The Selling Newsletter
*A free monthly newsletter of ideas to help make your selling easier*
Selling is the easiest job in the world…Just ask anyone who is NOTin sales!
My mission is to help make it easier for you to sell.
Best wishes for YOUR successful selling—Maura
“An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity” — Winston Churchill
I do pity the pessimistic salesperson. In fact, the research shows that pessimists are less successful in sales. It’s easy enough to be a pessimist in sales. I think sales is one of the toughest professions. In what other job do you get to hear “no” in so many different ways (remember, a maybe counts as a no!) and to hear it so many times a day? Yet sales is also one of the best professions. Working both hard and smart produces results which are usually compensated well. To make selling easier, it helps to have a more optimistic attitude. So use your failures (calamities) as a source to fuel your persistence. And when a sale turns out differently than you would want, learn from it. Try something different the next time. Even better, you can try to learn from the mistakes of others. It’s less painful! If you experience a mistake without learning from it, you’re missing an opportunity to move your selling forward. That would be a shame. I hope you’re making many mistakes-just not the same ones over and over again.
THE SELLING IDEAS FOR THIS MONTH
Selling from Good to Great
In the wonderful book Good to Great, Jim Collins says that when companies transition from good to great they have to know what not to do. This also applies to selling. I can certainly recommend what not to do. Here are some of the things that I’ve done and they surely didn’t work!
1. Don’t forget to start selling. I was at a sales call with the sales manager and we had quite a pleasant conversation about their products, what they did, and how they were doing. I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I never asked how long we had for our meeting. Within 25 minutes the meeting ended because the manager had to leave for another meeting. I never asked my strategic questions. I lost the opportunity to present what I could do for them. I had chatted away the time because I was having such a good time. You’re there to sell. It’s your job to guide the conversation. Don’t lose your focus.
2. Don’t sell if it’s a bad fit. I normally work with managers who have a clear understanding of what they want. We discuss where their sales staff is and where they want the group to be. I will design a program to improve the skills for the strategies we discuss. During the initial call, the manager expressed an interest in improving his staff’s customer service skills. He hired me. He later called me to add selling skills to the program. I modified what I had. Then the project scope kept changing and my frustration increased. I finished the project and vowed never to work with this manager again. Know the person or company who is right for you and your products. Avoid the ones who are not. Learn from your first mistake. Don’t make it twice.
3. Don’t have an ordinary introduction. When people ask you what you do, don’t respond, “I sell (the product you sell).” I’ve heard enough people describe themselves by their job function to a prospect. It’s boring and is not an effective selling message. Always say what you do for your customers. Try to address the problems you solve. I say, “I work with sales and business professionals who want to make it easier to sell.” After all, selling is the easiest job in the world. Just ask anyone who’s not in sales.
4. Don’t think you can keep your business without demonstrating and documenting value. If your products and services are as good as you say they are, your customers are seeing benefits. They’re seeing reduced costs, avoided costs or increased revenues. Why not document this in a savings letter or report to your customers? If you don’t know the impact of your products, ask your clients, “How has my product/service impacted your business?” Was I in for a surprise when the Vice President of one of my largest accounts transferred! The new Vice President said to me, with his feet up on his desk and his hands clasped tightly behind his neck, “I’m your worst nightmare. I don’t know you, your products or your company. And I’m not loyal.” Fortunately, I had learned this lesson from an account I had lost. After I caught my breath, I was able to show him the files of work I had done and the total dollars I and my company had saved him because he was doing business with us. The best way to be prepared when people change at your accounts (and they will) is to document and present the work you do.
5. Don’t think your customer will be a good one forever. Businesses change. Marketing strategies change that cause customers to go in new directions. Those directions are not always the best for your business. It’s happening more and more today. A once large customer is now a smaller and less critical one. If you continue to spend the same amount of time with your now smaller account, you’re taking time away from developing your next big account. It’s sad when things change. Recognize it and make changes. It’s acceptable to maintain contact by phone, instead of a costly sales call, when the customer no longer meets your criteria for an important account.
