Learn. Penetrate. Sell: The Three Time-Tested Fundmamentals of Successful Selling

July 1, 2010 - One Response

Learn. Penetrate. Sell: The Three Time-Tested Fundmamentals of Successful Selling
Throughout the years, there have been many books written, techniques developed, and debates conducted about the art of “closing the sale.” I’ve read these books and attended conferences of the same vein, and have found most of them useless, repetitive, old, unrealistic, and full of platitudes. Most of these programs don’t resonate with me because I’ve discovered that the fundamentals of successful selling skills I learned nearly 25 years ago have survived the test of time. They are just as relevant now as they were then.

In my first job as a sales representative for a consumer packaged goods company I was taught the three fundamentals of successful selling: Learn, Penetrate, Sell. These three simple and effective steps were instilled in me from day one and on every sales call with my managers, who had successfully sold using this model throughout their careers.

The overarching objective of Learn, Penetrate, Sell is first and foremost to close the sale. But it’s also about building long-lasting relationships by earning a reputation as a valued partner and trusted business advisor who is genuinely invested in your clients’ successes, which differentiates you from your competition. This enables you to become more than just a vendor selfishly selling a product or service with no real customer benefit.

In addition, Learn, Penetrate, Sell shows customers the value you bring to their business, which minimizes the chance you’ll be “beaten up” on price. In other words, you’re selling solutions and value versus just another commodity. I want to be clear about price: I’m not saying price will never be an issue, but it will be less of one when taken into consideration with the perceived value you bring.

Let’s look at these three simple yet powerful steps in detail.

Learn – Simply put, the first step of successfully closing a sale is to learn as much about your customer as possible. Understand everything you can about your customer’s needs and what keeps them up at night. Is it internal factors like cash flow, sales, profit, or customer or patient loyalty? Is it external factors such as competition, market environment, or changing dynamics? Most likely it will cover several areas, but it is your job to discover the issues that are most important to them.
Penetrate – Secondly, it is crucial that you reach the key decision maker within your customer’s organization. Too often sales personnel are content simply calling on any buyer or someone lower on the totem pole, when the key decision-maker is several levels up. Penetrating to the key decision-maker also ensures that you’ll know what truly matters to your customer. Again, clearly understanding what keeps the decision maker up at night is the key to building a successful sales plan – and those concerns may be very different for lower-level contacts than they are for the true decision makers.
Sell – Obviously the key is to sell, right? Yes – but the question to ask is, “What are you selling?” If what you are selling doesn’t solve the problem of what keeps your customer up at night or isn’t geared to the key decision maker, then what you are selling is meaningless. Unfortunately, what most sales people do is sell everything including the kitchen sink, or what they want to sell or what they think their customer needs. The result is at best short-term minimized success and at worst a lost sale. The key to the Sell step is to match your customer’s needs are (based on what keeps them up at night) with what you have for solving that problem. Once this intersection is identified, met, and solved your sales success will grow exponentially. In addition, you’ve built the foundation of trust, which leads to long-term loyal customers.
This is what makes the previous two steps, Learn and Penetrate, so vital. Your hard work in learning about your customer’s needs and penetrating to the key decision maker gives you the input you need to build a tailored and relevant plan. It shows your customer that you not only did your homework, but you heard them, understood them, and built a program that meets their needs by solving their problem.

Good sales people solve problems for their customers; they don’t create or ignore them. Most sales people that fail do so because they have not identified their customer’s true problem, and therefore can’t supply the right solution the customer is seeking. It doesn’t matter if you are selling a consumer good, a car, a pharmaceutical product, a service, or a concept; if you can effectively marry your capabilities with your customers most pressing needs you will close the sale and develop long-term loyalty.

I am a believer that all great truths and successes are built on simple, time-tested principles. In the sales realm, Learn, Penetrate, Sell are those principles.
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How to Scout Out Your Competition

June 29, 2010 - Leave a Response

How to Scout Out Your Competition
A few weeks ago I was asked what I did to scout out my competition. My answer to the question was immediate! Observe the Fundamentals.

