What You Need to Know About Today’s Millennial Sales Force


One of the first lessons of sales is to know who you are selling to. This lesson applies just as well in the training room when onboarding new sales staff. If your sales training curriculum hasn’t been updated since the 20th Century, it will be about as useful as a floppy disk. The Millennial generation is taking the workforce by storm, and forcing change in nearly every corner of the professional world. As you rewrite your training curriculum, you should have a clear picture of who Millennials are, how they interact with the world around them, and most importantly how they learn. We’ll look at some important information about the Millennial generation, and offer some tips for designing your training curriculum to make the greatest impact. Understanding the Millennial Generation Demographics Though no official definition exists, the Millennial generation was born between 1980 and 2000 to Baby Boomer and Generation X parents. In terms of general population statistics, Millennials have already overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the country, with the U.S. Census Bureau putting their total number at […]  Read More

8 Must-Have Qualities for Achieving Sales Success


What’s the secret for achieving sales success? At Performance Based Results, we interviewed 400 highly-experienced business-to-business sales professionals and identified eight qualities you need to look for in coaching a current sales rep or hiring a new candidate, to achieve maximum sales results: 1. Be Persistent in Sales Without Without Being Pushy I call it creative persistence. There’s a fine line between persistence and pushiness, and a smart sales professional knows how to toe that line. When good salespeople meet an obstacle — unreturned phone calls, no response to emails or texts — they don’t give up. But they don’t make pests of themselves, either. Such a person will find ways to reconnect before that opportunity withers away. It’s not just a matter of leaving call after call in his contact’s voicemail. In order to connect, he’ll try new tactics such as engaging the “gatekeeper,” the executive assistant or a fellow sales rep within the organization. He may even show up in person at unconventional times during business hours — like super early, before work starts, or right at closing time — or even send a text on a Saturday morning. When great salespeople reach a sales stall, they […]  Read More

Warm-Up Questions for Cold Calls

warm-up questions for cold calls

Asking great warm-up questions during a cold call meeting is a valuable technique in establishing a new business relationship with a prospect. You’ve scheduled your first meeting with a new prospective customer! You’re hoping for “beginner’s luck,” eager to make a stellar first impression—but what’s the best way to make that happen? Do you jump right into questioning if your prospect knows little, if anything, about you? How do you provide background on your company without falling into the sales pitch trap? You want to quickly set the stage and build credibility, otherwise your prospect may ask herself, “Why am I wasting my time with you, loser?” Avoid small talk – get to the point It’s tempting to try warming up with small talk about the weather or an interesting item in your prospect’s office—but that can backfire if you’re not careful. I knew a salesman who discovered in advance that his prospect liked the game of cricket. He studied the sport so closely, he was able to engage his prospect in a lively 45-minute conversation. Unfortunately, after their cricket chat, the […]  Read More

How Good Managers Can Hold Employees Accountable


In order to be a good manager, you need to hold employees accountable. Accountability is still one of the most important aspects of sales management. Unless you hold your employees accountable to some measurable degree of success, your business will plateau and remain stagnant. Recently, Jeff, a sales leader from one of our top clients, stated that he was happy with our management training workshops from 6 months earlier. But Jeff felt his management team needed a “jump-start” session to break through a lack of motivation. Through application of our (Sales Bridge) Motivation module at Performance Based Results, we established that Jeff did not effectively communicate to his management team what was expected of them. His team had no clear performance objectives or standards to follow. Managers fear confrontation to hold employees accountable Let’s face it, frustrated managers like Jeff are trapped in a maze of accountability. They would rather put up with mediocrity than make waves with employees. Interpersonal conflict can be nasty and unpleasant. They’re terrified that if they push their people too hard, they’ll quit, and then they’ll have to find […]  Read More

Getting Employees to Meet Deadlines without Nagging


Help employees meet deadlines. Stop missed deadlines from the start. Create a game plan. Get past lame excuses. Ask proactive questions to get employees to take ownership for their projects, and learn to follow through. Employees and sales reps not meeting deadlines is a major factor in low sales team performance. As a leadership coach, exasperated supervisors and sales managers often plead with me to supply effective methods to improve employee time and goal management skills. Take a look at this scenario with Heidi and Rodney Heidi is the team leader. Rodney is a project coordinator on her team. Rodney is called into Heidi’s office. He could tell immediately by the look on Heidi’s face that she was struggling to keep her composure in check: “Rodney, I thought we agreed three weeks ago to get this project finished by now. Now I’m hearing it’s nowhere near ready. What gives?” Flustered, Rodney says, “I’m doing the best I can, and I’ll get to it as soon as possible.” When someone like Rodney makes a habit of postponing certain tasks, procrastinating on his to‑do lists, and failing to meet agreed-upon objectives, it’s maddening for the superiors like Heidi […]  Read More

Value Selling: Getting Customers to Buy at a Higher Price


Through value selling, sales pros need to demonstrate to customers that sometimes the higher price is actually a better solution. – a higher value! I know a long-married couple, Sam and Sarah, who have very different takes on value. Growing up wealthy, Sarah could afford to buy expensive, well-made shoes that would last for years. Growing up poor, Sam had only been able to buy the cheapest shoes he could afford – and keep on buying them, since they kept on falling apart within a few months. It’s easy for people like Sam to confuse price with value, where the lower-priced item turns out not to be the best value. Common value selling obstacles Customers who are shortsighted or in fire-fighting mode who can’t see the bigger picture. Customers whose self-interest may be in direct conflict with their organization’s goals. Customers who are merely the middle-man and not the decision-maker. Customers, hard-nosed buyers or purchasing agents who attempt apple-to-apple comparisons. Step One: Research your customers wisely The first step in value selling is determining which customers are viable candidates. Your products and […]  Read More

Distributor Opportunities – Improving Dealer Relationships

improving dealer relationships

Dear Paul, I need help with improving dealer relationships? My products are sold primarily through dealers and distributors. I have a really hard time judging whether or not a dealer is going to be successful at selling my products. They all usually seem gung-ho when we first meet, but many of them seem to fade away after a few months. I am willing to spend time and energy motivating them to sell more of my products, but I am not sure how I would go about that. It isn’t like I am their manager or even a member of their team. I try to check in with all of my dealers at least once a month. Sometimes the conversations are fruitful, but often it is like trying to pull teeth to get information from them. Sincerely, Hoping for a Great Distributor Opportunity Dear Hoping for a Great Distributor Opportunity, It’s difficult to rely on dealers or distributors to sell your products. How do you know who will make a great business partner and who will be a dud? When I have coached […]  Read More

How to Open a Successful First Meeting with a Prospect


Dear Paul, What’s the best way to open a successful first meeting with a prospect? In my experience, I’m finding these initial sales meetings are either hit or miss. And most of the time, they’re a miss! For instance, sometimes, I arrive at a sales call and realize almost immediately that the sales opportunity simply does not exist. When that happens, I start looking at my watch and get ready to bolt whenever they give me an opening. Last week, I had a meeting with a new prospect that I had arranged weeks earlier. I was hopeful that there might be an opportunity, but then the prospect immediately created a barrier. He said, “We only have 10 minutes, what do you got?” I was not prepared to be rushed, and I lost focus and was off my game. The meeting was not successful. Of course, sometimes I do end up “hitting it off” with a new prospect. But I feel like those opportunities are found more by luck, and not by any particular sales technique I have employed. When planning a sales call, how do I shift my focus to discover the real opportunities? How can […]  Read More