AccountHUNTER

The Daily Journal for Ad Agency New Business Hunters

Archive for August, 2006

On The Road Again

Posted by Shane Murphy on Sunday, August 27, 2006

student.jpgThe next few weeks will be interesting ones for me.  As I write this, I’m sitting in an airport cafe preparing to depart for a weeklong training junket that will see me not training — but learning in a classroom for about 15 hours per day.

Of course, that will limit the time that I have to blog here at AccountHUNTER, but I will make attempts to blog things as I learn new methods of selling, since that’s why I blog here in the first place!

If you have ideas for things that you would like to see me blog on, I’d love to hear your suggestions.  Drop me a line anytime.

AccountHUNTER will be back in full swing as soon as time allows, with some new ideas to implement.

Advertisements

Posted in Closing | Leave a Comment »

Gitomer on Success

Posted by Shane Murphy on Tuesday, August 22, 2006

victory.JPGI just finished reading part four of an answer given by Jeffrey Gitomer on his website – Gitomer.com – from a reader who asked him a simple question: “How long did it take you to become a good salesman?”

In typical Gitomer style, part four comes in a list format – 7 things detailing what he refers to as the big picture elements of success.

  1. Book or Business Card
  2. Remaining a Student
  3. Succeeding and Failing
  4. Attracting mentors and finding role models
  5. Loving myself
  6. Loving my family
  7. Selling everyday

I can attest to the validity of his list (what a shocker) and have found that in my life, as I’ve focused on several of the things listed above, my world has become clearer.  From Gitomer’s .5 in the piece…

“My secret weapon is staying sharp. I don’t mean ‘sharpening my saw’ sharp, I mean scalpel sharp. Alert, open, looking for opportunity, and communicating value to everyone I come into contact with.”

It’s a quick read, but if you take it in, it can have long-lasting impressions.

Posted in Planning | 1 Comment »

Keep Those Opportunities Moving

Posted by Shane Murphy on Saturday, August 19, 2006

Back in June, I pointed AccountHUNTER readers to a simple little prospect management tool from SalesTeamTools.com. The tool, in Microsoft Excel format allows the you to select from one of three “likelihood” gauges—Top 1/3, Middle 1/3, and Bottom 1/3—as well as adding a summary or overview of the deal. As I’ve used it over the past few months, I’ve found that it does indeed help me to keep my mind on my prospects.

So this morning, I was just doing some reading while it was quiet, and I came across a wonderful article over at The Sales Guru about keeping the pipeline flowing, and it immediately got me thinking about that simple little Excel sheet.

Get an appointment scheduled with every qualified opportunity in your pipeline . . . today! Do not let another day go by. When it comes to scheduling the next step with your customer, the sooner the better. Even if the scheduled meeting is a month out, get it on the calendar because it’s easier for you and your customer to keep a previously scheduled appointment than to schedule a new one. And it’s harder for your customer to cancel a scheduled appointment than to simply ignore your request for a new one.

Planning is one of those little things that will sink you if you’re not on top of it all the time. The Sales Guru uses a pretty strong analogy about what happens when you let your leads wither and die, comparing it to a Doctor having a patient go flat-line.

If we let an opportunity stay flat, we sever any momentum we may have generated. And if it stays flat too long, that opportunity will die, or at least sustain serious brain damage.

It’s worth a read, folks.

Posted in Organizing | Leave a Comment »

The One Piece of Advice You Can’t Sell Without

Posted by Shane Murphy on Monday, August 14, 2006

moneyroll.jpgI’ve never hidden the fact that I’m a loyal reader of RainToday.com. I subscribe to their newsletters, I visit their site several times per week, and I take a lot of their advice and put it into action.

So imagine my glee this weekend when I came across a free ebook that they’re offering up. 34 pages of quick-hit advice from some of the best in the business. This baby is an easy read, but it’s one that you’re going to want to read, read, and read again.

One of my favorite entries in this fantastic ebook comes from Alan Weiss, who wrote the book Million Dollar Consulting.

If you’re talking about price, you’ve lost control of the discussion.

As salespeople, we all know that to be true, right? When I first started my career, I would cringe every time I heard that dreaded, yet almost inevitable question, “How much is it?” I always go back to that Zig Ziglar standby nowadays — “Price is a one time thing, but cost is a lifetime investment.”

