Shine On, Harvest Moon

My fellow Sales Blogger, Leanne Hoagland-Smith posted on Harvest Moon Madness – while my thoughts turned more to Shine On, Harvest Moon – first sung in 1909 but the Leon Redbone version of the chorus is what I was taught

Oh, Shine on, shine on, harvest moon
Up in the sky;
I ain’t had no lovin’
Since January, February, June or July.
Snow time ain’t no time to stay
Outdoors and spoon;
So shine on, shine on, harvest moon,
For me and my gal.

  • Are you one of the salespeople out there who “ain’t had no lovin”?
  • Or maybe hoping that the harvest moon will “shine on”?

If either one is the case it NOW is the time to look at what has put you into this predicament! Shining the harvest moon on the top 3 things you’re not doing.

Here are some favorite “not doing” items from the salespeople I coach:

  1. Cold Calling – it always amazes me the justification list salespeople can come up with as the reason they don’t have time to cold call. Many of the activities, in and of themselves, are valid – but become excuses on why NOT to do something that is uncomfortable.
  2. Asking “Why do you buy from me?” – this question is in my top 10 questions to ALWAYS ask, yet the fear is the customer will think of reasons to change their mind or not have a reason at all. Baring the sarcastic answer of ‘maybe I shouldn’t’ (which is usually followed by a snort or laugh) the important Customer Facing Reason for asking this is simple – how else will you make sure you keep doing it?
  3. Asking Tough Questions – why didn’t I give you the tough question? because what ‘tough’ is depends on where you are in your sales career AND you’re personal hang-ups. I always have a tough question I’m trying to add into my repertoire, once the question becomes easy… I put another post it up on my computer with the next one to work on. What’s your tough question?
  4. Calling Difficult People – ‘difficult’ is another vague word that might range from grumpy all the way to sweet yet unhelpful. We all have difficult people in our account bases – the one’s we roll our eyes when it’s time to call. Back to the notes from #1… many times we will find lots of excuses on why today isn’t the right day to call.

Once you can identify your top 3 things you’re not doing – the only fix is to DO THEM. I know, sound so simple doesn’t it?

When I first got into sales, one of the trainers said “Successful salespeople, do the things unsuccessful salespeople fail to do.” Notice there is nothing about LIKING to do them… WANTING to do them… or BEING COMFORTABLE doing them…

Stop making excuses and start doing.

  • If you’re missing a skill set – learning = doing
  • If fear is stopping you – facing the fear = doing
  • If you’re uncomfortable – pick an accountability partner and do something together
  • If you don’t like it – focus on the result you do want and then take action

Foolish Errands

Here is a post that was my contribution to the Sales Bloggers Union April Fools discussion (and long ago 1st ever version of A Chip off the Block)

There are lots of jokes that our suspects and prospects customers play on us. When it’s not April Fools Day; we call them objections. Here are three common ones telesales people have shared with me (along with my own personal translation of what those pesky prospects might actually be saying):

  1. Send Me Some Information (I’m in the middle of something and really want you to go away)
  2. I Have A Vendor (It isn’t worth the time to learn about you because the people I work with aren’t screwing up)
  3. We’re All Set (I can’t think of anything I’m doing that sounds like what you just said)

How about our customers?

  1. If It Was My Decision (I don’t want to hurt your feelings and another vendor did a better job matching our needs with their proposal)
  2. Nothing Going On (Based on what we have done together so far, your solution doesn’t match my current challenges)
  3. Waiting To See About The Economy (I’m not sure your products are worth fighting any internal battles for money)

Now what? Well most telesalespeople (and salespeople in general) will either give up and hang up or blast right through without stopping. Which one sounds like you?

I’ve found that neither of these strategies work. Instead here is my patent pending (not really, it just sounded good) easy to follow three step process:

  1. Acknowledge – that they have a valid point
  2. Ask A Question – to turn their brain back on
  3. Tell A Story – to get them reengaged in the conversation

Instead of running off on a foolish errand, take a moment and actually listen to what your prospect/customer ISN’T saying and move on from there.  Plus since this process will work with any objection – take a few minutes this week and work through the ones you hear most frequently.

March Method vs. Madness

Here is a post that was originally seen as my contribution to the Sales Bloggers Union March Madness discussion.

If you are smiling & dialing your way through March – it is time to take a step back and use some points brought up in Leanne Hoagland-Smith’s article March Madness Marketing Mayhem.

Ideal Customer Profile
Ideal & Minimum criteria are NOT the same thing, but time after time when I work with salespeople they are looking for someone anyone who qualifies to buy what they sell.

It doesn’t matter if you sell to consumers or businesses – many of us go from deal to deal; saying yes because we need the revenue. Looking at ideal customers as a “some day – wish list” type of thing.

Take a deep breath – yes we are talking about making your prospecting pool smaller. Before you freak out: What would your business look like IF all of your customers met your ideal customer profile?

Would you:

  • Make more money?
  • Have more fun?
  • Worry less?

The crazy thing is that most people answer YES, YES, and YES – yet haven’t taken the time to figure out what that ideal customer profile looks like.

If we don’t know what our ideal customer looks like, how will we ever know when we find them?

To me there is nothing worse than the thought that my ideal customer might be on the other end of the prospecting call and I will not even recognize them!

I would like you to change your perspective and begin to think about prospecting for your ideal customer. Every single time you pick up the phone to look for new customers OR new business with existing customers; have your ideal customer profile right in front of you, check off what you know and don’t know – then have conversations to gather the answers you need.

Almost Ideal?
Don’t get me wrong, if you come up with 9 characteristics (both measurable & subjective) – don’t hang up if someone doesn’t meet all nine!

If they have 7 of 9 (*sigh* couldn’t help myself) don’t kick them to the curb; you will probably be able to have a nice business relationship.

On the contrary, if they only meet 3 of your 9 characteristics – run, run away NOW! Even if you earn their trust and business (doubtful) long term they will cost you more energy and effort than the money you will earn.

What Makes A Customer Ideal?
Step 1 – Look at your Top 5 Customers.

  1. Do you like doing business with them?
  2. Would you be thrilled if every single customer was like them?

Step 2 – If you answer YES to both questions; describe the company. Here is a short list of characteristics to consider and define for your ideal customer profile:

  • How big are they?
  • How much money do they have?
  • What does their buying process look like?
  • Who makes the final decision?
  • Who has authority to buy?
  • What do the people look like?
  • How often do they buy what you sell?

After my short list – is there “stuff” about what you sell or doing business with your company for you to add?

Step 3 – Begin to look for those types of companies when you’re calling.

An additional bonus is; when people ask you who you do business with – clearly define it for them, it is much easier to get referrals to people you WANT to work with!

Now add in your own emotional intelligence (need help? check out Leanne’s ps offer) – it takes all the madness out and leaves pure clean sales method.