Anti-Resolutions for 2011

As we go into every new year I see articles, blog posts, and now tweets about “new year’s resolutions”.

I’m here to tell you I am an anti-resolution fanatic!

It isn’t that I don’t like new year’s resolutions I HATE them. Based on my coaching experiences over the past 10+ years, I now believe that:

New Year’s Resolutions = Permission To Fail

Yup, I’m not kidding. I believe that people have now heard all of the statistics about what % of people give up (for goodness sakes the Seattle Times JUST quoted 75% in an article and a post on Hellum says 30% in the first week alone) and then use them as excuses to quit themself.

What I do believe in is well thought out goals – you know the dreams you desire enough to create a plan to achieve for yourself. So while everyone else is making resolutions – I urge you to create a 2011 Plan for yourself.

Wishing You A Profitable New Year,

Lynn

Where is your business NEXT YEAR coming from?

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Most salespeople (and organizations) are very focused on this month’s business. Now I’m not saying this isn’t important, I am saying we need to expand our view.

Today let’s look at a few of the fish in our sea (to all the fishermen reading this – yes I know that some of the fish listed don’t swim in the sea… but lakes, rivers, etc and to my husband… I know whales aren’t fish get over it).

The Whales

These are the big deals, the huge opportunities. The scary thing is that the bigger they are the longer the sales cycle tends to be.

PLUS – even when we have an accurate close date that is way… way… way… out there, it is difficult to keep motivated to work today for money we will not see for months (maybe even years).

TIP – outline what you believe it will take to earn that whale of a deal; include monthly action steps for multiple contacts to become a valuable resource for the project. Even more important – do them consistently!

Don’t let yourself go hungry while you’re hunting that whale, keep reading.

The Tuna

Good news here is that Tuna swim in schools, if you cast out enough hooks you are bound to catch more than one!

The important thing to remember is that the ocean is a big place and we have to target the best fishing grounds to find Tuna to fish for. It may take you some time to find them by actively be searching.

Once found these are the deals that close one right after another. Don’t fool yourself into believing they don’t take any effort – to real in these heavy fish is quite a chore.

TIP – make sure your brain is thinking about finding Tuna – if you still have your whale radar on, you might miss these schools and go hungry.

The Pike

This is one of the most fun fish to catch. The pike is quite wily and will put up a huge fight; we get a great sense of accomplishment when we bring this deal in.

You need to have all your sales skills in the tackle box; where the best prospects are, what you do for your existing customers that hooked them, patience to let the line out and not yank the hook out.

It isn’t easy to catch pike, but they sure do taste great and keep our sales bellies full!

The Minnow

There are a few different ways to look at the minnow.

#1 – easy catch: once you see them swimming around you scoop them into your net before they can realize what’s happened.

#2 – less competition: other salespeople aren’t going after the minnow, so they aren’t use to attention. It makes them much easier to attract and catch.

#3 – bait: when you’re prospecting it is much easier to earn the trust of a whale, tuna, or pike if you concentrate on the minnow in the account (perhaps that could be one of your action items as you work on that whale of a deal).

Now it is time for you to figure out what type of fish you want to catch – along with the strategy, tactics, and skills that you’ll need to find…. hook…. and reel them in!

Twas The Night Before Month End

The Night before Month End

by Lynn Hidy of UpYourTeleSales.com

(With a nod to Clement Clarke Moore’s 1822 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” of course)

Twas the day before month end and across every floor, All the salespeople were scurrying some right out the door.

The goals had been hung on a white board with care, In hopes that this month would find everyone there.

Sales managers were nestled in a conference with dread. While visions of bonuses still danced in their head!

The CEO with her figures and I my sales map, Had just settled down for our afternoon chat.

When out on the sales floor arose such a clatter, I sprang from our meeting to see what was the matter!

Away to my team I flew like a flash – Arriving in moments after my 50 yard dash.

Above all the murmurs and shouting I heard, “PO” Which gave the luster of goal to all gathered below.

When, what to my wondering eyes did appear, The salesperson with an order that would make them their year!

So over the details, by line we went quick, Ensuring the warehouse each item could pick.

More rapid than eagles accounting they came, And wanted more info, the customer credit to gain;

Away they all went to make the D&B call, Making sure that the deal would be good for us all.

The answer was quick, as we all knew the stakes! Yes, accounting cried, you’ve not make a mistake.

Now back to her desk the salesperson flew, Customer info to update and order entry to do.

The warehouse was bustling, more coffee they drank, It wouldn’t be THEIR fault if our numbers did tank.

Then the pick slip started printing, the paper did fly, The pages kept printing, right up to the sky!

They all started running to pack all the stuff, Sales held their breath, would it be enough?

When the boxes were labeled and stacked on the dock, We let out our breath then glanced up at the clock.

We did it, we’d made it – yes right on the nose,Then cheers they did shout and the volume it rose.

To cut through the noise the salesperson did whistle, “If you needed proof forecasting works, I’m sure this’ll!”

Surprised at this admission, I looked all around,They were all still smiling, not a face held a frown.

Knowing I couldn’t say it better myself, I shuffled some paper to stack on the shelf.

Still patting her back, the sales team turned to go, A good month on the books – we still basked in the glow.

And I heard her exclaim as she left for the night, It’s amazing what happens, when you plan it all right!

 

Wishing you a profitable end to 2010 and resounding success in the New Year, as you choose to define both “profitable” and “success” of course!

Cheers, Lynn

The Real Quesiton Is – Do You Care?

The number one question to ask yourself when thinking about working on listening as a skill is:

Do You Care?

