Everybody Wants To Close But No One Wants to Prospect

Sales Prospect Close

Sales professionals love winning new clients, accolades, and rewards! Unfortunately, the adoration only appears after lots of faith, toil, and sacrifice. Legendary blues singer, Albert King, captured the sentiment when he sang, “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die.” When sales professionals deliver on their revenue generating promises assorted rewards flourish. But, the work involved with this success is relentlessly demanding, grueling, and challenging. So, how do successful professionals endure their pain to get into sales Heaven?

Prospecting in Niches
Successful sales professionals do not set out to conquer the world, only their specific piece of it. Dominating niches leads to better results than cold calling. The initial step is to identify an individually interesting segment inside the assigned industry where passion drives intimate learning. Identify the point in the industry where intense interest and potential profitability intersect. Upon accepting any role focusing on generating revenue, identify the specific niche and start prospecting it. Sales success is responsible for feeding lots of people, strike targets where superior intelligence and informed execution will yield the largest bounty.

According to Stephen Covey, success results when beginning with the end in mind. Beyond researching and studying the niche to understand that marketplace’s specific challenges and needs, success requires actual execution. Furthermore, execution requires having a plan. And great plans enable successfully launching, performing and concluding the campaign. Methodical steps include allowing for contingencies, yet repeated experiences aggregate knowledge leading toward sustained excellence. Ultimately, acquiring more depth of knowledge in a particular niche leads to more consistent results and consequently more consistent rewards.

Closing Through Contacts
In dominating a niche, relationships precede effective prospecting. Next, prospecting precedes selling. A sales pipeline is an accurate metaphor because to drive optimal value through it, the pipeline must be continuously full. Prospecting is a dynamic activity. It ignites the process that concludes in closing deals. Potential clients must continue entering the sales pipeline, as long as that sales process’ structural integrity remains. As long as leaks are minimized, then the progression of prospects, referrals, and customers continues. The right relationships results in better input, and consequently better output.

Referral partners help identify prospects that fit successful professionals’ defined target niche. Satisfied clients that proudly want to be references realize that their ongoing satisfaction is connected to the sales professionals ongoing success. Great references do not perform this role simply out of their heart’s goodness. Their self-interest is satisfied because their sales professional’s success and ongoing excellence manifests in their consistent performance. Every great vendor is their clients’ essential supplier. Great sales professionals deliver for their customers’ selfish needs. Building more contacts through superior performance makes future sales success a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Conclusion
Upon invading a specific niche, focusing on intelligently identified targets, deploying proven revenue-generating tactics for individual and corporate benefit, and creating a better life for clients drive progressive sales professionals’ success. Successful sales professionals do not have to save the world. Success relies on narrowly focusing on individuals immediately around them and improving individual lives. Intentionally network and prospect inside a defined niche. Do good in the environment where influence and familiarity prevail. Involve current contacts. Expect greater rewards upon evangelizing specific services. Celebrate enduring rewards after delivering excellence to clients.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

 

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Selective Selling Is Storytelling

Man-looking-out-at-futuristic-city

Imagine a sales professional is granted one customer for the entire year. Who does she select? Is it the market leader? The prospect with the biggest budget? The deal where she has invested the most time and energy? No. No. No. Select the customer that has the most influence! If business development success is determined by generating the most money for the sales professional, then that one customer must deliver the most income. That customer will buy, then influence followers, competitors, and admirers to do the same. Their story matters. Essentially, select the customer whose proven leadership will result in the sales professional’s greatest personal income.

Customer Profiles
Sales success demands hard work. Nothing substitutes for vetting prospects, discovering explicit needs, and fulfilling resultant wants. Fortunes are made when professionals satisfy customers’ desires with solutions they sale, then replicate the process repeatedly. Efficiently replicating the process of delivering solutions separates sales superstars from mere mortals. The more effectively prospects are profiled and satisfied with replicated solutions, the more sales result from the same amount of effort.

Referrals drive that dynamic. Communicating a positive reputation through satisfied customers directly results in more referrals and increased sales volume. Consequently, selective selling delivers superior results when the most influential referral sources explicitly or implicitly endorse a specific product or service. Intentionally cultivating relationships through superior performance and service subsequently maximizes the most profitable returns for savvy, selective sales professionals.

