Friday, February 15, 2008

Procrastination - Fear of Failure

I was thinking recently about some of the reasons why a person chooses not to succeed in business specifically sales. Sales is one the careers with unlimited income potential and yet many in sales choose to limit their income. They tend to procrastinate achieving the results until the last minute. Then anxiety sets in, sleepless nights, irritability, and that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. How many of you have endured such a state?

I can hear it now. “I don’t wait until the last minute. Customers are not buying now." I was on a conference call the other day where the Sales Executive asked the question about why sales were down. There were many reasons: It’s an election year. The economy is bad. There is a lot of illness. It’s the holidays. The reasons are all true and perhaps even valid. However, they are only excuses for not increasing your income. We have all used them at one time or another, haven’t we?

What is it really? I believe it is procrastination. There are so many reasons we procrastinate: Fear of failure, fear of success, perfectionism, feelings of unworthiness.

Fear of failure is huge. So many believe they will fail that they never start. It is easier on the ego if we blame events outside of ourselves for not succeeding then to have started and not finished. Someone shared with me the other day that their plan was too high and this person believed he could never achieve it. So, I asked why. The economy is struggling, the product is low, people are holding on to their money. This person wanted to be successful, but his fear was that he wasn’t going to be and he is struggling with even starting. The increase in plan is a gift, an opportunity for more income.

The reality is, especially in sales, that we are in charge ultimately of our own success. If you struggle with fear of failure, and many do, then you might want to consider not looking at the big picture. Break down your monthly plan into daily goals and only focus on achieving that daily goal. Achieve the daily goal and experience daily success. Focusing on daily goals eliminates the feelings of being overwhelmed by the whole plan. It decreases your anxiety and strokes your ego. Most importantly to you, it will increase your income!

Author: Mary Auda

Monday, January 28, 2008

Prospecting - Overcoming the Cold Calling Nightmare!

“Part of the requirement of the job is prospecting,” said my sales manager. “Not a problem,” I thought to myself. “You will be required to spend part of your week cold calling if you are not with a customer,” he went on. “Cold calling,” my inner voice screamed. I decided at that moment that I would always be with a customer so I would not have to pick up the phone and make a phone call.

I was raised to believe that it was rude and intrusive to make sales calls to people in their homes. I had seen over the years how angry my parents were for always being interrupted. This was further complicated by the fact that I absolutely detested being on the phone. I didn’t mind talking to different people; I just didn’t want to do it on the phone. So, I developed a plan. I would go door to door. Being a visual and kinesthetic person, I believed I could be more successful meeting people face to face. Being a writer, I could write letters to people introducing myself and letting them know I would be calling them. That was at least giving them advance notice of my calling. (Advance warning!!!)

My manager, though, was insistent about cold calling. We would have call days and I dreaded them. I attempted to create diversions. I had an appointment, a family commitment, church, anything! Does that sound familiar?

I couldn’t get out of it. So, one night I sat at my desk. Several of us were making calls. The director had a main phone system and could see who was calling in their offices. I hesitantly made a few calls and was met with strong resistance. Then, I thought to myself, I will just dial the numbers while keeping my finger on the receiver. I would even carry on a conversation and I could scratch the number off my list. After all I did call it!!!

I am an honest and ethical person and one of the requirements of the job was to perform it honestly and ethically. What I was doing was being integrous to the belief system that making sales calls to peoples home was an intrusion, but I was not being integrous in the responsibilities of my job. I created for me an ethical dilemma. Not only was I in an ethical quandary, but also I was not making any appointments or any sales. My co-workers were successful at setting appointments. I had an excuse and one that other’s gave me. I recently had moved to the south and did not have a southern accent so people did not want to speak with me. There was truth to it, but I did nothing to change it.

