Obvious Truths: Who among you is immoral?

Obvious Truths: Who among you is immoral?

Now, I was in a hurry.  The map had appeared pretty straightforward but the walk was longer than I expected and if I didn’t kick it up a notch I would be late to my first Philosophy class.  Frankly, I was pretty excited about this class because it was one of the few electives of my Freshman year at the University of North Carolina.  The majority of my schedule was filled with requirements – English, Foreign Language, Math, etc.  Philosophy was not required and it sounded interesting so I surely didn’t want to be late for day number one.

I walked into the room as the professor was wrapping up a conversation and began to address the class.  With my back turned to him, I climbed up about twenty steps trying to find a seat amongst the 200 or so other students.  I’m saying my excuse me’s to a couple of dozen knees as I listen to the professor say,

“This class is about morals and ethics.  Let me ask you this:  Who among you is immoral?”

I raise my hand and continue to the empty seat in the middle of the row.  As I turn to sit, I notice for the first time that all eyes are on the only raised arm in the room – mine.  Oops.

“You there.  What’s your name?”, the professor says.  I tell him the name of the only immoral person taking Philosophy 101 and he says, “What makes you immoral?”

“Because I do immoral things,” I answered.

This was not going so well.  I wet my lips with my tongue and looked around.  I thought I recognized one girl from a mixer that we had attended the other night.  It was hard to know if it was her because on that night she was bleary-eyed and puffy faced from drinking.  Wait a minute, wasn’t that a guy from my dorm who told me about an organized ring of students who sold last year’s history tests?

I was tired of being the center of attention, so I was ready when the next question came my way,

“What sort of things do you do that are immoral?”

“I lie.”

“Are you lying now?”

“Yes.”

The professor smiled and moved on.

To me, the professor’s question should have been met with a roomful of raised arms.  The obvious truth is that most college students are immoral at least some of the time.  But, experience has shown that people are not willing to assign negative attributes to their own behavior.  Not when it comes to their morality while in college and not when it comes to their behavior at work.

When sales are down, my experience has been that sellers will blame conditions first, other people second and admit their own shortcomings third.

If the sales manager were to come into the weekly sales meeting and ask, “Who among you isn’t doing everything possible to generate revenue?” my bet is that an organization would be lucky if even one seller had the courage to raise her hand.

But, just like in my Philosophy class so long ago, the room should have many raised arms attesting to the obvious truth that there is always a little more that each of us can do.

Then and now, there is no shame in admitting an obvious truth.  The shame would be to go on as before without making any adjustments to our behavior.

 

Dump The Script during Panel Presentations

Dump The Script during Panel Presentations

Here’s something to consider:  The next time you have to make a presentation in front of a panel, prepare the content as usual and then set it aside.  Spend time practicing the dynamics of making the presentation.  What you must do is to make an indelible impression on the panel.

We knew what to expect but it didn’t make it any less nerve racking.

Our on-time arrival went unrewarded as the group in front of us was still making their presentation.  We sat down on plastic chairs at the only clean table in the break room and double-checked our inventory.

Several copies of the presentation?  Check.

Gift bags filled with station merchandise?  Check.

A stack of business cards?  Check.

Courage and determination?  Check and check.

The competition exits stage left and we are greeted and ushered in to a too large room.  The “prospect” is a five-headed panel sitting behind their laptops at individual desks –  lined up side by side as if the Supreme Court itself was now in session.  But, the Supreme Court is not yet in session because the judges are trying to decide what to order at Starbucks.  The seller and I introduce ourselves to each as they finish describing their lattes and iced coffees to a page.

Although no one says to, we take our place at a circular table in front of the laptops.  As the assistant heads out, the seller thanks the prospect for inviting us to make a presentation and then she begins.

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Make no mistake.  The initial sales presentation in front of a panel is one of the hardest sales calls you will ever make.  Here are five reasons why it’s hard:

Prospects act differently when they are part of a panel.  Members of a panel are more conservative, reserved and difficult to engage.  The decision makers on a panel will rarely exert their power while receiving a presentation and the underlings are very unlikely to step up to ask questions or make comments.  While a seller may have developed a relationship with one of the panel members during previous meetings, that panel member is likely to shrink into the background so as not to appear biased in favor of one presentation team.

A panel typically includes out-of-towners.  Folks fly into town to be a part of a panel because they believe they’ll learn more by seeing face-to-face presentations.  The problem is that the travelers are out of sorts.  They are thinking about people back at home or at the home office.  They are thinking about the fact that they forgot their favorite shoes or that they didn’t bring work-out clothes.  In short, they are distracted.

A panel sees a lot of presentations.  The purpose of a panel is to get all the decision makers together and view presentations from all the competing vendors.  By seeing everyone in a day or two, panels hope to come to informed decisions.  Unfortunately, all those presentations end up blending together and a typical panel is unable to say which idea was presented by whom.

Panels don’t have much time.  We are usually asked to make a presentation in half of our usual time.  This is virtually impossible because we have prepared so completely that we have even more to say than usual.  We’ve included pictures and video and creative ideas that the panel asks us to e-mail to them after the meeting.  The resulting presentation appears rushed and incomplete – because it is!

We act differently in front of a panel, too.  Most of us, who are fine in front of a person or two, act much more nervously in front of a panel.  Our nervousness makes us more reserved and we become less interesting.  Less interesting people tend to blend together in the mind of a panel.

Typically, we attempt to combat the effects of a panel presentation by preparing more completely than usual. Unfortunately, some of our extra work actually contributes to a less than positive experience.

Here’s something to consider: The next time you have to make a presentation in front of a panel, prepare the content as usual and then set it aside. Spend time practicing the dynamics of making the presentation. What you must do is to make an indelible impression on the panel. Here are five ideas on how to do it:

Bring refreshments. If your meeting is at 3 p.m. then bring coffee. But, don’t just bring cups of coffee. Roll in a cart with an expresso machine or bring a barista to prepare specialty drinks. If you are first up in the morning, bring a tray of pastries the size of a mountain!
Prepare your anecdotes. Perhaps, you have a forty-five second story that segues nicely into reasons why the prospect should hire you. Or, if you know the children of one of the panel members you might prepare a fun, relatable story about one of your children of a similar age. The point is to have a couple of these stories in your hip pocket that you can use at the beginning of the presentation to get the panel to pay attention to you and remember you.
Dress in character. This might be especially difficult for some as it calls attention to ourselves in a way that is dramatically different than usual. Of course, that is the point. If your presentation includes information about a Cinco de Mayo promotion you might dress as a Mexican soldier. If the presentation includes something about weddings you could bring along a bride and groom that make an appearance at exactly the right time. One of the best panel presentations that I was a part of included a skit that illustrates one of our points. We brought along six people whose sole purpose was to perform the skit. Of course, no one else did a skit and we were remembered with an order.
Bring a celebrity. Does your presentation include something about sports? Bring an athlete with you. Ideally, the athlete is dressed as his athletic self and not his street self but you might not get Carl Edwards to wear his coveralls on your sales call. Don’t think you know a celebrity who would go with you? You’d be surprised at who you know who goes to the same gym as Ralph Sampson (that would be me). Or, you might know somebody who went to the same high school as Dominique Wilkins (my old friend Bob.)
Stand and deliver. When invited to sit, let the panel know that you prefer to stand. Standing allows you to peer over the top of the laptops shielding the panel from your influence. Standing allows you to move around which forces the panel to watch you. While they watch they will be forming an impression of you that will allow easy recall. “Which company proposed that we include a stalk of celery with every purchase? Oh yeah, that was the guy who stood up the whole time.”

A presentation in front of a panel demands a show. So, get out there and perform!

Partnering Can Sometimes Mean Patience

Partnering Can Sometimes Mean Patience

What is my role as a salesperson?  What do my customers expect from me?  How can I be of the most benefit to my clients?

While salespeople are notorious for wanting to close deals quickly, a sales consultant positions him or herself as a partner who can help customers in reaching both their short and long-term business goals.  If you’re not sure how your product or service will positively impact these goals, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and take a look at the bigger picture.

So you thought by now you’d stop hearing the words, “No” or “I’m not interested”, from your prospective customers.  Yet, time and again it appears that there just isn’t a need or worse:  Salespeople are being told that prospects just aren’t buying or that their decision to purchase is “on hold”.  What many salespeople do when they hear the bad news is to mark on their calendars a reminder note to call in 60 days to see if the prospect’s decision to buy has changed.