Niche Markets
Sales professionals who thoroughly and relentlessly understand the priorities of their target market’s leaders earn superior insight into better growth prospects. Identifying profitable niches, earning recognition as an expert, consistently delivering superior solutions, undoubtedly requires hard work. But, so does mindlessly knocking door to door seeking opportunities to book meetings and do demonstrations. Nevertheless, niche development processes deliver superior results because they more efficiently leverage proven success tactics. Such targeted niche development practices feature recruiting market leaders as advocates for the individual sales professional and their specific solutions. Niche knowledge and leadership quickly forge connections that build sustainable advantages.

The aspiring sales superstar separates from the competition by intentionally cultivating trust that translates into strong endorsements. Industry leader endorsements clearly open doors to better prospects, but they also result in speaking engagements, content followers, industry panels, and event invitations to connect with additional leaders. Consequently, success breeds further success. Service more industry leaders with excellence so that the reputation effectively markets, and subsequently sells, in their stratosphere.

Takeaways
Common wisdom states, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Progressive winners realize, “It’s not who you know; it’s who knows you!” Selective selling generates success because credibility and endorsements from established leaders reduces sales cycles. Great influencers learned to avoid wasting time long ago. Consequently, their trust carries weight with followers and peers. Start planting seeds to access this success level by targeting leaders that will become advocates. Developing superior professional relationships while simultaneously building sales volume is demanding and competitive. But if success was easy, then everyone would simply grab it with their morning coffee. Outwork the competition by strategically accessing decision makers quicker, thus abbreviating sales cycles. Select influencers whose storytelling includes identifying profitable business opportunities. Then, service them so that they really want to be genuine advocates.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

 

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Progressive Selling is Storytelling

Sales Manager with team

Sales professionals love commissions! Moreso, they love long-term deals that continue to deliver commissions. If business-to-business sales reflected the movie business, sales professionals would only want to produce sequels. Consequently, success requires storytelling talent that have prospects anticipating the next purchase while enjoying the current buy. Progressive selling is the secret to delivering more volume through more intricate transactions. While more complex sales demand more time, more value can be extracted from stickier deals. So, how does a successful sales professional manage prospecting, servicing, and delivering to an increasingly more discerning marketplace to sustain greater income? The dollars are in the details!

Development
Whether prospects plan to purchase technology, training, or financial services, the expectation of singular transactions are dead. Success depends on the ability to establish long-term relationships resulting in services continuing to meet customers’ explicit and ongoing needs. Successful vendors build up expectations and then deliver with increased capacity. Considering that larger opportunities typically mean increased customization, extensive preparation is essential.

Recognizing that effective selling is the result of effective storytelling, then the elements for the story must be prepared at all times. Progressive selling extends beyond, prepared collateral and scripts. Winning in this environment demands securing and exchanging market intelligence. Thoroughly understanding and intelligently discussing competitors’ strengths and weaknesses builds credibility. Discerning prospects true pain points so that they can be healed by the vendor’s solution drives high volume sales activity. Ultimately, mastering processes that emphasize and demonstrate an individual vendor’s advantage is essential to growth. Demonstrating persistence, then delivering through proven processes pay dividends!

Resolution
Also, contributing to a winning story’s successful execution is what happens after the hero prevails. What is the customer’s “happily ever after”? Throughout the investigation, demonstration and objection overcoming, progressive vendors seamlessly include prospects in each step of the transaction’s process. Beyond delivering a product or service, establishing a relationship that confidently removes ongoing problems creates an environment where the most value emerges.

Knowledge of the macro business landscape also provides an enormous advantage. Part of the vendor’s story is to be a reliable source of goods, services, intelligence, and personal enrichment of the individual buyer’s reputation. The story’s credibility grows every time the sales professional or her organization contributes to the customers’ organizational success, as well as the personal success of the individual buyer. Like any good movie a satisfying resolution, even ones with open-ended issues requiring additional storytelling, creates anticipation for the next opportunity. In progressive selling, the resolution is not the end. It is actually an offramp for the next adventure!

