The Biggest Mistakes that Salespeople Make

Sales & Motivation No Comments

Mistake #1: Thinking that servicing accounts is more important than selling new ones
I once had a coaching client show me a stack of folders and say, “This is why I can’t be out calling on new clients.” When I asked what had to be done, she picked up the first folder and said, “I’m waiting for a number from the State of Maine on this one.” To which I responded, “Really? A salesperson is sitting in the office waiting for a number from the State of Maine? No one else can handle that?” That is akin to a pilot saying they don’t have time to fly the plane because they are back serving customers drinks.

I’ve heard every excuse for servicing accounts from “they’ll only deal with me”, to “I want to make sure it’s done right.” These are simply excuses to avoid the hard work of going out and making calls. Salespeople are hunters, service people are gathers. Outside of renewals, scheduled service calls, and emergencies, clients should be dealing with CSRs and other support people. Not only are the support people more readily available than the salesperson, who should be out chasing new business, they also handle the day-to-day service items more efficiently and effectively than a salesperson. As an salesperson your job is to sell, not service. If you are hiding behind the excuse that your clients will only deal with you, that’s because you’ve trained them to do that. Time for retraining. If you think you are the only one who can do it, you’re wrong, get over yourself. Any time you are servicing, outside of renewals, scheduled calls, and major issues, you are doing yourself, your company, your client, and your future clients a disservice. It’s what we call a lose/lose/lose/lose. Go sell and stop hiding behind service.

 

Mistake #2: Majoring in minor things and finding other time wasters
I once had a sales manager remark to me, “During the major snow storm last week, when people were confined to their houses, my top salesperson was calling people at home because he had a captive audience. My other salespeople were baking cookies and posting pictures on Facebook.”

This along with chatting with friends and colleagues, checking e-mail more than four times a day, taking ten coffee breaks, and, in general, finding things to do other than calling on prospects and customers, are examples of time wasters. Spending two hours looking up prospect information before you call, servicing clients on routine items as in Mistake #1 above, and spending time practicing your call 400 times before the call, are all examples of majoring in minor things. Your highest priority is to spend time with prospects and “sometimes” your top 20% of customers (again, renewals, scheduled calls, and emergencies). You should be talking to, or on your way to talk to, prospects and customers 80% of the time during prime calling hours.

 

Mistake #3: Focusing on reactive versus proactive marketing
The fastest and best way to build business is by making phone calls and knocking on doors. It is the most effective and only one in which you have almost complete control over. Going to a Chamber of Commerce Event, BNI, or some similar networking event, hoping to get a lead is reactive. In those situations you are relying on others, whose first priority is to get business for themselves, to give you business. Worse yet, hanging out on social media or sending blind, unsolicited e-mails in hopes of getting business.

 

Mistake #4: Not being prepared for and not practicing sales situations
If you are in leadership, I dare you to walk up to one of your salespeople who has been with you a while and say, “What do you say when someone says…” and then give them a common, every-day objection they get like, “they’re not interested?” I promise you that 9 times out of 10 the first verbal sound out of their mouth will be “Ahhhh”. It happens to me all the time. Just last week at a sales meeting at an insurance agency, I turned to an agent who’s been there 17 years and said, “Joe (name changed to protect the guilty), what do you say when someone says I can get my insurance cheaper down the street?” The response? You guessed it, “Ahhhh.” Game over.

You have to be prepared for every sales situation you’re going to encounter and you have to practice ahead of time. Ideally with another human, but if not, with yourself. Each and every answer has to be scripted and committed to memory so that you know it verbatim and can respond immediately in a real-life sales situation.

 

Mistake #5: No goals, no plan, and no clue how much activity has been done, or needs to be done, in order to be successful
Whenever I begin working with someone one of the first questions I ask them is, “How many calls did you make last week on brand-new prospects?” As with the objection above, I am usually met with “Ahhhh.” Usually followed by a guess, like, “Um, I think about 4.” “You think four? Is that number too big to count?” The truth is: they didn’t keep track and it wasn’t four. It may have been two, or even zero. In order to be successful, you have to have annual, monthly, and weekly goals, along with knowing the daily activity necessary to make those goals a reality. Then you have to make the calls.

 

Mistake #6: Giving up too soon
81% of sales are made after the four contact. Roughly 20% of salespeople make it past the fourth contact. Enough said.

 

Mistake #7: Not doing the work necessary
99% of the time a salesperson fails it’s due to a lack of activity. Not making enough calls, to talk to enough people, in order to make enough sales. The other 1% of the time, the salesperson got hit by a bus. Since activity is the primary reason for success or failure, I could have led off with it, but it’s so obvious you probably would have stopped reading.

 

John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or to have him speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com John has over 29 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia. You can reprint provided you keep contact information in place. E-mail: johnchapin@completeselling.com.

Mistake #1: Thinking that servicing accounts is more important than selling new ones I once had a coaching client show me a stack of folders and say, “This is why I can’t be out calling on new clients.” When I asked what had to be done, she picked up the first folder and said, “I’m […]

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A Day in the Life of a Successful Salesperson

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Over the years people have asked me if I have daily rituals, habits, or a schedule I follow. While it’s varied a bit over the years, and I’ve tweaked it here and there, here’s my current daily schedule, and pretty much what I recommend for salespeople, entrepreneurs, and business owners… By the way, this tends to be my schedule every day as almost every day is a work day for me. J

Schedule of a Successful Salesperson, Business Owner, or Entrepreneur

6:00 a.m. – Wake up, take ½ a caffeine pill (100 mgs) with an 8 ounce glass of water. Next, think of three things I’m grateful for to get my head on straight and focus on positive thoughts. Get up, get on the floor and do 150 to 200 ab crunches. Grab my phone, run down stairs, get an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper out of my copy machine and write my biggest personal or professional issue at the top. 150 to 200 more crunches and drink another glass of water. Sit with my sheet of paper and work for 15 minutes coming up with 20 or more solutions to my biggest problem or issue. 150 to 200 more crunches.

Read, listen to, or watch either something positive, something about business, or something sales related for at least 30 minutes. Often it will be a combination. Review and write out my major goals and go over the major items (usually about 6) that I need to get accomplished during the day. 150 to 200 more crunches.

Run or bike for 25 minutes.

Some people also meditate for 10 to 20 minutes every morning which is a good idea for most, I just haven’t found it all that helpful.

Note: It is a good idea to get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.

7:15 a.m. – Eat breakfast. For me this is usually oatmeal, a protein shake, and a couple chicken cutlets. Next, mentally rehearse and picture a positive outcome to all upcoming calls and meetings. Shower and get dressed. I also use positive affirmations while showering and dressing to further increase enthusiasm to tackle the upcoming day.

8:00 a.m. – Check e-mail, voicemail, and prepare for the first calls of the day.

8:10 a.m. – The selling day begins. It is time to be in front of the customer or prospect, or on the phone with them. If there are any “unpleasant” tasks to be handled, such as breaking bad news to a client, handle these first and get them out of the way. From 8:10 until about 11:45, spend time on time-critical, client-related tasks, such as prospecting, presenting, and closing.

11:45 a.m. – Check for messages, return any calls, e-mails, or other communications that need to be taken care of.

Noon – A light lunch usually consisting of chicken and rice, a salad, and water. Protein is good here and don’t go too heavy on the carbs. Overall this should be an average meal. You don’t want to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, as you’ll be dozing off at 2 p.m. or sooner.

12:30 p.m. – Back to prospect/client time-critical tasks.

4:45 p.m. – Check for messages, return calls, e-mails, or other communications that need to be taken care of. General wrap-up of the client-related, time-sensitive tasks of the day and a positive and objective review of the day’s events.

5:30 p.m. into evening – Exercise, a good dinner, relaxation with the family.

An hour or so before bed, work on non-time-critical tasks such as paperwork and follow up on e-mails, communications, proposals, etc. Read motivational or sales-related material, do some mental exercises such as positive affirmations, plan the following day, and check messages one more time.

Note: If you are just starting out in sales or business, your day may start earlier and end later. When I was starting out at 21 years old, it was not uncommon for me to be in the office at 7 a.m. and leave after 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Friday was usually 7 to 5. I was also working for 4 hours or so on Saturday and a couple of hours on Sunday. The bottom line: you know what kind of effort you need to put in and what needs to be done. Work the hours to get it done.

The keys to designing your day are:

  • Planning: Have a plan and stick to it.
  • Organizing: Knowing what you’re doing and when while ensuring you have everything at your disposal to get it done.
  • Time management: Getting your most important tasks done and not giving in to distractions. Your most important items are: prospecting, presenting, and closing along with perhaps 3 or 4 other important tasks that need to get done.

Finally, stay positive, work hard and smart, and concentrate on results, not on being busy. Your goal is to develop habits and rituals that lead to success. You do this with a set, daily schedule in which you run your business like a finely tuned military organization.

John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or to have him speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com John has over 29 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia. You can reprint provided you keep contact information in place. E-mail: johnchapin@completeselling.com.

Over the years people have asked me if I have daily rituals, habits, or a schedule I follow. While it’s varied a bit over the years, and I’ve tweaked it here and there, here’s my current daily schedule, and pretty much what I recommend for salespeople, entrepreneurs, and business owners… By the way, this tends […]

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How to Get and Stay Motivated when Selling

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Sales is a profession that requires you to be “up” and motivated most of the time. It is also a profession in which you can get knocked down very quickly from the amount of rejection that’s required for success. As a result, one of the biggest questions I get from salespeople is: “How do I get and stay motivated?” Here’s my answer.

4 Paths to Motivation

There are only four forms of motivation. They are: external negative, external positive, intrinsic, and peer motivation.

