The Most Important Sales Checklist
I had two things happen on back-to-back days this week that really made me take a big pause. They both came from very separate areas, but had incredibly similar underlying challenges. I'm relaying the one from the rep with their permission.
On Monday afternoon, I was speaking with a #sportsbiz sales rep who was laying out a LAUNDRY LIST of things that they were struggling with. 'The team sucks...', 'Nobody's talking about our sport...,' 'I can't get anyone to pick up the phone...,' 'Everyone else in our office is lazy right now...,' 'I'm awful handling objections...,' 'I'm not getting enough training and development...' and on, and on, and on. I didn't talk for the first 4 minutes of the conversations after 'Hello,'...no joke. Everything was wrong. It was a complete and utter fire drill of crappiness every day for her.
On Thursday morning, I was listening to Pastor Tony Evans on a podcast. He told this story that really resonated with my conversation with the sales rep. It went something close to: A man goes to the doctor. The doctor asks, 'What's wrong?' The man replies, 'Everywhere on my body hurts on the touch. Everywhere.' Doctor says, 'Touch your ear.' The man does and doubles over in pain. 'Touch your chest,' the doctor says. The man doubles over in pain. Doctor looks at the man and says, "Well, son, you've got a dislocated finger.'
Here's a truth for the sales rep and the man in the story: Both their struggles start, and can be cured, from one place. That's the truth. We want to over-complicate our struggles because the just can't be so simplistic. Or it just can't be our fault. Or it can't be so simplistic AND our fault. Yet it is. Hitters break out of a slump in baseball with one hard hit...or even one bloop hit. Basketball players break out of a shooting slump based on one shot that drops. It's the same in every sport...and it's the same in sales. One thing breaks your way, and you get your confidence back. But the best salespeople don't wait for that to happen. The best sales reps attempt to attack the problem...not wait for it to get solved.
Here's my checklist of places to go, through questions to ask yourself, to get yourself better, quicker:
Have I made myself a better seller recently?: Stagnation, or even regression, in sales can often come once a rep stops investing in making themselves a better salesperson. Read a book, read a blog, role play with someone...but the more you invest in yourself, the more confidence you gain in your pitch, the less slumps you'll find yourself in.
Do I care more about my results or what's in my clients best interest?: Desperation is a stinky cologne. The more you focus on your results versus what's in the clients best interest, the more you focus on simply passing along information in the hopes that that person buys...versus creating true, genuine points of connection. The more you connect, the more you sell.
Is today the best day for my clients to buy?: Throughout my career as a seller, one of my biggest challenges was creating urgency. I figured if people thought hard enough about my products, after I crushed the sales process, then people would buy. Since I've always sold non-need products, I couldn't have been more wrong. Today HAS to be the best day to buy for any salesperson. Urgency does not start with the buyer, it starts with the seller. Wake up with your pants on fire and you'll translate that to each potential client you touch!
Am I solely accountable for my results?: This one is the most important, and, often, the source of most struggles. If nothing is your fault, and you have no accountability to produce results every day because of it, you...won't...produce...results. It's just that simple. The best sales reps walk into the office every day feeling a sense of accountability towards producing for themselves and their team. And they are relentless to ensure that every day yields productivity and results. Even in your deepest struggles, a strong sense of accountability will keep you from being desperate and will spur you into action. When I look at all the best reps I've ever seen, this is the one, true attribute that ties them all together.
If you walk into the office committed to making yourself better, committed to being your best for your clients, having your pants on fire that today is the best day to buy, and wearing your accountability in all your actions, you will find success.
In speaking with the AE in the beginning paragraph, I told a story of a clip that I saw about Pete Rose, MLB's all-time hit leader, talking about when he struggled (that's literally a picture of him doing it on the right!). He said, 'I was never in a slump. The answer was always out there.' After pushing past the objections and excuses, and talking through the four questions above, we determined that she was regressing as a salesperson. She was getting lazy in her attempts to make herself better. We role played situations she was struggling in, and, sure enough, she found a sale the next day...and, she believes that, by the printing of this, she will have her biggest week in a long time. If you're struggling, or before you're struggling, which of these questions is holding you back? I guarantee it's one of them...so pop that finger back into place!