The “Real Lessons” in These Sales Movies

May 14, 2019

A couple of classics, no doubt! Tommy Boy, the all-out goofy comedy, keeps you laughing from start to finish (what movie starring Chris Farley doesn’t?) Glengarry Glen Ross takes you on a different kind of ride. Star-studded for sure, this dark drama draws you in & has you feeling for all of the characters in one way or another.

They’re sales movies. No question about that. Sales movies that are (or at least were) popular for the masses. They hit home on many levels. As salespeople, we don’t get many movies about our profession. So, when they come out, we watch ‘em! We watch for context. We make comparisons. We relate. We don’t relate. It’s fun.

Now, the masses (the non-salespeople of the world) take these 2 movies for what they are – good entertainment. They hear & see the messages & go on their merry way. All good.

The rest of us (sales pros of the world unite) had better read between the lines while watching these two flicks. Can’t take them on the surface – or we’ll starve.

Example #1:

Much of the Tommy Boy narrative spoke of, “Not taking NO for an answer.” Makes sense. Most people think that’s what salespeople do. That’s how salespeople behave. Keep pushing & pushing until they say YES. Convince people with features & benefits & all that other garbage. The stereotypical pushy salesperson. NOT! 

The Real Lesson:

Spend a day or two in the profession & you’ll realize those tactics don’t work. Nobody likes a pushy salesperson. You can’t convince anyone of anything  – people buy for their reasons, not yours.

The real lesson: Be comfortable with the word NO. Be comfortable with a decision – & it might be NO.

Only when Tommy relaxed & was himself did he find success. He loosened up, lighted up & gave it his best shot & people were comfortable with him. It was a great example of how to “behave” in sales (& a ginormous contrast to the rest of the movie).

Example #2:

On that rainy evening, when Alec Baldwin came to the Real Estate office from “Downtown”, he had one message for the agents: Always Be Closing. This is just another brutal stereotype of salespeople. Salespeople are always closing business. Always ask for the order. Never miss out on a chance to ask for the business. We need to close more business!

WRONG!

The Real Lesson:

It might take more than a day or two to learn this one but professional sales (done correctly) is not about closing at all. It’s about opening. It’s about asking the right questions (even the tough ones). It’s about setting  & managing expectations & moving things forward with clarity. It’s about understanding your prospect’s problems & motivations – & that only comes by asking questions & being a very good listener.

Al Pacino, Jack Lemon, Alan Arkin & Ed Harris could never grasp that concept. They were under too much pressure. Sure, corporate put pressure on them, but ultimately, they put pressure on themselves. Pressure to close business.

When you’re under that much pressure you act out of desperation. We all know how that ends up.

So, now what:

Ok, but we live in reality, Tear – these are movies. Yes, they are. So, ask yourself, How comfortable am I with the word no? Do I do anything in my power to avoid hearing no? Do I discount? Do I follow up incessantly? Do I ask management to “help me out”?

How much time do you spend qualifying opportunities? Do you set strong expectations (Ground Rules) & get to reality? Do you “quote & hope?” Do you look at your problem as a “closing problem”?

Watch ‘em again.

Why Do They String Us Along?

Apr 30, 2019

Charlie Sheen made a name for himself a few years ago when he went on TV, radio & social media, whenever he could, shouting the word, WINNING! Everyone remembers it. It got tiring. Almost as tiring as what your prospects & customers do to you. They make you think (& sometimes even say)…WAITING!

This is going to hurt. Someone asked a few days ago, “Why do prospects & customers string us along?” “Why do they keep asking us for more & more information before they make a decision?” ”Why do they make us wait?”

It’s a 3-word answer – because they can. Prospects & customers string salespeople along because they know they hold all the power, it’s been that way for years. Will it ever change? Doubt it. Why would it? It works very well…for them. They get what they want, when they want it. All good…for them.

But, what about us? What about the companies that put countless hours into quotes & proposals? What about engineers that develop beautifully customized solutions that will help the prospect more than they ever dreamed?

