Selling and Fear! #selling #sales #entrepreneurship #fintech

I had a mentor that would say that “fear” stood for False – Evidence – Appearing – Real. FDR’s famous quote… “The only thing we have to fear…” well you know the rest of it. As a salesperson and entrepreneur for years I have had a very predictable view of fear in the selling until recently and now, I don’t know what to think.

Traditional

Weather it was something I learned or just made it up (now I can’t remember if I made it up or not) but my traditional view of “fear” and selling is to create it. People tell me that I am really good at doing this with prospective client, and I must admit it is a thing I do but it take the proper set up and relationship for the fear planting to work. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t put the customer in such a panic that they have to do business with me… I use the fear to have the customer motivate to action and motivate others in the business to action.

What Happened?

Last week, I can’t remember where I head this, but I was listening to a podcast where it explained that sales professional were thinking about fear all wrong. Now, keep in mind that I am not one to change my direction for a trend or snappy new way. Funny thing is I help companies change all of the time but I am uncomfortable with change. However, this time the right message must have hit me at the right time. The message was – sales people shouldn’t create fear they have to stop fear.

What?

It really started me thinking about all of times I created fear to help motivate the deal when in actuality I needed to solve for fear and eliminate fear. This sent me on a quick journey of my fear producing statement and my actions that created fear and I have concluded with this… If I motivate by using fear the least path of resistance is for my customer to comply, but if I reduce the fear of them doing business with me, their desire to work with me becomes greater.

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that startedAvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact usfor more information.

Selling and Fear! #selling #sales #entrepreneurship #fintech

I had a mentor that would say that “fear” stood for False – Evidence – Appearing – Real. FDR’s famous quote… “The only thing we have to fear…” well you know the rest of it. As a salesperson and entrepreneur for years I have had a very predictable view of fear in the selling until recently and now, I don’t know what to think.

Traditional

Weather it was something I learned or just made it up (now I can’t remember if I made it up or not) but my traditional view of “fear” and selling is to create it. People tell me that I am really good at doing this with prospective client, and I must admit it is a thing I do but it take the proper set up and relationship for the fear planting to work. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t put the customer in such a panic that they have to do business with me… I use the fear to have the customer motivate to action and motivate others in the business to action.

What Happened?

Last week, I can’t remember where I head this, but I was listening to a podcast where it explained that sales professional were thinking about fear all wrong. Now, keep in mind that I am not one to change my direction for a trend or snappy new way. Funny thing is I help companies change all of the time but I am uncomfortable with change. However, this time the right message must have hit me at the right time. The message was – sales people shouldn’t create fear they have to stop fear.

What?

It really started me thinking about all of times I created fear to help motivate the deal when in actuality I needed to solve for fear and eliminate fear. This sent me on a quick journey of my fear producing statement and my actions that created fear and I have concluded with this… If I motivate by using fear the least path of resistance is for my customer to comply, but if I reduce the fear of them doing business with me, their desire to work with me becomes greater.

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that startedAvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact usfor more information.

Best Week! #APAutomation #Sales #SaaS #Fintech – #Vlog

Conference season is over. I have introduced myself back to my family… My kids (especially the 6 year old) are now use to ordering me around and wife is no long asking me who I am and what am I doing in her house.

I had the opportunity to speak at 16 different events between late August and early November, and it was great! Here is a little mash up of an event I did on having the best week of your life. Enjoy!

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people who started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information

Entrepreneurial Sales – Idea Creation – #APAutomation #Entrepreneurship #SaaS #Fintech

Where do good ideas come from? The best way to answer this questions is to watch this video.

I hope you were able to watch the entire video because he explains it so well. To put this information into context of selling… As salespeople we are tasked with creating good ideas. People in your company and in management may disagree with me on this statement, but if you desire to become a creative and innovative salesperson you will buy into the idea that you are only as good as your ideas.