If you fall into this kind of postponement thinking where you plan for success at a later date, your chances for success are significantly reduced.  Think about it a minute:  Why would you accept at face value that your prospects don’t need what you have to offer, regardless of what the economy is doing?  You know yourself that you will always find a way to purchase if you see that the value of your purchase outweighs the financial or emotional risks of buying.  In other words, if your prospects are like most people they’ll find a way to buy what they need and justify why buying was the smartest decision they could ever make.

Your role in fostering a good buying decision is in knowing how your customers measure a good return on investment.  Before you assume that paying as little as possible is the highest priority on your customer’s wish list, consider some other possibilities:

Would your customers spend a few extra dollars if it meant saving them huge amounts of time?

Would they invest a little cash to get control of a perceived chaotic work environment?

Would your prospects talk to you if you could show a way to move them to the forefront of their industry and increase their sales revenue?

Would your customers pay for a way to improve their working relationships with their own customers?

Regardless of market conditions, customers are still buying.  Fortunately for those of us who can meet their needs, they’ve become highly selective concerning who they’ll buy from.  They’re looking for straight talk and for salespeople who can see beyond an immediate sale.  Let’s face it:  Some of your customers are getting less business than usual from their own customers.  The main challenge, then, for the smart salesperson is to create ways in which to improve your customer’s profitability.

Ask yourself: What is my role as a salesperson? What do my customers expect from me? How can I be of the most benefit to my clients? While salespeople are notorious for wanting to close deals quickly, a sales consultant positions him or herself as a partner who can help customers in reaching both their short and long-term business goals. If you’re not sure how your product or service will positively impact these goals, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and take a look at the bigger picture.

Once your customers see you less as a vendor and more as a consultant or strategist, your opportunities to solidify long-term business relationships increase significantly. Position yourself to succeed.

Forget Closing The Deal | Get The Appointment!

Forget Closing The Deal | Get The Appointment!

Salespeople who are less than successful in securing appointments are sometimes told by others, “It’s not you; we’re just in a bad economy.”  My contention is that maybe it is you.  Think about it a minute:  When you get a real person on the other end of the phone line in place of a voice recorder, what are you actually saying and in what order?

There rarely is a sale without a face-to-face encounter with the prospect. Now that that’s settled, let’s talk about what salespeople can do to improve their sales performance.  Let’s start by looking at securing the infamous sales appointment.  If you’re hearing your prospects say something to the effect, “I’m not ordering” or “I’m perfectly happy with my current supplier”, take it personally!

Salespeople who are less than successful in securing appointments are sometimes told by others, “It’s not you; we’re just in a bad economy.”  My contention is that maybe it is you.  Think about it a minute:  When you get a real person on the other end of the phone line in place of a voice recorder, what are you actually saying and in what order?

After introducing yourself and your company, are you immediately launching into a litany of reasons why your product or service is just what the prospect needs?  Are you so thankful to have a live person on the other end of the phone that regardless of the prospect’s resistance you’re going to get an appointment?  If so, beware:  You may already be perceived as a person who cares more about yourself than you do about your prospect.

The real question is, “Do you have a plan or a telephone script that works?”  You may know what your goal is (to get the appointment) but if you don’t have a clue how to go about increasing your chances for arranging a face-to-face meeting, why pick up the phone?

Most salespeople who are in it for the long haul and who love the thrill of the hunt as much as the victory of closing the deal know exactly what they’re doing right.  They aren’t randomly trying this approach or that until something sticks to the wall.  They’ve already been through the heartaches and have learned to not only avoid them but to predict them.  They have a plan.

Here are some solid ways in which to increase your appointment-closing ratios:

Always, always, always ask if the person you’re speaking with has a moment to talk with you. If not, ask when is a better time for you to call back. I’ve often heard salespeople say they don’t want to ask this question for fear of being told not to call back at all! If you follow this line of thinking, ask yourself, “Am I entrapping my prospect into talking or meeting with me?” If so, you may once again have your own agenda in mind.

