Month: August 2020

The 80-20 Rule Sales Strategy

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The 80 – 20 Rule and Your Sales Strategy

I found some interesting statistics from about how salespeople spend their time, from getmoredone.com. While I wasn’t surprised by this, I was disappointed to find that we as salespeople actually spend so little time selling because of all the other time-suckers we get caught up in.

How Salespeople Spend Their Time
How Salespeople Spend Their Time

Please allow me summarize for you what they said, and explain how it relates to your sales strategy and sales growth.

As salespeople, we spend 13% of our time on traveling and training. 22% of our time on meetings and admin. 22% on post sales tasks and account management. 10% for planning. And 22% of actual selling time – either face-to-face / over the phone / or virtually on the web.

Where do you fit in with those percentages and that 80-20 rule sales strategy? 

What this means for you is that sales can be predictable.

When you use the 80/20 rule sales strategy, and use the percentages that are accurate for many other salespeople- then you can apply them to your own sales AND accurately predict you sales.

I would even dare to say, if you are not spending at least 22% of your time actually selling, you need to do a little bit of self-evaluation and find out why.

And what are those other things that we are spending 78% of our time on? 

If you are struggling to consistently reach your sales goals, and you are not spending the time on prospecting and selling to be within these percentages and guidelines of the 80-20 rule sales strategy, … you have just identified the main the problem!

Keep reading to learn the solution, and how to be more intentional in with your time and in your selling.

I call it the 80 – 20 rule sales strategy.

In sales, you spend 80% of your time to get 20% of your results.

In other words, you should be spending 80% of your time doing those things that will get you to selling and closing your sales.

Another part of this is the Pareto Principle. I think we have all heard this one before, I just didn’t know it had an “official name”! 

The 80-20 Sales Strategy
The 80 – 20 Sales Strategy

The Pareto Principle

is named after the Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. In the late 1800’s, he discovered that, in Italy, 80% of the wealth was owned by 20% of the people.

The Pareto effect, simply said, according to Wikipedia, is roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes.

This confirms the info I gave you earlier on about how sales people spend their time. 22% of our time is spent on selling.

So what if you could think of a way to decrease some of your other activities? Do you think if you spent 30% of your time on selling, your sales would increase? I bet they would. Show that to your boss! Maybe they will cut back on the sales meetings a bit.

Or, if you’re an entrepreneur, what if you could delegate some tasks and focus more on the selling part? After all, you are the company, and what people are buying. Just some food for thought.

In sales, there are so many examples of the Pareto Principle and the 80-20 Sales Strategy.

 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. Now if this is true for you, be careful. If you  lose a customer, it could be catastrophic!

80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers.

 If you are a sales manager,80% of your business is written by 20% of your sales people.

You can also think about other areas in your life this principle may apply to. Unfortunately, there are things we do not have control of. Like how many sales meetings we have to attend.

What if you became more focused on what you do have control over?

Like the quality of the leads that you actually set up a meeting with, and the things you can do during the day that you know will get you better results? Focusing on what really matters.

While we may not be able to get our work week down to four days a week, or six hours a day, what can you do to be more efficient with your time? Can you batch activities to be more productive and make the most out of that 22% of that time we get, on average, to sell? How can we dedicate more time to find and grow new customers?

Identifying those activities that directly have an impact on your sales.

For example, look carefully at what is on your to-do list today. We all have them, so … What is the one thing on that list that if you did it, it would bring you the greatest results? Is there a proposal you need to get out, an appointment you need to make that you know will lead to a sale?

Let’s say there are 10 things on your list. Take the two you feel would bring you the biggest results for your sales and return of investment on your time. and complete them today – no excuses

 Again, 20%, or two out of 10, of your tasks, will bring you the greatest results. The 80-20 rule sales strategy.

You can even apply it to the interruptions during your day. What or who composes the interruptions that end stop distracting you? Is it one person or situation that keeps happening?

The key here is,

Once you identify the 20% things, your biggest customers, your most profitable tasks, your biggest Interruption causes, then you can take control and use them to your advantage. 

So many of us don’t take the time to evaluate our businesses and what we can do to improve it, but eventually our business runs us, and we wonder why there is not enough time to do all that we need to do and be profitable and grow.

This week, take some time to evaluate the 80/20 and how it applies to your sales strategy. If you need a place to start, focus on the three main things I focus on today.

 1. your top customers

2. your most profitable tasks

3. your biggest interrupters

 and identify what they are. 

Leave a message in the comments below if you have any questions or you’re having trouble identifying the time suckers, and we’ll see what we can do to help you become more productive. 

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How to Stay Motivated In Your Sales

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Staying Motivated In Your Sales

How do you stay motivated, excited, inspired, focused, creative, driven? What makes you jump out of bed every morning without even using an alarm? What keeps you up late at night because you’re so excited about tomorrow?

This energy and excitement is the difference between being average and being exceptional.

Here are some of the things you can do to help you to stay motivated in your sales, even when you don’t feel like selling.

Focus on doing better than what is necessary.

Are you happy with just reaching your quota? Or are you working to reach your bonus, or even your own larger personal goal? Make your own lane.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

When you set your own goals, it will keep you motivated and driven. Even if you don’t hit your inspired goal, you will still be well above average.

Do it for yourself.

Do more than you committed to, which sometimes means doing things that other people refuse to do. And think you’re crazy for doing. Give people more than they expect of you.

Build trust.

The more you show up for yourself, by completing the tasks you’ve commit to, the more motivated you will be to commit to a higher level of activities that will get you closer to your goal.

Be dependable, consistently.

Do the things that no one else will do.

Be consistent in your actions so that you stand out.

Do things that make you stand out, like texting a prospect after you set an appointment with them to confirm the appointment, with permission of course. It’s like putting your business card in their phone – and it makes you memorable. 

98% of the time, the people that text me are people I have allowed into my world. Unlike email, where so much stuff comes in every day I can’t keep track of it. If you really want to get to me, text me, right? Are you like that too?

Do the things that challenge you.

I know that most people, including myself, want to start with the easiest things. But, make the hardest call first. Save the ones you know that will set appointments with you for last. That way you end your calling session on a high point.

Most people do only the easy things. They set their targets low, and then wonder why they can’t accomplish it. Set your targets higher and you will accomplish more.

 I’m sure that you have heard this quote:

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”

Norman Vincent Peale

Yes, that is the actual quote. Check it out for yourself. And sometimes Les Brown gets the credit!

Even if you’re having your toughest month ever, keep pushing to see how high you can go. Having a goal will help you to stay motivated in your sales.

How to Stay Motivated In Sales
How to Stay Motivated in Your Sales

Keep track.

I am a fairly competitive person, I think most of sales people are, even though I don’t like to admit it about myself. It’s important to me to see that I’m making some gain on my goals. So I have a plan, and when I accomplish something, I like to check it off.

 For example, if you need to set three appointments a day, and and you complete or exceed that, physically check it off your list. It will make you feel good to know that you are completing what you need to do to be successful and reach your goals.

 It also gives you a warning if you are not consistently reaching that target of setting three appointments a day.

 You need to find out why you are not hitting your goals. What can you do differently? Are you not spending enough time prospecting? Or maybe not asking the right questions?

 Catch yourself before things get too crazy and you find yourself in the downward spiral.

Having a plan of action and sticking to it will help you stay motivated in your sales.

Challenge yourself.

Push yourself, go watch Instagram Reels for 5 minutes. Laugh and refresh yourself, and then do it … whatever it takes. Keep your eye on the prize and move forward. Even when you don’t feel like it. Because if you only do the things you want or when you feel like it, you’ll probably never do them. 

Invest in your education and your own development.

Do you read books or listen to audiobooks? Whether it’s a book about sales or class about something new?

When things get overwhelming, and sales are just not going the way I want them to, I have to step back and do or listen to something that makes me feel good — that gives me hope and motivation. You eventually have to fill yourself back up in order to give. But we’ve all been trained to just give and give, but it’s okay to be a little selfish here.

What motivates me one day may bore me to tears the next.

That’s okay because everybody has different parts that need to be fulfilled and satisfied at different times. One day you may need laughter, another day it might be spiritual reminders. Another day it could be business learning.

 Even with my busy schedule, I dedicate 2 hours a day 3 times a week to learning time. I try to take just one thing out of that time, and I use it to make what I’m doing better. Either in my podcast, and my Instagram, or with my clients.

Sometimes I feel like all I do is live by a schedule, but I know that successful people do have a goal, a plan and priorities.

If I am not motivated one day, I still have a plan of three things that I want to complete that day. Because it’s a small amount, I can usually get them done. Remember to not compare yourself to others. Maybe your list will have four things, or two, or even one — whatever helps you to move forward every day without feeling overwhelmed.

Am my perfect? Hell know. There are times that I just scrap it all and go have some fun. But my rule is to reschedule those things I didn’t do unless they involve other people, then you just have to do them.

Which leads me to,

If you wouldn’t reschedule for other people because you wouldn’t break the appointment, then why would you reschedule on yourself?

That’s a great question, and I can’t answer it. But as long as you do this as an exception and not a rule, you’ll be okay. As long as you don’t end up overwhelmed and you stay motivated and happy, then what difference does it matter?

 The point here is to invest in yourself. You need to put back in at least as much as you give, and hopefully more, consistently, every week.

Don’t wait until your tank is empty and you feel frustrated and tired and unmotivated. Make sure that what you’re putting in is good solid learning and motivation, because what you put in is what you’re going to get back out.

Create your best self.

Sometimes circumstances unmotivate us. Learn to look at those circumstances as opportunities to grow, and make the best of them.

For example, let’s talk about the “F” word … FAILURE. Take the fear out of failure and know that there are times that you will fail, but understand that you shouldn’t be afraid of failure. Because failure only truly happens when you quit. So don’t quit. Take the fear of trying out of it. Maybe it’s a certain idea or a technique that’s not working for you… Just try a different one.

