Sales Leaders: Make Sure You Are Not the Weak Link!

By Jeff Beals

It’s hard to admit this, but the weak link in many selling organizations is often the sales leader, the person in charge of driving revenue growth but who almost never receives proper training or mentoring. Not only do most sales leaders lack preparation, they receive very little formal support and guidance. Too many sales leaders feel like they’ve been hung out to dry.

One of the best ways a sales leader can maintain high-level success is to have a peer group of fellow sales experts who act as your own executive advisory board, a group that can answer questions, provide guidance and support you through both good times and bad.

In other words, if you’re a sales leader who has not yet joined a mastermind group, you’re missing out.

CEOs have long taken advantage of mastermind groups. But now in 2018, sales leaders are joining mastermind groups like crazy. By finally getting the support they need, sales leaders are recruiting better reps, developing better strategy and figuring out how to hold their sales teams accountable.

What’s a mastermind group?

It’s a group of professionals, usually about eight to 12 of them, who meet on a regular basis to help each other be more successful in a confidential setting. Leadership can be lonely, because there simply aren’t a lot of places you can seek guidance inside your organization without compromising confidential information or admitting your personal weaknesses.

If you’re asked to join a well-structured mastermind group consisting of high-quality people, consider yourself lucky. You should jump at the opportunity. Actively and enthusiastically participating in a mastermind group is hands-down one of the single best things you can do to up your game and improve your life. Here are seven reasons why:

1. You’re no longer on a deserted island. Once you join a mastermind group, you’re no longer alone. Instead, you’re part of a confidential group of outstanding leaders. Many masterminds allow only one person per industry. That means you can openly share information without your direct competitors hearing about it.

2. You gain transferable knowledge. If your mastermind group includes people from different industries, you can learn amazing ideas and apply them to your industry allowing you to jump ahead of your competitors.

3. You constantly learn new things. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey advises us to regularly “sharpen the saw,” meaning we take time to open our minds and increase our skills. Your profession is constantly changing; a mastermind group can help you stay on the cutting edge.

4. You develop better habits. A good mastermind is highly supportive yet also holds you accountable. If you say you’re going to tackle a new project one month, your fellow mastermind group members will expect to hear about your experiences the next month. This helps you avoid procrastination.

5. You benefit from a “personal board of directors.” A mastermind group functions as your own advisory board. You can go to them and seek counsel for just about anything. Peer-to-peer advising is effective because it allows you to get things off your chest, figure out what to do before you do it and discuss possible outcomes before they happen. Just think how successful you can be when you have a group of people who are invested in your success just as you are invested in theirs.

6. You might find new clients. While this isn’t necessary an expressed benefit of many mastermind groups, some of your fellow members might be ideal clients for your organization. Mastermind members tend to become friends. They bond together. There’s nobody better to do business with than somebody you completely trust.

7. You become more confident. When you have the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of a potential decision with a group of talented and experienced people, you will carry out your decisions with much more confidence.

If you hold a leadership position in sales, I have the perfect mastermind group for you. It’s called the “Sales Leader Mastermind Group.” I personally facilitate this group along with my partner Beth Mastre. We are recruiting members right now for our next year which begins November 1st. We have a few spots still available.

Our past members have had very positive experiences in the group, and some of them have even made dramatic changes at their companies because of what they have learned. One of our members credits the group for helping him land one of America’s 15 largest companies as a client.

There are four in-person meetings per year – All the other meetings are virtual, so you can join in no matter where in the world you might be.

Sales leadership can be a lonely existence. Joining this group will help you create a stronger sales culture, attract talented sales reps and drive more revenue while you better manage both your personal and professional life.

Click here now to read a prospectus about this mastermind group!

Here’s what some of our current members have to say about the Sales Leader Mastermind Group: 

“I can’t tell you how much I have learned this year. We are killing it on the sales side. We are bringing back clients in a big way, and we are chasing even bigger ones. It’s a great story of learning from mistakes and getting focused. Thank you again for leading our Sales Mastermind Group. It has really been a valuable experience for me, and I’ve made some close connections with members of the group.” – Brent Pohlman, President, Midwest Laboratories, Inc.  

