My Secret to Sales Success

I get asked, over and over again, what the one secret to my sales success was.  Was it dedication and commitment, some ask?  Was it perfecting my sales skills and being better at it than my competition?  Was it old fashioned persistence?  Was it that I got better leads”?  (By the way, I didn’t.  I got all the regular ‘green card’ leads like everybody else).  What exactly was it that made me the top 1% of all sales reps in my career?

My answer to that question is two-fold.  First, all of the above was true.  I was completely committed to being the best at what I did, and I learned and perfected all the sales skills I could, etc.  I’ve written about this before in my bestselling book, “The Real Secrets of the Top 20%”, and in hundreds of articles I’ve written over the years.  

But that alone wasn’t what drove me to perform at my best.  

In fact, while learning and using the best skills is highly important, it’s only half of what you need to excel.  It’s the other half of the equation of success that makes the real difference – having, reaching, updating and setting worthwhile goals – in all areas – is what is needed to drive and sustain the kind of effort to truly change your career and your life. 

Now I know you’ve all heard about the importance of setting goals, and I’ll bet you’ve probably all set some goals from time to time and even reached some of them.  But here’s the million dollar question: Do you have specific goals, right now, written down in all areas of your life that you’re affirming on a daily basis, and visualizing several times a day? 

If you’re like most people, the answer is no.  And the reason for this is you’ve probably never been taught, or had a structured program, for keeping you motivated long enough to reach and then re-set meaningful goals.  

For a FREE goal setting plan, along with videos and everything you’ll need to learn how to do this, simply Click Here 

Everything changed when I learned the secret and the power of setting achievable and meaningful goals.  In fact, goal setting is still what drives me to get up in the morning and do what I do.  My vision of my life in the next year, next two years and five years and beyond is so exciting, so motivating, so dynamic, that I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and go to work! 

Is that how you feel, too?  If not, then I’d like to invite you to the 100 Day Challenge.  The good news is that it’s completely FREE, and it’s the missing ingredient to the success you desire.  

Ask any top producer (or top performer, athlete, or leader in any profession) what their immediate and long term goals are and they will tell you – in vivid detail.  You see creating a vision is what enables you to use the skills and ability and techniques that you may already have. It’s also what motivates you to get these skills and perfect them if you don’t.  

Having a believable and attainable vision for your life is the key to a successful, purposeful and happy life. 

That is the ultimate answer I give when people ask me what the secret to my success in sales (and life) is.  If you want success in your life as well, then start by defining what that means to you today and for tomorrow, and set manageable goals to begin moving toward it.  

Remember, you will move toward and bring into your life what you are focused on every day.  My question to you is: Have you taken the time today to define, or redefine, exactly what this is?  If not, then take the FREE 100 Day Challenge today!

How to Exercise and Sell More!

A couple of weeks ago I was flying back to Los Angeles from Chicago, long flight, late at night.  The good news about my seat was that it was an exit row (nice leg room), the bad news was that it was the center seat.  As I marched through the aisle with my carry on, I looked forward toward my seat and saw that I would be sandwiched between two, big guys.  Oh the joy of traveling… 

Luckily, once we got off the ground, the guy to my left fell asleep, and the guy on my right was busy finishing a detective novel.  Once he was done he picked up a new book that drew my attention.  It was called, “Younger Next Year” (See it here). As he turned the pages, I would scan the headings and look at the graphs, and by the end of the flight I was sold on what I saw.  When I got home I ordered it and am almost through reading it right now. 

So here’s the deal: the book tells you everything you probably already know but aren’t doing: that you should exercise more, eat well, etc.  But what makes it different are the reasons it gives for doing these things.  And more specifically, it makes a bold claim: 

That instead of getting older and losing strength, stamina and flexibility, you can actually reverse this and become “functionally younger” next year than you are right now.  You can actually change the decline curve that we all assume is true about aging and live the last half or last third of your life in better shape and with less restriction and disease than 90% of the population right now.  That’s significant. 

OK, so what does this have to do with sales?  Well, everything really.  I remember when I was struggling to make sales all those years ago, and I remember how my physical body mirrored my attitude and performance:  My diet was horrible (donuts, pastries and lots of coffee for breakfast), my lunch was the nearest Chinese restaurant for the luncheon special with soup, and for dinner I would have as many beers as courses there were on the menu… 

Exercise?  That wasn’t part of the plan.  As a result I was out of shape, low energy once the coffee wore off, and my attitude was pretty poor.  I was on the slope of decline the book talks about but I was only 29 years old! 

