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  • Under the Bus You Go

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    As a sales manager, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? We have all had team members who weren’t performing as they should. Then we hire a new team member, and we fear that the new team member will think the others are role models to follow. So, without really thinking of the consequences, we throw our current team members under the bus by telling the new person to not watch the others because their activity or results aren’t acceptable.

    Wow. How did that help?

    Imagine how confused you would be if you were hired to perform at a higher level than others while other people are left to do as little as they pleased. How would that be fair?

    In working with many sales managers and business owners, we have seen this pattern repeated often. Why? Typically it is because our client is trying to turn around their sales by bringing in new talent, but they aren’t in a place where they can let the other lower-performing team members find success elsewhere.

    This practice is wrong on many levels:

    First, it sends an immediate signal to the new team member that you (their new leader) can’t be trusted to have their back.

    Second, it lets the new team member know that “gossip” is accepted here.

    Third, it sows the seeds of distrust among team members. Any one of these is a problem. All three of these can be fatal for your organization.

    So what is a manager to do?

    Step 1:     Let everyone know the vision of your company. Where do you see everyone going and what do you see them achieving together? Present this to your team early and often. Get everyone excited about the part they play in the success of the team as a whole.

    Step 2:     Before bringing in new sales team members, sit down with your current team individually to discuss their personal and professional goals. Also, apologize if you haven’t been clear in your activity expectations in the past or you haven’t been doing your job as a leader to hold them accountable to doing the things that will help them reach their goals. Let them know that you plan to be a better leader for them because their personal success is important. Set out a reasonable plan for sales activity (referrals, dials, reaches, appointments set, appointments held) and begin tracking them (preferably using our CSF system that will do the math for you with quick and easy reports). Set up weekly one-on-one Personal Conferences (PCs) where you will review their numbers and help them improve in the areas where they need help to achieve their goals.

    Step 3:     Hire your new team member and repeat Step 2 (sans apology). No comparison needs to be made with the current team members. Everyone should be held to their own activity levels, which should be consistent for everyone.

    Step 4:     Prepare for the best and the worst. Best case scenario is that you continue to meet with all team members and work with them to perfect the skills they need in order to hit their activity numbers. You stay consistent with your help and accountability, and they continue to get better at achieving more than they had before. Worst case scenario is that your team members don’t step up to the plate. If they aren’t willing to work toward what is expected of them, then you will need to think about putting them on a Performance Recovery Program (PRP) —or Performance Improvement Program (PIP)—which includes a training program. If they aren’t successful on the PRP, then you will need to be prepared to help them find success with another division of your company or with another company.

    Step 5:     Stay consistent. The best sales leaders are consistently keeping the company vision in front of their team members while also connecting sales and activity numbers to t achieving personal and professional goals. Consistency in casting vision, accountability, and helping them to develop the skills they need to be successful will keep you from ever feeling the need to throw any of your team members under the bus. Instead, you will be lifting them high in recognition for how much they are achieving.

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • How Your Prospect is Really Saying “Be More Creative”

    Guest Post By: Dave Brown

    creative

    Giving up is sometimes the easiest thing to do. Most often it is never the best thing to do.

    You miss out on changing people’s lives.

    One thing you have to do though, NEVER GIVE UP. If you are down on your luck with your prospecting, I’d like you to learn to talk through the tone! What is the tone?

    That silence on the other end of the phone. You know that tone! You have to talk through it, fight for your prospects, and show how your belief can outweigh anything. Any doubt and hesitation will be diminished when you show just how important your product or service can be for them. Be persistent and truly care.

    When people tell me no over and over again, all they are really saying is, “Dave, how can you be more creative? I need something more creative from you.” That’s all they mean with that no.

    What can you do? Use another name. Share another example or a piece of the puzzle you can solve. Move to the next point. If they say they are going to hang up on you, well done! You are doing your job right and doing your best to get your product in their life.

    The more people you reach, the more lives you can change and make better. That is what we are here to do! You cannot give up. Find your power and find your stride. Talk through the tone.

    You will be amazed by what you can come up with when learning to talk through the tone.

    When prospecting, put yourself in situations where the chances of victory and accomplishment are made for building. You have to crank it, and keep growing!

     

    Dave Brown is a senior partner and executive level coach at Southwestern Consulting and author of the upcoming book Painless Prospecting. Dave was a record-breaking salesman for Southwestern Advantage, knocking on over 50,000 doors before the age of 25. He has spoken and trained over 100,000 sales professionals across the globe with Southwestern Consulting.


  • The “Boomerang” Sales Technique

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden
    boomerang

    One of the most common objections in sales is typically one that can easily throw off your sales presentation entirely. This is because when you hear it, you’re not prepared to answer it…. Yet.

    You’ve all been through a process where you’re just getting started, you’re just asking questions about the potential client’s needs, you get to your presentation, and all of a sudden your prospect cuts you off and says, “Amanda, I’m totally with you, but it’s all going to depend on the price. So just go ahead and just tell me. I need to know what we’re working with here.”

    Before you even get to find their need, before you present value, they’re cutting you off and immediately want to know the price.

    Now that’s a tricky situation because you just can’t evade the question, right? There are people who are going to catch on to that. It’s not going to help you and it’s definitely going to not build trust with your prospective customers.

    But how do you avoid answering that when you’re not prepared to tell them yet? That’s important to remember because upfront you are not prepared to tell them that.

    Because the moment you share the price, poof! Your entire sale just went up in flames because everything they hear after that, it’s all about the money. It’s all about the price.

    You can’t tell them the price until you’ve found a problem. The problem has to be bigger than the price, which is why you can’t tell people how much it is upfront.

    How do you get around it? How do you not completely evade the question, build trust, and eventually get back to it with your customer?

    This is what we call the “boomerang” technique. It’s one of my favorite questions to ask and I love asking it because it’s a game. I use this as a game with myself in all conversations.

    The boomerang is just defined as, “answering any question that you’re not prepared to answer with a question.” If you think about it, any question in the world that you get, can be answered with another question.

    For this specific objection “How much is it,” here is what you want to say, “Hey, I completely understand this is something you want to know and I promise we’re going to get to that. But at this point, I really don’t have enough information to even give you a quote or even guess how much it is. However, if you let me ask you a couple of quick questions, I can get straight to that. Is that fair?”

    In nine out of 10 times they’re going to say, “Sure, that’s fair.”

    So let them know it’s not going to take a long time, you are going to get to it, but you have to cover just a couple of quick things first and then you’ll get right to it. So again, it’s called the boomerang question.

    Answer their questions, their objections with a question so you don’t get off-guard upfront. You want them to focus on their problems and how you can help solve them, not the price.

     

    Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide.  Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between  Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow-Up


  • Activity

    Guest Post By: Brent Widman

    phone

    Activity is the root of what drives our business. Without activity in the sales world, we don’t have a business. What this truly comes down to is making phone calls. Making those dials that you don’t always want to make, but you know you have to. This isn’t busy being busy. This is being planned, prepped and prepared about who you are going to talk to.

    1. Stop calling the same people over and over again. Don’t hold onto this false sense of hope that someone might do business with you.
    2. You build your business through new people. Where do those new people come from? Referrals, Linked In, Past Clients, Current Clients, etc, etc.
    3. Set up a plan. Know the first 5, 10 or 20+ people you know you are going to call. Have it done the night before or in the morning. It will get you in the right mind set.
    4. Practice. It takes 2 minutes. Practice in the car, working out, in the morning, at night, take a walk, whatever it takes. Take that little bit of time to know what you are going to say. It will get you past the call reluctance
    5. It’s just one call, to them. To you, it’s 10, 20, 30 or 100 calls. But to them, it’s just one call. Don’t overthink it.
    6. If you are truly trying to help people you won’t think about getting rejected. They might say yes, they might say no, so what. You are helping them either way. It’s hard to be nervous when your heart is on service.
    7. Have fun. Phoning and activity does not have to be hard. Stand up, sit down, dance, laugh, say something off the wall. It doesn’t always have to be straight to the point and serious.
    8. The people on the other end of the phone are people just like you. You aren’t going to close everyone, but you can still have a conversation. That will go a long way to calling them in the future.
    9. In most cases, no means “not right now.” Set them out a year, two years or even three. That’s okay, keep them in your system and in your pipeline for the future.
    10. Get after it. When you do the activity it will breed results. When you make excuses it will not. You can’t get mad at the results if you aren’t putting in the activity.

    I hear so many people feel that they are above calling. They get away from what makes them successful. I was coaching a Managing Director the other day and he flat out said, “These are all the things I know I should be doing but I’m not, it’s like I’m a new rep again.” All that means… we can’t get away from what got us there in the first place. It doesn’t have to be the 50 dials a day, maybe for

    All that means is that we can’t get away from what got us there in the first place. It doesn’t have to be the 50 dials a day, maybe for you, it’s 10. It will get you the results you are looking for.

    Stay true to your activity. It only makes you better.

     

    Brent Widman has over 10 years experience in all aspects of sales. He is a professional sales coach at Southwestern Consulting. Brent has expertise in lead generation, prospecting, selling to top execs and the art of follow up. He has worked with numerous individuals to improve their sales processes, day to day interaction and ultimately them as a person. He is a former division director, sales director and district manager for distinguished sales teams in the recruiting, fitness and communications world.


