Follow the Tried‑and-True Path to Sales Success

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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

Four Keys to Massive Sales Success

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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

Why Sales Success Is the Exception, Not the Rule

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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

Clients for Life: From First Sale to Long‑Term Relationship

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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

The Most Important Sales Conversation

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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

Overlooked Sales Tips for Added Success

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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

How to Build Relationships in Your Organization and With Vendors

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We all know relationships are important with clients. If you own the relationship with a client account, you most likely own the business. Just as important as client relationships are the relationships within your organization and with vendors who help your business run smoothly.

Problems in these relationships usually lead to problems in client accounts, which could result in lost business. You also spend a good amount of time with vendors and co-workers, so the better your relationships with them, the more pleasant your work life will be. All of that said, how do you ensure good, solid relationships within … Read the rest

How to Communicate Effectively During the Sales Process

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In theory sales is pretty simple: communicate the right way with the right people, and you’ll make sales. It’s in practice that most people complicate the issue. So how do you keep it simple?

Assuming you’re selling something where someone has to deal with you for any length of time, in other words, you’re not selling batteries at Walmart, you need to get several points across:

  • You care.
  • You’re trustworthy.
  • You understand their problem.
  • You’re competent and can solve their problem.

That said, effective communication begins with mindset. First, you must be completely sold on and have confidence in … Read the rest

The Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make

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Mistake #1: Thinking That Servicing Accounts Is More Important Than Selling New Ones

I once had a coaching client show me a stack of folders and say, “This is why I can’t be out calling on new clients.” When I asked what had to be done, she picked up the first folder and said, “I’m waiting for a number from the State of Rhode Island on this one.” To which I responded, “Really? A salesperson is sitting in the office waiting for a number from the State of Rhode Island? No one else can handle that?” That is akin to … Read the rest

Building Your Sales Machine

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The “how-to” behind building a highly effective, competition-dominating, sales juggernaut is actually fairly simple.

What isn’t simple is executing the steps and sticking to the plan. The dedication and resolve necessary to start and complete the process is where the majority of people fail. That said, if you’re ready to skyrocket sales in your organization, here are the steps to get it done.

Super-Intense Sales Training

The most important tool a salesperson can have in their arsenal is great sales skills. Yet, while most organizations spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new producer, send them … Read the rest

Selling Is Changing — Not Really

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This past week I’ve received three separate e-mails from various sales gurus talking about how much sales has changed. While the internet, social media, and advances in technology have altered some of the peripheral aspects of selling, the foundational principles and keys that lead to sales success have remained the same.

Sales Facts That Will Always Remain the Same

  • Sales is still a numbers game

Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time failure in sales is due to a lack of activity — in other words, not making enough calls. Now that we have the Internet, I know sales reps who spend … Read the rest

What Leadership Needs to Know About Sales

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In the leadership role you probably already get that sales is the primary key to massive success and prosperity.

As you know, the most successful companies sell better and more than everyone else. Starbucks doesn’t have the best coffee, they’ve simply sold an enormous number of people on doing business with them. That said, to ensure colossal success for your company, here are the sales facts you want to ensure your company is living by.

Fact #1: Sales Has to Be at the Top of the Food Chain

Everything starts and stops with sales. Without sales, there is no service … Read the rest

Holding Salespeople Accountable

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One of the biggest issues I see when it comes to managing sales teams is a lack of accountability. Here are several steps to address this particular problem.

Set High Standards During the Hiring Process

Whatever your standard expectations are for your salespeople, double those expectations when talking to a potential new hire. For example, if you expect your salespeople to make 50 phone calls a day, tell the candidate it’s 100. If you expect them to go out and knock on 25 doors a day, tell them it’s 50. If you expect them to work until 7 at night, … Read the rest

If Peyton Manning Opened a Competing Business in Your Town….

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Scary thought, right? Why? Because you know within three to five years they’d own 90 to 100 percent of the business in the area and if you weren’t out of business, you’d be hanging on by a shoestring. There are several reasons why this group, even with no prior experience in your industry, and even without their celebrity status to rely on, would absolutely dominate your market. Here they are.

Reason #1: Completely unreasonable, some might even say insane, commitment

If you called their business at midnight on Saturday, how long do you think it would be before you spoke … Read the rest

How to Bring Youth into Your Organization

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Almost every industry I talk to these days is struggling with bringing youth in. How do you get them interested in your industry? How do you get them to take you seriously? How do you get them to work hard without thinking they’re entitled to everything without actually having to work for it? Here are some answers.

Step 1: Realize There Are Some Great Millennials Out There

The fact that most of the youngest generation in the workforce seems to be entitled, self-centered, has no work ethic, and expects success overnight is first, not quite as bad as it seems … Read the rest

How Far Are You Willing to Go to Make It in Sales?

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I am of the belief that pretty much anyone can make it in sales if they are determined enough. Sales can be learned. I am proof of that. After struggling in school and being an abysmal failure at the onset of my sales career, if I can be successful, you can too. After all, as a former president once said, this isn’t rocket surgery.

Granted, some personality types and skillsets are more cut out for sales but the bottom line is: if you are committed, you can be successful. That said, what must you be willing to do to be … Read the rest

What Salespeople Can Learn From the Presidential Race

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While the presidential race is showing us many qualities of politicians that we don’t want to emulate such as: bad-mouthing the competition, vacillating on the issues, and bending truths, there are several other qualities that we can emulate to make ourselves super-successful as salespeople.

Qualities of Politicians You Do Want to Emulate

  • Put Yourself Out There

The successful politicians who get their name out and are heard through the noise, are great at putting themselves out there and letting everyone know they are there. They seem to have mastered the primary fear that stops most salespeople: the fear of rejection. … Read the rest

Why Your Grandfather Would Outsell Today’s Salesperson

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With the development of the Internet, social media, and the “new” relationship and solution selling techniques, there seems to be a belief out there that today’s salespeople are superior to those of the past. As you can probably gather from the title, I don’t necessarily agree. Here’s why.

Here are the key factors that give the old guard an advantage over the new guard:

  • Preparation and Sales Skills

When my dad went for training at IBM in the early ’60s, it was primarily sales training. Yes, you learned the product too, but they made sure you knew everything about selling: … Read the rest

Sales Is Rigged in Favor of the Hard Workers and Self‑Disciplined

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Lately I’ve heard several politicians saying that America is rigged so that only the rich can win. They’re dead wrong. America is still rigged for the people who are willing to roll up their sleeves, work extremely hard, and sacrifice short-term pleasure today for long-term gain tomorrow. It’s rigged for those willing to stick a hand out to help others vs. those looking for a handout. In the largest economy ever created on the planet, America is still the land of opportunity. And life will still pay whatever price you ask, but it’s not just going to hand you the … Read the rest

The Definitive Answer to Why You Should Cold Call

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There continues to be controversy as to whether or not cold calling works and whether or not you should do it. First, yes, it does still work. Second, yes, you should still do it. Here’s why and here’s how.

Why You Should Cold Call

Cold calling is the most difficult sales task, and that’s exactly why you should never stop doing it. It’s simple, if you can effectively contact people cold and get results, you’ve conquered the most difficult sales task and you can learn and do any other part of the sales process.

The reason why the vast majority … Read the rest

Customer Information You Need to Build Super-Strong Relationships

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Any time the subject of relationships comes up and I ask how important they are in the overall sales and business process, I usually get the answer that they are the most important part.

I think we all know that the more a prospect or customer likes us, the more likely they are to conduct business with us regardless of most other factors and in fact, a prospect will buy a higher-priced, inferior product from someone they like vs. someone they don’t.

Make no mistake, building solid relationships takes time, effort, energy, and money and that’s precisely why most people … Read the rest

The Biggest Issues I See in Sales Organizations

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While there are lots of potential obstacles and roadblocks to building a great sales organization, there are several blatant issues that are responsible for about 90% of failures.

