Two Great Sales Lessons From the Film Free Solo

A few weeks ago I was flying across the country, and was able to watch the Oscar-winning film Free Solo. Watching it in an IMAX theater would have been a lot cooler than on a four by four screen on a Delta airplane, but I enjoyed the movie nonetheless. There were two awesome sales lessons hidden in the film, and in no particular order, I'll share them here.

The whole movie is centered around Alex Honnold and his desire to “free solo”, or climb without ropes, El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. El Capitan is probably the most famous rock wall in the world, and it had never been free soloed. The thought of free soloing El Cap is truly insane. It's a monumental accomplishment. After he climbed it, somebody on the film crew asked him, "Well, what are you going to go do next?" And he just said, "Well, I'll probably go do some hang boarding." He'd been working toward this goal for years and years, thinking about it, staging it, doing similar climbs, trying to prepare for it mentally, overcoshutterstock_280705463ming all of the fears and doubts that he had, and then after this pinnacle achievement what does he go do? He goes back to fundamentals. The sales lesson here is you can win the big deal, you can close the big sale, you can get the biggest sale in company history and just be humble and go back to the fundamentals. 

The best time to make a cold call is immediately after closing the big deal.  Go make some cold calls. Go practice your next pitch. Go think about other questions you can ask. Let that momentum of a big goal accomplished be a slingshot to carry you toward your next goal rather than an opportunity to rest on your laurels. Don't rest on your laurels!  Accomplish something and then think, what can I do next? Go back to the fundamentals.

As Honnold was going through his prep work to do that ascent of El Cap, he went through and rehearsed key sections. There were four or five critical sections that he wanted to dial in on and really practice every single move he was going to make. He did this with a rope so that when he was without a rope, when it was showtime so to speak, the muscle memory would kick in and he would be able to climb without hesitation. There was one particular stretch called 'the boulder problem' where he had two options: He could either leap from one tenuous ledge and grab onto another more substantial ledge, but he'd be totally out of contact with the wall, or he could do what he calls the karate kick, which is a little bit more complicated, but he would stay in contact with the wall. He went back and forth between these two moves, really thought it through and decided to do the karate kick.

The lesson we can take learn here from a sales perspective is how much time is your sales team using to prepare for a phone call, meeting, sales pitch, etc.? Are they really thinking through every option, looking at it from every angle, and thinking through who's going to be in the room? Who's going to be on that call? What are their primary objectives? What are their concerns about our product or service? You have to go in the sales call, just like Honnold had to go on the climb, prepared and able to react well in the moment.

There's probably no better example of being in the moment than when Honnold is free soloing, but that relentless preparation and rehearsal made it possible for him to just glide through the climb without hesitation. So, a few valuable lessons from Alex Honnold's successful free solo of El Capitan are: Don't rest on your laurels, and relentless preparation will help your team perform well when the moment comes.

As a sales leader, how are you enabling your sales team to 'free solo' on their cold calls or in the field? Are you tracking whether your top performers are resting on their laurels after a big win, or if they're using that momentum to exceed their targets? Next Tuesday, June 25th we're going to have a live Webinar on Sales Enablement Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. To join us in conversation on Sales Enablement best practices, click HERE TO REGISTER. 

Leveraging Sales Enablement Practices that Drive Performance

How much focus do your sales managers put on conversation speed and tonality when they coach their salespeople? At Intelligent Conversations, we use a powerful analytical tool called Refract that looks at conversation speed and tonality, among dozens of other factors which play into your team's sales performance. If you'd like to learn more about sales enablement best practices, please join me on Tuesday, June 25th at 1pm CST for a free live "Sales Enablement Mistakes - And how to Avoid Them!" webinar, sponsored by Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. All registrants will be invited to submit a brief recording of one of their top sales performers in action, and receive a FREE call analysis.

Even without a tool, a good place to start is to have your sales managers listen to live calls or recordings of calls. It's common for salespeople to ask and answer their own questions before the prospect has an opportunity to engage. You can coach them to slow down and to be comfortable with a pause.  Even though your salespeople have had this conversation 500 times before, they should remember it's the first time for the prospect..

