Abundance, Optimism and Power Hours

Each spring (is it finally here?) we take a good look at the state of our motivation.  How are we feeling about ourselves and the business climate right now?  Scarcity and Fear are in the news as usual.  The job of the newscaster is to keep us tuned in to the negative and they’re really quite good at it!  Listen for the hysterics in the voices of the announcers – we’re waiting for someone to exclaim after each story: “and thousands will perish!” As sales professionals, we’re all faced with pressures from a variety of sources: our companies, bosses, prospects, clients and even our internal drive to earn an exceptional living supporting our families and communities.  One of the terms we like to use when working with sales professionals is “Options”.  Being effective in sales creates more “Options” in your life – options for creation of wealth, for personal fulfillment and spiritual development.

Let’s start from the opposite of Scarcity and Fear.  How about Abundance and Optimism?  Sounds better already!

The reality is that we work in a gigantic economic machine with an unlimited supply of potential clients and opportunities.  We simply cannot get to them all!  Our economic machine is larger than we are capable of imagining – what’s a trillion anyway?  And we produce over seventeen of them – something like that.

As tangible evidence of abundance; ask yourself:

* What is the total amount of revenue available in your market?  One of our clients is in a market with revenue potential of over $60 Billion and that’s just one product line!
* How about the revenue available within thirty miles of your office?  We recently estimated the agency commission available in a modest-sized town is over $14 Million.  What about those major metropolitan areas?  $100 Million+?

* How much of that market do you have now?  How much do we NOT have?  What is your estimated market share percentage?  It’s probably in the single digits.

* What opportunities for revenue and profit might be available within your specialty?

This is good news!  It means that you do not have over 90% of the available market – an unlimited supply of prospects that buy what you sell and buy repeatedly.  They just don’t buy from you yet!

And now for a practical idea that’s getting a lot of traction with our clients: “Power Hours”

Here’s how it works, block the calendar simultaneously for your entire team – and yes, this includes owners and managers at all levels – no aloof observers please. Starting from what might be possible; can the entire team be focused on making outbound contacts for one hour per week? That’s together as a team.

Make this real simple: “Each Thursday from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., we’re having an enterprise wide power hour of contacting our prospects, clients, lead sources, agents, brokers, wholesalers, distributors, etc.”

Before you ask: what do you consider as a contact?  We’ve become more liberal in our advancing years and will accept out bound contacts that include phone calls, emails, faxes, text messages, communication via any means of social media and even walking in.  We’re thinking about accepting contact by telepathy but we’re not there yet.

An extension of this idea is to have a “Theme for the Month”.  For example, for April, let’s just contact accounts that we lost or unsuccessfully proposed during the second half of 2013. Should we go back after them?  For May, hey, it’s Referral Harvesting month – everyone working on the same theme and perfecting the referral asking dialogue across the board within your firm.

The power hour is not a substitute for the routine contacts already underway; this is an “all hands” project that will result in new sales, better retention, early warnings of existing accounts in jeopardy, renewing old relationships and strengthening new ones.  Hey, it might even improve morale and create camaraderie within your firm – who couldn’t use more of that?

We promise you; start now and by the summer you will think that you invented Power Hours.  Make this a new routine.

Spring is the season of renewal, hope and possibility.  Instead of letting scarcity and fear drive your sense of competition and your life, let your inner sense of abundance and optimism take over — why not work from there?  And Power Hours will help.

There really is an unlimited supply.

…and a sense of humor is helpful.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Setting Aims

We were reminded recently about sending out a reminder on this topic.  This is one of those things that we start doing and then for some reason it can drop off.

What are your aims, your objectives for your next meeting with your prospect, agent, your boss, client, colleagues, etc.?  As usual, a word of caution – you may not want to try this at home!

Without aims for business related meetings, how do we know when we’ve achieved a successful outcome?  How do we measure success or failure? Have we accomplished what we set out to do?

Coaching Hint for setting aims:

As usual, we recommend a low-tech approach – yellow pad and pencil where you can write out five aims / objectives for your next meeting.  We recommend listing your aims in the left hand column – we’re not kidding about this!  Please read on – this really works.

Some argue that handwriting is inefficient, almost a quaint art.  After all, we purchase hi-tech devices that support us in our professional sales roles and are compelled to use them.  On the other hand (pun intended), we continuously research this topic and find that with hand writing there seems to be an energy that becomes available to us.  This energy supports your desired outcomes, the achievement of your aims.  Just keep in mind that as humans we have been hand writing way longer than we have been typing (as this newsletter continues to be typed!).

So, as an assist, here are a variety of meeting aims in no particular order or priority.  It’s not the intention to necessarily reveal these aims to the other person – these are for you; think of them as your guideposts.  Can you picture five aims hand written in the left hand column of your yellow pad for your next meeting?

  • Obtain an assignment that paves the way for your next appointment
  • Any new people here?
  • Who else should we know?
  • Meet two new people, three new people…
  • Obtain three submissions
  • Position yourself to deliver a future proposal
  • Identify at least one opportunity with income potential over $25K, $50K, $500K…
  • Competition – any renegade competitors?
  • Can we relieve any of our competitors of the burden of their accounts or their best people?
  • Manage the calendar of your prospect – schedule your next appointment
  • Deliver news – good or bad or neutral
  • Ask for two referrals, three referrals, etc.
  • Education – yours and theirs
  • Follow up on open proposals
  • Close a sale
  • Earn a $15,000 raise / bonus
  • Any new industry segments / specialties we should be aware of?
  • Learn at least one factor about a top competitor
  • Display your humility, confidence and commitment – “We have no gentle way of saying this, but we’re really pretty good at what we do”.
  • How do we get ourselves remembered and stand apart from the crowd?
  • Ask seven questions to learn more about their needs: Here’s a couple of powerful questions:
    • Where do you see your company in 20__?
    • Where do you see yourself in 20__?
  • What’s hot? Where have you / we been successful?
  • Re-confirm the decision makers
  • Are priorities matched?

To bring this to the relevant level, we have a first meeting with a prospect early next week; here are our aims for that upcoming meeting:

  1. Identify specific 2014-15 sales objectives
  2. Earn $x by February 1, 2015
  3. Reach agreement for proposal delivery
  4. Ultimately, touch twenty-five lives with our Advanced Sales webinar series
  5. Reserve a future date for the program

Here’s your challenge:  Why not give this technique a trial for your next meeting? Write out five specific meaningful meeting aims and measure your results.

With specific aims, you will precisely determine the positive, neutral or negative meeting outcomes.

Next month’s preview:

We have no idea what next month’s newsletter topic will be – your suggestions are welcomed – we are happy to continuously learn and write about any sales topic.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

 

 

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Appointments = Receivables

We recently completed a study for several clients and have concluded again that the single most important factor that will lead to success in sales is APPOINTMENTS.

We have heard and engaged in debates that product, relationships, sales techniques, qualification, pricing, etc. are the keys to increasing sales and your receivables.  While all of these factors are components of a sale, without appointments, none of these items see the light of day.

Time and time again, when appointment levels drop, receivables drop.  Occasionally the drop is very rapid, like in the next thirty to forty-five days but most often the drop is anywhere from 6 to 9 months out.  If your receivables are down in September, the likely cause is that appointment levels were below standard in the first quarter.

We know this, and yet many salespeople and entire organizations face this issue repeatedly.

Here are Five Questions and Five Challenges to consider:

Questions:

  1. Have you measured your monthly appointment levels with new prospects (take a few minutes and look back over your calendar for the last quarter)?
  2. Are you satisfied with your appointment levels?
  3. Could you add just one more appointment? Two more?
  4. Are you scheduling appointment making times, blocking your calendar and avoiding distractions?
  5. Are you celebrating your success – not necessarily a closed sale but that impossible appointment you finally made?

Challenges:

  1. Increase your number of appointments by one per week. (52 additional appointments a year).
  2. Call on 5 accounts during the next quarter that were not closed a year ago.
  3. Split your annual goals into smaller pieces and set interim daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly goals.
  4. Review your outstanding proposals – are you moving toward a close or away from a close?  What additional actions can you take? If you’re standing still, you’re moving away!
  5. Ask for 2 referrals every week each month. (8 new opportunities this month.  96 new opportunities this year).

If you work on these, we assure you that your receivables will increase.  Oh, yes, we make the leap that collections will follow!


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Calendar Management

Here’s a radical concept, we’ve noticed that the most successful sales professionals are no longer in the sales business.  They’ve made the leap and took on a new profession, a new direction in their careers – they are in Calendar Management business.

For the last few years we’ve come back to this topic – it seems to us that the concepts have remained as true as ever.

Firstly, Calendar Management is not time management – time can’t be managed anyway. But calendars can be managed – the process of managing the calendar of your prospect.  Let’s face it; if you can’t get on the prospect’s calendar, they can’t become a prospect.  Duh, no kidding Tom!

We’re competing for the time and attention of the people we wish to meet.  And that competitor is way fiercer than any of your rivals in the marketplace.

The challenge of actually reaching people is quite understandable.  Everyone who has a job has at least two jobs.  Remember the days when we actually had assistants?  Ahh, but I digress!  Look at your computer screen – you probably have at least four or five programs open right now.  Plus your communication devices that never sleep, this need (hey, it’s a false need) of having to be always available at the push of a speed dial – all this noise results in a bit of madness.   And, oh no, Twitter just went public!

Here’s another digression – ever wonder why we send our monthly newsletters out at 2:00 a.m. on a Friday morning?  It turns out that the least amount of business related email traffic is on Friday.  This is just our modest attempt to actually get you to read our newsletter – we’re not making this up!

Yes, as difficult as this is to take – even with your extraordinarily stupendous proven products and universally recognized ultra-cool service packages at prices that can’t be beat, getting through the noise is a struggle.

So, how do we deal with this challenge that resides at the very front end of the sales process?  With precision, creativity, sustained energy, joyful perseverance and a sense of humor is helpful.

Speaking of humor; have you ever said to someone that you actually did reach: “Could you please switch me over to voice mail, I don’t know what to say”.  This gets a good laugh because everyone gets it – try it out for yourself.

…and yet the best sales pros persevere.

Some strategies used to manage the calendar of others:

Q: When is the best time to contact a prospect?

A: When you’re conscious

Q: How often should you contact the prospect?

A: Until they surrender

Q: What is the second best sales book ever written?

A: Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham – check it out – the prospecting message is inspiring and the technique works.  We hand out copies of this book at our seminars.

We are still advocates of using the phone along with email, social media in any and all configurations and even (radical alert!!) snail mail.  When making contact using any of these methods, here are some ideas to consider. We’re not kidding; these written and spoken methods have worked – if they didn’t work, we wouldn’t be writing about them:

  • “This is my attempt to get on your list of important people to talk to.”
  • “Would it put more joy in your life if you were to meet with (insert your name)?” How can anyone say “no” to that?
  • Work with the gatekeeper – they can provide invaluable assistance and ultimately can become your advocate. Take the time to learn their name.  Just say: “I don’t know your name”.  Keep in mind that you will be making multiple contacts and will be joyfully greeting the gatekeeper in the future.
  • “I’m going to be in your neighborhood – I REALLY am going to be in the neighborhood, I really really am…and hope that meeting with me could put more joy into your life, etc. How’s Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.?”  Many of us do a fair amount of travel and it makes sense to manage the travel time in the most efficient manner.
  • “I know I’ve been missing you – so I’m going to take a leap here and put you on the calendar – I will call you on Thursday at 9:00 a.m.” Follow up with a call at 9:00 a.m. and leave another voice mail – rinse and repeat with humor, the human touch and your professionalism.
  • After several attempts with no response, take another leap and send an Outlook invitation for a call or appointment. We initially thought this idea was over the top intrusive but it’s a real winner.  When we began using this technique here at Redmond Group, we went ten in a row, that’s ten for ten in successfully setting up appointments.  With those results we figured that we no longer needed to track this activity.  We use this approach every day.
  • If you get to know your target a bit (or think that you do because you’ve left a number of voice mails, emails, etc.), try: “You might as well give up, I’m going to contact you until you surrender.” The Green Eggs and Ham
  • “John Jones referred me to you and if I don’t contact you, John will kick my butt all over the county”
  • OK, we admit it; we’ve tried sales by telepathy. Sounds like a great title for our next sales book:   “Sales by Telepathy – read this and you’ll never have to make another outbound call again!”
  • And what about regular mail a/k/a snail mail? – we’re not opposed to regular mail – give it a try – at least we know the mail gets through but you must follow your mailing up immediately with a call or an email – you need to contact them as they are opening the envelope. Why not call as you’re clicking the send button.

