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4 Steps to Take When Closing Your Next Deal

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Feb 2, 2017 6:30:00 PM

Closing a deal is the ultimate reward for all of the research, preparation, and follow up that goes into building new relationships and maintaining a high level of client satisfaction.

Every now and then, it’s important to remind yourself to go back to the basics of selling to ensure that you’re not simply closing a deal, but instead, opening a new relationship that has future growth potential.

So, when the time is right and you’re ready to close your next deal, remember these four tips: 


(SLA) Service Level Agreement

SLA stands for Service Level Agreement; in other words this is the document that outlines the timing and delivery of the products and/or services you will provide. This is a critical point in the sale because this is where all expectations need to be set and understood by both sides.

When you close a deal, it’s not enough simply to get the sale. You want to be able to leverage the sale in the future. To do this, you need to confirm with the customer that he or she feels your level of service is superior and that you did more than simply meet the minimum requirement. So, when formulating your close, review what the minimum deal is and then determine what else you can add. Be sure that you have added in enough elements to your deal to get that agreement.  


Review a sale you are closing now or have just closed. Decide what you can add (product, service, conditions terms, etc.) to enhance the service level without increasing cost to you.

On-Boarding Process

Sales continue even after the close.  As the seller, you are the “face” of the sale to the customer. So, the customer will always look to you to explain and validate every step of the implementation even after the close. Therefore, meet with your internal team and carefully review who does what, when, why and how. Then, repeat the process with the customer explaining who on your team will be taking over the implementation on your side. Be sure to always point out the value of each person taking charge of the steps in the implementation. This builds rapport and helps pave the way for future sales.


Think of a current sale and review your on-boarding process for the account once you close the deal. Use a tool like the following to think through all the steps in on-boarding. This will help you be ready to both explain the process to the customer and to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Future Opportunities

A single sale for a single deal may have a finite point. However, the superior seller knows that each successful sale leads to another... and another…. You can leverage past success into future success by ensuring that the job you do with the first sale is not only adequate but superior, beyond expectations – in effect, stellar. This way, you develop equity within the account and draw upon that equity to pursue one successful sale after another.


Review a current or upcoming sale. Review the terms of the offering. Find something that will help the sale exceed expectations – something you or your company will do, a “deal sweetener,” etc…

Strategizing the Right Time to Ask for Additional Business

 A major goal of the consultative seller is to position him or herself as the “conduit” of a range of products and services that address multiple functions within the account. This process is called “evergreening.” To successfully evergreen an account, you have to be extremely observant to what you see and hear and what you can deduce to identify opportunities all the time. Then, when you spot an opportunity, you move on to that one if your present sale is going well. This way, the present sale “evergreens” into additional business.  Account selling is not linear.


Review all your active accounts. For each, think of additional opportunities and note how you think you can transition from your present deal to the future opportunity even before you close the first one. Use a tool like the one below for your analysis.


Before closing your next deal, take these four things into consideration and utilize them to your advantage by ensuring that you: set expecations up front, properly on-board new clients by clearly outlining how your product or service will be implemented, understand what a future opportunity might look like, and strategize the timing of asking your client for additional business.

How to ask for the deal without sounding too

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated.

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Topics: sales, training, tips, managing, manager, client, cold calling, building client relationships, strategy, deal, service level agreement, client on-boarding

3 Tips for Managers to Become Great Sales Coaches

Posted by Anna Adamczyk on Mar 2, 2016 8:34:00 AM

Being an effective sales manager is a difficult task. Often, those thrust into the position were excellent sellers, but never really had any experience with coaching others.

Sometimes this causes a manager to instinctively react by just stepping in when a seller is struggling and “get it done” for them. That surely may have some positive short-term effect on the sales numbers, but it will breed resentment, apathy, and only serve to maintain the status quo long-term.

As a manager you have to work to keep pushing forward and the only way to do that is to ensure your salespeople are improving continuously. The only way to effectively do that is to stop giving those fish away and become a master fishing teacher.


What are the 3 essential steps to becoming a great sales coach for your team?

1. Observe

Great managers aren’t the ones locked away in their offices. They are the ones regularly walking the floor and even tagging along on meetings and calls.

Looking at CRM data or budget spreadsheets isn’t enough to really know where a seller is going astray. The only way you’ll be able to have a grasp on the reality of any situation, is if you put yourself directly where the action is.

Observing how your sellers are going about their selling, in terms of their process, their meetings, and their follow-ups is key to having an understanding and being able to coach towards improvement.

2. Relay

At least once a month, if not even once a week, you should have a meeting with every seller to discuss what you’ve observed.

It’s more effective to try to hold off immediate judgement and simply relay back your observations. Give your seller as objective of a play-by-play of their behaviors as you can.

Don’t ask accusatory questions to help avoid any defensiveness and simply state what you’ve noticed. It’s important for your team to see the cause and effect of their actions on their sales success.

3. Recommend

Once you have relayed the information back to your seller on what you’ve observed, it’s time to prescribe a course of action.

Recommend a new tactic or approach your seller can utilize to help improve a specific pain-point in their sales method. By suggesting an alternative way of doing something, instead of criticizing what they’re currently doing, your salesperson will be much more open to attempting to change the behavior that leads to improved performance.

As a manager it’s difficult to detach yourself and not step in or become overly critical. There might be points where you feel like a lot is out of your control. And while it’s not your direct actions that influence the sales numbers, it is all dependent on your coaching ability.

Become the best coach you can be by maintaining somewhat of an outsider’s perspective. Become a fly on the wall and gain a deep understanding by observing what’s actually going on. Then report on what you’ve seen and heard as impartially as possible. Finally, suggest alternative strategies for your sellers to utilize. These 3 steps will provide your sellers with the tools to succeed and guarantee that you aren’t seen as just a manager, but a truly great coach.

How to Solve 5 Common Problems in Your Sales Team - Free eBook

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Topics: manager, coaching

5 Essentials for Managing a Remote Team

Posted by Anna Adamczyk on Sep 17, 2015 9:30:00 AM

Working remotely is becoming increasingly popular as companies begin to realize that in many situations they can grow their business by going virtual.

There are many benefits to being able to work from anywhere. Employees usually enjoy the sense of freedom and generally report being more productive. Companies also reduce their overhead and can expand to accommodate talent that would previously have been out of their reach.

With all of the positive aspects of working remotely, there are also coinciding challenges. Managing a team can become more difficult since there is no longer a traditional way of managing in a virtual space.

How can managers who direct remote teams ensure success? Here are the 5 essentials:

Building trust

1. Trust

Trust is the most important factor in managing a remote team. If there are members of the team who aren’t trustworthy - it’s time to seriously reconsider their positions.

Being able to have complete confidence in your team and their abilities to manage their own time and productivity is crucial.

Knowing that the entire team can rely on one another is also key in a remote working environment. If one person isn’t consistently pulling their weight - it will become even more apparent to other members of the team.

Being able to know with full confidence that they’ll stay productive without you or anyone else peering over their shoulder in the office is one of the most important pieces of making the situation work for everyone.

With trust, your team will begin to appreciate their freedom with the ability to work from anywhere and as the manager, you will have peace of mind knowing that it’s not necessary to micromanage and overextend yourself into their work.

2. Communication

Have you ever had an in-person meeting where it seems as though everyone’s speaking a different language since apparently no one understands one another?

Working remotely can easily magnify that feeling.

However, if mutual trust exists in the team and everyone is consistently putting in a concerted effort into communicating with each other, then communication shouldn’t be an issue.

As a manager, it’s imperative you take initiative in being transparent with your communication and expecting team members to do the same.

You never want anyone to feel as though they’re out of the loop, since that’s one of the quickest ways to have them disengage from their work.

To keep the communication personal, make sure it’s not only via email, chat, or phone. Throw a couple of face-to-face video calls in during the week to keep the human interaction element high.

Finally, don’t focus all the communication on business matters - take the time to really connect with members of your team on a human level and provide everyone with a sense of an office culture where it’s acceptable to discuss sports scores or share new recipes by the virtual water cooler.

3. Tools

With new technology popping up each day, there’s an endless array of tools to help remote workers collaborate and communicate.

No one needs any more emails cluttering up their inbox - so instant messaging apps like HipChat, Slack, or Google Hangouts are great alternatives for quick updates or check ins.

Other collaboration and organization tools that could become indispensible are: Dropbox, Google Drive, and Trello.

Screen sharing and video conferencing software like Join.me, GoToMeeting, or even Google Hangouts will also become staples.

By using tools that seamlessly fit into an efficient work process, meetings and collaboration can start to become even more successful than those in a traditional office setting.

4. Routine

Keeping a routine and encouraging your team to do the same is an important way to keep your productivity levels high.

It’s always easy to connect with someone when you know they’re already at their computer by a certain time or that they have a set hour everyday when they’re not available.

It’s also crucial for your own sanity to institute some kind of schedule so that you’re not spending too much time each day simply figuring out what to work on.

Ensuring there are check-in calls planned on the calendar is a great way to stay in touch with the team and set expectations about making meetings productive.

5. Flexibility

As important as it is to have a routine, it’s also necessary to stay flexible. One of the biggest joys of working from home is the freedom.

It’s to be expected that things will pop up once in a while that will change your plans.

Make sure your own schedule isn’t completely rigid and that you have time to accommodate for things that come up. Don’t shy away from the concept of spontaneous meetings.

Situations will arise when everyone needs to jump on a brainstorm session or potentially a meeting to put out a fire. Being adaptable and utilizing all the tools at your disposal will keep everyone on their toes and feeling fresh.

Working remotely is an entirely different experience than working in a traditional office environment. It can be more freeing and productive, but has the potential to get disorganized or disengaging.

However, managing a remote team successfully boils down to trust, communication, tools, routine, and flexibility.

How to Solve 5 Common Problems in Your Sales Team - Free eBook

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Topics: managing, manager, working remotely

Sales Managers: It's Time to Hit the Refresh Button

Posted by Buff Parham on Aug 11, 2015 9:05:00 AM

Standing still in a time of rapid change is not a formula for continued success. Leading a team in the digital age requires that the leader be the model when it comes to accepting change, embracing it, and using it to his or her own advantage. Being stagnant and refusing to upgrade one’s skills and abilities sends the wrong message to the team, and jeopardizes the manager’s chances of remaining relevant and effective.

Here are four tips to help you stay refreshed: 

1. Always be curious.

Even if you’re not blessed with a natural sense of curiosity, develop one! Being hungry to learn more about anything relevant to your profession is absolutely critical. Modern information technology gives almost anyone easy access to tons of material that will help grow themselves and the team that they are leading.

Searching out new and useful information should be a routine activity, and not something left over for “when time permits.” It is integral to ensuring that you stay fresh and sharp as a leader.

2. Don’t live in a comfort zone.

Too many sales managers think that way once they’ve arrived and that the hard part was making it from salesperson to sales manager. Nothing could be further from the truth. A sales manager’s job contains many different challenges. Given that truth, how can it be a “comfortable” position?

Delegating responsibilities to team members doesn’t mean that the manager has shed the ultimate responsibility—which is making sure that the team is successful by the established metrics. Taking “comfort” in the simple fact that “someone else” is doing the work misses the point of what managers should be doing. Stay “uncomfortable” and you will be far more productive.

3. Walk a mile (or two) in your team’s shoes.


Managers should actually take on the roles of their subordinates from time to time—this gives the manager a bird’s eye view of what team members are experiencing and what they need to be more successful. This is true empathy in action! It also yields profound respect from the team members.

