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Profitable Negotiating: It’s Counterintuitive

As you may recall, Corporate Visions recently acquired BayGroup International, a recognized sales negotiation and sales execution skills training company. Our peers at BayGroup International share their insights on profitable negotiating below:

These numbers tell a difficult story…

92% – of you are raising your sales rep quotas
16% – is the average quota increase this year

BUT -
49% - of your sales managers aren’t confident their teams will keep up

The reason for this lack of confidence? Sales reps stay in their comfort zones… selling the same solutions to the same identified needs that your competitors are selling to – turning it into a pricing battle.

It’s a comfortable conversation, but it’s not a winning one. And, not one that will get you to your number.

Watch this 4-minute video to find a counterintuitive approach to get your reps out of their comfort zones and on their way to confidently hitting your higher quotas.

 

Connect with your inner caveman for successful whiteboarding conversations

We all know that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and the caveman’s use of images for communication may have been the earliest example. But when it comes to sales conversations with executive decision makers, too many salespeople are still relying on text-heavy PowerPoint presentations, even when recent research from Aberdeen indicates that 88% of executive decision makers are looking for a sales conversation, rather than a sales presentation.

The perfect medium for these visual conversations is whiteboard stories.  Find your inner caveman and tell your story with stick figures and whimsical icons. But don’t mistake doodling arrows for visual storytelling – you’ll need to develop clear messaging and provide your salespeople with the content and training to deliver whiteboard stories that close deals.

To read more about how you can use your inner caveman for successful whiteboard conversations, check out Tim Riesterer’s article on page 16 of Sales & Marketing Management, Channeling your inner caveman.

 

Nine common phrases made great by using “you” instead of “we”

by Tim Riesterer

When the littlest piggy cries, “Wee, wee, wee” all the way home, that isn’t a good thing. And neither is saying “we, we, we” all over your website, campaigns, and marketing and sales messages.

If you could do only one thing this year that could make an instant difference in your messaging, you’d replace all your “we phrasing” with “you phrasing.”  You phrasing is more effective because it makes sure your prospect or customer is at the center of your story and engaged in the conversation.

Why Use ‘You’ Instead of ‘We’?

Using the word “you” instead of “we” helps transfer ownership to your prospects and customers because it causes their minds to unconsciously “try out” your solutions as you describe what they can do with it. Your audience member is no longer just a passive listener; he will be more actively engaged in your ideas and your story. In fact, you probably noticed I’m already using the technique in this blog post to gain your attention and give you ownership over implementing this strategy!

Still skeptical?

You phrasing has been proven to have a measurable impact. Researchers in Tempe, Arizona tested attitudes toward cable television. They used two different scripts to sell the cable services—one using the third person and one using you phrasing. Researchers found that when you phrasing was implemented, it doubled the number of cable sales. Now, that’s impressive!

Start Changing Phrases Today

Once you start practicing with you phrasing, you’ll find yourself in your customers’ and prospects’ worlds more than you have ever been. That will help you connect your story to your customers’ stories in a powerful way—one that they’ll want to listen to because you’re addressing their needs and concerns, and not your company’s.

Here’s a list of common phrases that can become more effective by using you phrasing:

  • “Our company allows you to… ”
  • “Next, I’m going to… ”
  • “We need to be able to… ”
  • “What if I could show you… ”

Now, see if you notice a difference in these phrases…

  • “What you’ll be able to do is… ”
  • “Next, you’ll be able to… ”
  • “You need to be able to… ”
  • “What if you could… ”
  • “What you can do is… “

The difference is subtle but powerful. By using you phrasing, you are helping your prospects’ and customers’ unconscious minds feel like they’re participating. In fact, you phrasing isn’t just a technique;  it should be your mindset. You phrasing forces you to live in your prospects’ and customers’ worlds, the places they need you to care about and understand if you want to close more deals with them.

Using “you” instead of “we” is a simple and quick change, but one that will have notable results if you apply it correctly. So, next time you’re creating a marketing campaign or other marketing communications content, use the word “you” to capture the attention of your audience. By doing so, you’ll make them want to consider making a change and to pick you.

 

“This article originally appeared on MarketingProfs.”

 

Nine common phrases made great by using "you" instead of "we"

by Tim Riesterer

When the littlest piggy cries, “Wee, wee, wee” all the way home, that isn’t a good thing. And neither is saying “we, we, we” all over your website, campaigns, and marketing and sales messages.

If you could do only one thing this year that could make an instant difference in your messaging, you’d replace all your “we phrasing” with “you phrasing.”  You phrasing is more effective because it makes sure your prospect or customer is at the center of your story and engaged in the conversation.

Why Use ‘You’ Instead of ‘We’?

Using the word “you” instead of “we” helps transfer ownership to your prospects and customers because it causes their minds to unconsciously “try out” your solutions as you describe what they can do with it. Your audience member is no longer just a passive listener; he will be more actively engaged in your ideas and your story. In fact, you probably noticed I’m already using the technique in this blog post to gain your attention and give you ownership over implementing this strategy!

Still skeptical?

You phrasing has been proven to have a measurable impact. Researchers in Tempe, Arizona tested attitudes toward cable television. They used two different scripts to sell the cable services—one using the third person and one using you phrasing. Researchers found that when you phrasing was implemented, it doubled the number of cable sales. Now, that’s impressive!

