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  • Tag Archives Sales Coaching
  • Think Backwards: The Key to Getting What You Want

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    backward_clock

    On a coaching call, my client told me she wanted to sell ten million dollars in business. I said, “Great! How do you plan on doing that?” She replied, “I really believe in myself, I know that I can do it I just know that with confidence I can hit my goal.”

    So I asked again, “How are you going to hit your goal?” She said: “I have made a vision board, and I’ve been focusing on it. It will help me hit my goal. I’m going to work harder than I ever have!”

    Again, “How?” She knew what she wanted. Without knowing how you are going to hit your goals, you can easily set yourself up to fail.

    In order to really move your business forward, sometimes you need to do a little backwards thinking.

    In every business it takes a certain number of dials to make a certain number of contacts, to set a certain number of appointments, to have a certain number of presentations, to have a certain number of sales. Your business might be a little bit different in terminology, or the process might be slightly shorter or slightly longer. One thing we all know is that every business follows a sales cycle.

    First, we have to track our numbers.  We need this information so we are aware of how many dials it takes to get someone on the phone. That’s our dial to contact ratio.

    We have to know things like how many contacts it takes to set an appointment.

    We have to know how many of our appointments actually stick and turn into presentations.

    Out of those presentations, what’s our closing percentage?

    How many of those turn into sales, and what is our average package size?

    Once you know those numbers then you can do some backwards thinking. Start with the goal you want to hit.

    Let’s say you’re like my client and want to sell $10 million in business. In order to get there, you need to take your average package size/sale size and figure out how many sales you need to make. The next thing you do is take your closing percentage and figure out how many presentations you need to run in order to have that many customers. Then you back end it out and figure out how many appointments you need to set based on your appointments set-to kept ratio. Then figure out how many contacts you need to make, and ultimately how many dials you need to make.

    Once you know how many dials, contacts, appointments set, and appointments ran you need, that is where you put your focus, not on the results.

    So many of us focus on the results. If we focus on the results that pressure builds up and we lose focus on the activity that is going to lead to the result. Consequently, we don’t achieve the result.

    Instead, you should almost forget about the revenue, the goal, and the money, and focus on the activity. When the activity is there, the results will follow. The results are a natural by-product of the activity.

    If you want to hit your goal, you have to think backwards!

    Write down how you’ll work backwards, let me know what you come up with!

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Being Decisive

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    What do people like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? Other than being billionaires, they all are decisive. They know what they want. They understand their priorities. They make decisions. You’d probably never hear any of them say, “let me think about it”. Billionaires don’t have time to “think about it”; it’s either a “yes” or it’s a “no”. Opportunities are lost every day from not making a decision.

    What is there to think about? Most of the time if we have to think about something, it’s because we don’t have a clear vision for what we really want. People are so focused on the day-to-day minutiae of life, that they cannot set their sights down the road on the bigger prize. It’s interesting to ask people the question “what do you want?” Most people respond with something generic like “happiness”, “make a lot of money”, “world peace”, etc. If someone asked you “what do you want?”, could you answer the question? Knowing what you want is the first step in being a decisive decision maker.

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    Considering your priorities and reorganizing priorities based on what is going to get you another step closer to your goal every day is a skill. We are all busy being busy. Nobody on the planet thinks they aren’t “busy”.

    Why do so few people exceed their goals in life? They have their priorities out of order. If your priority is to become the number one producer, become financially independent and build wealth, then why are you spending so much time checking email, reading up on current events and chit-chatting with your co-workers by the coffee machine? You should spend 90-95% of your time doing things that only you can do with your unique skills and talents. Understanding your priorities will help you to stay focused on the things that only you can do.

    All that is left now that you know what you want and you’ve got your priorities reorganized daily is to take action. Stop thinking. Pick up the phone. Book the trip. Ask the girl of your dreams out on a date.

    Stop thinking and start doing. Make decisions. Be decisive. If 90% of your decisions are right, then the 10% that are wrong will be made up from making more positive decisions.

    Dustin Hillis is the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is an expert in understanding buying, selling and management behavior styles and how to identify them and adapt to people the way they want to be communicated with. He also specializes in writing efficient and effective Customized Sales Scripts/Word Tracks. Mr Hillis consults companies on creating Compensation Plans, Recruiting Systems and Sales Strategies. Dustin is the author of the book Navigate: The Art of Not Thinking and co-author of Speaking of Success along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield


  • Your Forward 40

    Guest Post By: Dave Brown

    This is a technique you can use forever. This is how I’ve become a prospecting genius and what I have learned to master over the years. The Forward 40.