Your goal is still the same. You might just need a different approach to getting there, which is why learning is so important. Get excited when you have a new technique to try. If you have a failed or lost sale, don’t be afraid of that either. It’s actually an investment in your future and in building your business. It just hasn’t paid off yet. Looking at those unmotivating circumstances in a different way will help you to stay motivated in you sales.

It’s the law of averages.

You have to put in a certain amount of phone calls to get appointments. Unfortunately you’re probably not going to get an appointment with everybody that you talk to (sorry). I find I need to make 50 calls to get three appointments. Maybe it’s a little bit less for you, but you will soon find what your average is.

 You have to get through the no’s to get to the yes’s. If you have 10 people that you meet, four of them are going to say no, or at least not now. You have to get through the no’s and not be afraid of them, because someday those unsold people will be sold people, if you just keep trying.

Staying Motivated in Your Sales
Staying Motivated In Your Sales

Be tenacious.

Keep in touch with them. Let them know that you’re thinking about them and let them know you care.

 Another thing I like to share with people is:

You have to make your own reality.

Don’t listen to other people. I tell people I live in a bubble. I’ve learned what I want and what I will accept because I know what I want my world to look like.

So in reality, everything may not be exactly the way you want it to be, but in your mind, your reality exists, and no one can take that away from you. Some days you just have to work a little harder than others. You have to be patient and tenacious, because the reality of your today is not the reality of your tomorrow. Tomorrow we’ll always be better.

I’m sure you run into people all the time that tell you, “You’re not going to sell this month because it’s July.” “It’s the summer and people are not around so it’s harder to make a sale.” Or, “The economy stinks and the people don’t have money.” Well, I don’t believe that. There are limiting beliefs that people have tried to push on me over the years that I have just chosen not to believe, because I don’t want it to be part of my world.

Sometimes, people will bring you down to make themselves look better. Ultimately, it’s up to you to ignore them, create your own reality, and keep yourself motivated in sales.

You attract what you think – the Law of Attraction is a real thing.

I’m looking for a specific client and a specific item they’re going to buy. It doesn’t make a difference what the economy is. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s raining outside. It doesn’t make a difference if no one’s picking up their phone and talking to you. Just keep going, because it eventually will all come together.

And lastly,

Be energetic.

Even when you don’t feel like it. Challenge yourself, push yourself, go watch Instagram Reels for 5 minutes. Laugh and refresh yourself, and then do it. Whatever It Takes. Keep your eye on the prize and move forward. Even when you don’t feel like it. Because if you only do the things you want when you feel like it, you’ll probably never do it. 

According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. But actually, Albert Einstein never said that, so there’s a reality for you. But it’s still a great quote.

Through my sales career, I have felt this way so many times. I’m just doing the same thing over and over, and not getting the results I expect. I feel like I’m banging my head against the wall making call after call after call and doing sales presentation after sales presentation and not getting anywhere. But because I consistently push myself through a difficult time, I continue to prospect. I do all the right things and eventually, after time I do get the right results. It’s the law of averages.

That’s what I mean by tenacious.

I’m going to keep trying because I know that every year consistently on average I make the same or more, despite the bad month I might be having at the time. And it’s that bad month that really makes you struggle with your motivation and your self-esteem, because it can get pretty low. You just have to find a way to push through.

I have the advantage of years of experience to know that I can make it through, if I keep going.

Over the course of my sales career, there have been some very low times where I found it sooo difficult to stay motivated in my sales career. I have debated quitting more times that I can count.

There was even one time where I wasn’t making enough money to pay for my train ticket into New York City, and I had just about had it. I was taking out money out of my pocket and not earning anything.

Then one day my hard work did pay off. I finally got a new account I had been working on for a long time, and my world turned around. All it took was that one new account.

So stay positive, invest in yourself, invest in your learning, and you’ll make it through. Don’t quit … at least not for more than one night.

Do those things that will keep you motivated in sales – keep growing, keep learning, keep prospecting and networking, keep selling … because that next call might be your best ever. 

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Silence Is Your BFF In Sales

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Silence Is Your BFF To Helping You Close a Sale…

Are you afraid of those seemingly forever, awkward silences that happen when you’re speaking with a potential client? That silence is actually very healthy and should be a part of your sales strategy. Well, meet your new BFF to help you close a sale!

“Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence.”

Leonardo DaVinci

How to use awkward silences in your sales
How to use awkward silences in your sales

There are three different types of silence to help close your sales that incredibly powerful, and you can use them every day. They’re really simple to use, but you do have to practice them and learn how to stop talking … really.  

The first type sales tool silence is listening.

I am a talker, if you haven’t noticed. However, I’ve learned to bite my tongue and listen. Sometimes silence in a room where you’re not alone is very uncomfortable. It used to make me want to fill the silence … now I’ve learned I can sit it out and wait. 

