Welcome to The Pipeline.

Bust Your Slump!16

If you or your sales team finding it difficult to bring in business these days, then I have a great suggestion for you.  You should pick up Bust Your Slump: A Dozen Slump Busting Strategies to Fill Your Pipeline in 30 Days by Paul McCord which has just been released.

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

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

If you read this blog regularly, you know I am all about EXECUTION, and when you read this book you will see that this is what sets it apart from most.

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

If you buy the book at Amazon during the next couple of days, you’ll get several hundred dollars of great bonus gifts from some of the top minds in sales such as Jill Konrath, Keith Rosen, Jonathan Farrington, Dave Kurlan, Wendy Weiss, Dave Brock and of course me.  Click here http://www.bustyourslump.com/bonus.html to check out all the great bonuses you get for simply buying a book that will fill your pipeline.

Bust Your Slump is the real deal.  The strategies are real and they work, and Paul shows you exactly how to make them work for you.  You’ll have to invest the time and effort to implement them, but you already know that, know you’ll also know how.  These aren’t silver bullets, we are hunting revenue not werewolves, that’s why you need real deal Bust Your Slump delivers.

I encourage you to head over to Amazon and pick up your copy then head over and grab your bonuses at http://www.bustyourslump.com/bonus.html.   Would you rather have the Kindle version?  Get it here http://www.amazon.com/Bust-Your-Slump-ebook/dp/B003YRIK4O/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_3.

Want to be able to answer the question below – pick up Paul’s book Bust Your Slump and you’ll have no problem.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Demand Side Selling28

If sales were to be defined in terms usually used by economists, and you asked sales people whether they were on the demand side or the supply side of the equation, most would tell you that they were on the supply side. In fact, when you work with and observe sales people, despite what they might say, they act and sell very much from the supply side.  But if you step back, and observe successful sales people, you realize that they spend their time on demand, specifically creating demand.  Most sales people spend a disproportionate amount of their time and effort focusing on the wrong side of the equation, on the supply side when we should be spending our efforts on creating demand.  The role of a sales person is demand generation not demand fulfillment.  

Read on…

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Execution – The Last Word In Sales – Sales eXchange – 6329

If you read about sales, one thing you see a lot is the use of two types of analogies, first is sports, second is military, usually war.  Having used them myself, they make for great comparisons and means of driving home explicit points or highlight the need for specific methodologies and systems.  Like sales, there is a logic and a hierarchy to the organization, how things are implemented and communicated, or sometimes not communicated.  The other thing they have in common is the lack of a definitive single way or commonly agreed on ways to achieve stated objectives.

There are as many “systems” as there are winning teams, each telling us that based on the makeup of their teams, their system helped them win the big trophy.  Some will tell you that having the best players trumps “system”, but we have all seen teams win the championship only to miss the play-offs the following year with virtually the same roster.  What then is the one factor that is common to the winners, what is the one thing that all winning teams, sport, military and sales have in common which leads to success and therefore defines success?  Execution!

Look at sales, we have the big known schools with their “proven methodologies”, and largely they do work, and all have the right to be in a leadership position.  You have the updates and rebranding Consultative Selling to Solution Selling to Customer Centric selling.  There are the retreads and renamings, what were compelling events in the 1990’s is now trigger events.  Doesn’t matter what you call it, if you don’t Execute, it is little more than a theory.

This applies to other aspects of sales too.  While more and more organizations are rolling out CRM’s to “improve sales and enhance productivity”, evidence suggest that it has not lead to the great successes hoped for.  Not because the application does not work, but because of the way they are rolled out and the lack of adoption and adherence by the sales teams.  In other words, a complete lack of, or just bad execution by all involved.  (Yes, I know there are other factors, bad planning, expecting the wrong outcome, wrong reason for buying it to begin with, but all those can be addressed if there was adoption, team execution.) 

Whether you look at SPIN, Achieve Global, Miller Heiman, or even our own EDGE Framework, all great processes or systems, yet when you look at results in the field they don’t work consistently.  Two quick examples, let us start at home.  I worked with a company back in 2007, implementing the Interactive Sales Program, which is based on the EDGE Framework and Zones.  As with all our programs it included a follow through Action Plan and the results were very positive until November 2008, when along with the economy, all things fell apart.  I saw a similar thing happen at a company which has been committed for years to SPIN, yet despite reinforcement twice a year, they are not getting the results or hitting goal.  The common element to both, the teams are just not Executing.  At my client, when the economy slowed, and every sales became a battle they abandoned the discipline, and stopped executing the program.  At the company using SPIN, it is not a question of the SPIN questioning process failing, it is the fact that their reps are not Executing. 

As in sports or the military, there are all kinds of great programs and advice, but they are all worthless unless they are executed.  Just walk around any sales office, find the rep with 8 – 12 years experience, somewhere in his office or cube you will find a half dozen or more sales training manuals and related books and cheat sheets.  There is more evidence on his shelf of the programs he has learned than in his day-to-day selling, the typical rep does not execute the programs they are trained.  So while there are some great programs, methods and applications to help individuals and teams sell better, without Execution, it’s all just talk.

You would think that execution should not only be easy, but people would be willing to do what it takes to execute and succeed, but we all know that they don’t, at least not consistently.  There are many reasons why, some I get, some I don’t.  What I have seen is that in many cases people are taught a theory or a system, but are not taught how to actually execute it.  Some trainers are so close to the material, taking many parts of it for granted, believing the details to be self-evident, and as a result gloss over the most important piece.  I often hear people say that they heard something great or brilliant when it comes to selling, and when you look to see why they are not adopting it, you see that they do not know how to or lack the will to execute.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a series titled Execution – The Last Word In Sales.  Do not worry about missing an instalment, as the goal is to pull all four parts together and make them available as e-booklet.  As always, please comment and provide your feedback, it always helps.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Life is full of choices, we make them every day, some easy, others hard; there are those that we make on an almost reflex basis, then there are those we agonize over, they take a lot of thought, reflection and consulting, even help from others.  There also things that we do where we pretend that we had no choice, where we choose to be victims while trying to convince others, but really ourselves, that we had no choice it the matter, when in fact we did, but chose not to exercise it.

As a former smoker, I can tell you that smoking is a choice.   Yes it is addictive, and it is a killer to quit; but the first time I picked up a cigarette, it was a choice, and when I quit (cold turkey) that was a choice too.  It wasn’t easy, but that had to be made, and had to followed through on.  Same can be said for weight issues, exercise, and choosing a life style that helps you avoid being fat, unhealthy and at risk.

Success in sales is also a choice.  You look at the consistently successful sales people and they are not only constantly making choices, but of course following through on them.  At the same time, the people scraping the bottom of the barrel are also making choices; they are choosing not to do what they have to.  When all is said and done, it is up to me to tell my colleague that I choose not to accompany him to the coffee shop; that I chose to carry out the activity I allocated my time to, be that prospecting, client follow up, or learning more about a product or solution from a client’s perspective, etc.

After a while of making the wrong choices or avoiding choices, many of these same reps choose to rationalize the state they and their pipelines are in.   I recently worked with someone who made one bad choice after another, and in the end chose to justify the whole thing by presenting himself as a victim.  A victim of product, territory alignment, marketing’s lead gen efforts, and the fact that Starbucks was two blocks away from the new office, where it was in the lobby of the old one.

As I listened to him, I realized that the energy and effort required to rationalize, the creativity he demonstrated in painting himself as a victim, was almost as great if not greater than he would have expended in actually choosing to go out there and do what others in the same company were doing and delivering success with.  This then just spirals further down, as now in his mind he had an excuse to avoid other choices he needed to make.

There are probably two ways you deal with this if you are his manager, one preferable to the other.  The lesser of the two, and therefore a last resort, is to become very hands on and take the choice away for the rep, and set out his day for him, much like you would for a three year old.  Since reps are not three years old (yes I know), it really doesn’t work over the long run, if it does not jump start them and get them back to reality quickly, you’re better off helping them find a more suitable career.

The better way is to get them to take responsibility and become accountable for the consequences of their choices.  I find the best way to do this is get in a room with a white board.  Talk about all the things that need to be done, capture them on the board.  At the same time, capture all the excuses and reasons they are making specific choices about the specifics on the board.  With both up there begin a process of elimination, if you can eliminate or surface the reason for the choices they are making, and be left with the must do’s, you can then develop an action plan that will help them get back on track, take accountability and became a willing partner in changing their choices.  The good thing is that the reps involved usually know why they are in the state they are in, they are just caught up and need to find an exit and get back on track.  If they don’t, well, we are back to career transition choices.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Get up – Look Around – Never Know What You’ll Find25

Sales meetings, buyer – seller, not internal, have fallen into somewhat of a predictable pattern.  For the most part, they take place in either the buyer’s office, or in meeting or boardroom.  One party on one side – the other on the opposite side, the ritual unfolds.  You get there, you sit down, sometimes you are offered a coffee (water) other times not. The meeting is conducted, shake hands and good-bye.  The breadth and quality of the information exchange is to some degree limited by the environment.

Well there is no law that says it has to be like this, seriously I checked.  Why not get up and take a look around the place.  Some sales people naturally do, others need to in order to be effective; people selling maintenance equipment to plants, transportation reps walking the warehouse, there are other examples.  Many other sales people overlook the opportunities that present themselves un taking the meeting out of the conventional, to almost anywhere else.  You never know what you can learn by saying “hey, I’d love to get a better look at how you do things”, I say it all the time.

By changing the environment, you right away initiate two things.  One is they have to talk, it virtually impossible for them to “show you around”, without taking the lead on talking, and they will talk about many things you may have not asked about, or that may have surfaced much later.  Second, not only do we like to talk, we like to brag, and as we are walking around, you will learn about the individual, how they view things, do thing, even decide on things (or not).  A simple change in the environment not only opens the door to this, but also puts you in a different light than other sellers they may be meeting with.   In many ways, instead of you presenting to them, they are presenting to you; you create an opportunity where they tell you what they would like to see differently by pointing to it directly.

There is also the opportunity to see things and ask about things you would have never had the chance to had you stayed in the office.  Again, even if you are selling the most intangible service, there is always something that will spark discussion and therefore discovery.

One other dividend, is the opportunity to meet others in the process, you are just bound to run into to colleagues, workers, others executives, and more.  There is always an introduction, and then it is up to you how well or far you can leverage things.  At the very least you’ll have other contacts, people you can now call, and allies or better later when you may need that additional internal support.

I remember asking a VP of Sales to show me around, and as we walked by the president’s office, he introduced us.  She was pleasant, we chatted a few minutes, exchanged cards, I told her I’ll include her on my mailing list, and we moved on.  A few weeks later, the VP left, and it was very easy for me to reach out to the president and take the relationship, and the immediate sale to that level.  I would have never had that opportunity had I not asked for the tour, I would be like my competitors waiting for the new VP.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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PRIDE – Part V – Evolve – Sales eXchange – 6225

As touched on in the last post on Decisive Action, sales people are as susceptible to the Status Quo as our prospects are, and for almost the same reasons. This is why it is one of the most important of the five attributes of PRIDE, the others being:

Many sales people are stuck in their ways, while they may learn to keep up with the evolution of their product line, they fail to evolve their approach to selling. The problems is that while this may not always lead to total disaster, it leaves them consistently short of their potential, and as a result they do not deliver full value to either their clients or their companies.  What they see as 12 years of career and professional progression is really little more than the same year playing itself out 12 times with strikingly similar results. Whatever small progress they make is reclaimed by the natural march of time. 

At the same time when you look at sales professionals who consistently deliver, they are the same reps who continue to evolve, reinvent their sales approach while adopting new tools and methodologies.

Here are some scary thoughts:

  • Fewer than 20% of sales people will buy a sales book in given year, and fewer again will actually read one
  • Less than half of businesses have formal sales training programs for their sales people. (To be fair, some budget for staff to attend ad hock off site programs, which good, but does not lead to cohesion or consistency).
  • Less than 30% of new front line sales managers receive sales management training when they are promoted

Not a picture of a progressive group, can you imagine pilots or lawyers taking the same attitude: would you fly an airline boasting a team of pilots that has not been trained in years, after all, they had training in 1999.

What is surprising is how little is involved in upping your game.  Let us say you don’t want to bother buying or reading a book, there dozens of great sales sites and blogs you can access, and for the most part free, see a partial list below.  All offering great insights, techniques, strategies, either in the form of postings, webinars, whitepapers, e-books, or all of these form.

