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5 Ways to Build Confidence to Win More Sales

By Ray Makela

Sales is about the transfer of confidence. In this Q&A, we discuss five ways you can build your confidence to improve your sales results.

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An Underrated Selling Skill That'll Give You a Competitive Edge

By Norman Behar

On this Q&A episode: "What's an underrated selling skill that salespeople can develop to get an edge over their competition?"

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How to Differentiate Your Solution from the Competition

By David Jacoby

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In today’s crowded marketplace, it’s easy to forget how many choices your buyer has. Buyers have a difficult time differentiating your solution from the competition’s solution. What may be an obvious distinction to you may not be so apparent to the buyer.

So you need to explain why the buyer should select your solution instead of the alternatives. Skilled sales reps differentiate their solutions by highlight features that are important to the buyer where they're strong, and their competitors are weak.

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How to Manage Underperforming Sales Reps

By Norman Behar

A look into each of the characteristics top performing sales teams have in common. Watch this video to help your team achieve their full potential.

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3 Characteristics of a High Performing Sales Team

By Norman Behar

A look into each of the characteristics top performing sales teams have in common. Watch this video to help your team achieve their full potential.

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How to Breakout of a Sales Slump

By Norman Behar

Are you going through a sales slump? No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to close a deal? Here is how it starts, and six steps to break out of it.

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How to Prevent Your Next SaaS Demo Going Silent

By Ray Makela

On this Q&A episode: "What's the best way to follow-up with a demo? Even though my demos go really well, the prospect seems to go silent after we meet".  

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Can You Afford a Bad Sales Hire? Read This Now

By David Jacoby

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If you're a football fan, you're no doubt familiar with the woeful tale of Johnny Manziel’s brief professional football career. Manziel was a star college quarterback who won the Heisman trophy as a freshman in 2012. The Cleveland Browns later drafted him in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, where he played for two injury-prone seasons in 2014-2015.

Manziel’s time at Cleveland was plagued by questions about his behavior, work ethic, substance abuse, off-the-field problems, as well as his inability to translate his college game to the professional level. The impact on the Cleveland Browns was catastrophic. They wasted a precious first round draft pick as well as lost time and money. Here is a description of how he hurt Cleveland as well as a litany of his bad behavior

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How to Overcome the "It's Too Expensive" Objection

By Norman Behar

On this Q&A episode: "What's the best response to "It's too expensive'?" I often struggle with price objections when the customer says, "My price is too high." Is there a best response to this objection? What do you recommend?

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How to Become a Great Sales Leader

By David Jacoby

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As a sales manager, you may not consider yourself a sales leader. After all, strategic leadership issues fall within the purview of senior executives such as the Chief Revenue Officer. But ask your sales team to describe your leadership qualities and you may hear comments such as “She knows how to communicate what she wants,” “He makes the right decisions at the right time,” “She’s very persuasive,” or “He works twice as hard as anybody else on the team.”

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How to Deliver Product Demos that Convert

By Ray Makela

On this Q&A episode: "Why most product demos miss the mark, and what can I do to improve my chances of success?"

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The Mindset of a Top Performing Sales Professional

By Ray Makela

On this Q&A episode: "What makes up the mindset of a top performing sales professional? What are the characteristics that help top performers stand out or that make them more effective?"

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Can On-Demand Sales Training Replace Classroom Training?

By Norman Behar

On this Q&A episode: "Can on-demand sales training replace classroom training.

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How To Help Reps Keep Their Pipeline Up-To-Date

By Ray Makela

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Since the day the first contact management systems added features to enable Reps to keep track of their opportunities, there has been a constant struggle between manager and sales rep to keep the pipeline clean and “update the damn CRM.” Management wants a roll-up of their reps’ pipelines to enable better visibility and produce accurate forecasts, while reps are not motivated to spend precious selling time on administrative tasks and data entry that doesn’t help them close business.

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The Best Question to Ask on a First Sales Meeting

By Norman Behar

On this Q&A episode: "What's the most effective question to ask a prospect on a first meeting?"

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How to Assess a Salesperson's Coachability (& Why It Matters)

By David Jacoby

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To maximize sales results, a sales manager has to ensure that his or her team is operating at their peak level like a sports team. That’s where coaching comes in—it’s one of the most important things you can do as a manager to drive better sales results.

Coaching is the time you spend 1:1 with your team members to improve their ability to sell. The most common obstacle preventing sales managers from coaching their teams is time commitment. Coaching takes time and doesn’t have a “due date.”  So often managers postpone or reschedule coaching  to complete other time-sensitive management activities.

I have previously discussed how to allocate your coaching time. A good rule of thumb is that you should spend:

  • 60% of your coaching time with your salespeople with medium skill levels,
  • 15% of your coaching time with your salespeople with low skill levels, and
  • 25% of your coaching time with your salespeople with high skill levels.

The idea here is that you should spend most of your time coaching salespeople with medium skills. These salespeople will provide the highest return on your time investment as you develop average performers into high performers. Low skilled reps may require too much of a time commitment to help, while high performers have some room for improvement, but don’t need lots of coaching.

But what do you do if you are extremely limited in your time available for coaching? 

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Key Considerations for a Successful Sales Training Partnership

By Norman Behar

On this Q&A episode: "What are some of the key considerations for a successful sales training partnership?"

