Are You A Sales Leader Or Merely A Sales Manager?

You can buy someone’s physical presence, but you cannot buy loyalty, enthusiasm or devotion. These you must earn. Successful organizations have sales leaders who focus on the future, rather than cling to the past. Leaders bring out the best in people. They spend time developing their people.

Here are the qualities of a leader:

• Leaders have a clear vision of what they are working towards. They don’t keep their vision a secret – they communicate it to their people.

• Leaders are consistent – they keep their principles and values at all times.

• Leaders can and will do what they expect of others – they are prepared to walk the talk.

• Leaders are not threatened by competence – they enjoy promoting people and are quick to give credit to those who have earned it.

• Leaders enjoy developing their people into leaders, not followers – they train people to take on more challenging tasks and responsibilities. They develop people’s confidence.

• Leaders don’t betray trust – they can treat confidential information professionally.

• Leaders are concerned about getting things done. They don’t get embroiled in political infighting, gossip and backstabbing – they encourage those around them to do likewise.

• Leaders confront issues as they arise. They do not procrastinate – if something needs fixing, they do it right away, even if it is uncomfortable. The longer things are left, the more difficult they become.

• Leaders let people know how they are doing – they reward and recognize performance that is above expectations and they help people identify ways of improving poor performance.

• Leaders are flexible. They welcome change – they do not stick to an old position simply because it is more comfortable.

• Leaders are adaptable – they see change as an opportunity rather than a threat.

• Leaders are human. They make mistakes – when they do so, they readily admit it.

• Leaders reflect on and learn from their mistakes – they see errors as a chance to improve their skills.

• Leaders enjoy challenge. They are prepared to take risks and encourage others to do likewise – if they fail, they treat the exercise as a learning experience.

• Leaders focus on the future, not the past. They anticipate trends and prepare for them – they develop a vision for their team and communicate it to them.

• Leaders are open to new ideas – they demonstrate their receptiveness by supporting change.

• Leaders treat staff as individuals – they give closer attention to those that need it and lots of space to those that deserve it.

• Leaders encourage and reward co-operation within and between teams.

Team Leadership

• Leaders develop guidelines with their team – they constantly enlarge the guidelines as the team becomes willing to accept more responsibility.

• Leaders change their role according to the demands of the team – for example, they become more of a coach or facilitator.

• Leaders listen to their team members.

• Leaders involve people in finding new ways to achieve agreed-upon goals.

• Leaders create the opportunity for group participation and recognize that only team members can make the choice to participate.

In Summary

Without managers, the visions of leaders remain dreams. Leaders need managers to convert visions into realities. For continuous success, organizations need both managers and leaders. However, as most seem to be over-managed and under-led, they need to find ways of having both at the same time. Perhaps the best way to handle this paradox is for managers to aim to be managers when viewed from above, leaders when viewed from below and to remember that the need for leadership grows as we move up the organization. This is only one of the challenges that can make working life fun

5 Excuses Sales People Need to Stop Using

Sales people make a number of excuses why they can’t reach their sales targets or why prospects and customer don’t buy. Here are just a few:

1. The competition is cheaper. While there will always be companies who sell the same or similar product as you, very seldom is the competition as cheap as you think. However, smart buyers will often try to get a better price by indicating that a competitor is cheaper.

2. We don’t have new products. Many sales people lament the fact that their company has not issued or released a new product. However, this is seldom a concern form a buyer’s perspective unless a competitor has a newer product that offers additional benefits that are important to the buyer.

3. The economy is still bad. Yes, the economy is still challenging but companies are making buying decisions. They are purchasing products and implementing new systems. The goal is to identify those companies and target your efforts accordingly.

4. The company expects too much. I remember talking to a district sales manager who lamented the fact that her company was expecting a twelve percent increase in revenues in the upcoming year. However, I have never known a company to say, Well, we just finished a record year so let’s coast this year, shall we?” Do shareholders expect a lot? Of course. You would too if it was your money on the line.

5. My sales targets are unrealistic. Let’s face it; most compensation programs do not reward sales people when they fail to reach their quotas or targets. As a result, sales reps often believe that their sales goals are unrealistic. However, top performing sales reps set their own targets which are usually higher than the quotas established by their boss. If they can do it, so can you.

You can make all the excuses in the world but it doesn’t change the fact that you and only you are accountable for reaching your sales targets. This may sound harsh but if you don’t want the responsibility, find another career.


Why Companies Hate Sales People Who Cold Call

Bring up the subject of cold calling with a group of sales people and you are assured of a lively conversation as they lament about the challenges associated with this task.

There is no question that it is difficult to connect with the right person in a company. It can be frustrating dealing with gatekeepers, receptionists, and executive assistants. Not to mention that decision makers seldom return voice mail messages. And, if you happen to connect with them, they often brush you off before you get a chance to tell them about your product or service.

However, let’s turn the tables for a moment and take a look at cold calling from a company’s perspective. Many companies hate sales people who cold call. Here are six reasons why.

1. The sales person is uninformed.

While people in sales will argue that one purpose of a cold call is to gather information about the company, employees in that organization will tell you that calls like this only demonstrate that the caller is uninformed and ill-prepared. Very few people in a company have time to answer basic questions that could be found on the company’s website.

2. The call is an unwelcome interruption.

Virtually every cold call is an interruption and because most employees are extremely busy, the calls are unwelcome interruption. Certainly, some people will say that if you don’t want to be interrupted that you should not answer your telephone. However, when the call originates from an inside extension, the natural impulse is to answer the call. This leads us to our next point.

3. The sales person uses manipulative tactics to make contact with the decision maker.

Because of the challenges associated with cold calling many sales people resort to using a variety of tactics to connect with the key decision maker. These can include asking for a different department and then asking to be transferred or misrepresenting who they are or the reason for their call. It may also include how they represent themselves. Here are two examples.

a. An executive once told me that a sales rep called and told his executive assistant that he was a close personal friend of the decision maker.

b. A sales rep called my office inquiring about one of my training programs only to pitch me on his products.

These types of approaches may work—once or twice—but ultimately they cause decision makers to become more skeptical about accepting receiving calls from people they don’t know.

4. The company has no use for the product or service that is being pitched.

Some sales people will say that the purpose of their call is to determine whether or not their product or service is applicable to the company they are calling upon.

5. The sales person refuses to take no for an answer.

Certainly persistence is an essential sales skill. However, hanging on like a pit bull and refusing to take no only serves to piss off the other person. And any chance you had of meeting or connecting with that person goes down the drain. You need to know when to let go and when to hang on.

6. The sales person is rude to the receptionist, gatekeeper or executive assistant.

Although this is the last point on the list, it is one of the most important. Too many sales people treat the gatekeeper with disdain or like a second-class citizen. These individuals fail to realize that many gatekeepers can influence who the decision maker meets with.

So, what does this mean for you as a sales professional?

It means that you have an uphill battle.

It means that cold calling is becoming increasingly more difficult.

It means that you need to avoid using the tactics mentioned above. Cold calling is not easy but you can stand out from the crowd and separate yourself from the competition by doing your due diligence before you make your calls and by acting like a true professional.


The Rapid Rise of Gamification

According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, workplace gamification, which is defined as the introduction of game design techniques and mechanics into a workplace environment for the purposes of improving employee engagement and productivity, will be a 3 billion dollar industry by 2016. This is a 2000% increase from 2011! Trying to convince potential Chinese Partners that this is the case is harder than expected, carrot and stick seems to work just fine over here…

Check out if you want to move away from stick beating..

Pitch Perfect – Deliver An Awesome Elevator Pitch

You ride the subway, grab a coffee, and get to the office—it’s your typical Monday morning, until, bam! You step in the elevator and find yourself face-to-face with the CEO of your dream company or the client you’ve been dying to land.

She smiles and says, “Hi. What do you do?”

Scary? Absolutely. But it could happen to you—tomorrow—and you’ll want to be prepared.

The aptly named “elevator speech” or “elevator pitch” is a concise, compelling introduction that can be communicated in the amount of time it takes someone to ride the elevator to her floor.

Even if you’re never caught heading up to the 39th with someone important, this is an good skill to master when you’re introducing yourself during an interview, a sales pitch, or a networking event. People are busy, and being able to communicate who you are and what you do quickly and effectively will ensure that you get your most important points across, no matter how short the conversation.

Not quite ready for the elevator ride of your life? Check out our step-by-step guide to crafting—and perfecting—your pitch.

1. Start with a Blank Canvas

Take a blank piece of paper and number it from one to 10. Then, fill in the most important bits of information that you want to convey about yourself, your service or product, or your company. What, exactly, do you do? What have you achieved, and what are your goals? Who does your company serve and why? Focus on the most interesting or memorable facts—the ones that really make you stand out from others.

2. Red Pen It

Using a different color pen, edit what you’ve drafted with a critical eye. Eliminate any redundancies, unnecessary or unclear information, and broad business jargon. More importantly, hone and enhance the good stuff. “I’m great at sales” isn’t likely to pique anyone’s interest, but “I’ve exceeded my sales goals every quarter for the last two years” sure might.

3. Pick a Card

Grab five index cards, and label them “Who I Am,” “What I Do,” “How I Do It,” “Why I Do It,” and “Who I Do It For.” Add each item on the list you’ve created to the card where it fits best. Ideally, you’ll have two compelling sentences underneath each heading, so fill in any gaps if you need to.

4. Get in Order

Organize the cards in a logical order, making sure the most important information is first. Remember, you often only have a few seconds to communicate with someone. If you get cut off, what would you want her to walk away remembering?

5. Add an Attention-Getter

Add an interesting fact or stat to use at the beginning of your speech. Your goal is to immediately engage someone so that he or she is intrigued and wants to learn more.

6. Practice!

Recite your pitch to close someone who can be objective, and ask for constructive feedback (although we love our friends and families, sometimes they think we can do no wrong!). What may seem clear in your mind might come across as convoluted, long-winded, or fragmented to an outside observer.

Good Luck..

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