Blog Photo1The next time you meet with a sales leader, ask them to pay attention to this when they coach their team.  Whether they're making cold calls, following up on an inbound lead, or even in a face-to-face meeting, a good mindset to teach salespeople is go “low and slow.” As salespeople get nervous or grow uncomfortable, they tend to speak faster and at a higher pitch. When they slow down and talk with a lower pitch, they sound more authoritative and confident.

The pace of their speech should depend on your market and where they are calling.  For example, if you're in New York City, and calling on prospects in the Northeast, a faster pace is appropriate.  If your New York sales rep calls a prospect in Birmingham, Alabama they should slow down.  In other words, let the market dictate the pace of your conversation. The ideal pace - across any region - should be somewhere between 100 and 150 words per minute. Speaking slower than that may indicate a lack of confidence and any faster than that may come across as nervous or difficult to understand. 

Where they are in the sales cycle can also affect speed and tone. As your salespeople hit crucial moments in the conversation, coach them to allow a little space before asking, "Would you like our help?" or "Would you like to move forward?" A simple pause before a question like that can make the prospect more comfortable and facilitate a smoother communication. Be comfortable with the pause, and don’t say anything until they've had an opportunity to consider and respond.

Even early on in a cold call situation, give your prospect time to absorb the fact that they're receiving a phone call. Too many salespeople introduce their name and company, and immediately launch into their pitch. It's better to just say their first and last name, then let the prospect respond. 

We hope you'll join us on Tuesday, June 25th at 1pm CST to do a deeper dive into all things 'Sales Enablement'! Register for free, HERE!

For any other inquiries about Intelligent Conversations,please fill out the text boxes below:

Prospecting for Sales Appointments Is Not Dead

Blog Prospecting

Inbound marketing is a wonderful tool. We have added material regarding how to handle inbound leads to our training and development programs.  We have also added material and regularly coach our clients on how to use LinkedIn,, blogging, participating in relevant groups, and other tactics to create more awareness and drive potential leads into your sales funnel.  It’s important and if your sales people are still prospecting like it is 1987 you’re probably missing some great opportunities.

But don’t believe it when you hear your sales people or a consultant tell you prospecting no longer works for your business.  Yes, cold calls are difficult.  Yes, cold calls have a much lower return and take a lot more work (it may take 100 cold call attempts to book three qualified appointments).  Yes, it is much easier when you get an inbound lead, a referral, or best of all a solid introduction.  That said, developing the skills and regularly practicing the art of making cold contact with target prospects will help your sales people in all aspects of prospecting and will help them convert at a higher rate when they receive qualified inbound leads, referrals, and introductions.

When your sales people (or worse, sales managers) push back and resist the idea of making cold call attempts to grow your business we urge you to stand firm and stop accepting excuses.  You’re A-players will just get to it.  You B- and C-players will need more coaching and a higher level of accountability and activity monitoring. 

Here are five steps to help your sales people put greater focus on top-of-the-funnel sales activities:

1.     Establish daily targets

Set reasonable targets for minimum daily activities and let them know that is a requirement of their job and if they cannot do it they will need to do something else.  You may need to bolster your sales manager’s resolve on this, particularly if the level of accountability across the sales team has been weak.

2.     Outcome-based versus activity-based goals

We prefer outcome-based goals versus activity-based goals.  So for example, an outcome-based goal might be “have five (5) conversations with decision makers every day” or “book one (1) qualified appointment every day.”  Activity-based goals can also be effective and are particularly appropriate for newer sales people or sales people who are just learning the basics of prospecting.  An activity-based goal might be something like “make 30 call attempts before 9 am.”

3.     Right fit prospects

Make certain your sales people understand exactly who they need to target and focus their prospecting activities on potential clients who will be a great fit for your business.  If you need help, download our Sales Focus Worksheet to help get started.

4.     Practice, practice, practice….Review

If it has been awhile since your sales people have made a cold call, make sure your sales manager leads them through the basics and actually has them practice some calls with their peers.  Yes, sales people hate this type of role play.  Too bad.  You will get results faster if they go through a few practice calls before they start making live calls.  Once they start making calls, have them pull out their smart phones and record their side of the conversation so they can hear what they sound like and adjust.  Have them review these recordings with a peer accountability partner or with their sales manager.  Need help getting started?

5.     Low and slow

The single biggest mistake we see sales people make when they reach out to a cold prospect (even veteran sales professionals) is they lose control of their tonality and pace.  As they get nervous their tonality goes up and they start talking faster, both of which make them sound like a nervous sales person.  Remember, low and slow is the way to go.  They will sound more confident and competent.  This takes practice (see above).

Is your sales team prospecting on a regular basis? Share these tips with them, and find out how it could increase the leads coming into your funnel, and ultimately improve your sales numbers. 

Are Your Sales People Selling Beyond Their Comfort Zone?

Blog Skydiving

In our consulting practice, we’ve been running a lot of “must win” deal workshops with our clients.  It’s a great way to focus a sales team on the opportunities that really matter and will make a meaningful contribution to revenue and profit goals.  It also provides an excellent framework to review the sales process and sales methodology we emphasize.  And it gives the sales managers we work with a great way to reinforce the right lessons and hold their team accountable to focusing on the right activities to drive results.

What’s been surprising in these sessions is how many sales people can explain in great detail the business issues and challenges of their main contact at a prospective client… and nobody else.

On one hand I’m delighted that they are applying the questioning and discovery skills we emphasize in our development programs. It is important to be able to describe in great detail – from the prospect’s point of view, which is critically important – the compelling reasons why they need to change, the financial impact of not making a change, and the urgency around making the change quickly. 

On the other hand the limited scope of communication troubles me. Many of these deals come out of our “must win” workshop with a relatively low score because the sales person has not gathered other perspectives.  They know one point of view and they know it well.  And in some cases that might be enough.  But even when they are talking with the ultimate decision maker, the sales person would still be better off building a case that includes multiple perspectives across the prospective account. 

Decisions to purchase and implement a new product or service are complicated and are not made in isolation (Sharon Drew Morgan has written extensively on this topic).  Many of the sales people in our workshops who felt they were in a really good position quickly realized that not knowing all the stakeholders and their wants, needs, and decision criteria really weakens their chances for winning the business.  

So why do they do it?  Why do even high-performing sales people who should know better miss this fundamental aspect of winning a complex deal? 

I’m sure there are a lot of reasons but the common thread uncovered in our workshops has been a reluctance to call beyond their comfort zone.  For example, many of our clients sell to manufacturers.  In our coaching conversations we’ve learned some sales people are more comfortable driving around the building and walking in by the loading dock, approaching someone on the shop floor and finding the plant manager or foreman.  Others are much more comfortable parking in front of the building, approaching the receptionist, and finding a way into the C-suite.  

It’s the rare sales person who is just as comfortable on the shop floor as they are in the board room because the guys who are comfortable in one setting are not always comfortable in the other.  And yet, to be successful, they need to be able to talk to everyone involved, understand their point of view and priorities, and develop a recommendation that considers what is important to everyone involved.  What would happen if either sales person stretched beyond their comfort zone and went to the other door? 

What about your sales people?  Are they calling beyond their comfort level?  Do they gather multiple viewpoints?  Can they switch the questions they ask depending on whether they are standing on carpeting or concrete?  Or are they in a rut, calling to their comfort level and hoping for the best?   

Perhaps you can find a way to challenge them to go beyond their comfort level and call other parties within a target account. Encourage your sales leaders to inspect their call reports to look for diversity in the titles they are calling on (or spot trends and patterns that suggest they are calling in their comfort zone). What impact would asking this one simple question have on your revenue growth this year?

