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The Competitive Advantage

tag: sales

August 21, 2018

Marketing is Not a Substitute for Sales

For years, I’ve said that ours is an industry that does not embrace sales & marketing. And even for those firms that employ marketing, rarely do they have anyone dedicated to selling.

Forgetting for a minute the incorrect assumption that, “Selling doesn’t work for a firm like ours,” when asked about it, the response is often, “We don’t need sales… we do marketing.”

Seriously?! Let’s think about that for a minute…

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July 24, 2018

5 Ways to Say “No thanks” to a Proposal

Twice in the past few years, I’ve written a blog post about the frustration that I (and all people involved in business development) feel when not hearing back from a potential client after submitting a proposal… a proposal that they requested. I wrote about how any answer – even a ‘no’ – is better than being ignored. With a clear answer… at least I’ll know how to move forward.

Sadly, the practice of ‘responding with silence’ from potential clients continues to this day.

So, on behalf of all small business owners who do the selling, seller-doers and professional salespeople everywhere, I’ve taken the liberty of writing out actual email scripts – based on several different scenarios – that you can use when responding to proposals you don’t want to accept. I hope these help:

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July 3, 2018

The Perfect Sales Commission Plan! Sorry, it doesn’t exist.

But these 10 guidelines can help you get close.

A few weeks ago, I met with the President and Senior Sales Executive for a firm in Dallas. They were looking for an objective assessment of their sales commission plan. Here’s what I told them…

After 30+ years in sales & marketing – and after seeing literally hundreds of different plans in a variety of industries – I can say, with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, that there is no one perfect sales commission structure.

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June 19, 2018

How Many Times Should a Sales Rep Follow-up? Here’s the REAL Answer…

With over 30 years of sales and marketing experience, I have seen countless articles and graphics detailing what the author thought was the ’right’ number of sales follow-up touches. They write as though success is inevitable – if (and when) you get to that “magic number” of follow-ups.

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June 5, 2018

Avoid these 8 Rookie Mistakes with your Next Capabilities Presentation

Whether you’re an introvert who hates public speaking – or an experienced presenter who thrives in front of an audience – there are a number of common mistakes you must avoid to give yourself the best chance of success with your next capabilities presentation.

#1. Lousy PowerPoint slides. Come on… you know you’re guilty of this. These are the slides with 6-8-10 (or more) bullet points, each one in the form of a compete sentence. As an attendee, they’re just miserable to have to sit through. And as the presenter, they’re impossible to remember… so what do you do? Turn your back on the audience and read them verbatim! UGH!

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April 29, 2018

Want to improve your sales results? Sell like a doctor.

For years, while working with providers of market research consulting and technology services, one of my pleas has been (and still is)… “Seek first to help… then to sell.” I believe it is THE most effective selling mindset for winning projects and – more importantly – long-term relationships with clients.

But recently, I heard that same sentiment stated another way… one that, I think, will resonate with most of us: “Sell like a doctor.”

I went through rotator cuff surgery last year. And in thinking back about the interactions with my orthopedic surgeon throughout the process, I thought about his “selling skills” and how they might translate in our industry.

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November 21, 2017

Want to Be Successful at Sales? Then Change your Mindset.

salesI hear these kinds of statements all the time in our industry:

  • “I don’t like selling.”
  • “I’m no good at sales.”
  • “I don’t want to sell.”

I think one of the reasons I hear those things is because of the perception of the profession of selling. Consider this… when I say the word, ‘salesman,’ what sorts of images comes to mind for you? The stereotypical used-car salesman? That guy near Disneyworld selling time shares? Or (for those of you in my generation) maybe Herb Tarlek, the radio ad salesman from the late 70’s sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati?

I get it. No one really wants to associate with “salespeople” like that.

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September 26, 2017

Bad Salesperson… or Bad Sales Manager?

bad sellingTrue story… earlier this week, I was the recipient of bad selling – a “cold call” email from a sales rep in our industry pitching his services.

It started with “We’ve never met, but…” Immediately, my defenses went up! I knew what was about to come – a sales pitch of some kind.

Then, at the end of the pitch, the email went on to say, “I have no idea if this is relevant to you.” Which, of course… it wasn’t.

This kind of amateurish sales effort – very common in the Market Research industry – drives me up the wall! AAARGH!!!

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