I’ve written a lot about what changed for me (learning and committing to using the right skill set, adopting the right mind set and using affirmations, etc.), but one thing that also made a huge difference for me was that I committed to changing my diet and to exercising five days a week.  I can’t tell you what a difference that made (and still makes) for me.  

If you are looking for some reinforcement to begin or resume an exercise program, then I encourage you to click here and read about this book: Younger Next Year.  It has given me a renewed focus and my energy level and attitude towards business, family and my future is off the charts again.  I can’t recommend it enough.  

Here are some key points as to why exercise is so important for you: 

* A man who is thirty pounds overweight, smoking a pack a day but exercising every day, has a lower statistical mortality than a thin, sedentary nonsmoker. 

* Nothing you are doing in the Next Third of your life (between 55 – 85) is as important as daily exercise. 

* Genetics are only 20% of what determines how you’ll age and what will happen to you.  80% is up to you! 

* We can prevent 70% of what we think of as the effects of aging and disease by simply exercising daily.  

There is a lot more in this book and regardless of your age (physically we stop growing and getting stronger around 29 years old and the decay starts then…) you will benefit from reading this book.  (Heck, it’s only $7.43 on!).  

And best of all, your sales will benefit as well!

5 Sales Truths You Must Follow

You know what the nice thing about the truth is?  It doesn’t change.  What’s true today was true yesterday and it will be true tomorrow and next year as well.  It’s like math: 2 + 2 = 4.  You will always get 4 no matter what you’re adding, and no matter where you add it – in this country or in outer space.

And it’s the same in sales.  There are certain sales truths that are true no matter what you’re selling, no matter where you’re selling it or who you’re selling it too, and no matter what the economy is doing or how your company is doing, or whatever.  Just like 2 + 2 will always equal 4, these sales truths will always work for you – or against you.

That’s the good thing about the following 5 truths: If you follow them, stick to them, abide by them, you will close more sales with less frustration.  On the other hand, if you ignore them or try to deceive yourself into thinking that maybe, just maybe, it won’t be true for this particular prospect, then you do so at your own expense.  The expense of lost sales, much frustration and pressure, are the penalties for not following the following 5 sales truths:

1)      You can’t close an unqualified lead.  Seems straight forward enough, doesn’t it?  And yet 80% of sales reps across all industries are trying to do just that – close prospects that should never have made it into their pipeline to begin with.  To test this, ask yourself, “Out of 10 leads or prospects that send information to and follow up with, how many turn into deals?”  If you’re like the average sales rep, your answer is one to two.

What this means is that 80% of the leads in your pipeline weren’t qualified to begin with and were never going to close.  This is where the ‘sales is a numbers game’ philosophy came from.  The solution to his is to learn the most important skill in all of sales – learn to disqualify rather than to qualify your leads.

2)      Leads never get better when you call them back.  Let me ask you, “How many times have you called back a prospect and found they were actually more interested and receptive than they were when you first called them?”  Rarely, right?  This sales truth is similar to the first one in that the more important thing you can do is properly qualify your leads.

People ask me all the time what the secret to closing sales is.  They are surprised by my answer, but it’s always the same: The secret to closing is that you have to find someone who not only needs your product or service, but is ready, willing and able to buy it.  In other words, see sales truth #1.

3)      The objection, “I want to think about it” usually means no.  Again, ask yourself this question: “How many times have you actually closed a prospect who tells you this and then gets you off the phone?”  Almost never, right?  The reason is that this objection is one of the most used smokescreens ever created to mask the real objection – which is usually that they’ve made a decision to not use you and they don’t want to have to argue with you or explain why not.

The only way to deal with this (and it’s not, “Oh, then when should I call you back?”) is to use a close that gets them to tell you the truth (see my blog for examples), and then learn why they weren’t qualified to begin with and do a better job qualifying your next prospect (otherwise you’re going to repeat this hundreds of times in your career).

