5 Essential Steps That Will Boost your Sales Career
960 Moments of PRIDE
“Life is a succession of moments.
To live each one is to succeed.”
Corita Kent (1918-1986)
American artist and teacher
Hey salesperson, what can you do each day that puts you into “attack” mode? Well, you have about 960 opportunities (16 waking hours x 60 minutes) to make it happen. And the trick is to make sure the percentage of successful moments far outweighs the percentage of stale or unproductive moments.
A successful moment at work is one that makes you more valuable to your customers, work associates, company or industry. And the following moments in your day, while necessary, are not necessarily increasing your value. Yet many average reps burn up countless minutes each day in these areas:
- Drive time
- Doing quotes
- Putting in orders
- Tracking down product information
- Checking email and voicemail
On the other hand, the following activities contain what I call “960 Moments of PRIDE.” And this PRIDE can raise your value…and your commission check:
- Prospecting for New Customers
- Relationship Making
- Influence Activity
- Educating Yourself
Prospecting for New Customers
Want to add some 960 Moments to your day? If so, you need to get out of the office and into the offense. Let me explain. Just last week a tenured salesperson told me that business wasn’t great. I then asked him if he was out looking for new accounts, and he told me he was not. When I asked him why, he said, “With the end of year coming, nobody was buying anything.” News Flash…HE IS MAKING EXCUSES. But that is what below average reps do. But guess what? When people feel pain, they look for change, and run from the status quo. So are you going to be that change that people look for? If so, now is the time to be aggressive.
And there is another benefit to going on offense. In business, the best way to defend your own accounts is to make people defend theirs (by the way, this doesn’t mean by low balling on price!). It’s that whole “best defense is a good offense” thing. If you are somebody who is spending more time in the office and not enough time on offense, your value is decreasing while your 960 competitor is increasing. This is no plateauing in this business. Your value is either going up or down.
Are you looking to trade in some of those stale low-value moments for more 960 Moments? Great…I have an idea. Make a list of the top 10 people both inside and outside of your business that can make you smarter. Then give them a call to set up a breakfast, lunch or other meeting (happy hour or golf is often a nice way to spend a 960 moment). Each moment you spend with a networking partner increases your value. Because the relationships that are made, along with the information you will receive, will make you more valuable to your company and your customers. Reach out to at least one person in your network each week and be prepared with one or two specific questions. Don’t reach out just for the sake of “reaching out!” Set a clear objective. An example might be, “My objective in meeting with Joe is to get him to tell me at least three things that he does to separate him from the competition.” By setting a specific objective for your networking meeting, you will get more out of it. And in that meeting find a way to help Joe in three ways as well. That will keep him an active member of your 960 relationship file.
Influence Your Activity
If you are interested in saying goodbye to the Poconos, and saying hello to the Bahamas, you need to be very specific about what you want to sell and how much of it you want to sell each day. Pick one or two products today that you think you could sell a ton of and plan to prospect on EVERY call you make for 20 days. But before you do, think about how many of those products you would like to sell. For instance, if you want to sell seven widgets by the end of the month, I first want you to think about how many prospecting calls you need to make and how many formal presentations you need to deliver to get to those seven sales. For example:
- To get 7 sales, I believe I will need to set up 10 live presentations (70% close ratio…not bad!). But to get to 10 presentations, I believe I need to prospect with 50 customers.
Okay 960, now that you know how many prospects you need to talk to about the widgets (That’s 50, by the way), it’s time to get to work. And take comfort in knowing that your “recession-excuse using” competition,” because they didn’t go through the above exercise, will stop prospecting at about 12, long before you have arrived at your number of 50.
960 Reps don’t look, act, think or smell like average salespeople. And they aren’t afraid to invest valuable minutes each day to do something a little “deviant.” One simple way to deviate from your competition is to take 15 minutes each day to write hand written thank you notes to customers and prospects that you met with that day. Keep the notes, some envelopes and a book of stamps in your briefcase, car, or by your phone. Then after every high value call you make, take one minute to write it, seal it and stamp it. Then find the first blue mailbox you can find. Think about it. When will that prospect or customer get your note? Tomorrow or the next day? And guess what that note will say about your ability to serve them. It says you care, you pay attention to detail, you have five-star follow up skills and you have time to do the little things for that customer. And that note can say those things even better than your lips can; because it is done in the spirit of service. And if you prefer to write the notes in your office at night, no problem, just get it done. Also, for you deviants who do everything online, check out this online card creation service at www.sendoutcards.com. It allows you to pick a card, personalize it and mail it with your handwriting all from one site.
The most successful people in any business are the ones who schedule time each week to learn something new. Grab your smartphone or open up your Outlook calendar right now and set a recurring appointment with yourself. And make that appointment between 30 and 60 minutes for the same time each week. During that time you can read a trade journal, visit a competitive website, call a current customer to ask for feedback, read a sales book…or whatever! But if the ultimate goal is to be able to provide more value to your customers than the competition, you need to be smarter than them. And the 960 rep doesn’t get smarter by accident.
Lastly, remember the only difference between top performers and the average is how they look at each moment, each hour and each day…especially when everybody is saying business is slow. There is a sense of urgency in high achievers that has them keeping score between productivity and wasted time. And top performers simply come closer to 960 Moments of PRIDE than others. And when they roll over to set the alarm clock before bed, it is at that moment they can tell themselves, “I made my objectives, I served others, I made a difference, and I did my best. Today was a great day!”
Go make it a 960 day!
About the Author
Sales Coach and Business Consultant Brian Sullivan,CSP is the author of the book, 20 Days to the TOP- How the PRECISE Selling Formula Will Make You Your Company’s Top Sales Performer in 20 Days or Less. President of Kansas City-based PRECISE Selling, he delivers seminars and internet training programs on sales, customer service, leadership and presentation skills to companies of all sizes. To find out more, visit him at www.preciseselling.com or email Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.