Wednesday, September 23, 2009

8 Step Pattern for Sales Success

When you are beginning a sales career, a new position with a new company, or starting over once again to get your business off the ground. Consider following this simple eight step pattern of success.

1. Find a Why.

Most of us today have never been trained in the art of either dreaming, or in the success that can be found in delayed gratification. Most of us have never been taught that buying what we want now causes us to lose the real power we can get out of our wants.

Dreams give us power, they inspire us to achieve our goals to reach them as rewards. A mentor of mine once, while counseling with his mentor, was tired of going to look at speed boats with him. One night when they were back looking at them again, he asked "Why don't you just buy it and get it over with?" The answer shocked him when his mentor told him that he "couldn't afford it" for he knew that if he desired his mentor could have bought the entire marina. The lesson he was taught came next, when his mentor said, "Do you know how hard it is for me to find something that I want? I have to milk all the want out of it I can." Wow! That is a very powerful statement.

Once I found a necktie that I wanted, and was standing in line to purchase. While standing there it dawned on me to milk the want out of it first. I put it back, and set it as my reward for achieving an activity goal that I had set before many times but had never achieved. The next week I bought it. I still have it, still one of my favorites because it isn't a tie to me, but a trophy. The wonderful thing about dreams/rewards they only have to motivate you, no one else.

One of my mentors favorite questions is "Are you chasing your dreams or working your business?" All the magic is found in the first, without that it is hamster wheel time.

2. Set a Goal:

The difference between a dream and a goal is the goal has a date on it. With goals you will need to figure out what you will have to accomplish to achieve your dreams. How many sales will it take? How many appointments will it take? How many calls will it take? You cannot control production completely, but you can control your activity goals.

3. Make a Commitment:

What are you willing to do? What are you willing to give up in other areas of your life to focus on your goals? Once you make the decision, commit to it, and make it happen.

4. Make a List:

Create a list of everyone you can think of. Everyone in your sphere of influence should be on it. Family, friends, past clients, bowling league, church, civic organization, those you knew in school, your kids schools, everywhere you know people. If you don't make a list of 200 people you haven't even begun. The average wedding has that many people.

When trying to make your list, don't prejudge anyone as if they might be a prospect or not just write them down. You can edit later, this first attempt it simply to get as many names as possible. Pull out your address books, your cell phone lists, your Christmas cards list, any list of groups you are involved with. When trying to think of people don't try to think of individual people, but think of places you know people. When you try to think of people you will go blank, but if you think who do I know at church faces pop into your head. Another really good trick to get your brain working is to pull out a Yellow Pages and go through it looking at professions. For instance, who do you know that is an accountant, an attorney, an auto dealer? By the time you get to Z you will probably have nearly 1,000 names. Remember you aren't prejudging them.

5. Contact your List:

The entire point of a list is to call them and take them off your list. Too many sales people find comfort in having a big list and fool themselves thinking that they have more going for them than they do. All a list really amounts to is potential, and remember the definition of potential is unused ability.

Once you have your list contact them, even if they are not prospects, even say your grandmother. You could call her and ask her who her attorney, insurance salesperson, doctor, whatever, ask if she would allow you to contact them and tell them she recommended you call them, if she says yes, add them to your list. This goes for anyone on your list who isn't interested in being your client, and again for each who chooses to be a client, be sure to ask them as well. If you will do this, you will never run out of your list.

6. Have a successful meeting:

When you contact your list, in most cases, you will not sell them over the phone. Your goal should be to make an appointment to meet with them. Most of us need to be face to face to sell our products and services. There is going to be a percentage of sales per appointments. Once you have been doing this for any period of time, you can predict how many appointments you will need to make to get a sale. When people buy from you, ask for referrals. If they don't buy, ask for referrals.

7. Follow Through:

Most of us will have to have more than one meeting to make the sale, especially if our product is higher end purchase. We should book the second appointment at the end of the previous one. If you can't make that appointment, or if you do but plans are changed you often find yourself playing phone tag, often by yourself. One of the easiest ways to make your follow through calls welcomed instead of being a pesky salesperson is to always have a reason that you are calling that you are giving them information that they have asked for. My personal goal is in every meeting or call that doesn't end with a sale, I try to end the call with a question the prospect asked that I "need to get back with them" on. I am looking for a question that I can "not know" and need to check and call them back. This way, my call is simply keeping my promise to them. I call it the Dracula approach. Bram Stoker who wrote Dracula said that vampires can't come in your home without an invitation. It keeps it light in my mind and helps me to remember it.

8. Get Mentored:

If you can find a mentor who has a level of success you would like to attain, who is not a competitor, and will be willing to coach you, do so. Keep in mind that in any coaching or mentoring situation, the student is the one responsible for getting with the mentor, not the other way around. When you find someone, find someone who will tell you like it is and not worry about your feelings. Write out your questions before you go and review your activities for each month. How did you do with your activity goals, productivity goals? Find someone who will hold you accountable. Most of us can skate and keep our jobs, but not if we want to be champions. Look for someone who will push you.

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