Avoid this mistake when introducing your team to a prospect

sales Dec 04, 2020
 

Over the last several weeks, I have seen producers and sales leaders making similar subtle, yet critical, errors when they're prospecting. I'd like you to avoid that issue. So hear me out.

It's not uncommon as you progress through the sale cycle up through and at the finalist meeting that you have the need to introduce team members (your colleagues) to the prospective customer. It might be one other person. It might be an entire team.

It's not uncommon that you, as a salesperson or sales leader, want to convey to the prospect that you're not going to disappear. You'll be available in any follow up on an ongoing basis, and you're committed to their success. There's nothing wrong with that sentiment, but often the way it is said can have an unintended consequence of undermining their confidence in your team.

And then there's the next problem.

You're a producer, salesperson, sales leader, wondering why the new customer won't let you go about your business and why they keep "pulling you...

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But would they use Zoom?

growth sales service Nov 12, 2020
 

I nearly made a huge mistake in my 2020 business plan that I'd like you to avoid as you craft your 2021 strategy.

What was in your business plan for 2020?
Do you even remember how you thought this year would unfold?

Despite being convinced of the business need, do you know why I almost didn't launch the Account Executive Academy last year?

I wasn't sure everyone would/could embrace Zoom. ‍

My thoughts on the ridiculousness of this near miss and how it might impact your 2021 planning are in this 3-minute video.

Friends, think of this as a game.

The only thing I know for sure is that we'll "lose" if we can't let go of our desire for certainty.

Join me at guessing for 2021.

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Goals and Roles

sales service Oct 20, 2020
 

You're responsible for understanding 2 things at EVERY prospect or client meeting.

Even if you didn't schedule it.

The goal of the meeting
Your role in the team's success

If you can't clarify the goal or explain someone's role, then you shouldn't waste their time, even if it's "only" a virtual meeting.

If someone has invited you to a meeting without info on "goals and roles"...then you own asking them to clarify & verify.

I created a flow chart to figure out why this gets off track so often!

Link to it here

No need to enter your email to access it, btw. If it's helpful, you can buy me a margarita someday if I ever get out of my dining room!

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Nobody wants your wheel ... 🙄

 

Sales & Client Service PSA

Companies don't start (and continue) working with you because you offer THINGS. They believe you’ll solve their problem.

That is why I need to get a little sassy about something.

Your wheel.

In your sales AND annual strategic planning process, make sure you showcase results and share your expertise and point of view. These are the things that may come from using "the wheel"... That's what the customer really cares about.

Any of the following words appear in your pitch?

People
Process
Framework
Proprietary

If yes, then you may want to download the case study and watch my workshop on creating contrast. LINK HERE.

I'm now referring to this content as the "dining room series" since I've been sitting here for so many months and won't be on the move for the foreseeable future.

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Step Away From The Drama

My former colleague (and good friend) Nancy always told us to "keep our eyes on our own paper" when there was drama. I thought of her when responding to a question in the Account Executive Academy recently.

I've included a screenshot so you can see my new favorite tool in action, PreziVideo. And also a funny face because of too many months in a dining room.

Client service is a team sport and how colleagues are showing up (or not) is adding an extra dash of fun to 2020. Resist efforts to steal your time and drain your energy by anyone who just wants to complain.

Repeat after me. Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

When there's an issue between "Colleague A" and "Colleague B" as there was here, be the voice of reason to determine if the problem was an event or part of a pattern.

The goal? If someone slipped up then we should extend the patience and grace we'd want when (not if) we fall short at some point.

If it's part of a pattern of shortcomings, then energy should be focused...

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Don't hoard toilet paper or good ideas 💡

firm operations sales Mar 18, 2020

I'm checking in from the Bay Area where I'm "staying-in-place" for at least three weeks with the husband, kids (21 & 16) and 2 foster puppies.

We're already discussing the "family tattoo" we're each getting at the end of this adventure. Suggestions? 

