Ignite Your Results, 24-Style

With the news that one of the most popular TV shows in recent history, 24, will be returning next year, I thought it might be time to rev up Netflix and check out a few earlier seasons to get ready for the return of Jack Bauer.

As I visited some of those outstanding early seasons, I couldn’t help but wonder how someone could get so much done in such a short window of time. Can businesses ignite their own teams, 24-style, to accomplish the unexpected? If you leverage these 4 tactics, you will be well on your way.

  1. Clearly state your objectives

  2. Create a sense of urgency

  3. Leverage the strengths of your team

  4. Constantly communicate where you are and your next course of action

Any other lessons from 24 you could apply to your sales efforts?

Clear Roles and Expectations in Sales| Alexander Group Blog

To get the most out of your sales team, make sure to have roles clearly defined.  With clear objectives the team can better self-manage and giving sales leaders time to handle additional leadership tasks. How do you ensure your sales team has clear roles and objectives?

clear objectives and expectations

Keeping your sales roles crystal clear | Insights on Sales Growth and Sales Analytics | Alexander Group Blog.

How To Improve Sales Listening Skills

By Jeremy Ulmer images

“Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.” ~Sue Patton Thoele 

1. Be Present & Stay Focused. Stop thinking about what you are going to say next and focus on what the speaker is telling you. Be curious and ask follow up questions to learn more about what they are telling you.

2. Pause Before You Respond. Take 2 full breaths before responding. It will ensure the speaker is finished and give them space to share more. It will also help you control the amount of talking you are doing.

3. Refocus If Your Mind Wanders. If you start thinking about your next meeting, travel plans, or what you have planned for the evening, bring yourself back to the moment.

4. Summarize & Bottom Line The Key Points. Play back to the speaker the key items you are hearing to ensure you are capturing the essence of what is being relayed to you. Make sure to take notes of these key items so you can revisit them as needed later in the meeting.

5. Focus On Listening & Understanding Versus Judging & Opinion. It is natural to want to share your 2 cents right away, or to be making judgments in your mind about what you are hearing. However, that is not focused listening. Stop yourself from doing this by placing your attention on learning, listening, and understanding. Ask open ended questions that begin with “What” to stay focused on listening and understanding.

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4 Tips to Jumpstart Second Half Sales

jumpstartIt’s halfway through July which means that summer vacations and barbecues are in full swing. It also means that it’s time for mid-year assessments and plan adjustments. Instead of waiting until October or November to assess your financial situation, get ahead and start identifying issues today.

Here are 4 things that you can do now to help improve sales.

1. Identify and coach poor performers

Poor performers are holding you back. In an article on Candium.com, sales performance management company Xactly found that “40 percent of sales teams finish their with less than 80 percent of their quotas filled.”  You need to evaluate poor performing reps to get to the root of the problem. Is the issue skill or motivation? If it is skill, then explore opportunities for training. If the problem is motivation, then perhaps contact a sales recruiter to start looking for a replacement or look internally at your own leadership and see if there is more you can do to create the right environment.

2. Review accounts that are stuck in the sales process

Often there will be a set of accounts that are moving much slower than normal through the sales process. Most likely the accounts are not fully qualified or aren’t ready to buy. Alternatively, perhaps the sales rep is not positioned properly in the account or isn’t good at closing the particular buyer type. In either case, get involved in helping the rep to unlock accounts and uncover the true reasons for lack of progress. If necessary, enlist other members of the team to assist in closing the sale.

3. Provide strong performers with additional support

Strong performers are likely counting for a large percentage of your results. Can you arrange for additional support so that they can cover more accounts? For example, have a junior representative handle smaller account renewals or follow-ups on certain types of issues.  Or, pull in additional administrative support to assist with paperwork or setting appointments.   For additional thoughts, check out this Salesjournal post about Using the Strengths of Your Sales Team to Accelerate Growth.

4. Evaluate your current sales strategy

It’s essential to assess the plans that were made at the start of the year in order to figure out what has or hasn’t been working. Have things changed in your market that you can’t control? What is the performance gap between the sales goals and actual results? You may need to shift emphasis to different product lines, sales channels or account types based on how the market is receiving your solutions. The key is to take a proactive approach to addressing the weaknesses in your plan.

The good news is that you still have over 5 months to reach your annual revenue goals. By taking action and evaluating your current situation now, it will make reaching those goals more attainable.

What other areas do you consider when making mid-year sales adjustments?

Building a Sales Culture – 10 Rules for Success

By Dave Kurlan

Dave Kurlan is a top-rated speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and highly regarded sales leadership expert.

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More and more firms that aren’t traditionally sales-driven are finding it necessary to finally build more of a sales culture.  They know they need to do a better job at selling in order to deal with increasing competition, fewer call-ins, commoditization of their products and services, aging rainmakers looking at retirement, etc.  Management seems to understand that they need to be more proactive bringing in business, cross-selling and up-selling. They’re saying the right words.  They’re asking the right questions.  But can they pull it off?

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