By Jeff Beals
Sales is not rocket science, but it’s not easy. It takes hard work, discipline, diligence and a lot of persistence. What’s more, sales is becoming more challenging as competition increases, products/services become commoditized and prospects have less and less time to talk with you.
But despite the rampantly growing challenges that face you and your sales team, 2018 can and should be your best year yet. In that spirit, I would like to share quick summaries of my three favorite articles from the past year. Links to the entire articles are included if you want to read the whole thing:
I have a strong dislike for RFPs or “Requests for Proposals.”
Generally speaking, I recommend you respond to RFPs only when your relationship with the client is so strong that you are essentially guaranteed of winning. Some companies have policies requiring that vendor relationships go out to bid periodically. If this is the case at one of your best client companies, tell them you will help write the RFP. You can then write the RFP to favor you and the way you do business.
If you don’t write the RFP or at least have heavy influence on the RFP language, it very well could be an expensive waste of your time replying to the RFP. An exception would be when the RFP is a mere formality designed to make shareholders feel better and you are the pre-chosen winner.
Now, I realize that there are some industries where RFPs are a rooted part of the culture. In other words, they’re so common that there’s no getting around them. That’s not the case in most industries. When at all possible, avoid RFPs. You have little chance of winning. Meanwhile, you spend tons of time and money preparing a proposal and get no revenue in return. If by some miracle, you are chosen, you’re probably going to get skewered on price.
Sales people are notorious for adding things to their plate without taking things off. Why? Salespeople tend to be ambitious and very confident in their abilities. They want multiple ways to prospect even if one prospecting method hasn’t paid off much in the past. They tend to be independent personalities, rugged individualists who think they can do it all. Sales professionals know they need to persevere in an eat-what-you-kill environment, so they don’t give up or accept defeat lightly.
Those are great traits, essential for long-term success in sales, but they are traits that can burn you out if you’re not careful.
Would you like to know the single most important thing to stop? Counter-productive thinking.
No matter how successful you are, you probably cling to some negative ideas. Every sales rep is at least occasionally afflicted with self doubt. Whatever negative things you harbor in the deep recesses of your brain, now is the time to flush them.
So, consider this permission to declutter your sales career and liberate yourself. What do you need to STOP?
With all the emotional, high-risk/high-reward scenarios playing out each year and with so much riding on your ability to lead the sales process, how do you cope with disappointment? How do you cope with the pressure? How do you avoid burnout and stay motivated?
These ideas will help you keep it fresh and keep the completed deals flowing:
1. To cope with the inevitable rejection in a sales career, concentrate on your victories. Celebrate each one of them in your own way. Some people will tell you that if you simply expect success, you don’t need to celebrate victories. I disagree. Appreciate everything.
2. Keep in mind that selling is a noble profession. Without sales activity, the wheels of commerce grind to a halt. Your work creates jobs and feeds families. Sales is the lifeblood of your company. Without you and your team, there would be no company.
3. Remember that character is king. Focus on people – the hopes and dreams of the clients you serve and the real needs of the team members you lead. Draw inspiration and motivation from the people who surround you. When you remember that the things you sell have real impacts on real people, it helps you ride through the rough patches.
4. Embrace the competitive side of sales. Do you enjoy sports? If so, you probably love competing and watching other people compete. Sales is game. Try to accumulate little (and sometimes big) victories each day. Playing to win removes the drudgery of day-to-day work.
5. Take pride in your resilience. It feels good once you have successfully persevered through difficult times. Remember that feeling anytime you feel hopelessness and then do what it takes to feel that way again.
6. Make it fun for both your team and yourself. Those who don’t ﬁnd ways to enjoy their work typically don’t survive long in a brutally competitive industry. Find the joyful and positive aspects of your work and focus on them.
7. Tell the truth even when it hurts. Integrity leads to success. You will be rewarded with high levels of client and employee retention.
8. And finally, as you sell today, imagine what your legacy will be years down the road. Your work in leading a sales team literally shapes the future. Isn’t that pretty important?
One of the most important skills a sales leader can possess is the ability to bounce back when life punches you in the gut.
Have a great 2018!
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. 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 in 2016. 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 in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY
“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil
I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here. He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard. Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA
“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team