Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Millionaire Motivator Tony Robbins

From millionaire motivator Tony Robbins:  "When people ask what it takes to succeed, the one answer I give them is 'hunger,'" Robbins says in an interview with Alexandra Middleton. "Hunger is that part of you that says, 'I will not stop. I will not give up,'" Robbins says.
Robbins is absolutely correct.  When I look back on my sales career, the little voice that said, every day, "don't stop", "don't give up" is what kept me on top of my game.
How do you get there--how do you achieve that drive that makes you keep going and doesn't allow you to give up even when the odds are not in your favor?
A true salesperson is not driven by money.  A true salesperson is driven by the need to close the sale.  The goal line is the purchase order and every bone and fiber of a good salesperson's body is focused on the goal line--closing the order.  Getting that order is no different than sinking a three-pointer at the buzzer or kicking a field goal to win the game.  If you have that hunger, then you will succeed.  If you don't, then you really need to dig deep inside yourself to find it. 
NASA flight director, Gene Kranz, famously stated (in the movie Apollo 13) "Failure is not an option." 

You need to take that same attitude into your sales life every single day: "don't stop, don't give up, failure is not an option". 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Prospecting For New Business

Ever since starting this blog, I have been using primarily my own ideas generated from 42 years of selling.  Today I read a sales blog that I thought was right on the mark and decided to share it. It really makes sense:


Ten Keys to Prospecting Success

Mark Hunter High ResolutionToday’s post is by Mark Hunter, CSP, “The Sales Hunter.” Mark is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results and High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

Ask salespeople what their number one issue is and they’ll say, “getting good prospects.” It’s simple fact – you can’t close a sale until you have someone to sell to.  
So what does it take to prospect successfully? Having worked with thousands of salespeople and written the book High-Profit Prospecting, I boiled it down to what I call the Ten Keys to Prospecting:
  1. Have a dedicated time on your calendar to prospect and don’t allow interruptions. This is absolutely essential! The most successful salespeople are those who commit time to prospecting and stick to it. Saying you’ll start prospecting as soon as you’ve taken care of everything else is not a strategy – it’s an escape tactic to avoid prospecting!
  2. Don’t start what you can’t finish. Prospecting is about following up. Reaching out to a bunch of people and not following up with repeat contacts is never going to result in any type of success.
  3. Believe 110 percent you can help others. If you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else believe in you? Top performing salespeople are successful regardless of what they sell. They know their objective is to help others, and what they sell is merely the means to do that.
  4. Qualify quickly. Nothing is worse than having “prospects” in your pipeline that are taking up your time but never become customers. I’m a firm believer in having a prospecting pipeline that is fast moving, allowing you to spend more time with fewer prospects. Yes, that’s the exact opposite of what many sales managers are pushing. We have to think quality, not quantity!
  5. Have a prospecting process and stick to it. My rule is you won’t know if your process works unless you’ve executed it for a period of time that is two times the length of your average buying cycle. For example, if it takes three months to move someone from a lead to a customer, then you need to run your process for at least six months before you’ll know if it is working. Too many salespeople give up on their plan far too soon.
  6. Don’t rely on social media as your primary means to generate leads. Social media is great, but don’t over-rely on it. Use it as one of your sources. Social media has a long lead time, and too many salespeople starve to death because they’ve put too much emphasis into social media, thinking it’s all they have to do. Use it to create awareness and confidence. The leads you get are purely a bonus.
  7. Follow up promptly. Sounds simple, but more opportunities are lost due to the failure of the salesperson to follow up fast when leads/prospects give an indication of wanting to move forward. Countless opportunities are lost because the salesperson is afraid they’ll be seen as a stalker. If stalking helps me close more deals, sign me up!
  8. Use the telephone. Don’t fall for the myth, “The telephone doesn’t work because nobody answers it.” Sure, the telephone isn’t as effective as it used to be, but don’t give up on it. The telephone allows you to have conversations with leads and prospects, allowing you to qualify them more quickly and ultimately help them far beyond what they initially expected.
  9. Don’t rely only on the marketing department for leads. It’s always great to have leads supplied, but top performers know they have an obligation to get leads and prospects. Relying on the marketing department is merely an excuse for not taking control of yourself.
  10. Make the prospecting process about the other person. It’s not what you sell; it’s the outcome you can help the prospect with that will get you the high-value prospects you need. If all you’re doing is telling others what you do and what your product features are, you’ll be doomed to failure.
Have you bought my new book High-Profit Prospecting? You need to, as it’s full of proven strategies to help you succeed.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Walking in Someone Else's Shoes

Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck): To Kill a Mockingbird

 Harper Lee, in her book "To Kill a Mockingbird" wrote a line for Atticus Finch the lawyer: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." 
This idea has been worked and overworked.  "You don't know someone until you walk a mile in his shoes" is another way to put it.
But this is more than a phrase--it's a deeply deeply true statement.  You can't understand your customers' motivations, you can't understand your manager's motivations, you can't understand what your boss is looking for--nothing makes sense unless you can truly get out of your skin and get into the other person's skin.  This is a very demanding idea.
Salespeople are typically driven by their egos--by necessity since we have to take so much rejection. 
But ego is something we have to let go of because it stands in the way of getting into our customer's mind.
What are your customer's needs, personally and corporately.  How does he "sell" your product to his bosses and make himself look valuable in their eyes.  Selling should not be transactional--it should be solutional--a solution for the customer, for his company, for you, the salesperson.  Leave your ego (and your cell phone) at the door and try to truly understand what the customer, what your customer's boss, what your boss, and what the people around you, want.
Walk a mile in their shoes.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Networking and Interacting

I just returned from a national sales meeting and something that jumped out at me regarding the younger breed of sales people was the fact that groups of folks from different divisions and different companies stuck together: ate together, drank together; talked together.
The problem with that is that you never find out what's going on in other parts of the company or the other parts of the world or even another division of the company you work for.
The purpose of a sales meeting to network with other divisions and other geographies.  Knowledge is power and the knowledge you gain from talking to people from other places or other companies or other parts of the same company is invaluable.
And this goes for sales people working within one company--the sales people selling refrigerators need to talk to the tool people or the clothing people in a department store.  
Networking is critical to sales success.  And that means networking within your department, within your company, within your division and within your industry.
Get out from your little circle, meet people in your industry and other industries because you can learn a lot if you do.
Sales can be a lonely job, but by building a network of people who are not your competitors in your market can be very very valuable.  There is more to be learned in the sales job than just your product; you need to see how other people do things and apply them to your area.  Talk to people and ask them what they do and how they do it.  Never stop learning.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Word For 2017: FOCUS

Momentary distractions can lose an order

A couple of years ago, there was a psychological study of distraction.  They "investigated the effect of short interruptions on performance of a task that required participants to maintain their place in a sequence of steps each with their own performance requirements. Interruptions averaging 4.4 s long tripled the rate of sequence errors on post-interruption trials relative to baseline trials. Interruptions averaging 2.8 s long--about the time to perform a step in the interrupted task--doubled the rate of sequence errors. " (Journal of Experimental Psychology, February, 2014)
We are living in an age of constant distraction.  We all know (although we don't practice) that a glance down at our phone, or responding to a text while driving, can have fatal consequences.  But what does this have to do with a blog on sales?
Since I started this blog, I have been preaching about Listening Deeply.  This post is about the inverse of listening deeply.
Any distraction can have consequences--can result in a loss of an order.You glance down at your phone--2.8 seconds--and you've lost the string of thought your customer is laying on you. 
Many people think they can "multi-task".  They're not multitasking.  They're doing many tasks badly.
If you can't put your phone aside, and put your computer aside, and listen deeply to what your customer is saying, what he is asking, then you're not a good salesperson.  It's that simple. 
If you're in a sales meeting and you feel that you need to answer emails while a product presentation is being made, then you're failing your company and your customer. 
The key word for 2017 is FOCUS--focus on the task at hand and put the things that cause distraction aside.