4)      Your success is always, 100% up to you.  Until you take 100% responsibility for yourself (not 90% or 99%), you will always look for (and find) an excuse for not achieving what you want.  For years I would point to bad leads, a bad economy, a bad territory, etc., as reasons why I wasn’t a top producer.  When my manager pointed to the top reps driving porches and living in the homes I could only dream about, I found other excuses…

It wasn’t until I took 100% responsibility for my life and my results that I finally shed the excuses and found a way to succeed – no matter what.  And once I adopted that attitude, I accomplished more than I ever dreamed possible.  And still do.  There’s a saying that if you’re not part of the problem, then there’s no solution.  If you take 100% responsibility for your results and your life, you’ll find a way to succeed.  All winners do.

5)      Some sales people should be selling something else – or not selling at all.  I’ve been managing and training sales people for over 25 years and this is one of the consistent truths in all of sales.  It’s a hard truth to swallow, at first, but once you follow it, everyone’s life gets easier.

Let’s take the first part.  Some people are better at outside sales then inside sales.  Some people are better at a longer sales cycle than a short one.  Some people are better at selling a service than a product, and some are better at B to B and others better at B to C.  Ask yourself what you are best at and what makes you the happiest, then go sell that kind of product.

Second, not everyone is cut to be in sales.  That doesn’t make you a bad person rather, it’s just the truth.  Some people are better in a customer service role.  Some people are better in marketing.  And some people are better off going back to school and learning a different profession.  Again, be honest with yourself and ask yourself what you are best at and what makes you the happiest.  Then go out and pursue what will make you happiest (and more successful).

So there you have it.  Twenty five years of experience boiled down into 5 sales truths.  Are there more?  Of course, but you’ll have to wait for another article for that…

The 5 Secrets of Motivating Your Sales Team

Motivation seems to be one of the toughest areas to get a handle on.  Many managers tell me that some of their reps are already motivated and don’t need their help in that area (usually the Top 20%), but that the majority seem to need constant motivating, mentoring, counseling, or out right babysitting.  Sound familiar?

When asked what to do, I tell them there is only so much they can do because true motivation comes from within — in other words, each member of their team is already motivated.  There are, however, 5 things you can do to get the most out of your sales team and keep motivation and morale high.  Here’s what they are — 

#1) Make your monthly revenue goal, and each rep’s part of that goal, crystal clear.  I’m sure you have a monthly revenue goal, but does each member of your sales team know what their specific part of that goal is?  (Hint — it’s not all equal).  Recognize that some reps will produce much more of the overall goal than others, but also make sure each one is clear on what their part of that overall goal is.

#2) Individualize the bonuses or prizes.  The problem with most bonus programs is that as soon as they are released, over one-half of the sales team knows they can’t win so they are more discouraged than encouraged to produce.  Customize each rep’s bonus based on their individual production goal.  This ensures every body has a chance to win and thus will be motivated. 

#3) Get out of your office and close some deals.  Most managers are way too busy in meetings, or reporting, or just plain hiding out to be really effective.  Remember one thing — as the manager, you are the leader.  And leaders lead by example.  Want to motivate your team, make your numbers, and create real value for yourself?  Go onto the floor and close business for some of your sales reps and help them make their revenue goals.  This is the most important thing you can do not only for your bottom line, but for your team’s motivation as well. 

#4) Invest $100 in a couple of trophies.  The best money you’ll ever spend — make one a “Weekly most improved” or “Best effort” and hand it out each Monday morning.  Each winner gets to keep it on their desk that week.  The other trophy can be either “Most deals,” or “Most new clients” or whatever other category everyone has a chance to win (as long as it is revenue related).  Again, hand it out in your Monday morning sales meeting, and each week the winner gets to keep it on their desk.  Rule #1 in motivating: recognition among peers is almost always more important than money. 

#5) Have some fun!  Go to a toy store and buy one of those beanbag tosses, and after lunch on Friday make some teams and have some fun playing as a team.  Tack on $50 for good measure and watch the competition and fun build your team and dissolve stress.  This works – try it! 

So there you have it.  Inexpensive, proven techniques to build morale, motivate and make more money.

Want a bonus?  Invest in and give each member of your team a copy of my new CD series , “The Secrets of the Top 20% – How to Double Your Income Selling over the Phone.”  That alone will turn some of your sales reps into Top 20% producers and then they will forever be motivated from within — the ultimate motivation!