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Greg Nanigian and Associates, Inc. | Braintree, MA

Professional Development

Some time ago I stood in the security line at Logan. I was on my way to Orlando to speak at the National Conference of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Using "the three foot rule", which says "whenever you are within three feet of someone ask them what they do as they may be a prospect", I struck up a conversation with the gentleman behind me. He turned out to be the Head of the Central and Eastern European Divisions of L. Hoffman LaRoche.

You don’t tightly target your prospects. When business is slow, the temptation to tell your story to whomever will listen is great. After all, talking to someone-anyone-is more productive than sitting at your desk waiting for a potential customer to call. Right?..

I have met many excellent sales people that were chief executives. They could prospect, qualify, close and negotiate. Their closing ratios surpassed their best sales people. Yet, they couldn't train their people to sell. Even though they tried, by coaching, running sales meetings, showing and telling, they weren't effective at training sales people. In fact, in some cases it made their sales people worse as they tried to emulate the Boss.

Up-front contracts are a powerful tool in the Sandler Selling System. By agreeing, up-front, with a prospect on what will take place during a sales interaction, including an agenda, time limit, and next steps, you are in control of the sale. But beware—a wishy-washy contract is as good as no contract at all.

Scheduling appointments with prospects is hard work. You not only have to arm-wrestle with gatekeepers, but then you have to contend with voice-mail. But eventually, whether by sheer persistence or a little luck, you get through to the intended prospects and you schedule appointments. All of those efforts, however, are wasted if you’re not properly prepared for those appointments.

Maybe you thought you were the only one with a sales person that everyone loves, but is a terrible closer. The reality is that most sales teams have one or more such non-closers. Compounding the problem of these people not being very profitable is the fact that they are likeable, as many of them tend to have good people skills.

Why is it that so many salespeople start their selling careers with a great deal of enthusiasm— truly motivated to grow, to succeed, and to advance their careers—and then, somewhere along the way, the motivation fades, and the “career” becomes little more than a job…a way to make a living? What happened to the motivation?

After 18 years of helping Chief Execs, Sales Managers and Sales People capitalize on their strengths and overcome weaknesses, here are my top five ways to convert your good salespeople to great salespeople!

When you’re counting close friendships, loving relationships, acts of kindness, or the gold bars securely stashed away in your secret vault, the answer is, “Yes!” It’s better to have more…rather than fewer of them. Is the same true when it comes to the tools for building and growing your business?

You have an inventory to take, a phone call to make, and a report to write. But instead of diving in and getting the tasks completed, you put them off. “I’ll get to them soon,” you tell yourself. But your definition of “soon” and Webster’s definition have little in common.

Not all “fine-tuning” activities are driven by procrastination. Some people have a need for perfection. They’re not ready to take action until everything is perfect…every contingency has been identified…every twist and turn predicted and appropriate actions planned. They put off implementation until everything is perfect. But it never is. So, the planning continues and the “doing” never begins.