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Archive for December, 2007

News Year’s Sales Resolutions

Posted By Michael Roby | Saturday, December 29th, 2007

As 2007 draws to a close, New Year’s resolutions emerge from the unfulfilled promises of the year and the excesses of December. According to Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., in an article on Psych Central, the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health social network created and run by mental health professionals, ”most New Year’s resolutions are broken within 48 hours.” So as we plan our 2008 sales year, this statistic begs the following questions:

  • Should we even make New Year’s sales resolutions?
  • If we choose make to make resolutions, what should we change and how do we quantify that change?
  • Once we commit to change, how do we keep these resolutions?

Should we even make New Year’s sales resolutions? Absolutely! The seed of progress is the desire to improve. It is true that we either grow or we die, so it is imperative that we seek never ending improvement. A salesperson that is “comfortable” is in long-tern or possibly seven short-term peril.

If we choose make to make resolutions, what should we change and how do we quantify that change? The thing we should not resolve is to change results. You can’t manage results; you can only manage behavior. The decision to change behavior (activity) creates meaningful changes, and sometimes quickly. There are only two ways you improve sales results – increasing activity and improving technique. Improving technique takes time, but increasing activity gives immediate or near immediate results. Make plans to improve activity and technique.

Once we commit to change, how do we keep these resolutions? Follow these four tips to help make 2008 your best year ever.

  1. Set realistic goals. Make these goals activity oriented, even if you are scheduling new training to improve technique. If you reduce your goals to manageable activities, you will see positive change.
  2. Set timetables and review dates. Goals without deadlines are daydreams. Give yourself a deadline for projects, such as signing up for a particular sales course no late than (date), and schedule daily and weekly sales activity objectives, such as five calls per day – minimum.
  3. Don’t make activity goals cumulative. In other words, if you exceed your sales call goal Monday, there is no carry-over to Tuesday. Likewise, if you miss a daily activity goal, start over the next day without feeling the need to catch-up. Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t get down when you miss a day. Resolve to succeed tomorrow.
  4. Develop a personal reward system. When you achieve any goal, no matter how small, have an appropriate reward and celebrate your success. For example, if you hit your sales activity goal early in the day, give yourself a pat on the back. Hit a weekly activity goal? Take your spouse or a friend out for dinner, or see a show, or take a day off.

New Year’s resolutions can be the start of something great. Follow these tips to jump-start your newest best year of your life.

Happy New Year – and Good Selling!

T’was The Morning of Christmas

Posted By Michael Roby | Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Yesterday, along with millions of other families, we opened Christmas presents. My grandson Cameron, (aka Camper), was right in the middle of it all. Camper was that star of the show! He is a wonderful little boy. Bright, cute, loving, and while I am partial to him, all of that is the truth. As are many kids, he is a model of [tag]persistence[/tag] – something that, as a [tag]sales trainer[/tag] and [tag]sales coach[/tag], I love! In the midst of opening presents, he reminded me (aka “Pam Paw”) of an old [tag]sales principle[/tag] – “Don’t Confuse Your Prospect!

Camper gets more toys that most children – a lot more toys! He would rip open one package, get real excited – and then push it aside for the next gift. Before long he was through opening packages and playing – in a box! Many of you will identify with this story. However, I hope it doesn’t remind you of your sales presentations.

Sometimes sales people give the prospect too many choices. A great way to close a sale is the “Choice Close,” where the salesperson offers the prospect two solutions, either of which will solve the prospects problem. No matter what choice the prospect selects, everyone wins. The Choice Close works, but the problem with this close is salespeople sometimes offer more than two choices. I know a salesperson in the 401k market that prepares spreadsheets of five to ten, (yes, TEN), products from which the prospect is expected to select one solution! Two problems exist with this approach.

First, just as my grandson has so many toys that he can’t decide which to select, and ends up selecting a non-solution solution (the box), our prospects can’t decide upon the best solution from those offered. A confused mind never buys! Second, if you are truly a [tag]professional salesperson[/tag], your opinion is of tremendous value to the prospect. They expect you to have an opinion, and you better have one!

So, how can multiple options help you close more sales? First, if you use the Choice Close, limit your choices to two solutions or, in any case, never more than three. However, always have an opinion of the option that best serves your customer, and the reasons for your choice. Second, if you did a spreadsheet analysis for the prospect – keep it in your file. Tell the prospect, “I reviewed X number of options, and I feel the one I am presenting to you today best meets your needs.” Another tactic is to use the same approach, but tell them you reviewed multiple options, and boiled them down to two, and then point out the advantages and disadvantages of each offering. Once again, have an opinion about the better choice for the prospect.

Don’t let your prospects play in a box – a competitor’s product. They deserve the benefit of your expertise, so make your recommendations with conviction based upon your experience, research, and facts. The client will be well served and your sales will go up!

Happy Holidays – and Good Selling!

No Time For the Mall – But I Still Shopped For Christmas!

Posted By Michael Roby | Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Anyone else remember when the Holiday Season wasn’t hectic? Actually, I think it has always been hectic, but hectic in different ways. Everyone is drawn between professional, personal, and social responsibilities, not to speak of holiday shopping. How do you shop and still have time to enjoy gift giving?

For me, this is where the internet comes into the picture. We travel for a couple of weeks in late December seeing family, and we simply don’t have time to shop from store to store, and then haul the gifts 800 miles. A trailer would be needed – we have grandkids! The Internet provides me what I need.

  • The internet is convenient, and saves me time.
  • I can go to a number of virtual stores to find exactly what I want to buy from the comfort of my home or office.
  • I can compare prices.
  • Merchants ship the gifts to the proper location.

There are two morals to this story, and one may not be what you expect.

  1. Make it easy for your customers to do business with you. Examine the ways you are a vendor of choice, and write them down. At the same time, ask yourself, “How can I provide even better quality to my customers, and continue to make it easier?” Going through this exercise and writing down the answers helps to crystallize your thoughts and turn them into action.
  2. Ease, (like price), is not the only factor that determines customer and client behavior. Believe it or not, many people like the experience of shopping the day after Thanksgiving, to the point of staying out all night in line to be among the first to shop. Do not discount the experience you provide. People still buy based on feeling and emotions, and the experience you create is a big factor in determining your sales success. Over the holidays, give yourself the gift of spending some time working on your business to create a bigger vision for 2008.

Happy Holidays – and good selling!