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How to Develop Competitive Sales Skills

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Feb 9, 2017 4:22:00 PM

Developing competitive sales skills focuses on being prepared to perform under pressure, in any type of situation or environment.

Sales professionals who have competitive sales skills are the ones who think of sales in the same way professional athletes think of their jobs: with confidence about their own abilities and fear of their equally skilled competitors who may be better at using their abilities.

Confidence, born from focus, attention and ongoing skill development is the chief ingredient for success, no matter what industry you are in.

So, whether you’re training yourself, or your team, it can be challenging to determine specific areas of development that are important to focus on.

 That’s why, in addition to the insights shared by Steve Bookbinder in the video above, there are 4 important lessons that you must also focus on in order to gain a competitive advantage and own your success.

Approach big challenges differently than you do day-to-day challenges

Thinking about the future tends to cause our brains to minimize the obstacles we'll face and instead focus on desired outcomes. We look at goals differently based on whether they are a short-term or long-term goals. For instance, 3-months ago when you booked a trip home to see your family, you were focused on abstract ideas like “quality time with my family and friends” or “downtime.” But I would imagine when it came time to actually leave for your trip, you were more concerned about your immediate needs like: "what should I pack" or “how am I getting to the airport?” It is only when goals get closer and more immediate that people start to think about them more concretely. So, focus on making small, incremental lifestyle changes that may feel less glamorous, but will have a much greater chance of creating real change in your life.

Always be realistic about your starting point when facing a big challenge.

There is no advantage in exaggerating your abilities or skills; it’s more productive when you acknowledge areas in need of development and then set out to improve upon those areas in order to achieve your goals. Asking the right questions will help lead you down the right path. But that requires being honest with yourself, and not coming up with an unrealistic plan that you’re overwhelmed by, instead aim to take stop steps each day. And remember, play within your own abilities, and recognize constraints of your product, your company, and the marketplace.

challenging_challenge_climb_cliff_group_help_together-1.jpg

Focus on identifying everything that can go wrong, rather than blindly trusting optimism.

While it is good to remain positive and confident that you will prevail, that is not the fuel that will help you prepare fully and give you the confidence you will need to overcome your biggest fears. Fear makes most people stop. But we can use our fear and feeling of being uncomfortable to propel us forward. Consider holding yourself accountable by involving a friend, co-worker, or partner to hold your feet to the fire. When we have support as well as keep pushing ourselves forward by stepping out of our comfort-zone, those are times that test our abilities and help us grow and gain a better understanding of our own work styles.

Don’t stop until you reach your goal.

The competitive sales professional will stop at nothing. They are driven, focused, and persistent.

Whatever you’re selling, you’ve got competition. Somebody besides you is selling to your clients and customers on a regular basis.  Assume that it’s a zero sum game, which means that if someone is getting “more”, then someone else is getting “less.” While we can’t control all of the factors involved in making a sale, we can certainly take all the right steps to properly prepare.

In a competitive situation like a playoff game or a race, every player wants to win at the start of the game --- the consistent winner isn’t the person who wants it bad enough at the starting line; it’s the person who was willing to prepare on all of the days leading up to the big game day!

Conclusion

Competitive salespeople beat their competitors as well as their own best records from previous years by focusing on all four of these lessons.

To develop your skills as a sales professional, you must work towards understanding yourself and equally as important, you need to understand your competition.

The best competitive sellers are willing to do whatever it takes and they ask themselves:

  • What are my competitors doing that I should be doing? Or shouldn’t be doing?
  • How many prospecting calls will they make?
  • How will they prepare for their sales meetings? Oh and by the way, these are sales meeting that are with the same type of people you want to meet with.
  • How will they handle objections?
  • How will they answer the tough question: “how are you different from your competitors?” How will they make their offering sound compelling and ROI+?
  • What are they doing to prepare for a successful year that includes beating you at your game?

Unless you consider these questions — even if the answers scare you — you will not as likely prevail like a competitive salesperson. So gather your confidence, skills, and go out there and conquer the sales world!

4 Steps for Improving Your Time Management and Sales Skills - Free eBook

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Topics: training, sales tips, sales training, goal setting, how to be your own coach, Investing in Sales Training, salespeople, high performing salespeople, sales tools, competitive selling, how to, confident, confidence

The Secrets of a Great Salesperson

Posted by Anna Adamczyk on Oct 27, 2014 10:15:00 AM

Think of a “salesman”.
What kind of picture did you envision?

salesperson-caricature

Most of us probably conjure up an image of a sort of caricature. The qualities of this fictitious being are usually boisterously exaggerated - they’re loud and talk a lot, they have a response for everything, they can be pushy or even aggressive, they won’t take “no” for an answer, and are wonderful at changing the subject every time you ask a poignant question. Hopefully you don’t have any of those qualities, but if you ever see yourself or someone on your team slowly transforming into this cliché, here are four secrets of what makes a great salesperson. Follow these rules to get back on track to the road to success.

