Highly effective salespeople focus on what is most important and they demonstrate the determination to stick with it. Searching for new prospective customers is perhaps the most important activity that you will engage in as a salesperson or business owner. Highly effective salespeople recognize this and are determined to carve out time every day to get this done. Those who struggle to consistently prospect, often find themselves back on The Big Nasty. (For an explanation of the Big Nasty Click Here)
Chet Holmes teaches the importance of focus in The Ultimate Sales Machine. He says, “The key to being productive is to stick to the six most important things you need to get done that day. Every salesperson should have at least two and a half hours a day of brand-new prospecting. And that’s for salespeople who have a full load of current clients. Salespeople who are not managing a large list of current clients need to do at least four hours per day of pure cold calling… All it takes is pigheaded discipline and determination.”
Highly effective salespeople recognize that searching for new customers is a vital activity that must be their top priority. When they arrive in the morning they begin with this top priority and stay on it until it’s completed. Only then do they move on to other responsibilities.
Things To Think About
- What responsibilities do you have that cause you to become fainthearted in sales?
- How much prospecting do you need to be doing every day?
- How clearly have you identified your prospecting goals?
- Did you set them or did someone set them for you?
- How can compelling goals help you overcome faintheartedness?
- How can you develop the determination to stick to your plan to search for qualified prospects?
Have you ever dreaded making a cold call or calling a client with disappointing news? Is your dread causing your palms to sweat? Have you ever driven around town just to burn time? I like to jokingly (sort of) say that if anyone tells you they love to cold call, they will also lie to you about other things.
Perhaps you have even reviewed your life insurance policy because you have contemplated what would happen if you just steered the car off the bridge up ahead.
If you’ve ever experienced the angst that I’ve described, which is sometimes an occupational hazard of being in sales, then join us each week for our Sales Junto.
If you haven’t, good for you. I hope you never do. Join us so that you don’t.
It is my hope that the Sales Junto will represent truth to you and that the truth will set you free to more fully enjoy your career in sales, which will increase your joy in life.
About fifteen years ago I wrote a sales training program called: SERVANT Selling. The word: SERVANT conveys the idea that great salespeople serve. The word also consists of seven letters that represent seven principles of effective selling.
Our Sales Exchange will explore these seven principles over the course of time. We hope that you’ll join us on the journey.
By learning these principles and developing the skill to effectively implement them you will be equipping yourself to sell more efficiently and more effectively. You will also be challenged to think differently about your role as a salesperson. You will be encouraged to see yourself first and foremost as a Servant. You will be encouraged to develop strong character; to put the needs of the customer ahead of your own; to ask great questions and to listen intently so that you better understand the needs and challenges of your customers.
We’re glad you’ve joined us.
“Whoever wants to be great among you must become a servant.” Jesus
This perspective, however, flies in the face of how most people tend to live their lives. Most people don’t want to serve. They would much prefer to be served.
So let me ask the question, is it possible that these ancient words still apply today?
For example, can we say with confidence that whoever wants to be a great employer must become a servant? Can we say that whoever wants to be a great employee must become a servant? How about, whoever wants to be a great mom or dad must become a servant? And here’s the really tough one, can we say that whoever wants to be a great salesperson must become a servant?
I believe the answer to these questions is a resounding, YES! These ancient words absolutely apply today. Indeed, these ancient words are as powerful and as relevant today as they were over two thousand years ago. If you want to be “great”, if you want to be “successful”, learn to become a SERVANT. Stop Selling…Start SERVING.
Many of the great men and women throughout history… George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, William Wilberforce, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandella, Clara Barton, Winston Churchill, etc. were Servants.
For example, Abraham Lincoln has often been referred to as a “Servant of the People.” Lincoln exemplified the heart of a servant throughout his life. As president of the United States, Lincoln often concluded his letter with the phrases, “Your friend and servant,” “Your obedient servant,” and “Your humble servant.”
Lincoln is honored today as one of the greatest presidents in U.S. history. Lincoln led the nation as a humble servant.
So, if you want to be great in sales, be like Abe. Become a Servant.
In the profession of sales, the person who chooses to serve the needs of the customer has a distinct advantage over the person who chooses to serve only himself.
Servants listen attentively. They ask great questions because they seek first to understand and then to be understood.
Servants pay attention; they write things down and they remember them because they want to honor the customer or prospect by doing so.
Servants do every task with equal dedication.
Servants are faithful and they are trustworthy. They do what they say they are going to do.
Who wouldn’t want to do business with a true servant?
The profession of sales is ultimately about selling something. I get that.
Highly effective salespeople use their time wisely.
They don’t pursue business relationships with people who don’t represent legitimate business opportunities. They prioritize their time and energy in order to maximize results.
However, the truth is that they can’t always know which situations represent opportunity and which ones don’t. So, the SERVANT enters into each potential selling situation with a SERVANT’s heart.
The SERVANT has an authentic desire to serve. The SERVANT is focused on serving the needs of the person sitting in front of him.
If and when it becomes apparent that there is no selling opportunity, the SERVANT makes the decision not to continue to pursue the business relationship. However, in the meantime, the SERVANT has served and a life has been touched.
I encourage you to use your time wisely by serving.
Benjamin Franklin found great success in business, science, and government. He was said to have more friends than any man of his century. All this, he believed, was due to his lifelong efforts to become more virtuous. He believed that “those who will work each day to practice virtue are sure to be both happy and successful in life.”
In today’s business world the evidence of the need for character abounds. Exaggeration, manipulation, and even outright lying are all too common in sales. The SERVANT salesperson is different. The SERVANT prizes good character because he believes at his core that this is the best way to live life.
The SERVANT applies the wisdom of people like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandhi, Benjamin Franklin, Mother Teresa, William Wilberforce, Jesus and Nelson Mandella specifically to the noble profession of selling.
So, if you want to find great success in life, build great character, like Ben did.
Strong character develops a moral compass to guide all behavior. Outside sales people are, well… outside; they are away from the office and out in the business community. In many cases, they are the only contact the customer has with the company. They are the face of the company.
When you conduct yourself with good character, you represent your company well, for the long haul. You earn the trust of the customer and over time you have the opportunity to become a “trusted business advisor”.
Character is defined as “how you act when no one is looking.” So when a person of good character is representing a company out in the business community, his behavior will be consistently good. His behavior will follow his character.
Who wouldn’t want to do business with a person of good character?
Good character creates a positive, joyful attitude. When a person’s behavior is consistently good, that person enjoys peace of mind which creates a joyful attitude.
Serving others is a more “profitable” way to live than being served. A person who is “other-centered” rather than “self-centered” will experience more joy in life. This positive, joyful attitude will show through. Consequently, the person of good character will be more effective in dealing positively with others, including prospects, customers, and fellow employees. They will exude a positive countenance.
Joy shows on their face. Joy shows up in their conversation. Joy prevails in difficult situations.
Joy is not dependent on external circumstances. Joy springs from within. What a tremendous reward for living a life of good character!