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Archive for the ‘Sales Coaching’ Category.

I Don’t Know Where My Time Goes!

Does these statements sound familiar?

  • “I know exactly where I spend my time daily. The only problem is I never have enough of it.”
  • “I do everything I can to make sure that each day is productive. I even list the things I want to accomplish that day, and five days out of five, I never get through the list.”
  • “It’s not that I think I can’t accomplish things daily, , that’s really not the problem. The problem is all the interruptions. Someone stops by to ask me something, and there go fifteen minutes. Someone calls, and there go another ten minutes and so on and so on”
  • “Then there’s the truly big time wasters such as printer jams, computer upgrades, and office celebrations only getting me side tracked more.”

There are two basic types of problems that waste time. The first are mechanical problems such as the jamming printer. Other mechanical problems could be phone issues, system upgrades, and so on. When the mechanical things don’t function correctly, time is spent putting up with them until, hopefully, a solution is found. Usually the solution can be discovered quickly and management can fix any of these glitches.

Mechanical time wasters are easy to identify. Personal time wasters require you to recognize them for what they are. There are countless ways you can waste time in the workplace and below are the top five time wasters YOU can prevent.

1. Visits from your coworkers:. Office chit-chat around the water cooler or at your cubicle is one of the worst time wasters. Not only does it take up your time, but most coworkers are too polite to ask a colleague to leave them alone for the sake of work. If you have a door that you can close, do so. People should get the message that you’re busy. Otherwise, try to find a quiet place such as a meeting room where you can be alone and left undisturbed.

2. Making and receiving phone calls: Another classic time waster is personal phone calls. If you have caller ID, you can use it to screen calls and let certain calls go straight to voice mail and then handle them when free time is available.. If you find that phone calls are hurting your time management, try to block out time when you make and receive phone calls if this is possible, so that you are not simply answering the phone every time it rings.

3. Clutter: If your workspace is messy, you’ll spend more time looking for things, than doing things.A cluttered workspace makes for a cluttered mind. De-clutter and simplify, this will lead you to work more efficiently. Before you leave the office, rid your office of unnecessarily clutter (food, cups, papers). Utilize a file cabinet for something other than your afternoon snacks. Recycle paperwork you’re never going to use. And don’t add unnecessary items to your files – if you don’t need to print something out, don’t. Your company’s shared drive is perfectly suitable for storing documents.

4. Email: One of the classic time wasters, sending and receiving emails can certainly be a big time waster. Like receiving phone calls, responding to emails the moment they arrive can help to decrease your time management if you allow your email to rule you. As with your phone, you might decide to only send and respond to emails at certain times.

5. Internet: Like email, Internet usage (social media in particular) can be a big time waster. Actually, even work-related Internet usage can be a big time waster too. Use common sense here. Wasting time using the Internet probably just means you have to end up staying late at work or bringing work home that you could otherwise do at home.

To be truly effective in the use of your time you need to introduce new processes of for time management. Take a look at how your time is wasted in a given day, pick out one specific thing and then define the specific action you’re how to turn this wasted time into productive time.

Coaching Plan of Action for Managers

serveAt Helm Coaching Group there is a word we use for coaching employees and that word is Search. Search stands for: skills, experience, attitude, results, cognitive skills and habits. Through these facets you’ll know whether an employee is ready for coaching.

Skills
Refers to specific knowledge and abilities required. These may be technical in nature, such as programming languages, application and design ability; or non-technical skills, such as
the ability to effectively communicate verbally and in written form. You can coach the employee and help them to work on this skill by either directly working with the employee to improve these skills or giving them tasks that will help them improve their skills in the following areas:

• Questioning
• Listening
• Analytical
• Creativity
• Computer
• Closing
• People
• Persuasive
• Rapport building
• Self-motivated
• Problem solving
• Ability to handle adversity
• Follow-up
• Goal setting
• Social
• Prospecting
• Training

Experience
Refers to having done the type of work, assumed the kinds of responsibilities, and applied the specialized knowledge required by the new position. You can enable your employee by training them through these key areas:

• Sales
• Life
• Training
• Reaching decision makers
• Delivering
• Leadership
• Goal setting
• Needs assessment
• Traveling sales

Attitude
Refers to the state of mind the candidate must have in order to perform effectively in the position. For instance, does the bestfit candidate need to be someone who is open to suggestion
and able to handle critical input without taking it personally? Personality is hard to change, but by modeling proper workplace behavior with your employees and letting them know what’s expected of them you should see an increase in these areas around the office:

• Positive
• Passionate
• “Can-do”
• Selfmotivated
• Up-beat
• Respects self and others
• Trust
• Learns from failures
• Persistent
• Ownership
• Enthusiastic
• Adaptable
• Pro-active
• Loyal
• Caring
• Work ethic

Results
Refers to the accomplishments that verify one’s ability to successfully apply specialized knowledge and skills. These can speak for themselves, but performance should be considered using the following as a guideline for the employees readiness for coaching.

• Exceeds expectations
• Promotion candidate
• Develops growth charts
• Sets goals for growth
• Kinetic awareness
• Recognition
• Advancement

Cognitive Skills
Refers to one’s ability to learn information and processes necessary to the job, such as the ability to quickly assimilate and organize a large amount of data. If your employee can do the following then they are showing signs that they are ready to be coached.

• Process in place
• Quick thinker
• Conversant
• Knowledgeable
• Teachable
• Trainable
• Oral and written communication
• Focused
• Creative
• Strategic
• Problem solver
• Learns from failures

Habits
Refers to specific behaviors and actions required of the job. Promptness is one example; keeping accurate notes to document progress is another. This will be harder to train because behavior is deeply ingrained in adults, but you can help develop a better habits by enabling these in your employee:

• Self-starter
• Organized
• Consistent
• Timely
• Follows up
• Professional appearance
• Disciplined
• Goal oriented
• Professional
• Team player
• Administrative
• Manages time
• Detail oriented
• Going above and beyond
• Debriefing after sales call

Letting your employees know that you are considering coaching them in some area may also cause an improvement in their skills. It’s always helpful to let the employee know that you are considering coaching them in an area when you’re conducting peer reviews.

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

ID-100152548If you have not heard of Emotional Intelligence yet, you will very soon. Emotional Intelligence (EI), is being studied by prestigious universities all over the globe, and what these institutions are finding is that EI is closely connected to success and failure.

 

Workplace attitudes and behavior can have obvious and subversive effects on coworkers and customers alike. EI is the ability that we have to monitor our behavior and self awareness in relation to other people and situations. People with high emotional intelligence are self aware and monitor their behavior closely in situations at work and in their personal life.

 

That doesn’t mean that a person with a high emotional quotient (EQ) is a door mat, it means that they know how to behave and keep their attitudes in check. On the flip side, some one who has a low EQ is not destined to remain that way. The best thing about EI is that you can learn how to adopt better attitudes and behaviors.

 

Forbes has recently published an article on EI and how to improve yourself using five techniques that will help boost productivity, (http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2012/09/24/5-ways-to-lead-with-emotional-intelligence-and-boost-productivity/). Now you know how serious this subject matter is when Forbes publishes an article about it.

 

The basic principle of EI is this, the higher your EQ the more influence you have and the smaller your worries and troubles will be. The lower your EQ, the more troubles and worries you have and the smaller your circle of influence is.

 

If you are still unsure what exactly EI and EQ are, there are plenty of articles on the web that explain what they are and how they work. If you feel that your workplace could use more EI, then contact us for more information on training, call Tanya Papuga at 407-508-9650, or email her at, tanyapapuga@yahoo.com.

 

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Establish Proper Sales Goals

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In order to reach your sales goal you must effectively prepare by recognizing your true goal in making the sales call. Plan your demonstrations, rehearsals and presentations ahead of time. Feedback from your peers is invaluable. The goal of the sales call is not to ask for a chance, or for a little bit of the prospective customers time, but more of an interview to see if the prospect should be a client. Ask yourself these questions:

 

1) Does the prospective client meet the criteria for doing business with?
2) Once contact with the prospective customer has been made, do you decide whether to conduct an interview or ask for a time to meet?
3) Are your beliefs in the features and value of your product/service enough to convince the prospective client to buy, or are there other reasons for making purchases?
4) How can you make use of the brochures and literature at your disposal effective in your interview, or sales pitch? (Most often the brochures are used to end the sales pitch by the prospective customer.)
5) Are you doing demonstrations at any cost? Even if it means you don’t make a sale?
6) Is there the pressure of a time limit for the interview/demonstration?
7) Who created the time limit? You or the client?
8) Are you going into the meeting with the intention of helping or selling to the prospective customer?

 

Many sales people confuse the purpose of their call with the goals of their call. In order to confidently make sales calls and meet clients, the salesperson must be professional and see themselves as professional. The sales call should mean an interview with the prospective client, because the ultimate goal is to sell your product, not give demonstrations or education on your product or company. The salesperson should maintain control over the sale, don’t wish and hope for the prospect to be a customer.

 

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The weekend is over and you probably are having a case of the Mondays. In a recent study it was discovered that sales reps who spent more time in planning tended to be more successful. So how can you start planning out your day and week and have success results? Here’s how:

Visualize your long term picture of successr and put it in writing. Review your goal frequently. Your goal should be specific, measurable, achievable and compatible with where you are right now. There should be an end date as well.

