Sales & Sales Management Expertise

11 Sales Lessons – What I learned During My Summer Vacations (Part 2)

Tags: sales lessons, successful selling

As I mentioned in my previous article, I’ve had two vacations this summer. One trip was to Canada for fishing and another to Falmouth, Massachusetts to relax and visit our niece and her family. While there we relaxed, had some great meals, walked all over Falmouth, visited with a client, and ate lots of ice cream. All the while, I continued to be amazed by the sales lessons I learned during our daily adventures.

Here are the 6 sales lessons I learned while visiting the Cape.

#1: Small sales can be very rewarding as you watch them grow

Linda’s niece Laura and her husband Sebastian have an infant boy: Javier Miguel Fuentes. He is 9 months old and a delight. We met him when he was a month old and now he is crawling. It was a blast to spend time with him and see how he continues to develop and grow. Yes, there is lots of pressure to make ‘big sales’ but you can choose smaller ones when you believe the growth will be worth all the effort.

#2: Little things do matter and make a difference

While dinning at Anejo Mexican Bistro, not only was the food delicious but the staff was exceptional and paid attention to the little details. It made our visit and experience exceptional and Anejo become our ‘go to’ place to eat during the trip.

theknob

#3: If you want the right kind of clients, you have to be where they are

The picture here is of ‘The Knob’. The Knob is a piece of land donated to the Audobon Society by Miss Cornelia Carey in 1973. To get there, you have to go to Woods Hole, find the little out-of-the-way road to Buzzards Bay. You may have to park ½ mile away and walk to get to the Knob. But if you want to see the beautiful sunsets from the Knob, you have to go to the Knob. It won’t come to you.

#4: Take risks

We are creatures of habit. We go to restaurants and order our favorites, our standbys, because we know what we like. I ordered a mahi mahi fish sandwich with aioli sauce and a slice of pineapple on a brioche bun. Those who know me know this isn’t my go to meal. It was great. So great that when we got home that was the first meal I prepared for our Sunday family dinner. We spend a lot of time in training sessions with ‘seasoned’ salespeople who have been doing what they’ve been doing for decades. Some of these people fear taking the risk of trying something new. What is interesting to me is that those that are most successful are those that always take the risk of trying something new.

#5: When on vacation, you can eat ice cream anytime

Linda and I managed to find lots of places to eat soft serve ice cream. Normally it didn’t matter what time of the day it was. When we found ice cream we would stop, consider and buy. In your sales day, there is never a bad time to prospect. Anytime you spend prospecting – just one call between other ‘things you have to do’ is time well spent. Anyone you meet might be someone that needs to hear your story. Don’t convince yourself that prospecting is something you just do on Thursday. That prospect you are looking to connect with on Thursday may not be there.

#6: You really can’t do it alone.

Salespeople have huge egos and believe that ‘they’ are the center of the sales universe. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. We have a client in NYC that has an extraordinary sales support structure. Without it much, if not all, of the recurring revenue wouldn’t happen. The ‘expertise’ of their product specialist is exceptional. Yes, the producers hunt and develop relationships and that is no doubt a BIG part of the job. But the rest of the team fulfills the promise and is always there to pick up the pieces when something goes wrong. It took a number of people to pull off the wonderful trips I’ve had this summer. Special thanks to our family: Jeni, Steven, Alex, Ireland and Mike for taking care of things at home and watching over Anthony. Thanks to our people at Anthony Cole Training Group for taking care of business and my clients while we were away. The guys I fished with have been doing this trip for 30 years. Without Gerald, Bob and Barry and their expertise there is no way the trip would have been as extraordinary.

So there you go, vacation sales tips from Canada and Cape Cod. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Send a picture of your summer vacation to tony@anthonycoletraining.com and you will receive a free, 30-minute pre-call strategy session with me to discuss a sales meeting you have coming up or a post-call debrief for a prospect meeting you already had.

11 Sales Lessons: What I Learned During My Summer Vacations (Part 1)

Tags: sales lessons, successful selling

In June, I went on a 7-day fishing trip to Lake McCrae Ontario, Canada with 3 friends of mine. 2 weeks later, Linda and I spent 5 days in Falmouth, Massachusetts and 2 days in Boston.

My vacations have provided some insights that correlate very well to what it takes to be successful in selling. To make this a little easier to digest I will take the 11 Lessons from my summer vacations and break them down into two articles.

The 5 Sales Lessons from My Canada Fishing Trip

#1: Anticipate an unexpected turn of events and prepare to respond

Lake McCrea is very remote. There is no cell or phone service. Last year was my first trip there and I was concerned that if something happened or if something happened at home there wouldn’t be a way to get help or leave if I had to. To prepare, I rented a satellite phone.

