When trying to increase your sales, a first step can be focus on getting more organized as it will help you to be more efficient, effective, and focused. This can help to save time from an efficiency standpoint and time is money. Shaving time here and there by being more efficient will improve productivity and drive positive results.
Below are some areas where being more organized can have a direct impact on your ability to increase your sales.
Managing Information Being more organized in the area of collecting and managing information is can help with sales effectiveness. A typical sales person will receive a tremendous amount of information everyday. From emails, to administrative documents, to product information, to customer information, it can sometimes be never-ending. Figuring out what to do with this information and then spending time to find items and this time could be saved by being more organized. By saving that time and refocusing it back to selling, you could possibly increase your sales.
Not only can managing information better help to save time, but it can also put you in a better position during the sales cycle. The more information about your prospect that you have, the better positioned you will be when trying to drive and close sales opportunities. Being more organized can help you to manage and access prospect information, which should have a positive impact on your sales effectiveness.
Efficient Processes Being more efficient can be beneficial when dealing with administrative processes. Those are tasks that must be done and the quicker you can get through it, the quicker you can get back to selling. Being more effective can be beneficial when it comes to sales processes as it can be the difference between winning and losing business. By being organized with sales processes, you can be in more control over the sales cycle leading to a higher close rate and helping you to increase your sales.
Time is money so if you want to increase your sales, being organized with your time can make you more efficient and more successful. A typically sales person can be responsible for many different tasks. From working to find new business, taking care existing clients, to dealing with administrative duties, it can be confusing for a sales person to know what to work on and when. By being more organized with your time and day, you can create time specific for the different areas that you have responsibilities. This can create more focus which will help to you be more effective in all of the areas that you need to be which should help you to increase your sales.
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Multitasking is a major part of how we operate our daily lives. And in most cases, employers state that the ability of effectively multitasking is a key requirement when looking at job applicants. But when we are in a sales role and trying to increase sales, sometimes decreasing or minimizing the amount of multitasking can drive positive results.
Multitasking is a Must
The goal here is not to eliminate multitasking as it is almost a mandatory part of a sales person’s day as a typical day is usually fast-paced with a lot of different things going on at any given time. There are usually a constant inflow and outflow of emails and phone calls, there is always work to be done against some to do list of internal and external requests, a schedule of internal and external meetings, and the never ending need to find new business. Without multitasking, it would be impossible to maintain composure and mental health in the day of the life of a sales person with so much coming in from all different directions.
The Cost of Multitasking
The challenge comes in when we are multitasking 100% of the time and successfully giving a little bit of attention to all of the different tasks but compromising our effectiveness in each individual area. For example, let’s look at multitasking while we are trying to prospect for new business. This could involve calling and sending emails to existing clients and to internal staff while we are supposed to be cold calling new prospects. In this scenario, the sales person is very busy and effectively getting a lot down by multitasking and giving attention to multiple areas. But with this approach, consider what is being lost in area of effectiveness with finding new customers. Could decreasing the multitasking while prospecting have a positive impact when trying to increase sales?
Decreasing Multitasking to Create Focus
If we agree that multitasking is a must and we also agree that there is a potential downside to multitasking 100% of the time, then we can possibly agree that an approach to decrease multitasking at certain times of the day or week can drive positive results. One way to incorporate this is to apply it to the larger tasks or areas of responsibility.
For example, the areas of prospecting to increase sales, taking care of existing clients, training, and administrative tasks are examples of some large areas that a sales person will have tasks and objectives. By adding structure to the week to work on these areas of responsibilities and then turn off the multitasking during those times, the sales person will establish more focus and attention. This will help improve the level of effectiveness and productivity in each area, which is likely to help to better position a sales person to increase sales.
Looking for a new job can sometimes feel like on of the most challenging things we do. And while it may feel like that, there are some things you can do to improve your level of success. Whether you are unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed, below is are some things that can be done to improve your effectiveness and drive career growth while looking for a new job.
Update resume: The first step in launching a job search effort is to improve and update your resume. Your resume is a portrait of who you are, who you have been, and who you can be from a professional standpoint.