Write out a To Do list every day. Include items that can be completed.
Separate your To Do list into A, B and C categories in order of priority.
“A” items are important to your long term success (If you had nothing else to do today, these would be the activities that would affect your results and pipeline one month from now),
“B” are things you must do today as part of your job description (they may be urgent but not as important)
“C” are unwritten or unavoidable but necessary (administration, travel, personal)
“D” are things you could delay, delegate, or delete
Start with the A items. Don’t work on a C just because it’s easy to do. Also, break your A items into small manageable chunks, so they’re easy to accomplish.

Check off items as you complete them to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.
Block off time for major activities. This might include a block of time for working alone on major tasks. If someone wants to meet you during that time, say “I’m sorry, I already have an appointment.”
Don’t jam your day full of activities. Leave time for emergencies, special opportunities and thinking time.
Be your own manager. Ask yourself if you have met your goals, and what changes you plan to make to achieve them.
Do it now. People will often say “Call me next week, and we’ll book an appointment then.” Respond by saying, “Let’s save ourselves a call and do it now.”
Always plan time for balance; include family, fitness, recreation, social and spiritual activities.
Conduct a time study to see how you’re doing and where the opportunities for improvement lie. Many people are only able to spend one quarter of their time on top priority activities. Moving this up to one third of the week means almost 4 more hours per week on key activities.

What Tangled Webs We Weave

Number One: Never implement more than one prospecting activity at a time (unless you’ve decided to assume the responsibility for reaching your sales goals).

Being engaged in more than one prospecting activity at a time (cold calling, networking, and generating referrals, for instance) requires focus, organization, follow up, and follow through—activities that demand considerably more time and energy than sitting at your desk waiting for the next hot prospect to call you.

If you expend all your energy attempting to uncover potential prospects, you’ll be too exhausted to effectively interact with them when you find them.

So, stay at your desk and take it easy. Have another cup of coffee, and by all means, preserve your energy. The phone is bound to ring any time now.

Number Two: Never establish a meeting agenda when you schedule an appointment with a prospect (unless you see some sort of benefit to adding a degree of predictability to the outcome of the meeting).

Establishing an agenda at the time you schedule an appointment takes all the mystery out of the meeting. Since you and your prospect will have agreed to the objectives for the meeting, and also know what to expect from one another, odds-on, the meeting will move along in a predictable and uneventful manner. Sure, the meeting is likely to be more productive—you won’t waste time making small talk and your prospect won’t be giving you an impromptu tour of left field as he or she eventually gets to the point. But, think about how boring that will be. It will be like watching a movie where you already have a strong sense about the ending. No surprises. No drama. Who wants to watch that sort of movie or invest their time in THAT sort of meeting?

When you schedule an appointment, settle on the date, place, and time—and not much else. Don’t even establish how much time—let that be a surprise as well. You may not accomplish much during the meeting, but think about all the great stories you’ll have to tell when you get back to the office.

Number Three: Never qualify opportunities too rigorously (unless investing your time where and with whom you can obtain the greatest return on the investment is something you find appealing).

Using specific criteria that directly relate to the advantages of your product or service and the competencies of your company to qualify a selling opportunity will limit the number of opportunities you pursue.

When you sharpen your focus and invest your time and energy in opportunities that have the greatest probability of “taking you to the bank,” you’ll use your time more wisely, your closing ratio will improve, you’ll close more sales, and you’ll earn more commission. But, think about all you’ll be giving up—all the unqualified prospects with whom you won’t have the opportunity to interact. Think about all the colorful stories (albeit irrelevant to the selling opportunity) you won’t have a chance to hear. Think about all the creative stalls, objections, and excuses you’ll miss out on. Are you really ready to give up all of that?

Number Four: Never ask your prospects to make commitments (unless you wish to have more control over the selling process).

Asking prospects to commit to the next step in the selling process or a future action will enable you to maintain a greater degree of control over the process. While there will be fewer surprises to deal with, you and your prospects will feel more comfortable, and the selling process will progress more quickly, that strategy is likely, over time, to weaken your selling skills.

Here’s why.

When you have no idea about what’s going to occur at an upcoming meeting or at the conclusion of a presentation, for instance, you must be on your toes at all times. You must think on your feet and respond quickly and skillfully with the appropriate strategy and technique to handle stalls and put-offs, overcome objections, and arm wrestle prospects for decisions. When you ask prospects to make commitments in advance, you significantly reduce the number and frequency of these skill-honing opportunities. Is it really worth the trade off?

Number Five: Never give up on prospects as long as they express some interest in your product or service regardless of how long you’ve been pursuing them (unless you value your time and can find more productive areas in which to invest it).

