Salesman conquers his fear of rejection with the latest tools

No FearJoel needed new customers. But he found that he wasn’t 100% committed when he picked-up the phone, because his fear of rejection made him apprehensive. It felt like he had one foot on gas, and the other on the brake. And because customers sensed that Joel wasn’t completely sold, they weren’t interested in what he was selling, because no one wants to be rescued by a drowning man.

So Joel’s turned to his VP of Sales for advice, but he didn’t find being told to ‘just suck it up and make the calls’ particularly helpful.

Fortunately Joel loved to read, and he was shocked to discover that his fear of calling new clients was due to an overactive instinct of survival.

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“You’re in sales, you’re too stupid to understand.”

ArrogantWhen I asked for more details on how a customer could use our product, Tim, our Managing Director, joked: “Michael, you’re in sales, you’re too stupid to understand.” But the sad thing was that this was what he, and his delivery team really believed. And when I wanted customer stories, I only got the watered down versions from marketing. Because marketing didn’t trust sales to properly share these stories with customers, they had the executive team sand off the rough corners that made the stories interesting- to the point that they were useless. So there I was standing outside the walls of customer knowledge, trying to prepare for a potential customer meeting with the few scraps of information management decided to throw down to sales.

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One customer story sells, and another doesn’t. Why?

By recognizing the difference between a customer story that “Sells” vs. a story that “Doesn’t Sell,” you can see for yourself how your own customer stories can be changed so that they inspire prospective customers to buy, instead of providing them with no reason to change.

The mistakes made in the story that “Doesn’t Sell” are common. Because the effects of not having the Seller’s capabilities are abstract, the story doesn’t make the Buyer want to change, because the risks don’t feel real.

Without making the risks of not having the Sellers capabilities feel more real than the risk of change, the Buyer will stick with the status quo.

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Do poor sales figures alone tell the whole story about who to fire?

The results are in, and it’s time to fire 15% of your sales team. But do the numbers tell the whole story?
You know, for example, that a rep’s sales can also be negatively influenced by: a) a competitor in the rep’s territory who is a star salesperson; b) a string of bad luck that may turn around, and; c) some salespeople take a little longer to turn around.

You also know that buyers today buy differently, so instead of just letting go of the poor performers, wouldn’t it be better to go through your sales team to see who is capable of prospering in this new sales environment, and who isn’t?

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32% of salespeople won’t achieve quota in 2012, but will a new sales methodology really help?

32% of salespeople won’t achieve quota in 2012, according to a survey of 197-B2B technology companies in 2012 (source: The Bridge Group).

But will another sales process or sales methodology really help?

Most companies have tried 2-3 of them, but have they helped salespeople sell more? A sales methodology or process may provide better reports to management, and improve the sale team’s efficiency; but right now, do you really need to better forecast poor sales, or does your sales team really need to be more efficient at doing the wrong things?

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Neuroscience proves stories trump facts

MRI brain scanBut before we dive into the science, let’s do a thought experiment, so that you can discover what is more likely to inspire you to act, a story or a fact?

Story scenario: Imagine you are the VP of Sales for Software USA. After an overnight flight, you are walking over the Waterloo Bridge in London on a sunny April morning. You are on your way to the biggest interview of your life- to run your European operations.

After investing over $1,000 on a new wardrobe for this very important interview, you sidestep a puddle, to avoid getting your new shoes wet. Just then, out of the corner of your eye, you see a small girl fall off the bridge into the frigid water below. As she cries for help, without thinking, you jump in to rescue her.

As you emerge from the river, you notice that your suit and shoes are ruined. But that’s quickly forgotten, when you look down into the frightened girl’s eyes, and realize that she is just about the same age as your daughter.

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Provocative stories kill the status quo, and inspire customers to buy.

Inspired to buy with stories that sell: Through the power of story, your salespeople will not only bypass the wall that protects customers from change, but also inspire them to buy.

The sales challenge: You may be surprised to hear that your biggest competitor isn’t another company, it’s the customer deciding to do nothing. Customers will not act, as long as the status quo is supported by:

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How to create stories that sell.

StorySellPicImagine if the power of storytelling could do for your salespeople what it did for  Al Gore?

Remember how he went from zero to hero.

In 1999, for example, facts & figures Al Gore was considered by the American public, according to a Washington Post poll, to be “very boring” or “somewhat boring.” That’s so cruel.

However, in 2006, Al Gore changes his approach and learns how to deliver his message through story in the hit presentation/film an “Inconvenient Truth.” He’s now a hit and wins an Emmy, an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize.

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McKinsey Study: Solution Selling… is the pain worth the gain?

Solutions selling has been all the rage over the last 5 to 10 years, yet 75 percent of the companies that attempt to offer solutions fail to return the cost of their investment.” (Source: ‘Solution Selling: Is the pain worth the gain’ McKinsey Study).

Even the author and founder of Solution Selling & CustomerCentric Selling, Mike Bosworth, agrees.

“The number one complaint I heard from sales managers was that the bottom 80 percent of their salespeople quit trying to use the methodology within 10 days of the workshop.” (‘Mike’s Ah-Ha moment’ Sept. 2011).

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