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Attitude

As a sales leader, there’s a simple way to help the salesperson check their beliefs when they are potentially getting in the way (head trash).

Rodney Dangerfield built his comic career on a signature tagline: “I get no respect.”  Unfortunately, there are far too many salespeople who suffer from the Dangerfield syndrome – either they feel they get no respect or, worse, they act that way.  They walk around with sullen expressions and a woe-is-me outlook.  They are selling sympathy rather than solutions.  If we are describing you, study this carefully.  Hold your head high and reflect the pride of your profession.  Selling is a great field.  It has advantages that few other careers can claim.

Day in and day out, sellers are inundated with sales tips, new technologies, and industry updates. It’s easy to get caught up in the newest trends and forget about the basics. Today, I’ve outlined five simple tasks that salespeople can perform to improve their daily efficiency and make them more effective.

The customer's always right… Right? That's great in theory, but it's not always feasible in practice. Promises made and unkept are worse than promises not made. But not making the unreasonable promises of an angry client or prospect can seem like the makings of a fight!

In Sandler, one of the things we talk about is disqualifying prospects. If you go into an interaction with a prospect looking for red flags, you're likely to save a lot of headache later. However, as with all concepts, you can definitely overdo it. We call that literal versus reality. If you're too literal in applying the concepts we teach, and don't adjust them to fit your reality, you can shoot yourself in the foot. A client of ours who is in online marketing has been with us a number of years, and realized this not too long ago...

If you're really honest with yourself, you probably don't always take ownership like you should. You probably have an opportunity to improve there. We all occasionally get caught up in the things we can't control, and don't spend the time and energy looking at the things we can control.

One of the things we talk about a lot in Sandler is an abundance mindset versus a scarcity mindset. Typically organizations and individuals operate either from a mindset of scarcity or a mindset of abundance. That can really steer an entire organization. However, it can also allow an individual salesperson to have more freedom.

In every sales interaction, you should get a yes, get a no, or get a clear next step. But regardless of which of those happen, you need to learn a lesson. Can you think of a time where you made the same mistake over and over again before you learned your lesson? Or maybe you still haven't learned that lesson yet.

A really good meal takes a lot of preparation. That's true when you have any good meal, but it is especially apparent around the holidays. Most people put hours of preparation into a good meal for just a few minutes of enjoyment. Are you applying that concept in your sales?

I'm fortunate to get feedback all the time from people that I work with. A while back, I received an email from a client we work with that blew me away. Since he started working with us, he had quadrupled his income, so I was curious what he had to say.

Why are you in business? Many people are in business because they have a unique skill set or background, and want to use that to help others. Unfortunately, in some ways that can end up limiting them, and can ultimately hurt them. Sound familiar?

Regardless of what your goals are, you have to break it down into digestible bites. You have probably heard the elephant analogy: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It doesn't matter what it is...

We've all felt pressure, like we're under a spotlight. Maybe our prospect asks a difficult question, or one where we don't think they'll like our answer. Do you stick to your system at that point, or abandon it in the hope we can get better results from winging it?

Imagine a sales person that sells only one product. On a sales call, they discover that what they sell doesn't help the prospect in any way. They now have a choice: To honestly say, I'm sorry, what we sell would not be a good fit for you. Or they can attempt to force a fit. Which do you think happens most often?

There's danger in letting your prospect end a sales call or sales meeting. Often times, they do it for the wrong reasons. You need to pay close attention to their behaviors, because those are signs of underlying expectations they have. And they may not be based in reality!

I've written a number of sales articles, but also many articles on the topic of management. This should be no great surprise, since management is one of the areas I coach and train in. Let's take a look at the top five management articles over the last few years.

Have you stopped to think just how much the word "IF" is worth? Judging by the way so many salespeople talk, it must be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example: "If I had only gotten there sooner... ," "If our prices were only more competitive...," "If the economy wasn't so volatile... ," "If the competition wasn't so stiff... ," "If the timing was better... ," "If I only had a bigger territory... ," "If only they would return my calls... ." The list is endless.

If you're like most people, you've been in a situation where you had to deal with someone, and could actually feel your frustration rising. It's a common occurrence in customer service, and can end up with both parties ready to fight! As soon as you start to feel your frustration rise...

There's probably been a point where you thought a deal was a sure thing. You came back to the office, and when someone asked you how your meeting went, you told them you had a sure winner. Then you found out later they went in a different direction. How can you keep that from happening?

For people and organizations with big ticket items, the sales cycle is more complex. And the more complex the sales cycle, the longer it typically takes. So how do you prospect differently for those complex sales cycles?

Have you ever been frustrated because doing business with a certain company was harder than you thought it should be? Have you thought about your own organization the same way? It may be difficult to do business with you, and you may not even realize it.

Too often, I talk with people that are working with clients they shouldn't have. It could be that their client doesn't pay on time, can't invest the time needed to solve the problem, or just plain isn't a good fit. If you're honest, it's happened to you at some point in the past! There are two reasons people take on business they shouldn't have.

Disqualification is completely up to us. Just because somebody comes in, wants what we have to sell, and has their checkbook ready, doesn't mean we have to sell it to them. For those that really like to help people, that can be a challenge. You can see your prospect is in pain, so it's hard for you to disqualify them, because you know you can help them.

