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How to Get Ready For 4th Quarter

5 Sales Strategies You Need to Drive Results We are about here, October 1st marks the beginning of the MOST important sales quarter of the year! Why? Because whatever you do in the fourth quarter will determine just how successful you are going to be in 2019.  Yeah, it is THAT important! Laying the groundwork, […]

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How to Get Ready For 4th Quarter

How to get ready for 4th quarter5 Sales Strategies You Need to Drive Results

We are about here, October 1st marks the beginning of the MOST important sales quarter of the year! Why? Because whatever you do in the fourth quarter will determine just how successful you are going to be in 2019.  Yeah, it is THAT important!

Laying the groundwork, making the calls, and setting the stage now will ensure you start 2019 strong, and if you want to increase sales in 2019, then you need to start planning now. Funny thing about fourth quarter is that most of us tend to back off, slow down and just not put the energy into our sales planning that we do throughout the rest of the year.

And I get it. First, you’re tired. You have been going at it for the last three quarters, giving it everything you’ve got, and you need a break. Then there is the understanding that by the end of third quarter, you know whether you are going to hit your sales goals for the year or not, and nothing you do in the fourth quarter is going to change that. Add to that, it is the holiday season, starting right at the end of October and running until the first week in January, it seems like every week there is some sort of celebration going on. As a result, you’re busy, your customers are busy, and no one has the time for a sales call.

The excuses are valid. The fact remains is the work you do in the fourth quarter determines the number of doors you will open and sales you will close in 2019. Then, how do you keep the energy going, and make your fourth quarter rock?

5 Sales Strategies You Need To Increase Sales Performance for Next Year

  1. Get a plan – now is the time to sit down, take an hour or two and think about what you need to accomplish in the 4th Look at the holiday schedule, the commitments you have made, and determine what time you will have available to make sales calls. Then set some goals – put some hard numbers to networking, sales calls, and sales follow-up calls. networking events will you attend, how many sales calls will you make, and how many proposals will you write?Going into the fourth quarter with a plan will ensure you use the limited time you have as effectively as possible and will keep you from getting off track with the busy work that comes with end-of-the-year commitments.
  2. Build your list – Think about your best customers, your top prospects, leads that have gone cold, and those prospects that are still on your wish list. Being proactive with your calls in the fourth quarter is vital to your success.Then sit down and write out exactly who you are going to spend this fourth quarter calling on, where is the highest and best use of your time?
  3. Get creative – on how you will call on them. Again, fourth quarter can be tricky – holiday season, end of the year reporting, and just the hustle and bustle of trying to get everything done on time. To make sales calls in the fourth quarter requires you getting out of your box and thinking differently. Maybe you will have a holiday party and invite prospects and customers; you will perhaps do an end-of-the-year review with your top customers. Perhaps you will make a “thank you for your business” call to anyone you closed a deal with this year. Whatever it is, get out of your traditional sales calling strategies, and take a more creative approach.
  4. Set the stage – the most important sales strategy for the fourth quarter is setting the stage. While fourth quarter can be a tough time to ask for business, it is the perfect time to let your prospects and customers know that you will be calling them right after the new year to design a plan for making 2019 their best year on record. Setting the stage ensures you have permission to start making sales calls right after “Happy New Year.” If you don’t set the stage, then guess what – you not only blew 4th quarter – you will lose the first two weeks of January too.
  5. Review and adjust at the end of every month – October, November, and December, take the time to review and adjust. What is going well with your fourth quarter plan, what results are you getting, and what if anything, would you change?

Yes, the fourth quarter is the most powerful sales quarter of the year. Follow these strategies, and you will position yourself to open more doors, close more sales and start 2019 strong!

 

 

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4 Must Haves Strategies for Asking Better Sales Questions

One thing I have learned from speaking for or working with sales professionals is that you can tell the quality of the sales professional by the really, to ask the questions that challenge their customer’s thinking and push them out of their comfort zone? Unfortunately, a lot of sales professional don’t. Many of them don’t […]

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4 Must Haves Strategies for Asking Better Sales Questions

4 Strategies to Ask Better Sales QuestionsOne thing I have learned from speaking for or working with sales professionals is that you can tell the quality of the sales professional by the really, to ask the questions that challenge their customer’s thinking and push them out of their comfort zone?

Unfortunately, a lot of sales professional don’t. Many of them don’t have what it takes to ask the tough questions. So, why do the hard questions even matter? I mean if the customer is buying from you, and they like you, why do you have to take it further?

