Virtual Selling and Time Management

Virtual Selling and Time Management

Virtual Selling and Time Management

Don Buttrey, President of Sales Professional Training, Inc. is back with a new installment of his CRM Hell series: Virtual Selling and Time Management.


Virtual Selling Tips related to Vital Selling Regimens.

The virtual world is all on you. You are in control of every aspect of your world. Your life, your world, everything. It is a big change. We had become comfortable with our “old” routines. How we proceeded through the day. How we organized our calls. Now we have to “relearn” how to do everything.

Time and Appointment Management (calendar)
  • Check/improve internet speed. Upgrade if needed. This is your new main venue and you must avoid as many potential distractions as possible.
  • Set aside time each week to SCHEDULE calls/video conferences with current and prospective customers. Call and/or email to ask for best day/time then send invites. Be proactive. Take control.
  • Load up your calendar with appointments and live by that calendar.
  • Confirm next meeting and venue (call or video) at the end of every sales call.

With time management applied to our virtual world, we can stay on top of our customer service.

For more information on our classes and assessments, please visit us at Learning Without Scars.

Call Reporting

Call Reporting

Call Reporting

Virtual Selling Tips related to Vital Selling Regimens, by Don Buttrey, President of Sales Professional Training, Inc. Today, Don shares with us the importance of Call Reporting in Customer Relationship Management.

Let me discuss some items requiring more discipline and attention in this “Virtual” world we are living in today.

Call Reporting

  • If working remotely, it is even more critical to include to define your commitment to some specific start/stop times and aggressive guidelines on how many calls you will make each day. Own it. Be accountable. Do the grunge work. It will pay off in the long run! If you coast or get distracted it will bite you. Get fired with enthusiasm! . . .or . . . be ‘fired up’ with enthusiasm!
  • Set target ‘guidelines’ to make more calls/touches in this current market! And that is now feasible due to elimination of travel time. Use that to your advantage and be tenacious with the discipline of proactive calls! The slower the market, the harder we must work as salespeople! No excuses.
  • Mix up your touch points such as phone, email, video etc. Try multiple approaches until you connect. Do not give up.
  • Monitor and document communication preferences in your CRM for each contact (such as email, text, call, video –Zoom, Meet, TEAMS, FaceTime, etc.)
For more information on our classes and assessments, please visit us at Learning Without Scars.

From My Perspective

From My Perspective

From My Perspective

From My Perspective is the latest guest blog by Don Buttrey, President of Sales Professional Training.

We have covered the headlines and some thinking on Customer Relationship Management. Let me wrap it up with these final thoughts.

HELP! I’m in CRM hell!

My position is that the “software” is not a solution per se.  The solution is getting the entire organization to embrace the power and value of knowledge with effective team selling.  Call documentation, account strategic planning, pre-call planning, post call documentation, customer profile completion, account tiering and prioritization, calendar management, and whole team communication must be taught and expected first and foremost. Then, CRM can and will be embraced by all as a powerful technological tool that makes doing all these things easier—and actually possible! As an analogy, this is similar to learning the concepts and discipline of mathematics first – then seeing the time savings and exponential power that a calculator or computer can provide.

Every dealer I have trained in the last 20+ years has seen the need – and is at some stage of CRM initiation or operation. Like cell phones or any other technology it has become a part of being a sales organization. I do not sell or promote any particular CRM.  However, due to the inevitability of dealers needing and using it, my training addresses it throughout my curriculum. As a sales trainer, my service to dealers is to support and promote buy-in and implementation of all the selling and service activities that CRM documents, tracks, and manages. I teach the “why” of CRM and make sure that leaders do not dictate it – but that all levels of the dealership accept the duties of data entry, maximize it’s use, and are involved in continuous improvement and ongoing customization of the tool.

For more information on our programs and assessments, please visit us at Learning Without Scars.

It’s Time for Implementation

It’s Time for Implementation

It's Time for Implementation

As with everything we do implementation is the critical element to our success. As it’s time for implementation, here are some thoughts for you to consider.

HELP! I’m in CRM hell!

From my extensive work in training equipment dealers, I have observed the challenges that most of them confront. If a dealer is in the early stages of selecting or initiating a CRM, here are some important concerns to anticipate:

  • Connectivity problems – especially in rural territories.
  • Integration and compatibility with operating systems and existing databases
  • Customization flexibility and speed of requested changes or revisions of the structure or fields.
  • Technology comfort barriers of the users
  • Data entry time requirements and user-friendliness
  • Ownership of the importance by sales and support (facilitated by training)
  • Adoption and utilization of all functions (calendar, quoting, opportunities, machine population, service history, account prioritization and call frequency)
  • Integration and compatibility with all segments or functions of the dealership (service, parts, other divisions-such as power generation/GPS technology/allied products/etc., rental)

If you want to add more to our list please let us know by email. Good luck in your journey to implementing this important sales and sales management tool.

Don Buttrey is the president of Sales Professional Training Inc., a company that offers in-depth skill development for sales professionals and sales support. He has trained thousands of salespeople over 25 years and clearly understands the selling environment of equipment dealers and manufacturers. His curriculum is comprehensive and proven! Don is also the author of “The SELL Process”, a foundational how-to book on effective sales interactions.

Don can be reached at (937) 427-1717 or email

Check out this website link  for more information – or to purchase online sales training.

CRM and Dealer Executives

CRM and Dealer Executives

A new guest blog by Don Buttrey, President of Sales Professional Training. Today, Don shares with us the importance of CRM for Dealer Executives.

Customer Relationship Management is a long way from a salesman having his little black book. This concept causes concern in the executive leadership of the business and the sales teams.

HELP! I’m in CRM hell!

Here are a few of the reasons that dealer principals and leaders are constrained to have a functional CRM solution:

  • Coverage, market share growth, awareness/participation and better service
  • Real time selling information
  • Team selling and strategic growth of key accounts
  • Marketing campaigns (focused mailers, promotions etc)
  • Dealership possession of market and customer information (not out in a salespersons trunk or private laptop)
  • Benchmarking and accountability of activities

Do these points look familiar? How you overcome them and move forward is a critical decision and implementation.

For more information on our assessments and classes, please visit us at Learning Without Scars.

Know When to Walk Away

Know When to Walk Away

Don Buttrey is the president of Sales Professional Training Inc., a company that offers in-depth skill development for sales professionals and sales support. He has trained thousands of salespeople over 25 years and clearly understands the selling environment of equipment dealers and manufacturers. His curriculum is comprehensive and proven! Don is also the author of “The SELL Process”, a foundational how-to book on effective sales interactions. Today, he answers another tough question: how do you know when to walk away?

Don can be reached at (937) 427-1717  or email donbuttrey@salesprofessionaltraining.comCheck out this website link  for more information – or to purchase online sales training.

QUESTION 4: If a customer is not honest with you on a regular basis and they continue to buy on price only. . . at what point do we walk away from the relationship?

 Don Buttrey: First let me establish the fact that there can be a time to walk away from an account. However, it must be decided strategically with input from the sales professional, sales managers, and appropriate leaders. Many things should be considered: the market situation/economy, other opportunities you have available, inventory levels, how this account might distract us or use up resources we could spend on better business, strength of the competition, if we want the competition to get the volume, etc.

Tactically, before doing anything radical, the salesperson must pre-call plan and set up a good face-to-face with the customer and ask some well-crafted open-ended questions to verify the real situation versus just what it appears on the surface. Ask the hard questions and face the honesty issue head on –but do not argue or accuse. Just get the customer talking and be firm in waiting for answers instead of filling any silence with a bunch of rhetoric or nervous chatter. Ask and shut up. If you have assessed the risk and decided it was worth stirring up the hornet’s nest–ask some blunt, to-the-point questions (but do it in a non-emotional, non-threatening way).

