Rest on Your Laurels? Not in 2019

Jul 9, 2019

When things are going well. Your clients & customers are happy, everything is on auto pilot, that’s great. The sale has been made & the orders are coming in. Ahhh, time to relax, right?

If only it were that easy. In the sales world, it’s never that easy – never time to relax. Matter of fact, there are some organizations, some people within these organizations, that believe you are only as good as your last sale. In the words of Janet Jackson (circa 1986) What have you done for me, lately?

That’s the bane of a salesperson’s existence.

It is such a bane, such a pain, such a responsibility that many salespeople let their guard down & tend to “rest on their laurels”. Their mantra is Remember that one summer at band-camp? Referring to a sale that was made long ago, that they are still talking about.

Resting on one’s laurels accomplishes only one thing: MAKING ONE RUSTY.

In 2019, if you want to rest on your laurels you are taking a giant risk. Things you risk by resting on your laurels:

  • Risk that the customer thinks of you & only you
  • Risk that your competitors don’t swoop in & mop up your business
  • Risk that nothing changes on the customer’s end (personnel, technology, systems, processes, etc.)
  • Risk that your best relationships aren’t being compromised by your competitor

Like a lot of things in life, resting on your laurels is easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s the hard things that pay off. Fighting to set that appointment with a tough, intimidating customer. Sticking around a customer after hours to learn the lay of the land. Staying an extra day at the customer (missing your daughters softball game) to meet with a new engineer or buyer on your projects. Pushing back from time-to-time & asking why? Or why not?

These are things Superstar Salespeople do.

Resting on one’s laurels is not an option for the Superstar. It’s not in the Superstar’s nature – not in the make-up. There are always one or two (or 10) other things the star can be doing. Most of these things don’t do a thing for growing business. Not that they’re busy work – they just don’t help grow business. Expense reports, admin work, internal meetings, more admin work, more meetings… Yes, the Superstar has all of these things on her plate, too. She just prioritizes. She spends the most time (during Pay Time) doing things with prospects &/or customers that pay her.

The Superstar will rest, when it’s time to rest. He just knows that he has a job to do. He knows people are watching. No, he doesn’t punch a clock, but that doesn’t mean he can screw off, come in late, take 3-hour lunches, leave early. He’s got a job to do. Sure, he has colleagues in the office that rest on their laurels, that’s the difference between them & the Superstar.

Let the colleague reminisce about that one summer at band camp. The Superstar has Janet Jackson ringing in her ears.

Motivation: Don’t Wait for your Boss to Do It

Jun 25, 2019

Could Zig Ziglar have said it any better? Not a chance. He nailed it with this one. Maybe he could have said “showering” instead of bathing (who takes baths anymore)? Still a great quote.

Daily. Key word there. Motivation is a daily chore. Like house chores. Take a day off from motivation & your house gets dirty. Anyone living in a dirty house right now? Chances are you’re waiting for someone else to motivate you.

Won’t happen. Can’t happen (for long periods of time).

Write this down: Your boss, supervisor, or anyone else  for that matter, can’t motivate you. Your #1 motivator is you. Period. 

Ever raise kids? Attend their sporting events? Why is it that you wanted your son to get that puck out of the corner a hell of a lot more than he wanted to get that puck out of the corner? You have all heard the jackass parent in the stands, screaming her head off at her own kid. That parent is motivated. Her kid? Not so much.

No different than the dad that wants his daughter to block the spike in volleyball. Everyone in the stands knows she jumps like a turtle. But dad, he thinks that’s the moment she’s gonna get hops. He’s motivated. She can’t wait to find out who’s having the sleep-over this weekend.

Sales Directors, VP’s, Sales Managers, you know this more than anyone. It is impossible to motivate your team. Some have it & some don’t. You likely have a few studs (or stud-ettes), a few so-so’s, & a few that won’t be there a year from now. Don’t tell me it’s your product, your pricing, your market, your culture. It’s THEIR MOTIVATION.

You try. You have sales meetings. One-on-ones. Ride-alongs. Spiffs. But, nothing. Just like your kids’ sporting events, there are far too many times when you want success for your salespeople more than they want success for themselves. That is an awkward feeling that you do not get paid enough to have. It’s called motivation. Or the lack of it.

Sales Leaders: What can you do? A few things:

  1. You can start with better people

Start looking for people that have the commitment & desire for success (not just the ones with technical aptitude).