I was sharing my frustration with my sales manager and he gave me a script and said if I stuck with the script I would be setting appointments in no time. He literally sat in my office with me and listened as I made the calls. He gave suggestions to me that made the calling easier and I began setting appointments. I decided I would make calls every day and by repetition and training, I became more comfortable with cold calling. Because of my commitment to overcoming my own objections, I resolved my ethical dilemma and I created a great income for myself!
What is your prospecting nightmare? Could it be that the first objection you need to overcome is your own thoughts and belief system? Do you have the courage to create a great income for yourself?
Author: Mary Auda

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sales Tips for Success - The Secret Power of 25!

Here's a question: Are you earning the kind of income you want to need to support the lifestyle you desire?

Each week, as a Sales Executive, I have folks in sales approach me and ask advice about what to do to increase sales. Regardless of location, someone wants to improve their income. The problem is, while many want to improve their income, few want to improve their performance.

But they all want an answer!

So, knowing that a sales executive must be a guru or at least have the inside track - I ask, "Do you know about the secret power of 25?" If I must say so myself, what a great question.

Their response? "No. Never heard of it!"

"Really! Surprised you didn't get that in your initial training. Are you sure you don't know?" Now by this time the curiosity is rising, which is good - cause if you are going to learn something you have to have enough interest to remember - otherwise, you haven't learned.

Now a good friend of mine - Gary O'Sullivan stated, "Prospecting must become a habit and a scheduled part of every day. It is important to add to you prospect based every day, because ever day your prospect list is bing depleted. Every day you want to have more people to talk to than you did the day before."

So - here's the Secret Power of 25. Follow these simple steps with ZERO deviations and I promise you'll increase you selling, your income, and your effectiveness in your sales role.

Step 1: On MONDAY of each week send out (mail) 25 solicitation letters. Yes, that means "snail mail." Hand address the envelopes and include with each letter one of your business cards.

Step 2: On WEDNESDAY do the same thing! No deviations - 25 letters, hand addressed with business cards.

Step 3: On FRIDAY do the same thing! Get it?

Step 1A: On WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY - call (yes, using the phone) the 25 people whom you mailed letters to on Monday. Do not stop until you have made direct contact with those 25 people. Well, gee Chuck what do I say? Hum...what about, "I sent you a letter and I wish to follow up. Did you receive it?" Then proceed to discuss with them why it is in their best interest to visit with you about your product or service.

Step 2A: On Friday/Saturday/Sunday - call the 25 people you mailed letters to on Wednesday. By the way, a great time to call - especially if you're doing individual sales is Sunday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. Why...folks don't expect it so their guard is down and hence they are more open to the call. Plus often they will set the appointment just to get you off the phone. (Now, I didn't say it was pretty, but it is effective).

Step 3A: On Monday and Tuesday - call the 25 folks you mailed letters to on Friday.
Ahh...the Secret!

Follow these steps without fail for one full month. It's almost like a waltz - Mail, Call, Call - Mail, Call, Call - Mail, Call, Call (O.K., now you get the picture).

Why Does It Work?

Two reasons: (1) You are taking positive action. Not only are you getting your name in front of your potential customers, but you have given them your business card/contact information. Even if they are not ready to buy from you today, you have improved your odds of a future sale dramatically due to your action(s); and (2) your actions are the first step to creating a habit and habits (well good ones) yield positive results.

Gary says, "Every day you don't prospect, the next day you must settle for a lesser degree of performance."

I agree! So The Secret Power of 25 is really simple. Adopt a structured system of consistent prospecting and do that for 5 consecutive weeks and you'll be amazed at the results.

My guarantee...for the people under my leadership I have made this offer. Do exactly what I outline for 5 consecutive weeks and if you don't have a measurable increase in your sales I'll pay you a $250 bonus just for your trouble.

Wow, Chuck - so how much have you had to pay out?

ZERO! Yep, not a dime, cause one of two things will happen: (1) you will do the program - make more money - actually a lot more - and you won't want to quit; or (2) you'll find that the discipline is just too demanding and quit. I don't mean the program, I mean quit sales in general cause you aren't committed to your personal success.

Are you willing to access the POWER OF 25?

