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Social Media Podcast for Social Business by Shane Gibson Speaker and Author

Shane Gibson; Author | Professional Speaker | Sales Trainer | Social Media Analyst

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  • Jul 21 / 2014
  • 0
Sales Training Canada Intent in Conversations
Sales Articles, Sales Blog, Sales Training

How Intent Can Empower Your Sales Conversations

Sales Training Canada Intent in Conversations

Many variables can impact our chances of closing a deal, they include but are not limited to: industry, geography, financial situation of the customer, product quality, the customer mood or sentiment and a variety of other influences.

When comparing sales people within the exact same company very few things influence the level of one person’s success over the other more than the quality of conversations they have with future and existing customers.

Too often sales training is focused on telling people what to say. What we need to really focus on is how to think and have great conversations. Those people who can have great conversations rarely are thrown off-guard by customer questions, objections or complaints – they’re not afraid to hand the reigns over to the customer. There are several key competencies to being a great conversationalist. The first most important one in my opinion is a positive intent.

Before awareness, asking great questions or listening I truly believe intent comes first. It’s the pillar of your sales strategy. When you pick up the phone or step into a client meeting your intent will frame what you hear, the words you use and even your tonality, body language and pace of conversations.

An sales person answering customer inquiries could have the intent to “get an order” or “sell something from my product line.” This intent limits the customer experience in many cases and also misses larger opportunities. “Get the order” often translates to being an order taker, we ask fewer questions and the questions we ask are about driving the person to a predetermined product or service. If it’s not an ideal fit we often have to rely on hard closes, discounting and heavy objection handling. In this situation our closing ratio is low and the potential for negative customer feedback is high.

For instance if you work in sales at a an insurance company your intent could be “to sell the people one of our insurance products.” With this type of intent we will tend to ask questions that push people toward a narrow selection of products and if they don’t want that product the conversation can end quickly. This type of conversation can often degrade to a price only conversation or miss opportunities you had not considered. A more powerful intent that would build stronger relationships and create a better customer experience could be: “to guide my customers to invest in insurance products that give them peace of mind and take care of them in their times of need, now and in the future.”

This intent immediately expands our awareness, it changes the questions we will ask the customer and also will expand the product offerings we will talk about. All of a sudden we are having a conversation about where they want to retire, their 3 children that they want to take care of and what kind of legacy they want to create. We have laid the foundation for a lifetime customer. We also move the conversation to a place where it’s less price focused and more about the true underlying needs and motivations of the customer.

Positive intent is a conscious act that we need to commit to on every call and interaction. When the phone rings consciously state your intent to yourself before you answer the call. It’s a great way to focus and heighten our level of empathy and engagement on the phone (or in-person). When the our sales process starts with the intent to empower people to succeed it adds immeasurable value to the customer experience and it inevitably makes our job as a sales person more rewarding, personally and financially.

Next steps

  1. Create a statement of intent: In two sentences or less state what your intent is going to be on each and every call moving forward.
  2. Type this up, print it out and put it somewhere near your phone where you can see it and recite it before each call.
  3. Be aware over the next several days of the impact this has on your calls.
  • Jun 26 / 2014
  • 0
Facing your fears, living with FEAR
Uncategorized

Living with F.E.A.R

Fear can often be our friend. It’s what has kept us alive as humans for many millennia. We are wired to be full of fear when we sense a threat in our environment. It’s what makes us think twice about climbing a rock face without a rope or jumping off a bridge just for the fun of it. As a sales person, a little bit of fear can give you an edge and make sure you prepare for your big presentation or pitch. Being afraid is natural part of life. In many cases it’s healthy, but fear can also burn up a lot of energy and stop us from realizing our true potential.

A number of years ago I found myself driving late at night from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein South Africa with my father Bill Gibson and my friend and mentor Jim Janz. It was the late 90’s and at that time violent carjackings were happening multiple times daily in the country. While the new ANC government had ushered in an era of unparalleled freedom and opportunity – crime also filled the vacuum that the previous regime had left.

