My most significant mentor during the years I made my living selling personally was an incredible man named Art Williams, who followed his dream and built a huge national sales team of entrepreneurs in the financial services industry. In his book, All You Can Do is All You Can Do, But All You Can Do is Enough; Art devotes a chapter to dreaming, on which he excelled. He states that a smart man once said, “Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.” It seems that more times than not people think things are better when they are bigger or more complicated. It just seems with all the advances in technology, people have lost respect for simplicity.
Art shares the story of a young Harvard business graduate who decided to start a business in 1973. He approached his grandfather, a Wall Street investor, and asked him to be his advisor. After a couple of weeks his grandfather wanted to know how many customers he had. The grandson replied, “None yet. I’ve been busy deciding on an accounting system.” The grandfather replied, “Son, until you have customers, you don’t need any systems, or an office or even a desk. YOU NEED CUSTOMERS.” Thankfully the young man listened and went to work finding customers. The business took off and today Snapple beverages are sold throughout North America as part of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. This story reminds us to keep the main thing the main thing and focus on what generates income.
As you consider ways to keep things simple in your sales job, Art suggests you include these steps to ensure your results will be positive; manage activity, create little successes, and don’t get bogged down in paperwork. Let’s look at each one individually:
1. Manage Activity – If you are going to succeed in sales you have to take action. You can’t sit in the office all day “thinking” or “planning.” Your office is a very poor place to prospect.
A good example of this principle is an insurance company that asked a marketing firm to analyze why they were averaging only 2.5 sales per agent per month. They quickly established that the agents weren’t seeing enough people.
To prove it, the marketing group conducted a test by choosing 20 agents at random and provided them a one-sentence presentation; “You don’t want any life insurance, do you?” The agents were told to repeat that message to as many people as possible each day. Nearly all of their contacts responded with, “You’re right, I don’t, get lost.” But, one out of every sixty people responded with, “Yes, I’d like to talk about that as I’ve been thinking about it for a while.” The agents could speak that message to about sixty people a day, and quickly began to average a sale per day. The company’s business took off as they realized that ACTIVITY REALLY IS THE KEY!
2. Create Little Successes – Often when you look at your sales goal, it can seem overwhelming and cause you to give up before you really even get started.
When I order a sizzling medium-well 18oz. steak in a restaurant, I don’t pick it up and just gnaw away at it until I eventually swallow and digest the whole thing. I cut it into small bites with a knife and eat it with a fork. That’s what you should do with your sales goals.
You can’t close it until you propose it, and you can’t propose it until you find a buyer with a need for it. Rather than agonizing over selling, why not concentrate instead on the activity that is necessary to produce those sales.
Then, instead of selling $X a month, shift gears and just think about selling 1/20th of $X each day. If you normally close 1 of every 4 you propose, make sure you propose 4 today. Since you don’t get to propose everyone you see, be sure to see at least 6 today. Since you only get in front of about a third of the people you make contact with, be sure you call or knock on the doors of about 20 people today.
Now instead of frantically trying to sell $20X a month, change your focus to contacting 20 people a day, and let the law of averages produce the sales for you. By pacing yourself this way, your confidence gets a real boost.
3. Don’t Get Bogged Down in Paperwork – Nothing will get you in trouble quicker than taking your eye off the ball. At most companies the fastest way for that to happen is to major in paperwork. I understand you can’t complete a sale or get paid without mucking through a certain amount of paperwork. Do what’s necessary but keep the main thing the main thing.
When I (Doug) was a corporate sales coach, a rookie sales lady asked me if I would tell her which contract to complete for a particular service. I asked her how big the sale was. She said she hadn’t made one yet, but wanted to get squared away on the paperwork before she proposed one. I responded by telling her to go create the problem and find somebody who wanted that product, and then she would need to know how to write it up and could ask someone.
Every communication is better when you simplify it and make it brief. People today are afraid to write in short, simple language for fear that others will think they’re dumb. That’s DUMB. I assure you if your message is clear nobody will miss hearing the big, impressive words.
Doug’s Selling Point archives contain 265 articles, all FREE to access, share, and use. These are complete training lessons and not short teasers like most are. Go get them right HERE on Doug’s website. While you are there, why not subscribe to Selling Point for FREE so each new article will come directly to your inbox?
©2018 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC