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

Key Factors That Determine Business and Sales Success

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The factors on the following pages are critical to success in business and sales, and if you have these in place, your success is virtually guaranteed.

Factor #1: Mindset

Mindset is the most important element because with it, the other two will naturally follow. The most important aspect of mindset is having an expectant, positive attitude. Attitude will determine how far you get in life, how happy you will be, and even how long you’ll live. No one with a negative, defeatist attitude ever achieved anything great. Also, people want to be around and conduct business with positive, upbeat people … Read the rest

Hard Sell or Soft Sell?

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On the surface, this question may seem like a no-brainer, so let’s begin by defining both of these terms.

When I talk about hard sell, I’m not talking about hammering someone into doing something that isn’t right for him. I’m talking about being direct and getting the prospect involved in what he needs, cutting through fear, denial, and other roadblocks that can stop a sale.

By soft sell, I’m not talking about using touchy-feely language and letting the prospect completely control the process. Rather, I’m talking about listening with empathy and truly understanding your prospect and his needs, putting yourself … Read the rest

The Top Excuses Salespeople Use

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After more than 26 years in sales and sales management, I’ve heard many excuses from struggling salespeople. Here are the most popular ones and my thoughts on each.

The Top Excuses That Lead to Sales Failure

  • Our Prices Are Too High

First and foremost, if low price were the only factor, there would only be one company in business in each industry: the company with the lowest price. My guess is that you have many competitors. I’m also guessing that the lowest-price provider has the smallest segment of the market, or they’re really close to the bottom. This is because … Read the rest

Keys to Beating the Competition

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There are three skills that will allow you to beat the competition almost every time.

  • Connect and Build Super‑Strong Relationships

Assuming you have at least an average product with a reasonable price, your ability to build trust and rapport and develop a relationship with the prospect are by far the most important elements when competing. All products and services have advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses. If people like you and trust you more than your competitors, then even if your product is higher priced and not as good, they will still buy from you. Again, price and value differences … Read the rest

How to Significantly Increase Business

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You can absolutely double, triple, or even quadruple your business if you’re committed, but make no mistake, it’s going to take a gut-wrenching, monumental effort. So if you’ve got the stomach for it, put on your helmet, fasten your seatbelt, and follow this plan.

Steps to a Massive Business Increase

Step 1: Start With What Built This Country Many Years Ago

In other words, start with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. No whining, no complaining, no entitlement, just hard work, self-discipline and a great attitude.

Hard work is the reason why the average legal immigrant to this country … Read the rest

How to Get the “Wow” Response From Customers

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The e-mail came in at 9:07 p.m. and I responded immediately. The customer response: “Wow! That was quick. Thanks. Trying to get my staff to deliver those ‘wow’ moments myself.”

The truth is, these days it’s easier than ever to create the “wow” response with customers mostly because customer service, follow-up, and all related business protocol leave so much to be desired. Not only are most companies not delivering “wow” service, most are failing to meet even average expectations. Even though it’s easier than ever to get noticed, there are some definite steps to making sure you step up, stand … Read the rest

Sales Lessons From Secretariat

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I wrote this on June third, so it’s more than likely that by the time you read this, we either have another Triple-Crown Winner in California Chrome, or we don’t. [Editor’s Note: We don’t. California Chrome finished fourth in the Belmont]. Either way, as the Belmont Stakes rolls around each year, I’m reminded of perhaps the most famous horse ever and winner of the Triple-Crown back in 1973, Secretariat. If you haven’t seen the 2010 movie Secretariat, you need to. It’s both inspirational and motivational, the movie provides us with some great sales — as well as life — lessons. Read the rest

How to Connect With Anyone

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Before you can sell or influence anyone, you have to make a positive connection so they like and trust you. Here are some keys to connecting with anyone.

When in Rome…

If you’ve ever visited a non-English-speaking country, you undoubtedly tried to learn a few words or brought some sort of translation tool with you. Of course you did that so you could communicate and travel most effectively. Perhaps you also did it to show respect. If you didn’t, you were probably viewed as an arrogant American. Also, your trip was probably not as pleasant as it would have been … Read the rest

90 Percent of Sales Success Is…

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Not to be clichéd, but in reality most of life and business success is so simple that it borders on cliché. While the saying that “90 percent of success is just showing up” is true, there’s a lot behind that 90 percent. First, most people won’t do the hard work necessary to show up where and when they need to. Second, it isn’t just showing up that matters, it’s how you show up.

What it Means to Show Up

Showing up means your number shows up on caller-ID, it means you physically show up on the doorstep, it means showing … Read the rest

The Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned About Selling for a Living

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After more than 26 years as a successful salesperson, here is what I know to be true about sales.

Six Sales Lessons

1. If you’re looking for 9-to-5 and safety and security, sales is not for you.

Sales really is the hardest high-paying work or the easiest low-paying work. Top salespeople are extremely hard workers, they get in early, stay late, and most work the weekends. While it’s true that well-established salespeople sometimes cut back a bit on their hours and weekends, when needed, they are still able to call upon a great work ethic and put in the extra … Read the rest

How to Connect With All Personality Types

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It is said that, on average, every seventh person you meet won’t like you. For some of us it’s one out of two, for others it’s one out of 100. Whatever the case may be for you, when two relatively decent human beings meet for the first time and feel an instant disconnect, it is typically due to a difference in personality types. In this article I’ll discuss how to have the best shot at getting along with all types.

Major Steps for Connecting With Any Personality Type

Know the Different Personality Types

The truth is, there are as many … Read the rest

How to Get Great at Selling

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The good news is, there is a clear, proven path to becoming great at selling. The bad news is, there are no short-cuts or magic bullets; it’s going to take some time, effort, and energy to get there.

Steps to Sales Greatness

  • Do what the top salespeople do.

This is the 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 … Read the rest

Hit the Ground Running This Year

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Is this finally going to be the year?

Will 2014 be the year that you finally step up, stand out, and live up to what you know you can do, to what you’ve been telling yourself for years that you’ll show the world one day? Do you remember when you used to think about how old you’d be and what you’d be doing in the year 2000? That was 14 years ago. Enough of “next year,” it’s time to make this year “next year” and in order to do that, you’ll have to hit the beginning of 2014 like a … Read the rest

How to Hire Top Sales Reps

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With all the advances in every area of life, you’d think hiring the right salespeople would be an exact science at this point. It isn’t. Hiring the right people is a combination of science and philosophy and you have to use both effectively in order to hire someone who ultimately “makes it.” Here are the aspects to “employ” in order to employ the right salespeople.

Keys to Hiring Top Sales Reps

Hiring tip #1: Only hire employed winners.

An unemployed salesperson out looking for a job is a major red flag. Unless someone’s company just blew up, or there is … Read the rest

Keys to Success in Sales, Business and Life

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These three critical components have always been, and always will be, at the core of success in any endeavor in life. While they may seem obvious at first glance, my twist on them is not.

Three Keys to Ultimate Success

Key #1: Be likeable and get along with other people

Everyone knows that if people are going to buy from you, assuming it’s a substantial investment or the buying cycle is longer than ten minutes, the buyer needs to like you, but Key #1 goes way beyond that.

Key #1 shows up when you’re looked up to, not just by … Read the rest

More Sales Myths

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When I wrote an article a few months back entitled “The Top Five Sales Myths,” the response was overwhelming. As a result, people have asked me to debunk some additional sales fables.

More Top Sales Myths Exposed

Price Is the Most Important Factor

Studies show that only seven percent of people buy on price, 93 percent buy primarily on factors other than price. Mass advertising and low-priced ankle-biters have brainwashed people to think that price is the only difference in products. It is your job to bring people back to reality and change their perspective. You have to remind them … Read the rest

How to Land That Big Account

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Last month we looked at the groundwork necessary to land that big account and how to get the attention of key people at the account. Now that you have all your ducks in a row, how do you land the account?

Steps to Land the Account

  • Set up a meeting with the key people

If you’ve taken the steps I wrote about in the last article in Agency Sales, you’ve either already met the key people at your target account, you’re on their radar screen, or you’re well on your way to both. At this point you need to … Read the rest

How to Get Into That Big Account

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It is possible to land almost any account: all that’s needed is the right plan, consistency, and persistence. Of course, before you can land that big account, you have to get in the door. This article will tell you how to get an introduction to the key person or people at that major account. Next month I’ll tell you how to land that big account and keep it for life.

Note: Even if you sell to individuals vs. businesses, you will still pick up some ideas here. After all, even at the largest companies on the planet, you’re dealing with … Read the rest

Four Sales Truths to Set You Free

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If you’re going to be successful in sales over the long haul, there are four concepts you need to fully accept and buy into. Missing any one of these will either prevent you from getting off the ground at all, or, if you do get off the ground, missing one of these will sabotage your long‑term success and happiness.

Four Ideas to Take Control of Your Sales Career

  • It’s not about chasing the sale.

Almost everything you chase runs away, and you probably don’t want any part of the things that don’t run away. It’s recently been proven that even … Read the rest

Keys to Filling Your Pipeline With Tons of Qualified Prospects

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While a lack of sales can be caused by something other than not having enough prospects, generally speaking, most salespeople who miss their numbers do so because they have far too few selling opportunities, which is usually caused by having far too few qualified prospects. Following are some ideas to ensure you never have this problem again.

Ideas to Get All the Prospects You’ll Ever Need

  • Spend at least four hours a day prospecting.

Yes, four hours, that’s not a misprint. In order to get a sufficient number of leads, you need to spend a significant amount of time prospecting. … Read the rest

The REAL Reason Salespeople Fail to Sell

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You can give a salesperson all the sales skills training in the world. You can lay everything out and tell them exactly what to say and do in each and every situation and yet, if they have either of the two afflictions I’ll talk about here, no amount of sales or product training will help them. When a salesperson fails over the long haul, it is always a failure in activity, a failure to do the things necessary for success. Below are the two reasons salespeople ultimately fail to do the necessary work and, in the end, fail to sell, Read the rest