H3 = Sales Success

Last week, I spent two days with one of my clients onboarding new business development representatives they hired to handle the growth opportunity that is in front of them.

This client was not hiring salespeople. They were hiring peers of their target prospect and enlisting me to help turn them into new business developers.

It was a fun two days and we covered a lot of ground, much of it specific to their industry and prospect.

But the one universal we spent a lot of time on was what I thought it took to be a good business developer. I gave them the following acronym:

H3

  • Heart
  • Humility
  • Hustle

Heart: The most important sale a salesperson will ever make is to themselves. If they aren’t fully bought in to their offering, they will struggle getting anyone else to buy it. They can’t let inescapable rejection dissuade them from that belief.

How? Motivation is like showering. What you did yesterday was helpful, but you must do it again today. Review customer testimonials, share wins as a team and continually remind yourself why you do what you do.

Heart also means that you must genuinely care about your prospect and their business. If you don’t, find something else to do because your prospects will feel that.

Humility: A good sales person is coachable. They don’t think they have all the answers. They know there’s always more to learn. More to learn about their offering, their customers, their tactics and tools.

Good salespeople are infinitely curious and care more about their prospects than their products. They would rather ask questions than give pitches. They can know what their prospect needs, but lead them to that truth rather than beat them over the head with it.

Hustle: Great salespeople daily do the things that average salespeople are unwilling to do. They aren’t afraid to pick up the phone and make the tenth call when the previous nine didn’t go well. They find a way to spend the majority of their time on the high value activities that lead to success rather than creatively avoid those things.

I recently read that the average business developer spends 36% of their time selling. Only a third! The great salespeople hustle and spend much more of their time on high value activities by scheduling it in their calendar and building the habits that make them successful.

Heart. Humility. Hustle. If you have those three things, you’ll succeed at sales. (BTW, if you do have those, call me. I have several clients who would love to hire you).

What would you add to H3?

The “And”

Most of the companies I work with have been built on the passion and drive of a charismatic founder. The sales “process” was simply to free up as much of the founder’s time to spend with prospects and watch them magically convert.

But they quickly realize that if all sales has to go through them it puts a lid on company growth. So, they start building a sales team, but I have seen many make this mistake: they hire people for sales and…

There are many versions of the “And”

  • Sales and marketing
  • Sales and social media
  • Sales and design
  • Sales and fulfillment
  • Sales and

They’re still hiring as if they’re the small, scrappy startup, asking their people to play multiple roles.

There’s just one problem: building a sales team for the first time is hard work. If you don’t do it the right way – by documenting a clear sales process, identifying your ideal customer, laying out the expected daily activity, painting a clear picture of success, managing and coaching – the first sales people you hire will struggle.

And if they struggle at sales, they’ll be more likely to spend time on the “And.” People naturally want to spend their time on things that are succeeding. So, they’ll subconsciously find a need to post something on Facebook rather than make the next uncertain sales call.

One of my clients who made it through the adolescent phase and is now more than $200 million in annual revenue said that the biggest growth in the company came when they started hiring to plan and not to need.

They had plateaued at around $10 million for more than a decade and had always been hiring for their current need, waiting until everyone was overwhelmed. It was only when they began to hire people that they wouldn’t need for 3-6 months that growth took off.

Resist the temptation to hire sales and…

Hire them for a sales role they can grow into over a few months. Do the hard work of setting them up for success and coach them so they can help you succeed.

This is the fourth step in our 4D Transformation Method: Drive Results. I talk about it here:

If you want to drive better results by setting up a sales team for success, reach out to see if I can help. Just fill out this short assessment and book a strategy session with me.

TNU – They’re Not You

I was recently visiting with the HR director at a five-year old company that has experienced significant growth. They have a good product in an expanding market.

In the early days, it was the CEO who was doing most of the selling, and – like the CEO of every company who has early success – he was good at it.