Recently I spoke with a CEO over the phone, and he shared that his former vice president of sales had spoken with me a couple years before. When their former vice president of sales had called me, he was...

Happy ears is a concept we have at Sandler. It's all about hearing something, and making more out of it than you actually heard. If you're in sales, your even more likely to suffer from this than other people. And it can hurt you!

Because traditional selling is so bad, prospects often have their defenses up before they even meet with you. I like to use the analogy of a castle. They may have the drawbridge drawn, they may have the moat filled, they may even have alligators in that moat. The trick is to be aware of that, and to work through it.

If your role has anything to do with sales, you likely spend a lot of time networking, and maybe even prospecting. It's not unusual to meet someone who may leave you feeling a little intimidated. If you're not careful, that can lead to lost opportunities. A client of mine...

In sports they teach to be on friendly terms with your competition. We call that good sportsmanship. But in business, many go into it with a dog-eat-dog attitude. From their standpoint, there's only so much business to go around. In other words, they have a scarcity attitude. Others do business with an abundance mentality. They know there's plenty of business for everyone, and treat others accordingly. They tend to stay on friendly terms with their competition, and sometimes that can lead to business.

LinkedIn can be a great tool for prospecting, but only if you invest time and resources in knowing what it's really capable of, then actually taking time to utilize it on a regular basis. A client was recently on LinkedIn, and saw someone had looked at his LinkedIn profile. He then took five seconds to...

Typically when we think of professions that are universally respected, we don't think of salespeople. We may think of policemen, firemen, doctors, or even professional athletes. One of the things all those professions have in common is that they're always ready.

 

Traditional sales is not the same as the methods we teach at Sandler. And often times, the way we teach is not easy. It's hard work! Someone that has been exposed to Sandler often comes to a moment where they can implement what they've been taught, or they can retreat into the traditional methods that they're more comfortable with. We call that wimp junction. As an example...

There is huge power in taking the time to slow down and be intentional about your actions. All too often, we rush around so much that we don't actually get anything done. But when we take that time and are purposeful with our actions, there can be huge impact.

One of my clients recently changed that very thing in her organization. She began to implement what sounds like a fairly simple step, and was able to uncover something that made a huge difference.

We've been publishing helpful sales, leadership, and management articles on a regular basis for the last two years. One of the things we're able to track is which of those articles is the most popular. Since you may not have been a reader of ours for the entire two years, I thought it would be beneficial to share the 5 most popular sales articles.

The one constant in the world is change. If we're not careful, we can lose opportunities because we try to rush things and do them on our timeline, not the timeline of our prospect. One of my clients recently modified their sales process. They adjusted...

Often, others ask me to help them pre-brief before a sales call, and debrief after a sales call. When I was recently asked to do so, I discovered a huge waste of time, energy, money, and resources. Fortunately, I also knew how to avoid that waste.

Equal business stature is a concept we've talked about applying to interactions with doctors. But it can also apply to interactions the other way around as well. Let's see how one of my fellow Sandler offices saw this first-hand.

 

In Sandler, we have a concept we call equal business stature. When you're talking with a prospect, you really have to believe and get them to believe that your stature, from a business level, is equal to theirs.

Here's one situation where we can see that play out.

Any time you try a new sales technique, it's not going to feel natural or comfortable. It doesn't matter whether it's the three-foot rule, answering a question with a question, or using an up front contract, it's probably not going to go super smoothly, and if you're not prepared, you won't feel okay about that.

It's sort of like scuba diving.

It's very common for executives, CEOs, and VPs of Sales to come to me and say, "Our people need to get better at closing." And nine times out of ten, it's not a closing problem, but another specific problem.

If you get nervous about cold calling on prospects, you're not alone. It doesn't matter whether it's in person or over the phone, plenty of people don't like cold calling, and it makes them nervous. In Sandler, we have a rule about prospecting in general:

Sandler Rule #7: You Don't Have to Like Prospecting, You Just Have to Do It.

There is phenomenal power in taking time and energy to really analyze your sales process, and determine where you're losing business. And frequently, it boils down to one key difference in what you believe. For one company, that meant a minor change resulted in a 100% close rate.

My wife and I were recently watching the television show Bar Rescue together. I enjoy watching that show because there are phenomenal business lessons there. My wife turned to me and said, "I can't believe there are people that clueless running businesses." Sadly, there are far more clueless people running businesses than she even realizes!

Why do you think so many of your buyers and prospects like to haggle on price? Because salespeople give in! But when you give in on price, you're really letting people know you're nothing more than a commodity, and all of a sudden they'll be going to whoever can get them the best deal. Do you really want to be the cheapest option?

When you think about different activities you do where you interact with others, are you thinking of how to maximize those interactions? What's the key to getting the most out of any interaction with any person?

Success is created by changing your habits. Of course, that doesn't come instantly. It takes time to change habits. So how can we change our habits in sales? As it turns out, we can actually look towards doctors as an example of how to change our habits.