Takeaways
When evaluating potentially successful opportunities, demonstrating tenacity and process are essential. Integrating too many parts to create a singular business transaction is inefficient. However, both parties can minimize costs when achieving consistency through sufficient collaboration. Essentially, build intelligent processes, then trust them. Furthermore, applying progressive storytelling frameworks provide paths to future opportunities. Enjoying the characters, resolving conflicts to engage in future adventures, and believing in products that create better experiences, are all elements of good stories. Likewise, they are good elements that result in additional, cost-effective buying opportunities. Relationships, trust, quality, and service reflect complex elements that reveal why progressive relationships are difficult, yet worthwhile. Ultimately, sharing successful adventures that benefit organizations and individuals create the blockbuster deals that result in business superstardom!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

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Effective Selling is Storytelling

Confident businessman giving a presentation to his team

Once upon a time a great ad in the Sunday newspaper and a superior location on Main Street was the secret to a successful business. Welcome to the future! Now, successful sales growth requires connecting with your audience, identifying key words that strike a chord with targeted prospects, and over-delivering on service promises. Nevertheless, above all these attributes, effective selling relies on communicating and connecting with cultivated buyers. Simply, a great story accomplishes this achievement! Storytelling enables prospects and customers to join vendors on the ride toward business growth and mutual satisfaction.

Sell To Your Audience
Just like a great story has heroes, villains, and conflicts, business interactions feature various parties interacting to resolve particular problems. As business becomes more complex and fluid, customers and competitors become more difficult to distinguish. Simply, telling the good guys from the bad guys gets harder. Consequently, messaging consistency becomes more essential. Knowing the audience’s expectations does, too.

For example, customers no longer typically visit a lot to shop for a car. They investigate online before narrowing their selection. They verify with trusted resources. Furthermore, prospects really no longer want a car. They want a conspicuous, stylish representation of their station in life; or cost-effective, reliable transportation. Consequently, success dictates selling the lifestyle, not the performance metrics. Sales results directly relate to intimately knowing the characteristics and motivations of specifically defined targets. Growth happens when vendors identify, then sell, to their audience and no one else.

Service Beyond the Sale
Furthermore, selling now reflects multiple series of events. Consequently, marketing and selling must coordinate in unprecedented ways. Considering that customers arrive with more information than previously possible, customer expectations have dramatically increased. Service beyond the sale is more than profit-enhancing warranties and insurance options. Effective selling now features promoting new customers into the community of customers.

Literally, purchasers are buying into the tribe! Newsletters, social media groups, video testimonials, surveys, updates are part of the selling, service and satisfaction experience. Asking for referrals is now mandatory and expected. So, is including customers in conversations about new developments. Customers are now part of the vendor’s ongoing story. Customers’ ability to contribute to effective storytelling perpetuates branding success. Superior results demand perpetuating positive interactions, sharing industry innovations, in addition to communicating customer success in market focused conversations.

Takeaways
Effective marketing means leveraging every opportunity and attribute to continue sales growth. Approach sales efforts with that mindset. Repeat customers remain more cost-effective than prospecting for new ones. Referrals are more cost effective, too. Actively cultivate both. Be present in the customers’ culture. Understand and use the marketplace’s evolving language and behaviors. Claiming a product is 99.4% pure is no longer effective marketing. Depending on the product, selling the product’s purity almost connotes illegal activity. However, contributing content and events to the target market’s community expands marketing efforts that results in new prospects eagerly turning into loyal customers. This marketing approach only works when the community believes the narrative. Be truthful. Emphasize storytelling power to promote business into new audiences, and subsequently new markets.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

 

Posted in Business Development, Client Relationships, Creating Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Got Any Partners?

After Hours Young Professionals

A popular undergraduate introduced his latest girlfriend to his best friend. After the girlfriend exchanged pleasantries and passed the best friend’s eye test, he smiled broadly at the young lady and enthusiastically asked, “You got any partners!!?” The eager buddy smacked the core of networking in one question. He immediately cashed in social capital from his friend with the new love interest to create more personalized value.