  • The Two Biggest Scheduling Mistakes That Ruin Productivity – Part 1

    Guest Post By: Kitty BarrowThe-Two-Biggest-Scheduling-Mistakes-That-Ruin-Productivity-Part-1

    Today I was working with an amazing coaching client who is a 23-year veteran salesman and sales leader. This client is in the top 10 in the world when it comes to personal and team production, but lately, he hasn’t had the time to make his prospecting dials. He mentioned he has been spending a lot of time working on his leadership skills and his team and every time he does this, his sales seem to suffer. This is a common complaint of Producing Sales Managers, isn’t it?

    My client had plenty of hours of ‘dial time’ written in the schedule that he preplanned, so I was curious why ‘dial time’ wasn’t happening.

    He also admitted that as different things came across his desk he would stop what he was doing to focus on those things, letting them distract him.

    After truly analyzing his schedule, I noticed two mistakes that many coaching clients make that can throw off our schedule, cause a lot of stress, and ruin our productivity if not corrected.

    What’s crazy is these two things are SO SIMPLE to correct, yet so EASY to forget.

    The solutions for these mistakes are simple, but I can’t stress enough how easy it is to overlook them. So, I am going to give each mistake its due diligence. We will only be covering the first mistake in this blog post, and I will share the second mistake in a later post.

    The first mistake my client was making is that his schedule wasn’t ‘real’.

    This happens often with people. They plan out their week so that it looks ‘perfect’ but there is little to no room for reality. There are always unforeseeable things that will happen during the week, but some things are often just missing from schedules. Things like:

    Drive time

    Many of my clients must be Star Trek fans and have a relationship with Scottie.

    Email time

    It’s always fun to pretend that we never have to answer emails.

    Emergencies

    Unless you sell pacemakers, there aren’t too many TRUE emergencies in business that can’t wait at least 2 hours to be handled. We all like to live in a dream world where everyone else in the office always solves their own problems and never need to come to us for help, that dream world has yet to exist.

    Paperwork

    While we should be delegating as much as possible to another personality type who really loves to do paperwork, we can’t pretend that we will never need to do any paperwork yet so many of my clients never have time built in their schedule for this.

    If you are planning out your schedule every week but you find yourself consistently unable to follow it, then it is time to really analyze your schedule. Compare your actual work week to your schedule and look for things that are throwing you off-schedule. Once you have located those troublesome tasks you need to plan for it in your next week’s schedule or you need to ‘eliminate, automate or delegate’* it to someone else. (*verbiage from Rory Vaden’s book, ‘Procrastinate on Purpose’)

    See, a simple fix. You have to make sure you are accounting for those maintenance tasks that are so essential to keeping all the wheels turning, without sacrificing the crucial production time. Planning for these tasks will allow your production to be free from distractions which in turn makes for a very productive day.

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • How Bad Do You Want It?

    Guest Post By: Jay Wang

    Some want it badly, whatever “it” may be for them, success, a goal or a win. Some don’t. Others say they do but can’t seem to make things happen.

    Why is it that some people do and some people don’t? I do know, it just seems to work that way. A better question, however, might be what does it look like to want it more?

    Here’s some insight. My good friend, mentor and role model Rick Takahashi is constantly asking me and those he mentors “How Bad Do You Want It?” Rick and I first connected through our Surf Ministry called Water at The Rock Church in San Diego, CA. As the leader of our Men’s Group, I could go on and on about his character, heart for people and humility, but I will go with humility to introduce him. You see Rick has some credibility to lead a group of surfers because he is a USA Surf Team Rider. Yup, Rick’ is a humble guy, so I will brag on him a bit. In 2012, he had a perfect season, winning every contest in NSSA, including Westerns and Nationals. In 2016, he won 1st place in 10 National Finals! He is also sponsored by a slew of companies like Rusty Surf Board, Oakley and Dakine, just to name a few. All this to say, he is the best surfer I know and a Top Level Competitor!

    rusty_team_rick_takahashi

    Rick told me, “Jay, I just want it more than the next guy. I push for that extra mile in training and I do more! There are a lot of surfers that are more talented than me, but I know I just have to be better than the next guy for a few critical moments.”

    As a sales coach with Southwestern Consulting, I love to see the parallels one can draw from professional sports like Surfing to things like business success and sales.

    Three Keys I learned from Rick:

    Be Disciplined and Keep Good Focus! – Have specific goals and create a solid routine around that. Know that there will need to be a sacrifice! And if you can see the prize you will pay the price. Know what it takes to win! What are you going to give up to reach your goal? So many people want to do well, yet they are not willing to give up their free time. They still want to sleep in or just be comfortable. Many times you only have to sacrifice for a specific amount of time, like a season. Know when to push, because it pays to win.

    Hustle! – Train/study harder than the next guy! Have a healthy sense of competition because it’s real. In anything you do, if you’re not going to get after it, someone else is! Don’t compare yourself, but be a competitor. Note- it’s not just winning but how you win. Be Dominant!!

