Is Relationship Building in Sales Dead?
By Mike Schultz

mad men martini

There's been a lot of noise the last couple years declaring relationship selling dead. "The Internet has changed everything." "Personal connections don't matter anymore." "Selling is not about relationships." "Throw out everything you thought you knew about sales, Armageddon is coming!" Blah, blah, etc.

As we've discussed before, we strongly disagree with the idea that selling is not about relationships. Relationship building is still critical to winning sales. But it has changed. We wanted to know exactly how—from the buyers' perspective.

So we studied more than 700 buyers representing $3.1 billion in annual B2B purchases across multiple industries to learn what sales winners did differently from sellers who came in second.

We found that sales winners consistently do three things: They connect, convince, and collaborate with buyers. Our research found that sales winners make strong personal connections at more than double the rate of second-place finishers. Relationship building in sales is far from dead...

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5 Appointment-Setting Tips
By Bob Croston

appointment

Breaking your way into new accounts and setting meetings is one of the most difficult tasks sellers face. But if you want to be successful in sales, you need to be able to build your own pipeline and drum up your own business.

To increase your odds of landing initial meetings, follow these five appointment-setting tips:

  1. Reach out during "off hours": Business leaders don’t punch in at nine and out at five. The gatekeepers, however, are a different story. If you're trying to get through to an insulated executive, try calling early in the morning (before 8 am), late in the evening (after 6 pm), or during lunch.

    One of my colleagues has had great success reconnecting with prospects when he sends emails first thing in the morning (4 am)! This strategy not only ensures he gets his all-important follow up done before the day gets away from him, it also gives the prospect the opportunity to respond that day—and they often do...
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The Power of Storytelling in Sales
By Mike Schultz

mesmerized

In the latter half of the 1700s, German astrologist and physician Franz Anton Mesmer treated his patients by looking deeply into their eyes and waving magnets in front of their faces. Mesmer believed barriers in our bodies disrupted the natural flow of the processes that gave us life and health. He further believed his penetrating eye gazing and object waving restored natural order inside his patients and relieved all sorts of maladies.

In fact, he is reported to have cured headaches, swooning, blindness, paralysis, and a long list of additional ailments, even hemorrhoids.

He became quite the celebrity, at one point touring major cities across Europe to demonstrate the efficacy and power of his medical advances. It is reported that as he worked with his patients, he would gain complete control not just of their actions, but of their thoughts, their perceptions of reality, and their feelings.

When he did this, the patients were said to be...Mesmerized! And thus a new word was born...

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7 Ideas for Building Trust in Sales
By Mike Schultz

trust

Lots of things have changed in the world of sales, but some things have not. Building trust was important 50 years ago, and it's just as important today.

When buyers trust sellers, they depend on them, listen to them, give them access, and spend time with them.

Trust is critical for sales success. But today's buyers are busier than ever and, at the same time, have access to more information and choices. This makes their time harder to get, and their trust harder to build.

While researching our new book, Insight Selling, we found that building trust is one of 6 key drivers of client loyalty and one of the top 10 things sales winners do. Yet most sellers agree they could do a better job of deepening and strengthening trust.

Trust in sales is built around three factors—competence, integrity, and intimacy. Following are seven ideas for building trust in each...

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The End of the End of Solution Sales
By Mike Schultz

armageddon

Since articles like "The End of Solution Sales" and "Selling is Not About Relationships" were published in the Harvard Business Review, there's been a lot of disagreement in the sales world about what's working and what's not. The arguments behind these articles were steeped in data. The arguments against these articles seemed more based on experience and belief. Which were true? We didn't care one way or the other, but we certainly wanted to know.

So we decided it was time to collect and analyze fresh data to find out what's really going on in sales.

We undertook research from the buyer's perspective to understand what buyers want from sellers and what sellers can do to tip the scales in their favor. To find out, we studied over 700 B2B purchases made by buyers with $3.1 billion in annual purchasing power.

We found that sales winners don't just sell differently, they sell radically differently, and they exhibit a specific combination of behaviors to achieve better outcomes than second-place finishers.

Guess what? It is most certainly not the end of solution sales. Not even close...

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