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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 Sales 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

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

Huddles: The 3rd Sales Productivity Tool That Will Change Your Results

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Oct 09, 2019

In this article, I discuss "Huddles", the 3rd tool on the sales productivity tools list.  Over the years, I have used football huddles as an example of how sales huddles work.

Your huddles should provide real-time information, so that you can make real-time decisions and provide real-time feedback or coaching.  But just like in football, you must not only collect the data in a huddle, you must then gain business intelligence from the data and share that business information with the team.

ftball

I was first introduced to the idea of "Sales Huddles" when I heard Verne Harnish, Founder and President of Gazelles, speak at Objective Management Group’s Annual International Conference.  At that conference, Verne described Huddles as:

  1. A communication process or system that allows for sharing of real-time information
  2. An opportunity to focus on "burning platform" issues for a team or company
  3. A way to bring sharp focus and attention to a critical business driver
  4. The most important 15 minutes in any company

Over the years, I have used football huddles as an example of how sales huddles work.  Generally speaking, there are two types of huddles. One is what you see in the middle of a football field where the players gather around a single individual to get instruction on what they are going to do next. The other type of huddle is one that you would see on the sidelines after a unit comes off of the field. They gather around the offensive or defensive unit coach to receive information about what was seen in the press box, and how that relates to what they will attempt to do the next time on the field.

Your huddles should provide real-time information, so that you can make real-time decisions and provide real-time feedback or coaching.

This one very important point about huddles is what makes them so valuable to sales teams and salespeople. This is one of THE KEYS to driving more immediate and productive results from a sales team. If you wait 90 days as a manager to get data about how your team is conducting itself on a daily basis, it will be outdated and may not be of any use to you or your salespeople.

One of my favorite questions when working with sales managers in our Performance Management Class is this:

“When you get lost, when do you want to know that you're lost”? 

The answer to that question 100% of the time is,

“As soon as possible."

And that is why you must have huddles!

Gathering real-time information allows you as a salesperson or manager to make real-time adjustments to either a specific sales situation or in your overall sales growth strategy. But just like in football, you must not only collect the data in a huddle, you must then gain business intelligence from the data and share that business information with the team.

Only then will the team benefit from the huddles, thus reducing resistance to the process. Additionally, you can make in-the-moment decisions on sales opportunities and long-term decisions on training and development, recruiting and talent.

To find out more about Huddles and other tools we offer, visit our Sales Productivity Tools resource below:

Sales Productivity Tools

Topics: Sales Training, Sales Coaching, sales productivity, consultative selling, sales productivity tools, banking sales training, professional sales training, consultative sales coaching, corporate sales training

The Probability Scorecard: The 2nd Sales Productivity Tool

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Oct 01, 2019

In this article, Tony discusses the Sales Probability Scorecard, the second tool in our 9 Sales Productivity Tools series.  

Comparative to the yard markers on a football field, the Probability Scorecard gives salespeople and sales managers a clear, definitive look at how much ground needs to be covered in a sale, and the overall likelihood a specific sales opportunity will close.  Read more about this predictive sales productivity tool below!

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As I stated in my initial blog about the top 9 Sales Productivity Tools, the Probability Scorecard is like the yard markers on a football field.  The yard markers give you a clear, definitive look at how much ground has to be covered before you score points; or in the case of defense, how much ground you have left to defend.

An effective Sales Probability Scorecard tells you almost exactly how much ground you have to cover and the likelihood of closing a specific opportunity.

You may already use a tool or system like this in your sales environment that is meant to track, collect, manage, and create movement in your sales pipeline. It may provide forecasting, and (supposedly) increase sales.  But if the sales enablement tool you are using isn’t built around specific criteria, activities and a milestone-centric sales process, your predictive capabilities and forecasting are no better than looking into a crystal ball.

The milestone-centric sales process breaks down the step-by-step accomplishments required to effectively create, qualify and close business. Normally, salespeople check off the major items on their checklists accomplished in the sales process—like uncovering a compelling reason or “pain”.  An effective probability scorecard tool provides the salesperson with a list of secondary objectives that must be accomplished. Here is an example of the first step identified in our Effective Selling System and the required secondary objectives:

Uncovering Compelling Reasons (to move, change, buy)

  • Compelling reasons are: “have to fix” problems, rather than “want to fix” problems.
  • The result of not making a change has been monetized
  • There is a “personal” reason why the problem has to be fixed
  • The incumbent has been unable to solve the problem and the prospect can/is willing to change providers

Checking off those secondary items gives the salesperson, and the sales manager, a more complete picture of what was actually accomplished and what is left to be done. If those secondary items cannot be accomplished, everyone now has a much clearer view of the “real” opportunity, or lack thereof.

The salesperson now knows what they need to find out from the prospect to make it a more closeable deal. This also allows for more intentional coaching on the part of the sales manager to help their salesperson develop into a more consultative seller.

In order to accomplish this, your Sales Probability Scorecard should:

  • Establish the factors important to qualify the prospect (can be industry specific)
  • Identify the most important or predictive factors
  • Have a baseline for what a "closeable opportunity" is (i.e. 70% score is considered closeable)

To find out more about the Sales Probability Scorecard and other tools we offer, visit our Sales Productivity Tools resource below:

Sales Productivity Tools

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Topics: Sales Training, hiring sales people, Sales Coaching, increase sales, consultative selling, sales effectiveness training, banking sales training, professional sales training, consultative sales coaching, corporate sales training

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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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