These tips from Adrian Miller are tried and true … proven to be effective for companies across a wide diversity of industries and in many different geographic areas. Often, the key to success is being flexible and open-minded about trying something new. If you already have these tips in your arsenal of tricks, then consider this a refresher, akin to spring training in which the baseball pros reinforce and perfect already existing skills.
There was a one hour interview on CNBC with Warren Buffet, the third richest person in the world as of April 2007, behind Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim. In June 2006, he made a commitment to give away his fortune to charity, with 83% of it going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The donation amounts to approximately $30 billion. Buffett’s donation is said to be the largest in U.S. History. At the time of the announcement the donation was enough to more than double the size of the foundation.
His annual salary of about $100,000 is tiny by the standards of senior executive remuneration in other comparable companies. In an interview on CNBC, he mentioned that his annual salary is equal to the price of the Berkshire Hathaway Class A share price.
Here are some very interesting aspects of his life.
- Born on August 30, 1930, he bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!
- He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.
- He still lives in the same small 3 bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.
- He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.
- He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world’s largest private jet company.
- He does not socialize with a high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some popcorn and watch television.
- Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates didn’t think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting for only a half an hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for 10 hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.
- Warren Buffet does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk.
- His advice to young people: Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself.
- His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never hold meetings or calls them on a regular basis.
- He has given his CEO’s only two rules.
- Rule number 1: Do not lose any of your share holders money.
- Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.
The Women in Sales Webinar Series Continues on March 30th. (Sponsored by Verizon Wireless)
5 Mistakes Women in Sales Make and How to Avoid Them
Register Here (No Cost)! There are only 141 spots left so please register now!
In this informative webinar, Liz Wendling, The Sales Coach for Women, will help you identify sales behaviors that push customers away rather than attracting them to you.
You may join the Women in Sales LinkedIn group here.
Darrin Mourer asks an important question: What do you do if your rep is pulling his own weight?
First, when you’ve worked in the business long enough, this situation invariably happens. Usually it doesn’t start to manifest until you yourself have been in the role long enough to have worked with a variety of reps to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Second, when you’ve been in the business long enough, the situation will eventually reverse and, justified or not, your abilities will be called into question.
This is a face-paced, high risk/return game we’re in. Succumbing to the continuous pressure and jumping to rash decisions is all too easy a trap. All it takes is a quarter or two of missed results for the pressure to be ratcheted up enormously. It’s in your best interest to take a step back and rationally assess the situation. It takes real skill not to get caught up in the blame game.
Author: Leanne Hoagland-Smith
48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
10% of sales people make more than three contacts
Source: National Sales Executive Association
Inconsistency when it comes to business productivity is a sales killer from all aspects of the business be it the salespersons behaviors to the customer services behaviors to sales managers behaviors to C Suite behaviors.
Even though they may be some employees designated as sales or business development (still attempting to understand exactly what that is), all employees are in sales regardless if they believe or not. Their behaviors must be consistent to achieve the goals be them:
- To increase sales
- To improve customer loyalty (repeat business)
- To decrease turnover both external and internal customers
- To maximize processes’ and systems’ efficiencies
- To create a culture of high performance
When organizations establish new strategic initiatives or goals focusing only on the sales department (think increase sales) without aligning those new directives to the rest of the organization, this is a recipe for an inconsistent disaster. To avoid the inconsistency sales killer, these tips may help:
- Embed the same proven goal setting and goal achievement process within the entire organization
- Adopt the Jay Galbraith 5 star model for organizational alignment
- Rewrite all job descriptions to reflect actual job duties
- Construct performance appraisals every 3 or 6 months
- Continue to communicate the vision, mission and values statements with all stakeholders and shareholders
- Describe the desired behaviors associated with the expectations
- Monitor the results from these business productivity tips
- Communicate good news and bad news to all internal customers (employees)
- Develop proven leadership and sales competencies such as emotional intelligence, key attributes, etc.
With everyone having a full plate (even though from my experience most people admit to wasting at least 12 minutes while they are at work), developing consistent behaviors is just common sense. Research abounds as to the results of inconsistency from total quality to lean six sigma as a sales killer. By meeting inconsistency head on using a totally aligned and integrated approach can not only increase sales and thus avoid the sales killer, but improve overall business productivity not too mention general attitudes.
It hurts to learn. Yet, learning keeps us mentally agile well into our golden years, and it’s the hallmark of successful entrepreneurs. Keeping up with what you don’t know has the amazing ability to transform what you do know into the next million buck idea. Constant learning is the grease we need to stay competitive.
Many people slow their learning down once they’ve been labeled an “expert” or reached some degree of success. They may figure their accomplishments are evidence that they know enough — they would be mistaken.
Consider that the half-life of a college education is now three to five years. That means that much of what a student learns during their freshman year will be obsolete by the time they’re a junior. Continual learning is the key to keeping you sharp in your market and in your mind.
You need to keep jamming new stuff into your head because your brain feeds on new data and while you’re least paying attention, it makes connections all by itself that appear as insight. Much of this goes on in the background while you sleep and while you reflect on what’s happening in your world.
If you set the conditions right, your brain will sift and sort — even the most seemingly insubstantial factoid — and provide you with your company’s next product or service. You never know what random bit will be incorporated into your old info trove to come up with that blockbuster. The message: Get very curious and be deliberate about learning.
Many of us get so busy running our businesses that all of our learning is on the job and in life. It’s not the kind of learning that consistently taxes the brain. Then when we do go back to some formal kind of education, the ramp-up time to remember how to learn again is excruciating and many people give up. There are ways to keep your mind in tip-top shape so that you are always engaged in deep learning.
