Tom Brady and Lessons for Sales

Whether you’re a fan of Tom Brady or not, you’ve got to agree he’s a winner. In fact, if he and the Patriots win this week’s Super Bowl, he will break the tie with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana of winning four Super Bowls. Tom Brady will have five, and he will be the best of the best.

There are lots of articles written about both Tom and coach Belichick, and the Patriots, and I read one last week that, yet again, provides a big lesson for all of us in sales.

The article talks about how, after a good practice, coach Belichick came down hard on Tom and admonished him to stop throwing so many times to his best receiver. Tom didn’t agree and pointed out that he was simply polishing his timing, but Belichick was adamant.

“Throw the ball to somebody else!” he said, in not so polite terms.

Just when Tom was about to object and let his ego take over, he stopped and took it in. “I’m the player and he is the coach,” was his attitude. And this is what makes Tom so great: He is willing to keep learning and keep growing.

The article said it best: “The Patriots’ best player likes to be coached the hardest.”

The reason this is such a good lesson for sales is that I coach and work with “players” – sales reps – all the time. And what I find is that the ones who make the most growth (and the most money) are the ones who are open to being coaching.

This contrasts sharply with those who insist on doing it their own way; those who remain stubborn and think they have it all figured out. While many of these sales reps are talented, smart, intuitive, and even motivated, what they lack is a willingness to take a step back and consider possibly better way.

Unfortunately, many professional football teams and elite athletes are resistant to coaching as well. In the article, coach Eric Mangini points this out by saying: “There is almost this stigma to being coached.” And:

“The head coach of another AFC club tried a similar tactic with his team this season, showing the entire team clips of mistakes by a handful of his best players. One recently paid veteran responded by standing up in front of the room and screaming at the coach.”

I used to be resistant to coaching as well. Years ago, I thought I knew it all and was resentful when my manager – who wasn’t on the phones and didn’t have to make the calls – tried to teach me a better way. It wasn’t until I became committed to performing better that I became willing to be coached.

But when I did, my sales and my career took off.

The lesson I hope you all take from this is that you can and will benefit from advice, suggestions, and coaching from other people who have been there and done that. It’s when you think you know it all that you stop growing.

Just like when Tony Robbins was starting out, he read and listened to and absorbed everyone else’s ideas in his field. He said that if he got just one good idea from them (and he got a lot more), that would help make his motivational training and career better.

And it worked out for Tony. And for Tom. And for me and countless other top professionals.

So my suggestion for you is: Who can you learn from today? What piece of advice or which technique, or which suggestion can you try to make yourself better? How open are you to being coached?

The moment you become willing, that is the moment you will begin improving.

(See the full article here.)

Sales Advice from Pablo Picasso

I read a great quote from Picasso (yes, the famous painter) the other day, and it really resonated with my sales philosophy. Here it is:

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

You’re probably wondering what that has to do with sales, and it’s simple: Most sales rep’s instincts are to adlib when they get an objection or when they get into a sales situation that isn’t going their way.

The problem with this is they haven’t first learned the rules of proper objection handling – like questioning an objection first, or isolating an objection, etc. – so instead they just wing it. And if you are doing this now, then you know how that turns out.

For years, I’ve been preaching, teaching, and training sales teams to put in the time and effort to learn the proper sales techniques first, and then after they understand and have mastered the fundamentals, then they can “adapt” them to each particular prospect or situation.

Here is a quick example:

A common objection in sales is the, “I have to show this to my (boss, manager, partner, etc.).” How does your sales team handle this?

The “rule” a pro follows is to isolate this objection to make sure it isn’t a smokescreen hiding other objections like, “It’s too much money,” or “I can get a better deal elsewhere,” etc.

Because pros know the rule above, they can then “break it like an artist,” by adapting their rebuttal to each prospect. This can include:

“I understand, just out of curiosity, what is your take on this now?”

OR

“I’m with you, let me ask you this, though: If your partner says ‘do whatever you think is best’, what would you tend to do?”

OR

“If your partner could go either way, which way are you leaning now?”

OR

“That’s fine and we talked about this earlier. But given what we’ve just gone over, what is your opinion on this?”

OR

“And if your partner asked you what you thought he should do, what would your answer be?”

This is the “art” of handling objections. Unfortunately, most sales reps and sales teams have never been taught the rules or fundamentals of proper selling, so they adlib, lose sales, and get discouraged. And your company misses its revenue numbers.

It’s also the reason my business grows each year.

The solution to this is to invest the time, money, and effort to learn and master core inside sales techniques.

One easy and fast way to do this is to check out a brand new video training course called, “Essential Cold Calling Skills for Confidence and Success,” I created for Viddler Online Sales Acadamy.

You can see it here.

This course is made up of five video modules (about 5 minutes each), and each module teaches an essential prospecting skill which builds on the one before it.

Each module also comes with specific, scripted sales materials you can download to help you, and your inside sales team, master the essential cold calling skills they need for success.

So if you are ready to master the rules so you can work like an artist and attain top sales performance, then start here.

Remember, each and every investment you make in your sales team, pays for itself each and every month.

The One Important Buy-In Question (You better be asking)

Back in the office after two weeks on the road training in CA (shout out to my clients there!), and during both weeks – in L.A. and Oakland – it rained! My wife tells me I can no longer say it doesn’t rain in CA. It does, and I was there!

While preparing their training programs, there was one important similarity that I think applies to any sale. And that is identifying and asking the most important (value statement) question to get buy-in from your prospect up front. Let me explain.

Regardless of what you are selling, there is usually one buy in question that determines how interested and engaged your prospect is going to be.

For my sales training and consulting services, it’s simply: “How important do you think sales training is to your overall sales development and the performance of your sales team?”

If my prospect thinks it’s very important, then I have a strong basis for closing the sale, and I can leverage that buy in throughout my presentation. And it’s the same for you as well.

If you are selling, for example, pre-need funeral arrangements, then the obvious question is: “How important is it to you to have all your arrangements completed ahead of time so it’s that much easier on your family should something happen to you?”

If you are selling franchises, the question is: “How valuable do you think owning a franchise is to you or to your business?”

These “core buy-in” questions form the basis for your sale. They establish the core interest level of your prospect, and if the answer is positive, then you can refer back to this buy in throughout your presentation.

What’s interesting is that many sales reps, and companies, haven’t taken the time to identify this question, and even fewer ask it and leverage the buy in throughout their presentation.

So the natural question is: “What is your unique buy-in question?” In other words, what one question can you ask that establish the core suitability and the core interest of your prospect?

Once you identify what it is, start asking it during the prospecting call and at the beginning of your presentation. If you get buy-in, then refer back to it to leverage and reinforce their buying motive.

If they aren’t sold on your basic value proposition, then you have more digging (qualifying) to do to establish common ground (and buying motive).