Motivation Source #1: External Negative
Or as my first manager used to say, “If I put a gun to your head you’d do business.” This is a negative consequence or penalty for not doing something. This was third place in Glengarry Glen Ross, or as Alec Baldwin’s character said in the movie, “Third prize: You’re fired!” This motivation is all about accountability and consequences.

When motivating others a sales manager usually starts with a probation period followed by loss of one’s job for failing to do the necessary work or make quota.

When motivating oneself, the most effective form is usually a financial penalty. For example, when putting off some scary calls to big prospects, I finally told a friend that if I didn’t make the calls in the next 30 days, I owed her $1000. By the way, I made the calls on day 29. Yes, sometimes I struggle with this stuff too.

 

Motivation Source #2: External Positive
External positive was first and second place in the Glengarry Contest: “First prize: a brand new Cadillac. Second prize: this fine set of steak knives.” This is a reward for work done or a goal achieved. This is not as powerful as the first motivator as generally we respond more to pain, but is still a way to get leverage on ourselves and others.

To motivate others this could be $100 for the person who makes the most calls in the next hour or a limo lunch for whoever closes the most business this week.

To motivate ourselves this can be dinner at our favorite restaurant, a dream vacation, or some other indulgence upon the completion of a goal.

 

Motivation Source #3: Intrinsic
This is the most powerful motivation among high-achievers. This form has the most potential power and, if strong enough, can be used all by itself. This is the “personal WHY”. In other words, what are the personal reasons you need to be successful?

To motivate yourself, decide what you really want out of life. What do you want your life to ultimately look like? What do you want for your family and your kids? What do you want to do and be? If you had no limitations on time or money, how would your life be different? What will your perfect day look like 20 years from now? What drives you? Is it your dream lifestyle, taking care of your kids and future generations, to leave a lasting legacy, a combination?

To motivate others, help them find their WHY. Where do they want to be in their career 5, 10, or 20 years from now? Ask them: If they had no limits on time or money, what would they have and do with their life? What is their endgame? Do they want to retire and to where?

 

Motivation Source #4: Peer
This is who you spend your time with personally and professionally. People usually rise to, but rarely above their peer group. “Birds of a feather do flock together.” This also relates to your environment. If you have an office of negative people in which no one is held accountable, any success will be fleeting or completely non-existent.

To motivate others provide a work environment that is positive and professional and one in which people are held accountable. Have them look at the people they hang out with. Aaron Hernandez and Tom Brady have/had different peer groups.

To motivate yourself means hanging out with positive people who have goals and are achieving big things. It also means getting rid of negative people and negativity in general.

 

Some Other Ways to Motivate Yourself

  • Write out your goals in the morning and at night and have them in front of you during the day.
  • Create a vision (dream) board.
  • You can’t watch the news and be positive. Keep negatives out and put in plenty of positives through books, thoughts, images, and inspirational and motivational ideas.
  • Have rituals and routines in place to create self-discipline.
  • Announce goals to friends, family, and in public forums, and have people hold you accountable.
  • Have a coach, mentor, or mastermind group hold you accountable to your goals and dreams.
  • Accept that there will be problems and see them as challenges.
  • Have a support system in place, people who are positive and up-beat and will help you turn around a tough day.
  • Take 100% responsibility for your life. Where you end up will come down to you and what you do, not the economy, the job market, who’s president, or anything else.
  • Realize that doing what you need to do is ultimately a question of character and integrity.
  • Who wins when you win and loses when you win? Who is for you and against you? Make sure the right people win.
  • Every call gets you closer to a sale. If a sale is $1000 and you have to make 100 calls, each call is worth $10 regardless of what happens.
  • If it will ultimately take 10,000 hours of work for success, every hour you put in gets you closer.
  • Every day you either grow or die based upon the effort you put in. Chose to grow today.
  • The quickest way to motivation, self-esteem, and self-confidence is to get the job done, especially when it’s hard or you don’t feel like it.
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable and face and conquer fears. Do something that scares you every day.
  • Your legacy, your future, and the future of those closest to you, are all at stake every day. What’s required is that you do what has to be done and push and stretch yourself to your potential.

 

Realize that you won’t always be motivated. That’s why it’s important to form good habits through self-discipline. If you have an ingrained habit of making all your prospecting calls every day from 9 to noon, then on the day you feel a little down, that habit will help carry you through.

Also, whether or not you are motivated, you have a job to do and promises and obligations to live up to. You have to find a way to get the job done. In life there are things we don’t want to do that we have to do anyway. If you simply put in the hours, make the calls, and do the necessary activity, you will be successful. If you don’t, you won’t.

John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or to have him speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com John has over 29 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia. You can reprint provided you keep contact information in place. E-mail: johnchapin@completeselling.com.

Sales is a profession that requires you to be “up” and motivated most of the time. It is also a profession in which you can get knocked down very quickly from the amount of rejection that’s required for success. As a result, one of the biggest questions I get from salespeople is: “How do I […]

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The Top Rules of the Most Successful Salespeople

Sales & Motivation No Comments

What follows is a list of most important rules followed by the top 1% of salespeople. Burn these into your brain by reading them every morning when you first wake up and right before you go to bed for the next 30 days. After that read them once a week.

Rule 1: My most important result is to sell.

Rule 2: My most important activity is to talk to as many potential prospects as possible. This is my main focus every day and I don’t let anything distract me from this most important task.

Rule 3: I am in the people business first and foremost. I build solid, long-term relationships.

Rule 4: I am a team player and play well with others.

Rule 5: I have a great attitude, am self-disciplined, and am the hardest worker in the workplace.

Rule 6: I show up early, leave late, and work nights and weekends.

Rule 7: I persevere and persist. I refuse to quit until I win.

Rule 8: I am thick-skinned and don’t take things personally.

Rule 9: I always smile no matter what gets thrown at me.

Rule 10: I am extremely responsive and answer client/prospect communications as quickly as possible. I also answer calls and e-mails at night and on the weekends.

Rule 11: I am self-motivated. I know WHY I do what I do. I am also self-disciplined so that when motivation wanes, I still do what I need to do even though I may not feel like it.

Rule 12: I push myself harder than anyone else can possibly push me.

Rule 13: I am always learning and getting better professionally and personally. I read books, listen to CDs, watch DVDs and videos, follow industry publications, go to workshops and seminars, and invest in learning.

Rule 14: I take 100% responsibility for my failure and success. I am my greatest enemy or ally. The only one in my way is me.

Rule 15: I understand there are no excuses. Someone has had it worse and overcome it.

Rule 16: I face my fears and push out of my comfort zone. I make the tough calls and do something that scares me every day.

Rule 17: I know my numbers and my daily activity. I know what I have to do every day to hit my weekly, monthly, and annual goals.

Rule 18: I listen 70 to 80% of the time. When I do talk it is usually to ask good questions.

Rule 19: I am great at finding problems and never propose a solution until I know the problem(s).

Rule 20: I always do what’s best for the client and put their needs first.

Rule 21: I realize that the first sale is to myself. I believe my company and my product are the best.

Rule 22: I dress well and am neatly groomed. I realize that a good handshake, polished shoes, speaking professionally and intelligently, and having a clean, crisp image are essential.

Rule 23: I understand that my quality of life comes down to who I associate with and what I put in my brain. I put positive thoughts and ideas in my head and only hang out with positive people. I stay away from negatives and negative people. I also only listen to top salespeople and business people.

Rule 24: I jump right to the next call after I make a sale and don’t take a break because I know there is power in momentum.

Rule 25: I am scripted and know exactly what to say in each and every prospect and client situation.

Rule 26: I am over prepared for any and all sales situations.

Rule 27: I role play and practice constantly with others and myself.

Rule 28: I make one more call and do one more thing before knocking off for the day.

Rule 29: I delegate as many non-sales tasks as I can.

Rule 30: I time block my schedule and do my best to only work on one thing at a time.

Rule 31: I outwork, out-relationship, and out-sell the competition. I am more committed. I take better care of our clients than the competition because I care more.

Rule 32: I do what I say I’ll do when I say I’ll do it and I always go above and beyond and do more than the client expects.

Rule 33: I do my job and hold myself accountable to the highest professional and ethical standards. I am a person of integrity and character. I am always professional, respectful, and honest.

Rule 34: I focus on agreeing with people as much as possible.

Rule 35: I know I will have difficult days but refuse to complain or quit.

Rule 36: I understand that most worthwhile undertakings usually take far more effort than estimated. I am prepared to do whatever amount of work is necessary to make my dreams come true.

John Chapin is a sales and motivational speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or if you would like him to speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com John has over 29 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia. For permission to reprint, e-mail: johnchapin@completeselling.com.

What follows is a list of most important rules followed by the top 1% of salespeople. Burn these into your brain by reading them every morning when you first wake up and right before you go to bed for the next 30 days. After that read them once a week. Rule 1: My most important […]

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What I Learned Working at the Highest-Producing Brokerage Office in the Country

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Early on in my sales career I was lucky enough to be in the top-producing office of a financial services firm. In that office we had the top two producers in the country, out of 1800. We also had 3 more in the top 20. Here are the elements of that office that made it number one for the entire three years I was there.

Element #1: Our only job was to sell.
With rare exception, companies go out of business because they don’t sell enough and they stay in business because they do sell enough. That premise was understood in our office and as producers our job was to produce sales. Almost all of our business was done over the phone and we were expected to make in the neighborhood of 200 phone calls a day because that’s what it took to make the necessary sales. During prime-calling hours, and most other hours for that matter, all we were doing was making calls in order to get the necessary number of prospects, presentations, and sales. Heaven forbid you got caught doing paperwork, or anything that could be done off-hours, during prime-calling hours. Everyone knew their annual, monthly, and weekly goals, along with their daily activity and you were under pressure to hit those numbers. You did whatever it took including working crazy hours during the week and on Saturday and Sunday if necessary.

