When it comes to being a top salesperson, your fitness is something that you should seriously consider. Your fitness will help you drive through difficult times and do the work that is required.
A lot of people will say that they are fit; however there are two parts to the fitness equation. That is ‘mental’ and ‘physical’. Here is why that is the case:
- You need to have a good mind and focus on the things that need to be done. Attention to detail and creativity are all needed.
- When you strive for more sales, you rise earlier, you work later, and you do the things that other people overlook.
In any industry you will find opportunity to get more clients and better sales. It all comes down to what you do and what you think. Your fitness will underpin both of those things.
It is an interesting fact that many salespeople are quite ‘random’ when it comes to getting the job done. The comfort zone is a dangerous place for a salesperson or sales team.
When you look at the average working day, you will have peaks and troughs of performance. It is a fact that the principles of the ‘circadian cycle’ apply in what we do and hence will impact our workplace. The cycle says that you have about 5 hours each day where you are working at best efficiency; but they are not continuous hours. They are split in about 3 and 2 hour time windows.
The first time window extends from about 7 am to 11 am, and the second time window extends from 3 pm to 5 pm. Outside those windows of time, things are quite ordinary from a personal performance perspective. It is in these low periods where you rest your mind and charge your mind for the next endeavour.
Given all of this it is a known fact that you can extend the circadian ‘windows’ or make them ‘stronger’ by exercise. If you exercise in the morning before work you prepare the body for better action and momentum in your ‘circadian cycle’. You then get more done and you have better outcomes.
So I go back to the point of all this; if you are a salesperson, take a serious look at how you can improve your fitness. Build a routine into your working day where you can do the exercise and prepare the mind and the body for better quality work and focus. If you are a salesperson that works on commission or similar reward system, this fact is essential for your income.
When you start work as a professional salesperson you will soon know that your income is driven from your success rate. Over time the success rate must be established and driven. There is no room for salespeople that cannot sell. It can also be said that salespeople that are constantly struggling are of little use to a business.
In the average business today, the sales team is at the front line of building market share and customer satisfaction. Without those two things working well, the business fails to survive and those employed in the business will lose their jobs.
So everything hinges on the salesperson and the team in getting their act together and bringing the business some solid results. There is a simple process to producing the new business and the market share that you need. Every part of the simple process has to be optimised and practiced. When you understand the elements of this you can soon see the things that are critical to building your business.
Selling anything is a simple process of communication. That is communication in stages. Here are those stages:
- Researching the right people to talk to. When you get the research correct, every other stage of the process is quite easy.
- Prospecting in a consistent way so that you can find more customers and clients that need your services. Prospecting has to occur every day.
- Qualifying those clients and customers so you know the value that they can bring you and just how you could service them.
- Creating meetings should be a daily event. From your prospecting model you should be generating one or two new meetings per week.
- Categorising the customers into groups such as Key Accounts, Ordinary Accounts, and Basic Accounts. Each level will receive differing levels of attention and service. Key accounts are of the highest value to you over the long term.
- Presenting your services is something quite special. Your presentational style and sales pitch should be of high quality and relevant to the customers that you approach.
- Handling objections is a special process. There will always be some objections and you have to be ready for the common ones.
- Closing the order should not be hard if you have done everything else correctly. Be prepared to close at the right time and in the right way.
- Servicing the customer through the order and to final supply is really important. You want the client to stay with you for the long haul.
- Referral business has to be asked for. It is always available if you have done a good job on the sale and the supply.
Every salesperson should consider just how effective they are in each of these stages. Practice is required to improve the overall result. Professional selling is today one of the most exciting professions to pursue.
When you are working as a sales professional, sometimes it appears that you are stalled or struggling with your sales or market share. In most cases when this happens it is because you are not pushing the project forward enough or perhaps it needs adjustment.
Plans can help you, but momentum is really important. So many people make the plans but struggle with the action; life soon takes over and redirects their focus and efforts. Inevitably they are achieving little towards their goals. Success in business requires effort on the harder things that others are reluctant to do. Have you got the drive and focus to do the harder things?
There are a few key areas to look at when all of this happens.
- Do you know exactly what you are trying to achieve? Be quite clear on the process that you are looking at and how you will know when you have got results.
- Set some simple tasks to be done each day and as part of your bigger plan and efforts. Without fail make sure that these key things are done. Prospecting is one of them.
- If someone asked you the question as to what you do, how would you answer them? Can you explain in one sentence what you do as a salesperson and professional? You need that sort of clarity to get momentum and results.
- Fear is something that holds most salespeople back. It can be the fear of the process, the reluctance to do certain difficult things, or the amount of action needed every day to move forward. Top salespeople deal with fear and reluctance; you will need to do the same. Small steps in the right direction can help you get started.
- Get some resources and simplify your systems so you can take more action every day. Don’t make things complicated; simplify what you do and take action.
- Watch what the successful people in your industry are doing. Some of their actions and skills can be replicated.
Most of the things that hold us back are self-inflicted. Take charge of your sales career by working on yourself and your actions. Quite soon you will be moving ahead again.
The sales profession is precisely that; it is a profession. When you understand that fact, you can begin to regard the skills of the trade as very special and something that you should improve on. You become a specialist in the ‘game’.
It’s a bit like playing golf. If you want to be the best, you must practice all parts of the game from tee off, moving around the course, handling the water traps and bunkers, and taking it all right down to putting. Every part of the game is really important. You are the player, and you know the game.
I have put together some important factors of the sales profession that are fundamental elements of sales performance. The whole package works well together. See how you rank.
- Believe in yourself at all times. Sometimes things get a bit overwhelming, and you will then have to make adjustments, but through all of this you are a top person and you take that self-belief into your career. Integrity and professionalism are all part of what we do, so self-belief integrates well with that.
