What’s A Perfect Week Look Like?

When I interview salespeople, whether they are an existing employee, or a candidate for a sales position, one of my most resourceful questions is, What’s a perfect week look like for you in your current role?

Often they will tell me “it depends.” This tells me how much of their time they are being proactive or reactive – letting other people determine how they spend their time.

Please tell me what’s going to happen – verses what happened. There is a big difference between being a customer service representative and reporting what happened, or a professional sales representative and promising what’s going to happen.

A prefect week should include a specific goal of meeting new prospects, follow-up calls to existing prospects in the pipeline, a number of discovery appointments and presentations, a sales revenue and order amounts, AND referrals actively requested and passively received, just to list a few.

All of these benchmarks and measurable activities will have a direct determination on the results. Once this process has been defined and implemented, it can be managed and improved.

No process? That’s when they share what happened.

Scott Plum
(612) 789-5700

I Was Wrong!

Last week someone came up to me at a networking event and introduction themselves and shared they first heard me present at a chamber event in 2002. I asked them what they remember from that talk, because I may have to walk some of my advice back.

Our market changes everyday and sometimes the advice I gave, is no longer true.

One example is the SMART goals. We’ve all heard them…Specific Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. I was introduced to some real flaws to that program from a Harvard Business Review publication.

I learned people set low goals to make sure they Attainable and Realistic. Really? I thought. And more about it and was convinced it was true.

Another is: People buy from people they know, like and trust. What’s missing is people buy from others they Respect. The goal is to earn their respect and not have a goal to seek their approval.

Last one is, I hope they won’t ask. Bring it up! If YOU bring up an objection before they do, and they knock it down, there a lesser chance they will bring it up again.

Bring up a price range, ask above the people involved in making the decision, ask about the buying process. Really know what process it going to be followed for a prospect to be a client.

Asterisk: this advice may change in the future too. Call me if you’d like to talk about how your sales results have been altered over the years.

Scott Plum
http://www.mnsales.com
(612) 789-5700

Stop Helping People!

But that’s how I describe what I do! I help people. Stop it!

When you help people. It’s like you’re up here and their down there. “Here, let me save you, you need to be rescued.” As if to say, “hey moron, you’re doing it wrong.” Ever help someone that is not as committed in solving a problem as you are? That only leads to frustration for us, right? [Read more…]

You’re Not Being Tested

He walked into my office and sat down.  I asked him, “How you doing since our last session?”  He replied with, “I’m still struggling with confidence.  I wish I saw me how others see me.  I want to earn their (prospects) respect and when they come into the store, I want them to value working with me.  I want to offer them value, so they’ll buy from me.”

I asked him, “What do you think would be of value for them?”  He answered with, “The benefits of the machine.  What it can do.  To show them I know what I’m talking about.”

He obviously had been through the standard, new hire sales training program that emphasis’ features and benefits, with a summary test on product knowledge before releasing them into the wild.  This traditional onboarding program gives him great frustration, because he is not making his numbers and the month is closing in 12 days. [Read more…]

What is it going to take to win your business?

If you must ask, “What is it going to take to win your business?” you have lost the battle.  Pack up and go home.  You need to and should know the answer to that question BEFORE you submit any proposal.

This is a sign of a desperate salesperson.  A person that needs to make quota, save their job, or save the company by making quota.  No matter the reason, value and/or profitability are absence from the equation.  Plus, you have lost control of the sales process, winning any future negotiations, or selling on value through any referrals.

The sales process is structured in a way to determine and define value.  What is most important?  What are the reasons for someone to change?  What are the risks if someone does not change? [Read more…]

What Are You Willing to Tolerate?

Last week I spent a day on a ride-along with a sales rep visiting existing accounts and meeting new prospects. The conversations during the miles we covered were mixed between business and personal topics. One personal story was about how the rep can’t find her hotspot at home, so she has been using the cell phone as a hotspot. I asked her how long the hotspot was missing and she said about 3 months. She was not sure if her daughter hid it or the dog ran off and buried it in the backyard.

The following week when the sales report came out, she fell short of her weekly goals.  I reminded her about the story she told me about the missing hotspot. I asked her if she is willing to tolerate substandard results at home, she will also accept substandard results at work and she will never succeed if she continued to believe she doesn’t deserve anything better than what she is getting. [Read more…]

Define Yourself

During a political season, each candidate defines himself or her­self before their opponent does it for them. As the campaigns heat up and issues are tossed around in the media and discussed with friends and neighbors, you can base your beliefs on what you believe to be true, based on your evaluation of each candidate.

The effort to “define yourself ” is not limited to just political fig­ures. You do it for yourself as a salesperson who constantly opens yourself up for acceptance and rejection in the role you play. You also take the risk of letting others define you, causing you to live according to their definition of you instead of your own. But by defining yourself, when you are rejected by prospects, criticized by others and judged by strangers, you will know their judgments to be untrue because you have decisively defined yourself. who-am-i
When you define yourself, you are consciously deciding what your goals and values are now and in the future. To help stay on track when you are tempted to accept and believe criticism, these goals and values determine your daily behaviors and priorities. Here are three questions to ask yourself about who you are and want to be. [Read more…]

Fight and fail; the only option worth taking

Lately it seems I’ve be learning a lot of lessons.  Which is another way of saying; I’ve been attempting new activities and not achieving the preferred outcome.  This is frustrating for me and I imagine the same for others who are constantly doing the same.

I don’t want to learn anymore lessons for a while.  I want a normal day of mediocrity, filled with a calm contentment and no surprises; like working on an assembly line for a few months. [Read more…]

I’m a First Responder to a No Soliciting sign

Last week I made a visit to my neighborhood mobile phone carrier’s retail store and noticed a ‘No Solicitors’ sign in the window.  This gave me pause before entering.  I thought – “I’m a Solicitor, what’s wrong with me.  Why don’t they want me to come in?”

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I peered through the glass like a school boy at a peep show, wondering what is going on inside that I was forbidden to see.  Others inside the store began to look at me and I finally mustered up the guts to pull the door open and walk in.

I stopped as everyone looked at me and said, “I saw the No Solicitors sign.  I’m a salesman.  I sell for a living.  What do you folks do behind the counter?  Are you salespeople?  Can I come in?”  [Read more…]

You Don’t Need to Educate Your Prospects

At the beginning of class I usually ask the question, “What is the goal of your sales call; whether it is on the phone or in person?”  I always hear someone say, “I need to educate my prospect.”  I replied with “Educate them on what?”  They say, “On my products, our services, the company, my experience.”  “Is that where you want the focus during the rest of the meeting – on you?” I response.  “Well, they need to know what I offer in order for them to buy from me.” They say.  “And that’s your goal of the sales call?”  “Yes,” they reply. [Read more…]