Archive for the ‘Motivation / Mindset’ Category

Top Traits of Successful Salespeople

April 17th, 2014

High-performing sales teams are led by strong sales managers who embody leadership skills that motivate and empower the team. Exceptional sales professionals display certain traits that allow them to stand out from the rest and achieve great sales success.

Since 1967, Sandler Training has trained sales professionals to be mindful of their behaviors, attitudes and techniques when prospecting and negotiating. While Sandler witnessed many professionals transform, there were always certain characteristics that “the greats” possessed in addition to the skills learned through continuous training and reinforcement.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether or not you have what it takes to be great.

  • Do I build good rapport? This might go without saying but the best salespeople are people that can relate to other people. They come across as genuine, they’re natural and they put people at ease. As Sandler teaches, people want to do business with people that are like themselves.
  • Am I goal focused? Long-term goals are important, but what really drives salespeople is the focus on daily activities that are in direct relationship to the results in which they are in pursuit. They understand that it is the daily “behaviors” that are critical to delivering the results.
  • Am I curious? Sandler devotees know – a salesperson’s job is to find the compelling, emotional reason for the problem and match that “pain” to a solution. We discover the pain by asking questions and listening because sometimes the prospect hasn’t accurately identified their pain or are not yet comfortable sharing it.
  • Do I listen? A keystone to the Sandler Training methodology is listening. The Prospect should be doing 70% of the talking while the salesperson is actively listening and searching for the pain.
  • How motivated am I? Being self motivated is essential to finding success as a sales professional. Since a salesperson’s income is largely based on their ability to find and close new business, success usually comes to those who are diligent and focused.
  • Do I seek out challenges? Sometimes in sales, it’s about being fearless and going after challenges. Whether it’s going after a prospect that’s been on your radar or taking on a vertical that’s completely new to you, having the ability to put yourself in new situations and enter unchartered waters will serve a salesperson well throughout their career. As Sandler teaches, No Guts, No Gain!

Can you name more characteristics of successful salespeople that set them apart from mediocre salespeople? What are some traits of top salespeople that you wish you had to complement your sales approach?

By: Daryl Burgess, Director Global Accounts

Point the thumb, before you point the finger: Taking responsibility for your sales performance

March 31st, 2014

I had a position coach during my freshman year in college that made the comment, “Point the thumb, before you point the finger,” and it has stuck with me ever since. Our football team was in a transition period, new coaches, new players, new strategies and we stunk pretty badly.

One week, we sat down before practice for our normal Monday meeting, after a particularly bad loss and team morale couldn’t have been lower. People were yelling at each other on the sidelines, the finger pointing ran rampant. We were turning on each other, and it was getting ugly. Our position coach came into the meeting and passionately yelled, “POINT THE THUMB, BEFORE YOU POINT THE FINGER!” He was talking about taking responsibility for your own actions; stepping up and doing everything you can to do your job to the best of your ability. If someone slipped up, you pick them up, don’t point the finger and pass the blame. Do your job better. I will never forget those words, and that lesson.

Same “rule of thumb” applies to the sales profession. Sandler Rule #41, “There are no bad prospects – only bad salespeople.” It’s easy to blame everything else. Salespeople will point the finger of blame at: the prospect, the customer, the economy, the competition, the pricing, their management and so on. Many salespeople have a tendency to externalize their problems, rather than accept the responsibility for what’s going on in their base of business – and in their careers. Guess what? Whatever is happening in your relationship with a prospect or customer – whether it’s success or failure – is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!

Next time when things don’t go your way, don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to learn from the mistake by pointing the finger. You will be destined to repeat it. Instead, point the thumb and ask yourself what you could have done differently? What will you do differently next time? What responsibility will you accept for what happened, or didn’t happen? Comment below.

By: Patrick Carroll Sandler Training Richmond, Va.

What it means to be a top sales training company

March 12th, 2014

People make buying decisions emotionally and justify those decisions intellectually – Sandler Principle 6

There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not reminded of this Principle and how it applies to our business at Sandler Training. Since 1967, we have been a part of the success path for thousands of businesses. Each year our trainers spend more than 90,000 hours training small, medium and Fortune-ranked sales teams. We’ve helped shape futures, changed lives and encouraged sales professionals to be their best self when in the field. To me, it’s humbling to know that our clients choose to work with us every day.

For the fifth year in a row, Sandler Training has been named one of Training Industry’s Top 20 Sales Training Companies. Each year, the Top 20 companies are selected based on their innovation in the sales training market; company size and growth potential; breadth of service offering; strength of clients served and a company’s geographic reach. When I look at that list, I see the power of Sandler Training’s associates and trainers.
Sandler Training is made up of a team of dedicated, strategic and motivated professionals. At every level, there is a thirst for knowledge and desire to help.

