De-Commoditize Your Product (Sales Bytes, April 11, 2016)
A commodity is a product differentiated only by its price. If the only thing that differentiates you from the competition is price, you have more than a pricing problem. You have a failure-to-differentiate problem.
Stop Cutting Your Price (Sales Bytes, April 5, 2016)
“Discount” and “price-cut” are words that hurt the sale. Understand the premise behind each. To discount or cut price, one assumes that the asking price is too high. When buyers ask for a discount and salespeople comply, it feeds the perception that the salesperson has been overcharging all along. It confirms the buyer’s suspicion that price is negotiable.
Total Cost is a Better Way to Sell (Sales Bytes, March 28, 2016)
Total cost is the real cost of any commodity. Price is a product feature that describes acquisition. Total cost includes acquisition, ownership, usage, and disposal. Price shoppers make product-feature decisions.
Managing Customer Expectations (Sales Bytes, February 23, 2016)
Customer satisfaction is a function of how you perform vis-à-vis the customer’s expectations. Satisfaction is often expressed numerically as a ratio: performance to expectations. Customer satisfaction is an attitude and attitude drives behavior, including retention which is a measure of the likelihood that someone returns as a repeat customer. So, what affects expectations?
The Power of Humble Service (Sales Bytes, February 8, 2016)
Humble service happens when we realize . . .
Aggressive Salespeople (Sales Bytes, January 26, 2016)
The art and science of picking winners has been around since the first horse race. Picking sales winners is no different. Testing for selection is a billion dollar industry. Every testing company claims to have the right formula to identify top sales talent. This phenomenon began at about the time the human relations movement took root in management psychology. The earliest attempts at picking winners focused on two variables: aggressiveness and empathy.
The Best Response to a Price Objection (Sales Bytes, January 19, 2016)
Money is always a better conversation to have with customers than price. Price is a product feature like the height, weight, color, packaging option, lead time, etc. Money is a broader topic. Money is more about the total financial impact you have on the customer’s business.
Audacious Sales Goals (Sales Bytes, January 12, 2016)
Salespeople take leaps of faith every day in pursuit of their goals. So, it makes sense to have audacious goals—big, hairy sales goals that make your blood race through your veins and your bones itch. This is a good time of the year to think about your sales goals.
Keep It Simple, Salesperson (Sales Bytes, January 5, 2016)
Life is complex today. We thought technology would make things simpler. Instead, things got more complicated. Humans crave simplicity. Our brains are hardwired for it. Simplicity reigns supreme in a complex world. The KISS principle is good advice for salespeople: Keep it simple, salesperson.
Giving Thanks for Salespeople (Sales Bytes, November 24, 2015)
This is the time of year when people throughout North America give thanks. We celebrate our heritage and good fortunes. In this annual tradition is the practice of gratitude, which has been shown to offer significant physical, psychological, social, and spiritual benefits.
The One True Sales Question (Sales Bytes, November 19, 2015)
For Ernest Hemingway, the Holy Grail was that one true sentence. He spent his life searching for it and wrote plenty of them. For salespeople, the Holy Grail is that one true question.
Does Optimism Keep You a Prisoner of Hope? (Sales Bytes, November 10, 2015)
Persistence is a virtue; so is prudence. Winners never quit and quitters never win, right? Persistence is important, but how much persistence is too much?
The Number One Cause of Price Objections (Sales Bytes, October 21, 2015)
Last year, we surveyed 500 people to identify the causes of price resistance. Limited resources, fear, and lack of differentiation ranked toward the top, but they were not number one. The top driver of price resistance was a perceived lack of equity.
Deliver a Unique Customer Experience (Sales Bytes, October 13, 2015)
If price is the only thing that differentiates you from the competition, you have more than a pricing problem. Every product wrapped in creativity and delivered conscientiously becomes a differentiated solution and unique customer experience. This is the essence of Value-Added Selling.
