of knowledge was expected (so you test it); and that you check that they have acquired the expected skill level, which means that you test it in role-play. These are three important tests before you allow the salesperson in front of a customer. As a precursor to his you have to be 100% confident that the central training process works and that the format of the central training programme delivers to you exactly what was agreed, otherwise, when someone starts with you in the field and they either don't accept the company's philosophy about work ethics; or haven't acquired the level of knowledge and skill you expected; then you will not be able to decide whether it's the new starter's fault or the central training department's fault. I suggest you sort of all this out long before you start employing salespeople. You and the training department much have complete faith in other's ability to deliver exactly what has been specified. The last part of this phase is that you must accompany the new salesperson on a live customer call. It is the only way in which to ensure the transfer of theory from the recruitment stage and the training of basic training on the central programme to where it really counts and that's in front of the customer. There isn't a professional coach alive that doesn't sit on the touchline; stand in the wings; sit in the auditorium; watch the actual performance as part of their coaching responsibilities. There's nothing you can do about the performance, except learn.

It's important to give the performer emotional strength through your support and your expectation of success. You need to transfer your positive expectations about the potential of the performer to them – I know that you can performer higher. I know that you can be even more successful. But be careful about expectations that are too high too quick. One step at a time is enough.

Frank Salisbury is a highly experience motivational speaker, and inspiring business coach, particularly to the sales profession. Frank is recognised as a leading authority in the field of sales - including sales process design, sales performance, and sales coaching.

He strongly believes that whether we work in the public or private sector; whether our organisation is commercial or non-commercial; that we are all in sales. His favourite quote, which has become his maxim, is from Robert Louis Stevenson – 'Everything in live is selling'. He has spoken at numerous conferences and seminars where his style has received popular acclaim for a speaker with a passion for life, and achievement.

He is Managing Director of Business & Training Solutions Ltd – a sales consultancy based in Ireland and the UK. He can be contacted at frank@btsolutions.ie. 28 Rye Close, Banbury, Oxfordshire. 0044 (0)1295250247

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Placebo Effect Persuasive Suggestions

Writen by Kurt Mortensen

One form that expectations can take is in the shape of a placebo. A placebo is a non-medicinal substance that is given to patients so they believe they are receiving medicine. Placebos were used during the Korean War when MASH units ran out of morphine. When medical workers gave wounded soldiers placebos, 25 percent of the soldiers reported a reduction in pain. The placebo works because the expectation that the "medicine" will help is so strong that our brains actually translate it into reality. In some studies, placebos worked 25 percent to 40 percent of the time!

Not only can our expectations make us well, but they can also make us sick. You may think, "I feel the flu coming on," and you will probably get it. Or if one of your coworkers says, "You look terrible. Are you coming down with something?" you probably will. Expectations have also been related to the occurrence and timing of death. Most elderly people view retirement homes as the end of the line, the last step in life. Mortality rates, for both men and women, double after admission to the retirement home.

The Nazi concentration camps fed off of the psychological expectation of death. Prison guards instilled hopelessness in prisoners. They created a psychological environment whereby the prisoners came to expect no chance at survival. Prisoners exhibited powerlessness, an inability to cope, and a diminished will to live--in a sense, a self-imposed death sentence.

One amazing example of the placebo effect occurred in Israel in 1991. Israeli citizens were seen wearing gas masks during scud bombings. Shortly thereafter, hospitals reported dozens of people complaining of symptoms from weapons that were never used. The gas masks were just a form of protection in case of chemical or biological warfare, but just seeing others wearing one caused people to become ill!

I have even used the placebo effect on my daughter. At times, she has trouble sleeping at night and needs a little nudge. I tell her I have a special pill (vitamin) that will put her right to sleep in five minutes. Without fail, she is happily sleeping before the five minutes are up.

Kurt Mortensen's trademark is Magnetic Persuasion; rather than convincing others, he teaches that you should attract them, just like a magnet attracts metal filings. He teaches that sales have changed and the consumer has become exponentially more skeptical and cynical within the last five years. Most persuaders are using only 2 or 3 persuasion techniques when there are actually 120 available! His message and program has helped thousands and will help you achieve unprecedented success in both your business and personal life.

If you are ready to claim your success and learn what only the ultra-prosperous know, begin by going to http://www.PreWealth.com and getting my free report "10 Mistakes That Continue Costing You Thousands." After reading my free report, go to http://www.PreWealth.com/IQ and take the free Persuasion IQ analysis to determine where you rank and what area of the sales cycle you need to improve in order to close every sale!

