Sales Awards Blog

Liz Dean

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Are You an Effective Sales Rep? Take a Stevie Awards Winner's Test

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 @ 10:31 AM

Dan Seidman, CEO of Got Influence? in Barrington, Illinois, USA, won the Gold Stevie® Award for Sales Training or Education Leader of the Year in sales awards categories of the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. Here Dan discuses sales excellence.

Dan Seidman, CEOm Got Influence?This is a test, not a quiz.  Quizzes are easy.

This is a test that will give you a true measure of your understanding about sales skills.

This is a test. The right answers will improve your performance throughout the rest of your selling career.

Ready?  Answer the following three questions (and don’t cheat—write down the first answer that hits you):

  1. Who are you REALLY competing with? 
  2. What is the #1 PROBLEM encountered by anyone who sells anything?
  3. What is your RESPONSIBILITY on a sales call?

Now that you’ve written your answers, let’s work our way through each of these questions.

1. Who are you REALLY competing with?
No, it’s not you—though that might be the second smartest answer. In training sessions I’ve had salespeople tell me: It’s the cheapest competitor; the rep with the best rapport; the most persistent rep; or even the rep who offers the best bribe.

(And by the way, you do compete with yourself, in the sense that you can improve. By not improving, you are simply getting in your own way.)

Here’s the answer: You REALLY compete with the best sales professional that your buyer has ever encountered.

Think about that. Someone before you set a standard by which you and all others are measured. This might include how professionally you dress; your skill with words; your ability to sell without pressuring; your ability to ask the right questions; or your skill at reframing the issues.  Or it might reflect on your ability to quantify whether an investment in your solution will provide a worthy return on that purchase. Pack these together and you get the Best of the Best. That’s the framework for the buyer.

This buyer is probably not consciously comparing you against such elevated standards, but he or she somehow just remembers the experience of sitting down with that true selling pro.  So you’d better not be using old sales tactics that everyone’s heard a hundred times. You’d better truly distinguish yourself from other reps in order to gain a commitment from the buyer.

What do I like best about this answer? Outstanding selling pros will think: “Hey! I can be the one who sets the standard for all those other miserable reps out there. I can be the best.” And it gives them the incentive to work hard to outperform everyone they’re competing with.

How well do you want to attain selling immortality? You’ll need great training, or at least to adopt new strategies.  Try reading about, listening to, and viewing the latest sales techniques, and hang out with the best sales pros you can find.

2. What is the #1 PROBLEM encountered by anyone who sells anything?
The most popular response to this question? No money.

(I debunk this quickly in training by sharing a 12-page, single-spaced document of responses to the price objection. I have even compressed this masterful montage of objections and responses into one page—in a very tiny font!—so that reps can carry it around with them as a reminder that they have the flexibility to deal with any resistance related to money.)

Others respond that the #1 problem is no training, bad prospects, or the inability to reach the real decision-maker.

The real answer: The #1 PROBLEM you encounter is that you are chasing poor prospects.

Mention this to a room full of sales managers and their heads start nodding vigorously, like a freeway full of cars with bobble-head dolls during an L.A. earthquake.

We all do this: We look at the size of the sale or the prestige of the prospect or that smiling buyer and think: “YES! It’s a YES! They’re buying!”

Wrong. People really do hate to hurt your feelings, even if you’re a total stranger who has wrangled an appointment out of them. A prospect who acts nice, then tells you that they’ll get back to you, is not a good thing.  It’s a disaster.  So if someone says: “I’ll think about it and let you know,” you know. Chasing poor prospects is the biggest time-waster in the sales world.

This problem can be eliminated: Simply identify your perfect prospect and only court a prospect who fits that profile.

Who is your perfect prospect? Just look back at some of your best existing clients. Identify how you sold to them; what their needs were; how long it took to get to the real decision-maker; how quickly they made a decision. If you and your team can clearly identify a perfect prospect, you’ll stop chasing the poor ones.

3. What is your RESPONSIBILITY on a sales call?
(Hint: The answer has to be correct 100% of the time, whether you are talking about face-to-face meetings or phone calls.)

Here are some answers that are correct, but NOT 100% of the time: selling the buyer; educating the buyer; discovering the buyer’s needs; handling objections; finding the decision-maker; identifying the time frame for a decision; gaining an idea of the available budget; and so on.

The answer that is true 100% of the time?  Your RESPONSIBILITY on a sales call is to GET A DECISION.

If getting a decision is your key focus, it drives all your activity and language choices.

Here’s the how and why of decisions: You get a YES, that’s good—you sold them. You get a NO, that’s good—move on. You get a next step, that’s good—set the appointment for that next step. You get an “I’ll think it over,” that’s BAD, that’s not a decision.  So preempt that problem by asking your buyer to commit to a yes, no, or the next step.

This is the single most important concept any sales pro can learn and put into play.

The key to pulling this off is to draft a script that covers your rules of engagement. (You can use the script on the phone, but for face-to-face you’ll need to memorize it—while sounding spontaneous, of course.) The script might start: “Mr./Ms. Prospect, our conversation today is to determine whether we can work together. So at the end of our time, let’s figure out if it’s yes or no, or whether we need to set a next step …”

That’s just a snapshot of how this would work—and work it does, rather well, in fact.

How Did You Do?
You’ve finished the test and you have your three answers. How did you do? Did the responses here create a bit of an AHA! moment or two or three? Perhaps they made you say: “Ouch, I need a little work here.”

Think about how well your organization’s sales training measures up to these standards. You can produce smarter sales pros by teaching them concepts that mediocre reps won’t know.

Remember, to improve performance you must change behavior, and each of the three best responses requires a behavior change to put them into action.

Have some thoughts on these ideas? Please share them with me.

About Dan Seidman:
Dan Seidman is CEO of Got Influence? and one of the top sales coaches in the United States.  He is the author of the 600-page Ultimate Guide to Sales Training, (Pfeiffer, 2012), and six other books, including The Secret Language of Influence and Sales Autopsy!  Dan is also a consultant to the world’s leading training organization, ASTD (74,000 members), where he is helping to design a global sales-training program.

Dan is a former athlete with three Olympic gold medals for playing on the U.S. basketball team. He is married and lives in Barrington, Illinois.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, Got Influence, Sales training or education leader of the year, Dan Seidman

120 Rockstars of the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Liz Dean on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 @ 10:12 AM

The following professionals participated in the preliminary-round judging of the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. Their average scores determined the 2013 Finalists in the customer service awards, contact center awards, and sales awards categories.  This year's Stevie Awards winners will be announced at our annual awards gala at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, on Monday February 25. Learn more about the event and reserve your table today. We thank our judges for their enthusiasm, time, and insights.

Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer ServiceAhmed Al Hai, BRM Specialist, ADCO, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 
Cheryl Alaniz, Director, Member Services Grocery, HBC/GM, NFR, & Frozen, Topco Associates LLC, Skokie, IL, United States               
Kenneth Amormino, Director of Call Center Operations, Time Warner Cable, Charlotte, NC, United States               
Joann Amoroso, Manager, Client Support Services, Dean Evans and Associates, Centennial, CO, United States  
Paul Bilodeau, VP Sales & Marketing, The Brooks Group, Greensboro, NC, United States               
Greg Brink, Marketing Services Manager, Search Optics, Ferndale, MI, United States               
Jim Brodo, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Richardson, Philadelphia, PA, United States        
Amanda Browning, Data Integrity Manager, Unitiv, Alpharetta, GA, United States               
Gregory Brush, VP, Sales, InsideView, San Francisco, CA, United States 
Ana Castellanos, VP, Chief Human Resources Officer, Oakwood Temporary Housing, Los Angeles, CA, United States      
Chris Cerbini, Staff Development and Quality Control Manager, North America, World Courier Inc., New Hyde Park, NY, United States   
Peter Chiarelli, Sales Manager, Cablevision, New York, United States    
Susan Cloutier, Operations Manager, Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester, MN, United States               
Jason Copeland, Senior Manager, National Sales Group, SurePayroll, Inc., Glenview, IL, United States    
Irene Corpuz, Senior Analyst, Change Masters International - MENA, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates               
Brian Correia, Director, Sales & Client Services, Solstice Dental & Vision, Plantation, FL, United States               
Tom Cross, CEO, TECHtionary, Boulder, CO, United States            
Andrew Curtis, Manager, Product Specialists, iCIMS, Hazlet, NJ, United States   
Kelly Dantas, Media Director, SDI Distributor, Yonkers, NY, United States               
Robyn Davis, Owner, When I Need Help, Knoxville, TN, United States    
Brent Dierking, Director, Business Development/Strategic Planning, NorthStar EMS, Birmingham, AL, United States               
Alan Dowler, Operations Manager, Hamilton Jewelers, Princeton, NJ, United States       
Basil Dsouza, AVP, Customer Experience Management, Cactus Communications Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, India               
Eve Dumovich, CEO, Snowline Publishing, Ashford, WA, United States   
Annette Eland, Claims Customer Service Manager, Esurance, Rocklin, CA, United States               
Eric Engwall, President, E.G. Insight, Inc., St. Paul, MN, United States     
Richard Feinberg, Professor, Department of Consumer Sciences and Retailing, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States   
Cheretha Ferguson, Director of Marketing and Sponsorship, The J3 Agency, Pembroke Pines, FL, United States
Andrew J. “Flip” Filipowski, Executive Chairman & CEO, SilkRoad Technology, Winston Salem, NC, United States
Joey Fister, Director Emergency Recovery, Avaya, Plano, TX, United States         
Simone Fojut, Chief Editor, CallCenterProfi, Wiesbaden, GA, United States         
Stephen Giersch, Director Instructional Design, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, Orlando, FL, United States               
Gina Giordano, VP, Customer Feedback, Macy's, New York, NY, United States  
Abhishek Goel, Founder & Chief Customer Officer, Cactus Communications, Mumbai, India               
Karen Greco, Director, Business Optimization, Unified, New York, NY, United States               
Robert Gregory, VP of Customer Support, Media Temple, Culver City, CA, United States               
Jimmy Griffith, Director, Solution Center Operations, Assurant Solutions, Ft. Worth, TX, United States               
Shraddha Gurjar, Assistant Manager, Client Loyalty, Cactus Communications, Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, IN, United States 
Josh Hatala, Marketing Specialist, AIReS, Pittsburgh, PA, United States  
Brian Hayes, Customer Service Manager, PPC, East Syracuse, NY, United States
Peggy Heafey, Director, Intermediary Partner Care, Marriott Intl., Inc., Omaha, NE, United States            
Jane Henry, Owner, LOOMLAB, South Pasadena, CA, United States        
Paul Hoffman, President, WW Field Operations, Informatica, Redwood City, CA, United States  
Phillip Horvath, SVP, Professional Services, Merchant Partners, Redmond, WA, United States               
Tunde Hubina, Customer Care Director, UPC Direct, Howald, LA, United States          
Greg Ives, Director of Global Services, ChannelAdvisor, Morrisville, NC, United States    
Scott James, Program Manager, Member Advisory Center, Arizona State Retirement System, Phoenix, AZ, United States               
Joshua Johnson, Director of External Relations, Digital Talent Agents, Columbia, MO, United States               
JP Jones, Owner, Collipsis Web Solutions, Tulsa, OK, United States          
Molly Kapoor, Head of Customer Service, Birla Sunlife Mutual Fund, Mumbai, India        
JoAnn Kay, VP of Customer Service, GraduationSource, Port Chester, NY, United States               
James Koons, Support Team Manager, Listrak, Lititz, PA, United States 
Mike Krause, President, Sales Sense Solutions, Inc., Rochester, NY, United States           
Elzbieta Krawczynska, Quality Specialist & Trainer, Bank Zachodni WBK, Poznan, Poland
Rajesh Kumar, Assistant VP, Agency, Oman Insurance Company PSC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates          
Shane Lewis, Assistant VP of Sales, Sundance Vacations, Kennett Square, PA, United States               
Russell Lundstrom, COO, Southfork Ventures, Denver, CO, United States            
Mervat  Mansour, Quality Manager, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates         
Wessam Massoud, Program Delivery Manager, Gov. Contact Centre, Abu Dhabi Systems & information Centre, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates    
Akshay Masurekar, Associate Vice President, Training & Mentoring (Customer Delight Department), Cactus Communications Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India            
Maria Mattsson, Manager, Guest Services, Royal Caribbean International & Azamara Club Cruises, Miami, FL, United States               
Colin  McKillop, CEO, Butcher Enterprises, Windsor, ON, Canada              
Curtis McLaughlin, Customer Support Manager, AllClear ID, Austin, TX, United States     
Jay Mitchell, Managing Director, Motum, LLC, Irving, TX, United States  
Simona Mollova, CEO, Investment JSPK Credit Consult - JSK, Sofia, Bulgaria             
Brian Moriarty, Vice President North America Sales, General Cable, Highland Heights, KY, United States
Dave Morse, VP Customer Service, Location Based Technologies, Irvine, CA, United States         
Gina Musick, VP, IT Manager I US ITS Loan Loss Share, TD Bank, Fort Pierce, FL, United States               
Pat Mussieux, Founder, Wealthy Women Leaders, London, Canada       
Emily Nelson-Crain, VP of Member Services, Agility Recovery Solutions, Charlotte, NC, United States               
Whattkim Ong, Principal Consultant, Mamsa Consultants PTE LTD, Singapore, Singapore  
Lisa P Oswald, Vice President, Travelzoo, New York, NY, United States  
Mark O'Toole, Managing Director, Public Relations & Content Marketing, H|B, Newton, MA, United States         
Steve Pappageorge, Dean of the College of Continuing Education, New Programs and Outreach, DeVry Inc., Downers Grove, IL, United States               
Darry Pinto, Assistant Manager, Client Relations, Cactus Communications Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India           
Melanie Pope, Director, Australian National Paramedic Support Foundation, Aspley Qld, AL, Australia               
Churchill Prince, Founder & CEO, Sales Intellect Company, Chennai, India     
Mike Prusinski, Chief of Staff, Tiversa, Pittsburgh, PA, United States       
Janet Quadras, Sr. Manager, CRM, Cactus Communications, Mumbai, India         
Jesintha Rajaratnam, Managing Partner, Joje India Consultants-Finance & HR, Mumbai, India     
Dennis Reno, Vice President, Customer Portal Experience, Oracle, San Francisco, CA, United States               
Peter Rifkind, Director of Client Service, UltraLinq Healthcare Solutions, Inc, New York, NY, United States             
Elizaveta Rybinskaya, Customer Service Director, Quelle Russia, Moscow, Russian               
Scott Sachs, Sr. Director, Call Center Operations, Assurant, Wayne, PA, United States               
Russell Sarder, Chairman and CEO, NetCom Learning, New York, NY, United States               
Jodi Sawyer, Director, John Hancock, Boston, MA, United States              
Stu Schlackman, Owner, Competitive Excellence, Richardson, TX, United States
Paula Seeger, Supervisor, Customer Service, Hotline, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States               
Dan Seidman, CEO, GOT INFLUENCE?, Barrington, IL, United States         
Randy Selleck, Sr. Director, Call Center Operations, Assurant Solutions, Atlanta, GA, United States               
Bahar Sensoz, Customer Complaint Management Specialist, Turk Telekom, Istanbul, Turkey       
Bill Shelton, Senior Vice President, USHEALTH Advisors, Grapevine, TX, United States               
Ramin Shokrizadeh, Product Manager, FreshBooks, Toronto, ON, Canada            
Clayton Shold, President, Salesopedia, Oakville, Canada               
Donnovan Simon, Director, Customer Systems & Global Alignment, SMART Technologies, Calgary, Canada               
Manu Singh, Contact Center Manager, Dubai First, Dubai, United Arab Emirates               
Ravinder Singh, Director, Search Engine Marketing, Kulwant Advisory, Nairobi, Kenya 
Cate Sommervold, CEO, pharmaCline, Sioux Falls, SD, United States       
Calvin St Juste, Department Manager, CapitalOne, Laurel, MD, United States     
Tanja Steinbach, Bachelor of Science, Inxmail GmbH, Freiburg, Germany              
Andrzej Szczepaniak, Deputy Director, Central Settlement Services, Bank Zachodni WBK, Poznan, Poland             
Will Tarrant, Cofounder/Owner, Service Metrics Group, Plano, TX, United States               
Özge Tekalp, Director, Türk Ekonomi Bankasi A.S, Istanbul, TX, United States      
Bob Thomas, Director of Business Development, Prorizon, Kennesaw, GA, United States               
Kathy Townend, Product Manager, Europ Assistance, San Diego, CA, United States               
Sean Tracy, Director of Client Services, Property Insight, Carol Stream, IL, United States
Lillian Valdes, President, At Your Service Hospitality Strategic Quality Trai, Miami, FL, United States               
Heather Valentine, Vice President Global Sales, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Manakin Sabot, VA, United States               
Lori Van Dyke, Manager Customer Care, Access One Inc, Chicago, IL, United States        
Vincent Vanden Bossche, Managing Director, Call Communications, Ottenburg, Belgium              
Tina Vasile, Customer Care Manager, Safe2Drive, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, United States     
Amy Veasley, Director of Call Center Operations, Assurant, Addison, TX, United States 
Dave Venance, Solution Architect, 4Point, Ottawa, Canada         
Madalina Vilau, Managing Partner, Expo Media, Bucharest, Romania      
Brian Ward, SVP Client Engagement, Stylesight, New York, NY, United States     
Glenn Wohl, eAwareness Manager, AT&T, Bridgewater, NJ, United States          
Nicolette Wuring, Managing Director, Customer Management Services, Amstelveen, Netherlands               
Julia Zamorska, VP of Corporate Communications, iolo technologies, Los Angeles, CA, United States               
Oleg Zeldin, CEO, Apex Berg Contact Center Consulting, Odintsovo, Russian          
Guo (Peter) Zijiang, COO & GM Assistant, Wuhan Kindstar Diagnostics Co., Ltd, Wuhan, China   