It’s an honor to be recognized as a top sales company – and for me, it’s equally an honor to work with the Sandler Training team and have the chance to help our clients grow.

I dedicate this, and every other award Sandler receives, to each of our associates, trainers and clients who keep Sandler Training going strong and leading the way in sales training.

By: Dave Mattson

Can a daily schedule help me achieve my goals in 2014?

January 27th, 2014

“A person’s burning desire to achieve something must come from within.”

You’ve set lofty goals for 2014 but have you also built the plan to achieve them?

Often we fall into the trap of setting goals without ‘building a plan’ to achieve them. If you decide to make one change this year – ‘build the plan and then implement it’.

I often have clients tell me they want to earn a certain amount of money this year. The first questions I always ask are, “what are you going to do with the money?” or “let’s pretend I’ve just handed you the amount of money you want to earn – what are you going to do with it?” I always get the most interesting responses because most people don’t know what they’d do with the money. When I ask how they came up with the number, they shrug and tell me they’ve just pulled it out of the air. Is that your way of deciding how much money you want to earn in 2014 or do you really know why you want to earn a particular dollar amount?

The first step in the process is to determine what your personal goals are and why they are important to you. I encourage you to take the time to look at all aspects of your life and set goals in the following areas:

1. Social
2. Physical
3. Spiritual
4. Financial
5. Mental (educational)
6. Professional
7. Familial
8. Personal

Sometimes we get so caught up in the financial goals or targets the company we work for has either set for us or asked us to achieve, that we lose focus on how these targets impact our personal lives and dreams. Your incentive to achieve the ‘what may seem unrealistic’ goals will be put into perspective when your desire to achieve them is because of what you want to do personally. So when you’re not feeling motivated or when you’ve had one too many rejections during your prospecting calls, think about what goals you’re working towards for motivation.

How to get started with this process:

1. Decide what you want. Spend some time really thinking about what’s important to you and why you want a particular amount of money, vacation, new home, etc.

2. Build a plan. How are you going to achieve it? What is required to have it come to fruition? The key in this process is establishing S.M.A.R.T. goals:

a. Specific
b. Measurable
c. Attainable
d. Realistic
e. Time-bound

3. Break down the plan. Take that plan and organize it into monthly, weekly and daily tasks so you’ll know what’s required at all times to achieve your goals.

Just saying in January that you have 12 months to achieve what you set out to do isn’t going to get you where you want to go. The plan has to be built so that every day, every week and every month you know what is required. I can hear the groans from some of you reading this right now, however I ask you to look back over the years and review if you achieved your goals consistently without building a plan.

What are you waiting for? Are you prepared to make a big change in 2014? Then decide what you want and build a plan. And the days you get discouraged, you’ll remember why you need to do what you’re doing.

If you need help with getting started contact your local Sandler Training office and ask for some guidance.

Carol Rosdobutko
Sandler Training Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Better to Create Demand Than Fulfill Demand

January 21st, 2014

The CEO of an IT services company recently shared his belief with me that every two years for one hour, his prospects are so angry with their existing supplier that his company had a chance to take the business away from his competitor.

This is not an unusual belief. He was talking about demand fulfillment, which is safe and easy.

To follow a demand fulfillment “strategy” you wait for the phone to ring or “network” and then make plenty of proposals and presentations, with the hopes that enough of your pitches succeed for you to stay in business.

A better strategy, especially in “red ocean” industries like IT, is demand creation. To create demand, David Sandler suggests the following:

1. Find someone who thinks they are healthy – Prospects who think they are healthy will say things like “we’re happy,” “we’ve already got that,” “we’re always open to new ideas” and/or “everything runs through procurement.”

2. Make your prospect sick – Even though your prospects are sophisticated business people who probably went through a rigorous process to select their current supplier, they don’t buy your product or service every day. They aren’t aware of the problems you can solve that might be lurking inside their organization. Sandler-trained individuals know these as “pain indicators.”

3. Take your prospect from sick to critical – Once a prospect acknowledges they might be slightly ”sick”, help them discover that the sniffles they feel today could make them bed ridden or out of commission (or, out of business) in the very near future. Sandler-trained individuals know this as getting to the “personal impact of pain.”

4. Make your prospect (now client) healthy again – Like a doctor/patient relationship the key part of demand creation is when your prospect says, “how can you help?” Then you and your prospect should co-create a new working relationship. Next, sign the appropriate documents and begin working together.

