Category Archives: Sales

The Dreaded “Got-a-minute?” Meeting

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Lytle_275-252x300
Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

How long is a “Got-a-minute?” meeting in your office? I’m guessing it’s more than a minute.

Shoot, I remember a “Got-a-second?” meeting that lasted an hour and a half!

Salespeople ask you for a minute whenever they have a fire for you to put out for them.

Could it be that you’ve trained salespeople you’re willing to do their firefighting for them?

Why not? After all, you know more than they do and you’re their boss.

Here’s why not.

Your real job is developing your salespeople so they can do their jobs better.

Yes, developing people takes a lot more time on the front end. As a sales manager, the quick and easy thing for you to do is this:

• Give people the answers to their questions.
• Solve their problems for them.
• Put out the fire.

Then, move on to your next “Got-a-minute?” meeting.

This can go on all day.

And it probably will unless you change your approach.

Developing people starts with your willingness to coach.

Chris Lytle’s Critical Rule of Coaching is to ask at least seven questions before you give an answer.

“But, Chris, I don’t have the time to ask seven questions,” you say. “There are salespeople lined up at my door waiting for me to fix things for them.”

You have to make the time.

Coaching builds loyalty. To ask seven questions, you have to quiet your mind and listen to people.

When people feel listened to and not judged, they become more confident and committed.

Because people rarely resist their own ideas.

And you cannot possibly ask seven questions in a row unless you really are listening.

“You can’t influence someone’s thinking until you know what they’re thinking.” The late Norm Goldsmith said this to our Leadership Institute participants every session.

You won’t know what someone on your sales team is thinking until you ask.

“Got-a-minute?”

That’s your signal that you have an opportunity to develop someone.

Reprinted by permission

How to Win a Customer Before they Google

Duane_275
Duane Alverson

By:  Duane Alverson, President
MacDonald Broadcasting Company (Saginaw & Lansing)

In today’s world, consumers’ path to purchase almost always goes by way of a search engine. In fact, according to Forrester Research data, 71% of consumers begin their journeys by using a search engine to discover new products and services (initiation), and 74% report using a search engine for consideration and purchasing (research, comparison, transaction).

One of the questions we often hear from local business owners and advertising agencies is, “Does radio advertising drive online behavior?”

What Really Drives Online Behavior?

Results from a recent Sequent Partners research project answers this question.

Study highlights just released include the following revelations:

  • Radio generated an average of 29% lift in Google search activity.
  • Search engine usage as a result of radio advertising is greater on weekdays versus weekends.
  • Radio-driven search activity is higher during midday hours.
  • The quality of radio creative (messaging) has a direct impact on increased search behavior.

Now I don’t know about you, but I didn’t find anything about this astonishing.

For years, adding radio to complement another medium always created better outcomes — whether that other medium was newspaper, television or direct mail. Not even a casual observer should be surprised to learn it’s no different with digital media.

When you reach additional tens of thousands of consumers (mass media) instead of just a few hundred consumers (digital), of course it’s going to generate a positive lift in efficacy. Remember that if you are looking for a way to make your digital investment work better for you.

Note that search results were greater on weekdays versus weekends. Could it be because far more people listen to radio Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. than on weekends?

Also, midday hours were highest in radio-driven research. (Sorry, employers. There’s more search going on during the workday than you would ever want to know.)

And of course quality radio creative has a direct impact on increased search behavior. As much as compelling content drives engagement on the digital platform, it’s never been any different on radio…or any other platform, for that matter. Good messaging drives every communication platform.

Bottom Line…and Top-of-Mind

Bottom line: companies who have used broadcast media over the years to build a brand in the minds of consumers are always going to get better search engine results. Why? Because consumers buy from people they think of first and feel the best about.

How many people are doing business with your company has everything to do with how many consumers in your market think of our company first (awareness) and feel good about your business (trust) when they have a need for what you sell.

On the other hand, if you are not doing as much business as you think you should be doing, perhaps it’s because too many consumers are not thinking of your business when they have a need for the products or services you sell.

Winning the battle for the consumers mind before they have a need for your products and/or services (top of the funnel) has always been the path to winning the business category. Consumers just don’t like doing business with companies they never heard of and don’t feel good about. Would you pick a heart surgeon out of the yellow pages…one that you never heard of or had a great reputation?