If you elect to use this - let me know just how much of an improvement you achieve in your sales.

Meanwhile, Happy Sales To You!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

SALES SUCCESS – Not if You Listen to the Ghosts from the Past

“You’re stupid!” exclaimed mother as she scolded me with disgust in her voice. “You’ll never amount to anything,” said the father full of contempt for me. “You could be whatever you want to be, but you will never succeed at anything.”

These were the words I heard growing up in my family and without realizing it I bought into it to the degree of becoming homeless with a small child when I heard those words again shortly after my husband left. I overcame those circumstances by going to college determined to become somebody worthwhile. I enjoyed a different life but in many ways still bought into the words of the past.

Ten years ago I joined the sales organization of my company. It was at that time that I began hearing words contrary to what I knew throughout my life. The company gave me the opportunity to sell their product. I had all the ability in the world to be successful, but it was a slow start because of my ghosts. I blamed the weather. I blamed the season. I blamed the lack of direction from my manager. I blamed the economy. I felt guilty for not succeeding but I looked at circumstances for my excuse.

One day, it hit me that if I were going to succeed, it was completely up to me. I had to change my thought processes and tune out the “ghosts”. Once I accepted personal responsibility for my success and stopped the self-limiting behavior, only then did I become successful. I moved out of being a victim of circumstances to empowering myself to succeed. I created opportunities and the means for unlimited income for myself.

If you are struggling in your sales environment, you might want to consider what self-limiting thoughts and behaviors are influencing your performance. What ghost messages are you listening to at this moment? Once you determine the messages, you can change your thoughts and break those chains that bind you. You can enjoy unlimited and soaring sales success.

Author: Mary Auda

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

C P R for Sales In December

O.K. so it's December, the holidays are upon us, folks have too much to do, and you clients or customers want to wait till the new year to meet with you. Ouch! You last two paychecks have been less than needed. You're kids want something for Christmas that you just found out about - and as the old saying goes...the older the boy the more expensive the toy (that also applies to girls) - and you sure could use a bonus!

I need help fast. What can I do? My sales need help.

The prescription for a slump in sales - C P R!

C = Calls

When sales are down and yet the need remains the same and the customer base is stable - there is only one solution (and probably one that you won't want to hear) - but the solution is MAKE MORE CALLS.

The only way to make sales is to make contact with prospective buyers. Regardless of how you make the still comes back to make the calls. Across the board, when sales are down there is one primary reason - we didn't make as many calls as are needed. Especially during holiday periods one must make more calls and do more in order to maintain acceptable levels of sales results.

P = Prospecting

Now, I started off talking about calls. Calls are a first step, but the calls need to be to folks who have a reasonable chance of buying in the time frame you need. Your prospecting must be focused. I could make calls to people who may be buyers out in the future - say next spring. Sure enough I would be making calls, but they would be ineffective if I needed the sale now. Therefore, my PROSPECTING needs to be centered around people who "should" buy now.

R = Results

Gary O'Sullivan (quoted in this blog) has said, "Every day you don't prospect, the next day you must settle for a lesser degree of performance." Gary is 100% on target. Making calls to effective prospects will always yield results.

When the patient is dying and CPR is administered there are two things that are always present: (1) intensity and (2) frequency. If we are to survive the holidays with sales in tact we must increase our intensity and frequency with CP=R.

Happy selling to you.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Finding the Heart of Sales Success - A Simple Secret

A great friend of mine, professional speaker and author, Gary O'Sullivan, in his book, "Principle Power For Sales Success," shares a fundamental secret for those who achieve Sales Success consistently.

Gary writes:

A clearly defined purpose is essential in helping you achieve your
goals. Anything you set out to accomplish in the sales process will
require you to deal with failures, disappointments and setbacks. Being
able to overcome these challenges requires a clearly defined purpose.
It is your "why!"

