Last week I was talking with a friend of mine who owns a business, and he repeated something I’ve been hearing from a lot of business owners. He said, “Every year around my insurance expiration date, I have anywhere from three to six insurance agents, in addition to my current agent, show up looking to quote my insurance. You know how many showed up this year?” I knew the answer because, as I said, I’ve heard it from other business owners, but I humored him, “How many?” I asked. “Zero.”
What’s the definition of producer? (…fill in the blank.) Right. … Read the rest
The year 2020 has not been typical by any stretch of the imagination. Almost everything we know has been changed or affected in some way, shape or form. So what about selling? How has selling changed and what must we do to adapt to the new environment?
Very rarely, if ever, does a disruptor change the core principles of the sales game. Most issues and changes, whether it’s the birth of the internet, social media and email, 9-11, or the 2008 recession, have simply been distractions, causing us to make some small adjustments to our process, but they haven’t changed … Read the rest
Being average in sales is not difficult. The truth is, 80 to 95 percent of the salespeople in any organization are somewhere between average and bad. If you want to be great and make the big money, while having the biggest positive impact on clients’ lives, and your own, here’s what you need to do.
- You need a morning routine that prepares you for your day.
- You need an evening routine that helps you wind down and get a good night’s sleep.
- You have to see yourself as self-employed.
- You’ve got to push yourself harder than anyone else can possibly
… Read the rest
Are you struggling to increase sales? Struggling to build your business? If so, what are you doing about it?
Being successful in sales is pretty easy. You know the roadmap. Assuming you have the basic foundation of liking people and having people skills, now you simply need to learn sales skills, some marketing skills, communication skills, your product, your industry, and about the prospects and clients in your industry. While working on that, you have to talk to enough people to find out who has a problem you can solve and then solve it by having them invest in your … Read the rest
The recent pandemic is a possible threat to your sales career but probably not for the reason you think.
If you’ve read my articles in the past, you know that I attribute sales success and failure primarily to activity level. If you make enough calls to talk to enough qualified prospects, and you have at least average sales skills, you’ll make enough sales. If you don’t make enough calls, you won’t make enough sales.
Sales success starts with the math.
- What’s your annual sales goal?
- Based upon your average sale, how many sales do you have to make?
- How many
… Read the rest
From the title you might think this article is about networking on the golf course and having a successful business. It’s not. It actually refers to something I heard Phil Mickelson say on a recent podcast by Ed Mylett.
Ed asked Phil the difference between the top golfers in the world that play on the PGA Tour week in and week out, and those that never quite make it. They’re good enough to still be pros and they do ‘okay,’ but they never break into that top 130 or so that you constantly see on the Tour.
Phil told a … Read the rest
Back in 2009, while we were still in the throes of a difficult recession, I wrote an article with (almost) the same title. Well, some things have changed and some haven’t, so, here’s an updated version which applies to the current situation.
Don’t Let Anything Outside of You Be Your Excuse
After a tough day or some difficult sales calls, it’s easy to blame a host of things other than yourself. If you do, people will hear it in your voice and you’ll sell less. This attitude will also demotivate you, which will lead to working less. In tough times, … Read the rest
After 54 years on the planet, and almost 33 in business, I know two things:
- This will be over at some point.
- A few organizations will come out of this with a stronger, healthier business while the others come out of it anywhere from “okay” to “out-of-business.”
If you want to be in the first category, here’s what to do.
Note: The “stronger and healthier” mentioned above doesn’t refer to companies that will automatically grow from the current crisis.
How to Excel in the Current Environment
Everything goes in cycles. The stock market, the economy, real estate — you name … Read the rest
A couple of weeks ago I was approached to be included in a Sales Hall of Fame publication.
The one thing they requested of me was a short video with my number one sales tip that they could include on the website. My number one sales tip? “No problem,” was my first thought. Then, the more I thought about it, the more of a problem it became. To make a long story bearable, I did finally come up with the “one,” but in the process, I thought of several others too, which you might find helpful.
My Key Sales Tips… Read the rest
There really is no debate that sales are in fact a numbers game. Here are some of the sales numbers you know about along with some others you may not.
The Obvious Numbers
The more people you talk to, the more business you will do. Even a blind pig finds corn. If you talk to enough people, you will eventually bump into someone who says, “I need what you have” or, “I know someone who needs what you have.”