Listen

It’s easy for anyone to get caught up in what they have to say, especially when there’s a pitch that’s just begging to be delivered. A great salesperson takes the time to focus on their prospect’s needs. They listen to what the needs, desires, and current problems that require solving are and then pitch their offering as a natural solution. Because their pitch is tailored to what the prospect is actually looking for, they come off as much more helpful and overall more knowledgable.

Over-deliver

Tailoring your pitch to the prospect’s needs doesn’t mean just agreeing to solve all of the prospect’s problems. It improves the relationship between you as the salesperson and your client, as well as, between you and the team delivering your solution, to under-promise. It seems to be human nature to want to please others and be seen as someone who can do it all (and get them to sign the contract!), but you need to retain a certain realism when making deals. Over-delivering - by getting them their solution earlier, faster, cheaper - will always be welcome and exceeding those initial expectations will have a positive effect on the future relationship.

Build Trust

Everyone wants to think they’re special. The best salespeople make their prospects feel exceptional, by following up consistently, providing relevant helpful information, and taking the time to adapt and adjust during the sales process to accommodate any sudden needs. Being available after the sale and continuing to check in on the solution’s progress is also a key component to building trust. No one likes to be disregarded and forgotten about. If you neglect to create trust within the relationship, when it’s time for a renewal you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re met with the cold shoulder.

Be Flexible

Anyone who’s stuck in their ways has a difficult time adapting when things start to change. As an outstanding seller, you need to be flexible. That means you’re willing to try new techniques, new methods, and new routines. Sure, maybe what you’ve been doing has been working for you. But are you really going to stay in that limited comfort zone? How do you know what else is out there? There’s always room for improvement and being willing to change your ways is the only path to get you there. Using experience and training as their guidance, the best salespeople adopt a system of documenting their ‘trials’ of new ways of doing things in order to see what can really work for them.

Using these secrets daily in your own process will pave the way to your sales success. Funnily enough, they may even improve all aspects of your life...

Who was your favorite salesman, or woman, character on television or film? What’s your best sales secret?

Competitive Selling

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Topics: sales, sales person, sales strategy, sales approach, salespeople, high performing salespeople, sales advice

20 Digital Terms You Must Know Now

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Sep 6, 2013 3:07:00 PM

mobile_devices_palm_technologyDo you and your salespeople know what content syndication, landing page optimization or programmatic buying mean? Here are 20 important digital terms you should know for your digital knowledge and company’s performance. 

Activity Audit

Independent verification of measured activity for a specified time period.

Attribution

The process of understanding the combination of events that influence individuals to engage in a desired behavior, typically referred to as a conversion.

Content Syndication

Website material made available to multiple other sites in order to provide other people with an update of the website’s recently added content. 

DMP (Data Management Platform)

The backbone of data-driven marketing which serves as a unifying platform to collect, organize, and activate your first- and third-party audience data from any source, including online, offline, or mobile.

DSP (Demand Supply Platform)

A system that allows buyers of digital advertising to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface. 

eCPM

An estimate of the revenue you received for every thousand ad impressions.

Geo-fencing

A technology that allows an advertiser to select a geographic point using latitude and longitude information and then create a virtual “fence” around that point of given radius.  This is similar to the way advertisers get a select group of people on local channels. 

Intelligent Agents

Software tools which help the user find information of specific interest to him/her.  The user’s profile is continually refined and improved based on the user’s acceptance or rejection of recommendations over time.

Landing page optimization

One part of a broader internet marketing process with the goal of improving the percentage of visitors to the website that become sales leads and customers. 

Lead Recapture

The strategy of a lead recapture is the process of capturing the data about the user because of the promise of getting what they want.  Once the brand fulfills that promise, the user will be more open to their continued conversation with us.

 Loyalty loop

The concept that when clients refer, recommend or like your business they are bonding with your company in a more powerful way, becoming more loyal and are more likely to refer your company again and again. 

Native Advertising

A web advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience. The idea is to make the paid advertising feel less intrusive so users will click on it.

Programmatic Buying

A process that enables marketers to consolidate customer interactions across multiple channels into a single dashboard to then use a single overarching strategy about how to best engage with those audiences.

Responsive web design

A website that responds to the device that accesses it by specifying how it should appear on varied devices.