If you’re in an industry that uses long term agreements with no exit clause or severe penalties for early termination – commercial real estate comes to mind – you can still follow the demand creation model, you just need to be more patient.

To really grow your business, stop fulfilling demand and start creating it.

Comment below with an example of how you’ve created demand in the past.

Hamish Knox is a Sandler Trainer in Calgary, Alberta.

Overcoming the Stigma of Selling

January 13th, 2014

Thinking back to the fifth grade, I wonder how many of you dreamed of becoming a salesperson when you grew up? How many people do you think asked for sales training for Christmas this year? How many kids dressed up salespeople during Halloween? The unfortunate fact is that no one wants to be a salesperson.

The facts say that “sales” is the largest profession in the United States. There are more salespeople than any other single profession. It also ranks consistently in the top 10 for highest paid professions. It seems like more people should want to be in sales, but here is one more fact for you: salespeople consistently rank in the top 5 for the most hated professions – luckily politicians and lawyers usually beat us out on that one.

Those facts make sales one of the most interesting professions on the planet. You need salespeople in your life and in your business, but you don’t want salespeople in your life or business.

Let’s talk about life in general first. When you are buying something, you generally don’t want to talk to a salesperson because you are afraid they are going to be pushy, waste your time, lie or trick you into something you don’t want. For example, you desperately need a new pair of jeans. So, you walk into your favorite store and the salesperson comes up to you and says, “can I help you?” and you say… “nope, just looking.” What just happened there?
Our distrust of the salesperson causes us to put up our defenses and straight up lie to the salesperson. The salesperson gets bad information, and now they have to finagle their way into the truth, or leave you with poor service. The cycle perpetuates itself, you think salespeople are pushy or unhelpful, the salesperson thinks buyers are liars. The whole world hates the selling process even if they are a salesperson.

Now, let’s talk about your business. We’ve already established that the majority of us hate anything that has to do with the sales process, but in business we’re always looking to increase revenue. We want to grow, serve our customers better, and do proactive things to make sure we stay in business. Since we avoid “sales”, we look for things like marketing, advertising, the internet and social media to drive more business our way without getting into the messy business of selling. We all hope and sometimes even pray, that the phone will just ring or the website will be found and people will buy without us having to actually sell.

Our fear of selling or being stereotyped as a salesperson causes us to spend thousands, if not millions of dollars, on alternatives. It also causes other unseen issues. Since we don’t understand the sales process, we can’t hire good salespeople. And because we don’t know what good salespeople look and sound like, when we do hire someone, they don’t sell anything and we begin to distrust our own salespeople even more, perpetuating the cycle.

So what can we do about it? First, we have to overcome the stigma of selling. We have to see sales as a valuable and noble profession. My grandfather used to say, “no one in any company, at any time, ever made any money until someone sold something.” And, he told us that sales was the most important role in any organization. Could that be true? Do you believe it?

Here’s another fun fact for you. Did you know that salespeople who use “sales” as their role on their business card actually sell 10% more than account managers, client service representatives and all the other made up titles used to avoid the word sales? It seems the stigma of sales, not only affects how other people view us, but how we view ourselves and how we perform.

I know it is a hard sell for me to convince you to become a polyester plaid-suit wearing, briefcase-carrying, business card-slinging salesperson. So, here is my solution, don’t be one. We can be professional salespeople. We can be professional communicators, who listen to the customer, identify their needs and challenges, and help them solve their problems within their budget and their own decision-making process.

We have a Sandler Rule for this. It is #35, “If you competition does it, stop doing it right away. Do something else.” The same goes for traditional salespeople. If everyone else is being pushy and fast-talking, let’s be conversational, patient and great listeners. Sandler Rule #26 is, “People don’t buy because of the hard sell, they buy in spite of it.” Rule #27 is, “You can’t sell anybody anything; they must discover they want it.” What I want you to discover today is that you don’t have to be a typical salesperson, you can be a great one and proud of it.

But how many salespeople do you know who treat their job like a profession? How many study, invest in themselves, have a sales coach and practice their skills? We can break the traditional stereotypes and do something different and better, but first we have to want to be in sales and be a professional.

I will leave you with one more question. If you were arrested for being a stereotypical salesperson, would there be enough evidence to convict?

Mike Montague, Sandler Training Kansas City

The Power of Mindset

September 24th, 2013

Your mindset has more to do with your success than almost any other single element. There are plenty of salespeople who possess extensive product knowledge, have numerous influential business contacts, are well-spoken and have appealing personalities, yet their sale performances are average…sometimes, only marginally acceptable.

Then, there are salespeople who have just enough product knowledge to get by, have a few business contacts, don’t always articulate their thoughts in the most artful manner and don’t have particularly sparkling personalities, yet their sales performances rank in the top ten percent.