I've been trying to decide whether to work or sanitize our canned goods. ‍Do people really need an update from the BenefitsLady in the midst of this chaos? I've rewritten this 10 times the last few days.

Here's my current thinking. Your clients are stressed. My clients are stressed. There are things we can do and offer that will help others. We shouldn’t hoard toilet paper or our talents. Now is the time to crowdsource ideas and positive energy in the employee benefits community.

It will be different, but let’s stay engaged and connected.

This morning I caught up with an industry friend for an hour for a casual Zoom coffee. I’m looking at my calendar and scheduling connections with people who...

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Do you celebrate the badass?

Is "risk-taking" rewarded in your office?

How about celebrated?

We've been talking about the employee benefits strategic planning cycle. Our industry needs to change and that involves some risk.

Lately I'm hearing variations of these themes:

  • Practice leaders want their teams to be more assertive & innovative.
  • Teams want "management" to get focused and make creative investments.
  • Benefits Solutions are frustrated brokers aren't quicker to adopt new offerings.
  • Benefits Solutions & Brokers complain that their mutual clients are afraid to make changes.

We're a group that takes pride in protecting our clients. The insurance industry beckoned us saying "hey, if you like certainty and avoiding risk, come on over and build a career over here" and now we're surprised at how easily we can talk ourselves out of trying something new if we're not careful.

You know I'm right. At least a little.

When someone introduces a new solution or tackles a challenge, does...

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Something to consider as you plan for 2020

growth operations sales Nov 13, 2019

A perk of being a high school football team mom? I get to observe teen boys in their natural habitat (without being TOO embarrassing) while handing out Gatorade and cheeseburgers.

It's also a great way to get to know parents. Another team mom and I compare notes about selling professional services (she's in legal) while doing our team hospitality gig. Industries that sell expertise share a lot of the same challenges (and upside) if they can modernize.

At the banquet Friday night, she used a term I'd never heard when talking about her new team. She said they'd usually relied upon "anecdata" and were stressed as she pushed for detailed analytics.

Anec-what? Anecdata = Anecdote + Data

Am I the only one who hasn't been using this term? I love it. Apologies in advance to my clients who are going to hear this term a lot in upcoming strategy sessions.

It's defined as "information that is presented as if it is based on serious research, but is...

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3 Things I Noticed Watching A Team In A Slump

operations sales Nov 06, 2019

I went to the Warriors game Monday night and stayed out a bit too late. Oops.

The game got me thinking, though...

How do you show up when you (or your team) are in a slump?

I'd been warned that the highlight of the night was probably experiencing the new Chase Center and that the Warriors were going to lose (again) since they've been plagued by injuries.

But, the rookies didn't get the memo that they were underresourced and going to be outplayed. We were treated to a high energy experience and saw their first home win of the season. 

Do this career "thing" long enough and eventually, you'll have a losing season. It's hard to get your juju back and I was thinking about what behaviors I look for to have confidence that a team is taking steps to shift momentum. 

Recruiting & Coaching - We know it's critical to have a strong bench, yet few invest (money, time and energy) to develop a sustainable and measurable process to find and onboard talent....

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Take the "Feedback 5" Challenge

Warning. There's no turning back. Once this is on your radar, you'll be like two of my original foster puppies. You won't be able to look away.


 

5 words are routinely used to give feedback that are useless (at best) and destructive (at worst) without context and follow up. 

"They need to be more/less _______________."

More (or less) what? I'm glad you asked.

She needs to be more approachable, assertive, creative, collaborative, confident, engaged, independent, open-minded, present, sales-focused, strategic or technical. Or she needs to be less aggressive, conservative or negative. You get the point.

I don't know what someone really means when they say these things. And most of us are not great guessers.

Worse yet, the person on the receiving end of the "feedback 5" usually has zero idea what happened, how to fix it or when they'll have done "it" the right way, enough times, to change perception. 

The "Feedback 5" may be part of a...

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