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Archive for the tag “sales training”

Want to Know the Status of Your Livelihood? Check Your Vitals!

I recently experienced a major loss in my family. My father passed away because of a serious car accident. I know many of you reading this have experienced a loss like this but regardless of when or how it happened…it leaves a permanent hole in your heart.

The reason I start this writing with this announcement is that during his brief stay in the hospital, the nurses and doctors, therapist and other medical team members kept a constant view of a couple of monitors and what could not be seen on a monitor, was checked with regularity by a skilled care giver.  I am talking about vital signs. Heart rate, temperature, breathing and blood pressure.

These important signs are designed to let you know the status of your physical condition AT THAT MOMENT! They are a current measure of your condition. Naturally, if any of these signs go beyond a stated benchmark (especially in a critical situation) action must be taken immediately.

There are vital signs to the condition of our business or our work. They too display our condition at that given moment. So, if you want to know where you stand…at any time, check the following vitals:

  • Vision: Do you still have a dream? Do you see your end game as strongly now as when you first began your journey? Can you paint a vivid enough picture for those that work for you and with you to get on and stay on board with your vision?
  • Velocity: Are you headed in the right direction and at the right speed. Do you assess and hold yourself accountable for results on a consistent basis and are you pursing your work or career with the proper focus and energy? It’s too important to not check your velocity. Going the wrong direction or at the wrong speed or perhaps both will destroy you!!
  • Value: Do you bring something of worth beyond the product or the norm to increase the benefit of working with you or selecting you as my provider of choice? What do you demonstrate that proves worth beyond the transaction?
  • Volume: Do you offer something that keeps them coming back or that is so professionally presented that people can’t help but purchase from or choose you? A successful business model has been and always will be a professional, volume based business…great value time and time again. Turn it up!
  • Victory: Do you celebrate your success and the success of others? Do you recognize those that helped get you where you are and where you are going? You should! People are your greatest resource and asset and should never be taken for granted. IT IS JUST AS EASY TO LIFT SOMEONE UP AS IT IS TO TEAR THEM DOWN…IT’S A MATTER OF CHOICE. Celebrate victories then move on to another and another!

Finally, there are two types of care you can implement regarding both physical and business or work vitals. One type of care is acute: This means action immediately or serious consequences will result. Acute care means a life-threatening situation.

The other care is preventative: Simply monitoring your vitals regularly and infusing them with a proper diet, activity and vitamins will help keep you healthy, energetic, focused and on target to make your dreams a reality.

So, there are your vitals and their specific types of care. These five things can show you at any moment where you are and are also a great indicator of where you are headed. The question now is…which type of care will you choose.

Best wishes for a very successful 2017!

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A Successful Prospecting Experiment. The Conclusion

Welcome back to the conclusion of “A Successful Prospecting Experiment”.  Let’s take a look at the variables and how we apply the controllables to them to impact results.

Every morning before I start my prospecting, I take out a devise that works like a crystal ball.  It tells me who I should call, when I should call to make certain they are there; It also predicts which prospects are going to schedule an appointment, which ones will cancel on me an hour before the meeting, it tells me which prospect is going to say “yes” and which ones are going to say “no” and finally it tells me how many referrals each person is going to give me!  I am sure every one of you reading this has that same devise right…No?

Wouldn’t it be great if the above scenario were the case? We could know for certain who to call and spend all our time there.  Unfortunately this is not the case.  All the items I mentioned above are VARIABLES to the prospecting experiment.  We will not know until we apply a controllable application to each of them, what the result will be.

Each of the A’s we control (Attitude, Activity, Accountability, Assessments and Adjustments) have a specific application that is applied to each of the variables mentioned above.  What we are going to do now is grab our beaker and mix the controllables and variables together to produce our outcome.

Variable: Contacting a prospect. Controllable Application: Make the call

It can be very easy to try to convince yourself as to why you should not call.  I have heard things like, “It’s Friday and they are probably off for the weekend” or “Today is President’s Day” (actually at the time of this writing, Monday really is President’s Day).  The point is, while you can do your homework in evaluating the best time to call someone, we are not guaranteed we will reach them. But we can guarantee an opportunity to talk with them by controlling our action and making the call or knocking on the door.

In my early days, I must confess that I tried to talk myself out of making a call, especially when I was stepping out of my comfort zone and entering a more sophisticated market.  To combat this, I made it mandatory that once I picked up the phone, I dialed the number. I had reached the point of no return and could not sit the phone back down until I talked to someone or heard the voicemail. It worked.

