The House
of Sales Ideas

Welcome to where the magic happens. Every project, class, system and process I have ever implemented started with a blog post RIGHT HERE. So dig in, there is gold in these electrons.

The 3 Keys to a Successful Sales Process

About this time of year, a lot of sales managers/executives are thinking about the New Year and the sales goals they have been assigned. They are wondering what they will have to do to hit their numbers and I guarantee a good percentage is thinking about establishing a new selling process.

They are reading every new book on sales and the selling process trying to get the edge they need to make their 2012 goals. I am here to tell you that it does not matter WHAT process/system is adopted if the 3 Keys don’t exist within your team then Tony Robbins, Tom Hopkins and Zig Ziglar COMBINED won’t be able to help you.

Key 1: 100% Management Commitment

No selling system will succeed unless the front-line managers are 100% committed and have bought into the process. If they can’t support and reinforce its implementation you will need an egg timer to see how fast it will fail.

Leadership defines what a selling system should involve but also must be it’s #1 proponent and example. Investigating the sales models available cannot be taken lightly. If you are going to invest your company’s time and money in a sales system it must be in harmony with the culture necessary for successful selling.

A key to successful sales force transformation is a conceptual shift on the part of first level managers from reactive to proactive. If frontline managers don’t grasp this most basic concept you have the wrong people and are in a world of hurt.

Key 2: Sales Force Adoption

Most sales training fails because it’s the business “flavor of the month” with a ready, fire, aim mentality. Many training programs consist of “read this book” or attend this two-day training session. There is nothing wrong with the material and the information from these sources. But nobody learns, retains and uses information this way. If we did, we would all have our MBA’s in six months.

Look at professional training in various fields. A welder or electrician spends a minimum of a year learning their craft, pilots must log hundreds of hours in the air before they get their license, and so on.

Generally, we give salespeople a briefcase and say: “Go get ’em.” It’s an insult to our clients and to the profession of sales, but it is also not going to help you or your salesperson hit your target. Installation of the all phases of the new system will require in various amounts

  • Lecture
  • Simulation (practicing)
  • Experiential (observation)
  • Practical (work in conjunction)
  • Actual (doing the job)
  • Testing
  • Ongoing Coaching

These are essential elements to ensure adoption. If you aren’t willing to commit resources to these activities DON’T bother changing.

Key 3: Support and Reinforcement

Even the best selling system, delivered by the most entertaining and persuasive facilitator, will be a distant memory within a few weeks if the effort is not ongoing. It’s fine that your salespeople know what to do, but to do it under pressure in buyer/seller situations requires that a salesperson graduate from knowledge to mastery.

The availability to continue the learning and support process is crucial to the installation’s success. Remember, selling is a high-rejection business. You must constantly monitor, measure and modify based on the results you are seeing. Techniques will need to be tweaked, attitudes boosted and continual encouragement dished out when you see signs and successes of productive behavior.

In short this is a monumental undertaking and if you perceive it to be anything but you are making a colossal mistake.

Wrap Up

Folks, I am not trying to discourage you from changing your system but I am trying to alert you to the myriad issues that you will be facing. We are talking about how a company makes a profit and people earn a living, there will be speed bumps.

I have personally seen the rewards of the right system having been implemented in the right way and trust me when I say they are nothing short of transformational. Your company experiences growth, and most importantly your sales team experiences new levels of success they never thought possible, it is glorious when done right. So do your homework, prepare your team and settle in for some of the hardest work of your life, but believe me, IT IS WORTH IT!     



You Might be a Commodity if….

Most of us remember Jeff Foxworthy’s famous routine “You might be a redneck if…”

  • You think “loading the dishwasher” means getting your wife drunk.
  • You ever cut your grass and found a car.
  • You own a home that is mobile and 5 cars that aren’t.

Just a sample of his more memorable lines to jog your memory (and because I couldn’t resist).

Well, in sales, we have an affliction that is far less funny and much more tragic. When our customers think of us as a commodity they either can’t or don’t perceive the difference between us and our competition and/or they have ZERO recognition of the value of our product/service. I don’t know if there is a more deadly one two punch in sales.

So, in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy here is a list of some of the most common and DANGEROUS signs of this affliction.

You might be a commodity if…

  • After a lead generation campaign, when calling prospects, they don’t recognize your name or your company or worse when they hear your name you hear “UGH, oh Hi John…”
  • If you try to set an appointment with a prospect and she says, “Tell you what call me back in a week and I’ll let you know what I want to do then.”
  • After the initial discovery appointment the customer tells you thanks for your time and he’ll be in touch.
  • During the presentation you ask your prospect what he likes best and he says “Good question” yet never answers you.
  • You find yourself negotiating your price on 2 out of every 3 closing presentations.
  • Before the presentation they told you they needed to make a decision by next week and now it is next month and you still have not been able to get them on the phone.
  • After the presentation you attempt to schedule a next step meeting and your prospect says, “I think we have all the information we need.”
  • Calling to schedule a next step meeting your prospect says “what was this about again?”
  • You go to a networking function of 100+ people and you don’t come back with ANY actionable leads.
  • The closest you get to an opportunity at a trade show is somebody who comes to your booth for the free candy and chotchkies.

We have a webinar coming up on Wednesday December 21st  that will offer some cures to this deadly disease and in the meantime, check you and your team for these symptoms. If  any of these have manifested themselves my prescription is to attend our webinar and call me in the morning.