Hello, and welcome to the blog.
How has your week been? There’s certainly been a change in the weather here in the UK, with plenty of rain and bad weather about over the last 10 days.
Hopefully, the downturn in the weather hasn’t cast a cloud over your attitude? Sometimes it’s easy to get a negative vibe from things completely outside of our control, and there’s no point in worrying about things you can’t change. You’re much better off thinking about something you can change.
That’s been a big focus for me over the last week, because I’ve been working with a client who’s the CEO of a business that’s doing well, but not growing. It’s very typical, both as individuals and as organisations, that we’ll keep doing what we’ve always been doing because it’s comfortable. This is something that I expanded on in the last Saturday Sales email that I sent out to subscribers.
A CHANGE IS GONNA COME
But to get ahead and improve our situation we need to be uncomfortable because that means things are changing, and change is what we need in order to get a different result. Great attitudes and positive thoughts are good, but you can dream all you like about winning and achieving but without taking the right action you won’t succeed.
Working with the client made me reflect on a very personal example of this from my own life. 2 years ago I set myself the target of walking at least 12,500 steps per day according to my FitBit. I’m on the road a lot, and I had become very conscious that this was impacting on my weight and fitness, and that I just wasn’t physically moving as much as I used to.
Now those of you who’ve been following me for a while will not be surprised that this very quickly became an obsession for me! Up until last weekend, I simply would not class a day as “over” until I’d hit that number.
After talking with my client about their business goals one day, I was driving back home and thought about my own 2-year steps plan. My initial goal had been to lose weight and be more active. Now it’s certainly done the latter, but 2 years down the line I had to face the fact that my weight is more or less the same now as it was on day one.
I still have the same goal, but after 2 years of “plan A” not working, it’s time to change and try something else to get me there.
It’s exactly the same with sales, both on a personal or a business level.
If you want results and you are taking action, that’s great. Many people fall even at this first hurdle – “procrastination is the thief of time”, right? But to really achieve the goals you need to add another step into the mix – assessing whether you’re taking the right action.
If you are working hard but you’re not seeing the results you want then maybe you need to review how effective some of those actions are. And the key here is to be really honest with yourself – perhaps brutally so! If it ain’t working, it’s time to fix it. Let’s look at some common activities that salespeople do that can often take up a lot of time, but don’t always bring results. Do any of these seem familiar?
A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION, A LITTLE MORE ACTION
Is Networking Really Working for You?
Face-to-face networking is more popular than ever, and it’s certainly good to do to some extent. But be honest – how much time are you spending attending or organising events, and is it driving enough business to be “profitable”? This can be the most difficult assessment for many salespeople – how do you value your time? If you attended 6 networking meetings at 90 minutes each and made an “easy” sale that was worth £100 to you, that’s great! But only if you think you’re worth £11 an hour…
Is Your Content and Sales Material Good Enough?
Sales-related content that you produce is important, both traditional written material and social media, blogs and video. But are you producing it just because you should? Is it actually resulting in more sales, more enquiries, more prospects?
If you’re utilising social media, video, blogs and LinkedIn articles to help you, are you spending too much time on making content that doesn’t get you results? Thumbs Ups, Comments, Likes, and new Subscribers are great, but views and likes won’t pay the mortgage this month, sales will.
When was the last time you reviewed your sales documents? Are you handing out the same material now that you did years ago? Are the documents still relevant, or has the world and your competitors moved on? Are they high enough quality? Did you use a professional copywriter and a designer, or knock them up yourself in Word?
How Do You Approach a First Meeting?
Do your first meetings all go pretty much the same way? If so, and you’re not getting the results you want or need, why keep doing what you keep doing? If you tend to “pitch and talk” (and be honest with yourself here!) why not try to consciously question and listen to your prospect. One of the biggest improvements salespeople see is when they learn to listen more than they speak.
Are You Prospecting Mainly by Email?
I’m increasingly seeing salespeople use mainly – or only – email prospecting. Many people think it’s less intrusive for the prospect, and the fact that you can attach brochures or include links to videos makes this seem an attractive option.
Can I be honest with you? Most people do email prospecting because they are uncomfortable with – or even frightened of – picking up the phone. There’s no getting away from the fact that the hit rate from phone prospecting is much, much better than for email. But email is easy an quick – so many salespeople convince themselves they are doing lots of great work. In reality, people still rate phone calls as more important, more urgent than email. Put it this way, if your house is on fire you won’t be emailing the fire and rescue service, will you!
Try exclusively phone prospecting for a month and see what results you get in comparison to your email campaigns. It will be harder work, but I can guarantee you that it will result in much more success. Providing, of course, that you say the right things on the phone! Have a look at this video for some great tips on how to make effective use of your phone time.
So, if any of those aspects of your sales technique aren’t getting the results you want then what have you got to lose by trying out some of those suggestions? Or come up with your own alternatives and go with those.
The bottom line is that it’s never too late to change. I’ve done something every day for 700 days in a row, but now I’m changing to get a better result.
What do you currently do, week in week out, that might be due a shakeup? Are you hitting your targets consistently? If not, what might be worth changing? Are there any activities you currently do that take up lots of time and make you feel (or look) busy but really aren’t producing the goods?
As ever, I always welcome hearing what has and hasn’t worked for you. Do you have any questions about making changes? Are there any subjects you’d like me to cover in these emails or on my YouTube channel? You can get in touch with me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or through any of the social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube – just search for ‘jameswhitesales’.
Don’t forget to sign up to receive my weekly Saturday Sales email where I give subscribers tips and advice on improving their sales success.
I hope you have a great sales week next week, and if I’ve given you the spark you need to make a change then go for it! You won’t regret it.