Archive for category sales
I used to have to go into the office an hour and a half early in order to check my emails, respond, and rearrange my day due to another email that is suggesting an emergency of some sort that requires immediate attention. I complained about how my work was not getting done due to having to respond to other situations and help out as a team player because of blah blah blah blah…I was totally compelled to do other work that was not my work and the email was my excuse. This was a terrible excuse. In looking for a solution I came across the 60-60-30 method by Eben Pagan. Feel free to look this up as this blog is not intended to promote this method, but more to demonstrate a realistic situation.
The key to the 60-60-30 method is to block off your day into time segments of uninterrupted work. UNINTERRUPTED work. I cannot say that this will be the answer for you, the 60-60-30 method did not work for me in my situation, however the premise did. The KEY to this working regardless of how you want to block off your time is this: Do not check your email, voice messages, or text messages until you have the first part of your day completed. For me, this meant after lunch. The funny thing was that my work was done now before lunch and the other work was much easier to prioritize. For the most part, the BS work that was being dumped on me at the start of the day that did not help me produce income disappeared. Not only was I able to make my day better, but then I ended up with more time to find more business and become even more productive than my competition.
So, how much of your day is DESTROYED by early emails? It’s painful to realize the truth, but such a relief to resolve it. Give it a shot, you will not regret it.
99% of the time, it is easy to tell the difference between a true professional and a wanna-be. It’s totally in how the INFORMATION is exchanged. My card for your card, my data for your data is the norm, but the true professional goes the extra mile. Little things like asking the new contact for alternative email addresses or verifying phone extensions, even bumping phones via Bluetooth (there is a reason for this tool). Getting more that just a phone or extension by asking to connect via LinkedIn or Twitter. The true professionals are usually engaging to get the access that is NOT already on the card or easily accessed.
The “Key” here is to have the total ability to control the direction of the communication. If you give your card out in jest, who controls who calls whom? Not you. If you just get the standard information on the card, who do you get when you use that data? The same gate-keeper system that is set up to keep everyone out but those that are wanted…ie. Not you. Simple, get the information and get the information that is not readily available and you have access. Not only that, but you have access that is not being competed for. Success knows success by the means of the request for the “gate-keeper” by pass request. Like a nasty little secret.
Now for those in sales that are giving business cards to prospects, simple suggestion: Only give a card to those that provide their contact data to you. Simply because you, as the sales person, must be the person in control of the communication. In case you haven’t noticed, you will give out a huge amount of cards to get one piece of business and it’s most likely NOT due to them having the card. Simple rule, don,t give a card unless you are use two cards…one to give and one to write the prospects data on. Again, if you don’t have their data, who is calling whom? When?
Do you control the ability to communicate with those whom you have met? If not, that’s a problem.
If you are in sales, do you have your time structured? If you own a beauty salon, do you have time set aside for prospecting? Follow ups on last weeks clients to see how things are going? If you are a contractor, do you have time set up for project inspections and client updates each week? Do you have time scheduled with your staff and clients for staged walk-through?
If it’s not scheduled it’s at risk of being forgotten and lost to the other “things” that come up. So please review your business and ask, “Do I run my business or does my business run me?”
What are the important things needed to ensure you have business next week, month, and year? Prospecting, Quality Reviews, Referrals, newsletters, phone time, door knocking, training, lunch? Do you have these scheduled? And if not, are you running your day and business by reaction only?
Something that is not taught in schools, but is believed to be taught in society is how to have a conversation. This is a false belief. Think about it, how do you start a conversation? Is it usually with a “Hi, how are you?”, or “So, where are you from?” How is this working out for you? Typically you will engage in a short bout of simple exchange and end up in an awkward silence especially if you are not intentionally starting a conversation for business purposes. If you are intentionally meeting people for business purposes, this initial courtesy may be extended long enough to get to the point of your meeting, but then it not really as genuine as it could be and definitely not as productive as it could be.
There is the “old fashioned” expression that state ‘people love talking about themselves’. This is true. Look at Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Linkedin…society promotes narcissism to a large extent. Here are some quick pointers that will make any random, chance, or intended meeting become genuine and fruitful if not on a business level, then on a personal level.
1. Find something about the person that you REALLY appreciate. Their education, shoes, watch, attitude, etc. This requires sincerity on your part and may require some observation or in a case of a business meeting, homework. If you cannot find anything, you are not in the right mind…please realize you cannot fake this.
2. Introduce yourself by acknowledging what you appreciate of the person. This lowers barriers, and if in a group will give you opportunity to introduce yourself to others in the circle just because of the way you introduced yourself to one of the people in the group. Usually, this will oblige the person to socially introduce you to their circle. Again, sincerity is the core of this process.
3. Open Ended Questions. Most people are taught that an open-ended question is a question that cannot be answered with a “Yes” or “No”. I would encourage you to take this a bit further as it does REQUIRE YOU TO PRACTICE! Let’s define Open Ended Questions as: A Question that cannot be answered with a “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe”, or with less than 3 words.
This is vital because you want to create an engagement which requires the other party to turn off their “autopilot”. You do this autopilot conversation everyday; someone passes you in the office and says, “How are you doing?” and you automatically respond with, “If I were doing any better, there would be 2 of me.” The question did not force you to think, you had an automatic response. Our current social communication paradigm teaches engages in conversation that result in an attempt to gain an instant definitive. In other words, most of our conversations are geared to arrive at a conclusion or black/white answer from the onset…where as you want to create an engagement of gathering information and building a relationship with this person or persons.
Here are some examples:
What do you suggest when looking for…?
What brought you to want to do…?
If I were to try to do X, what suggestions would you have for me?
What were some of the exciting event you experienced in accomplishing…?
When you went to X, what was most surprising to you?
As you can see, this requires the other party to think, turning off their “autopilot”.
4. Listen and listen carefully. Ask them to describe in further detail or to expound on a subject. It is a key to establishing trust. I know it does not make sense, but trust is built on a feeling of security and acknowledgement. You are demonstrating total acknowledgement by doing this. Again, be genuine and sincere.
5. Test the waters. After a comfortable engagement, when you ask an open-ended question, the person will give an answer. You will naturally want to ask more or talk yourself. Do not do it. If you have asked a good open-ended question and they have ended their response, look at them as if expecting more and if you have established turning off the autopilot, they will carry on and give more details. Yes, you will feel uncomfortable at first, but when you see how this works you will find it a great tool for business.
In sales, I usually find that most of the what a client is telling me is not the whole story or even the true story. This does not mean they are lying or being dishonest, but that they may not have had an opportunity to discuss this and are working it out in their heads. In my discovery time where I am asking questions about what they want to accomplish, what they liked best, what they have now that they will feel sad about giving up, etc…when they answer, i will pause for at least a count of 5 or 7 seconds after they finish. Most always, they will talk more and when they talk, it’s not able to have had time to filter and you get more real answers this way. You will find you can do this on the same question 2 or 3 times. The surprising thing is the first part of the answer is almost always the fluff and the real answer is after the 2nd or 3rd pause. Again, be sincere. These steps require you to think, listen, search, pause when you don’t want to, study, practice, and have fun!
Please feel free to visit my other blog at salesbrew.tumblr.com as well. Thanks for your comments and feedback.