    When it gets time to make those calls, and you don’t know who to call, your momentum gets squashed. To keep things from falling apart, make sure you stay in a positive mindset and always allow yourself to continue to grow. It can be done with one 15 minute day-defining task!

    Focus on getting YOUR FORWARD 40.

    What is this? It’s the 40 people you make a note of to call the next day. At the end of the day, plan your day with those 40 people you need to contact or see the next day.  That list will be the first 40 people you will reach out to. Put it in a spreadsheet or write it down, so when you get up to start your day your mind is already aware of who you’ll be talking to and what it will be about.

    40

    Now, don’t be thinking 40 is just way too many. Say you only get to 10 of those calls and were really successful, you already have 30 for the next day on your list. There’s an upside! Say you’re even more brilliant and do get to all 40, wrap up that day by making another list of 40 people, and continue that momentum and positivity in prospecting the next day. Set yourself up for success! This is an incredible way to keep your head in the right place and get to as many people as possible.

    Your prospecting nugget for today:

    With prospecting, every day you have a choice, to either make an excuse or find a way.

    The best of us will find a way. So many excuses exist that try to keep us from finding a way. When you have your Forward 40 in gear, you will not have an excuse. Find a way, go get on that phone, get to prospecting, and go be as great as you know you can be!

    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.


  • Closing is a Series of Stoplights

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    Does this frustrating situation sound familiar? You get to the end of your presentation and ask, “What do you think?” Or, “Do you want to move forward?” Then, your prospect responds with “Sounds good, but I’ll need to think about it.”

    You did not get the prospect to move forward because you did not create enough momentum to get your prospect over the proverbial fence. Your prospect is left on the fence and you are left without a signed agreement in hand and nothing in your pocket.

    • To create the momentum that you need, one technique that works is the yes-momentum close. It is a series of questions designed to create momentum. The first question in the series is often a general yes question. This is a question to which you know the answer is going to be “yes.” And, you got it- the point is to build momentum.
    • The second question that you ask may be an alternative choice question. When you give people a choice of two positives, whatever they pick is fine with you. It is a question of how they will move forward rather than if they will move forward.
    • Next, you can ask a tie-down question. A tie-down question is a selling statement with a little hook on it, to get you to agree with the selling statement. The “hook” may sound like: “wouldn’t you agree,” “isn’t it,” “don’t you,” “right,” “aren’t you,” etc.
    • Last, you might ask a boomerang question. A boomerang question is when you respond to a question with another question. For example, at the end of the of the presentation, if your prospect is over the buying line and you have started to take them down this closing funnel, and they then ask you “how much is it,” you may answer with a question, “as long as it fits in the budget does this sound like something you would like to move forward with?” If they say “yes,” they have essentially said yes to working with you.

    Now, all you need to do is use an assumptive close and say, “Well, to get started, I just need to get your okeedokee right here.” If you take your prospect down this closing funnel, they are agreeing on minor points along the way to make the major point of working with you a foregone conclusion.

    Closing is never just one question that you ask at the end of the presentation. Closing is a series of incrementally more committal questions that funnels someone logically to a point of agreement. Think of it like a series of stoplights. If you get a green light you go to the next question. If you get a red light then they are a “no,” and you can stop. If you get a yellow light, then you have an objection to answer. Take someone through a series of questions rather than just asking one scary big “do you want to do this” kind of a question. Make closing feel smooth an natural by using yes momentum.

     

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Three Things that I Wish I Knew Before I Started Selling

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

    Something that most people don’t know is that our company, Southwestern Consulting, is actually the training and consulting arm of a much larger corporation known as The Southwestern Company. In fact, The Southwestern Company is the oldest direct selling company in the entire United States.

    We’ve been around for just shy of 160 years but I’ve been in the sales profession for only 10 years and what I have realized is that I wish I had another 150 years of experience to prepare me for the daily ups and downs of being a professional salesperson. In light of that I thought I would share 3 simple, but impactful tips I wish I knew before I started in sales almost 10 years ago:

    1. It’s harder than it sounds – I really wish I knew how hard I was going to have to work. I knew that being in sales wouldn’t be easy but I wish I knew how hard it was going to be as a salesperson. I wish somebody would have sat down and told me.

