Tag Archives: attitude

10 Action Tips to Increase Your Sales

by Jill Konrath (www.jillkonrath.com)

Want to take your business to the next level? If so, take these actions. They’re guaranteed to make a difference in your sales results.

1. Clarify your value proposition

Strong value propositions are essential for getting in to see the corporate buyer. Make sure you can clearly articulate the business outcomes customers get as a result of using your product or service.

Be precise – numbers, percentages and time frames make your value proposition even stronger.

2. Target a specific market segment

Don’t chase every available opportunity. Focus. Focus. Focus. Increase your knowledge and expertise in a particular market segment.

Learn as much as you can about their business needs, terminology, issues and marketplace trends. This significantly increases your client desirability.

3. Prepare Ad Infinitum

Today’s customers suffer no fools. Unprepared sellers are quickly escorted out the door. Before you meet with any new prospect, research their business.

Read their annual report, check out their website, interview their clients, and review analyst’s reports. Find out what’s important to them, their challenges, goals, and strategic imperatives.

4. Create Seductive Ideas

Use your brain and think for your prospective and existing customers. They’re so busy putting out fires; they lack time for problem-solving, strategic thinking, creative alternatives or even reflection.

A seller who consistently brings business ideas to the relationship becomes indispensable – winning contracts with minimal competition and at full dollar value.

5. Slow Down, Lean Back

Don’t try to rush sales – even if you’re desperate. Customers feel your push and immediately erect a wall of resistance. On first sales calls do NOT lean forward.

To maintain a consultative approach you must LEAN BACK. The minute you lean forward, you’re “selling” – trying to get your customer to buy. Lean back. Slow down. And you’ll get the business sooner.

6. Pursue Quality, not Quantity

Make fewer sales calls – but much better ones. Focus all your efforts on preparing for the call. Determine the logical next step for each meeting. Then, working backwards, think about what you need to do to make this outcome a reality.

Test every idea you come up with from your customer’s perspective. Think: If I said or did this, how would my customer interpret it or react? Only their perception is important – not what you meant. Make your changes before the call to increase your success.

7. Minimize Opportunity Leakage

Unless customers can explicitly state the business value of your offering in concrete terms your opportunity can easily evaporate into thin air – even if they appear highly interested.

To increase your order rate, ask questions such as: Why would this help you? What value would you get from this service? What are the primary benefits you would realize from my product/service? This cements the value in their brain.

8. Make Follow-up Meetings Concrete

Don’t ever leave a meeting without scheduling your next one – or you may never catch up with your customer again. They’re running from meeting-to-meeting, busy handling way too many projects.

The longer it takes to reschedule, the more their desire for your offering fades. Get the meeting on both your calendars now – even if it’s just to talk on the phone.

9. Always Debrief Your Sales Calls

This is the only way you can get better. Ask yourself: a) what went well? b) where did I run into problems? and c) what could I do next time to get even better results?

This is absolutely the only way you will improve. Sales is a grand experiment – customers change, markets change, your offerings change, and so does your knowledge base. Unless you’re continually learning, you’re losing ground.

10. Reframe Your Attitude

Stop blaming the economy or anything else for your problems. There are many things totally within your control. Approach all tough sales situations with a “what’s possible” or “how can I?” mindset. If you’re stuck, brainstorm with friends or colleagues.

Accept 100% responsibility for your sales success and continually be on the lookout for creative approaches to take your business to the next level.

konrath 4217  websize croppedJill Konrath helps salespeople get their foot in the door and win big contracts in the corporate market. Sign up for her free e-newsletter by sending an email to jill@sellingtobigcompanies.com. You get a free “Sales Call Planning Guide” ($19.95 value) when you subscribe. Contact Jill Konrath at  jill@jillkonrath.com or at (651) 429-1922 to find out how she can help your sales force take their business to the next level
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The 9 Reasons Why Telephone Prospectors Fail

Telephone prospecting can be tough but sometimes we’re our own worst enemies.

Recently, I have been monitoring dozens of calls by various reps.  I listen and watch as some succeed and others fail. Based on these calls (and hundreds of similar calls over the years)here  is  my  list of nine reasons why tele-prospectors fail to achieve the results they could or should get.

Reason #1: Lack of a Clearly Defined Goal, Objectives and Plan

To succeed in telephone prospecting you need three fundamental components. First, you need a clearly defined goal to help drive you to pick up the phone and prospect. Is to achieve a monetary goal? Is it to build your book of business and minimize future risk?  Is it to save your job? All of these are compelling reasons.

Second, you need specific calling objectives.  Focus on decision maker contacts. If your objective is five new contacts per day, work until you get it.  You might be able to do that in ten or fifteen dials … or it might take thirty.

The third component is a game plan.  Tele-prospectors fail when they don’t block time to make their calls, when they don’t have a list ready to go, when they haven’t prepared a script or call guide, when they haven’t practiced and the list goes on. They wing it and they fail.

Reason #2: Lack of Ambition/Drive

Let’s face it, there’s not a good deal of hope for someone who is indifferent about their success.  If the internal pilot light doesn’t burn bright within you then chances are you’ll fail.  This doesn’t make you a bad person or a flawed individual. It makes you a person who lacks the ambition to succeed in this particular job.  If that’s the case, fin something else you are passionate about and you’ll do better.

Reason #3: Lack of Self Discipline

Perhaps discipline is the key to any form of success. It is the ability to stay the course. Take dieting, for example.  Stick to the diet and exercise program and you’ll lose weight.  Cold calling is the same. Stick to it.  Stick to your strategy and stick to your plan even when every fibre in your body screams “no, don’t do it.” If you do that, you WILL succeed.

Reason #4: Procrastination

Procrastination is that dark little cloud that scuttles across the success horizon.  We put off what we know we must do.  Often we are ‘waiting for perfect.’ Of course, perfect never comes but we convince ourselves it’s just another half hour away. And that’s the real culprit: the self-rationalization of why we didn’t pick up the phone and make the calls.  It’s coming up with lame excuses and then believing them.

Reason #5: Lack of Persistence

Persistence is a close cousin of self-discipline but it refers to giving up too soon.  Instead of making fifty dials we make forty.  Instead of setting a goal of reaching fifteen decision makers we quit when we get to twelve, or thirteen or even fourteen.  Persistence is not following on a prospect four, five or six times but rather settling on two.

Reason #6: Negative Outlook/Attitude

You can almost guarantee that a person with a positive mental attitude will succeed in virtually any endeavor.  A person with a negative mental attitude will invariably fail.  A negative person sees walls, obstacles and barriers with every cold call. Here’s what they say or think: “Oh they won’t be interested,” “Oh, no one is in on Fridays,” “Oh, I wouldn’t want to be bothered this early in the morning,” “Oh, that list is lousy,” “Oh, our competitor has a better price.”  You get the picture.

Reason #7: Lack of Decisiveness

Ever notice how decisive people tend to succeed in almost anything they do. Decisive telephone prospectors don’t hum and haw, they pick up the phone and get at it. They may not like cold calling but they deal with it. They ‘git ‘er done.’  Indecisive people waffle, hesitate, delay.

Reason #8: Lack of Risk

Successful telephone cold callers will take a degree of risk.  Smart risk. They’ll call early in the morning (like 7:00 a.m) or later in the day (like 6 p.m.) and risk the ire of a prospect.  They’ll risk the fact that the prospect has call display but will still may a half dozen, well timed calls.  They’ll do something a little bold like send a bottle of spice, or a cookbook, or a fishing fly hook, or whatever to catch the eye of the prospect.

Successful people have a degree of audacity.  Those who fail, don’t. They play it safe. Always. And they’re left with table scraps … if that.

Reason #9: Poor Company

Those who fail at prospecting tend to hang out with others who are in the same boat. (Did someone say “Titanic?”)  They commiserate with one another.  Misery adores company.  Meanwhile, successful telephone prospectors are phone, dialling, get past gatekeepers, speaking to prospects, setting appointments, getting sales … that sort of thing.

Summary

I wish I was perfect. I am not. Far from it. From time to time I fall into one or more of these categories. I know I sometimes procrastinate. Sometimes I lack discipline, and on occasion fail to persist.

But I know that I am doing it. And I take responsibility for it. And it doesn’t last long.

Learn to recognize why you fail and when you do, nip it in the bud … and start succeeding.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #12: Sell Like a Champion Today

This is the final (12th)  in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and achieving sales success.

Tip #12:  Sell Like A Champion Today

The Notre Dame University football team (the Fighting Irish) have a large sign posted above the doorway as they exit their dressing room onto the field.  It’s been there for years and it says, ‘Play Like a Champion Today.’  When the players leave the locker room they reach up and touch the sign to remind themselves of the spirit of the message.

Apart from all the folklore and legend behind the Irish and that little sign, the real message to the players is to play and act like a winner (champion) …despite the odds…despite what others may think…despite the record… despite adversity.

It’s a powerful thought or attitude and one that can easily apply to selling and to your sales destiny: Sell like a Champion Today.

Act Like A Winner

In other words, go out there and act like a winner (Champion) despite the odds…despite what others might think … despite your (sales) record … despite adversity.

What does this mean in day-to-day terms?  It means when you walk in the office, behave and look like a champion sales rep.  Avoid the sad sack, whoa-is-me bedraggled look of someone who is lagging behind.  Don’t drag yourself to your desk and plunk yourself down in self-defeat.  Others around see it.  Your boss sees it.  But more important your inner self sees it … and responds to it.  It senses defeat and acts accordingly.

Act like a winner, a champion.  Walk a bit quicker; with purpose.  Hold your shoulders higher.  Be conscious of your facial expressions at your desk, at meetings, at lunch … anywhere!  Think about what you say and how you say it.  Don’t be a whiner (See Tip # 1) and avoid the Dementors (See Tip # 3)

When you lose a sale don’t beat yourself up. If someone scores on the Irish, they don’t give up.  What would a champion do?  He or she would say “…okay, what am I going to do about it?” (See Tip # 2)

And sometimes it’s tough.  Sometimes holding your head high is a real battle when all you really want to do is collapse. Choose to fight it. More significantly, choose to look and behave like a champion.

Action Items

Action #1:  Create a little poster with the words “Sell Like a Champion Today.”  Post it to remind you of that attitude.

Action #2:  Before you walk in the office, put your ‘game face’ (‘selling face?’)  on and keep it on. Don’t let people see you sweat.  In other words, be conscious of your behavior: your words, actions, body language.

Summary

Controlling your sales destiny is a matter of attitude and choice.  With the right attitude you can choose to succeed.

BTW, on January 7, 2013 Notre Dame plays Alabama for the National Championship. Win or lose, you can bet the Irish will play like champions.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #3: Avoid Dementors

This is the third in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and  achieving sales success.

Tip #3: Avoid Dementors

In the fantasy world of the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling there is a creature called a “Dementor” which is a frightening, ghost-like being that roams around and sucks the souls out of their victims leaving them listless, hollow and almost lifeless.

In the real life world of selling  there is an equivalent creature.  A “Sales Dementor” is typically an insidious co-worker who is capable of sucking the selling life out of virtually any sales rep with their constant complaining and bitter observations.  They find (or make up) fault and flaws in your product. They point out the “gross” inadequacies of your boss and/or the company (whether they exist or not). They loudly report how much better your competitors are.  You know the people I am talking about, right? They’re those gloomy critics who manage to find the bad in just about everything. They’re like whiners who have crossed the line to the Dark Side.

Sales Dementors create a toxic environment with their relentless negativity.  They’re destructive. The more you hang around them, the more likely it is to affect you. They poison your mind and deplete your spirit. They slowly drain the energy out of your selling effort.  At some point you begin to rationalize poor performance:  “You see, it’s not just me struggling, it’s other too.”  This creates a group mentality of  despair and self-pity.  You feed off each others discouragement.  You stop taking action.  You stop ‘doing.’  You become a victim.  And one day you wake up with nothing but a sense of bitterness … and no sales.

A bit dramatic? Perhaps. But you must avoid Dementors if you’re going to control your sales destiny and achieve success.  Dementors drag others down with them.

Action Steps

  1. Simply choose to stop hanging out with Dementors. Walk away. Get back to work. Don’t indulge them by listening.
  2. Choose not to contribute to the pity party (see Tip #1).  Don’t heap your complaints onto the fire otherwise you can become one of those dreaded Dementors.
  3. Take a stand.  If the Dementor whines about the list(or whatever), simply say, “Gee, mine seems to be okay.” You don’t have to belabor the point. You don’t have to defend it.  You just have to say it.  Saying it tells everyone where you stand. Then continue working. Taking this stand makes you a winner. Positive people will gravitate your way. You become an ‘anti-Dementor.’
  4. Find other winners and hang out with them.  Winners take positive steps. They share good thoughts. They point you in the right direction.  They make you feel good. Everything is possible with them.  That’s where you want to be.

Summary

Create a positive selling environment and get your sales on track. Start by avoiding those negative destructive people; not just fellow reps but ANYONE who pull you down.

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Whine Less, Sell More

I am not overly fond of whiners. How about you?

The World of Whiners

A while ago I was visiting a client. It was a month since my last visit and as I walked around the reps I picked up snippets of conversations here and there.  Here’s what I heard over a period of three or four days every, single time I drifted by:

  • Woeful laments on the economy
  • Frightening comments about competitors stealing business away
  • Rumbling groans about commission rates
  • Disdainful remarks on the marketing efforts being made
  • Painful reflections on how they were making less money than ever before
  • Sorrowful reports about the quality of the list
  • Dismissive statements about management
  • And much… much more

And I wondered … I wondered if they whined less and simply focused on selling more that most of their troubles would disappear.

I wondered this because off in a corner, removed from the hub-bub of despair and negativity, was a lone rep quietly picking up the phone and dialing. He was dialing and selling.  He led all the reps by a mile and had only been there a year; blowing the wheels off his objectives and making good money

This is important.  We all complain and whine every now and then.  Sometimes it’s a great safety value for releasing some of the pressure to perform.  I get that. I accept that.  But at some point it has to stop otherwise there are consequences.

Your Whining Options

If you find yourself whining consider your options:

Option #1: Continue to Whine

Your first option is the easiest.  Continue to whine, stay miserable and remain unhappy.  How does that sound as option when it’s printed in black and white?

The neat thing about whining is that you’re sure to find others who feel the same way.  Think of it: you can have a pity party.  You can feel miserable together. You feel even more crappy but at least you won’t be lonely in your despair.

And get this: lament long enough and you’ll eventually find a boss or owner who’ll let you go (fire you) which will take care of all your on-the-job miseries. (And then you’ll have something new to whine about).

Option #2:  Quit

Hey, if it’s so hard, if the list is so bad, if your manager is such an ogre, if your commission plan is so crappy, if the competition is that much better, and if the economy is so gloomy… then quit. Do yourself a big favor, pack up your bags and find happiness elsewhere.  Go where the grass is greener. Seriously! Why stay where you’re miserable?  Find something you like. You’ll be happier and so will all those who sit around you.

Option #3:  Try Changing the Situation

If you have ideas or recommendations that have a legitimate chance of changing, improving, correcting or rectifying the job situation then offer them up. Lay them out to your boss.  I don’t mean just pointing out the negative, I mean offering up a well thought out plan of action. (This is the REAL challenge: anyone can point out the flaws but precious few can offer up good, effective solutions).

Option #4: Stop Whining and Start Selling

Maybe the wisest (and best) action you can take is to zip up your lips, hunker down and start selling harder and/or smarter.  The more you dwell on the unpleasant aspect of your selling situation the more your time, energy and spirit is taken away from selling.  You drain yourself of valuable internal resources. Your resilience takes a beating. You become obsessive about the issues until they consume you. Your attitude takes a turn for the worse.  You won’t sell well and you won’t sell more if you’re in a negative place.  Period. End of sentence. So, sop it. Right now. This minute. Avoid others who complain. Find a nice corner away from the negativity and focus on selling.

Summary

The economy IS mediocre, some compensation plans are not the best, the old days of making tons of money are probably behind us, lists have mixed results, some managers are useless … Okay fine… that’s the way it is. But these issues are out of your control.

One thing for sure: whining won’t fix the situation.  Nothing changes when you whine.  You just sound negative and after a while, tediously boring.

The only thing YOU can control is you.  You CAN pick up the phone and dial.  You CAN try harder.  You CAN sell smarter. So skip the whining, start selling and succeed.

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18 Phone Sales Skills Tips You Can Use Right Now

by Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter www.thesaleshunter.com

It’s time to crank out a new list of phone sales skills tips.

It’s been a few years since I’ve shared with you phone tips you can use right now.

1. Your tone of voice matters more than you think. If your tone of voice is flat and lacks any sense of enthusiasm, how do you expect the other person to ever show interest in your call?

2. Use the person’s name. People always love to hear their name, so use it.  In a typical telephone call, I want to use the other person’s name (almost universally that means the person’s first name) three times.

3. Unless there is no other way, avoid negotiating anything over the telephone. Since you can’t see them, you don’t have the advantage of using body language as a tool to help you negotiate.

4. If you do have to negotiate over the telephone, use pauses and your tone of voice in the same manner as you would in a face-to-face negotiation. Don’t allow yourself to be sucked into a quick negotiation just because you’re on the telephone.

5. Show the same level of respect to the gatekeeper or other any other person who answers the phone as you would show to the person you’re looking to talk to.

6. Use descriptive words that paint a picture when you’re talking. Remember, the other person can’t see you, so it means the picture you paint has to come with the words you say and how you say it.

7. Always have the person’s name and the name of their company on a piece of paper in front of you as you call. Last thing you want to do is to accidently forget who you’re calling just as they answer.

8. Limit the background noise. Some background noise if fine, but the last thing you want the other person to hear when you’re calling is loud music or the sound of informal activities going on in the background.

9. If the phone call is important, stand up when you make it. It’s amazing how much energy and focus you’ll have if you stand to make an important phone call.

10. Never be the first person to hang-up the telephone. Always allow the other person to disconnect first.  You never know when the other person might just share with you one more important piece of information.

11. Be quiet when the other person disconnects. Many times a person will think they have ended the call when they have not actually disconnected.  You might just surprise yourself with what you hear from the other end.

12. Don’t be distracted by email or other items popping up on your computer while you’re making a call. Be focused. Because you can’t see them, it’s easy to become distracted with your eyes.  Allowing yourself to become distracted may easily cause you to miss a key point.

13. Reaffirm everything. Again, because you’re only communicating with your voice means you must very reaffirm everything.

14. Use open-ended questions as a way to build the dialogue. Just because you’re talking with someone on the telephone does not mean you can’t use open-ended questions.

15. Don’t make an important telephone call from a telephone that is not stable, whether that be a cell phone with spotty coverage or a weak handset. Quality counts and it represents you.

16. Always answer the telephone with both enthusiasm and at a pace (words per minute) that allows the other party to know exactly who it is they’re talking to. Too many times people who answer many phone calls each day get into a habit of answering quickly, resulting in their words slurring together, making it hard for the other party to hear who they’re talking to.

17. Keep a mirror on your desk to allow you to see yourself talking. It’s amazing how much energy you’ll put into a phone call when you can see yourself.

18. Talk with your hands, as it allows you to convey more energy in your voice. Use a high-quality headset to allow you to talk with your hands.

Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunt” is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales and profitably build more long term customer relationships. To learn more visit his web site at www.thesaleshunter.com

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How to Respond to a Rejection Letter

Have you ever applied for a job only to get a rejection letter?

Who hasn’t?

Here’s a spirited response you might want to consider. Have a chuckle and enjoy!

Dear [interviewer’s name]:

Thank you for your letter of [date of interview].  After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me employment with your firm.  This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite [firm’s name]’s outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet with my needs at this time.  Therefore, I will initiate employment with your firm immediately. I look forward to seeing you later today.

Best of luck in rejecting future candidates.

Sincerely, [your name]

I don’t know who created this letter but it’s brilliant.  Can you imagine the look on the employer’s face upon receiving this letter? Priceless. Heck, they might even re-consider and want to hire you if only because it shows creativity and tenacity!

Thanks to Diane Johnson from http://www.johnsonexecsearch.com

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How to Slay a Sales Slump in 15 Minutes or Less

Are your sales slumping?

You’re not alone. Sooner or later we all stumble into a rut.  The longer you stay in the rut, the worse things seem to become.  Sound familiar?

How Most Reps Respond to a Slump

Here’s the thing: When sales dip and stay dipped  many reps start to point fingers to explain their less than stellar performance. They blame the crumby list, they blame the market or the economy, they blame the product they are selling not to mention the price.  Slumping reps will blame their competition, their manager and the alignment of Jupiter with Mars.

The trouble is, the moment you begin to ‘blame’ results on external factors is the moment you become a victim.  Victims feel sorry for themselves  because things are seemingly out of their control. Victims are  ‘helpless.’  Victims are ‘victimized’ by circumstances. Or so they think.  And so the slump continues.

MOTQ – The Moment of Truth Question

How do you slay the slump?  You ask yourself this question:

“So…what am I going to do about it?”

Heavy emphasis on the “I”.  That’s it.  That’s all there is.

You see, at the end of the day it’s YOUR responsibility to deal with the slump. It’s not the manager’s job.  The economy won’t change for you.  Your competitors aren’t going to cut you a break.  The product isn’t going to miraculously change. And good luck on the price.

The only thing that can change is YOU.

This is a liberating question. If you let it, it will galvanize you into action because what it means is this: there’s absolutely no one who will bail you out … but for you.

When you realize that, you realize you have a choice.  You have a choice to do nothing, stay victimized and fail miserably.  Or you have a choice to get up off your butt and DO SOMETHING. Once you  come to grips with this reality, the easier it is to slay the slump because your mind is now in “fix” mode , not “whine” mode.

Action Plan

If you are in a slump or if you sense you’re sliding into a slump, follow these 4 Steps:

1.        Give yourself 10 minutes to feel sorry for yourself. Cry ‘whoa is me.’ Lament. Gnash your teeth.

2.       Then, take a deep breath and say, “So what am I going to do about it?”

3.       Then take 5 minutes to jot down your options. Put everything done from the sublime to the ridiculous. Leave nothing out. For instance, you might write:  “ do nothing,” “quit the job”, “hope things improve”, “get coaching”, “check the internet”, “buy a book”, “ask a colleague”, “come  in earlier,” “stay late,” and all the other options you have.

4.       Analyze each option. Some are ridiculous. Toss them out.  Some have merit. Those that do, begin implementation right away.

The act of ‘doing something’ doesn’t mean overnight success but it the first big step to recovery.

FREE Poster

To  make things easier for you I have created a poster you can hang on your wall.  It says, “So, what are you going to do about it?” When you hit a slump, a problem, concern, dilemma,  or issue simply glance it. It will get you get you moving in the right direction.  Click here for your mini poster. Poster -So, What Are You Going to do About it

Start slaying the slump today.

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The Top 7 Motivators of Tele-Sales Reps

Last month I ran a brief poll with the readers of my newsletter -Tele-Sales Vitamins- to informally assess what motivates the ‘average’ tele-sales rep.  I provided 7 motivators and asked the readers to rate them from the strongest motivator to the weakest. Here are the seven choices:

7 Tele-Sales Motivators
  • Training, coaching and personal development
  • Compensation
  • Recognition, praise, appreciation
  • Challenging job
  • Career Path/Advancement
  • Good/Fun/Positive environment
  • Job Security
The 7 Motivators Ranked in Order

Below are the results as voted by the readers.

#1 Motivator: Compensation

#2 Motivator: Training, coaching and personal development

#3 Motivator: Challenging job

#4 Motivator: Recognition, praise, appreciation

#5 Motivator: Career path/Advancement

#6 Motivator: Good/Fun/Positive Working Environment

#7 Motivator: Job Security

That compensation was the #1 motivator is not surprising.  It was the overwhelming choice of readers who took the survey.  What it surprising is that motivators #2, #3 and #4 were clustered together. A few votes here and there would have changed the ranking in a heartbeat. Interesting though, that once financial concerns are addressed (compensation) the next three motivators relate to ‘self actualizing.’  Clearly a strong ‘ego drive’ is a key motivator.  That’s a good thing.

That job security was the #7 motivator was a bit surprising.  But then again, maybe it is not so surprising. In today’s uncertain economy perhaps workers understand that there is no such thing as job security. Or perhaps those who took the survey recognized that if they sell well, they don’t have to worry about job security.

So, what do you think?  Any surprises?

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Part II: The 10 Reasons Why You Don’t Sell As Much as You Should (or Could)

In my last blog I posted the first five reasons why you don’t sell as much as you could or should … and what you can do about that.

Here are the final five.  Any of them sound familiar?

6. You need an attitude adjustment

Attitude can be a real sales killer and may be holding you back from extraordinary results. Look, if you don’t like your boss; if you feel your prices are “always” too high; if you feel your list is lousy; or you feel that your competition has a better product, a better offer, better terms … whatever;  then quit. Don’t waste any more of your time.

Or, alternatively,  change your attitude. It’s as simple as that. Negative thoughts and beliefs will hold you back from succeeding.  So here’s what to do.  Stop whining.  Stop blaming and finger pointing.  And above all, stop excusing yourself.  Your sales success is YOUR responsibility.  And finally ask yourself this question, “So, what am I going to do about it?”

7. You’re complacent

You might not be selling as much as you could or should because of complacency.  It means you are content, perhaps even smug about your sales results.  You’re happy with what you are making and achieving.  This is not necessarily a bad thing provided you are meeting or exceeding your objectives.

The only trouble with complacency is that it’s a slippery slope.  It gets easy to stop doing the things that made you successful…and you don’t realize it. One day you wake up and you’re behind the game.  Complacency is common and it creeps up on everyone from time to time. The good news is that complacency is relatively easy to fix.  Push yourself every day by trying something new or setting more challenging objectives.  Make 10 more calls. Push for one more sale.  Get in 15 minutes earlier.  Prospect a half hour longer. S tay an hour later once a week.

8. You’re lazy

Being lazy is different than being complacent.  Lazy lies several steps past complacency.  Laziness is knowing what to do but consciously choosing not to do it.  And excusing it. Laziness is seeing what needs to be done and ignoring it.  No one likes to admit that he or she is lazy. If your sales are down and they’ve been down for a while, you need to have a little ‘heart-to-heart’ with yourself.  Only you can answer the question.

9. You don’t invest in yourself

Your sales might not be where you want them because you have done nothing to help get yourself to the next level.  You haven’t invested the time or the money for self-improvement.  That you are reading this article is a good start but, have you bought a book or DVD on sales in the last six months?  Have you thought of hiring a coach? You see, the moment you invest a few bucks of your own money is the moment you have something to lose and something to gain. You create risk.   After you invest the money, invest the time. Schedule a half hour a day or a couple of hours a week to read and learn new techniques. Get new perspectives.

10. You don’t have the talent

Maybe your sales aren’t so great because you lack the talent.  Talent is an inherent ability to do well or at least, well enough. Not everyone has it. I can’t dance a lick. I have NO talent for it. Can’t sing either. Wasn’t blessed with it.  Some people aren’t cut out to be sales people because they don’t have the talent.  If you have tried everything suggested here, if you have moved from sales job to sales job and have not been ‘successful’ then maybe you don’t have the talent. Maybe you should move on to something else. No shame in that. Call it a moment of truth but it could make your life a whole lot more enjoyable.

Summary

If you haven’t gathered by now, your success is up to you.  It’s your choice.  Making certain choices is not always easy but it is the only path to sales success.  Choose wisely.

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The 10 Reasons Why You Don’t Sell as Much as You Could (or Should) and What To Do About it (Part I)

The First 5 Reasons…

A new selling year is staring you in the face.  It’s your opportunity to excel…if you choose.  But before you can do that you need to take a closer look in the mirror and determine precisely why you are not selling as much as you could or should.  Here are the first 5 reasons why you might not sell (and make) as much as you would like.

1. You lack product knowledge

You might not be excelling at selling because you lack product knowledge. Maybe you’re  new to the job. Maybe you haven’t been diligent in learning more about your products and services. You can readily fix this. Learn your products inside out. Review brochures, manuals, white papers, special reports.  Read industry magazines. Subscribe to industry e-newsletters.  Visit competitive web sites. Find a savvy mentor. Pick your boss’s brain. Do SOMETHING. Invest a few extra hours a week. Eat lunch at your desk and read.  Stay and extra half hour.

2. You don’t use the skills that you got when trained

You might not be selling to the degree that you would like because you are NOT using the skills you were taught in training.  The trouble with learning new skills and techniques is that it means CHANGING your selling behavior.  Most people resist change even if that change means better results.  If this sounds like you, find someone that will act as a coach, a cheerleader or conscience.  Most often it is your manager. Engage him or her. Call them to task. Get trained again if necessary.  Get them to monitor your calls and analyze what you are doing well and not so well.  Get them to pat you on the back or kick you on the backside. Do SOMETHING  and start applying what you learned.

3. You abuse that skills that you got in training

You may not be a good seller because you ‘abuse’ what you learned. This is different from #2 where you don’t use ANY of the new skills. In this case,  your don’t use what you learned well.  You have diluted, changed or altered the selling skills and techniques; you go half way; you cut a corner or two… or three…or four; you don’t follow through; you’ve whittled away a tactic.  You may not even know it. The best thing to do is get yourself a coach – a manager, a friend, a mentor, an outsider- to objectively listen and analyze your calls. Be open to their remarks. If you need to re-train. Get your manager to provide constructive feedback.

4.  You lack experience.

You’re new to sales. You’ve just come off training. You haven’t made enough calls to get a complete feel for your selling environment.  You haven’t dealt enough with customers or prospects.  You haven’t had enough victories or defeats. You lack the experience that  only comes with time and effort. You lack the volume work that provides  insights, confidence and savvy. Don’t quit. Continue to plug away. Keep a log book of experiences. Jot things down. Chat with others. Learn. Store those experience somewhere. Just get on the phone and call. Push.

5.  You quit too soon

Speaking of quitting: you might not be as successful as you could be simply because you quit too soon or too easily.  Quitting means any number of things. It means stopping an activity short of completion. For instance, instead of making 70 dials you quit at 55. Instead of following up on a prospect four or five times, you quit at one or two.  If a prospect says ‘no’ when you ask for the sale instead of querying further you crumble like a house cards and hang up. The solution?  Buck up, baby! Grow a spine. Don’t be a wimp. Push a little further. Push a little harder. It won’t hurt a bit and it WILL help your sales.

So there you have the first 5 reasons.  Are you guilty? Keep your eye out for the next post and  the “Final 5” reasons why you don’t sell as much as you could or should.

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The 13th Warrior: How to Combat Discouragement and Stay Motivated With One Simple Question

Do you ever get discouraged with your ‘apparent’ lack of results at the end of the day?

You do you ever feel overwhelmed and frustrated by how little was accomplished and how much there seems to be left to do? Does the thought of the next day on the phone fill you with dread?

Most tele-sales reps have felt this way at one time or another.  We all have.  Hopefully,  these feeling are more the exception than the rule.  But if you find yourself having these thoughts more often than not,  you could be on the verge of burning out and slipping into a sales slump.  Left unchecked this can have a heck of an impact on your sales efforts. Maybe even your job.

Combating Discouragement

Here’s how to combat discouragement and not let it get the better of you.  At the end of the day ask yourself this one question:

“What did I achieve today?”

Simple, isn’t it?  This question is extremely powerful because it literally FORCES you to THINK about your day and to itemize your accomplishments, big or small. For instance, you might review your day and say,

–          Sent  the proposal for ABC company

–          Sent 5 thank you notes

–          Got pricing approval from Mark on XYZ

–          Read a great article on Getting Past Gatekeepers

–          Actually got past 1 gatekeeper

–          Made 75 dials

–          Spoke to 11 decision makers

–          Got one appointment

–          Closed 2 pending sales

–          Tried a new “killer voice mail” and got a return call!

–          Did a workout for 45 minutes at lunch

Here’s the important thing: when you think of what you did do,  it gives balance to what you didn’t do.

That’s called perspective.

In tele-sales it often gets easy to lose perspective and to focus only on what was NOT achieved, on sales you didn’t get, on all the voice mails you encountered, on how few decision makers you reached, on a prospect that went with a competitor,  on the fact that you only got ‘one’ appointment, and the list goes on. It gets easy to beat yourself  down which in turn discourages you from doing something about it. In short, you become a victim.

Let me tell you a story about my son to illustrate the point.

Craig was flipping his house and there was ton of work that needed to be done before it went onto the market. The list was staggering. We worked on weekends and week nights and despite the hours and effort, he’d look at it with such dismay, seeing only what remained undone.  He began to hate the thought of working on it in the evenings and weekends. It was easy to avoid it.  This is not unlike tele-sales or tele-prospecting where the efforts don’t seem to be yielding results.

Seeing his discouragement, I started asking him, “Okay, so what did we accomplish?” (if I was there) or “What did you accomplish?” (if he was working on it alone).  The question was designed to get him to focus on what was done. I made him list everything. Sometimes I had to twist his arm.  Craig would mumble his replies, giving a broad overview of the day. For example, he would say, “We painted the basement.” I said, “No, first we vacuumed the drywall dust. Then we sponged the walls and ceiling. And then we cut and primed all the walls. And we cut and primed the ceiling. And then hung the mail box and  then we put up the new numbers.”  Put that way, we did a lot. It sounded like a lot. And that sounded like success.

And at some point, he began to see the light. He slowly began to enthusiastically list ALL the tasks for that that day, even the smallest.  He would report those accomplishments to my wife with a degree of pride.

The Benefits

Asking yourself what you accomplished not only brings perspective it helps bring about a change in  your attitude.

And with a change in your attitude there comes an inevitable change in behavior; in how you approach your work.

For Craig, the goals for the day or weekend became more defined,  the effort was more concentrated, the quality of work improved, the quantity of work increased.  Interestingly, he began to ask ME what we accomplished. He’d point out things I missed which told he was taking note of the successes and was see progress.

The 13th Warrior

At the end of our ‘listing sessions’ Craig would recite a line from one of his favorite  movies, “The 13th Warrior”.  In the film, a Viking warrior, wounded and dying is left behind to hold off the bad guys who arein hot pursuit.  Rather than dwell on his fate, the warrior chooses to see his successes and achievements.  Reveling in his accomplishments, he grabs his sword,  prepares for battle,  turns to his comrades and says with a joyful grin, “Today…was a GOOD day!” Now, that’s a good attitude.

And what did Craig finally accomplish?

The work got finished, he put the house up for sale,  he sold in less than five days …and he made a killing in the profit. It was a ‘good day.’

Your Turn For a Good Day

Here’s what to do.  At the end of the day, maybe as you pack up or as you head home, ask yourself, “So, what did I accomplish today?” If you can, write everything down. The longer the list the greater the sense of momentum. Review the list. Take pride in it.

And then say to yourself, “Today… was a good day.”

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15 Ways to Stay Motivated and Focused When Cold Calling

Most sales reps would rather endure a root canal than make a cold call. Cold calling is often be grueling so many reps procrastinate. And as they delay, the thought of dialing becomes more and more onerous. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you follow these 15 simple tips:

  1. The 1 hour sprint – Treat the cold calling not as a marathon which is tedious and grueling but rather as a sprint. Devote a good solid hour to calling then stop. An hour is manageable and achievable and not nearly as discouraging as the thought of four hours of cold calls.
  2. 2. Set a goal.  Having a 1-hour sprint is great but tie it with an objective.  For example, you might have a goal of a minimum of 30 or 40 attempts. This will help ensure that you stay on the dialing track and not idle away the time with other activities (see #7 for more info).
  3. Schedule your cold calling. Sit down right now with your calendar or planner and schedule that 1-hour sprint EVERY day for the next three week. Consider it an unbreakable appointment. This will create discipline and reduce procrastination.
  4. Fish where the fish are. Are there better times than others to reach your target market?  You bet there is and that’s when you should be calling. Executives, for instance, are easier to reach early in the morning, say, from 7:00 onwards. Wake up early and start dialing. You’ll increase your success almost immediately.
  5. Do it first. If your target market doesn’t have a particular time that’s more effective than another, then schedule your cold calling for first thing in the morning. Do it first. Get it finished so that it doesn’t linger over you like the sword of Damocles.
  6. Create a Master List. Don’t fiddle with your data base flipping back and forth from screen to screen. Get a list of 30 prospects. Put their names on a pad of  paper with their phone numbers. Begin at the top and start dialing. Go down  the list. If there is no answer, don’t leave a message, go on to the next name and number. If you get through the list with no answer, start at the top of the list and begin again. This creates speed, rhythm and focus on productivity.
  7. Be prepared. Duh! Be prepared and organized. Have your opening statement prepared ahead of time. Don’t shilly shally and shoot from the hip. Know what you want to say. Practice it if you have to. Have any job aids you might need in front of you. Have a pen that works. Clean your desk of clutter and distraction. Do all this before you start your 1-hour sprint.
  8. Call and only call. Don’t use your 1- hour sprint to make copious notes,  stuff envelops, send a fax or compose an e-mail after a call. You’ll use up precious minutes. Stick to your hour of dialing and stick to the goal you set (see #2). After you’ve done your dialing you can go back and update information.
  9. Reward yourself. You’ve heard this one before: if you do your solid hour of dialing, give yourself a reward. Maybe it is a triple grande latte at Starbucks. Whatever. Something.
  10. Create a competition. Misery loves company. If you have associates, get them to cold call with you at the same time. Have contest for dials, connects, presentations, leads or sales. Buy a small trophy and award it to each other on a daily basis. Have fun with it.
  11. Make a commitment to someone else.  Publicly state to a co-worker, boss, friend, significant other or whoever that you WILL do 1 hour of cold calling at a given time. Ask them to ask you how you did.  Telling them you didn’t do it will make you feel embarrassed and sheepish which means you’ll want to avoid it at all costs. (Thus, you’re more likely to pick up the phone and get it done).
  12. Track results. Keep track of your dials, connects, presentations, leads, sales and revenues. Make a chart on a sheet of paper. Use little ‘sticks’ to record your results. This is easy and take .67 seconds per stick so it save time. Over time you can create a predictive model. If you have a boss, it’s also a great way to provide feedback on lists or offers.
  13. Avoid the Dementors. In the Harry Potter books ‘Dementors’ are creatures that literally suck the life spirit from people. Whiners and complainers are like Dementors. Avoid them at all cost. They’ll drag you down and eventually your drive and spirit will be depleted.
  14. Hang out with winners. If there’s someone who is good at cold calling, or at the very least, is disciplined about cold calling. Sit near him or her. Feed off their energy. Compete with them (see #10). Their drive and spirit is infectious.
  15. Don’t be a wimp. You know what’s real easy? Quitting. It’s real easy to quit. Don’t be wimp and stick to the plan and follow the tips here. Give these ideas a chance. Your revenue and your job may depend on it. So don’t quit. Be persistent.

Cold calling doesn’t have to be as miserable as we sometime make it. Follow these tips and you’ll create momentum and the process will not be so taxing. It’ll be easy, faster and more effective. Just do it.

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