Meet Them Standing Up

This is a Sandler Weekly Sales Tip from guest poster Shulman & Associates.
Sandler Sales Tip: Be a stand-up person and get things done. | Shulman.Sandler.com

The Story:

“Melinda,” asked Nick on Thursday, “what’s your secret?”

“My secret?” she asked in return.  In the past month, Melinda had been promoted to regional sales director and was now in charge of 31 salespeople in seven states.  Nick could not help but remember meetings with the previous regional director.  Every meeting had been an eternity with boredom as the only result.

“Yeah.  How do you fit three times more meetings into an hour than anyone else?  And before you answer that, everyone who has had a meeting with you feels that you really listened.  No one is walking around saying you just pushed him out the door.  How do you do it?”

“I don’t know, Nick,” responded Melinda, “I guess I’m just a good listener.”

“Well, I think I figured out a possible reason.”

“You have?” she asked.

“You hardly ever meet people sitting down.  Someone comes into the office and you immediately get up and walk toward him.  The whole time the person is in the office, you’re standing.”

“I hadn’t realized that,” responded Melinda.

“Just to see if it works, I started doing the same thing three days ago.  Instead of having the usual chit-chat, people seem to get to the point a lot quicker.”

“Now that you mention it,” responded Melinda, “I’ve actually had people say things like ‘You must be real busy so let me get to the point’ when I get up and walk toward them.”

“Funny you should mention that.  This morning, instead of sitting when Greg came in for his usual morning chat about how horrible his commute is, I got up as he walked through the door.  His comment was ‘I guess Melinda’s keeping you busy; catch you later.'”

The RESULT:

Melinda sees a great many people during her “drop in” hours.  Everyone who drops-in has the perception that Melinda is accessible and that though the time spent with her is brief, things get accomplished.  In fact, when Melinda asks someone to meet with her, the person looks forward to it, simply because no time will be wasted.

DISCUSSION:

The largest time wasters in any business are those 10 drop-in visits from fellow employees, outside suppliers, and other salespeople.  Only about five minutes, at most, of this time is useful for business purposes.  The rest is socializing.  There is nothing wrong with this.  The problem occurs when you have multiple drop-in visits every day.  By the end of the week you can easily lose hours to socializing.  If you see nothing wrong with this, then continue.  If you want to recapture this time for business purposes, then consider changing your meeting posture.

APPROACH:

The biggest initial problem with standing up while meeting with people is that if you have been a “sit down” person in the past, it will take a while for people to get used to the “new” you.

People will come in and head straight for the chair, regardless of whether you are standing or not.  They do this because they are trained from past encounters.  You have to break their training.

The simplest solution to keep them from sitting is to create a large pile of books and papers on the chairs.  When they realize they can’t sit, say “Bill, what can I do for you.  You can see I’m piled up.  Let’s stand and talk.”  Don’t say you’re busy.  If you do, people will hear that you have no time for them, and you will develop a reputation as being inaccessible.

After five or six meetings like this, you will have retrained the person to meet standing up.  Stand up meetings are, 99 percent of the time, short and to-the-point.  The best part is that people will enjoy meeting with you because you don’t waste their time.

If you want to keep a meeting short with other people in their work space, and if they are sitting down when you arrive, sit for about a minute and then stand up as you continue with the conversation.  Within a minute or two, the other person will cut to the essence of why you are there.  Be warned:  If you sit down again after standing, you will double the length of the meeting.

THOUGHT:

Be a stand-up person and get things done.

About the author:

Shulman & Associates is a professional development firm specializing in sales and management training and sales force evaluation. Visit their website and sign up to receive the free sales tip of the week. Learn how to increase sales, improve margins, and accelerate new business development.

Best CRM 2017 List Lacks Credibility

Best CRM 2017 List Swings & Misses

By Larry Caretsky
Commence Corporation

Selecting the right CRM software for your business can be a grueling exercise. I am sure that many businesses appreciate any help they can get with the selection process and as such they rely on product listing services and articles that recommend specific products and services.  Unfortunately, in today’s world the majority of listing services are paid listings meaning the vendors pay to be in them and some of the articles that recommend particular products seem to lack credibility.  I found this with a recent article published by Business News Daily called Best CRM Software 2017.

Best CRM 2017 Picks | BusinessNewsDaily.com

As someone with a great deal of experience in the CRM sector, and knowledge of competitive products in the small to mid-size market, I am perplexed by the recommendations made in this report. Here’s why.

First, Salesforce.com is clearly a leader in the CRM sector. It’s a good company with a robust product that is better suited for larger organizations than small businesses. It’s known to be cumbersome to navigate and is chock full of features and functions that most small businesses will never use. Yes, of course there are small businesses using this product, but no one who has ever used or worked with this solution would suggest that it is the best CRM software for small businesses. As such, I say “Come on man.”

I am equally surprised by their recommendation that if you are a very small business or a start-up, two of the best CRM solutions for 2017 are free, and another starts out free for two users.  There are more than 400 CRM solutions in the industry today with many targeted at the small business community and others that service small businesses in specific vertical industries. Business News Daily indicates that their research staff reviewed an extensive collection of CRM software products and picked out the ones they thought were the best for different types of small businesses.  Of the 400 plus solutions out there they determined that the best ones for any small business are either Salesforce.com or free. Really?

They also made some assumptions here about the small business community and have failed to point out that free or very low cost CRM solutions often come with limitations, and the ones listed above are no exception. There is limited functionality by design and traditionally limits on the number of records, storage, number of custom fields, e-mails, no security permissions, no customization and no telephone support for the free versions. In addition, these free solutions do not provide best-in-class cloud hosting services because it’s expensive and they cannot offer this for free. Despite this, the article seems to recommend that if you are a small business or start-up the best solution for you is a free one with limitations, a second or third tier hosting service, and limited customer service.  It’s as if they have placed the requirements of every small business in the same shoe box.  What if I am a small business or start-up in the real estate, construction or health care industry? Chances are I have requirements that far exceed the capabilities of these products.  If I were one of these businesses reading this article I would say, “Come on man.”

In conclusion, let me be perfectly clear.  I am not saying that there is anything wrong with free software or the products outlined in this article. But I do take issue with the fact that the article clearly presents these offerings as the best for small businesses without pointing out the limitations associated with these products, and without acknowledging that not every small business has such limited requirements.  I think there are 400 other CRM solution providers that would agree.

Nurture Helpful Relationships

All work and no play is bad for business. Change your attitude.

By Dave Kahle

Early into one of my sales positions, my boss informed me that the operations manager was upset with me.  I was too focused and task-oriented in my dealing with the company’s internal personnel who made things happen in the business.  I’d come into the office, drop projects and requests on everyone’s desk, and head out again.

My task-oriented behavior was upsetting people.  As a result, they were balking at cooperating with me.  My projects were being left on the bottom of the pile, and other sales people were getting more cooperation.

I had better change my attitude, he told me, or I’d find it very difficult to succeed in this organization.

My lack of good relationships with the people who could make things happen for me was hurting my performance.  Eventually, I came around to understand that.  I swallowed my pride, bought each one a six-pack of premium beer, apologized, and started focusing on building positive relationships with everyone inside the company.

That was a turning point for me.  From that point on, I could accomplish far more because I had gained the willing assistance of a number of people.  In so doing, I stumbled onto a powerful time management principle:

Creating relationships that result in people gladly working to assist you can be one of your most powerful time management strategies.

Click the link below to read the entire article.

The Ninth Time Management Secret: Nurture Helpful Relationships

Excerpted from “11 Secrets of Time Management for Sales People“, Career Press

About the Author:

Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written ten books, presented in 47 states and ten countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine. Check out our Sales Resource Center for 455 sales training programs for every sales person at every level. You may contact Dave at The DaCo Corporation, PO Box 523, Comstock Park, MI 49321, or dave@davekahle.com