Managers gain lots of insight from a first person point of view. And it doesn’t compromise the manager’s status with the team to “get down in the trenches”—in fact it does just the opposite. Guaranteed that any manager who tries this will benefit greatly from the effort!

4. Ask for feedback on your performance.

When Ed Koch was mayor of New York City, he famously asked lots of “ordinary” people, “So how am I doing?” It was an exercise that served him well and enhanced his popularity and credibility with his constituents.

Managers should also ask their team members that same question with the expectation of honest and frank answers that do not jeopardize job security or that staff member’s stature. Not every team member will be candid, but those that are will offer incredibly valuable and useful information to the manager. We all have “blind spots” and this is the best way to see what we’ve been missing and earn some trust and credibility with team members in the process.

Staying fresh definitely takes effort but it’s simply worth it. If a manager feels that the team is getting stale, the first place to look for a remedy is in the mirror! The only way to win in a changing environment is to change yourself first.

3 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Sales Training eBook



About the Author


Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!

Connect with Buff via LinkedIn 

Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com

Follow @BuffParham

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Topics: managing, manager

How to Win in Crunch Time - 4 Tips for When the Going Gets Tough

Posted by Buff Parham on Jul 30, 2015 8:57:00 AM

Let’s face the facts - no matter how well your team performs under “normal” circumstances, “crunch time” can and will rear its ugly head! There are times when situations beyond your control require you to adapt immediately to what’s at hand.

Your ability to guide your team to victory in that kind of environment is a litmus test.

It’s much easier to perform well when conditions are to your liking, but the best managers know how to get the best out of their teams when the going gets tough. Here are some tips to make that happen:

1. Panic is not a game plan!


Quite often, managers, especially newer ones, freak out when “all hell breaks loose.” Panic is contagious. Almost immediately, the entire team is running around with their hair on fire because the manager is too.

Trying to win in the midst of self-induced chaos is just a bad idea! Managers need to remain calm, but project a resolute attitude that says, “not only will we get through this, but we’re going to WIN.” A positive and proactive message in the face of demanding business conditions is a must.

2. Be ready before crunch time arrives.

Anticipating “rough seas” before they arrive takes consistent effort and it pays enormous dividends.  This exercise will help generate an “emergency plan” that can be deployed at the critical moment it’s needed. And it beats having to come up with something “new and different” once crunch time has arrived.

Team members will also appreciate the fact that there’s a game plan ready to go when things get rocky. Managers who can conceive of and execute emergency plans generate tremendous respect from their teams.

3. Share the pressure with all members of the team.

No one should be spared the “pain” when crunch time arrives. It’s actually an opportunity to bring team members closer together.

No member of the team should feel that he/she is bearing an unfair or unreasonable amount of the pressure—that’s a surefire prescription for undermining a manager’s credibility and diminishing team morale. Since everyone’s an adult, there’s no good reason to shield anyone from the demands that the team is facing—think of this as a “growth exercise” for all!

4. Declare victory and celebrate the win!

There needs to be a clear and positive signal that the team has prevailed. Crunch time should never feel as if it goes on forever.

Giving everyone a chance to feel good about what the team has accomplished will build confidence for the inevitable next time. Managers should be as explicit as possible as to what the victory means and what it took to make it happen. It’s a feel good moment with a very powerful message attached!

No one necessarily looks forward to crunch time, but the best managers thrive when it shows up. That takes planning, patience, courage, and solid communication skills. Those are vital elements that get tested and refined under tough circumstances. Welcome the challenge and go for the win!

How to Solve 5 Common Problems in Your Sales Team - Free eBook


About the Author


Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!

