I wrote Accelerate Your Sales in order to share some the sales experiences and knowledge that I have gathered over my sales career. It contains information on how to approach any sales situation with a step-by-step process called the Planned Sales Process. This book also contains forms to help guide you through your sales process with your clients. This book can be downloaded as an ebook or ordered in soft copy.
Accelerate Your Sales
Below is a sample of the table of contents and a copy of the introduction to the book. The book can be ordered by clicking on the book order form.
Table of Contents
Chapter One Professional Sales- A great career choice
Chapter Two What does it take to succeed in sales?
- Sales is the engine of any company
- Are you unconsciously incompetent?
- You can learn to be a good salesperson
- Personality traits of good salespeople
- Salesperson stereotypes
- Passion for what you sell
- Establishing trust
- Level One
- Level Two
- Level Three
- Always do the right thing
- The high cost of losing a customer
- Why customers really buy?
- Break Even analysis
- Net Present Value
- Total Cost of Ownership
Chapter Three Prepare to be successful
- Understand your products
- Know your industry
- Understand your company's sales policies and procedures
- Know your competition
- Understand your territory, developing sales leads and prospects
Chapter Four Tools of the trade
- Be organized
- Dress for success
- Effective use of voicemail
- Effective use of e-mail
- Electronic newsletters
- How to conduct a telephone conference call
Chapter Five The Planned Sales Process
- What makes this process different?
- Why the Planned Sales Process works?
- Benefits of using this process
Chapter Six Pre-call research
- Public Companies
- Private Companies
- Is there an opportunity?
- Cold calling with a new approach
- Prospecting is fun
- Calling for the first appointment
Chapter Seven Step One - Qualifying the prospect
- The Structured Sales Call
- Establishing rapport
- Establishing the need
- Asking open-ended questions
- Prioritizing customer issues
- Funneling technique
- Present Solutions
- Feature-Advantage-Reaction-FAR Technique
- Introduce the Planned Sales Process
- Red flags
- Pencil selling technique
- Handling objections
- Hot, cold, warm lists
- Pareto's Law-80/20
- Structured day
Chapter Eight Step Two - Application survey
Chapter Nine Step Three - Design workshop review
- Mining for the gold
- Application survey results
- Objective of design workshop
- Make it their design
- Results of the design review
Chapter Ten Step Four Ð Proposal Presentation
- Writing your final proposal
- Proposal format
- Cover letter
- Executive summary
- Statement of need
- Cost justification
- Summary of benefits
- Implementation plan
Chapter Eleven Step Five-The close and final negotiations
- Why this should be the easiest step in the process
Chapter Twelve Implementation and follow up
- Staying in control of the sale
Chapter Thirteen Your sales manager
- Working with your sales manager
Chapter Fourteen Summary
- Top ten dos and don'ts of professional sales
- Challenge yourself
The demands of a professional salesperson are always changing. In the last few years those demands have been dramatic as the economy has gone through a major cyclical change. After graduating from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, I followed a somewhat unique career path for an MBA by choosing a career in professional sales.
In business school the emphasis is on marketing, finance, accounting and other traditional business areas. From my previous business experience I felt that knowing how to make sales and to generate revenues was the heart of any business. I decided I wanted to learn how to sell and become a professional sales person. I joined the I.B.M. Corporation because of the reputation of their professional sales training program and because they were the leaders in the computing industry. At that time, I.B.M. was also looking to recruit MBA's into their ranks because of our broad, general business training.
A major shift was going on in the business world. Starting in the 1960's and continuing through the 1980's, manufacturers with their proprietary technology solutions were in a very strong selling position. Customers looked to the manufacturers as the technology experts and would rely on their recommendations for the best solutions. During the early days of the computer industry, computer and data processing knowledge was limited to a small number of manufacturers who had originally created the computer industry. This was also true for the telecommunications industry. Telephony and telecommunications was considered a black art known only to the major telecommunications service providers, such as AT&T and the regional Bell operating companies. But the customer and the market have changed.
Today, customers possess a strong technical knowledge and expertise in computing, networking, telecommunications and software. With the gradual adoption of standards-based product solutions and a movement away from proprietary technology solutions, customers were able to have a greater choice of product solutions. With greater choice came more competition and an erosion of the strong market position held by proprietary solution vendors. Manufacturers that did not make the move to provide standards-based products gradually found it more difficult to compete in the marketplace. Customers gradually moved away from dependence on single vendor solutions and insisted on multiple vendor solutions that could be integrated with one another.
The development of the Internet and the World Wide Web, also increased the availability of technical knowledge and information about basic technology and standards-based product solutions. The availability of this information about technology and standards-based solutions has given the customer tremendous leverage. Customers today are very sophisticated. They have a strong awareness of what technology is available, what it can do, how it works and even what it costs. Price and competition became more of an issue as patented technology patents expired or were invented around by new competitors. One only has to look at what happened to the photo copying market once dominated by one company who had invented the technology. Today, dozens of companies compete in the office products market with copier, printer, fax and scanning products. Because much of the mystery about technology no longer exists, customers are less interested in the technology for technology's sake. Customers are more interested in the total application solution and in choosing a solution that will help them achieve their business objectives. The good news for the customer is that there are an increased number of product solutions available today. The bad news is that it is more confusing than ever to sort out which solution will really address their needs. The opportunity for professional sales person remains to help customers understand what are the real differences between similar looking product solutions and which solutions will help their customers solve their unique business problems.
Professional salespeople selling in today's business environment need to understand that these changes in the business environment has affected the customer expectations in the marketplace. Like it or not, it has become more of a buyer's market. Customers have more options to choose from and therefore feel that they have more control over vendors in the marketplace and in the sales process.
Consider the following:
- Pricing- Every customer today expects or demands some kind of discount or special pricing incentive. How are you going to deal with this expectation?
- Customer Service- All vendors talk about providing good customer service. Today that's a given with customers. How will you truly differentiate yourself and deliver the kind of extraordinary support your customers expect?
- Evaluation and trials - Customers today do not want to buy anything unless they have had a chance to do a free trial of your equipment or services in their environment. How do you address this customer requirement?
- Competition- In today's business environment, every deal is going to be heavily contested by several competitive vendors. Some competitors will do anything to win, including buying the customers business. How are you going to position yourself to fight for every deal in this environment and win?
- Solution Delivery- Today's customers expect solution providers to be able to offer just-in-time product delivery. They want their solutions delivered and installed on their timetable, not yours. Are you and your organization ready to deal with this reality?
- Control of the Sale- In today's sophisticated business climate, it appears that the customer is in control of the sales process. What process do you have in place in order to take back control of the sale?
To be successful today, a sales person has to think differently and act differently. Sales people also need to use a different sales approach with their prospects that reflects the changes in today's business world. The process I use is called the Planned Sales Process. This process uses a defined set of tactical sales steps that enables you to quickly identify which prospects are your real prospects and which prospects are faux prospects (false, not real). By identifying and filtering out the real prospects from the faux prospects, you will eliminate wasting time on opportunities that are not going to lead to a sale and instead focus on higher quality opportunities. The Planned Sales Process also gives you a way to continually qualify your prospects throughout the sale and take control of the sales process. The end result is that your sales efforts are more efficient and your sales revenues are maximized.
Much of the principles of the Planned Sales Process were developed while I was the manager of sales training for the ROLM Corporation. The selling process we developed at ROLM was refined by our sales training staff and taught to several thousand new hire sales reps. After leaving ROLM, I continued to refine this sales process and modified it for use with sales reps on my sales teams when I entered into sales management. When I became a sales manager, I discovered that most of my reps had not received the same kind of formal sales training that I had received at I.B.M. I found that my sales training experience came in handy as I needed to formally train my sales reps about how to sell using a formal sales process.
During the late 1990's due to economic pressures it seemed that companies stopped investing time and money into the extensive training and the development of their salespeople. Rather than providing basic sales skill training, companies expected their newly hired sales people to have the necessary experience and to have been trained by someone else. What I encountered was that very few sales people were getting the training and support from their companies on how to sell effectively.
This book was written to address the needs of those individuals new to professional selling and for those sales professionals looking for new ideas to improve their selling skills. The process described in this book can be adapted to any kind of sales situation. The process can be compressed and used on a single sales call or can be stretched to meet a sales situation with a longer sales cycle. It is not a replacement for a formal sales training program. However, it does contain much of the sales experiences and ideas that I have found to be successful during my professional sales career. This book contains practical, step-by-step instructions on how to implement the sales process and includes forms to use as a guide during each part of the Planned Sales Process. If this book provides just one good idea for someone to use, then this book will have met its goal.
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