Anything that interfered with sales from an employee with an attitude problem to a logistical or other problem was dealt with immediately and completely. If it interfered with selling, it was removed right away. We had great support people and systems in place to handle all the non-selling activities and sales was the top of the food chain, everything else was secondary.

Element #2: All key sales metrics were tracked and counted and the most important were displayed.
Phone calls were listened to and tracked and everyone’s call numbers were announced in the morning meeting. New prospects, presentations, and sales were recorded. The board with the sales numbers and new accounts, which was listed in order of who had the highest sales numbers, was updated every evening and displayed prominently where everyone including all support people and even the cleaning people could see it. There was complete visibility and transparency when it came to numbers and performance. We even had a horse’s a… um, butt trophy for the person with the combined lowest numbers for the previous day. Maybe this was old-school but it motivated people not to get it and/or get rid of it quickly when they did.

Element #3: A push for excellence and continually raising the bar.
There was no such thing as good enough, you could always improve and do better and you were expected to. It was impossible to rest on your laurels because it was too competitive. If you stopped for a second, someone was going to pass you. There was always someone willing to outwork you and do whatever they had to do to be at the top.

Element #4: A Team Atmosphere.
Everyone supported and drove everyone else, pushing them to higher levels. A win for one was a win for all and a challenge for everyone else to up their game. The top five producers in the office were willing to share their presentations, answers to objections, and any other techniques or tricks they had to make sales. No one kept success secrets from the others and there were no prima donnas. Everyone helped one another and cheered one another on knowing that the more successful each of us was, the more successful we’d all be. We were one solid unit, one solid team all helping one another win. It was a powerful and positive environment and it created a lot of energy.

 Element # 5: Positive Peer Pressure
Our office was committed to being super-positive. Though negative people usually didn’t make it through the interview process, on the few occasions they did, they either got positive or left quickly. I remember one guy leaving at lunch and not coming back because a producer told him to “go to lunch and change your negative attitude or don’t come back.” This was an environment in which you either focused on solutions or kept your mouth shut. There was zero tolerance for negativity, negatives, and other similar b. s.

Another aspect of the positive peer pressure was that it pushed people to work hard and do the right things. Because everyone else was working hard, you felt pressure to do the same. Because everyone ran their business the right way, you felt pressure to run your business the right way too. In short, the positive peer pressure weeded out negativity and poor work ethic, ensured all were committed, and also helped hold people accountable.

Element #6: Self-governing and Self-correcting
Related to the above point, one of the most interesting elements of our office was that, for the most part, it managed itself. Attitude issues and other problems were usually handled at a peer level and rarely got to the point where upper-level management had to get involved. I remember a situation in which one of the producers was being particularly negative one day. Actually, it only lasted about two minutes because one of the other producers turned to him and said, “Dude, you’re being negative! Knock it off or go home! Understand!” Situation resolved. Also, if a producer saw another producer doing something wrong or making a mistake, they would immediately say something. It was like an internal check-and-balance system.

The bottom line is our office was a positive, supportive environment conducive to doing lots of business. It wasn’t Pollyanna, we had problems and differences of opinion, but they were dealt with swiftly, directly, and with respect and professionalism. Everyone was expected to put in more than they took out and everyone was held accountable to do the best job possible and help everyone else in the process.

John Chapin is a sales and motivational speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or if you would like him to speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com John has over 29 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia. For permission to reprint, e-mail: johnchapin@completeselling.com.

Early on in my sales career I was lucky enough to be in the top-producing office of a financial services firm. In that office we had the top two producers in the country, out of 1800. We also had 3 more in the top 20. Here are the elements of that office that made it […]

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What Sales Teams can Learn from the New England Patriots

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Even if you hate the New England Patriots, you have to admit they have a formula that works. And the truth is, their secret sauce isn’t so secret, in fact, it’s rather simple and obvious. While simple and obvious doesn’t mean easy, here’s how your team can use their formula to dominate their own field of play, provided you’ve got the stomach for it.

Ingredients of a Dominant, Winning Team

 

Ingredient #1: A Willingness to Charge into Hell.
“Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to die.” I’m not sure who said that, but it is the mindset of most people when it comes to achieving almost anything great. When I work with an organization on where they want to go, everyone is all smiles as we create the vision of the Land of Milk and Honey. When we start discussing the plan for what it will take to get there, facial expressions change quickly. Most humans want the weight loss, the great relationship, and the win, without the work. If you want to achieve your version of six straight AFC Championship Games and a record nine Super Bowls, not only do you have to work, but you have to far outwork everyone else. You also have to endure great mental and physical pain to grow and become the person and/or team worthy of the reward. There will be long days, tough calls, tough conversations, rejection, failures, and trials and tribulations that will make the grittiest of individuals cower. Yes, the prize will be worth it, but it’s going to take a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and pain to get there. Buckle up.

