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!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Baby Boomer Facts! Lessons for Marketing

Who's buying our products today? The average age for purchasers of our products is well over 50. Baby Boomers. In fact, we, as sellers, are them. We're selling to our peers for the most part. So here are some facts to consider:

  • According to the U. S. Census Bureau there are over 78,000,000 people in this country who qualify as Baby Boomers
  • They, the Baby Boomers, were born between 1946 and 1964
  • Baby Boomers don't all act alike. Consider the following people would qualify as Baby Boomers - George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Cher.
  • After studies have been completed, Baby Boomers typically are a bit more conservative in their voting patterns than Americans 60 and older.
  • Baby Boomers will inherit the largest transfer of wealth this nation has ever seen

Since we as professionals in the sales arena are them...perhaps its time we observe our buying habits and expectations and adjust our sales practices accordingly.