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Sales Success: Declaring Independence from Your Personal Obstacles

Posted by Walt Gerano on Thu, Jul 01, 2021

As we approach the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, our own Walt Gerano shares his thoughts regarding the obstacles holding us back from experiencing the sales success we desire.

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245 years ago, 13 colonies declared themselves as newly independent sovereign states and no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead, they formed a new nation—the United States of America.

Have you declared your independence from the things holding you back from experiencing the success you desire?

When you look at your business today, you might agree that you need to prospect more consistently, qualify better, and know when to move on from a prospect. But you still have opportunities in your pipeline that are stuck. The question is why and what are you going to do about that?

Why don’t you prospect more consistently

  • You don’t have enough people to call on.
    • When was the last time you asked for an introduction or spent meaningful time on LinkedIn?
  • You don’t have the time.   
    • What activity is more important to the growth and success of your sales practice than prospecting? Schedule prospecting time first.
  • You are fearful of rejection. 
    • Rejection is nothing compared to failure.

What about qualifying?

  • Do you prepare with a pre-call plan for every call to make sure you know how you will get the answer to the question; “why am I here?” (First question you should ask on a call)
  • Are you ready for the curveballs? Those are the annoying questions that you wish they didn’t ask.
  • How and when will you deal with the incumbent?

Why are “opportunities” stuck in the pipeline?

  • Does the prospect really have enough PAIN to move forward and make a change?
  • Do they have the money to fix the problem?  Did you even ask about it?
  • Are you meeting with all of the decision-makers prior to presenting your solution?
  • Have you dealt with the “return of the incumbent?”

There is nothing here that you don’t already know. It’s the middle of the year so take a few minutes and evaluate where you are and what you will do about it.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: Qualifying skills, How to Increase Sales, sales commitment, increase sales

5 Habits for Greater Sales Success

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, May 27, 2021
Keeping your good habits “habitual” is dependent upon your level of commitment to your goals. If you are truly committed and willing to sacrifice immediate gratification for the long-term good, then good habits stick.

But how do you correct your behavior and become more habitual? Here are our 5 steps to creating better sales habits.

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I’m an educator by degree. During my undergraduate work at UConn, my fellow future teachers and I were taught that behaviors and habits are a result of combinations of rewards and consequences. If you wanted your student to develop certain habits or skills, part of the development, in addition to the teaching and coaching, was rewarding success and disciplining failure. Sometimes the disciplined approach was punitive; other times it was a matter of repeating the behavior, skill, or activity until they (the person being taught) got it right. Once they got it right, they were rewarded.

Given all of this background, here are my thoughts for today about habits.

  • Good habits are called good habits because they contribute to the successful completion of the goals and objectives you say you are committed to.
  • Bad habits are “bad” because, instead of taking you towards your objectives, they take you away. They keep you from accomplishing what you said was important to you.
  • Keeping your good habits “habitual” is dependent upon your level of commitment to your goals. If you are truly committed and willing to sacrifice immediate gratification for the long-term good, then good habits stick.
  • If you find that you cannot consistently execute your good habits, it is probably due to your lack of commitment to the things you say are important to you.
  • “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” - Vince Lombardi
  • Often the things/habits you need to be doing aren’t urgent: exercising, eating well, taking baby aspirin, getting enough sleep, prospecting, blogging, etc.
  • Habits become urgent when something else urgent happens: heart attack, bodily injury, stroke, diabetes, organ failure, put on performance improvement program because of lack of production, lack of website activity.
  • Your habits are expressive of your commitments.

How do you correct your behavior and become more habitual? Here are my 5 Steps to Better Habits:

  1. Identify goals and objectives that are non-negotiable
  2. Have a plan to achieve those goals. Make sure the plan is detailed.
  3. Have a system to track your progress, execution of the necessary habits, activities required to achieve your goals.
  4. Inspect what you expect.
  5. Have an accountability partner that loves you and cares enough about you to hold your feet to the fire.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: Prospecting, sales succes, Sales Activities, sales commitment

Stop Accepting Think It Overs (TIO)

Posted by Walt Gerano on Thu, Aug 15, 2019

Facing stalls and objections throughout the sales process is a common occurrence for many salespeople. What we find is that, often, it is due to ineffective qualifying and not asking for the prospects commitment to take action prior to presenting a solution.

In this blog, we will cover the 10 common symptoms that suggest you may accept put-offs from prospects and how that is affecting the strength and quality of your sales pipeline.