In fact, some of the free resources are much better than the traditional media sites.  Many of the experts behind the blogs are still practicing and selling daily, the advice delivered is road tested first hand every day.  Whereas the publisher sites are traditional when it comes to content and revenue model and the advice tends to less than subtly reflect that.

In some ways it is not surprising that some sales people are stuck in their ways, many of their managers are stuck in their ways as mentioned above.  Add to this the fact that some in the sales enablement industry have been preaching the same thing the same way for years.  I remember being trained by one specific training outfit over a dozen years ago, today their content is still the same, whatever you ask is always answered the same way, even their work material is the same, with the exception of the cover which is now in colour. 

As with most things in the PRIDE model, it comes down to attitude and the will to do what has to be done.  If indeed you are a sales professional committed to bringing their best game each and every day, then you have likely resigned yourself to the fact that each day will differ slightly from the day before, which then demands that you to differ slightly than the day before.  This goes beyond being “better”, it goes to being more willing to do one thing you did not do the day before; stretching and pushing the limits, expanding the base, and taking PRIDE in your chosen profession.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Partial list of site that will help you and your selling Evolve:

Selling to Big Companies by Jill Konrath

Partners in EXCELLENCE Blog — Making A Difference by David Brock

The Sales Blog by S. Anthony Iannarino

SalesBlogcast by Doyle Slayton

A Sales Guy by Jim Keenan

The Science and Art of Selling by Alen Majer

Sales and Sales Management Blog by Paul McCord

Selling to Consumers by Skip Anderson

Fearless Selling by Kelley Robertson

The Queen of Cold Calling by Wendy Weiss

PRIDE – Part IV – Decisive Action!27

As we continue looking at what every successful sales rep needs to bring to their game daily, we come to one where the title alone should be enough, especially given the elements that proceeded it.  Just to remind you quickly PRIDE consists of:

At first glance, this should be a relative no brainer, but as we all know it is not. I would say there are two elements at play here; the first is just the act of doing something, anything; second, is doing it in a decisive straightforward and confident fashion.

I am not sure why there is often a softness and reluctance to act, or more accurately “do”. Most know that specific actions have to take place, but do not do them. Beyond the actions discussed in the previous post pertaining to initiating interaction with potential buyer, this goes more to the obvious actions sales people must do in the course of a sale. 

In some ways, it is not a surprise given that we live on a continent where obesity is dealt with not by addressing the underlying issue, over eating and lack of activity; instead, it is dealt with by changing the definition of obesity, lowering standards and setting the threshold to a higher weight.  Is it a surprise that we can’t get people to take action in other important aspects of their life, like career in the case of sales.

As with obesity or fitness, the solution for sales people is clear but not easy, mostly because it involves change, specifically behavioural change, very personal stuff.  In the end, it seems we love the Status Quo as much as our prospects do.

Much like in fitness, there are miracle cures, they offer up the latest and greatest Abs Machine, and the sales enablement industry offers up magic ways to find more prospects and close sales without effort.  However, we all know that momentary improvement realized when adopting one of these things is more the result of actually doing something vs. doing nothing before, rather than any magic to the tool.  Get off the couch after five years and you shed some pounds; take a proactive approach to executing your sales plan and the prospects will react and engage.  I know it sound straight forward, but I also know I see sales people squander opportunity after opportunity because they will not act.

One example is when sales people fail to follow through with prospects, they say things like “they know I am here, if they want it they will call”.  No they won’t, chances are they didn’t call you in the first place, they have others things “to do”, more importantly you have competitors who are calling them, making it easy to act.  If you are not “there”, it is hard to transact.   This is no small thing and not as rare as you are telling yourself it is right now, I know some of you are moving away from the mirror right now. 

I have seen reps work hard to get in front of a prospect, do a good job on Discovery, make a compelling case for their product, earn the right to submit a proposal, and then just sit back, and do nothing but wait.  When you ask where things are, I hear things like “I don’t want to be pushy”, or “I don’t want to bother them.”  While I am not advocating “pushy”, I do advocate following through, if you are in B2B sales, you are not in a “self serve” environment, you need to pursue thing to the end, not the bitter end, but the end of the sales process. 

If you have submitted a proposal, I am assuming you submitted it because you successfully completed a thorough Discovery process; demonstrated the impact vis-à-vis the buyer’s objectives, and the prospect was looking forward to receiving the proposal as much as you were ready to submit it.  Anything short of that you should hold off and finish your work before taking the time to prepare and submit a proposal. 

It should not be a case of “let’s see how many proposals I can get out and how many will stick?”  A proposal should be the culmination of a series of decisive steps taken by both you and the prospect leading to an agreement moving forward.  This will not happen if you are tentative in your approach or actions.  The goal is to stand out by “being present”, not by “being absent”.

You see this type of tentative vs. decisive behaviour and action earlier in the cycle too.  I never understand why sales people say to a potential prospect “I was hoping to get together”, or “I was wondering if we could…”.  I am sure when they picked up the phone they wanted, and were not hoping, and that is what you have to project.  Softness is not your friend, decisive confident action is; would you want to put your trust and faith in someone soft and tentative or someone decisive.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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PRIDE – Part III – Initiative22

When it comes to the “I” in PRIDE, I was torn; I could have just as easily gone with Innovation as Initiative.  In the end, I had to go with Initiative, as it is the more action oriented, and emphasises the need to execute rather than being better or more important than Innovation. Since the first two elements focused more on attitude and mind set, I think it is important to initiate action. As the “I” sits right in the middle of PRIDE, really cannot afford to linger and not act.

To review PRIDE represents:

It serves to remind that once you have a Regiment in place, and take a Proactive stance, you do have to initiate action.  

The great thing about being proactive and using a regiment to keep focused, is the very fact that you can, and as I’ll argue need to be very innovative in the way you initiate and execute your sale.  The reality is that while you are targeting a specific buyer, so is everyone else targeting that same buyer.  When I say everyone, I don’t just limit it to other providers in your segment, but everybody: the phone guy, the coffee guy, copier, software, data, window cleaners, sales trainer, banker, document creation, document destruction, right down to the guy bringing clean mats every other Wednesday.  So unless you show some REAL Initiative, and get REAL Innovative, you’ll be just a face in the crowd, even if you are tall and good looking.  

This is why the grounding and confidence you get from the Regimentation, allows you to focus more on being innovative, taking and seizing Initiative.  Much like in music, you can’t really improvise or be innovative with your playing until you have mastered the basics.  Most people need to become craftsmen before they can become artists.  In today’s competitive environment you need to be an artist when it comes to selling B2B.

Initiative can manifest itself in a number of ways, and for the most part transcend skills.  Here are  a couple of examples.  One is doing what you know has to be done to get the sale, not short cuts, no excuses.  Most sales people know what has to be done, yet they don’t do it.  Some are right that they lack the training, but I see people continue to procrastinate, avoid and rationalize not doing specific things.   Not a lot of things bother me during workshops, but one thing that always catches my ear is “well it is different in our industry, you can’t do that!”  There may be shades of difference, but the fundamentals remain similar for most B2B sales pros.  You need prospects, you need to Engage, you need to complete the Discovery to understand the clients objectives and put yourself in a position to help them, Gain commitment, and then Execute; the EDGE Framework

Another place to show some initiative is to truly focus on the client and their objectives the buyer.  Many people talk to this, but when you hear their approach to Engaging or Discovering where the buyer is really at, you see them fall back into the comfort of pitching as opposed to taking information.  Some confuse being subservient with being service oriented.  But if you consider that the serious buyers, knowledgeable buyers are looking for a knowledgeable resource, a source of advice.  If you rely entirely on product knowledge, you risk the buyer not seeing value in you as an advisor and by extension your product.  So take the initiative to learn not only about the buyer’s broader industry and company situation, but also about the impact of what is going on with downstream customers, and their suppliers.  Sounds straightforward, but not always common.  Even if you are selling simple tools, you project and provide greater credibility if you can talk to other areas of focus for the buyer, no matter how far removed from your brochure.

Initiative can be shown in how you approach a customer, in the ways you are willing to distinguish yourself.  Simple thing, everyone talks about it, few do it, a thank you note after a meeting, I can’t even get some people to send a thank you e-mail.  How about a thank you card for business or referrals.  An agenda, takes a minute to draft, leaves a lifetime impression.  There are plenty more.  Show some initiative in who you choose to engage with; because how and with whom you initiate a sale has a direct impact on the velocity of the sale and the eventual outcome. So take some initiative, go talk to someone up the ladder, beside and below the usual suspects, leave those to the crowd.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

To my Jewish friends and readers, I wish you all a Shana Tova, a healthy and prosperous 5771.

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Win more business with today’s crazy-busy prospects8

Listen up – I know what you are thinking, “Man, day after Labour Day, time to close this year right.”  Forget the Red Bull, reach for something more useful to someone looking to connect with real Decision Makers.

One of the toughest challenges you face right now is dealing with crazy-busy prospects. They rarely answer the phone or respond to your emails. They’d rather stay with the status quo than change. And they’re always getting distracted.

Here’s the deal. When people have too much to do and impossible deadlines, it changes how they make decisions. And, it changes their expectations of you too.

There’s help. My good friend, Jill Konrath, author of the classic “Selling to Big Companies,” just released her new book, “SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers.

I highly recommend it. Jill knows how to capture and keep the attention of hard-to-reach prospects. And, she shows you how to help people make decisions a whole lot faster too.

To learn more about SNAP Selling & to download two chapters, just click here (or copy and paste http://www.SnapSelling.com in you browser.)

If you want to be able to answer the question at the end of all my posts, check out Jill’s book, and put it to work for you.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

*  Disclosure – I make no money for recommending or on the purchases of this book, just your unending gratitude for bringing it to your attention.

P.S. You’ll also be able to download some cool new sales tools from Jill – no strings attached.  Again, click on http://www.SnapSelling.com right away.

Remembering the Labour In Sales – Sales eXchange – 6120

I always have mixed feelings about Labour Day, on the one hand I still get that gloomy back to school feeling I used to get as a kid, (is it me, or was it always cloudy and a bit colder on Labour Day?).  Now as an adult, and a sales person, I look forward to it, as a time when people get back to work, and the harvest season begins.

While many sales people may not see Labour Day as anything more than the last day of summer and less people on vacation, we should remember that there is indeed a lot of labour to be done in good selling.  When you speak to sales people, they don’t see Labour Day as pertaining to them, after all they went in to sales (or ended up in sales) so you won’t have to “labour” for their money.  Successful sales people know that sales involves “some heavy lifting”, as we have discussed before, sale is a blue-collar job.   

When watching successful sales professionals, the one who consistently deliver against all aspects of their plan/goal, this includes the financial goals, the activity plans, and all the visible and intangible elements that help them deliver regardless of the time of year or state of the economy. You realize that they work at being successful; having a great product really, helps, having great marketing and brand helps, a really solid USP goes a long way, but in the end it comes down to the effort the sales person makes in just executing thing.

These are the same sales people who understand that it is certainly true that you get further by working smart than just working hard.  There is still hard work in sales no matter how easy some professionals make it look, and those who spend their energy doing the labour that has to be done go further than those who spend the same effort trying to avoid it or being selective about it.

One commonality among the consistently successful sales people is their attitude towards their goals and plans.  They see them for what they are, the goal is something that must be attained no matter what, and they will labour to do what it takes to attain it.  Part of that is the plan they will need to execute to attain that goal, and that involves doing things in given proportions; it means doing those things they don’t like as mush the activities they do like, again that is the labour involved in sales for them.  The also-rans, those who consistently deliver 70%-85% of goal, merely see their goal as a suggestion; they look at the plan as convenient option as opposed to a must have.

Let’s take prospecting as an example, there are others, but prospecting is really the blue collar part of sales, it is where you need to think and get your hands dirty in the process; which is why a lot of sales people still don’t like it.  Every day you need to look at your inventory of prospects at various states of readiness depending on your sale.  Also driven by your sale is the knowledge of how many prospects and leads you need at each stage in order to have enough to deliver goal, that’s a bit of labour.  It is when you notice you are short at one stage that the blue-collar work begins; you then have to get your “gear and game on”, go into the mine with you pick and find new diamonds in the rough to polish up through your sale process and convert to value for you and the prospect.

While this is where some sales people labour most, and many others avoid, the reality is that all sales people have to labour at some part of the cycle, the question is whether they are willing to work their plan to hit goal; or avoid the labour and come up short.  We all know what we have to do to succeed, the question often is, are you willing to do it?

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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