I was recently invited to speak to a group of sales leaders at a community bank. I agreed without hesitation, because I LOVE talking to sales professionals. We are weird, awesome creatures. And what we do is hard – very much an art or a craft that must be honed through experience.
I liken it to jazz music. Everyone is free to riff, and there really is no right or wrong way to do it so long as you make good music (and close the sale). But you’ve got to know the basic theory and practice sufficiently to pull it off.
Since they were all seasoned professionals, I thought they might benefit most by learning from each other. So, rather than give a lecture to a group of students, I encouraged an exchange of ideas between craftsmen.
This environment fostered a lot of great ideas. I thought I would share some of them with you, as these are from some very successful sales pros and might inspire you to change your game up to reach greater success.
The overriding theme which sprang up early in the session, and one which runs counter to a bunch of the PC bullshit being shoved down our throats these days, is that winning matters. In sales, its really all that counts.
Like I said earlier, there is no right or wrong way to sell, but there is definitely good, better and best. And the best is what you want to be if you have even a modicum of self-respect. Who the f___ thinks being mediocre is okay? I don’t wanna hang out with those people, and neither do you.
No, the joy of selling is the SCOREBOARD. Scoring the touchdown, making the sale, and not choking at the last second is what matters, because no one remembers the “hard work” or anything else besides WINNING. It’s the brutal truth, and one that applies everywhere except kindergarten.
It was refreshing to see a group of excellent salespeople admit this to each other, and that it didn’t make them greedy, money-grubbing douchebags. All present were very involved in their communities, including schools, families, and faiths.
Among these salespeople were athletes who ran marathons to raise money to fight cancer; a single father raising adopted kids; an environmentalist; and one who helps build wells in drought-stricken areas around the world. Its only because they were winning at sales and making money that they could do all the rest.
The takeaway: never feel bad about making lots of money, so long as you aren’t ripping people off.
Always sharpen the saw
Leaders are readers. We all heard that in grade school at some point, but it is so true. All the great minds in business are voracious readers and learners.
It goes beyond books of course. Advanced sales workshops, online classes, watching YouTube vids – all the sales leaders at this meeting kept refining and honing their skills in some way.
One thing which shocked me, however, was that nobody in that large room role plays. I understand it is uncomfortable. And it is a “manufactured” situation. But you can learn a lot.
Things like best practices, a new closing question, a better word choice when handling objections, or recognizing body language shifts.
We ended up doing some right there, with a lot of grace and a large safety net. Afterwards, many of the seasoned executives remarked how much they missed doing that, and that they could see how much it brings the team together.
All of them continuously look for an edge, so welcomed the role play. Do you? When was the last time you were coached or mentored? How will you sharpen the saw this week?
Be a partner
Another thing which was brought up which clearly differentiates the high-performers from the wannabes is that the top guys view customers as business partners.
The best-in-class rarely “sell” in the way most people expect. They become peers and partners to their customers. Or, they behave like doctors or attorneys in that they provide trusted advice which goes far deeper than most salespeople are willing to tread.
Ethics is important when the relationship gets to that level. You cannot really force or manipulate someone to buy and expect a great outcome. That’s coercion or slavery. But you can FRAME things in a way to erode objections, such as cost/benefits analysis, ROI, or personal stake.
And that last one is important, the “what’s in it for me” factor. Sell to a personal win in addition to the company gain and everyone succeeds.
Do you regularly bring your prospects and customers business, and see their success as critical to your own?
Follow a process
These folks REALLY lit up when I steered the conversation toward how to create a revenue machine.
We drew out the funnel and ran out how many Activities, the Conversion Rates, the Sales Cycle, the Average Sale, compared to Quota. EASILY made sales a numbers game. Everyone left the meeting feeling revitalized and with a certainty on what to do next to score their next touchdown.
How about you — do you know your process? Have you delineated your personal outbound activities, and how many you need to perform to drive x leads which result in x closed deals and x dollars in revenue?
How are you quantifying success from your inbound marketing and social media? Which stats matter?
Do you need help with all this? I can help you.
I started VoloHaus in 2013 after starting and selling several businesses and “retiring.” Due to demand from many CEOs I personally knew, we created a scalable and repeatable process to greatly increase revenue encompassing PLAN – PEOPLE – PROCESS – PLATFORM and which is still in use today.
There are many working parts, but the success metrics speak for themselves. We have hired over 500 sales professionals, with 72% hitting quota and still on board after one year. We also had 70 of our client customers make it onto the INC 5000 in 2017.
The process works. I’d like to offer you a piece of it, for free.
Let’s schedule a call, say 30 minutes, to talk about your business and I will suggest a few easy things you can do right away to amplify your revenue. Try them out, let me know what happens. I won’t pressure you with bullshit – not my style. I’m looking for partners, not suckers.
You in? Call me 760-815-4464 or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or via LinkedIn or Twitter @shaunalger etc., you know the deal.