When someone fails in sales, 99.9 percent of the time it’s the result of a lack of activity. They didn’t make … Read the rest
Steps to sales greatness.
Do What the Top Salespeople Do
This is arguably the most obvious, most basic, and most important step to becoming a top salesperson. It’s simple: If you take the same actions as the top salespeople, you will eventually also be a top salesperson. If you do the same things as a mediocre salesperson, you will be a mediocre salesperson. Find the top salespeople in your company and pick their brains. In addition to top salespeople in your company, get advice from top salespeople in other industries.
Learn Everything You Possibly Can About the Subject of Selling… Read the rest
If you’ve read many of my articles in the past, you’ve undoubtedly come across my statement that the biggest key to business-building and sales success is activity, or more specifically, activity that leads to sales: prospecting, presenting and closing.
It’s simple: the more people you talk to, the more business you’ll do. Even a blind pig finds corn. If you talk to enough people during the day, you’ll eventually bump into someone who says, “I need what you have,” or “I know someone who needs what you have.” Below are some questions you can use to direct your days activities.… Read the rest
There seems to be a cliché among sales trainers these days, and that is: “Sales isn’t a numbers game.”
I believe most sales trainers are saying that for shock effect and to sound different and controversial. I also believe they are saying that because they think that’s what salespeople want to hear. The reality, and what salespeople need to hear, is that sales is and always will be a numbers game. It’s simple, the more people you talk to, the more business you will do, even a blind pig finds corn. In other words, if you talk to enough people … Read the rest
As the saying goes, “A house is only as strong as its foundation.” It takes a strong foundation to ensure sales success. Following are the several high‑achievement ingredients necessary to build that strong foundation.
Ingredient #1 for High Achievement: Be in Sales for the Right Reasons
The first thing I look for in a potential new sales rep is people skills. In order to have long-term success and become a top achiever, you must be able to understand and communicate with people while also having a great capacity for empathy. Genuine caring and a desire to serve and help people … Read the rest
I was recently speaking with a manager at a real estate office about what makes some agents successful and others unsuccessful.
He told me, “John, I can sum up the difference between the successful agents and the unsuccessful agents with one quick example: during a major blizzard when everything is shut down and everyone is at home, my top agents are making phone calls to prospects because they know they have a captive audience, and the rest of my agents are posting pictures on Facebook of the cookies they’re baking.”
I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon when I speak. Afterwards it’s … Read the rest
Recently I was speaking with an agency owner about the lack of success of his two most recent hires.
When I asked how many hours they were putting in, the answer was, “About 45 or 50 per week.” Keep in mind, these agents are in their 20s, are new to the industry and relatively new to sales. In other words, not only do they have to spend time learning about an industry they know next to nothing about, they also have to learn how to sell, in addition to learning the ins and outs of the new company they work … Read the rest
You just hired the perfect person: great work ethic, positive and upbeat, they show up early, leave late, take 10 minutes of a 15-minute break, and do more than expected, and more than you ask for.
Now let’s take that person and put them into an environment where people are negative, aren’t held accountable, take three days off for a hang-nail, show up at 8:05 then spend 45 minutes “getting ready” for their day, start preparing to leave at 3:30 and leave at 5:00 like there’s a fire drill. What happens to that perfect hire? One of two things: they … Read the rest
There are five primary mistakes when it comes to managing salespeople. Almost every organization makes one or two of these, but most make more, many make all five. Each mistake you eliminate will add about 20 percent in additional revenues to the bottom line. That said, if you have and clean up all five, it could lead to an exponential revenue increase of 200 percent or more.
Mistake #1: Having the Wrong Person
This is usually a hiring mistake, though it could be someone who has become complacent over the years and is no longer doing their job. If it’s … Read the rest
By far the biggest reason salespeople fail is that they don’t make enough calls to talk to enough people to get enough prospects in order to make the necessary sales. There are two causes for this: one, not putting in the hours necessary and two, call reluctance.
While the first one is a problem and needs to be addressed, I find that the latter far outweighs the former. If you watch your average salesperson during the day, even when they are “working” they avoid making calls. They do paperwork, clean their desk, check e-mail, service accounts, do research, and find … Read the rest
Warning: If you’re looking for a shortcut or easy way to your best year, you probably won’t like this article. What I have to say is not what the majority of the population wants to hear. That said, it is what you need to hear if you want to have your best year this year.
Tip #1: Work Harder
This is the tip most people won’t like. Here’s the thing about hard work: the harder you work by making more sales calls, the more your sales will increase. Want to increase sales by 20 percent? Simple, increase your sales calls … Read the rest
We know there are many character traits that determine long-term sales success or failure. That said, I find there are two key traits that really separate the cream of the crop from everyone else.
Trait #1: Extreme Ownership
The most successful salespeople take complete ownership of everything in their life — and I do mean everything. From sales numbers all the way to car accidents, they see themselves as ultimately in control of, and responsible for, anything related to getting their job done and meeting obligations. In this way they are empowered so that when something goes wrong, they can … Read the rest
All of us have heard, pretty much since week one of our sales careers — “Don’t take sales rejection personally.” You know the mantra: “They’re not rejecting you, they’re rejecting your product or service.” I have to admit, I agreed with that for my entire 31‑year sales career until a recent experience changed my mind.
About two weeks ago I was calling insurance agencies to let them know about a sales seminar I was doing for one of the local state insurance associations. Typically this is a very warm call where I simply state my name, the name of the … Read the rest
In an article by friend and colleague John Brubaker (CoachBru.com), he stated, “According to a U.S. Department of Commerce research study, in the first five years of a business the survival rate for independent small businesses is less than 20 percent but the survival rate for franchises is 95 percent.”
He continues: “…it isn’t so much the name recognition… it’s the fact that with a franchise you get to utilize a turn-key set of business operations [a successful system that works] as opposed to having to invent the wheel in your own business.
“…Starbucks [has] an excellent system, which is … Read the rest
Avoid Sales Gimmicks
Over the past week I’ve been inundated with e-mails for webinars, classes and courses telling me that sales and business building is easy. They claim that you don’t have to work hard, just listen to the webinar and you’ll get the magic bullet to working a fraction of the hours you’re currently working while closing 90 percent of the people you talk to. Oh, and don’t worry about the fear and discomfort that usually stop you; with their secret formula those will magically disappear. It will be all sunshine and rainbows.
Unfortunately people still fall for schemes … Read the rest
I was recently speaking with an extremely successful executive (he asked to remain anonymous) who is known for being able to walk into an organization, clear away all the clutter and nonsense, and make them extremely successful. He boiled his process down to four keys which can also be applied to successful selling.
Key #1: Simplicity
The formula for success in sales really is simple. It comes down to talking to enough of the right people the right way. That means talking to plenty of qualified prospects and having the skills necessary to find a problem, solve the problem, and … Read the rest
To be successful in the world of selling you need to be a contrarian.
In every industry, successful salespeople are the exception, not the rule. In the insurance field, only about 20 percent of the agents who start are still agents 10 years down the road. In real estate, the average realtor sells three houses a year, and even though some may stay in the business because it’s the family’s second income, and the company allows them to, three houses a year is poverty-level income. In the corporate world, most salespeople don’t make quota and in many cases, even those … Read the rest
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about client retention because it’s something I’ve been very successful at over the years. On that note, here’s how I did it from the initial sale all the way through the entire long-term relationship.
Steps to take with the initial sale:
Step 1: Verbally thank the client for his business when you close the sale.
Step 2: Review expectations and what will happen next.
Whatever your particular steps are, go over these steps with the client and let him know how and when he will be kept up to date.
Step 3: … Read the rest
There is a much-overlooked aspect of sales success that is rarely spoken about and barely attracts attention: self-talk.
The most important conversation is the one you have with yourself. The reason that conversation is so important is that the words and language you use both reveal and reinforce your beliefs about yourself and the world. Those beliefs dictate the action you take, or don’t take, and ultimately determine success or failure.
If you have a problem selling, you more than likely have a self-talk problem. The difference between the top salespeople and everyone else is that the top people became … Read the rest
Try these sales tips for added success.
Stop Working Smart and Get Back to Working Hard
Most salespeople use “working smart” as an excuse to avoid hard work, especially the traditional methods of prospecting such as cold calling. They think work smart means work easy. As a result, they look for shortcuts and safe alternatives to prospecting on the phone and in-person. They try to prospect via social media and e-mail and kill so much time looking up information on prospects, that they don’t have time to make the number of calls necessary for success. While there are times you … Read the rest