Selling With Trust (Sales Bytes, October 6, 2015)
Trust is the currency of all good relationships. If two people like each other, trust each other, and want to do business, they will work out the details and price is a detail. Trust is visceral. Buyers feel it in their guts. Do your customers trust you?
To Succeed, Embrace Growth (Sales Bytes, September 28, 2015)
Fish swim. Birds fly. Humans grow. Our lives are works of art that we create for ourselves and for the world. Growth is development. As we grow, we develop into more of whom and what we are.
The Real Cost of a Price Objection (Sales Bytes, September 8, 2015)
Price objections come in different shapes and sizes but share one thing. They direct the conversation to cost.
Organizational Humility (Sales Bytes, August 31, 2015)
Organizations that embrace the paradoxical power of humility find that it is good business.
Can You Use More Humility In Your Life? (Sales Bytes, August 25, 2015)
We can all use more humility in our lives. This quiz will help you determine if you need more of this foundational virtue in your life.
Are You a Three-Percenter (Sales Bytes, August 20, 2015)
How much time and money do you invest in the brand over which you have the most control? I’m talking about Brand You. What are you waiting for?
Humility: The Most Powerful Paradox in Business (Sales Bytes, August 18, 2015)
Successful organizations embrace humility as a powerful paradox. What masquerades as meekness is really strength. The perceived weakness of this virtue is the source of its power. That is the paradox. Humility makes organizations strong. That, too, is the paradox. Strength comes from synergy.
Selling Principles, Not Just Techniques (Sales Bytes, August 3, 2015)
Ask yourself this question. Is your sales approach built on principles or techniques? If it’s built on techniques, you’re limited by the techniques you know.
Take Pride in Your Work (Sales Bytes, July 29, 2015)
Do you put your best work on display for the world to see? Or, do you do just enough to get by? Whether it’s a sales call, a customer service experience, or a coaching session, do you seal the quality of your efforts with your signature?
Sell the Big Three (Sales Bytes, July 16, 2015)
Have you ever done a good job of selling, but the buyer did a lousy job of buying? One of two things happened: You sold the right thing to the wrong person, or you sold the wrong thing to the right person. Either way, the result was no joy.
Fill Your Pipeline (Sales Bytes, July 7, 2015)
What would you do if you were losing 10% of your blood? First things first, you would stop the bleeding. That’s always a good strategy. Next, seek a transfusion to replace what you lost. This may sound farfetched for most people, but it is happening to your business right now. You are losing customers at a rate of 10% per year, and customers are the lifeblood of your business.
Growing Your Business (Sales Bytes, June 2, 2015)
For the majority of businesses, growth is a given. Salespeople grow their territories two ways—selling more to existing customers, and finding new prospects.
A Better Way to Sell (Sales Bytes, May 27, 2015)
A few days ago, I was talking to a young salesman about his enthusiasm for Value-Added Selling. He told me that he could see the financial advantages to adopting a value-added sales approach. I hear this a lot. In 1984, the price pressure that salespeople encountered nudged me to write the first edition of my book. But, it was never just about the money.
Sell Value, Not Price! (Sales Bytes, April 16, 2015)
Selling value is the number-one obstacle that salespeople face. It is challenging but not impossible. To sell value, let’s begin with an understanding of value—what it is not and what it is.
No One Is A 10 (Sales Bytes, April 7, 2015)
In the 1979 movie “10,” the Dudley Moore character falls hopelessly under the spell of the Bo Derek character. His quest is to capture the affection of this beauty. In the end, he discovers the reality that no one is a 10 and wishes to return to his prior life. No one is a 10. If you think you are a 10, you are really an 8.
The Perfect Combination of Selling Skills (Sales Bytes, March 31, 2015)
In sales, probing and listening are peas and carrots. These skills are the perfect diet for salespeople.
Cheap or Different: You Choose! (Sales Bytes, March 24, 2015)
If the only thing that differentiates you from the competition is your price, you have more than a pricing problem. You have a failure-to-differentiate problem. You can succeed as the low-cost provider. You can succeed as the differentiator. Try to do both, and you will fail.
The Perfect Sales Pitch (Sales Bytes, March 16, 2015)
Gifted musicians have perfect pitch. They can recognize or sing any musical note without a reference pitch. Talented salespeople have perfect pitch when they hit the right note and strike the right chord with their presentations.
1-2-4 Opportunity Management (Sales Bytes, February 3, 2015)
Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric, told a group of managers, “You can’t grow long-term if you can’t eat short-term. Anybody can manage short. Anybody can manage long. Balancing those two things is what management is.” Welch’s advice is as relevant for salespeople. Salespeople are managers; they manage opportunities.
Voice Mail, E-Mail: Friend or Foe? (Sales Bytes, January 21, 2015)
In 1982, a common question in our seminars was, “Tom, how do I get around the gatekeeper so I can talk to the decision maker?” In 2015, a common question in our seminars is, “Tom, how do I get around voice mail so I can talk to the decision maker?” It is the same problem, thirty years later. The difference is that technology has added another dimension: e-mail.
Brand Preference and Personal Loyalty (Sales Bytes, January 13, 2015)
If you left your company today, how much business would you take with you?
Resolve to Make More Calls in 2015 (Sales Bytes, January 6, 2015)
What would it mean to your sales if you made one additional face-to-face call on customers every day?
4 Signals the Customer is Ready to Buy (Paul Reilly)
How do you know when to ask for the sale? When the customer tells you to. The customer will tell you when they are ready to buy. They will give you clues. These are called buying signals.
Overcoming Call Reluctance (Sales Bytes, December 16, 2014)
Call reluctance is the fear, unwillingness, or hesitancy salespeople experience when they think about reaching out to customers whether they are cold calls or repeat calls. This can range from mild to severe.
7 Terrible Sales Lines that Have to Go (Paul Reilly)
It’s no secret that salespeople have been given a bad rep. Many organizations will remove the word “sales” from their titles. They are called account managers, territory managers, consultants, etc… One reason salespeople have this reputation is because of the phrases they use. Some are good, some could be better, and some are just plain lousy. Here is a list of the seven worst phrases salespeople use.
The Psychology of Decision Making (Sales Bytes, December 4, 2014)
For the past couple of years, I have invested my professional study time in the fascinating and emerging field of neuromarketing. It is the nexus of neuroscience, marketing, behavioral economics and psychology.
How Not To Close the Sale (Paul Reilly)
Professional salespeople focus on understanding the customer’s business, needs, and problems. The more time spent understanding the customer, the less effort it takes to move the sale forward.
Your True North (Sales Bytes, November 20, 2014)
Your guiding principles are your True North. These unyielding principles keep you on course. These non-negotiable principles are literally what you give your life for.
Four Sales Questions that Have to be Answered (Paul Reilly)
In Marilee Goldberg’s, The Art of The Question, she mentions that a question asked at the right time, to the right person, and in the right way can spark creativity. Goldberg has the right idea. Every question asked should serve a purpose.
I’m Satisfied With My Current Supplier (Sales Bytes, November 4, 2014)
Inertia, the stuff of physics, is a major obstacle for salespeople. Our research found that the second major challenge salespeople face (behind price resistance) is buyer inertia: “I am satisfied with my current supplier or product.” The buyer does not want to change. Change is a function of pain and gain.
Stop Selling Commodities (Sales Bytes, October 23, 2014)
A commodity is a product that is differentiated only by its price. If the only thing that differentiates your product from the competition is your price, you have more than a pricing problem. You have a failure-to-stand-out problem.
The Real Mission of Value-Added Selling (Sales Bytes, September 30, 2014)
Our mission in Value-Added Selling is simple: We sell products by solving problems, satisfying needs, and serving people. On the surface, this may seem obvious. That is why we dig deeper.
Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect (Paul Reilly)
The simple act of practicing doesn’t mean you achieve perfection. Simply showing up doesn’t mean you are going to be successful. Making X number of calls doesn’t mean you will make Y number of sales.
