Implementing Successful Sales Paradigms

When it comes to our business and sales specifically, are there certain paradigms holding us back from success? Here’s how and why to make a shift in our thinking.

Paradigms can refer to the framework of basic assumptions and ways of thinking we have. Whether they work for us or not, paradigms that we have really bought into can be hard to break out of. However, if you have new information about something, it can change the way you think about and relate to it.

As children many of us believed in Santa Claus. The paradigm we had about Santa Claus was fun, exciting and enjoyable for everyone during early childhood. Then someone, an older brother, sister or vindictive kid, told us that there was no Santa Claus. At first we didn't want to believe it. We kept hoping and searching for validation that there really was a Santa Claus. But, with the new information we eventually gave up believing in Santa Claus and the way we related to Christmas time changed for us. Unfortunately, some salespeople are still waiting for Santa to come around. They still don't believe that they are responsible for their own success.

Paradigms can change when you acquire new information that alters your usual framework. It is called a paradigm shift. No doubt at some time in your life, you believed somebody had done something to you. As a result, you got upset—only to find out later that what you thought was true was not so. When you found this out both your paradigms and your resulting behavior changed.

A salesperson has many paradigms about what selling is and what he or she can do or needs to do to be successful at sales. Some of these are true and some are not.

Here are some examples of common sales-related paradigms:

Paradigm No. 1: The customer is always right.

Paradigm No. 2: I know all there is to know about sales.

Paradigm No. 3: I must have the best dollars to win.

Paradigm No. 4: It’s OK if my prospect shops my quote.

Paradigm No. 5: I must present my products so my prospect can be informed.

So, what’s the most important thing you can do when you realize one of your relied-upon paradigms isn’t working for you? The key is being willing to explore your paradigms and make paradigm shifts when you are not as successful as you would like to be. Learn new paradigms and practice using affirmations with them in order to really let them sink in and become part of your sales framework.

How important is it for your entire team to buy into the same effective business-related paradigms? The short answer—very. If members of the same team are going in different directions with their sales tactics and techniques, chances are it is only a matter of time until chaos ensues, productivity decreases and sales goals are left unachieved.

But this is where sales training comes in. We train in most other areas—medicine, law, accounting and so on—why not in sales and sales management? Arranging for formal sales training for your team—and yourself—can help everyone to buy into the same, successful sales strategies

Tom Scully is sales consultant and owner of a Sandler Training franchise in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

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  • Next up: Instagram Marketing: 3 Tips to Get Started

    Instagram Marketing: 3 Tips to Get Started

    Are you using Instagram to promote your business? Generally speaking, if your target audience members are younger than 50, female and living in urban or suburban areas – Instagram’s primary user group – you should be. With the introduction of some new tools for businesses, Instagram has significantly increased its value as a marketing channel.

    Are you using Instagram to promote your business? Generally speaking, if your target audience members are younger than 50, female and living in urban or suburban areas – Instagram’s primary user group – you should be.
     
    With the introduction of some new tools for businesses, Instagram has significantly increased its value as a marketing channel. Business accounts on Instagram can now track when their audience is most active on the platform, see the demographic breakdown of their followers, and measure the reach, impressions and engagement around each post. Instagram also now allows mobile ad creation, allowing business accounts to easily promote well-performing posts as ads. Instagram created an easy-to-follow video detailing the perks of having a business account.

    If you think Instagram is a good fit, you should start thinking about how to incorporate it into your marketing mix. Here’s three ways to go about doing just that.

    1. Set up a business Instagram account. If you already have an account for your business, but haven’t designated it as a business account, it’s easy to switch. 

    Having a business Instagram account allows you to see insights from your audience, such as when your followers are the most active and how many users view your Instagram profile.

    2. Before you post, have a strategy in place. Instagram is a visual social network, so users expect—and want—to see posts that are aesthetically pleasing. In other words, the prettier, the better. Also, remember use hashtags to help Instagram users find you. When writing your hashtags, think about terms your target audience might search for. If you’re targeting people in the Greater Cleveland area, using #cleveland, #clevelandgram and #thisiscle is always a good idea, for example.

    3. Use Instagram stories. Instagram recently introduced stories  (similar to those found on Snapchat), which allow you to string together a series of photos and videos rather than limit yourself to a single post at a time. Check out this post from SocialMediaToday for examples of how brands are using stories to further engage their audience.

    And for a more detailed how-to approach to creating Instagram stories, check out CNET’s guide

    Want more social media marketing advice? Visit our hub for all things social to read more social best practices articles like this one.




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  • Next up: Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 1

    Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 1

    Dan McMullen, partner with Calfee, Halter, joins us for a three-part podcast session offering guidance for tech fimrs looking to understand intellectual property  implement such a program and to enhance the value of their company.