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Business Lead Lists

Writen by Ken Marlborough

Business lead lists can be classified into a number of categories. They can be based on the various characteristics of the customers, such as age, sex and education. They can also be based on the geographical and other characteristics of the markets.

Segmentation based on region, continent, country, state and climate of the area comes under geographic segmentation. Segmentation based on age of the customer, sex, family size, race, religion, occupation and income level comes under demographic segmentation.

To consider an example, marketers have segmented the market for consumer goods in US into three broad segments: the high-income group, the middle class and the lower income group. Though the middle class constitutes a well-defined segment in itself, marketers have found that middle-class US consumers can be understood better if one further segments them into suitable subcategories.

Such segmentation would bring about a deeper understanding of their buying motives and behaviors. Once such segments are identified, products and appeals can be correspondingly tailored to fit individual segments.

Variables such as personality types, lifestyles and value systems form the basis of psychographic segmentation. Psychographics can prove valuable for finding and explaining markets, as consumer differences extend beyond demographics. Psychographic segmentation facilitates the selection of people who en masse react in a particular manner to a particular emotional appeal, and share common behavioral patterns as buyers.

Then there exists the buyer behavior segmentation where the primary idea is that different customer groups expect different benefits from the same product, and as such their motivations in owning it and their behavior in buying it will be different.

In volume segmentation, the quantity of purchase or the potential quantity of purchase is the basis for segmentation. There may be different types of buyers, such as bulk buyers and small-scale buyers, regular buyers and one-time buyers. All will have to be treated differently.

Business Leads provides detailed information on Business Lead Lists, Business Leads, Business Sales Leads, Free Business Leads and more. Business Leads is affiliated with Sales Lead Management.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hiring The Best Sales Athletes

Writen by John Tallitsch

The principal driver of sales productivity is the quality of an organization's salespeople. The best sales strategies slide into oblivion without strong salespeople. No sales management theory, practice or system can make up for having less than the best talent. But, having marvelous sales talent can moderate, for example, the problems caused by a flawed selling system.

Hiring the right salespeople is the most important task of a sales leader.

The best sales organizations invest significantly in, and are aggressive about, hiring sales personnel who are demonstratively goal-oriented, self-motivated and successful. They employ systematic and rigorous assessment and interview processes to ensure the right people are hired – often reviewing hundreds of resumes per hire and putting potential candidates through tens of interviews.

Successful sales leaders also seize every opportunity to hire competitors' superstars who can change the profitable revenue growth results in a territory, of an assigned group of customers, for a sales team, etc. They aren't discouraged by the amount of pay required to hire such an "impact player" because the combination of two dynamics creates a staff realignment opportunity:

> Results delivered by one high performer will be more than those generated by two or three mediocre performers; and

> The compensation cost of the high performer will be less than the total pay of the lesser performers.

High performance sales cultures employ results-oriented metrics that separate "winners" from "losers." The metrics identify, within the context of the time required for a typical salesperson to reach full productivity, whether correct hiring decisions have been made. Results versus sales goals are regularly and clearly communicated to individuals. In this setting, sales leaders are intolerant of below goal performance and aren't shy about replacing hiring mistakes. The metrics are also invaluable in revealing opportunities to accelerate the productivity of mid-level performers and leverage the productivity of high performers.

Employing superb sales athletes enhances an organization's ability to grow revenue profitably. It also creates a competitive advantage that is more sustainable than investments in facilities, machines or R&D. Why? Because the advantage gained from people who perform is more difficult to replicate.

John F. Tallitsch is the founder of TopMark, a consulting boutique specializing in sales effectiveness and sales compensation. TopMark helps companies create finely-tuned, results-oriented sales capabilities through solutions encompassing: customer segmentation and targeting; sales strategies; sales force and territory design; performance-driven sales incentives; and talent strategies. You can contact John at 440-963-1240 or visit http://www.top-mark.com for more information.

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Train A Winning Sales Team Rounding Third And Heading For Home

Writen by Sally Bacchetta

Although I never met the man, I imagine Lou Boudreau would have made one heck of a field sales trainer. In 1942 the 24-year old Cleveland Indians shortstop was promoted to player/manager of his team, and for the next eight years Boudreau did what we, as trainers, are called upon to do every day: demonstrate success, inspire success and cultivate success. Think of it as the triple play of sales training.


A seven-time All-Star shortstop, Boudreau was only the second manager to take the Indians to a World Series Championship, and no one has done so since. Clearly, he was a man who demonstrated success. As field sales trainers we must similarly make success a habit. A field contact with a trainer may be the first "in situ" opportunity a new rep has to test their impressions of the company, and possibly selling in general. Is what we say consistent with the corporate sales direction? Is what we do consistent with what we say? Most importantly, are we successful at gaining customer commitment and moving the sales process forward?