I was taught early in my corporate career to build my business plans around the fundamentals of the 4-P’s of Marketing: Product-Price-Placement-Promotion. The 4-P’s provided a strong framework to build my plans. So when I want to analyze my competition, I simply follow the same rule I use to build my business. I learn about my competitions by undestanding how they focus on the 4 P’s. The 4-P’s are as follows:

Product – I gain a clear understanding of their product/programs/services and how do they rate versus mine
Price – I gain a clear understanding of how they price their products/programs/services and how they rate versus mine
Promotion – I gain a clear understanding on how they promote their products/programs/services
Placement – I gain a clear understanding on where they promote their products/programs/services
After analyzing the 4 P’s of my competition, I then build powerful action plans better than theirs so I can differentiate myself in the eyes of our customer.

If you want to read more about how others “scout” the competition just view the article at the Toiletpaper Entrepreneur website I listed below:

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NEWS: Congrats! Wheels of Success

June 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

NEWS: Congrats! Wheels of Success
Wheels of Success wins “Judge’s Choice Award”
Please join me in congratulating Susan Jacobs, Founder and Wheels of Success, on winning the “Judge’s Choice Award” at the Tampa Bay Business Journal 2010 Nonprofit of the Year Awards Luncheon held 6/24/10. The award included a check for $2,500.00 which will get 3 families back on the road again! Joanne Weiland is a proud member of the WOS Board of Advisors.
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NEWS: Congratulations Staci!

June 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

NEWS: Congratulations Staci!
Staci Backauskas makes second round
LinktoExpert member Staci Backauskas has made it to the second round of the The Next Top Spiritual Author Competition with her book ego: A Primer. Get a copy of “50 ego Tips and Reminders: How to Transform ego from an Enemy to an Ally” when you vote at http://www.stacib.com LinktoExpert members receive an extra 10 tips and reminders! Just put “LinktoExpert” in the subject line of your e-mail. Voting ends 6/28. Let’s help her make it to the third round!

Visit The Language of Light Haiku-ware store at http://www.CafePress.com/TLOL
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Today’s “Green Tip” #1

June 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

Today’s “Green Tip” #1
Personal: If you don’t already have a water bottle, buy one today!
Researchers in California say, if we were to line up all the plastic bottles Americans throw away in 1 year they would go around the earth three times!

Home: Buy a “real” plant for your home or office.
(1) live plant produces 87% of oxygen for every 100 sq.ft.

Business: Next time you order ink for the printers (home or business) consider switching to Soy Ink.
AC Graphics
Recycled Paper & Soy Ink Products
acgraphics.com
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The Leadership Approach of Legendary John Wooden

June 27, 2010 - One Response

The Leadership Approach of Legendary John Wooden
The recent passing of legendary basketball Coach John Wooden had me thinking about what made him so great? And he was indeed great – just look at a few statistics:
Overall coaching record of 664-162 (810 pct)
10 NCAA Championships in 12 years at UCLA
Inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach
And most important, developing leadership & life skills to thousands of young men and women who crossed his path over 99 years – either directly or indirectly
I believe what made him great were similar characteristics and beliefs found in other great leaders. He taught and instilled fundamentals based on simple messages, timeless values, virutes and principles. His approach wasn’t “out of the box” but based on simple fundamentals that provided his teams with the foundation to be the “best of the best” despite the pressures and adversity that faced them. Yes, he was a master in the fundamentals of basketball. But more importantly he was a master in the fundamentals of life. And he believed that the lessons learned on the basketball court would transition into the “real world”, of life. This is why so many of his players graduated and went on to lead successful lives after college and beyond – and why he is so beloved be nearly all of them.

It also left me thinking, why don’t other coaches and leaders follow the lead of Coach Wooden? In today’s age of what seems like a lack of leadership in our world, you’d think many people would “reach out” to learn about Coach Wooden’s approach, philosophy and implement it. So many coaches and leaders today are trying to reinvent the wheel when there are already proven lessons and examples at their disposal. In fact if you look at any successful sports team, those that are always winning seem to master the fundamentals of the respective sport and have teams that act like teams, not individuals. These successful teams more often than not exemplify the principles developed and taught by Coach Wooden.

With that said, I wanted to share his vision on both leadership and success. You can understand his view on the Pyramid of Success grid and 12 Lessons in Leadership. I listed both for your review – you can view a printable version of both by simply clicking on the icon to the right. This information can provide the formula anyone can use for success in their lives – both personally and professionally. I hope you enjoy and use these principles set by Coach Wooden so you can enjoy the same success he and his teams had during his tenure as coach and beyond the basketball court – and more importantly it is the best way to keep his spirit alive, through all of us and those with whom we interact with on a daily basis.

For the Pyramid of Success &12 Lessons in Leadership, just click here: http://tinyurl.com/2bzjc4z
Enjoy,

Steve
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New Books have Arrived!

June 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

My new Books have Arrived!
Super exciting! My new books have arrived after a year long project with Insight Publishing on ‘Stepping Stones to Success’, where I’m a co-author with Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield and Dr. Denis Waitley. My chapter is titled:

Social Media & Self-Empowerment Tools for Success

The book is available on my website at: http://ping.fm/8EOyq

I don’t have it up on Amazon yet, it’s currently just available on my website. If you’d like a signed copy, please put that in your instructions when you order it.

To Your Success!

Kathy Perry
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Welcome Eric Gilboord!

June 23, 2010 - Leave a Response

Welcome Eric Gilboord!
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Thank you Brian Graham for encouraging Eric to join our global community.
Eric is a specialist in marketing small and medium-sized businesses. He is a popular speaker, columnist, and author of many articles and books on moving businesses up to the next level.
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Welcome Boomer Nation! WGUL 860AM

June 23, 2010 - Leave a Response

news: Welcome Boomer Nation! WGUL 860AM
LinktoEXPERT is very excited by a rare marketing opportunity for our members, a unique and powerful way for you to position yourself as an expert to 10’s of thousands of people locally & nationally.
We have teamed up with the critically acclaimed radio show Boomer Nation! on WGUL 860AM airing every Sunday from 5-6pm EST giving Boomers “information and inspiration to Live, Work, and Play at their Boomer-best” to offer LinktoEXPERT members a 4.5 minute segment expert spot on the show.
The show is looking for experts in 2 areas – life enhancements (inspiring boomers to live life to the fullest) and/or business building.
In addition to getting all that air time to talk about your area of expertise (provide tips and advice that people can use right away so they come away really impressed with you!), you also get:
· Insider access to the download of that week’s show you can then use on your website and in all your other marketing campaigns
· Instant reach to over 22K local listeners (mostly Baby Boomers, but non-Boomers as well), and many more throughout the US and Canada
· Inclusion in all the promotional materials that go out for that week’s show to thousands of loyal listeners
· The ability to take advantage of this great marketing strategy up to 3 times
The investment is only $100 per show appearance and LinktoEXPERT will promote your show on major Social Media outlets.
Contact your Account Manager Clemmie Aamodt at (813) 408-5576 or CAamodt@LinktoEXPERT.com today to get yourself broadcasted as an Expert on the radio!
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Twitter vs. Poetrywitter vs. Poetry

June 21, 2010 - Leave a Response

Twitter vs. Poetrywitter vs. Poetry

It struck me the other day, reading an article in the local paper, that we have come full circle. As with many of these things – your mind is like a percolator. You add the ingredients, pour in some time and slowly the concoction drips into your consciousness.

Language in the business world is always regarded as something that is mostly a tool, a simple, and often not so simple, way to communicate between parties with the goal of reaching agreement. I taught a class this week on social media and as I believe background is important, sketched the development of such media over the period of close to 30 years, starting with the first mobile call ever made – 1973. This potted history then became one of the ingredients in my percolator. The way people communicate changes with the media they have at their disposal. The bards sang long songs and told endless tales as the evenings were long after the sun had set, and their was no evening news to watch, football matches on the other side of the earth to follow or other information to be taken in. And there was endless time to pass before the next dawn. Then print evolved, and stories became shorter due to the fact that they now had to fit into a certain format and match the size of the paper and eventually our communication became that of emails and text messages. And now there is Twitter.

For my class this week – I asked them to write their own bio, in 140 characters. And the result was nothing short of poetic. Beautiful little gems of well-balanced, well thought-through text, words that each carried a meaning and told of one person. And it struck me that we have gone full circle – if you choose, your tweet can be nothing short of a poem.

So, in summary – my blog could equally have read something like this:

Told a tale, wrote a poem

Filtered words & thoughts.

Meaning at its purest lives on.

Communication reduced to essence.

Less is more.

Words
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