OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread | TigerDroppings.com

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GoldenSombrero
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Member since Sep 2010
729 posts

OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread



This seems like the most appropriate board for a productive discussion.

Curious is anyone here is in sales, specifically complex sales cycles. Would like to start a running dialogue for new trends, what's working, or where people can ask questions.

I just finished reading "The Challenger Sale" and it's really changed the way I look at a few things. Probably the best business book I have read in quite some time. I would recommend to anyone in B2B sales, outside of transnational sales. If you have read SPIN Selling, this book has similarities, but much more meat and less fluff.

I've also read "The New Solution Selling", which is the sales process my company adopted 3-4 years ago.

Anybody have any insight as to what works for them or new ideas in the industry? I'm currently working on my prospecting skills. Would love some ideas on whats working well for cold calls/ emails.

Buyers or executives are welcome to join in on the conversations. I always love to hear how you view sales people.







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braindeadboxer
LSU Fan
Utopia
Member since Nov 2011
5015 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


My venders usually offer quotes that are pretty close to each other. So it comes down to who takes me to the best lunch and keeps my attention the longest. Hunting and fishing trips usually will put you over the top.





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dallastiger55
LSU Fan
Jennings, LA
Member since Jan 2010
5310 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


margins are too slim these days.

in the end, a friend will always buy from a friend

i laugh at their jokes, i buy them lunch/dinner, ask about their wife and kids, and buy their staff crap every now and then.

that usually gets me their business and keeps it






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Paul Allen
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Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Nov 2007
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re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


quote:

margins are too slim these days.






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braindeadboxer
LSU Fan
Utopia
Member since Nov 2011
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re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


quote:

in the end, a friend will always buy from a friend


Truth. I was slightly being a smartass in my first post. I have several vendors that always get my business. They are guys I've known for a while. We stay in touch on a regular basis even when it's not business related. I trust them, they trust me. And as of now they are honest. They tell me what they have to offer and usually even recommend me to another supplier if they know they can't match or beat the others price or offer the quality. As a result, they know that I will always call them first. Venders you can trust are getting rare, which is why I appreciate those guys.






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HubbaBubba
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Member since Oct 2010
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re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


I buy my clients lunch for as many people as I know will be there and I do it unexpectedly. Drop a couple hundred on lunch and just come by, say hello and leave. No hard sell. Surprises the hell out of people, but... they remember that.

I find out who likes golf, fishing, family events, charities, etc.. I buy tickets to sporting events, concerts, and movie passes. I schedule plush golf outings, great dinners, and ALWAYS am there with them when they go. They have to associate ME with having a great time!

I give incredible service and piss off people inside the company who should never, ever, ever be in front of a client. They think selling is easy. It isn't. It's hard work. Takes time, planning and being able to get people to laugh and have a good time. Lots of perks come with that, but you really have to work hard to bring it together, gain their trust and friendship and get their business.

Once you have them buying YOU dinner, you have truly accomplished the fine art of selling.






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barry
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Location, Location, Location
Member since Aug 2006
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re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


It's really regional, but in the south relationships dominate still. Not as much in the northeast.





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GoldenSombrero
Arkansas Fan
Member since Sep 2010
729 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


Interesting responses for far. For those of you (buyers) who value the relationship, would you describe your sale as transactional vs a complex sales cycle?

I also think it could be a regional thing. New research is showing that building relationships alone is not producing increased sales, compared to the past. But I think people in the south value relationships more than other parts of the country.

I agree with building relationships and just being upfront and honest. Sometimes you just assume everyone is doing the same thing so you really don't set yourself apart. But it amazes me how many sales people can't or don't work on that aspect of their job.






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AngryBeavers
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Member since Jun 2012
3739 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


Bookmarking this thread for later.





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Nobs
LSU Fan
Pearland, Tx
Member since Dec 2010
282 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


As someone who's been brought in front of a business integrity investigator over some of these practices I find this thread funny.

I used to be all about the relationships and the perks, now, give me what I ask for at a reasonable price, on an agreed to schedule and I'm good.



This post was edited on 8/23 at 2:13 pm


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NewIberiaHaircut
LSU Fan
Lafayette
Member since May 2013
2821 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


quote:

Anybody have any insight as to what works for them or new ideas in the industry? I'm currently working on my prospecting skills. Would love some ideas on whats working well for cold calls/ emails.


What has worked for me is being open, honest, and consistent. On the original cold call I am usually short and to the point. No BS small talk, acknowledge the customer's time is valuable and get to the reason for your call. Explain why you are calling and ask the customer how you can earn their business. Listen to what they say and take it from there. They will tell you how to earn their business and sometimes even give you a timeline on the next bid/contract/purchasing decision. If they don't give you a timeline then ask for one. For a successful cold call I have to come away with three things. The final decision maker, current vendor, and timeline on next purchase.