And it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, really. Once you get that mindset, I’m convinced that you could sell anything. Weiss drives that point home flawlessly, using time-shares as his vehicle to do so.

And his contribution to the ebook is but one of 11 contributors. Have you downloaded it yet?

Posted in Closing, Organizing, Pitching, Planning, Prospecting, Reporting, Researching, Schmoozing | Leave a Comment »

Customer Focused Selling

Posted by Shane Murphy on Friday, August 11, 2006

question.jpgHow many times in your life have you been on the other side of the sales process?  You know, you were the buyer and not the seller.  When you are the buyer, do you focus more on the process that is occuring, or do you let your guard down and just let the buy happen?

Focusing on the salesperson in front of me is something that I’ve always naturally done.  And as a sales trainer, it’s sometimes incredibly tempting to stop the salesperson mid-stream and try to help them with the process.  There have, to be honest, been a few times where I’ve done just that.  Typically, my attempt to ‘help’ is met with bizarre derision, but once in a while I’ve actually been thanked.

My point in this today is that many times I notice when buying that the salesperson is more focused on his needs rather than mine.  Quite honestly, it drives me batty.  What I would like to see from a salesperson when I’m the buyer is simple.

1. Don’t try to wow me with your product.  Ask me questions to find out how your product can help me, and point that out.  I don’t care if it’s got wonderful bells and whistles.  What I do care about is — will it solve my problem?  And to know the answer to that, you’ve got to find out what my real reason to want it is.

2.  I’m not like the last sale you made… heck, I’m not like most other sales that you’ve made.  I get more than a bit put-off when I know that somebody’s trying to use some goofy sales technique on me.  I cracked up when I read this blog entry about a telephone seller trying to get subscribers to a newspaper with the well-thought out opening line of “Good morning Mr. Buntic, I’m calling from the Toronto Star. Today I would like to ask you, when you start your new subscription to the Toronto Star would you prefer it delivered to the front door or the back door?”  Be original and use your own methods… don’t be a cookie-cutter.  Drives me nuts.

3. Don’t just give me a presentation… have a discussion with me.  I was looking at car stereos today and the salesman spent what seemed like an eternity showing me how amazing one specific unit was. “It’s the best unit in the store… it can do a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y.  We can install it at no charge, blah, blah, blah.  What say we write it up?”  My first question out of the gate… “Is this Sirius compatible?”  Guess what… it wasn’t.  How much time was wasted here?  And no… I didn’t buy a stereo from him.

Those are but three of my pet peeves… but this weekend, I challenge you to think about how people are selling you.  Take the stuff that they do that seems silly, and then think about your own sales methods.  I wasn’t in a training mood today, so I didn’t offer my thoughts to the stereo guy.  Maybe I’ll go back later this weekend.

Powerful, powerful exercise… this one.  Take the time.

Posted in Closing | Leave a Comment »

Getting Inside Their Heads

Posted by Shane Murphy on Wednesday, August 9, 2006

psychic.JPGAs far as the base concept of selling goes, I’ve always been a bit enamored by the psychologial side of things.  I’m a big believer that the psychology of selling is just as critical to understand as anything if you want to go from good to great.

A lot of it though, really, isn’t all that complicated.  It’s a matter of gaining a deep understanding of what your customer wants, then making sure that she knows that you can make it happen.  One of my early sales mentors used to pride himself on his ability to “get inside their heads and run around a little bit” to get a grasp of not only what they wanted, but also who they were.

This piece from RainToday got me to thinking about that mentor of mine, a guy who I saw do things in a sales training environment that I’ve honestly never seen since.  And to be sure, it  was because he had an ability to get inside their heads.

“The value of the information gathered in this way can be enormous. A deeper understanding of how much clients trust you in these critical areas of emotional connection can be a mirror to see yourself–if you choose to look. By knowing how well you are meeting the clients’ current needs, you can change your approach to account management, relationships, contracts, servicing, information technology, and reporting.”

Imagine what you could do with a basic understanding of how to… well… read their minds.