What about all of the man-hours that go into developing these solution (sales, engineering, program management, design, etc.)? The economics of selling is maddening. What about all that?

To the prospect or customer “all that” is expected. If you don’t have a beautifully customized solution in 2019 you are not even in the game. If you don’t involve design, engineering & program management in these solutions (these quotes) good luck winning the business. It’s entry level stakes to play.

So, what do we do?

This will hurt even more, and it’s also a 3-word answer. Send better salespeople. Gotta say it.

In our 30-year experience watching salespeople work on deals, more often than not, they are working with some of the information – but not all of it. They understand some of what the customer wants – but not all of it. They know one or two people involved in the deal – but not all of them. They might know some of the competitive landscape – but not all of it. Bottom line is, most of the quotes that go out these days are not “qualified.”

Qualified? What are you talking about? They’re qualified. They buy X… & we sell X. What more do I need? There’s the rub. Just because you sell X & your prospect buys X, does not make them qualified. A lot of companies sell X, why would a prospect buy from you? Because you sold it properly. Why would they pay more for your X than someone else’s? Because they realize the value in your X. That’s professional selling.

It’s in most salespeople’s nature to move fast, take short-cuts & believe everything is “all good”. It rarely is. It requires a discipline to dig deep. It requires a curiosity that causes you to ask questions – questions that no one else is asking (remember, the competitors take short-cuts, too).

A lot of times it takes a salesperson’s ability to be a match-maker. You all know that if “purchasing talked to engineering” life would be easier for you. So why don’t you facilitate that? Yes, there are times when you are told “purchasing & engineering don’t talk – just give us your best price.” And you do. That becomes your system (but it’s really theirs). That’s an easy system to follow. Just don’t go there.

That’s part of the problem. When we have only some of the information, & follow the customers “system” for buying, we end up WAITING!

How’s that working out for you?

Remember: You have rights in sales. Just as many rights as they do.

Why Do We Give It All Away?

Apr 16, 2019

No Dumping Allowed sign

It was introduction time at a client meeting on the West Coast, mid-February. The Executive Vice President was introducing me to the staff at the beginning of a two-day training program. He had been through the Sales Coaches’ Corner training & coaching, so he had a good idea how to speak to his team – how to relate to them in terms that made sense…to them.

They are a successful contracting company that often uncovers additional opportunities once a job has started. Change orders…move this…change that…add this…can we do that? It’s the second sale (we call it “the sale after the sale”).

The VP was reminding the group (clearly experts in their field) how often they detail their discussions. How incredibly accurate & forthcoming they are with their solutions. How precise & technical they are with their proposals. Then, he said the four words that knocked me off my chair. He said, “Group, we do a great job, but we GIVE IT UP NASTY”.

Hilarious, right? At first, I thought this was a “West Coast Phrase”. I thought it might be words from a Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg song. Then I realized, not at all. This phrase spans the contiguous 48. It makes sense in every state and for every company that sells a technical solution, in a competitive marketplace, with high prices. What he was saying was, we tend to educate our prospects and customers just enough to do it themselves or buy from our competitor, with our idea. Sound anything like your business? Thought so. We call it DUMPING.

You’re not alone. Most companies do it. After all, it’s a technical solution that requires intelligence and thought. Give someone a chance to prove how smart they are and they will jump on it. Even if it means giving it all up nasty!

Some examples of DUMPING: Past experiences, best practices, drawings, white papers, specs, case studies, samples, trials, pricing, quotes, quotes and more quotes. Anything you can do to impress your prospect with your knowledge. And wow, are they impressed! But what does that mean? Nothing. You can’t take “impressed” to the bank.