SafeFrames

Specifications that provide advertisers with the ability to measure view ability, as well as obtain new insights and more accurately assess an ad campaign’s success.

Skyscraper

An ad unit typically placed on the side of a website to display creative information.  Many are Rich Media ads: animation, flash HTML5.

SSP (Supply side platform)

A technology platform with the single mission of enabling publishers to manage their ad impression inventory and maximize revenue from digital media.  This system interfaces to an ad exchange, which in turn interfaces to a DSP on the advertiser side. 

Viewable Ad Impression

A metric of ads which were actually viewable when served but cannot measure whether ad content was actually visible to a viewer. 

Wrap-up Reports

A report compiled by digital media sales professionals that identifies successful areas of the digital advertising campaign.

Yield Management

Yield and Revenue Management is the process of understanding, anticipating and influencing advertiser and consumer behavior in order to maximize profits through better selling, pricing, packaging and inventory management, while delivering value to advertisers and site users.

If you are not sure you can remember all these 20 terms you can always check back on our post or download our FREE Acronym Tool on our website which includes these digital terms and many more.  You can also click on the link below for faster access to our Acronym Tool. 

Please leave any questions or comments below. 

Digital Meda Training Digital Wordbank Acronym Learning Tool

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Topics: account manager, information, how to sell digital marketing, advertising strategy, sales managers, high performing salespeople, success, digital terms

5 Signs That Your Company Should Invest In Sales Training

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Aug 23, 2013 4:56:00 PM

Fotolia_52287511_Subscription_Monthly_MInvesting in sales training can result in a 50% higher net sales per employee and about 40% higher gross profits, according to the American Society for Training and Development. If you haven’t considered investing in training read the next 4 signs for indicators that this practice can develop your company’s sales. 

Your outreach is limited With sales training you can expand your customer or client reach by learning sales skill best practices like: how to prospect for new business, forecast sales, qualify, negotiate, and managing accounts; among other things.  Practicing these skills on a regular basis will help your company grow. In addition, delegating the training to an outside professional can add a fresh perspective toward your company’s current skills and processes. The outside trainer is a valuable asset for strategizing future sales opportunities and will help your company explore alternative options and new ideas to implement.

Your sales approach is limited Relying on “tried and true” sales methods may be familiar and dependable, but think of how your sales could improve by implementing newer, more recent techniques and technologies. With the right sales training, your team could go from good to great.  To expand your sales approach, training can prove to be valuable by teaching sellers to practice and understand more about how the sales cycle works, selling to technical experts and time management skills. Furthermore, a professional trainer may have “insider” information that they can use to help your company analyze industry trends and position against the competition.

You are not as digital as your competitors Today’s digital age calls for the constant need to stay up-to-date with the current media and advertising landscape, which includes social media, video, search engine optimization, online advertising, mobile marketing, and so much more.  It’s important for your company to be conscious of where your competitors stand and how to match up. Implementing training gives you the opportunity to learn about current trends and digital best practices. Training should been seen as a valuable resource, and often makes all of the difference when it comes down to decision time.  Don’t miss out on a sales opportunity because your competitors were more digitally savvy.

Your employees are disengaged What does your seller’s typical sales day look like? Do they do the same mundane sales tasks day in and day out? Stop your employees from disengaging and start training them to change the status quo.  Sales training will provide your staff with new ways to conduct sales.  In taking a specialized approach, training can be customized for your company’s specific staff needs and is a great way to improve the sale of new products or services as well as act as an information refresher and skill reinforcement. 

You have a new vision for the company Perhaps your company is looking to revamp its content or product, partnering with another company or wants to develop on a particular area.  Whatever this “new vision” is, training can provide the communication vehicle to promote and educate others about your company’s new mission approach or product.

Watch out for these signs and consider investing in sales training.

The topics mentioned in this post are courses taught by Digital Media Training.  If you are interested in learning more about our courses please visit our contact page or let us know in our comment box below.

 

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Topics: sales training, sales managers, high performing salespeople, digital training

4 Reasons to Continue Training Your Best Salespeople

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Aug 8, 2013 3:36:00 PM

learn_teacher_classroom_lesson-1

Did you know that training your best salespeople can bring you the highest return on investment for your company? This is only one of a number of reasons why sales managers need to continue training their star sellers. Sales is a talent based profession and according to OutboundExcellence.com, the best sales training will only improve the performance of an individual, on average, by 20%. So that means that a 5% increase could become 6% and an 80% could also become 96%. However, over 50% of sales managers are too busy to train and develop their sales teams. 

In order for continued sales success, we are going to cover 4 reasons why you need to keep training your top sales performers.

1) Highest Return - The time you spend training your best sellers will give you a higher return on investment. This is because your top salespeople already have a mentality of success. In order to keep this momentum, you need to provide additional training and resources as a way to help them excel and deliver even greater results.

2) Provide a Refresher - In today’s ever changing media landscape, even traditional salespeople are required to know how to use some form of digital communication and/or sales tool. However, some of your seasoned sales staff may be accustomed to using more familiar or traditional sales practices, but as sales manager you can provide support as well as new skills and tools for their continued sales success and growth.

3) Encouragement Who doesn’t like a pat on the back every now and then? Your best sellers are no exception. You must continue to motivate and encourage your high performers. They are the ones, most likely, bringing in the highest percentage of revenue and would like to hear a little reassurance that they are a valuable asset to the company. A little praise and appreciation can go a long way.

4) Product Mastery When a new product or service is launched in your company or organization everyone needs to be “in the know” about this new product or service. They need all the knowledge that will help them effectively present your new product/service to a potential customer. Your best sellers already know how to achieve sales success, now they need to be trained about your company’s new product/service. Your salespeople will then be able to take their experience and apply their new knowledge about the product/service to successfully position it amongst the other company offerings. 

Always consider these 4 reasons when deciding to continue training your best salespeople. Who will be the first top salesperson you will continue to train in your company? Do you feel that if you had access to more training you could improve your salespersons’ job performance or skills?

Please leave any questions or comments below.

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Topics: sales training, sales managers, high performing salespeople

How to Become a Successful Sales Manager

Posted by Molly Depasquale on May 2, 2013 8:30:00 AM

authorityThere is a position that is important to every executive in any company that does business online, from the Head of Sales to the Head of Operations, from the Head of Finance to all the Account Executives and the entire Business Development team. This position becomes the face of the company to many customers. Everyone in the company relies on this one person and needs them to be consistent and effective in "saving" each client with which they interact. The focus of company success in this case, and our article, is the Account Manager.

In advertising and marketing, the Account Executive "hands off" the client to the Account Manager (AM) immediately after a sale. The AM leads each company's formal on-boarding process: welcoming the client, establishing campaign visibility KPI reporting, as well other functions. That said, there are 5 things that the best AMs need tomaster in order to succeed every time they are working with clients.

 

1. Thoroughly Understand The Customer And Their Goals. 

It is surprisingly difficult to nail down exactly what a client's goals are. Many clients haven't reduced their aims down to realistic and meaningful metric goals. To really understand what each client is looking for, especially for a test campaign, start by understanding the client's business. In essence, you need to understand as much about a client's company as your own.

 

2. Reassure Everyone that They Are In Charge and Know What Needs To Be Done. 

Once the AM begins to lead the opening conversation by asking "smart" questions, they establish who is really in charge. The subtle dance is the one where the AM is reactive to the customer while leading the service delivery, remembering that most customers want to be able to turn over the responsibility for their campaigns to an expert instead of having to micromanage the details. This is best done by sharing with the customer the kinds of clients you/your team has worked with that had similar goals and/or marketing challenges. Stories about how you have succeeded in similar situations in the past - especially when told withconfidence - will go a long way toward getting the customer to put their faith in you.

 

3. Negotiate How They Will Define Success Each Week/Month of the Campaign.

First impressions, whether in social situations or in the first week of anew campaign, are extremely powerful. Therefore, AMs need to grab the opportunity and need to pitch a winning game

But, to do that consistently, the AM must properly set the client'sexpectations every week. To do that, the AM must let the client hear the thinking behind their plans. When clients do not see underlying strategy, they begin to question and doubt every move, like a nervous team owner with an uncertain general manager. But when they understand the thinking behind the moves, they are more open to accepting realistic results that each week.

 

4. Find A Way To Make An Unhappy Client Happy. 

Eventually, even the best AM will encounter an unhappy client. By the time the unhappiness emerges, it is often too late to backtrack to determine what really went wrong. The best strategy is take full responsibility for all errors. Just as importantly, this is the time to introduce a new strategy or optimization tactic. If you find a balance between these two, great things can happen.

 

5. Sell The Client On Trying Something Else.

When an Account Manager handles a campaign, they can sometimes increase that customer's media spending. To do so, it is important to establish that you can be trusted with a smaller budget. Suggesting increased spending before earning that trust does not work. The customer becomes suspicious that the AM's only interest is self interest. Timing in sales, like pitching, is everything.

 

 

About the Author:

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

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Topics: sales, sales tips, sales strategies, successful, sales manager, account manager, high performing salespeople, media salesperson, sales advice