Infocusselling’s Blog

October 14, 2010

Today I am a Beaver

Filed under: Uncategorized — Educated and Aware @ 7:50 am
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Think about the beaver and its dam.

The beaver is strategic, analyzing every day the holes in its house and recognizing weaknesses and areas that can be built larger and stronger. The beaver is tactical by by immediately going to the woods and finding the solution to strengthen and grow its house. The beaver is fearless as it attacks big projects, trees that are thousands of times its size. The beaver is skillful at knowing how to fell a tree, get it to the river upstream so it floats to the dam, and then positions it into the right place in its house to add the needed support and safety. The beaver is hard working, waking up every day and repeating the core processes again to protect and improve its future. (although, as people we get vacations where we pre-plan to take time away from work to recharge.)

What part of your sales strategy, tactics, and fearless attack do you need to do today?

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December 15, 2009

Nearly Free Workshop

Filed under: ACTUM Group,Other Sales Issues — Educated and Aware @ 10:49 pm
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Kim Brand & Jeff Bowe speak at Business Ownership Initiative:

Sales & Marketing 2010 (and Beyond)

How I wasted over $200,000 and three years on

ineffective marketing schemes and inept sales strategies

and why you don’t have to.”   Kim Brand, Co-Presenter.

“You can learn selling the hard way which is having

hundreds of prospects telling you no without telling

you why or you can learn it the easy way which is to

have someone give you the tactics and strategies that

lead to yes now. It’s your choice.”  Jeff Bowe, Co-Presenter.

What: Business Ownership Initiative (BOI) presents Sales & Marketing 2010 (and Beyond).

This four hour seminar will be conducted over two days and will be co-presented by Kim Brand, Serial Entrepreneur and President of Computer Experts and File Engine and Jeff Bowe, Chief Sales Strategist at ACTUM Group, a leading sales training and sales management company.

When: January 27-28th, 6-8PM each day.

Where: 4755 Kingsway Dr., Suite 314. (Near 46th & Keystone)

Why: You won’t get a better ‘reality check’ than to hear us talk about real world sales and marketing problems and solutions for small businesses from the perspective of an entrepreneur and sales pro.

Special Bonus: BOI normally charges $20 for this class…that’s cheap!  But everyone that attends will receive a $20 discount coupon from Computer Experts – your net cost is zero and your upside potential is huge and a free chapter from Jeff’s book, Get INFOCUS Get Cash!

You need to call now to register:  (317) 917-3266 ext. 100.

Space is limited, call today

November 29, 2009

2010 Fast Track Sales Training for Doctoral Project

Filed under: Uncategorized — Educated and Aware @ 10:07 pm
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Along with all of my consulting and training, I am well into a doctorate in marketing with a research emphasis of sales process and sales ethics. For one of my projects, I am looking for 15 sales people who want or need to increase their 2010 sales results and are willing to invest about 3 hours a week for fifteen weeks–2 hours in class and about an hour a week of homework related to sales.

Update as of Jan 4t–only 3 seats left! 15 weeks starting NOW!

This special program carries special pricing and focused content from our regular full blown sales training program.

We will cover:

DISC Communication Styles (how to read people)

Networking (how to get attention and get people to want to meet with you)

Telephone Strategies (how to get calls returned and appointments set)

The Seven Steps of the INFOCUS Selling Process:

  • Introduction
  • Name your Purpose
  • Find a Goal
  • Outline a Goal
  • Crystallize Gains and Losses
  • Uncover Blocks and Obstacles
  • Secure Final Commitment

Selling with a structured process is faster and considerably more profitable.

If you or someone you know is looking to increase your 2010 sales and personal income, this is a rare opportunity for you to take part in professional sales training that combines high level marketing with street level sales tactics that reflect today’s markets and today’s relationships.

Call me or email me for full details. We are starting now and the program completes on April 15th so act fast.

October 19, 2009

Hiring Salespeople: Much More Difficult in Down Times

Hiring quality salespeople has become very difficult. Not because they are hard to find, but because they are now mixed into a very large crowd of unemployed salespeople who range from mediocre to miserable.

 Only three years ago, great salespeople were employed and you had to recruit them. With so much downsizing in the past few years, great salespeople have been the victim of bigger problems.

The sheer volume of available salespeople has made us forget what hiring is all about. Hiring is about finding the best candidate you can afford to fill a tightly defined job description. Filling holes with bodies is not a strategy you can afford—the costs in missed sales opportunities and damaged client relationships is too great.

I had a client admit that a recent hire had been based on how well she got along with the person, how much she enjoyed the person, and that it was an emotional hire. There was only one glitch—the person was totally unqualified for the position and the result was a termination in less than 30 days. How terribly expensive and disruptive for both the company and the person.  Yet, had this person been allowed to stay in the organization, a tremendous statement would have been made regarding the level of expertise and performance allowed at all levels.

