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Mark Trinkle

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Don't Dream It's Over: 1 of the Biggest Sales Challenges

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Oct 07, 2021

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is “how do I/we increase sales” or “how do I become more successful in sales?” It starts with recognizing when your pursuit of a prospect is over.

In this blog, the two fundamental truths of more effective selling.

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If you are a consistent reader of this blog (and why wouldn’t you be), you know by now that I have an affinity for music. You also know that my favorite decade of my life was the 80’s. And when those two things intersect, watch out!

Considered by some to be a one-hit-wonder, the Australian band Crowded House got to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 when they released “Don’t Dream It’s Over” in 1986.  

“Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over.”

So, let’s apply that majestic ballad to salespeople and the one thing above all things that they struggle with the most. That’s right, recognizing that their pursuit of a prospect is over (even when the prospect hasn’t told them in those exact words). Many salespeople can’t even begin to think that it’s over. Most don’t want to entertain the possibility. 

So, the question before us today is simple – why? I mean, it’s not like it has not happened to them before.

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is “how do I/we increase sales” or we are asked, “how do I become more successful in sales?” And the best answer I have is that you get better when you recognize two fundamental truths:

  1. You are going to lose more often than you win.
  2. When you are going to lose, you want to lose early.

Have you ever stopped to consider what your “pull-through rate” looks like? We use that term to explain a simple algebra equation:

Number of new clients / Number of initial sales conversations = pull-through rate 

If you have 100 initial sales conversations (or go on 100 prospect calls) in a year, and you wind up with 15 new clients, then your pull-through percentage is 15/100 or 15%. So, if that is your pull-through rate, don’t you think you should go on your calls with a bias for disqualification? Statistically, there is a far greater chance of you not doing business with a prospect than there is a chance that you will do business with them.

Stop dreaming and start asking questions. Ask questions that allow you to confirm that your prospect has a problem they have to fix and that now is the time to fix it. Operate with a bias for disqualification so you are not so surprised when the conclusion is that now is the time for you to move on. No is ok provided you hear it at the right time in your sales process.

Sweet dreams.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: Questions for Prospects, qualifying sales prospects, sales challenges

How to Get Your Sales Leadership Questions Answered

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Sep 23, 2021

When executives think about their sales teams, they often ask themselves if they have the right people in the seat and how they can become more effective.

In this blog, we will discuss the leading questions sales executives face when considering their current producer team and how to get the answers they need.

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If you are a Jimmy Buffett fan (that would make you a Parrot Head), you recognize the title of his 1973 release by the same name. Buffett wrote the song about a one-armed veteran of the Spanish Civil War that he met during a show in Chicago.

So, what does any of this have to do with sales leadership? Here are just a few lines from the song:

He went to Paris
Looking for answers
To questions that bothered him so

Now that makes me think of the executives we speak with all over the country who “have questions that bother them so.” But their questions don’t have anything to do with travel, relationships, fishing, and drinking (not saying executives don’t think about those things). When executives think about their sales teams, here are the sales questions that “bother them so”:

  • Do I have the right people, on the right bus, and sitting in the right seats?
  • How much more effective can my sales teams become?
  • What will be required to make them more effective?
  • Why do we consistently have a hit-and-miss approach to hiring salespeople?
  • For my salespeople who disappoint me, did we hire them that way or did we make them that way?
  • Why do my salespeople so quickly cave on price instead of selling our value?
  • What are the common traits in my top performers that separate them from my bottom performers?

So here is my question for you: do these questions bother you? Do you need to get answers to these questions? If so, you don’t need to go to Paris. You just need to click on the link below to land on my calendar for a fifteen-minute phone call. I can get you the answers and you don’t even have to pay to get the answers. You just need to be bothered.

See you In Paris!

Topics: Sales questions, Sales Leadership, sales leadership development

Do You Have a Sales Action Plan?

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Sep 16, 2021

A goal without a plan is only a wish. An effective sales action plan starts with collecting, measuring, and inspecting key success metrics that directly impact the end goal.

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Have you ever noticed that some of the sayings you heard the most when you were growing up have turned out to be incredibly accurate? In this blog article, I want to focus on one that I absolutely grew sick and tired of hearing, and that was “People don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.” I might not have liked hearing it over and over, but there is no arguing the accuracy of the statement.

And you really can’t argue the veracity of this axiom when it comes to sales action plans that are built from solid sales metrics. I am stunned (and perhaps I should not be) at the number of salespeople and sales organizations that do not operate with sales action plans. They simply come up with a number for a sales goal, and then they hope the team gets to that number. But as Rick Page wrote in his fabulous book by the same title, hope is not a strategy.

