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Most Sales Interviews Ineffective

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 salesperson job interview

 

 

A University of Michigan study titled, “The Validity and Utility of Alternative Predictors of Job Performance” analyzed how well a sales interview predicts success on the job. The surprising finding: The typical sales interview increased the chances of choosing the best candidate by less than 2%. In other words, interviewing is just slightly more reliable as a sales hiring tool than flipping a coin!

 

 

Sales Hiring using a Sales Interview

 

Experts cite several reasons why a typical sales interview is such a poor predictors of sales success:
1 – Most managers don’t structure a sales interview beforehand or weight interviewee responses against a predetermined set of ideal responses.
2 – Sales candidates are skilled at presenting themselves and crafting their responses based on what they feel the particular employer is seeking. Thus, managers are often unable to see through their “front” and find the candidate to be different after s/he is hired. (NOTE: There are salesperson diagnostic tests available to help assess a candidate’s genuine characteristics–we’d be happy to supply you with details)
3 – A sales interview is often not totally objective because it is influenced by personal chemistry. Oftentimes, the most qualified and capable sales candidates are overlooked in the sales hiring process because their personalities do not “click” with those of the interviewers.

 

Given this information, it is clear that in order to increase sales and hiring results, sales managers must carefully think through the sales hiring process and develop a step-by-step system to ensure that hiring decisions are not based on personality fit or a “shoot-from-the-hip” sales interview format.

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, CA

 

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Tough Times Sales and Marketing Strategies

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tough times sales strategy

 

Even during the worst depression, approximately 20-25% of the companies in your industry increase their sales!  Are you one of them?  Do you have the right sales strategy?
In our current economic climate, many salespeople and managers are indeed looking for effective ways to boost their results.  Here is a “tough times” sales strategy list of ideas for you to consider:

 
 

Tough Times Sales Strategies

1 – BOOST THE PERCEIVED VALUE of your product or service.  During tough times, buyers have less to spend and are looking to stretch every dollar and maximize the value they receive.  The two ways to improve value are 1) lowering your prices and 2) boosting benefits your customer perceives.  Less experienced salespeople and organizations adopt the price-cutting sales strategy.  So, how can you implement a sales strategy of improving customer benefits?

  • Do some financial justification work to ensure that your customer has an excellent ROI on your product or service
  • Gain stronger prospect commitment by involving her in each stage of your sales process (e.g. having her supply financial information or talk to your references)
  • Bundle in extra products or services with a high perceived value and a low incremental cost
  • Provide additional warranties (that also have a low incremental cost)
  • Agree to lower prices only when other key concessions (e.g. longer-term contracts, higher volumes) can be obtained or if you have a low-price sales strategy

 

2 – GENERATE HIGHER QUALITY LEADS.  Closing rates tend to decrease during hard times.  To combat this phenomenon, salespeople and their firms will need to improve lead quality in order to obtain prospects that are more likely to buy.  Methods for obtaining better leads include:

  • Enhancing the sales qualification process by adding or refining prospect qualifiers or elevating the requirements for “A” prospects
  • Focusing on target markets and customer types in which high closing rates have been experienced. Successful firms and salespeople analyze their performance to pinpoint which market niches, sub niches and characteristics (e.g. demographics, psychographics) are common to profitable sales versus lost and unprofitable sales.
  • Upgrading your marketing campaigns and tracking the success (and cost vs. return) of each campaign
  • Meeting with more decision makers by enhancing your sales prospecting techniques (e.g. devising ways to meet with more decision makers, minimizing obstacles such as voicemail) and prospecting results (e.g. your appointment close rate, your proposal acceptance rate).

 

3 – ENHANCE CURRENT CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS.  Your best prospects are often your existing customers.  There are a number of things you can do to find more business in existing accounts including:

  • Conducting new needs assessments with accounts you’ve been selling to for quite awhile
  • Refine your sales strategy for each account
  • Expanding the number of contacts you have within your accounts and probing each one for new opportunities
  • Exploring possibilities in any divisions, other locations or firms your customers are aligned with
  • Conducting key account analyses with your peers or manager to identify or create sales opportunities
  • Identifying competitors who have a foothold in your accounts and devising strategies to displace them

 

Without a doubt, many companies are impacted by tough economic times.  But truly world-class companies and salespeople use adverse market conditions to beef up their sales strategy, outmaneuver competition and boost their market share.
 
 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, CA

 

 

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Assess Your Sales Department

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Sales Assessment with Sales Audit

 

We have some great, no-cost ways for you to perform a sales assessment or a fairly quick sales audit of your entire sales department’s overall effectiveness:

  1. Learn and apply the six elements contained in our Sales Improvement Model
  2. Subscribe to our Sales Best Practices E-Newsletter (subscribe on right sidebar of our site pages)
  3. Contact us for a complimentary sales consultation and ideas for a sales audit
  4. Get ideas by viewing the deliverables we include in our Sales Improvement Program
  5. Request our list of “50 Ways to Boost Sales Now!”
  6. Read the articles in our Sales Articles library by visiting our website archive

Over 100 clients of ours have conducted a comprehensive sales assessment or a quick sales audit, yielding substantial sales increases and a great ROI!
 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, CA

 

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Effective Sales Meetings

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sales meeting ideas

 

Ask any salesperson.  A sales meeting can either be a very positive, motivating experience or a boring waste of time!  While many sales managers make a real effort to conduct an effective sales meeting, many meetings still fall short of salespeople’s expectations.  Below are some ideas for revving up each sales meeting:

 

Sales Meeting Ideas

  1. SET AND PUBLISH AN AGENDA:  Managers have heard this advice before, but it is amazing how many meetings we’ve observed where no agenda existed!
  2. START AND END ON TIME:  Each sales meeting that starts or ends late can erode the manager’s credibility and reduce sales motivation.
  3. KEEP DISCUSSIONS ON TRACK:  Politely direct people to either address the topic at hand or to suggest a new topic to add to the list of “open discussion items.” Discussions that get off track can derail a well-planned sales meeting.
  4. PAY ATTENTION TO SEATING:  If you want to create conflict, let people likely to disagree with each other sit face-to-face where their eyes are in constant contact. To minimize conflict, seat them where face-to-face contact is difficult or not constant.  And be sure to split up friends who have a tendency to chat during a sales meeting.
  5. ASK FOR OPINIONS, BUT LIMIT DISCUSSION:  Soliciting salespeople’s opinions can help everyone feel involved.  However, it is important to establish time limits so that discussions don’t exceed the time allotted on the agenda.

 

Indeed, planning and conducting a great sales meeting can go a long way towards developing a motivated, winning team.

 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, CA

 

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Motivating your Sales Team

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Sales Motivation

 

Ten Tips for Motivating your Sales Team

 

For more methods to motivate your team, see our Sales Compensation Programs and Sales Improvement Model.
1 – Work on your own personal motivation.  Energetic and upbeat sales managers are able to spread their enthusiasm, instill superior sales motivation and dispel most forms of negativity.

 

2 – Begin and end meetings on a positive note with words of encouragement.  All too often, meetings are routine and lack the positivity detract from sales motivation.

 

3 – Develop spiffs or other incentives to boost sales of high-value products and services.  It is said that salespeople are “coin operated.”  Using incentives to reinforce ideal sales behaviors is often money well spent!

 

4 – Add creative, motivational components to team meetings (e.g. contests, guest speakers).

 

5 – Look for ways to leverage (and reward) the effectiveness of your high performers such as providing them with administrative or telesales support.

 

6 – Scrutinize, then streamline, your sales processes.  Salespeople will rejoice when you reduce paperwork !!!

 

7 – Conduct loss reviews to see why your people lost accounts and to prevent the same things from recurring.  Salespeople are motivated by retaining existing customers and improving their closing ratios.

 

8 – Find ways to boost salesperson time spent in contact with customers and prospects.  More contact means more sales.  And more sales mean happier salespeople and enhanced sales motivation levels.

 

9 – Determine what motivates each of your salespeople, then use specific, individualized rewards to positively impact sales behaviors.

 

10 – Share success stories.  Sales motivation is enhanced when personal accomplishments and others’ successes are recognized.

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, California.

 

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Increase Sales Results and Performance

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Our proprietary Sales Improvement Model has been developed and refined over a 20-year period and has helped us increase sales results at over 250 large, medium and small companies. Although presented in a simple format, this model contains up to 50 best practices, sales management systems and sales processes.

 

Sales Alliance Sales Improvement Model

Using this model, a sales department can use the “6 levers” of sales performance, in conjunction with sales training, to significantly boost and sustain sales results.  Oftentimes, sales training organization focus just on the training itself.  But since people fail to retain more than 87% of what they learn in a sales course just one month later, a well-coordinated plan is needed to produce significant results and behavioral changes.

 

Achieve significant sales increases.  See a complete description of our Sales Improvement Model.

All Rights Reserved. The Sales Alliance Inc. San Diego, California.

 

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