Here’s what the brainiacs do:
- Read one article a day written by someone with an opposing opinion. Your brain chemistry switches on when you are met with competing knowledge or an opinion that flies in the face of your own experience. Be open to it. Read or listen to it all the way through, no matter how frustrated you become.
- Learn one radically new thing every day and apply it to your life. Geniuses find unrelated things and put them together to come up with something new. You only do that by adding to your repertoire of experiences and knowledge.
- Teach someone something that you’re passionate about. The teaching process reveals new learning for you since people have different questions about what you’re teaching. It causes you to stretch in your topic area. You have to be open to your knowledge being challenged. Surround yourself with people who don’t think just like you do. Be brave enough to have dissention.
- Get deep sleep. Entrepreneurs are notorious for claiming to only need two or three hours of sleep each night. Yet, research shows that neural connections are made when you’ve hit the deepest stage of sleep, and that occurs typically over a seven to nine hour period.
- Practice “awake sleeping” or reflection. This is another way to allow the brain to find the new connections you’re looking for. Find a few times a day when you can turn off anything that electronically gets a hold of you and simply reflect on what your needs are and how things are going. Be open to the ideas that come flooding into the canals of your mind.
By stretching your brain every day, you keep it young and smart. The combination of the wisdom from experiences and your constant new knowledge will be one of the most powerful innovation tools you will possess.
Scott Halford is president of Complete Intelligence, LLC. He’s an internationally known speaker and writer on brain-based success behaviors. Halford is the author of Be a Shortcut: The Secret Fast Track to Business Success. You can reach him at www.CompleteIntelligence.com.
To find out more about Entrepreneur.com and its services, check out http://www.entrepreneur.com.
Copyright © 2009, Entrepreneur Column
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Compliments are an extremely powerful tool! When was the last time you complimented someone? If you just started to squirm then please read this article by Chris Lott, it could change your life and sales career.
In his article “Good Manager Bad Manager” Lott talks about employee motivators and what they are; Appreciation, recognition, working with people they like and respect, and feeling like they contribute to something worthwhile. These motivators obviously could apply to anyone. Taking this to the next level… Couldn’t compliments become an easy avenue to get this message across and thus motivate? You better believe they can! So whats’ the difficulty?
Compliments, Giving or Receiving, Can be Hard for Some.
Copyright 2002, by Dave Kahle.
It is easy to work with people you like, and it is even easier to work with people who like you. But that’s not always the case. Sooner or later, you’ll have to deal with a difficult customer.
Difficult customers come in a wide variety. There are those whose personality rubs you the wrong way. They may not be difficult for someone else, but they are for you. And then there are those who are difficult for everyone: Picky people, know-it-alls, egocentrics, fault-finders, constant complainers, etc. Every salesperson can list a number of the types.
But perhaps the most difficult for everyone is the angry customer. This is someone who feels that he or she has been wronged, and is upset and emotional about it. These customers complain, and they are angry about something you or your company did.
So, how do you handle an angry, complaining customer? Let’s begin with a couple tools you can use in these situations…
According to Mark Hunter, contrary to popular belief, to be a successful salesperson, it doesn’t matter how much you know about your product or service. It also doesn’t matter how much of an industry expert you are. It doesn’t even matter how great your mother thinks you are. The only thing that really matters to be successful in selling is your ability to shut-up and listen. On numerous occasions, everyone in sales has heard how important it is to get the customer talking, so it’s imperative that they have an arsenal of great questions to ask. Despite trying to follow this guideline, every salesperson seems to overstate the amount of time they believe they allow the customer to talk. The many interviews I’ve conducted over the years with customers and salespeople alike confirm this reality. Therefore, salespeople need to take a step back and consider their sales presentation.
This week’s guest author Carl Moe is the author of Sales Revenue System 2.0 / Your Chief Revenue Officer B2B Success Model and Managing Director of CRO Success, a Minneapolis based ‘revenue as a system’ engineering organization. CRO Success specializes in helping Chief Revenue Officers (CRO’s) restructure their revenue system for sustainable growth and optimized performance.
Moe began his career in Detroit selling computer-based production automation systems to the auto industry. Next were decades of officer and executive roles in global technology-based evenue Systems. He has conducted business in 14 foreign countries outside North America holds BSE & MBA degrees from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in Organizations prior to becoming an executive coach and corporate resource.
He can be reached at cmoe@CROsuccess.com or 952-232-6720.
Incentive plans are the most underutilized tool available to Chief Revenue Officers (CRO’s) in terms of achieving their performance objectives. The two most common incentive plan mistakes we see today are:
1. All business (new account and continuing sales to existing accounts) earns the same incentive.
2. Companies try to ‘cap’ sales incentive earnings.
First, new account business is ALWAYS worth more than ongoing business from existing accounts because prospecting, qualifying and closing a new account is more difficult plus it’s the best way for a business to generate sustainable growth. Businesses typically default to a “one size fits all” plan for administrative simplicity and miss one of the best opportunities to train salespeople to GROW the company instead of just booking the easy business (low-hanging fruit) that was likely coming in anyway. One size fits all plans are simply toxic to building sustainable long term revenue performance.
Second, we still see executive teams almost paranoid regarding the possibility of a sales person closing a big deal and earning more income than some C-suite members. Capping a performance based incentive plan makes about as much sense as a CEO announcing a management ‘cap’ being placed on the current year’s projected revenue and earnings. The real issue here is top level sales talent is not a commodity resource and when companies don’t recognize and pay them what they are worth, they will find someone who will do that.