Connect with Buff via LinkedIn 

Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com

Follow @BuffParham

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Topics: managing, manager

The Secret Ingredient to Being a Great Manager

Posted by Anna Adamczyk on Apr 22, 2015 3:39:31 PM

There are many managers out there, but how many of them could actually be classified as great? The job is more than just directing and overseeing. Some managers can become too involved and end up micromanaging their staff, while others become detached and seemingly indifferent to whatever’s going on. So what’s the right balance that makes a truly exceptional manager?

Taking the passive “I’m not going to check in with you until after the deadline” approach is not the way to get results. The “I want a full update every half-hour” isn’t an effective method either. As a manager you have to be there for your team, but you also have to have trust in their abilities and give them autonomy to get their jobs done. For some people, giving up total control can induce a bit of anxiety, especially when you are still held responsible for the final outcome and getting results.

Secret-Ingredient-BakingSo how can you deal with all of those considerations hanging over your head? The ultimate secret of being a great manager is accountability.

As a manager you should be accountable for:

  • Clearly expressing expectations and objectives to your team, while quickly conveying changes or adjustments as necessary.
  • Giving employees oversight suitable to their role and abilities.
  • Ensuring that every team member is doing their job properly, completely, and on time.
  • Addressing both the organization's expectations of the employee and the employee's expectation of the organization.
  • Guaranteeing that all goals are being met or even surpassed.
  • Conveying crucial information up the ladder.
  • Giving constructive feedback on a regular basis with specific direction.
  • Keeping the team on track and working as a unit.
  • Taking full responsibility when any unexpected issues arise along the way.
  • Standing by decisions, actions, and overall well-being of projects.

That might seem overwhelming and to some it probably is, but when you’re actually handling all those items properly, it becomes much more manageable. It boils down to keeping your staff accountable for their work and actions, as well as holding yourself accountable for the results those above you are counting on.

However, not only should your superiors hold you accountable - your own team needs to do the same. You need to be reliable - follow up, check in, review, etc... when you promised you would. Being a part of the process will help you stay involved and have the ability to nip any potential disasters in the bud. You also need to be decisive. Your team is looking for direction. By hemming and hawing instead of giving clear guidance, your staff will begin to lose trust and no longer see you as a veritable source of leadership.

Holding a leadership position and being effective has many necessary traits - such as excellent communication skills, confidence, and honesty among others. Being a great manager is not an easy job and doesn’t suit everyone’s personality, but the final secret to success is holding oneself and others accountable.

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Topics: managing, manager

4 Ways to Improve Your Communication

Posted by Kevin Kiriluk on Feb 19, 2013 1:01:00 PM

Want to improve your communication? First, focus on improving your relationship.
How? This will help improve both your professional and personal communication as well as your relationships: Focus on the quality, not quantity, of the time you spend with the other person. Time quality has 4 dimensions:

1. What you talk about- Spend an hour talking to someone about the weather and it may be worth only about 5 minutes of quality time (unless you are a professional weather reporter interviewing for a job).  But 5 minutes spent talking about something that is personally and/or professionally important to both of you will feel like it’s like an hour of quality time.   

2. The number of times you speak – You may speak with a person once for 60 minutes and yet still feel like strangers. However, after you have spoken with each other on occasions for 20 minutes each time, both parties may really feel like they know the other.  Sometimes you can’t delve into the important topics until you have already had a few conversations.

3. Where you are when you are speaking - People relate to their space in interesting ways.  If a seller walks into the prospect’s office, he or she is now in someone else’s kingdom and tend to behave in kind. If a seller walks into a big lecture center, he or she almost yawns in anticipation. On the other hand, if 2 people meet in a neutral site (a restaurant, for example), both parties are on an equal footing.  

4. Checking that you both understand each other - You are showing people the most sincere form of attention when you seek to understand another person.  Who doesn’t like that form of attention?

So, how do we incorporate relationship-building/ communication-improving strategies into our training so that people finally learn?

