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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

 

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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

You Can't Handle the (Sales) Truth!

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, Oct 25, 2019

In this article, we discuss the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) and the notion that significant changes have swept over the sales landscape these past 20 years. 

From the influx of the internet to the intricacies of the buyer's journey, selling has changed but many salespeople haven't.  Is it time they do?

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At some point that title won’t make me think of the great Jack Nicholson and his role as Colonel Nathan Jessup in the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men”, but it is safe to say that point in time is a long way off for me. It is one of my all-time favorite movies.  

For now, that famous line from Colonel Jessup has me thinking about how selling has changed so dramatically even within the last few years.

So, if you can handle the truth, here it is: 

Selling has changed…but many salespeople have not.  

Specifically, there are two significant changes that have swept over the sales landscape:

  1. The buyer is initiating the sales process…what HubSpot refers to as the buyer’s journey.
  2. The buyer is further along in their thinking than ever before.

The first change brings to mind the Google eBook titled “ZMOT”.  ZMOT is an acronym standing for the Zero Moment of Truth, and is defined as the exact moment in the sales cycle that is between the stimulus (how the prospect became aware of a product) and the first moment of truth (a P&G term referring to the decision to make a purchase). 

In short, ZMOT refers to the point in time where the buyer is researching a product or service offering and the seller is completely unaware of the buyer’s actions.

Here is a quote from the book:

“If you’re available at the Zero Moment of Truth, your customers will find you at the very moment they’re thinking about buying, and also when they’re thinking about thinking about buying.” (ZMOT, 2011)

So, it all comes down to three simple questions:

  1. Is your company winning or losing at the Zero Moment of Truth?
  2. How do you know that?
  3. What are you going to do about it?

It is inarguable that more and more buyers are finding and researching options online before they ever talk to a salesperson. 

As Colonel Jessup would ask, “We live in a world full of prospects…who’s going to call them?  You?  They may have already passed their Zero Moment of Truth."

Topics: hiring sales people, creating new sales opportunities, sales productivity tools, sales effectiveness training, consultative sales coaching, corporate sales training, sales training courses, buyers journey, social selling

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

"Why Do So Many of My Salespeople Fail to Perform as Expected?"

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Oct 11, 2019

Why do so many of my salespeople fail to perform as expected?  It's a loaded question.  Or, is it?  In our corporate sales training experience, we've seen that evaluating underperforming salespeople in the pre-hire sales assessment is crucial for success in your business.

From poor diagnosis of the right contributing factors for success to other candidates being eliminated due to weaknesses rather than hiring on sales STRENGTHS, there are specific reasons that not all of your salespeople are performing the way that you thought they would.

Did you hire them this way or did you make them this way?  Let's take a look...

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If you are a sales leader and you look at your numbers and the people producing those numbers, do you ever scratch your head in confusion over why you are looking at a lack of sales results?

Certainly, you didn’t hire these people to be in the middle of the pack or at the tail end of the conga line, but that is right where they are.  I know you don’t believe you hired them that way, but it’s either that, or you made them that way.

Don’t get upset with me here.  The reality is that your team’s performance is a result of who you’ve hired or what you’ve done (or not done).

So, in general, why do so many salespeople fail to perform? I have detailed answers to that question that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else besides right here.

  • Underperformers have 80% of the desire of top performers. *Note – not all performers have off-the-chart desire – that is about 7% of all top sales people.
  • Those that underperform have about 44% of the commitment to succeed in selling that top performers do.
  • These two factors combine to measure motivational level. Underperformers have about 60% of the motivation of your top people.

SUMMARY – Underperformers just are not as motivated to succeed.

SOLUTION – STOP hiring people that are not motivated to succeed at the highest level of performance!

Using the Objective Management Sales Evaluation, there are over 100 data points to measure the opportunity for sales growth of a sales team/organization.  Additionally, this data helps us to predict the likelihood of success of new sales people and managers. 

Here are some interesting findings based on the raw data I have from assessing salespeople (as well as firsthand knowledge of some of the people in the study).

  • Top performers are trainable and coachable
  • Top performers have a high figure-it-out factor
  • Top performers have a low need for approval and…
  • Top performers score an average of 86.8 (higher score is better) and underperformers score 39.6 for handling rejection!
  • Top performers are hunters, consultative sellers and closers (average score for skills is 55% of required skills while underperformers average 39.6% of required skills)

SUMMARY Salespeople – regardless of tenure or previous success - need training and coaching. Also top performers handle rejection extremely well and move on.

SOLUTION Do not hire based on past performance. (It’s like investing in a mutual fund – past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.)  During the interview process, reject the heck out of the candidate – the strong ones will recover and attempt to close you over and over again!

The following data indicates that sales strengths are better indicators of success rather than sales skills:

  • Underperformers have 85% of the sales skills of top performers and have…
  • Only 71% of the sales strengths that support execution of sales skills and…
  • The severity of their sales weaknesses are 52% higher than that of top performers

SUMMARY – The skills are about the same, but those with strong strengths of desire, commitment, outlook and responsibility win.

SOLUTION – Make sure your pre-hire assessment process looks for strengths and “will sell” rather than just skills, personality and behavioral traits.

So, back to the original question:   “Why do so many of my salespeople fail to perform as expected?”:

  • Poor diagnosis of the right contributing factors for success
  • Candidates eliminated due to weaknesses rather than hiring for sales strengths
  • Too much credit given to sales skills exhibited during interview process
  • Lack of solid training and development on the root causes of poor performance

Now that you have the answers to the question, what will you do about it?

Topics: Sales Management Training, hire better salespeople, consultative selling, creating new sales opportunities, sales productivity tools, 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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