Movie sagas- there's always three of them. Three Star Wars (the originals anyway), The Godfather Trilogy, and don't forget The Three Amigos and The Three Musketeers. It seems like good things don't come in pairs; they come in threes. This is so, too, with selling and the three determinants of sales success.
PART ONE OF THE "SALES SAGA".
Let's get right into the first determinant: the number of prospects you see. Successful salespeople believe in the law of averages. There is simply no such thing as luck in long-term selling success. It would be impossible for anyone to believe that the gas and oil that drive the free market enterprise is based on luck. Nothing happens until someone sells something. To believe that our economy is based on luck is too much to ask of any rational person. Selling is the real fuel that drives our economy.
The first principle of that belief in the free market enterprise is that the number of people you see, to a great extent, controls the number of people you sell. Life insurance companies form and thrive based on the principle that man, as an individual, is unpredictable, but that man, as a whole, is actually very predictable and follows the same recurring patterns of behavior.
A given number of 40-year olds will die within a specific and measurable time frame if the test group is large enough. Which ones will die, no one knows. But that a certain number or percentage of them will die is a certainty. Advertising companies, TV stations, and Internet companies all charge for ad space and time depending upon the number of impressions. The underlying principle is the more you see, the more you sell. Think about it this way: two brothers who follow each other everywhere -- See More and Sell More -- make them your new sales partners.
I DON'T LIKE EXCUSES
Through my years as a sales manager, I asked countless salespeople to change one little thing- see more people. I’ve heard excuses you haven't even thought of. Now don't get any ideas, but here are some of my favorites:
-“I'm trying to save the company money on my travel budget.”
-“I'm trying not to go over my travel budget.”
-“My credit card is maxed.”
-“I have too much vacation time building up, and I need to take some of my vacation days.”
-“I've seen everyone in my territory.”
-“I'm seeing as many as possible now.”
-“I'm simply out of time.”
-“I believe in quality not quantity.”
-“I want to spend more time with my best customers.”
-“I only want to see the right people.”
-“My approach doesn't work.”
-“Everyone in my territory has bought.” Blah, blah, blah…
There are two kinds of salespeople: Those who look for a way and those who look for an excuse. Successful salespeople go over, under, around, and through any obstacle to get the job done. If this standard is too hard for you, your calling may not be the sales profession, and you might want to consider a career change if this mindset is not to your liking. But if you're already in sales and you want a raise, just look in the mirror and give yourself one by committing to seeing more people. Great companies built on great salespeople find a way, not an excuse. We've all heard the old adage that there are only three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say, What happened? The world doesn't care about the storms you encounter, they only want to know if you brought in the sale.
THERE ARE NO EXCUSES
What did I tell the salespeople who gave me those excuses? First of all, I assured them that there are NO excuses. Then I told them, “Despite your objections, you can see more people.” I then showed them how to construct a plan of action that made further excuse making impossible. Excuses can’t compete with cold hard numbers and an action plan. Here is the simple exercise I’ve taught over the years: Take the top two salespeople in your organization in number of presentations per week or month. Assuming you're not one of those two top performers, compare those numbers to what you are doing. For example, Joe sees 10 prospects per week, Jennifer sees 9 per week, and you see 8 per week. By comparing yourself to the top performers in the company, this tells you what is possible in terms of your own activity. Don’t worry about the results of these two top performers in regard to sales; the focus in this exercise is on activity. More activity at your current performance level will naturally lead to more sales.
Think about it this way: every time a .300 hitter in baseball has ten at-bats, he gets three hits. If you increase his number of at-bats, he will still only get three hits every ten times he bats. So, even though his average number of hits won’t change he’ll still be a .300 hitter. His number of hits will improve simply by increasing his number of at-bats.
The law of averages also doesn’t care about strikeouts. After all, the great Babe Ruth held the record for strikeouts and homeruns simultaneously. Do people focus on his strikeouts when they mention Babe?
About the Author:
Tom Black is author of the wildly popular book The Boxcar Millionaire. Tom Black is an entrepreneur who has founded, purchased, sold, and taken companies public.