Looking at what not to do will help you avoid the failures and frustrations that you might encounter in selling. Knowing what not to do will help you to maintain your focus and energy for selling. You’ll also get the results you need to quickly move from good to great selling.
SELLING ACTION ITEM
Have you looked at theprofitability of your sales lately? Some customers who used to be a good fit now are less profitable business. Volume used to be king. Now it’s important to see if you are actually making money from your sales. Don’t kid yourself. At least if you identify a less ideal customer, spend less time on that piece of your business. Focus your freed up time on gaining more new business that meets your profitability standards.
The director of the Center for Sales Innovation at the College of St.
Catherine (largest women’s college with only undergraduate major in sales
for women in the country), is conducting research to document the high
level of success women achieve in sales careers. SHE IS LOOKING FOR PARTICIPANTS.
WHAT: As a leader in women’s leadership education, The College of St.
Catherine Center for Sales Innovation (in Minnesota) is conducting a confidential research study to better understand how women achieve top performance in sales.
Your input is needed to document how well women are performing in sales organizations. All responses are anonymous, neither you nor your organization will be identified by name.
HOW: Two ways to participate:
1. Complete a 7 minute survey on-line to determine the level of sales performance. Click on https://cl.extm.us/?fe8e1c787264027c76-fe2610707066037a721174
2. Complete a 10 minute survey on-line to determine best practices of women sales leaders. Click on https://cl.extm.us/?fe8d1c787264027c71-fe2610707066037a721174
MORE: Thank you for participating; you are contributing to the advancement
of women in sales. Please pass this on to other top producing women.
RESULTS: If you would like the results, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and
you will be notified.
1. There’s lots of talk about networking and its value to increase sales. Make sure the time you’re spending on networking is producing results. Determine where your new business is coming from. If networking isn’t working, perhaps you are networking with the wrong groups. Ask your customers which organizations they are active in. Join those groups. Ask yourself, “Who recommends my products?” Where do those people meet? Those are the places you should be. Networking can consume your time and dollars and produce poor results if you approach it in a random way. Make networking part of your strategic selling and you’ll get better results.
2. You may have noticed that the format of the Selling Newsletter is different this month. I’m using a new selling tool. Email is a very effective selling tool to keep in touch with prospects and customers. ExactTarget (https://cl.extm.us/?fe8c1c787264027c70-fe2610707066037a721174) makes it easy to use email to sell.
Do you want to be notified of Maura’s upcoming public seminars? Send an email to email@example.com with the subject: Upcoming Seminars and your email address. You’ll get the information about Maura’s public seminars. Programs are held quarterly.
SOMETHING TO REPORT?
I’m always looking for success stories and other tips from sales professionals. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas that have worked for you. To thank you, you’ll receive a free subscription to The Selling E-Letter™, a bi-monthly selling newsletter. ($50 value)
Mission: [email protected] works with business and sales professionals to make THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD (selling!) easier and more effective. After all, how can you make a difference in the world if someone hasn’t bought something from you? And don’t forget about the ideas you’re selling every day.
Privacy: At [email protected] we take privacy issues very seriously. Your information remains with us and will never be sold, shared, or distributed in any manner, for any reason.
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–To buy the book Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results, a book filled with ideas to make selling easier and more productive, go to https://cl.extm.us/?fe8a1c787264027c72-fe2610707066037a721174
Maura Schreier-Fleming works with business and sales professionals to make it easier to sell more and be more productive at work. Her clients want to create long-term client relationships. They include Fujitsu, Fannie Mae and Dr Pepper/7UP. She has an M.S. in Textile Engineering from Georgia Tech and was Mobil Oil’s first female lubrication engineer in the U.S. With over 20 years of sales experience, she teaches the art and science of selling with a unique hands-on perspective and a great deal of real-life insight. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results. Her business column ‘Selling Strategies’ appears in the Insurance Record magazine. You can contact her for seminars at company or trade association meetings at 972 380 0200 or info@BestatSelling.com
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*Written by Maura Schreier-Fleming, president of [email protected]. (https://cl.extm.us/?fe891c787264027c7d-fe2610707066037a721174). Maura works with business and sales professionals so they can sell more and be more productive at work. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results.
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