Sales and Sales Management Blog

February 28, 2007

Wendy Weiss and Paul McCord on How to Get Referrals

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 7:14 am

On Thursday, March 8 Wendy Weiss and Paul McCord will conduct a free tele-seminar on how to generate a large number of high quality referrals from clients and prospects. Wendy, “The Queen of Cold Calling,” will be interviewing Paul on the specifics of referral generation and his new bestselling book, Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals.

The hour long interview and discussion isn’t an ad for the book, but is rather an educational training class on how the top producers in sales generate their huge volume of referral business and how you can implement the techniques and strategies they use.

So, if you’re looking to understand how to use the most effective and cost efficient lead generation tool there is, simply go to Wendy’s website http://www.wendyweiss.com to see how to register for the tele-seminar. Seating is limited, so act quickly. This will be an hour well worth you time–and can add thousands of dollars to your income. Learn how to become a referral-based salesperson and start growing your business the way the mega-producers do.

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February 21, 2007

Yes, You Can Find the Book in Stock

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 2:57 pm

Although my bestselling book has sold out at Amazon, Books a Million and all US wholesalers, there are some places that still have stock. Barnes and Noble still has stock in many brick and morter stores and via the web and some smaller web booksellers also have stock.

Wiley Publishing reports that all booksellers should be restocked by February 28.

So, go ahead and order the book from your favorite retailer and know that if they are currently out of stock, the book will ship to you next week. I’m sorry–sort of–that the inventory has run short (of course, I’m thrilled that it has sold so well that retailers can’t keep stock). But everyone will be restocked shortly and hopefully in sufficient quantities that we don’t run into another shortage. I want to thank everyone who has made the book a bestseller–and apologize to you who have to wait for the book to be restocked–but the the book is worth the wait.

February 20, 2007

Evaluating Your Sales Process

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 7:21 am

This is the first in a highly rated  by subscribers multi-part series of articles in my twice monthly POWER SELLING newsletter.   Over the coming three months I’ll post each portion of the article as it appears in the newsletter.  To subscribe to POWER SELLING, offering timely, innovative, fresh and immediately useful tools, techniques and strategies to help you and your sales team increase business, simply go to www.powerreferralselling.com and fill in the form with your name and email address.

Since we are at the beginning of a new year, I though it might be beneficial to take a few issues and review the four aspects of the selling process.  In order to go from average to superstar status, you need to have a solid footing in each of the four primary components of your sales business:
 

Psychological:  The psychological component is the foundation of your sales career.  It is the mental and emotional basis for all that you do as a salesperson.  It addresses your beliefs about yourself, your occupation, your product and company, and your career.  It sets the stage for whether or not you believe—and ultimately, whether your prospects believe—in who you are, what you are doing and what you can accomplish.  Unless you have a solid psychological foundation—that is, you have a positive image of yourself, what you do for a living, your product/service and your company, you will not be able to succeed on a superstar level.  In addition, recognizing and dealing with those beliefs that limit your success is crucial to moving beyond where you are today.
 

Strategic:  The strategic component is the big picture of selling.  This component consists of what is most often thought of as the selling process—your ability to locate prospects and turn them into clients.  That is, your ability to perform the pure prospecting and selling activities.  Unless you have a strong grounding in the tools, techniques and strategies of prospecting and selling, you will flounder.
 

Tactical:  The tactical, or focused, component is your specialized product and service knowledge required to present and sell your product or service, as well as how to integrate what you sell with your general sales skills.
 

Managerial:  The managerial process involves your systems and organization to service and manage your clients, both during their purchase and after.
 

Our discussion will be, by necessity, an overview of how to evaluate and construct these components and I will be providing a number of resources that can aid and guide you.  We will be taking this look over the next several newsletters.  Because the process will take time, I encourage you to participate by sending in your questions, suggestions and opinions.  These can be taken into consideration and, if needed, addressed individually in future issues as we progress.  Please send your correspondence directly to me at pmccord@mccordandassociates.com.
 

What are the hoped for results?  My hope is that all of us have a little deeper understanding of the whole sales process, in all of its components, as well as a chance to re-evaluate our individual sales businesses.
 

Selling is a tough business.  Whether selling financial services directly to consumers, high tech communications equipment to businesses, or dresses in a retail environment, selling is a highly personal endeavor that places people in generally stressful situations—often with one suspicious of the other’s motives.
 

For the salesperson, the sales process is their lifeblood.  It is how you make your living and, to one extent or another, forms part of your image of whom you are.  It helps define your self-worth and provides guidelines of how you hope your career will progress.
 

 

For the customer, it is often viewed as a war of wits between themselves and the shark that is out to get them.  Their guard tends to be up, wondering what is truthful in your presentation and what you’re trying to hide.
 

A well-constructed, honest and even-handed sales process can help eliminate a good deal of the salesperson/prospect enmity.  The old stereotype of the of the good ‘ol boy doing his hard sell has created a generation of consumers who instinctively react to “being sold.”  Moreover, even we salespeople are not immune to such feelings we ourselves become the prospect.  Which of us has not had the fear of being taken when we go to purchase a new car?  Who among us doesn’t grumble when the phone rings at dinnertime and we suspect a telemarketer?  Or, who hasn’t regretted a spur of the moment purchase?
 

Yes, we, when not in “salesperson” mode, react just as our clients do.
 

Do these unconscious reactions on our part indicate something deep inside us that questions the value and the integrity of our career choice?  Do these mean that we have hidden feelings of inferiority?  Are we secretly—or not so secretly—fearful and embarrassed of the image we have as salespeople?
 

Is it possible to create a total sales process that will allow us to overcome these seemingly natural barriers between our prospects and ourselves?  Can we learn how to remove the suspicion and distrust that separates us from our prospects and sometimes even our clients?
 

How can we learn to become better salespeople if our companies don’t spend the time and the money necessary to help train us?  Unfortunately, most companies are not particularly interested in the psychological or strategic segments of our business and only slightly interested in the managerial.  Since these components of our process are “universal,” that is, they apply to any and all salespeople, irrespective of industry or product, companies assume their salespeople have these skills.  Rather, companies are really only concerned about the tactical component—their particular products and services and what you need to know about them.  For the most part, they leave the issues of becoming grounded in the other components up to you.
 

Since this is the reality for most salespeople, the object of this series of articles will be to explore, simply in broad terms, what these components are and how you can find the help and training you need.  Even though the discussion will be by necessity broad, I will attempt to give specific resources and at least guidance in the questions and issues you should be dealing with.
 

Our discussion will take each component as a separate entity—one in each of the next four issues of the newsletter.  Of course, in many ways the components overlap and influence one another.  However, our discussion will address each as a stand-alone component as far as possible.
 

As mentioned above, I would like your input.  I want your suggestions regarding resources—are there books, seminars, CD’s, DVD’s or other resources that you have found to be particularly useful in addressing any of the issues we discuss; questions about—and challenges to–my thinking and advice.  A newsletter is a very difficult format to make interactive, but I’m certainly hoping some will have suggestions, ideas and/or objections that we can discuss.
 

Next issue we will begin our discussion with the psychological component.  In particular, we will be addressing the issues of professionalism and our internal belief systems that limit our abilities to move from where we are to the top of the profession.

February 18, 2007

Two New Tele-Seminars Open for Registration

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 5:36 pm

We have 2 new tele-seminars open in March.  Both of these tele-seminars have limited seating, so early registration is encouraged:

How to Become a Referral-Based Salesperson
Wednesday, March 14  11:00 AM Central 
3 hour tele-seminar
Registration:  $69.00
Register at: Power Selling Store
Learn how the mega-producers generate their huge volume of referral business and do what they do to become a referral-based salesperson or professional.

  1. Some of the topics covered:
    *  Why Salespeople Fail
    *  Why simply asking for referrals doesn’t work
    *  How to establish a relationship with the client that results in a large number of high quality referrals
    *  How to guarantee you get quality referrals even if you client doesn’t have any referrals for you
    *  How to contact the referred prospect to insure you get the appointment
    *  Understanding the four pillars of a referral
    *  How to overcome referral objections

Foundations of a Successful Sales Career
Thursday, March 22  1:00 PM Central
2 Hour Tele-seminar
Registration:  $39.00
Register at:  Power Selling Store
Are you new to sales or to your industry–or do you just find yourself in a rut where you can’t breakout of being average or slightly above average?  Then this seminar is for you.  Over 40% of all salespeople fail in their first two yeas.  Worse, over 45% never achieve above an average or slightly above average level.  Why?  Because they haven’t been able to discover and implement the right mental and emotional attitude. 

Selling is more about attitude, self-image and the image you project to your prospects and clients than any other single thing.  Unless you understand and deal with those hidden attitudes and personal beliefs that keep you down, you’ll never achieve the level you want.  This seminar deals with only developing the mental and emotional armor to reach your true potential.  Don’t let yourself fail because you’re not prepared to succeed.  This is an essential course for new salespeople and those who want to break out of their rut.  Sales managers, this is the course to direct your new and underperforming salespeople to.

Take advantage of these extremely reasonably priced tele-seminars.  Seating is limited–results unlimited.

February 17, 2007

How simple can it get?

