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This is the fourth post in a series of six articles
| Bolt Out
1. Picture Success
You’ve heard “I’m on a vision quest.” For me, it’s a discovery quest. My vision of success on this project is to create a great sales process. I see sales success as partnering with marketing to attract prospects, and then converting the interested ones into customers in a consistent manner. Many businesses try to bring certain functions together: research and development, product management, marketing, operations. But they neglect the sales part. Big mistake. Are you one who has neglected the sales part, don’t want to get involved in the messy details of sales. If so, my article here aims to encourage and enlighten you on the idea that the purpose of a business is to attract and retain customers. Profit is just a byproduct of sales done right. Nothing counts until a sale happens. Remember, I pictured discovering a great sales process.
2. Plan Strategically
Simply put, my sales strategy involved adopting two or three channels of distribution and executing tactics to maximize opportunities.
- Businesses which provide their employees with laptop computers and smart phones.
- Wireless phone and consumer electronics distributors and retailers.
- Customers who care about protecting their electronics, valuable items, reputation and ability to be productive using these tools.
- Affiliates who have aligned business and charity causes with ImHONEST.com
3. Make Goals
Because I want to bring WoW Factors to my customers, I make sure to have intentional congruence between my short term sales growth goals and my long term business development picture of success. It’s a virtuous circle. I started out with six metrics to monitor, and my sales team quickly advised me to narrow it down to a more manageable number for our ‘Gotta Get More Sales Boot Camp’ game. With a green field opportunity to sell ImHONEST.com products, I decided on three, number of calls made, number of review meetings with decision makers, and number of sales. With my starting and ending dates set, my purpose clear, my strategy in place, I am ready to bolt off the starting line, eager for a strong finish.
4. Do It!
Secrets Learned: There can be no doubt that all my success results from intentional, focused action. This chart shows my prospecting actions over the last four weeks. In week one, I missed my weekly target by two calls, but I came into the realization that my sales goal loomed large and I needed to step it up. In week two, I boosted the numbers over goal, but I still wasn’t satisfied. Good things happened to me in week three, when I doubled the activity goal. Be ready to take on a double now and then. I’m not talking about a double cheeseburger either.
Sometimes I hear people say the problem with prospecting is that it’s hard to do. It’s NOT HARD, if you’re prepared. It’s easy to do, but it’s easy not to do too, even when you’re prepared. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Yes, easy not to do. Any sales plan needs to track field activities. Especially when you’re starting something new. In this example, the chart doesn’t tell the whole story, just the numbers. Management likes the numbers, but leadership knows they need the proper key to unlock the your potential, to get yourself to produce the activities. Why are you going to do it?
5. Pause Reflect Recharge
Secrets Learned: If you pay attention, the numbers in the chart above tell you what you need to know. After week one, I came up short. The key lessons for me:
- Obtain a better prospecting list, work introductions of associates. I shifted from calling office supply retailers in week one, to wireless dealer distributors in week two. The list had no decision makers though. If you can get a list with decision maker contacts, it’s even better.
- Write a presentation script, write some answers to anticipated objections, and practice them.
- Have objectives for your calls.
- Get the Decision Maker Contact info. Name, phone, email, times in office, schedule, assistant
- Get suggestions, advice, a referral or introduction.
- Get an appointment for a product review when addressing the Decision Maker, have them take some kind of action
- Get a commitment to BUY.
- Ask myself what can I do to improve my result next time?
- Break up my routine. Get out of my comfort zone. Seek feedback.
Secrets Learned: Although sales revenues and numbers are key results to achieve, having an interim milestone like meetings with the decision maker highlighted above, gives me vital clues about my activities, effectiveness, progress, and success. I use this information to make adjustments in strategy or tactics to improve my sales approach. You will become excited going through this process.
6. Deal with Reality
Time happens, whether you’re making the numbers or not. Have you ever noticed that somehow, successful sales professionals make the time to do the numbers? Unsuccessful ones let interruptions crowd out their time for doing the numbers. Then they make excuses. That’s not you. You put distractions in the rear view mirror.
Secrets Learned: Perhaps you found a coach and a team of associates working on similar goals, while forming new habits. If you have not found them, then you’ll want to identify them, get together, and gain solidarity. My coach gave me an invitation that I could not pass up for even a moment. It was 30 minutes per day, every day, for four weeks. She called it ‘Gotta Get Sales Boot Camp’. I signed up immediately. If you can’t face reality on your own (and most sales people can’t), then I recommend you get a coach. I did. You’ll be fortunate if yours does for you what mine does for me.
Go ahead and check my coach out. Her business zooms at Accelerated Outcomes.