Those Pesky Probing Questions

Because those hard, probing questions you ask, help our prospects think about their situation differently and open them up to new ideas and better outcomes. Moreover, that is our job as sales professionals!  Our role is not to take orders and do what our customer’s ask. Our purpose is to take them beyond their comfort zone, to solutions and ideas that truly add value and take their companies to another level.

Then why do we avoid the hard questions? Because those same questions that get our prospects to look at new solutions are the same ones that push those prospects that are often change resistant and don’t want to think about new possibilities.

As sales professionals, you are afraid of two things – making your prospects mad and more importantly losing the deal. But believe me, if you don’t ask the tough questions, if you don’t push your prospects, you may get the small sale, but you’ll never build a long-term relationship with them. If you can’t add value, if you can’t help your prospects see new solutions, then you will never gain a competitive advantage.

What do you need to have to be able to ask the hard questions?

Here are the 4 Must Haves Strategies to Be Successful in Your Sales Profession

  1. Trust – you have to invest in the relationship first and build the bonds that create trust with your prospect. If they trust you, they will open up to you. Give the relationship time to develop before, using those softer questions to give your prospect time to get to know you and trust you.
  2. Knowledge – you have to understand the industry, your prospect, and sales. If you are going to push a customer, you better know what you are talking about. You need to do your homework, and I think you have to know more about your customer’s company and industry than they do.
  3. Courage – it takes guts – asking those hard questions is not easy, and you need to be ready for your customers to be uncomfortable or push back. You need to be selling from a place of power, not desperation. If you need the sale, if you do not have other prospects in the pipeline, in fact, if your pipeline is not full, then you will never gain the courage to ask the tough questions. You have to be okay with losing the deal. The irony is, the more you don’t care if you get the deal, the more sales you will land.
  4. Persistence – and speaking of pushing back, you better be persistent. You may have to ask more than one tough question to get them to open up or to understand their real issues. I think persistence is about caring; you care enough about the success of your prospect’s business, do ask what it takes to help them succeed.

When you combine trust with your industry knowledge, it positions you to ask the tough questions. When you ask the tough sales questions, you have what it takes to add real value to the customer relationship. ~ Meridith


Are you in the Manufacturing Sector? Check out my Linkedin Course: Selling into Manufacturing

https://www.linkedin.com/learning/selling-into-industries-manufacturing

Description of the Linkedin course: Manufacturing is a vital, constantly changing industry. The effects of technological advancements, regulations, and other factors present a unique set of challenges to sales professionals. In this course, business strategist and instructor Meridith Elliott Powell provides you with skills and strategies that can help you clearly communicate your value—and close more deals—in this challenging vertical. Meridith highlights key industry trends, shares how to avoid being seen as a commodity, teaches you to leverage stories and case studies to establish credibility, and more.

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The Only 5 Sales Stamina Strategies You Will Ever Need to Get to the Finish Line.

This economy is nothing if not challenging. Sure, our economic climate is full of opportunity, clients and customers who want to do business.  But sometimes it feels like getting a foot in the door and getting that first meetings takes so much time and energy that you have nothing left to pull you through the […]

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The Only 5 Sales Stamina Strategies You Will Ever Need to Get to the Finish Line.

Sales Stamina Marathon

This economy is nothing if not challenging. Sure, our economic climate is full of opportunity, clients and customers who want to do business.  But sometimes it feels like getting a foot in the door and getting that first meetings takes so much time and energy that you have nothing left to pull you through the long wait before the deal closes. The truth, as any sales professional knows, is that there will be a wait time for sales to close.

How is Your Sales Stamina?

So, what is a sales professional to do? How are we supposed to stay in the game, keep our energy up, and continue to stay in front of our customers without being annoying, rude and downright pushy? We have goals to meet, bills to pay and businesses to build, and sometimes it is all we can do not to get frustrated that our prospects and customers won’t just make a decision. But believe me: the two biggest mistakes you can make in sales today are trying to force the close or give up. Both will cost you big time in terms of client relationships, reputation and your ability to positively impact your bottom line.

The Five Sales Stamina Strategies You’ll Need to Succeed

What is the solution?  Today’s sales professionals need to be following these five simple strategies to ensure that they are in the best sales shape of their lives and have what it takes to go the distance.

