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February 2016 Topics:

February 5th, 2016

As of 2/1/16 The New Blog can be found at http://charlievanhecke.com/

Topics: The Link between Attitude, Motivation and Goal Setting

Recent feedback suggests that people like stimulating situations with practical solutions. First, I’m going to tell you about a friend who built his dream house. This real life story highlights the role of visualization, belief and persistence in goal attainment.

Then we’ll borrow from Peter Drucker’s famous management theory and apply our version, both to losing weight, and then to resolving a business’s cash flow problem. The objective is to apply S.M.A.R.T. goals to personal and professional accomplishment.
Finally, we’ll do a simple exercise that can really open up your own goal-setting process. You may be able to apply the same ideas and techniques to building your own future.

These stories prove that success requires a positive attitude, drive and organization. There are real ‘how to’ steps and skills to help your development. Make sure that you sign up for the blogs so that you get all the content sent directly to your personal email account!

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Book Review: SNAP Selling

December 12th, 2014

SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers. Konrath. Penguin Group. NY,NY 288 pp. $16.00

The audience that will benefit from SNAP Selling includes sales people, sales managers and sales enablement professionals. The author, Jill Konrath, takes a customer view emphasizing the three decisions that a buyer makes before they buy:

  1. Should I allow this sales person access?
  2. Why Initiate Change?
  3. What Resources? (What vendor can help us? & Why spend money?)

The book is organized by these three buyer decisions.  This review will present you with two real life situations and an application of SNAP selling between July 2014 and December 1, 2014.

Situation One: Busy Buyer

The first time I read about ‘the frazzled buyer’ it is the night before a meeting with a new account.  The next morning, I meet with a Manager who is extremely busy.   I get right to the point and We discuss “saving time and managing resources”. My style that day is ‘to the point’ and focused on her world. Leaving the account, I smile and make a mental decision to commit to full study of SNAP selling.

Situation Two: Opportunities are not closing fast enough

It is early in the fall of 2014, and my opportunities are clogged like the highways of a big city in drive time traffic! While reading SNAP selling, sales pick up. This view should not shock us because it is the sub-title of Jill’s Book is ‘Speed-Up Sales and Win More Business’.  I adapt to Jill’s suggestion to take my customer’s view.  Jill says to focus “on your customer’s most important challenges.” Then, I started looking in ‘the white spaces’ [1] p 157 and “closing the gap” with white boarding. [2]P172. The White Spaces are the parts of a company that are not on the organizational chart. By finding areas that the buyer is not aware of, the entire conversation changes. We can suggest change because we are working on their priorities. Now, with diagraming, we can challenge the status quo!{ Do you notice that I made a decision to change my attitudes and behaviors? This small decision started some new momentum! }

One critique is that the author inserts probing questions very late into SNAP Selling (page 226). The author does point out when and where to use the questions; the very placement of the material could lead a sales person to believe that qualification is not a priority.

Can SNAP selling help you? Will you invest your hard earned dollars and time? Do you see that you are no different than your own buyers; Ask yourself: Should I allow access? Why initiate change and what resources should we dedicate? I cannot answer these questions for you.   What I can tell you is that SNAP Selling will help you get a better understanding of your buyer’s business issues and probably speed up closure of the opportunities in your pipeline. The ISBN # is 978-1-59184-470-9. As you read it, I’d love to connect with you on linkedin.com (search Charlie Van Hecke) or at facebook/salestrainer4u.com.

Charlie Van Hecke

[1] SNAP Selling. Jill Konrath. Penguin. 2010

[2] SNAP Selling. Jill Konrath, Penguin. 2010

 

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Is Gratitude One Key to Happiness?

November 26th, 2014

According to the Harvard Medical School: “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” {1} So what brings on thoughts and feelings of gratitude? I believe we must know who and what we value. Further, we need to ask ourselves internal questions to build an attitude of gratitude. Yes it rhymes and this helps and reminds. It is a matter of conditioning our minds to be grateful. The next question is ‘how do we allow our gratitude to manifest?’

Say Thank You!
‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.’ {2}Alice Walker

I once watched a young sales person skyrocket into management with two simple words: Thank You! She thanked her employees, her customers, her managers and everyone else. On the surface, it might appear that this is some sort of fake gimmick. Rather, she had come from humble beginnings. Her new job meant clothes, transportation and a sense of purpose. This example of extreme gratitude suggests that our outward behavior reflects our inner attitude.

Getting to this core feeling and intuition of deep, extreme gratitude may mean we need to remind ourselves of where we came from; who we love and the blessings that we have had in our lives. Do we love our freedom? Living in the shadow of Monticello, I am becoming aware of Human Rights.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” {3}Thomas Jefferson

I am not right because I am white. I am no better (and no worse) than you or anyone else. Equality suggests respect and I believe the best way to show that is to say Thank You to anyone who serves me. Tips also help. I AM grateful for America. It humbles me to have the parents I have and hope to God I can become more like them. I pray my heart can soften to the torment of others. Life can make us tough but it must not harden our hearts.

