Sample "Making the Numbers" Pairs

Each day Jack Falvey distributes two messages.  The first is a free, brief professional
development message aimed at your sales staff.  The second is a paid, subscription-only, 
related sales management strategy discussion that helps you drive home the learning and generate results.  Chek out the four sample "pairs" below.



Free Email

Sales Tip:     When you lose momentum, go back to basics. 
                         The fundamentals always work.

Momentum is a mystery.  When you have it, things just drop into place.  You can skip steps.  Everything you try works.  You are bullet proof.  Momentum shifts. When the “big mo” moves on, we wonder what hit us.  The answer is, reality.  In order to prevent an equal and opposite reaction, we have to check the slide and come back to an even keel.  The strategy calls for putting all the steps that we skipped without consequence back into the mix We have to go back to making more calls.  We have to go back to follow-up and follow-through responses to the details of everyday sales life.  We have to put a hold on the big play and content ourselves with the daily details.

Enjoy the momentous moments when momentum has you moving at Mach I—as Steve Sullivan, the famous author of Selling at Mach I, would tell you—but go back to your mundane checklist and you will come down off cloud nine without undue damage.  Go back to getting up a little earlier.  Go back to visiting your friends. Go back to picking up routine orders. Go back to getting the job done and, as it always does, momentum will eventually swing back your way.  It will do so in its own sweet, mysterious time.  Meanwhile, look busy.

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Sales Management Strategy:

Along with everything else, you are in charge of momentum. You must be the driving force behind forward sales progress.  As you know, you cannot drive people. People must be managed to supply their own momentum in the direction of your goals.  Forward progress with some carry-through versus fits and starts are what you are looking for. Steady as she goes is what you are trying to achieve in a herky-jerky world.  Your task is to smooth out the ups and downs your sales reps must live through and to get them to press on regardless.  We all know that life’s little twists and turns for some reason do not arrive in a daily balance.  We go hard and then crash.  People do not react well to the jolts.  How do you cushion the crash?  You hold down, a little bit, the accelerations.  When someone is riding high, they want to push the envelope.  It is human nature for the high achievers we attempt to hire.  Your job is to cool down the high end.  Don’t throw cold water on it, don’t kill it, just cool it down a bit.  Not a wet blanket, but a cool towel—or whatever it takes to make sure high enthusiasm doesn’t fuel a high error rate.

When momentum is going for you, you want to not only go for it, but go for everything.  As a manager, you must play to the enthusiasm (inspiration from God), but you must be sure that people realize they are finite and can only do so much, even when being encouraged by an infinite source.  We are all divinely inspired at times, and to heights we have not dreamed of attaining.  Make sure that as your people hit new heights they don’t fall off the pinnacles but rather, intelligently, rationally, consolidate their gains and build on what they have achieved.  Sales management means you control momentum to gain sustainable as well as maximum return. Don’t be a spoil sport.  Cheer ’em on, but call time out and make sure everyone knows the snap count.  Focus on the basics.  When things begin to cool, as they always do, you will be there with step one, two, three, on the agenda as always.  If nothing else, what we do is fun!  (As it should be!)



Free Email

Sales Tip:         You will be paid for everything you do. 
                           You just don’t know when.

Some days it seems as if we couldn’t even close a door, let alone close a sale.  Fortunately, we know that our day will come if we just keep doing the things that we know will produce results.  Not getting results instantly or on a regular or predictable schedule is what builds sales character.  We would just as soon have less character building and more results, but that is not how our world turns.  Our challenge is to keep our performance level high when our returns are low.  We live in a profession characterized by highs and lows.  When we hit one, we can see clearly why we were able to write the business.  When we miss one, there are too many uncontrollable factors and unknown elements in the mix to make analysis meaningful.  Obvious errors are painful, but we are not perfect, and we can only take the strengths and talents we have been given and take another shot.  Deferred income, long selling cycles, major account conversions, capital equipment sales—all require hard work every working day.  That’s why we make more calls, follow up and follow through, and end each day knowing that we did just about everything we could and, as always, we will get fully compensated when the time is right.  Few have the fortitude and strength required in our line of work.
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Sales Management Strategy:

Results come in bunches.  Days come one at a time.  You have to sell each day’s work to your sales organization by keeping them focused on the future payoff.  It requires a combination of realistic goal setting and cheerleading which every sales professional needs to a greater or lesser degree.  The big bonus or commission check comes eventually.  That is not your management challenge. What must be done today?  When a day falls apart, what can you do to encourage a full professional effort on the next business day?  Remind people of their strengths and skills.  Remind them of past or recent accomplishments.  Reinforce the work ethic that works.  The job of a sales manager is not terribly complex.  You have to smooth out the bumps in the selling world with encouragement.  Speed bumps slow things down, but they are a fact of life.  A goal-oriented sales professional wants to win. When things don’t drop into place perfectly, it’s your job and your place to be sure everyone understands that counterpunching, getting back on the horse, or whatever it takes, is what it takes.  Keep describing what the goal looks like, tastes like, feels like, and the bumps along the way will be easier for all to take.  Your job is focus.  Make distant objects seem as close as you realistically can.



Free Email


   
Sales Tip:           If you don’t ask, you will never know!


Selling demands personal courage.  No need to be confrontational, but you must be able to ask the tough questions when big consequences are on the line.  Closing the sale means asking a closing question.  There are only two answers possible.  We would all prefer a maybe, which means things are still going our way, and we all dread “The other supplier is our choice.”  We focus on the negative, and that is human nature, but what about “Yes.”  What about “Can we begin right away?”  What about “Can I get you a check, purchase order, letter of acceptance, a signed agreement, a verbal okay, to proceed?”  The up side is there, but we have to want it and we have to prove to our customers that we value their business enough to ask for it.  Write down the closing questions you are comfortable with.  Try them out on the bathroom mirror, on the windshield of your car, and then your friends who are sure orders.  With all that preparation, take a deep breath, look down at your pre-call notes, and then ask the tough customer the tough question.  “Can I have the business?”  “Can we work together on this project?”  “Is it a deal?”  Selling means closing, not presenting, not calling back, not sending along back-up.  It means having the courage to ask for the order.
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Sales Management Strategy:

We all know that when a sales professional interviews for a job they must demonstrate selling skills in asking for the job.  It’s that simple.  If they won’t ask for the job, how can you ever expect them to ask for an order?  The reason a sales job is not for everybody is that it requires a great deal of self-confidence and courage to face potential adversity on a regular basis and attempt to turn it into business.  One of the reasons sales managers must constantly bite their tongues on the little details and must take any and all successes and blow them out of all reasonable proportions is to fuel the fire of self-image and self-confidence.

You cannot expect people to press on regardless with one extra call, with one more phone call, with one more overnight to a distant city, just because the job description says it should be done.  Even the greatest of selling professionals are human and no one likes to lose. The nature of selling is that you win some, you lose some, and some are rained out!  You only get paid for the wins.  The pay may be good, but the personal courage required to constantly, politely, and appropriately ask for the order is a unique human trait of discipline and skill.  Sales professionals earn their income by their ability to ask tough questions in tough situations.  Few people understand how difficult that is.  You do because you have done it.  You can identify and you can support the effort required.  Cheerleading is a big part of your job.  Cheerleaders provide inspiration when things are not going as planned.  Keep your pom-poms ready at all times.  “Great closing question!”  “How did you ever get that one?”  “You asked for what?”  “They said what?”  “You are unbelievable.  You earned your paycheck today.  Great job!  Great work!  Well done!”  That’s what it takes to keep even the best in the business asking tough closing questions.


Free Email

Sales Tip:                 Want more sales?  Make more calls.

Working hard is working smart.  In a twenty-two year study of the most productive sales professionals in the world, the one common trait that all shared is that they made more calls and worked harder than anyone else.  Not only did they work harder than their competitors, but harder than anyone else in their organization.  Hard work pays off.

Sales are not made from behind a desk or through a computer screen.  Sales is a person-to-person business.  A trust relationship must develop.  The more people you get face to face with, the more chances you will have to develop these trust relationships and build your business.   Screen in suspects and prospects, don’t pre-qualify them out.  Business comes from the least likely place at the oddest of hours. Your chances of being at the right place at the right time are greatly increased if you are at a great many places every working hour of every business day, and a few non-business hours thrown in for extra measure.  Quality time is a myth.  Quantity counts.  “See a lot of people.”  If there were an easier or better way, it would have been discovered by now.  There isn’t, and it hasn’t.  Make more calls.  More sales will result

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Sales Management Strategy:

Office time, planning days, paperwork, administration, and all the reasons your sales people are not in the field, are sales killers.  Your job as a sales manager is to kill the sales killers.  Step one is to insist, require, and set the example of working full field days and full field weeks.  No need to run weekend sales meetings or crack-of-dawn or end-of-the-day gatherings, if you will just insist that from the first thing Monday morning until the last thing Friday afternoon your troops are face to face with customers.  It is traditional to hold Monday morning sales meetings in some businesses.  That is permissible, but if they are every week, skip a week every now and then.  If they are once a month, skip a month.  Try not to be a part of the problem.  Don’t ask for things that take away from selling time.

New accounts, number of presentations, number of appointments, and average number of calls per day are all indicators of who is working hard.  Those hard workers must be held up as positive examples.  This must be done continuously.  (Weekly tallies are best!)  Whoever leads your group should get a personal phone call from you before close of business every Friday afternoon.  (Leave them a voice mail if they are still in the field selling!)

Be sure that all field training days are full field selling days.  Numbers of calls count.  Once a standard is set, it is your job to see that the standard is met.  Market research is best done by those trained in the discipline.  Using field sales people this way is not only costly in lost productivity, but the resulting research data will be marginal at best.  You do not want your sales professionals being junior assistant office workers, either at home or in their cars.  Sales professionals should not have desks, offices, office space, or anything that would require office work.  The analogy of a fighter pilot is applicable. They are highly trained and skilled.  They do not supervise the maintenance of their aircraft.  After-action reports are taken verbally by others trained to do so.  Everything is done for them to keep them in the air, face to face with the targets and objectives.  So be it with your sales producers.

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