Skinned Knees – What An MBA Didn’t Teach You About Sales

The sales profession is challenging. You need to work hard at it to succeed. You need to learn from the best. You need to improve your skills continuously. If you think you can sell since you are a hit at parties and have a lot of friends, you may soon find that you are a failure as a salesperson. Blunt truth: 

because the sales profession is so hard, you have to focus on doing everything in sales very well, or you will be considered a failure.

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Are You A Player, Or A Coach?

Are You A Player, Or A Coach?

March brings March Madness. March Madness is the college basketball tournament where the 64 teams battle to find out who is the best college basketball team of the season.

While you are watching your team this year, I would like you to learn a lesson that every basketball coach has had to learn. The easiest way to learn this lesson is to do a little analysis. I would like you to count the number of times where the game is tight, one team is on the free-throw line, and the coach makes a substitution – himself.

Yes, count the number of times the coach doesn’t trust the player he has been coaching all season and puts himself on the line to make that winning shot.

I can already tell you the number: zero.

During a game, the coach can rant, rave, coach, and cajole but he cannot play the game. He has to trust that the athletes that he has coached all season will take his instruction, remember the skills that they have practiced, and execute those plays as they were taught.

This doesn’t happen in sales. It is almost commonplace for the coach (the sales manager) to step in and drive the conversation. He puts his athlete, whom he has been coaching perhaps for years, on the bench. 

So, let’s explore what would happen if suddenly you were required to stay on the sidelines while you watched your salespeople sell and it was impossible for you to take over the sale.

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Drive Revenue During A Crisis

Drive Revenue During A Crisis

The global pandemic has caused crisis after crisis to hit US companies. These crises include:

  • global supply chain problems affecting worldwide shipping
  • increased prices due to the shortage of components or subassemblies
  • labor shortages

To assist our clients, Sean O’Shaughnessey and Kevin Lawson teamed up to create the following webinar. The webinar originally aired on January 13, 2022.

The following is a transcript of the webinar video above. It has been sparsely edited to increase its readability, but many of the idioms and poor spoken grammar have been left in place. The transcription was automatically generated by Sonix.ai and, as capable as that product is, there are times when words are missed or sentence structure was incorrectly interpreted. We have tried to catch all of these software misses, but we are confident that some still remain. The below text is provided for those that would rather read than watch a video.

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A Conversation: Why Small Businesses Don’t Have Consistent Revenue

A Conversation: Why Small Businesses Don’t Have Consistent Revenue

I was recently interviewed by Bob Clark on his podcast 808 Podcast. It is named 808 because 808 looks like Bob and the internet loves short video content so it is less than 8 minutes and 8 seconds. We had a great conversation in under 8 minutes and 8 seconds while Bob walked me through four high-level questions (and a few clarifying questions).

I went through the process of having the conversation transcribed so that you can read the content if you prefer to read more than listen. This transcription tries to put the text into a more readable format.

You can find the podcast here. At the bottom of this article, there is a YouTube version of the podcast.

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Do You Have A Great Sales Plan?

Are you experiencing any of the following common sales issues?

  • Inability to take sales “to the next level”
  • Difficulty finding the “right” salesperson for your company
  • Not sure where to start – “I don’t know what I don’t know”
  • Lack of a formal sales process
  • Stalled out proposals
  • Not being able to effectively articulate the value proposition, solution or service

Great companies deserve a great plan

You have developed incredible offerings. You have solid leadership in place. Yet, you still need some help with improving your sales productivity.

Let the Genesis Sales Plan by Sales Xceleration and delivered by New Sales Expert LLC provide you with the structure and key personnel needed to surpass your goals.

Your sales vision statement should be a clear, concise, and future-focused declaration of where you want your sales efforts to lead and the path you’ll take to get there.

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Future-focused
  • Destination-driven
  • Path-Oriented
  • Inspiring and empowering

With such a critical tool in place, your sales team can boost sales by looking forward. If you do not know how to create such a plan, we are happy to help you. Please contact us via our Contact page and we will sit down with you to discuss how we can help you accelerate your revenue.

