The greatest in any field of endeavor has always been great at the basics. Vince Lombardi, the great Green Bay Packers coach, said football comes down to two things: blocking on offense and tackling on defense, and his great Packer teams spent 80% of their time on those in practice. Red Auerbach, who coached the Boston Celtics to eight consecutive championships, had his players practice free throws and shots from very short distances over and over again. Bruce Lee, Pavarotti, Tiger Woods, and all the other greats have always known the importance of focusing on and mastering the basics in order to be successful. The same is true in selling. When it comes to sales and selling, there are certain key basics to follow that ultimately lead to sales success.
The 5 Basics to Sales Success
Basic Principle 1: Have a daily plan and get that plan done.
In addition to annual, monthly, and weekly goals, you need a goal and plan for daily activity. How many sales, proposals, and prospects do you need and how many calls and contacts do you need to make each day to get those? Whatever that goal is, your objective is to not only hit but exceed that goal, even if it’s only by one or two calls. By the way, you should be prospecting every day. It keeps you sharp and consistent.
Basic Principle 2: Spend 80%, or more, of your prime hours on key sales activities.
The three activities you should be spending the majority of your time on during the workday are prospecting, presenting, and closing. That’s it. Everything else should be delegated or done during off-hours. Yes, things will come up during the day that you need to handle. That said, if you’re focused on these three activities and adamant that you will do as much of them during the workday, avoiding procrastination and other time wasters, you’ll rarely have to worry about your sales numbers.
Remember: sales IS a numbers game. Yes, relationships and the quality or those relationships are important but to have the number of relationships you need, you have to be talking to lots of people. It’s simple, the more people you talk to, the more business you will do. Even a blind pig finds corn if it digs enough. If you talk to enough people during the day, you’ll eventually run into someone who says ‘I need what you have’ or ‘I know someone who needs what you have.’
Basic Principle 3: Get great at selling.
After activity, making enough calls on qualified prospects, developing great sales skills is the second most important principle. If you are highly skilled at knowing what to say and do in all sales situations, your sales will skyrocket, assuming you’re making the necessary calls. The better you know how to get to a prospect, get their attention and keep it, match solutions, listen, present, handle objections, close, etc., the more effective you’ll be and the more sales you’ll make.
The fastest way to get great at selling is to one: make sales a study, and two: do what the top salespeople do. Become a student of selling, be a sponge, read, listen to, and watch anything you can on the subject of selling. Invest in good books, audio, or other programs, from actual top salespeople and trainers who have ‘been there, done that’, and go through the material thoroughly. Next, find the top salespeople in your company, your industry, and in other industries. Call them on the phone, e-mail them, or otherwise get in touch with them and ask them what makes them successful. It’s simple, if you do the same things as top salespeople, you will get the same results.
Basic Principle 4: Get back to personal communication and build relationships.
In-person is still the best way to contact people and stay in touch. With all the technology at our disposal there can be a tendency to use it too much. In-person communication has been replaced by e-mails, text messages, video conferencing, and other less-personal communication. Make more in-person cold calls and visits to customers to say “hello”, drop off the proposal instead of mailing or e-mailing it, and to follow up in person instead of trading voice messages. You should also be sending hand-written thank-you notes, birthday cards, holiday cards, and anniversary cards. Your objective is to have more personal contact at a time when your competitors are calling less and being less personal. At the end of the day, it’s all about people and relationships. You have to connect with people on a personal level and stay in communication and continue to build the relationship.
Basic Principle 5: Work hard and smart.
We talked a bit about working smart when we talked about finding the top salespeople and doing what they do. Success leaves clues. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel and you don’t have to, simply find out what makes the top salespeople the top salespeople and do what they do. You also want to use best practices in your industry. Look for ways to work more efficiently.
In addition to working smart, you have to work hard. It takes time to make the necessary initial calls and follow-up calls. You may have to make more calls and work more hours in order to find the prospects and make the sales. In addition, every day you have to work hard on your mental attitude, on keeping negatives out, on staying motivated, on building your network, and on everything else that your selling career involves.
John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker, coach, and trainer. For his free eBook: 30 Ideas to Double Sales and monthly article, or to have him speak at your next event, go to www.completeselling.com John has over 34 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards). You can reprint provided you keep contact information in place. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
#1 Sales Rep w 33+ years’ experience, Author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards) – also the largest sales book on the planet (678 pages).