3 Most Important Words for Sales Success
Guest Author, Paul McCord
Our research Director, Jaime Davis-Thomas, came across this article. Let us know what you think the "3 most important words for sales success" are!
If you take a short click trip over to Amazon and search the word ‘sales’ in books, you’ll find over 630,000 books on sales currently listed. Those hundreds of thousand books are made up of words—billions and billions of words that make up thousands and thousands of concepts. And certain concepts and words are encountered over and over again such as prospecting, marketing, closing, overcoming objections, building trust, creating relationships, and the like.
Yet, in the end, there are three words that stand out as the most important for sales success. There are just three simple concepts that encompass all the other words and concepts; three overarching concepts that tie the others together and allow those other words and concepts to have meaning and impact.
By no means do these three words stand alone. By themselves they are as useless and incapable of creating sales success as any of the other concepts you encounter. But without these three, becoming a successful salesperson is nothing more than luck—and seldom does luck produce the results your reps seek.
Let’s look at these three critical words:
Targeted: One of the definitions of targeted is to aim at a particular object or person. One synonym of targeted is ‘focused,’ which means to concentrate on a particular thing or person.
So many sales people are anything but targeted or focused in their business:
Instead of targeting prime prospects, reps scatter shoot, hoping to hit something by the shear volume of the stuff they do.
Instead of targeting our training on the areas we really need to improve, sales reps and managers read books and articles and take seminars on what appeals to us.
Instead of focusing our time and effort on those activities that will generate business, we allow the vagaries of the day to dictate what we do and how we spend our time.
Instead of using a disciplined sales process, we shoot from the hip, believing that using a ‘process’ is fake and insincere.
Reps get up in the morning having no idea where they're going that day—and by evening they've gone exactly where they planned to go—no where.
Successful selling demands sales reps know who their real prospects are and where to will find them. It demands reps know how they will connect with them and move them to making a purchasing decision. It demands reps know what their needs are and how the company will solve their problems or meet their wants. It demands reps know why they will buy and what we must do to be of real service to them.
As salespeople, your teams must be as focused on the who, what, when, where, why, and how as Sherlock Holmes.
Reality tells us that not everyone or every company is a prospect. Not everyone needs or wants our product or service. Not everyone can afford our product or service. Not everyone can benefit from our product or service. Not everyone has the same reason for buying our products or services.
We also know that not every activity salespeople engage in produces an equal benefit for us, our company, or for our prospects and clients. Some activities produce great benefits—others produce no benefits.
Scatter shooting as most of us do results in lost opportunities, wasted time, low incomes, not meeting quota, and eventually, moving into another line of work.
Success comes through focusing—targeting—the prospects and the activities that produce results.
Plan: Yet knowing who and what to target is useless unless we have a well thought-out, disciplined plan to get to those targeted prospects and activities. Most reps have no real plan at all. If they don’t have a plan, we inevitably end up like a discarded bottle floating in the sea—tossed here and there by the lapping of the waves, getting nowhere fast.
If you want success from your sales reps, they must be in control of their sales business. They must have a sales plan that moves them from where they are to where they want to be.
A plan isn’t some vague idea in our head of where we want to go or what we want to do. A plan is a written documentthat lays out in detail what we must do in order to reach our destination. A plan breaks our wish of reaching our targets down into bite sized steps that lead us to the actuality of reaching them. A plan is a step-by-step guide to turning our desire to focus on targets to the nitty gritty of doing the work that will produce the results we seek.
Nevertheless, many of us believe plans are dangerous things because not only do they give us direction, they hold us accountable for our actions. They tell us in stark terms whether or not we’re on track, whether or not we’re doing the right things, whether or not we’re progressing or stagnating.
Action: Targeting without planning is fruitless. Even more fruitless is planning without action. Selling is an action sport, more akin to football or basketball than chess or backgammon.
Yet, action without a targeted plan is equally fruitless—maybe more so since it leaves us feeling that we’re working hard and getting nowhere. And that feeling of desperate work with nothing to show for it is accurate—many of us are investing huge amounts of energy, working hard and ultimately having nothing to show for our efforts.
I’ve met thousands of salespeople who have created wonderful plans. They’ve done all the right things—they’ve targeted the right prospects, they’ve created well thought-out plans that would move them from where they are to where they want to be. Their plans are detailed and realistic. Their plans are elegant, simple, and well defined. And their plans are complete failures because they are never implemented. They know exactly what to do; they never do it.
Unless you act, you will fail. Intending and planning without action results in failure just as surely as acting without planning. Knowing isn’t good enough—you must do.
If you want successful reps selling, you now have the ‘secret’ formula. Simply putting these three words into your reps vocabulary won’t work—as their manager, you have to put them into your being, your everyday work habits, and that of your reps.
Create a Targeted Action Plan: Focus reps attention on those prospects and those activities that will produce results. Require every rep to create a detailed, well thought-out plan that will move you from where you are to where you want to be. Then do the activities. It’s just that simple—and just that hard.
A "Targeted Action Plan" needs management understanding of the following three Pillars of Productivity:
It is driven through the Compensation/Recognition/Rewards Pillar.
Learn about all of the 6 Pillars of Productivity and how they can be used to maximize sales performance, team motivation, and results. Attend our 6 Pillar Workshop on October 13 in Memphis.
________________________________Paul McCord is a leading authority on prospecting, referral selling, and personal marketing. He is president of McCord Training, a Midland, Texas based sales training, coaching, and consulting company. His first book, Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals (John Wiley and Sons, 2007), is an Amazon and Barnes and Noble best-seller and is quickly becoming recognized as the authoritative work on referral selling. His second book, SuperStar Selling: 12 Keys to Becoming a Sales SuperStarhas just been released. He may be reached at email@example.com or visit his sales training website at www.mccordandassociates.com or his highly popular blog http://salesandmanagementblog.com Copyright 2008, Paul McCord. firstname.lastname@example.org