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And getting suckered into buying an annuity with him — or any broker — could be the biggest mistake you ever make. The insurance company keeps the money. Family members can receive cash back or even continued monthly income after your death — but you pay extra for that. They take your money, invest it and give it back to you in dribs and drabs with steep penalties if you want to withdraw more than the contract states. Annuities are such terrible investments that the minute the government passed a law specifying that financial professionals had to act in their clients best interest, annuity sales fell off a cliff.

In , new rules were passed by the Department of Labor that stated that brokers have to act as fiduciaries. Believe it or not, prior to the rule being passed, stock and insurance brokers could sell you anything they wanted — whether it was right for your or not. So typically, they sold whatever paid the highest commissions. If these were such wonderful products, as defenders of annuities will maintain, why did so many people stop selling them — even before the law went into effect? Fixed annuities prevent losses.

You are typically guaranteed that the value of your principal will not go down regardless of what the stock or bond markets do. So the investor is trading upside potential for downside protection. On popping, here's how the kinetics work: The pill breaks down your offer into its component elements. It identifies the variable elements and decides on the leeway you have in cost and value. The pill then uses those strengths and opportunities to generate negotiation tactics.

These tactics surround and overwhelm the competitor's offer. If the competitor's offer is found stronger, the pill locates your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. And it creates tactics to eliminate or mitigate risks. Take a tactical pill and your sales immune system will be stronger for it! Sales activity is no fun. It is always frenetic. The pressure is relentless and from multiple points. Amidst all this you can still master the Zen of Sales Activity Management. Here's how. Activity planning for the week ahead is a great habit.

Ideal time for this is end of Fridays. Best practice would be to list these activities, by Customer names and not as independent variables. Now you can prioritize these activities this way - i Pick Customers, existing and new, to whom offers have been made. These are top priority ii Next in line will be Customers with rebuy possibility iii Third in priority will be new prospects you feel are promising iv After allocating time for these 3 above, you can apportion time for collecting prospect information.

That's the Conversational Funnel Theorem of Sales. Here's proof. Every Sale is built around conversations. And questions are the building blocks. Questions create a conversational funnel. Master the Conversational Funnel Sales Theorem. It will transform your sales math!

Strategies, tactics, ideas, building blocks. You've lined them all up, to execute that giant sized sales deal. Now, checking them against this simple 2-axis graph can help you calibrate your execution to perfection. All giant sized sales deals involve complex business relationships. And these straddle across pre-sales, sales and post sales phases. You could call this kind of deals, 'problem solving sales'.

That's because complexity in business relationship arises out of 3 factors. Or it can mean a full life-cycle relationship starting from design advice, participation in evaluation of alternatives, continued relationship after sales and sometimes, partnering with the buyer 3 Width of contact - This could go from a few 2 or 3 people from either side getting involved to a whole web of relationships. Imagine this complexity to be in the Y Axis.

On the X axis is the level of sales efforts needed. This can be zero for monopoly or captive sales or enterprise wide mega effort when competition is fierce and there are multiple players. Figuring where your deal is located between the Y and X lines, can help make execution a breeze! But maybe such extreme measures aren't necessary. Here's an easier solution. Successive studies on B2B buyer behaviour have uncovered 3 mega trends: 1 More and more Customers are on social media 2 A bigger share of purchase decisions is being made earlier in the sales process 3 Salespeople should become available to Customers early in the buying journey.

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This doesn't call for extreme measures though. Easier solution is for salespeople to master the use of social media in selling. Social Selling builds relationships, using technologies and social platforms to facilitate real human interaction before the Buyer and Seller meet face to face, and also later. Buying follows almost as if on autopilot! Who is the sales champion in your team? There must be one. But if all salespeople are equally good and getting great results, it could be a red flag. Here's why. Which is why, under the Mercuri Results-Activity-Competence RAC Framework, the Sales Manager 1 breaks down the marketing plan into smaller, manageable chunks that every team member can understand objectives , 2 accordingly sets individual targets for each salesperson and 3 plumbs to the required depth of handholding needed by every team member.

You're delighted!


In a mood to celebrate. The prospect you met for a mega order called up. They're interested. Want you to take next steps. Before you decide to party, here are 6 questions for a reality check.

The Biggest Sales Mistake Salespeople Make

Before you get serious about any large opportunity, it's critical to do a check on winnability and doability. Here are 6 questions to help you run that check - 1 What makes you think that this opportunity is real and doable? We can help with everything. Lesson from story? Avoid this trap if you want your sales pitch to convert. Want to make a winning sales pitch?

