When you’re weeding, sometimes you end up pulling out flowers

The latest issue of A Chip off the Block is The Garden Edition and talks about  The Top 10 Things Sales Taught Me About Gardening here is my TeleSales Twist on Point #3.

When you’re weeding, sometimes you end up pulling out flowers

Right now, there is an account you ditched months ago… buying what you sell from somebody else. It’s true, sorry to break the news to you – as we weed out our prospect list we may throw a great one into our compost heap. STOP: that doesn’t mean you keep everything, weeding is important and you are going to throw away more bad than potential good. Plus, composting comes back to make your garden more beautiful in a different way!

One of the things I hear about TeleSales is that as inside salespeople have more time to call (due to lack of drive/windshield time) they can handle a larger volume of accounts.

The result tends to be unwieldy account base sizes

Unwieldy account base sizes result in under/un-qualified prospects

Un-qualified prospects = weeds in the garden

 When an account is un-qualified, salespeople tend to spend time on prospect requests like they would if it were a customer. Now I’m all for ‘acting as if’ but:

  • questions are missed
  • work is undertaken w/out a committment
  • time & effort are spent

if you have been reading my stuff for a while – you’ll remember that I believe the only 2 things we can control in sales (and life) are:

  1. how we spend our time
  2. our attitude

The solution?

No matter the size, work through every account in your base list – if you can’t get to it immediately for a full qualification at least as yourself 3 questions:

Number 1  – does this account meet my ideal customer profile (at least the easily identifiable pieces)?

Number 2 – do you at minimum know they buy what you sell?

Number 3 – are you EVER going to get to qualifying this account?

If you have 2 or 3 “no” or “I don’t know” answers….. just take that puppy out of your name, you’ll never miss it and perhaps someone else will have the opportunity to do business there.

This does mean you might throw away a flower or two BUT it will make you more profitable to KNOW what is going on with your prospects & customer, than

someday maybe possibly sort of having the potential to be the best customer EVER.

Pull up the weeds, take care but be ok throwing out some flowers along the way – the rest of your garden will thrive because of it.

Sometimes things that looks good in the beginning turns out to be a weed

The latest issue of A Chip off the Block is The Garden Edition and talks about  The Top 10 Things Sales Taught Me About Gardening here is my TeleSales Twist on Point #2.

Sometimes things that looks good in the beginning turns out to be a weed

Prospects that:

  • Fit your target market
  • Buy what you sell
  • Have money to spend
    seem like a great place to
    spend time & effort.

What happens when we spend that time and effort BUT determine the business is NOT worth the headaches that come with it. Perhaps the signs weren’t what we thought they were. The key is pull the account out of your garden when you recognize it for what it is! Just because you spent lots of time, energy, and resources to get to this point, does NOT mean you leave a weed in your garden.

These are the worst – I’ve got one in my garden right now, my friend Cris JUST said yesterday “and that Lynn is a healthy weed” (ok so she actually said it twice about two different plants)

I have a choice (now that I know) , I can keep it in there – where it will start to take over all the work I’ve done.  You probably have accounts like this right now. You’ve spent the past ## of months learning about

  • what they buy
  • who they buy it from
  • how they make decisions
  • who the players are
  • etc

Yes you can recite all this in excruciating detail. Perhaps you’ve even “had the opportunity to quote”. Yet you haven’t gotten any business OR moved any closer to earning it.

With the assumption you really have asked all the qualifying questions of multiple people – now for the difficult question to ask youself:

If I continue to spend time with this account, what will I lose out of somewhere else?

As crazy as that sounds, it is one of the decisions we are making without thinking about it!

Back in my garden; I can weed around… my weeds, feed them plant food, nurture them – in the end I’ll still have a weed. Not my goal – it will be a beautiful weed, but again – not my goal to have a garden full of beautiful, healthy weeds.

As you are working your way through your current day’s activity – ask yourself the question “If I continue to spend time with this account, what will I lose out of somewhere else?” and STOP calling if you can see where you can make better money somewhere else by utilizing your time more wisely.

Unattended even the most beautiful garden will look bad eventually

The latest issue of A Chip off the Block is The Garden Edition and talks about  The Top 10 Things Sales Taught Me About Gardening here is my TeleSales Twist on Point #1.

Unattended even the most beautiful garden will look bad eventually

In sales; we spend lots of time, energy, and effort earning someone’s business. It always amazes me that once that part is done, many salespeople – exhale – and think they are done. What they end up with is a jungle like mess in their account base. Weeds taking up time that could be spent on flowers. Flowers without water drying up. You get the picture.

This is what the unattended garden at my house looked like.  You can tell at some point a lot of attention was paid (those rocks didn’t move themselves) to make it beautiful. The gardener consensus is that it was left on its own for about 5-years to get this way.

In telesales – it doesn’t take 5-years for your account base to end up looking like a patch of weeds, months will do it.

Here are the telesales inactivity or inattention that will create quite a mess:

  • single point of contact – how many accounts are you working where you have ONE person who talks with you?

    It doesn’t matter if that person makes decisions – you need a lot more depth in every account to keep your garden growing. Here is another one of my three… at minimum: your main guy/girl, their boss, and someone in purchasing. PLUS depending on what you sell there may be multiple people who qualify as influencers &/or decision makers on your product set.

  • rescheduling instead of calling – you know those reminders that you forward because the thought of calling makes you roll your eyes!

    Take a moment today and call all the people you’ve been avoiding lately, it doesn’t matter why – create a solid business reason for them to talk with you (need help with that? turn to Craig Elias) and make the call.

  •  holding on to weeds – I don’t care if it was the best qualified lead you’ve ever received; if the contacts aren’t accessible THROW THEM IN THE COMPOST HEAP

    If you’ve used telephone, email, and snail mail over 10 times, in a month or two – to multiple contacts and no one is talking with you. Close all your reminders out, take your name off the account, and move on!

What are your ways of leaving accounts unattended? Make a comment to help everyone avoid mistakes.