Tags: sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, judging, judges, contact center awards, stevie awards for sales and customer service, preliminary judging

3 Ways to Improve Sales in 2013, From a Sales Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 @ 03:09 PM

Fred Kessler, Founder of Sales Partnerships, Inc., is Chair of the final judging committee for the Sales Department Awards categories of the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (Finalists of the sales awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards will be notified on January 23 and winners of the 2013 edition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013. You can purchase tickets for the awards gala here.)

Fred Kessler, Founded, Sales Partnerships, Inc.As the founder of a company specializing in sales outsourcing solutions, what top 3 tips would you give to organizations wanting to improve their sales?

  1. The “little numbers” create the big numbers. If you wait until after a quota period to react to sales performance, you will lose almost half of your opportunity to increase sales. Even when you team is above target, there is a temptation to assume everything is optimal when it likely isn’t. Review the stats that are key performance indicators for the creation of new deals and act on that data since it will ultimately generate your success or failure.
  2. Big personalities don’t equal sales. Research shows extraverts have no higher likelihood to succeed in sales than the average sales representative. The problem is, they are often the most promoted and well recognized. Assess new candidates based on what they have achieved historically that is analogous to your environment; and whether they have the ability to solve problems you present them with in real time.
  3. Check your ego. You may have designed the sales process you are currently using, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right one. Get trusted, independent advisors to review your data and ideas. Look at your sales force from an outside perspective, then ask: “Is this the right direction for us?”

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
Daniel Pink’s new work on selling, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, uses data akin to those Rackham used a decade ago. It’s one of the first new looks at sales using metrics and data in a long time. It’s creating a buzz for good reason. 

What is your favorite business app?
Google News
and its variants.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
Teaching business courses.  Less than 60 U.S. universities offer classes in sales, and of them, only about a dozen even offer a minor in sales.  In the real world, however, it’s sales that determine the fate of a company—and it’s often the best incubator for future company leaders. 

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
What inspires me is helping our teams and individuals hit new records in overall sales. It’s exhilarating to see someone break a sales record or set a new bar for the team or the industry. Every day I ask: What am I doing to help our teams get ahead?

About Fred Kessler
Fred Kessler founded Sales Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) in 1997, with the addition of co-equity owner Aaron Kullman as VP of Operations early in 1998. The focus of the company was to change how the market sold products and services, and to create an environment for sales reps that showed respect and honor for what they did. Kessler built a company not only to help its clients but also to build the skill-sets of his own personnel and to give them better lives.

Kessler has been recognized as an innovator and pioneer in changing how the business of sales is done, both In his role as President of SPI and in his overall career in sales and sales management. He is a regular speaker at Industry events ranging from sales metrics through buyer motivation, and at Inc. Magazine’s Growth Conferences 

About Sales Partnerships, Inc.:
Sales Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) employs over 100 sales representatives in 7 U.S. cities. The company aims to help its personnel succeed by investing in training and development in order for them to mature into the most talented individuals they can be. SPI leverages this focus on internal development to provide best-of-breed services for its clients.

 

Tags: sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, contact center awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Fred Kessler, Sales Partnerships, Inc.

One Grand Reason to Enter the 2013 Sales & Customer Service Awards

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 @ 02:22 PM

The final entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals, is tomorrow, January 15, and we thought it would be helpful if we shared one grand reason you should enter the 2013 awards.

Gold Stevie Awards TrophyHere's one more giant reason you should enter the 2013 awards: This will be your final opportunity to win the traditional, large Gold Stevie Award trophy. After this edition of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the large trophy will become the Grand Stevie Award in all of our programs, and a new, smaller Gold Stevie trophy will be conferred. The Grand Stevie Award trophy will be awarded to only a handful of organizations in each of our four competitions and the new Gold Stevie Award trophy will be the same size as the Silver and Bronze Stevie Award trophies. Read more about this here.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories for products and service and solution providers. If you haven't yet done so, you can begin your submission process by requesting your entry kit here.

Finalists will be notified on January 23 and winners of the 2013 edition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

Have last minute questions regarding the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service? Email us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service, call center awards, grand trophy

5 Days to Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service Final Entry Deadline

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 @ 04:18 PM

Tuesday, January 15 is the final entry deadline for the 2013 (7th annual) Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals.

Stevie Awards LogoIf you haven't yet done so, you can begin your submission process by requesting your entry kit here. The entry kit contains all of the instructions you need about how to prepare and submit your entries.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers. The 2013 awards will recognize achievements since July 1, 2011.

Information generally required for 2013 entries include an essay of up to 525 words describing the nominee’s achievements during the eligibility period; links to any online materials that support the nomination; and a brief (125 word) biography of the nominee.

To make the most out of your entries, we suggest downloading our 5 Tips for Winning Sales Awards in the 2013 Stevie® Awards tipsheet, reviewing past winners' entries, and watching our short video, How to Enter the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Winners of the 2013 edition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

Have questions regarding the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service?  Email us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service, call center awards

3 Tips on Beating the Competition, From a Sales Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Jan 09, 2013 @ 12:25 PM

Robert Jeppsen is the Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales at Zions First National Bank in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, and is the Chair of the final judging committee of the Sales Individual categories of the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (January 15 is the last day that late entries will be accepted for the 2013 edition. All organizations and individuals worldwide are eligible to submit entries for sales awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards. If you haven't yet done so, you can request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.) Here Rob shares some useful tips on beating the competition.

Robert Jeppsen, Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales, Zions First National BankAs one of the top sales executives for a growing financial institution, what top 3 tips would you give to sales individuals seeking to make their mark in sales?

  1. Understand that HOW you sell is far more important than WHAT you sell.  Products are copied almost immediately, especially in financial services.  While products will be copied, experiences can’t be.  Making the client experience your priority, from the initial sales process on, is the most sustainable competitive advantage you can have.
  1. Discover the process that works in your marketplace.  With the right process you can do things that would otherwise be impossible.  Process gives you predictability in sales, which may be the most desirable thing a business can have.  This is particularly important in complex sales environments like financial services.  For example, in commercial banking, studies show that it takes a minimum of 6-8 calls to a potential client before they actually get serious about considering the new banker as a viable option.  Here’s the problem: Most bankers quit calling on a prospect after 2-3 calls, the perspective being that there is no opportunity. In reality, at this point a banker is only 25-30% of the way to the stage of being seriously considered.  Process allows you to have indicators that not only help to win more business, but also provide confidence about where you are in each transaction.  Once you discover it, the right process can be a huge and ongoing competitive advantage: less than 10% of salespeople currently use a milestone-based process as part of their regular approach to winning and retaining business.
  1. Products don’t matter.  My first law of sales is simple: “Products have no value. Products only derive value.”  Rather than have your call preparation be about product knowledge and product fluency, my suggestion is to learn the breadth of problems a product can solve and why those problems matter.  Nobody likes a “Press Play” salesman who just switches on a product pitch.  If you can be fluent and comfortable in having conversations about the impact—preferably a dollarized impact—of solving a business problem, you will find that your sales cycle time shrinks and your win rate will rise pretty quickly.  One of the most important skills a salesperson can have is fluency and confidence in deriving value.  The better you are at this, the more successful you will be.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The most important news topic to me right now is U.S. fiscal policy.  New tax laws will have a huge impact on business owners and will create significant changes in our business environment.  With change there is always opportunity, and I want to be sure to be close to the changes that are inevitably coming in the short term. We saw a lot of business owners move into “hunker down” mode as the election drew near.  The jury is still out on the impact to business owners and their ability to grow.  As a financial institution that has been the #1 SBA lender in the Western United States, the economic environment for business owners is the most significant issue right now.  A lot of clients are asking us for insights into what the implications will be for them, and I want our team to be able to provide meaningful advice. 

What is your favorite app?
Like many sales leaders, I am on the road a lot and not able to attend many events back home with my family.  I miss a lot of the games that my kids play in, so an app that has been a real difference maker for me is GameChanger.  It allows an absentee Dad to “watch” a game by posting play-by-play updates, and for a Coach, it provides instant stats and match-up/coaching suggestions. (And as a sports fan, another app I don’t know what I would do without is ESPN ScoreCenter, which provides scores and news of sports leagues around the world.)

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
I would be a basketball coach.  The most fun I’ve had came when I was a volunteer coach for a local high school’s varsity basketball team.  It was in a less-affluent part of our area and many of the boys had never had the experience of learning the relationship of preparation and success. They hadn’t had a winning season since 1972.  But we had a winning season that year, and qualified for the state tournament…a quick turnaround.   I am in sales because I love the competitive element.  It gives me that thrill of competition I used to have as an athlete.  But as much fun as it has been to achieve my own success, I have found the most fulfillment when I guide a team to a point where the collective group wins instead of just me.  A much larger challenge is a much more fulfilling one.  Coaching a NCAA D1 team would be about as good as it gets!

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
I love winning.  At Zions, we have a big team and big challenges.  Last year, every single one of our 10 regions hit goal.  We had 31% growth in a down economy, and we beat our 2007 production numbers with fewer people.

There are big challenges in our industry right now that require big plans and big execution.  I like taking the NOT out of CANNOT and helping people realize they can do things that others simply don’t think is possible.  I like to go out and do things that are just too inconvenient for my competitors.  It is a ton of fun and it makes everything worthwhile.

About Robert Jeppsen:
Rob Jeppsen is the SVP of Commercial Sales for Zions Bank. With over 16 years of direct sales and sales leadership experience, Jeppsen has worked in publicly-traded organizations, privately-held organizations, and has successfully led sales teams in the technology, pharmaceutical, and financial services sectors.

Jeppsen is a regular speaker at conferences nationwide and at universities in the Western United States. He is the creator of the Zions Bank Business Performance Series, a tool offered to Zions' clients interested in building a world-class sales system. The course was taken by over 500 businesses in the 2010-2012 period. 

About Zions First National Bank:
Zions First National Bank is a subsidiary of Zions Bancorporation, which operates more than 500 offices and 600 ATMs in 10 Western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. As a full-service bank, Zions offers commercial, installment and mortgage loans; trust services; foreign banking services; electronic and online banking services; automatic deposit and nationwide banking and transfer services; as well as the more familiar checking and savings programs. For more information, go to https://www.zionsbank.com

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service, call center awards, Zions First National Bank, Robert Jeppsen

3 Tips on Selling in a Global Market, From a Stevie® Awards Sponsor

Posted by Liz Dean on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 @ 10:12 AM

Julie Thomas is President and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, a sponsor of the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (January 15, 2013 is the last day that late entries will be accepted for the 2013 edition. All organizations and individuals worldwide are eligible to submit entries for sales awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards. If you haven't yet done so, you can request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.) Here we sat down with Julie and asked her about selling globally.

Julie Thomas, President and CEO of ValueSelling AssociatesAs CEO of a company with a global reach, what top 3 tips would you give to international organizations wanting to improve their sales?
Value Selling specializes in helping B2B organizations transition from competing solely on price to competing on quality, so my top tips for companies moving into international markets are:

  1. Alignment: transitioning sales methods requires consistency. Moving into an international market is a change-management process, and management needs to be aligned with that process.
  2. Integration: everybody involved in sales needs to be trained to use the same processes and tools that are required to transition to new markets.
  3. Cultural Adaptation: businesses should be fully aware of cultural differences in new regions and countries before operating in them.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The reality is that while much of the business news these days is related to economic factors, businesses themselves continue to grow and invest. The difference is that nowadays value is more important.  Sales people that are aware of this, and are good at helping make the business case for a company to spend more, will themselves be more successful.

What is your favorite business app?
Value Selling has developed an app, ValueSelling Framework® in a Flash©, that provides ValueSelling students with flash cards to remind them of key concepts. Sales people can use the app to refresh their pitch before a sales meeting.  The app is available free for smartphones, and a fuller version is available for just  $4.99.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
I’d probably still be selling something in technology, but if I didn’t need to earn a living, I’d love to work in a non-profit organization. I’m on the advisory board of the eWomenNetwork Foundation’s Advisory Council for women entrepreneurs, and I also help out whenever I can at the Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary in San Diego and the Encinitas Community Resource Centre, just north of San Diego.   The holidays are an especially busy time helping out with food, clothing, and toys for families in need.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
What inspires me is the fact that the work we do at ValueSelling helps make a difference for both individuals and corporations. And it’s fun to work with sales professionals because they tend to be exuberant, Type A people.  It’s highly gratifying to see them succeed using our tools, and I get a lot of feedback from people saying how they’d finally been able to close a deal or how they’d earned a great bonus because of increased business.

About Julie Thomas
Julie Thomas, President and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, is a noted speaker, author and consultant. Thomas began her career at Gartner Group and in 1999, she became Vice President of Gartner’s Sales Training for the Americas, which included successfully managing the training of new hires in the ValueSelling process. In 2003, Thomas acquired ValueSelling Associates with the support of ValueSelling CEO and co-founder Lloyd Sappington. Since then, Thomas has led the company to become an industry leader in competency- and process-based training for escalating sales performance.

Thomas is a guest lecturer at both Babson University and the University of Michigan. She is a member of the advisory board of the eWomenNetwork Foundation Advisory Council and is heavily involved with her local public schools as well as the San Diego Children’s Hospital Auxiliary. Thomas earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

About ValueSelling:
Since 1991,ValueSelling Associates has helped FORTUNE 1000 business-to-business sales organizations around the world compete and win. Generating revenue is the goal of all sales organizations. To do that, sales teams need the right tools, skills, and processes to succeed. ValueSelling Associates has maintained its position as a leader in the industry for nearly 20 years by continually evolving to meet the new challenges sales forces face. Clients turn to ValueSelling Associates for classroom training, e-learning, and consulting services that yield immediate impact, repeatable strategies, and sustainable results.  For more information, go to www.valueselling.com.

Tags: Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, sales awards, contact center awards, customer service awards, Julie Thomas, ValueSelling Associates

5 Ways to Prevent Deals from Stalling, From a Stevie Awards Sponsor Provider

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Dec 19, 2012 @ 09:55 AM

Scott Anschuetz, founder of sales and marketing consultancy Visualize, a leading provider of the ValueSelling Framework®, shares his tips for ensuring smooth business deals. (ValueSelling is a sponsor of the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. All organizations and individuals worldwide are eligible to submit entries for sales awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards. January 15, 2013 is the last day that late entries will be accepted; request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.)

Scott Anschuetz, Founder of VisualizeWith some reps seeing as much as 40% of their revenue coming in during the last quarter of the year, the recent ValueSelling webinar on keeping deals from stalling was especially timely. For those not able to take part, following are the top 5 situations that can cause a deal to stall or slip, and how to prevent them: 

1. No Business Issue: Lack of a connection to the critical business issue of a key stakeholder
It’s essential to uncover what a key stakeholder needs to address to achieve his or her business objectives. These business issues can usually be found in a variety of sources: websites; operating statements; financial analyst perspectives; peer comparisons; and by talking with individuals inside the company. Thorough research should confirm your understanding of a key stakeholder’s business issues.

There are some questions you can ask to uncover a key stakeholder’s business issues and objectives, including:

  1. “Our research indicates that X appears to be a critical objective for the company. Do we understand this correctly?”

    or

  2. “How does this align with the key objectives with which you have been tasked?”

The question you SHOULD NOT ask is: “What is the #1 thing by which you are being measured?” Because that is ultimately what you are trying to discover.

Although it may take multiple conversations and lines of questioning to refine, it is extremely important to uncover your key stakeholders’ business issues early and to confirm them often. 

2. No “D” in VisionMatch Differentiated: Not being uniquely positioned to address a key stakeholder’s needs
You need to deliver a Differentiated VisionMatch. In other words, you need to uncover problems that only you are qualified to address—and that your prospect may not have thought of—and position yourself as the one-and-only solution provider.

3. No Personal Value: Failing to align with the key stakeholder’s personal value
It is critical that you get alignment with your key stakeholder and understand the power person’s motivations.  Examples of personal value for them could include a promotion, a bonus, increased credibility, or any other kind of recognition.

After you’ve developed an appropriate level of comfort, trust, and rapport with that power person, following are examples of questions you could ask to uncover their personal value:

  1. “What’s in it for you?”  (Open-ended question)
  2. “What kind of impact could this have on your career?” (Probing question)
  3. “Where does this sit on your priority list?” (Confirming question)

4. No Power: Selling below the decision level
The decision-making authority within a company or organization has perhaps moved up a couple of levels in recent years. Ideally, you want to gain and maintain access with the ultimate decision maker. You need to know which person that is: Be careful not to get so tied to any one contact within the organization that you can’t make a move without going through him or her.

5. No Mutual Plan: Not understanding the full sequence of events
Keep in mind that a signed contract is just a stepping-stone to future milestones. Confirm everything in writing, because every written message is another opportunity. Send a follow-up letter or email to your prospect confirming your understanding of the mutually agreed upon set of activities and milestones. We call this a mutual plan. It is a proactive approach to managing the sales cycle, being deliberate in understanding the prospect’s view of "When."

We all appreciate that a stall or a slip in the sales process is actually more expensive than an outright no, so it’s crucial to identify “no decision” situations early—and to be ready to do something about it.

About Scott Anschuetz:
With more than 25 years of direct sales, sales management, and leadership experience, Scott Anschuetz leads, coaches, and motivates sales forces. He combines an accomplished track record of achievement with real world practical applications in leading Visualize, the company he founded in 2002. Visualize trains over 6,000 sales and marketing professionals around the globe at corporations including: Avaya, Siemens, Mercury Interactive, newScale, Symbol, Salesforce.com, VMware, Motorola, SuccessFactors, and TELUS. 

About Visualize:
Visualize
is a leading provider of the ValueSelling Framework®.  Its team of certified associates enable companies to bridge the gap between sales and marketing while uncovering and applying value holistically, utilizing the ValueSelling methodology that’s intuitive, sustainable and proven. Clients turn to the experts at Visualize for consulting services, classroom training in sales and management, and e-learning, yielding immediate impact, repeatable strategies, and sustainable results.

About ValueSelling:
Since 1991, ValueSelling Associates has helped FORTUNE 1000 business-to-business sales organizations around the world compete and win. Generating revenue is the goal of all sales organizations. To do that, sales teams need the right tools, skills, and processes to succeed. ValueSelling Associates has maintained its position as a leader in the industry for nearly 20 years by continually evolving to meet the new challenges sales forces face.

Tags: business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, contact center awards, sales awards, valueselling, Visualize, Scott Anschuetz

Watch "How to Enter the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service"

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Dec 18, 2012 @ 05:44 PM

We've just published a short video called How to Enter the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Watch it here:

The brief video offers a comprehensive overview of the Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals, including:

  • What the Stevie Awards are, and their history
  • The schedule for the 2013 awards
  • How to review and select categories
  • How to prepare and submit entries
  • How the judging process works
  • Best practices

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers. The final entry deadline for the 2013 edition is January 15, you can begin your submission process by requesting your entry kit here.

Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  Email us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service, call center awards

13 Categories Honor Sales Departments in the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Dec 03, 2012 @ 03:43 PM

There are 13 sales awards categories specifically for departments in the 2013 (7th annual) Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (All organizations and individuals worldwide are eligible to submit entries for sales awards and customer service awards. January 15, 2013 is the last day that late entries will be accepted; request your entry kit here.)

Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer ServiceOur Sales Department of the Year categories include:

  1. Sales Department of the Year - Computer Services
  2. Sales Department of the Year - Computer Software
  3. Sales Department of the Year - Computer Hardware
  4. Sales Department of the Year – Distribution & Transportation
  5. Sales Department of the Year - Financial Services
  6. Sales Department of the Year – Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, and Related Industries
  7. Sales Department of the Year - Industrial & Manufacturing
  8. Sales Department of the Year – Hospitality & Tourism
  9. Sales Department of the Year  - Media & Entertainment
  10. Sales Department of the Year – Public Services & Education
  11. Sales Department of the Year - Services
  12. Sales Department of the Year - Telecommunications
  13. Sales Department of the Year – All Other Industries

Information required for entries in these categories include:

  1. An essay of up to 500 words describing the nominee’s accomplishments since July 1, 2011. 
  2. A brief biography (up to 100 words) of the leader of the nominated sales department.
  3. Optional (but highly recommended), a collection of supporting files and web addresses that you may upload to our server to support your entry and provide more background information to the judges.

Our 2012 Gold Stevie® Award winners for Sales Department of the Year include: Carahsoft Technology Corp. (Computer Services), kCura (Computer Software), NetApp, Inc. (Computer Hardware), Hyundai Motor America (Distribution & Transportation), Zions First National Bank (Financial Services), PetRays Veterinary Telemedicine Consultants (Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, and Related Industries), Boeing Commercial Airplanes (Industrial & Manufacturing), The Knowland Group (Hospitality & Tourism), Warner Bros. International Television Distribution (Media & Entertainment), Skillsoft Corporation (Public Services & Education), Olneya Restoration Group (Services), Vodafone Turkey (Telecommunications), and Crown Imports, LLC (All Other Industries).  

2013 honorees will be celebrated at the 7th annual awards banquet at Paris Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on February 25.

Not sure where to start? All sales and customer service entries are submitted directly online through your account. You can begin by registering here.

Tags: sales award, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, stevie awards for sales and customer service, sales department of the year