So, what do you do? Well, you must hold something back. If you don’t then they don’t need you. If you give it all away then you are not a for-profit company – which most of you are (that’s the plan, anyway). You also must ask questions- good questions:

  • Ask what is happening/ what’s the problem?
  • Ask how long it’s been going on?
  • Ask what they have done about it?
  • Ask who else they are looking at?
  • Ask how much it’s costing them?
  • Ask what happens if they don’t find a solution?

The way to build credibility with people is by asking the right questions. Contrary to popular belief and West Coast rap songs, it’s not by GIVING IT UP NASTY!

Sports & Sales: Same Game

Apr 2, 2019

It’s NCAA  Final Four week. Baseball has started & the NHL & NBA Playoffs are right around the corner. How timely! Athletes will be in action for sure! Can’t tell you how many clients we have that make it a point, & go out of their way, to hire athletes for their sales teams. If you’re wondering why we’d be happy to walk you through 5 reasons it makes a lot of sense.

  1. Competitiveness

Unless you sell every single prospect that you get in front of, or you’re undefeated for the season, the crappy days will outweigh the good days in sales & sports – by a lot. It takes a special kind of person to say, I love this job on such days. It’s a rare breed that has the fortitude to get up again tomorrow & do it all over again. To want it that bad. The word competitivedescribes it perfectly.

There’s debate over who said this, (I’ll contend it’s NHL Head Coach, Scotty Bowman): “It’s not how good you are, it’s how bad you want it.” One of the greatest quotes of all time. Probably the truest, too. Think about the salespeople you know (maybe even the ones in your own office). Are the smartest ones the most successful? Doubt it. Are the most committed (hardest workers & the ones that want it the most) the most successful? Good chance. There’s something about someone’s competitive spirit that shines. When others give up, competitive people get more information, move deals forward & execute – because it’s their nature.

Ask yourself this question: What describes me more? I love to win? Or I hate to lose? In this case the haters win. Show me someone who can’t stand to lose & I’ll take them on my team every day of the week!

  1. Accountability (Self-Responsibility)

One of the most ridiculous things to see in the NBA is the sour-puss, whiner that thinks he’s just been fouled. He looks at the ref with that face that makes you think the worst thing in the world has just happened to him. On par with that is the NHLer that gets stood up hard in the neutral zone, drops his stick, throws his arms & completes one of the best dives you have seen since Greg Louganis in the Olympics.

It’s always the refs fault. Unless it isn’t. Every office has a salesperson or two with that same sour-puss. Maybe it’s production’s fault. Perhaps they blame the leads (or lack of them). At times it’s fun to blame the competitor. My favorite: Our own pricing. The best is when we hear, “I could have made the sale if only our price was lower!”

Send me a better salesperson. One that points the finger right between her own eyes when deals go south. That’s a stand-up salesperson. That’s accountability. Blaming others for your lack of results is easy – it also leads to zero growth. Zero.

  1. Commitment

Doing whatever it takes to get the job done – whether you like it or not. That’s commitment. Champion basketball players shoot 200-300 free throws after practice. Superstar hockey players ride the bike for 45 minutes after a practice or game. Because they want to? Not at all. Because they know what happens if they don’t.

How many salespeople in your office show up between 8:30 & 9:00 AM. Don’t get a thing done until 10:30 or 11:00 AM. Take a 1.5 to 2-hour lunch & leave by 3:30 (claiming they are “stopping by the customer” on the way home). Riiiiiight. We’re on to you, Charlie – not fooling anyone.

Show me a salesperson that sticks it out, does the hard things, at the unpopular times & I’ll show you a winner. They are the ones mopping the deals up when the “also-rans” are slacking. Commitment: you can’t teach it.

  1. Attitude

Attitude is how we feel about things. Some people (& you know who you are) have dismal attitudes. They bring everyone around them down. It’s the SNL Debbie Downeror Bob the Bummerskit. You know these people. They never have a good thing to say about anything. Too many meetings. Not enough parking spots. Traffic is ridiculous. Gas prices are too high. My kid’s coach is a jerk. Our prices are too high. My client is a jack-ass. HR isn’t fair. Management stinks. Do yourself a favor don’t park anywhere near these people & never, ever go to lunch with them.

Why is it someone always makes the sale – be it you or your competitor? Last time we checked, we are all playing by the same rules: Same market, same geography, same client-base, same product, same pricing. So, why are we out-sold so often? The 6 inches between our ears, that’s why. Attitude.

In every PGA golf tournament there is a new, young golfer, who does very well during Thursday, Friday & Saturday’s rounds. Come Sunday, when he’s up against the “real champion”, why does he choke? Why does he miss the 4-footers that were dropping like flies the past 3 days? Attitude, that’s why. He feels nervous & he hopes he makes it. The champion knows he’s going to make it. Just like the last 500 he made in practice. Just another day to the champ. He’s got the attitude. Feels right.

  1. Love of the Game (Product)

How many of you can’t wait to get up, kick the sheets off, & do whatever it is you do for a living? How many would do it at 11:30 PM & feel just the same? You would if you loved what you sold. If you loved your product. If you loved your job. If you had passion.

You spend so many hours “at work” it’s a shame to not love it. Aside from sleeping, most everyone reading this blog spends more time at work than they do with their families. How can you notlove it?

Lindsey Vonn just retired from skiing. Was there any doubt when you saw her at the bottom of the mountain, that she loves skiing? There is no question before, during & after a tennis match, that Serena Williams is doing her life’s passion – she wouldn’t want to do anything else. They love what they do. Find your passion or find new work.

These are 5 of many reasons why companies hire athletes for their sales teams. You may have to fight to get them, there will likely be competition, but it’ll pay off in the long run.

Got a Closing Problem? Doubt it. Look at your Opening

Mar 19, 2019

As sales trainers & coaches you can imagine the number of times we hear a VP of Sales say, “We need help Closing more business.” Or a Director of Sales asks, “Can you help us with our closing?”  It’s common.

In the words of Arnold in Kindergarten Cop, “IT’S NOT A CLOSING PROBLEM!”

After spending a few minutes with these people it’s clear that they don’t have a closing problem – not at all. They have an opening problem. They don’t have enough qualified opportunities. Not enough “logs in the fire.” When the pipeline is skinny every opportunity is critical. When every opportunity is critical (& they don’t hit), it looks like a closing problem. Sound familiar?

This problem can be factored down to the most basic of all basic selling activities – prospecting. A lot of salespeople think this is a dirty word. Let’s face it … who wants to go out & talk to strangers that don’t want to talk to them about something they probably don’t want to buy? Well, that’s what prospecting is. That’s what professional selling is. And it’s not for everyone. If you have a few salespeople on your team that consistently fall short of their numbers ask yourself this question, “How often do they prospect?” How often do they go out of their way to talk to someone that doesn’t want to talk to them?” Probably never (or very rarely).

The real sales pros get it. They do the prospecting activity because they realize what happens if they don’t.  They realize that they are in the prospecting business (& the minute they fail to believe this is the minute they go out of business) – happens all the time. These pros are in the same industry as you, selling the same products & services, to the same client base, for very comparable dollars, in the same economy. They are eating your lunch.

So, what’s the difference? You know the difference. The pros get in the game. They hunt for business. They aren’t afraid of rejection. Do they like it?  Doesn’t matter – they do it.

Less effective salespeople find other things to do besides prospecting. They do paperwork. Work on quotes & proposals. Walk around the office & bother other people. Some even go to Office Max & buy highlighters, folders & paper clips – anything to avoid talking to strangers – anything to avoid prospecting. They “get ready to get ready”.  Truth is they will never be ready. They are not cut out for sales.

Got any of these folks? Start holding them accountable to one of the only activities in sales that they control – their own prospecting activity. No excuses.

Top 10 Things Salespeople Say They Can’t Do – says them. . .

Mar 5, 2019

Most of you have seen or heard the famous quote from Henry Ford: Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.

It’s a doozy! Once you think it through it makes all the sense in the world. “That’s right! I can do anything I put my mind to. I got this!” It’s good. A really good reminder. Smart people would call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can, that’s the first step to accomplishing anything. Positive thinking.

Problem is, most people (including salespeople) flip it. They think the opposite. “I can’t do that. No way can I do that.” Funny thing is, they go out & prove it. They don’t do it. No way. Not a chance. You see it all the time. On the golf course: I can’t make this putt, too far. And, you prove it. Annual quotas: I can’t hit that number, too high. And you prove it. Work projects: I can’t finish this by the due date, not enough time. And, you prove it. I’ll never forget my 4th grade teacher telling me I was not a good & fast reader. I can’t read fast, too hard. And I prove it every single day.

Believing you can’t definitely works. Ok, so why won’t believing you can?

Why can’t we just flip our belief system? It’ll put our mind in the right place – it’ll give us a head start.

Here are the Top 10 Things Salespeople Say They Can’t Do – says them:

  1. I can’t ask a prospect for their budget or target price (or what they’re paying). They’ll never tell me. And, you prove it.
  2. I can’t go over Carl’s head & talk to his boss, he’ll get mad at me. And, you prove it.
  3. I can’t ask a prospect tough questions. It’s too uncomfortable. And, you prove it.
  4. I can’t meet with my prospects or customers. They don’t want to see salespeople, And, you prove it.
  5. I can’t stand up for what’s right for my company. The customer will get upset. And, you prove it.
  6. I can’t push back on a prospect or customer & only quote when the opportunity is qualified. They need it ASAP. And, you prove it.
  7. I can’t sell that much this year, it’s way too much. And, you prove it.
  8. I can’t ask my customers for referrals or introductions, they won’t give them. And, you prove it.
  9. I can’t stay in control of sales calls & the entire sales process, they are in control. And, you prove it.
  10. I can’t make that much money; my company doesn’t pay that much. And, you prove it.

Now, he said it in 1906 (113 years ago). That was a long time ago, & he probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about. . . but what would Henry Ford say?

3 Ways to Make Sure you are Selling to the Decision Maker(s)

Feb 19, 2019

 

Have you ever spent two, three, six (or more) months working on a deal? You have momentum. Everything seems to be going well. Your solution is perfect. Your contact returns your calls. He replies to your emails. He meets with you when you are at his office. He even goes to lunch with you, as long as you’re paying. All is good. Until it’s time to finalize the deal – close it. That’s when you learn that your contact (we’ll call him Carl) doesn’t have the authority to approve the deal.

That’s a “spirit-crusher”! Carl could have said NO at any point along the sales cycle, but you waited until the end (months later) to learn that he could not say YES. One of the worst feelings in sales.

This spirit-crushing lesson doesn’t need to be learned more than once. You don’t need that feeling in the pit of your gut ever again. Then why does it happen over & over? There are a few reasons:

  1. You trust Carl. Your “happy ears” hear what they want to hear & you don’t think you need to dig deeper.
  2. You don’t want to offend Carl by going over his head. And it works. You never do. (Solves that problem).
  3. You don’t believe you “belong” at the higher level. You are comfortable with lower-level Carls.
  4. You don’t want to “upset the applecart” – “better not screw things up by asking too many questions”

We’ve heard ‘em all. If any of these items ring true in your selling life you will fall victim to another spirit-crushing deal. Or should we say, “no deal”?

The lesson here: You must fight to get to the decision maker/makers & understand how the process works.

You read it right. The who, who else & how. Every single deal. We are not suggesting you go over Carl’s head in any way that exposes you to Carl. No need to offend Carl (you need Carl). We are suggesting that Carl help you get to the appropriate person/people.

Carl knows his place. If Carl wants you & your product or service, he will help you. Remember, Carl can say NO… he just can’t say YES.

Here are 3 ways to make sure you are selling to the decision maker(s):

  1. (How before who) When you make decisions like this, how does it work & who is involved?
  2. (Who before how) When you make decisions like this, who is involved & how does it work?
  3. (Every business is different…) Every business we work with is different. When you make decisions like this, how does it work & who is involved.

These questions are worded very carefully. They are designed to gather the information you need to ensure you are dealing with all the appropriate people & that you understand the process.

Be sure you don’t break a cardinal rule of selling & give Carl the chance to lie to you by asking, “Are you the decision maker.” Some Carl’s out there can’t wait to get their needs met, can’t wait to puff there chest out & give you the perception that they have “power” & will immediately say YES to that question. Wrong question.

Prospecting? I Don’t Wanna do That!

Feb 5, 2019

      

 

Show me a salesperson who loves to prospect & I’ll show you a salesperson that’s never done it. Face it: If someone told you your job was to call or email people who you don’t know… that didn’t want to talk to you … about something they didn’t want to buy … how quickly would you sign up? And why?

Nobody would be dumb enough to sign up for that. It’s ridiculous. Most salespeople would rather poke their eyes out with a pencil!  Saying to themselves, “I’m an intelligent person. I have a degree or a skill that is in demand. I am a valuable member of society. I’d never do that – it’s a big waste of time.

Of course not! But that’s what we do in sales. Or, should I say, that’s what the successful salespeople do. If new business is the life-blood of your business, then prospecting is the life-blood of your role in sales – like it or not, you have to do it.

The superstars in sales know one thing for sure – the moment they stop prospecting is the moment they go out of business – period.

Are we talking about cold-calling? Not necessarily. We’re talking about reaching out to people that may not want to talk to you about something they may not want to buy. A risky proposition for some salespeople. Some salespeople would rather wait for a HOT internet lead. Wait for the phone to ring. Wait for an email from a prospect in desperate need. Well, let me ask you, how often do those situations happened? Exactly. Rarely. So, it’s time to go out & talk to people that may not want to talk to you about something they may not want to buy.

Let’s review ways to prospect:

  1. Referrals & introductions. When was the last time you asked a good client who they knew that could use what you sell?
  2. Current clients/customers. Bet you are not 100% entrenched in all of your current accounts. Find out who else (in other departments) you should talk to (& get introduced)
  3. Networking events, Organizations, Associations. Where do your prospects hang out? Go there. Most industries have organizations that are target-rich in prospects for you. 
  4. Linked In. It’s expected. Find prospects. Engage them. Get invited in to have a discussion about their issues. Your competitors are. 
  5. Stop in. Said it. Stop driving by facilities that you know by your products & services. Pull in the lot, get out of your car, & do your thing. It’s your job. 
  6. Cold Calls. Believe it or not there are salespeople that still open wonderful opportunities by cold-calling over the phone. There are more lists of prospects than you can imagine.

Or you can sit back & blame marketing for the lack of leads. Blame your company for your “crappy territory”. Blame your competition for having better relationships than you. Hell, blame your Sales Coach.

 

 

How was 2018? You Only Have Yourself to Thank . . . or Blame

Jan 22, 2019

Sales. How can you not love sales? One of very few professions where you sit back, look at the past year, feel great about a great year (or crappy about a crappy year) & have nobody else to thank (or blame) but yourself.

Sure, you had help. You have products & services. Yes, there is a production team, management, operations, engineering, accounting, HR, etc. You had help, no question. But, at this time of the year, who are you thanking? Better be you. You deserve it.

If you had a great year, by all means thank the most important person. You.

What if your year was less than great? What if sales were down? What if 2018 flat-out sucked? Who are you going to blame? Better not be production. Better not be management. Better not be operations. Better not be engineering, or accounting, or HR. I got it. Blame the customer. Or better yet, blame your competitors!

No. Point that finger right where it belongs – right between your eyes.

Why is it so easy to take the credit when things go well, yet even easier to pass the buck when things go bad?

Enter #thesalespersonwhodoesnotholdhimselfaccountable. We all know that salesperson. It’s never her fault. It’s not his job. It’s not her responsibility. It’s not his problem. Somebody should have told her. She already did tell someone. He didn’t have time. Her account base is slow. His territory shrank last year. Her territory was too big last year. His key contact left the company. Her buyer got a promotion. And so on, & so on…

It’s comical how salespeople love the lime light – when the light is limey. But, as soon as the light dims & the train falls off the tracks, they point their fingers faster than the weather changes in Michigan.

Pure comedy. Hate to break it to you, salespeople, but …  There isn’t a single person in your company that doesn’t know what you’re up to. Not one person. If you are quick to take the credit, pump your chest & strut around the office like a peacock, that’s great. Just make sure you are equally as accountable when things go the other way – & they always do.

Imagine the culture around the office if:

  • A salesperson admitted, “my mistake”
  • A salesperson said, “I was wrong”
  • A salesperson stooped so low to declare, “I was out-sold”
  • A salesperson actually said, “I should have done a better job . . .”
  • A salesperson proclaimed, “I need a better relationship with (insert name)”
  • A salesperson contended, “ABC company does a great job – I need to be on my toes”
  • A salesperson actually complimented operations, or production, or accounting, or management, or engineering, or HR

That’s accountability. That builds strong cultures. But, for some salespeople – that’s too hard. Easier to blame.

It’s 2019. What’s Going to be Different this Year?

Jan 8, 2019

 

 

 

 

OK, we’re 8 days into 2019. You’ve had enough time to settle in. You’re grinding. Business as usual. Here are 3 questions for you:

  1. How “usual” will things be this year?
  2. Better yet, what’s going to be different this year?
  3. More specifically: What will you do this year to take your sales to the next level?

If you’re satisfied, coasting, or as a friend of ours used to say, “Livin’ large”, stop reading now & go back to doing whatever it is you do.

This won’t be one of those corny blogs that attempts to motivate you & tell you what a great year this will be. The motivation won’t work & making it great is up to you.

What we will do is ask: What’s going to be different this year?

If you are not happy in your sales role; if you are not making the money you want, what will you do differently this year to change things? Blame the leads? Complain about your territory? “Dog” the competition? Bitch about your management?

How’d that work for you last year? And the year before?

Nope. This year will be different (if you want it to be). This year you have the choice to hold yourself accountable – to point the finger right where it should be pointed – right between your eyes.

Whatever problem a salesperson is struggling with you can bet big dollars that it can be factored down to the fact that he or she does not have enough opportunities to close business. This is because he or she does not “open” enough business. And this is because he or she is not prospecting enough. Almost every “sales” problem is a prospecting problem!

Look familiar?

  • Feeling pressure to lower your price? You probably don’t have any other logs in the fire.
  • Following up with a prospect enough to classify you as a stalker? You probably don’t have any other real good opportunities.
  • Spending all your time talking with lower level non-decision makers? You probably have a wide-open calendar.
  • Keeping a pipeline full of a bunch of low % opportunities. You probably have not opened any high % opportunities.
  • Spending all your time “farming” current accounts waiting for one of them to “place an order”. You probably have not called a new prospect since people watched TV instead of Netflix!

Enough already! Why don’t you get out of your own way & start doing what you control? Your prospecting & sales activity. Break out of your comfort zone & start calling people & companies that buy what you sell to see what they are up to.

In the spirit of 2019 here are 5 things to do differently this year:

  1. Make a pact to call 15 new prospects per week
  2. Agree to ask 15 current clients (or friends) for a referral or introduction each month
  3. Stop “driving by” facilities that buy your products – stop into 15 this quarter
  4. Thank 15 clients for their business before St. Patrick’s Day (lunch is good)
  5. Dig down deep into your gut & find that 5 seconds of guts it takes to do these things

Or not. You can keep bitching about your boss – it’s probably her fault anyway.