#2: If you change how you view things, you will see something different

Gerald was pointing out to me the structure of the rocks below the surface of the water. The sun was shining, the water was crystal clear and I could see in detail what I needed to see in order to be more successful at casting in the right areas. I immediately thought of salespeople and their relationships with prospects. I thought “if salespeople would just change how they view selling, they would see better what it would take to convert a prospect into an opportunity and perhaps a client. But many salespeople have a myopic view and look at all prospects the same and thus treat them all the same. Example: If the view is ‘prospects want to save money’ then the sales person will approach all sales the same way.

Dad and fish

#3: You can’t force big sales to happen

I managed to hook 3 monster Northern Pikes. The first was 40 inches long and at least 15 pounds. I was fishing with gear suited for fish that might have been 3 pounds. Not wanting to risk losing the monster fish, I set my drag and took my time. This catch took 50 minutes to boat.

#4: Learn from mistakes and successes

Two days later, I hooked another fish about the same size but learning from the first big catch I managed to bring this one in the boat in 25 minutes. A day later, I caught the granddaddy –a 48” Northern. I managed to get that one in the boat in 20 minutes.

#5: Create more opportunities – make more sales

My fishing partners have been making this trip for over 2 decades. They are really experienced and rarely get their fishing jigs caught in the rocks hidden beneath the water. I, on the other hand, had some trouble in this area and so I spent more time re-tying jigs and lures then they did. Subsequently they threw more cast and caught more fish.

So there you go, my sales tips from my 10-day vacation in Canada. Be on the lookout for part 2! Send a picture of your summer vacation to tony@anthonycoletraining.com and you will receive a free, 30-minute pre-call strategy session with me to discuss a sales meeting you have coming up or a post-call debrief for a prospect meeting you already had.

8 Steps for More Effective Closing - Sales Solution #10

Tags: Selling, qualifying prospects, sales presentations, sales improvement, sales development, successful selling, close more sales

Sales people typically want to know how to do three things better:

  1. See more people
  2. Manage their time
  3. Close more business

When we are working with sales professionals during our sales training workshops, closing is one of the last things we get to. Not because effective closing techniques aren't important to every sales process, but because it isn't as important as the sales steps leading to the close.  However, I've decided that, as I was posting the 10 solutions for successful selling, I'd pop "8 Steps for More Effective Closing" in up front so that, with those deals you have in your pipeline today, you might have a slight edge in closing those deals with this information.

Years ago, I was taught that "the close" is an affirmation of the conversations you've already had with the prospect - or at least that's the theory. The theory runs aground, so to speak, if your qualifying steps weren't as strong as they needed to be and if your set up for the closing wasn't as strong as it needed to be. Let's do a quick recap of what should have happened prior to showing up for the close.

  1. A relationship, based on confidence and trust, should have been developed.  (check out a brief Seth Godin Blog)
  2. You should have identified the motivation/compelling reason for your prospect to take action.
  3. The prospect should have told you that they wanted to fix a problem or they realize a currently unrealized benefit.
  4. You and the prospect should have agreed to an investment of time, money and resources.
  5. You and the prospect should have agreed to a decision making process that included:
    • You would supply a solution that fits their specifications
    • You would supply this solution within their budget
    • You would be prepared to answer all of their questions
    • They would be prepared to make a decision- yes or no
  6. You would have sent an "as we agreed to" letter
  7. You would have followed up the "as we agreed to" letter with a phone call confirming the contents of the letter.

If, in fact, you have done these 6 things, then your close should be an affirmation of everything that you've already agreed to. If you haven't executed on these 6 items, then... well, you are in trouble at time of close.

Here are 8 steps for more effective closing:

  1. Be prepared to be dazzling (10 presentation skills you MUST execute)
  2. You review why you are there to present
    • There is a problem that needs to be solved
    • There is an "agreed to" investment to solve the problem
    • There will be a decision today to either solve the problem or not solve the problem (Tell you yes or no)
  3. You place your 3-page presentation in front of the prospect:
    • Page 1 - cover sheet
    • Page 2 - list of problems identified in closing process
    • Page 3 - bulleted list of solutions to problems
  4. You ask the prospect which problem they want to discuss first
  5. You provide the solution and answer all of their questions
  6. You ask, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning you love it and 1 you hate it, how do you feel about the solution I've just presented?"  If it is 7 or better, you are in good shape, but the prospect does not have all of the information they need.  You now have to ask them, "What information do you need to get to a 10?"
  7. You proceed through each solution the same way
  8. When you finish all of your solutions you ask the question, "What would you like to do now?"

If you have done all of your work the right way, you will get a decision. The challenge here is two-fold:

  1. Did you do all the right stuff?
  2. Are you okay with hearing, "No, I don't want to do business with you?"

Executing the right stuff and being okay with hearing "no" are two of the things that make selling so damn hard.

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