A strategy would be a sales plan that is built on sales behaviors that the sales team is expected to execute on a weekly basis. A strategy would be having a sales action plan that allows the sales leaders to hold their teams accountable with agreed-upon, reported sales metrics. A strategy would be knowing the critical conversion ratios in the sales process – meaning the number of first appointments that result in opportunities, the number of opportunities that reach the proposal stage, and the number of proposals that result in wins.

Every single step in the sales process can be measured, and the data you need is easy to collect. At Anthony Cole Training Group, we know that salespeople fail for one of two reasons:

  1. Lack of effort
  2. Lack of skill

Why not engineer out #1 by having a sales plan tied to weekly sales metrics? And if you don’t grab that data, how do you even begin to know which parts of your sales process need more coaching?

That sounds like a plan.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: sales metrics, sales action plan

The Sales Coaching Conundrum

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Sep 02, 2021

The dictionary defines a conundrum as “a confusing and difficult problem or question.” I believe it is safe to say that we can put sales coaching into that category.

In today’s blog, I want to give you some sales coaching tips that will improve your sales coaching skills.

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Let us start with the fundamental truth that any sales organization is perfectly designed for the results they are receiving. And if an organization does not like those results, then the most important thing for them to consider is their appetite for change. And when it comes to sales coaching, many sales leaders quite frankly lose their appetite. Why? 

Because coaching salespeople is costly (time not money) and scary (any time you put people into the equation that tends to be the case).

If you want to improve your coaching, you would do well to avoid the four most common mistakes that so many companies make with sales coaching:

  1. They assume that high-performing salespeople will naturally or automatically become high-performing sales leaders. There is very little data to support such a claim. The jobs are quite different. The logic is flawed.
  2. They don’t use a predictive sales-related assessment (we prefer the Objective Management sales manager assessment) on the pre-hire side to make sure the sales leader candidate will be strong on setting standards, coaching, managing pipelines, holding people accountable, recruiting new sales talent, etc.

They hire sales leaders who really don’t want the job. I mean they might be right for the job, but the job is not right for them. 

  1. Why? Because they love selling and their heart is not in it when it comes time to coach and holds their team accountable.  
  2. They don’t train their sales leaders. While most companies do not hesitate to train their salespeople, they don’t give much if any thought to training the specific skill sets that a sales leader must master to be successful.

Here is another word of the day – insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting outcomes to change. So, do you have a conundrum on your hands? Or do you have a sales coaching problem that has become a priority that you have to fix?

Download our Free  9 Keys to Successful Coaching eBook

Topics: effective sales coaching, Sales Coaching, sales coaching process, sales coaching tips

How to Prospect for Sales

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Aug 19, 2021

Some major shifts have occurred in the way that you should be prospecting for sales opportunities. But has your prospecting plan changed with it?

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I have always enjoyed watching the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross” because of the sales scene with Alec Baldwin. You know the scene, don’t you? ABC – which means always be closing. But I prefer ABP – always be prospecting. After all, there will not be much to close if you don’t have a prospecting plan that fills your pipeline with closeable opportunities.

I started my sales career in the early 1990’s and yes, I did have a “bag phone” for my first cell phone. I laugh now as all cell phones can fit in your pocket or your purse but back then the bag phone was a big deal. Fortunately, our cell phones have changed quite dramatically since then.

Do you know what else has changed? If you guessed prospecting strategies, you guessed correctly. To be even more clear, some major shifts have occurred in the way that you should be prospecting for sales opportunities.

The last 5 years have seen two major changes in how buyers interact with sellers:

  1. Prospects are starting the sales process all by themselves. No longer are they sitting and waiting for sellers to find them. They are the ones who get the ball rolling by reaching out to sellers who have been recommended to them (this is precisely why referrals…or what we call introductions are so important).
  2. And when those prospects start the sales process, they are armed with more information than ever before. As it turns out this thing called the internet might just be around for a few more years.

So here is my question for you – cell phones have changed. The times have changed. Selling has changed. But has your prospecting plan changed with it? Do you track your prospecting effort? Do you measure the effectiveness of the elements in your prospecting plan so you know which ones you should do more of and which ones you should consider putting off to the side? Are you taking a diversified approach meaning you use a combination of phone and email? Are you including video when you prospect? Are you blogging and putting out value-added content that positions you as a thought leader or even a subject matter expert?

ABP – always be prospecting. Just don’t forget your prospecting plan before you start.

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Topics: how to prospect, how to prospect for sales, prospecting plan

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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