Sales Call Planning: What to Know Before Every Sales Call
By Mike Schultz & John Doerr

woody allen

Eighty percent of success is showing up. - Woody Allen

Woody Allen’s advice is pretty sound for salespeople as well, assuming you show up prepared.

We acknowledge that sometimes you do just show up (or—hallelujah—a prospect calls you out of the blue) and you haven't done any preparation for the sales call. It's reasonable to suggest that, on occasion, sales calls are appropriately deemed 'exploratory discussions'; the kind of discussion in which we just talk and 'see where it goes.'

Take this approach in most business development situations, however, and you'll lose more than your share of sales that you should have won. Interestingly, whether you have a two-thousand- or two-million-dollar price point, to increase your odds of winning new clients, you still need to do the same basic planning and know the same essential information before your sales calls.

Here are six sales call planning questions you can answer for yourself before every sales call that will help prepare you for business development success...

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On Relationships, Solutions, and Challengers
By Mike Schultz

sales winners

Having spent two decades in the sales training and consulting world, I get asked all the time what I think about this or that sales approach or book. When I do, it tends to make for productive discussion and learning. Importantly, it helps people decide what’s right for them when it comes to selling.

Until now, I’ve never been asked about the same approach and book on a regular basis. That approach and book is The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon. And now that we’ve published RAIN Group’s major research study, What Sales Winners Do Differently, we’re getting asked even more often.

Since we get asked often—and since it’s getting a bit old copying and pasting the same emails to clients and colleagues—we thought we’d open up the discussion to everyone...

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New Sales Research: What Sales Winners Do Differently
By Mike Schultz

sales winners

After many months of significant effort, we launched What Sales Winners Do Differently this week. This report reveals data and insight from our in-depth sales research on what sellers do to win sales opportunities.

The results are both surprising and fascinating.

Where selling was just a few years ago, where it is today, and where it’s going: these are pretty hot, and hotly debated, topics.

Quite a few people, most notably the authors of The Challenger Sale, have declared the death of solution selling. You know an idea has gained mainstream credence when the Harvard Business Review publishes an article that takes a firm position on it. In this case, the article in the July-August 2012 issue was titled “The End of Solution Sales.”

No hedging in that title. Story over. The end.

We agree that sales is changing, but the question is how.

When we started this research, our goal was to find out what’s currently working in sales. Is solution selling really dead? If so, what should replace it? If not, since we know selling is changing, what do sellers need to do differently in order to find themselves in the winner’s circle more often?

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5 To-Dos When Selling to Senior Executives
By Ago Cluytens

selling to sales executives

Want to make more sales? Start by having better conversations.

Think about it. You spent months chasing a senior decision maker or prospect, making calls, and sending e-mails, and they finally agreed to sit down with you. You invested significant amounts of time, effort, energy and—sometimes considerable—resources to win them over.

And now you find yourself in a room with a senior executive. Now what?

In this video, I explain my five-step process for ensuring you have great sales meetings that are virtually guaranteed to lead to a next meeting.

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21 Powerful, Open-Ended Sales Questions
By Mike Schultz & John Doerr

sales questions

Broad, open ended-sales questions are great for helping us to find out what’s going on in our prospects’ and clients’ worlds. They help us connect with buyers personally, understand their needs, understand what’s important to them, and help them create better futures for themselves.

Following are 21 open-ended sales questions you can ask that will help you round out the picture of your clients' needs. These questions are broken down into four groupings within the RAIN SellingSM Framework:

  • Rapport
  • Aspirations and Afflictions
  • Impact
  • New Reality

One thing to note about open-ended sales questions: they don’t need to be complex. Often the basics are all you need.

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