It amazes me how many salespeople don’t have an annual sales plan. Of those that do, many just put it together once and barely, if ever, look at it again the rest of the year.
We all know that people with written goals and a plan for their achievement, who focus on those goals continuously, are much more likely to hit their goals than those that don’t. Yes, it’s some work up front, and during the year, but the payoff is tremendous. Here are the steps to set up your annual sales plan.
Step 1: Set Your Goals
What ultimate … Read the rest
When I started my sales training business, I used to speak to some sales groups for free. Two days before one of those speeches I got an email from the sales manager saying that the salespeople wanted to spend the time in their next sales meeting learning how to use a new software program vs. listening to a speaker. She said the new software program promised to double, triple, or even quadruple their current sales. I had a similar experience while cold calling when a sales manager told me that he was holding off on sales training because they had … Read the rest
I belong to a workout group called Battle Ready. Basically, it’s everything you want to know about working out, weight management, etc. It’s run by Erin Alejandrino. We have a couple of group calls every week, and a recent one tied into sales.
The first five reasons for poor results in workouts, weight goals, and overall health were also the same reasons that some salespeople’s sales results are poor. Here are the five.
Reason #1: A Lack of Activity
I’ve said it many times, the number-one reason salespeople fail is that they don’t make enough calls to talk to enough … Read the rest
No matter the industry or organization, they all seem to have a historically slow time of year, the summer and holidays are usually the biggest. In addition, changes in the economy, the market or industry, pandemics, and supply‑chain issues can also lead to slow sales. That said, there are some things you can do about it. You don’t have to simply accept your fate as most companies and salespeople do.
Some Things to Consider Doing During “Down” Times
Be a contrarian. The average salesperson cuts calls and activity by 37 percent when there’s a hiccup in the economy or market. … Read the rest
Three times in the past two weeks, prospects or clients have asked me about hiring salespeople; so, here are my tips.
Keys to Hiring Sales Reps
Tip #1: Start with people skills.
If someone lacks people skills, they will never be able to sell effectively.
Tip #2: Look for self-esteem, self-confidence, work ethic, integrity, and the right attitude.
After people skills, these are the key character traits. These can’t be trained; people have them or they don’t. You have to look for these and test for them in your hiring process.
Tip #3: Be wary of unemployed salespeople.
Unless someone’s … Read the rest
These days it’s extremely easy to stand out in business and sales. Work ethic, sales skills, follow‑up, and attention to detail are all at historic lows in many sales forces.
Here are some ideas that will help you stand out from all salespeople, even the best. Some of these are tips for standing out among other salespeople from a client perspective, others are tips for standing out from a peer perspective. Many of these will make the average salesperson groan because they require next-level commitment and hard work. The top salespeople on the other hand will love these, and probably … Read the rest
Sales success simply boils down to talking to enough of the right people the right way. The right people are people who have a need or desire for what you have, they have the ability to make a decision on what you have, and they have the means to invest in what you have. Speaking to them the right way refers to saying the right things all the way through the sales process from getting and keeping their attention on the first call all the way through closing the sale.
All of that said, here are four major roadblocks that … Read the rest
I spent my first six years in sales successfully selling over the phone, making between 200 and 300 hundred calls a day. For me, the phone was an effective way to sell to strangers all over the country. If you use the phone at all, whether it’s initial calls or follow-up calls, here are some tips that will be helpful.
Tip #1: Have a Mirror With the Word “Smile” on It
As you are speaking on the phone you want to look into your own eyes in the mirror as if you are looking into the eyes of the person … Read the rest
As salespeople we’ve all had the situation where a decision maker told us they were interested, asked us to follow up at another time, and now after several follow-up calls and emails, we can’t get ahold of them and can’t get them to return our calls. So, why are prospects ghosting you and what can you do about it?
The #1 Reason You Get Ghosted: The Prospect Was Never Really Interested to Begin With
Solution: Make sure people are actually interested. If someone tells you to get back to them at another time, you can’t let that sleeping dog lie, … Read the rest
Do you want this year to be your best year in business and sell more than you’ve ever sold before? If so, here are four tips, plus two bonus tips, for having your best year ever.
Tip #1: Determine Why It’s Critical You Have a Great Year
What are you capable of if you set your mind to it? Pretty much anything, right? So, whether or not you’ll have your best year will pretty much come down to how compelling your reasons are for making it happen. Find your why in positive reasons for making this your best year and … Read the rest
The greatest in any field of endeavor have always been great at the basics.
Vince Lombardi, the great Green Bay Packers coach, said football comes down to two things: blocking on offense and tackling on defense, and his great Packer teams spent 80 percent of their time on those in practice. Red Auerbach, who coached the Boston Celtics to eight consecutive championships, had his players practice free throws and shots from very short distances over and over again. Bruce Lee, Pavarotti, Tiger Woods, and all the other greats have always known the importance of focusing on and mastering the basics … Read the rest
You’ve probably heard the sayings that “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” and “People need to know, like, and trust you before they’ll do business with you.” The truth is: until people know you care, most view you simply as a salesperson trying to make a sale. With that in mind, how do you build trust and rapport rapidly and let people know you have their best interest in mind so you can move toward the sale?
