When you go to Starbucks and order a Frappuccino, you don’t get a business card from the cashier. And that’s fine.


Why? Because you don’t go to Starbucks for the people. You go for the product and the brand.


But for many other businesses and industries, the people do matter. Think of professional services. Imagine you are working with an architect on a project for 6 months. Would you be upset if a different architect showed up one day, or are all architects exactly the same? Or a more personal example — would you allow anyone at a certain salon to cut your hair, or do you make appointments with a specific hairdresser? I’m guessing in both circumstances, the particular person you work with trumps the brands they’re associated with.


B2B sales is another realm in which the people are important. Of course buyers are influenced by brand and product perception, but the salesperson they deal with has a significant bearing on what, when, and why they buy. With this in mind, it behooves salespeople to move from a transactional facilitator (fine, but average) to a trusted advisor (differentiated and valuable).


Here are 4 important tips on how to become that Trusted Advisor:


  1. Integrity. The prospect perceives you to be reliable, dependable, and trustworthy. One of the best ways to show integrity is to take notes — it works in every industry. It tells prospects they can count on you to remember their words and execute.


  1. Competency. The prospect believes that you and your product/service can deliver. Demonstrate competency by providing testimony from a third party that vouches for you. The format will vary from industry to industry, but examples include case studies, references, ratings, warranties, and certifications.


  1. Recognition. The prospect feels that you treat them as an individual instead of a number. Show recognition by carefully noting something your prospect says and following up on it later. For instance, if your contact mentioned a large project the last time you spoke, bring it up during your next call. A simple question like “How’d that initiative work out?” will do the trick.


  1. Proactivity. The prospect believes you are actively looking out for their best interest and that they aren’t going to encounter any unexpected surprises with your product/service. To prove you’re proactive, stay informed on your prospect’s industry and bring major changes to their attention before they reach out to you.


Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!


Sales Rep or Trusted Advisor?

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It happens all the time… You’re facing a prospect, making your sales pitch and the prospects position is wrong. How do you challenge them without ruining your chances of closing the deal?


It’s not worth challenging your prospect on every issue. If you frequently correct or contradict them, they’ll stop listening.


However successfully changing the buyer’s mindset earns you authority and credibility. You also prove you’re committed to the buyer’s success, as you are clearly willing to risk short-term goodwill to help them.


Use this three-part decision framework as your guide.


  1. Is questioning or disagreeing with them ultimately in their best interests?
  2. Do I have proof to back up my statements?
  3. Is this pertinent to the deal?


Don’t challenge your prospect unless you answer “yes” to all three questions.


To sound less combative, lead in to your challenge. Doing so gives prospects warning you’re about to contradict them and shows respect for their beliefs (even if you think those beliefs are wrong).


Here’s a few examples:


“I’d like to offer a different opinion. According to my firm’s projections, the system you’re currently using will be out-of-date in 10 months.”


“I’d like to politely disagree … ”

“I see where you’re coming from, and … ”

“It may surprise you to learn … ”

“I have a different perspective … ”

“I used to [think/feel/believe] that as well, until I learned X … ”

“I have some interesting data that suggests otherwise … ”


You can also try asking for permission first. Giving you the go-ahead reestablishes some of their authority, which makes them less sensitive to hearing they’re wrong.


Ask, “Are you open to hearing a different perspective?” or “Can I share a differing opinion with you?”


Keep this in mind and correcting prospects will be far less risky. In fact, it will likely help you win their business.


Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!


You’re Dead Wrong!

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The Wall Street Journal asked dozens of CEO’s to list the top 3 issues in their business they are most concerned about.


There was one item that was on everyone’s list… Technology!


Every CEO and business owner fears having his or her business model disrupted by technology innovation. Just look at video stores, that is, if you can find one. That business model was upended by digital video streaming. Just 10 years ago BlackBerry was the smartphone market leader!


CEO’s have to see around the curve to prevent their business models from falling victim to being out-innovated.


It’s also a lot simpler… If your competitor is investing in technology which lowers their operating costs and improves productivity, it’s no wonder they can beat you on price and still be more profitable!


Case Study:


TSY Fuel Ltd’s fueling staff had to upload spreadsheets daily, providing the billing office with the days fuel sales. The billing office had to run the numbers against another spreadsheet which contained a list of different rate calculations. They then had to take the data and create invoices for each customer and email it for payment. There were many other manual processes in their work-flow and customer complaints was at an all time high. They realized there was no way they can scale their business this way. Costly manual labor coupled with a heavy customer service load would drain their profits.

TSY Fuel Ltd contracted CodeBlue Ventures, a custom software development company who created an app and web based portal that completely automates the entire fueling to billing to payment process. In payroll reduction alone, the software was able to save the company $200k+ annually.

With their new proprietary software, TSY Fuel was quickly able to grow their business, lower their operating costs, and become one of the highest rated fuel companies in customer service.


Stop thinking of technology as a back-office, cost-of-doing-business and start thinking of it as a front-and-center revenue generator! The digital divide is growing and transforming industries wholesale. If you aren’t harnessing the power of technology, you’re almost certain to end up falling behind.


Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!


The Number One Thing CEO’s Fear

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Many people have an inescapable fear of failure and rejection which becomes a significant road block in their path to success. Here are some common scenarios…


You are in a sales situation and instead of adding on and suggesting additional products and services, you simply take the order, not wanting to look pushy.


You have someone tell you ‘not now’ and to check back with them later, but you don’t, figuring that they will just tell you, no.


You go to a networking event and meet people for your business. But when it comes time to give them a call, you freeze and literally cannot pick up the phone. You wait so long, you get embarrassed and even feel ashamed about how long it has taken you to get up the courage… you throw out their contact information and hope you can do better next time.


You have spent incredible amounts of time and money learning about a business, gathering the product knowledge, and getting organized. However, fear of failure is keeping you from taking any further action.


The situations that are created around fearing the word ‘no’ go on and on. However, just like you learn any skill, you can re-learn and reprogram the current thoughts and beliefs you have which are causing you all of these problems!


Created by award-winning sales trainers Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz, Go for No!® is a one-of-a-kind, training and development program that ‘reprograms’ the way people feel about failure, rejection and changes the internal relationship people have with the greatest self-imposed limitation… the word ‘NO!’


Go for No!® is a short 75 page paperback that will help you develop the confidence and courage needed to approach anyone with your offer, idea or business opportunity.


Since its very first printing back in 2000, Go for No has hit Amazon’s #1 Sales & Selling list and sat in the top ten for the last 5 years.
If your day involves selling of any service or product, I urge you to get a copy of the book Go For No! ($10 on Amazon).


Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!


More About Go For No!

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