Always state the purpose for your call. Never forget that initially your goal is to gather information and build rapport. You want to see if what you offer might be of interest or benefit to the prospect, from the prospect’s perspective, not yours. Notice that I didn’t mention selling ANYTHING! You’re not making a sales pitch. You simply want to find out if what has worked for your clients might similarly work for your prospect.

Ask only 3-4 questions that may lead you to a problem or challenge the prospect may be experiencing. Remember that your immediate goal is to LEARN! You may discover during this mini-telephone assessment phase that this particular prospect is truly not a good target prospect for you, in which case you can send off some literature and save everybody a lot of time.

Be sure to indicate a benefit to the prospect if the two of you decide to meet face to face. For example, if you’ve learned in conversation that your prospect is overloaded with work, time strapped, having to deal with employees who have morale issues, or is simply tired, think of ways to take him or her out of pain that ties in with your product or service.

Ask for the appointment to see if there might be a mutual fit between your companies—period! When prospects aren’t threatened by a salesperson, they’re more likely to be open for a visit. By gaining control over the sales process they feel empowered to decide whether or not to work with you. You’ve given them permission to say, “No”. The truth is you’re not sure yourself at this point that you can meet their expectations, so why pretend you are?

Try to match the prospect’s communication style at every turn. If the prospect speaks rapidly and you don’t, pick up your pace a bit. If the prospect appears to be detail oriented, know your product or service well to cover their questions. If the prospect has a sense of humor, relax and show your humorous side. If, however, your prospect is a no-nonsense person, get to the point quickly.

So the next time you think you’re not getting appointments because of a poor economy or because of your competitors’ margin-shrinking mentalities, think again. You have within your power the ability to build rapport with anyone you encounter. Take the time to understand where your prospects or customers are coming from–then proceed with caution. There’s rarely a sale made that isn’t preceded by an appointment.

Don’t Become a Sleeping Beauty

Don’t Become a Sleeping Beauty

In the real world, passively waiting for clients to court you and give you business is a sale strategy doomed for failure. Regardless of how great your product or service is, you need to remain proactive in good times and bad if you’re going to make sales and achieve the success you truly want.

When times are tough, it’s easy to fall into the trap of unwisely hoping that a fairy tale-like customer will miraculously save the day and bring you business on a silver platter. Who wouldn’t like a prince of a client to ride up on a white horse and sweep them away from a slumping economy and faltering sales? Unfortunately, only in a Disney movie does sleeping beauty live happily ever after.

In the real world, passively waiting for clients to court you and give you business is a sale strategy doomed for failure. Regardless of how great your product or service is, you need to remain proactive in good times and bad if you’re going to make sales and achieve the success you truly want.

If you’re guilty of being a sales sleeping beauty, it’s time to wake up and start concentrating on the following:

Prospect with Enthusiasm

Prospecting should always be thought of as a priority in your schedule. Don’t wait until you’ve finished everything else to begin this absolutely essential part of business development. Allot yourself a certain amount of time each day for prospecting and focus your efforts on obtaining scheduled appointments to present your offerings. Drop-in visits are rarely successful. Instead, make appointments for when you aren’t an imposition on your prospect’s time, and don’t forget to confirm via phone or email beforehand.

Manage Your Database with Diligence

There is simply no excuse for not using technology to your advantage. Database software is easy to use and provides you with a wealth of tools to keep track of your sales prospect information. Everything from birth date to business details can be efficiently maintained to enable you to be a thoroughly-informed, incredibly capable salesperson.

Sell Smarter

Stay on top of not just your company’s offerings, but your competitors’ as well. Have benefits and features at the tip of your tongue. Keep track of industry trends and events. Continuously put your self in your customers’ shoes and develop a profound understanding of their needs and wants. Basically, be smart and prepared for answering a wide variety of questions, objections, and inquiries from your prospects.

Network Strategically

Networking is more important than ever. If you’re not utilizing online and face-to-face networking opportunities, you’re basically handing business to your competitors. Now is the time to realize the true value of staying connected both within and outside of your industry. Generously provide leads to others, and don’t make assumptions about leads that are provided to you. Often times, those who appear to be the least likely to give you business are exactly the ones that end up surprisingly you with the biggest sales.