  1. You can screen, assess & evaluate – pre-hire

It works. There are many companies that offer these assessments, including us. Imagine the time, energy & money you will save by doing what we call the “MRI before the operation”. Ask yourself this question: Why does Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts always show up for the interview… but three months later, Rodney Dangerfield or Roseanne Barr shows up for work?Did you assess them?

  1. You can really get to know their “Why”. What motivates them?

Get to know your team. What motivates them? What are their goals (not the ones you gave them)? What do they love? Here’s a promise: They are motivated by one of two things: 1.Moving away from PAIN(bad situation, debt, hardship, etc.) or 2. Moving toward pleasure(money, status, recognition, retirement, vacations, toys). Find out what it is for them.

Salespeople: What can you do? 

  1. Know what motivates you – every single day.

Why do you get up every day & do this? How do you do it? What motivates you, gets you going, keeps you going?

Sure, you have a family to provide for – so does everybody else. What really motivates you (Moving away from PAIN or Moving toward pleasure)?

  1. Do a gut-check on your own commitment

Similar to #1, but different. Commitment = What you will do to be successful. Are you doing what it takes? Starting early. Ending late? Answering phones, emails & texts on evenings & weekends? Asking the tough questions? Stepping up? Doing extra? If you’re not, someone will. Don’t be out-worked. It doesn’t cost money & it doesn’t take any more brain-power than the next person has. Do it.

  1. Tell yourself how good you are (AKA: Self-Talk)

Sounds corny, but if others aren’t telling you how good you are, you’d better tell yourself (just don’t do it out loud).

For example:

  • I’m good, damn good
  • I have forgotten more about ________ than they have ever known
  • I am worth (insert giant number)
  • I love this (job, industry, business, company, etc.)
  • I got this! Piece of cake!
  • Failure is not an option

Repeat: Motivation is a daily chore. You wouldn’t show up to work without showering. Don’t even think about showing up without the self-motivation that it takes be a rock-star in this business. You deserve it.

If They’re Not Talking, They’re Not Buying

Jun 11, 2019

The title says it all!

How many times have you met with your prospect (engineering, quality, purchasing, etc.) spent hours crafting a perfect solution, spent even more hours preparing a detailed quote, met with them again, submitted the quote, followed up, & then… nothing. They go radio silent. You know radio silent: that period during which one hears nothing from a normally communicative person or group.

Radio silence is a killer of salespeople. It’s a spirit-crusher of sales organization. Period.

Sounds like: He won’t get back to me. She won’t reply to my email. He won’t return my voice mail message.”

A Sales Coach is about to ask a stupid question: Why in the world would the prospect be so open, so willing & so engaging, before they get their quote? Why wouldn’t they? Prospects need quotes. Sometimes 3, 4 or 5 of them. They have to be open, willing & engaging during the process or they might end up with nothing. Funny how it turns out though. It’s always every company, but one, that ends up with nothing. Just the way your prospect planned it. Prospects plan their radio silence.

Sad fact is, there are many, many companies that are all too willing to provide the perfect solution & detailed quote. Some even think that’s what they are in business for. Their motto is: “Who needs a quote?” And they quote.

Let’s be clear; the solutions are great. These companies do very good work. They are technical experts, creative masterminds, experienced mavens in their field. And the prospect knows it. The prospect needs that expertise. They are in a competitive business, too. They need to add as much value to their customers & clients as possible. And they do-so at the expense of you.

Do they tell you what they are up to? Hell no. They don’t talk to you, remember. When they needed information from you, they answered their phone & replied to your emails – at all hours. Now, when you need an answer (a decision) it’s as if they were in the witness protection program. Radio silence.

Question: How many times, in this short year of 2019, do you known for certain that you have educated your prospect or customer just enough to buy from your competitor? Your expertly designed solution helped some other company win the business. Do you like this? One thing is guaranteed: they are talking to the company that won.

Then why do you continue to do it?

Let’s start by changing the motto. Instead of, “Who needs a quote?” we should ask, “How qualified is this opportunity & what are our chances of winning it?” “How can we get to reality quickly?” And be honest. Most salespeople think every meeting is great. Every opportunity is “in the bag”. Every quote is a 90% plus confidence level. They put on their “happy ears” & hear what they want.

Then, when you look at their closing ratio, they are running at a 5 or 10% clip rate. Something’s amiss. Most salespeople are overly optimistic. To say they live their sales life wearing rose-colored glasses is an understatement.

What to do?

Let’s get to reality. Start managing expectations.

Get aligned with your prospect. Know exactly what they want to accomplish. Be crystal clear about their objectives & make sure they match up with yours. It’s OK to push-back. It’s very credible & professional to make suggestions. It makes no sense to agree to something you can’t do. That sets the wrong expectation in your prospects mind & will always come back to bite you.

Let’s qualify the opportunity.

Qualified DOES NOT mean they buy what you sell. Qualified DOES NOT mean you are an “approved supplier.”

Qualified means:

  1. They have an issue, challenge, problem (let’s call it PAIN) that they admit to wanting to fix or change & you have discussed it
  2. They have the money to pay for it (& you have determined the amount &/or had the “money conversation”)
  3. You understand who all the decision makers are & know how they go about making these decisions (the process)

Tired of radio silence? Get to reality quickly & start qualifying these opportunities. Let your competition carry on with their, “Who wants a quote?” motto.

Don’t Be “That Guy or Gal”

May 28, 2019

It’s interesting what you talk about when clients call for “Help Desk” Sales Coaching (as we refer to it). Talked to Gary, a client-turned-friend, a few days ago, & he had a zinger. A great idea that could help everyone reading this blog.

Now, don’t stop reading because Gary happens to be in the insurance business – commercial, personal, life, etc. He, himself, will joke about the fact that, in his early days, he cleared many a room by making that declaration. It happens. The thousands & thousands of insurance agents that proceeded Gary screwed it up for him. Not his fault.

You’ve had it happen to you. You’re settling in at a social event, gathering or party & someone (we’ll call him Tom or her, Tina) asks what you do. You know for certain that they don’t give two squats about what you do. That’s just their spring-board to them telling you what they do. “I’m in the insurance business.”Never before has your glass become so empty. “I need to freshen up my drink”, you say, as you escape the impending awkward conversation. Phew, avoided that one!

When there were land lines, it used to be a phone call. You haven’t seen Tom or Tina since high school. But somehow, they get your phone number. You don’t attend class reunions, so it’s been 10, 20 or 30 years since you’ve even seen them. After the obligatory (don’t care two squats about) What have you been doing with your life? Married? Kids? They drop the bomb. You know it’s coming. Nothing you can do about it. No drinks to freshen up. No wiggling out of this one. So, the real reason I called was . . .

“I’m in the insurance business & I wondered if you’d like me to take a look at your policies.” (Thinking . . . What? I haven’t seen you since Reagan was President. And I didn’t like you very much back then . . .).

Awkward. For both people. Tom & Tina were told by someone, “Call everybody you know… & have ever known.” So, they do. Welcome to the life of Tom & Tina.

Enter Gary’s great idea. He knows he has to prospect for appointments. New business is required. He knows prospecting is the toughest part of our jobs (all of us). He’s also smart enough to know what the “typical” salesperson does. . . & Gary runs in the opposite direction.

Check it out: We’ll start a little closer to home. Leave the high school classmates, that you haven’t seen for 25 years, for a rainy day. We’ll start with people you know. Interestingly enough,  the fact that you know them so well is what makes them becoming prospects so awkward – equally as awkward.

In the B to B world, we all know people that work at companies that buy the products or services we sell. In the B to C space, we all know people, consumers, that buy what we offer. Problem is, they are not always buying from us.

Whichever situation you are in, we’d advise you to be very disarming – right from the start. Dis-arming helps you to not be “that guy” or “that gal”.

Sounds like this: “Steve, I know you (or your company) are probably not in the market for (product or service). Or Steve, there’s a good chance that you (or your company) has already purchased (product or service) – you’re probably all set. This helps someone to relax. Now they can think to themselves (& say) – yep, your right we have. We’re all set.

Now, you can tell your story. Sounds like this: “OK, good. The reason I bring it up is because I have been burned a few times. Every-so-often I find that people have previously purchased (product or service) but they didn’t know I was in that business. My fault. I never brought it up. So, I promised myself I’d never let that happen again.” 

You can only imagine what happens with the other category of people & (companies). The ones that have not purchased our product or service – the ones in need. The say, “Oh, I never knew you did that. We should talk. 

Nobody wants to be “that guy” or “that gal”. It just happens. It happens when you don’t have a better way to approach prospects. Try it out.

Will it always work? Not a chance. But, how often does what you’re currently doing work?

Thanks, Gary.

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!


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?