Sales and Sales Management Blog

December 31, 2006

The Failure to Persist

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 6:53 am

Over the past week, I’ve spoken to several potential coaching candidates who want to change their behavior, their careers and their lives in the coming year. There are certain traits that seem to be consistent with almost all of the potential coaching candidates I speak with–most tend to be disorganized; the majority question their ability to perform up to their standards; almost to a person they have no idea of how they intend to get where they want to go. However, every single one lacks one of the most crucial traits of a mega-producer–they lack persistence.

They try one technique or strategy a few times, and then move to the next. They read a book, put into practice a little they have learned and when that doesn’t immediately produce results, they discard it and go on to something else. They never allow themselves to learn, practice and develop a new skill because they aren’t immediately getting the results they want or expect.

Selling is both an art and a science. Like anything else in life, it takes time to learn and develop new skills. If we don’t allow ourselves the time and practice required to develop the skills required to become successful, we’ll never become successful. The NFL, NBA, PGA, and other sporting associations are chock full of individuals who have spent their entire lives on the practice field preparing themselves for just a few minutes each week in the limelight.

Take an offensive lineman. A guard has basically one job—keeps someone from the opposite team from having the opportunity to tackle the guy with the ball. That’s it. Just keep one man from tackling one other man. Pretty simple, right? If you have never played football or have never even seen it played, if you walked onto a practice field for the first time it probably wouldn’t take more than five minutes to understand what the job of a guard is. Heck, it wouldn’t take 30 seconds to understand the basic concept. Within an hour, you’d understand the most basic concepts of playing guard. You’d know the stance, you’d know that you don’t move until the ball is snapped, you’d know that the guy on the other side of the ball that you are supposed to block is really, really big, and you’d know that your job on each play is only going to take 3 to 8 seconds to perform. During the same time period you would have learned that there are different plays and that you do something a little different on each play. Let’s assume your team has 10 basic plays. Maybe it takes you another 2 hours to learn what it is you do on each of those 10 plays.

So, you’re ready for the game, right? You’ve invested 3 hours. You know your job is to keep that guy from tackling the guy on your team with who has the ball. You know you have ten plays and you know whom to block on each of those 10 plays. What else is there to learn? You’re done. Go take a shower and show up a couple of hour’s early on game day.

Maybe someone forgot to tell you that the other guy is going to do everything he can to keep you from blocking him. Maybe they forgot to tell you that he won’t line up exactly where you want him on every play. Maybe they forgot to tell you that he isn’t just going to stand there waiting for you to come block him. Maybe they forgot to tell you that people don’t act the way you want them to act. Maybe they forgot to tell you that what sounds easy isn’t necessarily easy.

If the average lineman in the NFL is 26 years old, and the average player has been playing football since age 7 or 8, then that guard has spent almost 20 years of his life learning to do one thing—keep one guy from tackling another guy. That’s it. And no matter how good he is, he still gets beat consistently. He still misses blocking assignments. He still has opposing players get around his blocks. He still makes mental and physical mistakes.

Salespeople are in the same position as the guard above. We have a simple job that requires a great deal of skill and practice. The guard has spent his life learning not just the most basic parts of his job, but he has spent thousands of hours learning the techniques and strategies that will make him successful. If all he needed was to learn the most basic concepts, he could pick up a book, read about what a guard does and then show up for the game. There wouldn’t be any need to practice. There wouldn’t be a need to hone his skills. After all, what could be more simple than to have someone tell you to just keep that guy away from that that other guy?

But that is exactly what tens of thousands of salespeople do each and everyday. They read about a particular skill, go out and try it and it doesn’t work the way they want it to. They conclude it was all hype anyway and move on to something else. Selling is a practiced skill, meaning persistence in practice, patience in application, and honing of abilities is necessary.

As we enter a new year, rededicate yourself to your personal training. Nevertheless, understand that what you learn must be practiced and perfected. New skills take time to learn. If you are perpetually moving from one sales concept to the next without having learned and practiced each, you’ll never improve you ability to perform your job

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December 27, 2006

What Are Your Beliefs?

