Most salespeople want a brighter tomorrow. They want more opportunity, more customers, more business, and of course, more commission. Fortunately, there are numerous things they can do to ensure a brighter tomorrow.
So, why aren’t they doing them?
Why do so many salespeople waste their time making excuses about today rather than invest their time doing something to ensure a more prosperous tomorrow? Perhaps, it’s easier to complain about the current state of the economy and the resulting impact it’s had on the marketplace than it is to actually get out and do something.
Salespeople are quick to point out that there are fewer opportunities to develop and fewer resources available for attracting new customers. “No one is buying now,” and “No one will take my calls,” they claim. They complain about the cut-throat competition with which they have to contend and being “squeezed” by current customers. The list of excuses and complaints is almost endless. They yearn for things to change…to get back to “normal.”
If you’re not happy with your current situation, certainly, you can blame the state of the economy. Heck, you can even blame the weather, if you like. But that won’t change anything. If you want tomorrow to be brighter than today, things must change…that’s true. But, the change must start with you. You must put away your fears, your doubts, and your confusion. You must reach down and grab hold of whatever motivation and self-confidence you have and DO SOMETHING. There are plenty of opportunities…if you have the will to do what needs to be done.
What can you do?
You can prospect for new customers. You’d be surprised how few salespeople actually make prospecting calls. They talk about them, but they rarely make them. David Sandler once observed, “You’ll never have to stand in line to make a cold call.”
You can network with other professionals to uncover prospects you might not find on your own. Many salespeople claim to “network,” but they merely go through the motions. They don’t diligently follow up and follow through.
There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity. – Douglas MacArthur
You can ask your current clients to point you in the direction of others they believe could use your product or service and would appreciate the level of service you deliver. Most salespeople intend to ask their clients for referrals, but they “forget” or have some other excuse for not asking.
You can cross-sell and up-sell your current customers—legitimate strategies for growing accounts. Many salespeople, however, shy away from doing so. Perhaps, they are afraid of jeopardizing the current business by asking for more.
If you’re unsatisfied with your current level of production and you’ve been making excuses for your lackluster results, STOP. Put aside your negative beliefs about your market and your abilities. Design a new business development model and take action. And, don’t be afraid to think big. Your tomorrow will be exactly what you design it to be—nothing more and nothing less.
And In Conclusion...
Most Sandler Training® workshop sessions end with a “What did you learn?” exercise. Participants are asked to recall some part of the training session they deem important and comment on its significance.
The apparently simple exercise is actually a powerful device that reinforces the training. The participants must review the information gleaned during the session and then evaluate and prioritize its importance. Often, during this process, another aspect of the material comes into focus—the participant gains another perspective of the information, develops a better understanding, and perhaps, discovers additional areas for application.
So, what does this have to do with you?
You can garner the same benefits by conducting a “What did I learn?” exercise after each sales meeting. Take a few minutes immediately after the meeting, while the encounter is still fresh in your mind, to review the meeting and determine what you learned. If it was a phone meeting, conduct the review as soon as you hang up the phone. If it was a face-to-face meeting, don’t wait until you return to your office; conduct the review as soon as you get back to your car.
As you review your notes and evaluate the information you obtained, determine its consistency with any previously obtained information, its impact on your next step or future steps, and any implications regarding the length of the selling cycle and your likelihood of closing the sale.
As you review your notes and your recollections, you will probably think of information you should have obtained and questions you should have asked. Write those things down. Then, phone the prospect as soon as possible—right then and there, if appropriate—to ask your follow up questions.
Conducting a “What did I learn?” exercise after each sales call also helps you identify possible unproductive patterns of behavior. If the information on which to “follow up” revealed during your reviews tends to revolve around a particular aspect of the sale—the prospect’s investment expectations or limitations, for instance—that’s a likely indication of your reluctance to ask budget questions during the meetings. Uncovering that information enables you to pinpoint areas for development which will ultimately improve your sales efforts.
Sometimes, what you learn after the meeting has the greatest impact on the sale and your ultimate success.
Do Things Always Work Out for the Best?
You have probably heard some variation to the saying, “Things always work out for the best.” Is it an expression of hope, or perhaps faith, that regardless of how dark it may look at the moment, if you keep forging ahead, things will work out for the best? Or, does the saying discount your participation in making things better? Does it encourage sitting on the sidelines, perhaps doing little or nothing, and simply waiting for things to work out for the best all on their own?
Examining the complete aphorism, especially the second half—the words usually unspoken—will provide the answer. Here it is:
Things always work out for the best…for people who make the best of how things work out.
Life has a way of taking unplanned twists and turns. Some good…some not so good. So, when things don’t go as intended, it’s up to you to make the best of the situation, and in turn, make things work out for the best. You must make the best possible decisions using all of the available information at the time and then take action. Sitting on the sidelines with a “Why Me?” attitude, wishing and hoping and doing nothing won’t make things better. Life is a one-act play. If you’re waiting for things to get better in Act Two…you’ll be waiting in vain.
Good things and bad things will naturally happen in life. Both, some people say, lead you to exactly where you need to be at that moment in your life. If you appreciate the good and learn from the bad, and take action, in the end, things will work out for the best.