Boost your Perceptual Skills to the Expert Level

Three key Ingredients to Boost your Perceptual Skills to the Expert Level:

We’ve all seen it first hand, that brilliant sales performance where the expert seems to nail every aspect of the selling interaction. But what exactly is that “it” in selling, the part that’s hard to put a finger on and we most often dismiss as simply having a knack or “it just comes with experience.” But when we peel back the onion a bit more, we discover the underlining intuitive actions that are actually at play. And not only can we unravel the mystery of implicit selling, thanks to science, we can now learn to repeat and improve these skills without sacrificing large amounts of selling time.

One key element of recognition involves situation awareness−a term commonly used in the emergency (fire, medical, and rescue) and military domains. These professionals have to be able to make life and death snap decisions with a high degree of accuracy. This raises the question of the role of situation awareness in selling. While it is not life threatening to mishandle a sales objection, knowing how to adjust to situations is essential to success.

The Price of Oblivion:
One major reason that many salespeople struggle to succeed is because of missed cues, a blindness of the sales environment. By blindness, I mean the seller will often ignore cues because she doesn’t see a reason to react. Others may lack intuitive skills which lead them to take the path of least resistance. But either way, if she is consumed with her own presentation, the opportunity for connecting is often lost.

Here’s my Recipe for Improving Sales Recognition:
1. Add 1 pound of “Attentionality” (Laser Mental Focus). To best understand attentionality, we turn to an example in sports. Let’s say a football team wants to win a big game against their arch rival. During the course of that contest, if the players think about scoring touchdowns and winning the game, inevitably, they don’t perform as well. Therefore, excellent coaches guide their team’s thinking to focus narrowly on the task at hand. The offensive linemen focus on executing the proper blocking techniques while the receiver visualizes the perfect route and catch actions he has drilled all week. And of course the quarterback, hones in on the defensive coverage, before and during the play so he knows exactly where to pass the ball.

During interactions, expert sellers don’t think about the past or the future−only what’s happening in that moment. They aren’t thinking about what they had for breakfast or stressing because they just realized they forgot to call a customer back. Instead they’re minds become like trained ninjas, disciplined and focused on achieving the goal by executing selling tasks to the best of their ability.

2. Sprinkle in some feedback from your sales manager or peers. Ride-a-longs make a great way to build connecting skills and reflective learning. The ideal time for a reflective discussion is right after the joint sales call. The sooner you can talk after ending the call, the more accurate your recall will be. But for reflective learning to take place, you must be open to receive feedback from your colleague. Ask your ride-a-long partner to observe the buyer’s reactions to your presentation as well as your reactions to their messages. The idea is to think about your thinking in order to become more aware of the meaningful cues that affect sales outcomes.

3. Use the Right Utensils and Tools for Improving Your Recognition Recipe. Though it’s not necessary to try to identify all situations you might face, it’s useful to prepare for the most common ones. Make a chart of the most common situations you face in selling along with successful responses that you or other experts have used.

In sum, you now have the recipe for success when you add attentionality to your thinking, sprinkle in some colleague feedback, and use the right utensils to enhance and expand your recognition skills over time.


Personalized Sales – Is it the need of an hour!


Few years ago, when virtual world did not exist, things were not too complex when it comes to business as customers were not very demanding and analytical but now as we are exploring the new opportunities offered by this so called virtual world i.e. digital media, cloud computing, social media, wearable smart technologies etc. Day after day, things have started becoming more complex as customers have become more informative and logical when it comes to making buying decision. Earlier, influencers were identified and targeted but now in this virtual world, it is difficult to find influencers as customer’s interactive medium has become virtual and it has become wider. Customers have become more vulnerable these days when it comes to brand commitment unlike earlier days, when loyalty was regarded and rewarded.


Over and above, stiff nature of competition has also played a vital role to make things even more complex as customers are now bombarded and confused with lot of product options. People have changed their lifestyle and behavior to deal with these changing trends of virtual world and vice versa.


In such a highly complex economic and business environment, it has become challenge for companies to target customer and increase profitable sales. Now days, companies are merely focusing on surviving strategies rather growth strategies. Gone are days, when companies were focusing on long term growth strategies and business processes to build sustainable business model but now I am surprised to see the way companies have become shortsighted when it comes to sales. Everybody wants immediate favorable sales results due to vulnerable nature of economic and business environment.


To deal with this complex and challenging business environment, some of the leading companies have changed their ways to operate their respective businesses by keeping customer’s changing and vulnerable behavior and needs into consideration. Companies haves started adopting practices which actually help them to target customers in a personalized fashion but the question is how do they do it? In an era of virtual world where we spend our time on mobile, social media and digital media, we actually leave lot of digital data of our activities I.e. conversation on social media, private emails are stored in cloud system, phone conversation etc.


More and more of our activities are digitally recorded: Most things we do in our digitalized world leave a data trail. For example, what we are searching for and what websites we visit, how we click through them, as well as what and when we buy, share or like something. When we read digital books or listen to digital music the devices will collect (and share) data on what we are reading and listening to and how often we do so. And when we make payments using credit or payment cards the transactions are logged.



So, we are living in a world of “Datafication” where we have a lot more data than ever before, in more complex formats, that are often fast moving and of varying quality. The best part is we now have Analytics and Business Intelligence tools and methods that allow us to analyze vast amounts of data by breaking the task of processing very large data sets down into smaller tasks that are run in parallel using a large cluster of computers. As a result, we get to know about action insights of each customer. This is what helps companies to stand out from their competitors and make companies capable enough to claim decent consumer mind space.


Amazon, largest ecommerce giant is leveraging this Big Data and using predictive analytics and as a result, it has been successfully doing personalized sales.


Some of the world’s leading advertisers, such as L’Oréal Paris, Intel and Fiat, have discovered new ways to use Google Search Trends – for personalized sales. From search volume and search keywords, these companies are trying to understand consumer’s behavior by location.


Personalized sales is an emerging trend and only solution left out with companies to deal with such a complex sales situation and to ensure increasing growth rate of profitable sales.


What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with this sales revolution? Are you ready to leverage data and capitalize this new emerging trend of personalized sales?




By: Vishal Sawlani

losing deals

Why You Are Losing More Deals Even When You Have The Right Solution

n my many years of sales experience, I have shared countless war stories with colleagues and peers. Some of those have been colossal victories and others were defeats that I did not see coming. I know I am not alone when writing this because I’ve heard “Still not sure why they didn’t choose my solution” from too many peers. Many times we would simply say “the customer has no idea as to what they were doing!” And of course as sales people with ego’s the size of the ocean, we tell our bosses that too and anyone that would listen. Obviously the presentations that we give are nothing short of an Apple product launch, so then why does the customer go with someone else? Or worse…DO NOTHING AT ALL!

I mean after all, I listened to the customer and asked open ended questions, showed empathy, presented a solution that met their needs and came within their budget. This should lead to slam dunk deals right? NOPE I don’t think so.

Read the statement above again and think to yourself for a moment on what went wrong. Believe me folks, it took me a while to figure it out.

The reason this process does not work is that you are not presenting the solution to the way the customer understands it. You see we all have different social styles that we are comfortable communicating with. Some of us are direct and to the point, others are analytical, some are expressive and others are amiable. In order to make someone open up and understand what you are saying, you need to understand their social style first and then communicate the solution to them in the manner they are comfortable in.

If you ever make a long winded presentation to an expressive and all it contains is charts and numbers, believe me when I tell you this…THEY WILL TUNE YOU OUT. You might as well be speaking Wookie to them. However if you did the same thing for an analytical, they will feel like you speak their language and fully understand them and their needs.

For instance next time you are out and about try this, walk up to a friend or family member and show them a $20 bill. Present it to them but you cannot speak English to them. Instead speak a language that you completely make up on your own. Keep pointing to the money and see if they accept it. Rest assured they probably will look at you very weird but will not take the money. After 15 seconds, just come out in plain English and tell them “I want to give you $20.” Watch how quick they snatch it away from you. It’s because you are speaking their language and they understand clearly what you are saying. This is what we fail to realize as sales people. We feel that we are proposing an obvious solution, they why is the customer not buying. It’s simple…they don’t understand your solution because you are presenting it in a language that is foreign to them!

The next time you are in a sales meeting, try to identify the person’s social style. If you have never been exposed to social styles, check out Wilson Learning’s program Building Relationship Versatility program. It will definitely help you identify social styles and learn how to communicate to the different styles.

I am not a professional writer and by no means am I trying to aspire to be one. Just wanted to share a quick note with other sales people out there striving to shatter their quota’s!

What are your thoughts about this? I would greatly appreciate feedback.



By: Faisal Usta

sales map

15 Simple Steps to Tap New Territory


In business, there is always pressure to have higher market share and profitable sales. To fulfill both these objectives, it is important to have good presence in all territories so to do this; we have to penetrate into new territories to explore the opportunities provided by that territory. To get entry into new territory and start from the scratch to start sales is always a big challenge as sometimes we have to deal with competitors who already have long dominant presence in the similar territory. This calls for another challenge which is to get positioning into consumer’s mind space and then product/brand acceptability.


Keeping how challenging it is to build strong product presence into new territory into consideration following measures to be taken in steps for an effective execution and rewarding sales.


  1. First, set goals for this new territory like what sales company is expecting from this new territory in first 6 months and in next 2 years? Company has to be patient and has to give adequate time to understand and develop the market.
  2. Study customer first to know what they think about you as a brand. You will get to know brand-customer mind reach gap which may further help you build your action plan.
  3. Find out the pain areas of customers of new territory in terms of product-service-need gap.
  4. Study what competition has been doing good in that territory to get the major market share
  5. Find out weak areas of competitions like poor service, customer dissatisfaction, product complaints, poor customer handling, higher price of the product etc.
  6. Initially target 2-3 potential area or those areas of that territory where competitors have average presence in order to make your presence strong enough to build further market in a distant future.
  7. Launch your brand/product campaign in phases highlighting USPs of your product/service. This should cover all strengths of yours and weak areas of competition.
  8. Remember, this campaign design and execution should be creative and appealing enough to become talk of the town. This should actually strike the market and competition too.
  9. Assign dedicated and adequate sales reps to cover market and also to give assurance of all time presence to targeted customers.
  10. Tie up with other local influential channels which have long time presence in that territory and also are directly/indirectly play a vital role in your product sales life cycle.
  11. Focus on increasing customer touch points to ensure not to miss single customer query and also to ensure speedy customer query resolution.
  12. Start addressing customer’s issues in a personal manner and thereby building confidence amongst consumer’s mind.
  13. It is very important that sales team should be trained and motivated enough to make sure that they must have long term commitment and will not flee away while facing tough situations.
  14. Last but not the least, it is very important to have all your top management, backend sales staff and other sales dept. to be extra cautious besides being active and responsive enough when it comes to supporting this territory.
  15. Restudy the market at regular intervals to know the changing market trends besides knowing customer – product fitment gap and take corrective measures to meet customer expectations for better market penetration.Planning is worth nothing unless executed efficiently so it is very important to have smooth and timely execution of the planning which in turn help to have profitable sales and higher market share.