If you think or have been convinced that the battle can be won just at the time of purchase (bottom of the funnel), do your own research on what happened to Pepsi and Procter & Gamble: two major firms still trying to recover from a sales slide few want to talk about. For them, targeting only the few consumers at the bottom of the sales funnel proved to be a costly mistake.

It reminds me of an old saying. “Don’t sell just to the kings. There just aren’t enough of them.”

Duane Alverson currently serves as President of MacDonald Broadcasting Company. Duane has been with MacDonald Broadcasting Company for 32 years serving in various sales leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2012 and as President of the Michigan Jaycees in 1981-82. Duane resides in Saginaw, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission. 

40 Years Later Sales Managers Are Still Making This Silly Mistake

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Lytle_275-252x300
Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

As a young sales manager, I actually said this in a sales meeting: “We have a new salesperson starting next week. Her name is Andrea. I need all of you to give up five accounts from your lists so I can create a new list for her.”

Nobody complained. They smiled knowingly and gave up the accounts they found impossible to sell:

  • The mean ones
  • The small ones
  • The slow paying ones
  • The ones who’d had a “bad experience” with our station

And our brand new hire began her radio career with an account list that our veterans couldn’t survive on: The Charles Darwin Account List.

In this free Webinar. I describe exactly how I learned to get salespeople to willingly pare down their account lists and thrive.

Plus, I reduced turnover by having accounts with real potential to give to the new salesperson.

This is mission critical “stuff.”

Don’t miss it.

Reprinted by permission

The Shopping Spree

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Lytle_275-252x300
Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

I’m on the road doing my one day seminar Radio Sales $101.

Our brochure advertises a 180-day money back guarantee. Still, I’m surprised when three of the participants leave at noon and ask for their refund.

The temp we’ve hired to work the registration table hands over $303 in cash to their spokesperson.

They leave.

I call Sarah McCann, my partner and wife, to let her know what just happened.

She calls the manager who signed them up. He paid for the seminar after all.

“I want you to know we’ve given your three salespeople their money back. They left at lunch. I’m sorry they didn’t find the training helpful,” she says.

The next day the manager calls Sarah to thank her for the heads up. “Those three women came back to the station gushing about your seminar. They thanked me for sending them to your wonderful training,” he said.

“When I confronted them about leaving early, they were shocked I knew. They admitted they never intended to stay. Their plan all along was to tell you it was a bad seminar so they could take the money and go shopping.”

We all have our priorities. Have you had the conversation with your salespeople about theirs?

Consider doing so before it’s too late.

Reprinted by permission

Ask Every Sales Candidate This Provocative Question

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Lytle_275-252x300
Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

If you want to save yourself from another bad hire, then ask this question toward the end of your first interview:

“We’re about finished with this interview. After this, I will start checking your references and doing my due diligence. Is there anything you would like to tell me now rather than have me find it out later from an outside source or reference?”

Watch closely and listen carefully.

See if the candidate’s eyes dart about in his head. Follow the thought processes as a candidate reaches back into his past to see if there are any secrets he’s willing to disclose.

Allow lots of “dead air” to give the candidate plenty of thinking time. Then, get ready to receive some fascinating new information.

Candidates will reveal some negative information about themselves that they wouldn’t have done otherwise.

Why?

Because they would rather put their spin on the information rather than have you hear it from a reference or discover it online.

Just ask.

“Is there anything you would like to tell me now rather than have me find out from an outside source or reference?”

Please leave a comment about this short article. And when you do, feel free to share your favorite interview question.

Reprinted by permission

The Sales Contest

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Lytle_275-252x300
Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

Let me tell you a story because that’s what I do.

Some of you will remember when I used to tour with Radio Sales $101. It was a one-day seminar for new radio advertising salespeople that cost $101.

Clever, huh?

We got a call from a budget challenged sales manager that went like this:

“We can’t afford to send our whole team to your seminar in Columbus. So we’re going to have a sales contest to see who gets to attend,” he said.

“I hope you’re planning on sending the loser,” I replied.

“We’re planning on sending the winner. Why would we send the loser?”