Building a Profitable Sales Process - Making Initial Contact

Building a Profitable Sales Process, making initial contact, cold calling, prospecting ideas, how to make effective cold calls, Intelligent Conversations, Mike Carroll, Milwaukee Sales Development Expert, Objective Management Group, sales ideasContinuing our series on 10 Steps to Building a Profitable Sales Process, this post will address steps three and four.

If you are following this series and applying the ideas to your sales organization, by now your sales leaders should have lead the sales team through the process of identifying your most profitable prospects to target and everyone on your sales team should have a focused list of top prospects.  If that's where you are right now congratulations!


You're off to a great start.  If not don't worry, you can easily catch up.

Now it's time to get to work by actually contacting these prospective customers. There are a lot of cold calling articles, books and scripts available to you, so our focus for this article will be high-level principles rather than specific tactics.

  1. Schedule Prospecting Time
    Everyone on your sales team should specific times scheduled on their calendar for business development activities.  Zig Ziglar wrote about this years ago urging sales professionals to schedule a time by which they will make their first call of the day.  The earlier the better.
    I'd say go one step further and have your sales team schedule a block of time to make contact with prospective customers. They should treat this time as a "can't miss appointment" and their should be consequences for missing it.
  2. Low and Slow
    One of the problems we see when sales people make cold calls - especially if they are out of practice and are just getting started again - is they tend to talk too high and too fast.  Think "low and slow" when making initial contact with a prospective client.
    A lower tone conveys confidence and authority. So does slowing down a bit and being comfortable with the inevitable pauses that occur when making first contact. Have your sales leaders listen to some calls and remind their sales people to slow down and lower their tone of voice.
  3. Point of View
    When making initial contact, your sales people should look at the world from the prospective customer's point of view. What is important to them? What are some common frustrations they might have? Have your sales people position your product or service from their point of view rather than your company's point of view. For more on this highly effective approach read about "positioning statements" in Dave Kurlan's Baseline Selling.
  4. Sell with Stories
    Instead of describing the features and benefits of your product (which will generate a quick hang up), have your sales people sell with stories. Give examples of issues and challenges people like your prospect are experiencing and ask if that's something that is challenge to them.
    A strong story or example followed by an engaging question is much more effective than just describing your product or service. Remember, the goal of the initial contact is to engage them in a conversation that (hopefully) leads to a next step.
  5. Ask Questions Three Deep
    Once your sales people have engaged the prospect in a conversation it's important to keep the conversation going by asking questions and going at least three questions deep (more if possible).  Questions and phrases such as "when did you first notice this...." or "how long has this been an issue..." or "tell me a little more about how that impacts your operations..." can go a long way toward keeping the conversation going. 
  6. Ask for the Appointment
    After a few minutes of phone discover, if there's a problem your sales people might be able to solve, ask for the appoinment. That's the goal of making initial contact, so don't let them beat around the bush.  Get right to the point and ask if it makes sense to get together or schedule a follow up call to explore the issue in more detail.
    If your sales people are having the right conversation this should be an easy, logical next step.  If they're forcing the conversation this will be difficult to convert and they will continue to struggle.
  7. Ask for a Name
    If your sales people cannot find an issue worth exploring in an appointment or follow up phone call, have them form the habit of asking for another name to call.  It's as simple as "it doesn't sound like you need us right now, is there someone else in your network who might?"
  8. End with a clear next step
    Even if there is not an opportunity to get together right now, everyone on your sales team should set expectations by asking permission to re-engage in the future.  I like to use the sports calendar as a reference point because it's more memorable.  So instead of saying "I'll call you next fall" I might say "I'll call you when the Cowboys are 2-0" (if I'm prospecting in Dallas).  Or "I'll call you right after the Masters..."  Or "I'll reach out to you again around the All Star break...."
    Make sure your sales people keep good notes in your CRM so they can keep track of these follow up calls. 

