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Book Review – You Gotta Have Balls – By Brandon Steiner

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, May 19, 2016

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I just heard Brandon speak at the recent Objective Management Group’s Annual International Sales Conference.  The sub-title to the book is:  How a Kid from Brooklyn Started from Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire.

A couple of things before I get into the book:

  • If you are in a position to hire someone to speak to your sales team or organization, Brandon is a very good hire. His soft-spoken, easy going manner will not irritate anyone in the meeting by coming across as a brash, aggressive sales guy from New York.  I think that’s a plus.
  • His close is really good.
  • His story about Michael Jordan is very entertaining.
  • There are some great life and business lessons don’t hit you over the head but are really good.
  • I like that he loves and credits his Mom with so much of his success.

Some of my noted captions in the book:

Getting into Syracuse University

  • Brandon had applied to Syracuse and he was getting ready to go into the interview to meet with the admission counselor. He states, “As I went into it, I thought, ‘I don’t want this to be the last time I see this place.’
    • I think this is important because it’s similar to pre-call planning. The first step is to identify the objective of the call.
    • It helped him craft the conversation he needed to have in order to tip the scales in his favor to meet the objective.
  • Here is how he states he started the conversation: “I don’t have any money, my SAT scores are kind of low and my grades are pass/fail.  I’ve been working full-time since I started high school; I’ve contributed to every student club I could fit into my schedule; I’ve been involved in so many activities I can barely remember them all, and if you give me an opportunity, I promise you I will use every inch of this school.  You will never regret letting me in.”
  • How good is that as an opening statement that doesn’t look, act and sound like every other applicant?

Getting the job at Hard Rock Café in NYC

  • Negotiate your first raise before you even get started
    • He was turned down the first time he applied.
    • He went back and suggested they hire him as a consultant.
    • They wanted to hire him for $22,500.00 to be the manager.
    • He declined the offer and countered with:
      • What you need is someone to come in and take charge.
      • Hire me as the assistant general manager at $36,000.
      • Give me a two-month trial period and, if it works out, I want my salary to be $41,000.
      • If it doesn’t work out after three months, you get rid of me.
    • Great advice for hiring the high-priced sales person that is asking for premium dollars to move to your organization.

Not overselling is an underrated part of selling.

Play the game, not the score

  • When you have players on the team that are playing the game and not the score:
    • You cannot tell if they are at quota, above or below. They just keep doing the things they are supposed to do.
    • On Derek Jeter, captain of the NY Yankees: “Watching Jeter at the end of the season you couldn’t tell if they were headed to the playoffs or in last place in the division.”
  • A valuable employee – one playing the game and not the score – will look like a valuable employee no matter the situation or circumstances. Consistency over time equals credibility.
  • This is important when evaluating current a new talent. When someone comes to you with a grievance or suggestion is that the someone that day in and day out performs as an all-star… or one that rides the wave when things are good and complains when things are bad? Pay attention to the source of complaints or suggestions – are they credible?

Selling when you are selling

  • When you make a big sale, keep going and make the second big sale.
  • Don’t worry about celebrating the win or mourning the loss.
  • Shoot your way out of a slump.
  • In his presentation, Brandon told a story about calling a prospective influencer 99 times in two days. Playing the game and not the score!
  • Before you try and sell someone something, make sure you know where their heart is and what makes them tick. That information is at least as valuable as whatever sales statistics you can offer up.

Steinisms:

  • In negotiating, a big part of getting what you want is helping other people get what they want.
  • Your true value is determined by how much you give in value rather than how much you receive in payment.
  • Dig the well before you are thirsty.
  • It’s risky to not take risks.
  • If you use your head, you don’t have to use your feet.

Topics: Sales Strategies, sales success

Fishing/Selling – It’s an Exact Science… Kinda

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Apr 27, 2016

I went fishing with a very good friend of mine from First Citizens Bank in NC and he took me to his favorite fishing hole - Lake James.  Keith claims it is the most beautiful fishing lake in the country.  I don’t know if it is - I’ve not seen them all, but this is one beautiful lake!

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Equipment - You gotta have equipment.  According to my guide, Keith Walker, there is no such thing as too much equipment.  I didn’t count everything, but I’m guessing we had 12 fishing rods and rigs, well over 100 different types of lures, and enough different types of hooks for another 25 different types of plastic lures.

Electronic Technology - Two radar screens to determine depth of water, temperature of water, structure underneath the water and visuals to determine schools of baitfish and predator fish.

Boat - A boat well-equipped to handle two people, rod holders, bait well, and a 40 hp four-stroke Suzuki engine to get us to various spots on the vast lake where the fish might be feeding or nesting. And a trolling motor at the bow of the boat so that we could quietly and slowly approach fishing areas.