    The big one…

    USE YOUR BRAIN! – Hustle with your mind, not just your body. This is what it really means to be a student of the game. Don’t just study to study. Learn and study to have a competitive advantage. Have a winning strategy. Know how to play the game, know the rules and find out the best ways to win!

    Using your brain helps to take some of the emotion out of the equation. Don’t just react to the situation or event that is occurring. Slow down and think…what can I do better here? What can I control? What did I learn? What can I do differently?

    How many times do we go around in circles wanting to win or do better or overcome a challenge but never seem to gain any ground? Rick said so many surfers just do the same thing, they use the same board every time and they get the same results. He said, “I am constantly thinking… What is the best board to use? Why? Can I surf that spot ahead of time? What do I need to look for in the conditions? What tweaks do I need to make to have a competitive advantage? Etc.”

    Let me encourage all of you, use your most powerful advantage… Your Brain!!

     

    Jay Wang started selling with The Southwestern Company while in college. He was in the top 1% of sales producers and was able to sell, recruit and manage teams in order to pay his own way though school. After graduating with a degree in Business Management, he transitioned to managing multi-million dollar commercial real estate properties, achieving record-breaking occupancies. Since 2011, Jay has been traveling the country as a professional sales trainer and Partner with Southwestern Consulting.


  • 3 Natural By-Products of Staying in Touch with Your Customers  

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

    The most inexpensive way for you to get more business is to sell to existing clients.

    Existing clients are more likely to give you referrals to more potential leads. And it’s easier to up-sell an existing client when you do it for the right reasons and at the right time. In fact, studies have shown that it takes three times more money and effort to find new prospects as it does to just keep the ones you have. We’re going to share with you three reasons why following-up with clients is crucial and essential to the success of selling.

    Show Gratitude:

    • It’s important to follow-up just to say, “Thank you.” It’s amazing how those two little words can incredibly change the trajectory of your client relationship. When your customers know that you are appreciative and grateful for their business, it creates loyalty.
    • Whether you do it with a handwritten card, a gift, a phone call, or an email, just make sure that you are authentic and consistent when saying thank you. Never underestimate the power of the written word or hearing something on a regular basis.

    Minimize Buyer’s Remorse

    • Make sure that you follow-up quickly because the quicker you follow-up, the less likely someone is to change their mind.
    • You want to do it immediately upfront. You want to create that sense of urgency as if to say, “I am here for you and you made a good choice.”
    • Stay constant in your follow-up so that you can help address challenges before they ever become problems. If you follow-up on a regular basis and you find out things aren’t working, whether their prices increased, their policy changed or taxes are going to be higher on something, whatever it is, if you catch it, you’re just doing them a service. But if they catch it, it’s a problem.

    Gain Word of Mouth Advertising

    • Having a good relationship with your customers isn’t just good for business; it also increases the amount of positive word of mouth. With the over-abundance of social media sites, there’s too much opportunity to spread bad news.
    • You have to make sure they are sharing good news. Unfortunately, most people are seven times more likely to share bad news than they are good news. If you follow-up consistently, you can build word of mouth prospects and generate word of mouth advertising.

    Now that you know why it’s important to follow up, you have all the more reason to begin doing it!

     

    Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide.  Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between  Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow Up


  • Build Your Own Multi-Million Dollar Speaking Brand with Southwestern Consulting™ and Rory Vaden!

    Headliner_Conference

    For the first time ever–and perhaps the only time–Southwestern Consulting™ would like to offer you a Backstage Pass for learning to Build a Multi-Million Dollar Speaking Business!  Learn all the secrets that helped take Co- Founder of Southwestern Consulting™, Rory Vaden’s, Take the Stairs straight to the New York Times Bestseller list!

    Check out Headliner Conference Here!


  • Featured ImageJay Baer Radio Interview with Rory Vaden

    Jay_BaerCo-Founder of Southwestern Consulting™, Rory Vaden, recently had the privilege of interviewing fellow keynote speaker and marketing expert, Jay Baer.  Jay Baer is co-author of, “The Now Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social” and author of his newest book on content marketing, “Youtility”.

    Listen to Jay Baer’s full radio interview on the Rory Vaden Show here!


  • FREE TRAINING: Mastering Your First Impression Conversation

    conference_call_xsmall3

    Just in case you missed last month’s sales training conference call, we are making it available to you here!  Each month Southwestern Consulting™ brings together our finest Top Producers to train on today’s most relevant sales topics.  These calls are free and you don’t want to miss out on these opportunities to learn from the absolute best.  Some of our past topics include closing, referrals, prospecting with LinkedIn, follow-up and selling with social media.

    Listen to last month’s call on Mastering Your First Impression Conversation When Selling: