Monthly Archives: July 2007

Carnival of Sales & Management Success – July 18, 2007

Welcome to the July 18, 2007 edition of carnival of sales & management success.

Ivan Rios presents The Art of Leading / 5 Steps to Successful Leading posted at artofleading.net.

Ivan Rios presents Self-Confidence to Be a Leader posted at artofleading.net.

Jack Yoest presents Management Training: The Collected Sayings of Benjamin Franklin?s Grandfather posted at Yoest.com, saying, "The lineage of Benjamin Franklin is a bit murky. So Bill Oncken, Sr. would regularly attribute management training quotes to make a point more memorable .

“It’s hell to work for a nervous boss — especially when you are the one who is making him nervous.”"

Hunter Arnold presents Make More of Your Promotion posted at Make More of Your Job, saying, "Hello-
I am submitting a post which outlines some easy steps to ensure that employees are successful after being promoted. Thanks in advance for the consideration!
- Hunter Arnold"

Warren Wong presents How Much Money Is Integrity Worth? posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "How much money is your integrity worth? Here's why integrity is your most valuable commodity."

Jack Yoest presents Management Training Tip #1, Office Politics posted at Yoest.com, saying, "Learn to Love Office Politics.

The first prerequisite in management training is learning the ability to persuade. To be a salesman."

Lori Prokop, Blog Manager presents Sales Management: Leading and Coaching a Selling Team posted at J Mark Walker - Sales Training, saying, "J Mark Walker says “leading” a sales team is more like coaching little league than it is like “managing” a department. Top sales people crave “coaching!” They resist “management!”"

Lori Prokop, Blog Manager presents Marketing Strategy posted at Rodney Burge - Marketing Strategies, saying, "Rodney Burge advices to see everything you do as marketing."

Stephen Dean presents Killer advice from Michel Fortin… » Stephen Dean's Copywriting And Internet Advertising Blog - Copywriter posted at Stephen Dean's Copywriting And Internet Advertising Blog - Copywriter.

Krishna De presents Blog comments can build your personal brand posted at Todays Women In Business: lessons in leadership.

Charles H. Green presents FUD - Why Sell Is Still a Four Letter Word posted at Trust Matters, saying, "Sales is still a four letter word - here's why, and what you can do about it."

Warren Wong presents The Life Pursuit Of Money posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "Why should making money be a life pursuit? Because making money actually helps people! Here's why."

Ted Reimers presents Benefits of getting an MBA posted at CampusGrotto.

edithyeung presents 7 Phrases Successful People Would Never Say posted at Edith Yeung.Com: Dream. Think. Act..

Ant presents 3 Ways to Increase your Blog Stats posted at The Beef Jerky Blog.

Karl Goldfield presents Building a plan: Performance Expectations - A smidgen of Sun Tzu posted at Coaching sales champions.

Karl Goldfield presents Building a plan: Finding Talent - Unearthing potential and making stars posted at Coaching sales champions.

Susan Velez presents Prosperity Consciousness posted at The Secret To Life.

Uni presents Does the Law of Attraction Really Work? posted at You Deserve More, saying, "A great Law of Attraction article!"

Karl Goldfield presents Building a plan Part 3: Hunters, Gatherers, Communicators, and Collaborators posted at Coaching sales champions.

Cade Krueger presents Do You Know Your Prospect? posted at Write To Right.

Krishna De presents How to ensure you ask powerful coaching questions posted at Talking Coaching.

Krishna De presents Making a great impression with customers posted at Krishna De.

Warren Wong presents How To Come Up With Good Business Ideas posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "Are you thinking about starting a business? Here's 4 steps to come up with great business ideas."

Warren Wong presents Just Do It posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "Are you pondering over a task? Are you not sure if you should do it? Here's why you should just do it!"

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The Many Dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide

Before you read any further on this post make sure you visit this site: http://www.dhmo.org/Today I was surfing the net and ran across the DHMO (H2O).org site and nearly busted a gut laughing, but what was really funny is how many people in different Internet forums have come out strongly against DHMO before even knowing what it was. Dihydrogen Monoxide is water!This web site is a great example of how marketers and spinster politicians play on the emotions of the public or use disinformation to close a sale, or sway public opinion for political gain. I’m not posting this as a what to do article, but rather a what not to do, or what to watch out for. You competition very well may be using similar tactics to take away your clients right now. It is your job to not only service your customers but to educate them with good information so that they can make the best and most informed decision possible for themselves or their company.I hope you enjoyed this, had a good laugh, and will pass this on to a friend. I was very busy this week, and did not get the quantity or quality of posts I wanted to; but I will be back to my regular posting schedule starting today. -Brad

Is what you are doing REALLY productive?

Have you ever had someone on your team who is in your opinion extremely talented, but just does not seem to close as much business as someone who would appear to be significantly less talented? So have I, and I think what it boils down to is many extremely talented sales people do not close nearly as much business as they could because they stay busy, but they are not focusing on the correct things. It is not just the volume of activity that is important, it is the quality!