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Does Sales Training Matter? The Salesperson’s Perspective

By Norman Behar

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One of the most important questions senior sales leaders ask is whether a sales training initiative will really deliver better sales results.  The basis for this question is likely based on the reality that they may have previously invested in training programs with little to show from their investment

At the same time, the global sales training market has grown by nearly $1 billion over the last seven years (now estimated at $2.54 billion annually according to Training Industry) and it would seem irrational for companies to significantly increase their training investment if it wasn't impacting their business.

To get a better sense for what selling skills are most important and how better sales training impacts business results, we conducted a research study with Training Industry to understand the salesperson’s perspective on this topic. 

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Selling Against a Competitor (When You Think They're Better)

By Ray Makela

On this Q&A episode: "What do you do if your competitor's product is better for the client?"

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The Ultimate Guide to Building Relationships with Your Buyers

By David Jacoby

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We all have heard the old sales adage: “People buy from people they like.”  And a significant body of behavioral science research supports this statement. According to famed psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini, liking is one of the six principles of influence outlined in his  seminal book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

When you have a strong relationship with a buyer, you tend to have more influence with that buyer. That means the buyer respects your experience and advice, they're more likely to value your contribution to the decision process, and there is a greater chance of such buyer becoming a “long-term” customer.

Follow these four strategies to build a strong relationship with your buyer, and you'll go a long way towards having an easier time closing more business.

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How to Deal with Competitors Who Lie

By Ray Makela

On this Q&A episode: "What do you do when your competitor flat out lies? I'm not talking about a rogue salesperson making up fibs. I mean when their company market materials contain figures that are significantly inflated or entirely fabricated?"

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How to Prevent a Prospect Going Silent After Your Proposal

By Ray Makela

Don't let prospects go silent after responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP). In this Q&A we discuss strategies you can use to increase your chances of closing the deal.

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Why Sales Managers Fail at Coaching?

By Norman Behar

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The reason is pretty simple. Managers become accustomed to telling as opposed to enabling their salespeople to identify and solve their own problems. Consider these two typical situations:

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Back to the Future: AI and the Role of Sales People

By David Jacoby

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Last week I saw the future. Google demonstrated its amazing new Duplex technology that allows Google Assistant to make phone calls on your behalf and have natural, human-sounding conversations. Watch the demo here and listen to the Google Assistant first call a hair salon and book an appointment, and then make a reservation at a restaurant.

I was blown away by Googles’ Duplex technology, and it is obviously a major step forward in the ability of computers to understand and generate natural speech. This will dramatically improve the customer experience in communicating with automated phone systems. But what are the implications for the sales profession?

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How to Embed A Company's Culture in Sales Training

By Norman Behar

A question that often comes up in our conversations with clients: "How do you embed a company's culture in a sales training program?" It's an interesting question because culture is something that's intangible, but we kind of know it when we see it. 

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5 Step Checklist to Assess Sales Readiness

By Norman Behar

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As your company begins to hire new sales reps and looks for ways to accelerate their ramp-up time, while we would all like our reps to get on quota track faster, we have found that the “readiness” of the sales organization is critical to making this goal a reality.

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Sales Readiness: What does that mean?

By Norman Behar

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I’ve often been asked as the CEO and co-founder of Sales Readiness Group, what does “sales readiness” really mean. In today’s hyper competitive sales environment, companies are looking for their sales organization to consistently deliver great results. Sales readiness is the work that needs to take place up front so that your sales organization can produce those results. For a company to be “ready to sell” it must optimize numerous sales readiness factors. These include (i) overall sales strategy, (ii) sales methodology, (iii) integrated sales & marketing, (iv) performance management systems, and (v) sales organization and talent.

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5 Areas You Need to Focus on to Boost Sales Effectiveness

By Norman Behar

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Every sales executive is focused on how they can make their sales organization more effective. After all, we would all like to sell more, reduce our sales cycles, improve win ratios, and have more productive sales teams. The problem, of course, is that the concept of sales force effectiveness is so broad that it makes it difficult for sales executives to figure out what needs fixing.

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How to Better Engage Buyers in the First Sales Call

By David Jacoby

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Many sales leaders tend to over-focus on creating scripts for their sales teams. These include prospecting scripts, presentation templates, responses to common objections, and lists of questions to ask buyers. Scripts can be a great learning tool for your team to improve their selling skills, but you should use them with caution.

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How to Align Your Sales Coaching Program for Success

By Ray Makela

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It’s no surprise that high-performing sales teams have managers who spend more time coaching, as evidenced in our Sales Management Research Report.

There are numerous benefits to effective coaching, but despite the general acknowledgment that it’s a high-value activity, many managers don’t spend enough time coaching. Several reasons managers don’t coach include that they don’t know how, don’t think they have time, or don’t have a process to follow.

But here’s another piece of the puzzle that many sales leaders don’t want to admit. One of the biggest reasons managers don’t coach is because the organization hasn’t adopted a culture of coaching. Changing the organization culture is hard. At a minimum, if the initiative hasn’t been made a top priority by the leadership team and there isn’t a process in place to manage the behavior change, it will be doomed to fail.

The six factors identified in the graphic below will help ensure your sales coaching program is aligned for success.

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