  • Regarding what you talk about: Make sure the trainees are getting their training in the clearest, shortest, most relevant, most engaging format, told to them in a high-level > low-level explanation model.  It works to break down “obvious” points into subcomponents: for example, when describing a skill as part of your training, try focusing on what to do before, during, and after that activity.  This format reveals insights and makes people more aware of the importance of things they may be skipping.

  • Regarding how often you talk: To sit in an 8-hour training workshop and fully absorb all of the content and turn it into a long-term habit is not only challenging, it is the rare exception.  Most people need to be introduced to a topic and revisit it with regularity over time in order for the information to sift into their brain and to “turn the ship” and cause the changes the training is supposed to achieve. Training is not what happens in the workshop. Training is what happens when a person starts using a new skill and then receives further training, to which they are now more receptive.  For example, most of us didn’t really pay enough attention during Salesforce.com training—until we had to use it.  All of a sudden, we are all ears.

  • Regarding where you are when you speak: When the trainees are in someone else’s kingdom (the training room, etc.) they are not as relaxed as they are at home, in their cars or in their offices. They are usually more relaxed in neutral sites like restaurants and airports than the boss' office, the training room, or conference rooms. So, if some of the training can take place in these settings, the trainees will be in the right frame of mind to read, listen, watch, and learn. This is why an M-learning reinforcement strategy is so important — how else to train them then when they are in their comfort zone?

  • Regarding Checking:  Obviously, this includes asking “checking questions” during training and quizzing people on training content but it doesn’t end there.  For most business skill training, the only real measurement that matters is how much better the trainees are able to perform their job.  For example, if you are conducting sales training, you should be looking at sales KPIs in your CRM.  Ideally, you can see a dashboard of who received what training and what measurable effect it is having on their job performance.  

The challenge of training is really knowing when you are getting through.  You need the right dashboard so that you can optimize your training with real-time feedback. In the same way that digital advertising campaigns are optimized in real time as advertising impressions are served based on immediate feedback about how people react to the ads, sales trainers need real-time data about the training’s effect on sales KPIs.  Otherwise, your training campaigns are never optimized and the trainer is only guessing what works. You may be teaching, but are you training?  Teaching is about covering the content; training is about getting trainees to improve their skills, abilities, and confidence.


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, training, tips, selling, sales training, managing, manager, digital media training, team, digital, client, cold calling, micromanaging, small business, marketing, strategy, digital marketing

5 Skills the Most Competitive Sellers Focus on Improving

Posted by Kevin Kiriluk on Feb 7, 2013 1:00:00 PM


By Steve Bookbinder


In each industry, the winning seller – that is, the one who consistently reaches sales goals – sometimes has to take market share away from their competitors. To consistently win, sellers need to top their peers. The challenge for most sellers is that within their own industry-vertical their peers share the same “selling” skills.

Here are 5 phases of the sales process that sellers can potentially beat their peers:

1. Prospecting

A. So many sellers are looking for short cuts and efficiencies.  Instead, out-prospect your peers by focusing on:

B. The number of different people you call each month, rather than the total number of dials.
Focus on time it takes to schedule a new sales introduction meeting, rather than simply the number of emails and dials.


2. Leading Great First Meetings

A. Have you ever walked out of a meeting and thought “I wish I had given a better answer…next time…” Well, there is no next time. Selling is a performance art and you need to get it right every time. Train yourself to out-perform your peers in First Meetings by focusing on:

B. Research - Do your research! But go beyond reading the prospect’s corporate website. Consider researching the individual too in order to find commonalities.

C. Be prepared to out-answer the same questions that your peers will be asked:  “So, what do you guys offer?”  “What makes you different?” “What makes you better?”  “What makes your offering worth our budget?”

D. Know, before you walk in, “How you are going to open?”, “What you are going to ask?” and “What you will suggest as a reason to meet again by scheduled appointment soon?”.