     What's holding your sales team back from making initial contact with prospective customers?  Find out by investing in a detailed analysis of the people, systems, and strategies that impact sales at your company. Download a free sample of the new Sales Effectiveness & Improvement Analysis.
 Download the eBook Sales Effectiveness Improvement Analysis for free

Building a Profitable Sales Process - Know Your Target

Sales Targets, building effective sales lists, finding prospects to target, Jigsaw, LinkedIn, Reachable,, Zap Data, Info USA, prospecting, Intelligent Conversations, Mike Carroll, Sales Expert, Milwaukee consultant, Objective Management Group, cold calls, effective prospecting ideasThe first step in building a profitable sales process is to decide where to focus the prospecting efforts of your sales team. Too many sales people (and their sales managers) take an undisciplined approach to defining their ideal targets.
As a result reactively pursue whichever opportunities land in their sights (whether or not they are the right opportunities) rather than proactively focusing on the right opportunities (situations that drive profitable revenue).
How many of your sales people focus on the wrong opportunities simply because that's what they can easily pursue?

When your sales leaders bring focus and discipline to the proactive prospecting efforts of everyone on your sales team, you'll see a dramatic improvement in their prospecting efficiency and the profitability of the opportunities that enter your sales funnel.

So what can you do about it?  Last week we wrote about the 10 Steps to Building a Profitable Sales Process.
The first step is to know your target and here's where you can get our Free Sales Focus Worksheet, a tool your sales leaders can use to facilitate an exercise that will help clarify and focus your sales team's thinking about which opportunities to prioritize and pursue.

When we talk about knowing your target, we really mean "know your target" in three specific ways:

  1. Profitable Customers
    Know exactly who your most profitable customers are, what makes them profitable, and precisely how you started the relationship. Not all customers are created equally.
    You probably have some customers who don't quite fit your model but they still buy from you and generate revenue.  That's fine since you already have them, but if you can choose where to focus your team why not target the "ideal customers?"  Who are the customers that are an ideal fit for your model and support where you want to go as a company? These are the customers to focus on for this exercise.
  2. Prospective Customers
    Know the prospective customers in your market that are similar to your most profitable customers and build a list of every person inside those companies that could have (and truly care about) the problems your product or service can address.
    Sometimes it takes three to five conversations to figure out who really cares about the problems you address. Start with the titles and areas of responsibility most like the titles and areas of responsibilities of your most proftitable customers and make sure your sales team is ready to shift their focus as they learn more about the target company.
  3. Know Your Customers
    Know your target customers in the true sense of the word - what is important to them, what worries them, what pressures do they face, what does "success" look like to them, what situations create an opportunity to engage them, what do they read, what LinkedIn groups do they join, and so on.
    Really know who they are, what is important to them, and how you might be able to help them if they have the problems your product or service can address.  Dave Kurlan writes about the concept of "positioning statements" in his book Baseline Selling.
Sometimes sales people will just call to their comfort level.  If they are "comfortable" calling purchasing agents but the purchasing agents your sales people are calling don't care enough about the problems you solve, what good does it do to spend valueable time calling them?

Find out who does care and start calling them.
Maybe it's the engineering manager but your sales people don't like calling that title because they are difficult to reach and a bit prickly when they finally connect.  Make sure your sales people push the boundaries of their comfort zone by calling the person who cares about the problem (and not just the person they are comfortable calling).  
How do you know?  Have them make (and then have your sales manager inspect) a top X list of target accounts. The number of accounts to target will vary based on a number of factors (length of your sales cycle, complexity of the sale, experience of the sales person, etc.). Generally it will range from somewhere between 10 and 50 specific targets. That is a specific person at a specific company you believe can become a profitable customer.
Our next article in this series will take a tactical look at building these lists.
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Top 5 Mistakes Your VP of Sales Makes at Trade Shows

sales, trade show, selling, exhibit, conference, sales process, sales strategies, selling at tradeshows, selling at trade shows, exhibit booths, marketing, marketing dollars, marketing budget, CEO, CEO Sales Guide, Intelligent Conversations, Mike Carroll, PresidentIf you are the person who signs the checks (the President, CEO or business owner) for all of the expenses that go along with exhibiting at trade shows, one of the things that can drive you absolutely nuts is trying to figure out how to get the maximum return on your marketing investment while also ensuring enough new business closes to justify the expense.

As many of our clients get ready for "trade show season" and prepare to send their sales teams off to exotic convention centers across the country, here are the top five (5) trade show mistakes we see VPs of Sales make that can absolutely destroy your return on investment.

  1. Planning as an after thought.  Running a sales organization can be a tough, demanding job.  There are so many moving parts to manage and often meeting with the VP of Marketing to provide input and feedback into trade show planning gets put on the back burner.  Huge mistake.  Your marketing team always needs a longer lead time than your vice president of sales believes.  If your sales team is busy talking about problems solved by product X and your marketing team produces materials and give aways for product Y, you've got a big problem.  Make sure your VP of Sales and your VP of Marketing schedule some time to plan well ahead of the show(s) you plan to attend.
  2. Customers or Prospects?  The great thing about exhibiting at the right trade shows for your industry is that everyone is there, including your current customers and prospective customers.  To maximize your sales teams time make sure there is a clear strategy about how to handle both groups and where sales people should spend their time.  Our advice is typically to talk with customers before the show to find out if they will attend and perhaps schedule some time with them before or after the show or during off hours.  It could be a dinner or a cup of coffee or just a quick hello.  Let them know that you value and appreciate their business and then set the expectation that your goal is to focus on new business.
  3. Focus on Getting Leads.  Many sales people (and sales leaders) attend these events expecting to get a lot of leads and connections - and they are often disappointed when they fall short.  In our experience the sales people who leave the show with the most leads and connections are the ones who focus their time, energy and efforts and making connections for others first. What would happen if before the show everyone on your sales team invested some time thinking about who they could connect, who they could introduce, and what they could do to help your clients and prospective clients?  Get your team focused on giving first, and they will receive plenty of leads and opportunities.
  4. Missed Opportunities.  If all you are going to do is set up your booth and stand there for 8 hours, don't even go. Get involved with the show.  Offer to moderate a panel.  Use the event to learn more about your competition and your market in general. Leverage the opportunity to have hundreds of short conversations as a training opportunity for your newer sales people. Provide on the spot coaching and feedback as you observe them interact with tradeshow attendees.
  5. Poor Execution.  The details matter. From pre-show planning (meeting with marketing to get the message right, identifying clients who will attend, calling prospects who will attend to book a cup of coffee during the show, etc.) to post-show follow up, successful sales organizations nail the details and execute with ruthless efficiency. Compare that to what you typically see as you  walk a trade show floor (bored sales people nursing a hang over) and ask yourself which side of that coin you want your sales team to be on?

Investing in the right trade show can provide oppotunities to connect with current clients, fill your sales pipeline with propsective clients, increase your company's visability, and learn more about your competition and your market in general.  Make sure your VP of Sales avoids these mistakes and you'll be on your way to a strong return on your tradeshow investment.  If you need some help we have our free Trade Show Checklist

Sales Winners and Sales Losers

describe the imageTop producing sales people understand that every sales win - just like every sales loss - is temporary.  To stay on top they know they need to keep pushing themselves to get better, hone their skills, ask better questions, make more calls, reach out to more contacts, ask for more referrals, build stronger covenants, make more follow up calls, uncover more reasons for prospects to move forward, call higher and wider within the companies they serve, focus on their top prospects, proactively plan their week and their day, take a disciplined approach to following their weekly and daily plan, make one last call every night before going home, keep learning, focus on delivery, build relationships within their company, listen to books and self-improvement discs while they drive, and in general stay sharp and professional.

The exact same advice applies to sales people who are struggling.

The difference between sales winners and sales losers is that sales winners do these things no matter where they stand on the leader board.  It's how they're wired.  They have the commitment to do whatever it takes to be successful and they know that if they keep doing the right things, day after day, week after week, month after month......the results will follow. 

Sales losers, on the other hand, rest on their laurels.  They believe they are brilliant when they land the big account or sign the huge project....and they stop doing the right daily behaviors and lose focus while taking their victory lap.  And when the results are bad?  It's not their's the economy, the competition, the company, the product, the marketing materials...... anything but themselves.  They get down on themselves and everyone around them.  They spend more time focused on how unfair everything is and how difficult their job is and how things would be different if other things changed (not them).

Everyone in sales understands there will be ups and downs.  The difference with sales winners is when you look at their calendar and observe how they conduct themselves day-to-day, you can't tell whether their numbers are up or down because they're consistently doing the same things.  They know it's up to them and no one else.  What can you do, starting today, to get on this path?

Increase Sales By Focusing Your Prospecting Efforts

describe the imageWhen a sales person is struggling one of the first questions we ask is "how many people are on your target prospect list?"  Usually we find a list with everything and the kitchen sink.  Too many names.  Too many target accounts.  Too many titles.  Too many target industries.  Too spread out geographically.  In short, a target prospect list that shows a total lack of focus.

Usually when we point this out to a struggling sales person we hear something like "Yes, but anyone of these prospects could potentially buy from me."  And that's probably true and some probably will, which will only reinforce the belief that casting a wide prospecting net is an effective sales strategy.  In our experience it's not.

On the other extreme, when we look at the target prospecting list of a highly successful, top producing sales person we usually see a much more focused and narrowly targeted list.  They have usually found their niche and are concentrating their sales efforts on being the dominant provider in that niche.  It could be a specific industry, it could be a specific title or functional role within a prospect's organization, it could be a narrow geographical area, or it could be a combination of multiple characteristics.

To get started, take a look at your top client successes (or the client successes of the top sales people on your team) and ask:
  • What does my dream client look like? 
  • What characteristics should they have? 
  • What do I like about working with them?
  • Who else has those same traits? 
  • Is it role-specific? 
  • Is it industry-specific? 
  • Is it situational? 
Then ask yourself the following tough questions:
  • Who do I need to become as a sales person to effectively serve these dream clients?
  • What do I need to STOP doing so I can focus my sales efforts exclusively on those ideal clients?
  • What do I need to do to get out of my comfort zone to target decision makers at my ideal cleint?
  • How can I leverage this renewed focus to improve my networking and referral strategies?
Instead of casting a wide net and just hoping for the best, take ownership of your sales success by narrowing your sales focus.  One way to do that is to use our Free Sales Focus Worksheet.  Thanks and good selling!

Sales Systems and Super Bowl Champions

describe the imageWhat a great Super Bowl game last night!  As a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan it was especially sweet. 
Do you think the Green Bay Packers won the NFL Super Bowl yesterday by chance?  Or do you think there was a little bit of planning, strategy and the consistent execution of a proven system involved in helping the Green Bay Packers overcome tremendous adversity and a tough competitor to win it all?

With key players going down - not just during the big game last night, but really all year - the importance of having a strong system in place could not be more clear.  Charles Woodson goes down with a broken collar bone?  No problem, just use Jarrett Bush to blitz from the slot.  Dropped passes?  No problem, just keep running the plays you know should work and focus on the execution next time (thank you Jordy Nelson!).

The Green Bay Packers beat a quality Pittsburgh Steelers team to win the NFL championship last night because they had a strong system in place that allowed them to continue to function even through adversity.  So what does that have to do with sales?  Everything!

How strong is your sales system?  Have you studied your prospects and competition enough to be able to anticipate their likely moves?  Do you know where you need to focus your initial efforts and what to do when the conversation breaks down?  Do you have a logical progression from A to B, then B to C, then C to Close?

Or do you just wing it and hope for the best?  Sometimes that works - Green Bay had another quarterback famous for his ability to improvise and still succeed.  But as Aaron Rodgers proved last night - focus, preparation, discipline and following a proven system works great too.  And which is more repeatable?  We'll find out over the next few seasons, but I like the odds of continued Packer success with the system Ted Thompsen and Mike McCarthy have put in place. 

As our clients have heard me say over and over again, great systems beat great intentions every time.  Is it time to take a closer look at your sales system so you can have the same odds of repeatable success?