Variable: Appointment cancels. Controllable Application: Schedule another

I touched on this in an early writing. No one likes it, but there are times when the big one you have worked on, that you are counting on, cancels or reschedules. What you do after that really says a lot about what kind of career you have in front of you.  Hard as it may be, the best thing you can do, is start finding a replacement right away.  I have seen this scenario happen to good salespeople and it frustrates them so, that they cannot function until the next day or until after a long weekend.  C’mon. I know it’s tough, I’ve been there but remember who’s in control. Pick up the phone and go again.

Variable: Prospects response. Controllable Application: Seek the “yes”

I had an agent once who was given a referral to a very prominent figure in our community.  Everyone knows him and he fit the profile of a great client.  Instead of getting excited about the meeting, the agent remarked that “every agent in this town has probably contacted him and he already has all he needs”.  Really? How did he know that? The point is he will never know if he doesn’t ask. The only thing we can control is when we have the opportunity to share our story, we ask for the business.  How many opportunities do you miss personally by trying to “predict” what someone will say?  Seeking the yes is within your control!

Variable: Getting a referral. Controllable Application: Ask after you earn

Referrals are the life blood to a sales career period; yet for some reason they are often overlooked.  Why?  See if you can identify with this: Forget to ask. You get caught up in the moment of the sale and you just simply forget. How about this: Not sure it’s a good idea. You are right if you presentation is high pressure, and unprofessional BUT, if you believe what you offer has value and if you have proven that to a potential prospect, whether they become a client or not, you have earned the right to ask for a favorable introduction to others.  It may be simply “who do you know that I can approach in the same way I approached you” or “If you know anyone looking for a great business experience, tell them about me!” Either way or any way you choose to do it, the key again is you are in charge of the asking.

Okay, so here is the BIG point to this part of the experiment. Ready…FOCUS YOUR TIME ON CONTROLLING THE CONTROLLABLES NOT GUESSING ON A VARIABLE! Don’t waste your time trying to control a variable.  You can’t. If you will spend your time controlling what you can control, you will influence the variables to favorably impact your results.

The Results: The undeniable outcome of our efforts

Now that we have mixed it all together, let’s see what we have created. The key here is that what you see is what you get. The results are undeniable.  Do you like what you see? If yes congratulations, keep it up.  If not go back immediately to the controllables.

By effectively utilizing this formula for prospecting, you can be assured of one key result and that is a consistent flow of business opportunities.  That is all we can ask for…an opportunity to show value of what we do.

So there is your experiment.  I hope your results are what you want them to be and they can be if you stay in control.  Happy Prospecting!

A Successful Prospecting Experiment Part 1

Regardless of where you are in your business career, if you need customers, you will always have the need to be your best at prospecting. Here is a simple yet proven approach to a very important part of your workday!

Remember when you took chemistry back in high school or junior high? If you were like me, you loved to mix things up and see what kind of mess you could make, I mean the bigger the explosion the better…right? With that being said I want to take you back to the lab so to speak with that same enthusiasm and conduct a prospecting experiment that if handled correctly can create positive long term results but, if handled incorrectly, can produce a mess that may become too big to clean up. Grab your lab coat and let’s go!

The Controllables, The Variables and The Results

As with all experiments, I recall that there are specific components to the process. There are the “controllables”; the things we are in charge of completely. There are the variables; the things we don’t know until we apply the controllables; and finally, the results; the undeniable outcome of our efforts.

The Controllables

Let’s look at the controllables (Okay I know this is not a real word, but just go with it). In the prospecting process, what are the things we control? Here are five A’s for you to consider:

First is our attitude. Do you look forward to making the call, sending the letter, knocking on the door? When you do these things are your expectations as such that you believe your best customer is just around the corner or do you believe another rejection looms. I know you read about the importance of your attitude all the time, but it simply cannot be overstated. Your attitude will determine when and if you prospect…even more so your urgency to keep it under control.

You control your activity. This is not your sales manager’s job or your associate’s job…it’s yours. You are in charge of keeping your funnel full. If your sales are down, or if your appointments aren’t where you want them to be, guess who controls how to change it? The economy, the market, or any other circumstances should not decide when you should pick up the phone. Regardless of any of these things, if you’re in sales and live on commissions or fees, I’m sure you will agree, you still have to eat in any economic environment!

Accountability: Personal ownership of the results. I hope each of us has a measure to what we are doing and a timeline in which to gage performance. Accountability should not be something our manager or supervisor forces us to do every Friday. It should be something we choose to do for ourselves. Control!

We determine how we evaluate or performance. We control assessments. While accountability is critical to success, how we assess our performance measures is of equal importance. For example: are you making enough calls? Are you calling the right people? Is there a better way or time to approach? Without proper attention to assessments you may find yourself on the business treadmill; getting a workout but the view never changes…I think you get the picture so let’s move on.

The final controllable is adjustments. Adjustments are actions on purpose. They are intentionally done to impact results. Adjustments are clear, identifiable steps to change the results in your favor. More calls between specific times, more letters to a specific neighborhood to be sent out on Tuesday for the next 4 weeks. These are identifiable steps you can track. And speaking of tracking, Have you ever said “the next time…” or “I’ll start doing that when… only to discover that those dates become an obscure idea that may one day actually show up on your calendar. When you identify the next move forward, implement it right away. Don’t wait for a sign, remember who is in control!

In part 2 of “A Prospecting Experiment” we will address the variables and how we mix them with what we control to provide consistent, positive prospecting results.

A Table In Maria’s Section

I’ve been writing quite a bit lately, but I am about to get busy and hit the road again. So, before I do, I wanted to share this article with you in hope that it will inspire you like it did me.  Enjoy.

I found this great little home-owned café in my town a few months ago that makes a great breakfast.  It’s one of those places you can smell the aroma from the parking lot.  It is just as you would imagine; checkered cloths on the tables and a stack of extra chairs are located against the wall, just in case they are needed (they usually are!).  The only contemporary event that takes place, is that you must wait to be seated. 

 On my first visit, I was waiting in line for my turn to be seated, when the couple in front of me asked if they could be seated in Maria’s section.  I did not think much of it at the time until my next visit when the same thing happened again.  A gentleman asked if there were any tables in Maria’s section.  Now I was curious…what was so special about Maria’s section?  Did it have a better view, was the room nicer; what?  I had to find out so when it was my turn, I too asked if there were any tables in Maria’s section…there were.

 As I glanced at the menu to look at all the options (although I already had my mind made up) I looked up and coming into our section of the café, was the biggest smile carrying a coffee pot I had ever seen!  She walked up and down the aisle, filling coffee cups, asking if there was anything she could do and conversing with folks like she had known them her entire life.  As she approached me she said “Good Morning” My name is Maria and I am happy you stopped in our café for breakfast.  May I start you with some coffee?” 

Keep in mind that her job description probably did not require her to tell me her name, afterall it was right there on her badge. And she probably was not required to tell me she was happy to see me…but you could tell she genuinely was! The entire time she was waiting on customers, she had this heir about her that she really loved what she was doing.  Whether it was delivering hot plates or clearing dirty ones, she did each task with a purpose and an attitude of how much she enjoyed her job!

 Needless to say, when I left that day, I too felt as if I had known Maria my entire life.  There is just something about a person with a positive, welcoming approach to life and to work, that draws you to them.  Maria like all of us, has the ability to make the best or the worst of what we do day after day.  I don’t know if Maria’s goal in life is to be a waitress, if it is, she will make the hall of fame.  If she wants to pursue other aspirations, I can’t help but believe the doors will be wide open.

 Here is the point.  We need to make our customers feel like they are sitting in Maria’s section every day. Waiting in line so to speak to do business with you!  We need to enjoy and be thankful for our opportunities and make the most of our day.  Regardless of what you do, if you are fortunate to get up tomorrow morning and go to work, you are blessed.  

 Now hold on; I know things aren’t always going to run smoothly.  I am sure there were days that Maria may not have felt like being so outgoing, and perhaps just before she came down the aisle to refill all those empty coffee cups, she may have had an encounter with a disgruntled customer.  The point is that if she did, you never knew it.  She never showed it.  She just kept making the most of her day.  I learned a lot about running my business and my life from the events I witnessed in this cozy little café.

 So as I draw this writing to a close, it is my hope is that you too will learn a valuable lesson from a waitress named Maria; to be thankful and make the most of every day; to make each customer feel like a welcomed friend.

 Tomorrow has a new opportunity for me.  I think I’ll start off with a good breakfast…hope there’s a table in Maria’s section!

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