“Because the winner of your sales contest will have the least need for sales training,” I said. “And the loser will have the most need for the training.”

“But we reward people who sell well with extra training,” he objected.

I tried to reason with him one more time. “Why not reward the winner with a weekend at a nice hotel in the city and some theater tickets? Make the loser sit through six hours with me.”

There’s nothing wrong with training and retraining your best salespeople. The lapse in this sales manager’s logic was thinking of sales training is a reward for, and not a driver of, performance.

You can also be using your sales training program as a recruitment tool. Many entry level people want to know what you’re going to do to make them successful. Their friends are talking to them about the training they’re getting in their first jobs.

Ongoing learning should be part of your retention program, too. Market your sales learning program to your current team. Let them know that you have a budget for their ongoing development and how much it is.

Here’s why: When salespeople think of your sales department as a place to grow rather than just a place to work, they will stay with you longer.

Reprinted by permission

The Debrief: Five Questions to Ask at the End of Your Meeting

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Lytle_275-252x300
Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

Sarah and I are in Bermuda with her brother, Bob, and his wife, Kathy.

On Tuesday morning we get up, get on our motor scooters and go to breakfast. Then we journey to Hamilton to shop. We eat lunch together. By 2:30 p.m., we’re playing golf at the St. George Club.

As we watch the sunset and sip cocktails on the patio, I ask, “What was the highlight of your day?”

We go around the table.

Kathy: “I loved turning the corner and seeing the pink sand beach. Spectacular!”

Sarah: “The lunch in Hamilton was my highlight. It was so relaxing sitting in that open air space overlooking the harbor.”

Bob: “It was on the way to breakfast. As we rode by the airport, there was an awesome military plane being refueled. What was your highlight, Chris?”

Chris: “I should say it was waking up with my lovely wife in this beautiful country. But it was saving par from the sand on sixteen.”

We experienced the same day, the same restaurants, same stores and the same golf course. But we had four different takeaways.

Let’s apply this to you and how you run your sales meetings.

Until and unless you ask, you’ll never know how your salespeople are processing your sales meeting or your training session.

Five salespeople will bring five points of view to the meeting.

You want to find out what they think they have learned. You can’t influence their thinking further if you don’t know what they’re thinking.

To find out, you might ask, “What was the highlight of this meeting for you?”

Once the first person offers a highlight (takeaway), go around the table and get a response from each person. (In the training biz we call this a “whip around.”)

Listen to the responses. Review the whole meeting from the perspective of each person.

Don’t leave it there.

Here are the five (coaching) questions I promised:

1. How does what you learned differ from what you’re doing now?

2. Does the learning apply to a specific customer you work with or a situation you’re facing?

3. What do you think might happen if you use this new skill (learning) in this situation?

4. Do you need more information or practice before you act on this?

5. When will you act?

To know and not to do is not to know. Training that doesn’t change behavior is as useless as a parachute that opens on the first bounce.

“Transfer” means the learning gets from your conference room into the customer’s office.

Without “transfer” there can be no results from your training efforts.

Great sales managers concentrate on and coach the transfer of learning.

Don’t have time for 5 questions? At least ask these two:

1. What did you learn?

2. What are you going to do about it?

Thanks for reading my article. If there was a highlight for you, then please share in the comments section.

Want more? Watch my Year of the Sales Manager Video for more transferable sales training ideas.

Reprinted by permission

Stop Making These Top 10 Marketing Mistakes

Duane_275
Duane Alverson

By:  Duane Alverson, President
MacDonald Broadcasting Company (Saginaw & Lansing)

If you’re like most business leaders, you’re likely struggling to navigate the myriad of marketing channels available to advertisers these days. With so many options out there, and with attention spans so fragmented and disjointed, how are business owners to know how and where to best spend their precious marketing dollars–especially with limited budgets?

Reflexively, most people fall back on one of three “safe” plans:

1.) They rely on hunches, and/or use the “trial-and-error” approach. They spend a little bit here and a little bit there, hoping that something will pay off somewhere. Then, when none of it works, they’re left scratching their heads.

2.) They play “follow-the-leader,” and simply do what their competitors are doing, without much rhyme or reason to the approach. But what if the competitor is making the “trial-and-error” mistake themselves?
3.) They do nothing, out of paralysis that comes from not knowing where to start. And we all know what doing nothing gets you.
Unfortunately, all three plans are neither safe nor strategic. As a result, these businesses end up repeating one or more of the  Top 10 Most Common Mistakes in Marketing.

Is your company making one of these 10 mistakes? CONTINUE READING to find out–and to learn how you can reverse course and make the most out of your marketing budget! Of course, there is much more to discuss than can be covered in one article. If you have any questions about how you can avoid these mistakes and maximize your marketing potential, contact me to schedule a time when we can review your particular goals in person.

Duane Alverson currently serves as President of MacDonald Broadcasting Company. Duane has been with MacDonald Broadcasting Company for 32 years serving in various sales leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2012 and as President of the Michigan Jaycees in 1981-82. Duane resides in Saginaw, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission. 

The Real Job of (Sales) Management is Getting Into Their Heads

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Lytle_275-252x300
Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

I do not have a degree in psychiatry.

But as a sales manager, I often felt like I needed one.

You too?

Maybe all you really need is the willingness to listen to your salespeople.

“Hey Boss, got a minute?”

Turn away from the computer.

There should be no rolling eyes or heavy sighs.

Give them the gift of your time and attention before you shower them with your wisdom.

My late colleague, Norm Goldsmith, was fond of saying this:

“You can’t influence a salesperson’s thinking until you know what s/he’s thinking.”

That’s why my first rule of coaching is to ask seven questions before giving an answer.

Listening to your salespeople and getting into their heads is a huge part of your job.

It’s not psychotherapy. It’s just good (sales) management.

You empower people by listening to them. You build loyalty, too.

So find out what your people are thinking. Then (and only then), begin to influence their thinking, Boss.

Chris Lytle is the author of The Accidental Salesperson: How to Take Control of Your Career and Earn the Respect and Income You Deserve and The Accidental Sales Manager: How to Take Control and Lead Your Team to Record Profits. Because sales managers are pulled in so many directions, Chris built this resource for you.

Reprinted by permission

This Word Increases Your Personal Power

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Lytle_275-252x300
Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

Sarah and I are on a two-hour drive to a vacation cottage we’ve rented in Michigan.

Our three cats are along for the ride.

We’re making great time on I-94.

Until . . .

Bang!

We hit the mother of all potholes. We watch as the tire pressure indicator drops from 32 to 24 to 4 to zero psi in a few seconds.

The first thing I say to her is, “Well, this is inconvenient.”

Because, that’s all it is.

“Inconvenient” is a fine way to describe things you don’t like, but which aren’t disastrous.

We hit a pothole. There is no collision. There are no injuries.

I learned to think this way from the late Larry Wilson, the sales and leadership guru.

I was watching one of his videos and he said,

“Personal power is having access to and control over the energies and emotions required to optimize and maximize your performance.”

Then, he told his audience,

“Most people never think about what they think about. Have you ever thought about that?”

What a question. It stopped me in my tracks.

Too often, we think about the event. In this case, the flat tire.

Then, we think about how we feel.

But, what causes the feeling is what we think about the event. And, then, what we say about the event to ourselves.

I could have thought and said, “Well, that ruins the first day of our vacation.” I might have gotten mad about having a flat tire.

But, saying: “This is inconvenient” put things in perspective and I felt neutral about the flat tire. I wasn’t happy about it, but I wasn’t mad either.

Truth is, we have a late model Cadillac ATS. We can drive up to another 50 miles on a flat tire.

So, we drive to a GMC dealership in Benton Harbor and pay $175 for a new tire.

No biggie. Just a minor inconvenience.

Larry Wilson taught me to think about things like flat tires, late flights and cancelled appointments as . . .

“Inconvenient.”

I believe that idea has added years to my life. Because I’ve learned to think about what I think about, I don’t get angry about the small stuff anymore.

Start thinking about what you think about.

It’s pretty important.

Chris Lytle is the author of The Accidental Salesperson: How to Take Control of Your Career and Earn the Respect and Income You Deserve and The Accidental Sales Manager: How to Take Control and Lead Your Team to Record Profits. Because sales managers are pulled in so many directions, Chris built this resource for you.

Reprinted by permission