One particularly heinous approach to carjacking was being employed frequently on the highways. These criminals would drag an old wrecked car onto the road and set it on fire – then they would lie on the road and often hide in the ditch as well. When you stopped on the side of the road to help they would rush out of hiding with assault rifles firing and take the victims vehicle by force. They would often kill the people in the car.

Before leaving Johannesburg that night we discussed this threat but didn’t ever think that it could be us that would be faced with a highway full of fire. We were well into Vrystaat (The Free State). It was around 1:00 am and we hadn’t seen another car, person or sign in quite a while. The Free State in many places quite closely resembles the Canadian Prairies – farm land as far as the eye can see and one very straight road that disappears into the horizon.

We were climbing a slight incline on what was otherwise a flat straight road. As we were climbing this hill I began to see an orange glow in the distance – the orange glow grew brighter and we could smell smoke coming into the vehicle. Cresting the hill we could see down the other side. Directly in our path was a raging fire at the bottom of the hill.

Facing your fears, living with FEAR

I began to slow down but my father quickly reminded me that often the carjackers would hide where people stopped and attempted to turn around. With only a couple hundred meters before we got to the fire on the road we discussed our options: we could slow down and still do a u-turn, we could stop and just wait, or we could step on the gas and hopefully drive around the blockade by using the gravel shoulder of the highway. We decided on option 3.

I put the pedal to the floor accelerating as we approached the fire. Jim placed his hand on my shoulder from the back seat as we uttered mutual “I love you man”s with our hearts pounding. I prayed that somehow we would make it around or through the fire without getting shot or having to harm another human being. We picked up more speed and Dad and Jim were now bracing themselves for a potential impact.

Suddenly I found myself slamming on the breaks and gearing down as the road turned to the left with no warning. The wheels chirped and hopped a bit but we stayed on the road. There was no burning car or carjackers – just a burning farmer’s field being razed to make room for new crops. The fire wasn’t blocking the road – the road did a quick hairpin turn around the farm and then continued on it’s original route. Our tears of fear quickly turned to tears of laughter as we literally belly-laughed for 10-minutes afterward.

What a neurotic bunch of Canadians! For me this experience is an amazing metaphor around a certain type of fear or F.E.A.R. This stands for:

False

Evidence

Appearing

Real

We can often see evidence of a potentially bad experience, are faced with the unknown or a new business challenge – and begin to start telling ourselves the story of what could happen. We use incomplete or false evidence and work ourselves up to a point to complete anxiety. This type of F.E.A.R. can drain our energy, rob us of opportunity and take us away from our purpose.

We can worry about changes in our business model, our next meeting with a boss or colleague or about our next sales call. This worry rarely solves any problems or contributes to our success in these situations.

As sales leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and community leaders it is vital that we challenge our own F.E.A.R. and help our people to do the same. The key is to start telling stories where we win in the end.

Next Steps:

  1. What F.E.A.R.’s have you recently entertained that turned out not to be real?
  2. How much time, money, energy and opportunity was wasted as a result of this F.E.A.R.?
  3.  What can you do to break this cycle and make sure you are focused on more empowering outcomes?
  • Jun 26 / 2014
  • 0
11:59:59 Jim Janz Goal Setting
Sales Blog, Sales Management Blog, Sales Training

11:59:59 – The Will to Win

11:59:59 Jim Janz Goal Setting

This weekend I watched my girlfriend’s all women’s team play in a baseball tournament. I sat on the sidelines (not the easiest thing for a guy who likes to be moving constantly) and watched them compete. They played some great ball and ended up 2nd overall in the tournament. What I want to focus on today is something their coach Chad had to say to the team.

One of the players asked what the score was. Chad’s response was “the score doesn’t matter – play like you’re behind by 5 in the last inning.” (The team was leading 12-9 at that point)

That one line resonated with me a lot. The difference between “beer-league” thinking and championship thinking lies within that one line. It’s about intensity and follow-through. It’s not about slightly exceeding the status quo (or our quota). It’s about seeing how far we can take it, competing with ourselves to win as big as we can. (For the record – they played hard until the very last play).

This lesson reminded me of a good friend and mentor of mine Jim Janz, a giant in the direct sales industry. He’s earned and still earns millions of dollars annually as a result of the sales leaders he has developed and helped become successful over the past 40+ years.