3. Presenting the Solution

Even the worst sellers are at their best during presentations; the best sellers know they gain an advantage when they use the presentations as way to gain information not only explain their offering.  The winning sellers understand that each sale involves getting the prospect’s feedback about 3 things (think 3 separate sales):

A. The Time Table for delivery (this is usually the least explored area of the sale but needs to be the first – prospects only make decisions when they have to and therefore are only likely to render a decision if doing so moves them closer to solving their problems/achieving their goals.).

B. The offer (and how it fits the prospects stated needs and the individual buyers goals)

C. The Price (the prospect will eventually be alone with your proposal looking at your price.  Make sure you know their reaction BEFORE you put it in writing in the proposal)

4. Negotiating & Closing

Negotiating isn’t some painful activity you do after you finish selling; it is the culmination of the sales process.  You want to beat your peers? Focus on:

A. Always play from a position of strength.  The moment you can’t walk away – or sound desperate – you are lost.

B. Know what you are up against – anticipate the customer’s ideal deal and walk-away point.


5. Increasing your knowledge of Online Marketing and Online Research tools.  

Obviously if you are a media seller you know the importance of continuing digital education.  For non-media sellers: Get with the game – your customer’s are checking you out online and you need to connect with discussion groups your prospects are reading.  Social media is how you get warmer leads, if you know how to play.


Every one of your competitors will try to take away your business through the combination of those 5 skills. Beat them at their own game!

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Topics: sales, training, tips, selling, sellers, sales process, skills, sales training, manager, digital media training, digital, small business, improving, competitive, marketing, strategy

Affordable Sales Training for Small Business

Posted by Kevin Kiriluk on Feb 5, 2013 9:37:00 AM


By Steve Bookbinder


What is the solution? Well, big companies address these challenges by increasing their spending in training, marketing and hiring the right people.  

But, what can small companies do to increase sales?

The answer is training, but not necessarily expensive training.  In theory you could fire everyone who is underperforming against your ever-increasing goals and hire increasingly more skilled people who are just right for your newest sales challenges. In reality, you hired the best people you could.  

But, what small companies can focus on that will have the biggest impact are these 4 skills, called The Big Four:

1. Prospect Management –  Without the right inventory of real, advancing sales opportunities at the right stages in the sales process, sellers will either miss their goal this month or hit this month, but suffer ups & downs of sales in the coming months. Most sellers simply rationalize shoving everything they can into all the columns of their pipeline. That is not the same as managing their prospect base.  True management means determining your ideal pipeline then working your time and territory management, sales strategies and tactical execution of each phase of the sales process from first email to final thank you letter so that your real pipeline matches your ideal client.

2. Great First Meetings How do you convert more qualified first meetings into scheduled next step meetings? Training on Great First Meetings. This is the most important meeting of the entire sales process.  If this meeting goes well, we have a new opportunity. If we don’t qualify properly we may invest too much time in a sale not worth it. Most sellers end their first meetings with a promise to send the prospect something. Keep them entertained and wanting more.

3. Presenting your offer At some point you need to present your offer. Most likely your competitors, who are pitching almost exactly what you are pitching, simply outperformed your seller.  What is the right way to correct that?  Training on that particular skill set; from pre-meeting planning, verifying information in advance of a presentation meeting. Presentation skills and steps that follow the initial presentation.

4. Negotiating and Closing Sellers should measure the gap between the amount of money they are asking for in their proposal and the amount of money they settle with on contract. How do you close the gap? Training in Negotiation.

But, here is the thing to remember. True behavior change that produces more sales begins with training focused on the one of (or all of) the Big Four, each one of which incorporates a range of tactics, disciplines and best-practices.  But it doesn’t end there. 

Apart from the right content, the training delivery needs to be:

1. Ongoing
2. Focused
3. Supported by coaches

So, you want to make more sales?  Focus your training on The Big Four.  But, make the training investment pay better returns by reinforcing it.

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Topics: sales, training, tips, affordable, sales training, managing, manager, digital media training, team, digital, client, cold calling, micromanaging, small business, marketing, strategy