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Are You Guilty of Sales Popcorn?

Hello and welcome to another blog.

I’ve had a very busy week this week visiting 4 clients from around the country and speaking at two different events. The poor car doesn’t know what’s hit it!

One thing about being on the road a lot is that it’s very tempting to dip into a bag of snacks in the door pocket of the car. Come on, I know you’ve got something stashed in there yourself! This got me thinking about sales popcorn.

Scooby Snacks

So, what’s “popcorn” got to do with your sales performance? Well, with only a couple of months left in the year, most of us will have a pretty good idea of where we’re likely to end up with our final figures for 2019.

And, if those final figures are going to fall short of our target, we’re starting to come up with the excuses for why that is – either for ourselves or for the boss. Trust me, I know all about excuses, too. Here’s a video I made the other week about why I failed to achieve an objective I had set for myself: 

There are always reasons for missing a target – I’m sure you can come up with several right now! But I need to be brutally honest with you (especially if you’re not going to be brutally honest with yourself):

It’s. Your. Fault.

Ouch. Harsh, but fair. You see, you are accountable for what happens in your life, and if you’re not going to hit your target then it’s simply because you either haven’t done enough work or you haven’t taken enough definitive actions this year to get you there.

And what’s one of the key reasons this often happens? Sales popcorn.

Popcorn with a Feeling

Did you focus on making a new video series? Did you focus on a LinkedIn campaign? Did you focus on trying out a Facebook campaign? Did you focus on a new business partnership or network? Did you focus on a new email campaign?

These are examples of sales “popcorn”. Shiny new ideas that pop up at different times, just like individual kernels popping in a popcorn pan.

We can spend hours on activities like these and it feels like you’re doing lots of work, it’s an exciting new project, you’re building your business, you’re making a difference. Pop, pop, pop. But in reality, they are stopping you from doing what you actually need to be doing.

Pop goes the Weasel

The way to make more sales is to do more of the things that will make sales happen. There’s no magic formula – long-term readers of my Saturday Sales Emails will recognise everything I’m about to say. All you need to do to sell is:

  • Target the right prospects. 

  • Make contact with them (via phone, email or LinkedIn).

  • Add value for them.

  • Engage and build rapport.

  • Focus on how you can solve their problems or wants.

  • Engage with them regularly.

  • Don’t expect to sell straight away.

  • Ask for the business when the time is right.

It’s great to do any other actions that support any of these things (like prospecting campaigns, or designing new sales brochures, making explanatory videos, etc). But the reality is that only by doing the above, week in, week out, will you actually bring in more business.

Picking up the phone and engaging with prospects is what you should be doing most of – even if that won’t show results for several months. You need to build a good looking pipeline, and getting down to it is what’s required.

Top of the Pops

Don’t be fooled by Sales Popcorn. Have you been using these kinds of activities primarily as a reason to avoid picking up the phone or speaking with prospects? We’ve all done it. Be honest with yourself, and if this is the real reason you’re coming up short of your target this year, promise yourself that this is where it stops.

Now I know that might be an uncomfortable thought for some of you. But I also know it might be quite liberating and motivating for others.  Even if it’s too late to make a difference to this year’s numbers, start doing the right things now and you will be starting 2020 with a pop! (Sorry.)

What’s been your most distracting bit of sales popcorn this year? Have you been focusing your energy on some things as a way of avoiding picking up the phone? What tricks or tips have you got to share about avoiding these pitfalls? Social media is fantastic, but my goodness it can take up an awful lot of potential selling time if you let it.

As ever, I’d love to hear from you about this, and any other topic. If you’ve got any questions you can contact me directly via email at hello@jameswhite.business. You can also find me on all the social platforms – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and twitter – just search for “jameswhitesales”.

If you’ve got any topics you’d like me to cover in these emails or on the YouTube channel then let me know. It’s always great to hear about your experiences and top tips, as well as where you need help and support.

Here’s to a cracking week ahead for all of us. I’m just off for a salty snack…