The single most important rule Jim shared with me that has helped him and his people succeed is this:

It’s not over until 11:59:59 on the final day of the month.

Success and quota attainment is not linear and it has as much to do with momentum and magnetism as it does with qualified prospects or the perfect sales process.

There is magic in 11:59:59.

Lets look at a typical scenario that I have seen hundreds of times:

A salesperson or entrepreneur sets a goal of $100,000 in sales for the month. By the 15th they are only at $19,000 in sales. At this point their attitude begins to shift and they already decide that the $100,000 is unattainable – in many cases they will also build a long list of reasons why it hasn’t happened. They begin to tell the story of why they can’t and won’t win. They say things like:

  • “The leads that marketing is delivering are duds.”
  • “The economy is really tight right now.”
  • “I don’t have time to make proactive calls – I’m too busy to look for new business.”
  • “No one else in the team is winning either – it’s tough out there.”

So on the 15th of the month they go and negotiate with their boss (or with themselves) and decide that $60,000 is a more reasonable goal. They also adjust their attitude, intensity and creativity to match that goal. Their customers can hear that lack of enthusiasm and lack urgency on the phone. At 9:30 am on the final Friday of the month they hit $62,000. They switch to thinking about the weekend, put their brain on auto-pilot and get ready for a fresh new start next month.

They tell themselves that when all that other stuff lines up (better leads, positive economics, fewer admin tasks and evidence that other people have done it) then they will be able to hit that $100,000 goal.

Then of course there are those people that don’t quit on the 15th of the month, or even at 9:30 am on the final day. The numbers don’t matter. They push for the goal.

I worked with a major Board of Trade’s sales team a number of years ago, helping them with their sales process. The sales manager has a diverse leadership style – she’s both highly empathetic and inclusive BUT you better perform if you work for her.

April is year-end for them and at 9:30 am on the final day of the month the entire team was well behind targets. She found them literally mulling about by the water cooler – telling their stories about why things had changed, why all the good prospects had already joined us, and why some people had good reasons for not renewing membership.

The manager pulled her team into their boardroom and gave them the 11:59:59 talk – it was their job to push through with the same intensity they started with month with –  and with an expectation that they can still win. She announced a celebration party that night in honor of them meeting and exceeding their quota. Each person was asked to go back and look over their top 20 prospects that still hadn’t signed yet and put together a compelling offer for them – and to continue to call and follow-up until the final hour.

Just after 6:00pm that day, not even 11:59:59 pm, her team had closed the equivalent of a month worth of business – the same day that started with them admitting defeat. It was the single biggest sales day they had on record that year.

They played like they were 5 points behind, but they played to win. Too many of us set a goal to win but will never know what we are capable of because we mentally walk off the field of business in the 4th inning.

One final lesson From Jim. Jim Janz would always tell his people that their job wasn’t to actually hit their BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) – it was to play to win until 11:59:59 on the final day of the month. At that time they would then take an inventory of their progress, celebrate their efforts, review lessons learned and then set a new audacious goal. Failure is never final or fatal – just work hard and learn from your mistakes.

I have two questions to wrap this up:

  1. What would happen if you worked and re-worked your plan until 11:59:59 pm on the final day of the month?
  2.  What would happen if you played like you were 5 points behind regardless of how big your last sale was?
  • Apr 23 / 2014
  • 0
Shane Gibson Sales Training Vancouver
Sales Training, Shane Gibson Bio, social media training

Online Professional Sales Certification Program Launches May 5th

Professional Sales Certificate Program

On May 5th the next Professional Sales Certificate Program starts. For many of our graduates it has helped boost their company revenues and personal career in a matter of months. It’s said that nothing happens until someone sells something. We may have all kinds of great gadgets and amazing tools like Twitter and LinkedIn but someone still needs to know how to close the business.

Working with Langara College, international speaker Bill Gibson of Knowledge Brokers (South Africa) and myself (Shane Gibson) have put together the ultimate sales training program for new sales professionals and professionals that want to add a revenue generating toolkit to their repertoire. The methodologies in this program have been successfully used and implemented by major sales organizations including BMW, ABSA Bank, Gestetner, Vodacom, Siemens and Ford to name a few.

