Here are some critical questions our assessment will answer.
We will assess your team using Our Sales Effectiveness & Improvement Analysis™ from Objective Management Group to answer these critical questions.
Based on your needs, we –
You determine if it’s a good fit and make an offer.
You only deal with the candidate who can do the job.
The assessment we use is validated as predictive by a comprehensive longitudinal study
If it were not for the emotional component sales would be a easy job. There is no physical labor involved. No athleticism is necessary. No specialized knowledge or advanced degree is required. Basically, all you do is talk to people and determine if they want to buy your product. Granted there is some skill involved. But there is skill involved in throwing darts in a pub and people do that for recreation and don’t consider it hard work. The work involved in sales is the emotional component. If you are uncomfortable talking to strangers, then sales will be difficult for you, if you feel it intrusive to ask too many questions, then sales will be difficult for you and it will require emotional energy to go to work every day. Engaging in conversation will be stressful and getting out of your comfort zone will wear you out. However, if you put in the work to get comfortable with these things then sales becomes stress free. The issue is are you willing to put the work in to get comfortable in all selling situations? The secret is that most of what you worry about never happens and most of what you fear doing is wasted energy. Comfort comes from repetition and avoiding doing what you know you must do just adds extra bricks to the walls of your comfort zone. Put the work in and you will make sales the easy job it should be.
You have a few seconds to get across to a roomful of people what your company does. What do you say? Most people give their elevator pitch. Here is a new idea. Give elevator answers. For example, people may ask what I do. I would say “we work with CEO’s to help them answer the question “Do my salespeople have what it takes to scale the company”? or “Why aren’t my salespeople closing more business”? or “Why are my closing rates so low”? Notice that this is just another way to get my pain hooks out there. They don’t have to know what I actually do. But everyone in the room now knows I work with CEO’s and those three questions are ones that almost every CEO has. They know I work in the sales area of the company and they might guess that I am a consultant. It might even raise the question in their minds “I wonder how he does that”? That might be enough to spark a conversation after the meeting is over.
Many salespeople only see as far as the next step or two in the sales process. They only see as far as the “horizon”. Top salespeople see over the Horizon and have visibility beyond the horizon or the next couple of steps in the sales process. Optimal salespeople know what the major milestones in the sales process are from the very beginning of the pursuit. As the pursuit progresses, the optimal salesperson becomes aware of all of the steps from where they are to the close. They should never be surprised by a new requirement or a new step in the sales process.
Great conversations are not necessarily effective conversations. Salespeople will often tell me that they feel good about a sales opportunity because they had a great conversation with the prospect. However, when I ask if they know what the pain of the prospect is, they either don’t know or the reason they give me is superficial or told from the perspective of the salesperson and not the prospect. When I ask if they discussed money with the prospect, they tell me they never got to that subject. In other words, they traded stories, they bonded over the latest game or they found common ground in each of their past. However, they did not advance the sales process one iota. Often an effective conversation is not a pleasant experience for the prospect. After all, they are telling you about a problem they are having and hopefully, how they feel about it or how it is affecting them personally. They may be uncomfortable talking about money with you or they may be embarrassed that the problem exists and that they have to ask someone else for help to pay for your solution. Bonding with the prospect is important but you are better served to focus on moving the sales process forward than concentrating your whole effort on bonding with the prospect.
There is a difference between following up and following thru. Here are two examples to illustrate the difference. George Weaksales calls on a prospect and at the end of the meeting the prospect says “George, this sounds interesting. But we are busy right now. So, why don’t you get back to me in a couple of weeks”. George Weaksales says “absolutely. I will follow up to talk about the next step”. George did not discover a compelling reason to buy or qualify the prosect for the amount of money he was willing to spend. This is basically a non-qualified prospect. George, however, dutifully puts it on his list to follow up with and does so week after week without reaching the prospect. Eventually, he gives up, but he did follow up diligently. Another alternative is that he does reach the prospect after several weeks’ worth of follow up calls and the prospect finally tells him “we are not going to be able to go forward at this time.” In both cases the time spent following up was wasted effort and time. Sara strong has a similar situation but she is skilled enough that she is able to disqualify the prospect on the first call so that no follow up is needed and she is free to spend that time on something more productive. If the prospect is qualified and still requests a “follow up” call in two weeks she at least gets a commitment from the prospect as to what will happen on the call and that the prospect will take the call. She might even set an appointment for the second call before she leaves the first. When she does call in two weeks she is not following up, she is following thru on the commitment that both she and the prospect made. There is a big difference.
You can’t sell by email … but sometimes you can’t avoid sending one during the sales process. If you do send and email, make it short like this article.
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The risk the prospect perceives can be a significant obstacle to closing the sale. Some people (engineers typically) are risk averse and some have a much higher tolerance for taking on risk. One of the most important things you can listen for on a sales call is any hint that the prospect sees risk in going with your product or service. Risk is what I refer to as a negative pain. Risk can be emotional and if the prospect feels it enough, that will cause him or her to do the opposite of what you want them to do. So, when you get any hint that the prospect sees risk in your solution, do not try to talk them out of it. Rather you need to explore it. Ask questions about it and completely understand where they see the risk and how they see it affecting them. The result may be that there is too much risk for the prospect to bear in which case the pursuit of this project should end. Or, you may find that the fear dissipates under further inspection and the sale can proceed without objection. Either outcome should be acceptable.
