It's almost always the decision maker that makes the decision work or not work – not the choice. You can make decisions – better decisions – and you can make them work. If you are not feeling “up to it,” no amount of concentration or wishful thinking will make your dreams come true. Things in motion tend to stay that way and things at rest do too. When you stop spending so much time THINKING IT OVER, and start making decisions, your prospects will too.
"Two heads are better than one." We've all heard the old adage encouraging teamwork, but what does working together really do for you? Salesmen thrive off healthy competition, but sometimes the use of teamwork in the workplace is a better answer for winning sales. Here are six ways that teamwork benefits you in the workplace.
As a salesperson, here is something you probably already know: people don't feel a strong connection with companies. So in this day and age, having a personal brand is no longer an option; it is a requirement. If people do not see you as a relatable individual and instead starting viewing you as simply the voice of a corporation, you aren't going to last long in the fast-paced world of sales.
Many seasoned sales managers today are facing a common challenge: how to lead, motivate, and inspire young Millennials on their sales teams. This generation, which will make up roughly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2020 and 75 percent of the workforce in 2030, has already garnered a reputation for being difficult to manage by traditional standards.
Take a look at your workforce. Chances are high that it's generationally diverse, with Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials working at every level. That last cohort – Millennials, Gen Y, Generation Next, etc. – has been the subject of boundless research and discussion in the past 15 years.
Often when older generations discuss younger ones, the context is negative and may include words like entitled, unmotivated, and tough to manage. As a leader, when your young Gen Y employees aren't meeting your expectations, it's easy to tag the issue as a "generational defect."
Want to hear a troubling statistic?
The US Department of Labor estimates that a bad hire costs your business 30% of that employee's potential year-one earnings. This is a conservative estimate, too. It's difficult to calculate the loss incurred when you hire the wrong person for your business.
Every manager and business owner has dealt with bad hires. Maybe they started out seemingly stellar, fitting your company culture seamlessly and producing exceptional results. Or, maybe you were in a rush to fill seats and let bad seeds slip through without proper vetting
It's a common notion to believe that leaders at different levels should have a different set of skills. However, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman of the leadership development consultancy Zenger Folkman write in Harvard Business Review that leaders should be practicing the same core skills that have driven them from their first day in the workforce, no matter how high they rank.
When David Sandler created the Sandler Selling System he was looking to help guide salespeople to sales success. His techniques are effective and timeless – and since 1967 salespeople have been referring to them.
If you've been Sandler trained, then you've probably also connected with a certain Sandler Rule. Each of the Sandler Rules provide helpful insight and guidance related to business and sales that help professionals navigate a meeting, adjust their outlook or test techniques that lead to profitable returns
There's a popular, albeit unfounded, belief that summers are slow for business. Sandler Training disagrees, and dares to say that professionals create a self-fulfilling prophecy by telling themselves that despite great efforts, their summer will be tough.
Sandler trained professionals believe that outreach and other activity might need to be increased in the summer, there's no need to succumb to the idea that you won't find new business, close deals and meet new and promising business connections.
Below are five myths to dismiss this summer when it comes to your work productivity
Every profession has its own lineup of myths that need busting. Those who have spent the majority of their career in a sales role have heard them all. The fact is that sales is an exciting, sometimes grueling and often rewarding profession. We're the frontline of an organization and vital to its growth. However, like it or not, many myths exist about who the "ideal" salesperson is and what a career in sales is like.
The following four myths are among some of the most popular assumptions about the sales profession.
Can you think of any other myths that need busting
Your brain can be an enemy or an ally in achieving your goals, but because of the way we talk about our goals we often turn our brain against us.
The average human brain is about 2 percent of our total body weight, yet it consumes 20 percent of the energy we burn daily.
Because our brain is such an energy pig, it guards against threats that could reduce the amount of energy available to it
Growing up, how many times did we all hear, "You'll thank me when you're older?" At the time, we didn't believe her and we certainly didn't understand her, but all these years later it's clear. Mom really did know best.
The lessons a mom teaches are endless. From how to treat others to how to stand up for ourselves, we carried those lessons with us right to the office.
In honor of Mother's Day, here are a few lessons we learned from the women who helped shape us and prepare us for our careers
Some people think of discipline as a burden, but smart salespeople see it as a tool that keeps them from sabotaging their future achievements.
Discipline frees salespeople from mistakes that can cripple their best efforts. It liberates them from wasting time on useless endeavors and failing to close sales.
Best of all, discipline removes the blinders of self-delusion we use to kid ourselves into being more productive than we really are. Nothing is more uplifting than being free to do what we're called to do—to close more and better sales
What do successful professionals do that amateurs don't?
Certainly there are many that could fall into this category, but right now we'll focus on four habits that could make the greatest impact on your career
High-performing sales teams are led by strong sales managers who embody leadership skills that motivate and empower the team. Exceptional sales professionals display certain traits that allow them to stand out from the rest and achieve great sales success.
I had a position coach during my freshman year in college that made the comment, "Point the thumb, before you point the finger," and it has stuck with me ever since. Our football team was in a transition period, new coaches, new players, new strategies and we stunk pretty badly.
"A person's burning desire to achieve something must come from within."
You've set lofty goals for 2014 but have you also built the plan to achieve them?
Often we fall into the trap of setting goals without 'building a plan' to achieve them. If you decide to make one change this year – 'build the plan and then implement it'
The CEO of an IT services company recently shared his belief with me that every two years for one hour, his prospects are so angry with their existing supplier that his company had a chance to take the business away from his competitor.
This is not an unusual belief. He was talking about demand fulfillment, which is safe and easy
Thinking back to the fifth grade, I wonder how many of you dreamed of becoming a salesperson when you grew up? How many people do you think asked for sales training for Christmas this year? How many kids dressed up salespeople during Halloween? The unfortunate fact is that no one wants to be a salesperson.
I want to take you back about 10,000 years ago to the savannah in Africa. There are only about 1,500 human beings on the planet, and life is a scary existence. As far as predators go, we don't stand much of a chance. We don't have claws, or razor sharp teeth with fangs. We aren't very strong or fast, and we don't have any cool defense mechanisms like shells, venom, stingers, or even camouflage. Needless to say, it paid to be fearful on the savannah. Fear, vigilance, and worry kept us alive. Luckily for us, we got smart fast.
How does a screenwriter create one movie that's a box office blockbuster and another that's a flop? How does a playwright write one play that runs continuously for years and another that opens and closes in the same night? How does an author write one novel that's a number one best seller for 26 weeks straight and another that never makes the best-seller list?
I just returned from Las Vegas where I spoke to business owners in the construction industry. I admit, I do get excited about wagering, especially in Las Vegas, but I realized how I was getting suckered in when a slot machine caught my eye. It said "99% payout guaranteed," which sounded like a good thing. You essentially put in $100 and over time, you will get $99 back. When you aren't emotionally involved, it's easy to see the futility of gambling in Las Vegas. But the lights and the bells and the buzz of excitement reels you in and sure enough, in an hour, I handed over $60 to the resort.
Your mindset has more to do with your success than almost any other single element. There are plenty of salespeople who possess extensive product knowledge, have numerous influential business contacts, are well-spoken and have appealing personalities, yet their sale performances are average...sometimes, only marginally acceptable.
I often get asked by prospects and clients to give them the secret ingredient that will help them get motivated or how to motivate their sales teams. I hear comments like, "Most of us know what we need to do, why don't we just do it?" I chuckle when I hear this because we all know that the only person who can motivate us to do something is ourselves. It's like going to the gym: friends and family can encourage and suggest that we go, however the ultimate decision lies with the individual.
At Sandler Training, we develop professionals in sales, management and customer service. Professionals have a commitment to be the best they can be. They do things a little differently than the average performers.
What do the most successful professionals in any industry have in common?
They study. They invest in themselves. They practice. They have systems and processes and they use them. Finally, they are driven by passion and purpose
Your meeting date and time has been established. You're confident your product or service is superior to your competitors. Your goal for the meeting is to convince the prospect. You've planned to be there for 45 minutes.
A few weeks ago my three-year-old daughter was attempting to pet a small dog andthe dog turned around and bit her as hard as he could. There are a few important things Ilearned from this experience. First, my daughter was not hurt, but she was scared. Second, mydaughter is the sweetest, kindest calmest little girl, but that did not matter. Finally, thebiting incident has changed the way my daughter looks at dogs of all sizes and she will probablynever change back.
So how did this happen, you ask? Well it turns out that this is Horace's fault
Here is the problem: 99% of people out there are already doing what they think is in their best interest. Of course, there's the 1% who hate themselves and are self-sabotaging, but for the most part, you are probably doing right now, what you think is best. But why is that a problem?
Well, if you want to achieve a higher level of success or happiness, no matter your current level, you are going to run into a problem.
David Sandler found three areas where people get stuck in their growth and development:
When the calendar turns to July and August, most people struggle to prospect because they believe that all of their prospects are on vacation.
Often summer is a great time to reach decision makers. They are in the office while their staff is away.
As, David Sandler said, "you can't manage anything you can't control," so worrying about the time of year isn't going to help you hit your Q3 quota.
Instead, do something about what you can control: your behavior
A sales template is defined as the step by step set of interactions you want your prospect to go through because it will give you a clear competitive advantage or otherwise increase the chances of you winning the business. An efficient sale system enables you to consistently achieve a desired outcome or set of outcomes without wasting time, energy, money etc. The most effective sales templates are basic enough to accommodate for change (focused on each stage of the sales meeting).
I am a "serial goal setter"! I have used goals all my life to chart my path and measure my progress. Perhaps it's my need to be in control that has driven me to do this or my desire to anticipate what may be looming over the next horizon. Be that as it may, I do know that far too many sales people allow others to chart their course.
I am fascinated by the way clients, prospects and salespeople, in general, define success. It is usually very personaland intimate, and reflects their perspective on their own life. Some define it in terms of income as in "he who dieswith the most money" is deemed successful. Others use the importance of their job to determinewhetheror not theyare successful. A third group speaks of balance, though it is rarely achieved.
Do you "sell to live" or "live to sell"? I have been training sales people for over 16 years and have found a common trait in the highest performers: they "live to sell". They love prospecting for new business opportunities. They love being in the role of "closer". Their sales quota is a benchmark that they regularly exceed because just hitting quota makes them "average". They don't hide from the fact that they sell by putting words like "account manager" or "territory manager" on their business cards.
What happens when Joshua Bell, one of the world's finest musicians goes incognito in a busy subway in Washington's business district? What happens when a musician who can command $1,000 per minute, takes his priceless Stradivari, dons a baseball cap, occupies a corner in a busy Washington subway, and puts on a virtuoso performance for people who would normally think nothing of paying $150 a ticket to see him perform in a tuxedo.
If you're like most salespeople, you don't know how to network effectively. Usually you'll wing it, improvise, or spend time with colleagues or clients you know really well instead of engaging prospects.
When I ask, "why you don't approach prospects at networking events?", I'd get a lot of "I don't knows." What you don't know, or don't even realize, is your problem is mom. Specifically in influence the messages mom drilled into your head in your first six years like
I didn't begin my business life with a burning desire to become a career salesman. As shocking as it is now, I actually thought that I might become a dentist until it registered that I would really have to put my hands in some other person's mouth.
I love small businesses and their owners. I spend much of my day marveling at the great accomplishments of this hearty bunch of entrepreneurs who pursue their dream and formulate the backbone of our business society. They are the lifeblood of this country. there is a soft spot in my heart for the struggles they endure as well as the challenges they must overcome to succeed.
I was sitting in a coffee shop reading a book in early November when I overheard two salespeople talking about the current state of their business. One was explaining to the other that he looked forward to this time of year because all his customers were out of money and all of his prospects were going to wait until next year to purchase.
Why? Why do we get up every day and go to work?
Because we have bills to pay: Really? Listen to the news-not paying your bills is now as much a status symbol as a Gold Card in the 1980's.
Because that's what is expected: Really? In most companies, the last time you saw your job description was the day you interviewed-and you don't know what is really expected, do you?
Because employees depend on us: Really? Management texts say a great manager implements systems that will operate well when management is not there.
Really it's because Mom or Dad said so
The following summarizes what many salespeople have been saying as I've spoken with them this week, "Wow, it was hard to find buyers before all this financial mess and now it's impossible ... it's killing me!" I get a sense that fear is strangling a major portion of the sales world.
Practice makes perfect. Just like pro golfers, sales experts can't expect to improve without putting in rounds. Listen as Sandler CEO Dave Mattson explains the similarities between Sandler trainers and pro golfers.
What does a marathon runner know about making prospecting calls?
Probably very little. Maybe nothing! However, the strategy the marathon runner uses to prepare for a race can help you become a better prospector. No runner started out as a marathon runner. They trained over time to build their strength and endurance to go the distance. The first day they couldn't run 100 yards before gasping for breath. The first week was torture. The second week was a little better. The third week better yet, and so on. With continual practice, desire and effort, they became a marathon runner
The late, great Arthur Ashe, for whom the Stadium Court at Flushing Meadows Tennis Complex in New York City is named, was not only a great pioneer in the sport, but was also known for his intellect and ability to teach in both words and examples.
Over the last eight years I have done hundreds of one-on-one performance coaching sessions with salespeople, and the single most frequent question I hear is, "How do I get better?" It's a meaningful question and almost always asked with a genuineness that signifies the person speaking really wants help.
I usually respond to that question with a question of my own that goes like this, "Do you really want to know?" You see, at these moments I'm always reminded of a statement by Dr. Lee Thayer, "Most people prefer the problem they have to a solution they don't like."e
Sandler Training's Karl Scheible explains Sandler Rule #46: "There Is No Such Thing as a Good Try." At best, "try" indicates intention, but not commitment. If the outcome of an action is important, don't "try." Commit to it.
We are right in the middle of summer, and I love the summer. And in the midst of this nice warm weather, it may be strange to say that I also love the winter-but I do.
That's when the business world almost uniformly decides to go into a slumber because they believe buying slows down. That's called a self-limiting belief. That's when I'm at my best because this is what I have found-people actually still have money and are willing to spend it if you're good enough to find their pain
Q: What's the one thing a salesperson must avoid if they are to be successful?
A: I study salespeople for a living. The majority of them don't lose because of product inferiority, pricing excesses or poor sales technique. They lose because of low self-esteem! We all start out with perfect self-esteem. Ever met any three-year-olds with self-esteem problems? Didn't think so
How's your memory? Do you fall into the category as described the old adage, "I'd forget my head if it wasn't connected to my body"? Are you constantly setting traps for yourself to be on time for meetings or where your car keys are placed or what's supposed to be happening on your schedule from hour to hour?
I have been doing a lot of traveling during the last two months. In spite of Chicago's brutal weather and some minor inconveniences, my flights and hotel reservations have gone remarkably smoothly and I have experienced a high level of customer service.
In today's environment we have to stop acting and looking like beggars with briefcases and begin to recognize that the name of the game in 2010 is taking business away from our competitors. Let the others wrestle it out at the procurement department and with the low-level influencers.
If I asked you casually in passing, which would you consider analogous to your sales style -beinga greyhound or a thoroughbred- you might pause and consider the characteristics and traits of both, and after pondering, see value in both. It might be a difficult choice on the surface, however, if you look more closely, you would reconsider. I was listening to a minister recently break it down in an interesting way, so let's consider his analysis.
What happens the first time you try a new selling or management technique? It's usually uncomfortable and doesn't go as smoothly as it did in the class/coaching session or how you imagined it would go. Often you come away feeling bad. There are physiological reasons for this discomfort and awkwardness.
Last week, my clients and I were talking about how to respond to adversity. If you made it through that message and you still have your head up high and your eyes forward, you might be asking the question: "What do I do now?" When we say something like: "There are people who say there is a recession, I decided not to participate," we are not being cute and we are not putting our head in the sand.
I like to golf but I am not a good golfer. About a month ago, I got out to play my first round of the season with a golf pro buddy of mine named Scott. As I hacked my way out of a sand trap and then putted for a 6 on a picturesque par 3, Scott asked me a good question, "When was the last time you actually practiced your short game? And by practice I mean, really worked to systematically improve your technique through repetition and measurement of results?"
Growing up, I was raised by an optimist and a pessimist. My mom was probably the happiest, funniest, friendliest person you could ever meet. She made sure that I was raised with an altruistic mindset, wishing nothing but good for everybody and doing my best to help people out. As I started to learn and mature, I asked her about why she was helping some people she really did not like. Her response was simple. "Matt, everybody can be better off and helping them helps the community.
Recently, I found myself absorbed with the notion of influence. I wondered aloud who the great influencers of our time are, then wondered further how each had reached their influential positions. A voice in the room, that of a top trusted advisor, shot back, "The number-one salesman in the world is a kid who wants ice cream!" We laughed.. Yet buried in that answer was delicious truth.
Last week, I found myself trapped in a fast food restaurant. This restaurant boasts that they have served more than six billion. Still, the people in front of me seemed to be having a new experience; they simply could not decide between meal one and meal two. To call them indecisive would be an insult to equivocators all over the planet.
With the great economic storm over the last year, many businesses wisely pulled back into safe harbors for a period of time. In fact, those that failed to make adjustments and continued their course were likely wiped out or at least seriously damaged. Unwise use of credit and perhaps a bit of bad luck has taken its toll on many. However, perhaps you are one of those businesses that made the proper course corrections by making the difficult and sometime painful choices.
"Dump the jute, man, on the burning ground."
Van Morrison serves that to us in a song called "The Burning Ground." I'm rarely sure what he's singing but you can count on whatever it is to be unique. I dig that. All hip cats dig that.
"The Burning Ground" is arguably one of Van Morrison's most intense forays into personal and spiritual allegory. More importantly, it's just a dang good tune. Within it, though, is a message that makes me think of the plight of so many unknowing salespeople: the challenge of head trash
"Equal business stature, that's all I want--to be treated as an equal. I have earned that right. Yet to a gatekeeper or prospect, I am the lowest form of humanity."
So lamented a friend of mine over a recent lunch of burgers, fries and a heaping plate of frustrated sales efforts
There are a lot of good reasons to pick up the phone and reach out to new prospective customers. When it comes to finding new business opportunities, the phone offers a high level of efficiency, is relatively inexpensive, and is a great way to gather valuable information that can help us find business.
Whoever said talk is cheap didn't know much about sales. Talk-too much talk, that is-can cost a lot.
This is a difficult lesson for many sales professionals to learn, and that's understandable. People in sales tend to have outgoing personalities. They enjoy good conversation, and the longer they are in sales, the better they get at making small talk, establishing an emotional connection with the prospect, and driving a conversation toward the specific end of closing a sale
It's March Madness time, which I enjoy, but not always for the same reasons my friends do. Because I'm in sales, it's fun just to watch the teams execute their strategies and then try to figure out how these strategies apply to my own profession.
And what stands out, season after season, is how predictable the plays have become and how easily they can be countered
If you're like most sales professionals, you work hard to learn as much as you can about your product or service. You take pride in how much you know about your business. When you can answer any technical question that might come up in a call with a prospect, you feel confident. That's only natural.
But as important as it is to be knowledgeable, your eagerness to display that knowledge can damage a relationship and cost you sales.
To avoid this problem, you need to remember that expertise can be intimidating. It can turn people off
Hidden in the uproar over Mark McGwire's admission that he used steroids was a lesson for sales professionals. You might remember the moment, which has been replayed over and over: When McGwire hit his record-breaking homerun, Sammy Sosa-one of the Cardinal slugger's opponents-raced in from the outfield to hug him. It "looked great on TV," one of Sosa's Cubs teammates said recently, but the other Chicago players "didn't appreciate it." Sosa forgot an important rule of sports, of sales and of business generally: Your meter's always running.
Planning on an economic rebound, companies in the U.S. and Canada are beginning to up their investments in new product and service introductions, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey released in August. Businesses are also investing more in information technology and in marketing and sales promotion.â€¨â€¨That's encouraging, especially since it should mean more purchases of the kinds of good and services high-level sales professionals represent.
The end of summer's gloomy retail sales figures, coming after two months of modest gains, are giving rise to considerable pessimism among sales professionals. While understandable, this pessimism is also, I believe, completely unwarranted but not for the reasons you might think.â€¨
Yes, back-to-school sales at the big chain stores are rotten. The housing market in many areas is lousy. Consumer confidence is weak and may be even weaker by the time you read this. I don't disagree with any of that. Facts are facts
When the economy took a nosedive, most sales professionals quickly responded in one of two ways.
There were those who lost confidence and basically hunkered down, hoping to wait out the recession. They adopted a "base camp" mentality, wanting only to hold onto what business they had until the weather cleared, and they could start their ascent again
I'm going to let you in on a secret. There are hundreds of consultants out there that will tell you they fully understand Twitter and other trendy "social media" tools. They will also tell you exactly how they can help you use these tools-at a steep price, of course.
Well, most of them are blowing smoke.
The fact is, we live in a time of rapid technological change and a great deal of confusion. Nobody knows what tomorrow may bring, in terms of technological change, but also in terms of the economy and foreign affairs
The rotten economy, if you haven't noticed, may be taking a toll on your health.
"Today's economy is stressing people out, and stress has been linked to a number of illnesses-such as heart disease, high blood pressure and increased risk for cancer," according to a new study in the July 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
A lot of this stress is understandable-but also unnecessary. If you are in sales, a sales system can help you reduce that pressure you are under in a big way. You will be as productive as ever, which should mean less anxiety