Step 3 on the 5 Steps To Frustration



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I was teaching a class a few weeks ago where we were talking about how independent and self sufficient salespeople are (and how we like it that way).  All of the people in the course have been working for the same company for 3+ years. All are lifelong learners who continue to evolve in their chosen profession of sales.

 

One of the participants is looking to be more active in mentoring within the organization, she talked about how people don’t ask her for help – adding that when she wanders through the gray cubes of love, people stop her for a moment and say “do you have time for a quick question?” or “hey since you’re here” and then she has the opportunity to work with them.

 

Funny thing – she took it as they didn’t think her help was important enough to seek out.

 

So I posed a question to the group – How many of you WENT to someone specifically to ask for help in the past week?

> The answer? Zero…. yup, zero people in the class actively looked for help in the past week.

 

Why? Well there were a variety of answers;

  • I don’t want to be a bother
  • there was nothing I couldn’t work through on my own
  • being seen as “high maintenance” isn’t good for your career
  • … and so on.

My next question is – Does that mean you didn’t GET HELP?

> This time all the people in the class indicated that they had received help in the past week, well who from?

  • someone wandering by
  • someone I saw getting coffee
  • one of my friends over lunch
  • … you get the idea.

Turns out, that as we kept talking, for the experienced salespeople in the class, being self sufficient and frustrated was a regular occurrence. By the time they asked for assistance their frustration level was WAY WAY off the charts. On the 5 steps to frustration, they were on 7. You know what would happen then? No one seemed helpful because they were already frustrated!

 

Have you ever felt that way? You’re frustrated and ask for help – in your head you’re saying “tried that, duh, of course I thought of that too”, not really allowing the other person to help you? That just reinforces our belief that it doesn’t pay to ask for help.

 

Instead, what if we ask for help when we hit step 3 on the 5 steps to frustration? Imagine the possibilities, working with someone else to find creative ideas to solve NON-PROBLEMS, yup – they don’t feel like problems yet because we aren’t frustrated. All of the sudden collaboration is productive because we are still in the solving mindset vs. frustration.

 

Need a rule of thumb? If you have been working on something for over 5 minutes alone, ask for help. I bet there is someone around you who has faced the situation, customer request, or roadblock before and already knows how to get around it.

 

Do you have a tip on how to ask for help, comment and let us know what it is – we’re all looking for help today!

 

“The Mayonnaise Jar & Two Beers” Nice Take – Old Story


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A friend of mine sent this to me the other day, remembering a version we had talked about – no one seeming to know who the first person was to use it in a class or seminar. I like this version because of the addition of the beer at the very end….

 

This is a good thing to remember. The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Beers When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 beers.

 

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

> They agreed that it was.

 

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

> They agreed it was.

 

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.

> The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

 

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

> The students laughed.

 

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

  • The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
  • The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
  • The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

 

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

 

‘Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

 

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.’

 

For you (other than the beer at the end) can you see where this applies to sales? Let us know – register & comment!

 

Chapter 2: Action Items

“Once you know where you are headed….how you assign your time – before, during, and after the sale is vital to your success” is the beginning of chapter 2.

Debbie suggests tracking the next 168 hours of your life. Everyone in the book club felt significant levels of overwhelm at that idea – everyone also believed they could easily track the next 24 hours. So we decided to do just that and meet the next day.

Discussion: Stephen Covey’s Time Matrix talks about where we spend our time and how to evaluate it. The matrix is drawn with top to bottom view of important/unimportant &  non-urgent/urgent = left to right. The number one area where people felt their time was being spent on “kind of important” activity is transferring customer conversation notes from paper into a CRM (customer relationship management system).

  • Why “kind of important?” Well it is a non-pay activity that is critical to future pay activities.
  • How is it “a little urgent?” If we wait to long our own notes don’t make any sense.

