Insights from the field of Selling
GETTING READY FOR YOUR VSKO - PART 1: Your next virtual sales meeting can't depend on your online meeting platform alone. Nor can it sustain long, grueling days of live video. The best are creating a blended solution that leverages mobile, interactive learning platforms, peer-to-peer networking, and asynchronous video technology to deliver the insights salespeople require in the most engaging way possible. To get ready for your VSKO, think of your meeting in three phases: Design, Engage and Sustain. The following are some helpful tips to ensure that your sellers get the kickoff they need to be productive in the coming year.
Rethink the Agenda
You can’t simply host a three-day Zoom call. People experience screen fatigue after just a few hours, so you need a new format. The key is to identify content that needs to be delivered live and which can be presented asynchronously.
Good news. Planes, trains and automobiles are not part of the meeting planning this year. Fill that energy instead by distributing relevant content to your team weeks before the meeting with a schedule for their completion.
For your VSKO, you can’t present everything live. So content needs to be bite-sized and come from SMEs and reps in the form of presentations, competitive insights, or any assets they think might benefit the team as they prepare for the coming year.
Click here for help with your upcoming VSKO or email Bill Walton at email@example.com
The year 2021 is upon us. Sales Leaders and learning partners need an easy-to-execute and engaging platform to kick off the sales year.
Click here for help with your VSKO!
Bill Walton Sales Training is supporting national and regional sales teams with meaningful virtual sales kickoffs (VSKOs) in the era of remote selling. Kickoffs always feature packed agendas and late nights. But that's different this year. What's required is something totally different...
DEFINE: Define what you need your sales organization to do more of, less of or differently in 2021. BWST is helping clients forge a link to their 2021 business objectives. As part of the Define stage, we assess the needs for technology, communications, materials and logistics needed to support the experience. Part of the Define stage is meaning pre-work which should include video and a message from management.
ENGAGE: Engaging your audience in a remote environment has to be hard hitting, interactive and portable. BWST is helping clients by supporting agenda development and time utilization. The focus needs to be on burst of relevant content with a premium placed on team interaction. We work with clients to determine the proper ordering and pace of content while recommending the right training and action learning.
SUSTAIN: Ensure your SKO lives on well into the sales year. Make sure immediately after your kickoff that you distribute a post-experience video with leader messaging. Many clients are reinforcing metrics to hold teams accountable to the commitments they made in the VSKO. The first 90 days post-VSKO are critical so coach to the right effort and help salespeople get deeper into the sales process with prospects.
Click here for our "just add water" VSKO solution or download our flyer on Virtual Sales Kickoffs below:
In the era of remote selling, so many distractions have been removed. We're not running through airports or running back from a client lunch to attend that staff meeting. We're not commuting and the stress of traffic is gone. In a way we have more uninterrupted time to process information and complete work. So as it applies to the prospect conversations over the web, it can be hard to know when in a prospect conversation it's ok to actually start recommending solutions.
So here are a few tips to ensure you stay in a alignment with your prospect and earn the right to make an intelligent recommendation:
1. Make a connection with your humanity: We are all in inside sales now which includes our prospects. Everyone has made the shift to remote work, so be curious about the tools and hacks prospects are using. We are all in this together so I like to lead with genuine care and concern. It's who I am anyway but this matters in the sales and relationship building dialog. Keep it professional but be personal and personable. These initial conversations are about giving, not receiving.
2. Realize that there will be at a minimum three steps to your sales process. Typically there will be a get to know you call, a diagnostic call, and a call to review initial recommendations. Of course there will be back and forth emails for clarity and questions, but the are the key legs to the engagement stool. Do your research but don't be afraid to show up to these conversations with insights that you couldn't find on your own. Just make sure they lead to a bigger hypothesis about a problem you can solve or the pebble in the prospect's shoe you're uniquely able to remove.
