Archive for October, 2007

Little Joey & Sales Managers

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Joey was a beautiful baby. He was a healthy, strong little guy. Only one thing wrong – he never spoke, not a word.

At two, three, four and five Joey was silent. His parents cajoled him (they couldn’t think of a better word). Doctors examined his tongue and larynx. Child psychologists prodded his psyche.

Joey would smile silently and do his schoolwork, play with friends and happily engage anyone who approached him. He simply never employed any words.

At seven years old, the world had given up on Joe.

One morning he sat at breakfast and, when mom handed him his plate, Joey said. “This toast is burnt.”

Mom and dad were shocked into silence. Finally the boy’s mother exclaimed, “Joey, those are your first words! After all these years, why didn’t you say anything until now?”

The little boy replied, “Because until now, everything’s been okay.”

Sales managers – how do you tag or label reps who aren’t performing up to par?

Do you recognize the difference between a bad learner and a slow learner?

Because one is worth the investment. The other is worth a quick walk to the door.

Here’s a truth in training: Everyone learns at a different pace. We’d like the new kid on the block to show up and make the all star team in his or her rookie season. But you have to admit, that’s a rare occurance.

So how do we set proper expectations for new sales hires?

If you decide – before you hire – what activities indicate a rookie rep’s ability to strive toward success, you’ll know when someone is slowly (or quickly) growing into the role.

And don’t forget to speak up and let everyone know what you expect, and how long you’ll wait for them to “arrive” in their role. Setting standards, and numbers to attain gets the group to understand what is tolerable for each member of the team.

Like little Joey showed us, silence and surprises are not good for your sales family.

Fouling the Competition…

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I played basketball in college and one night we were competing with a team which had a very dirty player. This guy would run down the floor, glance to see if the officials were looking his way, and if he could, elbow one of my teammates in the face.

So in the first half, when that opponent went in for a layup, our center just flattened the guy. The whistle blew, and as that dirty player lay dazed on the floor, our big man leaned over and said, “I have four more fouls… and they’re all for you.”

Sales pro, how strongly do you feel about defeating the competition? Perhaps you’re friendly face-to-face. But are you determined to take their money, before they get yours?

I’ve found that great, truly great athletes hate losing MORE than they enjoy winning. Do you have similar feelings when you go head to head with a competitor?

So what gets you going? Is it something inside? Do you draw off internal reserves to attack and fight your marketplace? Or do you need to see, externally, others successfully feeding their families off your commissions?

What will it take before you increase your activities and your skill acquisition to hit world class selling status? See every pro knows he or she can improve, even when they’re great at what they do.

So whether you’re already motivated inside or are pushed by an external event, like losing a nice-sized sale to someone else, you want to get going and foul the competition. The question is how hard will you hit ’em? You’d better be good, because they won’t stay down for long.

Can’t Sell Today

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

(from a friend and fellow sales pro – check out his book below – strange title, insightful thinking)

The following is a diatribe from a fallen sales hero.

sales-dodo.jpg

Can’t sell in January. Between the terrible weather and everyone coming back from vacation, how can you expect someone to focus on buying now? I’ll pound the pavement next month.

Can’t sell in February. More snow and more vacation. Way to go, Washington and Lincoln; thanks for President’s Day! It’s such a short month. No one can make a decision in such a short month. Next month is going to be better.

Can’t sell in March. No one is going to make a decision on this with more holidays around the corner. Good time to shop for summer clothes. I’ll just borrow money because I’ll make huge commissions later to pay it back.

Can’t sell in April. Who wants to focus on buying with Spring in the air? And hey, my kid’s birthday is this month. I’m sure my prospects are working on their taxes anyway. Next month will be better for sure.

Can’t sell in May. Great weather in May, and I hear that my prospect may be thinking about being acquired. No problem. I’ll look for better ones next month. There’s tons of opportunity out there.

Can’t sell in June.
Kids are getting out of school. Wow! I almost forgot Flag Day. No one buys in this weather. Besides, July is a better month for sales anyway.

Can’t sell in July. Great time of year to be at the beach and enjoying the outdoors. I think all of my contacts are on vacation…together! Nope, can’t sell this month.

Can’t sell in August. Too hot! Besides, I’m taking my vacation. They probably are taking theirs too. No selling to be done now. Next month, for sure.

Can’t sell in September.
Between the three-day Labor Day weekend and a new fiscal year kicking in, no one is buying anything. I’m feeling good about next month.