Make Me Feel Important! Winning Friends and Influencing Others

Make Me Feel Important! Winning Friends and Influencing Others

Last week I overheard three businessmen in a New York restaurant try to out-perform each other with stories of their latest victories. It was painful to watch… I can only imagine how small everyone in that conversation must have felt. No one was listening, no one really cared about their dining companions and no one expressed any interest in anything but themselves. Can you imagine sitting next to one of those guys on a long flight?

Greetings from 33,000 feet somewhere over western Virginia! I’m writing from seat 21D as I travel to Williamsburg for a program tomorrow. I’ve decided to preempt the originally planned article this month because I’ve just watched one of life’s great lessons play out before me.

A lot of people don’t enjoy air travel. The lines, congestion and delays are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m on a plane almost every week, so I’m no stranger to these biases.

But today was different. Today I had a great flight.

It wasn’t great because I got upgraded to first class, because I didn’t. It wasn’t great because the plane left on time, because it didn’t. It wasn’t great because of the friendly service, because the flight attendants still had an attitude.

Today was different because I got to watch the person sitting across the aisle put on a clinic in making others feel important—a valuable skill that I wished more people possessed. Suddenly I’m surrounded by passengers who are enjoying being trapped in a small aluminum tube as it hurls through space. How in the world is that possible?

Think about the last time you made a focused effort making someone else feel important. Go ahead… I’ll wait.

Although the concept sounds simple, many of us can’t get past the temptation of making ourselves feel important. You see it all the time.

Last week I overheard three businessmen in a New York restaurant try to out-perform each other with stories of their latest victories. It was painful to watch… I can only imagine how small everyone in that conversation must have felt. No one was listening, no one really cared about their dining companions and no one expressed any interest in anything but themselves. Can you imagine sitting next to one of those guys on a long flight?

All of us enjoy those rare moments when others make us feel important. It is one of our deepest and most universal human desires. I once read that everyone has an imaginary tattoo across their forehead that reads M.M.F.I.  It is there to remind others that we want to feel important (Make Me Feel Important). We all want that feeling and will gravitate towards those who make us feel that way.

So what does it take to help others shine? Here are three practical and powerful ideas to help change your focus, and maybe even change your life.

Ask great questions

Focus your energy on being interested, not interesting. Talking about the weather, sports or last night’s news is polite, but it won’t make others feel important. Develop three great open-ended questions that encourage others to share some of their story with you.

Listen to learn

Do you actively listen to others, or do you just listen for the opportunity to interrupt and hijack the conversation? One of Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People tells us that we should seek first to understand. Try it and watch what happens to the depth of your conversations.

Remember what Mom taught you

Being polite and courteous never goes out of style. Helping someone stow their overhead bag makes them feel good, makes you feel good and makes everyone watching feel good. You may not be on a plane today, but I’ll bet you can still find an opportunity to serve someone else in a similar way.

The Art of Effective Follow up

The Art of Effective Follow-up

There aren’t many people on earth who have lots of extra time on their hands. Why in the world would a rep invest over an hour with a prospective buyer and then not follow up? Was the project too small? Did something more profitable fall into the pipeline? I guess I’ll never know. A quick phone call or email explaining the situation would have gone a long way toward gracefully bowing out and saving your brand’s reputation.

A few months ago, I decided it was time to move forward with a significant home improvement project. I began the process by calling several companies who had done similar work in the neighborhood. Every company was eager to send a representative who spent considerable time with me reviewing the project and gathering the information necessary to submit a proposal.

All of the representatives I met with were friendly and had the expertise and experience I was looking for, and their companies had impressive resumes of similar projects they had successfully completed. I was very clear on how fast I wanted the work performed and everyone agreed that my expectations were within reason. This was going to be a difficult decision…or so I thought.

After all that work, three of the reps were never heard from again. I’m guessing everyone has experienced this frustration, but I’m still amazed when it happens to me.

There aren’t many people on earth who have lots of extra time on their hands. Why in the world would a rep invest over an hour with a prospective buyer and then not follow up? Was the project too small? Did something more profitable fall into the pipeline? I guess I’ll never know. A quick phone call or email explaining the situation would have gone a long way toward gracefully bowing out and saving your brand’s reputation.