The Pay Is High and Jobs Are Plentiful, but Few Want to Go Into Sales

The Pay Is High and Jobs Are Plentiful, but Few Want to Go Into Sales

According to ZipRecruiter and the Wall Street Journal, people are hesitant to go into sales for a career. ZipRecruiter shows the number of sales roles advertised has risen steadily this year, up 65% to more than 700,000 open positions around the U.S., after big layoffs decimated the field at the outset of the pandemic a year ago.

happy black woman laughing on street
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Many young workers erroneously assume that sales work means convincing customers to buy with high-pressure tactics and are turned off. In recent years, the sales profession has dramatically changed from cold calls to potential customers to consulting with companies that often seek out products.

It’s time to rethink the way you think about sales. The new template for a salesperson is not about cold-calling. You have to be empathetic and deeply curious about your clients’ businesses. Sales is not about high-pressure cold calling techniques, but rather it is about understanding your clients and using your products to achieve their goals.

Sales is not about high-pressure cold calling techniques. Sales is about building relationships with people. If you are looking to grow sales, stop focusing on the trade tricks and start focusing on understanding how to sell effectively. According to top influencers in the field, the best way to do this is by listening more than talking and asking open-ended questions that allow for two-way communication.

Sales is a profession that helps businesses and people solve problems. As salespeople, managers, or executives, you help your company make more money. You also help customers find solutions to their problems. Sales is about solving problems for the betterment of both parties involved in the transaction. The skillset and mindset needed for this profession are not innate but can be learned with hard work and practice.

To establish yourself as an effective salesperson, manager, or executive, it’s important to know how sales works from all angles – customer-facing interactions and internal processes alike. It is also important to always be curious about your company, product, and prospect’s business.

After 36 years in Sales (and God willing many more to come), this is the greatest career in the US industry. I encourage all bright, young professionals that want a daily mental challenge to go into Sales.

In-person vs. virtual selling: How modern sales teams can operate after COVID

In-person vs. virtual selling: How modern sales teams can operate after COVID

The average cost of a face-to-face sales call is reportedly $250 – $500. With virtual sales calls, you can talk to your prospects for a much lower price. Virtual sales calls are an easy and inexpensive way to start building relationships and generating leads.

Virtual sales calls have become more and more popular in the past few years, especially during and now after the global pandemic. The most apparent advantage of virtual sales calls is that they can be conducted from anywhere and anytime. This means that companies can save office space while still conducting meaningful business conversations with customers and prospects. Salespeople can save time by using virtual sales calls to get on the radar of potential buyers or secure new leads.

Another advantage is the cost savings of not having a physical presence at an event or trade show. Virtual sales calls also offer a level of confidentiality. 

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Curiosity Kills the Quota

I recently spoke to Robert Gillette, the host of the podcast Reclaiming Sales. It was a great conversation! We discussed many things that will benefit beginning sales professionals. Specifically, we discussed:

  1. Get to know your prospects better, understand how they make and lose money.
  2. Get curious, and stay that way… even when you’ve heard your 100th prospect tell you the same thing.
  3. Build your belief, it will keep you company when times get tough.

You can listen to our conversation by subscribing to Robert’s podcast here. You can also subscribe by going to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and many more that are listed here.

The following is a transcription of our conversation for those that prefer to read rather than listen. The transcription is as close as possible to the spoken word but effort was made to try to make it a little more readable with fairly grammar correct phrasing, sentence structure, and paragraph structure. Where the commentary overrode grammar or the use of synonyms, the spoken word was chosen.


Announcer 0:30  

You’re listening to Reclaiming Sales because you don’t need to sell your soul to be successful with your host and fellow salesman, Robert Gillette.

