Category Archives: Sales Goals

Lesson in Sales from Songwiters

I’ve been in Nashville since 1975 and I’ve grown to appreciate Songwriters. I’ve never worked in the music industry but I Songwriterslike a great tune and how it relates to how I sell.

Music fans are loyal and buy their favorite songs.  There are plenty of loyal fans of products and services that are unrelated to music and they also buy.

Most songs are somewhere in length between 2 ½ and 3 ½ minutes. That’s about the attention span of the listening audience. Sure there are a few “Stairway to Heaven” exceptions and some catchy short jingles but let’s stick to the norm.

Every song has a title, however writing titles would leave a person far short of being an accomplished songwriter. Many have tried their hand at songwriting but only a few make their mark of success in this town. One reason is you can’t short cut the practice, trials and errors involved in the development process. Most just don’t have the patience, drive, and discipline needed to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

In the end it’s the hook, melody, originality, message or some combination of the before mentioned that draws in an audience.

In sales we are taught to get to the benefits and features. Have our elevator pitch well rehearsed. Be ready to present a solution for almost every objection we’ll hear. In sales just like in a song chances are our audience needs to be pulled in one word or line at a time and on the other end the spectrum chances are if they don’t like what they hear in verse one and two you’re not going to win them over in verse three and four. You have a window of opportunity to present a song and to make a sell. You rarely win a paying customer when you rush them and rarely win them if they don’t relate to the heart of your message.

As sales people we have to find our audience and like a songwriter when we get their time and attention  be prepared to share our best.

What makes a successful business?

A successful business is half customer acquisition and half customer retention.50_50

Business doesn’t begin until somebody sells something

Business doesn’t begin until somebody sells something

Business doesn’t begin until somebody sells something

“Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside”

In sales we often find ourselves in a competitive environment. If we are one of many that make up a sales team weDon't Compare are sure to find ourselves in a dollar, unit or transaction ranking. If we are the only one selling as an owner or solopreneur then we will inevitably rank ourselves against competitors that are selling the same type product or service. Sales is competitive and when there is a competition you can bet there is a scoreboard or time clock nearby.

The first and most natural common benchmark we get judged or judge ourselves on is how my sales stacks up against others. It can be a fair assessment at times and lord knows there is no shortage of analytics to draw conclusions from. My word of caution is that most of the time things simply are not always as they appear. If you hang around in sales long enough I can guarantee you’re going to have some high highs and some really low lows.
I try my best to know my competition rather its internal or external competitors but the one person I always know I know better is me. That’s why I find comfort in “Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside” – unknown. If I know I’m giving it 100%. If I know I’m exploring and learning. If I know I’m progressing. If I know I have passion. I’ll take that over what I think I know about the sales person that ranks a position above me.

HELP make sales

Stop trying to figure out how to sell a prospect and start determining how you can best help them and that’s how Helpyou’ll gain more customers.

Front of the line, who’s coming with me?

You have heard it before “hey buddy the line starts in the rear”. Through the first half of my 53 years on earth IFront of Line have to say I pretty much complied with that request, however something clicked one day and I thought not so fast should I conform to that line of thinking.

I get that if I’m at the movie theater, the department of motor vehicles, or waiting at the Doctors office I’m behind those in front of me and I patiently wait my turn.

On the other hand at work if I’m the last hired in my department or into my position I should not expect those ahead of me get promoted first.

At school if you just enrolled in classes you should not expect those a semester or two ahead of you taking the minimum full time class load or changing their majors to graduate ahead of you.

When you graduate and interview for that first “real job” your attitude should be the most recent person interviewed (You) should be hired ahead of those that interviewed ahead of you.

Elite athletes that trained longer don’t finish for very long ahead of elite athletes that trained harder.

In sales the leaderboard (rankings) rarely coincides with tenure.

The more I thought about it I came to the conclusion that the line that starts in the rear are for those that are comfortable in the back, but not for a front runner like me. I’m not looking for the easy path but I will take full advantage of a smarter shorter path. At my age I don’t have time to start at the back of the line when it comes to professional pursuits.

The warp speed version of my personal situation is in 2008-09 I got laid off from a great job at a great company in the not so great Economic down turn that hit the mortgage banking industry hard. Like others similarly effected I got some bumps and bruises before I landed back on my feet. The next path I chose was part-time healthcare recruiting while I pursued to further my education. I closed 3 out of 4 positions the first time I got at a real recruiting “at bat” with a client. I changed schools for a more accelerated degree program and graduated ahead of schedule. My most recent path finds me in the marketing automation technology space selling and consulting my friends back in mortgage banking. Not bad for someone that could have took it easy in the rear of the technology line.

