Soft Skills Needed In Sales

The customer experience shift occurring right before our eyes is causing a sea change in sales.  The transactional sale is being consumed by a myriad of company websites offering products and solutions.  I think this description from the TTI blog deftly describes the trend in sales hiring: Only a few decades ago, a customer was mainly dependent on what was on supply. These days, a customer has so many options that the customer journey has become a key concept in the boardroom. Whoever delivers the most flexible, attractive, trustworthy and innovative product and/or support wins over the customer. The change is a supply issue – prospects have multiple solutions at… Read More

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14 Tips For Improving Communication

Is there anything more important in sales than being able to effectively communicate?  I dare say no – it is a crucial skill for any sales or sales leadership role.  This Entrepreneur article states that 55% of communication is nonverbal.  I have seen other studies estimating that number to be closer to 90%.  Either way, you get the idea – words are the smaller part of the communication equation.  Salespeople must have the ability to pick up on the subtle “tells” that prospects unknowingly share. The first step in improving your communication abilities is to know yourself.  A communication style assessment is a good first step at understanding your natural… Read More

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Texting Is Trending

Texting is becoming the best communication channel in the business world.  It seems that phone calls are answered less often even when considering business lines.  The backdoor, surest communication channel is the cell phone and, specifically, texting. Texting/app messaging is the preferred communication tool for younger workers.  When you are hiring today, you need to keep this fact in mind.  I still find LinkedIn messaging to work well.  However, nothing works as well, or as quickly, as texting.  The response time is typically minutes or less.  The ability to send attachments and links has improved also. So is it a trend when dealing with Millennials?  According to HR Executive it… Read More

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Launching New Leaders

I’ve been working with a couple clients considering internal candidates for first-time leadership roles.  This process is always tricky.  We can assess the person’s leadership style, aptitudes and motivations, but there are many more aspects to leadership than just these components. This LinkedIn post provides 6 mistakes rookie leaders often make.  The article is on point and you will quickly notice that the mistakes are polar opposites.  Often, a weakness is a strength taken too far.  That being true, a couple mistakes from the article jumped out at me: 2. Too hands off What a lot of people fail to realize is that with every promotion comes more work not… Read More

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1 Minute On The Internet

This information is difficult to comprehend.  These are the activities that happen in 1 minute on the Internet in 2019.  I don’t know how this information is calculated, the numbers are staggering.

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The Shrinking Attention Span vs. Relationship Sales

Here is a problem I have seen developing in sales over the past 10 years – shorter attention spans in salespeople having to deal with longer sales cycles. First, some background from a quick American Management Association: Whenever I teach students, I tell them, “Your chance of being successful has gone up exponentially because all you’ve got to do now is actually try to pay attention for more than five minutes.” Ok, that is disconcerting.  You can see where this is going.  The integration of the Internet into our lives has provided prospects with a unique ability to research your company, and more importantly, your solutions.  We often talk about… Read More

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Interviewed By A Robot

You’ve probably used the term “robot” to describe some of the people you have worked with or, in my case, some of the hiring managers with whom I interviewed over the years. But I’m not talking metaphorically now.  This BBC news article introduces (is that the right word?) us to Tengai, the job interview robot. Here is Tengai: If Tengai is here, surely our robot overlords are not far off in the future.  Can you imagine interacting with that robot on a serious job interview?  The European company that has created Tengai explains their thoughts on the robot’s interactions: The firm has spent the past four years building a human-like… Read More

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Email Etiquette – The Sign-Off

This Entrepreneur article hits on topic you may have overlooked.  What sign-off do you use for your emails?  Did you know there are different levels of etiquette?  Not kidding, there are certain formalities to consider. An example: The salutation: “Best” Bates: “Best” is colloquial, but fine for someone you know. “Best wishes” or “Best regards” would be better for business. Kerr: This is another acceptable sign-off, especially if you’re using it with someone you know really well. That is my preferred sign-off, but I am currently rethinking it.  Here is the one I really dislike: The salutation: “Ciao” Bates: This isn’t for business, except for fashion, art or real Italians. Kerr: “Ciao” should only be used… Read More

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Emotional Intelligence Of Leaders

What are the keys to EQ?  This post from TTI provides great insight into the entire topic.  A couple traits to consider: 1. Possess self-awareness Before someone can be effective interacting with others, they need to have a conscious knowledge of their own character, feelings, motives, and desires. The “feelings” part of this equation is very important. When those feelings are not positive, having the ability to control emotions is paramount to managing interactions successfully. When a person is self-aware and able to employ self-regulation under stress, they tend to have more successful outcomes (and less regret). Personally, I believe all EQ flows out of self-awareness; without it, the person is unable to… Read More

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The Stressful Interview = Real World Sales

The BBC provides a look into a “stress interview” which is an interview approach that places an inordinate amount of stress on the candidate.  The goal is to learn how the candidate handles the pressure in an unexpected environment.  This approach should sound like a sales call.  It does to us and that is why we use some of these techniques in our structured interview process. From the BBC article(emphasis mine): “There are certainly different kinds of stress associated with many positions – achieving results, meeting deadlines, dealing with difficult clients, for example,” says Neal Hartman, senior lecturer in managerial communication at MIT. “The stress interview can create conditions to… Read More

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