Robert Gillette 0:41  

Robert Gillette
Reclaiming Sales Podcast Host

Hey everybody, welcome back to the show. My name obviously is Robert Gillette, and I have a new friend of mine. I know everybody I meet on the show, I say my new friend, but it’s true so far—a gentleman named Sean O’Shaughnessey. Honestly, the reason why you’re on the show, to be totally honest, is he, you engage with me, you commented on the things that I post, and you send me messages. And you know, when you’re doing a podcast, it’s like screaming into the void. And so when the void reaches back out and gives you feedback, it’s incredibly helpful. I’m used to performing on stage, in general, so I just wanted to have you on the show, first of all, to get your perspective on what we’ve been talking about so far. But, still, you also have some pretty deep claws into this whole sales game as well, and you have some perspectives that I just want to explore and see what we can uncover over the next 20 minutes or so. But before we get onto that, Sean, why don’t you, I guess before you take off your sales guy hat, what do you sell and who do you sell it to.

Sean O’Shaughnessey 1:42  

I am the CEO of a company called New Sales Expert. I sell sales management to companies with bad sales management or don’t know how to have sales management.

Robert Gillette 1:56  

Okay, and we don’t have a lot of, you know, people on the show who aren’t salespeople. But I guess my first question to you before we move too far into this is. Do you think it’s harder to sell to salespeople or to sell to non-salespeople? Is it hard to sell to people who sell for a living?

Sean O’Shaughnessey 2:16  

Sean O’Shaughnessey
CEO and President
New Sales Expert, LLC

So it’s I think it’s easier to sell to salespeople because we like to hear a good pitch. I actually sell, though, to the CEO that is frustrated because he doesn’t know how to manage a sales force. So that’s actually whom I sell to. And that’s the problem I solve.

Robert Gillette 2:32  

Okay, so you’re actually selling to a CEO or someone at that C suite level.

Sean O’Shaughnessey 2:37  

Correct. I’m usually selling to the founder of the company. And he is in a situation where he can’t figure out how to manage salespeople, how to recruit salespeople, and how to make salespeople better. So that’s what I do for him or her.

Robert Gillette 2:51  

Unfortunately, mostly him, but we’re working on that diversity by brute force. We’re doing it as a country anyways. 

So let’s, let’s roll this back to the beginning of your career, how did you get into sales. And why did you stick with it all those years?

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May 2021 Newsletter

Drive New Sales
In Your Company


What’s the Secret Sauce for Better Sales Processes?

A recipe is essentially a process: Add a dash of this, a dollop of that, mix thoroughly, season to taste, and voilà! Success! When it comes to sales, the magic ingredient in the sales process – the secret sauce, if you will – is data. Fresh, relevant, heaping portions of meaningful, actionable data.
Here’s why using a data-driven sales approach is so important, and what types of data are essential to the mix:

Where Sales Process Ingredients Come Together

First things first: Your company’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is where essential data should be stored, mixed, and prepared. Metaphorically speaking, it’s the pantry, the mixing bowl, and the oven where your sales process recipe comes together. Using sales performance metrics and other key data in your CRM, you can refine your sales processes to achieve new levels of sales success.

This can be true IF you first ensure the quality of your CRM and the data within it. It’s essential, for example, for your CRM to be well-chosen and properly configured.

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Sean O’Shaughnessey
New Sales Expert, LLC


New Sales Expert LLC helps SMB companies accelerate their revenue growth by helping them set up systems and best practices to bring products to market more effectively and develop new sales.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected your company’s sales, you are not alone. As a veteran sales leader, I utilize my expertise to help companies in times of trouble by building the sales systems, processes, and accountability you need to create record-breaking growth. If the past has taught me anything, it is that those that develop a plan-ahead strategy will far surpass their competitors once the crisis is over.

My goal is to drive sales growth. I do this with Sales Xceleration’s proven system that focuses on creating record-breaking sales for your company, defined in these 3 steps:

  1. Create a Sales Plan
  2. Find Your Best Customers
  3. Grow Your Sales

Visit My Website


The Pitch You Want To Give, Yet Need To Create

Every day at a small or medium-sized company has challenges. You know this. Having been in your shoes, I find that developing the first sales pitch can be both heartbreaking and exciting. Starting from scratch and being ready to take on the world is noble, yet the downside is having absolutely no historical examples to jumpstart the creative process.