3. Be patient. If you want to talk solutions because the prospect is proving you a wealth of insight, remember that rough layouts sell better than finished ones. This is one of the greatest lessons I've ever learned in solution selling. Work harder to collaborate with the prospect on solving the right problem vs. pitching your solution. With that in hand, the next step is a high level approach that entails the prospect's spoken words, interwoven with the credibility that communicates that you and your firm have done this before. If you're going to use a few slides, make sure they say "draft" on them. In the era of remote selling, too final, too soon can make prospects can feel locked out. Most want to have a point of view and see their fingerprints on something they'll ultimately have to sell internally. Set another meeting for a deep dive after you've shared a more final version of a proposal.
According to HubSpot, there are nearly 7,000,000 salespeople working in the United States. Over 53% of those were holding outside sales positions prior to the pandemic. These were people who signed up for those jobs because they didn't want to be chained to a desk and loved connecting with personally. Now we are all working from our home office (or kitchen table) and need to make visceral and kinesthetic connections with only a phone, computer screen and a Zoom link.
Add to that only 16% of the average outside sales person's time was actually spent face-to-face with prospects and clients. So what do we doing now? I come back to our value creation selling curriculum which states that you need to bring relevance and crisp value to prospects...fast. If you ever had to sell the concept of a meeting, now is the time. Use this formula and work it into your messaging: "If you spend 20 minutes with me online, you will leave the conversation better able to make a decision around _________ that can impact your business in this specific way ___________ ."
The good news? The Big 4 management consultancies produce a ton of great research and trend information on the top 10 verticals most salespeople are selling into. But remember, value is role and industry specific - calibrate your message accordingly. To sign up for our Executive Briefing on Building Relationships in the Era of Remote Selling click here.
Online Executive Briefing: Building Relationships in the Era of Remote Selling with Bill Walton and Molly Sargent
Since the spring, salesforces across the country have turned into one large internal desk overnight. PROBLEM? Over half of all salespeople in the US had never sold virtually! The entire sales process now needs to commence remotely (including referrals from COIs), which is putting a premium on getting to know prospects and referral sources intimately without connecting in person.
But high performing sales organizations are actually growing their businesses.
In this 30-minute Briefing Bill Walton and Molly Sargent will share best practices on how to:
• Enhance remote relationship building with clients and prospects
• Combine sales, business strategy and technology for effective outreach
• Lead sales teams during a digital sales transformation
• Adopt tech-enabled, "gamified" learning that keep salespeople engaged
So join Bill Walton and Molly Sargent of ProImpress Consulting, an award winning sales enablement consultancy on Thursday October 29th at 3pm EST as we share five distinct best practices for Building Relationships in the era of Remote Selling.
To Contact Bill or Molly: Bill Walton and Molly Sargent
*There will be time for Q & A but feel free send any questions or insights in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you haven't noticed, we are all in inside sales now. It's not what we all signed up for but businesses and people are versatile and adaptive beings. We weren't more than a month in to the pandemic when entire workforces commandeered their dining room table and learned how to link Zoom to their calendar. If you were lucky you found a good webcam on amazon and you arranged for the right lighting and background for when you're online.
POINT - it's harder to get in front of prospects with the same impact and connection. So now what?
For those of you who've followed this blog you know I'm a big fan of sales process. Well now the chickens have come home to roost and validated and repeatable sales process is now a must. With coffee talk meetings off the table for the most part, we need to engage and persuade prospects to take an idea journey with us via the web. Here are 5 steps to make the process of engaging prospects easier and more productive:
1. Think Prospect Enablement vs. Cold Calling: If you really want to make every interaction count, come back to your segmentation. You cant afford to be with someone that's not right. Become issue fluent in their market challenges, their employer's value chain and the demands of their specific role. Bone up on that and use the messaging that flows to book meetings that make sense.
2. Be bold with the calendar: If you've uncovered a true pebble in your prospect's shoe and there's tight alignment with your solution, ask for a meeting. But communicate its value in doing so. Be ready with the answer to this fill in the blank statement: "You spend 20 minutes with me online and you will get __________ (this insight) now and walk away with a better ability to _________ ."