Avoid complexity and stay away from jargon. What the salesperson in our story meant was this - "It's wonderful you want to try horse riding. We can help you with everything. Get you the best saddle and even find a horseshoe maker" But jargon must have lost him that Customer. If using jargon is unavoidable, minimize it. Add a simple explanation to ensure Customer isn't confused. Use simple words and short sentences. Don't let jargon and complexity ruin an otherwise perfect sales pitch. Does handling price objection feel like this?

That may be because you are trying to sell the t. Here's a simple alternative that makes price objection a lot easier to handle. Handling price objection involves several steps, all leading to one result. Overcoming price objection is not so much about justifying the total price. The Customer must be comparing your offering with alternatives at lower prices. Your garden is invited for a Plump Pumpkin Contest.

How can you apply that to your sale team? Use these 3 questions. Growing a good sales team is no different from raising a healthy garden patch. It calls for planning, care and frequent health checks. Your pipeline may overflow with large opportunities. But do you have the right solution strategy to convert them all? Because every opportunity could be in 1of 6 sales situations, each needs a differentiated approach.

Here's the list. Defining the right solution strategy is a decision made on the basis of i your competitive strategy and ii identifying the selling situation correctly. The selling situation could one of six below, depending on Customer reactions to your offer: 1 I have no need for your solution 2 I need it but not now 3 I need it and will buy, but most likely not from you 4 I need it and will buy, and you are one of the vendors I am considering 5 I need it and will buy, and most likely from you 6 I need it and will buy, and only from you.

Each one of these selling situations requires a differentiated approach. And this quite often is the critical piece missed by most salespeople. Put that piece in and your sales jigsaw is complete! Wish to get the sales genie working for you in your very first Customer meeting? Then, don't push the Customer too hard in the first 1 or 2 visits.

5 Customer Retention Programs to Implement in

That will stymie all future contacts. The other thing you shouldn't do is this - Don't use Customer's time for gathering the information you can collect beforehand. That will help you have a meaningful sales conversation. Spread sheets. Contract draft.

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Customer's pen uncapped and ready for signing. Have a moment? Because here are 2 checkpoints to help you get the best out of your negotiations. Spot strengths and opportunities that come up. Use them to line up your negotiation tactics. What are your offer's variable components? How flexible can you get on them? What weaknesses do you see? So, what are the risks of buyer pressure and our vulnerability?

How ready are we to counter Customer's tactics? These checkpoints will help you optimize negotiations for a win-win. Quality of preparation is half the battle in sales negotiations. And that is the winning half! Presenting to a buyer group? And wish your pitch takes off like a rocket? Here are 6 strategic questions you should prepare for.

Start by asking 'What really is the meeting objective? Get these 6 strategic pieces in position and watch your pitch take off and zoom! Selling Is Beautiful! Of course, you should let go, if your little one should cycle without support. But, 'when' is the question?

Depends on your confidence and hers. It's no different, managing your sales people. In Mercuri, we call it the Plumbing Model. Good Sales Managers assess their Salespersons' abilities all the time. They track how well each of them knows the products, how systematic in maintaining Customer information, how up to date on competitor information and how good at their skill levels.

They identify critical gaps and craft development plans to close those gaps. Then they support the salespersons in achieving the expected results. The degree of support needed would vary with the individual. Even with the same salesperson it will change with time. In effect, a Sales Manager should plumb to the right depth to decide how much support is required.

That's the Plumbing Model. Not very different from teaching your little one to bike! Did you hit 'Send' by mistake? Wish you could recall the mail? A giant trap in forming sales messages is impulsiveness. It can cost you more than the deal - Your hard-won reputation. Here's a process to avoid such errors. Sales emails need careful crafting. Done well, they can win deals. But poorly written mails can break deals and erode all goodwill. Common but costly errors include - Careless typos, shoddy drafting, copy-paste mistakes, missing attachments and saying things you didn't mean.

All of which leave a negative impression. Save the draft. Do something else for a while. Come back to the draft and read it afresh. Get someone else to read. Correct errors if any. Then send. Do this with all your critical sales mails. Low phone battery? Time for a dash recharge. Else you are disconnected from the world. Is there a similar check for your sales pipeline battery as well? Here's one. Plus a sure way to recharge it. Traditionally, salespeople are used to managing opportunities that come their way. Creating opportunities also offers the possibility to identify service potential to add value to the Customer.

So, sales management should be focused on building Customer base for future results. And not merely on serving enquiries received that were fully firmed up by Customers. Recharge your opportunity-battery regularly. That will keep your sales register ticking. It's a new, large lead you've chased up for months. No matter which button he hits, here's one thing you shouldn't do. But deal or no deal, there's one thing you just can't afford. Which is, losing the Customer altogether. So, what should you do? You should remember, there's usually no built-up confidence and positive attitude you can bank on, with a new Customer.

You need to work carefully and consciously to build that goodwill. It's critical therefore, to differentiate between selling a product per se and creating conditions for future sales. Not seeing this difference is at the root of many failures to win over new Customers. Even as you work to create a reserve of confidence and positive attitude, it's best not to get into the offer-mode too fast. Keep the relationship going first, deals can always be won later! And no fruits? Nice to nibble on a summer drive' What's the sabziwala's sales lesson? The sabzi seller demonstrated a timeless sales lesson.

Selling should never be limited to understanding just the stated need. Sales champions always probe to generate latent needs. They are creative in spotting unaddressed requirements in a Customer situation. They bring it up and influence it suitably. When that suggestion sets the Customer thinking "How did I miss it? Such a helpful suggestion", the salesperson transforms into a trusted advisor. So, how do you think the sabzi story ended? Did the Customer buy watermelons and cucumbers?

You bet! And this works in B2B sales too. Here's a preschool puzzle with a sales twist. Too many salespeople pleasantly greet the Customer and then just wait for the Customer to say something. And the only thing the Customer can talk about is, well, price. Why let the talk turn to red chilli peppers when you can discuss sunshine, clouds and rainbows? So, arm yourself with good meeting objectives and watch your sales calls go like a breeze!

Social platforms are the new soil for seeding fresh business. When your social relationships sprout leaves and branches, here are 3 ultra-simple rules to sustain and grow them. Learn to recover quickly when there are slip ups. It helps to remember that all business, in the end is, H2H human to human.

Good luck with social selling! Ready to take on a problem solving sale? Every sale, of course solves Customer problems. But a 'problem solving sale' is different. It involves a complex business relationship and scores high on these 3 parameters. A typical 'problem solving sale' involves a complex business relationship. It touches all 3 phases of selling - pre-sales, sales and post sales. And the complexity in business relationship is a function of three parameters.

Or there could be a web of relationships across levels and functions on both sides. A 'problem solving sale' is easier to crack, once you identify it as one, early on. That's my crystal ball' Here's why this approach is flawed. Possibility is whether or not the enquiry will get converted. But probability is - how likely it is, that conversion will happen in case there is a possibility of success. Design a system of norms to assess pipeline probability as a one-time exercise.

Ideally this is done companywide. Apply probability for each enquiry in the pipeline and total the expected result accordingly. Do this in a table with list of enquiries in left column and month by month columns on the right. You will now have a reliable pipeline estimate. And you can discard the crystal ball! It feels lonely at the top. And in sales presentations to stakeholder groups. Isolation, deficient feedback and fear of loss of initiative all contribute to discomfort. There are 4 guaranteed ways to beat it. Here they are.

Sales presentations to stakeholder groups can feel like a 'one against many' battle. What can you do to beat the discomfort and seeming isolation? Plan ahead for the meeting but stay flexible once you are in it. Loosen up formal structures in seating and controlled discussions. Both before and during the meeting. Group selling can be a breeze! While setting sales goals, who do you see as your 'New Customers'? Are you sure you are including all types? Here are 2 types of 'new' you may be missing. And working on them can dramatically increase your sales figures.

New Customer' can mean 3 types. First, Customers who have never bought from you The completely new. This you will be counting anyway. Then there are 2 other types of 'new', you might be missing. And those are - i Customers who used to buy from you but have stopped for long now ii Customers who buy far too little in comparison with their purchase potential. Including them in your 'New Customer' can do wonders to your sales figures!

Does your business experience it too?

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Here are 4 thumbs up signs your Customer relationship is strong and rebuy chances are high. If you could ensure these with all high revenue Customers, your bottom line is sure to get a thumbs up! What's your view?