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 11:09 am

As we approach a new year, it would do well for all of us to examine our beliefs about our capabilities and ourselves.  In many ways, we are what we believe about ourselves.  We unconsciously tend to live to our deepest expectations and beliefs.  And many of these beliefs limit us in ways that we cannot overcome unless we eradicate those beliefs.
Although you many set out great sounding goals and objectives for the coming year, do you in your heart of hearts believe you can reach them?  I don’t mean do you believe they will be hard to reach or that they will force you work longer and harder than you have in the past.  I mean do you believe that you can, in fact, reach those goals, or do you believe that no matter what you do, you won’t make it?  If you truly believe you will not reach you goal, no matter how hard you work, no matter how many hours you invest, no matter how many people you see, you will not reach you goal.  Why?  Because you will live up to what you believe about yourself.  And if in the depths of your soul you don’t believe that you can reach the goal, or that you don’t deserve the rewards of reaching your goal, or that you don’t have the smarts, the looks, the whatever, your mind will ensure that live out your beliefs about yourself–that is, that you don’t reach your goal.  You will find a way to self-destruct.
Do you believe that you aren’t good at cold calling?  Guess, what?  You won’t be.  Do you believe that you can’t relate to rich people?  You can’t.  Do you believe that you can’t perform in the top 10% of your industry?  You won’t be able to.  Not because you don’t have the capability, but because you have limited yourself to failing in these endeavors before you even start.
The mind is an incredibly powerful thing.  It can turn defeat into triumpth–and triumph into defeat, depending on what it believes. 
How many sports heroes are referred to as “winners?”  These men and women seem to be able to find ways that defy reason to pull a win out when it looks like there isn’t any way for them to not lose.  What is the “secret” they have of winning in the face of defeat?  Their belief system.  They believe in the soul that they will win and, thus, they always seem to find a way to pull it out.  Winners believe in themselves.  Winners understand that 90% of the challenge isn’t the other team–in our circumstances, our competition or our prospect, but us.  Our real competition is ourselves, not something outside of us.  We must learn to master and control our belief system in order to control our destiny.
I encourage each to pick up a copy of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich.  A classic book that deals extensively with our personal belief systems and how to change ourselves from the inside.

Don’t go through 2007 with the same old limiting beliefs you’ve held in the past.  Examine your belief system about yourself and take proactive steps to rewire your mind.  It will be one of the most rewarding activities you undertake.
 

December 23, 2006

Can I we speak on Sunday, December 24?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 7:34 am

I Want to invite everyone to tune in this Sunday, tomorrow, to Alan Rothman’s nationally syndicated radio program, Business of Success. Alan’s program is carried on more than 100 stations around the country (check your local radio listings for station and time) or can be heard live on streaming audio at http://www.businessofsuccess.com. Alan and I will be discussing referral selling for about 30 minutes tomorrow morning at 11:30 central time.

If you’re not familiar with Alan’s show, his is one of the top business programs on the air with a weekly listenership of over 1,000,000. He interviews the most influencial and innovative people in business, with a guest list that is unbelievable.

I hope you can join us in the morning.

By the way, the free tele-seminars to held on Jan. 11 sponsored by EyesOnSales are filling up fast and there is limited seating. If you are seriously considering this one and a half hour seminar, I encourage you to go to http://www.powerreferralselling.com/html/free_tele-seminar.html and register today. The seminar will not be a sales job for my book, but rather a real, down-to-earth, informative tele-seminar discussing the techniques and strategies the mega-producers use to generate their huge volume of referral business.

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 7:26 am

I want to thank everyone who has supported the website, who has made my book, Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals, a bestselling book, and who has supported me during the course of this past year.

This year has been eventful and exciting. My first book was released late in the year. It has worked its way into being a bestselling Sales and Marketing book, has received top notch reviews and endorsements, and is quickly becoming the authoritative work on referral selling and developing a referral relationship with clients and prospects. In fact, it is changing the way salespeople, professionals, and companies relate to their clients and prospects.

In addition, the companion workbook, Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals Workbook, has become the number 1 best selling business ebook on Amazon’s ebook partner’s site, Mobipocket, while my referral selling primer ebook, Understanding Referral Generation: A Salesperson’s Primer is in the top 25 business books on Mobipocket.

Next year promises to be even more exciting as I have two more books being released: The Exceptional Sales Manager: Real World Solutions to Major Sales Management Issues and Planning Your Success: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Personal Marketing Plan.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas–and I’ll see you all on Tuesday, December 26.

December 17, 2006

Some Useful Resources

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 9:06 am

I’ve had a couple of folks ask about where to find some useful resources on the web, so I thought I’d address that here. The resouces below have proven to be consistenly good places to find information:

MarketingProfs.com (http://www.marketingprofs.com) MarketingProfs is a paid membership based community of marketing and sales executives. Most of the content is premium, meaning you must pay the membership fee, but some is avaiable to all. The articles and seminars are premium content, but the forum is open–unless you want to ask a question, then you must join (that level of membership is free, I believe). The forum is very active and generally has questions asked by salespeople and small business owners on specific marketing–and some sales–questions. The answers are for the most part excellent. Some of the questions are technical marketing questions, but most come from real humans like us. Check out the forum and you’ll find some great marketing advice. For disclosure purposes, I do write a monthly column for MarketingProfs, but I would certainly recommend it anyway.

