Poverty of Vision

December 3rd, 2007

December 1st was AIDs Awareness Day.

While attending services at mega-church Willow Creek I saw an interview with a woman who works in Malawi, Africa – focusing on the AIDs crisis.

Imagine this in your back yard…

1 million people infected with the disease.

20% chance that a child won’t reach 5 years of age.

Serious deforestation because of the constant, overwhelming need for lumber – to build coffins.

The AIDs worker said the most serious problem, however, was “poverty of vision.” The people are unable to see that things can be better. So they resign themselves to their terrible fate. And despair reins.

Even in our wealthy country, we can see plenty of “poverty of vision.”

How about you?

Are you resigned to mediocrity as a salesperson?

Or do you believe, can you see, do you like the sound of the idea that things can be better?

This is a simple decision, this poverty of vision. You either buy into it or reject it.

What will you do, now that we’ve identified a stumbling block on your path to success?

Try Before You Buy Creativity

November 28th, 2007

Bahadur Chand Gupta bought an old Airbus 300 and now offers weekly sessions in Delhi in which any of the 1 billion Indians who have never flown before can sit on a genuine (though disabled) airliner, listen to pilot announcements (“We are about to begin our descent into Delhi”), and be served by flight attendants. Said one customer (who paid the equivalent of about $4), “I see planes passing all day long over my roof. I had to try out the experience.” [The Times (London), 9-30-07]

There are a couple ways this “try before you buy” approach works in sales.

One is the old school “puppy dog” close. Take the dog home from the pet store. Let the kids play with it for a week. If they don’t like it, bring it back. The pet is never returned.

The car business used to use this, too. Take the vehicle home for a few days, try it out. After the prospect shows his friends, family and neighbors, his new ride, how likely will it be that he or she returns the vehicle?

Find ways to let your buyer have a temporary experience with your product or service. You can get them hooked on a permanent relationship that way.

Another way this tactic is useful is cracking large corporate accounts with baby buys. Get the potential client to nibble at a small, but solid sale. It turns you from being an outsider knocking on the door (or phone) into a existing vendor. That’s super smart selling. Jim Holden reveals some details on how to pull this off in his great book, Power Base Selling. You should own it.

Now you have a couple ways to get prospect to fly with you. When will you use them?

Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts

November 26th, 2007

A common theme that continues to run through my writing and speaking is to be grateful.

So this was the weekend to focus on family and friends. I called a lot of friends who live far away, just to leave a message that I’m blessed by our relationship.

It’s not too late, it’s never to late to do this anyway, any day.

Who helped you get where you are today? Thank ’em.

Who is supporting you now toward success? Thank ’em.

Who is assisting you to be a better person, family member, friend? Thank ’em.

Make a list. By investing energy on those who build you up, you’ll forget about the turkeys that slow you down.

That makes for a great Thanksgiving.

Spider Web Lead Gen Strategy…

November 19th, 2007

In August, entomologists found a spider web in a state park about 45 miles east of Dallas, covering trees, shrubs and the ground along a 200-yard stretch. The originally white web had turned brownish because “millions” of mosquitoes had been trapped in it. [Dallas Morning News-AP, 8-30-07]

Spectacular spider web

200 yards! That’s a concentrated collection of rewards for someone on the hunt.

How well do you focus, do you key in on your exact target audience?

We are so often distracted by prospects everywhere (the grass is greener syndrome). When, in fact, staying close to home is a cheaper and easier way to build your business.

Cast a wide web in your own backyard and you’ll gather perfect prospects that will feed you well.

Kidnapped Songbirds and Selling

November 13th, 2007

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/11/06/
sparrow-migration.html?dcitc=w01-101-ae-0003

Nov. 6, 2007 — Tiny songbirds caught midway through their annual migration and shipped three thousand kilometers away could figure out which way to fly to reach their winter nesting grounds, a study released Monday found.

Researchers trapped 30 white-crowned sparrows as they made their annual migration from breeding grounds in Alaska to winter nesting sites in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

These birds were taken 2,200 miles off course and released. They got right back on track. This included mature sparrows as well as young who had never made the migration!

How well do you keep your selling on track?

How well do you know right where you are and exactly where you have to go?

Great sales pros have fantastic focus. They let nothing keep them from their ultimate destination, that trip to the bank.

So when distractions arise (and they will) and whether they are minor or major interruptions, know what your goal is and head right back, in the right direction, and you’ll land safe and sound in the nest of success.

What are you thinking…?!?

November 7th, 2007

Coast Guard officials said they rescued Louis Pasquale, 35, near Freeport, N.Y., in September as he was towing his disabled 35-foot fishing boat back to port 20 miles away by dragging it behind an inflatable boat he was paddling against the current. (He had covered about 100 yards in three hours.) [Newsday, 9-20-07]

Perhaps the most common theme you’ll see swimming through my writing is this;

What activities are you engaging in that are detrimental to your selling health?

Ruthlessly, relentlessly, VICIOUSLY remove – from your sales day – anything which does not lead directly to closed business.

That’s smart, that’s good decision-making, that’s not rowing against the tide.

You’ll spend more time fishing and landing those elusive, big fat greenbacks.

Spying on Prospects…

November 5th, 2007

As several sightings were made around Washington, D.C., of dragonfly-looking bugs hovering in the air at political events, government agencies were denying that they had released any tiny surveillance robots, according to an October Washington Post investigation. “I look up and I’m like, ‘What the hell is that?'” asked a college student at an antiwar rally in Washington. “They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But … those are not insects.” Several agencies and private entities admitted to the Post that they were trying to develop such devices, but no one took credit for having them in the air yet. [Washington Post, 10-9-07]

So science turns its back on fiction and flies into reality. Here’s your thought, sales pro;

What are you doing to monitor your prospects? To monitor your clients and customers as well?

You can spy on both current and future buyers by subscribing to their email newsletters. And how about just connecting with these people with a phone call. No “just checking to see how you’re doing” stuff. Have a specific reason.

I called a Southwest Airlines marketing exec to see how his sales training initiative was going (I made the short list, but was too expensive for them). My reason to call; all the airline bankruptcies. This was not a concern of Southwest’s.

The opening statement was, “So, with all the financial troubles hitting your industry, does your competition hate your guts?”

So manage existing relationships by connecting and fishing professionally for information when you can. For those cold calls, those potential buyers, subscribe to their company ezine (everyone has one now) and get the inside scoop on where they’re growing and what they might be struggling with.

I (and you should also) have several web-based email addresses where I can anonymously subscribe to potential buyers’ information AS WELL AS MY COMPETITORS.

You can be fly unobtrusively through the lives of people who can feed your family, by being smarter than your competition. Get in the air and gather data today.

Little Joey & Sales Managers

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…

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

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.