Here are Lynn’s Tick Tock Saving Tips

In Your Notebook:

  • Contact & company name at the top of the page ALWAYS, there is nothing worse than great notes that you can’t remember who they are for!
  • Draw a check box  next to any action items you need to take, that way you don’t forget something you need to do for the prospect/customer.
  • Highlighter – if it is important, highlight it while you’re talking
  • Circles & arrows – because your notes are added as the conversation goes on; link things together that feel like the SAME conversation points while you’re talking. Don’t believe you will remember it later, the phone will probably ring before you have time to put those thoughts together.
  • Before you get off the phone, recap with the customer everything that is highlighted and/or has a check box – THEN ask if you missed anything!

When typing them into your CRM system:

  • Bullet point the highlights
  • Feel comfortable putting notes on different “subjects” in as separate entries vs. everything in one (timeframe, competition info, personal stuff – all can be their own entry with a meaningful subject to look for later)
  • Don’t write the great American Novel – just enough that you will know what you were talking about on the next call OR someone taking your calls can follow through with.
  • If you have different dates you need to get back to the customer on for different topics – create separate activities for yourself.
  • If someone is buying something from someone – add an opportunity.
  • Even if you don’t think it is something you can’t sell add it to your product information data base.

What do you do to make keeping track of customer information that is critical to your success easier?

Chapter 1 Results


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A couple of people have committed to categorize each company in their account base based on their own version of Outstanding Proposals, Hard Leads, Prospects, and Suspects.

  • Findings = people know more about their account base than they thought. It was easy to over 90% of companies/locations into a “bucket”. The other 10% only took a phone call or two and a couple answers to drop them in. 

One book club member who has been in sales for under a year has committed to figuring out who her customers are, their 2009 budgets, and what they are going to spend with her.

  • This turned out to be an interesting adventure in “personal money concept”. The salesperson realized early on that she wasn’t comfortable talking money because it was rude. Instead she developed a metaphor using Yugo vs. Porshe to back into the money conversation.

Another is going to create a customized forecast spreadsheet and create his customer formula (x customers @ $_______ = total dollars sold in 2009)

  •  We’re still waiting to hear how he did!

Someone else is going to look back at customer spend for 2008 and forecast for them in 2009.

  • Done! The salesperson was able to see where time, energy, and effort need to be expended to make the most out of this year.

As for me, I have committed to enter what I know into my forecast spreadsheet before I leave on vacation. That way when I come back on Monday January 5th I’ll be ready to rock & roll!

  • WOW – this was tough, I ended up adding a column for “sometime in 2009” for the people I know have projects, but don’t know the timing of them yet.

What are you committed to do for your business?

 

 

Sales & War?

One of my clients (Ron you know who you are) quoted Dwight D Eisenhower to me “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” I immediately saw the sales application, do you? Of course then I got to thinking about books and things I had heard…Guess what I found – a book I won at a training for engineers on sales Sun Tzu’s The Art of War Plus The Art of Sales: Strategy for Salespeople.

pg 118: Sun Tsu “Small vehicles exit his camp first. They move the army’s flanks. They are forming a battle line.”

pg 119 Gary Gagliardi’s Sales Translation “Your competitors ask a prospect for a number of small decisions. These decisions support their proposal. Expect them to try to close the sale.”

I guess we can learn a lot about sales from war, if these two examples show us anything. Although I feel like there are a few other things we need to keep in mind:

  • no one should ever be hurt in the sales process.
  • good salespeople should never be shot at by the other side (competition OR prospects).
  • your competition doesn’t have to be viewed as the enemy.
  • your prospects need not be an opponent, but rather your partner in the process.

That’s all for now, can you think of any other ways sales & war theory are related… or not?

When does preparation become procrastination?

Have you ever sat at your desk, staring at the computer screen, your next call information up and ready to go? You have your topic…. you have your opening line if they answer…. you know what you will say if you get their voicemail….

Now really all you’re doing is replaying it over & over in your head. Thinking that the replay will allow you to find the one little possible mistake you missed the last zillion times you thought about what you wanted to say.