No, not about improving your skills. Do you care about what the other person is saying?

The key to listening is a genuine interest in the person you’re interacting with RIGHT NOW. Being present in the moment, discarding everything else that is going on in your environment… and inside your head – with the one goal of paying attention.

In your life, when is the last time someone was 100% focused on you? Keep thinking… you may not be able to remember, which tells you something in itself.

Think of all the prospects you can turn into customers AND all the customers who will keep coming back because you’re listening to them! Listen may be the most powerful tool you have as a salesperson.

It’s powerful, It’s possible, it’s effort, it’s being mindful – always.

 

3 More TeleSales Listening Tips

1. Take A Deep Breath
Use this in two different ways:

  • As the phone is ringing, take a deep breath and let it out to clear your head and be ready when a human (or their voicemail) answers.
  • When someone finishes talking or asks you a question, use the breath to become comfortable with pausing before you talk to train yourself to be comfortable with a moment or three of silence.

2. Stand Up
If you are having trouble paying attention FULLY to the person speaking, change your physical position.

  • The reason we suggest standing up is to remove your fingers from the keyboard!

Your ability to be computer distracted then decreases.

NOTE: I also know someone who slides his chair back from his desk just a bit and puts his head DOWN with his eyes closed to cut down on distractions while he is on customer calls (yes Chris I’m talking about you!).

3. Turn It Off
or the evils of auto-notifications!

If you have any of those lovely computer notifications that ghost in and out as things happen – you’re attention is bound to wander.

Sometimes without conscious thought you will c-l-i-c-k onto it… begin reading… and *sigh* we’re back to “I’m sorry what?”

Suggestion = turn off auto-notification, even better give yourself an email break turning OFF your email program while you make outbound calls

We heard you gasp from here – start slowly 30 minutes, then turn it back on and respond to everything (yes now it is an hour later….) turn it back off and dial again! Lather, rinse, repeat throughout the day.

I don’t know about you, but if my customers need an answer RIGHT NOW – they’ll call. If you’ve trained them that you will instant respond – you will have to retrain them of course!

I just read a great book (and it is a quick read.. but not so easy to implement) The Myth of Multitasking by Dave Crenshaw. In “The Expectations” chapter there is an example “I do check my messages frequently, usually at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm” NOW pick yourself up off the floor – that was an example NOT suggestion!

Think instead about our telesales world: it wouldn’t be out of line to say “at the top of the hour” would it? Or something else that makes sense in your business?

Try it for a week – in fact what a great listening conversation to have with your best customers…. To serve you better I’m going to try something new – what do you think about ___________?

Let me know what you find out.

Listen twice before you speak once.
~ Scottish Proverb


The Other 2 Top Barriers to Listening (with tips)

Hello, Welcome to part 2 of Listening Barriers – let’s get started!

3. Multitasking
I’m with Dave Crenshaw on this – Humans can’t multitask!

We wish we could, we believe that we can, we’re told to by our managers, etc.

The truth is that our brains are wired to do one thing at a time – this is especially true when we are having a conversation with another person.

If you are switching your attention between the person on the phone, your email, the internet, and everything going on around you….

“I’m sorry, what?”

is likely to come out of your mouth!

That is bad enough when we are devaluing our co-workers, family, and friends… what about prospects and customers who we rely on for our livelihood?

Plus they have a choice – NOT to do business with us because we aren’t paying attention!

And you may miss out on a business opportunity because you didn’t listen.

Need a real life example?

“Lynn I’ll pay you $100 cash if you can tell me what I just said”

Response “I’m sorry what?”


“I said, I’ll pay you $100 cash if you can tell me what I just said”

Nope, couldn’t do it NO clue

Luckily – that was one of my best customers at the time not a prospect! The only saving grace was that I had started to look up the information he was asking about…

Action Item: today try out a new idea. ONLY deal with the person on the phone. YUP – only!

Sounds like a simple idea – but in this day and age you may find giving your whole attention to one person… one task… EVEN for the 3 minutes you’ve got in a typical telesales prospecting call is VERY VERY DIFFICULT.

Sorry I’m back; got distracted by the email telling me I have a new blog registration. Then I saw my MindTools Newsletter had arrived- where were we?

How would that have felt if you were on the phone with me? That is EXACTLY how your prospects and customers feel ~ and it’s not good.

Which brings us to #4, or 3.5 as it is certainly part of multi-tasking that we do all the time, every day.

4. What Am I Going To Say
If you go with the idea that people can’t multitask for a moment….

Formulating your answer or the next thing you’re going to say – will eliminate your ability to listen.

Yup, you’ve switched your listening brain OFF to turn your thinking brain ON.

This of course includes the conversations we are having with ourselves while the prospect is talking – where we evaluate everything we have ever seen, said, done to figure out how to win them over.

When of course, the way to win them over is to LISTEN to what they are saying!

It is ok to be silent after someone stops speaking.  It is even great to say, “that is a great point, let me make sure I heard you correctly repeat stuff back to them they just said.”

THEN start to move forward with a question or comment.

Want another tip?

Tell the person what you’re about to do on your computer…. before you start:

  • Let me look that up for you…
  • I think I have the information you’re looking for…
  • There is an email here talking about…
  • Let me get a link for you to look at…

When you do this, they know the typing is about them! That they are important, that you are still engaged in the conversation.

No other action item for this… you’ll be busy enough listening if you expand #3’s action item to include your mental life multi-tasking!

From listening comes wisdom,
and from speaking repentance.
~ Italian Proverb