You may be lucky. Your company may be biting at the heels of one or more big competitors. If this is the case, you simply position yourself against their value proposition and say that you are better at something than the big guys.

Maybe you are also cheaper than the big guys (I hope not because pricing can always be lowered due to competitive pressures). Creating a value proposition that is “cheaper” may not be enough to differentiate you in the long run, but there is no question that it can be an advantage if your cost model still allows you to be profitable.

Do Not Internalize Doubt
But what if you need to create a unique value proposition and you cannot copy the value proposition of anyone else? What if your offering is so unique that it is hard to find another company and copy their idea?

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Sales Plan Checklist

Creating a sales plan is not a one-time exercise, but a living document that needs to be updated and revisiting frequently. Periodically reviewing your sales plan enables you to make adjustments to maximize sales results. If you haven’t created a sales plan, download our free Sales Plan Checklist to get started.

How To Win More 7-Figure Deals

Dean Wiener is one of the best sales professionals that I have ever met. He has made a career out of listening to the customer’s needs, understanding the customer’s business, and helping his customer. Few professionals are as capable as Dean Wiener.

Brian Burns recently interviewed Dean. Brian has done a series of interviews with salespeople and sales management; even I have been interviewed by Brian. This is a great series for salespeople with less than 20 years of experience that want to truly improve their skill in their profession.

Check out the interview below

February 2020 Newsletter

New Sales Expert LLC – February Newsletter
Preview
Drive New Sales
In Your Company
February 2021

Prepared to Lead Your Sales Team This Year? Here’s How to Make Sure!

If you want to know how to be a successful sales manager, you might first think about your experience and track record in sales. After all, if you’ve succeeded in sales, you’re all set to succeed leading your sales team, right? Well, it’s probably not that simple.

Why Sales Team Leadership Matters

Why is sales team leadership so important? If you think the singular benefit of increased sales is the answer, think again. Sales can increase in the short term by using a variety of strategies and tactics. Sales can increase due to external factors, too. And certainly, the general economic landscape plays a role in whether sales rise or fall. But none of these factors are reliable and sustainable. Truly effective sales leadership, on the other hand, can position your company for long-term sales growth, increasing market share, and sales team member satisfaction and loyalty. Achieving all these elements year after year depends not on trendy tactics but on excellence in sales team leadership.

Sean O’Shaughnessey
New Sales Expert, LLC
(513) 348-8700

New Sales Expert LLC helps SMB companies accelerate their revenue growth by helping them setup systems and best practices to bring products to market more effectively and develop new sales.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected your company’s sales, you are not alone. As a veteran sales leader, I utilize my expertise to help companies in times of trouble by building the sales systems, processes and accountability you need to create record-breaking growth. If the past has taught me anything, it is that those that develop a plan-ahead strategy will far surpass their competitors once the crisis is over.

My goal is to drive sales growth. I do this with Sales Xceleration’s proven system that focuses on creating record-breaking sales for your company, defined in these 3 steps:
1. Create a Sales Plan
2. Find Your Best Customers
3. Grow Your Sales

Top Salespeople Want To Work On The Best Teams
Great people want to be surrounded by great people. Top athletes want to play on the same team as other top athletes. Top salespeople want to work in the same company as other top salespeople.

Just like in football, the team doesn’t win if everyone isn’t doing their job. Linemen need to block, running backs need to run fast and not fumble, and wide receivers need to catch the ball in bounds. Every individual position contributes to the success of the team.

Good salespeople on an underperforming team feel like Sisyphus trying to get the stone to the top of the hill. Nothing they do is good enough. They are frequently asked to do more while seeing their less-skilled peers praised or even rewarded for just getting by.

Take a few minutes to rate your sales leadership and uncover any potential gaps with recommendations on how to improve your sales team in any troubled areas.
About Sales Xceleration

S
ales Xceleration is a fully integrated sales consulting business. It was created to license highly qualified individuals with 10 or more years in sales management, and empower them to deliver sustainable sales performance improvement to our clients through the creation of sales strategy, process, and execution.


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