  1. Embrace Reality

    – listen to this and listen to it closely, you are not in control. You have zero, and I mean zero power of when the sales in your sales pipeline will close. You can influence your clients, try to create a sense of urgency, and ensure they have everything they need to make an informed decision, but at the end of the day when, where and how that sale is going to close is one-hundred percent up to them, not you. Remember, this is a trust and value economy. Your products and services are a commodity, so your relationship with your prospects and clients, how they connect, feel and how much they trust you is going to determine whether that sale happens. So, pushing them to decide, and abandoning them before they are ready to do business, will send a loud and clear message that you are not the person they want to do business with.

  2. Overfill Your Sales Funnel

    – so okay you’ve embraced reality, you understand you are not in control, but that still leaves the problem of your needing to meet goals, pay the bills, and grow the business. You can’t just sit there all day hoping that one of the people you called on decides to close the deal? Or can you? In today’s economy, the trust and value economy, patience is a virtue and the need for instant gratification a curse. You need to overfill your sales funnel; you need to have more potential prospects coming through your pipeline than you need to close to meet your numbers and expand your business. Why? Because of Murphy’s Law, the moment you need a sale to close is precisely the moment the sale won’t close. In a shifting economy, you need to sell from a place of power, not from a place of need. The only way you are going to hang in there as your prospects “hem and haw” about when the deal will close, is if you are okay waiting for a deal to close. The only way to be okay with waiting for a deal to close is to have another deal or two waiting in the wings to close.

  3. Redesign Your Follow-up System

    – we have all heard these statistics, it takes on average seven to eight sales calls to close a deal, and the average salesperson gives up in three. Why do we give up? Because as sales professionals we hate to follow-up. We love the adrenaline rush of the first few calls, but after that it gets uncomfortable. We assume that people are not interested, and we don’t want to be irritating. Well, if you are using a traditional follow-up system, I have news for you, you are pushing the prospect to the point where they are not interested, and quite frankly you are irritating. You need to redesign your follow-up system. What? Don’t you have one? Okay start there. You need to design your follow-up system, then redesign it, so it is more about adding value, then just checking in to see if the prospect is ready to buy. Follow-up has one purpose, to continue to enhance the relationship.

  4. Make It Easy 

    – Do you ever need a little something to get you through the day? A pick me up? Something that gives you the energy to make it to the end of whatever it is you are working on. Well, why not add that to your sales process. If you want to make to the finish line, if you’re going to have what it takes to wait out your prospects, you are going to need a little something just to get you through the day. You need to be calling on your existing clients, those people who already love you, want to do business with you, and probably have some opportunity for you. Your weekly sales calls need to include at least one or two”fun” calls, calls in which you are visiting, talking with and reengaging with your existing client base. Best case scenario you walk away with some new business, worst you get recharged, remembering why you love what you do.

  5. Do It Anyway 

    –Years ago, I heard an interview where Professional Volleyball player Gabrielle Reece was asked how she stayed in such amazing shape–where she found the dedication and discipline, now that her volleyball career had ended, to continue exercising, eating right, and serving as an amazing role model. Her answer was simple; she said that she had learned early on from one of her coaches, that the mark of success, there is one thing they look for when they are identifying winners. They look for those athletes that “do it” anyway. No matter how they feel in that moment, they get out of bed and do the workout anyway. They understand that some days they will be good, some days they won’t, but no matter what, they still do it anyway. Crossing the finish line is more about consistency than about Now don’t get me wrong, you have to be good at what you do, but there are plenty of great athletes and sales professionals who never cross the finish line, because, on those days when they don’t feel like it, they don’t do what needs to be done anyway.

Yes, selling is not always easy in this economy, and it takes more than a little stamina to stay in the game.  However, with a few adjustments to your approach and your workout routine, you can build your sales stamina and make to the finish line a winner!

P.S.: Don’t forget about my Linkedin course: Consulting Foundations: Building Your Sales System, is now available on LinkedIn Learning:
https://www.linkedin.com/learning/consulting-foundations-building-your-sales-system

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Quit Losing to The Competition Before You Start!

In sales, competition is tough – period! Someone always has a better product, a lower price, better results and the list goes on. The truth is you can usually come up with more reasons your customer should be buying from your competitor rather than why they shouldn’t. However, if you want to succeed in sales […]

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Quit Losing to The Competition Before You Start!

How to Beat the Competition in SalesIn sales, competition is tough – period! Someone always has a better product, a lower price, better results and the list goes on. The truth is you can usually come up with more reasons your customer should be buying from your competitor rather than why they shouldn’t.