Inexperienced reps may need guidance on effective territory management and specific techniques for gaining access to prospects. Experienced reps are more familiar with the demands of the position, so their concerns are usually more territory-specific. Their willingness to accept us as role models may depend on how well we demonstrate successful resolution of field challenges: "The key thought leader in my area is on the speaker's bureau for Competitor X. How can I compete with that?" "Most of my key decision makers won't see reps. What can I do to impact their decision making process?" Established reps need to know that we have successfully overcome similar challenges and can give them strategies to do the same.

Demonstrating success is also vital because as field sales trainers we hold a uniquely dual role in the sales organization. In addition to the time we spend training and coaching sales reps, most of us are responsible for increasing sales and growing market share in our assigned territories. Our ability to manage our time and territory productively is vital in order to reach our own performance goals.


Selling is fun when sales are good, but experienced reps know that's not always the case. Without any warning you run smack into a competitor's newly expanded sales force. Your blockbuster technology launches with software challenges. You spent your weekend studying a new clinical reprint, but every doctor you see wants to talk about last night's exposé on the cost of prescription drugs.

Inspiration is our second wind. It keeps us focused on the big picture when our progress temporarily stalls. It's a safe bet that all sales reps want to succeed… a good trainer will inspire them to succeed. The wanting gives us aim, but it is the inspiration that makes us reach. Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller understood the power of inspiration to drive performance: "I remember in 1948... I was having a rough season, and instead of replacing me Lou (Boudreau) said 'We're going to sink or swim with Feller'. After he said that I won 10 of my last 12 games. He instilled a confidence in his players they never forgot."

In the final analysis inspiration is unique to the individual, so figuring out how to inspire our sales reps may be the most challenging aspect of being a trainer. It can also be the most rewarding.

One way to inspire success is to celebrate its many forms. Baseball fans illustrate this perfectly. Do they wait soundlessly for the final out in the bottom of the ninth? Of course not! They cheer every solid crack of the bat… every difficult catch… every stolen base, because they recognize that each of these small successes brings them closer to their ultimate goal. The more skillful the play the more fervent the cheer, which motivates the athletes to stretch their abilities to achieve even more.

I think the single most inspiring thing you can do is to pay attention to your reps. Don't wait until the bottom of the ninth to commend their progress. Make a point to notice their incremental gains and celebrate their success!


When I first started in sales I thought I should be just like Gregg, the most successful member of my team. I stifled my own personality and conducted my sales presentations as if I were Gregg, copying his voice inflections, the rhythm of his speech, and even some of his jokes. It wasn't long before I began to suspect that his achievement was more a matter of luck than skill, because clearly, this selling approach was a failure!

In truth, the failure was mine. By rejecting my personal style I had violated one of the fundamental principles in cultivating success: respect individuality. Gregg's approach worked for him because it was his. When I rediscovered my style and trusted my own instinct, that's when I developed success. When Boudreau was promoted to player/manager his team was made up of more than just shortstops. He led his team to victory by relying on each player's unique strengths to overcome the challenges of their position. Whether we are working with new or veteran reps, we must respect that their individual traits and talents have gotten them this far. Our job is to expect more.

How can we help our reps progress from expecting more to achieving more? By encouraging risk taking and new behaviors. Too conservative a team culture makes it difficult to raise the bar; few are willing to reach higher, for fear of falling short. As trainers we should be first at bat, risking innovative approaches and new ideas. Boudreau wasn't afraid to think differently. He recognized that teammate Bob Lemon was misplaced as an infielder, so he reassigned him to pitcher, liberating Lemon from mediocrity and helping him achieve MVP/All Star status.


Just as a coach can't swing the bat for the player at the plate, we can't be with our teams every play of the game. We must share our best techniques for sales success, so that when split-second adjustments need to be made, they have the skills to make the right ones.

"I can't be with you every day" has become something of a team slogan; a reminder that ultimately we each bear responsibility for creating our own success. As trainers our mission is to teach the art of unflinching self-assessment. Perhaps the most important thing we can give our reps is the ability to evaluate themselves honestly and specifically. Once they master that skill set they will be rounding third and heading for home!

Copyright ©2004 by Sally Bacchetta. All rights reserved.

Sally Bacchetta - Freelance Writer/Sales Trainer

Sally Bacchetta is an award-winning sales trainer and freelance writer. She has published articles on a variety of topics, including selling skills, motivation, and pharmaceutical sales.

You can contact her at sb14580@yahoo.com and read her latest articles on her website.

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