Have a minimum objective for the success of the call based on your decisive strategy. If the customer will not agree to that objective, or refuses to talk and interact honestly (after given plenty of chances to do so), then it may be a good management decision to walk away and not waste your time. Walk from this deal and run to others (prospecting) —-BUT– do not burn any bridges –just back off your sales effort in that account. Mark your calendar for 6-12 months to check in again. Things change. Buyers quit or leave. New owners and leaders come into place.

Note: If, in your strategy, you know there is someone over their head that may be a better contact – devise a plan to call on them. If you decided that you will walk anyway – this may be a good option. Just do it carefully — and you better pre-plan what you will say and how you will say it! Here is another idea: Sometimes having your company’s sales manager (or even the president) call on the customer’s top management is a great way to go over their head without it looking like the salesperson is out of bounds. This will confirm whether it is one person who is not honest –or if it is the culture or way of doing business for the entire customer organization.

To learn more about how to maintain productive relationships with your customers, visit us at Learning Without Scars.

The Critical Importance of Measuring…

The Critical Importance of Measuring…

Today’s guest post, The Critical Importance of Measuring the Customer and Employee Experience, is from Ryan Condon. Ryan is the Co-Founder and CEO of SATISFYD. He has grown from a first-time entrepreneur at 24 years-old, to a business leader with 20+ years of software and service experience. Ryan was an early innovator in Customer Experience (CX) Management and developed a SaaS platform in 2001 to enable clients to gather feedback, resolve customer issues, and drive customer-focused initiatives. The SATISFYD platform provides Customer and Employee experience at every level of an organization and has been used in over 70 countries and 32 different languages. Ryan, his wife Aimee and their family moved from Chicago to Austin in July of 2016 to escape the northern winters and enjoy the outdoors.

Ryan Condon

The Critical Importance of Measuring the Customer and Employee Experience

We are at an interesting and ever-evolving crossroads as it relates to customer and employee experience. Although most believed we were already experiencing a gradual sea change where the importance of physical location on work options was diminishing over time, COVID has forced a more rapid transition to work-from-home/work anywhere opportunities for workers. This sudden change has been challenging for many as they try to adjust to this ‘New Normal.’ Opinions vary from those who think we will never return to working full time in physical locations to those who expect everyone will rush back into a collective space as soon as it is deemed safe.

Regardless of what side of this fence you sit on, we can all agree that things will never be the same. What this exactly means for the future is uncertain, making it critically important that we constantly keep our pulse on the ever-changing sentiment of our prospects, customers, employees, and candidates for employment. While existing employees will most likely stay at their current jobs short-term, they are being presented with new opportunities that do not require a physical presence and may be perceived as less risky to an in-person job. Candidates that you interview are actively listening and evaluating the different approaches organizations are taking to manage through COVID. How these approaches align with candidates’ beliefs and desires will have an important impact on their employment decisions. How is your organization being perceived?

This is a dynamic time

It requires flexibility, forward-thinking, and a willingness to challenge the norms that have made your business successful up until now. Good leaders will attempt to solve these challenges for stakeholders by drawing on years of experience and having a conversation with direct reports. Great leaders will also be sure to collect information from all stakeholders (prospects, customers, employees, and candidates) and constantly make course corrections to their organization as needed. They will also be testing and evaluating the outcome of those changes by continuously listening to feedback from stakeholders.

In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to listen. Those leaders who are able to gather and utilize stakeholder feedback in order to anticipate and adapt to change will have the edge.

We will discuss this more in future blogs.

Please visit our website at for information on our course offerings.


Who Is Your Customer?

In Business – Why are you here?


I had an interesting conversation with Caroline, my daughter, yesterday. Caroline is a teacher, and a very good one. Of course, I am going to say that but it is very true. She teaches in an extremely underprivileged community where a very large percentage of the student body who are English Learners. Further, as with the majority of the students in our region, they rely heavily on the food programs available through schools to be able to have a meal each day. With many agricultural jobs, we see very hard-working families who still need the extra resources. A difficult situation to say the least.

We were talking about education and how this current situation, with the country closed down, is going to affect the future of education. My granddaughter goes to University, it is closed and her classes are all being conducted virtually: even the labs, as she is in the sciences. My grandson is in High School and all his classes are done virtually. My daughter teaches High School and she teaches all day, every day, virtually. Imagine that, would you? They are all in school and no one leaves home.

This is what I have been talking about since the early 2000’s. From the Khan Academy, to every major University, to IT training, most everything that anyone wants to learn is available on line. AND for the most part it is free. At Learning Without Scars we have provided a learning platform for individuals who want to improve their skills and knowledge. Unfortunately, that is not everyone. Being optimistic I believe that more people, particularly the younger generations will change that and that they will constantly be striving to make themselves better. Of course, the world has to catch up. In order for online education to succeed, our students need to have access to a decent connection to the online world. That is still not true in many parts of our country today.

Which brings me to the customer and my conversation with Caroline. The end customer of education is society. School is the vehicle which every community uses to develop the people that will create the social and economic activity that will better society. BUT, the primary customer of the school systems, of education, is the student and their family. Too often that fact gets lost in the bureaucracies of the education community: the Federal Government, which does not have a role in education enumerated in the Constitution; the State Governments, who have primary responsibility, the School Boards with elected Administrators, many of whom have never taught in a classroom in their lives, municipal governments, who receive the taxes to pay for schools and on and on. Who is thinking about the customer here? Of course, it is the teacher. But who supports that teacher?

Now look at your business. WHO is YOUR customer? That should be a very easy question to answer. I would like you to think about that for when we come out of this economic shutdown. WHO is YOUR customer? Is it the person coming in to order parts? Is it the person who calls to schedule maintenance or a repair on a machine? WHO is it? In many of these cases it is an employee of a business who uses equipment. But one more time please – WHO is the CUSTOMER?

I am hopeful that every distributor and dealer will come to a different conclusion than what has been true the past three to four decades. I am hopeful that they will begin to operate in a radically different manner than they have recently. I am hopeful that the employees will be given more and better tools to serve the machine owners. But then again, I am an optimistic person.

Things won’t be any different coming out of this economic shutdown unless we make them different. And that means some serious thinking about WHO that CUSTOMER really is that you are serving.

The Time is Now.

Back to the Basics: Your Customers

For the last month we have been discussing change and the fact that although it is causing us anxiety it also creates opportunities for the talented, curious, ambitious and hard-working people in our businesses.

Let’s get our heads out of the clouds and return to the dirt. Let’s get back to basics. What is troubling is that many of us don’t remember what that means. What are the basics?

Let me start at the beginning: it all starts with customers.


Without your customers you have nothing.


How do you think you customers view you? Do you know their perceptions of your business? We use the “Balanced Scorecard” as one of the fundamental tools to help our clients to develop and manage their business. It is also an LOD (Learning On Demand) product in our training business

The Balanced Scorecard, from our perspective, starts with the customer. What are the needs and wants, the expectations that our customers have of us? That is where we start. We use an employee training session as the vehicle, we suggest these programs happen eight times a year and take an hour and a half each. We have all the parts employees or service employees or both together and ask them to make a list of what the customers want.

Don’t interfere, don’t editorialize, and don’t have your thoughts dominate the room – remember EQ here. The leader should always speak last and listen first. Then, after the list is completed you will have similar points on the list. Narrow the list down to a list of unique items.

The following month we have a group of customers come in and we ask them the same questions in front of the same group of employees who made the original list. Don’t interfere with their list. Listen carefully. Make notes and make sure that your customers agree with the list you have created from listening to them.

After this, we have a third meeting where we reconcile the two lists. How similar were they? Which items are the most important? Pick the top five. Then call the customers back and ask if they agree with the top five list. If they do then you can go to the next step. The next step in the Balanced Scorecard for us is Internal Excellence. What do we need to excel at in order to satisfy the customer? This is the first step on the Back to Basics road.

This is just the first portion of what we must do to achieve customers for life.

The time is now.

Making Sense of the Numbers

When we look at our businesses, our numbers need to add up.  But how do we calculate the potential represented within a sales territory?

It begins with the potential business we can earn from each of our customers.