91 Mistakes Smart Salespeople Make

A "A sale without meeting Customer face to face? Impossible" B "To make a sale happen, you simply sell. Either way, here's the one factor that counts. Traditionally, Sales Communication meant face-to-face, written and telephone communication. Adoption of these multiple formats is varied across Customer groups. While millennial Customers are adept with the latest formats, senior Customers are seen to adopt technology selectively. Because a salesperson has to interact with all age groups, he has to be good at all formats.

The catch, then, is this. Being good at all formats by itself may not guarantee better sales skills. What matters is mastery of sales communication, regardless of formats! Off for a sales visit? Pause a moment for this pop quiz. A sales visit would typically have 1 of 4 objectives. Visit objectives could be in one of the following 4 categories: 1 Selling -It could be to take the sales to the next stage in the sales process 2 Negotiating — This happens after basic buy in is achieved.

That's in case price objection handling does not succeed 3 Influencing - Win over key persons, and cultivate the contact 4 Informing — Inform customer on something as a value-add. Which of these is your today's visit coming under? You have a power outage.

You search in the dark and locate a candle. But there's a problem. You've just 4 matches. You're not sure which one will light up. Getting ready for sales negotiations is often like that. When it comes to sales negotiations, preparation is often the half that wins the battle. To prepare well, take a careful look at your own offer. Analyse it. Ask yourself these questions - What are the component elements of our offer? What are the variable components? Do they give me negotiation leeway?

By how much? In value terms? And in terms of cost?

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Being ready with the answers to these questions is like having dry and ready matches in the dark. You will strike light on the first try and close the negotiation. Good luck! Of course, the prize for the most dreaded sales objection goes to Price. What's the second most frequently encountered objection in B2B, large opportunity selling?

It is a large, real large opportunity. You've worked on it for weeks. Carefully assessed win probabilities. Studied Customer's needs, met multiple stakeholders and made a sales presentation, customized just for them. Procurement calls you for a meeting. You have visions of returning with the order. You get there. Budget constraints. Freewheeling sales conversations are like a long rallies in tennis. They open up the game and you feel great.

But won't you like to hit a winner finally? Closed questions do it for you in sales. Questions seeking a decision, confirmation or both, of what we believe we know, are Closed Questions CQs. Why are they 'Closed'? Because in asking CQs, we are 'closed' to further information. They encourage the Customer to talk and get you unbiased information. They let you probe the Customer's needs in a deeper way.

Then it's time for CQs to pin point and pick out precise Customer requirements. Summarise them, get Customer acceptance. You are constructing your home. What comes first?

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The bricks? Or the building plans? Of course the drawings will come first. Then why should it be different when you create a sales presentation? When creating a sales presentation, the easy option is to dive, head first, into the content. That's understandable because content is a comfort zone. But then, content is like the bricks that go to make a building. Before reaching for the bricks, we should have a construction plan in place. In a sales presentation that plan is the presentation structure. And structure should be defined by the objective and audience profile. This needs to be carefully thought through.

Then you would have a logical sequence and a seamless flow. Structure makes concepts clear and messages memorable. Structured content is the foundation for powerful sales presentations! Defining a Customer's need for your product or service is sometimes like eating a multi flavoured ice cream. There are 4 goals that go into it and each has a different work flavour. Absorb all about Customer's business situation.

Understand requirements as stated by Customer. Study Customer's Customers and their situations. Do any other research you need 4 Visit to maintain rapport Work to do: Stay in touch, build rapport and keep relationship warm. Do all of this, and need definition becomes as enjoyable as slurping on a multi flavoured ice cream! It's crunch time. Year end. Company X uses a questionnaire to test deal win probability. A sales veteran says: The question on importance of post-sales support isn't useful in all cases. What's your take? As often happens, the veteran is right.

It may be true of some product lines. But there will always be other products for which extensive after sales service may not be necessary. So, tactical checklists used to assess deal win probabilities should be reviewed periodically to check whether the questions fit the deal types. The key to developing a reliable tactical checklist is to formulate the right questions and design a scoring system that effectively captures win probability.

Otherwise, it will be no better than gazing hopefully into a crystal ball. So, let's hand wrestle to settle this". Sounds ridiculous? But that's what happens often in sales calls too. Check out this familiar story. Salesperson meets Customer. Effusive smile, friendly handshake, pleasant greeting. All done, waits for Customer to say something. So, how do you avoid this? Simple: Have a meaningful agenda for every Customer meet. Examples include: "I want to use this meeting to understand your needs in depth" "I will today explain how our product will work in usage" "Keen to use this meeting only to learn all your concerns.

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