How to identify the real problems people have, not just those expressed.

problems, expressed problems, real problem, solution sale, questions, sales questions
That’s a problem we’ve all had. But what was the real impact?

Photo credit: Andreas Overland

It was Friday afternoon. It was sunny. And I was just walking out of a meeting with a prospect with a big smile on my face. The prospect I just met had shared with me all her problems. It was all there in my notes. It was covering all these important business problems. She didn’t have the analytics on her marketing effort. Her company was selling online but she wasn’t clear what was the products that had the best ratio between visits and actual transactions. And many other very specific marketing analytics problems. And I knew how to solve all these issues with a great piece of tech I was selling. That weekend was to be a good one as I felt I was on my way to secure the deal.

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Prospecting flow. How to avoid the death valley?

Prospecting, Valley of death, sales process, call flow
You do not have to walk through the valley of death when prospecting or following up.

Photo credit: Pacheco

Have you seen this slide that is regularly doing the rounds on LinkedIn presenting the amount of time a sales person needs to follow-up with a prospect to get a deal and how many sales people stops too quickly.

You can’t have missed it. It comes back over and over again and is coming from the so-called  “National Sales Executive Association”? Well, if you didn’t know already: it is a fake. The NSEA simply doesn’t exist. But this slide seems to make the point there is value in chasing to secure a sale. Is there some sort of ground beyond this fact? Are sales people who do chase, don’t hear back, carry on crossing what I call “the valley of death” courageously (it’s very silent in the valley of death….), are they the most efficient sales people? Or is it a myth. I think it is a myth. So, here is the prospecting flow I follow to make sure a lead or a prospect is a real one or one worth qualifying out:

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5 tips to get better at cold email

Cold emailing, cold mail, prospecting, cold call
Is this illusionist just about to send a cold mail?

I am a fan of Derren Brown. For those not living in the UK, he is a rather good illusionist with a big show on BBC. One of the trick he has is to ask people on stage to think of a piece of music and, when they share it, reveal that it is the same piece he wrote on a paper. A rather baffling trick. And he shared the way he prepares for it . Essentially, he has his crew following this person throughout the day prior to the show and make sure she is exposed to a piece of music of his choosing numerous times. This includes a band busking in the street outside her house, music piped in the restaurant she is eating for lunch, etc, etc… Once on stage, her subconscious has been sufficiently exposed to Derren Brown’s choosen piece and he get his result.

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Empathy: or how to connect with people you send emails to.

Sales, empathy
Dale Carnegie. Master of cold emailing before his time?

Are you cold mailing people? Are you talking to customers on email? Are you actually writing email to your boss, wife, customers? No? Well, you can close this page, this post is not for you. If you are, read on.

Good to see you are still here. You must be using email then :). I will make it short. If you are in sales and read some of these posts, you have realised/know/experienced that all conversations should be centred on the problem of the prospect. The problem, how to address it, who is impacted by the problem, etc… should be the lynchpin of all the conversation with a prospect during the sales. It’s simply called having empathy. How many times do we receive cold email absolutely full with “I”, “we”, etc… Being pro-active and prospecting is great. But to be pro-active and to centre the conversation on the client issue, i.e. with empathy, rather than how great one company is, is even more powerful.

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Three reasons why enthusiasm doesn’t sell

Have you got happy ears?

Photo credit: Michael

Have you looked at job description for sales people lately? Have you noticed that all sales people have to be “enthusiastic”. Yeap, because sales people deal with people so they have to have that enthusiasm for their product and service. And this enthusiasm will naturally be persuasive. Because a prospect is naturally convinced by a salesperson that is knowledgeable about their product and so positive about it? Isn’t this right?

Another way to demonstrate our enthusiasm is to arrange a “demo”. In the technology industry, a demo is more often than not the first step a sales person is going to organise when dealing with a prospect. Because via the demo, we demonstrate all the nice features and attributes. Sadly though, I fear features and benefits don’t sell…

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