Technology has changed the way sales works. At the very least, it introduces new tools that your prospects may prefer for communicating. And if your prospects are comfortable with that technology, you'd better get comfortable with that technology.

Whose fault is it when things don't work out in sales? Is it the prospect's fault? Or is it yours? If you're answering honestly, it's always your own fault! So what should you do when you screw up a sales call?

People who enjoy socializing can fall into a trap. They can spend time on the golf course with their buddies, or maybe chatting at networking events. When they come home and their spouse asks what they did all day, they reply, "I was working." But if that's you, is that really was you were doing?

In my years in business, I kept seeing a common denominator in people I considered successful. I ran into it again and again. Yet for some reason I fought it and resisted doing it myself for a long time. What is it?

Regret is, unfortunately, all too common in the sales world. Sales professionals, managers, leaders and business owners often wish they had asked a certain question during a meeting, and wonder how it would have turned out differently if they had. Fortunately, we have a philosophy or tactic in Sandler that can make it much less uncomfortable.

People will buy how you sell long before they buy what you sell. How you treat people speaks volumes. People will remember if you treat them better than your competition treats them. In one case, practicing this technique led to a customer of mine raising their annual purchase order from half a million annually to nearly four million dollars a year.

How often have you asked a prospect about their budget, and they tell you they don't really have money for your service or product? Do you give up then? Plenty of salespeople do. But there's no reason to throw in the towel!

Can you really manage time? I frequently get the question, "Do you guys do training on time management?" It's always a struggle for me to answer. There's the little kid inside of me that wants to say, "You can't manage time!"

Too often, we lose the opportunity to make a sale because we become emotionally involved in a sale. While it's important that we show emotions, actually getting emotionally involved can have many negative consequences. We've all done it at some point or another. So how can that impact us, and how can we avoid it?

When something seems to be self-evident, the truth is it may not be evident to everyone else. "Self" is the key word there. We can't make assumptions that everyone knows what we know. To assume is to lie to yourself.

In every communication situation, somebody's buying and somebody's selling. Inside of us, subconsciously, we think that they're always the same. If you look at yourself and how you buy, you're going to sell the same way. You put yourself in your prospect's shoes, even when they don't think the same way you do. And that can be dangerous.

How you view money is something we at Sandler refer to as your money concept. When looking at your own weaknesses in sales, it's a key issue to be aware of. Your money concept can really screw you up!

We all know that sales is no place to get your needs met. But some of us are wired where we want to be liked more than we want the sale. That can really goof you up! It's a major, major weakness.

It's very common to get used to the way things work in your world. For example, in your world, you may do a lot of free consulting. But this can hurt you, sometimes in a very immediate and drastic way.

The old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. The parallel in the sales world is that you can show a prospect the solution for their problem, but you can't make them take it. Instead, you've got to do something much more powerful.

First impressions are huge. If you mess up in the first few minutes you're in a meeting with a new prospect, you may set yourself up for hours of unpaid consulting. So how do we avoid that type of situation?

How many of you would like to double your sales? If you are like most people you answered a quick yes to this question - let's look at the 3 ways we can do that?

We often get asked by clients (or prospective clients) how do you help our people get ready to be more successful in sales, business development, or client relations. Although it may sound like this could be a huge mystery - it is not quite that elusive. It can be broken down like this; to live your life as a champion salesperson, you have to go through the same training process as other top professionals whether they are athletes or astronauts, fire fighters or fighter pilots. Training conditions you to act and react in certain ways. This conditioning becomes a way of life based on rules, principles, and systems developed to ensure your success.

If only I would have asked … (fill in the blank)...? This is one of the most costly questions professionals have. It is also an extremely common thought that sales professionals, managers, leaders, and business owners share. How often have you left a meeting and thought to yourself I wish I would have asked………... or wish I would have said………....? If you are like most people these thoughts cross your mind on a regular basis. We find that many people know what they should ask or say – they just do not do it, or they are not comfortable doing it. This is a frequent issue that holds most people back – it keeps them from achieving the goals they have and the growth they seek. The big question is why does this happen? You might be surprised to know...

 

How often have you listened as someone rationalized his or her mishandling of a problem by externalizing its source: I can't meet my projections because . . ., My territory isn't large enough, or Our prices are too high? Closer scrutiny almost always reveals the source of the problem to be internal, stemming from the salesperson's concept of self specifically, a state of mind that prevents him or her from trying to break through his/her success barrier. This state of mind is their comfort zone.

Do you want more out of 2013 than you got out of 2012? More money, more free time, more respect, more friends, more whatever? If you are like over 90% of the population there is something you said you would achieve in 2012 that you fell short on why do you think only 10% did not fall short? It is because they have desire, commitment and follow the 6 simple steps we outline in this column.

It is very easy for us as sales professional, business owners and professionals to look at certain prospecting activities and say to ourselves, “Oh, that would never work for me!”

Really?

You can’t say that without putting effort into it and really see if it would work. You can’t say that without actually trying it first.

 

For many, sales are cyclical. Have you historically had lower sales in the last three months of the year? It amazes me how frequently I talk to people about their views on sales during the fourth quarter, and how they’re okay with less sales.

Why do sales people, business owners and leaders feel this way?