New Programs & Courses will be released via e-learning throughout 2012. Here’s a sneak preview:
- Major Account Selling Skills / Solutions Selling Program
- Developing Relationships and Managing Accounts Program
- New Business Selling and Major Account Penetration Program
- Winning Bids & Proposal Writing Program
- Mathematics of Selling Course
- Consultative Selling Course
- Dealing with Senior Executives Course
- Selling Timetables Course
- Beating Competition Course
- Political Mapping Course
- Breaking Out Course
- Breaking In Course
- Negotiation/Objection Handling Course
- Climbing Preferred Supplier Ladder Course
This powerful program trains participants how to prepare a team plan to win a major sales project. The plan will follow the sales cycle from initial contact through to the close. In the plan there will be the activity to meet and gain access to all key stakeholders.
Each of the following elements are included in the scope:
- The output is a list of all the key meetings that are needed.
- Each meeting will be defined by the commitment that is needed.
- There will be activity to structure a timetable with the prospect for all the steps.
- There will be activity to deal with all the qualification and business contract issues.
- Potential “showstoppers” will be addressed. Quit Points will be defined if the sale proves unwinnable. And how to quit but keeping the relationship clean will be covered.
- There will be activity to position versus competition, to recruit powerful internal allies and to ‘rehearse’ them.
- There will be activity to hand over the proposal with maximum impact, using Discussion Documents to get maximum buy in.
- There will be plans to gain access during ‘Death Valley’, that difficult period after we have submitted our proposal but before they decide.
- There will be activity to build up some negotiating power for the inevitable negotiation at the end of a successful sale
- The training content is a pre-written case study. This case study has the advantage that we can make sure it includes all the situations we wish to explore.
This important program trains participants in Account Development. The overall focus is to move further up the Preferred Supplier Ladder, to get to the point where you are the supplier of choice. Ideally, customers buy from you with no competition.
This status improvement does not happen by accident. You need to get and keep your house in order; you need to develop enough business within the account to deserve such a status; you need friends in high places who can give you this policy sale. And finally, you need to understand what is meant my Preferred Status. It is not just some fine words from the prospect. There are commitments that lock it in place - a Call off contract; a Standing order sent out to all departments; a page in the internal purchasing website or catalogue, an entry in their telephone directory, a seat on one of the customer’s Steering Committees.
It is commitments like these that make you part of the company infrastructure. You are no longer just selling a product, you are also selling a policy change that you have earned the recognition as the supplier of choice. You manage your accounts to move towards this goal.
Major Account Penetration explores how to break into and get business from a new Account. These processes are much more than just prospecting. Yes, you do have to open doors and gain access to new people but there is much more than that.
In most accounts, there are many divisions and departments that might use your services. And indeed, there are many executives with a department that might have some interest. Major Account Penetration creates a multipronged approach to qualify the opportunities within an account.
The salesperson seeks multiple Hunting Licenses. With luck and good target marketing, the prospecting activity will find immediate projects. And you will create new opportunities and find opportunities that will be arising at some point in the future.
The MAP process you will learn in this program will pull these opportunities into the account plan and train you in how to qualify the amount of effort to expend on that account.
This program harnesses the skills in three key areas and delivers a clear roadmap for success in responding to Request for Proposal (“RFP”) inquiries and large-scale project bids.
Writing a proposal is costly in time and resources. You want to avoid making that time investment until you are sure you have a fair chance of success. The first part of the program explores Qualification. The second part is to use proposal preparation to structure a timetable with the prospect to gain access to key people and information. The third part explores how to make the proposal document engaging and persuasive. Once the proposal is submitted you are often barred from access until the decision is made. So, the proposal is your only ambassador.
The program discussion is split into three parts, Structure Substance and Style. Structure examines the headings within the documents and answers some key questions such as, when is it best for the Management Summary to be a separate document and what is the best sequence for the topics? The output from this part is a Proposal Template.
Substance explores the actual words you use. What language ensures your proposal is compliant with any industry-specific factors? What presentation will truly highlight the benefits of change and the benefits of your specific offering? How effectively does the writing in each section translate at the right level for the reader? How will you use reference examples to good effect? To what degree is your pitch aligned with the customer need, as they understand it?
Style is purely concerned with the readability of the document. Here are some examples of the type of questions this section of the training will help you to answer: What is the impact on the eye, Is it easy by being broken up with “white space” and pictures? How tasteful is the use of color? What language is simple and clear to understand rather than jargon and long, complex sentences? How do you make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. What heading and text styles will ensure consistent and easy to follow flow?
