Pete Rose had 4256 hits in 14,053 at bats in his baseball career. With his well-documented scandal-ridden past his character can be questioned, but no one can question if Pete was ready every time he stepped up to the plate. His track record of performance at the plate supports he was prepared.
If you have been in sales how many “at bats” have you had and how prepared were you each time? If you are in a sales environment making just 10 calls a day in a 240 day work year you blew past 14,053 in less than 6 years. Regardless of rather you are well above or well below 14,000 sales calls the one thing we can all agree on is each sales call mattered.
For baseball players there is the on deck circle where the batter will: assess the situation; assess who he will be facing; get his timing down; and take a few practice swings.
What is your routine before you make each sales call? Do you know your customer’s needs? Do you know you audience? Do you know where they are in the sales cycle? Have you rehearsed what you are going to say and how you are going to present?
I believe there are far too many times we don’t spend time in the on deck circle before we pick up the phone, meet face to face, or walk into the meeting room. If you are not properly prepared or you simply think you are good at “winging it” you will not get either the results you desire or that your employer demands.
Taking pride in being a continual learner and always searching for excellent sales material I want to share Deb Calvert, President, Peoples First Productivity Solutions blog post “Sales Professionals: What about the Buyer’s Process?”
Deb keeps it simple as she explains…..
Every sales training program and book about increasing sales offers a sales process. These step-by-step processes help sellers to orient themselves and move through a logical progression from opening the sale all the way through to closing the sale.
Having a sales process is a good practice.
Knowing and following your buyer’s process is an even better practice.
The buyer’s process is simple, and it’s universal. Every time you plan to buy something, you follow exactly this same process. It applies when you’re making an impulse purchase like a pack of gum at the checkout counter. It also applies, unchanged, when you make a major purchase that takes months of research and planning.
The buyer’s process works like this:
Before anyone ever buys anything, they must first have an awareness that it exists. Further, the buyer needs to be interested in the item. If that interest builds into desire, a buyer may then (and only then!) take action to acquire the item.
Recapping, the buyer’s process is this:
Like it or not, no sales process will ever operate independently of the buyer’s process. Ideally, the sales process should track right alongside the buyer’s process. A savvy seller will be tuned in to gauge where the buyer is and will recognize the early signs of interest. In response to the buyer’s interest, the smart seller will help build and magnify desire by showcasing relevant and personalized benefits. And, when the time is right, the seller will advance to a close at the moment when the buyer is ready to take action…..
For the full post:
A golfer standing over a putt on the 18th hole to win the championship…and he drops the putt center of the cup.
Well that “championship” was not won on that day it was won in the past on the practice greens after thousands of similar putts both missed and made. It was won during the lessons learned in past tournaments that saw other players raising their arms to the roar of the crowd while being recognized as that days champion.
In sales we will not find ourselves defined as champions if we don’t put the practice in that builds a champion.
There simply are very few cases of success by luck and in those few cases the odds are that it will only be fleeting success if practice and preparation was not involved.
I give you three scenarios: College football, C.P.R, and a stage actor to further look at the importance of practice in the form of preparation.
In football the coaching staff formulates a game plan they feel gives their players the best opportunity to experience success. The team has practiced long through spring and summer workouts on the fundamentals and the playbook. However when it is game time on Saturday it is basically in the hands of the players. Sure there is play calling and adjustments made by coaches but in the end execution on the field is left up to the players. At seasons end when conference championships have been won, bowl invitations have been awarded, and a national champion has been declared you will not find one championship caliber team that took a shortcut. The most defining moment of the season was never a moment at all, it was all the preparation.
C.P.R. (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) is life saving. CPR in itself is a simple 3 step process. However a person needs to be trained to effectively administer CPR. Certification is good for 2 years and then it requires going back to be re-certified. They go back to be re-certified because they need to practice. When the all important time comes that person needs the skills necessary to act in an emergency, follow standard protocols, and use proper technique for administering CPR. If I find myself in need of CPR I want to be in the hands of someone that took the time to receive and continues to receive proper training. Making a sale is not a matter of life and death but when results matter your customers want to be in good hands.