I am sure that, in the beginning of my career, I lost sales because I didn’t know when to stop talking. When I believed that when my prospects were too quiet, AKA AWKWARD SILENCE, that that was my cue to explain more about what I wanted to sell them. I was sooo wrong. And I know I talked myself right out of a few sales.

Think about the people in your life that you consider very wise.

From my experience they usually don’t speak much at all. And when they do, such wisdom pours out of their mouth.

I have found that they don’t speak because they’re actually listening. They’re taking it all in and deciding if it’s worthy of their time to contribute to the conversation. And if they decide it’s important, then they share their wisdom. 

Let’s think about that wise person. Do you also consider them an authority figure? In a sales situation, YOU want to be the authority figure. 

As salespeople, talking is our job. It is important to ask our clients questions so we can learn where they are and what they want. If you ask questions that they find valuable – that’s where they talk. 

You are their guide to keep them on track.

Guide their journey through learning and confirming to themselves what they already know they want. By being that person who listens to them. They will learn to trust you in you, because who doesn’t like someone that listens to them talk about themselves? 

If you ask someone a question and you feel you need more information and they’re either holding back from you or they’re just not talking then, then wait a few seconds after they finish speaking.

It may feel like forever, especially at first. But most likely, your prospect will probably keep on answering the question you asked. Because they, like most people, are very uncomfortable with silence. After listening to them, you, the wise authority figure, will give your solution (your proposal), with their permission, of course.   

Once you give your proposal, allow silence. Listening—silence type number one.  

The second type of silence is active silence.

The definition of active silence is, the strategic use of silence to achieve a result… it can be antagonizingly painful, but do your best to wait after you present your proposal. Wait for your prospect to speak first. 

I know I’ve said this before and so have many others, I am sure. But, he who speaks first looses. It’s not that they’re loosing. Because  they’re going to get the benefits of what you’re offering.  

The point is don’t talk.

Smile at them, nod your head like you’re waiting for them to talk. Maybe even write something down on a piece of paper, and eventually your prospect will talk. They may answer with a question or maybe with a comment. Maybe with an “Okay, let’s do this”. 

Your silence gives them a chance to think.  It forces them to think about your conversation and process the information. Remember your silence is your new sales BFF.

We don’t get a lot of silence these days.  Information is constantly being processed by our brain  in massive quantities,  so much that we never have time to process it. So give your client a chance to process . Active silence—silence type number 2.  

The third type of silence is the dramatic pause.

I didn’t do that right. Let’s try that again. The third type of Silence today is … … the dramatic pause. Use this during your conversation or presentation to grab your customer’s attention. 

It’s about 5 seconds of silence. You can count – 1000, 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004, 1005 – do that in your head, not in front of the customer. Just think about your new sales BFF and remain silent.

What you say next really needs to be pretty valuable, so that you reward the customer for waiting for you to speak.

Use it sparingly, before you say something that you really want them to remember.  

If you use it too much, it looses it’s drama.

Another good time to use the dramatic pause

is if you feel the person you’re speaking with is drifting away; you can use this short dramatic pause. It pulls the person back, it gets their attention with your brief silence, and gets their attention back with you. 

If you are talking so much that you’re loosing someone, it’s also time for some interaction and questions to get them back involved and engage with you, 

Because most people are very uncomfortable with silence, when you become comfortable with silence by learning how, when and where to use it, it provides you with a new sales tool that you can use everyday in your interactions with people.  

You can also use it when someone asks you a difficult, or even a not so difficult question.

It’s okay to wait several seconds before you give your answer. It either gives you a chance to form your answer or gives you a chance to just help keep control of the conversation and keep the conversation moving forward in the direction that you want it to. 

Silence is Your BFF in Sales - Using Awkward Silences to Close the Sale
Silence is a powerful sales tool when you know how to use it.

Let’s review the three types of silence you can use to increase your sales.

Listening, to learn information from and about your prospects. 

Active silence—to allow your client to think.

The Dramatic Pause—to emphasize your point and keep your potential engaged and in control.

Try using one or all of these this week. They do require practice.  and sometimes nerves of steel, but in the end you will find that allowing silence to be your new BFF will increase your sales and get more referrals. Through these silences, people will come to know you as a listener and someone that truly cares for their best interests.  

When you find yourself talking too much in your sales presentations, remember your new sales BFF, silence, and stop talking.

To learn more about other types of non-verbal communication skills to help you close sales, you can watch my YouTube video by clicking here.

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Selling With Intention

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Are you selling with intention?

As a salesperson, our main goal, and our job, is to sell. Most of us work on commission, and don’t get paid unless we sell!

So why do we allow ourselves to get sucked up into so many other things?

Time suckers, I called them. Why not start off the day planning on selling with intention?

Selling with intention.  When you have a specific out in mind and a plan to get there, you will close sales faster and easier.
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I recently read an article by Brian Tracy. He has a theory called his Minutes Theory and it goes like this:

100% of our sales and income are generated by the number of minutes that you spend face-to-face with prospects and customers. If you want to increase the number of sales or the amount of money you make, you must increase the number of minutes that you spend in actual selling activity, face – to – face with prospects who can and will buy from you.