He astutely calculated that his next opportunity could easily come from a very warm introduction from a party invested in his success. Likewise, the girlfriend wanted to launch a successful relationship with her new romantic partner. What better way to garner her new man’s favor and dominate his attention than by offering his buddy one of her cute friends? Business networking works the same.

Connect
Networking’s primary goal is to connect individuals to opportunities! Whether opportunities are personal, business or both, the transaction requires intentionality and personal interaction. Successful networking requires a plan. Prosperous professionals intentionally use connections to extend their reach. By accessing more people and recognizing their value, the resourceful networker multiplies connections with each relationship.

Social capital is an investment-grade asset. With expectations that introductions generate additional value, either immediately, or at some future point, investing in relationships yields stronger economic foundations. Exchanging contacts is an important strategy to create long-term gain. Prosperous networkers genuinely know and intentionally track the value of members of their network. The best relationships are sincere and sincerity is based on honesty. Connect people with genuinely aligned interests and clearly expect reciprocity.

Collaborate
The second step in growing a network is working together. Having partners clearly implies creating value and building teamwork. Growing social resources requires executing specific tactics focused on investing in ongoing success. Both sides of each transaction must benefit at some point. People do business with people with the expectation of personal gain. Consequently, combining resources for mutual growth is fundamental to business success. Having trusted partners that meet commitments and demonstrate abilities to execute results in group success.

Collaboration suggests that parties contribute resources and relationships for a profitable end. More importantly, collaboration suggests that opportunities will be revisited often. Organizations can have relationships that consistently yield results. Nevertheless, individuals, more importantly, must own profitable relationships. Organizations change for reasons beyond any single individual’s control. But, people’s fundamental character tends to remain steady. Understand contact’s core character before collaborating. Profits can be transactional. But, enduring value creates recurring wealth. That benefit results from accurately assessing individual character.

Takeaways
Whether interests are transactional, romantic, or both, relationship fundamentals are consistent. Results carry the day! Relationships are essential to creating value. An individual has talent, but connecting with others super-sizes value. Connections are foundational to networking, but are only the first step. Make introductions, and keep in touch. Actively seek opportunities to collaborate. Furthermore, collaborate with a long-term perspective. Each jointly successful transaction builds credibility and value that leverages into additional growth through an expanding network. A simple introduction on a college campus can lead to long-term, value-driven relationships based on trusts and shared secrets. To build that foundation, identify a trustworthy contact. Then ask, “Do you have any partners?”. Another successful networking plan just started!

 

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

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Pass the Turkey

Turkey Trot

Holidays are opportunities for incredible memories and superior storytelling. Anyone can reminisce about slipping Aunt Edna’s toxic dressing to the dog. But, what stories do high achievers tell resulting from the holidays? Who makes progress while everyone else literally fills their pie-holes? Who grinds instead of following the herd into a turkey-induced coma? What networking tactics are winners using to position their next conquest while the majority rests? How does “Pass the Turkey” impact results? Passing the turkey is required at dinnertime when the family has assembled. But, passing the turkey also describes making progress beyond others regarding personal growth.

Outperform Mediocrity
Mediocre minds think Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for not having to work. High achievers treat Thanksgiving as another day to connect with other high achievers. Turkey Day is not a secret society’s code word to assemble and conspire for word domination. But, it does provide opportunities to practice competing. Turkey Trots, or Thanksgiving Races, occur across the nation for overzealous souls who risk the elements and early mornings to contribute to charity and exercise. While mediocrity is grateful that the alarm is not even set that morning, ambitious achievers rise and grind toward specific causes. Reasons vary among exercise, the beneficiary’s cause, enjoying competition, justifying future gluttony, or old-fashioned networking. Regardless, every individual is up early with a purpose. Eat the bananas, run the course, or walk with friends, just connect with people sharing an achievement mindset. Do not sell, rather intentionally connect. Make memories. Running in the November cold, gives you a connection that people with blankets over their heads can never fully appreciate.

Feed the Champion
Another benefit to early holiday morning competitions is the adrenaline rush. These early risers proudly self-identify as warriors. They wear the T-shirts. They pose for selfies. They meet for coffee immediately afterwards to bask in the glow of fellow over-achievers just a little longer. Winners appreciate the advantage of connecting with a sweaty sales director on her day off before she puts on her make-up. In this case, pass the turkey equates to receiving the main course. Winners constantly compete because that is the way to keep winning. All winners do not cross the finish line first. Some winners collect more mobile numbers of prospects. Other winners schedule more golf outings with key decision makers. Still, other winners gain an audience with local dignitaries that attend these events. Consistently, winners set individual goals and then surpass them. That 30-minute five kilometer personal best is nothing compared to the lunch scheduled with the vice-mayor! Set a personal plan. Achieve an individual goal. Then, feast upon executing it better than competitors.

Takeaways
Whether Thanksgiving morning involves Turkey Trots, Meals on Wheels, or reading to children in hospitals, the victory comes from interacting with people that inspire a greater vision. Passing the Turkey is a time-honored Thanksgiving tradition. So is contributing to local communities. Holidays are perfect opportunities to do good and do well. Gluttony may be a holiday tradition; service definitely is. Create opportunities to serve, to engage others, to create memories. Storytelling is the foundation of successful marketing campaigns. Create a story worth sharing that involves networking, contributing and growing. Successful people find creative ways to contribute value. Pass the turkey on the way to contributing to communities and bottom lines.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

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Selling When You Don’t Wanna

Sad-Office-Boy

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Let’s go!! The countdown method is a proven tool to get tasks done. Who is sick and tired of pathetically avoiding exercise? So, when the alarm sounds, do the countdown, shout “Let’s go!”, jump into nearby sweats and sneakers; then start walking. Replace reluctance with process! Don’t think; trust. Regarding successful selling, executing a plan which leads to achieving specific business results can be intimidating. Reluctance results from considering problems that may occur during execution. Of course, doing nothing removes all doubt. Failure is the result! Still, how are steps toward successful results created?

Plan
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Just because a saying is old, does not mean it is irrelevant. Whether the tactics incorporate technology, or a face to face interaction, identifying target markets, prospects and decision makers starts the sales process. Aligning messaging with marketing efforts and specific sales channels is another key part of planning. Telephoning a buyer who communicates by Skype is self-defeating. Preparing to communicate consistent sets of benefits through verbal, visual, and social media channels is an initial step toward meaningful follow-up. Next, understanding customers’ buying processes prepares accurate insight for successful selling.

Discipline
Successful sales plans are never found in a drawer or buried in an inbox. Plans that identify sales opportunities are readily available for the successful business development professional to deploy. While discipline sounds painful and self-sacrificing, it simply reflects repeating successful processes and practices. Personally visit prospects that insist on a handshake before closing a deal. Text video clips to the decision-maker who feels naked without his devices on his person. Follow specific tactics that have delivered results. Then, repeat. Lack of discipline results in wasted time. Wasted time yields lost opportunities, underperformance, and eventually replacement.

Execute
Sales professionals who are empowered with a plan and discipline typically reap rewards from their activities. Too often, strategies and market intelligence easily misguide professionals to believe that great thinking yields new business. Actually, executing fully developed sales skills deliver results. Hard work routinely triumphs over great ideas. Optimally, high performance requires deploying acquired skills through training, applying best thinking during the planning process, performing tenaciously on a consistent basis, accepting the rewards! Professionals who trust the process and execute its tactics maximize sales opportunities. Guarantees may be available to customers, but never for providers. Nevertheless, rewards are inevitable for sellers that adhere to proven processes and tactics.

Takeaways
Whether a sales professional wants to sell or not, results matter most. Brownies points do not count. Tools, tips, and anecdotes are available in the marketplace. Yet, only measurable results dictate success. The execution that delivers results is precious. Whether a professional wants to sell is marginally relevant. Professionals who prepare an actionable plan, demonstrate focused discipline, and execute developed skills earn tangible rewards. If these steps yield inferior results, the professional still needs to trust the process more than the environment. Results and rewards are undeniable! Even if deploying these proven techniques in a more fertile environment becomes the only alternative. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Let’s Go!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

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