That is what a salesperson I know was doing… wait before I tell you the story here is the best sales quote EVER! “don’t worry about what you are going to leave on voicemail because you may be hit in the head by a flying screaming monkey.”

After spending 5 minutes or so, staring at the computer screen – wishing/praying that what she had created to say would work, she began to leave her voicemail (because of course the prospect didn’t answer) as a flying screaming monkey was shot off near by. Never one to overreact she said “and if you want to know what that was call me back” and continued on.

Hearing that one of her coworkers, in the gray cubes of love, flung another flying screaming monkey in her direction…. with such bad aim – it hit her in the head, knocking off her headset. How she continued and finished the message I’ll never know, but she did (talk about keeping your composure)!

Rightfully angry (in the moment) she blurted out that she had been worrying about what to say on the phone but the lesson she learned was “don’t worry about what you are going to leave on voicemail because you may be hit in the head by a flying screaming monkey.”

What do you do to make sure your call preparation doesn’t become procrastination?

ps: the prospect called her back and said if she could keep her composure through that – he figured it was worth trying her out as a vendor.

How many selling days do you have?


 


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/* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} As I was working on my business plan today, I realized I didn’t know how many selling days there are FOR ME in 2009. Why do I say for me? Well there are variables we all need to take into account when figuring this out, here are the ones that come to mind:

 

1. What does a business week look like for me – based on when my customers work?

 

2. How much time off do I want to take to recharge (some people may call this “vacation” and feel guilty about it… I look at it as necessary time for me to be the best at what I do when I am working).

 

3. When do my customers have holidays scheduled (see below)? Do any of their holidays coincide with when I will be recharging?

 

4. When I look back at the past 2 years, how much time did I spend on non-work activities UNEXPECTEDLY (illness – mine or others, emergencies, calling hours/funerals, appointments, etc)? Are there any new things that I need to take into consideration (ie: new baby, parents or spouse with health issues, etc)?

 

5. Skill improvement time – how much time will I use to become better at what I do this year?

 

6. How many days am I going to spend planning instead of selling (like today I’m working on my business plan, which I do one day every month)?

 

 

 

 

For easy reference, here are the 2009 Canadian & US Federal Holidays

 

Thursday, January 1                  New Year’s Day                                     both

Monday, January 19                  Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.          US

Tuesday, January 20*                Inauguration Day                                   US

Monday, February 16                 Washington’s Birthday                           US

Friday, April 10                          Good Friday                                         Canada

Monday, April 13                       Easter Monday                                      Canada

Monday, May 18                       Victoria Day                                          Canada

Monday, May 25                       Memorial Day                                        US

Wednesday, July 1                    Canada Day                                          Canada

Friday, July 3**                         Independence Day                                US

Monday, September 7               Labor/Labour Day                                 both

Monday, October 12                  Thanksgiving Day                                  Canada

Monday, October 12                  Columbus Day                                      US

Wednesday, November 11         Veterans Day                                        US

Thursday, November 26             Thanksgiving Day                                  US

Friday, December 25                 Christmas Day                                      both

Saturday, December 26             Boxing Day                                           Canada

 

* Some federal workers in the DC area will have the day off

** Independence Day is on Saturday this year so the federal government is giving workers the Friday before off.

 

If you have a regional focus, don’t forget to check their holidays too, here are some additional dates I found in New England and Canada:

 

Thursday, February 12               Lincoln’s Birthday                      CT

Monday, February 16                 Family Day                               AB, ON, SK

Monday, February 16                 Town Meeting Day                     VT

Tuesday, March 17                    Evacuation Day                         MA

Monday, April 20                       Patriots’ Day                             ME and MA

Wednesday, June 17                 Bunker Hill Day                          MA

Monday, August 3                     Civic/Provincial Day                  Many regions in Canada

Monday, August 10                   Victory Day                               RI

Monday, August 17                   Bennington Battle Day               VT

Wednesday, November 11         Remembrance Day                    Many regions in Canada

Friday, November 27                 Thanksgiving Friday                   US