Are You Losing Sales? It’s Probably The Last 3 Feet.

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Successful outcomes are the result of many different elements including preparation, practice, and skill.  With every action comes a reaction and the intensity of that reaction can be linked to the effectiveness of the originating action.  If you walk at a slow pace for exercise it will take longer to work up a sweat as opposed to a brisk walk or even a jog where you will sweat much quicker.  Action versus reaction.

How often have you left a sales call wondering where things went wrong?  You didn’t get the business.  The prospect seemed on board but decided to go in a different direction.  That reaction, whether we’d like to admit it or not is the direct result of an action we took at some point during the sales process.  In fact, the primary action that results in lost sales is communication.  Clarity of communication, followed by the ability to process that communication, is where many sales people fall flat.

In his book Exceptional Selling, Jeff Thull talks about “the last three feet” as being the distance that separates a prospect from a sales person sitting across a table from one another.   How often have you felt you’ve done everything right and in your final meeting – in that last three feet – with the prospect, you learn they decided against doing business with you?  It’s happened to us all at least once.  If you have been selling for years it’s most likely happened hundreds of times.  But why?

The main reason for this disconnect centers around a miss fire in communication.  You either said something to the prospect that turned them off, or you said the right thing that disqualified them as a prospect but you were too stubborn to see it.  We’ve all been taught to never walk away from a sales opportunity.  Further we  have been told for years that everyone is a prospect.  These ideas are just flat-out false.  Not everyone is a prospect and the quicker you find out who presents a real opportunity the better you’ll become at selling.  Remember your time, money, and energy are only of value to you so protect them.  The faster you can sort the real opportunities from the imaginary the better.

Watch for my next blog when I’ll present a sales strategy I have used with great success that eliminates the risk of the last three feet.

 

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Tunnel Vision – A Salespersons Secret Weapon

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As the internet-of-everything continues to grow, and social media becomes more robust with each passing day, professionals in every industry are forced to embrace the art of multitasking. In fact, so much so that our society places the skill of multitasking on a pedestal – a Holy Grail if you will of those who are super-efficient. Look at a handful of resumes today and you’ll find candidates advertising their ability to perform a dozen tasks with accuracy and proficiency. But can they really? Can any of us be really good at anything when we’re focused on everything?

Successful salespeople do many things well but one common area of frustration that plagues many is the never ending struggle to focus. To have a singular focus – perhaps tunnel vision – on only one or two things at a time. Tunnel vision leads to a laser focus on what really matters. Would a golfer think of his/her next drive while still on the green putting for birdie? Would a heart surgeon be thinking of office payroll with a patient on the table and chest open? Let’s hope not. Tunnel vision, laser focus, or concentration can all be attributed to those who excel in their particular craft.

Try these 3 Tunnel Vision ideas to improve your performance:

  1. Shut off email while making prospecting calls. Email is one of the biggest distractions a salesperson deals with. What if my customer needs me? What about my referral sources calling me with a prospect? The human mind often tends to work in extremes. A “this or that” mentality. The reality is that things are rarely this or that. Start out by shutting off your email for an hour while making calls and then check it after an hour to see what items require your immediate attention or response.  You’re ability to stay focused on your calls in the absence of the “You-Got-Mail ding” will yield better results.
  2. The early bird does get the worm. Start your day early setting aside 20 – 30 minutes to read. Glance at the news, read some blogs, or finish a chapter or two of a sales focused book. Starting the day early allows you to tunnel your vision on tasks that will enhance your conversations and activities throughout the day.  If your calls begin at 8 am, start your work day at 7:30 am.  Notice I didn’t say start your day at 7:30 am as my assumption is that your day is starting somewhere around the 6 am hour if not earlier anyway.
  3. Prepare your call list the night before. Being able to start your day focused on making calls rather than preparing for them is another way to focus your attention on action-based tactics. Preparing a call list requires a different energy than making the calls themselves. Be sure when you’re making calls you’re focused on nothing but the calls themselves. Multitasking will be heard and felt by the receiver of the call and will most likely lead to poor outcomes.

