Recently I read this off season sales-related short story: “I was 23 years old when I started my chimney cleaning business. I ran into another chimney sweep one day in April on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. April is a slow month for chimney sweeps. As we talked (he was covered in creosote and had just finished cleaning a chimney) he asked me why I wasn’t working.”
“It’s slow, I said. Nobody cares about their chimneys in April.”
“He looked at me as if I had two heads. That’s simply not true. If you knock on enough doors, you will have all the business you can handle. He went on to tell me that after every chimney he cleans, he knocks on 25 doors. He hands out business cards until someone says yes to his offer. It was a paradigm shift for me. From that day forward I convinced my repeat customers to let me clean their stoves and chimneys in the spring leaving time in the fall for adding new customers. Now I knock on 25 doors after every cleaning, and business is booming.”
Similarly, I (Doug) constantly remind salespeople that they must prospect tirelessly in order to keep their pipelines full. That’s the only way to avoid going out of business. My mantra is, “You can’t close it until you propose it, and you can’t propose it until you expose it.”
Blue collar sellers too often become addicted to market leads provided by their companies and morph into order takers rather than salespeople. Like it or not, the off-season is here and your new market lead count has plunged from what it was a few short months ago.
King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live said it this way over 3,000 years ago:
“What has been will be again,
What has been done will be done again;
There is nothing new under the sun.”
That statement relates to the blue collar selling profession by reminding sellers that winter comes every year. Market leads will get sparse every year. These are not new, unheard of concepts. YOU must prepare by going overboard to generate more leads and find more people to talk with about your services during this part of the year.
A successful sales manager challenged his people to “double their failure rate.” He said if they would see twice as many people over the next six months they would learn everything necessary to become successful. During that journey he recommended they ask themselves after every touch, call, and presentation: “What did I do well?” and, “What could I improve?” By following that example it won’t take long for you to become a top producer at your company.
So don’t allow the lousy weather and early evening darkness to plant seeds of discouragement and depression over you. Be tough enough to fight through these roadblocks and resist packing it in and going home early and empty-handed. These tips will help you avoid getting caught up in the death spiral that sweeps most salesrooms this time of year.
————Ready to Stop Struggling? ————
Whether you want to hire Doug for sales coaching or you prefer to do it yourself, you should check out Doug’s website to see his suggestions for your customer service and sales dilemmas.
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