73 Run your sales territory like it’s your business

Run your sales territory like it’s your business

 

Your territory is your business. Run it like you own it. 

 

Elite sellers view their sales territory like it’s their own business. Even though they work for or represent another company, they manage their sales territory like an entrepreneur and they are the business owner of that territory. 

 

Here are 5 ways the Elite Seller uses entrepreneurial approaches to build and maintain a healthy business: 

 

1) They focus on building their business through Proactive Prospecting to generate and build their pipeline. They don’t wait for cold leads to be handed to them, realizing that oftentimes these could be a waste time. They qualify all opportunities ruthlessly so they don’t spend time working sales cycles on suspect leads or opportunities that will likely end up in “No Decision”. 

 

2) They build strong relationships with customers and nurture advocates who will help them sell. They actively seek referrals from satisfied customers, business partners, and network with others in the industry. 

 

3) They realize that they must control their own destiny and not rely on sales managers to hand them ready-to-buy customers. Because those rarely exist. 

 

4) They build their own personal brand inside their business through continuing education as they refine their selling skills, sales strategies, and communication skills. 

 

5) They defend their territory and protect their turf. When asked to give up accounts, they make a strong case for keeping their  assignments by articulating why their relationships within the customer account are a benefit to the company. They also maintain a list of possible accounts that would make sense to turn over to other salespeople… and maintain notes on potential pursuit strategies and account details that will help the salespeople who take over responsibility of those accounts. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

72 Say What You Mean – And Whatnot

Say What You Mean – And Whatnot

 

A prior briefing discussed “Junk Words and Phrases” and how you should focus on eliminating them from your vocabulary and from all customer communications. Remember that Junk Words and Phrases are just extra words that creep into our language, but they provide no context or meaning. Without them, your verbal communication will just sound clearer and more professional.

 

Here’s another one for you: “And whatnot” is a junk phrase that has crept into the business world from more informal social conversations. For example: 

 

“We can stop at this café. They serve great coffee, bagels, biscotti… and whatnot”.

 

In the business world, this is occasionally used when specifying multiple items, such as: 

 

“This new capability will improve your on-time deliveries, your service rating, your customer satisfaction, and whatnot.”

 

Unfortunately, this meaningless sentence finisher is redundant punctuation and serves absolutely no purpose. 

 

It signals a thought that has run out of steam. 

 

Instead: Eliminate this altogether and stop at the normal

sentence punctuation.

 

When interacting with customers, ending your sentences with “… and whatnot” makes you sound unprofessional and unsure of yourself. If you use “and whatnot” repeatedly to finish sentences, your audience will quickly become annoyed. If you are speaking with customer executives, your usage of “and whatnot” will signal to the executives that you are inexperienced and they might not pay attention to what you have to say and might not take you seriously. 

 

Next time you are tempted to finish a sentence with “and whatnot”, remember that it’s a Junk Phrase that should be stricken from your vocabulary… except maybe when you are scanning a menu at a café. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian. To learn more about what it takes to Become a Great Communicator, visit my website at thetechseller.com

71 Its What You Learn After You Know It All

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts

John Wooden, champion basketball coach at UCLA, said this:

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”.

 

As you gain more experience as a sales professional, you usually have a better sense of how to develop sales strategies, how to execute successful sales cycles, and how to advance sales opportunities into winning deals. 

 

However, after attaining a level of success, some salespeople get a false sense of superiority, even arrogance. Some of them gain an inflated and incorrect belief that they know everything they need to win.

 

Earlier in his coaching career, Wooden was already a 15-year veteran as a basketball coach at UCLA. His teams were good, but never won a national championship… until he changed two of his coaching beliefs: 

– First, rather than having every player get equal playing time, he limited significant playing time to his top seven players. 

– Second, he had increased the intensity of the grueling practices he was known for when preparing for the postseason tournament, but he realized that working players so hard by tournament time, they were physically and mentally exhausted. So instead, he focused on conserving players’ energy prior to the playoffs.

 

The result was the greatest championship run in college basketball history as Wooden’s UCLA teams won 10 of the next 12 college championships. 

 

The greatest college basketball coach of all time understood that when you think you know it all, you begin a downward slide toward mediocrity. 

Don’t fall into this trap. Continue growing your base of knowledge and learning new things about your trade. Follow the Elite sales professionals who never stop learning so they remain elite. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

70 Ruthless Qualification Part 3

Ruthless Qualification Part 3

 

Qualifying a sales opportunity is not a single, isolated event. It’s not a one-time thing… it’s an all-the-time thing. 

 

Ruthless Qualification occurs throughout the entire sales process… every step of the way… from Preparation to Proactive Prospecting to Discovery to Validation and Proof, even down to Negotiations.

 

Each opportunity you and your sales team decide to pursue represents an investment in time, resources, and energy. You don’t want to waste these investments. 

 

Sell Internally First

When multiple members of a selling team are involved, it is important to sell internally first. Here’s why:

 

  • You will be more effective in getting sales resources to help work on your opportunity. In order to energize your team to work selling opportunities, you need to get their buy-in.

 

  • You can establish an internal advocate within your company. This could be your sales manager or another executive. Treat this internal team like an external customer. 

 

  • You can articulate to your team the qualification you have done in advance and describe why it makes sense to spend valuable time and effort to tackle this specific opportunity.

 

Involving your key team members in the qualification steps will help you make a joint decision on whether and how to proceed. 

 

Dragging your team through a poorly qualified opportunity wastes precious time and resources and will make it more difficult to get them on board next time.

 

Enlist the advice of your sales team so you can decide together whether to pursue an opportunity, pull the plug, or change your strategy. Then they will be more enthusiastic to follow your lead. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 

 

69 Ruthless Qualification Part 2

Ruthless Qualification Part 2

 

Ruthless qualification describes the need to rigorously qualify sales opportunities throughout engagement with your customer. Identifying the right sales opportunities frees up time and resources so that instead of wasting time on sales cycles where the customer’s eventual answer will be “NO!” you can focus on customers, opportunities, and strategies that will result in winning a higher percentage of deals. 

 

Ruthless qualification can help you avoid situations where you invest significant time in sales opportunities that are hanging by a thread. You know those situations: you rack your brain trying to figure out how you can move your opportunity forward, but your prospective customer is not really engaged and seems to be uninterested in solving business issues. The customer isn’t placing a high priority on your project because they are distracted with other, seemingly more urgent projects or business issues. 

 

When things don’t seem to be going anywhere, a much better approach is to disqualify a prospective customer early through ruthless qualification. 

 

Find out what your customer’s requirements are early on and whether your customer will agree to your evaluation plan. Gain access to customer executives who will eventually make the final decision. Develop a sponsor who can coach you. If none of this is possible, make the difficult decision to walk away. Then go find better opportunities that you can win.

 

Learn to employ “ruthless qualification” so you can be smarter about the opportunities you want to pursue. Review every opportunity in your sales pipeline and be honest about your ability to advance and win those opportunities. Be prepared to ask for the “No” and the other difficult questions that will qualify or disqualify these opportunities.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com