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Mercury Professional Development, Inc. | Phoenix, AZ

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Elaine’s sales manager, Tom, had an unexpected question for her during their weekly one-on-one coaching session. It sounded like this:

“What are you going to do to cut down on your TIOs?”

As our teams have moved to all or mostly remote sales, we as sales leaders need to adapt our management and leadership as well.  We are no longer able to walk around the office.  Have hallway conversations.  Listen in on live calls ad-hoc.  Let's examine the 5 things we need to adopt for sales leadership excellence.

You may have heard of the popular Sandler selling tool known as “reversing” and wondered what it was all about. No, it has nothing to do with backing your car up.
Reversing simply means you answer every question from a prospective buyer with a question of your own.

It's a simple skill that can help your sales team close more sales.  Let's learn more....

With an enormous segment of the work force working remotely or at home, remote selling skills are critical.  It may be social media selling, managing zoom meetings, or cold emails and calls.  It's also about adapting our sales process to a remote environment and examining and executing new strategies.

Success in sales is a combination of Behavior, Attitude and Technique.  In this segment from our recent "How to Succeed Selling Remotely Webinar", we look at a couple highlights on the remote selling technique side.

Our clients are asking for help: 

  • Help the sales team be successful in their new remote work environment.
  • Help the leadership successfully lead an all remote team.

One of the tools we recommend for successful sales professionals is competency assessments. And part of the competency assessment is identifying which competencies are important for a given role. In this framework, here’s 7 competencies for success as a remote leader:

Aligning people's skills and aptitudes with the right role is vital to both their success and the success of your team. Yet, too many times, we rely on gut feel, or resumes to make this critical determination. As you might expect from a company focused on repeatable processes, Sandler has a step-by-step process for evaluating both your sales positions, and your people.

But let's start with the current state of most sales teams. Sandler's Sales Leadership research posed this question about role alignment to hundreds of sales managers.  The results?  About 40% of sales leaders are confident that they have the right people in the right roles.

No matter what the future holds, it will include allot more video meetings. As a result, our capability to sell remotely is an increasingly important capability. Let's look at 4 specific tips for successful remote selling.

1. Understand your ....

Outtake from our "Refocusing" Webinar. Prescott Mayor Mengarelli demonstrates leadership through challenging times with active communication.

We don't have to like the change to embrace it.  Some changes are beyond our control.  But our reaction to the change is within our control.  

The Sandler Success Triangle says that success is a combination of Behavior, Attitude and Technique.  Which do you think is more important?

Personally, I'll start with Behavior, though I need... 


Driving successful sales can always be a challenge. In an economic shutdown and downturn, a success attitude is more important than ever.
Good techniques underlie successful behaviors. Yet maintaining an attitude of success holds it all together.
With today's selling challenges mounting, we need ...

I just finished an audio-only call. Funny how fast we get used to video calls, where teleconferences are now the odd-man-out.

The teleconference experience brought to mind the basics of communication: 1) body language (55%) 2) tone & pace, (38%) 3) the words (7%). While video calls, don't have the same level of body language communication as in-person meetings, the difference between video and teleconference was stark.

Perhaps most striking was the collisions of people talking over each other. Without the video, we lack the visual cues to signal who wants to talk next. Instead, we jump in, and if we're lucky, no one else jumps simultaneously. Or, we announce our intent "This is Mark....", since we can't visually see the name-tags that video provides.

And then there's the broader differences. After an hour-long teleconference, I don't feel like I "met" anyone new. There's dramatically less bonding and rapport, since I couldn't connect a voice and a key point to a face or a name.

Soon we'll have more options for in-person meetings. But remote meetings will remain more important than they've ever been in the past. Get comfortable with video calls quickly. Lesson's learned for all professionals:

Learn the "etiquette" and best practices for running an effective online meeting.
Learn to observe the body-language and ques, whether online or in-person, you'll increase your communication effectiveness.
Learn the tools. Breakout rooms, polls, quizzes; Chat. All these enhance the experience.

Managing your team to achieve quota doesn't have to be a guessing game.  Many sales managers and owners share their frustration that forecasting and pipeline management is not reliable enough.  Certainly, with the changing economy, this will increasingly be the case.  Yet, we can take some definitive steps to increase our confidence level, and identify where gaps are developing.  Let's take a look at...

As sales professionals, we all strive to achieve being a trusted advisor, as opposed to a vendor. But are we really? Mary Crisci shares with us how to use "Fuzzy Files" as a tool to become a trusted advisor. Among the many reasons to be a trusted advisor is...

Examining you and your team's sales performance starts with a diagnosis. Oour '4S' sales assessment tool can help you get started.

Linc Miller Identifies the steps we've taken to analyze our business, our external environment, our threats and opportunities. Now it's time to identify our priorities, engage the team, narrow them to 3, and make measurable benchmarks..

Eric Miller talks about capturing opportunities, even during challenging times, that will bring PADT to the next level. He's targeting increasing his customer target area by 70%.

With a shift in our behavior driven by working at home, we all need to consider new prospecting activities supporting our remote selling. Social selling, using platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook, is likely to enter your mix of remote selling prospecting tools.

There are many aspects of social selling:

  • A referral/introduction tool
  • A ....

How to use emails and DM for prospecting.

As our world changes, so must we adapt.  Selling remotely is a key new skill to master quickly.  Sandler offers our Success Triangle as a framework to help you adapt and succeed at selling remotely.  The Success Triangle focuses on three areas for your success:  Behavior, Attitude and Technique.  Let's look at each of these...

Have you ever assumed something that turned out wrong? I know I have.

Have you ever interpreted a statement as a question?

Questioning strategies are vital in understanding and motivating your prospect. However, effective question strategies require discipline. We need to understand how to reverse a question. How to find emotion. And, when to shut up and listen.

Let's use a third party story to illustrate one such questioning strategy.


Carlos was in a great mood.....

People don't buy features and benefits.  They buy solutions to their problems.  Their motivation to solve their problem with your product is based on you finding and understanding their "pain".  Once we know their pain, we're equipped to not only solve it, but to close the sale.

What does a spilled box of candy have to do with a sales call? Everything.

It's all about free consulting; Giving your information away for free without anything in return.

Ask yourself: If they already have your information, if they already have your pricing, do they ever really need to talk to you again? What’s to stop them from taking your information and shopping your competitors? What would you do in that situation if you were the prospect? Be honest. You’d shop around, wouldn’t you?

If you manage your sales process well, closing is the easiest part of the sale. In the Sandler System, Fulfillment is when we provide a proposal or a presentation. It comes only after we've followed all the steps that lead to this point, including

1. Bonding and Rapport
2. Up Front Contract
3. Pain
4. Budget
5. Decision
Now we're ready to present, but not before setting the ultimate up front contract. A yes/no decision when the presentation/proposal is presented.

Too many salespeople are willing to perform free services for their customers without any discussion whatsoever. The salesperson hopes the customer will give him some consideration in return.  But hope is not a strategy.  A few simple questions can help ensure your customer values the extras you provide.

People who set goals achieve more, even if the goals are completely achieved. The Sandler Goal-Setting process helps us set goals and build plans across all areas of our personal and business life.

Do you ever feel like you're still a little kid trapped in an adult body? Maybe you just want to let loose and have fun? Or maybe you flash back to commanding or disciplinary messages from a parent or teacher?

A psychological concept called Transactional Analysis plays a critical role in your sales success. For one, we can't allow our inner child to attend our sales meetings. There's no place for the sales professional's silliness, reluctance or fear in a sales call. And while we don't want OUR child in the sales call, we DO want to talk to the prospects "Child". We want to make an emotional connection with their desire for fun, or safety. Read on for a brief ...

People hate prospecting, and that avoidance leads them away from it as their business grows. Get back to the basics of introductions, getting referrals, networking events, and even making cold calls.

Successful prospecting is the combination of sales behaviors, attitude and techniques. We lead with behavior. And then we ensure our prospecting techniques are effective. Prospecting behaviors include....

Diane, a recent sales hire, is debriefing a sales call with her manager, Luis.  Luis said, “In your meeting, you immediately answered her question about delivery-time windows.”  Diane thought for a moment, and then said: “Was it a problem?” Diane remembered Luis teaching Diane about “reversing” – the technique of answering a prospect’s question with a question.

The technique of answering a question with a question, or reversing, is particularly
effective in the early phases of a discussion with a prospective buyer. Some of the benefits
associated with reversing are....

If you are competing on price, you're in a losing proposition. Avoid the price game by...

Using our bonding and rapport tools effectively is vital to developing our prospect's pain points. Thus we need to develop the trust that enables the prospect to reveal their true emotional pains, and then nurture them as we explore the pain. Revealing this pain not only builds the prospect's conviction to do business with us, but also creates an intimate bond between us and our prospect. This is a bond that is sustainable and the basis for a trusted advisor relationship.

Do you know how to get your prospect to listen to you? When you're on a cold call? When you're at a networking event? First technique. Break their habit loop with a pattern interrupt. .....

In sales, you want to get the "yes" or “no” as soon as possible so you can move forward. Otherwise, your prospect might drag you along for weeks on end without giving a definitive answer. To be an effective salesperson, you must be an effective communicator. This is where Negative Reverse can help

Myra, a sales manager, scheduled a meeting with George, a salesperson who reported to her, to discuss his closing ratios. She was concerned about the high number of presentations George was making that were resulting in a “let’s think it over” response.

Mario was well ahead of his monthly quota, so he was surprised when Jane, his sales manager, asked him to set a higher sales target for the quarter
During their meeting, Mario smiled and said, “I thought I’d get a gold medal after the good month I just had – not a higher target!”



Two key aspects of the Sandler sales system are: 
- Don't be a sales person. People don't want to be sold, but they want to buy. Create an environment where people feel comfortable buying.
- Understand human psychology. That means understanding and being able to understand your prospect, as well as understanding yourself.

Once you’ve identified a goal that really matters to you, you’ll be more likely to attain it if you put the power of visualization to work on your behalf. Visualization is only one part of the goal-setting process, but it’s a vitally important part. It makes a goal seem much more real and attainable and harnesses the extraordinary power of your subconscious mind.

Some people are natural born sales people. Not me. I started my career as an engineer, and would never have imagined myself as a sales person when I left college. Yet, with a sales system, Sandler in this case, sales can become a transferrable skill. The Sandler sales system gives us a process and a toolkit so we know how to manage the sales process, step by step.

Mark’s sales manager asked him for his sales forecast for the month. What will really close?  Will Mark miss his forecast again?  ....

Will, a new salesperson, had just begun a face-to-face meeting with Maria, the CEO of a big company that Will’s manager would have dearly loved Will to close. Right after the two sat down in Maria’s conference room, Maria asked:

“So, Will – how much do you know about our firm?”

No sooner did Will hear those words than he embarked on a long monologue about all the research he did to prepare for this meeting. It’s quite a speech. In fact, it takes him about ten minutes to cover everything. If he’d been watching Maria a little more closely, he’d have noticed her eyes beginning to glaze over at about the fourth minute.