However, if you want to succeed in sales you need to stop focusing so much on your competition. Why? Because what your competitor does or doesn’t do is outside of your control. Think about it; there is nothing you can do about the competition – you can’t make them lower their price, you can’t make them create a faulty product, you can’t even make them worse at sales– you can’t do anything.

Also, when you focus on your competition, you usually focus on what they are doing well. That positions you to lose the sale before your even get started. When you spend time looking for your competitors’ strengths, you’ll never see their weaknesses. So, if you can’t see their faults, you will never find your competitive advantage.

Now certainly you need to know your competition, understand who they are and their approach to sales. However, once you have the basics, turn your attention and your focus back to you and the strengths of your products and services. Invest more time there.  Learning how to use your assets to position yourself more valuable with your customers, and leave your competition in the dust.  One of the secrets of top sellers is that they strive to understand and know their clients – very well. They dig down, deep on their clients and their industry. Their mission is to find problems and opportunities for their clients before the client is aware of it.

Sure, competition is always tough, but it is rarely the best product or service that gets the job done, it’s the best sales person that closes the deal!

ACTION: Invest more time understanding the value you bring to the marketplace, and how to quickly and effectively convey that in your sales conversations.

 

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How To Sell Your Consulting Services

A New LinkedIn Learning Course I am very excited to announce my newest course, Consulting Foundations: Building Your Sales System, just released on the LinkedIn Learning Platform. . .  is now available on LinkedIn Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/consulting-foundations-building-your-sales-system No matter how great a consultant you are, no matter how well-educated, talented or experienced you are, without sales […]

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How To Sell Your Consulting Services

A New LinkedIn Learning Course

How to Sell Your Consulting Services

I am very excited to announce my newest course, Consulting Foundations: Building Your Sales System, just released on the LinkedIn Learning Platform. . .  is now available on LinkedIn Learning:
https://www.linkedin.com/learning/consulting-foundations-building-your-sales-system

No matter how great a consultant you are, no matter how well-educated, talented or experienced you are, without sales nothing else about your consulting business matters.

Think about it, to have a consulting business and to grow a consulting business; you need customers. The only consistent way to get customers is to go out and sell.

Sales is the lifeblood of any consulting business, and it is the art of attracting, developing and retaining customers to generate revenue for your practice. The revenue you need to pay the bills, invest in the company and ultimately make a profit.

I would argue that sales is just about the most important skill you need if you want to run a successful consulting business. While down the road you may want to hire salespeople to help run this area of your practice, it is essential as the owner of the business to understand this vital strategy and to develop the skill yourself.

There is more to sales than just physically engaging customers and asking for business.

Here are three strategies to help you more deeply understand the role of sales in your consulting practice.

  1. Understand the Sales You Need – before you even begin to sell, you need a plan. You need to perform some numbers crunching and set some goals. You need to determine how many sales you need to hit the revenue goals you have established for your business. Let me give you an example. Let’s say I have a gross revenue goal of $100,000 for my business. So my question would be how many products or services do I need to sell to make $100,000? If I sell widgets for $100, that would mean I need to sell 1000 widgets right?

This is a great process to work through, and an important one to get a deep understanding of the role of sales in your practice. So I want to give it a try. Go to the exercise files and download the worksheet that goes with this module. Determine your numbers to understand the revenue you want to generate and the sales you’ll need to achieve it.

  1. Prioritize Sales – while you may have started a consulting practice because you love and are good at your area of expertise, understand that you will now spend as much or even more time selling than you will be as a consultant. For your consulting practice to grow and thrive, you need to prioritize sales and make it your number one job. Making time to network, make sales calls and most importantly follow-up, are the keys to ensuring you keep your sales pipeline full and your consulting practice healthy.
  2. Invest in Sales – and last but not least you need to invest the time in learning to get good at sales. Just like you want to keep your consulting skills sharp, you want to spend the same time in improving your sales expertise. So you have to be willing to invest in sales, both the time and the resources to continue to develop your sales skills.  Take a class, find a mentor, or assess your own sales ability.  Pay attention to where you are winning sales, where you are losing and what you can do to increase your sales success.

Sales is one of the most important and valuable skills you will need to run a successful consulting business. Always remember, if you put a strong focus on sales then you have built a solid foundation for growing successful consulting business.

I invite you to take a sneak peek at our course, see what we have to offer. I welcome your input and your feedback, as you learn the lessons it takes to sell more!

https://www.linkedin.com/learning/consulting-foundations-building-your-sales-system

 

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