    Dan McMullen, partner with Calfee, Halter, joins us for a three-part podcast session offering guidance for tech fimrs looking to understand intellectual property  implement such a program and to enhance the value of their company.

    This is part 1 of the series.

    Listen here.

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  • Next up: Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 3

    Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 3

    This is Part 3 of our IP series with Calfee Halter partner Dan McMullen.  Dan shares expertise and guidance reviewing the intricacies of intellectual property for technology firms and outlines strategies and best practices for a firm to manage their IP.

    This is Part 3 of our IP series with Calfee Halter partner Dan McMullen.  Dan shares expertise and guidance reviewing the intricacies of intellectual property for technology firms and outlines strategies and best practices for a firm to manage their IP.

    Listen here.

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  • Next up: Intellectual Property Legislation and Supreme Court Cases

    Intellectual Property Legislation and Supreme Court Cases

    NEOSA met with John Cipolla, partner with Calfee Halter, back in early December 2009 to discuss current legislation affecting the future of intellectual property as well as upcoming Supreme Court cases with the potential for significant impact.

    NEOSA met with John Cipolla, partner with Calfee Halter, back in early December 2009 to discuss current legislation affecting the future of intellectual property as well as upcoming Supreme Court cases with the potential for significant impact.

    Listen here.


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  • Next up: The Importance of Succession Planning: Preparing to Pass Control of Your Business is a Long-Term Event

    The Importance of Succession Planning: Preparing to Pass Control of Your Business is a Long-Term Event

     

    At its most basic level, succession planning is the process of passing control of a business to others. It’s important to spend time developing a succession strategy—and to start early because it can take months or even years to successfully implement a plan within a business.

    Depending on your stage of life, your succession plan may look different. Someone who is early on in their career or business may be preparing a succession plan in the event of an untimely passing, whereas others may be preparing their plan for retirement. 

    For those owners who are getting ready to move on to the next stage of their lives, a formal business valuation in preparation for a sale or transfer of ownership may be a step to consider in the planning process. 

    One of the more difficult tasks in any succession plan can be identifying the appropriate leader or leaders to take a business into the future. Potential successors can be family members or existing employees. They could come from outside the company, often though, it can be easier to groom someone already in your business.

    Mentoring a successor
    Once a successor or successors are identified, it takes time to mentor them into a management role. Creating a training plan can help ensure that everyone involved has time to learn the skills, gather the information and practice the leadership roles critical to the future success of the business.

    Progress should be evaluated by the business owner and the successor(s) throughout the process, with the understanding that the arrangement does not have to be permanent. If the successor does not seem to be working out with the plan, the owner can inform the successor and choose another candidate that is a better fit to lead the organization in the future.

    Keep your bank in the loop
    When an owner is engaged and thinking ahead, it gives a bank confidence. Still, many business owners don’t want to think about the business existing without them. They might know they need a plan, but resist putting one in place. That can create problems in a banking relationship.

    Banks want to know that business owners have a contingency plan in the event that they’re suddenly unable to operate the business. Banks want to know what happens to the company, who takes over, and if that person or people are capable of taking it over in that event.

    When an owner’s exit involves transitioning the business to the next generation or to employees, it’s important for the bank to get to know and build relationships with the next generation of ownership. The relationship between a bank and a business owner is personal, and banks want to know that the people lined up to take over the business know the industry, understand operations and have a vision for the business’s future.

    A sale or transfer could also affect existing loan covenants. Companies that are headed toward a sale event are going to put significant emphasis on growth, building up their balance sheet and income statements. That growth could trigger a loan covenant. 

    Additionally, in a transition, an owner will likely pull money out of the company ahead of his or her exit. That makes sense for owners because they built the business and have earned their share. A bank can be the source of financing if the newly transitioned business owner needs additional cash flow to maintain the business through the transition.

    And, do it early in the relationship
    The business’s bank should be made aware of the company’s succession plans very early in the relationship. The relationship began with the current owner, so the bank already knows his or her story and feels comfortable with that lending arrangement. But once a transition plan is in place, the sooner the bank can know the plan and the players in the succession plan, the better. 

    Without a succession plan, the business could be put in a tough place if a sudden transition in ownership is made. This situation could disrupt the current lending relationship if the bank doesn’t feel confident in the new owner and his or her ability to run the company.

    While it might be tempting to craft a plan and then forget about it, understand that the conditions that exist at the time the plan is created could, and probably will, change before the plan is implemented. It’s a good idea to start assembling a plan at least five years before an exit and revisit the plan if circumstances change that require the plan to be updated.

    Regardless of your situation, it is important to consider multiple options and to consult with professionals in the field, such as accountants, lawyers and bankers, to explore the variety of options available in transferring the business to another person or entity.

    Kurt Kappa is Chief Lending Officer for First Federal Lakewood.

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