A few days ago, I wrote an article called Start With The End In Mind. In this article I explained how to use conversion data to plan your next week, month, or quarter. It’s a great tool, but if you remember I left out the part about dials to contact as a method to predict in this model.

The reason for that is because so many sales managers will tell their team “all you need is 100 dials a day and you will be successful!”  Frankly, I just don’t think it’s true! I have seen talented sales people making 30 good calls in a day run circles around “hard workers” who diligently get in their 100 (and sometimes more) dials. Does this mean less is more? No, or at least, not exactly.

What it means is it’s not the quantity of what you do; it is the quality that will influence your success. I Googled like crazy trying to find someone else willing to put this into print specific to sales and it seems I am the only person saying this, but that does not make it untrue. I think most consultants are just afraid to tell a company I think your people spend too much time looking busy making less than productive dials when they could be doing things that are actually lead to closing deals.

To emphasize this point I will share with you one of my own personal experiences and then I will leave you with something to think about. When I was a young new sales person I had a great start and everyone was sure I would be their next superstar after a few months. After about 6 months I was proving them right when I set a new record closing 12, 15, and 18 deals consecutively when most people in the company struggled to get 10. rolling into the 4th month my director came to me to share my conversion data and explained to me how I had done so well on somewhere between 30 – 40 dial per day, and that if I had done 100 per day like he had been telling me to I would have closed another 45 deals!

The dollar signs flashed before my eyes, and of course I diligently made my 100+ dials every day, but guess what… My production actually fell to only 8 deals the next month 100% MORE input got me 50% LESS output!

What was the problem? The real problem was my manager’s manager got in the way of my productivity. You see, I, like most great sales people was a bit lazy. I wasn’t achieving higher than average numbers because I worked harder than everyone else. I had learned to become extremely efficient. I was booking more appointments with 30 to 40 calls than the 100+ club because I was not focused on making dials. I was focused on making contact and having some quality conversations. When that focus shifted so did my productivity. Needless to say, I went back to my old program the next month and was in great shape again.

So what would the better advice have been? When I see someone like this, I sit down with them share their conversion data, and plan the next quarter, but I only talk about things that matter. For a sales process that begins on the phone that is getting a live voice or a “contact”. Without contacts you can make all the dials you want and you will be right where you are now.

Takeaways: Are you focused on the important things right now or are you keeping busy? What are the most important things you need to focus on to drive sales? Start measuring these things and setting goals based on that data and you will see your numbers climb.

Sales managers, are you overly focused on activity? Think about how you can help to re-focus your team on the most important things and set up goals and contests to reinforce those things.

Later this week I will talk about how I set up contests that drive production and not activity.

Carnival of Sales & Management Success

This post is to announce that on July 18th I will be hosting the first edition of a new blog carnival titled: “Carnival of Sales & Management Success”. This carnival was created to help give sales people and sales managers the tools they need to be successful. I would like to cover basic sales skills, values, leadership, management, coaching, and other areas of interest to people that would like to grow to the next level in sales or sales management, without having to memorize a bunch of cheesy lines or compromise there values or beliefs. To submit an article please use this submission tool:

Blog Carnival submission form - carnival of sales &  management success

Thanks!

 -Brad

Start With The End In Mind

Do you know what your conversion data is and what it means? Most sales people don’t, and it is a shame. Understanding conversion data will help you identify training needs, and set realistic goals with a solid plan for achievement. This knowledge could, if used correctly give you a HUGE boost in income. In this article, I will explain how to use your conversion data to ensure you continue to grow your income year after year.

What conversion data will help you do is go from saying I am trying to close X deals this month and taking a WAG (Wild Ass Guess) to explain how; to using the best information available to estimate a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess). It’s not a perfect system but it is far better than just tossing out a number and saying “I’ll close 20 deals this quarter” and having no idea how! Before I raise anyone’s hackles this is not a simple increase A input to get B outcome, but that may be part of what’s required! Here is how it works.

First you need to break down your sales process into logical steps. That should look something like this: Lead – Attempts to Contact (ATC) – Contacts – Scheduled – Appointment – Proposal – Contract. Your individual process may have more or less steps, what is important is that you understand your process and are able to measure what goes in the front and what comes out the other end.  

Next, you should record data on each stage for several weeks. In the previous model that data would probably look something like this:

Chart 1 sales data 

So from this model I can immediately extrapolate that 134 leads netted me 18 deals under contract, but what else could we do with it? The next step is to divide each step into the next and see what percentage moves forward in the process. That data should look like this:

Lead to Contact: 59% Contact to Scheduled: 52% Scheduled to Appointment: 90% Appointment to Proposal: 63% Proposal to Contract: 75%

I have purposely left out ATC to contact, but we will cover that in a minute.

Now I will plug this data into my model in Excel. This should only take you a few minutes to build, but if you need help, e-mail me or ask in the comments and I will happily help you out. This is my sample model:

 Sales model projection 1

In my model I assumed YOU control your lead flow, but you could just as easily start yours at contact to scheduled if you do not and the effect would be the same. I also recommend you always round a decimal up to ensure you do not come up short.

