SPEED without forward momentum is wasted effort!

Every time you pick up the phone, write an email, or send out literature; the objective isn’t the activity but moving forward in the sales process.

It is critical to your sales success that you don’t measure activity for activities sake!

  • dials is about effort, this is the one thing we can control in TeleSales (we haven’t developed technology to MAKE people pick up the phone… yet).  The goal isn’t the dial RATHER the dial shows you’re working toward finding people who’s business you can earn.
  • phone time – is measured a lot in TeleSales, why? because your sales manager can’t listen to every call you make (and that would be seriously annoying if they did). Phone time becomes the leading indicator that people are actually TALKING with you, and conversations are the only way to find business opportunities.
  • business opportunities – my experience shows that in most TeleSales environments (where the telesalesperson is responsible from beginning to end of the sales process) the ratio = win 1/3, loose 1/3, and 1/3 of the opportunities disappear (delayed, changed beyond recognition, whatever). When measuring opportunities it may be found daily… dollar value against quota… or something completely different: all these measurements have one thing in common! Making sure your finding enough business to make some money.
  • won deals – is what most telesalespeople (ok salespeople in general) care about. If you’re making quota, most other measurements will fall by the wayside when you’re evaluated. I want to warn you that if you’re not stretching and making those training runs (dials, phone time, opportunities) a few weeks or months from now those deals will stop coming in. Celebrate your success – give yourself a little party in the gray cubes of love – then keep moving forward to close even more deals.
  • new accounts – here is a measurement that may be on your training schedule. It is much more difficult to earn a new customer than keep one. New accounts are also the best way to keep moving forward – without new people in your account base it is difficult to continue to make long term progress in your career.
  • repeat customers – are the other measure of career success. Making sure the people who buy from you are ecstatic about their experience is the only way to keep them coming back. The more varied your product set, the more critical this becomes.  Again, the measurement is to ensure your continued sales success.

If you are running as fast as you possibly can – in place – you’re a hamster on a wheel. Always, remember that activity with forward momentum makes you someone running down the beach instead!

Random Thought – is today a good day?

Sales is an interesting game, and I do mean game.

A friend of mine came to work with me when I was in sales leadership – he was just out of the Army – when someone was talking about how difficult a day they were having. His reply was ” well…  I had a good day, no one shot at me.”

Which certainly changed  the significance of my outlook at work – I have to say in the over 15 years I’ve been in TeleSales, no one has ever shot at me… which means I’ve had a lot of good days.

I have a belief that we choose our own attitudes. Which means that if I twist one of my favorite quotes – no one can me feel badly without my consent.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

As we come to the close of another sales month – some people are on the top of the world, over quota, having a great week. Others are at the bottom of the curve, can’t see any way to hit their goal this month. Most are somewhere in between.

My challenge to you today – is regardless where you for your month, quarter, or year. Choose today to be a good day.

remember to STRETCH BEFORE you start running

In TeleSales – stretching is critical. What is stretching in TeleSales? you ask…

Stretching = Preparation

The first sales trainer I met once described the phenomenon of “getting ready, to get ready” – that is NOT what we are talking about. Take a good look at yourself and ask: is this preparation OR procrastination?

Stretching as preparation doesn’t mean you spend HOURS & HOURS finding out about every suspect and prospect in your account base! Rather have a clear understanding of your top accounts & top prospects.

Once that is accomplished – extrapolate what you know and determine how you can make educated guesses in other accounts; what is true for one airline is probably true in another… challenges in manufacturing tend to look the same – regardless of what widgets they make… of course if you’re selling into a vertical market this shift from one account to another is MUCH simpler.

As for those prospecting calls – try this quick tip:

  • type the company name into your favorite search engine (mine is google)
  • click on their version of the ‘news’ filter (check the upper left corner in google – web/images/videos/maps/news/…)
  • use the news info you find on the call to spark valid business conversations

Need to know about a specific contact? – try this quick tip:

  • type the contact name AND LinkedIn into your favorite search engine to see what comes up
  • you can also go directly to LinkedIn of course!

Remember that stretching is valid preparation – sitting on your couch watching the Boston Marathon on tv isn’t! Make sure your preparation doesn’t become an excuse for call reluctance OR procrastination.

When Should We Sprint?

