New Project: Inside Sales Studio

Dear Leaders,

It’s been a few months since I last wrote to you, and I hope you have all been well!  My extended leave from writing allowed me to focus on an exciting new video communications project called Inside Sales Studio.  The AA-ISP officially launched Inside Sales Studio on January 27th, and the response from our community has been amazing.  The “channel” as we call it, provides an easy-to-view platform covering a wide range topics related to Inside Sales. Since we firmly believe that sales learning is a life-long process, we created the Inside Sales Studio to provide our community with digestible content that can be used in everyday sales and personal development situations.

Inside Sales Studio Logo

Here are the goals for Inside Sales Studio:

  • EDUCATION: Providing our community with on-going, relevant, tip oriented, and easy to view videos on a wide variety of topics related to improving as a sales rep or leader.
  • COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION: Interview slots are open to members of the community who have experience and expertise in an area which can provide valuable learning to reps and leaders.  Please contact the AA-ISP for more information.
  • COMMUNICATION: With all of our other communication methods, Inside Sales Studio is always accessible on your terms.  Select and view whatever topics that interest you, and at a convenient time and place that works for you.

Here is a summary of the programs that are being broadcasted out to the entire Inside Sales community.

  • MONDAY MORNING SALES MINUTE – This brief, 2-minute video, is designed for anyone involved in selling or leading sales teams. Monday Morning Sales Minute goes live early Monday morning so it’s available before the work day gets underway. The idea actually came from Mike Pierce (an AA-ISP speaker, Chapter Officer, and amazing person) when he and I were filming a sales tip right here in our studio in Gold Canyon, AZ.  Mike thought that leaders could actually take the tip into their “Monday sales meetings” as a way to keep reps trained and learning new ideas.

TIP:  BE SURE TO REGISTER HERE to receive all new episodes of Monday Morning Sales Minute and other studio episodes directly to your inbox.

  • EXPERT INTERVIEW SERIES – These one-on-one or small group interviews will be on specific topics and challenges facing Inside Sales professionals and leaders. Our first interview series will run for about 4-6 weeks and will be on the topic of “Women in Sales and Leadership”.  Guests will include prominent women leaders including Lori Richardson, Amy Appleyard, Megan Dahlen and Sharon Frame, just to name a few.  The first interview with Staples VP of Sales, Amy Appleyard, is now available by going to the AA-ISP Inside Sales Studio home page.
  • SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS & EPISODES – From time to time we will produce short videos announcing special events and happenings within the AA-ISP community. These and all other videos can be accessed by REGISTERING HERE to receive updates as the programs are produced.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on Inside Sales Studio and all of the episodes that will be produced in 2016.  Please drop me a note with feedback and suggestions as we look to make this a valuable resource for our members and broader sales community.

 

PLEASE STOP SELLING!

Stop Sign

Welcome back readers!  After a nice break from the AA-ISP Leadership Summit in Chicago, I am recharged and ready to help make 2014 a year dedicated to Training and Development.  On that note, today’s tip to leaders has to do with time they spend listening to and coaching their reps on the demos and presentations they do virtually to their prospects and customers.  Although there are a number of areas we could address which will help your reps make these presentations more valuable and memorable, today we will focus on only one. STOP SELLING – START LISTENING That’s right. Stop selling!  If you’re selling, you’re not listening.  And if you’re not listening, you’re not hearing and understanding what’s important to your prospect. Here is a story I will share to make my point.  The other day I got home after work and my wife seemed upset.  When I asked her what was wrong she went on to tell me about her friend who offended her during a conversation they had over lunch.  She went on to explain the situation and how it made her feel really bad.  I knew what could help her so I offered up a solution and approach she could take next time they spoke.  Unfortunately, it was the last thing my wife wanted me to do or say!  RATHER, she wanted me to just listen and fully understand and feel the depth of her pain and concern… without saying a word. All too often we as sales people do this very same thing with our prospects.  We ask a few open ended questions, hear some pain or concerns, and then can jump right into “solutions mode”.  After all, we are supposed to be solutions sales people right?  But think about it this way… why in the world would a sales rep want to try and move a prospect away from focusing on and discussing their pain or challenge, only to hear us start talking about our product or solution? Here are a few brief tips you can have your reps implement to avoid the above, especially when doing a demo or presentation:

  • TAKE TIME TO LISTEN. Be sure to allocate ample time either on an initial, pre-demo call, or on the demo call itself for listening to your customer’s concerns, issues and ideas.
  • BE ALL EARS.  I suggest reps actually using the term “I’m all ears” in the beginning of a call when allowing the prospect to fully describe their situation.  By saying something like… “I’d love to better understand your team’s biggest challenges… so I’m all ears” sends a big signal that you have every intention to shut up and listen to the prospect, and have a keen interest in what they have to say.
  • TIME YOUR TALK. Have someone actually time the amount of time your rep speaks vs. the time the prospect speaks during a demo.  Even when you need to explain and present something, having a rep who speaks 70-80% of the time is way too much.
  • KEEP IT IN THE BAG.  See how long you can keep your product or solution “in your bag” before offering it up in conversation.
  • FOCUS ON THE NEED.  The worst thing that can happen during a demo is for the sales rep to cover areas that aren’t necessarily important to the prospect.  I once was given a presentation on a CRM software add-on.  The sales rep asked me what was important and what I wanted to see in the beginning of the call.  I told them I really just cared about one particular issue to see if their solution addressed it or not.  The rep then launched into a canned demo covering every feature of their software.  Twice I tried to tell them I didn’t need to see that but rather wanted them to address my specific question. Finally, I had to rudely stop the call and not let them speak unless it was about my initial need.  Don’t let this be the way you present your solution!   Thinking you have to introduce a feature/benefit just because “they might not know they have this issue” is very risky and not advised by me.

Want to have your reps demo become more productive, memorable, and effective?  Try some of these tips above.  I would love you to share some other tips about giving effective demos so please comment below.

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