Ideas

When I write about idea creation you might think “product”. However, product is important, but as an entrepreneurial salesperson you will need to have ideas around:

 

  1. Where to prospect
  2. How to prospect
  3. Creative ways to demonstrate value
  4. Creative ways to prove value
  5. Introduce the business
  6. Selling the entire offering

 

I am somewhat tired of the term “out of the box”. There is only one box… that’s the one you put yourself in. I suggest you stay out of one.

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people who started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information.

 

Why Marketing and Sales Do The Same Thing Differently #APAutomation #Sales #SaaS

I am somewhat new to the marketing game. When I started my selling career in 1993 (I really started in 1978, but that’s another story) the idea of marketing was left to the big companies and the companies I worked for didn’t advertise because they had salespeople. The idea was, “why would I want to spend money on marketing when I could just hire more salespeople?”

Times – Changing

I recently heard a stat that claimed 75% of all buying decisions are already made by the time a consumer picks up the phone and calls a company to inquire about their product. I believe we have the internet to thank for this. I know I personally do this when I am ready for a new car, house… you know major ticket item. I have also found myself doing research on minor ticket times as well… It has become a habit.

The Problem

The big challenge with searching and doing research on something like AP Automation is all in the source. To get good information you must have a good, credible source. One of the biggest sources of research is a company’s website. The problem with that is a company won’t (and sometime can’t) tell you what their short falls are so you can objectively evaluate their software and service. I know this will sound like a personal plug, but this is the reason why I write books, and it’s also the reason why I think my books are popular because it takes a lot more effort and research to get a book published rather than getting a website published.

The Same

I could have spent more time on the problem, but to be clear when you don’t know about something you have a very difficult time researching objectively the pluses and minuses of the offering. This is why sales and marketing do the same thing but different. We are each in the business of teaching. The better we can teach the better we can, in marketing’s case, attract the right type of companies and in sales, work on the right deals. This is the key, qualification. Both sales and marketing has to be excellent qualifiers. Both groups are ultimately judged and how well each qualifies. The notion that a lead from marketing is fully qualified isn’t a possibility in our industry. The reason being, without a conversation, a salesperson is unable to know what the assumptions of the prospective company is. Plus, I like to tell young salespeople this, if we were able to generate fully qualified leads from marketing, why would we need salespeople?

To Be Clear

Sales and marketing do the same thing… teach. The better each is at communicating and diagnosing the customer’s needs the better each will do. The downside of this is, in order to be an effective teacher you really have to know your subject matter. That means, not only your product, which is where most sales and marketers start and stop, but to know how the customer uses the product and services, what the impact to the organization and the landscape of the industry including competition. There is a lot to know before you can teach!

 

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information

When You Get Your Deals Can Tell You A Lot! – #sales #selling #fintech

This was my 26th end of the year as a salesperson/leader/manager/teacher/observer. I started thinking about the fun that happens at the end of the year. It also got me thinking about the end of the quarter or end of the month. In a related slash unrelated thought, it is common knowledge that the best time to buy a car is at the end of the month or (even better) the end of the year. All of this “end of” started me to thinking.

Thinking

In an effort to help salespeople, managers and training become well… better, I am always looking for non-data ways to find out what is really going on. Now, don’t get me wrong… use the data. Know your pipeline and your forecasting. This article is dedicated to taking an additional step to understand behaviors.

Activity

I have been on a big kick lately about helping people get back to the basics. I have written a few articles about cold calling and prospecting and people have really responded to them. One of the core principles that people seem to get so excited about is the need to maintain an appropriate level of activity. If you think about it, activity is the key, but on that last statement the word “appropriate” is the hard part. It is unrealistic for a seasoned rep to be spending all of their time on cold calling just like it’s unrealistic to expect a new rep to demo. If you haven’t created a “sliding scale” on activity dependent upon the rep’s experience you are setting yourself up for failure. In other words, one size does not fit all.

Indicator

I got some advice one time that has stuck with me… “Follow the money”. If you follow the money on activity what I find is the bulk of the “appropriate” activity falls at either the end of the quarter and especially at the end of the year. Now, I know this can be in line with customer’s buying patterns, but the thing that I want to call out is the fact that reps that don’t have a predictable closing pattern have a tendency to get last-minute deals, and if you are close to that rep you know that there is a desperation and they do whatever it takes to close a deal.

Know This!

All of that to write this… If you or your salespeople are closing more than 50% of their opportunities at the end of the month, quarter or year (depending on your selling cycles) their activity is too low and not the right kind of activity (probably too many emails). You or the rep will need to make more calls in person on or on the phone. Notice that I didn’t advise to send out more emails. With having such a large amount of the activity coming at the end of a point in time (and going back to the word appropriate) you or the rep may be doing the wrong kind of activity. It always pays to do the most direct type of activity as possible. Getting face to face is probably the most direct, but the next most direct is a phone conversation. After that it gets less and less direct.

Don’t

Don’t get caught by too little and too passive activity. Life is much better when you do the appropriate type and level of activity.

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that startedAvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact usfor more information.

Best Week! #APAutomation #Sales #SaaS – #Vlog

Conference season is over. I have introduced myself back to my family… My kids (especially the 6 year old) are now use to ordering me around and wife is no long asking me who I am and what am I doing in her house.

I had the opportunity to speak at 16 different events between late August and early November, and it was great! Here is a little mash up of an event I did on having the best week of your life. Enjoy!

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people who started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information

Why Marketing and Sales Do The Same Thing Differently #APAutomation #Sales #SaaS

I am somewhat new to the marketing game. When I started my selling career in 1993 (I really started in 1978, but that’s another story) the idea of marketing was left to the big companies and the companies I worked for didn’t advertise because they had salespeople. The idea was, “why would I want to spend money on marketing when I could just hire more salespeople?”

Times – Changing

I recently heard a stat that claimed 75% of all buying decisions are already made by the time a consumer picks up the phone and calls a company to inquire about their product. I believe we have the internet to thank for this. I know I personally do this when I am ready for a new car, house… you know major ticket item. I have also found myself doing research on minor ticket times as well… It has become a habit.

The Problem

The big challenge with searching and doing research on something like AP Automation is all in the source. To get good information you must have a good, credible source. One of the biggest sources of research is a company’s website. The problem with that is a company won’t (and sometime can’t) tell you what their short falls are so you can objectively evaluate their software and service. I know this will sound like a personal plug, but this is the reason why I write books, and it’s also the reason why I think my books are popular because it takes a lot more effort and research to get a book published rather than getting a website published.

The Same

I could have spent more time on the problem, but to be clear when you don’t know about something you have a very difficult time researching objectively the pluses and minuses of the offering. This is why sales and marketing do the same thing but different. We are each in the business of teaching. The better we can teach the better we can, in marketing’s case, attract the right type of companies and in sales, work on the right deals. This is the key, qualification. Both sales and marketing has to be excellent qualifiers. Both groups are ultimately judged and how well each qualifies. The notion that a lead from marketing is fully qualified isn’t a possibility in our industry. The reason being, without a conversation, a salesperson is unable to know what the assumptions of the prospective company is. Plus, I like to tell young salespeople this, if we were able to generate fully qualified leads from marketing, why would we need salespeople?

To Be Clear

Sales and marketing do the same thing… teach. The better each is at communicating and diagnosing the customer’s needs the better each will do. The downside of this is, in order to be an effective teacher you really have to know your subject matter. That means, not only your product, which is where most sales and marketers start and stop, but to know how the customer uses the product and services, what the impact to the organization and the landscape of the industry including competition. There is a lot to know before you can teach!

 

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information

The Sales Teaching Model and Personal Brand #APAutomation

I have been writing a lot about the teaching model of selling. The biggest point of the teaching model is you have to be a trusted advisor to your prospective clients. In a way you need to be a skilled navigator to help you prospective clients purchase your product and service.