Another good rule to prospect by:

  • Eliminate any emotional attachment that anyone will get back to you. This becomes quite easy after the first 100,000 unreturned phone calls, emails or telepathic contacts.

If you have any other hints on how to get in the door, please tell us what you may have tried.  Don’t worry about giving away your secret formula – you have an unlimited supply of prospects – you can’t get to them all anyway.

Best wishes are flying your way.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Course Corrections

So, any course corrections needed for next year / next quarter / next month / today?

Here are some ideas to consider: 

  • Focus on emails only three times per day – early, middle and late – that’s it.
  • Contact at least one former client or lost prospect per week.
  • Hmm, maybe I can make a phone call rather than sending an email or text.
  • Is what I’m working on right now my highest payoff activity?
  • Plan on spending more time at the office – NOT
  • A text with my children does not count as a meaningful contact – we need to speak.
  • On the other hand, a text message from a grandchild, does count as a meaningful contact!
  • Turn off mobile devices whilst meeting with a client or prospect.  Just like flying.
  • Leave mobile devices in the car when out with family, at the movies and in church.
  • Absolutely no more texting, emailing or reading while driving – stop this madness!  And please, less photos!
  • Keep precise track of the most important sales activities like the number of new business appointments, number of referrals asked for and accounts in the proposal stage.
  • My fear will diminish when my sales pipeline is full – Amen!
  • Set and evaluate personal and professional goals quarterly.
  • Fitness is not in addition to my job, it is part of my job!
  • And yes, use (with enthusiasm) that Prospect Management System that our owners invested in.
  • Count my blessings more often.
  • Hey, I’ve got to remember that the unqualified prospect is blocking the qualified one.
  • I will keep in mind that a sense of humor is helpful; OK, that’s not really a course correction.

And thank you to our clients, prospects and competitors as we complete our 19th year in business – talk about a miracle!!  Our heartfelt thanks and gratitude for the confidence you have in our work.

Best wishes are flying your way.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Do The Work

Those of you who have had any experience with our work know that often we bring up the topic of Resistance.  The best example we have to offer is resistance to Goal Setting.  This resistance is so pervasive that we’ve concluded that it is a natural part of the goal setting process.  Another way of looking at this is statistically; something like only 3% of the population actually set goals and use “best practices” goal setting techniques. Sounds like resistance to us! This month, we invite you to take a look at one of the best explanations of this natural condition and ways to overcome it.  Of course, we even have resistance about sending out this newsletter on resistance!!

So here goes: It’s time to Do the Work by Steven Pressfield And from Seth Godin: Are you getting in your way of producing great work? Have you started a project but never finished? Would you like to do work that matters, but don’t know where to start?

Do the Work is a weapon against Resistance, this manifesto will teach you how to start before you’re ready and get out of your own way.

The enemy is Resistance–our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.

What are Resistance’s greatest hits? Here’s an excerpt from Do the Work; the activities that most commonly elicit Resistance:

1. The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
2. The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.
3. Any diet or health regimen.
4. Any program of spiritual advancement.
5. Any activity whose aim is the acquisition of chiseled abdominals.
6. Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.
7. Education of every kind.
8. Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.
9. The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.
10. Any act that entails commitment of the heart—the decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship.
11. The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity

In other words, any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity.
Expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower – any of these acts will elicit Resistance.

So, overcome your resistance and click here: Do the Work

Best wishes are flying your way,


TomSales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Energy

This month we wanted to share an article published in one of our favorite magazines – Selling Power.  The author, Kim Wright Wiley, offers a number of ideas on energy.  Many of us have lost sight of the fact that our bodies are closely tied to ourselves; we really are joined at the hip!  The energy level of the body directly influences our day-to-day work.  Kim’s major points are that “energy is a renewable resource …” and that business success is no longer working to the point of burn out or until you drop out – it is a matter of managing energy.  Jim Loehr, co-author of The Power of Full Engagement, puts it this way: “Energy is the fundamental currency of business…that energy comes from the body”.

So here are a few suggestions having to do with energy maintenance and renewal:

  • Multitasking is out – studies have found that multitasking results in poorly completed tasks that lead to re-work and more multitasking.
  • Say the following words: “I will not type while I’m on the phone”. We’ve tried this simple idea and have expanded it to “I will not read emails while I am on the phone”.
  • A health retreat – sign up for one – look for nutrition, exercise and stress management – there is an unlimited supply to choose from.  Your body is going to be with you for a long time; well, maybe not!  The maintenance of a healthy body is not in addition to your job, it is part of your job.  An appointment for a workout is as important as an appointment with your most important client.
  • Buy a book on health and life management – we recommend: The Business Plan for Your Body by Jim Karas; Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First by Steven Covey. If you’ve read these, go back and take another look at them.

Some of our prior newsletters focused on goal diffusion – too many things coming at you at once, too many goals, too many conflicting priorities and even conflicting goals.

Here are some suggestions for handling goal diffusion:

  • Can you say “no” once a day?
  • Can you fire yourself from a job, a task?
  • Can you delegate and follow the Redmond Rules of Delegation?
  1. Is the assignment clear?
  2. Act as if it is going to get done.
  3. If it is not done, go back to rule #1.
  • Schedule an appointment with yourself; block your calendar to concentrate on creative and longer-term high payoff tasks like prospecting.
  • Do not open email until 11:00 in the morning (OK, OK, calm down – try it for one day a week). Start from the possible and gradually move to the impossible.
  • When you’re vacationing, take one – vacations are a company benefit!

Is it possible to undertake just one of these ideas?

In the short and long run, your success is absolutely tied to your body.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

The Ever Widening Spiral of Contacts – and we’re not referring to our waistlines!

So, we’re asked from time to time:

“What’s the most important factor that will assure sales success?”

Our answer is always the same:

“There are three important factors – contact, contact and (did we mention) contact.”

The one constant in the business of sales is to continue to make contacts.  The more we observe and work with successful salespeople, this single factor stands out.

Sales success is virtually guaranteed based on:

“The number of contacts initiated with prospective buyers on a consistent basis”.

And this mantra will continue to ring true regardless of the economic conditions around us.

It has never been more important to create and manage your ever-widening spiral of contacts.  Think of this as a spiral rather than a circle – and this pattern of success is easily duplicated.

Have you considered that you are actually hiring your personal sales force via the number of contacts you make?  These contacts lead to other contacts that lead to other contacts and so on – a spiral.  Think of yourself as a sales manager, managing your portfolio of exceptional referral and lead sources – creating your personal sales team.

Now for the challenges:

  • How many new people did you meet last week?  You can count everyone or only those involved with your professional life — you probably have more than you think.
  • Next week, be aware if there is any resistance to making contacts — what is holding you back…and why?  What are some possible solutions for you?  How about a contact goal?
  • Offer a contact/connection to one of your clients, friends, business associates, colleagues or even to a prospective account.  Start from the possible — like one contact/connection for the week and move up from there.  One of the aims can be to connect your contacts with each other.
  • And how many contacts came your way via Social Media?  Are you out there and active in use of these tools like LinkedIn?  Could Social Media be just about a perfect vehicle that works for you 24/7?
  • How many new people can you meet by Thanksgiving?  Give yourself a meaningful and measurable challenge — put a daily number to it — like 1 x 5 (one by 5 pm or 5 by Friday).  Post it on your computer screen.  If Thanksgiving Day is too far out — how about for just the month of September?

Industry studies have shown that over 90% of those asked are happy to refer business, happy to connect you with others.  That’s the good news; the bad news is that less than 3% are asked.  Sometimes, we simple expect that a satisfied client or colleague will naturally offer business contacts – stop that thinking immediately!  You need to ask.

Best wishes from our worldwide team here at Redmond Group – both of us.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Goal Diffusion

Want a strategic competitive advantage?  Reduce Goal Diffusion.

This is a career threatening condition that results in goal suppression and physical burn out – other than that, you’re fine.

The first order of business is to gratefully acknowledge the enormous contribution made by George Dudley and Shannon Goodson and their team at Behavioral Sciences Research Press.  George and Shannon penned the term “Goal Diffusion” in 1979.  When I heard of this I recall saying “Oh, that’s what this is!”

You should easily relate to Goal Diffusion – having too many competing priorities, conflicting goals; just too many things coming at you at once.  And this may not simply be because of your employer.  It just might be “welcome to your life.”  Has it become impossible to prioritize, are you in charge of your calendar, your daily tasks, etc.?

The career threatening part is that we cannot sustain a healthy career, mind or body with toxic levels of this condition.

Can you see yourself at this level of Goal Diffusion for another year, what about for five years?  You might as well surrender and get on with finding cures.

So as 2015 arrives, what remedies will you apply?

Here’s one of the best remedies we know:

Ask yourself this question throughout your day: “Is what I’m working on right now directly leading me to the achievement of my goals?”

If the answer is NO, stop working on it.

Let’s bring this to the now with an example: we’re hopeful that this newsletter is directly leading to the accomplishment of your goals.  If not, unsubscribe. We would rather see you working on higher payoff activities.

Now for those remaining subscribers, let’s get on with some practical remedies – why not pick 2 of the following 17 or so solutions?

  1. Purchase these books and apply the principles:
  • First Things First by Stephen Covey
  • The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
  1. Get the term “Goal Diffusion” into your organization – tell your bosses about Goal Diffusion – what it is, what is does and how it can be remedied.
  2. Can you say “no” to a task or an idea?  Including your own brilliant idea!  Wait a day; will your idea still be a brilliant tomorrow? And what about your boss’s brilliant idea – I used to be a boss and had a bunch of brilliant ideas myself.
  3. Can you say “no” (with love) to your colleagues?  “Hey, (your name) got a minute?” Here’s a great answer: “I’m pretty busy right now, how about we get together on Friday at 5:30?”  Watch them back away from your desk!
  4. Can someone else do the task?  Can you re-gift your Goal Diffusion (with love)?
  5. Can a project, process, procedure be modified or cancelled?  Name one; better yet, name two (per month)
  6. What can technology do for you?  Prospect Management Software, SKYPE , Adobe Connect (get off the road!)
  7. Eliminate Multi-Tasking – your productivity will improve by 30%.  Remember when multi-tasking was a quality?  If you have “Great at multi-tasking” on your resume – remove it immediately.
  8. Limit time devoted to email. How about focused 30 minute effort 3 times a day (radical) – your productivity will improve by another 30%
  9. Can you fire yourself from one or more of your Community Activities?
  10. Take an inventory of your schedule – where is your time spent?  Any high-payoff activities to add?
  11. Purchase a telephone head set, wear it all the time, people will think you’re on the phone and leave you alone.
  12. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it.  Don’t cancel this appointment. This appointment has only one purpose – focused outbound prospecting.

Use Outlook or some type of calendar management software – here’s the technique:

  • Enter your name on your calendar.
  • Block this time for yourself
  • Make sure that it is recorded and saved (so that when others try to get you on their calendar, they can’t.)
  • Acknowledge that you will want to cancel this appointment – don’t cancel.
  • Acknowledge that other tasks will be competing for this time – fight off theses demons.
  • Acknowledge that this appointment with yourself is as important as one with your top client or prospect.
  1. Institute a “Power Hour” in the office – an enterprise-wide hour once a week where the entire team is engaged in outbound prospecting activities.  No exceptions, no aloof observers.
  2. …and that you will maintain a regular practice of outbound contact 5×5, 10×5, 20×5 – meaning 5 by 5:00 p.m. or 10 by, etc., You got the point.
  3. Cancel the next meeting.
  4. Discontinue reading management reports.  And while we’re thinking of it, discontinue preparing management reports – you’re in sales!

Want a strategic competitive advantage?  Reduce goal diffusion and watch the resultant increase in goal levels while energy becomes available to achieve those goals.

Ok, go back and pick 2.

Best wishes are flying your way.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Goal Setting – NOT!

As promised, our topic for this month is “How to Overcome Why You Won’t Set Goals!”

Here is a sampling of the top ten reasons we’ve actually heard (or thought) about not setting goals:

10. I have no time for this.

9. Now I’ll have to actually do something!

8. What if I fail? I’ll be found out for the loser I am!

7. What if I aim too high?

6. What if I aim to low?

5. I’m already successful; I’ve been just fine without setting goals.

4. Track my progress? – I don’t think so!

3. What do I tell my family, my friends and my colleagues?

2. This is a lot of @##%^**!

1. This is useless and is making me uncomfortable, can we please move on to something more practical, more productive?

Hmm, sounds like fear to me.

We’ve been in the Goal Setting business for so long that we’ve concluded that resistance to goal setting must be a natural part of the process.  If this were not so, why is it that something like only 3% of the population actually set goals.  Incidentally, these 3% are the top achievers; they set goals that meet three simple criteria:

  • Meaningful
  • Measurable
  • Written

We’re advocates of setting goals for different intervals.  For example, starting from the possible and moving to the impossible: 5 Personal and 5 Professional goals with a 30 day fulfillment period; 4 of each with a 90 day target; and four at one year, again in same two categories.  Please note that a combination of Personal and Professional goal setting is necessary and will actually result in additional energy becoming available.

Here’s a free goal:  Your first thirty-day goal, personal and professional, is to have your hand-written goals done one week from today.

As you read this, did any resistance come up for you?  If not, you’re one of the rare lucky ones.  If yes, resistance did arise, congratulations, you’re right on target, right on time.

So, “How to Overcome Why You Won’t Set Goals!” I’ll make this real easy:

Take a look at these two recent works:

  • Linchpin, Are You Indispensable? By Seth Godin.  All you need to do is read pages 106 to 115.  The best explanation on the planet about resistance to goal setting.  Of course, a goal to read these pages by the end of next month is a goal.  Any resistance to reading about resistance?  Kind of weird isn’t it?
  • Pick Four is Zig Ziglar’s Legendary Goals Program, Updated and Simplified.  It’s a workbook that comes in packs of four.  Hand them out to your family and then have them read pages 106-115 above!

And here’s something else that comes from a very reliable source.  It’s a scholarly paper ”Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task Motivation – a 35 Year Odyssey”  first published in 2002 by Edwin Locke of the University of Maryland and Gary Latham of the University of Toronto.  Sounds like a great gift to give and receive.

Goals work:

  • Goals make us ask the question: “Is what I’m working on right now, leading me toward achievement of my goals or away?”  If away, stop, change direction and commence goal achievement activities.
  • With goals, we can promise you that energy becomes available.
  • With goals, I’m compelled to act and will not give up easily.
  • With goals, new knowledge, effective strategies and immense creativity arise from who knows where.

This time of year is just perfect for goal setting activities.  We hope you will go for it and make this part of your life.

Best wishes are flying your way.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Green Eggs and Ham

The Best Sales Book Ever!

This month’s newsletter begins with a personal story.  Going way back into the last century, 1982 to be precise, I was working with one of the most successful new business producers on the planet.  When I say working, I mean that I carried his bags and did practically anything he asked me to do.  One day he called me and with enthusiasm, suggested that I throw out all of my sales books, motivation tapes (remember cassettes?) and replace them all with one book – Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.  I read the book from the point of view of a sales person and it really made enormous sense to me.

Turns out, that we now consider it to be the best sales book ever written.

I’m not certain that Dr. Seuss was purposefully writing a sales book but it has become just that.  For those who have worked with us over the last couple of decades, we give this book away as a valuable prize for jokes that are better than mine.

Hey, we recently got the 50th anniversary “Party Edition”; come on, Party Edition? And we even have a version in Latin – but I digress.

Most recently, like over the past few weeks, three clients contacted us about the book and well, we take it as a sign that we should focus our next newsletter on this topic.

Here’s a bit of the background and insight written by a terrific author, James Clear – we’ll give you the opportunity to sign up for his inspiring newsletters as well.  So over to James:

 

The Weird Strategy Dr. Seuss Used to Create His Greatest Work

By JAMES CLEAR

In 1960, two men made a bet.

There was only $50 on the line, but millions of people would feel the impact of this little wager.

The first man, Bennett Cerf, was the founder of the publishing firm, Random House. The second man was named Theo Geisel, but you probably know him as Dr. Seuss. Cerf proposed the bet and challenged that Dr. Seuss would not be able to write an entertaining children’s book using only 50 different words.

Dr. Seuss took the bet and won. The result was a little book called Green Eggs and Ham. Since publication, Green Eggs and Ham has sold more than 200 million copies, making it the most popular of Seuss’s works and one of the best-selling children’s books in history.

At first glance, you might think this was a lucky fluke. A talented author plays a fun game with 50 words and ends up producing a hit. But there is actually more to this story and the lessons in it can help us become more creative and stick to better habits over the long-run.

Here’s what we can learn from Dr. Seuss…

The Power of Constraints

What Dr. Seuss discovered through this little bet was the power of setting constraints.

Setting limits for yourself — whether that involves the time you have to work out, the money you have to start a business, or the number of words you can use in a book — often delivers better results than “keeping your options open.”

In fact, Dr. Seuss found that setting some limits to work within was so useful that he employed this strategy for other books as well. For example, The Cat in the Hat was written using only a first-grade vocabulary list.

In my experience, I’ve seen that constraints can also provide benefits in health, business, and life in general. I’ve noticed two reasons why this occurs.

  1. Constraints inspire your creativity.

If you’re five foot five inches tall and you’re playing basketball, you figure out more creative ways to score than the six foot five inch guy.

If you have a one-year-old child that takes up almost every minute of your day, you figure out more creative ways to get some exercise.

If you’re a photographer and you show up to a shoot with just one lens, then you figure out more creative ways to capture the beauty of your subject than you would with all of your gear available.

Limitations drive you to figure out solutions. Your constraints inspire your creativity.

  1. Constraints force you to get something done.

Time constraints have forced me to produce some of my best work. This is especially true with my writing. Every Monday and Thursday, I write a new article — even if it’s inconvenient.

This constraint has led me to produce some of my most popular work in unlikely places – when I was sitting in the passenger seat on a road trip through West Virginia; when I was visiting family for the 4th of July; when I spent all day flying in and out of airports.

Without my schedule (the constraint), I would have pushed those articles to a different day. Or never got around to them at all. Constraints force you to get something done and don’t allow you to procrastinate. This is why I believe that professionals set a schedule for their production while amateurs wait until they feel motivated.

What constraints are you setting for yourself? What type of schedule do you have for your goals?

Related note: Sticking to your schedule doesn’t have to be grand or impressive. Just commit to a process you can sustain. And if you have to, reduce the scope. 

Constraints are Not the Enemy

So often we spend time complaining about the things that are withheld from us.

  • “I don’t have enough time to work out.”
  • “I don’t have enough money to start a business.”
  • “I can’t eat this food on my diet.”

But constraints are not the enemy. Every artist has a limited set of tools to work with. Every athlete has a limited set of skills to train with. Every entrepreneur has a limited amount of resources to build with. Once you know your constraints, you can start figuring out how to work with them.

The Size of Your Canvas

Dr. Seuss was given 50 words. That was the size of his canvas. His job was to see what kind of picture he could paint with those words.

You and I are given similar constraints in our lives.

You only have 30 minutes to fit a workout into your day? So be it. That’s the size of your canvas. Your job is to see if you can make those 30 minutes a work of art.

You can only spare 15 minutes each day to write? That’s the size of your canvas. Your job is to make each paragraph a work of art. 

You only have $100 to start your business? Great. That’s the size of your canvas. Your job is to make each sales call a work of art. 

You can only eat whole foods on your diet? That’s the size of your canvas. Your job is to take those ingredients and make each meal a work of art.

There are a lot of authors who would complain about writing a book with only 50 words. But there was one author who decided to take the tools he had available and make a work of art instead.

 

We all have constraints in our lives. The limitations just determine the size of the canvas you have to work with. What you paint on it is up to you.

******************

Thank you James – and for much more, here’s the link:  JAMES CLEAR

Most of you have heard our recommendation about setting a weekly Power Hour for the organization to make outbound contacts – one hour a week – come on!

You have also heard that we are really not in the sales business we are all in the calendar management business – getting on the calendar of our prospective account – did you Green Egg them?

Constraints – start from the possible and move towards the impossible.

We ask you to reflect on the points that James is making and how they can be applied to your day to day business of sales development.

Best wishes are flying your way.

 


World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

How to Make an Appointment – Part 1 of 2

True story:

So, I place a telephone call to a prospect, actually get to the right person and after a short discussion, I ask for an appointment.

Prospect response: “An appointment?  How’s never!”

My response: “Never works for me but Tuesday at 10 is better”

Prospect response: Click

Does it get more challenging than that?  And that story became legendary with my colleagues.

It’s time to go out the door and get some appointments.  What’s our first stop as we head out?  Our goals.

Our experience shows us that the best, highest-reward approach is to stick with these few concepts:

  • figure out the number of contacts you have to make in order to hit your appointment requirement,
  • make the contact,
  • don’t spend energy trying to figure out when or how many times to contact,
  • remember that the only purpose of this activity is to get an appointment,
  • always maintain a professional demeanor.

Please note that we are making no distinction between the types of contact; we don’t care anymore! – telephone, email, social media, referral, sending an Outlook invite and even snail mail; try them all – your pick, but make those contacts.

You have likely figured out how many new business appointments are needed per month to achieve your income / W2 goal.  If you need help on this – there are really cool planning/tracking worksheets on our website, check them out: www.Redmondgroupinc.com

Now, let’s get a clear sight of the number of calls/contacts needed that result in the right amount of appointments.  Do you know how many calls/contacts it takes you, on average, to get one appointment?  No?  Then look back through your prospect management system and figure it out.  You don’t maintain a prospect management system?  From now on, you’re going keep a written (or word-processed) record of your contacting activities.

At a minimum, we’re interested that you keep track of:

  • The overall number of calls/contacts made for a given period of time, like a day, week, etc.
  • The results of each call (“scheduled meeting for Tuesday, May 1, 11:00 am”, or “left voice mail re:  scheduling phone appt. for Tuesday May 8, 10:00 am”)
  • Scheduled follow-ups.

It doesn’t take sophisticated software to generate this useful information and the contact-to-appointment ratio is very useful.

We’ve discovered at Redmond Group, that our contact-to-appointment ratio is about ten to one.  We make ten contacts in order to schedule one appointment with a targeted prospect.  So, if we have figured out that we need sixteen appointments each month in order to generate enough active proposals to set us on the path to our revenue goals, then we have to make one hundred sixty contacts to get there.  One hundred and sixty contacts!  Oh man, I’m going to get another job!

