Compounding Your Sales Successes40

One of the greatest things invented by the financial service industry was “Compound Interest“.  Save for the fact that no one is paying much interest on money these days, the reality of Compound Interest still holds and delivers added gain regardless of how low of high rates are.  I was watching a teacher explain the concept to a grade 5 class, and he brought it down to “a little to start, a little from here, a little from there, and over time you end up with more than straight interest”.

As you assess your plan for sales success in 2013, you can take advantage of “Compounding” to achieve greater success. Rather than resolving to do new things in new ways in 2013, why not resolve to improve a little here and a little there with things you already do or need to do; but do it in a way that ends up being greater than the individual gains on your efforts.

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What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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The Binary Sales Syndrome – Sales eXchange 16087

I have written about my friend who owns a gym, and his love of January, the month where everyone makes resolutions, a high number of which include “getting in shape”.  They sign up for a year, they give up in month; retailers make their year in January, gyms in January. 

He also tells me about people’s approach to the whole physical training thing, which in great measure the reason for them giving up and their ultimate failure.  They go from doing nothing for years, not even minimal walking or cycling, straight to “Green Beret meets Navy Seal” program, or any of the infomercial touted programs that promise to give you a whole new you in 90 days.  And the fact is that they do given two things, you were in some shape to begin with, a shape other than a potato on a lounge chair; second is that you do it the way you are told to do it.  According to my friend most who give up fail on both counts, they go from doing nothing for years to fool blown Insanity.  Others, decide to mess with the formula, and do things their way, still expecting the results they see on TV.

Having dealt with the second issue a couple of weeks back in a piece called Why So Picky?   Let’s look at the former, the feast and famine phenomenon, people either doing (or not doing) the same thing year in and year out, to sudden turbulent change.

I recently met a rep Jill, again a “70 percenter”, in her territory for years, but she was different than most reps in one respect, she loves to read sales books.  Unlike most reps who refuse to read a book even when they get one free.  I remember reading a frightening stat that stated that only one in ten full time sales reps read a sales book in a given year.   Jill’s problem is that she reads a book, puts a few things into action, and unlike the cup-of-soup she has for lunch, there is no instant result in minutes.  So she logs on to her favourite e-retailer and downloads the next audio or e-book, touting the latest and till now the most insane approach to B2B selling.  She consumes it with force, and puts some recommendations into action, and gives it till the end of the day to see results. 

BTW, her sales cycle is about 90 days, I always tell sellers that any change in results when trying a new (hopefully proven technique) should be minimum a cycle and a half after putting things into practice Properly.  So while I commend Jill for striving to learn and improve, she suffers from the same issue my friend’s gym clients do, they expect instant miracles from incomplete efforts.  Assuming they don’t change the formula or recipe, they need to give it proper time to take effect. 

What’s worse for Jill is that in hoping from one technique to another, she is limiting her success because she not spending enough time really engaging and selling to specific buyers, but instead experimenting with her most crucial resource, prospects.

The binary approach does not work for B2B sellers.  While doing or changing nothing, Ø, is clearly not a good approach; implementing massive change and expecting instantaneous results is as ineffective.  There is a third option, not available in a binary environment, allowing you to avoid the negative side of the syndrome.  Decide which methodology or practices really address your sales situations, yes read a number of things that apply.  Then develop a plan that allows you to implement them, making sure you can logically assimilate them without negatively disrupting current opportunities.  Measure and adjust so you can perfect the technique.  It’s not black or white, you can make money in the grey.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Removing The Barrier From Sales – Sales eXchange – 10740

A couple of weeks ago I was presenting at an Apple expo here in Toronto, there were two tracks, one for the public, the other for Apple resellers, my crowd.  in addition to presentations there were a number of vendors.  One had a really neat utensil that caught my interest, I wanted to buy it and asked which plastic cards he accepted, he told me none.  I had rushed that morning and only had a few dollars, and my luck, there was no ATM around.  I asked if I can order the thing on his site, no.  All around the other vendors all were accepting credit cards, bit my man!

It didn’t take long for me to lose interest and move on.  Diving home it struck me that this fellow an unnecessary but real barrier to successfully selling, going to an expo with thousands of attendees, and completely limit the means of buyers to buy does not seem savvy.  Long drive, I started thinking further as to how many B2B sales people and sales organization also make it unnecessarily difficult to buy from them.

