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Creating Your Ideal Week: The 6th Sales Productivity Tool

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Nov 08, 2019

In our next edition of Football & 9 Sales Productivity Tools That Will Change Your Results, we bring you our 6th tool, which is "Creating Your Ideal Week". 

Crafting your Ideal Week is essential for success in selling as barriers and "fires" often get in the way of accomplishing your goals.  While things rarely go as planned during the week, it's important to set yourself up no matter what and stay committed to the process.  

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I graduated as an Education Major from the University of Connecticut specializing in Secondary Physical Education.  In short, I was a gym teacher.  I thought that gym teachers just picked a sport they wanted to teach students, put the equipment out on the gym floor, spent some time explaining what they had to do and stood by with a whistle.  Little did I know that they spent week nights and weekend hours putting together lesson plans and class schedules.

When I went to the University of Cincinnati to coach with Ralph Staub and David Zimmerman, I found that they too put together coaching plans and practice schedules.  They would look at film from the upcoming opponent and from our last game, determine what we needed to work on the most and develop a practice and game plan to execute that week. 

But a lot can go wrong that would throw off an Ideal Week practice plan. And so, it is with professional selling.  One of the reasons that most “Time Management” programs fail is because the participant fails to understand that they must stick like Velcro to the Ideal Week they have planned. The key lies in their ability to discern what Steven Covey defined as urgent and important events and important and not urgent events.

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So here are the keys to creating and making an Ideal Week work for you and or your sales team:

  1. Identify the must do weekly activities. Remember that about 20% of your activities generate roughly 80% of your results so identify and pursue only those activities.
  2. Prioritize your most impactful activities.
  3. Allocate either hours or a % of your total work week to be spent on those activities. Keep in mind that if you are in sales, there is no such thing as a 40-hour work week.
  4. Begin blocking out time to perform your priority activities.
  5. Block out time for ‘fires’ (the unplanned, important but not urgent events that are sure to pop up in your daily life).
  6. AND THE HARDEST PART – Stay committed to the schedule:
    1. Only urgent and important events should throw you off your Ideal Week. Urgent and important events are things like a top 10% client having a must-fix, can’t wait problem or a personal, unavoidable emergency.  Ignore the gnat bites- pay attention to the alligator bites!
    2. Deal with the important, but not urgent events in the time you allocated to "fires".

Also, as supporting material, here is a graphic of what an Ideal Week would look like on paper or in a calendar:

tony

 

tony 2

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Topics: Sales Coaching, increase sales, sales performance management, sales productivity tools, sales effectiveness training

Creating Your Success Formula: The 5th Sales Productivity Tool

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Nov 01, 2019

In our 5th Chapter of our Sales Productivity Tools blog series, we discuss the idea of creating a success formula for your sales team, which only works when you have a team that is committed, motivated, and takes responsibility for their decisions and outcomes.

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To support my objectives and goals of one day playing college football, I realized I had to have a success formula.  I had to have a workout routine for strength and conditioning.  I had to be coachable.  I had to eat the right foods (My dad always threatened to tell Coach Cacia if I didn’t eat my salad). And I had to take care of the bumps and bruises.

When I got into the "real" sales world (Insurance business vs. taking orders for Nautilus Exercise Equipment) I was introduced to the One Card System created by Al Granum.  At National Life of Vermont, we were given a box with index cards and a Success Manual.  We were trained to use the cards to identify the various stages where a prospect was in the sales process, and we used the Success Manual to record our activity.  Today that entire process exists in whatever CRM your company uses.

A Success Formula is an old school sales tool that works but only if...

You have a sales team that is committed, motivated, and takes responsibility for their decisions and outcomes.

How Do Your Salespeople Compare?

Every salesperson knows what the right behaviors are to be successful. They know they have to reach out to prospects, schedule appointments, disqualify people and companies that don’t fit their business model, close and service accounts, and much more. There isn’t anything mystical about what it takes to succeed.  But the challenge is for the salesperson to be disciplined themselves to do the things they need to do based on their own success formula.

When salespeople fail, it isn’t because they lack the skills or product/industry knowledge needed to succeed. Most salespeople fail because they won’t do the things required to be successful

The answer as to why a producer won’t do those things lies in the findings of the pre-hire assessment and sales force evaluations.  To gain a better understanding of someone’s potential to be successful in sales, it would be important to have a deep understanding of the following:

  • Will to Sell
  • Sales DNA
  • Sales Competencies
  • Sales Skills

Not having this information would be like trying to coach a football team, direct a play, or construct a building without knowing the desire, skills and tendencies of the people you are relying on to meet your objective. 

