Progressive Selling is Storytelling

Sales Manager with team

Sales professionals love commissions! Moreso, they love long-term deals that continue to deliver commissions. If business-to-business sales reflected the movie business, sales professionals would only want to produce sequels. Consequently, success requires storytelling talent that have prospects anticipating the next purchase while enjoying the current buy. Progressive selling is the secret to delivering more volume through more intricate transactions. While more complex sales demand more time, more value can be extracted from stickier deals. So, how does a successful sales professional manage prospecting, servicing, and delivering to an increasingly more discerning marketplace to sustain greater income? The dollars are in the details!

Development
Whether prospects plan to purchase technology, training, or financial services, the expectation of singular transactions are dead. Success depends on the ability to establish long-term relationships resulting in services continuing to meet customers’ explicit and ongoing needs. Successful vendors build up expectations and then deliver with increased capacity. Considering that larger opportunities typically mean increased customization, extensive preparation is essential.

Recognizing that effective selling is the result of effective storytelling, then the elements for the story must be prepared at all times. Progressive selling extends beyond, prepared collateral and scripts. Winning in this environment demands securing and exchanging market intelligence. Thoroughly understanding and intelligently discussing competitors’ strengths and weaknesses builds credibility. Discerning prospects true pain points so that they can be healed by the vendor’s solution drives high volume sales activity. Ultimately, mastering processes that emphasize and demonstrate an individual vendor’s advantage is essential to growth. Demonstrating persistence, then delivering through proven processes pay dividends!

Resolution
Also, contributing to a winning story’s successful execution is what happens after the hero prevails. What is the customer’s “happily ever after”? Throughout the investigation, demonstration and objection overcoming, progressive vendors seamlessly include prospects in each step of the transaction’s process. Beyond delivering a product or service, establishing a relationship that confidently removes ongoing problems creates an environment where the most value emerges.

Knowledge of the macro business landscape also provides an enormous advantage. Part of the vendor’s story is to be a reliable source of goods, services, intelligence, and personal enrichment of the individual buyer’s reputation. The story’s credibility grows every time the sales professional or her organization contributes to the customers’ organizational success, as well as the personal success of the individual buyer. Like any good movie a satisfying resolution, even ones with open-ended issues requiring additional storytelling, creates anticipation for the next opportunity. In progressive selling, the resolution is not the end. It is actually an offramp for the next adventure!

Takeaways
When evaluating potentially successful opportunities, demonstrating tenacity and process are essential. Integrating too many parts to create a singular business transaction is inefficient. However, both parties can minimize costs when achieving consistency through sufficient collaboration. Essentially, build intelligent processes, then trust them. Furthermore, applying progressive storytelling frameworks provide paths to future opportunities. Enjoying the characters, resolving conflicts to engage in future adventures, and believing in products that create better experiences, are all elements of good stories. Likewise, they are good elements that result in additional, cost-effective buying opportunities. Relationships, trust, quality, and service reflect complex elements that reveal why progressive relationships are difficult, yet worthwhile. Ultimately, sharing successful adventures that benefit organizations and individuals create the blockbuster deals that result in business superstardom!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

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Effective Selling is Storytelling

Confident businessman giving a presentation to his team

Once upon a time a great ad in the Sunday newspaper and a superior location on Main Street was the secret to a successful business. Welcome to the future! Now, successful sales growth requires connecting with your audience, identifying key words that strike a chord with targeted prospects, and over-delivering on service promises. Nevertheless, above all these attributes, effective selling relies on communicating and connecting with cultivated buyers. Simply, a great story accomplishes this achievement! Storytelling enables prospects and customers to join vendors on the ride toward business growth and mutual satisfaction.

Sell To Your Audience
Just like a great story has heroes, villains, and conflicts, business interactions feature various parties interacting to resolve particular problems. As business becomes more complex and fluid, customers and competitors become more difficult to distinguish. Simply, telling the good guys from the bad guys gets harder. Consequently, messaging consistency becomes more essential. Knowing the audience’s expectations does, too.