Brian Tracy

So if you double the number of minutes that you spend with customers, you will double your income. Even if you do not improve in any other area of your sales.

That is powerful. To double your income, the only thing we have to do is double our face-to-face time with our prospects!

Sell with intention, and the goal of spending twice as much face-to-face time as you are now.

Can you visualize yourself spending that extra face-to-face time with a prospect, either in an actual or a virtual setting?

It is so easy to get pulled in 10 different directions, getting caught up in all kinds of drama that takes you away from this face-to-face prospect time.

So instead of focusing on the stuff, stop…

Focus on what you want more of.

How would your day look if you spent more time with prospects? How would it make you feel to double your income?

For example, let’s say you normally spend 3 hours a day with prospects that want, need and have the means to buy what you are offering. Now visualize that time with prospects at 6 hours a day. Not meeting people for customer service things, or admin things, but prospects…that need and want what you were offering.

Do you have that picture in your head? How many appointments a day would that mean for you?

Of course, the other situations would still be there, but you need to learn to move them on quickly or give them to someone better equipped to fix the problems fast. And go back to your job, face to face time with prospects.

Let’s get back to the visualization of what your day will now look like. Your new normal of selling with intention.

Visualize the outcome of each face-to-face meeting ending in a sell with a signed contract.

Visualize your prospects signing the contract. Be intentional about what you want to happen.

I have so many limiting beliefs in my head that I have been told over the years.

For example, have three appointments a day, one won’t show, one will buy, and the other will.

It’s almost gotten where I am to the point where I accept that one out of every two people will not buy, and that “truth” has become acceptable to me.

I’ve also heard this, and maybe you have, too. Every sales meeting with the prospect should either move you closer to a sale or be a sale. So in my mind, I have this limiting belief that just moving closer to a sale is okay. I’m not saying that some sales won’t take time, but what if you visualize and expected every sale to close – right there, that day?

What if I visualized only one option for the sale? That every prospect and sales presentation would turn into a sale, the first time I met them.

You may not all agree with me, and that’s fine. But sometimes, in order to get things to change, you have to look at them in a different way.

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.

Wayne Dyer

How would the way you sell change if you visualize the sale before you even had the appointment?

I tend to visualize future events, but what if I visualize the sale now, today.

Instead of just sharing features and benefits of my product or service is, I would share my passion in my belief about what I am selling,

and help my potential client to feel the passion and excitement. What if you create a raised energy level and engagement level with each prospect?

Play to win, be intentional and what you expect , and stop chasing when there is no want, or need, or money.

Be intentional with your words and energy in creating a customer experience that engages and excites them.
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Be intentional with who you set appointments with. Be intentional in your visualization of your expectations of the meeting. Be intentional with your words and energy in creating a customer experience that engages and excites them.

No matter what you’re selling, be sure you sell with intention.

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The Top Ten Sales Skills Every Salesperson Should Know

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The Top Sales Skills Every Salesperson Should Know, IMO

I’ve never done a top 10 list of sales skills before, so I thought it might be kind of interesting to put a list together for you. I actually came up with 25 of the top sales skills that every salesperson should know, IMO.

You can write down your list of the top 10 things that you think every salesperson should know, compare it with mine, and let me know in the comments below if you feel I missed any!

I’ve also included a link to each of the Sales Made Simple Podcast episodes that go with the skill, if you would like to learn more about each skill.

To get the complete list of the twenty-five sales skills every salesperson needs to know, IMO, please go to the form at the bottom of the blog and request your top 25 checklist.

The Top Ten Things That Every Salesperson Should Know
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Is knowing these top sales skills important?

It is, because if you can master these skills, you will succeed in a long-term sales career.

1. Be adaptable.

And able to improvise and be flexible. As salespeople, our schedules and situations can change very quickly, and we need to be able to adapt. Whether it’s a client that decides they need to see you today, or a sales presentation that you thought would be an easy sale that turns into something a bit more complicated, or objections that you just weren’t prepared for.

This is where the improvisation comes in – being able to quickly pivot to provide an answer for a question you weren’t expecting. The better you are at this, and the more flexible you will be, and the better you will be able to adapt to meet your prospect’s needs. Episode 57.

2. Know how to manage your time.

How long do you need to allow between appointments? How many appointments can you run in a day? Do you have prospecting time scheduled every day, and how much time do you need to prospect to keep your pipeline? Episode 47.

3. Understand active listening.

The art of really listening to someone to understand them better. I’m also going to add in knowing the right questions to ask a prospect to make sure that what you were listening to will ultimately help you to help your prospects to make a buying decision. Episode 20.

4. Understand how to control your attitude, enthusiasm, and empathy.

No one wants to meet with a grumpy salesperson that is unhappy, in a bad mood, not interested in what they are offering, and uncaring about the prospect.

Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Be the person that you would want to meet with if the situation were flipped, and you were the buyer instead of the seller. Empathy goes a long way to help you serve your prospect in the best way possible. Episode 28.

5. Know how to ask for help.

It could be because you don’t know an answer to one of your prospects’ questions. Maybe you just can’t create the personal connection that you need to form. Or maybe your prospect just needs a nudge from someone else to say “That’s the best decision!”

It’s okay to call in a co-worker or on occasion, or even your manager. Lose your ego and gain the sale. Episode 66.

6. Understand sales psychology.

Like why someone will buy what they buy, body language, and buying signals. Learn how to engage your prospects, and discover what they are really saying to you with their nonverbal communication. Episode 19.

7. Possess great verbal communication skills.

This includes phone skills, which are super important to a salesperson.

Be clear when you speak, be focused on your words, and guide your prospects through the buying cycle. Find out where they are, what they know, and clearly help them. If you are jumbled, confusing and jumping randomly from one topic to another, you will confuse your prospects, and a confused prospect doesn’t buy. Episode 33. 

8. Be prepared.

Have you done the research about your prospects before you meet or call? Do you understand the technology you need to write and a proposal or contract? Do you have all the tools you need organized before your presentation? Episode 9.

9. Be able to establish trust and be the authority.

Don’t leave your prospect guessing what they do need to do next, and don’t let your prospect lead without what they came in for – to speak with an authority that will help them achieve their goals today. Episode 68.

10. Be honest with your prospects.

Do you sometimes make up things and tell prospects that you can do something that you may not be able to do?

For example, sometimes my clients may come to me with an unrealistic time frame for what they want. Sure, I could lie, say ,”No problem”, get the sale, and deal with their anger and disappointment when what they want doesn’t come in on time, but I choose to let them know right up front the correct time frame.

And I’ll say, “Hey, I can lie to you now, and have you angry later, or I can tell you the truth now, so at least you will know what to really expect”. They may be disappointed, but they appreciate my honesty.

I don’t think I have an episode on honesty – that’s something you can’t teach, it’s just the choice you need to make, and hopefully a theme that you will see throughout this blog series.

When I put this together, I actually came up with 25 sales skills that every salesperson should know to be successful. If you would like the checklist of the 25 things, you can get it below.

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The Forgetting Curve

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The Forgetting Curve Theory

Do you ever let your customers try to do your job for you?

How long have you been doing your job? You have probably have been there for at least 6 months. Getting product training, learning how to write a contract, learning all about your company, right?

Some of you may even have years of experience with the same company… You could probably even teach the company training program.

Yet, when you meet with a prospect, and they are not the actual decision-maker, you go on to share with that person all of the benefits of your products and services, and how it can help their company.

You may even spend 30 to 40 minutes with that person. Only to send them on their way to share what you just shared with them, with the decision maker.

And yes, they are doing your job.

Selling your company to their company – and, it’s not their job.

You are expecting, or hoping, that someone can take all of the information you just gave them and effectively present it.

Meanwhile…

You are the one with the sales skills and the experience.

You are the one that can answer objections, and maybe even address them before your prospect raises them.

You have the experience, the training and the knowledge.

But you are asking your prospect to take the information that you give them, in just 45 minutes, and do your job. Asking them to explain all of the value and benefits, and do the job of selling for you.

That would be like your company asking you on the first day of your new job, to meet with a prospect and make a sale.

That sounds crazy, right? But we do it all the time.

Whether the decision maker is someone else in the company, or a spouse or child, if all the decision-makers are not in the room, your chances of making the sale through this third-party are significantly reduced compared to if you were making the presentation.

And today I’m going to share with you the reason why this is a true…

The Forgetting Curve.

It’s a real thing! And it was discovered by the same person that discovered the learning curve, Herman Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist around 1885.

The Forgetting Curve is the steady decline in the retention rate when you are not being continually exposed to the information.

Ebbinghaus says that in the forgetting curve – while you are learning something, you have 100% retention. 20 minutes later, you only remember 58% of what you just learned 20 minutes ago.

After 1 hour it’s down to 44%. After nine hours, it’s down to 36%. After 24 hours it’s down to 34%. After 6 days it’s down to 25%. And after a month, it’s only 21%!

From a salesperson’s perspective this affects us in two ways.

The Forgetting Curve in the steady decline in your retention rate when you are not being continually exposed to the information.

1- Our own training and learning.

According to the chart, 60% of the information we learn is lost within one day after we are trained. And 80% within 30 days. How do we ever even remember anything?

The best way to reinforce our learning is by doing and putting it into action.

Because the more you do something, the more likely you will be to remember it in the future.

Another way to improve attention is to

Break down the learning into even smaller parts.

and work on each smaller activity during the week until it’s completed.

Take into consideration how we learn –

The more senses that we can engage why we are learning, the more likely we are to retain the information.

So if you are listening to a class and writing notes, two senses are involved. Throw in a visual slide presentation – that’s three senses. And video is known to improve retention, too.