Connect with your existing network: One of the most common ways that people successfully find a new job is through having a hearing about an opening through someone that they know or having a connection at a company. To improve the odds of this for you, reach out to the people in your network, whether they be family, friends, former coworkers, etc., when looking for a new job to let them know you are looking and how you might be able to help a company.
Expand your network: Once you have reached out to your existing network, focus on expanding your network through professional networking. This can be done by going to networking events, getting involved in organizations and activities, and through virtual networking through any online communities. You never know when you will meet somebody that knows somebody and that can lead you to a key place when you are looking for a job.
Apply to job postings: When applying to job posting, start by going to competitors and business partners of companies that you worked for in the past. If they have openings posted on their website that you can respond to, there is a chance that by you could standout from the competition since you will have related or valuable experience. Next, make it a habit to regularly review and apply to postings on various job boards. There is a lot of competition applying to these postings, but this is a must do when looking for a new job.
Apply to jobs that aren’t posted: The next step in the process of looking for a new job is to apply to jobs that have not been posted yet. It is often the case that companies have openings and they only put the job posting up very late in the process. There are actually some instances where the posting is posted after the job has been filled. With this being the case, a tremendous advantage can be achieved by connecting with the company or hiring manager before the job is even posted. The challenge is knowing who is hiring and when. The way around that is to send proactive communications (email, letters, calls, etc.) to companies and hiring managers outlining how you can help the company to be more successful.
By going through these simple steps while looking for a new job, you can drastically improve your success rate in getting where you want to go.
It can be challenging establishing momentum when meeting new people or at the early stages of new relationships. One of the challenges is that young relationships and social interactions are fairly fragile and there is plenty of room for error. By minimizing mistakes or miscommunications, you can improve your momentum driving an end result of more success in finding and establishing relationships.
One way to decrease the complexity and confusion around what to do and what not to do is to use an analogy or a model to simplify things. In this case, we will look at relationships as being a vehicle that two people travel in together to get from point A to point B. The distance you travel together could be as short as one date or as long as fifty years of marriage. Below are some factors to consider that could influence how far and how fast the vehicle will travel.
Fun: In the vehicle, the gas pedal is equal to the level of fun in the relationship. The more fun that occurs, the more the pressure applied to the gas pedal and the faster and farther the vehicle will go. It is important to point out that fun can be many different things and it is typically different things to different people.
Stress: Stress and pressure in a relationship are equal to the vehicle’s brake pedal. The more stress and pressure applied the more that the brake pedal will be pressed. This will slow the relationship down and at some point could bring it to a complete stop. Stress is part of life and in many cases cannot be avoided or decreased, but we can decrease the level of stress and pressure that we bring to new relationships.
Rapport: The ability to build rapport is equal to level of comfort of the vehicle. The more comfortable the vehicle and the stronger the level of rapport, the more likely the passengers will chose to travel together for an extended period of time.
Driver: Just like every car needs a driver, every relationship needs a driver. This is someone who takes the lead at a particular time. Ideally, two people in a relationship will take turns being the driver in different areas. Knowing when it is your turn to drive can help keep the vehicle going. In new relationships, some women like a man to drive initially. If a man does not realize this and drive when the woman wants him to, she may just get out of the vehicle and get into another one with someone who is ready to be the driver.
Maintenance: Just like how a vehicle needs scheduled maintenance, so do relationships. Most of the maintenance that you need to do on a vehicle could be ignored and you would not see an immediate impact. But problems would start to occur down the road and this would impact how far the vehicle travel. Relationships are similar as there are issues and differences that can be ignored, but somewhere down the road if those were ignored they can present problems that can bring an end to new relationships.
In is often that the main person that we interact with most on the prospect side is our coach. And given that the coach has time to invest in talking with us, they will likely not be the ultimate decision maker. As a result, in order to improve sales performance, we must be able to effectively get around our coach to get higher in the organization.
It is very common for the coach to try to prevent you from going around them and below are some factors that contribute to this:
Power: It is likely that your coach has some level of power in the organization and by you likely validate and feed into their power. By you going around them and appearing to want to listen and obey to someone else, you threaten their level of power.
Control: The coach will likely want some level of control over the project. With you only working with them, they have a certain level of control and that could decrease if you work with contacts above them.
Filter: It is very likely that the ultimate decision maker has asked the coach to be a filter to deal with the vendors as they either do not want to talk with each vendor or they do not have the time to. With that being the case, if the coach lets you go through them to the ultimate decision maker, they have not performed one of their tasks which is to filter the vendors.
Below are three tactics to use to defuse or avoid this resistance from a coach when trying to go around them to improve close rate:
Standard information collection process: During the sales process, there will be an early stage where information is collected from the coach. Just after that, communicate to the coach that you will need to meet with the decision maker to collect additional information. They will likely tell you that they have all the information you need so that is not necessary. At that point you can share that it is the standard process to meet with them and you want to be sure that all of their interests are covered by the solution.
Ask questions that they do not have the answer to: Another way to improve the close rate and get approval to go around the coach is by asking questions that they do not have the answer to.
Tell, don’t ask: If you tell the coach that you need to meet with the decision maker versus asking them if you can meet with the decision maker, you can see a different response and impact the close rate.
Cater to the sensitivities: Whatever tactic you use, if you factor in the coach’s sensitivities in terms of power and control and assure them that they are not failing in the area of filtering, you can more easily get around them and have a better close rate.
In sales, you typically will be fairly left up to work on your own and empowered to make decisions in terms of how you manage your time and how to manage your business. With that being the case, it will be key to make good decisions on what to do and what not to do in order for success. Below is a summary of three “C’s” that can help you to self manage your time and energy.
The day in the life of a salesperson can be very chaotic. There are many different tasks like finding new opportunities, working to close existing business, and taking care of existing clients. But then there are also a number of internally focused tasks like administrative work, training, and research. With diverse workload, it can be challenging to manage consistent levels in different areas.
The typical salesperson will be responsible for a number of different task and responsibilities. When this is the case, it can be very easy to get bogged down in one task and not give enough time to another. For sales excellence, it is critical to be able to work with concurrency allowing you to focus on many different areas at one time.
An example of this is that a salesperson will always need to find new prospects. But at many given times, a sales person might have some existing opportunities that need attention to close the sale. If that sales person focuses most of their time on the identified prospects and eases up on looking for new prospects, when or if the current prospects sign up, there will be a lull in the pipeline afterward. Concurrency would be still looking for new prospects while working to close active opportunities.
Just work hard and working in all the areas that you need to is not completely enough for sales excellence. The remaining piece to complete that is competency. Competency refers to being competent in the field you work in, the product you sell, and the industry that you sell to.
The key to operating with competency is to continue to learn and develop. It is common to go through a company’s standard training programs and then ease up in the area of continuing to learn. There is always more that we can learn about the company we work for, the products we sell, the companies we are trying to sell to, etc. That being said, it can be good to periodically step back from trying to find business to take an inward look to try to build on the existing knowledge that you already have.
Sales training is key to sales effectiveness. The better sales resources are trained on the products they are selling, the industry they are operating in, and trained on sales practices in general, the better they stand to have good sales performance. Although, sales training by itself has some gaps and these gaps can be resolved with the addition of sales coaching.
One of the challenges with sales training is the frequency with which it occurs. This can vary from organization to organization and the frequency is typically usually a one time event. The challenge with the fact that sales training has a low level of frequency and repeating of information is that people only retain a certain amount of information that that they are exposed to during training. As a result, we can attend a great training program and only take a portion of the information away with us and what we do take away could continue to diminish without being exposed to the information in any kind of recurring way.
Retention and adoption of sales training information is a key area that sales coaching can help with. The key benefit of coaching is designed to continue to recur on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly interval. With this recurring structure, information provided in training such as concepts, processes, and methodologies can continue to be discussed and reinforced during the coaching sessions. Without sales coaching, a sales resource may go back to their old ways of doing things after training. With sales coaching, a company can get the growth and change that they are paying for when they invest in sales training programs.
Another gap to consider with sales training programs is that the majority of the information provided is standardized from a standpoint that the same information is provided to a group of people. Wit the fact that we are all different in terms of level of experience, work ethic, time management skills, personality style, philosophies, etc., when you map standard processes and programs to a group that has many subtle differences, the end result can inconsistent and unpredictable.
Sales coaching can help complement the standardized material from sales training programs by providing a personalized and customized service. By meeting one on one with clients, the information discussed can be tailored specifically to that individual. This allows the sales coaching to can go back and give attention to any areas that were not covered in enough detail during the sales training.
Companies can invest a tremendous amount of time and money in the area of sales training, In many cases, successful adoption of the information provided may be key to a company’s strategic direction. By adding sales coaching to existing sales training programs, a company will optimize the training effort driving an increase in the return on investment for time and money that is spent on training.
One must be able to juggle many different types of tasks when working as a sales professional. A sales person is primarily in charge of finding new clients and taking care of existing ones, but there is will also typically be a large amount of work that must be done in the areas of administrative tasks, internal meetings, research, training, etc. and all of these must be taken care of to ensure sales effectiveness. One way to ensure that all of these areas get attention is to add more structure to the week to create more focus.
By adding more structure to the week, we can assign time to work on each particular area and this can provide three key benefits:
Improve Productivity: We can decrease the amount of multitasking and bouncing back and forth between tasks. By doing this and creating focus on one area at a time, we can improve our level of productivity in that particular area driving sales effectiveness.
Decrease Stress: By adding structure to the week, you can feel more organized, in control, and productive and this can help to decrease the level of stress.
Improve Thoroughness: With the fast pace and demands of the day in the life of the sales person, it can be easy to over look certain tasks or to simply never get to them. If you add structure to the week, this will help to ensure that you get to what needs to get done improving sales effectiveness.
One way to add structure to the week is to divide the main tasks that you need to accomplish and then allocate time by putting blocks on your calendar for those tasks or activities.
Administrative: Whether it is managing expenses, updating CRM tools, or filling out TPS reports, there is some sort of administrative work that is always accruing. Monday mornings can be a good time to go through and clean up some of these tasks.
Training: In order for sales effectiveness, it is critical to continue to learn and develop and this can be easily overlooked with all of the other business to take care of. Mondays and Friday afternoons are good days to shift from an outbound mode to more of an internal, developmental focus.
Cold Calling: It is easy to find other work to put in front of cold calling. By allocating time during the week for cold calling and shutting all other distractions down, you can make sure you get to this task and improve sales effectiveness. Tuesday and Thursday mornings is an example of adding cold calling time to the structure of the week.
When cold calling for sales, you are likely to run into some sort of objections on every call. Objections are like mini stop signs that the prospect use to try to end the call. What you do or don’t do when you get an objection will determine your level of sales effectiveness.
When you are talking with someone and they give you an objection, your natural instinct will be to try to overcome the objection and resolve it. An example of this would be to respond to someone who says they are not interested by trying to get them to be interested.
Below are three reasons why it can be counterproductive to try to do this on cold calls:
It can be confrontational: If not handled skillfully, when we try to overcome an objection and change someone’s position on something, it could easily create a feeling of confrontation.
You have a time constraint: When cold calling, we also have to deal with an extreme time constraint as we only have a very brief amount of time to get attention and get our message across. With that being the case, there simply is not enough time to effectively deal with objections.
It gives it fuel: When we try to overcome an objection while cold calling for sales, we are acknowledging it. And when we acknowledge it, we give it fuel and make it more valid.
Below are some examples of redirects for some common examples that you can encounter while cold calling for sales.
I am happy with my current system. Redirect: How long have you been using your current system?
I am not interested. Redirect: What are you using today?
I do not have time. Redirect: I understand. When would be the best time for me to reach back out to you?
I do not have any money. Redirect: I understand. I am not looking to sell or suggest any changes today. My goal is to simply open a dialogue to learn more and share information.
There are only so many objections that you will consistently run against for the products that you sell. With that being the case, it can be very helpful to create a list of objections to expect and then script out the best redirects.
By redirecting, you keep the conversation going and get the prospect to put their mini stop sign down again. By using this tactic, it could buy you a little more time while cold calling for sales and that could lead to you getting more information or to you giving more information, which can help to improve your sales effectiveness.
Source: Jake Atwood, President at Ovation Sales Group & BuzzBuilder Pro