While I had some reps bail on me, other reps sent competitive proposals in a timely fashion and then immediately went into hard-close mode. Asking for my business came easily for these reps but asking for my thoughts and reaction wasn’t as easy. I started to feel like I was buying aluminum siding and decided that wasn’t much fun. So I soon eliminated those reps from further consideration.

What is the “secret” to effective follow-up? And how can you ensure that you don’t push too hard, too little or not all at? Here are four simple but valuable ideas to help you gauge your effectiveness:

Don’t put it off.

Remember that your prospects are also prospects of your competition. When it comes to follow up, do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you will do it, or don’t say anything at all! Everyone gets busy and it’s easy for follow-ups to fall through the cracks. Don’t put it off. Use some form of contact management software to help you track commitments. Don’t like what your company uses? Buy your own! It will be the best $200 investment you make this year. The discipline of keeping your commitments costs pennies, but the regret of having them slip can cost thousands!

Ask great questions!
Most sales people believe that “listening” is the most important sales skill. It’s important…but it isn’t number one. Asking great questions is the key to moving opportunities forward. “What did you like the best about my proposal?” “What was missing?” “What, if anything, was off target and needs to be re-worked?” “In an ideal world, what would this look like as we move forward?” Follow up is your opportunity to learn and reposition. Don’t blow it by forgetting to ask high impact questions. Your goal is not to sell something but to help them make a great buying decision. Remember to keep your focus on them by asking great questions.

Be persistent, not pesky.
Be sure that you have a good, productive reason for every contact. Not many people are interested in having their sales rep “check in” to see if they’ve made a buying decision, but they are interested in having you follow up to add value to their decision-making process. Share relevant, new ideas or have one of your existing loyal customers (see all raving fans) call to discuss their experience in working with you. Prepare for every touch point by creating a simple agenda or outline for the conversation. Sharing this with your prospect at the beginning of the call demonstrates that you’ve done your homework and respect their time. Don’t just wing these conversations.

Just say no!
If, for whatever reason, you decide not to pursue an opportunity, contact the prospect right away and let them know. Introduce them to someone else in your organization or refer them to a competitor. Prospects appreciate the truth just as much as you do. Don’t just disappear! Learn the art of a graceful exit and save your reputation and personal brand. Remember that word of mouth marketing is a powerful tool, but it cuts both ways. Everyone appreciates the truth…it’s the trademark of a successful rep. Focus on speaking more truth with prospects who aren’t the right fit—they will appreciate it and it will free you to focus your energies on other opportunities.

Your ability to master the skill of effective follow-up is crucial to your long-term accomplishments. Most reps are great at the first few contacts, but very few know how to truly nurture an opportunity. Learning the art of effective follow-up builds clients, success and your personal brand. Are you mastering these skills? If not, you should be.

 

The 4 Obstacles to Closing Sales

Did you know that there are 4 common obstacles that salespeople face when closing sales? There are several other reasons why the end game of selling is stressful and difficult, but here are a few that are most common.Fear of Failure…There are several other reasons why the end game of selling is stressful and difficult. First and foremost is the fear of failure experienced by the prospect. Because of negative buying experiences in the past, over which you could have no control, prospects are conditioned to be suspicious, skeptical and wary of salespeople and sales approaches. They may like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold. They are afraid of making a mistake. They are afraid of paying too much and finding it for sale cheaper somewhere else.Fear of Criticism…They are afraid of being criticized by others for making the wrong buying decision. They are afraid of buying an inappropriate product and finding out later that they should have purchased something else. This fear of failure, of making a mistake in buying your product, is the major reason why people object, hesitate and procrastinate on the buying decision.Fear of Rejection…The second major obstacle to selling is the fear of rejection, of criticism and disapproval experienced by the salesperson. You work long and hard to prospect and cultivate a prospective buyer and you are very reluctant to say anything that might cause the prospect to tune you out and turn you off. You have a lot invested in each prospect and if you are not careful, you will find yourself being wishy-washy at the end of the sale, rather than risking incurring the displeasure of the prospect by your asking for a firm decision.Customers Are Busy…The third reason why the end of the sale is difficult is that customers are busy and preoccupied. It isn’t that they are not interested in enjoying the benefits of your product. It’s just that they are overwhelmed with work and they find it difficult to make sufficient time available to think through your recommendations and make a buying decision. And the better they are as a prospect, the busier they tend to be. This is why you need to maintain momentum throughout the sales process and gently push it to a conclusion at the appropriate time.Inertia is Hard to Break…The factor of inertia is the fourth reason that can also cause the sales process to come to a halt without a resolution. Customers are lazy and often quite comfortable doing what they are currently doing. Your product or service may require that they make exceptional efforts to accommodate the change or a new way of doing things. They perhaps recognize that they would be better off with your product, but the trouble and expense of installing it hardly seems to make it worth the effort. They see no pressing need or urgency to stop doing what they are doing and start doing something else with what you are selling.Everyone Buys at the Same Time…The good news is that everybody you meet has bought and will buy, new products and services from someone, at some time. If they didn’t buy from you, they will from someone else. You must find the way to overcome the natural physical and psychological obstacles to buying and then hone your skills so that you are capable of selling to almost any qualified prospect you speak to.

