Don Hutson on High Performance Selling

June 17, 2010 · Print This Article

Session 2, Don Hutson, High Performance Selling
EO/MIT Entrepreneurial Masters Program
Year Two, June 17, 2010

Don Hutson is now talking about how to increase performance in a sales organization. Here are the notes…

The Evolution of the Process Selling Over Time

  1. The Product Pitch (Snake Oil in the 18 Century)
    not recommended, for historical perspective only
  2. The Hard Sell (1960s)
    Doesn’t work today. Today selling relationships have to be built on trust. Not recommended, for historical perspective only
  3. Relationship Selling (1970s)
    A high level of trust is enjoyed by both partners
    Relationship stress is kept at a minimum
    Strive to sell the customer as they like to be sold
  4. Needs Analysis Selling (1980s)
    Listen before you talk. Never give a sales presentation before doing a needs analysis assessment. Information gathering is the cornerstone. Customer’s agenda is ever present. Constant monitoring for pertinent changes.
  5. Symbiotic Selling (Created by Don)
    Importance is attached to the relationship. Client and salesperson are both energized to work together by common goals. Unique benefits are enjoyed by both.

Don’t be devoid of integrity. No one buys more than one time from a snake oil salesman. Don’t ask people to buy until there is trust.

Trust Based Selling

Don’t ask people to buy until there is trust. Speed up trust with referrals from existing customers and trust symbols. Make trust high and stress low to drive conversion up and sales cycle down.

Great sales professionals believe in themselves and their product. Few things are more contagious than an enthusiastic personality.

“The most remarkable discovery of our time is that we can alter our results by altering out attitude of mind.” Dr James Allen

Attitude in Sales

Attitude definition: The demeanor and spirit we choose to adopt and display from a given stimulus. Most people are just about as happy as they decide to be. Great sales people get over rejection quickly and are resilient. The attitude is the key.

If you’re doing great, notify your face. Smile on the outside. This displays confidence, optimism, and pleasant demeanor.

Motivation in Sales & Fire in the Belly

Motivation definition: “The pull of anticipation and the push of discipline.” Henry David Thoreau

All other things being equal, make more calls. If you have a sales person whose having a slump, their call count is likely deficient. And when the call happens, don’t throw up product info on the customer, do a needs analysis!

Motivation is also known as fire in the belly. Fire in the belly is “Passion for Results.” Therefore motivation is “passion for results.”

Current & Future Self-Image

The source of fire in the belly is the deviation between present and projected self-images. We are inspired when we see people with goals (who have a deviation between their projected self-image and the current self-image).

Narrow the gap between your team’s actual performance and potential performance by enabling them to improve their projected self-image and understand what it will take to get there. Most people haven’t scratched the surface of their own potential.

Ask for the MAB (minimum acceptable bottom) for sales unit expectations instead of what reps are hoping for. Get them to commit to themselves their own MAB each month.

The greatest salespeople today are analytical.

Great sales people ask great questions, are great listeners, and they learn from what they hear.

Coaching is “getting your people to develop the habit of doing the things which must be done to Succeed.”

Behavioral Interviewing

“The best recruiters and interviews are those who utilize a structured interviewing process in which they ask questions, the answers to which reveal some predictability about the applicant’s probability of success.”
- Dr Paul Green, Industrial Psychologist

Enhancing Customer Loyalty

“Helping a customer should always take priority over any other task!” Shep Hyken

Four ways to increase business:

  1. Increase customer count
  2. Increase average sale
  3. Improve customer retention
  4. Increase customer quality

It is six times more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an existing one.

The Loyalty Ladder (more loyal as goes down)

  1. Suspects
  2. Prospects
  3. Customers (anyone whose purchased anything from you one time)
  4. Clients (people that used to be just customers who buy from you multiple times and see your salespeople as a resource who provides solutions)
  5. Advocates (people who used to be clients that  refer you to others unsolicited)
  6. Confidants (people who buy from your company you know something personally about where trust is maximized. Can’t do for all but can do for 5-10)

The job of the sales person is to move individuals through this process and go from suspects to customers to client to advocate.