Start Changing Phrases Today

Once you start practicing with you phrasing, you’ll find yourself in your customers’ and prospects’ worlds more than you have ever been. That will help you connect your story to your customers’ stories in a powerful way—one that they’ll want to listen to because you’re addressing their needs and concerns, and not your company’s.

Here’s a list of common phrases that can become more effective by using you phrasing:

  • “Our company allows you to… ”
  • “Next, I’m going to… ”
  • “We need to be able to… ”
  • “What if I could show you… ”

Now, see if you notice a difference in these phrases…

  • “What you’ll be able to do is… ”
  • “Next, you’ll be able to… ”
  • “You need to be able to… ”
  • “What if you could… ”
  • “What you can do is… “

The difference is subtle but powerful. By using you phrasing, you are helping your prospects’ and customers’ unconscious minds feel like they’re participating. In fact, you phrasing isn’t just a technique;  it should be your mindset. You phrasing forces you to live in your prospects’ and customers’ worlds, the places they need you to care about and understand if you want to close more deals with them.

Using “you” instead of “we” is a simple and quick change, but one that will have notable results if you apply it correctly. So, next time you’re creating a marketing campaign or other marketing communications content, use the word “you” to capture the attention of your audience. By doing so, you’ll make them want to consider making a change and to pick you.

 

“This article originally appeared on MarketingProfs.”

 

How to hold a kick-butt, kickoff sales meeting

By Corey Sommers, Corporate Visions

It’s the start of a new year and across the world, large and small sales teams are gathering – or preparing to gather – to kick off a new season of selling with new products and new and improved ways of selling them. Though the expense of gathering people together can be astronomical – in some cases $10,000 or more per attendee – organizations believe the money spent will, in the long run, improve sales effectiveness.

And yet, the mere mention of a sales kickoff meeting or sales training frequently elicits groans from even the most enthusiastic of salespeople. Sales meetings all too often signify work and personal time wasted; wilted hotel food; metal pitchers sweating and clinking with ice water; dark, cold conference rooms laid out with overly starched tablecloths; and the clicking of one PowerPoint slide after another morning until night.

You know these meetings. The typical agenda looks like this:

1. Opening session
2. Product sessions (slide presentations)
3. Sales methodology training (with or without hands-on role play)
4. Motivational speaker
5. Dinner
6. Team building activity
7. Closing session

Everyone bunkered in for the day – or several days – bombarded with presenter after presenter talking through slide after slide of the latest and greatest product enhancements or pipeline strategies. And you, their fearless sales leader, hoping that they’re absorbing all of this information and will be able to translate it into unprecedented sales in the coming months.

Painful reality

Not only is the process painful for everyone involved, but also, it doesn’t work.

Studies show that people retain less than 20% of what is presented to them. The “first three slides and last three slides” retention rule – which is scientifically proven – is in full effect. And these presentations are typically limitless, in that there’s almost no limit to the number of slides or amount of information crammed onto each individual slide. Slide-based training is about knowledge transfer, not equipping the salesperson with the information in a way that can be used to facilitate customer conversations.

And, except for the possible Q&A session at the end of presentations, these sessions are not normally interactive, so attendees are easily distracted by their PDAs, coffee in the back of the room, or anything else that they find more interesting than what’s being presented. It’s no wonder salespeople hit the bar and wolf down the apps at the end of the day.

A better way

There is hope.

Just as you shouldn’t subject your prospects to droning PowerPoint-based sales presentations delivered in the dark, neither should you force your salespeople – whom you’re trying to teach and inspire! – to sit through one (or more), either.

Instead of telling them what they’re selling and how to sell it, use the session to practice and perfect the whiteboard approach to selling. Start with a “why whiteboard” keynote (PowerPoint doesn’t work, information isn’t retained, sales execs want a conversation, not a presentation, etc.) and then have a subject matter expert or sales leader present a “gold standard” whiteboard presentation. After the stage is set, assemble small teams to work together and leverage a role-play-based, repetitive, simulated sales call approach to present the whiteboard to one another other using a flip chart and markers. You could even end the day with a competition of top performers in front of the entire group.

But you’re not done there. Developing a whiteboard is a great first step, but stopping there really misses the whole point of the endeavor, which is equipping sales with a set of tools, skills, and ultimately, that critical element of knowledge ownership to “raise their game” when engaging with customers and prospects with confidence. You want to give sales mastery of the whiteboard content, structure, and flow; key questions to ask; and objection handling. You also want to equip them with basic whiteboarding skills and best practices so they can confidently present a visual story to a customer or prospect and interactively exchange information.

It works

There are several studies that show participants retain ~70-90% of material when learning in a hands-on, visual fashion. In other words, with pen in hand. It’s not just about memorizing new product information – a whiteboard-based training is designed to be an interactive learning mechanism to transfer solution knowledge quickly and effectively to field personnel who may not possess the “situational flu­ency” and deep domain expertise of tenured and proven salespeople.

When surveyed, participants in whiteboard-based sales training identified a few key factors that contributed to their overwhelming satisfaction with these sessions:

1. The sessions were interactive, with participants able to ask questions, add things to the whiteboard, and share their opinions while learning from others

2. The training was 100% hands-on, facilitating “active learning”

3. The activities encouraged team members to come out of their comfort zone to learn new skills and present in ways they did not think possible

So gather your team, turn on the lights, arm them with a pen and an easel and set them to work. They’re bound to not only stay awake, but be much more effective in the year to come.