Whether it is your service to others or the things you are trying to achieve
in your personal life, knowing "why" you are doing it give your the power to

Years back, I recall my mentor in sales - David Whitener - visiting at my location. I was the Sales Director and he the VP of Sales. Some of our team members were struggling as we approached the holidays. Sales were lagging and the holidays became the excuse of the day for poor performance.

David, with his commanding presence, calmly addressed our group - speaking as if all was well with the world. He looked at one young man and asked, "What do you suppose the problem is?"

The new sales representative began his litany of excuses. David listened patiently. I, on the other hand, could hardly stay in my seat. Not only had we had declining sales, but here this guy was whinning. I couldn't believe my ears.

David's next questions set the tone for the turn that was to take place and take place quickly. "Why did you come to work for our company?" The answer was one of the pat answers that most people learn from the interviewing skill section of or some other "how to get the job you want" skill program on the internet.

But David, not happy with his response, probed further. Asking the question in a different way...and then again, in a way other than that, David finally found this young man's "why." In that meeting David went on to share with the group a story about his most successful sales person - a middle aged female who outsold everyone else on her team and, in fact, the region. The secret to her success? She clearly knew her "Why!"

As you read this take two actions before you retire tonight:

  1. Answer for yourself, "Why" do you do what you do? Put another way, what is your personal motivation for working? And, in do this simple task, do yourself a favor - don't give yourself some "pat" answer, like you might give me. Be real with yourself and dig deep to find out what your "WHY" is.

  2. Ask yourself as you review your efforts today, "have I done all I could do to achieve the reasons I work?"

When you tap into the real reason you do what you do - you'll find that you will have renewed energy to push on toward success. We all have a "why" - the difference between those who are highly successful and those who keep struggling seems to be that the Sales Successful know their "why" and tap into their personal power to succeed.

What's your why...drop me a comment. Perhaps those comments might help inspire others.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Styrofoam Cup and 25 Pennies

"What can I do," the sales counselor asked in exhasberation. "I can't seem to stay focused on getting my calls made. There are just so many interruptions!"

FAST FACT: In his book, "The Age of Speed" speaker and author Vince Poscente said that on average a person gets interrupted 11 minutes after starting a task. It generally takes 30 minutes to get started again and sometimes one never restarts.

No wonder staying focused on the one thing that you need to focus on is so important and so difficult.

SALES TIP: I'm no different than anyone else in sales. I like to do what I like to do and avoid doing those things that don't "turn me on" - like making calls - especially cold calls. Yet, if I am to succeed in sales, we all would agree that making those prospecting calls is critical. So here's a practical idea that worked for me, and I've seen work for others.

Step 1: Take a simple styrofoam cup (doesn't have to be large) and write you name on the outside - claiming it as yours.

Step 2: Place 25 pennies in the cup. (Why pennies? Well, the represent ONE. And, no one will take them cause you can't use them in a vending machine - just a helpful tidbit)

Step 3: Each morning when you get to your workstation, empty the pennies out in an obvious place somewhere on your workstation.

Step 4: (The last step)! Commit to yourself, for your success and personal benefit, that you will call 25 "true" prospects today, before you leave. Each time you reach a "true" prospect (answering machines and kids don't count), place a penny back in the cup. When you've placed all the pennies back in the cup. YOU'RE FINISHED PROSPECTING!

Sound easy. It is! The only thing it requires is doing it!

What I found is that those people who had a visual reminder of the task at hand were more apt to complete the task. The pennies are kinda like a visual to do list. Further, having something tangible - something you can touch makes the experience more real.

Unless you just love cold calling (and I've only met a few people that are turned on by that activity), you need to commit to something that will prompt, help, encourage, push (whatever), you to achieve your sales goals.

I am quite sure that there are sales professionals far better than I, but by using this simple technique when I was in direct sales, I became the #1 performer for the region I was assigned to. I can assure you it was solely a function of my prospecting focus and placing 25 pennies in a cup every day.

CHALLENGE: Try this for one month and then report back. If you're presentation opportunities don't increase dramatically...I'd be shocked.

Let me know the results!