Sales and Sales Management Blog

October 29, 2010

Guest Article: “The Biggest Goof Sellers Make When Dealing with Hot Prospects,” by Jill Konrath

Filed under: Closing Sales,Handling Prospect,Qualifying Prospects — Paul McCord @ 8:19 am
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The Biggest Goof Sellers Make When Dealing with Hot Prospects
By Jill Konrath

I dream of hot prospects who call me up and say, “We’ve heard good things about your company. We want to make a decision quickly. We’re hoping you can help us out.”

Occasionally my sales fantasies turn into realities. When it happens, it’s so easy to be seduced by this low-handing fruit. Outwardly, I try to appear calm, cool and collected – a true professional. But inside, every inch of my body wants to scream out, “Take me! Take me!”

Okay. I’m being a bit dramatic here, but I really want to make my point.

It’s so easy to be tempted by these opportunities. And when you yield to this temptation, you make fatal mistakes—ones that can totally derail your sales efforts and cause you to lose the business.

True, But Embarrassing Story

Let me give you a personal example, to show you how easy it is to get caught up in this seduction.

A few years ago, my primary business focus was working with large corporations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area when they were launching new products. My expertise? Helping them shorten time to revenue on new product introductions.

I’d just launched SellingtoBigCompanies.com to help small businesses gain access to my expertise. It was my new baby. I’d invested tons of time and lots of love to get it up and running.

When the phone rang that day, I answered absentmindedly. But when the caller announced that he was from Southwest Airlines, I snapped to attention. He’d been all over my new Web site, was very impressed, and also very interested in my training programs.

The airline was going to be putting its salespeople through training in the not-too-distant future and was evaluating its options. When I asked who else he was looking at, I was delighted to be included with the industry biggies.

Mr. Southwest had dozens of questions about my content, delivery models, remote training options, learning reinforcement and more. I answered every single one of them in glorious detail.

When he requested a proposal, I asked, “How soon?” When he answered that he wanted it in two days, I quickly agreed.

The proposal I sent to him via e-mail covered everything we had talked about in our conversation, plus a full range of pricing options. It was a masterpiece. I had high hopes that this opportunity would take my business to a whole new level.

I never heard from Mr. Southwest again. Even though I contacted him many times, he never called back.

Lesson Learned

It was my own fault. I mistakenly let my own eagerness to land this marquis customer outweigh my common sense.

The truth is I really needed the business at that time. After spending many months and lots of money to create SellingtoBigCompanies.com, I was running short on cash. I should have known better, but I was seduced by the opportunity.

In retrospect, I failed to find out if Mr. Southwest was just exploring his options or actually in the final stages of decision making. It’s highly likely he was just doing the former.

Had I known that, I would never have written a detailed proposal. Instead, I would have focused on helping him determine the business value of making a change. I would have used my expertise to help him sell the concept internally and establish decision criteria favorable to my solution.

Over and over again, I see other sellers make similar mistakes when they have a hot prospect on the line. Like me, they expound on their capabilities and benefits. They willingly provide detailed information and do tons of extra work to create proposals or presentations—anything the prospects want.

While that puts you into the “nice” seller category, it’s not a good business decision to invest tons of time and effort to land a fantasy customer. Nor does it help your prospects make the best decision for their organization.

If Mr. Southwest was actually deciding in a couple days, I should have addressed the fact that I was a small boutique firm that didn’t compete head-on with the larger companies he was looking at.

Doing business with me would have been risky. I knew that. But I didn’t want to bring it up; I was hoping he wouldn’t notice!

I was so blinded by the opportunity that I was willing to do anything that he asked. It was delusional on my part. Wishful thinking. Hopeful. When we feel this seduction, we need to remind ourselves that “hope is not a strategy.”

While hot prospects may hold the promise of big paychecks, there’s often much that still needs to be determine if it’s a good fit for your company.

Don’t be overeager. Instead be ruthlessly realistic. Detach from the fantasy and assess your true chances. Bring up the tough questions. .

Why? Because it’s the right thing to do for both you and your prospect.

Jill Konrath, sales strategist and bestselling author of Selling to Big Companies and SNAP Selling, is a frequent speaker at annual sales meetings, kick-off events and professional conferences. Visit her website

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October 27, 2010

Squeezing Boils–A Disgusting Sales Management Post

A recent LinkedIn discussion reminded me of Ted, a sales manager I knew years ago, who mentioned a couple of times that he was dreading going into the office because he had to “go squeeze some boils.”  After his second or third time to mention his need to squeeze boils, I asked—more than a bit hesitantly—what he meant by having to squeeze boils.  He explained that he had some underperforming salespeople who he had to let go before they poisoned the rest of the sales team.  He had to drain the pus before it infected the rest of the body.

In some respects Ted had the right idea; he just wasn’t nuanced enough (my God, I sound like a  Democrat).  Ted treated all underperformers the same.  To him, an underperformer was an underperformer.  A loser.  A waste of human flesh.  If you weren’t performing up to his standards, you were a boil that had to be squeezed and drained out of the sales body. 