The Biggest Issues That Derail Sales Organizations

  • Issue #1: No Solid Hiring Process

A solid sales organization starts with solid people. Having solid people starts with having a solid hiring process. Look, salespeople interview well. That’s their job. One person I know had six jobs in 12 months. He was completely inept so he only lasted a short period of time, in one case three hours, but he was good at selling … Read the rest

No, You Didn’t Lose Your Largest Account Because of Price

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This past week an insurance agency called me for help because they just lost their largest account that they’ve had for the past 24 years. When I asked how that happened, the clear, confident response was, “Price!” The only piece of good news I could glean from this initial exchange was that my gag reflex is working perfectly.

If you think you lost your great, long-term customer based upon price….

First, understand that people don’t change for the sake of changing, especially if they’ve been with you for a substantial amount of time. The only way a long-term customer … Read the rest

Filling the Sales Pipeline

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If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you have more than likely experienced the ebb and flow of prospects in your pipeline from time to time. We all know there will be certain days, weeks, and months that are heavy with appointments, servicing of accounts, and other items that make it difficult to find time to prospect. That said, here are some ideas to ensure that you always have plenty of prospects in the pipeline.

How to Always Have Plenty of Prospects

  • First, You Have to Be Prospecting Every Day

Even on your busiest day, you’ve got … Read the rest

What Makes the Top Salespeople the Top Salespeople?

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While the answer to this question might seem obvious, the top sales success traits aren’t always that simple. After more than 27 years in the industry, I’ve seen lots of great salespeople and all of them always have the following traits.

Success Trait #1: Laser Focus on What’s Important

No matter what’s going on with the economy, in the industry, or in the world in general, top salespeople always hit their numbers. They always manage to make the calls, and ultimately, the sales that they need to make. This comes from the realization that, as a salesperson, only one thing … Read the rest

Create Your Own Economy

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No matter what business you’re in, there will always be one or two salespeople or businesses that are completely knocking it out of the park and selling tons more and doing lots more business than everyone else. Even when market or economic conditions are bad, these companies and individuals are still killing it. They are able to do this because they create their own economy. They are not dependent upon outside forces nor are they victims of outside negative conditions that leave most businesses reeling or even out of business. The good news here is twofold: first, anyone can create … Read the rest

How to Build Your Selling Confidence

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The biggest issue I see with salespeople, by far, is a lack of confidence. While most salespeople deal with this in quiet desperation, there are also the loud ego-maniacs who, while seeming to have too much confidence, in reality also don’t have enough and are simply overcompensating. This lack of confidence and belief leads to a fear of making phone calls, knocking on doors, and otherwise doing whatever it takes to be successful.

Rules for Increased Confidence

Rule #1: Stop making excuses and instead, develop your sales skills.

Two days ago someone told me the only reason he lost a … Read the rest

How to Get the Most Out of Your Sales Team

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Getting the most out of your sales team will most likely take some work and effort. That said, here’s a fairly straightforward, step-by-step process that will maximize team sales and performance.

Steps to Maximum Sales Team Performance

Step 1: Remove the Roadblocks

Roadblocks include paperwork, computer work, order entry, and all the other day-to-day items that don’t have your salespeople in front of a prospect or customer. These should all be delegated to highly capable, competent people. The only activities that pay your salespeople, and ultimately you, are these:

  • Prospecting.
  • Presenting.
  • Closing.

In addition to those three activities, your salespeople … Read the rest

Successful Sales Follow-up

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One of the biggest reasons salespeople don’t close more business is that they either don’t follow up enough or they don’t follow up properly. Here are the keys to close more sales by following up the right way.

Follow Up at Least 12 Times

The average salesperson follows up with a prospect once or twice. The majority of sales are made between the 4th and 12th contact. As a result, you need a step-by-step follow-up system that consists of at least 12 contacts. Two of the most important aspects of follow-up are consistency and commitment. Having and sticking to a … Read the rest

What Makes a Successful Sales Meeting?

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My friend Steve Lishanski has a saying that 80 percent of life is common sense but only 20 percent of people are using it. In my experience, a similar rule applies to sales meetings: 80 percent are a complete waste of time because simple common sense was never applied. Follow these rules for effective sales meetings and you will no longer find yourself in the 80 percent.

Rules for Powerful Sales Meetings

Rule #1: Keep Your Meetings Short, Positive and Energized

Most of the sales meetings I’ve been to are too long, and when people leave them they are tired … Read the rest