EyesOnSales.com (http://www.eyesonsales.com) Like MarketingProfs, this is a paid membership based community. But it is geared toward salespeople. The content is article, blog and some seminar based. Articles are written by top sales trainers from all aspects of sales. Yes, I am a regular contributor, but I would recommend it evern if I wasn’t.

Top Sales Newsletters (http://www.topsalesnewsletters.com) A site that has selected ten of the best sales and sales training newsletters and put the subscription form in one place. You can subscribe to one or all with just one, easy, two-line form. Takes less than a minute to subscribe to the best newsletters you can find. Newsletters by Dave Anderson, Jill Konrath, me, Michael Port, Kelley Robertson, Dan Seidman, Andrew Sobel, Dr. Joe Vitale, Frank Rumbauskas, and Wendy Weiss.

TheWarriorForum (http://www.warriorforum.com) Site that concentrates on helping its members learn and improve their internet marketing skills. Very active. As most of the content is member contributed, you’ll find some great stuff–and some real trash. So, be careful, but in general, it’s a good site if you market on the net.

Sales Pro Secrets Forum: (http://www.topsalesprosecrets.com/forum/index.php) A forum hosted by Frank Rumbauskas that concentrates on the sales methods of the Sales Pros.

Business Research Database: (http://www.businessresearchdatabase.com) Free site with thousands of tools and resources to help salespeople, professionals, and business owners research prospects, competitors, and industries, as well as doing in-depth marketing and demographic research.

I’ll be posting more resources as them come up. Certainly, if you have favorite resource sites, please let me know. Just send me an email at pmccord@mccordandassociates.com

December 15, 2006

Do Marketing Partnerships Work?

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 4:20 pm

I received an interesting e-mail this morning from a gentleman in the UK asking if marketing partnerships really work. His issue is he has approached a number of potential partners, all seem interested, yet none have done anything. Just so happens I ran across a similar question on MarketingProfs.com.

There seems to be quite a bit of interest right now in marketing partnerships. It’s about time. I’ve helped many clients set up and implement very successful partnerships, but the process is long-term. Partnerships don’t generally produce results quickly.

When trying to establish a partnership, there are a few things to keep in mind:

First, you only want partners with the marketing reach and the reputation you want. If their reach is smaller than what you desire to have, don’t approach them. If their reputation is not what you want your reputation to be, don’t approach them. Even if you are relatively new in your business. If their reach is too small, you won’t get the results you want. If their reputation is less than steller, you reputation will end up being less than steller.

Secondly, when you initiate a marketing partnership, the people and companies you approach will want to see results before they become enthused. You’ll have to sell them on the idea that the partnership will produce real business for them, not just for you. And they won’t want a new free “soft” service benefit to their customers. They’ll want a real dollar benefit. So approaching them with the idea that they can refer a customer with a need to you and thus provide a “service” to the customer won’t cut it. The partnership must offer them real benefit. Even then, they won’t be full participants until they have received some benefit and see that it will work. That means you must be prepared to give referrals before you get referrals.

Third, you’ll have to do the vast majority of work, at least at first. You will be dealing with people who may well like the idea and who want it to work, but they’ll be skeptical. You’ll have to carry the ball and show them that you are committed to it and the it will work before you’ll get much help.

If you’re looking for a quick fix to sales problems, a marketing partnership will not work. But if you are committed to a long-term marketing partnership that can vastly increase the prospecting capabilities for all concerned, marketing partnerships can work wonders.

December 13, 2006

Rejection as a part of selling

Filed under: prospecting — Paul McCord @ 7:36 am

I get a number of emails from salespeole asking how they should handle rejection. Not in the sense of how to handle it with the prospect, but how to mentally handle facing rejection as a constant in their life. All of us in sales face rejection. There isn’t a single salesperson that doesn’t hear the word no often.

The traditional advice and training on handling rejection is to 1) keep in mind that the prospect isn’t rejecting you, they are rejecting the offer; and/or 2) to simply look at it as a numbers game–the more “no’s” you get, the closer you are to a sale. Neither of these adequately address the mental drain that constantly hearing the word no puts on us.

SellingPower magazine has an excellent summary of an article I’ve written on this subject that does address the mental strain and gives a strong remedy–force your brain to have positive sales results everyday. Purposely manipulate your schedule so that everyday your brain gets readjusted to the positive. How do you do that? By making sure that you have positive experiences during the day. For example, if you must cold call, arrange your schedule so that after your cold calling is complete, you have one or more calls to customers who you know are having a good purchasing experience or to prospects you know are inclined to purchase. In other words, make you best, most positive calls after your trying experience with cold calling. Better yet, arrange your schedule so that your first calls in the morning are to positive experiences and your last calls are also guaranteed to be positive. This allows to you start and end on the positive as opposed to the negative. If you leave with negative thoughts, you’ll come back with negative thougths and those will eventually wear you down.

