Posts by Bob Croston
- Men and Women View Risks Differently: What Sales Managers Need to Know
Talking about the differences between men and women is a tricky thing. But we need to deal with tricky things if we want to be good sales managers.
The recently published book, Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, has a nugget of knowledge every sales manager should know. As the title suggests, it’s about the science behind why some people win and others struggle.
This is not a sales book, but some of its findings relate to sales and have implications for how to manage a sales team. (Note: for detailed, sales-specific research on what makes a sales winner, take a look at RAIN Group’s recent research report, What Sales Winners Do Differently.)
While Bronson and Merryman’s book covers a variety of topics, it’s what they have to say on risk and its implications for sales management that deserves attention, especially the surprising results when comparing men and women. While the authors struggled to accept these findings at first, the science pointed to differences too large to ignore.[click to continue...]
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- 7 Tips for Maximizing Time and Deepening Relationships with Executives
“It’s impossible to get serious face time with senior executives.”
“Even getting 15 minutes with a senior executive can take 15 months.”
I hear things like this all the time from professionals, sellers, and other business leaders who want to get more time with decision makers, but haven’t yet cracked the code.
Let’s start by setting a few things straight:
1. It’s not impossible to get serious face time with senior executives.
2. Getting serious face time with senior executives doesn’t need to take forever.
3. The code is crackable.
It’s a common misconception that senior executives don’t have time. Based on extensive research in the area, I’m prepared to reveal a startling fact...[click to continue...]
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- Prospecting with Old “Friends”: Making Outdated Leads Work
If your firm is like most, you’ve been using CRM software for years now. Name after name, title after title, data point upon data point, you’ve likely stockpiled a huge amount of prospecting information through various lead generation activities. You’ve created countless records and guided each one through your sales pipeline.
What do you do with those records once you can no longer push them forward? Again, if your firm is like most, you probably leave them languishing in your database, perhaps with a sad “lost – chose competitor” or “dead – no budget” tag attached. But these are more than just dead data...[click to continue...]
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- Are Sales Objections Driving You NUT$? Keys to Overcoming the 4 Types of Objections
An objection is not a rejection; it is simply a request for more information.
- Bo Bennett
Are you the type of person who quickly deals with sales objections, providing answers immediately, trying to overcome them as quickly as possible and move towards the close?
If so, you are probably not:
- Taking the time to fully understand the objection and what’s behind it by asking clarifying questions
- Dealing with the issue thoroughly enough and to the level of satisfaction the prospect desires
- Presenting a compelling enough argument to overcome the objection and ultimately win the business
Imagine you have a $450,000 deal on the line. You are at the altar. Six months have gone into this deal and uncountable hours. You can see the finish line… you just have to overcome the last few objections. All too many sales fall apart late in the game because sellers are so anxious to rush through this crucial phase in the sales process. I have consistently seen objections mishandled because sellers simply do not understand the basis for the actual objection.[click to continue...]
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- Build Trusted Relationships in the Sales Process by Setting (and Meeting) Expectations
Last Friday, I was looking for one more person to round out a foursome for a Saturday golf date. That evening I bumped into an acquaintance, mentioned we needed an extra, and he agreed to play.
The next morning as the clock struck eight, three of us were on the first tee, ready to go. The friend who agreed to play the night before was nowhere to be found with no message or explanation for his absence.
He stood us up. Behavior like this drives me crazy and it sets a precedent for how he’s going to act in the future. I’m certainly never going to invite him to play golf again.
Saying one thing and doing another can be devastating to your sales effort. Continually setting, and meeting, expectations is one of the easiest and most direct ways to build the strong, trusted relationships you need to close deals. However, in the heat of the chase – or in the warm glow of a Friday evening – promises are made, but never kept.[click to continue...]
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- A New Way of Thinking about Value Propositions
“We build brands…”
Back in the late 90s when I was a running a marketing firm, this was the beginning of our value proposition. We thought it was brilliant… until we started using it.
This was how we were going to engage prospects. The only problem: nobody found it all that engaging. You can’t sell what you can’t describe, and in prospecting situations, where you may have just seconds to make an impression, if you’re not engaging and easily understood, you’re toast.
I now know we were expecting too much from one simple statement...[click to continue...]
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- Is the “Wuss Factor” Hindering Your Sales Success?
I had the pleasure of meeting Ed Rendell when he was the mayor of Philadelphia. He was pointed and direct, quite different from the other politicians I have met over the years. So it came as little surprise when early this winter, Rendell, then Governor of Pennsylvania, called NFL officials “wimps” for canceling a game between the Eagles and Vikings due to snow.
When asked about the NFL’s decision the next day, Governor Rendell made his stance clear: "My biggest beef is that this is part of what's happened in this country. We've become a nation of wusses.”
This nation of wusses has extended into the field of sales. There’s no hiding that sales is difficult. Day in and day out you face rejection, you must constantly be filling the pipeline with new leads, you have quotas you must meet, and results are often inconsistent.
Yet too many sales people use these difficulties as excuses and let them hinder their own success – they wuss out.
How can you tell if the wuss factor is dragging you down? Look out for the following 5 symptoms...[click to continue...]
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- Sales Management Mistakes That Lead to Underperforming Sales Teams
Your sales staff is underperforming, but you can't figure out why. You're pretty sure that you've hired the best possible talent, but some days it seems like your sales staff is the gang that can’t shoot straight. Where did you go wrong?
Inconsistency and poor sales performance can be the result of a number of factors:
- Lack of necessary skills and knowledge
- Inefficient pipeline and process design
- Poor use of CRM and other tools
- Inadequate compensation and incentives
And the list goes on…[click to continue...]
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- Un-stick the Sales Cycle: Give Your Buyers a Buying Guide
A recent conversation with my nephew reminded me how a little guidance can go a long way when tackling something for the first time.
I was telling my nephew, a newly licensed driver, about my first experience piloting my ’68 Buick into the big city. The big city in this case is Boston, a labyrinthine tangle of one-way streets masquerading as a modern metropolis. Throw in aggressive drivers with a pathological penchant for double parking and you’re courting disaster the second your front bumper crosses into the city limits.
As I nosed my Buick into the city for the first time all those years ago, everything fell apart…fast. Nothing looked familiar. It seemed like the entire city was on my rear bumper, and…darn, that was my turn.
I needed a guide.[click to continue...]
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