In the last 12 months, only one out of every 20 sales people have spent $25.00 or more on their own improvement! Incredible. Let me repeat it to make sure you read it correctly: In the last 12 months, only one out of every 20 sales people have spent $25.00 or more on their own improvement! That’s Dave Kahle’s conclusion, based on lots of anecdotal evidence collected over the past 25 years of his working with sales people.Needless to say, Dave is embarrassed by that. Only five percent of his colleagues are sufficiently dedicated to their own personal growth and professional success that they will invest their own money in their careers. That means that ninety-five percent are not sufficiently motivated to take their own personal development seriously. What a shame.Dave is convinced that the process of continuously improving – not only professionally in the core competencies of a professional sales person, but also personally as well – is the ultimate success skill for our time.The ability to learn and grow in a proactive and disciplined way is several things…
According to Jonathan Farrington, globally recognized business coach, mentor, author and consultant, too often, we make assumptions that our prospects or customers will automatically be as excited as we are about our solutions. The reality is that they won’t be, so start from a point of understanding that they do not know what they don’t know. It is our duty to educate them. When customers perceive the value of a proposition outweighs the risks, then generally speaking they will go ahead and make the purchase – if they trust you. Customers will often pay more for added value, which is usually related to one of the “Three Rs”: Reputation/Reliability/Relationship. Good sales people are able to paint a graphic picture of what is at stake, quantify the value, and help the prospect understand how it will make them feel.
Occasionally, Tim J. M. Rohrer is asked to review sales books from those authors who are hopeful that some publicity on Sales Loudmouth might send their book sales skyrocketing. Of course, Tim is always flattered to be a part of anyone’s success.
A while back, Doyle Slayton asked, “Is Sales 2.0 really about sales?”His answer was “NO.” He didn’t t think Sales 2.0 was about sales at all. Think about how people on the web give everything away for FREE. That’s not selling! Sales 2.0 is all about marketing, branding, credibility, and positioning for the future.So what does the future of sales look like? Doyle suggests starting by painting a picture of what’s happening with sales people today…
Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CBwriterRZ.
This year, writer Rachel Zupek suggests you try doing things totally different than you’ve been doing in the past. Write a new résumé, revitalize your cover letters and kick up your job search a notch. Read her entire post here.
Here are five ways to shake up your job search in 2010:
Instead of job searching where you live … try relocating
We know it’s not easy to just pack up and move somewhere for a new job — we’re only suggesting that you think about it. Assess where you are, personally and professionally. If there’s nothing keeping you in your current city, expand your job search to other areas and see what you get. It’s no secret that some cities have been hit harder than others, so try looking in thriving areas. It definitely won’t hurt.
- Instead of networking with only friends and family … try broadening your network
Everyone knows that one of the best ways to find a job is through friends and family. Hiring managers are more likely to pay attention to a résumé from someone they trust than by searching through hundreds of applications. If you’ve been doing this, but your job search is still coming up short, it’s time to cast a wider net. Reach out to former co-workers and managers, old college professors or members of clubs or associations you belong to. Take your job search to Twitter or other social networking sites, so everyone knows you are on the hunt. Become a fan of your desired employer’s Facebook page and engage with it.
Instead of applying only to “new” companies … try revisiting old possibilities
You might hesitate to reach out to companies you have already applied to for fear of seeming impatient or nagging, but we beg to differ. It never hurts to get back in touch with people you’ve already contacted. You can let them know you are still looking for work to see if they know of anything that might be up your alley, or you can specify the type of position you were hoping to find in their company. Even if you interviewed with an employer, reach out to them and get feedback on why they didn’t hire you. If they chose a more experienced candidate, for example, maybe they have an open position that is a better fit with your qualifications.
- Instead of focusing on your strengths … try strengthening your weaknesses
While you should focus on what things you do well, consider that those aren’t the things that need work. After all, it’s not like you aren’t getting a job because you are so good at something, right? Say, for example, that you know you look good on paper and you get a lot of interviews — but nothing pans out after that. One might guess that your interview skills aren’t up to speed. Instead of trying to “fix” something that works (your résumé and cover letter), try spending more time perfecting your interview skills. Review questions you’ve been asked in interviews before and had a hard time answering, and work through answers to questions you’ll be asked all the time, like, “Tell me about yourself,” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
- Instead of waiting for a full-time job … try looking for something in the interim
While most people might prefer to lock down a full-time job, these types of jobs are not abundant right now. Try expanding your search to something temporary or part time. Any kind of work, no matter how many hours you put in, will help you build up your skill set, which can only benefit you in your search for a full-time job. Not to mention, any new supervisors or co-workers that you meet will likely serve as a reference or at least part of your network in the future. Lastly, if you’re able to land a part-time gig in an area that interests you and in which you excel, it could lead to a full-time job.
As Sales coach Jeremy Ulmer was doing research on the sales coaching industry, he discovered there is a great deal of garbage about sales coaching on the internet. People who are posing as sales experts are infiltrating minds with myths that are absolutely false!And, that’s exactly why he has written this article… To make some waves in the industry by debunking 10 of these myths right now.
This month’s Featured Company Q&A is with Bob Micunek, Director of Sales for Springwise, who shares with us his focus for sales success in 2010, why mentors are important in life and business, and strategies for success for any sales team.
What do you enjoy most about working for Springwise?
That it’s a fast-paced highly entrepreneurial company with huge growth potential in the competitive but splintered facilities management and maintenance industry
What unique quality separates Springwise from your competitors?