An actor finds themselves only seconds away from the final curtain call. The audience is in their seats and the auditorium lights have been dimmed with the exception of the stage. Though most of us have not been in a big Broadway production we all know the feeling of anxiety that often accompanies performance. Rather an actor has the leading role with pages of script or a small supporting role with only one line they still want to nail it. In acting it is hours of reviewing the script and rehearsals that lead to stellar performances. No actor of any worth steps out on the stage without preparation that is ten fold what the audience sees.
As a salesperson you will find yourself on the field, stage, or in that moment. Practice and preparation makes you better and allows successful results to become second nature.
I do not see a downside in your customers liking you more than the sales person you are competing against. Likeability is a trait well worth developing. Who are the sales people you admire the most? I bet among those that first came to mind are salespeople not only successful in business but also in life.
Friendly, genuine, authentic, and interesting people seem to surface to the top. People including your potential customers tend to naturally gravitate to people they are most like, or those they wish they were more like. Your clients prefer to spend time with who they sense they share common values and interest with.
The businesses and customers you sell to all demand value. The competitive margins you need to meet continue to narrow. Plan on “closing the sell?” you better provide the best solution or the best value. When you demonstrate you are the one that best understands your customer you are well ahead of your competition. However in a case that all things are equal I’ll dispute “nice guys finish last”.
Before you engage your next potential client it is worth asking yourself how likeable are you?
I can’t sell and I can’t manage sales today like I did yesterday.
Sales professionals have to produce results and our sales superstars of yesterday may or may not be our superstars of tomorrow. Technology is often left out the conversation when we discuss the differences between our top sales performers and the remainder of our sales team.
Today’s clients expect and demand performance from whomever they do business with. Technology and innovation contribute to improved analysis, organization, productivity, delivery, and overall customer experience. We often want to separate sales and technology by calling one an art and the other a science. Reality is the two are commingled as effective sales provide both an efficient process and solves a problem or fulfils a customer’s need.
We leverage technology in all areas of our business and the sales team must be an extension of our business to be viewed as a “resource”.
Technology includes hardware, software, systems, CRM’s, computers and smart devices. Innovations in technology allow automation, analysis, expediency, and delivery options that improve productivity in sales.
Business moves fast and we can’t afford not to keep pace. Experience, knowledge, ideas and creative approaches in selling will always be in high demand but that alone will not get us there in the future.
Sure salespeople still need to identify a need, offer a solution, get the order, deliver on time and follow up to assure they met the client’s expectations.
It’s imperative as sales people we continue to embrace advancements in technology. Sales growth drives our companies forward and our companies will drive our economy. When we match our talents with technological innovations we will gain sustained, predictable and efficient results that we can all prosper from.
Regardless of if you are the CEO, SVP, or the entry level clerk the reality is that holding a position to get work done eventually will become past tense. Syzygy in the workplace will allow those relationships we make with others at work to endure beyond any titles we hold or work that we do. It should comfort us that the work we share will likely continue in our friendships, memories, and in even more work after the door has closed behind us.
Continuing to share excerpts and ideas derived from SYZYGY Living a Powerfully Aligned Life, Johnnie C. Goodwin. When we have syzygy at work it seldom matters who is the boss and who is the employee, who is president and who is the low person on the totem pole. People with syzygy respect individuals and find an even greater joy and purpose in working together. There is something about the powerful presence of having another person along side us in the same pursuit. Success in the workplace is measured and rewarded in many different ways, but we reflect on the other person or the team when it’s time to give credit where credit is due.
The benefits of matching up two people or creating at team to supplement or complete us can often produce cohesive results that exceed the possibilities of what we could have done alone. This planned syzygy can start a powerful chain reaction of knowledge, skill, and usefulness in the workplace.
I am presently working in a unique environment that brings together contractors within the same industry. When they are more united by shared mission, ethics, and vision than they are separated by the competition between them, each mutually prospers from growth in their industry.
Rather at the employee, leadership, or personal level people search most their lives for what is missing because they sense their need for a connection, a syzygy, that missing link to make their lives and actions complete. Syzygy in the workplace is a worthwhile pursuit only trumped by finding syzygy in all aspects of your life.
Sixty days ago a new friend of mine gave me a book he wrote, SYZYGY Living a Powerfully Aligned Life, Johnnie C. Goodwin. I found this book and word to be a blessing to me and I feel motivated to share syzygy with you.
Syzygy is an alignment that produces extra power. In astronomy, syzygy is when the earth, moon, and sun are in alignment. This happens twice a month at new moon and at full moon. This is when gravity exerts exceptional power.
On December 26, 2004 you may remember an 8.9 magnitude quake occurred that produced tsunamis that resulted in the death of over 300,000 people. What you might not have known is at that time Jupiter, Venus, Earth, Moon, and Sun all came in line and syzygy was a factor. If alignment can have such effects on the physical world just think of how much impact it can have when applied to business.
We are more familiar with the word synergy and have witnessed its emergence as a common buzz word in the business environment. It’s a word that is found in mission statements, company names, business solutions, partnerships, and visions.
Synergy means working together while syzygy literally means paired together.
The origin of syzygy is from the Greek words sun “with” and zugos “yoke” so combined is yoked together, paired, aligned, united, or bound.
I’m asking you to think beyond synergy and seek syzygy in both your internal and external relationships. There are already a number of consulting companies that use syzygy to refer to their talents in aligning and matching business requirements to technology solutions. Now businesses are using syzygy to identify alignment, convergence, linkage, symmetry, and the harnessing of energy and power.
In applying syzygy to sales look at the alignment between salesperson, sales manager, and executive leaders. Examine how well your actions are aligned with the mission statement and values of your company. Look at how well aligned your product and service are with the needs of your customers.
I have highlighted SYZYGY in this post above the more familiar synergy but the best results come when we can combine both: aligned relationships and working together.
In my next post I’ll take you a step further into “Syzygy in the Workplace”.
Practice is repeated preparation. My very first post was “Become Extraordinary”. There are no short cuts if you are in pursuit of extraordinary sales results. Your success will mirror your preparation. It’s worth revisiting.
In the context of inside sales and/or sales management, let’s look at an office norm…it is lunch time and someone in the office will ask aloud to anyone in earshot “who brought lunch and who is going out today?” Ninety – Nine percent of the time this person did not bring their lunch and they have no plans of going alone. So before we give a response that will obviously lead to “would you care to join me?”, we need to think before we give up this “prime time” slot in our business day.
Lunch comes at the pivotal time when half the day is in our past and the other half is in our future. Our best teacher is the past and our greatest motivation lies in our future.
Lunch definitely comes at a point in our day when we need to re-energize, re-focus, and plan for the remainder of the day.
We could skip lunch and prove ourselves as the “workaholic”, while we are feeling the beginnings of our energy running low and our stomachs growling? We don’t need to skip lunch. We need to eat to provide our body and mind the fuel it needs to work at optimum performance. In some work environments it’s also the only “me” time we’ll ever have in our day.
We start each day with a plan and there are days every interruption, and situation goes against it. Lunch is often like half-time of a football, basketball, or soccer game. If all is going as planned we can stay the course or if not, we have the opportunity to change the game plan…and nothing feels any sweeter than those come back victories.
There are definitely those circumstances that call for a working lunch. Just never forget that lunch is a lot more than a sandwich or salad…it’s an opportunity. In fact it can be the greatest opportunity in our business day!
Your best relationship building comes when an emotional connection is made in an inclusive environment in which you deliver a memorable experience.
Let’s face it right now we are able to connect with greater ease than ever before…call, email, tweet, text, blog, skype, FB, Linkedin, and the list goes on. More connections and touches should lead to more sales…haven’t you heard by now “sales is a numbers game”.
So is it quantity or quality we should value the most in our sales marketing? I’m not going to get into chasing my tail on that one because it requires both. I believe as sales people we can often lean towards quantity because it’s easier for us to measure.
However, Quality counts and it should exceed our customer’s expectations. I encourage you to look for opportunities to merge emotion, environment, and experience the next time your looking to close the big deal.
Working to the 3rd power will place you way ahead of your competition.