AccountHUNTER

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Archive for the ‘Closing’ Category

You Can’t Have It!

Posted by Shane Murphy on Monday, December 11, 2006

We’ve been talking a lot about closing deals lately here at AccountHUNTER, and I’m going to continue that theme a bit today. This afternoon, I read an interesting entry over at LandingTheDeal regarding the “takeaway close,” and felt it was something good to share.

Really, the idea of the takeaway is just another form of the “getting inside their head psychology” that I wrote about last week. It’s all about getting the clients synapses firing a bit and getting them to think about what’s going on.

“In sales, it works this way: If the prospect is hesitant and you are not getting anywhere, you start to pack up your sample case, papers, or whatever, while telling him – in a serious, sincere, even somber voice – “Maybe this isn’t right for you.”

As soon as you do that, most prospects will immediately say – “Wait, hold on a minute!” – and ask you to continue your presentation, much more interested than they were only seconds ago.”

Silly, but effective. Take a look at it. It won’t work for every possible selling situation you ever find yourself in… but what close will?

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Overcoming Distraction

Posted by Shane Murphy on Monday, December 4, 2006

gossip.jpgI spent most of today with my two kids, getting them acclimated to a new school, as we have recently moved. To be honest, I’m insistent with them that it’s some simple planning and people skills that will make this transition much easier for them, but of course, there’s no talking sense with teenagers.

So, you wonder, why on earth is Shane rambling about his kids? Well, today it comes not from what I’ve been trying to teach them, but more from what I see them — and the others that I saw in and around the school today — engaged in on a daily basis.

And that is the not-so-fine art of being distracted.

Of course, it’s not just teenagers who find themselved distracted much of the time, is it? It’s us too, as professionals. Are you focused every day while you’re hunting for new business, or are you like most of us, easily pulled away for the slightest distraction?

So when I sat down today to blog a bit and get away from the craziness of moving into a new house, I headed out on the net to see what was out there on the art of distraction. I wasn’t surprised to find a nice little blurb from Brandon over at SalesTeamTools about this very issue.

I have to be honest – he nailed exactly what I was thinking, and exactly what I try to help my daughters understand every day. Being distracted isn’t a neccessity – it’s a choice. The successful among us understand that, and they avoid it. The much larger percentage of us might understand it, but aren’t strong enough to avoid it.

“Distraction is the great destroyer of careers. It’s the neutralizer of otherwise talented, intelligent people.

Spending your time on what matters most, hour by hour, in the face of so many interruptions (both unexpected and self-inflicted) has become the great challenge of our time. And while countless books and articles and presentations have been built around overcoming it, the reality is it will ultimately come down to your ability to make the right choices moment by moment.”

I coudn’t have said it better myself.

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Creating Selling Conversations

Posted by Shane Murphy on Tuesday, November 7, 2006

conversation.JPGThis is one of my hot-button issues… coming on too strong in the sales process. I imagine that we’ve ALL done it at some point in our careers. Hopefully, most of us have figured out that this is not the right way to approach selling.

Reading through this wonderful piece from Duct Tape Marketing, Jill Konrath gets right to the point. Consider this outstanding advice that she wraps the whole piece around:

Questions are the key! They have to be provocative, insightful questions that:

  • Invite prospects to think about key challenges they’re facing relevant to your offering.
  • Explore how staying with the status quo will impact their ability to achieve their ever-escalating goals & objectives.
  • Clarify criteria and other considerations involved in making a decision to change.
  • Spark ideas about taking their business to the next level.

Make sure to read this first thing today – it’ll set you up for a great week!

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The Discount Trap

Posted by Shane Murphy on Thursday, November 2, 2006

scared.jpgLast night, I had coffee with a friend who is working to start up a business here in Central Ohio.  He’s a good guy with a great personality, and he’s selling widgets.  A lot of what he’s going to have to do is network his butt off and get some word-of-mouth marketing going.

And, like so many of us, it’s going to be a long road, but one he can navigate pretty well if he exercises some patience.

But midway through our conversation, the red flags started flying.  Before he’s even started — before he’s ever made his first sale — he’s already talking about discounting his products to “get things off the ground.”

He’s PLANNING to discount!

After choking on my coffee, it was time to get serious with him.

What signal does a discount send to a prospect?  That you overpriced your widgets from the start, planning to drop the price?  That your widget isn’t worth what you’re asking, and only the unsavvy are stupid enough to pay that price?

Or is it that you just don’t have the guts to sell it?  After all, it’s easier to just drop the price, isn’t it?

Have a look at this short article over at Solo Business Marketing, where they pulled three critical tips from “Sales and Marketing Magazine” that will help any salesperson — no matter what you’re selling — to avoid the discount trap.

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Turn Away That New Business

Posted by Shane Murphy on Friday, October 27, 2006

no-thanks.jpgSay ‘No’ to new business? That’s what Noelle Weaver is advocating over on the AdAge Small Business Blog…

No, she’s not crazy. Her approach is very well-reasoned and may get you focused on the accounts that will make your firm money… and make you a bit less crazy. From the article…

I can’t tell you how many times, in an effort of transparency and honesty I’ve told a prospective client that 1.) we don’t’ have the staff bandwidth to serve them 2.) the timing of the pitch didn’t work with regards to other current client production that was happening in the agency 3.) the budget for the type of work that we would do plus the amount of energy we would spend doing it, just wasn’t there. More often than not, the client was not only appreciative of the truth, but called us back at some point later with another opportunity.

Maybe she is crazy… crazy like a fox.

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Attract Customers with a Free Consult

Posted by Shane Murphy on Monday, October 23, 2006

chalkboard.jpgThere are many ways that we all go about looking for new business in this world.  Some are effective, others not so much.  But one idea that seems to work in nearly all cases is the idea of giving something away.

No, not pens with your name on them or some silly mouse pad.  Instead, give away information.  And not information that simply promotes yourself, but information that’s meaningful to the potential client.

I’ve been in the midst of creating a free public seminar in the past week to discuss my specialties with the general public, mostly to help my potential clients understand the options that are available to them.  The intent of this for me is to give away enough information to show that I am an expert… and who better to talk to for more information than me when the hour is up?

But it doesn’t just have to be a public seminar, does it?  There are many ways to position yourself as an expert without setting up a seminar in a coffee shop.  One such way is discussed very well by Gail Goodman over at BizTools.

“Publish your short case study in your e-mail newsletter or via a separate e-mail marketing campaign. Alongside it, run a sidebar offering a “free consultation” (or “complimentary assessment,” “project evaluation,” “service overview,” “introductory consultation”–whatever language works best for your business). The case study should be the main feature while the sidebar extends your offer.”

Get over there and read this thing.  It’ll give you some good ideas to start the week off on the right foot.

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Cold Calling for Business Owners

Posted by Shane Murphy on Thursday, October 19, 2006

telephone.jpgWell, a few weeks after the “get a real job” debacle, I’m back in the saddle. I’ve done more cold calling in the past week than I ever remember doing in my life. Cold calling can very easily become a monotonous, horrible experience that drags you to the depths of the world. Or, of course, it can be a bit less horrific if you just do it with a smile.

So I wanted to link you up to a solid podcasting website out of the United Kingdom — The Cold Calling Podcast — which appears to offer a weekly short podcast that gives you some ideas of how to improve your abilities to hit the phones. I’d recommend it highly – it was just what I needed to find after a 10-hour calling marathon with a bit of positivity today.

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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.

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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.

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