Posted in Researching | Leave a Comment »

Book Review: “The Little Black Book of Connections”

Posted by Shane Murphy on Monday, August 7, 2006

gitomer-connections.jpgImagine my surprise last week while on vacation in Chincoteague Island, Virginia, I walked into a tiny bookstore and saw a little black book on the shelf in the business section. As I walked toward the book, the first thought in my my mind was “Jeez… it’s one thing to steal Gitomer’s idea, but to have the book look identical to the Little Red Book series…”

Then I picked it up. By Jeffrey Gitomer.

And it ain’t a sales book?!?

Nope. What it is though, is the “Little Black Book of Connections.”

Two days remaning on an incredible beach, and a brand-new Gitomer book in my hands? Life is good!

Stepping out of his classic sales realm, Gitomer nails it with this wonderful book that focuses on networking as a way to enhance your success in both business and life. As he has discussed ad nauseum in his sales series, Gitomer is a huge believer in building relationships as part of your overall business strategy.

In my opinion, the overall book is strong, but like most Gitomer reads, it’s nothing earth-shattering. It’s just plain, in-your-face, reality.

There are times when I read this guys writing that I literally shake my head and wonder why these things need to be written. But Gitomer has a way of connecting with the reader. It’s an almost conversational, yet confrontational way of just grabbing you by the neck and demanding your attention. The only thing missing is that he can’t make you take action. He can just give you the straight dope. It’s your task to put it into practice.

The strongest section of the book is just six pages long (pp 26-31) and is titled “The 17.5 Strategies, Guidelines, and Rules of Connecting.” These are six of the most powerful pages that I think Gitomer has ever penned.

These strategies and rules are simplistic — but they are not simple. As you read them and begin to understand them, they will help you make connections in a better, more powerful way. Oh, one other thing — you have to implement them.

Those six pages alone are worth the price of admission. Really. Go to the book store and read those six pages. Then buy it and read the whole thing. I’m already on my second read, and I’ve only had this little gem for three days.

Posted in Etc. | Leave a Comment »

The Art of Personal Branding: Email Newsletters

Posted by Shane Murphy on Thursday, August 3, 2006

letter.jpgIf you’ve been paying any attention to your personal development in recent years, you’ve heard the buzzword of “personal branding,” I’m sure.  My favorite sales guru, Jeffrey Gitomer, talks a lot about those things that help you brand yourself as well.

Face it, in today’s ultra-competive business environment, every little thing you do to enhance your personal brand give you a leg up on the competition.  If you are seen as an expert in the field, logic dictates that the prospect knows who you are before you even begin your pitch.  And of course, that makes the process much different than going in cold.  Right?

So let’s consider the thought of an Email newsletter for a moment.  Gitomer, for one, goes on and on about the importance of using little things like this to seperate yourself from the pack.

As I said, if you’ve been concerned about your development, you should already know the reasons why something like the Email newsletter can be so valuable to seperating yourself from the crowd.  But have you considered why?

Take a look at this piece from WebProNews and you may learn some things that you didn’t know about these little messages.

I’d recommend taking some time this weekend and learning more about how this simple tool can help you become more of a recognized expert in your field.  It’ll lead to greener pastures down the road if you understand it… and stick with it.

Posted in Planning | Leave a Comment »

A Critical Selling Factor

Posted by Shane Murphy on Tuesday, August 1, 2006

sleep.jpgOne of the many things that I like to talk about when involved in a sales training session is ‘what is the customer really buying?’

By that I mean… when a customer buys a drill, he’s not buying the drill.  Ultimately, he’s buying a hole.  The drill is just a tool to make the hole.  Sure, the features of the drill are important, but more important is the end-result — in this case, the created hole.

When you sell your wares, do you keep this critical factor in mind?  Do you ask the questions to determine exactly what your client — or potential client — actually needs  Over on TalkSuccess today, I came across an interesting — and very simple — story that touches on this critical factor perfectly.

Through a series of questions that got me focused on product I smoothly and painlessly forgot about price for a while and started to get involved in a logical process that I believed was best for me; one that would ultimately see me get what I really wanted which was a good nights sleep!

Ultimately, in the majority of selling situations, it comes down to that old favorite… “What’s in it for me?”  Nothing more than that.

Keep that front of mind the next time you’re prepping a pitch for a client.  What’s in it for them?

Is it a fancy new bed with all the bells and whistles… or is it simply a good nights sleep?

Posted in Closing | Leave a Comment »