Outline of Key Points in this chapter:
In every training program and most of the speeches I give I often ask the participants or audience... when was the last time you went to a great meeting? More often than not, people have a very hard time recalling one. Most Sales People think Sales Meetings are mostly a waste of time or could be reduced in time to 15 minutes. Great Sales Meetings should include positive reports from the field, customer success stories, training drills and inspirational quotes or short stories. For whatever reason, these elements are nearly always missing from Sales Meetings. The more you can get Sales People practicing and talking about their successes, the more energy you'll bring into the room.
Chapter Overview and Selected Quotes likely to be used
When I wrote "If You're Not Out Selling, You're Being Out Sold" I interviewed hundreds of Top Performing Sales People and asked them what they believe is the secret sauce of their success. I was shocked how many of them said exercise and staying in shape was their number one priority. This came up over and over with over 70% of them. They explained that sales requires a lot of attitude control and a clear mind in order to really listen to understand and nothing does a better job than exercise at achieving this. They also explained that having a personal success every day with exercise was a lot easier to control than all the variables in sales. More often than not, people that take the time to eat well, exercise and take care of themselves, project more positive energy.
More Quotes Added Every Week
"We were guilty of running a lot of terrible, depressing sales meetings at our company and it had been happening for years. Managers hated them... Sales People hated them and they ate up a lot of hours. We started to change that when we asked every Sales Manager to start their meetings with their Sales People giving a 60-second (we timed it) success story from the field. This started the process of us really focusing on turning sales meetings into a positive, energizing activity. We've still got a long way to go, but we're much better than we used to be. We use success stories, do more training and spend a lot less time talking about what's wrong with sales, our products and our company."
Sharon I. - SVP Sales - Heavy Equipment Manufacturing
"One of the goals I set for myself this year was to meet two customers a week for a total of 100 sales calls with our team this year. It's fairly easy for me to do this being in New York City and it has been a real eye opening experience now that I'm 3 months into it. I've met over 30 customers for the first time and it is changing my to do list in interesting ways. I'm more focused now on projects that can help the Sales People respond to what customers are asking for. At least for me, I find my own perspective and attitude is better when I get out of the offices and meet with more customers.
Paul P. - EVP Sales
In my career, I've been involved now in over 150 projects to improve sales performance. Every one of those projects starts with Top Performer interviews. I meet Top performing Sales People and Managers and ask them some basic questions. One I always ask is "what frustrates you most in your job?" After listening to thousands of responses, by Top Performers, I can say that well over 75% of the time, it comes down to dealing with Managers that expect too much, don't appreciate enough and often leave me feeling angry or frustrated after I meet with them. Keep in mind, these are TOP PERFORMERS... not the people that need to be managed out. It's been this way for the 20 years I've been working with companies to fix their Sales Teams.
i've met a lot of very successful, Sales People, Sales Managers and Sales Executives from thousands of different companies over the years. 90% of the time I feel a very positive and upbeat type of energy when interacting with them. There are certainly many exceptions, but, for the most part, successful people in sales project a lot of positive energy. This is simply not the case in other areas like finance, research, operations, IT, etc. It takes a lot of energy, attitude control, focus on potential and resilience to make it in sales, so it's no mystery why the most successful seem to project this positive aura.
Sometimes, Sales Executives can lose sight of this and develop an interactive style that is analytic, critical and energy reducing to the people around them. This is a big mistake. Sales Executives and Managers need to be a recharging force when they interact with Sales People, whether it's live, on the phone or in e-communication. It's easy to get caught up in all the analytics and problem solving inherent to management, but Sales People, more than any other employees in the company, need to project positive energy and enthusiasm to their customers and prospects and Management MUST consciously work to create an environment that recharges the team and doesn't suck energy away.
It's easy to become so internally focused that you forget how hard it is to open new doors, take a lot of no's and rejection and go out and meet customers with curiosity, enthusiasm and positive energy. When we interact with Sales People, we should leave them feeling more optimistic, focused and excited than when we meet them. Focus on the future and how to find more customers instead of being overly critical about the past.
"I try to remind myself how hard it is being in sales with new sales goals every month, constant pressure to hang onto customers and dealing with new changes to technology every month. The pressure never ends.
Sometimes, I find the pressure I get from my CEO and CFO can cause me to just turn that into more pressure to the Managers that report to me. I know I have to be careful about that though because it all flows down hill. I try hard to spend time talking about strategy to get to where we need to go and a lot less time on what's wrong with the Sales Team. Talking about what's wrong is like cancer. It spreads and starts to take over. Those of us in management have got to be aware of how we spread bad news.
Tom P. - VP Training
Networking Hardware Sales
Absolutely nothing improves the attitude and perspective of Managers and Executives more than going out and talking to customers. It's like magic what a few live conversations with customers can do. It helps to re-set what's important and allows them to get a fresh dose of what it's really like out in the field. It also gives Executives more reserve power for how they sell ideas internally. It's a great habit to get into that helps recharge the company.
Develop a "RECHARGE" Operating Style
"Something I ask my Managers to do is email me or call me once a week and give me 3 good breakthroughs someone made on their team. I try and call someone at least once a day to congratulate them on what I heard. I find this has an amazingly positive impact on the Sales Team. It's good for my outlook too. I hear about problems all day and it's easy to get into the mindset that nothing is going right. That doesn't work."
Jerry L. - SVP Sales
The most common mistake I've noticed that Managers and Executives make when interacting with Sales and Customer Service People is spending too much time talking about the past or their analysis of what happened and, in some cased arguing or disagreeing about it. It's more effective to spend a small amount of time analyzing the past and a larger amount of time focused on the future, what we can do together to improve results and what are the steps we can take today, tomorrow and this week to get there? This kind of conversation, when conducted with an open mind, nearly always brings constructive energy to the conversation and recharges the Sales Person. Intense over focus on proving to the Sales Person they were wrong and getting them to accept responsibility can have a very negative impact on long-term results. Accountability is critical and we need this, it's over dwelling on the negative that hurts future performance. Use the past to give you good steps and actions to improve the future.
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