Getting a Grip

Is one hundred and sixty contacts a mind-bendingly awesome undertaking or is it?

Let’s focus a moment on outbound telephone calls.  Did you know that eighty-six percent of calls go to voice mail?  No kidding!  And yet, we recommend that you always leave a voice-mail.  Get out of the “to leave or not to leave” debate.  Leave one.  In fact, it diminishes the effectiveness of your message if you allow that debate to occur, even in your mental background.

Why?  We’ve measured how long it takes, on average, to dial a number, wait through the recorded greeting, leave a quality message and hang up.  It takes one minute and fifty-one seconds.  That’s it, the law of 1:51.  At that level, the one hundred sixty one doesn’t look so daunting and keep in mind that this is over a month, about 40 contacts a week; 8 per day, 4 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon – whew, that I can do!

The probability that most calls go to voice mail in no way diminishes the care with which they are handled.  Consistency and professionalism is the best packaging for your increasing value, and the value you present to prospects.

Our ten-calls-per-meeting average is spread over a range of frequencies.  We’ve found that a referral produces a “one call = one meeting” ratio.  On the other hand, if we’re cold calling a large prospect, a different pattern has emerged, “Seven calls to get to the wrong person”. We’re talking about the “average” number of calls per appointment.  That means that we count each call/contact until we get to the right party, whether it takes two or ten calls.  It all comes out in the numbers.

Unburden Thyself

There’s another topic we want to highlight, another way to clear the path for maximum efficiency in nailing down meetings.

We’ve noticed over the years that two questions often arise in connection with the mechanics of appointment making.

The questions are:

1) “When is the best time to call a prospect?”

and

2) “How often should you call/contact prospects?”

The answers are:

1) “When you’re conscious.”

and

2) “Until they surrender.”

In other words, unburden yourself of these questions and focus on the answers, on the activity.  At Redmond Group, we’ve encountered clients with hard-wired rules of thumb like:  “don’t call on Fridays or Mondays” or “don’t make contacts just before or just after holidays” or “only call before/after 9:00 am or before/after 5:30 pm” or “tomorrow feels right for this prospect!”   Go ahead, add your own – we know you have at least one – and then drop it.

How about calling, “Until they surrender”?  Isn’t that a little more clever than it is realistic?  No.  Again, it goes to the point of getting out of your own head.  Or maybe a better way of saying this is to get “Until they surrender” into your own head.

You contact people.  You self-promote your products, services, agency, markets and yourself.  You have something valuable to offer them.  The value of your service doesn’t deteriorate over time.  Why should your support for it deteriorate?

An Afterword

 What looks like a daunting undertaking quickly morphs into an energizing feedback loop.  As appointments get booked (and they will), you gain confidence in setting other appointments.  New contacts become referral sources – remember that one-to-one ratio?  The energy we apply to getting these meetings comes back to us in the form of unforeseen opportunities.

Most of your prospects appreciate what it’s like to be in your shoes.  As you maintain your professionalism, and stick (impersonally) to the game plan, you’re going to win some of them over.  It just happens.

Have you ever thought of it this way?   Getting appointments for sales opportunities can be usefully thought of in terms of getting a job interview.  After all, you are looking for a job.  The process deserves the same amount of care and preparation as advancing your career.  Each call is an opportunity to contribute to the fulfillment of your goals.

Oh yeah!  A sense of humor is helpful.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – A few worthy generalizations about calling, voice mail, gate keepers, and Social Media and, dare we say, actual direct conversations


World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

How to Make an Appointment – Part 2 of 2

True story:

So, after I place a few telephone calls to a prospect, I actually got to the right person and said the following:

“Could you please transfer me to voice mail, I don’t know what to say!”

Prospect response: “(laughter) I get it, I can’t reach anyone either!”

Does it get more fun than that?  And that story became legendary.

Our mission with this newsletter is to offer a few worthy generalizations about contact via telephone calling, voice mail, Gate Keepers, Direct Conversations and Social Media.

So, we’ve figured out that the best, highest-reward approach is to stick with these few concepts: 

  • figure out the number of contacts you have to make in order to hit your appointment requirement,
  • make the contact,
  • don’t spend energy trying to figure out when or how many times to contact,
  • remember that the only purpose of the contact is to get an appointment,
  • always maintain a professional demeanor.

Please note that we are making no distinction between calling and contacting – your pick, but make those contacts.  We’ve expanded on these concepts in Part 1 of our newsletter.

We’re now going to be taking a look at “on the ground” settings through which we encounter prospects on the telephone.  Calling for appointments is where the sales process most often breaks down.  How often?  About one-hundred percent of the time.

Worthy generalizations:

  • Purpose – The call is for one purpose and one purpose only – to get a meeting.  One point to make here, we’ve become more liberal in what we consider a meeting.  It used to be; face-to-face only; now we’re OK with a scheduled telephone call, using Skype or web video technology, etc.
  • You’re not on the phone to sell, or to make a friend.  Everything:  what you say, how you say it, whether it’s a voice-mail message, a message left with an assistant or a direct conversation with your prospect – it’s all about getting a meeting.  Singleness of purpose, single pointed focus is our mantra.
  • Professionalism – Again, whether it’s voice-mail or direct conversation.  Your tone and content must be crisp and professional.  You are valuable and your prospect is valuable.  The links between you must always be equal to the important cargo they carry.

Voice-Mail 

We noted in Part 1 that eighty-six percent of your calls are going to be picked up by voice-mail and it takes one minute and fifty-one seconds to leave a voice mail.  Those are the contemporary facts.  So, you better be good at it.

The overriding principle is that voice-mail is here to stay and is simply a fixture of the territory we’re navigating on our way to goal-fulfillment.  Every interface with a prospect is important and bears our imprint.

Some recommendations:

Always leave a voice-mail.  Get out of the “to leave or not to leave” debate.  Leave one.

  • Begin your message with solid, confidently-delivered items, things you actually know:  like your name, your company, the date and time of this call.  Very briefly state the purpose of your call.  Perhaps you’ve researched and identified a niche or new product that the prospect’s developing.  Say that, and state that your firm’s a leader in providing relevant services to firm’s with similar backgrounds.  You’d like to find an open spot on her calendar to share your experience and insights, and determine if they bear beneficially on her circumstances.
  • Leave your phone number.  Twice.  Spoken slowly.  Professionally.  No jokes.
  1. – If the overwhelming percentage of calls are going to end up on voice-mail, then isn’t this process – day-in, day-out – a mind-numbing, useless waste of time?

A – No.  But we forgot to mention that nobody’s going to call you back.  Ever.  And if someone does call you back, it’s a warning that they’re probably desperate for someone to pull them out of some sort of fire.

Another true story:

So, I place a telephone call to a prospect and leave a voice mail.

The prospect returned my call (are those alarms I hear?) and asks this question:

“Do you have liberal payment terms at your agency?  Our current agent is really pushing us to pay on time.”

My response:  “We don’t have liberal payment terms but another competitor of ours might be able to help you, here’s their number…”  (Alarms cease).

But I digress, how about answering the question?

One of the great salvations and sustaining magic principles for all of us is that THINGS CHANGE.  I remember making forty-four calls to a prospect and having a colleague say, “Why are you doing that?  It looks like a waste of time.”  But I knew two things:

1) it was actually very little time, less than an hour and twenty minutes over an eighteen month time frame, (the 1:51 rule)

2) it doesn’t benefit me or the prospect to unilaterally decide that it’s time to stop,

3) things change.

Sure enough, I called one day and the guy was gone.  I had an appointment with his replacement after two more calls.

On average, things are going to open up for you.  That’s how it works.  I don’t know why it works, that’s not my department.  I just know that it works.  I know that I get almost all of my business from referrals and I started out doing just what I’m outlining here.  One day the prospect’s going to pick up.  The point is, every call is an important call, you and your prospect deserve professionalism, voice-mail or not.  Every message you leave, answered or not, is an opportunity to reinforce your image.  The people on the other end know what you’re up against; they’ve all experienced voice-mail stonewalling.  A percentage of them will eventually want to see you just to make sure that the dogged voice really belongs to a body.  Besides, don’t you think that they want their sales people to act just like you?  Of course.

Gate Keeper

Sometimes your call will be answered by the assistant of your targeted prospect.  This position is a vanishing breed.  Perhaps they’re not really vanishing, they just don’t answer a boss’s phone as often as they used to or type letters for others.  They might be administrative assistants for a group of people.  The Gate Keeper is a wily but potentially very helpful person.  The Gate Keeper is used to the fact that every salesperson thinks that they can cajole him or her into setting up a meeting.  They’re aces at yessing people to death while keeping the door firmly shut and forget about patronizing smoothies.

Gate Keepers are to be dealt with at the same level of professionalism that applies to direct conversation with the targeted prospect.  We’ll talk about phone dialog when we get to Direct Conversation.  Our purpose is to get a meeting with the prospect.

You should identify yourself and your firm to the Gate Keeper and briefly state the purpose of your call (to set up an appointment with the prospect).  No selling.  Make sure you get the assistant’s name, title, direct line, and, if possible, e-mail address.  Then listen.  You’re not the first salesperson heard from and you’re not going to convert a Gate Keeper into lobbying on your behalf with the first call.  Listen to what is said, get any clarifications you need and get off the phone.  It takes time to develop a relationship with a Gate Keeper.  They have important responsibilities and will have to be convinced that you bring something valuable to the table before they’ll recommend that the prospect should meet you.  By listening you might learn about the firm and the prospect’s concerns as they apply to your services.  Take your time.  The Gate Keeper might be able to help you and can certainly crush you.

It can also be useful, once you’ve left a few voice-mails with the prospect, to determine if the prospect does, in fact, work in conjunction with a proactive assistant.  You must tread carefully along the path of “assistant relations”.  Developing a relationship with a Gate Keeper can lead to very useful information about “goings on” within the targeted company, and perhaps can open the door to an appointment with the targeted prospect.  We advise, however, that it’s possible to get “side-tracked” by a Gate Keeper and shuttled off to the freight yard of “derelict solicitors”.  Keep all of your options open.  Don’t invest one-hundred percent in the idea that the Gate Keeper is going to perform magic for you and open the door to success.  There’s great seductive power in having a warm voice to speak with instead of a cold machine.

Make no assumptions.  Get out of the crystal-ball game.  You have now way of interpreting the relationship between the Gate Keeper and the prospect until you learn it from your target.  Until such time, keep leaving your regularly scheduled voice-mails with the prospect while maintaining your relationship with the Gate Keeper.  And stay detached.  Beyond an appropriately friendly professional demeanor, don’t hang any greater emotional expectation on a Gate Keeper than you would on a voice-mail machine.  After their firm becomes a paying client, you can take them both out to dinner.

Direct Conversation

The purpose of a one-on-one conversation with a prospect is to get an appointment.  No matter what direction the conversation takes, it’s your job to bring it back to a scheduled meeting.  The “fill” for every gap in a conversation is, “How’s next Thursday?  Does, ten o’clock work for you?”  There’s no exaggerating this point.

You’re not on the phone to make small talk (heaven forbid!).  You are a professional with goal-oriented responsibilities, and you’re talking with a professional with her own set of responsibilities.  Don’t ask them how they’re doin’.  You’re not there yet.  You’re a voice that may or may not be carrying useful information.  Starting off with a probe into the prospect’s physical or psychological well-being is a flat-footed momentum-killer.  And it lumps you together with all of the other anxious aspirants.  Get to the point in a deliberate, professional manner:

  • your name (don’t remind her that you’ve left eight voice mails, it doesn’t matter now),
  • your firm’s name,
  • the purpose of your call (you’ve learned something about the prospect’s business and you’re an expert in providing applicable solutions or products in relevant situations),
  • you want to see if she is available this coming Thursday at ten a.m.  (Always have a specific date and time available.)