Now is the fun part. I built my model to auto calculate so as you change the red or blue numbers everything else changes with it. The weekly need number will also change if you change the 12 by weeks left to some other number to suit your time frame.

This is where the fun starts. I always build two models one with “Real” conversions and the other with my goal conversions. For this fictional sales person I may say what If I could increase my contact to scheduled to 55% and my appointment to proposal to 70%? My new model would look like this:

sales projection #3

We now have a theoretical 20 deals under contract in 12 weeks with no additional lead flow. The difficult part is figuring out HOW to increase those numbers, and that takes time, but at least now you know where to focus your training. The other route to 20 deals would be to some how put more leads in your funnel and that model would look like this:

sales projection Chart 4 

So you can see how you could achieve gains by either increasing your lead flow (assuming quality remains the same) or training to improve your conversion in some specific areas. More likely if I were this person I would work on both a little because more efficiency with more leads = bigger gains!  

I left out the ATC data, because the quality is so hard to measure. Is a call at 2AM as good as one at 9AM? Is the content of every e-mail and letter the same? I look at lead to contact as one big number to work on, but I do like to track my dials to contacts separately just to check for efficiency and test new scripts and e-mail or direct mail campaigns. But again that is another post!

Again, I want to reinforce that just saying if I generate 13 leads a week I will net 20 contracts. You have to take a strategic approach and make sure you actually hit your goal each week on all the other stages and update the model every week or so to ensure you stay on track. The primary function of this tool is to find training opportunities, and set manageable realistic goals with a solid plan to achieve them.

Please feel free to contact me with an e-mail or comment and I will be happy to assist you in building your model and coaching you on its implementation.

-Brad

10 things a good sales person should never say and why.

It seems like no matter how often sales managers say it, or how often sales people hear it, there are some phrases they will just NOT stop using. I am going to break my usual professional tone and share some insight as to what I (and your clients) hear when you use these lame highly over used lines.  

1.     I was just in the area and thought I’d drop by. Are you serious! The professional I am trusting to help me with X issue has nothing better in the world to do right now than just “drop by” to see me?  If you are not doing business with me already I am probably thinking who is this guy? Why is he here and how do I get rid of him as quickly and politely as possible. Unless we really are buddies, don’t just drop by unless you are only expecting to leave something I am expecting with my secretary. Trust me; she already knows to tell you I am in a meeting, and that if I am interested I will call back. If I really am expecting something from you she knows that too. Don’t try to fool her. She hates that!

2.      Have you got a minute? No I don’t! I am busy, and I have 100 other things I could be doing. In my opinion I think you are better off trying to engage me than to give me the easy out and slit your own throat. If I am too busy to talk believe me I WILL let you know.

3.      I’ll try. I really hate this one. I only want to know what you will or can do not what you will TRY to do. If you are not confident enough to say you can do it, do not mention it to me. I would much rather hear, give me 24 hours to do some research on that and I’ll get back to you than I’ll try.

4.      I’m really not sure. Again, your default answer should be “give me x hours or days to do some research and I’ll get back to you. This answer tells me you do not know the answer, but you are taking my concern or issue seriously and want to help. I am really not sure is not the answer of the confident professional.

5.      Its not my fault. Like it or not you are most likely my only contact in the company; everything that goes wrong is your fault. If it isn’t it is still your issue to fix. The best way to deal with this is to apologize, and take the most serious and immediate corrective action as soon as possible. More importantly let me know what it is you are doing to fix it, and how you will prevent future issues of this nature.

6.      What would I have to do to get you started today?Ever seen the movie Tin Men? Unless you want to sound like those guys avoid this phrase at all costs. This phrase screams “I am a slimy salesman!” and any rapport you have built with this client is eroding quickly from this point forward. Instead use something softer like this. You: Are there any other issues or concerns we have not covered sufficiently? Client: No everything looks good. You: Great! Then the next step is to…

7.      We are the lowest price in town.You very well may be, but is this really how you want to try to compete. It typically does not take much effort to come up with a better value proposition than that. Moreover, if I DO find a lower price, you are a liar now, and any trust you built is gone. My dad once told me when picking a service you had three choices; good, fast, or cheap. Pick any two, but recognize you will always sacrifice the third. Your job is to help your clients to understand this. Click here for more on why selling on price is not a good idea.  

8.      Always and NeverAlways and never are just plain bad. There is going to be an exception to every rule. My general rule is to avoid absolute statements wherever possible. Use these sparingly if ever.

9.      What you need is…Unless you are my Dad or a trusted friend, I think this phrase should be avoided. I don’t even use it during a proposal. If I call you with a problem, and we have been doing business for years, and you are intimately familiar with my issues it may be ok, otherwise, present me with options and let me pick. I am the ultimate decision maker as to what it is I need.

10.  Trust me. If you feel the need to tell me this, I am starting to wonder why and will usually assume I shouldn’t. Trust is like love. It’s built over time and the only way to gain it is to earn it.  I hope this list is useful to you. I know everyone has a list of things they hate to hear in a selling situation. I would love to see you share some of those thoughts by leaving comments below.