Ep. 176 – Selling Through Storytelling, Part 6

SIBP-Blog-NEW-4It’s late in the initial sales meeting. You’ve told the prospect about how your business was able to help a company that was in a situation very similar to the one your prospect is facing. You explained how the results you delivered were worth every penny of the investment. You’ve even helped to prospect to visualize how your products or services could help them overcome their own challenges. Now, it’s time to see just how serious they are about moving forward.

In this final installment of the Selling Through Storytelling series, host and business coach Tom Ryan explores the likely prospect responses to a narrative-based sales approach. Learn what reactions indicate that it’s time to move forward, and which suggest that it’s time to “cut bait” and move on. As always, Tom is joined by producer and co-host Jason Pyles. Continue reading

Ep. 175 – Selling Through Storytelling, Part 5

SIBP-Blog-NEW-3Applying storytelling techniques to your sales process means taking your prospects on their own version of the Hero’s Journey. You can think of it as the prospect’s individual story arc, allowing them to see how your products or services can help them overcome the challenges they need to be successful within the context of their own tale. To be effective, you not only need to cast the prospect as the central character of the tale, you also need to get them to see your product as the solution they’ve been looking for.

In today’s episode, host and business coach Tom Ryan talks about turning your company’s “unfair advantage” into a powerful sales tool through storytelling. Tom is joined by co-host and producer Jason Pyles. Continue reading

Alignment-Based Sales: Three Steps of the Alignment-Based Sales Structure

SIBP-Blog-NEW-B-3What does the alignment-based sales approach look like on the ground level? It’s one thing to conceptually understand the theory, but it isn’t always obvious how to take that 10,000 foot view and apply it to your sales process. How do you start an alignment-based sale? What do you say to make sure both parties are still in alignment? How do you walk away when there isn’t an alignment?

Let’s roll up our sleeves and dig into some real-world techniques for implementing an alignment-based sales process. There are three basic steps: The Alignment Statement; Qualifying; and Continuous Testing. Let’s take a look at how each of these work. Continue reading

Alignment-Based Sales: Five Core Benefits to the Alignment Approach

SIBP-Blog-NEW-B-2We’re all consumers, and we all know what it’s like to walk into a store where the salespeople are paid by commission. From that very first moment we see the sales associate walk towards us, our guard goes up. No matter how helpful and pleasant they are, there’s an almost instinctual reaction we have as shoppers. We say something like “Just looking!” and hope that’s enough to keep them at bay.

Why is this? It’s pretty simple, actually. As shoppers, the last thing we want is to be pressured into buying something. This is the exact same instinct that your prospects feel when they agree to hear your sales presentation. Even if they know they need the product or service you provide, they don’t want to go through the ordeal of a high-pressure sales presentation. They put up the same sort of “Just looking!” defenses.

This is exactly why the alignment-based approach is so powerful. It changes the very nature of the interaction, removing the tension and apprehension completely. Here are five core benefits you will experience while using an alignment-based sales method. Continue reading

Alignment-Based Sales: Alignment Sales in Action

Modified from source image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/awfulshot/If you’ve spent any time at all in sales, you know how stressful it can be. Going into a selling situation often feels like contest, where the goal is to find the prospect’s pain, and to slowly press on that pain point until they become desperate for it to go away. You want them to become just uncomfortable enough about that pain to spend their money on your solution.

Is it any wonder that prospects often feel like salespeople are trying to trick or manipulate them into parting with their money? If you’re an empathetic person, which the best salespeople often are, it’s a process that really sucks.

The exciting part of an alignment-based sales approach is that it can make selling a lot more fun. Instead of creating a stilted, adversarial dynamic between the salesperson and the prospect, the process becomes much more about finding common ground. I also know it works, as I’ve personally sold millions of dollars of products using this exact sales philosophy. Continue reading

Alignment-Based Sales: An Introduction to the “Always Be Aligning” Approach

Modified from source image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/awfulshot/Allow me to destroy a major misconception about sales for you: Closing isn’t everything. It’s an important step in the process, but it’s not the winner-take-all endgame many inexperienced salespeople believe it to be. Closing a sale — particularly when it’s an initial sale with a new customer — should mark the start of a relationship, not the end of contest of wills.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my biggest issue with the “ABCs of Sales” approach is the puzzling emphasis on closing. It implies that sales is fundamentally about delivering a knockout punch to the customer, or that it’s something of a deception-driven, non-consensual relationship between the salesperson and their prospect. That’s a terrible way to build a customer base, particularly if you’re running a business where long-term contracts, renewals or subscriptions play a major role. Continue reading

Alignment-Based Sales: The ABPs and ABAs of Sales

SIBP-Blog-NEW-B-2In a previous post, I explained my many problems with the “Always Be Closing” approach to sales. In a nutshell, I find that the “ABCs of Sales” is a one-sided approach that creates the wrong dynamic for a sustainable business. The only thing it’s good for in the long term is alienating your customers.

If the “ABCs of Sales” is wrong, then what’s the alternative? I have two other acronym-ready sales philosophies for you: “Always Be Prospecting” and “Always Be Aligning.” Or, if you prefer, the ABPs and ABAs of Sales. These may not be quite as catchy-sounding as the ABCs, but they do deliver real-world results. Continue reading

Alignment-Based Sales: Don’t Be A “One Way”

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vshioshvili/

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vshioshvili/

Sales shouldn’t be a win-lose relationship. It you’re focusing on the knockout punch of closing the deal, like the “ABCs of Sales” approach, you’re creating a dynamic with those clients that’s really not sustainable. It’s an incredibly short-sighted way to do business, but it’s also surprisingly common.

I even have a term for people like this. I call them “one ways.” Why? It comes from one of the first dates I had with the woman who would later become my wife.

When we first started dating, I was a different guy. It was a lot younger back then, and I was both clueless and a little selfish. On one of our earliest dates, we were hanging out at my apartment watching a movie. We were a good ways into the film, and I realized I was getting a little hungry. Continue reading

Alignment-Based Sales: Why The ABCs of Sales is Junk

GGR-Image“The ABCs of Sales” is junk. I know I’m going to disappoint some of you by saying this, but it’s true. Let me tell you why.

I’ve worked on the sales side of the business world for a long time, and been on almost every rung of the sales ladder in the process. Along the way, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. When I hear people repeating the idea that the right approach to take in sales is to “Always Be Closing,” I cringe. That’s a terrible sales philosophy, particularly when it comes to building a sustainable business. Continue reading

Getting the Most Out of Your Advertising Dollars: Finding Media/Goal Alignment

SIBP-1When you’re spending money on advertising, you want every dollar you spend to yield the maximum return. Unless you’re seriously invested in building brand awareness, chances are that result will ultimately be measured in new leads and increased sales. It’s not enough for someone to see your ad and like it, they need to be inspired to buy.

Here’s where a lot of newcomers to advertising make a big misstep: It’s not just about the ad itself. It’s also about the media the ad is running on. If you want to see great results, the media (also called the channel in this context) needs to match the message. Continue reading