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 1:06 pm

Received an email from Tom in Colorado asking about how the million dollars a year income salespeople generate their huge volume of business.  His question isn’t about the techniques and strategies they use, his question is how they can possibly do it.  The inference is that there just isn’t anyway for anyone to make that kind of money selling. 

I found the question to be very interesting.  I thought everyone knew at least one person in sales making that kind of money–knew them either personally or through reputation.  However, Tom doesn’t seem to think any of those folks actually exist.  I wonder how common this misconception is?  There are thousands of people making a million dollars a year in sales from dozens and dozens of industries.  Of course, these folks are uncommon–they are at the very top of their industry.  But they exist–and as a whole, in large numbers. 

But the real crux of Tom’s question is how can a person sell that much?  Well, they don’t do business the way most salespeople do business, they don’t think the way most salespeople think and they don’t market the way most salespeople market.  For example, when a typical mortgage loan officer gets up in the morning they wonder where they’re going to get a loan that day.  When the mega-producer gets up in the morning, they wonder where they’re going to get 15 loans that day.  When the typical loan officer goes to bed that night, they haven’t found their one loan and they spend a restless night wondering why.  When the mega-producer goes to bed that night, they have found their 15 loans and can sleep well. 

So, how does one get to be like the mega-producers?  Do what they do.  Learn what they know.  Act the way they act.  Simply follow their lead. 

So, what’ the problem?  If it is that simple why isn’t everyone a mega-producer?  That’s simple to answer also.  Every salesperson wants to know the “secrets” of the mega-producers.  Nevertheless, once they learn what the mega-producers know, they decide they know better and have a better way of doing things.  Their attitude is “No thanks, I know a better way.”  Therefore, instead of doing what the mega-producers do to succeed, they go off on their own, do what they want–and fail, just as they had before.  Or, they decide that what the mega-producers do is just plain too much work and they are too darn lazy to emulate what the million dollars a year folks are doing. 

Either way–because of their arrogance or their laziness, they won’t ever get past being average or maybe slightly above average.  It isn’t because the training isn’t available.  It isn’t because the mega-producer has some great-unknown secret.  It is simply because most salespeople choose not to do what works.  It really is that simple. 

February 16, 2007

New Housing Starts the Lowest in 10 Years

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 3:35 pm

I’ve been preaching this for some time, but it’s about to get really critical for many salespeople.  If you haven’t learned how to generate a huge volume of high quailty referrals from prospects and clients, you had better learn NOW!  Your time to prepare for the coming hard times is getting shorter and shorter.  And the economic news is getting worse and worse if you’re a salesperson. 

Today’s economic news is that new home starts are down 14% from last year–the lowest, in fact, in 10 years.  And this type news is going to get more and more commonplace throughout the economy.  We’ve had an incredible economic run the last few years.  But sooner or later, it must slow.  Unfortunately, it looks like its sooner. 

Are you going to be in the position of the new home salesperson who desperate for someone to walk through the door of the model home?  They aren’t coming through the door now.  Builders are giving tremendous incentives to get someone, anyone to purchase a home. 

What I’ve been preaching is coming quickly.  Now, this isn’t all doom and gloom.  Those salespeople who have learned how to sell by referral–and not talking the typical salesperson who gets one of two names of people who won’t even talk to them (most salespeople call these referrals when they are nothing but wasted time–for the salesperson who is hoping against hope to get a sale; the client who spent 12 good seconds of his life coming up with the name; and the referred “prospect” who spends time and energy trying to avoid the salesperson or has to spend a minute or two of his life getting the salesperson off the phone).  If you haven’t learned how to truly sell by getting a large number of high quality referrals from every client and prospect like the mega-producers do, you’re in for some really hard times.  But, guess what?  The salespeople who are true referral salespeople, who really know how to generate high quality referrals, won’t even flinch when the economy slows down.  Their business will maybe have a small speed bump while yours is hitting a solid brick wall. 

I used to encourage people to purchase Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals now in order to make 2007 their breakout year.  But it’s changing.  Now the word is buy the book so you’ll still be in business in 2008.  You must learn how to do business the way the superstars do business or you’ll always be an also-ran. 

 Sales managers, business owners and executives, I’d love to talk to you about training your entire sales staff.  Salespeople and professionals, I’d like to talk to you about individual coaching. 

 Whatever you do, get prepared now because next year–and maybe next fall will be too late. 

Contact me a pmccord@mccordandassociates.com or call me at 281-216-6845 

 

February 7, 2007

Are You Afflicated?

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 9:40 am

One of the most common complaints I receive from salespeople, managers and professionals is that their lead generation programs don’t work well. No matter what they try—cold calling, direct mail, email campaigns, advertising, generating word-of-mouth, attending trade shows, networking through organizations, or any other format, their results are substantially less than they had anticipated.