If it is important to increase the level of your sales, you have limited choices. You can go for bigger sales if you can find them. Then for the same level of work you get a better result. This issue is one of targeting your prospecting to bigger organizations and more senior people.You could get a better conversion rate on those sales you do go for. This improvement will come about through an improvement in your sales technique and in particular your qualification of opportunities.
You could identify and exploit a fruitful target market that suits your offering and makes you very competitive. This gives a better conversation rate and faster sales. Or finally you can pedal harder, dramatically increasing the amount of prospecting. This option is often easier to talk about than it is to do. In any sales environment, some of these areas will be easier to change than others. And the answer can vary enormously from one environment to another.
These four items multiply up. There is a simple formula linking all of them to the target. A small improvement in each of them can lead to a dramatic improvement in results.
The formula delivers a powerful diagnostic tool to allow you to define what you need to do to make target.
The need for a product or service can be created in two ways. One way might be to essentially shock the prospect by showing what other people are achieving. The other way, this way, is to work collaboratively with the prospect to resolve a business problem.
You will recognize this collaborative process whenever you do a workshop, a health check or even a survey. In this module, you will explore how to sell the idea and then set up these collaborative events to achieve maximum impact.
The first concept is to make the event replicable. You will learn how to conduct a Capacity Planning Study, for example across several prospects; or a Technology Upgrade Workshop across several accounts. Ultimately, you will learn how to ‘productize’ the event.
The second key concept is the idea of a mini sales project. There are three steps – to sell the event, to run the event and to ensure follow up from the event. Each of these steps can be defined by a very specific set of commitments it is important to secure from the sponsor.
So often salespeople run such events and the initial enthusiasm just fades away. This pitfall can be reduced dramatically by asking for the correct commitments at the end of the event.
In short you will learn how to define a detailed sales process that starts by gaining a formalized and replicable permission to engage and ends with the prospect appointing a responsible implementation manager with a clear follow up project.
This module examines several ways where to consider how you will modify your areas of discussion depending on the level in the hierarchy you are talking.
At the top of an organization you will talk Policy, “What drives the company to do what you do it the way you do?”
In the middle, you will talk Procedure “What do you do?”
At the bottom you will talk Practice, “How do you do it?”
At the top you will talk about Competitive Edge and Increased Effectiveness.
At lower levels in an organization you will talk about Increased Efficiency and Cost Savings.
So for example, if you talk Cost Savings at a senior level, will they be interested? If the company is big enough then of course they will be interested. But in general, if you talk cost saving then senior people will point you to the lowest level executive who controls that particular budget.
It is important to learn how to explore in depth the critical difference between Increased Efficiency and Increased Effectiveness. This topic is not well understood. In short, would you prefer an efficient doctor or would you prefer an effective doctor?
Identifying those benefits of your product/service that delivers Increased Effectiveness allows you to have a relevant conversation at senior level.
To bid for a major sale has the potential to take a great deal of time and resource. Bidding and losing is something of a disaster. So, it is critical to find out if the prospect is looking at you seriously. Do you really have a chance or are you just there to make up the numbers, so that there are three proposals?
How can you find out if the company is serious about hiring you? The only way you can test the prospect is by the level of commitment they are willing to give you, early in the sale.
In this course, you will examine a particular set of commitments. “If you are looking at me seriously, could we agree a Timetable leading up to the decision?”
Those prospects that are looking at you seriously will have no problem with this question. Those who are not looking at you seriously will have all sorts of problems with this question, particularly when you start asking for access to key people. So, Selling Timetables qualifies sales.
If the prospect is happy to set up a timetable then you will use it to structure the sale to your advantage, Deal Shaping.
For example, there is that awful phase of the sale after you have submitted your bid but before they decide. We call it Death Valley. During this phase the company will say they want no contact. And, if that contact has been set up weeks earlier when agreeing to the timetable, then access is far more likely.
We can ‘beat’ competition in two ways.
At a strategic level, we could target those prospects where there is little competition. We could go into divisions and departments where the incumbent supplier has little presence. Or we could pick up a number of small sales, too small for the big player to worry about until we have a proper foothold.
Or best of all, the competitor is selling their product while we are selling the concept that we should be the supplier of choice – the Preferred Supplier
At a tactical level, when we are head to head in a live opportunity, we beat competition by getting to grips with reality.
The reality is that we probably will not be in the room when the decision is made. And some sort of committee or group will make the decision with participants of varying power.
So, how do we beat competition? We had better have someone in that room, with sufficient power, advocating our case. That does not happen by accident. We need to ‘recruit’ and ‘train’ someone with enough power to fight our corner.
In this module we explore how we can identify and train a sufficiently influential Internal Salesperson to be articulate in our strengths.
In a major sale there may be many people in the decision group. Decision makers, recommenders, gatekeepers, budget holders, technical specialists, financial evaluators, users, consultants, contract negotiators, purchasing. These people may have more or less power; they may be friend, enemy or indifferent. They may be rising in the organization of falling. In addition, there may be Boards or Committees that either make or influence decision.
In this module, we present a graphical tool that helps to unravel the politics and produce a comprehensive Contact Plan.
Who are the people you need to meet and influence? When should you try to meet them? What are the issues that are important to them? Who can give access to them? Who might get upset if you go above or around them?
Frequently, this module highlights that you are too dependent on one or two key prospect staff. And sometimes they are not even the most important in the decision.
The Political Mapping module frequently points out that you are not talking to the decision makers. The key people are one or two levels higher than your current contacts.
The big question is how you can move from our current contacts to the more senior ones. And, in particular, how do you do it without upsetting our day-to-day contact? After all you still need the lower level contact. The problem is not how to Break In to an account. The real problem is how to Break Out when you are at the wrong level.
This module presents a menu of different ways to gain access at a higher level. These techniques are pulled together from the examples of experienced salespeople. Some can be implemented by the salesperson alone. Others describe the best ways for a salesperson and his or her managers to manage the contacts.
This module examines how you can break in to a new account. It explores the use of telephone, email and mail. You are not passive, advertising and waiting for them to call you. You approach directly.
Cold calling, however, is a thankless task. It also has a relatively low success rate. So you don’t do it!
The techniques presented in this module are real world. They have been collected from 25 years of listening to successful salespeople and how they do it.
The module discusses, step by step, the research needed to identify key people and their interests and how to do that research.
It defines the idea of a multi-pronged approach to several executives in an account to gain increased information and increase the chance of success.
It defines the different approaches you can use to gain the executives interest and to gain a meeting. For example, the easiest way to meet a new person is from a referral from a mutual contact – certainly not a cold call.
It explores in detail the adult ways of working with Personal Assistants to gain their trust and a meeting.
It explores how you should integrate phone calls, letters and email.
It also examines how to deal with the various ‘objections’ that the executive might use. Too busy, not interested, wrong person and so on.
In short, this module presents an intelligent process for gaining access to key people in new accounts.
For most of the issues it presents several options so that individual participants can find something that suits their own personality.
At the end of a sale a prospect will express the final concerns including such things as price, support, guarantees and so on. Traditionally these items are called objections. And most people believe that these objections must be overcome.
This mental attitude is wrong. These items are not objections; they are negotiation issues.
The result of the negotiation depends partly on negotiation verbal skills. Price and terms are interchangeable and you may be willing to make some concession to something of high value to the customer if they are willing to give a concession in some other area of value to you. More importantly, it depends on the Balance of Power between the two sides. If the prospect really needs what you are selling and you are the only source of supply then you don’t have to make too many concessions. On the other hand, if they can buy the same product from many suppliers then they do not have to make too many concessions.
The idea is to build up enough power during the sale so that you do not have to make too many concessions at the end. But where does your power come from?
You build power by:
- Getting your uniqueness into the specification,
- Building a powerful lobby of people supporting your solutions,
- Identifying that the company is under more time pressure than you
- Generating a full pipeline with other projects to pursue
These things do not happen by accident. They must be planned for and acted on earlier in the sale.
One of the best ways to beat competitors is at the political level. Instead of just selling your product, you sell a policy change. You sell the idea that you have earned the recognition as the supplier of choice in your area.
The arguments needed to sell the product are very different from the arguments needed to sell this policy change. And the commitments are also very different. Not only do companies buy the product they also put you in the internal buying catalogue or choose to sign a long-term exclusive contract.
Preferred Supplier status comes in various shades. You may be a Qualified Supplier, an Approved Supplier, a Preferred Supplier or even a Sole Supplier. You will work our way up this ladder.
Just winning a few sales is not enough to earn this right. You need a track record of good service and you need to sell this policy at a higher level.
In this module we lay out how to move away from a mere product/service sale and towards the more inclusive policy sale.
- Contact us today to find out how we can help you get ahead. For more information call toll free (877) 228-2622 or e-mail email@example.com.