Tag Archives: sales

Move Up The Corporate Ladder

Having worked in Corporate America for the last 15 years, you see it all the time. A newbie comes in and makes noise by selling more than the other sales reps and a month later they pull you aside and ask what does it take to get promoted? Normally, management will give a vague idea of what needs to be done which is normally keep selling, learn the business and get some experience under your belt and we will revisit this conversation at a later time. Sound familiar?

I have been in sales for a little over 20 years and luckily I have learned the ropes fairly quickly and have put myself in the position of getting noticed and moving up in the companies I have worked for. Is this the norm? Not at all. Why is this and what does a sales rep have to do if they have plans of getting promoted into a senior sales level or into leadership? I’m here to break it down for you and hopefully give you a blueprint on what needs to be done to move up the corporate ladder.

Work As You Owned the Company

If you owned the company you work for as a sales rep how would you handle the responsibilities of the company? How would you provide top of the line service to your clients and customers? How would you handle the day to day operations? You need to work as if you owned the company and you were a one man show. Management, Operations and Sales is ran by you. You wouldn’t be working a 9 to 5 and you wouldn’t settle for half ass results. Everything you do would be looked at in a business standpoint so at the end of the day, you would make it a priority to bring business in. That means no zero business days. How profitable are you as an investment and are you looking at the long term relationship with your clients and what each client is worth. Are you going to drop prices repeatedly just to get the sale? Look at things from a different perspective and people will look at you differently as well.

Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

Initiative. Show and take initiative but remember it’s not only how you hold yourself as a sales professional, it’s all about actions. Every organization wants to know who there players are and who to invest their time and resources into. It’s not about doing your job or being #1 in sales every quarter or even how many President’s Achievement trips you have won. Do you ever take on the leadership role that you desire? Are you standing out from the crowd by not only showing you know how to do the job but you are willing to share your secrets to success as well as train on it. The best sign of a leader is someone who can take something that may seem complicated to others and simplify it. How about creating systems or recommending systems that will improve results for the office or strengthen the culture in the office. Take on a leadership role not because you have to but because you want to and finally it’s all about higher learning…become a master in your craft by investing in yourself. What was the last book you read or the last training seminar you attended? Invest in yourself and others will invest in you!

So, take the advice and create your opportunity. Companies need innovative career minded sales professionals that can transition into leadership roles. Take off your rep hat and put on your leadership cap. Work two levels up at all times and promote yourself and then you might turn the heads of those executives.

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Killing Time Wasters

Sales professionals in multiple industries ask me all the time about what they can do to avoid time wasters. If you could find more time to increase prime time selling hours, wouldn’t you make more money and increase your job joy? The biggest struggle for most sales people is the “chase” and constant follow up. Follow up is important but following up with your right audience is time well spent yet the others should never have been included in your pipeline.

There is a big difference between pipeline and pipe dream!

Here is the biggest time waster which you have complete control over.

Qualifying prospects

This is a hot topic for me and so many others that train sales professionals. If you qualified clients before you invested all your time into a potential client like the Mortgage Industry and Automobile Industry, you would know if the time you are going to invest into that client will be well spent. You wouldn’t sell a $2.5 million dollar home to a single man or woman who makes $30k a year, right? or you wouldn’t extend credit to someone with a FICO of 500 or someone who has a history of late payments, right? Selling in today’s market is all about identifying your target audience whether you are running ads on Google, Facebook; etc. or even if you are generating leads the traditional way of cold calling over the phone or in person. Sometimes as sales professionals we are just fishing for anyone to take the bait and bite, we spend all that time reeling the big catch in and then after fighting tooth and nail to pull it in, they bite the line and escape. If you ever gone fishing and have been through this experience, it’s one of the worse. Ask me about my fight with a 20lb. rainbow that took me an hour to reel in just to watch it swim away 3 ft. from my hands. Qualify like your life depended on it and you’ll see first hand, you’ll increase your selling time and prevent the headaches and heartbreaks.

Follow Up or Fall Out

Now that you qualified your potential clients, the ones that have not bought your products or service fall into your follow up file. What is your game plan when following up with prospects? Do you have a timeline goal to close these deals? What plan do you have in place for each follow-up call? Each follow up call should progress to the close not an attempt to close each time you follow up. The client who doesn’t buy on the initial call needs to be courted through different touch points. Have a strategy put into place and execute with precision. Maybe your first follow-up touch point will be an email or text with a link to  your strongest testimonial, video or newsletter or maybe it will be an exclusive offer. The whole concept of follow up or fall out is you either get them closer to the close or you push them out of your priority list. 

Implement these two steps and you will notice a difference in the amount of selling time you now have to generate more leads, more business and more commissions. 

Stop, Drop and Roll

You are a master of closing, sell with a silk tongue and you are Mr. Personality. You know how to close but for some reason you’re hitting a wall lately or maybe you are just getting into the sales profession and you are searching for that Platinum process that will guarantee you sales and graduate you into the rankings of a Proven Closer. The sales call is catching fire and you are stuck right in the middle of a burning inferno with walls collapsing, beams falling and the smoke is building all around you. It’s getting really hot, really quick so what should you do?

 

Just as you were taught as a kid in elementary school…you need to stop, drop and roll. You might be asking yourself what is this technique? I’ve been in sales for decades and I have never heard about this. Well, I’m going to shed some light on this technique so you can start applying it right away.

 

STOP! 

The first rule of thumb in sales is the client should be doing majority of the talking. How can you sell a client on a product or service you offer if you don’t know what the client needs. This subject is a little controversial but the rule is 80/20. The sales associate should only be doing 20% of the talking and 80% listening. If you find yourself talking too much, the odds are greatly stacked against you because first off, you will come across as someone who is in it just for the sale and also you may come across desperate. I understand, you as a sales professional you’re objective is to close the sale and when you walk in the door, the client knows your a sales person but that doesn’t mean you’ll close the deal. Keep in mind, people don’t care what you know, until they know how much you care! Everybody wants to buy a product or service from a desperate sales person, right? Never! No! Incorrect! Clients can smell desperation off your collar. No one wants to deal with a thirsty sales rep so quench that thirst before going in.

DROP.

Once you gained your composure and you stopped screaming “fire” it’s time to drop. Drop what? Drop some of the most thought provoking questions that your client needs to answer that will lead to the close. I’ve been in sales over 20 years and I have learned that the better and more structured the questions are in regards to their business, the greater odds are in your favor. Asking the right questions about what’s important to them is key in probing and needs based selling. 

Here are some examples of questions I’ve used in my Industry:

  • If you could put together the ideal marketing program together for your business, what would it look like and what would you’re expectations be?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What have you done in the past and what were the results?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your current marketing efforts?
  • Would you rather be relevant, competitive or dominant in your market?

By asking the right questions, you now set yourself up for the final piece of this technique!

 

ROLL!

Now it’s time to roll your clients directly into the close. You stopped throwing up on your client, you gained your composure and starting asking thought provoking questions so it only makes sense to provide the best solution for your client and their needs. This is where you as the sales rep let the client know, “based off of what you said earlier about how you wanted to X and Y, you also said one of the most important focuses of your business is Z, this is what the best recommendation would be. 

 

Sometimes, even the best sales professionals lose their way. Stop, Drop and Roll your way to the close! Happy selling and much success!

 

 

Belief Breeds Buyers

Whether you are interested in getting into sales, you just started in the sales industry or you’ve been in the industry for a very long time…one of the greatest sales qualities you could ever possess in any sales industry would be belief in your product, belief in the value it provides to your clients and belief in your company or organization. Without belief you are just a solicitor annoying every business owner you come across. How can you possible convince a business owner to buy into your product or services if you can’t buy into your own product or service? There is the Law of Transference which says your emotional state can be transferred to another person. So if you lack belief or conviction, everyone you come across will feel the same way. This is one law or rule you cannot fake.

You see belief is more than being educated on a product or service, belief is having passion and conviction about the value that your product or services brings to the marketplace. Business owners not only deserve but they expect the best of what you have to bring. If you are not bringing your A game then you’re better off not meeting with business owners. I have witnessed first hand, clients that were sold by the result of a half-ass sales presentation by an unbelieving sales professional and even though the original sale was made, it was soon cancelled which not only frustrated the client but the rep was frustrated and I was frustrated. In most industries if you lose a client through bad service whether misrepresenting the company, over promising and under delivering or just flat out not selling the product correctly, it takes years for you to regain that specific clients interest ever again even if you sell a different product at a later date. So is it worth it? Due to the amount of competition in the market the person who has the deepest understanding and greater product knowledge will normally have a greater influence on the client or potential client. Belief is powerful and it makes you an authority in your field.

I’ll take people who have conviction and belief in what they do and their product any day over someone who is talented as crazy as that sounds. I’ve built many sales teams in different sales organizations and the sales professionals who experienced long term success were the ones who zeroed in on learning the product, being sold on it and delivering it with passion. If you hit are experiencing challenges on a sales call, try recording your sales presentation and see how believable it is. Would you buy from you?

Power of A Portfolio

Have you ever been in front of a client and everything is going well. The conversation is flowing, the client is engaged and then the question comes out from your client’s mouth…Who have you worked with and do you have any references I can call right now? Um, yeah of course I do. Then you open up your laptop and start browsing through your files hoping to stumble across that forgotten testimonial that’s been buried by your natural talent and charm! Think about when you were interviewing for that dream job you were gunning for. You knew there would be other sales professionals competing for the same position so you not only dressed to the nines but you also brought a “brag book” with you to highlight your superb customer service, your awards, personal references and more. Why? You did it to prove that you are who you say you are. It’s more than talking a big game, it’s all about the proof in the pudding.

Keep in mind businesses don’t want to take a gamble on what you have to say about your company, your product and the results you say they could possibly get from your product or services because number one, business owners are a lot more educated and savvy about what their needs are and being that we are in the age of DIY, they can educate themselves watching Youtube videos and get a better understanding of what they are looking for. This means that in order for you to really deliver the client with a value proposition, make sure you offer them a piece of mind or an insurance policy which is your portfolio of businesses you have dealt with in the past.

What Should Be In Your Portfolio?

In my 23 years in sales, I have seen some amazing portfolios and then I’ve seen some…not so amazing ones.

The first thing to consider is think about the objections in your industry that you come across the most. Portfolios are another great way to put another layer of paint on how you overcome objections because it removes the perception of what the customer thinks about you. They know you are taught how to overcome objections, speak with a silver tongue and you posses a certain skill set. This gives them a piece of mind to actually read a letter or see a video of a satisfied client if you are using a digital portfolio and it helps to drop their guard because they tend to trust other business owners over the sales rep.

The second feature you should have in your portfolio are character references that clearly explain why a prospect decided to do business with you. The importance of this is because your clients that you sign up will be working directly with you which means give them an idea of who they are going to be dealing with and the support they can expect to receive as long as they remain clients. People buy from people they like!

Finally, include businesses that will speak on your behalf. You should always have a handful of current clients that any potential client could call or email and are willing to give a snapshot of who you are and the service they are receiving currently. This is without a doubt the most powerful component in your portfolio. If you aren’t currently doing this then you are missing the boat. Think of how many businesses in your pipeline would close if they heard from so and so about the results your product or service is producing.

Keep in mind, every potential prospect that give you their time…there is interest to some degree which means you better treat that appointment as if it was your only chance to win them over. I don’t care how good you are at following up because if the client loses interest then it doesn’t matter how many touches you make. Your greatest chance of closing a deal will happen when they are emotionally compelled to make a decision and logically it makes sense. Put together a powerful portfolio and see how many more closes you make every month. This is a proven system that will improve your results.

3 Keys To Success

Why do most people just make it in their sales career and not succeed? There are three main reasons why sales professionals don’t make it to the top 5% of the sales rankings. Have you ever done an inventory check on your own career to see if you are doing these three things and doing them consistently?

  • Always Be Cultivating- Some of the best of the best consistently cultivate. No matter how busy they may be or how good things may be going at that time, they always make prospecting for new business a priority. Prospecting is not seasonal nor is it something to do when you are bored or business is slow. You may have a full pipeline in the works or maybe you are an account manager and you are responsible for managing millions of dollars in revenue but at some point you will need to replace those accounts or clients. There is something called client retention and new business acquisition and most companies put a higher value on new accounts. This is how their business grows and this is how your personal book of business grows. If you are putting new business prospecting on the shelf then you are willing setting yourself up for failure. You’re playing sales roulette. You need to always till the top, turn the dirt and keep planting the seeds. Remember what brought you to the place where you’re at in the first place.
  • Don’t Be a Busy Body- There is a big misconception between being busy and being productive. The best example I can give is the difference between a car being in neutral and in drive. The car is still on in neutral but it’s not going anywhere unless you put the gear into drive. This is the same for anyone who is in sales. Some sales people think that busy is a good quality to possess until they realize that their results don’t represent the work they put into it. What does this mean? This means that you need to “clean out the closet” and look at your time wasters. This reminds me of a sales rep that used to work for me. Everyday, he would come into the office with a stack full of business cards and he would sit there at his desk shuffling through these business cards, staring at them and putting them in alphabetical order…believe it or not. Everyone would egg him on asking who he had in the pipeline. He came into my office one evening and told me he had some great news he wanted to share with me. I was sitting right across from him as he pulls out what must have been 20 pages of leads filled from the top of the page to the bottom. He let me know that his pipeline was growing and he now had 300 hot leads that he was working on. What came next was as Oprah says was an Ah…Ha moment. I asked him to bring in his business cards so we could review his pipeline. His pipeline was a pipe dream and it was a commission robber and time-stealer. I took his business cards and inserted them into the circular file and showed him why i did that. He was average far below the average rep and was sitting in the bottom 25% of the rankings for sales reps. He had not made a commission check in the last month so after realizing how much time he was wasting on busy work…he identified prospects that he had met with twice in the last couple of months and targeted those leads. We met on a Monday and by Friday he had doubled his productivity than the month prior.
  • Yearn to Learn (Reading, Seminars, Audio books)-When was the last time you picked up a book, invested into a sales seminar or listened to an audio book that challenged the way you thought, worked and helped you to sharpen your skill set? If you aren’t growing then you’re dying. Some of the best of the best out there today, even as successful as they may be still invest into themselves. Learn how to critique yourself on a monthly basis. Identify how many prospects did you reach out to, how many thought provoking conversations did you have and what percentage of those turned into clients. Are you consistently increasing your earnings on a monthly basis or are you experiencing the ups and downs. You can only learn so much by doing the work…and why do I say that? Most of us who are in sales will learn through first hand experience but because we all have our limitations and we only know so much, you become your own ceiling and limit your earning opportunity. You need to desire continued learning and education and I don’t mean going to school, I mean the resources that are out there for any of us to utilize. Whether it’s a book, a seminar, audio books, researching online or watching videos on Youtube…the more time you invest in yourself, the better you will become and the more money you will end up making.

Apply these 3 keys to success and you will see the difference in your level of success. The beauty about sales is the ability to dictate your own earnings and you earn what you’re worth. Make the most out of the opportunity you’ve created for yourself and you will have a long-term career in sales.

Attitude Determines Altitude

One of the greatest lessons that I learned in my sales career was from one of my mentors back in the mid 90’s. We were reviewing all the sales reps earnings reports and I noticed some of the biggest increases from salespeople that made $40,000 the year prior and $80,000 the next year then noticed top selling sales reps that made $110,000 year after year. Why is this?

Master the mind…the money will follow. Attitude determines Altitude. This is a quality that the most successful sales professionals in any industry possess. Think about why you have peaks and valleys and when you have peaks normally it’s because your actions and results are normally aligned with your attitude. There’s a saying that sales come in pairs and I truly believe this is the case. You can have the strongest skill set but if your attitude is crappy then guess what… no one is going to buy from you. Strategy is something that sales professionals focus on but common sense is a quality that sometimes gets pushed aside. So how do you “mind your own business?”

Attitude of Gratitude

Minding your own business is making it a priority that every morning you wake up, you figure out what to be thankful for. I used to teach my sales reps the first step in giving yourself a check up from the neck up is looking around you the moment you open your eyes because you were given another day to live and those that are dear to you were given another day as well. When you open your eyes, are you grateful that you have a roof over your head and food on the table. Yes, I know it’s a pay off due to your amazing sales career you built for yourself so why wouldn’t you have an amazing attitude knowing that some people in this world wake up to a world that is turned upside down whether their health takes a turn for the worse or something unimaginable happens. Call it what you want, this is not a speech about God or a higher power but it is what it is and you need to have an attitude of gratitude.

The Financial Foundation

The next step is your attitude needs to reflect the “Financial Foundation” you have establishing a career in one of the most important professions in existence. Keep in mind, you are in a profession that the only thing that stops you from making tons of money is you! You are not stuck in a minimum wage job somewhere like so many people are today. Don’t get me wrong, I believe people do what they have to do in order to survive but I also believe that if some of those very people had a different mindset, they could turn a minimum wage job into a well paying career. It’s all about the mindset and having the attitude that determines the altitude. Back to the Financial Foundation…do you realize that if you want to give yourself a 20% raise in your earnings all you have to do is make the decision to do so, create a plan and execute that plan flawlessly? That is the beauty of sales.

In everything you do understand that before you can set a goal and achieve a goal, your mind needs to be committed to that plan. The mind will empower you to execute or will cause you to make excuses so the next time you catch yourself with sub par results, do yourself a favor as well as your peers, friends and family…give yourself a check up from the neck up and “mind your own business” and remember that your attitude determines your altitude.