 

The 3 Secrets of a High Performing Sales Hunter

The ability to prospect is first and foremost the most important sales skill for gaining market share and sales volume. Without the hunting skill nothing else will happen.

1-The Strong Hunter will prospect and prospect consistently making the same number of attempts to get in front of the decision maker per day, per week and per month. When the hunter makes the same number of attempts per day, over time they can then calculate how many attempts they need to get to the decision maker, to get the sale, measure the amount of sales volume gained, and then be able to adjust their attempts. The successful hunter is committed to working on developing other sales skills to close the gap between attempts made and closed business.

2- The Strong Hunter knows how to get past the gate keeper and is very resourceful in making attempts to reach the decision maker. They have the skill to deal with the gate keeper and not get trapped. The hunter knows that any attempt to have the gate keeper pass on messages or send information in advance of speaking with the decision maker is a recipe for failure.

3-The Strong Hunter has the ability to get to the decision maker. They know getting in front of the decision maker will shorten the sales cycle, which will support doing a better job of qualifying or disqualifying a business opportunity and finding out about money availability. While also discovering the real issues facing the prospect and the compelling reasons the prospect has to make a decision to buy.The strong hunter knows that calling on anyone else in the organization will lead them down a path of having to deal with gate keepers. They will be speaking with people who can only say no and not yes, or having to deal with committees and then present a questionable quote.

 

Management By Wandering About (MBWA)

Picture a boss in a lavish office with sumptuous leather furniture and wood-paneled walls. He’s sitting behind a huge desk full of important work that needs his attention. He’s far too busy to be concerned with anything outside his office walls: there’s enough happening within!

This type of boss can be intimidating and unapproachable. Yet, this is a common scenario in many organizations.

What type of boss would you like to be? Do you want to be remote and bask in your own importance? Or do you want to know what’s happening out there “in the trenches”?

As a boss, you can be admired for your wisdom, knowledge and expertise without being distant and disconnected.

If you build a wall around yourself, your team may not gain from your experience, and this can undermine problem solving and decision making. Being connected can be a major factor for success: The more connected you are, the better you can understand what motivates members of your team, analyze what’s really going on, and find solutions that meet the needs of your people and your company.

Introducing MBWA…

To get connected and stay connected, you need to walk around and talk to your team, work alongside them, ask questions, and be there to help when needed. This practice has been called Management By Wandering Around (or Management By Walking About) – MBWA for short.

William Hewlett and David Packard, founders of Hewlett Packard (HP), famously used this approach in their company. Tom Peters, in his wildly successful 1982 book “In Search of Excellence,” included lessons learned from HP and other companies that used a similar style – and the term MBWA immediately became popular.

What MBWA Can Achieve

Since then, Management By Wandering Around has never really gone out of fashion. If you use MBWA, you can increase the following:

Approachability – When your staff sees you as a person and not just a boss, they’ll be more likely to tell you what’s going on. You’ll get the chance to learn about issues before they become problems.

Trust – As your team gets to know you better, they’ll trust you more. You’ll be naturally inclined to share more information, and that will break down barriers to communication.