Here are seven ideas to build trust and rapport.
1. Treat Everyone You Meet as … Read the rest
Without closing nothing happens, products aren’t manufactured, trucks don’t move, people don’t work, and money doesn’t change hands. If there is no closing, there will be no business. So, arguably closing is the most important part of the sale; however, if you have a great presentation and you give it to a prospect who is not qualified, the best closing skills in the universe won’t bail you out. In this article I’m going to assume you’ve done everything else right, in other words, you have a properly qualified prospect, you have a good presentation, you’ve sufficiently matched your solution with … Read the rest
There are two primary character traits that almost guarantee success in a salesperson. Of course, they need to have people skills first and foremost, but assuming they do, these traits usually seal the deal.
Salespeople who possess these two character traits will move Heaven and Earth to reach success and if they have these, they’ll also have most of the other qualities you want in top producers. In addition, you won’t have to babysit them to make sure they’re doing what they should be doing, they’ll do what they should be doing automatically, provided of course, you’ve given them proper … Read the rest
I recently came across an old sales book, Secrets of Closing Sales, by Charles B. Roth.
In the book he wrote about a group of salespeople in Detroit who tried a new idea and increased their sales by 100 percent. He then described another group in New York City who used the same idea and increased sales by 150 percent. Finally, he cited several examples of individual salespeople who used the idea and increased their sales by as much as 400 percent.
Once again, what’s the number-one key to business building and more sales? Right, activity. Making lots of … Read the rest
If you’ve read past sales articles of mine, you know I talk a lot about the two major keys to sales success: lots of the right activity and great sales skills. That said, while a lack of activity is the biggest killer of sales success, a lack of great sales skills isn’t the second biggest killer.
The second biggest killer is more subtle. It’s so subtle, in fact, that most salespeople go through their whole sales careers and never figure this one out, and as a result, they never become the salesperson they could be.
The Second Biggest Killer of … Read the rest
Time hurdles and what to do about them.
When I talk to sales reps who aren’t hitting their numbers, it usually comes down to a lack of activity; in other words, they aren’t making enough calls to get the prospects and ultimately make the sales. “I don’t have enough time” is the biggest excuse I hear regarding why they aren’t making the necessary calls. Not having enough time can be due to a few factors. Here they are and here’s what you can do about them.
Time Hurdle #1: There Really Isn’t Enough Time
This is the person being pulled … Read the rest
Sales isn’t rocket science. We’re not putting a man on the moon. Hundreds of millions of salespeople have gone before you and they’ve left clues on how to sell successfully. The key is to put those clues into a system that works, something you can follow again and again with predictable results. This system is a sales process.
Without a process, you leave everything to chance and you can’t identify what you’re doing wrong because you do it differently every time. There’s no consistency, there’s no benchmark, there’s nothing to compare to. If something goes wrong, you can’t look at … Read the rest
Almost every time I get a new client and start to look at what the sales team is doing, I see the same patterns and mistakes over and over again.
Many times there is a plethora of things to fix but what I’ve found is that if you can just focus on two key areas, a lot of other things align and allow you to significantly increase sales. So, instead of overwhelming them with everything they need to fix, I break it down to two steps and tell them to simply focus on these two areas.
Step 1: Make Lots … Read the rest
Eighty-one percent of sales and appointments are made after the fourth contact. Eighty percent of salespeople never make it to the fourth contact.
Most salespeople give up way too quickly. And, it’s usually with a plethora of excuses and stories they make up about why someone isn’t getting back to them:
- “They probably don’t want to hear from me.”
- “They probably already bought it from someone else.”
- “They’re probably too busy.”
- “They probably think I’m a pest.”
Whatever excuse you come up with, or reason why you think they aren’t getting back to you, you’re wrong 95 percent of the … Read the rest
Last month my article was on motivation when it comes to selling. This month we’re digging into another psychological aspect that once you understand it, you may find it easier to make prospecting calls, do other difficult parts of the job, and maybe even make some significant changes in your life.
Here are some facts about the human brain and human nature that may shed some light on some areas where you seem to be stuck. Because this is a relatively short article, I’m not going to go into all the psychology and background.
- The brain’s primary focus is survival.
… Read the rest
Recently I was in a sales meeting in which the owner of the company passed out an article on habits.
We discussed good sales habits, how to acquire them, and what kind of habits it ultimately takes to be successful in sales. What was interesting was that we didn’t have any “ah-ha” moments or unearth anything new. Everyone had a pretty good idea of what it takes to be successful and yet, most weren’t doing those things.
Something I’ve noticed over the years is that most people who aren’t doing what they need to do blame it on a lack … Read the rest
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