Regardless of your age next time you are pursuing something worthwhile come join me at the front of the line.

It’s hardly ever a BLOWOUT!

It is hardly ever a blowout but a slow seeping leak.low tire

That is the case you find most the time at work when production, sales, or motivation is down.

Daily maintenance, measurements, and visual checks are just as important to our professional lives when we strive for maximum performance.

Choose a Direction and Stop Setting all those Long Term Goals

Long term goals are tricky. First how far out in the future can a realistic goal be placed? If we don’t know anything else we do know long term goalsthat THINGS CHANGE. A long term goal for a common house fly might be measured in days if not hours. Elementary age students probably believe any goal measured in weeks is long term, while high school students might stretch that into months. However as adults we understand “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and some things just take time. Saving enough money for a down payment for a new house while you’re renting may require a one or two year goal. A coaches plan to build a championship program may set a goal at a few years. Saving money for retirement is often a 20 or 30 plus year goal. Living healthy might even be measured as a lifelong goal.

A common business goal setting strategy most everyone is familiar with is SMART goals. Though I’ve seen variances in the R – Realistic, Relevant, Results-Oriented…the T is always Time Bound.

If you’re in sales you have goals. Chances are you have more short term goals; as in how much will I sell today, this week, this month, or this quarter. Some goals you set, others are agreed upon, some may even be mandated, but rest assured your performance evaluations and your pay will in some way be tied to goals.

Companies have short term goals but in addition have more long term goals as it’s very common to find 2 year and 5 year goals. The CEO is often focused on the future and keeping the company growing and headed in the right direction or in sync with their vision.

You may be surprised though how many companies admit to doing a poor job of tracking their long term goals. What I say to that is why track them at all if they are five or more years out?  You see for a business to set and then start tracking long term goals can be a trap because they are using a baseline of what today’s business environment and resources are and not what tomorrows may be.

So rather than trying to predict the future, leaders should be trying to fit into the future as it happens. Instead of setting ten set goals, they should encourage a broad direction and adopt an evolutionary mind-set. That way, as the world changes, as the prices shift and breakthrough technology comes along, they can adapt.

As sales people take a lesson from this by setting and embracing short term goals. Hold yourself accountable to them. As for long term goals set a direction and let your short term goals help you stay the course.

Pop a “sales pill”

Do you want to be a much improved sales person overnight? We all know it’s a process and not an overnight sensation. But what if PopaPillthere was a pill you could take to make it happen, would you take it? There is one that is a 4 part time release capsule and if taken as prescribed you’re well on your way to healthier sales results.

Purpose

Individualism

Live in the moment

Less is more                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Purpose is about finding both direction and passion in the work that we do.  It’s about defining our dreams and goals.

Individualism is about taking control and being self-motivated. It’s about making decisions and following the path we know is right for us.

Live in the moment because that is all that we have. Yesterday is over and tomorrow’s not promised to anyone. In the past we’ve had success and failures but in each case they’ve all led us to today.

Less is more. If we talk less we’ll listen more. If we create less chaos we’ll have less stress. The less complicated we can make things the simpler it can be.

If you’re in sales you’ve probably got a big day ahead. Contacts to call, people to see, presentations to make, and deals to close.  You don’t need water to take this PILL all you need is a few minutes to pause, focus, gain perspective and I promise it will go down easy.

Batter Up!

Pete Rose had 4256 hits in 14,053 at bats in his baseball career.  With his well-documented scandal-ridden past his character can be On Deck Circlequestioned, but no one can question if Pete was ready every time he stepped up to the plate.  His track record of performance at the plate supports he was prepared.

If you have been in sales how many “at bats” have you had and how prepared were you each time?  If you are in a sales environment making just 10 calls a day in a 240 day work year you blew past 14,053 in less than 6 years.  Regardless of rather you are well above or well below 14,000 sales calls the one thing we can all agree on is each sales call mattered.

For baseball players there is the on deck circle where the batter will: assess the situation; assess who he will be facing; get his timing down; and take a few practice swings.

What is your routine before you make each sales call? Do you know your customer’s needs? Do you know you audience? Do you know where they are in the sales cycle? Have you rehearsed what you are going to say and how you are going to present?

I believe there are far too many times we don’t spend time in the on deck circle before we pick up the phone, meet face to face, or walk into the meeting room.  If you are not properly prepared or you simply think you are good at “winging it” you will not get either the results you desire or that your employer demands.

Batter Up!