7. Make a Commitment
You may have heard the definition of a sale is the transfer of enthusiasm. Did you ever wonder about the meaning of enthusiasm? Why do some people have it and some don’t? The root word enthuse has Greek origins, meaning ‘the god within.’ And I-A-S-M, is an acronym that stands for “I am sold myself.” The God within I am sold myself. Once you make a commitment, enthusiasm flows. Give it a try.
I play mind tricks on myself. I’ll give you a couple examples. I don’t quit calling on a high note. I keep going with the next customer when I’m on a high note. Why? Because the person you reach will feel it, and that can be your next customer. Alternatively, I don’t quit if I haven’t reached my goal. I make another call.
Another example happens when I’m growing frustrated. Instead of falling into the hole, I catch myself and become fascinated. Have you ever been caught sitting in your car, on the freeway when it’s a parking lot and you have a critical meeting with an important person? Nothing you can do will change the situation, kind of like President Hosni Mubarak this week, with the Egyptian protestors marching for freedom. The pressure keeps building, building, you’re boxed in . . . and then you notice the chrome wheels and lug nuts of the truck next to you throw off shards of light shimmering in all directions. Fascinating . . .
8. Prepare Daily Tasks
There are only 24 hours in a day, and now I had a new set of activities to layer into my daily schedule. Something had to give. It wasn’t going to be my morning exercise, but the problem was most of my customers were on the east coast and I am on the west coast. If I didn’t start early, time would slip away. My response was to start making calls at 5:30am. Shift happens. In order to do that, I needed to go to sleep earlier. I gave up a worthless evening hour of TV, and it was a breeze. I’m still looking to find associates to join me for lunch at 10am, however . . .
In one of my calls to Disney, the customer asked where’s area code 510? I answered San Francisco and he said, “Doug, you have tough working hours.” My response, “Yeah, it may seem so. It’s early, but I am done with my work day before 2pm, plus I don’t have the same traffic challenges that many others do.” Actually, I get more done now, from this minor adjustment. One of the benefits of making this change, is that I am stronger asking my customers to make adjustments too. Funny how things work that way. You don’t have to get up to make calls a ungodly hours of the day to be successful in this area. My point is you prepare daily tasks, resolve to never give up. And your effectiveness will soar.
9. Track and Monitor
I set the goal for six sales. OK, so you see I haven’t made the sales numbers after four weeks. Is that a bummer? No, because that was five weeks prior when I didn’t have a clue about what the sales process should look like. Now, I have greater insights into what it takes to succeed in this business; also like Vince Lombardi said, I just ran out of time. I know sales will happen. I’ve received verbal commitments. I will ride out the closing process, no matter what. I’m not going to beat myself up for missing this milestone. I have learned much about what I need to do to improve, and have committed to getting the sales by the next period. Do you notice the attitude? It’s time to be a victor, not a victim. Only you decide that.
Secrets Learned: Sales is a critical metric to monitor. In this case, the gradient was too steep. When starting out selling a new venture, product, or service, it’s important to craft a delicate balance between what is inspiring and what could be overwhelming. I had inspiration sustain me during this four week period. Even though I made much sales effort, the sales goal needs to be adjusted to later in time, for a more even gradient. My workaround was to accept a verbal commitment from the customer to buy, and go for two of those in the final stretch. There are other key business metrics you can track here, including margin per sale or customer, size of sale, percentage of growth rate, or repeat customers.
Remember this: You can probably fool other observers with your numbers for a few days, maybe your associates for a couple days, your boss or coach for one day, but not yourself, not even for one day. You don’t want to call your character into question. So don’t even try.
10. Find Bright Lights
Some of my recent bright light figures who I owe kudos to: Harvey Baraban because he stands for personal integrity and shares his knowledge generously in our monthly roundtable events. JT Foxx, because listening to him makes me uncomfortable, his unreasonableness, incisiveness stir up my assumptions; and then, his passion is like a warm blanket coaxing me out of my comfort zone. Raymond Aaron, because his intellect, passion and communication are rational yet challenging; and, Eroca Lowe, who carefully teases out whimsical dreams from far places, and nurtures these thoughts into reality, then steadfastly keeps them growing. My Wife gets my special thanks because so much is fascinating with her. Brian Tracy for sheer force of belief, a prodigious idea factory, and offering new introductions that reveal opportunities at every turn. Then there’s Bill Bartmann for his decent boldness and sensible approach. Nick Nanton the celebrity brand maker, bursting onto the ‘I will improve your life’ scene with contagious optimism. And finally, like the unknown soldier, we have to thank the superstar sales rep you know who proclaims joyously, “My friends are my clients!”
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