Ted understood that there are underperformers who can and will infect other sales team members.  His mistake was believing that all underperformers are the same and consequently they should all be treated the same—summarily get rid of them. 

The result of Ted’s one size fits all death penalty for being an underperformer was a sales team that feared him far more than they respected him.  It resulted in a sales region that was always short of team members–and short meeting quota.  And it resulted in an unhappy, unsatisfied, disgruntled manager.

The problem wasn’t that Ted sought to squeeze the boils and get rid of the poison before it could spread throughout the team.  The real problem was that he didn’t recognize that not all underperformers are boils.  Although all underperformers must be dealt with, not all are full of pus.

Over the years I’ve found that there are basically three kinds of underperformers:

Parasites: Parasites are those team members who are simply hangers on, sticking around because they’ve found something worth milking—salary, draw, benefits, whatever.  They have no intention of ever performing.  They may talk a good game.  They may use every trick they can think of to appear to be a contributing member of the sales team.  Bottom line is they’re going to take advantage of the ride as long as they possibly can—or until something better falls into their lap.

Destroyers:  Destroyers are the true pus filled boils Ted was fearful of.  Destroyers are usually, but not necessarily, underperformers.  You’ll find Destroyers bitching and moaning about how crappy a deal the company is giving the salespeople, how lousy the company’s products are, how unrealistic the sales quotas are, how the only reason that big producer always hits her numbers is because the manager gives her all the call-ins.  Destroyers intend to hurt the company.  They delight in destroying morale.  They find great pleasure in bringing another salesperson over to the Dark Side.

Slow Developers:  Slow Developers are as far removed from Parasites and Destroyers as you can get.  Slow Developers are sellers who have the potential and the desire to succeed but for whatever reason aren’t up to speed.  Maybe they lack the necessary skills such as listening, asking questions, or finding and connecting with quality prospects; maybe they need intensive individual coaching on how to apply what they’ve learned; or maybe they haven’t learned a reliable, effective sales process.  These are men and women who can become, and want to become, great producers but who need more time and attention to mature into the seller you want and need them to be.

Pus Filled Boils Will Kill Your Team
Ted was right to drain the pus from the sales team body.  One of the responsibilities of every manager is to protect the integrity of the company and the sales team. 

Parasites and Destroyers must be mercilessly eliminated immediately upon discovery.  There is no room in any organization for Parasites and Destroyers.  Mercy and compassion has no place in dealing with these men and women.  The idea that letting these folks go is in their best interests should play no role in the decision making.  Frankly, they’re not worth the concern, worry or loss of sleep.  They are sucking the blood from the team.  Why in the world would you lose sleep over letting someone go who is intentionally or even unintentionally destroying you?

In fact, if a manager allows any of these boils to stay that manager should be immediately fired; it is simply too serious, too damaging to the future of the company to allow the sales team to become poisoned, and if the manager won’t take care of his or her team, they are worse than the boils with which they refuse to deal.

Slow Developers Aren’t Boils
Treating Slow Developers in the same manner as Parasites and Destroyers is both morally wrong and a bad business decision.  I’m not saying that you cannot let a Slow Developer go.  You not only might have to let one go every once in awhile; I’m sure you will have to let some go.  But letting a Slow Developer go should be a last resort, not a first.

Obviously the first step in getting a Slow Developer up to speed is to figure out what’s missing.  Hopefully you’ve got a good idea already.  Enlisting the aid of a quality assessment tool would be a wise decision. 

After you’ve identified the area or areas that are keeping the Slow Developer from becoming a valued producer, sit down with him or her and work out a training/coaching/development action plan.  The plan should:

  • Have a realistic timeframe based on your sales cycle and the specific areas to be developed.  Too short a timeframe and you’re not giving the salesperson a realistic opportunity, too long a timeframe encourages a lax attitude and performance
  • The plan must be based on objective, measurable actions, not generalities or mushy goals.  Instead of a goal to “increase daily cold call dials,” put a definite number on it such as “make a minimum of 75 cold call dials per day.”  Instead of a goal of “increasing line items per order,” set a specific goal such as “average 8 line items per order.” 
  • Progress must be monitored with frequent review sessions and specific, measurable progress landmarks.  Reviews should be set frequently enough to make sure the salesperson is staying on track, as well as to identify problems and make necessary adjustments. 
  • The action plan must specify the specific training and/or coaching, as well as who is responsible for the training and coaching and when it will take place.  Leave nothing to chance or some iffy future scheduling.  On the other hand, use common sense when some part of the action plan needs to be changed or rescheduled.
  • The action plan must have a specific outcome:  either the salesperson has met the action plan goals or they will be separated from the company. 

Slow Developers can become some of your sales team’s most reliable producers if given the chance and help in developing their potential.  Although it takes a commitment of time and resources, it is cheaper to cultivate your Slow Developers than to hire a replacement and you have a moral responsibility to work with those salespeople you’ve hired who have the desire and potential to grow into quality producers.

Like Ted, you must drain the pus out of your team before it infects the entire body.  Unlike Ted, you have to recognize that not every underperforming salesperson is a boil on your sales team’s butt.  Unfortunately the most common problem companies have isn’t an overzealous Ted but rather a sales manager who takes the easy route and simply allows the boils to fester and the Slow Developers to fade away out the door—often out of sales completely.

Sales management is a proactive position that, along with its rewards, on occasion requires some hard decisions be made and some unpleasant actions to be taken.  Squeezing boils isn’t pleasant.  Working with your Slow Developers is hard work.  If you’re not willing to take on both, you don’t deserve to retain your job.  If you’re on top of both, you’re in an elite class of managers.  If you haven’t recognized the need to deal with your underperformers, take them on.  It won’t be fun or easy but you’ll shortly find your team’s morale and production increase and your team easier and more pleasant to manage.

October 24, 2010

THAT GUY, Part 2: BE THAT Guy

Filed under: career development,sales,selling,small business,success — Paul McCord @ 1:23 pm
Tags: , ,

In Part 1 we looked at the actions and attitudes of That Guy who is guaranteed to fail in sales.  We saw that That Guy comes in many forms from a self-centered know-it-all to a guy so fearful of rejection that he can’t make the prospecting calls that are the foundation of selling to the guy who spends all of his time putting on the airs of success so that he has no time to actually become successful.

So now that we know what the guy who fails does, it’s time to find out what the actions and attitudes of That Guy who succeeds are.  Whereas we found 14 easily identifiable actions and attitudes of that failure guy (we could have found many more but stopped at 14 for the sake of time), there are far fewer actions and attitudes of that success guy.

What are the success actions and attitudes of that sales success guy?

  1. That success guy concentrates on doing things that create sales.  Where that failure guy does busy work, that success guy spends his time connecting with quality prospects, meeting with them, taking care of them.  If the action isn’t directly related to making a sale or serving a client, he wants no part of it.
  2. That success guy takes responsibility for his own success.  Certainly, he takes advantage of every growth opportunity his company gives him, but he doesn’t rely on the company for his training and professional growth.  He invests his time, his energy and his money in his own training and coaching.  His success is his responsibility—and reward, not the company’s.
  3. That guy is the luckiest guy in the world.  Well, not really—he just appears to be lucky because he works hard to be in the right place at the right time.  He “stumbles” into so much business because he has put himself in front of so many people and developed so many relationships that when they do need something, he’s “lucky” enough to be there.
  4. That guy has the confidence to expose himself to success.  He knows not everyone will buy.  He knows that he’ll hit some homerun presentations, presenting solid solutions to prospect’s problems and still not make the sale.  He doesn’t let those disappointments control his life.  He’s a winner and he knows it.  He isn’t arrogant or conceited; he just knows that he has the skills and the work ethic that will produce the results he wants.
  5. That guy knows what he is doing and why he is doing it.  He has a disciplined, proven process that guides his actions—and consistently produces the results he wants.  Unlike that sales failure guy who wakes up in a new world everyday where he must constantly reinvent who he is and what he does, that sales success guy leaves nothing to chance.  He has a replicable process for every aspect of the sales process that he knows works.
  6. That success guy is driven to succeed.  He has to win.  He won’t, can’t settle for just being in the running.  There’s something in his gut that demands he find a way to be top dog.  If that means making more cold calls than anyone else, that’s what he does.  If it means working twice as many hours as his sales team mates, that’s what he does.  If it means investing more time and money in learning more effective strategies than his team mates, that’s what he does. 

That sales success guy is really pretty simple—he simply is committed to learning and executing proven, effecitve strategies that will result in producing the results he wants.  He doesn’t waste time.  He doesn’t feed his ego and starve his bank account.  He doesn’t do the things that lead to failure and expect to be successful.

You are That Guy.  The only question is are you that sales failure guy or are you that sales success guy?  The good news is it really is your choice.  You don’t have to be that sales failure guy.  You can just as easily be that sales success guy.  It just depends on whether or not you’re willing to do those things that lead to success.

October 21, 2010

Book Review: Turbulent Times Leadership For Sales Managers

Author Tom Connellan contends that firstborns tend to be high performers—much more so than their later born siblings.  That success stems directly from their birth order as firstborns (and, of course, those who are the only child in a family) are treated differently by their parents. 

According to Connellan parents of firstborns have Positive Expectations of the firstborn.  “They are the ones who {expected} to become the all-star quarterback, the president of the senior class, the captain of the cheerleading squad,” he says.

In addition, parents give firstborns more Responsibility and Accountability.  Firstborns are not only given more responsibility, they’re given it at an earlier age than their peers.  In addition, their parents hold them more accountable for their actions and behaviors than their later born brothers and sisters.

Finally, argues Connellan, firstborns get more Feedback from their parents.  Their parents, friends and family give them more positive attention, more encouragement, and praise.

These three elements of raising the firstborn that are lacking in rearing of later born children are the major factors Connellan identifies as the catalysts of the success firstborns enjoy in far greater numbers than later children.

In Turbulent Times Leadership For Sales Managers: How The Very Best Boost Sales (Peak Performance Press:  2010), Connellan argues that adopting these three basic elements of success building and applying them to the members of the sales team by sales managers is the key to creating and maintaining top sales teams.

Turbulent Times Leadership For Sales Managers is a simple, short but highly practical book whose lessons can be applied immediately and with positive effect.  Although it can easily be read in a single sitting, application demands care and forethought. 

Connellan spends almost half of the book discussing the various types of feedback—he identifies three types: Motivational, Informational, and Developmental–and how to use them with a very strong emphasis on using positive feedback in its various forms rather than negative feedback (at least a 3 to 1 ratio, even more is better, he says).

The other two factors, expectations and responsibility/accountability are dealt with relatively quickly.

Although Connellan spends a great amount of time emphasizing the positive, the book isn’t an advocate of mushy, gloss over the negative management.  Part of the last chapter on how to put all three principles together is devoted to discussing the need to be tough, including setting tough goals.

Turbulent Times Leadership For Sales Managers focuses on the central issue of getting the best out of salespeople—changing their behavior.  Over and over again Connellan stresses that behavior change is what the three elements he focuses on are all about. 

If you have salespeople whose performance is lacking, pick up a copy of Turbulent Times Leadership For Sales Managers.  Better yet, pick up a copy for each of your sales managers—and then help them change their behavior so they can help their sales team members change their’s.

October 20, 2010

3 Sales Resources Well Worth Taking a Look At

Filed under: sales,Sales Resources,selling,small business — Paul McCord @ 4:27 pm
Tags: , ,

There are a ton of great resources on the net for salespeople and companies.  In fact, there are so many it’s hard to keep track of ‘em.  Let me point out three (one self-serving) that I think are worth your time:

  1. My friend Paul Castain of YourSalesPlaybook.com is top notch on helping sellers learn how to really get value out of social media.  His blog is right on the money—and funny to boot; his observations sharp; and his free stuff worth every penny and more.Recently he published a new ditty called “How to Become More Visible to Your Network.”  It is 25 ways to really build some relationships with those people you meet whether in the real world or your virtual business worlk.  Valuable, valuable ebook. 

    Get your free copy here.
  2. Do you or your company do webinars whether free or paid?  If you do you need to try out Webinar Box Office from Webfishery.  Webinar Box Office claims to promote your upcoming webinar on more than 250 social media sites—for FREE.  Their webinar database is searchable by subject and promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and others. Worth a try. 

    List your webinar HERE

  3. Roger Bauer interviewed me about how to reignite your sales.  You can find the interview at the Bauer Pauer Hauer HERE.  You’ll learn the three things you must do to get your sales going again; the biggest mistake salespeople and managers are making right now; how to get a ton of referrals almost overnight; and much more.

 I know everyone is busy but I think each of these is worth taking a few minutes to take a look at. 

October 18, 2010

THAT GUY, Part 1: Don’t Be THAT GUY

No one wants to be THAT guy—the guy who is a failure, who can’t pay the rent, who just can’t get it together (ladies, be nice, I’m using guy as an absolutely sex neutral pronoun).  But we all want to be THAT guy—the one who is extremely successful, who has his life together, who everyone envies and wants to emulate.  

What separates THAT guy who is a failure from THAT guy who is a star?

When we boil it down it comes to actions and attitudes.  The problem is there are so many more actions and attitudes that lead to failure than lead to success.  Frankly that’s the reason it is so easy to fail and so hard to succeed.  The path to success is steep and narrow while the path to failure is wide and easily traversed. 

So, what are the actions and attitudes that that sales failure guy has?  Here are a few of the more prevalent actions that that failure guy engages in.  I hope you don’t see yourself in any of these:

1.  That guy loves to hang around the water cooler shooting the breeze with other salespeople.  Once they’ve discussed last night’s ballgame or hot date they don’t miss a chance to bitch and moan about the crappy products and services they have to sell, how lucky that big producer is who just seems to always be in the right place at the right time, how bad management is screwing them, and how they’ll never be able to make their unrealistic quotas in this economy.  That guy knows all the good gossip and all the office’s problems.   

2.  That guy also realizes that he can’t possibly make prospecting calls until he is fully prepared and that means he has to make his own collateral material since the marketing department has no idea what they’re doing.  He can’t use the junk marketing provides so he must spend his time creating a number of fliers and leave behinds just in case he does talk to someone interested in a product or service.  You’ll find that guy at his desk everyday getting ready to make the calls that he never makes.

3.  Many times that guy knows far more than anyone else in the company.  He certainly knows more than his manager and folks in the training department.  But he also knows more than anyone in marketing and certainly more than those dopes in the executive suite.  With only a few days in the industry, much less with the company, he has already figured out what’s wrong with the way the company is managed and with the way the company tries to sell.  In fact, that guy knows so much he won’t be with the company long enough to learn just how little he does know.

4.  Sometimes that guy is an absolute committed professional who will not compromise his professionalism–and everyone knows professionals don’t: cold call, walk into offices cold, send out unsolicited emails, try to talk someone into a conversation they might not want to have, intrude on someone, or ask an uncomfortable question like asking them make a definitive yes/no decision.  That guy can only deal with prospects that come to him since everyone knows that’s what professionals do.  Then he goes and stands with all of the other professionals at the unemployment line.

5.  Often you’ll find that that guy knows exactly how good he is and he doesn’t mind telling anyone who will listen—and he’ll make sure you listen.  He’ll let you know that he is going to be the biggest thing the company has ever seen.  He’ll tell you straight out how many people he knows who’ll buy, what incredible contacts he has, how good a closer he is, and how he has the skills and talent to blow the hell out of all the company’s sales records.  Unfortunately for him and the company he never actually does anything.  In Texas we’d call him ‘all hat; no cattle,’ that is, he talks the talk but doesn’t even begin to walk the walk.  By all means, don’t be that guy.

6.  A very close cousin to that guy above is that guy who makes everything about him.  All of his talk is about what he has done, what he is doing, and what he is going to do.  Sounds a lot like the guy above, huh?  Well he is—but he carries this ‘me’ attitude with him when he gets in front of a prospect.  Consultative selling?  Solution selling?  Meeting the prospects wants and needs?  None of these are important to that guy.  The only thing important is meeting his own wants and needs.  The conversation with a prospect is all about him—how this sale will make him number one in the company for the month; how he sells more of this particular product than anyone else in the company; how he can get the prospect an unheard of discount because he is the top salesperson in the company; how lucky the prospect is to be dealing with him instead of someone else.

7.  Sometimes that guy is an old school guy, using the high pressure, strong-arm tactics of the 60’s and 70’s.  That guy is not only still around, but you can easily find him breaking arms and bashing heads in some traditional high pressure industries such as auto sales, MLM companies, and some others.  Fortunately these industries are rapidly changing and have fewer and fewer old school, high pressure salespeople; but they’re still there and you’ll find them in almost every industry.  That guy’s a dying breed—as you’ll be if you’re that guy.

8.  There was a time when it was cute that every kid who played a sport or participated in any event was treated like a winner.  Everybody got a trophy for doing no more than showing up.  No one kept score because they all deserved to win and no one wanted to crush the kid’s delicate self-image.  Well, it isn’t so funny anymore.  Those kids are now adults and guess what?  That guy wants a big salary and lots of benefits for just showing up.  That guy thinks life owes him the rewards not because he earned them but because he and his parents bought into the Woody Allen nonsense that “80% of life is showing up.”  If you’re that guy you better change your thinking quickly or start looking for a new job.

9.  Are you that guy who thinks he’s Capital Ahab, passing by all the small fish while single mindedly hunting for Moby Dick?  That whale hunter guy is usually a short-timer.  That guy can’t be bothered with average sales.  They’re just a waste of time for after all, all he needs is to land one whale and that will be worth dozens of small sales.  While he’s out starving trying to land that elusive whale, his fellow sellers are making a good living brining in the fish that are all around.  Whale hunters have tall tales to tell when they succeed—but most are telling their tales in the unemployment line.

10.  We all know that guy who is a plastic mannequin of a salesperson—the one with all the right “stuff”—the gold watch, expensive car, high dollar clothes.  He hangs out at the right upscale bar after work.  He’s that guy who has all of the signs of success—but none of the actual success.  He works one or two extra jobs and lives in an apartment with no furniture in order to be able to afford the appearance of success.  He works harder to look like a success than if he actually worked to be a success.  Don’t be that guy who so desperately needs to be seen as successful that he’ll spend all of his time putting on the airs and never has time to actually become successful.

11.  That guy can also be an office hermit—so afraid of rejection that he spends all of his time in the office doing busy work and never getting out into the light of day.  That guy is a hard worker, no doubt.  He is in the office early and often leaves late.  He is forever compiling lists, creating collateral material, helping customer service, shipping, finance, the clerical staff and anyone else he can think of.  In fact, he is ready, willing, and able to anything that will keep him from having to leave the office.  That guy would make an ideal office staffer and might even work well in inside sales, but he is a complete disaster in outside sales. 

12.  That guy also comes in the form of an old-time gunslinger; shooting from the hip.  The problem is he isn’t Doc Holliday but is instead Don Knotts’ shakiest gun in the west.   He doesn’t have time to learn anything about the products or services he sells, no time to learn anything about selling, persuasion, or presenting.  Nope.  His game is to go out and wing it figuring if he talks fast enough and makes up enough crap as he goes along he’ll talk ‘em into buying.  Sales gunslingers end up in boot hill pretty quickly in today’s marketplace.

13.  That guy can also be the king of discounts, giving away the store to every prospect he comes across.  Have an objection?  He counters with a discount.  The product not right?  He gives a discount.  Thinking about a competitor’s product?  Discount.  Don’t like the color?  Discount.  Have the hiccups?  Discount.  To that guy the word margin simply means white space around the edges of his brochure where he can write the newest discounted price he is offering you.  In a tough market lots of sellers try to be that guy—don’t because they don’t last long.

14.  Finally that guy is sometimes an eternal optimist, hanging on to every “prospect”—and everyone is a prospect.  He’ll invest time and effort calling and visiting, he’ll do proposals until the cows come home, and he’ll give them all the specs and all the quotes they ask for—no matter how poor a prospect they may be; no matter how unable to afford his product or service they are; no matter how direct they have been in letting him know they’ll never buy from his company.  That guy just won’t cut the dead weight out of his database.  He won’t recognize the tremendous amount of wasted time and energy he puts into non-prospects.

Do you recognize yourself in any of the guys above?  I hope you don’t but probably 30% or more of all sellers fit in one or more of the above categories.  If  you are in one of the above descriptions, you’re flirting with sales failure for these are the behaviors that lead directly to failing miserably in sales. 

Don’t be that guy.

But hang on because in part 2 we’ll take a look at that guy you do want to be.

October 11, 2010

What Are People Saying About Bust Your Slump: A Dozen Slump Busting Strategies to Fill Your Pipeline in 30 Days?

Filed under: Book Recommendations,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 8:30 am
Tags: , , ,

Bust Your Slump: A Dozen Slump Busting Strategies to Fill Your Pipeline in 30 Days has been on the market for a couple of weeks.  Here is a sampling of what people are saying about the book and how it might be able to help you or your sales team.

By the way, the book is now in Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million and many other book sellers around the world.  Barnes and Noble even has the book on sale for only $10.76—a great deal.

And if you’d like multiple copies for your sales team, don’t hesitate to contact me about multiple book pricing.

Jill Konrath, author Selling to Big Companies

We Can’t Bust Our Sales Slump Because We’re Insane

I had to laugh when I read that line in a recent edition of Paul McCord’s newsletter. If you’re struggling with a slump right now, keep on reading what Paul has to say:

We’re all familiar with the old saying that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. We laughed when we first heard it–and we agreed. We thought it such a silly idea that anyone would see that something isn’t working and then believe that the solution was to do more of it.

Ha, ha. What idiot would be that dumb? Us idiots, of course.

No, we’re not idiots and we’re not dumb. But just as others have gotten so wrapped up in something that they failed to see the illogic in increasing the amount of time and energy they were investing in activities that weren’t producing the results they wanted, we also get wrapped up in trying to break out of our sales tailspins that we don’t see the folly of investing more time and energy in just doing more of what isn’t working.

We tend to think that a sales slump is simply the result of a lack of activity and consequently, simply increasing our activity will correct it. That’s not the case.

Sales slumps are generally caused by a combination of factors, any one of which could have been the original tailspin creating catalyst: 1) Negative expectations; 2) Insufficient activity; and 3) Wrong strategies.

So, if these are the three factors in a sales slump, the solution should be easy right? Just change the negative expectations to positive ones, increase activity, and change up the prospecting strategies, and voila, presto-chango, you’re out of the slump.

If only it were that easy.

Busting out of a slump–or beginning to generate business if you are a new salesperson–is difficult. It takes a great deal of resolve. It takes dedication. It takes learning long-term strategies to put your sales career on solid footing.

I survived a slump. It was tough. I didn’t know if I’d make it. Maybe you’re struggling right now too. If so, check out Paul’s new book, BUST YOUR SLUMP: A Dozen Slump-Busting Strategies to Fill Your Pipeline in 30 Days.

Regardless of what you sell, you’ll find strategies that will work for you. I have three favorites. If you want to grow your business locally, Paul offers solid networking advice. If you have a client base, check out the “mining for gold” strategy. And finally, partnering — my personal choice for slump-busting.

Gary Hart of Sales du Jour

Bust Your Slump” by Paul McCord – Book Review

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the sales game, and regardless of the economic climate or your industry’s status, slumps happen. Paul McCord’s “Bust Your Slump” is a concise, easy to read twelve chapters, each with a proven funnel filling solution.

Fit for our hurry-up offence, 2-minute drill business culture, the short chapters include successful implementation strategies from Paul’s clients and conclude with “Does it Work” how-to sections. While the book can be read in an afternoon, each chapter can be digested and understood in a few minutes of downtime, and ready to be put into practice.

My favorite chapter “Get Connected Quick” is about networking successfully with a “focused commitment to do the activity that will produce results [and how] effective networking follows a definite, planned process.” I could go on, but I don’t want to spoil your reading, so if you want to know how to select the best networking events and learn best networking practices, you’ll have to read the book.

I love the format and strategies Paul has chosen and found it easy, instructive reading that kept my attention.   Paul hits on key mechanics with implementable solutions. Beginning with “attitude” and reminding us how a large part of slumps is in the mind are two powerful points and winners for the reader. So start filling your pipeline and order the paperback or Kindle version now.

Dave Brock, President of Partners in Excellence

In A Sales Slump?

Sales slumps hit all of us for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes when we get into a slump, we seem to spiral deeper and deeper. We run out of ideas on what to do, we lose perspective. Dealing with our sales slumps, developing and executing strategies to Bust Out Of The Slump is critical for every sales person.

Paul McCord wrote a terrific book based on this single goal, helping you develop and execute strategies to Bust Your Slump. He outlines 12 different strategies, giving you step by step advice for recovering from a slump, as well as offering great case studies of how organizations have used each of the strategies. Paul purposely kept the book short and practical. It’s a quick read, and if you are struggling, provides proven ideas.

Jeb Brooks, Executive Vice President of The Brooks Group

Brooks on Books: Bust Your Sales Slump

Paul McCord, of SalesandManagementBlog.com, has just completed a book called “Bust Your Slump: A Dozen Slump Busting Strategies to Fill Your Pipeline in 30 Days.”

He sent me an advance copy last week and it’s great. He said the book, “hasn’t got a single new or revolutionary idea in it — just 12 proven strategies to help sellers, business owners, and service professionals who are hurting for business to generate business NOW.”

And the suggestions are spot-on. He’s got some practical advice for driving business. And every idea ends with a story of someone who actually implemented it…and grew their business as a result. How many of us have forgotten about the opportunities a contest might offer? Or the acres of diamonds in “dead” accounts? Paul reminds us of their potential in this book (and another 10 slump-busting ideas).  If your copy ends up like mine, it’ll be dog-eared and highlighted. Meanwhile, you’ll walk away with new enthusiasm for old ideas.

Kristine Chompff, Marketing Manager, CarbonetiX

When you’re staring down the barrel of a diminishing on-hand cash pool, there’s nothing like a lifesaver! Paul’s ‘Bust your slump’ is exactly that. He provides practical and effective strategies to get your sales up and moving again. What I found refreshing about this book, is the straightforward approach utilised by Paul in cutting directly to the heart of the matter quickly and concisely. The fact thatyou can pick it up and put it down when you need to, and use only a few sections at a time, gives this book rare flexibility. A recommended read for salespeople needing a lifesaver!

Paul Flood, Paul Flood Marketing

At some point during their career, nearly every sales person will encounter a slump. No matter how hard they work, things don’t seem to turn around. Frustration sets in, desire to work and confidence plummet.

What to do?

Paul McCord tackles this issue head-on in the book, “Bust Your Slump, A Dozen Slump Busting Strategies to Fill Your Pipeline in Just 30 Days.” This book lays out 12 very effective strategies, any of which could start to generate results in 30 days.

We all know that there is no one thing that will work for every sales person or every industry, which is what I like about this book. There is something for everyone. If a sales rep can’t find something in this list of twelve that will work for them, either they shouldn’t be in sales or their product just won’t cut it in the marketplace.

McCord clearly says not to try to implement all of the strategies but to instread go through the list of twelve and see which one or two best fits your business and personality. It’s up to you to choose referral marketing, incentives, cold-calling, strategic partnerships or others listed.

What I particularly liked about this book is that it is a quick, top-level view of several strategies. There are no brand-new, earth-shattering concepts presented, which is not typically what a person in a slump needs. What’s needed is a plan to pick and implement time-tested and proven methods. That’s what this book delivers.

Ronnie Lynch, Regional Sales Director, EnablePay Direct

This is an excellent read. As a salesperson I have over the years experienced my share of sales slumps. They may come after a slow summer, after the holidays, there are many events that can and do get a salesperson off track and into a slump. Paul has written a book that is short and succinct; giving you a clear and actionable plan on what you can do that will get you out of that sales slump. There are many ideas and options presented that a salesperson can use, some will fit your style some may not, however there are enough ideas to choose from that you can select the ideas that best suit your sales style and then take action.

This will be a great book to add to your professional library and refer back to when you need new and fresh ideas.

Hilary Pritzlaff-Nathan, Director of Business Development, CorpU Xchange

Just finished reading Paul McCord’s newest book Bust your Slump and highly recommend any salesperson read this to ignite new passion and ideas for their business.

In the very beginning I felt it was written for the freshman salesperson who needs encouragement to continue their sales career, but as I read further I realized the advice and ideas related completely to where I am in my 25+ years in sales.

Thanks Paul for reminding me my profession is noble and there will be days of uncertainty. Your ideas in this simple & fast read rejuvenated my business and attitude. I appreciate your no- nonsense approach.

This is a book I will pick up and review during my slumps. So valuable I am buying it for my team to help in their pursuit of success in sales.

Dave Stein, CEO, ESR Research

What does it take to get a stalled engine started? A battery jump? A shot of starter fluid? Maybe a push and then a pop of the clutch. For the sales pro in a slump, Paul McCord lays out every reasonable approach for a restart, and then some. Clear and to-the-point, Paul’s practical advice gets you back to basics and back on track.

John Patrick, President, Centurion Investment Group of Florida, LLC

GREAT book, Paul! I’ve read and re-read it. Marked it all up, despite it being an autographed copy … My 30-day strategy is #2 (Get Connected) and #12 (Mining). Thank you for writing on of the best, real-world books I’ve ever read (and I read a book a week)!

Ashley Wilson, Financial Advisor, Stifel Nicolaus, Portland, OR

Paul McCord’s book is to the point – which is what every salesperson with a short attention span needs. McCord not only tells you what to do to bust your slump, he tells you how to do it so you can start implementing these strategies right away. McCord is motivating and realistic and doesn’t promise an easy fix like many other sales books do. Any of these strategies will work for the salesperson willing to work hard and stay focused.

Ben Bradley, Managing Partner, Macon Raine

General George S. Patton said it best, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

Paul McCord’s new book “Bust Your Slump” takes General Patton’s advice and applies it to getting your sales back on track fast. His ideas aren’t new but this call to action makes huge sense for sales people that are not hitting their numbers.

In this quick and valuable read, McCord combines positive thinking, smart tactical activities and a pre-disposition for action into a short, easily readable set of 12 strategies that will improve your sales pipeline. You probably won’t have time to implement all 12 strategies. McCord advises you pick one or two strategies that fit what you sell and then EXECUTE.

The critical thing is that you are in a sales slump, you need to ACT and Act NOW. You can start by buying this book.

Dr. Gregory Stebbins, Sales Psychologist, PeopleSavvy

This is a fabulous book. If the current recession has slowed you down and caused you to be discouraged, then read this book. The universe rewards action and Paul presents many action steps you can take right now. Don’t go to sleep tonight until you’ve completed two or three of the actions he recommends. For that matter, don’t go to sleep any work night until you’ve implemented at least one of the actions in this book.

Even if you’re not impacted by a recession, but just need to be rebooted, the recommendations in this book will get you going again.

October 10, 2010

Register for Free Masterclass on How to Bust Your Sales Slump

Tuesday October 12th 2010 1PM EASTERN

Are you or your sales team finding it difficult to bring in business?  If so, I suggest you take a look at my newest book, Bust Your Slump: A Dozen Slump Busting Strategies to Fill Your Pipeline in 30 Days, which has just been released.

Bust Your Slump isn’t another book that promises easy eternal success and delivers nothing but a bunch of fluff and hype with no substance.

My only purpose in Bust Your Slump is to lay out in detail 12 proven, effective, real strategies that will generate business for you fast.  Each chapter not only gives you the concept, it gives you a step by step process for implementing it, and then demonstrates what it can do by relating how one of his clients used.

Whether you sell B2B or B2C, are involved in a one-time close process or a long sales cycle, sell a commodity or a sophisticated product or service, you’ll find strategies that will work for you.

During this 45 minute Masterclass, I will provide you with a comprehensive overview of those 12 proven, effective, real strategies, so do be sure to join me – Registration is FREE, but places are limited.

REGISTER  here for FREE. 

October 6, 2010

Selling and Sales Management Best Practices Survey–Miller Heiman Needs Your Help

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 8:25 am
Tags:

Miller Heiman needs your help.  They are currently conducting a survey.  The survey is part of their annual research study of selling and sales management best practices in complex sales environments.

This study will be delving into some areas we believe will help sales execs and leaders make informed decisions in order to positively affect results, including:

  • Where companies expect 2011 growth to come from
  • How companies plan to enable 2011 growth
  • Effectiveness of social media in the sales process
  • Where a sales manager’s time is most effectively spent
  • Signs of risk aversion among customers 

It will also highlight some perception gaps that exist between salespeople and their management on specific activities in the sales process.

Miller Heiman will also be conducting an early results webcast for participants who complete the survey by Oct 29th. In addition, all participants immediately receive a copy of the executive summary of the 2010 study, “Driving Sales Results in Any Economy,” and a report based on data from 2007-2010: “The Performance Value of a World-Class Sales Process.”

Be a good sport and head over and spend a bit of time taking the survey.

October 4, 2010

Introducing IntroMojo: The One Prospecting Tool I Can’t Live Without

Filed under: prospecting,sales,selling — Paul McCord @ 8:08 am
Tags: , , ,

Today over 20 million US sales professionals face the challenge of building rapport with a lead and moving that prospect as quickly as possible through a successful sales cycle. Right now, 70% of all business leads are wasted because sales people don’t know enough about the prospect to create a qualified business opportunity. Almost $20 billion a year is spent buying lead lists in the US, and roughly $14 billion of that investment is wasted because of poor – or completely missing – prospect information.  IntroMojo helps to solve this problem by placing all available prospect information at the salesperson’s fingertips. There is nothing quite like it on the web. It’s clean, not intrusive and easy to understand. It could revolutionize the sales process.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some salespeople from sales training companies that called me to sell me sales training—they called because they had no idea what McCord Training did.  They hadn’t taken the time to do the least bit of research on me.

Why?

Because researching a prospect is time consuming and difficult. 

It doesn’t have to be.

Get INTROMOJO HERE

IntroMojo puts tons of information in your hands about your prospects.  Although you can look up by company, IntroMojo is really designed to help you learn about the person you are calling.  Put in their name and IntroMojo will in an instant put at your fingertips every piece of information about them on the web—contact info; LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Zoom, and links to their information on other sites; google links; and more.

No more searching everywhere on the net—a couple of clicks and you have the information.  I simply can’t prospect any more without IntroMojo.

And the best part?  It’s cheap—only $25 per month.  If you prospect, you need IntroMojo.

Get INTROMOJO HERE

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