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The Sales Podcast


Aug 23, 2013

Jill Konrath is a world-renowned speaker, trainer, consultant and author of "SNAP Selling" and "Selling To Big Companies." She says "Professional Sales Training is What Separates The Big Fish From The Little Fish In Business Success." 

Today’s buyers are so savvy about what’s out there and know they have many options and go online to find the answers they need. By the time they get to a sales person they are well-educated and may have an opinion about what they need. Sellers are still stuck in the mode of thinking they must sell and convince and that they are best but the prospect is looking to have a conversation with an intelligent person that can help them.

Salespeople must educate themselves about their prospects and get in alignment with them. Drop the sales mentality and seek to serve and help them achieve the goals they are trying to reach. “Take off the stupid sales hat!”

Product knowledge without sales skills is worthless.

People are overwhelmed and don’t want to make a change.

If people are meeting with you there is a high likelihood they’ll Google you. What will they see? Do you have a “job-hunter” resume on LinkedIn? It may be impressive to a VP of Sales but not to most clients.

LinkedIn is a place for anyone to establish a professional appearance and show that you are a real human being to your prospect. This immediately set you apart from every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there.

Rapportive is a great tool for looking up people online through your browser.

LinkedIn is a great tool to help you find information on prospects.

Jill uses a saved search for VPs of Sales in technology companies within 50 miles of Minneapolis. (Learn more about Saved Searches.)

It also alerts her when there are changes at companies, which tells her when to contact them with new ideas.

Don’t try to connect with a hot lead at first. See if you have a contact that is connected with them and maybe even call that friend to help you connect with the hot lead.

Jill has an eBook, “Cracking The LinkedIn Sales Code.” Fascinating survey on the difference between top sellers and everyone else. They:

  • Have really good profiles.
  • They research far more and far deeper.
  • They find multiple connections within an account.
  • Many are active in groups and active in groups that their targeted customers belong to. (There are groups for just about anything.)

Join groups but never, ever pitch! Comment. Post interesting information. Be seen as a giver, a helper, as opposed to a taker or shark.

(Check out “Sales Wisdom From The Wild.”)

The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation.”  Turn yourself into a resourceful person, not just a salesperson. Be a consultant leading with ideas and insight that’s valuable.

Cold calling still works if you do your homework. People are too busy to listen to someone that hasn’t been willing to invest time learning about them prior to meeting. They are very discriminating. Cold Calling will work if you’ve paid your dues and done your research and crafted a message that speaks directly to the person. But it’s not cold then because you’ve figured out what’s important and how to talk to that person as an equal.

It’s stupid to go to straight to the top of a big company unless you’re selling an enterprise solution. You need some ground-changing products or services with insight from the middle to go to the top. But how many of us sell game-changing ideas.

Having a script is important and read it out loud a gazillion times but don’t memorize it. Make it your own and personalized so it sounds like you’re just talking. Most script writing is disgusting. They lead with themselves and their companies and are just boring.

Most people have lousy scripts. In the first sentence, you need to sound like a credible resource and the second sentence has to pique curiosity then suggest a logical next step.

Knowing how a product is used is more important than knowing all about the product. That helps you ask great questions.

Most people haven’t had sales training. They’ve only had product training.

The game has changed and so have the customers and their expectations so it’s okay to bring in outside help.

Your customers are sitting with their fingers on the Delete button. The same with the phone.

To set better appointments, have a better premise for setting a meeting in the first place. Just showing up to talk about your stuff makes you easy to blow off. You need to be relevant and high priority. Maybe offer to set a short initial meeting over the phone.

People are hesitant to give up an hour or half an hour of their time to a stranger. So start small. So make sure your time is done well.

Treat receptionists and executive assistants the same way you treat the decision maker. Focus on business issues.

Leave a voicemail and a good message that follows the same pattern if you got them on the phone. Establish credibility and pique curiosity and suggest a time to get together and reference that you’re going to send an email.

Be creative with leaving a series of emails if the prospect is a big enough opportunity. Don’t cram all of your information into one voicemail. If you have three bullet points leave three messages.

I don’t use war analogies in sales but if you see an opportunity you need to plan on 8-10-12 touches. People are so busy they may just arbitrarily delete even a wonderful message. Send links to articles, a link to a PDF…just keep going until the campaign has run out. And call on multiple people.

Learn more about Jill Konrath and her services at her website, JillKonrath.com.

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Check out episodes 11 to 20 of The Sales Podcast here.