When I was recently preparing a speech to up and coming sales reps, I realized that I had compiled a list of selling tips that I wanted to share today. Here are the best of the best:
#1 Consult, Don’t Regurgitate – better to listen to your prospect and find out what they really need, rather than “barf out” everything you know
#2 Share, Celebrate and Support – be a fantastic teammate!
#3 Manage Time, Plan and Prioritize – not the “sexy” part of selling, but crucial to success
#4 Fly Under The Radar, Don’t Be “On It” – if your boss does not have to follow-up with you about things not getting done, that is a good thing!
#5 The Path of “Most Resistance” Pays Dividends – anyone can do the easy stuff, but tough it out and do the difficult (or less desirable tasks) day in and day out
#6 Customers And Prospects Are Human Beings Too – get to know them on a personal level, make notes and show that you care about them as people too
Keep these close by and refer back to them when you need a gentle reminder of what it takes to succeed in sales!
This is pure gold! DO NOT do this on a sales call. Have a great weekend!
I enjoyed reading Lloyd’s take on sales strategy this morning. Have a great day!
One issue I find perpetually frustrating is how often companies neglect the goal of their sales efforts: Getting a deal. As someone who has been on both sides of the fence—initiating partnerships and being sold to –—I am particularly sensitive when I see people making fundamental mistakes.
Focus on the goal
The first manifestation of this problem is when people focus on arranging meetings (or calls), rather than qualifying potential partners and seeing if there is a reason to meet. There is no value in a meeting just for meeting’s sake.
Trade shows are a great example of people losing track of the goal. Prior to a major trade show, even if I am not attending, I got multiple meeting requests. Very rarely do people try to qualify whether or not it is worth their time meeting. Given that everyone has a limited schedule, they are potentially not only wasting 30…
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That is the question 🙂
Ever see people handing out business cards like they are dealing a deck of cards?
“Come one, come all, everyone gets a card!”
The important question is…
did you get a card from the prospect, or the networking event connection?
When you get a card, you are in control. You control your own destiny.
When all you do is hand out cards, and often forget to get their card, you wait – hoping one day that they reach out to you.
Uh-oh! Your card may end up in the garbage but you still can connect if you have theirs!
I often tell people….
“I’m in sales, so I will always ask the question. The worst they can say is no”.
Although this logic may come across as a little generic and obvious, are you guilty of not asking a question because you think you already know the answer?
Some key situations where I have asked questions and had positive results include:
- Receiving referrals from current customers that would turn in to new business
- Offering other products that resulted in unexpected add-on sales
- In the mattress business, I would ask that my products be moved to higher visibility areas of stores to increase exposure
A couple of “fun ones” include:
- I have about a 95% success rate of returning products outside the return policy time frame and/or without a receipt
- I rented a beer sales representative a vehicle many years ago, and asked if I could sample some of his product upon return of the car. I was more joking than anything. To my surprise, he brought me back a case of beer on a Friday of a long weekend.
Two events happened recently that got me thinking about this topic again:
- I went to pick up 3 pizzas and new the restaurant owner quite well. I said, “Oh is it buy 2 get 1 free night?” He laughed and said “yeah right”. As I was about to walk away with my order he put a free order of garlic bread on top
- I was out for lunch with friends, and one of the guys got married over Christmas. The owner of the restaurant knew him, and when he walked over to say greet us, I mentioned the recent nuptials and how his meal show be free. It was a total joke, but the owner ended up taking care of his meal.
So what does this all mean?
The real “ah-ha” moment as I reflected back on these events was….
I planted the seeds to get the results that I wanted.
If I had not taken the time to ask questions with confidence and in a casual way, I would have never achieved the desired results.
When you are in sales, you need to get used to hearing the word “NO”. That is an occupational hazard of this line of work. If you can’t handle the rejection you are in the wrong industry. But a few tweaks to your mindset like I have illustrated can give you more positive results than you ever imagined.
So next time you are predicting a “NO” why not just ask anyways for the fun of it?
You may like the answer!
Yep – sometimes a sales call does not go according to plan! Be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice.
Have a great weekend!
I planned a Saturday golf game with my friends last spring. I was very excited because it was my first game of the year, and I really needed some time to unwind with the guys.
I ended up shooting one of the top 10 games of my life. I reflected that evening on why I had done so well, and there was a very simple answer. I was relaxed. I had only played two rounds of golf all winter, so my expectations were low. I just wanted to have fun, and did not think about scoring.
I started well, and kept the momentum going throughout the entire round. Typically (due to my infrequent play) I will have a great front nine, then a rough back nine, or vice versa. But this game was consistent throughout. I still had some bad shots, but was able to recover quickly.
With my golf game, relaxation and good shots breed confidence. I heard a humorous golf analogy many years ago and I often think of it when I am struggling.
- Pretend the golf club is a tube of toothpaste. What happens when you squeeze the tube of toothpaste too hard?
- Well of course too much toothpaste comes out!
- If you are squeezing the golf club too hard, inevitably you are going to make more bad shots than normal.
What happens if you have a bad day of sales calls, or perhaps a bad week or month in general? We all have confidence and feel great when things are going well; that is the easy part. The true test of character is how we respond when things don’t go our way.
Sales people and golfers need to have short memories. If you are “squeezing the tube of toothpaste” too hard on your sales calls and during the sales process, things may not go according to plan. If you feel under pressure to close more sales, you may “squeeze the entire tube of toothpaste” out on each call! You press, you are not yourself, your presentations and discussions have no flow, and you are off your game in general.
I asked my friends about their golf game that day last spring, and they said that it was not uncommon to have 10-15 stroke swings from one nine-hole round to the next. It proves that we have the ability to bounce back if we stay focused and regain confidence.
As usual, I watched the Master’s Golf tournament in April of 2011, and it was more exciting than normal. There were 7-8 golfers in the hunt until the last few holes. I am always amazed how golfers can keep outside distractions to a minimum and just focus on the next shot. Their focus is superhero-like, and they handle pressure remarkably well.
Rory Mcllroy was in first place after three rounds, the proceeded to shoot the worst final round in Master’s history. After the last round he said that he will learn from the experience and knows that he will be in the running for many more major championships down the road. His positive attitude was impressive.
To show his resilience, he came back at the next major tournament (US Open) and destroyed the competition by nearly 10 shots. That is an incredible example of putting a negative experience in the past, learning from it, and moving on quickly.
Sales and golf have many similarities which I look forward to exploring more in the future. Relaxation, confidence and a general sense that you will excel are all keys factors while “working” on the golf course and in a sales territory.
- Do you find that you are squeezing the tube of toothpaste too hard in your sales or business role?
- What factors contribute to these feelings “invading your body”, and making things more difficult in the field than they should?
If you are struggling right now, reflect back to when things were going very well, and you were full of confidence. Make some notes about those times, and do more of that!
If you are sales representative, own a business or even write a blog; analyzing your sales figures and other key data is imperative for success.
You don’t have to do it every day, especially if you are not “a number’s person“!
I fell in love with math early on in elementary school, but I would not consider myself to be a “number’s guy”. Some are, some aren’t; and that is ok.
I must admit, I have become a bit of a blogging data addict!
I love to look at my blog stats.
- Unique visitors per day
- Top commenters
- Total views
- A map of the world with all the countries represented by my visitors (my personal favourite)
But I caution you…. don’t become obsessed with the numbers. I have seen it time and time again in the sales profession where reps get caught in to the trap of sitting at their desk most of the day analyzing too many reports.
Don’t get distracted from the key mission which is to SELL and grow your network!
I like to simplify processes in my professional and personal life. Below is an example of how I would spend at least one hour per month analyzing my sales territory numbers:
- Identify where business is up, find out what is working and do more of that!
- Identify where business is flat (no growth), find areas to improve and focus on that
- Identify where business is down, create recovery plans and carry out those strategies ASAP
See – no big deal! This does not have to take hours per week or month staring at paper.
Remember – it is your territory, your business, or even your blog.
If you don’t know what is going on with it, how can you expect to exceed your goals?
I love to talk. I used to talk anyone’s ear off who would listen to my long-winded babble!
The best man at my wedding described me to a “T” in 2005:
“Tim is like a remote control. All you have to do is say hello to him and he is off to the races. He changes topics quickly liked changing channels on a remote control.”
But I had to change. I had to change big time! People in business and personal lives don’t want to hear you blow hot air all day. They want to be engaged and get talking. They want to talk about themselves and feel like others are really listening to them!
That was me for the longest time. I still struggle with this every day. But I am getting better, and certainly focus on others taking the lead in conversations now with my open-ended questions.
Every time I get off track I think of Frank Tyger’s fabulous quote,
“Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.”