“As a leader in your organization, it can be hard to go to other people and ask certain questions or bring up sensitive issues. When you join a group of people who are in the same roles at their companies, the creative energy flows and new ideas come about. Spending time with other successful sales leaders, leads to new revenue strategies and the type of candid feedback that’s really effective. It’s a no-brainer to get involved in a group like this.” – Alan Johnson, Vice President of Business Development, FocusOne Solutions, a C&A Industries Company  

“In the mastermind, I can bounce ideas off a group of high-level people and discuss how to handle strategic items, personnel issues or company initiatives. The idea is for each of us to throw a subject on the table, and then a group of your peers analyzes it and provides feedback. You get to know each other very well and form a deep bond, which means you become a valuable resource for each other.“ – Jason Thiellen, Chief Executive Officer, E&A Consulting Group, Inc.  

Questions? Send me a note at jeff@jeffbeals.com

Happy Selling Season

By Jeff Beals

“Happy Selling Season.”

That’s what I said to members of my mastermind group as we finished our monthly teleconference yesterday.

What’s “Selling Season?”  It’s the period of time between the U.S. holidays of Labor Day (the first Monday in September) and Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November).  It’s autumn, the harvest season.

As a sales practitioner, that two-and-a-half-month period has always been my favorite time of year.

Things get done and business happens during Selling Season.  Children are back in school.  Family vacations are over.  The holidays have not yet started.  People are back at their desks and trying to be productive.  Decision makers are zeroed in on their work and focused on making business decisions during that time.  Selling Season is when hard-working B2B sales pros can “make hay while the sun is shining.”

Upon mentioning Selling Season yesterday, one of my mastermind members asked me if I had any hard data that proves a larger amount of B2B sales happen during Selling Season.  I don’t, but it has always been the case for me.

Over the course of my career, I have basically sold three types of things.  In all three of those professions/industries, I have always been the busiest and had the most success in the early-to-mid fall (the second-best time of year is March through May).

Now that we are at the very beginning of Selling Season, what can you do to make the most of it?

I recommend you go on the offensive.  Selling Season goes by fast, so there’s not a lot of time to sit around and think about what you’re going to do.  Ideally, you prepare for Selling Season during the lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer when things are a little slower.  If you didn’t do that this summer, there’s no use in fretting over it.  Just jump into it and get going.

To maximize this rich time of year, practice of the discipline of “time blocking.”  That means you literally block out times during the week on your calendar during which you will make prospecting calls, direct emails or in-person visits.  Consider your time-blocking periods to be non-negotiable, in that you refuse to do anything but prospect during these protected time periods.

In order to be most efficient during Selling Season, do your prospect research and pre-call preparation during the weekends, evenings or very early morning hours.  Save the prime contact hours for direct communication with prospective clients.

When you go to networking events, go with a purpose in mind.  Too many sales pros miss lead generation opportunities when they don’t maximize networking events.  This is especially important if your clients tend to be geographically concentrated, i.e. you do most of your selling in one metro area.  Remember that you’re not going to networking events to socialize or hang out; you’re going to meet prospects.

Much of your success during Selling Season comes down to attitude, the right mindset.  Autumn is a time for you to go the extra mile.  Because prospects are more available and more focused on their work during the fall, we all need to work a little harder lest we waste an opportunity.

When you’re tired of calling, find the energy to make one more call.  When you’re tired of knocking on doors, stop by one more office.  When you don’t feel like going to an after-hours mixer, suck it up and go meet some prospects.

If you maximize your efforts and intensity during Selling Season, you’ll have a happier holiday season and you’ll likely be in an enviable position heading into 2019.

Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant.  He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.

To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or send an email to info@jeffbeals.com or call 402-637-9300. 

How Can We Improve the Sales Profession’s Reputation?

By Jeff Beals

The good news is that salespeople are considered more trustworthy than stockbrokers, politicians and lobbyists.

Unfortunately, that’s it. Pretty much every other profession is considered more trustworthy than sales.  Ouch.

Now here’s the bad news: only 3 percent of people consider salespersons to be trustworthy.  That’s according to a HubSpot Global Jobs Poll from 2016 that asked 928 people the question: “Who do you consider to be trustworthy?”  Each respondent was asked to choose three job titles from a list of 20 provided.

While salespersons ranked low, no profession did terribly well.  Doctors came in number one, but only 49 percent of people thought they were among the most trustworthy professions.  Only 48 percent thought firefighters were trustworthy.  For crying out loud, firefighters run into burning buildings to save lives and even rescue pets.

Lawyers get a bad rap, some of it deserved, but 12 percent of respondents thought lawyers were among the most trustworthy professions.  That’s four times the number of people who trust sales reps.

And this one kind of  makes me laugh: only 5 percent chose baristas as trustworthy.  Perhaps respondents were mad about screwed up latte orders at the coffeehouse drive-through.

Four percent of respondents named professional athletes as trustworthy.  If I was one of the survey participants, I would have definitely put those prima donnas below sales reps.

The sales profession has made great strides over the years, and it continues to become more professional and sophisticated each year. Nevertheless, old stereotypes about salespeople persist.

Given our profession’s tarnished reputation, how can we become more trusted by customers and more respected by the general public?

Ethics

Research indicates that ethical sales practitioners end up making more money (in the long run) than unethical sales reps.  They also head off potential trouble and are less likely to be fired.  Behaving ethically in no way makes you a weaker sales rep.  It makes you a good one.

Communication

Detailed and timely communication removes suspicions and reassures clients.  Be truthful and don’t procrastinate when you need to tell prospects things they don’t want to hear.  Remember that bad news does not improve with age.

Another important part of communication is to say you are sorry when appropriate. It’s amazing how much an earnest and sincere apology can boost trust.

Moment of Truth

At some point in any given relationship, you will encounter a moment of truth, a time in which you will be faced with an important decision. How you decide to act determines if you “pass” the moment of truth.  If you do pass it, you build trust.  Fail it and the relationship could be irreparably damaged.

What are some moment-of-truth examples? When it’s tempting to lie but you tell the truth.  When you have a choice to do something in your interest or your client’s interest and you choose the client’s. When you go the extra mile to help clients achieve their goals. When you screw up and do everything in your power to fix the situation.

Every time you pass a moment of truth, no matter how small, trust becomes at least a little deeper.

Predictability

People trust other people whose behavior is predictable. If you’re the type of person who responds to challenges in a consistently professional manner, you come across as trustworthy.

The best predictor of a person’s future actions is frequent past behavior. If you consistently establish frequent past behavior that is trustworthy, it will be much easier for you to be trusted in the future.

Responsiveness

Because technology, people have become accustomed to getting any desired information immediately. That means we have to be ultra responsive to our prospects and current customers.

With so much information immediately available at our fingertips, we now view slow communicators as “untrustworthy.”  It’s almost as if people think you’re incompetent or perhaps hiding something if you take too long.  Speed is now equated with trust.

Trusted Adviser

Those sales pros who put their clients’ best interest first, become incredibly valuable to those clients.  Not only is that good for personal gain, it helps improve the reputation of our entire profession.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events this year. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events next year!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

“Jeff Beals is a consummate pro. With short notice, he put together an engaging, fun, sales-focused presentation full of specifics – just what our exec team needed. We’ll ask him back for annual company retreat again next year.” – John Baylor, President, On to College, Lincoln, NE

“In the three months since Jeff Beals became my sales coach, I have signed over 20 new, top-tier clients and have positioned myself among the top three sales producers in my company nationwide. Jeff has helped me create a beneficial success plan and ensures, through an accountability process, that I’m actively accomplishing my goals. Not only is Jeff an incredible coach, he’s a true friend, mentor and wonderful human being.” – Carter Green, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Stratus Building Solutions, Oklahoma City, OK

(402) 637-9300