To assess your current or incoming talent and their ability and willingness to make the right decision – be prudent – then it helps to have findings such as those identified in Objective Management Group’s – Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis.


Check out some of our additional resources below!

Sales Productivity Tools

Why is selling so #%&@ hard

How Do Your Salespeople Compare?

Topics: Sales Training, sales evaluation, hiring salespeople, Sales Coaching, increase sales, hire better salespeople, sales skill assessment, consultative selling, sales productivity tools, consultative sales coaching, corporate sales training, hire better people

The Similarities Between Politics & Sales

Posted by Jack Kasel on Tue, Oct 29, 2019

In this blog, we discuss what it takes to differentiate yourself as a salesperson in the market today, and how sales and politics can often be similar.  As the public tends to avoid political candidates that sound like all of the rest, the same can be said in sales. 

If your salespeople sound like every other salesperson out there, how can they become the best version of themselves? If this happens to us as salespeople when we conduct our sales calls, and there is no perceived difference between our competition and us, we become a commodity

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If you listened to any of the Democratic Debates, you listened to approximately a dozen people try to convince their prospects, (the voting public), that they are different.  Many people tend to think of politicians as being “all alike”. 

If that happens to us as we conduct our sales calls, and there is no perceived difference between our competition and us, we become a commodity.  If we are perceived as a commodity, the deciding factor usually ends up being price.

As the candidates prepare for the debates, their focus groups help guide them through how to say certain things on specific topics, with the hope that a certain phrase will resonate with their prospect, (the voting public). 

In sales, we don’t have that luxury. 

In order for us to stand out, be different, or be memorable (we refer to that as Sales Posturing), we need to focus on the business problems our clients, or prospects, have. 

The best, and only way to do that, is by asking questions.  When we get the response from the prospect, we must ask more questions to confirm and clarify the problem in terms of emotional pain and the specific dollar amount it will cost them if the problem isn’t fixed. 

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That’s how we become memorable, that’s how we differentiate ourselves, and that’s how we bring value to the people we meet.


Getting back to politics — over the course of the next several months, we will see many of the candidates fade into obscurity.  Their message just won’t connect with the voting public.  In sales, we see the same thing.  Our phone calls don’t get answered, our voicemails don’t get returned, and our wonderfully crafted e-mails get ignored. 

Why?  Because to our prospect, or our “voters”, we just didn’t do anything to be, act, and sound different

In short, we didn’t connect.

If I can leave you with one thing to remember before going into your sales calls, it’s this; we can’t talk our way into an opportunity, however, we can question our way into an opportunity. 

The more time we spend asking questions, the less time we spend talking.  When that happens, we are different and memorable.  If you become exceptional at it, your chances of  getting “elected” by your prospects greatly increases.

Someone needs what you do...now get out there and go find them!  

Topics: hire better sales people, increase sales, hire better salespeople, consultative selling, sales effectiveness training, banking sales training, consultative sales coaching, corporate sales training, buyers journey, online sales training, politics, hire better people

Goal Setting is a Crucial Sales Step: Our 4th Sales Productivity Tool

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Oct 22, 2019

In our fourth installment of the 9 Sales Productivity Tools, we bring you the next tool in our series, Goal Setting.  When we talk about goal setting, we start with personal goals and then help our clients convert those personal goals into business plans.

Those business plans have goals for activities that need to be performed, as well as practice management objectives to be accomplished.


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I remember when I set my first goal at 9 years old.  I had just walked off the field from my first day at football practice, and my dad asked how it went. I told him that I loved it, and that someday I would go on to play college football. He asked me if I was sure and I said YES. Then, he told me to take off my helmet and shoulder pads and to start running laps around the field. He said, "If you are going to play college football, then you have to be in great shape." So I started running and didn’t stop until the end of my career at UConn.

To this day, winning is still an important goal for our clients and my team and I here at Anthony Cole Training Group.  However, to think that winning is the only goal that needs to be set, and that everything else will take care of itself, is faulty thinking. When we talk about goal setting, we start with personal goals and then help our clients convert those personal goals into business plans. Those business plans have goals for activities that need to be performed, as well as practice management objectives to be accomplished.

What are the personal things your people want to achieve in their lives and what are the daily tasks they must accomplish in order to achieve the BIG things? If the big thing is to be the top producer in the company, then they need specific sales goals for:

  • Increasing their average size sale
  • Improving their closing ratios
  • Asking for and getting more introductions

But these goals don’t drive the behavior the commitment, desire or motivation to succeed. Those goals look more like:

  • Send my kids to the college of their choice without debt
  • Have a cabin on the lake
  • Provide enough income so that my spouse can make a choice about being a stay-at-home parent or not
  • Eliminate all debt
  • Have a financially independent lifestyle at retirement

Goals have to be non-negotiable. They have to be shared with others that care enough to give you a slight correction when you head off course.

These are goals that the sales manager must know about so that they can more effectively keep individuals motivated.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t operate this way.  In your sales organization, anywhere between 7% and 25% of your team do not need you to create an environment where a goal setting session takes place. But, and this is a BIG but, that leaves at least another 75% of your sales team that does need this type of environment and guidance.

If you're interested in conducting a personal goal setting workshop, shoot me an email at tony@anthonycoletraining.com with the Subject - Personal Goal Setting Workshop and we can get started!


Additional resources below: 

 

Sales Productivity Tools Resource Page: 

Sales Productivity Tools

 

 

Check out our 2MSM Video on Motivation That Works: 

 

Topics: Sales Training, Sales Management Training, Leadership Training, increase sales, sales performance management, consultative selling, sales productivity tools, consultative sales coaching

Who is Your Sales Superstar?

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Oct 17, 2019

Throwback Thursday Post:

In this blog post, we take you back to the year 2016 when Kobe Bryant was playing in his last game for the Los Angeles Lakers.  It got us talking about elite sales performers and the idea that they  prepare and perform at the highest capabilities regardless of the situation, the score, the environment or circumstances.

So, who are your elite players and are they doing the things that superstar/hall-of-fame players normally do in the selling world?

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Kobe Bryant will be retired from NBA basketball when the final buzzer sounds in tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz.  If you are not a basketball fan or sports fan, this may mean nothing to you.  My intent is to frame a very important discussion about performance around a former legend of the LA Lakers and the National Basketball Association.

As I listened to ESPN Radio Mike and Mike in The Morning, I heard commentary from former teammates, coaches and opposing players. There was a common theme in their discussion about Kobe Bryant and elite performers in athletics.  To be clear, I don’t believe the common theme is limited to athletic top performers.

As I started this article, I sent a question to my niece, Laura.  Laura is an elite performer and vocalist who performs in the greater DC/Baltimore area.  I asked her if she ever bailed on a performance because she felt a little off or hadn’t prepared properly. 

Her response:  “No way!  I’ve sung through bronchitis and pneumonia hopped up on steroids when I had to.  The show must go on!”

Elite performers prepare and perform at the highest capabilities regardless of the situation, the score, the environment or circumstances.

Some comments made about Kobe made me think about the content and theme of this article.  Here is just a sampling of what was said about Kobe and other top performers:

  • They demanded the best of others. When others were not performing at their best, giving it their all in practice or in a game, they call them out.
  • When it’s game time, nothing else matters. When Kobe’s family came to LA to watch him play, they stayed at a hotel instead of his spacious home.  He focused on the task at hand.
  • Regardless of the score of any game, if you watched Bryant play, you would swear that the Lakers must be down by 20. His intensity for playing the game, rather than playing the score, made him elite.
  • Elite players make other players better. They recognize that they are a big piece of the puzzle, but still only one piece.  They elevate the game of others in order to win the team.
  • Elite players have a tendency to rub others the wrong way. Not because they are arrogant individuals, but they have an arrogance about how they view the game, how it should be played, and how one should be prepared to play.  They are haters – haters of losing and those unwilling to pay the price to win.

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I could go on, but this makes the point and takes me to the question in the title of this article – Who are your elite players and are they doing the things that superstar/hall of fame players do? 

  • Are your all-star salespeople elevating others?
  • Are they demanding of others?
  • Are they team-objective focused or focused on their own stats?
  • Do they do everything possible to win individually and get others to win as a team?
  • Are they your "go-to" people in a crisis?
  • Do they grind and grind to get it done?
  • Do they work relentlessly on their skills?
  • Do they focus on the details of the game to eliminate repeated errors or mistakes?
  • Do they call others out when necessary

As a CEO, president, national sales manager, vice president of sales or sales manager, the responsibility you have is to drive revenue.  When that seems difficult or impossible, there must be more to the solution than just "work harder, see more people, increase the marketing budget, do more social networking, expand the sales force", etc.

Just like you would look into the numbers (expenses) to figure out how to improve profit, you need to look at the root problems impacting revenue.

It isn’t just the latest sales enablement technology that improves sales results.  It is the human technology that drives sales today and will drive sales tomorrow.

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Topics: effective sales coaching, Sales Coaching, increase sales, hire better salespeople, consultative selling, sales effectiveness training, banking sales training, professional sales training, consultative sales coaching, corporate sales training, sales force performance management

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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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