Friday Faves – 7.25.14

keep-calm-and-catch-up-37When you travel on business, is it difficult getting caught up quickly when you return?  Please comment with some effective ways you deal with it.

I got caught up on my blog reading and here are some I particularly enjoyed.

You Have One Set of Values – Honesty is easier than remembering your lies.

Have It Your Way – Are you as flexible and responsive handling client requests?

Same as it Ever Was – You don’t have to be unique, just different.

4 Things You Thought Were True About Time Management – Some interesting ideas on an issue we deal with daily.

What Are You Known For? – What would your clients say?

WHEN WE STOP CALLING IT “SOCIAL SELLING”, WE’RE FINALLY DOING IT RIGHT – YUP!  And the same goes for Consultative Selling.

Friday Faves – 7-18-14

trade-showBooth duty this week at a conference cramped my reading time, but here are some posts I hope you enjoy!

Back from Vacation? Time to Get Your Prospecting Mojo Back. – Some good ideas to help you get back up to full strength more quickly.

When in doubt, re-read rule one – I have my own version of Rule #1 as well.

The ROI of Softer Stuff – Important, but make sure these activities do not overshadow prospecting and follow up.

Friday Faves – 7.11.14

Candle-Burning-at-Both-Ends-300x218GPS failure and crazy long days were the lowlights of the week.  Client meetings, on the other hand, made it worthwhile.

The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Act With a Sense of Urgency – Y’mean, it’s not ALL urgent?

How to Turn that Customer into an “Evangelist” – Something we all want.  Here are some sensible tactics to make it happen.

How to Sell to LeBron James – Not that I will need to sell LeBron, but read this Q+A sequence – it’s GREAT!

TENSION IS NATURAL – An honest analysis of the undercurrent of what we do.

Burning bridges – Long-term sales in 5 paragraphs.

Everything, Anything, Nothing, or Something – The need for prioritizing defined.

If CRM is only 25% of the answer, what is the question? – This pairs nicely with the previous post.  You cannot improve what you cannot measure.

Enjoy!

7.4.14 – Friday Faves

AMERICAN-FLAG-facebookEven though this was a short week, lots of good ideas abounded.

Happy Birthday USA!

5 Reasons Your Prospect Doesn’t Buy – If you could close 10% more of your pipeline, what would that mean to you?

ACCORDING TO THE DATA, SALESPEOPLE SHOULD WORK ON SATURDAY AND PLAY GOLF ON MONDAY – At first glance, this may sound cool.  But, 24/7 connectivity does not promote healthy work/life balance.

I Take It Back: My Apology to Dan McDade – Another chapter in the continuing Sales v. Marketing debate.

 What You Do Between the No Answers – I asked a colleague, who has been tearing it up, what was his most productive tactic.  He said “I just keep in touch.  Call, email and stay with them.”

The difference between impossible and nearly impossible – I get this, but I also believe the law of diminshing returns comes into play when you apply this logic to your pipeline.

6.27.14 – Friday Faves

Computer Geek Two Thumbs UpAfter two half days lost with Help Desk cleaning my laptop – FAIL.  Still read some good posts this week.

Enjoy!

The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Do What Others Won’t – Do you have what it takes?

The Best Negotiators Plan to Think on Their Feet – Duke Ellington said, “Playing jazz is like playing Scrabble with the vowels missing.”  Negotiation is an improvisation, too.

CAN YOU SIMPLIFY THE COMPLEX?  – I’ve always contended that salespeople are masters of the complex, yet routinely fail at the simple – the blocking and tackling of sales.  Clarifying and communicating are two of those.

Ya Gotta Start Somewhere

start2This was supposed to be the first post on this blog, started about 6 years ago.  It has been sitting in draft form since then.  The original idea was a discussion of beginnings.  Starting a new job, pioneering a territory or launching a product.  Though I was working in a medium-sized company at the time, I had done 3 startups in a six-year run, which taught me a lot about starting things.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to the gym last week.

I badged in, headed for the locker room like everyday, but on my way out to the gym floor, I saw this:

Gbag2

Know what those are?  They are rolling racks with hanging clothes on them.  And these?

Gbag1

These are garment bags – specially designed heavy canvas bags designed to hold dozens of hanging garments and, oh yes, an outside zippered pocket for – ORDER FORMS.

I was instantly transported back to the very beginning of my sales career, starting as a traveling salesman (as it was known at the time), selling women’s apparel to stores and chains in a multi-state territory.  On a straight-commission comp plan, paying my own expenses, I traveled 40 weeks per year by car to the four corners of my territory.  Like the Postman, rain, sleet, snow nor any of that other stuff would deter me from the appointments I made because if I didn’t make them (or didn’t close business), I didn’t get paid.

Each week, I would start by loading these heavy bags into my trunk, along with swatch cards, order forms and, of course, my clothing and necessaries.  My database was two shoeboxes of index cards on the front seat of my car.  They consisted of about a thousand index cards, all handwritten with Flair pen.  One box contained cards alphabetized by store name with the address, phone number names and notes.  The other was the same, but alphabetized by City, so I could see what accounts to cold call while I was driving.  Seems rather primitive now, doesn’t it?  But that has given me an understanding of database construction and usage that others don’t have.  They never built one – in analog nor digital format.

As there are four seasons each year, so are there four different groups of clothing (known as releases or lines) each year.  So, the bulk of the selling was repeat to current customers, but of course you always lose some (the vagaries of the economy, retirements, or just fashion), so there was a heavy prospecting burden while servicing current accounts.

I came to this job from 5 years teaching instrumental music in the public schools, so I had to learn very fast.  Fortunately, I had a head start as my Dad was in this business for 20 years prior to my entry and his taking my sister and me on some of his trips were seminal sales lessons for me.  Many of these are just as valid today as they were back then.

Experience has indeed served as my best teacher, forcing me to learn on the fly (and on my own dime).  Those years spent in the “Shmata” business (Yiddish for rags) gave me a great foundation for everything that has come since:

  • Time and Territory Management
  • Relationship Development/Management
  • Prospecting
  • Objection Handling
  • Crisis Resolution
  • Professional Development
  • P+L, ROI

Fronting sometimes in excess of $500/week in expenses, sometimes 3 months in advance of commission payment, you’ve got to learn as much as you can as fast as you can.  I’ll be sharing posts on these topics this summer.  From the trenches.

Friday Faves – 6.20.14

traffic-nycDespite three days in the field (most spent in traffic), some great reads this week.

Enjoy!

On Champs and Chumps  – You are one or the other.

How to Spend Time Thinking – I had a boss once who said “I don’t WANT you to think, just SELL!”  If you struggle to find time to think and strategize, here are some good ideas.

Micro marketing and the called bluff – No shortage of tools.  But vision and time are another story.

Do You Confirm Set Appointments? – Time is money.   Do you risk a no-show, or does a reconfirmation provide an easy cancel opportunity?