On top of taking notes, I need to go through later on and highlight the important things. I am then much more likely to remember those things. So don’t just take notes, go back and review them within 24 hours and you will retain more of it.

And when you’re learning under a stressful circumstance, forget it! Because stress will lower retention even more.

So, the first way this forgetting curve affects you as a salesperson is your own personal learning. Can you guess what the second one is? Let’s think for a minute …

2- Your prospects and customers are not immune.

You can see that when you are asking a prospect to do your job for you, to present your product or service to the decision maker, even just one day after your meeting, they have lost about 70% of what you shared with them the day before.

In a perfect world, we would be allowed or invited to directly share our expertise with the decision maker. Try to always ask if this is possible.

But we all know that we do not live in a perfect sales world. As sales people, we have to learn to adapt. You can help your prospects retain the information we need for them to retain so that they can present our information effectively.

Help your customers remember more of your conversation

Here are some ways that you can help them:

1 – Write it down for them. Even better, give them a worksheet where is she can take their own notes on. Maybe you can create an outline where they can add in their own notes. 

2 – Send reminder emails one time a day to review and bring yourself, and your information back to the forefront of their mind.

3 – Mix in a reminder phone call. “I’m calling because you told me how important this is to your company.”

 One more thing before I go, the more you revisit what you’ve learned, the more it you will remember it. So if you learn something on Tuesday, and look your notes over two times in the next week, you remember about 80% of what you learned instead of 20%.

If you go over your notes three times, you’ll remember 90% of what you’ve learned … even a month after you learned it.

This next part is for your kids, or you, if you’re taking classes. The more you review your notes, the less you will have to study before a test. You will retain more for longer, compared to cramming and trying to learn or relearn material right before a test.

So make you life easier. Teach your prospects, and your kids, good retention skills early on. 

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Eliminate Friction Points In Your Sales

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Friction Points –

Those things in your sales process that create confusion or resistance, and slow down or even stop your sales process. Eliminating the friction points in your sales will increase your sales and your customer’s satisfaction rate.

Sales friction points can happen in many places. It might be a lack of focusing on the prospect or customer, or missing a step in your sales strategy. It can be glitchy technology, or a lack of training or preparation and how to use them.

The perfect sales process should run smoothly. It should have a clear starting point, guide your prospect with what to do next. And ultimately … how to get a prospect what they want and close the sale. Sometimes easier said than done.

Eliminate Friction Points In Your Sales

The first thing you can do to reduce friction points

is to identify the things that are causing the friction, or the slow downs.

Do you understand how to use the technology available to you?

Do you know how to identify the prospect’s needs?

Do you understand the all of the steps of the sales process? From lead generation to the signing of a contract and collecting the money?

Or are the sources of resistance coming from the prospect being fearful or unsure of the decision they should make?

Not only can sales friction stop your prospect from completing the sale, it can stop them from wanting to buy from you – ever!

I’m sure we have all been at the customer – end of the sales friction. Where you have an experience so bad that you will never go back again. It could have been a rude sales clerk, or terrible restaurant experience.

Look at your sales process from your prospect’s point of view.

What can you do to make their experience better? Are there certain parts of your sales process that you can repeatedly see frustrate your prospect or customer? What can you do to fix them?

Think like your customer – what would you need from yourself to buy your product or service? Provide the support and guidance your prospect needs to get the results they want.

Some “little” things that can make a big difference –

Are you easily reachable?

Do you return your phone calls, emails or texts quickly?

Do you get back to people with answers for questions?

As salespeople, we may not have control over every situation. but there are many things we do have control over. By doing the little things, you are showing your prospects and customers that they matter to you and that you care.

Take a look at everything you do in the selling process.

From the very beginning to the very end, look for ways you can improve the customer experience and make it easier for them. Right down to your payment process.

Eliminate the barriers and sales friction points that would stop or slow down the sales process and stop the consumer from reaching their goals.

Because every prospect is different and has different needs, it’s important to take the time to learn about each individual or company. Discover their specific needs and wants, and then tailor your products or services for them.

Sometimes people have done their homework and know exactly what they want, and sometimes they need a little more help.

Find out where they are, and help them from that point. Too many customers have gotten frustrated when a salesperson makes them go through an entire sales presentation, when all they want to do is pay and leave.

Meet them where they are and make it as easy as possible. Show them the path to a successful outcome. And lastly, get their acceptance on each step for each part of the agreement. These mini – closes help both parties, while providing clear feedback along the way.

When you get to the part about the money, give them the quote.

Make sure you have the ability to accurately give them the right amount. Going back and adjusting your proposal to reflect something you “left out” is an instant trust – killer. So get it right the first time. Get your prospects input on each item, with a “yay” or “nay”. Review everything with them before you give them the quote. This enables you to get it right the first time.

Can you think of anything that you hear repeatedly from your prospects that you can do to improve their experience, reduce the friction points, and make it easier for them to get what they want?

Identify and eliminate sources of sales friction before they happen

When you can identify and eliminate these sources of sales friction before they happen,

the customer will get what they want and need faster,

they will be more satisfied, more likely to come back again, and

they are more likely to refer other people to you.