The main responsibility of a president is to set the standard for inflexible and absolute excellence.

If you are trying to grow, every hire is critical toward that goal. Hiring is about increasing the average quality level of your employee team. It is a no-compromise approach that mimics the way you expect your R&D department to innovate and your manufacturing line to produce. Commitment to excellence starts at the top and your commitment to hire only the best sets a tone that will resonate throughout the organization. Today’s compromised hire is tomorrow’s painful termination, and is the beginning of an uncontrollable slide to mediocrity. When we allow someone into our organization who does not fit our requirements, we dilute the power and productivity of all our other team members, and create a myriad of unpleasantries including loss of profit, reduction in quality, and increased employee terminations.

Do you want to shorten the list of unpleasantries as president? Be brutally and painfully honest in sales team hiring and you will have fewer terminations. Sales hiring should follow this process:

  • Consider the level of active sales management you are willing and able to perform and commit to on a regular basis
  • Know if you are looking for an internal salesperson (who will focus on account maintenance, growth, and retention) or an outside salesperson (who will focus on new account development)
  • Have a written set of expectations, objectives, duties, and minimum requirements and qualifications.
  • Interview without emotion remembering the risk in today’s terminations.
  • Consider all candidates for 48 hours–never hire on the spot.
  • Invest the time to have multiple people interview your top candidates, even if that means going to someone outside your organization who can be more objective since he or she does not feel the pain of an empty sales desk. Use people who have different goals, perspectives, and personalities so that you get different views on your candidates.
  • Invest in communication, style, and skills profiling to see if the person is as presented. A mediocre sales person can sell a non-salesperson doing the hiring an igloo when it is 95 degrees out.
  • Include the expectations and duties in the written offer letter and go through the letter line by line face to face.
  • Relentlessly stick to your written objectives and do not get caught up in hiring someone who looks good if you really need someone who looks great. Stay the course and get a great addition to your team
  • Look for bad trends on the first day. Anything that does not seem right will only get worse.

 Once a salesperson has been added to your team, it will be your responsibility to keep this person on track. Hiring a salesperson is an investment, not a cost. You are spending cash now to receive more cash later. And like any financial investment, it needs monitoring for trends and results. No matter how little sales management you want to do, every salesperson, even the best salesperson, needs a sales manager. A sales manager is a coach, confidant, motivator, consultant, and congratulator—sometimes all in the same day. You cannot hire a salesperson and expect him or her to tackle the world and bring in sales on the first day or even in the first year without your input. You know your company better than a new person and you know where you are strong or weak in your market. (If not, find out before you invest in a salesperson.)

 With our current unemployment and underemployment, there are probably 1000 qualified candidates within an hour of you. Follow the steps above to be sure you are ready to hire and ready to manage. If you are ready, then as you add people to your organization, don’t get a good one–get the best one.

September 27, 2009

Putting Our Mouth in front of Your Money

Filed under: ACTUM Group — Educated and Aware @ 4:23 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

23% Off is one thing. 23% In is quite another.

Our belief in our economy has been proven over the past year. We are clearly rebounding due to good old fashioned hard work. Some segments remain pretty tough but no industry has disappeared. As our economy turns around, those who plot the right course now will grow during this blip and come out geometrically stronger than their competition—some of whom will not make it out at all. To grow a business now means taking market share from the competition. It happens every day and you can be on the winning end or losing end—it’s your choice.

We believe in ourselves. We know the last thing people are doing right now is looking for places to spend money, regardless of how bad their sales trend is. But the bottom line is your sales skills have never been more important. The more competition you have, the more you have to out sell them. Our track record tells us that when our clients show up, pay attention, apply and integrate new behaviors and tactics, amazing things happen. We’re confident that record will continue.

We want to believe in you. We are looking for up to 20 sales people, teams or individuals, who want to be high earning sales professionals but right now are more like struggling sales workers. If you want to be a successful sales professional, or if you want your team to be successful, we’re willing to let you go 23% in and we’ll earn the rest. That’s right. You invest only 23% of our normal training fees, and we’ll get paid more only if we can change your sales results. Email us at jeffbowe@actumgroup.com to find out how to get started

I bet you and your team get paid for results, why shouldn’t your sales trainer?

April 6, 2009

Sales Management 2009: Even More Necessary Today

I was writing about sales management for this newsletter when I found others writing around the same topic. It looks like we are all onto something. This person talks about what is needed in a sales manager Hiring a Sales Manager.