    “You’re going to have to have a lot of perseverance. You’re going to have to be very persistent. You’re going to have to work when you don’t want to. You’re going to have to work longer hours than you thought. Sometimes you’re going to have to  work on weekends. Sometimes you’re going to have to miss parties, and events, and weddings, because you’re going to have to work.”

    I wish I would’ve been prepared so that when it came time to work that hard, I didn’t get upset. That I didn’t resent the fact that this was my job.

    I’ve finally learned how to really love the daily grind of working hard and today I really take pride in the fact I’m part of a job that I’m so passionate about it doesn’t feel like work.

    But many times as a salesperson, we start to feel unbalanced because we didn’t have the proper expectations of how hard we’re going to have to work.

     

    2. You have to want to be better each and every day – Being a great salesperson means it’s a never ending pursuit of learning. And again, like working hard, I really learned to love that about what I do at Southwestern Consulting. I am very blessed to be a part of an entire company who is passionate about learning and self-development.

    However, when I first started in this job one of the first things I was most excited about was, “I can’t wait ’til I know what I’m doing so I don’t have to study so hard anymore.”

    Guess what, I’m still not there. Almost 10 years later, I’m still not there.

    I wish I would’ve known that the books that I read were going to teach me more than any classes I ever attended in college. I wish somebody would’ve said, “Buy these books. Listen to these audio trainings. Go to these seminars. Find mentors. Get a coach. Find an accountability partner.  Study hard. Really be a student of the game. Listen to people. Ask for advice. Be a never ending learner.”

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    3. I will never arrive at being at the top of my game – For 10 yrs I have looked forward to the day when I have “finally arrived” only to realize that day does not exist and ultimately should not exist in my mind. The moment I actually think I have arrived will be the day I need a reality check.

    Every day I have to push aside what I think is right and to listen to others. I have to be coachable. Learning to be flexible is never easy, but being stubborn doesn’t help anyone. Be open to trying new things, even when you think you know everything…. Because, guess what, you don’t … but, neither does anyone else.

    Whether it’s your first day in sales or your first year or you’re a long time veteran and you’ve been selling for 50 plus years, it doesn’t matter. Those three things never change. You have to work hard, study hard, and be coachable if you’re going to succeed at anything.

     

    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


  • THREE REASONS WHY YOU DON’T GET REFERRALS AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    Anyone reading this would agree that referrals are a good thing. Referrals that trickle in because someone heard about you from one of your clients don’t come often enough.

    There are 3 reasons why you don’t get enough referrals:

    1. You don’t ask
    2. You ask passively
    3. You ask incorrectly

    Here is a list of common reasons given for why you didn’t ask for referrals:

    “I shouldn’t have to ask. If I do a good job, people will refer me.”

    “I don’t want to come across as pushy or salesy.”

    “I ran out of time before my next appointment.”

    “I’ll ask later. I need to earn their trust first.”

    “If I ask, I will look like I need the business. I want to look successful.”

    They are all rationalizations- rational sounding lies believed to be true. The truth is professionals make time to ask for referrals and they do it in a way that the client actually gets excited to help them.

    YOU MUST ASK FOR REFERRALS!

    Some people ask but are fearful. Fear causes you to ask passively or ask with trepidation: “I really appreciate referrals. If you think of anyone who would benefit from what I do, please connect them to me.” You mention that you like referrals. You don’t ask for them directly. You don’t get them.

    YOU MUST EXPECT TO ACTUALLY COLLECT REFERRALS WHEN YOU ASK!

    Others don’t ask for referrals correctly. You ask, “Do you know of anyone who. . .” You actually set yourself up to get “I can’t think of anyone right now, but I will let you know if I do.”

    Other objections you get when they ask poorly include:

    • I need to think about it.” “Can you call me next week?” “I’ll get back to you.”
    • The “Hermit” objection: “I don’t know anyone.”
    •  “Sure you can call him, but just don’t use my name.” “Let me talk to  him first.” “I’ll have him call you.”
    • “I don’t give referrals.”

    Referral

    YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR REFERRALS THE RIGHT WAY!

    Here are just a few tips that we teach at Southwestern Consulting:

    • Always ask “who do you know who . . . “ instead of  “do you know anyone who. . . ” or “is there anyone who. . .?”
    • Pause after you ask to allow them time to think. Break eye contact. And, look down at your paper ready to write.
    • Use memory joggers. For example, there are certain life events that trigger people to think about insurance. Anyone who is getting married, buying a new house, buying a new car, having a kid, retiring, or changing jobs is a great prospect. Ask who they know in each of these categories.

    The number one way to get referrals is to give someone any opportunity to give them to you. If you are not asking, start there. Then, work on your attitude. You must expect to collect names and numbers. Next, use the above techniques. You will be amazed by how many referrals you get!

     

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Ice Melting Lines

    ice meltingGuest Post By: Dave Brown

    Have you ever felt a little awkward after that first five seconds of an initial sales conversation? Using those “Hey, how you doing?” mundane type of initial phrases that lead to you just talking over your prospect and not making a quick connection. I hear and see it all the time!

    Everyday initial conversations starters DO NOT work in the selling world, and DO NOT forward your sales conversation. If you’re wondering why you’re not growing, as you should be in sales, this may help you break through. Shake things up a bit. Make your lead in phrases you!

    Where do we start?

    Bring your personality into it…literally your personality!

    Examples:

    • “Hey is this John Smith? Great, do you have 79 seconds for me really quickly?”
    • “John, I’ve been trying to catch you for months I literally thought you were    kidnapped man, were you kidnapped?”
    • “Hey John, this is Dave, are you ready for this?”
    • “John, how is your office staff running over there today? (don’t let them respond) Who’s winning, you or them?”

    Shake things up then lead into what you are doing and what you’re calling about. You’re melting away the tension that could exist when you use those icebreaking lines that can immediately connect you with your prospect because you’re different. If you are a prospecting master, you are an “ice-melter” with these types of initial phrases!

    Let me leave you with your prospecting golden nugget for the week…

    When prospecting, be YOU. Nobody in this world has your design. Daily you choose to cater to the world, or make it your masterpiece. Make it your masterpiece when you are prospecting today. Get out there and melt the tension, use your ice melting lines to get in and connect with your prospect quickly.

    What are some of the ice melting lines you have used? Tweet them to me @davebrown_swc #meltingtheice #southwesternconsulting

     

    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.


  • Servant Selling: How to answer objections without feeling pushy

    Guest post by: Rory Vaden

    Most people have fear about making change.

    Which is another reason why prospects need a sales professional.

    They need us not only for the purpose of giving them expert information about the product or service they are considering…

    They need our assistance in helping them develop the courage to make a change!

    You may have not have ever thought of your role in that way, but that is how Servant Sellers think. They realize that sales is less about convincing a stranger and more about helping a friend develop confidence.

    There are several decisions that need to be made by a prospect before they can buy.

    Of course they need to decide they like the offer but that’s not it. They also need to decide that they’re actually willing to take the risk of making a change. As the sales professional you have to be equipped to serve both of those needs for them.

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  • 7 Ways to Remember Names

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    You’re in the grocery store and you bump into a familiar face. They enthusiastically say “Hey ______ [insert your name here] how’s a going?!” You turn and look at them and have a moment of bewildered dread as you quickly recognize their face but it dawns on you that you have forgotten their name.

    You try to play it off cool like you remember them and you so obviously know who they are that it doesn’t even make sense to use their name. Or perhaps you give them a “hey man” or an “oh, hi!” or even a “hey there champ.”

    Unprofessional. Uncaring. Inconsiderate. Take your pick. There is nothing that feels good about forgetting people’s names and it most certainly doesn’t forward your personal or professional relationships. Needless to say there are a lot of reasons why it’s important to remember people’s names and there is certainly room for a deep study of the brain and the psychology of why we forget.

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  • How to Read Key Metric Ratios

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    How to Read Key Metric Ratios
    How to Read Key Metric Ratios

    You cannot expect unless you inspect.

    Understanding your key metrics, or as we call them at Southwestern ConsultingTM, your Critical Success Factors, is essential to success.

    So many people push, fight and refuse to track their activity and think through their ratios. Usually there are some basic, fundamental ratios that most salespeople need to know and be able to track, regardless of industry.

    One of those ratios is the Dial to Reach Ratio.  That ratio measures how many phone calls you have to make/doors you have to knock on/contacts you have to make to reach one decision maker.

     Another that’s important to understand is your Reach to Appointment Ratio or how many decision makers you have to talk with in order to get one of them to set an appointment with you.

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