Be confident in knowing that acting with tunnel vision will produce better results while multitasking only produces diluted results.  The power of focus will help you prioritize your tasks for the day by applying the most amount of energy and skill possible during those activities.

5 Things Every Salesperson Should Focus On

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Sales people are an interesting breed.  They’re high-strung, often funny, and witty, sensitive and many times high maintenance.  I know this because I am one.  I’ve sold, managed, led, and built sales teams for the better part of the past 2o years.  I’ve had months when I hit my numbers and months when I’ve missed.  I’ve had sales teams that have blown the number out of the water and those who have drowned while trying to hit the number.  Yet over the years I have heard one question that continues to be asked over and over again…”what is the secret to success in sales?”.  Here’s the answer…there is no secret.

The difference between successful sales people and those who fail in this profession is simple.  Over the years I have identified 5 traits that separate those who succeed from those who fail.

  1. Clarity of goals – knowing exactly what you want to achieve and when.
  2. Discipline – being committed to perfecting your skills.  Starting your day before others and ending it after they’ve long given up.  Putting in that extra time when others are out having fun.
  3. Curiosity/Inquisitiveness – an insatiable thirst for knowledge.  Betterment.  Desire to outsmart, or out-understand others.  Constantly absorbing, learning, refining.
  4. Time Management – successful people know that time is their biggest asset.  They don’t waste it.  In Sales this means selling when people are available to be sold to.  Don’t do paperwork at 10 am.  That’s a waste of time.  Sell at 10 am and do your paperwork at 10 pm.
  5. Self-Reflect – 15 minutes a day to reflect on what you did, what results you generated, what you learned, what you’ll do different tomorrow.

Make these 5 things part of your life and success will find its way to your doorstep, not because it simply wandered over but because you attracted it through these strong and powerful habits.

 

5 Ways to Improve Your Teleprospecting Results

 

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Sure it’s 2014 but the phone is still a big part of making sales.  In light of the internet, social media, and digital content, many products and services still require human interaction with the sales process.  If you have a product or service that requires lead generation through the use of teleprospecting here are 5 ways to improve your teleprospecting results:

  1. Write out your script.  I didn’t say read from a script, I said write it out.  Knowing what you need to say is important.  Making sure you have the salient points identified prior to a prospect answering the call is critical to your success.  Select your words carefully.  Forget the “$7 dollar Scrabble words”.  Focus on delivering a simple, clear message without the typical sales jargon.
  2. Practice the script.  Record your voice as you walk through your script.  Do it over, and over, and over again until it begins to sound natural as opposed to a forced message.  Get a mirror and watch yourself as you speak your pitch.  Try it sitting down and then standing up.  Often times you’ll be surprised as how much more relaxed you sound when your standing up.  Your diaphragm is elongated and your breathing and oxygen flow is much more streamlined than when sitting.
  3. Use tone and inflection strategically.  End your very first sentence on a high.  Be conscious not to end sentences on down tones.  When your voice drifts it comes across as boredom, lacking energy, or worse just plain unhappy.  Remember, when you’re on the phone your voice is your suit.  Since you’re not in front of someone you can’t wow them with your $2,000 Armani suit.  Instead you must have a $2,000 Armani voice.
  4. Have a list of client testimonials handy.  Referencing key clients or partners within the territory you are calling adds credibility to you, your product and your company.  You can be as general or specific as you’d like but be sure you have names to back you up.  “I work with more than X number of businesses (brokers, accountants, bankers, etc) in Philadelphia.”  If the prospect decides to challenge or question who you work with be ready with names.
  5. Set goals for calling.  A rule of thumb is 100 dials a day for teleprospecting, or 15 dials per hour.  This requires having a list ready that has this number of prospects on it.  Close your email, shut off your cell phone and start dialing.  Eliminate all possible distractions…just call.

Focus on these steps and watch how your productivity increases by 25% a month.  It really works.