Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Winding Path to Sales Success

From a September 9, 2016 article by Neil Irwin:

"How does a person get to be the boss? What does it take for an ambitious young person starting a career to reach upper rungs of the corporate world — the C.E.O.’s office, or other jobs that come with words like “chief” or “vice president” on the office door?

The answer has always included hard work, brains, leadership ability and luck. But in the 21st century, another, less understood attribute seems to be particularly important.

To get a job as a top executive, new evidence shows, it helps greatly to have experience in as many of a business’s functional areas as possible. A person who burrows down for years in, say, the finance department stands less of a chance of reaching a top executive job than a corporate finance specialist who has also spent time in, say, marketing. Or engineering. Or both of those, plus others."

We often think, as salespeople, that our jobs start and stop with knowledge of the product that we're selling.  That couldn't be further from the truth if you're seeking to become a real sales success story.

A successful salesperson understands all aspects of his customer's business; all aspects of his company's products; and all aspects of his competitor's products.

If you think that you're done once you understand a little bit about your product because you have great sales skills and you think that will carry the day, you are wrong. It may get you an order, or a contract, but it won't get you to the top of your field.

I met a young new car salesperson recently who was developing his capabilities as an entrepreneur by running a small weekend business, who was developing his capabilities in engineering by racing a car he built and repaired, and developing his sales skills in a car dealership.  This young man is doing all the right things to get to the top because he doesn't stop work at 5pm, he STARTS work at 5pm and never stops.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Preparation: the lesson of Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello: Pitcher

We have talked a lot about the Mission and how important it is to have a clearly defined mission when you start your week, or when you go into your sales call.  It would seem that the job of the baseball pitcher would be simple and easy: the catcher tells you what pitch to execute and then you execute it the best that you can.

Although that may be the norm, that is not the way that Porcello has achieved his success.  As of September 10, 2016, Porcello is the first major league pitcher to reach 20 wins (with only 3 losses).  That kind of achievement is not accomplished by either luck or doing what the catcher signals.  Porcello spends hours before a game watching videos of the opposition hitters.  Every hitter has weaknesses--they swing at splitters into the dirt; they are suckers for the changeup; they can't handle a curveball.  Porcello studies this and then executes.  He doesn't walk hitters because he knows what their weaknesses are.  Study and preparation are the hallmarks of this 20+ game winner.

As salespeople, we become sloppy in our preparation.  We think, because we know our product, that that will carry us through the sales call.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In today's world, the dynamics of the sales call changes every day--for example, your customer may have bought a new company or have been bought by another company.  So much changes in this dynamic world we live in.  And, walking into a customer unaware of the current dynamics is a recipe for failure.

Google has made our jobs easier.  Prepare for each sales call by checking all the current dynamics out: the company's website; their Facebook account; your contact's LinkedIn profile; the company's Manta profile--all this information is available and will make your call productive.

Preparation is the key to being a 20 game winner in sales.