Here is what you must get from your sales management function today:

  • strategic direction-how to create the maximum short and long term impact in your market in a niche that is underserved yet highly profitable
  • skills coaching and training-continually honing phone skills to get appointments and appointment skills to get commitments
  • performance mentoring-keeping salespeople motivated and working at their peak
  • feedback to top management-sales and marketing issues need to be fleshed out and communicated
  • ride along support-coaching the team in real time to get more commitments from more prospects.

The last numbers from Career Builder Salary Research showed that an average sales manager carries a salary over $85,000 and a top one costs over $130,000 plus benefits. For that kind of money, hold your sales manager accountable for results. What are they doing on each bullet point above? Every bullet point is critical-there’s no room for second rate today.

But what if your team is small and you can’t afford and don’t really need a 40-60 hour per week sales manager? Is the performance of your team any less important?

Even if you do not have a full time sales manager, someone needs to perform the functions listed above. Every sales team from 1 person to 1000 people needs direction and training. Several years ago I wrote about outsourcing as a strategy Outsourcing Inc. Today, outsourcing is more critical as companies look for ways to conserve cash yet have access the specific skills needed to grow a business. CRM Magazine wrote that outsourced sales training is more effective than internal sales training Outsourced Sales Training. It makes sense that a sales trainer who is engaged in full time training is going to be more effective than someone who does it 5-10% of the time.

ACTUM Group specializes in helping salespeople and sales teams reach and exceed their potential. If your team needs more direction and it seems to be missing the skills to get appointments and clients today, we should talk. We can provide sales management skills for the exact number of hours you need each week, without incurring the high overhead of full time employment. Call us at 577-3750 or email us at jeffbowe@actumgroup.com to tell us what you need to make this your best year yet.

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February 22, 2009

When Closing Seems Harder Than it Should Be

Salespeople love to close a deal. Making a sale is what you’re paid to do. Ever have trouble convincing someone to buy? No matter how hard you try, you can’t move them from “think it over” to “where do I sign?” Maybe you should stop trying to convince and close and go back to why you are there—to collect information and help them make a decision.

Sales is about a series of structured and intentional questions, not a canned pitch about features, advantages, and benefits. You cannot push your prospect to a close through talking, because you do not know what your contact needs nor do you know their value from your solution. You going in and giving a feature pitch is selling in the worst context of the word, and it will not help you gain the commitment you need to move forward.

And that is a much better word than closing—commitment. Forget about closing because closing is for doors and windows. More on that next week.

Before you go on your next call, have a plan for getting the necessary information on the table. Think about what you and your client both need to know to make sure that you are a good fit. You know your business but unless you own the other company, you don’t know their business. They are different from your last prospect and different from your next prospect. Instead of assuming what he or she wants and needs, start asking questions.

A structured question plan can help you guide the conversation so that your contact becomes a prospect at the highest dollar value and in the shortest amount of time. Your sequence walks a contact from beginning to end, from the introductory opening to the final commitment in getting an order. Having that plan separates a Sales Leader from a sales rep.

Stay tuned for more on how to create your powerful question structure using the INFOCUS Selling™ process.

Always Be Willing To Share

Filed under: Other Sales Issues,Uncategorized — Educated and Aware @ 9:45 pm
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Even those of us in the business of professional sales training keep our eyes open for sales tips and new strategies that we have not heard or tried before. I found this blog and encourage you to check it out as well as coming back here often. Click on the logo to go right to it.

SalesPractice.com

November 19, 2008

We Believe

15% Off is one thing. 15% In is quite another.

We believe in our economy. Some segments will be pretty tough but no industry disappears during a dip. Our economy is going to turn around and those who plot the right course now will grow during this blip and come out geometrically stronger than their competition—some of whom will not make it out at all. To grow a business now means taking market share from the competition. It happens every day and you can be on the winning end or losing end—it’s your choice.

We believe in ourselves. We know the last thing people are doing right now is looking for places to spend money, regardless of how bad their sales trend is. But the bottom line is your sales skills have never been more important. The more competition you have, the more you have to out sell them. Our track record tells us that when our clients show up, pay attention, apply and integrate new behaviors and tactics, amazing things happen. We’re confident that record will continue.

We want to believe in you. We are looking for 5 sales teams of 2-5 people each, up to 20 sales people, who want to be high earning sales professionals during this economic blip but right now are more like struggling sales workers. If you want to be a successful sales professional, or if you want your team to be successful, we’re willing to let you go 15% in and we’ll earn the rest. That’s right. You invest only 15% of our normal training fees, and we’ll get paid more only if we can change your sales results. Email us at jeffbowe@actumgroup.com to find out how to get started.

I bet you and your team get paid for results, why shouldn’t your sales trainer?

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