The End, that’s it.

Two things might happen:

  • the prospect will say Thursday doesn’t work. In which case you say to yourself, “Tough luck, I really am a loser!” (Just kidding.)  In which case you find a mutually convenient time,
  • the prospect raises either a condition or an objection.

Ah, there’s an idea for a future newsletter – How to Handle Conditions and Objections.  More to follow on that.

Confirm appointments a few days ahead of time.  Many salespeople are reluctant to “rock the boat” and are fearful or superstitious about giving the prospect an opportunity to cancel a meeting.  This is no longer tolerable as behavior befitting our value:

  • we’re not supplicants who are lucky to be granted an audience. We’re bearers of valuable goods and services in a meeting of peers,
  • our time is too valuable to risk on a trip to a missed appointment, better to reschedule. This is a mistake that I’ve made and it’s one that you never have to make.

Social Media

There are loads of articles on the use of Social Media as a prospecting and sales tool.  .  So, here are the links to a couple of articles in our favorite sales magazine – Selling Power – way better than anything we could come up with:

Always Be Prospecting (a LinkedIn Success Story)
http://www.sellingpower.com/content/article/?a=10123&nr=1

How Sales Leaders Can Profit from Social Media

http://www.sellingpower.com/content/article/?a=3031

An Afterword – we think this bears repeating. 

What looks like a daunting undertaking quickly morphs into another energizing feedback loop.  As appointments get booked (and they will), we gain confidence in setting other appointments.  New contacts become referral sources.  The energy we apply to getting these meetings comes back to us in the form of unforeseen opportunities.  Things change.

Most of your prospects appreciate what it’s like to be in your shoes.  As you maintain your professionalism, and stick (impersonally) to the game plan, you’re going to win some of them over.  It just happens.  Getting appointments for sales opportunities can be usefully thought of in terms of getting interviews for a job.  The process deserves the same amount of care and preparation as landing an opportunity to advance your career.  Each call is an opportunity to contribute to the fulfillment of your goals.

Oh yeah!  A sense of humor is helpful.


World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Linkedin – Jan Wallen

We’re modifying our approach regarding the Sales Coach Newsletter this year.  Quite frankly, after 19 years of monthly publications, we’re running out of topics!!

So, we’ve asked some friends of ours in the sales business if they would be contributors to our monthly offering.  But first – a quick story, we were recently humbled by the fact that several of our clients have been posting “Redmondisms” around their offices – simple reminders of the basic concepts of successful selling – so here are a couple that are useful and tie in nicely with this month’s article:

  • Maintain a regular practice of outbound contact even when on a plateau or in a ditch.
  • You are really in the Calendar Management business, not in the sales business.  The most successful sales people are managing their own calendar along with managing the calendar of their prospect.

Now to our contributor this month – Jan Wallen

Jan is a social seller who uses #Social Selling to build relationships and close more sales. She’s the author of Mastering LinkedIn in 7 Days or Less and the forthcoming book on Social Selling Blueprint. Jan has built her business using her Social Selling Blueprint so that 95% of her clients and speaking engagements come from LinkedIn.

Social Selling: It’s All About Leverage

There’s a lot of buzz now about “social selling”. What is it? And does it really work?

Social selling is using LinkedIn and social media as one of the tools to find, reach and engage potential clients, build relationships and trust, and help companies solve their business challenges with your solution. Social media enhances what you already do – it’s not a substitute for good selling skills and a good sales process.

Does social selling really work?  Recent research shows that:

  • 78.6% of sales people using social media to sell out-performed those who weren’t using social media
  • Social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers at exceeding quota by more than 10%
  • 50.1% of sales people who report using social media state that they spend less than 10% of their selling time using social media. That’s decent ROI

How do these social sellers do that?  It’s all about leverage:

1) Knowing the right people and being connected strategically to them

2) Building a network and relationships so your buyers know, like and trust you

3) Being known as the expert and thought leader.

LinkedIn makes it easy to find your decision-makers with targeted advanced searches and Company searches. When you find your decision-maker, you can make a cold call or send an unsolicited email to him or her (least effective), or you can leverage your expertise and your network to get through to them (most effective).

Find someone who knows both you and your decision-maker. That is, find your “shared connections”. These people can introduce you to your buyer, so you’re not a salesperson cold calling out of the blue.

Remember this:

  • 10% of executives respond to cold calls or unsolicited emails, yet
  • 84% will engage with a salesperson when they are connected through a friend or colleague and offer value (InsideView).

It’s all about leverage. How can you leverage your network to get more clients in less time?

www.JanWallen.com

Connect on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/janwallen)

Follow me on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/TheJanWallen)

************

Why not check in with Jan and improve your Social Media offerings and skills?  Hey, maybe a Q1 goal to upgrade LinkedIn for you and your team.

Best wishes,

Tom

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Lost Accounts and Unsuccessful Proposals

Are Lost Accounts and Unsuccessful Proposals part of your sales plan?

In our work with clients over the years, we’ve always recommended that sales organizations identify the specific characteristics of prospective targeted accounts, lead sources and industry segments.  For example:  revenue size, geographic location, number of employees, your expertise, values (property and moral!), financial situation, etc.  Specific prospective account descriptions equates to a better prospecting approach.

Two categories of prospective accounts that may be overlooked are LOST BUSINESS and UNSUCCESSFUL PROPOSALS.

LOST BUSINESS, as a quick exercise:

  • Can you identify accounts that were lost over the past three years? The lost business was likely based solely on price.
  • Where does it make sense to go back and re-capture your business?

Now here’s the hard part – taking action:

  • We recommend that you set a goal for this process: Can each sales person, account manager, CSR, agency owner, (a) identify 3 lost accounts in the next 30 days, (b) determine if the accounts should be solicited and (c) what strategy should be employed to approach the prospect.
  • Incorporate this on a “rolling 120 day” concept, where you are identifying those accounts expiring 120 days from now. Do this monthly and you have your “rolling” process rolling.

UNSUCCESSFUL PROPOSALS – the business you did not win.  When you think about it, over the years this is an enormous number.  If a hit ratio of 30% is reasonable, 70% of the business you worked on is still out there as someone else’s client.  I know what you’re thinking, “man, this guy is good!”  You’ve already made an investment in these accounts – you have information, a file, you know why you did not win the business and can likely obtain an appointment with ease.

Here’s a Sales Truth:  Count on the fact that something has changed.

So, we recommend a similar exercise to that illustrated above:

  • Can you identify accounts that were unsuccessfully proposed over the past three years? Unsuccessful – probably price again.
  • Maybe that’s too much – how about those accounts that you did not land during Q1-2-3-4 of last year?
  • Where does it make sense to go back and re-capture your competitor’s business?

Now here’s the hard part again – taking action:

  • Same as above…in the next 30 days, each person is to identify 3 unsuccessfully proposed accounts, determine if re-solicitation is in order and what strategy should be employed to capture the business.

Both of these methods are examples of systematic approaches to new business development.

 

What is Needed in Our Recapture Process?

  1. Data: Do we have accurate records of The Lost and Unsuccessful? Digression alert:  Sounds like a soap opera – Welcome to the next episode of the Lost and Unsuccessful.
  2. Data: Are we certain of why we lost? (Honesty can be helpful)
  3. Research / Verify: Has anything changed?  At the client?  In the market? At their agent?
  4. Contact Strategy:
  • When should we make the contact?
  • Who should make the contact?
  1. Contact Dialogue: How do we communicate our intention, our objective? For example, one that we’ve used is: “Welcome to the re-solicitation of your account!”
  2. Contact Objectives:
  • Determine if Go or No Go
  • Appointment

As sales people, our job is to relieve our competition of the burden of their accounts (we made that up!).  As a result of landing lost and unsuccessful accounts, you will also be the recipient of what we like to call “psychic income” – an even sweeter win than usual!

For our clients who employ these strategies, this process resulted in the identification of “low hanging fruit” and an accelerated new business cycle.  Two of our insurance agency clients, won over $75,000 of new revenue in the first 90 days!

So, your marketplace is ever changing, the weather is whacky making insurance losses even more unpredictable, reinsurers are nervous – what a great time to be in the business of sales!

How can we take these seeming disadvantages and turn them into advantages?


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.

World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Overcoming Objections

Recently stated at a webcast by a sales consultant:

  • Objections are a natural part of the sales process
  • They only occur 100% of the time
  • And only at the beginning, middle and end of the sales cycle.

I then added “Embrace them”.

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking my life would be better without objections.  “Embrace them” – I don’t think so.

I mean really, wouldn’t things be easier if every prospect agreed with whatever we presented and couldn’t wait to sign on.  That’s for another workshop – in the meantime, “Earth to Tom”.

We didn’t know this but the word “objections” fist entered the English language in the 14th century – guess there were no objections before that – but I digress.

Here are the Top Ten objections for the insurance business:

  1. We’re not that unhappy with our current arrangements.
  2. Our agent will fix what you tell us is broken.
  3. I hate insurance.
  4. What’s so special about your agency, your company?
  5. We only buy the least expensive insurance.
  6. The coverage you’re offering is too expensive
  7. The coverage you’re offering seems too inexpensive
  8. You’re too far away to handle our business.
  9. I don’t have the time to see you.
  10. Just fax me the quote and I’ll call you.
  11. An appointment? How’s never?
  12. My brother, son, daughter, mother, father, etc. handles the insurance.
  13. Oh, we already buy insurance.
  14. What’s your sign?
  15. Don’t worry; our building is fireproof.
  16. I’m worried about changing our insurance to you.
  17. I’m worried about changing our insurance to (Carrier).
  18. Sure come on in, we get quotes every few months.
  19. I don’t really need more coverage i.e. Umbrella
  20. Could you please provide us with another alternative? Five is not enough.

 

We couldn’t stop at ten – at one time or another, every one of these objections has been presented to me – how about #14?  You can’t make this up.

So how about a process to overcome objections?  And notice that we’re back to “Process” again:

A formal definition might be helpful:

An objection is an unsatisfied need usually couched in an emotional statement.

…and the overall process to overcome an objection in five steps is:

  1. Diffuse the emotion back to a neutral state
  2. Uncover the unsatisfied need
  3. Respond
  4. Verify
  5. Move the process forward to the next objection or action step

 

Now let’s drill down: 

  1. Diffuse the emotion back to a neutral state
  • Listen to the whole objective. What a concept!
  • The sale has now stopped! Be mindful of this – the sale is over at this point.
  • Step out of your role of a professional sales person. Human to human communication is required.
  • Pause; take a breath; think great thoughts and consider your response. The mind is incredibly fast, let it work for you.
  • What did you see? What is the prospect doing as they offering objections? What clues are in front of you?

Action steps:

  • Offer a statement of GENUINE empathy
  • You are acknowledging the objection, not agreeing with it

For example:

  • “I understand that…”
  • “I hear that quite a bit and…” (My personal favorite)
  • “I’ve heard that before…”
  • “That must be very frustrating for you when…”

Be careful with humor but it can work:

  • “Don’t hold back, what do you really mean?” 

Warning:

PLEASE SKIP THIS STEP!  If you are unable to offer a statement of GENUINE empathy (And some people just can’t do it) You will just make things worse.

  1. Uncover the unsatisfied need

Follow up your previous statement with a question.  Drill down about the objection.  What are the underlying drivers behind the objection? Is there a hidden objection? What is the real objection? Two or three questions should be all that is needed to come to an understanding.