It is an interesting phenomena in TeleSales (perhaps sales in general) where we PUSH ourselves… or are PUSHED by someone else you know when “they” tell you to do something.

random note: when I got my 1st management job my husband said “When people complain about ‘them’… it’s YOU now.”

If you are expecting me to talk about that month end/quarter end/year end push to hit some quota that was set for you – stop reading now!

I’m a firm believer that daily attitude, behaviors, and skills are what are going to get you to quota NOT a sprint to the finish at the end of a marathon.

Not that sprinting at the end occasionally is a bad thing – rather I’m always amazed at organizations where month after month, quarter after quarter that is THE ONLY time management seems to engage with the sales team.

When should we sprint? is a question I’d like to ask about your telesales careers vs. quota.

Training Run

If you are starting out in your TeleSales career; there is a lot to learn and do RIGHT NOW. Many people are tempted to sprint right away. Instead look at every beginning as a training run. You are figuring out what you’re capable of doing today, what you need to strengthen, how to improve your form.

There are manybeginings in a TeleSales Career:

  1. your first outbound, sales generating position (the very beginning)
  2. a new account base (typically a reward for success in your current account base)
  3. corporate changes in what ‘territory’ means
  4. adding a big potential prospect to your account base
  5. changing companies
  6. etc….

Make sure you take the time to learn all you need, get warmed up THEN sprint!

Practice Meet

Sometimes in TeleSales you’ll find yourself in competition with other people on your team. Stretching yourself to do more than a co-worker: make more dials, talk with more humans, develop more business opportunities – using other people to push you forward.

This is a great time to sprint! With one safety tip: make sure the practice meet you choose to participate in moves YOU forward in your own career!

The Big Race

Now we come to race day. The one that is going to determine our fate for all time (ok that is way to dramatic but you get the idea).

This is the call, the account, whatever is critical to moving your career forward when we need to use everything we have learned up to this point for success.

Now is the best time to put all those training runs and practice meets to work. Take every piece of knowledge about yourself that you have and run, run, run as fast as you can – cross the finish line ahead of the competition.

Are you run, run, running as fast as you can?

Perhaps I have running on my brain as my older and younger brothers will be competing with (or probably against) each other in a Triathlon this month.

They invited me to join them and I said “I would love to join you and WATCH.” Don’t be fooled their competitive spirit did inspire me this month!

Check out the Issue 28: How Fast Edition of A Chip Off the Block

  • the shorter the time frame we look at the easier it is to sprint
  • remember to stretch before you start running
  • SPEED without forward momentum is wasted effort
  • TeleSales Twist – setting call objectives

Plus keep coming back for some expanded TeleSales views on the topic!

There is always more to be done

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 TeleSales Twist #10.

There is always more to be done

I guess I know this about life, not only sales and of course now, gardening. Waking up every morning and knowing that the day will bring new Challenges… Opportunities… Laughs… Successes… and at times Failures, is what makes it FUN. and FUN is the perfect place to end this list!

This picture is of the garden at the end of phase one… all of the weeds have been pulled (except the ones I didn’t know were weeds) BUT there are no annuals planted for color AND lots of blank mulch space.

I have to share that at this point it felt DONE, telesales is like that too:

  • you have multiple relationships in an account – then your ‘main contact’ leaves
  • you’re having a great year – knowing that in your business this year’s top account, isn’t going to be next years
  • finally you get your 1st order – now you have to grow the account

Those are three I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, where I fell DONE, but it has really only started.

career – it completely makes sense that you’re never done, until you retire or change to a completely different profession (that is not the same as changing job titles OR companies).

This makes it especially important that you find the effort to continue growing FUN.

I’ve been heard to say it before and you’ll probably see it again: as Adults the only thing we do more than work, is sleep! If we aren’t having fun at work, where will we have fun?

We are responsible for OURSELVES and our continued growth and success in our careers, make sure the effort is enjoyable and you will keep doing it!

account – here I think it is easier to take your foot off the gas once you’ve earned their business. It feels “done”, you’re in right? WRONG, this is when all of your competition is gearing up doing all the things you did to break in.

If you stop doing the things that earned you their business in the 1st place, you are going to be out as quickly as you came in. Instead create an ongoing momentum plan that ensures your customer is having as much fun working with you as they have on vacation!

life – this is a journey you know isn’t finished yet. I’ll throw out that FUNis what makes us want to get up every day and keep going.