For example, customers no longer typically visit a lot to shop for a car. They investigate online before narrowing their selection. They verify with trusted resources. Furthermore, prospects really no longer want a car. They want a conspicuous, stylish representation of their station in life; or cost-effective, reliable transportation. Consequently, success dictates selling the lifestyle, not the performance metrics. Sales results directly relate to intimately knowing the characteristics and motivations of specifically defined targets. Growth happens when vendors identify, then sell, to their audience and no one else.

Service Beyond the Sale
Furthermore, selling now reflects multiple series of events. Consequently, marketing and selling must coordinate in unprecedented ways. Considering that customers arrive with more information than previously possible, customer expectations have dramatically increased. Service beyond the sale is more than profit-enhancing warranties and insurance options. Effective selling now features promoting new customers into the community of customers.

Literally, purchasers are buying into the tribe! Newsletters, social media groups, video testimonials, surveys, updates are part of the selling, service and satisfaction experience. Asking for referrals is now mandatory and expected. So, is including customers in conversations about new developments. Customers are now part of the vendor’s ongoing story. Customers’ ability to contribute to effective storytelling perpetuates branding success. Superior results demand perpetuating positive interactions, sharing industry innovations, in addition to communicating customer success in market focused conversations.

Takeaways
Effective marketing means leveraging every opportunity and attribute to continue sales growth. Approach sales efforts with that mindset. Repeat customers remain more cost-effective than prospecting for new ones. Referrals are more cost effective, too. Actively cultivate both. Be present in the customers’ culture. Understand and use the marketplace’s evolving language and behaviors. Claiming a product is 99.4% pure is no longer effective marketing. Depending on the product, selling the product’s purity almost connotes illegal activity. However, contributing content and events to the target market’s community expands marketing efforts that results in new prospects eagerly turning into loyal customers. This marketing approach only works when the community believes the narrative. Be truthful. Emphasize storytelling power to promote business into new audiences, and subsequently new markets.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

 

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You Got Any Partners?

After Hours Young Professionals

A popular undergraduate introduced his latest girlfriend to his best friend. After the girlfriend exchanged pleasantries and passed the best friend’s eye test, he smiled broadly at the young lady and enthusiastically asked, “You got any partners!!?” The eager buddy smacked the core of networking in one question. He immediately cashed in social capital from his friend with the new love interest to create more personalized value.

He astutely calculated that his next opportunity could easily come from a very warm introduction from a party invested in his success. Likewise, the girlfriend wanted to launch a successful relationship with her new romantic partner. What better way to garner her new man’s favor and dominate his attention than by offering his buddy one of her cute friends? Business networking works the same.

Connect
Networking’s primary goal is to connect individuals to opportunities! Whether opportunities are personal, business or both, the transaction requires intentionality and personal interaction. Successful networking requires a plan. Prosperous professionals intentionally use connections to extend their reach. By accessing more people and recognizing their value, the resourceful networker multiplies connections with each relationship.

Social capital is an investment-grade asset. With expectations that introductions generate additional value, either immediately, or at some future point, investing in relationships yields stronger economic foundations. Exchanging contacts is an important strategy to create long-term gain. Prosperous networkers genuinely know and intentionally track the value of members of their network. The best relationships are sincere and sincerity is based on honesty. Connect people with genuinely aligned interests and clearly expect reciprocity.

Collaborate
The second step in growing a network is working together. Having partners clearly implies creating value and building teamwork. Growing social resources requires executing specific tactics focused on investing in ongoing success. Both sides of each transaction must benefit at some point. People do business with people with the expectation of personal gain. Consequently, combining resources for mutual growth is fundamental to business success. Having trusted partners that meet commitments and demonstrate abilities to execute results in group success.

Collaboration suggests that parties contribute resources and relationships for a profitable end. More importantly, collaboration suggests that opportunities will be revisited often. Organizations can have relationships that consistently yield results. Nevertheless, individuals, more importantly, must own profitable relationships. Organizations change for reasons beyond any single individual’s control. But, people’s fundamental character tends to remain steady. Understand contact’s core character before collaborating. Profits can be transactional. But, enduring value creates recurring wealth. That benefit results from accurately assessing individual character.