Is Your Pitch Breaking the Law? (Paul Reilly)
According to the FTC, a product can only be marketed as new for six months. Salespeople routinely make a sales pitch under the premise that the product is actually new.
Degrees of prospect satisfaction (Paul Reilly)
Accurately determining the satisfaction level of a prospect can be a difficult process.
Singletasking versus Multitasking (Sales Bytes, July 8, 2014)
Multitasking is one of those things in life that just because you can does not mean that you should.
Two Things Customers Want (Sales Bytes, June 27, 2014)
The Yin and Yang of business are the dynamic forces of contraction and expansion. Contraction is tightening and expansion is growth. These forces translate into the two things every customer wants: efficiency and traction.
Social Media Selling 101 (Paul Reilly)
If your game of phone-tag seems more like hide-and-seek, then it’s time to change the way you communicate with your customers.
Value-Added or Value-Received? (Sales Bytes, June 12, 2014)
Value-added is everything you do to something from the moment you touch it, transform it, and transfer it to someone else. It is how you put your fingerprints all over what you sell. Knowing your value-added is an important step in preparing to sell your value-added.
How People Decide (Sales Bytes, May 29, 2014)
Salespeople who sell to the buyer’s needs and wants are three times more likely to close the deal at a higher gross margin than salespeople who sell only to the buyer’s needs.
Why Do Customers Resist Change? (Paul Reilly)
I asked this question in a recent seminar. Read the article to see the responses I received.
Price Resistance Is Inevitable (Sales Bytes, May 13, 2014)
Of course you will hear price objections! I would be shocked if you didn’t. The simple psychology of human nature predicts this buyer reaction.
The Power of Your Words (Sales Bytes, May 5, 2014)
It is an exciting time to be in the communications business—selling and speaking. The burgeoning field of neuroscience is working its way into most professions, especially sales.
Calling Patterns of Today’s Salespeople (Sales Bytes, April 29, 2014)
Last fall, I conducted a study to determine the calling habits of B2B salespeople. Our sample was 297 distributor and manufacturer outside salespeople. My 33 years of sales training experience told me salespeople spend too much time doing things other than face-to-face (F2F) selling. The findings are disturbing.
A Job or a Calling? (Sales Bytes, April 7, 2014)
What is the difference between a job and a calling? Value-added salespeople view sales as a calling, not a job.
Don’t Burden Yourself with Low Expectations (Sales Bytes, March 27, 2014)
People rise or fall to the level of expectations that are set for them. What about the expectations you set for you?
Post-Sale Analysis (Paul Reilly)
A majority of salespeople do not thoroughly review their wins and losses. Instead of a thorough process review, there is an emotional review.
There’s No Traffic Jam on the Extra Mile (Sales Bytes, March 17, 2014)
“Nothing can do you so much harm as a lousy competitor. Be thankful for a good competitor.” (Market research pioneer Alfred Politz)
The Elevator Speech (Sales Bytes, March 4, 2014)
Everyone needs a good elevator speech. It is the fundamental sales conversation starter. The elevator speech has been around for at least as long as there have been elevators, probably longer.
The Power of Surprise (Paul Reilly)
Surprise has the ability to make every service experience that much better, or make everything worse.
What is Your Value-add-itude? (Sales Bytes, February 18, 2014)
From which direction does your definition of value flow—from you to the customer or from the customer to you?
Loss of Contact (Paul Reilly)
We have all been there. We meet with a prospect who starts to heat up. They like our company, they like us, and they like the solution we have provided. It is shaping up to be a nice sale, but we lose contact. The once-hot prospect has now cooled.
What is One More Call Worth? (Paul Reilly)
This is a perplexing question to answer because the answer will always be different.
Great Sales Attitudes – (Sales Bytes, February 10, 2014)
Sometimes, simplicity is best. These are a few of the attitudes we teach in Value-Added Selling.
