New to the sales game and want to kill it? Looking to redefine what you already do so you can achieve better results, but don’t know where to start?
Not to worry, we can have you in top shape in no time, the Modern way. These five essential skills will absolutely set you apart from the crowd, be it in your real estate territory or your corporate office, and launch you towards your most ambitious goals and beyond.
Depending on your specific sales position, you may have complete freedom over your time. Real estate sales, corporate, finance. Often people in these positions are given carte-blanche when it comes to managing their time, as long as they manage their results. The only problem is, often when it comes to that meeting with your director or manager, all the hours at your desk and phone seem to have gone *poof* up in smoke and you have little to show for it. This is not only bad news for your goals and hopeful bonus, but also bad news for your career prospects. So what do the most effective modern salespeople do?
Schedule and block your time and follow it religiously – no cheating.
Now, I’m not saying you need to schedule dinner with your wife or a walk with your dog at the end of the day. You can, if it works for you – but what you truly need to do is schedule and block your 8-12 hour work day.
I will address time management in greater depth in a future post as this is a hugely important concept, but for now, focus on blocking out your time and following it to the letter so none goes to waste. Use the calendar function in your email client, or even an old-fashioned datebook if you must. Schedule, schedule, schedule.
Ever looked at the clock and noticed it dragging during that little bit of time after lunch? Is this the time when your efforts seem to slacken and your productivity tends to drop? It’s so common for people doing any kind of work to start with the easiest things to do, and save their high-level, biggest tasks for the end when they are “ready and warmed up.” The thing is, most people waste their best time on their lowest value objectives. If you work in sales, and your bonus and standing is dependent on the amount of sales you generate, then you must do what matters most first.
Go after your highest value, highest return prospects and clients FIRST
This should go without saying, but do not ignore anything urgent and important to stick to the above principle. If the office is on fire, you should leave. If you have a medical appointment, go. But do not push your most important dollar-generating tasks to after lunch, after that weekly meeting, or after you’ve had a few warm-up calls. Start with your best prospects and work your way down. You should schedule your prospecting time for when you are at your best – for me, its 9AM – 11AM. I answer no emails, go to no meetings, and celebrate no office birthdays during this time (Sorry, Karen). Assign your most productive time to your most productive selling activity and clients first.
Now, in sales, we deal with so many different people and we tend to cast a very wide net when prospecting and filter down from there to find our prime opportunities. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you’ve heard, not every opportunity turns into a sale. In fact, the vast majority do not. This is why I love to hear the word “No” from prospects. A firm ‘no’ tells you to move on to the next opportunity – which could actually be an opportunity rather than a time sink. So often salespeople beat a dead horse and spend crucial time on “potential clients” who are only stringing them along to be polite or with no real intent to buy.
Avoid time-sinks, tire-kickers, and lollygaggers so you don’t miss TRUE buyers.
You should never rebuff a potential (future) client, but make it clear that when they are ready to buy, or know someone who is, that is the best time to talk. Ciao! Realize that NO is a good thing so you can move on.
This ties in to #1 and #2 in some very key ways. If you work in a corporate setting, you are likely bombarded again and again with assorted training, refreshers, health & safety, birthdays, excessive team meetings, etc. Almost daily it can seem like you have an entire host of other duties beyond the true duty you are there to perform – you are there to sell so you can achieve your personal goals. These may be the same goals of the organization you work with, but your goal is still the same.
Now, I am not saying that health, safety and birthdays do not matter. Of course they do. And from time to time, we must work on our skills when it comes to product knowledge and key organizational changes. You absolutely should not become the office pariah or stereotypical jerk. What I am saying however, is that you must understand when you are becoming part of someone else’s goal and how that hurts you trying to achieve your goals.
Both you and your coworkers must understand that your time is highly important. Departments like HR and even your executive management teams have their own goals for engagement and training. People in your department may ask for your assistance with something again and again, simply because you are the “printer guy.” You must understand that time is the most valuable resource towards achieving any goal, and people want to use yours towards their own goals. Ensure your time is respected and put to work for you first.
There are some people who approach life in a very lackadaisical manner, wispily jaunting from job to job and task to task. People who miss buttons on their shirt, people who sleep through their alarm and always manage to be late for just about everything. Bless these people. But they always seem to get the short end of the stick, and end up asking themselves, “why?” Why did I miss out on X or Y or not get things to go exactly the way I was hoping them to? If you approach life this way, you should not be reading this blog and should likely pursue a career in freelance flower-picking.
Working in sales means choosing to work with intention, focus, and drive. You are responsible for the success of your company or the number of homes you sell, and that directly correlates to the bottom line of your household income. Contrary to some people, things do not just sell themselves. Wandering like a zombie through your daily interactions will rot your brain and drain your energy, in addition to making you feel as if you’re getting nothing done.
You must have drive so you can go out with teeth gnashing and locate opportunities where there was once thought none. Do this every single day. You must have focus, because you are, in effect, the master of your own destiny (career-wise, at least). No one can make you focus but yourself.
If you meander from task to task, lead to lead, and interaction to interaction, you will waste your valuable time and opportunity.
The Modern Salesperson will always Play to Win. This means putting your best foot forward every time. It means wearing your Sunday suit 7 days a week. This means coming prepared, staying thirsty, and performing your best so everyone benefits.