Ingredient #2: A Winning Culture
The winning culture is built on a foundation of working hard and doing your job. As we know, rarely is it the most intelligent or talented that win. It’s the person who shows up early, leaves late, and gets the job done no matter what. Julian Edelman, a seventh round draft pick, shows up at 5:30 a.m. before anyone else. Danny Amendola, undrafted, works his butt off too. Same with Chris Hogan, who had only one year of college football experience and about 150 yards receiving. By the way, he had more yards than his entire college career in one game against Pittsburgh, 180, a Patriot AFC Championship record. The culture also includes perseverance, persistence, mental toughness, a positive attitude, and a team-over-individual mindset. The Patriots had to let two great players go this year because they were poisoning the team. Not easy, but they understand that one negative person, no matter how good, hurts the team in the long run. You are only as strong as your weakest link, and the weakest link hurts everyone involved with or touched by the team. Your weakest link is hurting you, your profits, your other workers, and ultimately your customers.

Ingredient #3: A Leadership Team that Isn’t Afraid to Lead
Leading includes setting expectations, holding people accountable, being a good example, being willing to work hard and make tough decisions, and not giving in to the whiners and complainers. Recently I was working with a company whose objective was to get all their salespeople to the level of the top two producers. I gave them a process to follow which, when used by other companies, increased their sales by an average of 278% over 12 months. The initial reaction from a member of the management team was, “If we put this together and force our people to learn it, there will be a revolt. They already think we’re pushing them too hard.” When I asked who would object, I was told it would be the lowest performers. I then asked two pointed questions, one, why are they concerned about the opinions of the lowest performers who probably shouldn’t be there anyway and, two, who’s running the company them, or the lowest performers?

The biggest issues I see in the workplace are a lack of accountability and letting negative, low-performers poison the environment. This is baffling to me. No leader worth their salt would put up with negative people who continually miss quota while complaining, questioning management, and causing problems in an attempt to do less work for the same or more pay. They should be shown the door ASAP. It amazes me when owners make decisions based upon how much push back they’ll get from the negative people and those that don’t want to work. How long do you think you’re negative in the New England Patriots locker room? How long are you allowed to skirt your responsibilities and not do your job? Exactly. We all know their motto: DO YOUR JOB. That’s one key reason they are great. True leadership requires that you are willing to work hard, get your hands dirty, deal with the issues head on, and that you get negative, lazy people on board or out quickly. Again, these people kill morale, productivity, the bottom line, and everything you’re trying to accomplish. Negativity and people with a poor work ethic are such as cancer, that if all your people fell in these two categories, you’re better off getting rid of everyone and starting from scratch as a one-person shop than dealing with even one of them. A key aspect of leadership is to provide people with a positive, professional work environment.

Ingredient #4: A Process that Works and People Who Buy in and are Committed
The New England Patriots have a successful process that works and everyone drinks the Kool-Aid and follows in lock-step like an elite military organization. When you show up in their locker room you’re expected to follow and trust in the process. No questioning, no complaining about the hard work, no distractions from the process, just complete faith that the process works and that those calling the shots know exactly what they’re doing. Your only job is to get in line, follow along, do your job, and go to a record ninth Super Bowl.

Ingredient #5: (Added late on February 5th) Stick to the plan, keep the faith, persist, persevere, and never, never, never give up.

John Chapin is a sales and motivational speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or if you would like him to speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com John has over 29 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year (Axiom Book Awards): Sales Encyclopedia. For permission to reprint, e-mail: johnchapin@completeselling.com.

Even if you hate the New England Patriots, you have to admit they have a formula that works. And the truth is, their secret sauce isn’t so secret, in fact, it’s rather simple and obvious. While simple and obvious doesn’t mean easy, here’s how your team can use their formula to dominate their own field […]

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Conquering the Biggest Enemy of the Salesperson

Sales & Motivation No Comments

A salesperson’s most important activity is talking to qualified prospects. The biggest enemy of the salesperson is anything that distracts him or her from working on that most important activity. Distractions come in many forms, some obvious and some not so obvious. Here are those distractions along with their solutions.

 

Seven Distractions that Keep You from Your Most Important Activity

 

Distraction #1: Cell phone, e-mail, text messages, false emergencies, and other similar items

Recently I was helping a call center increase their number of calls. The first thing I did was observe everyone to see how they typically make calls. I watched one individual pick up the phone, start to dial, and then stop because he got a text message. He read it, responded, and then went back the phone, hung it up, and started to redial. Just then an e-mail chime sounded and he looked to see who it was from. Once again, he hung up, then redialed. He got voicemail, left a message, then brought up his CRM to enter the information for that call. For the next half hour I watched as callers got distracted by everything from the above items, to trips to the bathroom and to fill up water bottles and cups of coffee. As a group, they averaged 2 ½ calls in the 30 minute period. Yes, one call every 12 minutes.

 

The key here is single-minded focus. Ideally you are time-blocking as many items as possible, but especially your most important: prospecting calls. If you’re in the office, put together a prospect list and then remove all distractions. Shut off your cell phone and e-mail, clear all paperwork and other items off your desk, and focus. Make notes right on the list and enter notes into the CRM later. You may even put up a sign up saying you cannot be interrupted. In any case, you have one focus for at least the next hour: make as many calls as possible. If you’re on the road, again, focus on calls. Do not be distracted by the phone or other items in or outside the car that may prevent you from making as many prospecting calls as possible. The group above, once they removed all distractions, was able to average 13 calls in 30 minutes as opposed to 2 ½.

 

Distraction #2: Paperwork

Paperwork, other than filling out an order with a customer, is for after or before prime prospecting hours. It’s okay to make a quick note, record something on an order form, or write down something you need to work on later, but you are never working on letters, proposals, or doing anything that can be done off-hours.

 

Distraction #3: Servicing accounts

You may occasionally need to service accounts, but this should be done to a minimum and it should only be done for the 20% of your accounts that are giving you 80% of your revenues. I see many salespeople get adamant about servicing every aspect of every account. While they justify this as taking care of the customer, they are really doing it to avoid the hard work (fear and discomfort) of prospecting. You may have to do some servicing, just do as little as possible.

 

Distraction #4: Looking for a quicker, faster, easier way to prospect other than picking up the phone or calling in-person

All prospecting should be done either in-person or by phone. Skype and other similar methods are also okay. The point is to be talking live, in real time with prospects. E-mail, social media, mailings, and other similar indirect methods that don’t allow you to actually talk to someone, are distractions from effective prospecting and nothing more than another way to avoid the hard work (again, fear and discomfort) of making live calls. You can and should still use these methods, but only after you have reached out via phone or in-person.

 

Distraction #5: Talking to prospects who are not qualified

Stop pretending that ugly duckling is a swan. You know the truth in your gut. Either get rid of them immediately or give them one last chance to do business with you.

 

Distraction #6: Majoring in minor things

Minor things include: cleaning your desk, rereading the letter you’re about to send out, doing preparation work, and all other “minor” items you should be doing before or after prime time.

 

Distraction #7: Anything else that gets in the way of calling on qualified prospects

This could be a doctor’s visit, a car accident, an earthquake, weather, friends wanting to chat, or anything else under the sun. Regardless of what happens during the day, your primary focus needs to remain on hitting your daily number of qualified prospects.

 

Make sure anything you have control over does not interfere with “prime time.” Do not schedule doctor or dentist appointments, the plumber, the electrician, or anything similar during prime hours. When something unexpected arises, that you don’t have control over, like a car accident, weather, or similar event, ask yourself, “How can I still get all my calls in?” A few years back, the number one sales rep for a Fortune 500 company was out making prospecting calls when he got in an accident and totaled his car. He was okay, just some minor bumps, bruises, and cuts, and his pants got torn a little. Though paramedics urged him to go to the hospital just to be safe, he refused and jumped in a cab to complete his sales calls. While making his calls, he wondered how he may actually be able to use the car accident as an advantage. Two prospects came to mind that he was unable to get anywhere with. He thought, “Today’s the day.” He walked into each prospect’s office with his ripped pants and obvious cuts on his nose and forehead, approached the receptionist, stuck out his card, announced who he was there and see and finished with, “You have no idea what I’ve been through today to see him.” Each receptionist looked at him with some uneasiness, slowly took his card, and went off to get the prospect. The end result: he was able to see both prospects, tell a good story, show his dedication and commitment, and he eventually got one of those prospects as a customer who, down the road, became one of his largest.

 

Your most important task every day is hitting or exceeding your prospecting numbers. Period. It is always the most important thing you do. Your creative brain will either come up with excuses to avoid this hard work or find ways to get it done regardless of what comes up in your day, including car accidents. Use your head and find all ways, both obvious and creative, to prevent distractions and get as many calls in as possible.

 

John Chapin is a sales and motivational speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or if you would like him to speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com John has over 29 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year (Axiom Book Awards): Sales Encyclopedia. For permission to reprint, e-mail: johnchapin@completeselling.com.

A salesperson’s most important activity is talking to qualified prospects. The biggest enemy of the salesperson is anything that distracts him or her from working on that most important activity. Distractions come in many forms, some obvious and some not so obvious. Here are those distractions along with their solutions.   Seven Distractions that Keep […]

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The One Key Factor that leads to Sales Success or Failure

Sales & Motivation No Comments

While one could argue that there are many factors determining sales success or failure, I find that 99% of the time, success or failure really comes down to one item. If you have this one item in place, success is virtually guaranteed. If you don’t, failure is virtually guaranteed.

 

The Key Success Factor and How to Ensure it Exists and Thrives in Your Sales Plan

 

We all know you need the basics: product knowledge, the ability to get in the door of qualified prospects, get attention, solve problems, get agreement, answer objections, present, close, and follow through, among other things. We also know that your primary job is to produce… to sell. Other equally relevant truths that relate more closely to the key success factor are:

    • Sales is a numbers game; the more people you talk to the more business you’ll do.
    • The harder you work, the luckier you get.
    • The more calls you make, the faster you figure it out.
    • And, production cures all that ails you, or, as my dad used to say, “You could be in the middle of your worst sales slump ever… down, depressed, and hopeless and yet, if you simply found an order on the ground, one you had absolutely nothing to do with closing, but it was a good order that counted toward your quota, you’d instantly be back on top of the world.”

 

All of that said, the one item that determines success or failure more than anything else is your activity level. Specifically, making the calls necessary to make the contacts, get the qualified prospects, and make sales necessary to exceed your quota.

 

Every time I’ve seen someone fail in sales, it’s because they didn’t make enough calls to talk to enough qualified prospects. Every time. While I suppose there could be some other factor for failure, it would be the miniscule exception. 100% of the time in my experience, I’ve been able to tie failure back to a lack of activity. Here are some rules to follow to ensure you have the proper amount of activity in your sales day.

 

Rule 1: Know your numbers.

You have to have annual, monthly, and weekly goals and break those down to the daily activity necessary to make them happen. If you’re going to make $250,000, and each sale is worth $5000, you need to make 50 sales or roughly 1 per week. Based upon 50 sales, how many proposals do you need to get out, how many people do you need to talk to, and how many calls do you have to make every day?

 

Rule 2: You have to exceed your numbers.

Once you know your numbers, you need to exceed them. We tend to underestimate the amount of time, effort, energy, money, and in this case, number of calls, that it will take to achieve a goal. As a result, increase your daily number by at least 20%. So if the number you came up with under Rule 1 is 50 calls a day, increase that to 60.

 

Rule 3: You have to hit your numbers every day no matter what.

Your most important task every day is to hit your numbers. Period. It is always more important than anything else you do. I’ve seen top salespeople make calls from airplanes, hospitals, police stations, and almost anywhere else you can imagine. I’ve also seen them make calls at night, on weekends, during holidays, and at all other times imaginable. In one case a salesperson who had just totaled his car, jumped in a cab with torn pants and some bumps and bruises to finish making his sales calls for the day. By the way, he was more effective that day because he had a great story to tell when he showed up. He also displayed extraordinary dedication and commitment to his prospects.

 

Rule 4: Be consistent.

Consistency keeps you sharp, builds the habit of making the calls, and keeps you in a good frame of mind. If your goal is 300 calls for the week, Monday through Friday, and you try to squeeze those calls into two or three days, you’ll become overwhelmed and you’ll have difficulty building the self-discipline that comes with daily, consistent action. Also, if you aren’t making calls every work day, your calls will have some rust on them. In other words, when you are doing anything other than making calls, your brain slowly starts to forget what to say and how to react to situations that arise during calls. So if you only make calls on two, days during the week, there is a lot of time for your brain to start to “forget”, making you far less sharp and effective. One of the best ways to be consistent is to time block the same hours every day to prospect.

 

Rule 5: Have someone hold you accountable.

While you ultimately have to hold yourself accountable, it’s a good idea to also have someone else hold you accountable to your daily numbers. Preferably it’s your boss or manager, but it can really be anyone who you’ll feel enough pressure reporting to.

 

Rule 6: Keep getting better.

Read, watch, and listen to information and use that information to make your calls more efficient and effective.

 

Rule 7: Use the phone and in-person calls to reach out to prospects.

If you think e-mail or social media is just as effective as a phone call or in-person visit for reaching out to prospects, you’re delusional. When you are attempting to do business with people, you have to call or visit in-person first. You can send an e-mail, physical mail, LinkedIn request, or something else afterwards, but never as an initial contact to determine if they may be a qualified prospect. First, you can’t even be sure they got the e-mail or social-media message, and second, it’s weak and says you don’t have the confidence in yourself or your product to have a live interaction. If you’re looking for a way to avoid the hard work of making live calls, STOP IT! Pick up the phone and/or get in the car and go talk to people. Lots of people. If you make the calls necessary to fill your pipeline with tons of qualified prospects, everything else will take care of itself.

 

John Chapin is a sales and motivational speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or if you would like him to speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com John has over 29 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia. For permission to reprint, e-mail: johnchapin@completeselling.com.

While one could argue that there are many factors determining sales success or failure, I find that 99% of the time, success or failure really comes down to one item. If you have this one item in place, success is virtually guaranteed. If you don’t, failure is virtually guaranteed.   The Key Success Factor and […]

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