Follow up the cold call with an email recapping the conversation and restating your desire to earn their business.

Here is where my consistency has paid off. Be consistent to the customer with your message and your presence. You want them to see you more than they see their current vendor. Demonstrate how hard you will work for them as their vendor. As others have mentioned in this thread, margins are slim and I have found that this simple method has trumped a personal relationship in many cases.

None of this is either new or exciting but I really believe people respond to an honest no BS approach followed by repeatable proven results. Simplifying things and being consistent with my message has allowed me to successfully knock out the competition in a lot of accounts in my territory.






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Lsut81
USA Fan
Member since Jun 2005
65179 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


How not to Sell...

Call someone's boss 30min after leaving a message for the person that is using your product (and responsible for the company either renewing the contract or not) and go on to tell the boss that "***** doesn't want to speak with me"

Just sayin






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GoldenSombrero
Arkansas Fan
Member since Sep 2010
729 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


quote:

How not to Sell...

Call someone's boss 30min after leaving a message for the person that is using your product (and responsible for the company either renewing the contract or not) and go on to tell the boss that "***** doesn't want to speak with me"

Just sayin


I'm guessing you didn't make this up...






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CajunAlum Tiger Fan
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The Great State of Louisiana
Member since Jan 2008
3080 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


quote:

I find out who likes golf, fishing, family events, charities, etc.. I buy tickets to sporting events, concerts, and movie passes. I schedule plush golf outings, great dinners, and ALWAYS am there with them when they go.


What do you sell?

I'm in medical sales and I would be in jail if I did this.

To the OP, here's what has worked for me:

Be an absolute expert on your products, your competitors, and your market. You spend a lot of time getting that meeting, so you should put even more time toward preparing for it. Do your homework and understand your customer before you meet them, then listen while you are there. They are busy and you are in the way, so you should be providing value of some sort at every interaction. Sort through the marketing BS that your company spews and find the truth for your customer so you can win or lose for the right reasons.

Treat people fairly and sales is easy.

Oh, and stop reading sales books.


Good luck.



This post was edited on 8/23 at 4:19 pm


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Paul Allen
USA Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Nov 2007
29835 posts
 Online 

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


quote:

medical sales


Stryker?






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CajunAlum Tiger Fan
LSU Fan
The Great State of Louisiana
Member since Jan 2008
3080 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


quote:

Stryker


No, I'm not in devices, I was in capital (imaging) for 10+ years and now I'm in software.






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GoldenSombrero
Arkansas Fan
Member since Sep 2010
729 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


quote:

I'm in medical sales and I would be in jail if I did this.


Haha, I was thinking the same thing.

If you don't mind me asking, what area of the hospital or clinic do you sell into? I work in medical software sales myself. I def agree about providing value at every step of the sales cycle. If your target market is anything like mine the sales cycle is 12-18 months, so that provides it own unique challenges.

quote:

Oh, and stop reading sales books.

Yeah I know, 99% of them suck...but I keep thinking "this one may be different".






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CajunAlum Tiger Fan
LSU Fan
The Great State of Louisiana
Member since Jan 2008
3080 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


quote:

If you don't mind me asking, what area of the hospital or clinic do you sell into? I work in medical software sales myself. I def agree about providing value at every step of the sales cycle. If your target market is anything like mine the sales cycle is 12-18 months, so that provides it own unique challenges.



I'm selling into Imaging and Oncology and the sales cycles generally match the size of the deal where the smaller (<$100K deals) can pop in a couple of months, but the bigger deals can take a year or more. Sometimes it's good to get in at inception and drive the deal, but other times, it's better to get in late to take advantage of momentum. Understanding the customer process is always important and will prevent you from looking like an idiot to your managers.






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Lsut81
USA Fan
Member since Jun 2005
65179 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


quote:

I'm guessing you didn't make this up...


Nope, happened the day before someone started this thread...



People be dumb

Needless to say, I don't think he will be getting our business very much longer.






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lsulefty5
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Dec 2007
786 posts

re: OFFICIAL: Sales Professionals Strategy and Discussion Thread


I rarely put a hard sell on people as I don't think it's effective. I feel that it's my job to make the customer aware of my products, give them features/benefits/improvement on existing, and then "hold their hand" through the buying process.

I do believe relationships win out when in doubt. People buy from people. If you work well and trust each other, then business runs much smoother and you get repeat business.

FWIW I am a rep for an industrial electrical line,






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