But as the company grew, so did the list of CEO responsibilities. And he increasingly found himself torn between selling and fulfilling. It’s the sales-fulfillment teeter-totter that I’ve written about here before.

So they started hiring salespeople. Some did well and others have yet to achieve their quota in any time period that they’ve measured.

Sound familiar? It’s very common in the companies I work with. Give me a call and we can chat about your situation.

Taking over the sales role from a founder isn’t easy. You can never replace that perfect blend of passion, product knowledge and motivation.

I am constantly reminding the owner-operators I work with: TNU – They’re not you.

So, what can you do? How can you set up your first sales hire for success?

There are four things:

  1. Get the hiring process right. Seems obvious, but this is missed far too often. A young, growing company is not right for everyone. Make sure they match the culture you’re building and have the mindset of someone who can succeed in selling your service. Be honest if they’re walking into an undefined role that will be difficult for them.
  2. Don’t assume that just because they have sold something else, those skills will perfectly translate to what you’re selling. Make sure the sales process is documented and ready to execute.
  3. Be clear on expectations and then inspect what you expect. Having a job scorecard is critical. If they have to make 50 calls per week to be successful, put that on their KPI dashboard and look at it weekly.
  4. Don’t expect perfection. Again. TNU. They’ll never sell at your level. Shoot for 80% as good, then coach and develop them so they can continue to improve.

That’s some of what we do in the fourth step of our 4D Transformation Method. Watch this video to learn more:

Can I help you be successful in sales as you continue to grow? Reach out and let me know. Just take our short assessment and then book a strategy call with me.

And always remember. TNU.

“The only people who don’t want to hear from me are the people I’m paid to talk to.”

I was speaking virtually to a group of salespeople recently and you could see their demeanor change as they came to this realization.

Like most companies, theirs looked to hire extroverts – the “High I’s” on the DISC assessment – that would be comfortable talking to new people. This can be a great strategy, but it comes with a potential problem.

That is, the people who like to talk to other people are usually the same people who really, really want everyone to like them.

In modern business, there is no shortage of people vying for our attention. We have bosses and co-workers, customers and suppliers, and so much more.

They’re calling us, leaving voicemails, sending text messages, tweets and direct messages, pings and dings on any number of social media platforms (that all of these salespeople are told they need to be on, right?).

Those who have a need to be liked feel a need to constantly reply to anyone and everyone who asks for a piece of their time. Because each individual response makes someone happy – thus making the responder happy.

But for salespeople, like the ones I was speaking to, there is one group of people who are not asking for their attention – prospects.

That’s when the salesperson said, “The only people who don’t want to hear from me are the people I’m paid to talk to.”

That’s why time management is such a big deal for salespeople. But it’s more than the ability to manage time. It’s the ability to get yourself to do the stuff you know you need to do but don’t want to.

That’s why author Nir Eyal, says that a better term for time management is pain management.

So, how do you manage your pain? It’s a process of knowing your goals, determining the highest value tasks to help you reach those goals and the using your calendar to prioritize those tasks.

It’s that simple.

And that hard.

It’s one of the things we do all through our process of working with companies as they go through our 4D Transformation Method. We help them prioritize their time so that they can spend it on the things that make their highest value contribution to the company.

But we spend the most time on it when we’re documenting the sales process and helping their sales team prospect for new business.

You can learn more about that fourth and final step in our process by watching this video:

If you are an owner-operator who wants to improve the results of your service-based business, I might be able to help you. Just take this short assessment and book a strategy session with me.

I’d love to help you stop avoiding your prospects and growing from the inside out.

“Nobody else knows how to sell!”

That’s what one of my clients said to me when we were talking about his business development strategy.

This owner-operator had been CEO of his business for multiple decades but was frustrated that sales always seemed to depend on him.

He’d spent years on what I call the “sales/fulfillment teeter-totter.” When they were running short on cash, this very capable and charismatic CEO went out into the market and generated a bunch of new business.

But because he was out selling and not fulfilling, things broke down back in the business and customer complaints grew. That drew him back into the day-to-day operations of the business…and away from sales. Which made them run short of cash and, well, you get the idea. That’s the “sales/fulfillment teeter-totter.”

This CEO had a very clear sales process…that only existed between his ears. He had never taken the time to document it so that anyone else he hired could execute it with similarly predictable results.

Drive Results is the fourth step in my proprietary 4D Transformation method. It’s fourth because we don’t want to dump a bunch of new sales into a fulfillment system that isn’t ready for them. That’s a recipe for more customer complaints as your existing customers get less attention and new customers get off on the wrong foot.

But with a defined culture, a remarkable customer experience and a culture of continuous improvement, he was now ready for a business development strategy that would generate predictable, repeatable results for his business.

Here’s what we are doing, primarily pulling years worth of information out of the CEO’s head and updating it with the most effective, modern techniques:

  1. Identified their ideal customer. They had several kinds of customers, but one clear category who paid them for their expertise. We designed the rest of the process around that customer.
  2. Created a lead generation strategy with repeatable activities and the metrics the business development team would be accountable to perform.
  3. Compiled a sales tool kit of case studies, testimonials, email templates, call scripts, differentiators and power statements that would connect with their ideal customer. This business had a history of delivering value for clients, but hadn’t put it together for use in their sales process.
  4. Documented their five-step sales process based on the training we did with their leadership team. Those five steps are the same ones you’ll see in most sales systems for service-based businesses: Introduction, Assessment, Demonstration, Close, Follow-Up. We listed the questions to be asked at each stage, the actions to perform to move the process forward and how to answer objections earlier in the process so they don’t cause problems at the end.
  5. Customized training for their team. The last step is to create the virtual, interactive training that will allow anyone on the team to learn and perform these steps with predictable results, whether they’ve been with the company 30 years or 30 days.

I talk more about how we help our clients Drive Results in the fourth phase of our one-year immersive training with them in this video:

If you are an owner-operator and you’re on the “sales/fulfillment teeter-totter” of your service-based business, I might be able to help you Drive Results. To find out, just take this short assessment and book a strategy call with me at the end.

All you have to lose is an hour of your time. But you could be the one thing that gets you growing your business again. Growing from the inside out.

A learning – and winning – mindset

Two weeks ago, a devastating winter storm passed through an area of the country that isn’t used to cold and snow. It wreaked havoc across the south and disrupted millions of lives.

I had the opportunity to work with a couple of disrupted lives and the contrast between the two is one of the best examples of the impact of mindset that I’ve ever witnessed.

I frequently coach salespeople with a combination of virtual training and regularly scheduled calls. On the calls, we talk through their sales process, strategize current opportunities in their pipeline and discuss what they’ve learned in the virtual training.

I had calls scheduled with two people that week. The first was on the day the storm hit. That morning, I got an email from that person saying, “It will be doubtful I will be on the call. We have a huge winter storm here and everything is shut down and probably going to lose power soon.”

The second scheduled call was with someone who emailed me the night before (Wednesday) saying, “Our area of Texas has been without power since Sunday night. Please call me during our scheduled meeting time as a video call/WiFi access is not an option given the circumstances. Look forward to our conversation – thank you!”

When we got on the call, I discovered that she had completed her assigned online video training the night before by plugging a hotspot into her car and watching on her mobile phone while the car heater kept her warm!

Neither person chose their circumstances, but they both got to decide their response. Those responses were clear evidence of the impact that mindset has on those decisions. You see, one of the two had been faithful in completing training assignments, updating their sales dashboard and attending our regular calls. Guess which one.

That’s why it’s so important for companies to have a development strategy for their team. That’s the third step of my 4D Transformation Method, which I talk about in this video:

Does your company have a development program for everyone on the team? How effective is it? Let me help you evaluate it by taking this short assessment and then signing up for a strategy call with me after.

One more question about these two people: which one do you think booked a sale that week?