Sometimes these are simple things like talking when they should be listening, closing with every other sentence, asking silly questions like “what keeps you up at night, or not reading at least one sales book in a given year.

But perhaps the biggest barrier is one they impose on themselves by not making their sales career an ongoing learning experience.  Many get into a routine, one that perhaps delivered some level of success for some time, and they stick with it, no matter what is going on in their world.  Some only want to look at their successes and ignore those things that did not go their way, fooling themselves by only looking at those things are familiar and ignoring the real opportunities to learn what went wrong, and what they could do differently  next time out.

Yes it takes work; sure it’s not always pretty, and often exposes weaknesses we don’t want to face.  On the other hand, if you just look at what works, you will just continue to build walls rather than breaking them down and grow your skills and opportunities.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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18 Steps To Improving Your Sales – Sales eXchange – 10549

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I don’t play golf often, it is really not a game that likes me, just look here.  But a couple of weeks ago I did participate in a tournament, and due to the nature of things a bunch of sales types were playing as well.  My friend was involved in organizing things, so we arrived well in advance of the others, so I got to see things unfold at a leisurely pace.

As the sales types showed, some of whom I have worked with, it was interesting to observe their actions.  After the obligatory niceties, most picked up either a putter and headed to the putting green, or a driver and made their way to the driving range.

I made my way down to the driving range and watched as there sales people not only practiced in earnest, but sought out advice and input from other participants, and then immediately put that advice into practice.  While at times it did not go well the first time, they kept at it, and most didn’t let their frustration get the best of them.

Now this was a meaningless tournament, sure there was a cause of some sort, there were be strategic foursomes leading to potential business, but in the end it was meant to be and turned out to be an afternoon of fun.

Yet many of the sales reps put more practice and preparation into their game that afternoon, than they do into practicing and preparing for selling, which for most represented their livelihood.  It struck me odd that many pay for lessons from a pro, while they squander and dismiss learning opportunities given them by their companies in the form of sales training.

The 30 to 45 minutes of prep and practice before the round that afternoon was more than many would do for a week’s or a month’s worth of selling.

Clearly they are not lazy, so what is it?

As I try to figure it out, I think it does open a new business opportunity.  “18 Steps To Improving Your Sales”.   The idea being that for a slightly higher price than the current price, we deliver sales training on the course during the round.  There is always that foursome ahead of you have to wait for, there is the banter between players, well why not include a sales lesson on each whole, tie it to their game and presto: outdoor learning, better revenue, and not only should my game improve, but more importantly, their sales will.  Call me to sign up!

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

80/20 – Part IV – Your Continuous Development13

Book shelf

“What was the last book you read?”

When I was hiring sales people in the corporate world, I always asked the candidate three related questions. The goal was to see the character behind the facade, and as an indicator as to whether the person in question was likely to be in the 80% or the 20% group. The questions were:

First Question:

“What was the last sales book you read?”

This would eliminate about half the candidates as they would fidget and straighten themselves uncomfortably trying to come up with a name, before finally admitting that they had either not read one at all, or it has been a long time since they thumbed through Tom Hopkins classic How To Master The Art Of Selling.

Question two:

“Why that one?”

Straight forward, allowed me know if it was part of their routine to focus on self development or it was an anomaly. A lot people ask candidates about self development and they get the standard blurb, I wanted to see it in action. This usually pruned another 20% or so of the heard.

Last question:

“What did you learn from it?”

They were able to impress me with almost anything here, especially if I hadn’t read the book. Of course the ones that said “nothing, I knew most of it already”, went no further.

To this day it strikes me odd that so few sales people actually read sales books regularly. In fact how few embark on a program continuous of self development. Sure there are those that are required to accumulate continuous education credits to maintain their licence. Real estate, insurance, financial advisors, but even these are not all sales courses, many are just product related courses provided by vendors, thinly disguised product pitches. What’s even funnier is when they refer to sales training as soft skills, ha, don’t these people realize sales is a contact sport!

Even in those instances where a book does not present anything new, it still is a positive experience to read it. Last year I was invited to attend a Brian Tracy presentation. When I came back my wife asked me if I had learned anything new. I said no not new, but I remembered a whole bunch of things I stopped doing that I should start doing again. So I did and it made a difference.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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