Infocusselling’s Blog

April 24, 2008

How do seasons affect your selling?

How will the change from winter to spring to summer affect your selling? If you think it won’t, I think you are wrong. I don’t want to give out the answer but think about:

1) how you and your customers respond to longer days and more sunshine

2) how vacation time affects your selling and/or the business of your customers

3) what natural seasonality exists in your business and why (tax payment timing, impact of weather on your product, spending variation due to holidays, introduction of new products, etc.)

Every business is affected in some way by the summer. How will yours be impacted? More importantly, if it is not a good impact, what will you do this year to minimize the impact of it AND if you really think ahead, make it a competitive advantage for you over your competition who isn’t thinking enough about it?

Part of successful selling is thinking ahead. What are you thinking about now?


April 12, 2008


Filed under: INFOCUSSELLING BLOG — Educated and Aware @ 9:02 am
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How Employee Engagement Increases Everyone’s Productivity

by Scott Seibert

If a competitor would not try to steal your people, why not?  If you were to walk into your business today and begin the process of growing it so that you could someday sell it for some multiple of $1,000,000, how would you start that process?

Why are the answers to both questions the same?

I’ve found over the last 30 years that some truths about life and business are universal.   One of those is that each of us is the most productive and happiest when we are doing something we really are good at, enjoy, and through which we are allowed to maximize our talents.  If you apply that to your business and create a culture where you and your people are given the opportunity and tools to do your/their best every day, your business will flourish far beyond what you thought possible.

In earlier articles we’ve touched on the discovery of productivity through the engagement of your people.  We began with the simple step of letting your people know exactly what was expected and then training them to get that done.  Allowing and encouraging them to do what they do best is the next step in the process.

The same is true in your own activities on a daily basis.  In ACTUM’s Leadership Coaching one of the tenants is to discover what you really want to do, and then do it.  Sounds like a Nike commercial….  Both scenarios have to do with discovering people’s strengths and then making sure everyone understands in detail their skills, knowledge, and talents.  We all see reality through different filters.  We need to understand why we act and react the way we do and how best to communicate with others using those traits.  We need to figure out what we are good at and then find a role within our organizations that will allow us to succeed.  And then from a leadership standpoint, we need to figure out how to bring others with us.

How do you do that for your people?  The first act is to hold up a mirror.  Earnestly discuss what your people like and dislike about their jobs and why.  Ask how they would change either their role or their job so that they could become more productive.  How would they measure their success?  You will discover in a very short time whether there is a possible fit between person and job expectations.

The second act is to have your people hone their skills to be able to maximize the utilization of their talents.  Give them exceedingly more complex and important projects to test their abilities and to give them a taste of success.  Nothing breeds success like success.

For you, the first act is exactly the same.  What comes easily?  In what endeavors have you tasted that sweetness of success.  Define how it came about.  What skills or talents did you use?  How can you expand on those talents to build them into strengths?

That adventure will open the doors to where you want to go.  It is up to you to walk through that door.  If you would like some help, call us.

Scott Seibert is a Sales and Leadership Strategist with ACTUM Group, where he specializes in increasing profit by improving team focus and interaction. For more information on Scott, click here




April 11, 2008




APRIL 2008

If you think you have it tough in your market, consider the auto dealer. Not only does he have to compete with other brands offering similar products, but also with other dealers who sell the exact same product with the same incentives and financing. Over a six-week period from early February to mid March, I visited 13 dealers and spoke with 14 salespeople. I had multiple telephone calls with 4 salespeople at another 3 dealerships, plus 5 dealers via the internet, for a total of 21 dealerships and 24 salespeople, representing three brands. I drove 15 different trucks. It started out as a search for a new truck, and ended up as a case study—in how NOT to sell a car!

What actually happened during my case study was astounding. Of the 14 salespeople I met face-to-face, and 3 more that I had multiple telephone conversations with, only 2 out of 17 (13%) asked more than 2 additional information questions to develop an understanding of my primary buying trigger. A surprisingly low 9 of the 14 face-to-face contacts and 4 of the 8 telephone and internet contacts (13 out of 22, 59% overall) asked, “What color would you like?” Only 6 of those 13 (27% overall) got into the color issue by asking more than one color related question. Had more people asked, “What about the white or gray do you like?” they would have found out that my intent was to put graphics on the truck to match my boat. If you want to help a buyer spend a lot of money with you, find out what is really driving his or her decision. If you are not in the car business, how does this relate to you? Because the core concepts of good selling transcend all industries. The good salespeople heard what I said, listened for what I did not say, and asked the appropriate digging questions to find out the rest of the story. Excellent questioning skills are critical for success in any sales position and the more competition in your market, the more important they become. How many times do you listen to the first thing a prospect says and think you know the rest of the story? You are either assuming the rest of the story or you don’t care. If it is the former, here’s a secret about buyers—they all play a little poker and never show their full hand. If you think your prospect has told you all of the details and factors in their decision in their answer to your first question and that it is now time for you to start pitching, you are seriously mistaken and must read the full case study which will be released soon at If it is the latter, that you don’t care, you need to get out of sales now before you ruin the reputation of your employer.

Another category was the salesperson’s ability to connect with me, to understand my buying style. The best salespeople quickly figured out my communication and decision making style and adapted to me right away. I am what is called a high-D or dominant on the DISC communication style model. I want broad discussions with minimal details, am going to make quick bottom line oriented decisions, and want to feel like I am in charge of the buying process. People who try to impress me with product knowledge are likely to irritate me by telling me things that I did not ask about. One salesperson asked me if I knew what a hemi was. Looking at his age, I replied that I remembered when hemis were out long before he was born. His next question was more insulting. “Do you know about the MDS system?” I responded, “Yes, I do know how it shuts down cylinders.” He then went on to explain how it worked and how it would make a big difference on fuel economy. I did not ask for any explanation and I never mentioned fuel economy as a buying criteria. A much better question would have been, “How important is fuel mileage in your new truck?” to see if it mattered at all. Keep your questions open to drive communication. If the question can be fully answered “yes” or “no” it is the wrong type of question to ask if you are looking for a complete understanding of your prospect’s wants and needs.


April 6, 2008

INFOCUS process

Filed under: INFOCUSSELLING BLOG — Educated and Aware @ 6:20 pm

In class I have been attempting to proceed sequentially though the INFOCUS steps.  By this, I mean that I would 1st Find all the goals, then move to Outline all the goals, then Crystalize and so on.

Does it ever make sense to zero in on a specific goal and follow it through to Crystalize?  It seems that this approach could also be effective.  Under the right circumstances, staying on a topic might yield a better conversational flow. 

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