Our next program starts soon and here are the dates:

Successful Selling Strategies – 60655
May 5 – 28, 2014

Persuasion, Communication & Relationship Building – 60656
June 2 – 25, 2014

Motivation, Closing & Keeping Clients – 60657
July 7 – 30, 2014

Sales & Planning Toolkit – 60658 * Updated with brand new content on social selling
Aug. 5 – 27, 2014

Each course is 18 hours in duration held over a six week period and consists of weekly reading, presentations, group discussions and live webinars. If participants can’t make the date and time of the live-webinar there will be an opportunity to watch a recorded version. All courses have testing built-in and each participant must have a passing grade in all courses to be eligible for the certificate.

This certificate is awarded to students who have successfully completed all four online courses below.
  1. Successful Selling Strategies
  2. Persuasion, Communication & Relationship Building 
  3. Motivation, Closing & Keeping Clients
  4. Sales & Planning Toolkit
Students will have access to their course on the first day using the Blackboard learning system. For course descriptions of our offerings at Langara College this term, please click HERE  and then on the orange Course Title. Please note that the CRN is the course number for registration.  If you have any questions at all, please email Lynn at lkitchen@langara.bc.ca
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About your Instructor and Trainer Shane Gibson

Shane Gibson Langara College Sales Program

Shane Gibson, Author

Shane was named on Forbes.com as the 5th most influential social sales professional in the world. Shane is an international speaker, and author on social media marketing and sales who has addressed over 100,000 people on stages in North America, Southern Africa, India, Malaysia and South America. He is in high demand as a keynote speaker on the topics of social media and sales performance.

Shane is the in-house Sales Trainer for BuildDirect and also the facilitator for the Langara College Professional Sales Certificate Program.

Shane’s books include Sociable! How Social Media is Turning Sales and Marketing Upside Down. Closing Bigger the Field Guide to Closing Bigger Deals and Guerrilla Social Media Marketing, co-authored with Jay Conrad Levinson.

Shane’s speaking and training clients that he has worked with include: Ford, CMA Canada, The Vancouver Board of Trade, Ford Motor Company, HUB International, Canaccord Financial and hundreds of entrepreneurs, individual sales people and marketers over the past 16 years. When he’s not working or tweeting you can find Shane hiking or skiing in British Columbia’s Coast Mountain range with his family.


  • Apr 08 / 2014
  • 3
* Sales Podcast, social media podcast

Why Sales People Need to Stop Googling and Start Nimbling

Social CRM Social Selling Software

Social CRM and social selling are two terms which I have seen go from obscurity to mainstream business topics in the past 24 months. Jon Ferrara CEO and Founder of Nimble, an early innovator in social CRM and social selling technology, took time out of his schedule to share with us the latest innovations in the space.

“Social selling is about inspiring and educating the customer as a trusted advisor.” - Jon Ferrara, CEO and Founder of Nimble

In this podcast Jon Ferrara talks about his new “Nimble Everywhere” plugin and tool for the Chrome browser. This plugin can literally embed rich, relevant data in any cloud based application – it even enhances tools like SalesForce.com or Microsoft 360 and Dynamics.

Some of the key talking points of the podcast were as follows:

  • Your contacts are everywhere so your social CRM and prospecting tools should be everywhere as well.
  • We need to turn connections into conversations and then those relationships into a measurable mutually beneficial business outcome for your company. This is something we all struggle with in sales and social networking for business and Nimble Everywhere makes this easier to do.
  • 60% of your sales time is looking people up, logging what you did. From a social communications perspective your CRM should aggregate these conversations with each contact in an automated fashion.
  • The inbox is more and more becoming the ignore box for many people. Social media and social networks give us a way to get around the inbox.
  • It’s not about who owns the customer. It’s about the fact that the customer now owns the process.
  • When I asked Jon about what his favorite social media tools were he said for him the two primary social selling channels are LinkedIn and Twitter for him and his organization.

If you want to dig deeper here’s a video presentation created by Nimble that shows you how Nimble Everywhere can enhance and streamline your sales process:

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