- Deal with your procrastination because there will be plenty of it. It is the nature of sales as a career that you must do things that are difficult and that other people really do not want to do. Take on the challenge and move into the difficult tasks with commitment.
- Do not overindulge in life’s little pressures. Many a salesperson has ‘got off the rails’ with personal overindulgence. Too much of a good thing can take over your life and focus. Do not let any ‘vices’ take over your personal time. They will soon reflect in your business day and that will be the start of a downward spiral.
- Develop willpower to do just about anything. That being said, you should develop the willpower to do the ‘right’ things. It’s a bit like ‘throwing a switch’; you turn on the commitment to do the job no matter how hard it is or how long it takes.
- Keep fit mentally and personally. Every day give yourself time to get out into the world and exercise. Top performance in sales requires a fast mind and a fit body. These two factors will take you through the tough times with ease.
- Create a day system and a time management system for the things that need to be done every day. When you have a system of control and focus, you can get things done.
- Take some small rewards as you move through the day and week. All the hard work should give you the ability to have time for yourself.
- Do the hard stuff first every day. This is perhaps the most important item on this list. Always do the difficult things and get them out of the way. Make it a part of your diary to spend the first part of the day on the difficult stuff that others hate to do.
- Never lose control and show anger. Anger will get you nowhere. It will let others see weaknesses in your work pattern. If you want to be a top salesperson, you cannot show anger.
- Control your dialogue and improve it every day with practice. Some parts of your dialogue are critical to personal sales and performance. Those parts of your dialogue should be practiced to help you move to the top of your industry.
As logical as these 10 simple rules appear, they do require personal focus to set in place and implement. It’s up to you; everything that is good and rewarding is like that. Isn’t it good to be in control?
There are plenty of challenges when it comes to sales and sales teams today, but one problem is far bigger than everything else and it sets the scene for overall personal results and income. If you understand the problem you can do something about it.
In simple terms the problem goes something like this:
‘Your daily habits determine your outcomes, and most salespeople cannot or do not modify their habits to lift personal performance’.
It is a simple issue, but it has huge impact across sales teams and also individually. Your habits in business can hold you back or change the future.
So what is the Problem?
We have had many years to develop our habits and focus. When it comes to modifying those habits for our business and personal income, the challenge is beyond most salespeople. The personal discipline of most salespeople will shift on a daily basis, and all good intentions become lost in a ‘sea of inaction’.
If you work for yourself or work on commission, there are all sorts of tools that can help you with bringing about the changes that you require. You hear of them in many different ways. Depending on your industry some will be more important than others.
The list of processes and tools that are available to lift personal performance are typically:
- Scripts and Dialogues
- Cold Calling
- Sales territory
- Contact plans
All of these things can strengthen your market and your personal brand. The real fact of the matter is that they are all personal issues. The results that you get back will only come from the results that you put in.
When a salesperson is well paid they become complacent; the motivation to lift performance is just not there. However, when a salesperson is rewarded by effort and commission, they can see what they have to do, and they know that they are the key to getting habits and challenges sorted and strengthened. It is the small percentage of sales people that then rise to the occasion and get active on the tasks and systems to build their business.
You have a choice here. You can accept your habits and keep doing the same old things that have got you to where you are today; or you can challenge yourself to lift your focus and skills with new effort and focus. The rewards are many for those salespeople that can make the change and lift their performance.
When you start prospecting for new business it is wise to stop and understand exactly what it is that you do and why someone would use your services. This specific information will help you find more customers and convert them to clients. Define your niche business.
In real terms what you do is match your specific speciality into the customer. This single fact will make all of your cold calls more productive and focused. When you keep your niche business narrow and specific, it makes it a lot easier to talk about the offerings and benefits you bring to the client.
This approach to prospecting is simple yet effective. It makes you focus on yourself so you can sell your services and product with greater skill.
To adopt this process, consider the following questions:
- Where is your market located geographically? Define your territory within boundaries. Stay within your boundaries so your prospecting model is specific and organised.
- What is it that you sell? For example, if you sell something like ‘surveyors equipment’, what specific equipment is it? Who would be attracted to that equipment? Drill down on the prospective buyers into groups such as mining surveyors, council planning surveyors, road surveyors. When you do this you have the start of a focused prospecting model.
- With your specific groups, why would they use your surveyor’s product and how would they use it? What benefit would they get from it?
From these simple questions you can refine your prospecting process and your dialogue. No longer is your cold calling a sales pitch; it becomes centred on a very specific question and conversation. Here is an example:
- ‘Good morning Mr Brown, it’s Peter Smith from Acme Surveyors. Maybe you can help me out for a moment. I’m just calling to see if you are struggling with your survey equipment in road planning, perhaps due to the lack of the latest geotechnical updates. Is this an issue for you?’
This is the start of a very deep and relevant conversation. Notice that the call entry point is all about the client and not much about you. Expect the client to ‘push back’ a few times in conversation; most customers hate to be ‘sold’, and that is why you should not pitch. You can do more with a conversation in a cold call than you can with a one-sided ‘sales pitch’.
The benefit of this entry statement is that it opens up into information that you can work with. Keep the conversations moving forward by talking about the client and what they are doing today. Avoid talking too much about your offering. Ask more questions to see what the client is doing and how they are doing it.
The primary target in making the call is to see if the customer or prospect has a need or an interest. Beyond that point you should set up a meeting. Do not pitch your services across the telephone, but ask for a meeting to show the client more information that may be helpful.
It is not hard to win new business; it is just a process. Align yourself to the process and more opportunity will come your way.