Intelligence - Most importantly, we had human intelligence.  (That's a bit of a stretch with Keith… but I’ll give him credit for intelligence in fishing, North Carolina basketball J and managing a team of investment advisors.  Any other intelligences attributed to Keith is questionable as it is with all former coaches of any kind as they never fail to let the facts spoil a good story.) All the fishing enablement tools are needed but, without the human intelligence to put the pieces together to develop a strategy to find the fish, lure the fish, and catch the fish, the equipment and technology is, well, just equipment and technology.

As an example, the first place we fished is a place known as the rock pile.  It a rather shallow place in the lake with very clear water and, about 7 feet down, you can see rocks, lots of rocks.  Without the human intelligence, I would have not known to go there first thing in the morning, but that is exactly where we were at 6:30 AM on Saturday where we landed 3 fish and hooked another 3.  Then we moved on… because, after about an hour after sunrise, the fish move on.  Human Intelligence.

The same is true in selling.  You can leverage all the technology available to you, but at the end of the day, the technology cannot do what Dan Sullivan described many years ago in his great book - Selling for the 21st Century Agent.

Technology cannot replace what human intelligence and skill can do:

  • Development mutually beneficial relationships
  • Provide creative solutions to people’s problems
  • Get people to take action

If you find yourself not doing those three things on a consistent basis, then you will find yourself in a boat, in a lake and wonder why you aren’t catching any fish.

Topics: sales success, selling skills, fishing

How Did Your Sales Year Start?

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Jan 05, 2016

For many sales managers, the year end came to a sudden stop last Thursday as they closed the books on 2015. Yesterday, January 4th, you were back at the office kicking off a new year of sales. Depending on the type of sales you and your team are in, January results are a result of what you did at the tail end of 2015. With that in mind, how is your March, April and May shaping up?

Was your Monday a “Black Monday”? The Monday following the final game in the NFL is known as Black Monday because many head coaches lose their job for failure to manage, coach, recruit the team to success. (8 coaches lost their job.)

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If you don’t know - or you’re not sure - then you’re in trouble. In most B2B sales (Dismantling the B2B sales cycle HBR article), there is at least a 30-day sales cycle. If that is the case, then December determined your January and you may have closed out last year excited about your start to 2016. Did you enjoy the last week of the year knowing you were off to a great start… or were you were worried, mad or frustrated about where you might be headed?

If you are in B2B sales, then January 4th was about making sure your Q1 was going to be on target and you were looking at leading indicators like sales activity, pipeline opportunities, sales in process and presentations scheduled for the next 30 days. If that is not what your Monday looked like, then there are a few things to consider:

If your sales cycle is 90+ days, then:

  • By the end of October you knew how good January was going to be.
  • The first week of January tells you how good April is going to be
  • If you didn’t know how good January was going to be, then there is something missing in your sales managed environment.
  • If, by the end of this week, you cannot tell your president, executive committee, CFO or board what the first quarter will produce or how April is setting up, then now is the time to put in place the right systems and processes.

Effective sales management is a combination of 5 crucial functions:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Performance Management
  3. Coaching
  4. Motivating
  5. Upgrading

Each one of these functions has associated systems and processes that allow the effective sales manager to run the operation, manage the people and provide valuable business information to those who need it. Performance management is the function we are addressing today.

An effective performance management system allows you, the manager, to accurately predict the future sales health of the organization. Unlike a mutual fund that cannot promise future results by looking at past performance, you should be able to promise future results because your systems and processes provide you real time information about what you team is doing or failing to do. With the billions of dollars being spent on CRMs (BASE Sales CRM – Better ROI than SalesForce.com), you should, at the push of a button, get reports for leading indicators of sales:

  • Current sales activity
  • Current sales ratios
  • Reliable pipeline sales projections
  • Who is heading for failure
  • Who is on target or ahead of goal

This is what you should be getting out of your CRM. You’re not? If not, then you are always managing from behind. You are always playing catch up. You are always at a loss as to what is really going on with your sales team and you are always a bit surprised, disappointed or frustrated when the sales report comes in at the end of the week, month or quarter.

This should not be happening!

Now what? Now is a good time to take stock of 2015. Take a half-day and analyze what happened or didn’t happen. Who succeeded and why? Who failed and why? When it comes to those that failed (anyone less than 95% of goal should be considered as “failed”), my question to you is this: “When did you know?” Building the right sales managed environment and then managing that environment are keys, not the only keys, but critical keys to your 2016 success.

As you do your analysis, you must ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • What am I doing or not doing that contributes to these results?
  • What must I start doing?
  • What must I keep doing?
  • What must I stop doing?

You're the head coach. The responsibility is yours. Take a look at what’s happening, make adjustments and tough decisions… and then implement the right systems and process that will drive your sales success in 2016.

Additional Resources:

Hirebettersalespeople.com

Sales Management Certification

On Demand Learning and Training for Sales

Topics: sales management, improving sales results, sales success

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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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