Business knowledge – Getting out and learning what’s happening on a daily basis can give you a better understanding of the functions and processes around you.

Accountability – When you interact daily with your team, agreements you make with each other are much more likely to be completed. Everyone is more motivated to follow through, because you’re seeing each other on a regular basis.

Morale – People often feel better about their jobs and their organization when they have opportunities to be heard. MBWA makes those opportunities available.

Productivity – Many creative ideas come from casual exchanges. MBWA promotes casual discussions, so people will more likely feel free to come to you with their ideas.

Despite its obvious benefits, use of MBWA has been hit-and-miss. To be successful, it takes more than simply strolling through your office, warehouse, or production facility. MBWA isn’t a “walk in the park”: It’s a determined and genuine effort to understand your staff, what they do, and what you can do to make their work more effective.

Don’t just do MBWA because you feel it’s an obligation – this probably won’t work very well. You have to truly want to get to know your staff and operations, and you have to commit to following up concerns and seeking continuous improvement.

How to Implement MBWA

These “wandering around” tips can help you get started:

Relax – People will sense your genuineness and casualness, and they’ll respond accordingly. Stiff, formal conversation will probably lead to equally rigid responses.

Listen and observe more than you talk – Use active listening with your staff. When people feel you’re hearing them, you’ll probably seem more sincere. Read some pointers on active listening.

Ask for feedback and ideas – Let everyone know that you want ideas to make things better. As the boss, people may think that your opinions and ideas are “right.” So hold back from saying what you think – the goal is to see what others have to say.

Wander around equally – Don’t spend more time in one department or section than another. And don’t always talk to the same people, or to people with certain ranks. You want to be approachable to everyone, regardless of job title or position.

Use the time for spontaneous recognition – If you see something good, compliment the person. This is a perfect way to show your gratitude.

Hold meetings “out and about” – Instead of having all your meetings in the boardroom or your office, meet with people in their work areas and “on their turf.” This can put them more at ease. Communicate your expectations and needs so that everyone knows what you value.

Don’t use this time to judge or critique – This can make people nervous when you’re around. If you see something that concerns you, talk to the person later, in private.

Answer questions openly and honestly – If you don’t know an answer, find out and then follow up. If you can’t share something, say so. Telling half-truths can break down trust.

Communicate – Share company goals, philosophy, values, and vision. Your “walk-arounds” are opportunities to mutually share information that helps everyone understand and do their jobs better.

Chat – Effective organizations aren’t all about work, work, work. Build relationships. Learn the names of your staff’s kids. Find out what they love to do or where they’re going on vacation. Joke, laugh, and have fun. You may be surprised at how great it feels to relate on a personal level with the people in your office.

Don’t overdo it – Don’t leave people feeling that you’re always looking over their shoulders! Wander around often enough to get a good feel for what’s going on, but not so often that your presence feels like a mundane distraction.

Note: To implement MBWA throughout your company, consider making it one element of your managers’ performance evaluations. What gets measured gets done! If supervisors work far away from the staff they manage, consider moving them, or giving them a second office that’s closer to where the work is done. If managers work near their staff, they may be more approachable.

Key Points

Management By Wandering Around can be an effective and practical way to keep up with what’s happening within your team and your organization.

Make the effort to get out and build relationships with your staff. This can pay off significantly with the information you’ll gather and the trust you’ll build. A team spirit can naturally develop when you show a genuine interest in your people and their work. It’s also a great way to keep the company’s vision alive at all levels. It’s easy, economical. and a whole lot of fun!

Apply This to Your Life

How can you use Management By Wandering Around to help you achieve your leadership goals? Ask yourself the following:

When was the last time you walked around your office or department? Why did you walk around? Were you looking for things that people were doing poorly or doing well? Were you using it as an opportunity to criticize or learn?

Where do you usually hold your meetings? If you use your office or your boardroom, do you think your staff finds that intimidating?

Do you know the first and last names of all your team members? This is a must. Better yet, you should learn the names of their spouses and kids.

Do you know more about a small group of your staff vs. all staff, or more about one department vs. others? Why have you been focusing your attention on just those people? Do you think the rest of the staff sees this as favoritism?

Do colleagues come to you with ideas? Think about the creativity and innovation you could tap into if they did.