The Seller As Differentiator
By Mike Schultz

salesperson

Lots of people lament the commoditization in their industries.

They’ll say things like, "Buyers see us as commodities."

Interestingly enough, the truth is lots of buyers agree.

Now, given what I do, I’ve been a part of actually watching many buying processes from the buyer’s side and the buyers often say at the end, “Of the five companies we’re looking at, I actually think that three of them are well suited to do the work, but we still have to pick a winner,” and, at least in my observation, the winner is not always on price and, in fact, it’s not usually on price.

So what is it then that makes one company stand out enough to win the business versus the others that are also vying for it?

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Is Your Need for Approval Holding You Back from Sales Success?
By John Doerr

ball and chain

How many times have you left a sales meeting and thought, "I should have said that..."?

Or, during a meeting, as you listened to what a prospect was saying, you thought, “That is not really right; he will be making a big mistake if he goes down that path,” but you never voiced your opinion?

Or, perhaps even more dramatic, you got the sense, "This guy is holding something back. I need to get to the bottom of this," but, again, you said nothing?

In all of these examples, what usually keeps you from saying the things you want to (and should) say is a strong need for approval from your prospects. You want to be liked, and in some cases loved, more than you want to close the deal. While likeability is certainly important in building relationships and winning business, it can hurt your sales success if taken to the extreme. You miss opportunities, chase non-qualified leads, and limit the insight you know you can provide...

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3 Tips for Selling to the C-Suite
By Ago Cluytens

zen

Most of my clients want to have better meetings with senior executives. Meetings that feel like conversations, not pitches. Meetings that build deeper relationships. Meetings that uncover more ways in which they can help their customers.

Behind closed doors, when I ask what’s holding them back, many will tell me things like, “I don’t feel comfortable,” “I have nothing to offer to them,” or “I’m not at their level.”

Selling to the C-suite can be difficult, and getting a first meeting can be a real challenge. But in my experience, the most difficult part is not getting the first meeting. It’s getting the second one. Or the third one.

It’s keeping the relationship going...

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Men and Women View Risks Differently: What Sales Managers Need to Know
By Bob Croston

risk

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.

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RAIN Selling: How to Lead Masterful Sales Conversations
By Mike Schultz

conversation

It’s 4 PM on a Thursday. You’re about to meet the CEO of a large company you’d like to win as a client. The conversation starts as you walk into the office, approach the CEO, stretch out your hand, and say, “Nice to meet you, Jill. I’m Steve Webb.”

Fast forward 7 months later. It’s 3 PM on a Wednesday. You head into the office. Jill gets out from behind her desk and says, “Good to see you again, Steve. Here’s the signed contract for the initial $1.2 million. Let’s get started.”

Suffice it to say, a lot has to happen between “hello” and “let’s go.”

Yet two things are true. 1) This is how it happens. And, 2) how to lead sales conversations, influence your prospects to want to buy, buy from you, buy a robust solution, and pay full price for it confounds many people.

But it doesn’t have to...

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