3. Sell the verb, not the noun: Example - "Hi Teri, it was great to connect on LinkedIn last week and thanks to Frank Harper for the introduction. Prospects are coming to us for ways to inject more sustainability into their supply chain. I had shared our work with Frank and he thought we would have a spirited conversation. If you share your email I'd be happy to set up a 20 minute call to discuss." The verb is what you're "injecting" - the specific value you're adding. Once you get the email, send a Zoom invite immediately and let the prospect adjust if need be. Since we're all working remotely, people have more flex in their calendars. Work 10 days to two weeks out.
4. Rough layouts sell better than finished ones: This is one of the greatest lessons I've ever learned in solution selling. Work harder to collaborate with prospects on solving the right problem vs. pitching your solution. With that in hand, the next step is a high level approach that entails the prospect's spoken words, interwoven with the credibility that communicates that you and your firm have done this before. For detailed approaches, set another meeting for a deep dive after you've shared a more final version of a proposal. Why so long to go to final? If it's too final, too soon, prospects can feel locked out. Most want to have a point of view and see their fingerprints on something they'll ultimately have to sell internally.
5. Schedule the 6-point closing meeting: Most salespeople forget to bring the prospect back to the driving force for how the relationship got to this point. It's hard for salespeople to realize the prospect is not looking at your pipeline! They are living in today. So bring them back:
1. Executive summary of the relations ship - the catalyst and the depth
2. Dates and times of all of your interactions and with whom - you've both left no stone unturned
3. The "ah ha's" around the value you both discovered together - the prospect's spoken words
4. Any resistance that you encountered and its resolution. We are not re-litigating the case!
5. Your offer and investment
6. An easy next step.
For more information or to learn how your team can get more face time with prospects in the era of remote work, contact Bill Walton at email@example.com .
Covid-19 and The High Net Worth Individual: An Executive Briefing with Bill Walton and Brent Herspiegel
Most business developers in financial services have been in a state of disillusionment as the Covid-19 pandemic has gripped the world. This crisis has taken a huge human and economic toll as large swathes of the global economy become unviable. While more able to weather short term market volatility, the wealthy have their own set of challenges and risks...
And that represents opportunities and vulnerabilities for Private Client Advisors. So join me on Thursday August 27th at 1pm with my special guest Brent Herspiegel - Entrepreneur, President of Herspiegel Consulting and avid car collector as we discuss 5 conversations HNWIs want to have right now. In this free executive briefing you'll learn:
Join Bill Walton on January 31st at 10am EST as he discusses the valuable role sales leaders play on growth and transition. Bill has over 20 years of experience as a sales leader and author on the topic. Topics will include:
This week represents mass scale openings of businesses across our great country. My job? Put you in a position to pursue and land new business now. I'm doing this with my online training program 4 Steps to New Business Now . So as a fellow salesperson, here is why I’d commit to doing this:
At $195, that’s $65 an hour with the nation’s top sales coach (there’s a one-hour coaching call 8 weeks after the session). Most charge $250/hour. Here are some other reasons to give yourself permission to do this. By attending this workshop you’ll be better able to:
All you need to do? Show up. Live. That's it.
The fourth and final step to new business now is engagement. Whether it's your initial outreach or your first meeting, all of your work in client type targeting, segmentation and messaging comes into play. You don't know everything about the prospect at this point but you know enough to form a hypothesis. This hypothesis drives your outreach and your ultimate connection. For actual appointments, remember it's your time too. You did your homework - now go have a great meeting:
Email - leverage the subject line and no more than 5 lines (think small smarphone!)
Text - only if given permission
LinkedIn InMail - great option. Err on the side of deference and respect. Operate slowly.
Social media - it's a giving game so have something to share that triangulates back to your client type.
Phone: no one picks up the phone right? But they do listen to their messages. Use it as a strategic touch in setting your appointments. Here's more from Bill Walton on ENGAGEMENT:
Bill Walton Sales Training has over 60 years of collective Fortune 500 company experience in Sales, Sales Training and Field Sales Management. Our specialty is preparing individuals and organizations to present their value propositions in a way that results in higher close ratios. Our team are un-blurring the lines of differentiation between their client's fiercest competitors.