Unintended Consequences

From a learning, teaching and entertaining prospective (funny how those things tend to always go together) I am fascinated by unintended consequences. To give you an example, British Airways in the eighties gave their pilots a bonus to save on fuel. Meaning the more they saved on fuel the higher their income. Imagine British Airways’ surprise when customers started complaining about the planes being too hot, because the pilots weren’t running the engines on the tarmac, and schedules being messed up because pilots were flying too slow (to save fuel). Helping your prospective clients has unintended consequences too but unlike British Airways they of the positive variety.

Positive Variety

If you prescribe to helping your clients learn all of the advantages of your software and services there are a few things that you will need to make this happen. They are…

  1. More knowledge – In order to give wise counsel, which is the cornerstone of the teaching model, you have to know more about your offering than your client. Not just your software (by the way software knowledge is far down the list) but the industry, business practices, lingo, competition, application and (here is the big one) the impact of the change of your software and service.
  2. A heavy pipe – As a rep you will make the most when you need the least. I bet you have heard that before, but to be a teacher your skills and need to “close” have to be in the proper perspective. If you have a number weighing heavy on you – your desire to teach as well as your teaching skills will take a back seat.
  3. Teaching skills – Just like salespeople, good teachers are trained and not born that way. There are certain skills if people naturally have will make then a better teacher… skills like empathy, desire to learn, ability to listen, and above average communication skills.
  4. A super-hero mentality – with much is given – much is required (a Spiderman and Bible quote). Becoming a trusted advisor and teaching people to buy will put you in a unique position to have influence. Using that influence for evil and not good will destroy everything you will work for (Wow! High drama!)

Funny

If you have the four above characteristics or attributes then you have a significant person brand. A personal brand is worth its weight in gold and it helps you rise above the noise of the competition. The best thing, however, is your prospective clients will stop treating you like a commodity.

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information

The Sales Teaching Model and Personal Brand #APAutomation

I have been writing a lot about the teaching model of selling. The biggest point of the teaching model is you have to be a trusted advisor to your prospective clients. In a way you need to be a skilled navigator to help you prospective clients purchase your product and service.

Unintended Consequences

From a learning, teaching and entertaining prospective (funny how those things tend to always go together) I am fascinated by unintended consequences. To give you an example, British Airways in the eighties gave their pilots a bonus to save on fuel. Meaning the more they saved on fuel the higher their income. Imagine British Airways’ surprise when customers started complaining about the planes being too hot, because the pilots weren’t running the engines on the tarmac, and schedules being messed up because pilots were flying too slow (to save fuel). Helping your prospective clients has unintended consequences too but unlike British Airways they of the positive variety.

Positive Variety

If you prescribe to helping your clients learn all of the advantages of your software and services there are a few things that you will need to make this happen. They are…

  1. More knowledge – In order to give wise counsel, which is the cornerstone of the teaching model, you have to know more about your offering than your client. Not just your software (by the way software knowledge is far down the list) but the industry, business practices, lingo, competition, application and (here is the big one) the impact of the change of your software and service.
  2. A heavy pipe – As a rep you will make the most when you need the least. I bet you have heard that before, but to be a teacher your skills and need to “close” have to be in the proper perspective. If you have a number weighing heavy on you – your desire to teach as well as your teaching skills will take a back seat.
  3. Teaching skills – Just like salespeople, good teachers are trained and not born that way. There are certain skills if people naturally have will make then a better teacher… skills like empathy, desire to learn, ability to listen, and above average communication skills.
  4. A super-hero mentality – with much is given – much is required (a Spiderman and Bible quote). Becoming a trusted advisor and teaching people to buy will put you in a unique position to have influence. Using that influence for evil and not good will destroy everything you will work for (Wow! High drama!)

Funny

If you have the four above characteristics or attributes then you have a significant person brand. A personal brand is worth its weight in gold and it helps you rise above the noise of the competition. The best thing, however, is your prospective clients will stop treating you like a commodity.

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy