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Get Productive, Drop Your P.I.T.A. Clients

27 Dec

We’ve all had a “PITA client”-perhaps more than one. (PITA stands for “pain in the a**.) A PITA will drain you, consume valuable resources, upset your team, squeeze you on price, pay slowly, and will never be satisfied with the results-even when you’ve agreed on the deliverables.

You know the warning signs. A PITA client will:

  • Nickel and dime you on price
  • Tell you they’re the decision makers when they’re not
  • Threaten you with your competitors
  • Make unreasonable demands, and expect fast, complete, and reliable delivery of your service
  • Not return phone calls

Talk about loss of productivity! PITAs are our biggest time wasters and they erode our profits. When we accept a PITA, it’s an opportunity cost-an opportunity lost to do business with our ideal clients. Yet companies continue to accept this bad business, all the while thinking it’s better than no business. But is it?

Sometimes it’s because we have a quota to meet, or our company insists we do a deal, or we think we can turn a bad situation into a good one. We’re dreaming. Bad business is bad business. Period.

Salespeople frequently say that they will sell to “anyone who fogs a mirror.” Avoid this kind of thinking. We shouldn’t target just “anyone.” “Anyone” all too frequently turns out to be the PITA customer.

Fire the PITA! Most of the time we can identify the PITA client before we even begin to work with them. Say no. It’s OK to walk away. In walking away from the PITA, you’ll have time to attract the kind of clients you really want, to do the work you love, and your productivity will soar!

Want more?
Listen to my podcast on Productivity on Salesopedia

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Holiday Reading to Recharge Those Sales Batteries

19 Dec

For many of us, the end of the calendar year coincides with the end of the sales year. Have you made it yet? Will you (and your customers) enjoy the time between Christmas and New Year’s because you’ve already delivered your revenue committment to senior management?

Battery

When you need a quick break from all the holiday cheer and want to recharge those sales batteries with some quiet time then consider catching up on your sales reading and learning. But don’t have time to read all the new books on selling? Would you like the Cliff Notes versions instead? The Top Sales Experts website has just the booklet for you – and it’s co-authored by many of the top sales experts.

TopSalesExperts

I like “Leaving PowerPoint Behind and Make the Person-to-Person Sale” by Joanne Black, author of “No More Cold Calling” and guest blogger on this site.

Another good article is “A Glimpse at Sales 2.0 – the Potential and the Pitfall” by Keith Rosen. As salespeople, many of us started selling in the days laminated presentations and always making sure there was change in our pockets for the pay phone. Today we’re using web-based conferencing and wouldn’t be caught dead without our cell/PDA. So what’s next?

Read the article. Read them all – in the the order they interest you.

Which articles did you enjoy best?

Happy Selling!

Social Networking–Technology or People?

5 Nov

I attended the first-ever Corporate Social Network Design Council hosted by Visible Path on October 29th in San Francisco. The concept of social networking was explored. There are some interesting challenges, but the emergence of thousands of social networking sites proves again that people want to talk to other people. Whether they decide to share their personal contacts with their business contacts is another story.

Check out Jeremiah Owyang’s post here.

Social networks can help identify specific contacts, but once that is done, we need to build the relationship and earn the right for the referral. At the end of the day, it’s all about a referred introduction. When we get the introduction, we get the meeting. And that’s what we want.

Now it’s going to be easier and easier to develop social networks. As of November 1st, Google announced OpenSocial. In non-techie parlance, developers can now use OpenSocial to create applications that work on any social network.

Get ready for the ride!

Is Sales 2.0 Really New?

2 Nov

I attended the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on October 30. The speakers had very little to say that was “new news.” I heard statements such as: cold calling is dead—because it doesn’t scale, it’s all about relationships, it’s not about what’s in the funnel, it’s about what’s moving in the funnel, you need to have a sales process, salespeople need to ask good questions, etc. And, when will speakers learn that reading your slides word-for-word is not particularly engaging and does little to enhance learning?

Top salespeople have always built relationships, had a reliable process, and learned and listened from their customers. Successful salespeople build an active referral network and regularly win high profile deals. They don’t cold call.

What is new is the technology—which can speed up lead identification and qualification. Interesting sites are www.visiblepath.com and www.insideview.com. Then it’s up to us to pick up the phone and build a relationship. Technology will save time and thus increase productivity, but people do business with people. Period.