Deep Listening – (Sales Bytes, January 28, 2014)
Deep listening is more than capturing sound that meets the ear. Deep listening precedes understanding. It is not enough that we know our customers’ needs, wants, and fears; we must understand these and the driving forces behind them.
Should Salespeople Have Pricing Authority? – (Sales Bytes, January 23, 2014)
“It is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion … work (and especially paper work) is thus elastic in its demands on time.” Cyril Parkinson, a British Naval historian and writer penned these famous words in his tongue-in-cheek essay in a 1955 edition of The Economist. This principle became known as Parkinson’s Law.
3 Ways to Tick Off a Customer – (Sales Bytes, January 14, 2014)
As an evolving professional speaker, I am always on the lookout for new material. It keeps things fresh. In Value-Added Selling, this is called tinkering. Inevitably, someone in the marketplace accommodates my professional growth and my tinkering.
Tom Reilly’s Reading List
I often get the request for a reading list of books to add to a professional library. Here are some of my favorites. Enjoy.
This Year I Will Diet . . . (Paul Reilly)
How often do we make the same resolutions? This year, consider switching it up and focusing on professional development. Your competition is.
Are You Ashamed of your Profession? (Paul Reilly)
In certain cases, salespeople are viewed negatively by their companies, their prospects, and themselves. Some organizations consider their salespeople a pain when they challenge the status quo, policies and procedures, or other members of the organization.
3C Service Strategy (Paul Reilly)
According to a recent Gallup Poll, 93% of customer experiences are average or below average. Customer service is more difficult than ever before and customer expectations are at all-time highs.
We Need To Talk (Paul Reilly)
B2B is More Than Business-2-Business—It Is Back-2-Basics (Paul Reilly)
Why do we hear the term “back to the basics” so frequently? Because it works. Regardless of the arena, “back to basics” is in everyone’s playbook. In the military, recruits begin with basic training. Athletes in a slump go “back to basics.” In politics leaders preach “back to basics.” The message applies everywhere, particularly in business. Why are basics so important in business?
How to Tell if Your Customer is Lying
The Power of Value-Added Selling
The top-line pressure that salespeople face today is both a strategic and a tactical challenge for their companies’ bottom lines. Global economic concerns, high unemployment, and a lethargic recovery from the Great Recession have most people feeling anxious.
Value-Added Is Thriving
Value-added is neither a cliche nor a gilded lily, but often misunderstood. It is neither a chic nor a whimsical attempt at standing out. There is nothing faddish about value-added; it has been around for a long time. From pre-historic peoples that decorated cave walls with images of their time, to today’s digital imagery, humans have been adding value to the way they record their view of the world.
What Is Value-Added Selling?
The problem with conventional sales training is that it offers selling techniques independent of a broader, more coherent go-to-market strategy. Value-Added Selling is more than a book, a speaker, or a website; it is a philosophy and an organizational go-to-market strategy. Variably called added value selling or value based selling, Tom Reilly explains Value-Added Selling as a philosophy and a process. His pioneering book spawned the value-selling revolution. This article will help you understand how to design your value added sales training program.
How to Build a Persuasive Sales Presentation
Persuasion is a core competency for salespeople. To sell more effectively, you must become a master of influence. In this article, Tom Reilly teaches you how to build a compelling value story by using your passion, unique selling proposition, and value proposition to increase your persuasiveness.
The 4-P’s of Professional Selling
The sales force exists for one reason—to execute marketing strategy tactically. Successful sales and marketing teams work jointly to articulate their value proposition to the market. Drawing parallels to the Neil Borden’s concept of the marketing mix, Tom Reilly discusses personalization, perceived value, performance value, and proof as vital to creating a value-added sales presentation.
Value-Added Selling Is a Team Sport
Functional silos are a leading cause of customer dissatisfaction. The sales force may sell the first experience with the customer, but it is the total experience with a company that brings customers back. In this article, Tom Reilly shares his insights into teamwork, silos, and how value-added organizations create satisfied customers.
The Value-Added Sales Process
Many problems that salespeople encounter come from a short-term, transaction-oriented sales mentality. This transactional approach means that they go from deal to deal and from order to order. Buyers view them as order takers. In this article, Tom Reilly discusses Value-Added Selling as a process. This strategic approach to selling makes salespeople better planners and thinkers about the sales process.
Customer Service Is More Than a Department
In most companies, customer service is more of a department than an attitude. This means that only certain employees feel and act accountable for customer satisfaction. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) has fallen in recent years. In this article, Tom Reilly discusses how you can make the customer service philosophy a reality in your company.
How to Create a Value-Added Sales Culture
Building a sales culture is a top-down, bottom-up process. Sales managers must be strategic thinkers and coaches for their sales force. In this article, Tom Reilly offers his thoughts on sales coaching and what sales managers must do to create a value-added sales culture. Tom drills down into five specific areas for creating this sales culture: introspection, mission clarity, focusing, planning, and coaching salespeople.
How to Become a Better Sales Coach
One-in-three sales managers is rated as an outstanding coach by his or her salespeople. This means two-thirds of sales managers need help to become a better sales coach. In this article, tom Reilly discusses seven rules for sales managers that want to become better coaches. Additionally, tom offers tips for delivering feedback. This material is excerpted from his book, Coaching for Sales Success.
Are You a Great Manager?
A twenty-five year study of 80,000 managers conducted by the Gallup organization found common denominators of great managers. In this article, Tom Reilly shares with you the findings from this study.
Leadership in Tough Times
Tough times demand a lot from leaders. In tough times, employees look to their leadership for reassurance and steadiness. In this article, Tom Reilly discusses what managers must do to become strong and effective leaders in tough times. For their teams to thrive, not just survive in tough times, sales coaches must lead by example. Tom offers specific tips to achieve this.
Selling in Tough Times Is a Matter of Attitude
To prevail in tough times, salespeople must do these three things: consider the source of bad news, remain optimistic, and use positive mental programing. Tom Reilly shares his insights on how salespeople can thrive, not just survive in tough times.
Tough Times Attitudes for Salespeople
In tough times, half of the battle is in your head and the other half is on the streets. The mental battle is as important as the battle you fight in the field. In this article, Tom Reilly shares specific ideas on how salespeople can sell value in tough times. Tom emphasizes that you have a choice for how you want to compete in tough times.
When You Can’t Compete on Price
Price resistance is daily reality for salespeople. There can only be one cheapest supplier; the rest must compete on value, not price. If you cannot compete as the low-cost provider then you must compete on your value-added. In this article, Tom Reilly discusses how you can compete on your total value, not just on price. Tom emphasizes that it is important to add value, not cost.
What Is a Fair Price?
Guilt is a major obstacle to salespeople capturing maximum value from the sale. Your attitude and beliefs can be your biggest competitor when it comes to profitability. In this article, Tom Reilly discusses the negative attitudes that affect how profitably salespeople sell.
Price Objections Are the Number One Obstacle for Salespeople
The five most dreaded words for salespeople are: “Your price is too high.” A study of sales manages found that price objections are the number one obstacle for salespeople. In this article, Tom Reilly explains that cutting price in only one way to respond to price resistance.
Crush Price Objections
Price shoppers offer push-back on your price. Salespeople have options beyond lowering price for dealing with price shoppers. In an article named for his best-selling book, Tom Reilly offers six ways to respond to price objections. This article will help you feel more in-control of your reaction to price resistance.
Factors That Affect Price Sensitivity
Price-sensitive buyers try to get salespeople to cave in on price. Responding to price objections means that you must first understand those factors that affect price sensitivity. In this article, Tom Reilly discusses how your knowledge of these factors can make you a better price negotiator.
Why Salespeople Cut Price
The number one reason salespeople cut price is because they can. There are many reasons why salespeople cut price. Price negotiations do not necessarily have to end in the salesperson’s lowering the price. In this article, Tom Reilly offers insight into why salespeople fail to hold the line on prices.