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While we are hoping to hear yes after our presentation, sometimes we hear a no. But how many times are you hearing “I need to think it over”?

Think about the last 10 sales opportunities in your pipeline that didn't convert to a "yes."  How many of them are still in the pipeline because you are “hoping” for a yes while they “think it over” and get back to you? 

Now ask yourself what percentage of the time when you allow “TIO”, do you actually get the business? My guess is that, if you are like the rest of us, that number is pretty small. So let’s stop kidding ourselves about the strength of our pipeline and quit accepting “think it over” as an answer.

Since we agree that “TIO” is not the most effective strategy for closing more business, let’s look at some of the symptoms.  You may not identify with all of these but it only takes one to derail your sales effectiveness.

  1. Do you keep going on appointments with prospects that don’t fit your ideal profile?
  2. Are you answering more questions than you are asking?
  3. Are you completing a pre-call plan for every sales call with questions you will ask and curve balls you expect?
  4. Do you rely on cold calls instead of introductions and referrals?
  5. Do you think “running faster” is a strategy?
  6. Are you too trusting of prospects and what they say?
  7. Are doing most of the talking on your sales calls?
  8. Are you talking too much about products and not enough about problems?
  9. Do you go on any appointment because you don’t have enough in your pipeline?
  10. Are you asking for the prospect’s commitment to a “Yes” or “No” answer before you come back, present your solution and answer all of their questions?

Eliminating “TIO” is easier than you think.  First, let’s agree that it’s OUR fault.  If you have a sales process that allows for “think it over”, then you are going to get the “think it over" response every single time. 

If you don’t have an effective sales process, then what are you waiting for?  It's time to get one and follow it consistently.  

Stop fooling around with prospects that want to “think it over” and go sell something!

Topics: sales commitment, think it overs, extra mile, yes or no

How Committed To Success In SELLING Are Your Sales People?

Posted by Tony Cole on Mon, Jul 02, 2018

In 1975, I was Junior offensive lineman at UConn. On the team that year were a group of seniors that knew that their playing days were pretty much over. Younger players had been recruited and they were starting ahead of them. Those seniors formed a bit of a club – the Coast-to-Coast Club

The thinking was this: “We are not going to see any action on game day but I have to keep playing to keep my scholarship though I don’t want to get a serious injury just practicing. So, I will coast from the beginning of practice to the end of practice."

coast-to-coast

Years later when I was developing our content for our Sales Managed Environment ® Certification Program, I included a segment on commitment. In this article, Dave Kurlan discusses the difference between motivation and commitment. It is a crucial difference. You can do some things to help people become motivated but when it comes to commitment, a sales manager can’t teach it, or coach it. Commitment to success in selling is something the sales person must bring to your organization. You can demonstrate it, explain it and expect it but you cannot make someone more committed to success than they want to be.

Over the years I’ve discovered there are three levels of commitment. 

The first one is Coast-to-Coast commitment. These are the people that really do coast from the beginning of the day, week, month and year to the end of the time period. They show up and look busy but at the end of the day they didn’t break a sweat, didn’t do any harm, didn’t call anyone of significance and certainly didn’t move the sales needle. In other words, they’ve retired and just haven’t told anyone yet.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the WITs – ‘whatever it takes’ commitment.  Let me be clear- when discussing WIT, or, doing everything possible to success, we always mean doing everything while abiding by legal, ethical and moral standards.These are the people that do the work, take risk, fail, succeed, exceed goals, take on challenges, push the envelope, challenge the status quo and continue to reach higher and further. They make themselves do uncomfortable things and sometimes they make others uncomfortable by asking difficult questions and having fierce but effective conversations.

Then we have the Hawaiian group – The WITALAIITU. These are the people in the organization that look like WITS but really are closer to being coast-to-coast club members.  They embrace new ideas but don’t execute. They are excited about training but never develop.  Do a great job of pre and post-call strategy sessions and role- playing but fail to execute in front of a prospect. They will give you the thumbs up when you attempt to implement a strategy of getting introductions from clients but never ask because it will make them uncomfortable when their client resists and they have to ask why.

It's important that you understand the commitment levels of your sales team and coach them accordingly.  That should be YOUR commitment.

If you’ve been in our training, you know what WITALAIITU means. If not, give it your best shot!  Email me your guess at tony@anthonycoletraining.com and I’ll give you the answer. If you send me the correct answer, I will send you a gift.

Topics: sales commitment, commitment to succeed

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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.

     

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