Your comfort zone is not a point in space. It has dimensions. The outer edges of your comfort zone is defined by your self-limiting beliefs and your self-concept. For example, how often do you avoid asking tough questions. Maybe you ask tough questions of the project people you work with but avoid tough questions when you are talking to executives. Maybe you talk about money for small projects but avoid it on large projects. Maybe you set firm agreements sometimes but not other times. The point at which you change behavior is the edge of your comfort zone. You need to understand exactly where the point is that you stop asking tough questions, or talking about money etc. The reason is that until you know where the edge of you comfort zone is, you won’t be able to answer the question of why? Why do I stop asking that question or setting that agreement more strongly? The answer to that why question is your self-limiting belief. And until you know what the self-limiting belief is you have no chance to overcome that weakness and get yourself to a higher level
You can’t manage time. It moves at the same speed every day … every week every year. Everyone gets the exact same amount of it. But what you can manage is what you do during the time you have. Todays tip is a simple message:
It is as simple as that. In short, don’t manage the time … you can’t. Manage what you do within the time you have to maximize those activities which yield revenue for you and your company.
The ability to view the sales opportunity from the prospect’s perspective is a valuable skill. If all you ever do is look at things through your eyes you risk missing valuable insights, possibly waste valuable time, and lower your win probability. An example will illustrate what I mean. If you are selling a software project to a Chief Financial Officer, you might think that it makes a lot of sense to move forward quickly. The company obviously needs the new software desperately, it will have a great return on investment and the timing seems perfect to get it in right before the end of the year. However, if you look at it from the prospect’s perspective you might think to ask a few more questions. For example, the ROI is good, but CFO’s have many projects presented with great ROI’s and a limited amount of money to invest. Seeing it from her perspective you might then say, “I assume you have lots of projects with great ROI’s, Where does this one stack up against all of those”. CFO’s also get involved with acquisitions and other events which could get in the way so thinking like she might you would ask, “are there any financing events that could get in the way of moving forward with this project”? These are simple examples but once you start thinking that way, questions you never thought of before will pop into your head. Just be sure you are not engaging in customer empathy which is similar but will lead you to accepting every excuse they give you for not moving forward.
Problem solving can derail a sales call. Many salespeople have a problem-solving instinct. Maybe its because they have a technical background and they were trained that way. Or maybe it is because they believe that showing how smart they are is a good way to impress the client and give them a better chance of winning the project. The truth is that solving problems too early in the sales process serves to halt all progress toward finding the pain of the prospect. When you are in problem solving mode, you are stuck in and intellectual process and you are focusing on the problem and not on the prospect and how the problem affects him or her. This is to say nothing of the fact that solving the problem serves to give away intellectual property and cedes any competitive advantage you might have had to the prospect. Instead of solving the problem, delve into the problem and its many nuances. How does it affect the prospect? How does it affect profitability? Who else does it affect? Has happened before? Who cares about the solution? Asking any or all of these questions will do more to enhance your credibility and move the sales process along than spending time solving the problem on the sales call. Isn’t that what they should be paying you for?
Should be at least 80% of your target for them.
If not, they will miss cues prospects give as they “think” about what to say next.
Makes it difficult to prospect, close the deal or ask tough questions.
What are their personal goals? Are they written down? Do they have the desire and commitment to reach them?
Prospecting, qualifying, closing, asking questions, etc.
Wasting time with unqualified prospects, too many quotes, too much talking, not uncovering budget, not able to hold margins.
Uncomfortable talking about money, must call on purchasing agents first, etc.
Who do they call on? How much supervision do they need? How much support do they require? Price point of the product or service they are experienced at selling?
Are they a hunter/closer? Are they an account manager? Can they prospect?
How much incentive to succeed do they have? Do they have a positive outlook?
10. Selling Skills don’t match the position they are hired for
9. They lack the will or skills to prospect consistently
8. They are hired in at the wrong level ($50,000 skills in a $1,000,000 territory)
7. They are incompatible with the organization and its way of doing business
6. They lack desire and commitment for success
5. They have a weak Sales DNA
4. They have a poor outlook
3. They make excuses for lack of results
2. They have a combination of Self-limiting beliefs which doom them to failure
01. The company’s hiring process fails to uncover any of the above problems.
Since 1986, Caramanico Maguire Associates, Inc. has primarily focused on growth and development of sales teams.
We help companies grow their salesforce in three ways:
Our company has helped people from virtually every major industry, including both the product and service sectors of the economy, to achieve dramatic results.
For the past 25 years, Mr. Caramanico has been the founding principal and managing partner of Caramanico Maguire Associates. He has worked with thousands of salespeople and hundreds of companies helping them reach their maximum sales potential. He has been a pioneer in the emerging field of salesforce development which takes a comprehensive approach to grow a sales team. He is the co-author of two books “The Optimal Salesperson” and “Optimal Selling, Sales Conversations of the Optimal Salesperson”. Before founding Caramanico Maguire Associates, Mr. Caramanico spent over 10 years in sales and management of small and large firms. He began his career as a licensed professional Engineer and quickly moved through the ranks to become Vice- President of a large professional services firm. Along the way he held positions as Project Manager, Salesman, Marketing Manager, Director of Finance and he successfully started up a subsidiary company. Mr. Caramanico holds three Masters Degrees including a MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Maguire is a founding principal of Caramanico Maguire Associates and Co-author of two books “The Optimal Salesperson” and “Optimal Selling, Sales Conversations of the Optimal Salesperson. She has done extensive work with family owned businesses helping them navigate their unique growth and management challenges. In addition she works with all types companies to upgrade their sales force to meet their financial goals. She specializes in helping people and companies blast through tough emotional barriers to achieve success. Her work in salesforce development includes training, recruiting, and coaching salespeople. She has a special talent for mentoring CEO’s to balance professional achievement with personal and family priorities. Her career prior to helping to found Caramanico Maguire Associates Inc. includes engineering test manager for IBM, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Temple University, corporate management consultant for a large bank and a private consulting practice, coaching and counseling people in overcoming their success barriers and achieving high levels of success. Ms. Maguire holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and two Masters Degrees.