As we move into this Thanksgiving holiday in 2014, let’s make gratitude a habit. I believe it will make you healthier and wealthier. Saying Thank You will promote better relationships and a culture of respect. If I forgot to say this along the way, thank you. Thank you for your hard work and your contributions. Thank you for being a fellow American and for your service. Let us condition ourselves to appreciate others by counting our blessings daily. If you are healthy, then smile. If your family is safe then be grateful. If there is food on your plate, then appreciate it. Live. Be Free. Be Happy.

[1] http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/harvard_mental_health_letter/2011/november/in-praise-of-gratitude

[1] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/alice_walker.html

[1] http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

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Book Review: The IT Sales Challenger Guide {ISBN # 9781495963889}

October 5th, 2014

This is a fantastic example of a sales process within a vertical market. What Neil MacArthur accomplishes in “The IT Sales Challenger Guide” is to identify stages of the sale where “teaching” and “tailoring” increase repeatable, profitable business growth.

There are nuggets in this brief strategic blueprint of how to sell Information Technology products and services in the financial industry:

– Policy and regulatory change can create teaching opportunities
– The suggestion that sales compensation be based on profit and not revenue
– The role of qualifying
– The use of the word ‘dialogue’ within the sales process to encourage tailoring

In conclusion, reading the IT Sales Challenger sparks ideas and reminds us that strategy promotes tactical planning. Companies that can guide the sales force with vertical market research may find that their sales people can teach and tailor to better meet customer demands. By identifying opportunities, training our sales teams and executing a plan, sales leaders can achieve repeatable success.

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Book Review: The Challenger Sale

July 30th, 2014

The Challenger Sale, Dixon and Adamson.2011. Penguin.

The Challenger Sale evokes reactions and disturbs conventional thinking. The authors want to encourage organizations, groups and sales people to “push the customer’s thinking and teach them something new” p 21. It is not surprising then that the reader is given a challenge to think about sales in different ways. Even the introduction by Neil Rackham stirs up controversy:

“How you sell has become more important than what you sell. An effective sales force is a more sustainable competitive advantage than a great product stream.” p XVI

Many believe that you are only as good as the product you sell (this was the first thing anyone ever said to me about sales). In social media discussions, my research found that many analysts, leaders and sales managers disagree with The Challenger Sale. However, I believe that is exactly what the authors want. By disturbing conventional thought, readers will think “I never thought of it that way’ or “I wonder if that is true?” This pattern of disturbance is a theme in the book leading the reader to question traditional views. For example, the authors defy the notion that sales is all about relationships. This one point has been the subject of multiple discussions with thought leaders, educators and fellow sales professionals. This makes The Challenger Sale valuable to me and worth the price of the book.

You will also find skills and perspective. Three behaviors that sales people can integrate into their profession are Teaching, Tailoring and Taking Control. p33 There are many positive aspects to these actions. Teaching helps customers learn, think and feel in new ways. Personally, I have an educational style and totally agree with this approach to selling. Tailoring is adjusting the message to the audience (visit http://youtu.be/31jZ1vaJlsg or search “The Persuasion Equation” on YouTube for tip). My favorite phrase from this book is “solution selling is customization in the moment” page 78. Taking control (another deliciously disturbing idea) is to push sales people to maintain momentum across the entire sales process. I believe the use of questions creates momentum in all phases of the sales process (search “The Art of the Q: Build Your Business with Questions” by Charlie Van Hecke on Google, Amazon.com, i-tunes or B&N.com for more information).

The best way to summarize is to confess that I have bought two copies of The Sales Challenger and one copy of The IT Sales Challenger (by Neil MacArthur which applies concepts to my industry). It makes me slightly upset, causes a rethinking of long held views and well, challenges me! In future reviews, we will visit the IT Sales Challenger and dig deeper into the question: ” What can leaders who seek sales excellence learn from The Sales Challenger?

 

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Why Ask Questions?

June 2nd, 2014
The ability to ask questions and to qualify are two core competencies in sales. In Dan Pink’s Book ‘To Sell is Human” he states:

“In the New World of Sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers.” Pink. To Sell is Human. Riverhead. 2012 p 147

Whether you target businesses or consumers in your industry, you need questioning abilities to connect and to engage your customers. I agree with Dan Pink when he says “we are all in sales”.

On this site, you will find references to a new book “The Art of the Q.” I wrote this because I passionately believe that questions and qualification (a sequence of questions) will help you to save time.  Further, my experience is that people who ask the right questions make more money! Why?

Questions help you understand the needs and wants of your customers.

Questions help you counsel buyers to identify and to remove obstacles that stand in the way of your success.