- There isn’t just one unique quality that separates us, there are several. It’s our approach to running our business by combining transparency, technology and continual process improvement. We are the eyes and ears for our customers, since we help them manage their facilities. We’ve harnessed technology to increase productivity and we’re the first facilities company in North America to gain ISO 9001:2008 certification; which means our customers receive a consistent level of service at each and every one of their locations.
We are all coming off of a challenging year, how has Springwise handled it?
- Fortunately, the maintenance services we provide like snow removal, landscaping, parking lot sweeping, generator and electrical repairs still need to be performed even in economic downturns. We’re coming off our 3rd consecutive year of double-digit growth. We invested heavily in an experienced sales team, key personnel to lead some of our departments, technology and process improvements over the past few years which has yielded great fruit.
What would you like salesjournal.com readers to know about Springwise?
- We’re proactive, adaptable, resourceful and accountable. We call this philosophy On-Demand since it encompasses everything we do as a company. It’s a holistic approach to every service we perform, responding to the unexpected and anticipating the future.
What specific goals, including those related to your specific position within the company, have you established for 2010?
- Top line revenue growth! We’ve planned for significant revenue growth in 2010 and have specific goals for each and every person on our sales team.
- Increase our brand awareness.
- Standardize, simplify and refine our message.
What creative strategies have you used to encourage/influence your sales team?
- We ask them to own the entire selling process. Many salespeople fill out sales reports with contact names, numbers, etc. just to complete the task. Our people realize that having specific targets and getting to know the key people in those organizations is absolutely critical to succeed.
- Secondly, I try to lead by example with regards to the sales process. Since I also have direct sales goals in addition to managing a sales team, I make cold calls, send prospecting emails and information packages. Therefore, I run into the same selling obstacles they face whether it’s overcoming objections from prospective customers or time management issues on a daily basis. It also gives me valuable insight as to what the real issues are facing our customers and prospective customers and how we can address those needs.
What is your favorite methodology in sales training and/or business enhancement?
- Metrics. Everything needs to be measured on a consistent basis to reach your objectives. However, you must first identify the key drivers to attaining those goals and measure those tasks. It’s pointless to measure things that don’t impact the tasks that lead you to closing more business.
Are there any books, sales related or leadership related, that you use as a guide and/or would recommend?
- There are a variety of great authors and I also subscribe to multiple industry e-newsletters and sales training e-newsletters. A couple off the top of my head are Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Selling. He always has thought provoking material on his website. He constantly challenges you and your thought processes and his trademark is “People don’t like to be sold but they love to buy!” An all-time classic is Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich which was originally published in 1937.
Do you have a mentor that you contribute your leadership success to? Do you feel it is important to have a mentor?
- Yes, I’ve been fortunate to have had two great mentors in my career that I still keep in touch with today. I believe it is critical to have a mentor in your business career since it can help to shorten the learning curve. Merriam-Webster defines mentor as “a trusted counselor or guide.” True mentors don’t do it for personal gain and they coach, counsel and provide constructive criticism which is crucial for personal and professional growth.
What sales advice do you have to offer our readers?
- Major on the fundamentals. We just returned from one of our industry trade shows and I heard a statistic that 80% of all trade show leads are never followed up. I’ve found the following process beneficial in increasing our percentages of developing a revenue stream from each and every contact at a trade show:
- Stay the day after the trade show ends and do a complete debrief of every person that you met face-to-face whether it was in the booth, at breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktail parties. We then assign a lead salesperson to follow-up with each prospect.
- Send a thank you email to every person we meet face-to-face within in one week of the show closing in addition to the written thank you note. The more specific you can be in the note, the better it is received since it increases your credibility with the prospect. Generic mass emails don’t work since they are impersonal.
- On a side note, a great tool that we use is Jigsaw to compile email addresses of attendees since most trade shows won’t send this information on the master attendee list.
- Track communication with each and every attendee at the show. This takes some extra effort but is the only way to measure true ROI of each trade show.
When you hire, how do candidates stand out in order to be selected to help with the growth of the company?
- I look for people that are passionate not only about selling and their careers but also in other facets in their life. This type of person is typically more well-rounded, well-spoken and well-travelled. They also tend to have higher energy levels since they’re involved in many activities and can relate to the many types of personalities. I also like to look for salespeople that have enjoyed success in hunting new business each and every day.
What characteristics do you look for in a sales professional?
- The main characteristics are integrity, honesty, solid work ethic and probably the most important – a positive mental attitude.
Do you feel a sales professional must have experience in the industry they are selling in order to be successful?
- Not necessarily but it definitely helps to get off to a good start in our industry since we’re selling services as opposed to tangible products. Since we’re a small company we prefer to hire experienced reps but it’s still important to develop people internally to sell.
If an individual or the team as a whole is not meeting goals, what is your approach to nurture this?
- The first place I look is to see if they are performing the necessary tasks to advance towards their goals, and to see if they have the proper tools and resources. Once I complete these quick assessments, I’ll coach and counsel them to see how we as an organization can help them overcome their performance issues.
How much time do you need to know if a new sales hire will “make it”? What are some indicators/behaviors?
Typically 90 to 120 days but there are exceptions especially if the hire is relatively new to the industry or is new to sales. Some of the things I look for are the highlights of specific conversations that they’ve had with their prospects.
- I also look for the quantity and quality of the questions they ask me and if they’re willing to ask me or the other salespeople for help. If they don’t ask me many questions, it raises a red flag that they may not be making progress towards the key milestones in the selling process.