Selling requires a positive mental attitude. Taking the time and arranging your schedule so that you insure your brain gets the positive feedback it needs can go a long way in helping you increase your sales. Simple, but true.

December 10, 2006

Free Referral Selling Tele-seminar

Filed under: prospecting — Paul McCord @ 12:57 pm

In conjunction with Eyesonsales.com, I will be hosting a free one and a half hour tele-seminar on Thursday, Jan 11 for salespeople, managers, trainers, professionals, and business owners discussing the foundations of generating a large number of highly qualified referrals from clients and prospects. The seminar will focus on why traditional referral training doesn’t work and how to develop a relationship with the client that does generate a large number of quality referrals. Seating for the seminar is very limited. Due to the limited seating, we will hold two sessions on the 11th–one starting at Noon central time and the other beginning at 7:30 pm central. Participants must pre-register at http://www.powerreferralselling.com/html/free_tele-seminar.html Since seating is so limited, you are encouraged to register early. At registration will have to select one of the two sessions.

December 9, 2006

Upcoming Events Schedule

Filed under: prospecting — Paul McCord @ 2:24 pm

A number of people have asked about upcomong public events:

Late December: Book review of Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals by CRM Magazine. Another book review will be coming out for the Jan. issue of CRM Magazine.

Jan 11: Free tele-seminar on referral selling sponsored by EyesOnSales. Limited “seating” and free registration will begin within a few days. This will be a 1 1/2 hour tele-seminar setting the basic foundations on generating a large number of high quality referrals. We are serously considering two sessions during the day simply because each session will be limited to 95 individuals and because of the time zone issues. If you want immedate information on registering as soon as the registration site is up, please e-mail me at pmccord@mccordandassociates.com with your request and contact information.

Jan 13: Presentation and book signing at Barnes and Noble Suger Land, Texas.

Feb 17: Book signing, Barnes and Noble Galleria, Houston, Texas.

Feb 15: Marriott Westchase, Houston, Texas. REALTOR Business Builder 2007 seminar. A free half-day prospecting, referral selling and business building seminar for REALTORS. New York Times bestselling author Frank Rumbauskas and I will be presenting the seminar to about 350 REALTORS.

August 2007: Release of my second book: Planning Your Success: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Personal Marketing Plan

August 2007: Busting Your Business Open seminar in New York for the investments and financial planning industry. Seminar features Dan Seidman, Stu Taylor and myself presenting on trends and business building/prospecting.

December 7, 2006

Book Review of Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income by ChangingMinds.org

Filed under: prospecting — Paul McCord @ 8:44 am

The following book review is from ChangingMinds.org. This review is an independent, third-party review by David Straker, a business methodology consultant and an executive with the UK National Assessment Center. The original review can be seen at http://www.changingminds.org/books/book_reviews/referral_selling.htm

Creating a Million dollar a Year Sales Income by David Straker, ChangingMinds.org

Book reviews > Creating a Million dollar a Year Sales Income

McCord, P. (2007) Creating a Million dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success Through Client Referrals, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

From the title of this book you might guess that this is just another sales book that over-promises and under-delivers. Fortunately, you’d be wrong: This is a serious and practical book that can deliver what it says on the tin and more. What McCord has done is identify the most powerful way of gaining sales leads, taken it apart and re-built it into a powerfully more effective process.
The heart of McCord’s method is the transaction that you build when you make a sale: a deliberate deal where you ask for solid referrals in exchange for proven great delivery and service. Of course you have to deliver on this promise, which then entitles you to ask for a separate meeting just for getting referrals. In this meeting you seek not just names and addresses but also introductions that make the referrals far more likely to lead to conversions.
The neat framing that McCord suggests you can add to conversation and personal branding that actually legitimizes your referral approach is the ‘spiral of success’ that: (a) by delivering great service you get great referrals, and (b) by getting great referrals you save so much time in prospecting you have the space in which to deliver great service.
Overall the book is very readable and stuffed full of tips, examples and strong how-do detail. It is, quite simply, the best manual on gaining and using referrals I have found.
The only thing I would change about this book is its title. All sales people know that referrals are by far and away the best way of gaining more sales and the ‘million dollar’ title is a distraction that can be interpreted as cheap sales pap. Personally, I would call the book something more direct such as ‘Referral selling’ or ‘How to make referrals really work’.
In the end, the joy that earns this book a rare five stars is the practical, thorough and innovative treatment of referrals that can have literally massive benefit to anyone, not just in sales, who wants to connect with valued other people.

Note: More generous resources on McCord’s methods can be found at his site: http://www.powerreferralselling.com/html/resources.html

Review posted at http://www.changingminds.org/books/book_reviews/referral_selling.htm

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