Most of the time when questioned, I discover, not surprisingly, that the root causes are a lack of long-term commitment to the program combined with a lack of experimentation to find the optimal message format.

Lead generation programs typically are not overnight successes. No matter the formats you choose to utilize, it takes time and effort to make a lead generation program work. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic formula. But there are lessons that can be learned and applied from the major companies that will work—over time:

First, know who your prospects are and where they are. Although basic, many forget to analyze their lead generation program for its ability to reach exactly whom they want to reach. You hear about a lead generation format that has worked well for someone and you get excited and decide to implement a similar plan without thinking through the issue. What works for your best friend’s product or service may not work for yours. Define your ideal prospect and target them—where they are.

Second, use a combination of formats. Don’t rely on one prospecting method. Prospects are not all the same. Some will respond to one media while others will respond to a different prospecting method. Try to integrate two, three or four prospecting methods into a unified whole.

Third, be consistent in your message. For each target group, keep your message consistent throughout your marketing campaigns. If you have several different target groups, you can certainly have different messages to each group, but even then you must keep your message consistent within your lead generation program to that market.

Fourth, give your campaign time to mature and payoff. Running one or two ads isn’t going to produce results. Sending a series of three letters isn’t either. Marketing is a long-term commitment. It has been estimated that it takes at least 7 exposures to a prospect before they begin to act. Plan your campaign to generate a number of touches to the same prospect over a period of time that acclimates your prospect to who you are and what you do. This is where the consistency of message really begins to payoff.

Fifth, don’t be afraid to experiment with your format. If you are establishing a combination mail and email campaign, experiment with different lengths of letters, different days of the week and times of the month for your letters and emails to go out. The message is the same; you’re simply experimenting with the variables within the format you have chosen.
Sixth, keep track of what you do and the response you get. Over time you’ll begin to see patterns that you can take advantage of. You may find that a two page letter works better than a one page letter. You may find that sending you mailings to arrive early in the week works better than late week arrivals. Maybe your response is better with communications in mid-month than early or late month.

Seventh, be consistent. Don’t send out three communications and then give up because the response isn’t what you hoped for. Whatever your chosen methods of prospecting are, set out a campaign with a definite duration and schedule and stick to it. Consistency doesn’t mean you don’t experiment within the method—it means you plan and carry out the campaign to its end, giving it time to work.

The secret is simply to be diligent, consistent and creative. If you carefully analyze whom your prospect is and how to reach him or her and then carry your plan out over a reasonable period of time, you will begin to see the results you are seeking. Expecting overnight results will kill your efforts and waste the time, money and effort you’ve invested.

February 3, 2007

Managing a renegade

Filed under: management training,Sales Management — Paul McCord @ 7:29 am

David from Boston sent me an email asking advice on managing a sales rep who is a renegade. David says this particular rep is a big producer that he doesn’t want to lose, but she won’t follow rules, works her own hours and may or may not show up for meetings. How can he get her to conform to policy?

One of the issues might be the policy. Since she works on 100% commission, she, like most commission only salespeople, views her position not so much as an employee, but as an independent contractor. Certainly, she is getting the employee benefits and is paid as an employee, but for the most part, she only eats what she kills.

It is always somewhat difficult getting bigger producers to conform. They view themselves as more important to the company than the company is to them. Depending upon the industry, they may well be correct.

Reformulating policy might work. Establish a minimum production level at which salespeople “graduate” to a self-sustaining level. In this format, salespeople performing below the minimum level must conform to all company policies–they must attend each meeting, work designated hours, turn in call reports and all the other micro-management policies the company or manager may have put in place. Those salespeople performing above the minimum are free to run their businesses as they see fit as long as they don’t overstep any legal or ethical bounds. They are free to attend or not attend sales meetings, work their own hours; don’t have to submit call reports, etc. As long as their production is over the threshold, they are free from the cumbersome “rules.” If their production slips below the minimum, they’re back to the grind.

This format has several advantages: 1) it frees the sales manager to work with those reps below the minimum; 2) it gives the higher performing reps as sense of independence; 3) it gives the lower performing reps a desired goal to aim for; and 4) it gives the higher performing reps an incentive to keep their production up.

The key is where to put the threshold. I’ve found that something a little above the desired average works well. If your goal is say a monthly production of 9 sales per rep, put the cutoff at somewhere between 10 and 12 sales. If you figure in dollars instead of sales and your goal is say a million dollars of sales per month, put the cut off at somewhere between a million one hundred thousand and a million two hundred fifty thousand. To each the threshold, each rep must perform at an above average level, yet it isn’t so far above average that the lesser performing reps don’t believe they have a reasonable chance to reach it.

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