How can that be?

Success in sales, or almost any endeavor, is not simply a product of one’s talent, education, personality, or contacts (although, those elements surely help), but rather the result of one’s attitude – the natural tendency to have a positive outlook and maintain positive expectations.

But, it’s more than just being able to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. It’s the ability to see possibilities…coupled with the resolve to take the required actions to turn those possibilities into realities.

Some people will view a challenge, and after analyzing the positive and negative aspects of it, choose to focus on the positive. They see possibilities and envision success. The more they focus on the positive aspects, the stronger their belief grows about their ability to successfully meet the challenge. And, the stronger their belief grows, the more resolute is their judgment to take the actions necessary to achieve their goals. They press on, regardless…and they succeed.

Others will view the same challenge and focus on the negative aspects – all the reasons (real and imagined) that the challenge can’t be met successfully. They only see limitations, and envision only failure. The more they focus on the negative aspects, the stronger their beliefs grow about the improbability of successfully meeting the challenge and the futility of investing any effort in its pursuit. They give up, or at best, make a half-hearted effort…and they don’t succeed.

Your success is nothing more (or less) than what you envision it to be, and your determination to act in a manner consistent with that picture. If success has eluded you thus far, perhaps it’s time to change your picture and then press on.

What motivates you to be the best salesperson?

July 1st, 2013

I often get asked by prospects and clients to give them the secret ingredient that will help them get motivated or how to motivate their sales teams. I hear comments like, “Most of us know what we need to do, why don’t we just do it?” I chuckle when I hear this because we all know that the only person who can motivate us to do something is ourselves. It’s like going to the gym: friends and family can encourage and suggest that we go, however the ultimate decision lies with the individual.

So what is it that gets people motivated to do the behaviors required to have success in sales? Many people believe that money is the biggest motivator. I challenge that belief because there are many other motivators that people have told me over the years. Things such as:

-A family vacation, a new car, a renovation to their home, private school for their children, new skis and the list goes on and on.
-Maybe the salesperson is genuinely interested in helping prospects find the solution to a problem and the fact they get paid for doing it is their motivation.
-Perhaps the person’s passion lies in philanthropy and they work hard to share their earnings.

One may say that the above all takes money and I would agree, however, I would also agree the reason the person does what they do is because of their love or commitment to something other than money. The money is the means by which they can accomplish their goals.

On the other hand there are the people who believe that money is their only motivator. Sometimes these people believe they have to prove to people they can be successful in sales and their way of proving it is to be the top achiever in their organization. It’s great to have sales people like this is an organization however I always challenge these people on why being the top achiever is important to them. You might be surprised at what they tell you. Sure, the accolade for being at the top is great and the financial reward is the best – however, what they do with the money is the more interesting question. That’s what is important to them.

Do you know what motivates your salespeople or yourself? Have you given any thought to it? Understanding their beliefs about what is important may help you recognize what really motivates the person to do what it takes to close sales. Why do you do what you do? What motivates you?

Here are some suggestions on how to motivate yourself and your salespeople:
-Determine what motivates you to do the things you do.
-Figure out what your personal goals are and what the personal goals of your sales team are. You’re more likely to be motivated to do whatever it takes daily to ensure you can achieve your personal goals.
-Establish daily behaviors and follow them.
-Develop a prospecting plan and implement it.
-Track your daily behaviors.
-Reward yourself for achieving what you set out to do.
-Follow a tried and true selling system to get you where you want to go.

I love comparing success in sales to success at the gym. Most of us, at one time in our lives have joined a gym because we wanted to get fit. The real question is why do you want to get fit and why did you decide to join a gym to help you get fit? What was the motivation? Was it because you had a burning desire to lose weight and feel healthier so you could play hockey, soccer, badminton or swim with your children or run that marathon that you’ve always wanted to? On the other hand, were you advised by your doctor? What’s the reason behind it?

Did taking out the membership get you the results you wanted? Of course the answer is NO. Mentally you had to decide it was what you wanted to do then you had to physically go to the gym, change into the gear and do the exercises. You may also have invested in a personal trainer to help you achieve your desired results. It’s your determination, will and consistency of the exercises that gets you your results. In essence, you’re changing your behavior. And what has motivated you to change your behavior?

The reason for getting fit and the motivation to do the sales behavior required has to come from within. Working with a sales coach to help you change your behavior to achieve your goals is just like hiring a personal trainer to get fit.

Are you ready to commit to the change that will make you the best salesperson?

Carol Rosdobutko, Sandler Training Calgary, Alberta, Canada