  • May I ask you why that is important to you?
  • That’s interesting; can you tell me more about that?
  • Some additional details would be helpful; may I ask you a few questions?

Warning!

There is a very strong tendency to skip this step – we typically want to go right for the solution.

  • Our solution, our brilliant ideas!
  • Our products
  • Our services
  • The technical aspects of our offering.
  1. Respond

Now is the right time to bring your product, service or other resources back into the conversation.

  • How does your product, services, organization, team or you respond to the newly discovered unsatisfied need?
  • Detailed, specific response to the specific need is required here.
  • Technical discussion is more than OK, now is the time for it.
  1. Verify

Now is the right time to verify that you made an reasonable response.

A question will help here:

  • Does my explanation make sense?
  • Have I cleared up that misunderstanding?
  • Have I answered your question?
  • Will this make sense to the other people on your team?
  1. Move the process forward to the next objection or action step
  • You’re now back to your plan; your presentation; your agenda.

We’re always looking for interesting objections – please send them in.

 


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Prospects Delay Decisions

We thought it might be helpful to re-visit this topic.  Watch out for some radical ideas.

Prospects delay their buying decisions – a natural law?  It happens just about 100% of the time.  We really wish things were different but in our experience, the sales process gets stalled for a variety of reasons – here are some you may have heard:

“We’re not that dissatisfied with our current arrangements”

“We need to think about it”

“The timing is just not right”

What about FEAR factor?  What about the prospect’s fear of change and their aim of managing the perceived risk inherent in buying from you?

  • The risk that something may go wrong.
  • The risk of change and the possibility of future criticism.
  • That ROI expectation?
  • Are you really the right solution?
  • Can you really help achieve our objectives?
  • Can I trust you?

We’ve been suggesting a somewhat radical approach – at least some have told us it is radical –here goes:

Tell the prospect that they are going to delay the decision – you can sometimes even add: “…and don’t let us down!”

Follow this up with:

“Here is a listing of the Top Ten reasons why customers do business with us”.

Note from Coach: Please have fourteen reasons listed and add: “…we couldn’t stop at ten!”

(And, here’s the radical part): “Here are the four reasons why you could not do business with our firm”.

That’s right, name the reasons – this is really where their fear resides.

An example may be helpful – In our own case, we’re a small company and, although many times unsaid, there are usually underlying fears like: Can we handle the demands of a large assignment? What if something goes wrong? My nine bosses are going to ask who we used.  How do I answer: “Why didn’t we use a company like Global Unlimited Powerful Powerhouse International (GUPPI) with 500 offices around the globe?”

Our solution to diminish, eliminate or outright overcome their fear is that we:

  1. Name their fears and even put them into the Power Point presentation
  2. Line the fears up one at a time and offer a reasonable response
  3. Offer assurances from a 3rd party (like a happy customer who had the identical fears)
  4. Reinforce the prospect’s objectives that will be achieved by hiring you
  5. Offer to instruct the prospect on how the transition to you will be made – what happens and when. Use of a spreadsheet showing critical activities and timing can be a very powerful instructional tool. Check it out on our website http://redmondgroupinc.com/sales_process.html – click on Account Transition

 

Some additional thoughts:

  • If this approach is too radical for you, is contrary to everything you feel about the proper way to make a sale and your internal dialogue is saying “This is nonsense” – Drop this concept immediately (but please keep reading).
  • As we’ve stated earlier, your sales process never really stands still.  You are either moving towards a close or away from a close at all times.  Is your prospect’s aversion to risk (FEAR) in the way?
  • Prospects have many terrific skills but hiring you is not one of them.  Why is this so?  Here’s one thought – How often does your prospect make a change like the one you are proposing – every three years, five years, ten years, never?  Logic dictates that, as a general rule, the prospect does not typically have enough experience to easily and readily make these hiring and firing decisions.
  • Early in the sales process, make an agreement with your prospect and explain what actions you plan to take if (when) their decision is delayed.  For example, you will be free to contact them often.  Dialogue kind of like this: “I’ll contact you every day until you say ‘yes’.”  This is the Green Eggs and Ham approach.  That’s right, Dr. Seuss’s book of sales – the second most effective sales book on the planet.  Each subsequent contact helps you to determine what is causing the delay, the root cause of their fear and enables you to formulate a response to the buyer’s objections and manage their risk as you continue to move towards a close.

So, before your next prospect delays their decision, (Oh, you have one now?) consider the dialogue, tools, strategies and techniques that will help you influence the decision making process.

And keep in mind that a Sense of Humor is Helpful.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Call Reluctance – Role Rejection and Referral Aversion

What might be blocking us from making outbound contacts or even “working the room” at a conference or networking event?

Test yourself right now – can you think of a prospect, client, agent, underwriter or family member that you’ve been meaning to contact this week – and haven’t gotten to them yet?  This is Call /Contact Reluctance.

Again, we wish to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by George Dudley and Shannon Goodson and their team at Behavioral Sciences Research Press.  George and Shannon formalized the Call Reluctance phenomenon in 1979 with the introduction of a robust assessment tool.

One of Redmond’s sales truths:

“Don’t worry, Call / Contact Reluctance happens only 100% of the time and is natural part of the sales process”.

Our offerings over the past couple of months were Goal Diffusion, Yielder and Over-Preparation.  If you need to, go to our website a grab a copy.

For this month we’ll focus on Role Rejection and Referral Aversion.

ROLE REJECTION™

Does anyone remember Herb?  Herbert Ruggles Tarlek, Jr., the boorish, tasteless advertising sales executive who wears loud plaid suit jackets, striped pants, with his belt matching his white shoes at WKRP in Cincinnati?

If you can remember Herb (or even picture him), you now know about Role Rejection – “I don’t want to be one of those slick, sleazy salespeople like Herb Tarlek.”  This is the stereotype of the salesperson we all know – certainly not our salesperson hero.  Another interesting phenomenon in the United States, and we suspect around the world, is that in the last seventy or so years of filmmaking, anytime a salesperson has been depicted, it has been with a negative spin.  The stereotype is constantly reinforced and actually built into our culture.

How many of our readers have the word “Sales” on their business card?  Or are you a “Regional Client Relationship Manager” or a “Business Initiator” or an “Account Executive” or “Client Advocate” – please – anything but sales!

We experience role rejection in all sorts of ways:

  • During outbound (and inbound) telephone calls – “This is not a sales call”
  • At face-to-face new business appointments – “I’m not here to sell you anything”
  • And how about during your internal sales meetings where you hear: “We don’t want to be too sales(y) with prospects.”
  • And on our business cards

One of the observations we’ve made over the years has to do with the need and ability to create and maintain energy, interest and enthusiasm for what you do on a day-to-day basis.  If you cannot sustain the energy required to be successful, you will fail (but at least you’ll be miserable every day!).  It’s quite interesting to us that those who abhor the thought of being in sales (role rejection) are naturally NOT in sales!

You know this – we’re all in sales, including at home.  We typed in “Sales” in Google and got over a billion and a half results in under a second – don’t know exactly why I put that in here.

If you’re in sales, Role Rejection is a career threatening condition.  For much more on the subject, please refer to The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance by George Dudley and Shannon Goodson.

Now on to REFERRAL AVERSION™

We know what some of you are thinking: “Referral aversion, how dumb is that?”

Well, here’s some of the dialogue we’ve heard from sales people (formerly known as Client Relationship Managers):

  • “Oh, it’s not time yet to ask for a referral”
  • “I don’t want to be indebted to anyone”
  • “I don’t want to seem too greedy or too needy”
  • “What if they say no?”
  • “What if they give me the wrong type of referral?”
  • “I asked for a referral once in 1978 – it didn’t go well and probably won’t go well now”*
  • “Asking for referrals – isn’t that a bit like asking someone for help? – I’d rather go it alone”.

*Incidentally, this is one of those call reluctance characteristics that will be reinforced and re-lived every time you are thinking about asking for a referral.  If it didn’t go well in 1978, the same chemical reaction in your body will take place today- and you will hesitate to ask for a referral while supporting it with rational and compelling internal dialogue.

Referral sources are terrific.  Referrals are quite magical.  Referrals are a continuously growing spiral of contacts.  Referrals represent the fastest way to get business in the door.  When working for referrals, and it is work, you really become a sales manager, managing your referral sources.  Congratulations – you’re no longer in the sales business, you’re in the sales management business!

Some national statistics may help in driving us to harvest referrals:

  1. Over 90% of those asked would offer referrals
  2. Only 3% of the available referral sources are actually asked
  3. Your closing ratio starts at 50% and goes up from there!

Q: What triggers these two Call / Contact Reluctance behaviors?
A: Fear.

Fear that I will be perceived by the world as one of those slick sleazy stereotyped sales people who is way too greedy and is always attempting to fill his silk lined pockets with more cash by asking for more and more introductions.  Wow, decaf from now on.

Do you see a pattern of Role Rejection or Referral Aversion in your office? With your colleagues?  With your boss?  How about with your customers?

Now you have names for these “qualities gone bad”.  See if you experience or see these behaviors today.

Best wishes,

Tom


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Sales and Social Media

This might sound like the lazy way out but here goes.  I was writing an article on this topic and as luck would have it, the timing of this newsletter coincides with a series of articles appearing in our favorite sales magazine – Selling Power.  So, here are the links – these are written way better than anything we could come up with:

Always Be Prospecting (a LinkedIn Success Story)
http://www.sellingpower.com/content/article/?a=10123&nr=1

How Sales Leaders Can Profit from Social Media

http://www.sellingpower.com/content/article/?a=3031

Our highest praise goes to Selling Power Magazine; we’ve been subscribers for years and always gain some insight and encouragement from the articles.  They also offer a usually terrific series of webinars all focused on sales.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Sales Q & A

Two themes for this month’s installment:

Theme 1: Power Hours (again) – we’re seeing some real traction developing with this concept.  The basic idea is to devote one hour per week where everyone is making outbound contacts.  Something like Thursday morning from 10 to 11.  No exceptions, no aloof observers – we mean everyone – all producers, CSR’s, owners, principals, account managers, even claims and loss control pros.   Of course, this is in addition to the usual on-going production activity.

A nice Power Hours modification is creating a theme for each month.  For example, in August take a look at all the business from Q4 of last year where business was either lost or there was unsuccessful new business proposals.   August could be the time to do some quick research and reflection on this class of business and an ideal time to reach out to each prospect – check to see if there may be an opportunity to re-capture some of these accounts.  It’s very likely that you’ll find some low hanging fruit.

Maybe a theme for September is Referral Harvesting.  As an office-wide team you can work on the most effective dialogue in how to ask for a referral.  Set a referral harvesting goal, compare notes, techniques and approaches.

We assure you, if you undertake the Power Hours idea for the next three months, you’ll think you invented it!  And you’ll keep it going as part of your regular sales process.

*******************************

Theme 2 …and a sense of humor is helpful…  We had a lot of fun putting this together.

Q: When is the best time to contact a prospect?

A: When you’re conscious.

 

Q: What’s the most important thing about sales?

A: There are three important things: contact, contact and did we mention contact?

 

Q: How do you respond when a prospect says: “An appointment, how’s never!”?

A: Never works for me but Tuesday at 10 is better.

 

Q: What’s the best sales book ever written?

A: Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.

 

Q: What’s your job?
A: To relieve the competition from the burden of their accounts.

Q: What do you say to a prospect who asks:  “What’s your sign?”
A: What sign do you want me to be, I’m flexible.

Q: How often should I contact a prospect?
A: Until they surrender.

Q: What do you say when a colleague interrupts your prospecting activity with “Got a Minute?”
A: I’m pretty busy right now, how about we get together on Friday at 5:30?

Q: What do you do when your activity is not up to par and your boss is after you?
A: Send down more lies to headquarters.

Q: What do you say when the prospect says: “You’re too far away to handle our business.”
A: Some of our prospects have said exactly the same thing.  Once they got used to our great service, many of them moved closer to us.

Q: What do you say when your prospect says: “Don’t worry, our building is fireproof.”
A: Are you crazy?

Q: What is the best remedy for getting out of a sales slump?
A: Keep thinking “my family likes to eat regularly and live indoors.”

Q: What do you say when you actually get someone on the phone?
A: Could you please switch me over to voice mail, I don’t know what to say.

 

Hope this brought a smile or two; in the business of sales a sense of humor is more than helpful, it’s really vital.

Best wishes are flying your way,
Tom


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

 

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Second Place

We recently worked with several producers who were frustrated and disappointed that they were getting “their unfair share of second place”.

We used this opportunity to conduct some case studies that revealed some interesting common factors, a pattern of activities and even some false beliefs.

Here is a short summary of our findings – see if any of these could be true for you.  Of course, we’ve given you an assignment for each point.

  1. Improper identification of the prospect’s objectives. Are their objectives clearly defined? Are they meaningful to your prospect? Are they measurable? If the objectives are not clear, can you define them on behalf of your prospect? Without clearly defined objectives to achieve, the prospect generally decides on the basis of price, price and (did I mention?) cost and not on the terrific products, options, services and commitment you are offering.

Your assignment: Identify at least five objectives for each prospect you are working on right now. Go back to those prospects; explain their objectives to them and, if appropriate, put the objectives in writing.  By the way, you get two objectives for free – Competitive Price and Pro-active Service.  What are the other three?

  1. Is the buyer enthusiastic about hiring you? Have you gauged this enthusiasm?  Is there energy evidenced by the prospect’s responsiveness and activities in working with you and your team? What are the “no buy” signals?

Your assignment: This one is really a gut check. Is the prospect energized about working with you?  Yes, No or I don’t know and better find out.

  1. Improper identification of the actual decision maker.  We could write a book on this one (Oh, we did!).

Your assignment:  Have you ever asked the question “Who else is on the team with you making this decision?”

  1. The inability of the prospect to fire the existing relationships. We have discussed this many times in our prior newsletters.

Your assignment:  Can you make the following statement to each of your prospects?  Something like – “I have no easy way to say this but we are talking about firing your existing agent and probably your existing underwriter. Are you going to be able to do that?”

  1. The “ka-ching” factor (we made this sales term up all by ourselves!) This happens when our emotions are all fired up and we honestly believe “we won this one”. You can already hear the cash register ringing (“ka-ching”!)   This is another gut check because when we have that overly optimistic winning feeling, we are likely to miss something, like points 1 through 4 above. To use a sports analogy – we lose our fastball. Something gets by us – we make an error in judgment, we ignore other factors with this opportunity, we do not follow up enough and we may even stop asking questions.

Your assignment:  Do you have that prospective account that you “know, without a doubt, we’re going to land it”?  If so, stop that thinking immediately!  Look for the “no sale” signals that you are creating and where you may be diminishing your chances or missing an improvement on your strategy.

If you have other examples of second place, we’re always happy to hear from our subscribers – please contact us at tom@redmondgroupinc.com


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Summertime Prospecting

“Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy” by Ira Gershwin

Our Summertime offering is back!!  We checked the archives and found that the first time we wrote about this topic was in July of 2001!  Looks like the issue is still relevant.

But first an idea, why not set up a Summertime Prospecting Project or Theme?

Set a couple of office-wide prospecting goals:

  • How many new business appointments will we have by Labor Day?
  • How many referrals will we ask for by Labor Day?

And set up an award’s picnic – call it the Summertime Summit Club or something like that.  Promote it with love and enthusiasm!

Now, to overcome your resistance to this, please keep reading.

The Top 10 True / False Thoughts for Summertime Prospecting

False: It’s summer, nobody’s around. Why prospect?
True: Who takes a three-month vacation?

False: It’s summer.  All of my prospects are out of town.
True: All prospects take vacation at the same time?  What are we in France?

False: It’s summer.  Who can prospect in this heat?
True: When it’s 90 degrees and 90% humidity, your prospects are in their air-conditioned offices waiting for your call.

False: It’s Friday afternoon.  Prospects close early.
True: The employees may leave early, the boss / decision maker stays around.

False: It’s Monday morning.  Prospects don’t want me to bother them now.
True: How do you know what your prospects want?  You haven’t met them yet.

False: I’m going away next week.  I can’t set up appointments.
True: In other words, you’re taking a two week vacation.

False: I’m just back from my trip.  I need to catch up.  I’ll prospect next week.
True: See # 6.  Now it’s a three week vacation.

False: My assistant is away.  I need to stick around.
True: Great! Make some contacts while you stick around. Digression alert: How did you manage to get an assistant?

False: My assistant is just back from vacation.  We need to catch up.
True: See # 6.  Now you’re up to a four-week vacation.

False: Last two weeks in August.  It’s vacation time. I’ll get going after Labor Day.
True: See # 6, 7 & 9.  Congratulations, you’re now up to a six-week vacation.  58% of the summer is gone and your receivables will be in the tank…

Summer reading recommendations:

  • The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy – multiplying your success, one simple step at a time.
  • Pick Four by Zig Ziglar and curated by Seth Godin.  The three incredibly difficult steps to goal achievement.
  • Living Beautifully by Pema Chodron.  Advice and insight regarding uncertainty and change in our lives.
  • Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss – the second best sales book ever written.

Some additional Recommendations:

  • This is RADICAL – attempt this for the summer – check your email only 3 times per day and that includes all personal communication devices.  Your productivity will skyrocket and you’ll likely have an enriched experience with those around you – unless they’re checking emails!
    • TOO Radical? – how about one day each week – start from the possible and move toward the impossible.
  • Your competitors are probably not making calls or new contacts for several of the reasons stated above.  So Summertime Prospecting becomes a strategic competitive advantage for you and your firm.
  • Your job is to relieve your competition of the burden of their accounts so they can take more time off in the summer!
  • Your prospect’s gatekeeper may be out of town.  This is a perfect time to turn this possible advantage into an even greater advantage.
  • Have you noticed that as major summer holidays approach like Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day that your prospects offer the objection “call me right after the holiday”?  A particularly great time to call is the days immediately after a holiday – your prospects are in and are waiting for your call.

Have a great summer and do take some time for yourself, family and community (and keep your prospect appointments up to your standards!)

Best wishes are flying your way,
Tom


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Ten Questions You Must Ask

As mentioned last month, we’ve modified our approach regarding the Sales Coach Newsletter this year.  Quite frankly, after 19 years of monthly publications, we’re running out of topics!!

So, we’ve asked some friends of ours in the sales business if they would be contributors to our monthly offering.  But first – a couple of (we hope) useful Redmondisms that tie in nicely with this month’s article:

Q: When is the best time to contact a prospect?

A: When you’re conscious.

Q: How often should you contact a prospect?

A: Until they surrender!

**************

Now to our contributor this month – Jim Caragher.

Jim runs CIB Group Services (www.cibgroupservices.com), a company 100% dedicated to helping agents recruit and develop the next generation of producers – from outside the insurance industry.

Agency owners and sales managers need to be ruthless when assessing new producer readiness.

 

10 Questions You Must Ask Before Your Agency Hires a New Producer  

  • Can we afford to invest in a successful new producer and can we afford to absorb the cost of a new producer failure?  

Your agency needs at least $2 Million revenue.

  • Is our agency an attractive place to work and does our agency’s social media reputation reflect this?

Refresh your agency’s website and LinkedIn and Facebook company pages. Check your agency’s reputation on websites like Glassdoor (www.glassdoor.com).

 

  • Are we growing and do we have a clear sales and marketing plan?

Ideally, your agency has industry niche expertise, great carrier partners and unique services that enable a new producer to become successful quickly.

 

  • Does our agency have a track record of investing in and developing new producers?

If your agency has a spotty history here, you need a real plan and commitment for supporting a new producer.

 

  • Are we enthusiastic about bringing on a new producer and do we view and treat a new producer as a valuable investment in the firm’s future?

A new producer should be welcomed and supported by the owners, producers, marketers and CSRs.

 

  • Do we have a sales manager and experienced producers available as mentors?

Active, day-to-day sales management, activity tracking, guidance and coaching on course corrections and even experienced producer mentors are must-haves.

 

  • Do we have demanding, but realistic first year expectations for a new producer’s prospecting and sales results?

The first year is mainly about pipeline-building.  A good thumb rule for sales:  a new producer covers their salary in total agency commissions.

 

  • Are we willing to commit to a reasonable starting compensation plan to attract and retain a new producer?

Budget $35K to $70K compensation, mostly guaranteed salary.

  • Do we have a realistic plan and time line to validate a new producer?

A new producer is a “long play” investment.  Build a 3 year bridge to validation.

  • Are we prepared to effectively recruit a new producer?

Your agency needs to be effective at finding and attracting top sales talent; balance hiring thoroughness with a sense of urgency.

*************

Answering these questions honestly will help your agency determine new producer readiness and even predict producer success.

 

Why not check in with Jim about your producer recruiting and new hire goals?

Readers may contact Jim at (973) 300-2478 or by email at jimc@thecibgroup.com.

Best wishes,

Tom


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Top Ten Sales Habits

A sign posted on the office wall of a sales consultant:

“Follow a regular practice of outbound contact even when on a plateau (or in a ditch)”

 

Even the most accomplished underwriting professional, can find themselves backing off from their usual game plan because they have arrived on that wonderful plateau of success.  Others become discouraged because they find themselves in a ditch, a point far away from their intended goal.  Both of these situations happen only 100% of the time in underwriting careers.

Here are the top ten habits, the best practices to increase sales, raise the level of the plateau and get out of the ditch – enjoy and apply (at least) one today:

  1. Define and write down your sales process: what are the predictable and necessary steps from your initial meeting with your producer until after the close?
  2. Set Meaningful and Measurable Sales and Activity Goals for the next 30 days and the next 90 days. Try not to confuse tasks with goals and measure your progress along the way.
  3. Define your sales process activities/tasks that are necessary to achieve your goals: Goal Setting, targeted brokers and agents, target prospects and lead sources, research/verification, referral harvesting, contact strategy, appointments, proposal preparation, presentations, follow-up, etc.
  4. Be absolutely clear as to your target market(s), industry segment(s), target accounts, size, location, quality and how to best reach them. What are your target account, agent and broker criteria?  Who are the decision-makers?  How do I best reach him or her?
  5. Use automated contact management software to track your agent and broker contact and follow-up activities and simplify who to contact each day.
  6. Commit to a constant number of prospective accounts and new premium in the proposal / quotation stage at all times. If one prospect drops off, replace it with a prospect of like or better size and quality.  This is a key leading indicator of sales success.  A salesperson that does this consistently is well ahead of the pack.
  7. Commit to a set number of sales activities for today and don’t leave until they’re done. The number should be a stretch but not impossible.  This is a commitment, not punishment.  Check back at number 3 and go forth with enthusiasm!  How about this: 10 x 12 (contact 10 brokers / agents by noon); or 20 x 5, 10 x Friday, etc. Start from the possible and move toward the impossible.
  8. Make an appointment with yourself to execute your defined sales activities. Block your calendar.  The appointment with yourself is to be considered as important as one with your best broker, your most promising agent and should be canceled or rescheduled with the same care.  Look at next week’s calendar and make appointments with yourself right now.
  9. Make sales a major focus of all job functions within your organization. The most successful underwriting professionals have developed strong relationships within their organization – they get a team, their team, behind them.  Many organizations have established reward systems through which support personnel can share in sales successes both financially and emotionally.
  10. Reward yourself for victories both large and small – even if it’s for consistent effort that may have not paid off yet.

 

And keep in mind…

  1. …a sense of humor is helpful!

Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

The Top Ten Sales Process Breakdowns

One of our missions is to keep our newsletters upbeat, so here’s an attempt with what can be a difficult message.  In our years of working with sales professionals and their organizations, we’ve noted a number of areas where breakdowns in the sales process are consistent.  Not quite 100% of the time, but it’s almost expected from our vantage point.  We must add, that all of these breakdowns are solvable – there’s the upbeat positive message we’re looking for!

 

So here goes:

Is there a sales process at all? Success rests on one simple principle; sales can be significantly increased, even assured, by following a systematic process.  We developed a map of repeatable steps.  If you follow this map, sales come in.  The map offers a simple visual of where you are at all times and what needs to happen next.  You can’t skip a step.  Here’s the link to some sales process maps: http://redmondgroupinc.com/map.html.

 

What are the predictable, necessary/critical steps from planning your initial prospect contact until after the close? Is there a sales process breakdown that you can correct?

  1. Lack of Goal Setting. Goal-setting is the basic material of the framework. It’s also our compass, our radar, our course-corrector.  We set goals with certain identifiable, essential characteristics – Meaningful, Measurable and Hand Written.  A life’s framework built on the right kind of principles with goals properly handled, has a special property.  Energy becomes available and moves us toward achievement of our goals.  We can’t stop it.

And yet, there is a resistance to setting goals.  This happens so often that we’ve concluded that resistance to goal setting is a natural part of the goal setting process!

  1. Inconsistent activity levels. The mantra is “Maintain a regular practice of outbound contact even when on a plateau (or in a ditch!)”.   This is referring to a regular practice of outbound contacts with prospective accounts.  Try this or some combination that makes sense to you and your team: 10 x 12 (contact 10 prospects by noon); or 20 x 5; ask for 1 referral by 5 each day; or 10 x Friday, etc.

Joyful Perseverance is a really cool attribute to link with this regular practice.

  1. Ouch but hey, I’ve done it as well.  We call it: “Send down more lies to Headquarters!”  Take a regular good look at your numbers and be honest about it.  What are your new business appointment levels, prospect contacts, referrals asked for, key sales related activities? What have your historical standards been? Can you add one more per day, per week? Start from the possible and move towards the impossible.

 

Take an honest inventory of your active prospects – are they really prospects or suspects or worse?  Let’s face it, that unqualified prospect is blocking you from the qualified prospect.  Are you kidding yourself?  Due to human nature, if your active prospect inventory is low, you will typically kid yourself and send down more lies to HQ. We can promise you that when your pipeline is full, your fear will diminish. This may help: http://redmondgroupinc.com/tracking.html.

  1. Incompatible target accounts. Be absolutely clear as to the identity of your target markets, industry segments, target accounts, size, location, quality and lead/referral sources and how to best reach them. Are you aiming at the wrong target?  Are these targets blocking you from your true calling?  What are the characteristics of your ideal client?
  2. Poor energy levels. Work on your body.  The maintenance of a healthy body is not in addition to your job, it is part of your job.  Many of us have lost sight of the fact that we’re very close to our bodies; we really are joined at the hip!  Your body is going to be with you for a long time; well, maybe not!    An appointment for a workout is as important as an appointment with your most important client.  The energy level of the body directly influences our day-to-day work.  Kim Wright Wiley, a contributor to SellingPower.com  points out that “energy is a renewable resource …” and that business success is no longer about working to the point of burn out or until you drop out – it is a matter of managing energy.

Add a ¼ mile to your routine, add 10 pushups, add a few pounds to your free weights – start from the possible. How about better diet, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi?  Increased energy is called for.  You know what the most difficult move in Yoga is?? Putting it on your calendar!  Get off that couch, you’re in sales!!

  1. No time off. When was your last real vacation?  How about a retreat?  Sign up for one – look for nutrition, exercise, spirituality and stress management – there is an unlimited supply to choose from.  Set a goal for this!  Block your calendar for these life affirming activities.  It’s quite nice to be able to write about these types of activities at my advancing age.  I overlooked this for a large part of my life – a mistake that I’ve happily corrected.
  2. Distractions a/k/a Goal Diffusion – this is a killer, we will not sugar coat this – it really does kill people. Guard your prospecting time ferociously by managing your calendar: eliminate distracting tasks and avoid distracting people. Make an appointment with yourself for prospecting activities and don’t cancel your appointment!
  3. Not talking about it. For most sales people, this one can be tough. Try it out with a mentor, someone you trust. Why not call Tom Redmond: 732-957-0005. This is what we do all day long every day.
  4. Losing your sense of humor. If you’re in sales and if you’re going to stay in sales, a sense of humor in helpful!

…and lastly, create and give value to your prospects, clients and colleagues.  This will pay great dividends at home as well.

Best wishes are flying your way,


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Leading Indicators

For some reason, we’re in a totally serious mood this month, maybe it’s this wonderful winter weather – who knows, who cares?  So here goes:

A critical component quite necessary for achieving your Annual Sales Goals is the tracking of your activity levels.  We are asking you to focus on Leading Indicators of sales success.  Not what you sold (that’s a Lagging Indicator and everyone already counts that!).  How about those Leading Indicators of activity that have led to the successful sale?

We have good news, in order to do so effectively, you only need to look at three numbers per month; that’s it – only three numbers.

And here they are:

  1. The estimated new commission / revenue in the proposal stage
  2. The number of new accounts in the proposal stage
  3. The number of new prospect appointments

 

With precise knowledge of these indicators, course corrections can be made quickly.  This is the only reason to track these indicators – to guide us with course corrections.  But there is a huge challenge: will you modify your activities and behaviors based on your leading indicator outcomes?

This is your lucky day, we’ve done a lot of work for you – hey, we’re totally invested in your success and your ability to relieve your competition of the burden of their accounts.  Check out the worksheet below as an example of developing and reacting to leading indicators.  For an actual worksheet that you can use for yourself, please go to: http://redmondgroupinc.com/tracking.html

And we even prepared your instructions.  We hope these steps will help with the use of the Excel tool:

Step 1) Go to the “In Process” worksheet and complete the clearly indicated cells (Yellow Cells, Blue Arrows).  As these cells are filled in, the two other tracking components (Production Data Points and Required Appointment Levels) are set up automatically for you.

Step 2) Once a month, please fill in the appropriate cells on the upper section of the Production Data Points Worksheet.  There are only two numbers per month – the actual number of new accounts in the proposal stage (In Process) and the estimated new commission/revenue that those accounts represent.

Step 3) Once a month, please fill in the appropriate cells in the upper section of the “Required Appointment Levels” workbook.

Our suggestion is to work a bit with these worksheets and see how they operate.  And please try to restrain yourself from messing with the formulas!  When you do, please contact us and we’ll help.

We can assure you that your results will improve by tracking and acting upon just a couple of leading indicators.  Why not check it out?


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive

Call Reluctance – Yielder and Over-Preparer

We’ve not focused on Call and Contact Reluctance for some time, so here goes.

The first order of business is to gratefully acknowledge the enormous contribution made by George Dudley and Shannon Goodson and their team at Behavioral Sciences Research Press.  They transformed the careers of the millions of sales people around the globe.  George and Shannon formalized the Call & Contact Reluctance phenomenon in 1979 with the introduction of an assessment tool of considerable power.  I was introduced to Call Reluctance in 1993 and this was one of those events that changed my life. It has become a huge part of our consulting practice.

Redmond’s sales truths:

“Call and contact reluctance happen only 100% of the time”.

“Call and contact reluctance are natural parts of the sales process”.

“If you don’t think you have call and contact reluctance – don’t worry, you do!”

 

After working with thousands of sales professionals, our view is that Sales Call Reluctance is unavoidable.  There are sixteen distinct measures and you will have at least one or more of the sixteen, count on it.

Here’s a reminder of the indisputable secret of success in sales:  The only significant predictor of success in sales is “The number of contacts initiated with prospective buyers on a consistent basis“.

So, here are two behaviors that block us from making outbound contacts and even block us from working a room at a networking event.

 

Yielder and Over-Preparer Call Reluctance.

YIELDER™

The internal dialogue of a Yielder goes something like:

  • “I don’t want to bother the prospect (or client) today.”
  • “It’s Monday, the prospect won’t want to hear from me today.”
  • “I don’t want to bother them today, it’s Friday.”
  • “It’s too close to lunch. I’ll wait until later.”
  • “It’s summer, I’ll get to them right after Labor Day.”
  • “I don’t want to push them for the order; they know why I’m here.”

 

Can you see the pattern here?  Have you said or thought these same things?  Have you heard your colleagues use the same dialogue?  How about from your boss or sales manager?

Doesn’t it feel like we’re describing a terrific quality that we can and should aspire to?

The key characteristic of a yielder is that they do not want to be perceived as being pushy or intrusive.  We see this in behaviors like not asking for the order, not asking for a referral, not asking for additional needed information, etc.  And the Yielder loses out to the competitor who is less of a Yielder.

 

OVER-PREPARER™:

This is the number one type of call reluctance of your author.  Upon learning that I was an over-preparer, I thought “what a wonderful quality.”  That is, until I realized that my production level was being significantly hampered by my need to over-prepare.

An example may help:  When prospecting for large commercial clients, I would obtain a few of years of annual reports, 10K’s, product brochures and hang out on the web for way too much time whilst I fill up my paper and electronic files with useful (and useless) information.  The only problem is that it was now 6:15 p.m. and I haven’t made that outbound contact yet.  But I’m getting ready!  That’s what we over-preparers do – we get ready.

 

What emotion triggers this behavior?

The trigger is fear.  Fear that the prospect will ask me a question that I won’t know the answer to and then I’ll be found out for the loser I am and live under a bridge and never to be able to sell again and blah!, blah!, blah! No wonder I over-prepare!

Where did this behavior originate?  From my first boss in the business.  If you can picture this – I’m maybe 25 years old and all I have is an insurance producer’s license for the State of New York.  My boss was a very good guy and I’m walking out the door to meet with a prospect and he says to me:  “Tom, have you thought of everything?” And my response was, “I’ve thought of nothing.  His name is Jack, he’s on the fifth floor and he buys insurance not from us. What else do I need to know?” Admittedly, I was under-prepared.

Due to the need to keep my job, I adjusted my sales approach and became deeply committed to research and attempting to think of everything.  There was the creation of an internal need to verify information that was not always relevant, necessary or supportive to making outbound contacts.

And I got so good at research that I got promoted and now had sales people working for me.  So what do you think I’m saying to them? “Have you thought of everything? Are you prepared?”

The result is that today, right at this moment, there are hundreds of sales women and men across the country over-preparing because they hung out with me.  I’m a carrier of Over-Preparation Call Reluctance and passed this on to others just like I learned it myself.  Over-Preparation cost me and others a bundle.  I was researching instead of promoting.

Do you see a pattern of Yielder and Over-preparation in your office? With your colleagues?  With your boss?  With yourself?

Now you have names for these “qualities gone bad”.  See if you can catch yourself Yielding or Over-Preparing (or both) this week.

Here’s a quick exercise – Can you think of one prospect that you’ve been meaning to contact and you never seem to get around to it?  That one that you should be contacting this afternoon?  The likely culprit for your delay is one or more types of call reluctance.

The steps to overcoming these behaviors are: set a contact goal for today; acknowledge the existence of call reluctance; be alert to your reluctance experiences; do something to break your thinking pattern! And Just Do It – make that contact.


Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030

917-860-1406, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

 

Posted by admin in Newsletter Archive