Can’t sell in October. Columbus’ birthday; what should I get him this year? I almost forgot Halloween! I’m going to focus on selling hard over the next two months. I’ll finish the year strong.

Can’t sell in November. Thanksgiving, ya know. Very short month. I don’t think any of my contacts have their budget yet. Can’t buy without a budget. Man, December is going to rock!

Can’t sell in December.
Everyone is on vacation in December. I know I am! Who can focus on buying with the end of the year so close? What should I do for Festivus this year?

Oh well, maybe next year will be better for sales. Luckily, no one is buying anything from anyone this year.

Lee B. Salz is President of Sales Dodo, LLC and author of “Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager.” He specializes in helping companies and their sales organizations adapt and thrive in the ever-changing world of business. Lee is available for keynote speaking, business consulting, and sales training. He can be reached via email at lsalz@salesdodo.com, his website at www.salesdodo.com or by phone at 763.416.4321.

Could you sell this product?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Sales call leads to kidney donation

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/10/09/salesman.donor.ap/index.html

Jamie Howard was selling door-to-door when he encountered Paul Sucher, a buyer out of bucks. The man who answered the door was awaiting a kidney transplant and had no money for one of Jamie’s vacuum cleaners. In the course of conversation, the sales rep realized they shared the same blood type, O-positive. The salesman’s response to this “chance” meeting is a bit unnerving, but reveals something special about our profession…

“I went outside, prayed about it, called my dad and my wife,” Howard remembers. “(Donation) was something I was called to do.”

Howard, who is also 35, passed the tests required for potential donors. The operation was done at the University of Colorado hospital in Denver, where Sucher had been on the transplant waiting list.

Two months later, Sucher says he feels so good it’s almost as if he never was ill: “It’s truly a miracle.”

Wow!

What if there’s more to our time on this planet than pushing product?

What if there’s more to our relationships than buyer vs. seller?

What if there’s more to my idea that the Purpose of our Profession (Sales Autopsy, page 167) is to BE A BLESSING?

Do you have the guts to believe something, somebody, maybe even God, wants us to interact with those we contact – at a level beyond business?

Something unique happened to Jamie Howard & Paul Sucher. Was it a random act of kindness? Or orchestrated beyond our control?

Regardless of reality, what kind of conversations will you have with prospects tomorrow?

Pardon the Interruption

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

In a wild video, you can see drivers at a race in Australia swerving to miss a kangaroo who begins bounding about the track.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/offbeat/2007/10/09/vo.australia.kangaroo.race.sevennews

How’s that for a dramatic interruption to the workday of a race car driver?

Guess how this is relevant to your sales role?

Your job is to interrupt their days as well.

Smart sellers know their phone calls break into the lives of prospects. The trick, the smart way to do this is to bust into the brain of a buyer without antagonizing him or her.

One of several approaches I suggest is to open with a comment like, “This is an interruption you’ll be grateful for later.” Then tell the decision-maker how you’ve solved problems for others they should recognize, and want some talk time to make your magic work for them as well.

So your job is to interrupt their day, without wrecking the relationship.

Once you believe that, and act on it, you’ll leap hard and high and kangaroo-like toward greater success.

See you at the finish line.

Ig Nobel Awards Sales Tips

Monday, October 8th, 2007

If you’re not aware of the Ig Nobel awards, the most bizarre bits of scientific research from around the world are recognized each year in a ceremony where Nobel prize winners recognize these researchers “achievements.”

You can read about the 2007 awards at

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/10/04/ig.nobels.ap/index.html

These include viagra for hamsters (to prevent jet lag, of course); the mathematics of wrinkles in sheets, a comprehensive study of sword-swallowing injuries; and the Air Force’s development of a “gay bomb” to help enemies make love, not war.

In a world crying out for attention, these scientists have definitely distinguished themselves from their peers.

How well do you creatively get your market to notice your existence?

In my book, Sales Autopsy (www.salesautopsy.com), I suggest a tactic I tried, mailing a coconut with the words, “You’re a tough nut to crack” to a large hospital CFO, where I got the appointment.

Every sales pro – corporate, small biz or entrepreneurial can use a little creative thinking to gain recognition. Then you’ll need to close them, but that’s another skill set.

Let’s gather your best ideas and send them over here. We’ll put together our own Nobel prize for salespeople.