High performance sales people have an innate ability to compress more achievement in the same amount of time—because they have the ability to develop relationships better than low performance sales people. These high performance sales reps spend most of their time in relations with confidants, advocates, and clients–where the ROI of time invested in communicating with people is much higher.

Never ever violate the rules of integrity to move suspects into confidants.

Market share must be preceded by mindshare. It’s OK to over communicate but not OK to under communicate.

Four Step Formula for Success With the Loyalty Ladder

  1. Make a List of 100 leads
  2. Categorize each entry by labeling each
  3. Place an asterisk next to each name that represents the greatest potential
  4. Move asterisked entry to the next level on the loyalty ladder (by asking the right questions, building trust)

Needs-Analysis Selling

“Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice!” – Jim Cathcart

Personally perform period miracles for your customers. Make your customers say Wow!

You only need a good heart and a keen eye to perform customer service miracles. A miracle is anything that gets a customer to say wow.

Find congruent goals (overlapping needs).

Need analysis is an information gathering process. You use it every time you talk to the customer as needs change.

Needs analysis gives your prospects some authorship over what you ultimately present to them. Authorship is when you give another person the respectful right to be heard. Their opportunity to influence outcomes will greatly enhance their buy-in and eagerness to gain the desired results. Give your prospects a presentation in which your prospect helped design.

How to do a needs analysis with a prospect or customer

  1. Be sure to talk to the key decision influencers as well as the key decision makers (they often have veto power)
  2. Be consciousness in your approach
  3. Impress them with the quality of your questions
  4. Always take notes (and store them)
  5. Ask probing questions
  6. Clarify all substantive points; related not only to their needs but to their goals and objectives
  7. Seek clear understanding

Great sales people are great at needs analysis.

Sales Negotiations

A negotiation is the (often ongoing) process through which two or more parties who positions are not consistent work in an effort to reach an agreement. – From The One Minute Negotiator

“Negotiaphobia is a fear of negotiating based on limited experience, discomfort with uncertainty and a lack of skill.”

Many people see negotiations as combat or conflict and they would rather just go along and get along.

Only ‘meet in the middle’ when it’s late in the negotiation and the spread is narrow and when you can tie it to a resolution to get the deal done.

Collaboration is the best type of negotiation as it is most conducive to the ongoing relationship and allows you to cook a better pie.

Going to Market

Make gathering competitive intelligence a constant project. Identify what competitors are doing that is giving them an edge. Differentiate value through the eyes of your customer. To sell value, make discovery a core competency personally and organizationally. Anytime someone wants to talk price, talk value.

Train your sales people to be value builders not price cutters.

Commodity – products w/o discernible difference that are available from multiple outlets.

7 Types of Differentiation

  1. Product
  2. Experiential
  3. Relationship
  4. Process (how you do what you do)
  5. Technological
  6. Marketing
  7. Price (go last if you go there at all, unless you’re focused on volume)

Your value proposition is the complete, compelling value your offering is perceived as having to a prospective buyer.

Random Q&A:

It is best to have a compensation structure that has a mix between base salary and variable comp.

A draw on commission (paid in advance) is better than straight commission for the first year.

Presenter Bio
Don Hutson´s careers in speaking, management and sales have brought him many honors. He successfully worked his way through the University of Memphis, graduating with a degree in Sales. After becoming the #1 salesperson in a national training organization, he established his own training firm and shortly thereafter was in demand as a professional speaker.

Don has addressed over two-thirds of the Fortune 500 Companies and is featured in over 80 training films. Today he is Chairman & CEO of U.S. Learning, Inc. [Full Bio]

Don’t ask people to buy until there is trust

Speed up trust with referrals from existing customers

Make trust high and stress low to drive conversion up and sales cycle

Great sales professionals believe in themselves and their product

Few things are more contagious than an enthusiastic personality


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