Because you know people are more likely to give you referrals when they are happy with the results. AND of course, the amazing experience you have provided for them.

Make a list this week of the things that you can do to eliminate the friction points in your sales process. That’s your homework for the week, and a way for you to improve your sales.

Look at it from your prospect’s point of view – how would you feel if you were your own customer? Would you buy from you or give up before the sale and why?

Leave your answers in the comments below about what you can do to eliminate the friction points in your sales process.

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6 Steps to Writing Effective Sales Emails

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Have you been using email more than ever lately? Are they working for you? Today I’m going to share with you the six steps to writing effective sales prospecting emails that will get opened at a higher rate than what you are probably seeing now.

Why is this important? For one, if you’ve been following me lately, I’ve been saying to contact everyone in your lead bank, anyone that has ever done business with you or your company.

And if you’re like me, I’m ready for some new opportunities.

Are you looking for more sales opportunities?

Opportunities to serve your clients and customers and opportunities to meet new people? Lately, I have found myself relying on more and more email, and even snail mail. So I wanted to review Email 101 for Salespeople Writing Effective Sales Emails, because I think it is something that we can all do today to improve our sales.

6 easy step to writing effective sales emails

Which emails are you most likely to open?

Do you open emails because you know who they’re from? Or maybe because the subject line sounds interesting?

As you go through your emails this week, pay attention to the emails you are opening and the reason you are opening them, because your clients and prospects will open emails from you for the same reason.

Do you know what your email open rate is?

If your company provides a CRM, like Salesforce, or another software to manage your leads, see if you can send an email directly from that program, and use it. Track who is opening your email. The people opening your emails are probably the people most interested in what you have to say, and sell.

When you start tracking your open ratios, you will also begin to see other trends, like the best day or time to send emails, and the best subject lines.

Create interesting subject lines.

Make your customers and prospects want to open and read your emails. I find the best email subject lines are questions.

I think that as you look at the emails you open this week, you will agree that the reason you open them is because the email subject line is something you’re interested in, or it intrigues you. Do the same thing with the emails you send.

Okay, so now you’ve gotten someone to open your emails. What’s next?

Every email you sent should be intentional.

Your email should contain one call to action. Like “call me for more information”, “hit reply and let me know what you think”, or “watch this video I have (or your company has) put together”.

If you ask your prospect to do too much, they will do nothing. So keep it short, keep it simple, one call to action.

Think before you write.

What do you want to achieve with your email? What is your goal?

Think about it, at what point do you lose interest in an email? What makes you click for more information or hit that reply button?

Just like if you give your prospects too much to do they will do nothing, if you give them nothing to do they will do nothing.

Write your emails in a way that the recipient will relate to.

One size does not fit all. Are you using a friendly font or an old fashioned font? Is your style of writing more formal or more conversational? Choose your format to reflect the prospect’s style.

The first two lines of your email are the most important in determining if your prospect will continue reading it or not, and how effective your sales email will be. Remember, be purposeful and intentional, while being friendly.

 if you can give a personal compliment in your first two lines – who isn’t going to continue reading, right? It’s “What’s in it for me?”, and “Hey, I like this person, so I’ll read more!”

Stand out from the crowd, and all the other emails your prospect gets every day. You want to connect with your prospect in the first two lines.

Researching your prospect a bit before writing that email is time time well-spent.

From there we are going back to the main goal of your email.

Share a little bit about who you are to gain credibility and trust.

Don’t write a bio here, explain the problem you are trying to help them solve – in one sentence. Remember your elevator speech. Explain the benefits, or what’s in it for them. Then your call to action, which is why you are contacting them in the first place.

Be very clear about exactly what you want them to do, without being too difficult.

Let’s review.

1. Your email should be about three paragraphs long, with no more than two sentences in each paragraph.

2. You’re amazing subject line to get them to open their email. Forgo the dear mister and missus and just use their first name with a “Hi” or a “Hey”.

3. Two quick sentences about who you are and why you were contacting them, using your research about them and / or their company. And “Hi, my name is _____ ” doesn’t cut it. Be a little creative.

4. The benefits or reasons you want them to take action. Using bullet points for these two or three sentences will break up your email or make it more readable.

5. Your simple call to action. Make it as easy as possible for the person you are emailing to take action. Like “hit reply”, or “click the link”. You can even set up a simple, and free online calendar, like Calendly, where they can click a link and schedule an appointment or a phone call with you with one quick click. Make it simple.

6. Your signature. This should be memorable and even interactive. Below your name you can put in a link to a relevant video you or your company has put together, or even that clickable link to your calendar again, if that’s what your goal is.

One last tip, check your spelling before you send your email !!

The old, boring ways of email are exactly that, old and boring. 

It takes a bit more work, and even research, but I know that when you take these additional steps to improving your emails by writing a more effective, intentional sales email, your open rates and response rates and ultimately your sales will improve. 

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