The difference between “The Art of the Q” and other books is that it is based on 17 actual case studies with real life examples. You get actual questions stripped from high performing sales people that you can immediately use in your day to day business life. If you want to download “The Art of the Q”, it is available in e-book (Amazon.com | Barnes and Noble). A print version is coming soon.

You probably use questions now. My hope is that you have the desire to hone these skills to become an expert in communications. I hope you will also share YOUR questions (and answers) with me at facebook/salestrainer4U!

Thank you,

Charlie Van Hecke

 

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Sales Enablement: Product Launch Collateral

March 1st, 2014

Sales Enablement is leadership strategy to equip and empower revenue generating employees to perform at the highest levels. This brief article provides Product Launch collateral as an example.

Sales and marketing often operate independently. Sales Enablement is an idea to bridge that gap. Product Launches overlap the two functions so this common element is a great place to start. Providing sales people with collateral that supports getting a new product to the market just makes sense.

Product Launch Collateral:

Product Guides

Presentations and Scripts

Demonstration Tools

Industry Information

Competitive Intelligence

Kicking these off with webinars and providing online access helps your sales force with education and tools. If you would like a white paper on the 3 D’s of Product Launch Sales Force Enablement, just email me at charlievanhecke@gmail.com

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Managing The Opportunity Pipeline

November 5th, 2013

Every organization should have someone in the Sales Management Role. A very
important program will focus on the needs of Sales Management with programs
that will encourage sales activity, proposal generation and forecasting! The
more customers you can find and submit proposals to – the more money comes into the organization! Click on “Get Pipeline Up” link below for free video tip!

Get Pipeline Up!

Lower Costs and Get Sales Up!

If you are a small to medium size company,
you may want to first hire an inside sales person and then move them into
outside sales. Keep your costs of sales low while building a pipeline of new
business (proposals, estimates) opportunities. As cash flow improves, you can hire a replacement for inside sales and personally tackle the role of sales manager. If you are a medium-to-larger size company, you will want Sales Managers to improve because they directly impact cost control and revenue generation.

Growth should be managed so it does not strain your organizations ability to deliver on expectations!

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Free Sales Tip ! The Persuasion Equation

October 20th, 2013

In this video (click on The Persuasion Equation Charlie shows you a faster way to get your point across with….

  1. Stimulators
  2. Motivators
  3. Responders

Have you ever wondered if there is a better way to grab attention and to motivate a busy buyer to meet with you? If so, then watch this video to see an example of how to communicate in a more effective manner.

The Persuasion Equation

You may also want to visit the website www.target10towin.com to learn about a 30 Day Challenge to help you save time (uses one hour a day) and make more money (increase your commissions)!

 

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The VORTEX

June 30th, 2013
Sales Metaphor for Buyers who are  M.I.A.

"Have Your Buyers Disappeared?"

Have you ever had a customer stop returning your calls? No e-mails, texts or communication of any kind? When this happens, do not despair. Your buyer is simply in a temporary hold pattern known as the “VORTEX.” They will re-appear when they are ready.  This metaphor is comparing the missing pieces of our pipeline to metaphysical space whirlpools made up of gas. For literal folks, here is a real vortex definition:

vortex [ˈvɔːtɛks][1]

1. a whirling mass or rotary motion in a liquid, gas, flame, etc., such as the spiraling movement of water around a whirlpool

2. situation regarded as irresistibly engulfing  [from Latin: a whirlpool]

Have buyers really become swept away? No, they will re-emerge, but the real question is:

  • “Why did they go away?”

One of the most common sales errors is the lack of follow-up.  If a customer asks a question, this is the chance to research the answer. Examples of follow-up include:

  1. Phone calls
  2. E-mail with References
  3. Hand Delivered Proposals
  4. Thank You Notes
  5. Webinars

Solutions to The Vortex

Follow-up builds professional credibility because the customer feels that you care enough to get the questions answered. Phone calls and emails are fine,

but getting back face-to-face with the buyer is optimal. If you cannot go directly to see your customer, at least invite them to a webinar (see gotomeeting.com).

If your buyers have become engulfed in a Vortex, you may also want to check with your networking group. Bring up this account at your next meeting or call someone in your industry:

  • “Has anyone one else heard any news about this account or buyer?”

Have you tried connecting on Social Media? One of my buyers was considering a proposal. In the interim between submitting my proposal and acceptance, I visit her Facebook (business) page and check “Like.” On the next phone call, my buyer thanked me for liking the Facebook page! We talked a little about some of the pictures and positive customer reactions related to her Facebook page.

Sales often stall because we lack the inertia of follow-up. Reverse the whirlpool known as the Vortex with constant activity. Network extensively and seek information. There may be a very logical explanation for this mysterious disappearance. Try connecting on Social Media. Put a reminder in your calendar to keep touching base with your buyer until you either make the sale or remove them from your list of qualified buyers. Be persistent and you can overcome the Sales Vortex!


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