Takeaways
Whether interests are transactional, romantic, or both, relationship fundamentals are consistent. Results carry the day! Relationships are essential to creating value. An individual has talent, but connecting with others super-sizes value. Connections are foundational to networking, but are only the first step. Make introductions, and keep in touch. Actively seek opportunities to collaborate. Furthermore, collaborate with a long-term perspective. Each jointly successful transaction builds credibility and value that leverages into additional growth through an expanding network. A simple introduction on a college campus can lead to long-term, value-driven relationships based on trusts and shared secrets. To build that foundation, identify a trustworthy contact. Then ask, “Do you have any partners?”. Another successful networking plan just started!

 

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

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Pass the Turkey

Turkey Trot

Holidays are opportunities for incredible memories and superior storytelling. Anyone can reminisce about slipping Aunt Edna’s toxic dressing to the dog. But, what stories do high achievers tell resulting from the holidays? Who makes progress while everyone else literally fills their pie-holes? Who grinds instead of following the herd into a turkey-induced coma? What networking tactics are winners using to position their next conquest while the majority rests? How does “Pass the Turkey” impact results? Passing the turkey is required at dinnertime when the family has assembled. But, passing the turkey also describes making progress beyond others regarding personal growth.

Outperform Mediocrity
Mediocre minds think Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for not having to work. High achievers treat Thanksgiving as another day to connect with other high achievers. Turkey Day is not a secret society’s code word to assemble and conspire for word domination. But, it does provide opportunities to practice competing. Turkey Trots, or Thanksgiving Races, occur across the nation for overzealous souls who risk the elements and early mornings to contribute to charity and exercise. While mediocrity is grateful that the alarm is not even set that morning, ambitious achievers rise and grind toward specific causes. Reasons vary among exercise, the beneficiary’s cause, enjoying competition, justifying future gluttony, or old-fashioned networking. Regardless, every individual is up early with a purpose. Eat the bananas, run the course, or walk with friends, just connect with people sharing an achievement mindset. Do not sell, rather intentionally connect. Make memories. Running in the November cold, gives you a connection that people with blankets over their heads can never fully appreciate.

Feed the Champion
Another benefit to early holiday morning competitions is the adrenaline rush. These early risers proudly self-identify as warriors. They wear the T-shirts. They pose for selfies. They meet for coffee immediately afterwards to bask in the glow of fellow over-achievers just a little longer. Winners appreciate the advantage of connecting with a sweaty sales director on her day off before she puts on her make-up. In this case, pass the turkey equates to receiving the main course. Winners constantly compete because that is the way to keep winning. All winners do not cross the finish line first. Some winners collect more mobile numbers of prospects. Other winners schedule more golf outings with key decision makers. Still, other winners gain an audience with local dignitaries that attend these events. Consistently, winners set individual goals and then surpass them. That 30-minute five kilometer personal best is nothing compared to the lunch scheduled with the vice-mayor! Set a personal plan. Achieve an individual goal. Then, feast upon executing it better than competitors.

Takeaways
Whether Thanksgiving morning involves Turkey Trots, Meals on Wheels, or reading to children in hospitals, the victory comes from interacting with people that inspire a greater vision. Passing the Turkey is a time-honored Thanksgiving tradition. So is contributing to local communities. Holidays are perfect opportunities to do good and do well. Gluttony may be a holiday tradition; service definitely is. Create opportunities to serve, to engage others, to create memories. Storytelling is the foundation of successful marketing campaigns. Create a story worth sharing that involves networking, contributing and growing. Successful people find creative ways to contribute value. Pass the turkey on the way to contributing to communities and bottom lines.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

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Selling When You Don’t Wanna

Sad-Office-Boy

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Let’s go!! The countdown method is a proven tool to get tasks done. Who is sick and tired of pathetically avoiding exercise? So, when the alarm sounds, do the countdown, shout “Let’s go!”, jump into nearby sweats and sneakers; then start walking. Replace reluctance with process! Don’t think; trust. Regarding successful selling, executing a plan which leads to achieving specific business results can be intimidating. Reluctance results from considering problems that may occur during execution. Of course, doing nothing removes all doubt. Failure is the result! Still, how are steps toward successful results created?

Plan
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Just because a saying is old, does not mean it is irrelevant. Whether the tactics incorporate technology, or a face to face interaction, identifying target markets, prospects and decision makers starts the sales process. Aligning messaging with marketing efforts and specific sales channels is another key part of planning. Telephoning a buyer who communicates by Skype is self-defeating. Preparing to communicate consistent sets of benefits through verbal, visual, and social media channels is an initial step toward meaningful follow-up. Next, understanding customers’ buying processes prepares accurate insight for successful selling.

Discipline
Successful sales plans are never found in a drawer or buried in an inbox. Plans that identify sales opportunities are readily available for the successful business development professional to deploy. While discipline sounds painful and self-sacrificing, it simply reflects repeating successful processes and practices. Personally visit prospects that insist on a handshake before closing a deal. Text video clips to the decision-maker who feels naked without his devices on his person. Follow specific tactics that have delivered results. Then, repeat. Lack of discipline results in wasted time. Wasted time yields lost opportunities, underperformance, and eventually replacement.

Execute
Sales professionals who are empowered with a plan and discipline typically reap rewards from their activities. Too often, strategies and market intelligence easily misguide professionals to believe that great thinking yields new business. Actually, executing fully developed sales skills deliver results. Hard work routinely triumphs over great ideas. Optimally, high performance requires deploying acquired skills through training, applying best thinking during the planning process, performing tenaciously on a consistent basis, accepting the rewards! Professionals who trust the process and execute its tactics maximize sales opportunities. Guarantees may be available to customers, but never for providers. Nevertheless, rewards are inevitable for sellers that adhere to proven processes and tactics.

Takeaways
Whether a sales professional wants to sell or not, results matter most. Brownies points do not count. Tools, tips, and anecdotes are available in the marketplace. Yet, only measurable results dictate success. The execution that delivers results is precious. Whether a professional wants to sell is marginally relevant. Professionals who prepare an actionable plan, demonstrate focused discipline, and execute developed skills earn tangible rewards. If these steps yield inferior results, the professional still needs to trust the process more than the environment. Results and rewards are undeniable! Even if deploying these proven techniques in a more fertile environment becomes the only alternative. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Let’s Go!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

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3 Reasons My Business Needs a Super-Villain

Supervillain

Business heroes have become larger than life. Entrepreneurs are either bragging about their latest victory, or someone else is doing it for them. Storytelling has become increasingly important for business success. Branding over-sized personalities is equally impactful as marketing their products and services. Nevertheless, these heroes are empty without a cause to conquer. Even successful business people that strive daily at lower levels, need conflicts to overcome. They need challenging goals to conquer so that they can boldly point to their results. Higher levels of success dictate higher challenges as competition. What they need is a super-villain!

Compete
Results-driven business professionals experience success by establishing targets, executing priorities, measuring progress, and rewarding results. But, to create super performance from a super team, they must rally troops to fight. Identifying an obstacle and supersizing it creates a sense of urgency and adventure for the business. Industry competitors fulfill that need. While Bill’s Auto Emporium fights for customers against Crazy Carl’s Customized Cars, business legends emerge from an Android versus iPhone rivalry. To inspire superior performance, competitors must represent a threat to the protagonist’s worldview. Position each significant competitor as a threat to the customer, industry, and everything good in the economy!

Defeat
Successful entrepreneurs identify the competition, then defeat them in the name of decency and humanity. Successful sales efforts have the weight of protecting each customer’s virtue. Benefits like cost-savings protect assets that will make their world a better place. Assigning the best people to deliver complex solutions secures human decency. Each achieved goal helps humanity. Commissions and profits are merely byproducts of a better world. Meanwhile, the super-villain attacks all that is good. Consequently, successful sales professionals acquire new knowledge, study the market place, and deliver services that protect customers’ prosperity. Furthermore, they constantly connect, deliver knowledge, enhance skills, and create value so that evil empires gain no foothold on the sacred marketplace.

Celebrate
In a competitive business environment, the central conflict is not solved in a 30-minute episode that includes commercials. The hero does not always win. But, with thorough preparation, a transcendent cause, and rallying every available resource, victories result. The fundamentals matter. Prospecting tenaciously, acquiring market intelligence, identifying pain points and delivering measurable solutions consistently results in sales success. Nevertheless, realize that competitors have talent also. Sometimes Superman bleeds, yet he keeps battling. So, when the deal closes and the sales professional has saved the day, include celebration in the process. Ringing the bell in the sales department works for more commodity products. Celebratory dinners are more in line with a high touch consulting success. The point is the satisfaction of success must be expressed explicitly so that the operation is eager and willing to save the day again.

Super-villains represent a common, well-known, easily identified, and recognizable enemy. Respect for adversaries is important. Confidence in ultimately winning is more important! Victory fulfils a moral priority. Sales teams must compete with that moral imperative. Success must be that important. Be sure that the sold solution saves the world for someone! Business accomplishments depend on channeling the inner super-hero that dwells within every successful sales professional. It is essential to better storytelling, superior branding, and ongoing profitability. It feeds the motivation to save the day! Where is your super-villain?

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

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The Juggling Entrepreneur

Juggling businessman

Before arguing which business discipline is most essential to an entrepreneur, recognize that talent conquers many challenges in developing and growing any business. Among the many talents that an entrepreneur needs in their arsenal, juggling is the most essential! As a business expands to embrace more people, personalities and disciplines, the entrepreneurial leader assembles multiple elements into a coherent performance. Juggling is the skill that makes it all work.

Priorities
Every entrepreneur must determine what to do first. For the business, coordinating other leaders, subordinates, and contributors into a cohesive group is a fool’s errand without establishing primary goals, then secondary ones, and so on. Establish priorities early and clearly so that the entire organization can execute decisions that fit the leader’s vision. By establishing and communicating priorities in statement and action, the entrepreneur has a legitimate opportunity to sustain progress toward strategic and tactical goals.

As competition heats up and business proceeds at full speed, priorities shift positions quickly. Entrepreneurs must continuously juggle the newest priorities. The best tactic is to expect and prepare for this reality. Consequently, keep communication lines open throughout the organization. Disseminate instructions and information with the speed of expected performance. Juggling priorities demands continuous awareness of which activity is most important at all time. Business decisions constantly shift in the leader’s hands. Successful entrepreneurial cultures acknowledge and embrace quick changes in direction, so that the team accepts the expectation of responding accordingly.

Initiatives
The byproduct of rapidly changing priorities is key initiatives shifting quickly, as well. As focus routinely changes from sales growth, to production, to training, to cost control, to the crisis of the day, team members needs clarity for their roles. The juggling entrepreneur knows that these objectives are subject to quick transitions. Insecurely hoarding information is destructive. Avoid dropping any commitment, or corresponding initiatives, to provide ongoing success an honest chance. Consequently, regularly communicating initiatives, as well as corresponding specific roles in performing them, starts at the top. Also, install incentives to move information downstream quickly.

Considering that each initiative must fit into the overall strategy, successful entrepreneurs continually juggle their activities so that the required tools are available for the correct contributor. For example, introducing a new product requires coordinating marketing, sales and procurement before producing results. Furthermore, human resources contributes training to ensure successful execution. The juggling entrepreneur becomes increasingly responsible that no business element hits the ground, while trusting the hierarchy to execute flawlessly every initiative.

Takeaways
Vision and strategy for early-stage business success starts with the leadership and that means the entrepreneur. The juggling entrepreneur accurately depicts leaders successfully growing their enterprise. Skillfully sustaining progress among multiple elements is the essence of business success. Priorities are fluid and require constant attention. Initiatives are merely ideas until they are executed. Monitoring key milestones resulting in success is the essence of the juggling routine. It is difficult by definition. More items are controlled than hands are available. However, if it was easy, then everyone would do it and where is the fun in that?

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter and Beyond, LLC

 

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