Some prospects just take a long time to make a decision and take action. They wouldn’t have expressed an interest in your product or service unless they had the intention of buying it at some point. Right?

So, hang in there. Keep following up. Keep sending information. Keep dropping in on them when you’re “in the neighborhood.” They’ll buy some day… from someone. It might as well be you. Sure, you’ll miss other sales opportunities while you’re pursuing these prospects. Sure, you’ll earn less money. Sure, you’ll become frustrated. Sure, you’ll eventually come to believe that you’re wasting your time. But, hanging in there demonstrates your persistence. And, isn’t that a characteristic sales managers appreciate?

How to Become a Customer Service Expert

frontlineIf you want to set yourself apart from your competition the best way to do that is by becoming an expert in customer service. You might think you already know everything there is to know about giving excellent customer service, but there’s more to it than a friendly face and a good attitude. These tips will give you an advantage over your competition because they are client centered.

Ultimately your goal should be to meet and try to exceed the expectations of the client. You can ask every client individually what is most important to them, but this is time consuming and not every client wants the same thing. You can try to keep track of all your different clients’ needs and expectations, but this will be a difficult task if you have many clients.

It’s smarter and more economical to anticipate the needs of your client rather than guess or ask them. Your clients shouldn’t have to tell you how to make them happy, you should know how to make them happy. In order to maintain good customer service you should be able to define it by how you perform it. You can do this in five easy steps.

1)You customer service should be quick. Time is money and your client needs their product from you as quickly as they can get it. If your product is delayed it may wind up costing your client money for every day the product is late. Your ability to be prompt and fast will reward you with repeat business. Being late will cause headaches and possibly losing your customer.

2)How affordable id your product. Although there are bargain hunters even in the business world, the client wants to know if the overall value of the product is worth their money. If they go too cheap will it wind up costing more money than if they had spent more for a quality product in the first place? Customers want value for their money, so show them the value in your product.

3)Get it right. Don’t make promises you can’t deliver because the client will find out soon enough exactly what it is they have bought from you. Your customers should expect to get quality, reliability and functionality out of the products they purchased from you. If they can’t then there will be no repeat business. A flawed product that has to be repaired or services that don;t live up to expectations are not acceptable no matter how cheap they were.

4)Make your product or service convenient for your clients. If there is a steep learning curve, or the information or product is too complicated this will wind up costing your client precious time they may not have. Always make sure that your clients are fully informed and that you yourself are available to them should they need your help with anything. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting around for help while being sent from one employee to another.

5)Make a statement to the customer that they are important to you by giving them personalized service and attention. There is value in customization, it can be as simple as sending them a card, a fruit basket, something that says thank you and your valued. People love validation, they want to be heard and acknowledged. Your products and services may not be customized for you clients, but you can be. Make sure that you are individualizing the sales experience with your clients, they’ll love it and will be more willing to pay more for a product or service if it comes with special details and attention.

Make sure your using the five points of customer service; Quick, Affordable, Right, Convenient, and Personalized will make your customers appreciate what your selling and who’s selling it to them. Remember your customer can find what they’re looking for somewhere else if they’re not happy. Use these tips and you’ll make your clients happy and yourself.

The Ins and Outs of Consultation Price Quoting

ID-100194379When you are an industry or area expert you don’t typically consider yourself a sales person, you see your role more as a consultant. Consultants however are sales people on some level, after all they charge money to a company or client who wish to use their knowledge and expertise. Sometimes when a consultant tries to earn business they accidentally give away their expertise for free or quote a price to their prospective client too early. The following are tips on how to avoid these pitfalls.

 

Give Away Your Expertise

When you meet with a client they want to know three things 1) what do you know, 2) how can you solve this problem, and 3)how much is this going to cost.
In the initial interview if you answer these questions with out agreeing on a price first you have just given a free consultation. Another downfall of providing this information is that you are likely not the only consultant the client has met with, now you risk becoming another name in a pile.The client may possibly even sit on the information you provided deciding not to do anything just yet. Or you may quote a price higher than your competition and lose the contract because your price is higher than some one else.

 

Provide a Price for Services Too Early

Oftentimes clients underestimate their problems. They simplify the problem in order to communicate quickly and then ask, what can you do. In reality you won’t be able to give a precise quote because you don’t know the extent of the problem yet. If you give a quote for your services that is too low and wind up in the end going back and saying that you miss quoted the price it reflects poorly on you.

Don’t give into the pressure to provide a price too early. Be honest and say, “From what you’ve told me you have A,B,C going on, but once I take a closer look there may be D,E,F happening too. This is my estimate for A,B,C, if you need more than that it’s going to be extra.

It’s a gutsy thing to do but it’s your expertise and services that are your money in the bank. Don’t give it away for free. Charge what you’re worth. get your price and make it stick.

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