Monday, December 17, 2012

Quality vs. Quantity

As a sales leader I am often besieged by my direct reports about the number of calls/appointments/activities they are expected to complete on a daily/weekly basis. I have even read sales playbooks that out line exact metrics, as well as lively debate in a group on LinkedIn. 

The number is too high, the number is unrealistic, is all I want that “number” or do I want “real” data/activities. The real question sales people are asking is “Do you want quality or do you want quantity?”

My answer has always been the same – “Yes!”

The issue should not be how many, it should be how many done well. I want quality and I want quantity, in fact I require them both. What has always perplexed me is why sales people tend to look at this as an “either/or” problem while I look at is as the perfect “and” situation, since quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive.

Activities do drive results, no one can argue that. For sales to happen, sales people have to do something and calling on clients is one of those things. Better quality activities will drive better results, I think it is equally difficult to argue against this point also.

Think of sales calls as golf strokes (there will have to be a separate blog post on this idea soon), the fewer the number of calls to get the sale the better your score. Why? Because better calls mean that sales people can make more calls with more clients selling more dollars making more commissions. Quality should never replace quantity, it should magnify it!

How many sales calls are needed to close a sale? More than one? Less than five? There are a lot of variables, I’m interested to hear your thoughts so feel free to leave a comment. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Prospecting - It Needs to be a Habit

Recently I overheard a salesperson say “I’d rather clean the office bathrooms than prospect” and it got me thinking about why prospecting has such a bad rap. More importantly why average salespeople procrastinate and find excuses not to prospect.

A sales funnel is a precious thing that too many salespeople take for granted. It is the beginning of the sales process and without a beginning there can be no successful ending. Knowing that why is it that salespeople resist prospecting to start the sales process? Better yet what can salespeople do to make prospecting less painful?

The best way to answer these questions is to examine the habits of serially successful salespeople to understand what they do and how they do it. There is always more than enough in their pipeline every month for them to achieve and over achieve their quota. They understand the importance of adding to their sales funnel and “book” time in their calendar everyday to do quality prospecting.

Prospecting is hard work. Prospecting effectively takes dedication. Prospecting is a requirement for sales success and needs to be a habit.

It is the concept of a structured day that most average salespeople ignore. They intend to prospect for 1 or 2 hours every morning but allow any and all interruptions to distract them from this commitment. Maybe a current client called with a billing issue, or an existing prospect emailed a question about the proposal sent two weeks ago. Whatever the excuse that is all it is, an excuse to not prospect.

Do you put off prospecting for any other activity? Would you rather clean a bathroom than pick up the phone a make a cold call? What do you do to make prospecting more bearable or fun? Feel free to add your comments!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sales and Golf - Success Starts With Preparation

This is a follow up to my post last year titled Why Sales People Love Golf that I posted on my blog You Don't Have to Read This.


I believe there are many similarities between the craft of selling and the game of golf, more than can be detailed in this one post. The best place to start the comparison is with preparation.


Before I step up to the first tee I like to stop by the course driving range and hit a few balls. It allows me to limber up a bit, to loosen the “golf” muscles so to speak. It also helps get me in the right frame of mind, to focus on the golf and not the 10,000 other things I have going on at any moment in time.


After hitting 20 or so shots with various clubs I like to visit the practice green to get a sense of the speed of the greens and complete my preparation process. Before each practice shot I go through my pre-shot routine, just as I will during the round ahead.


I do all this to hopefully eliminate a 50 yard slice off the first tee.


So what does this have to do with sales?


How many times have you made cold calls and stumbled through the first few only to hit your stride after five or so? What if you could have had your A game on the first call? Preparation will help with this.


Rehearse what you will say a few times before you make those first few calls, role play with a colleague or your manager. Everyone can have a different pre-call routine and a different way to warm up before the first call.

Have a pre-call routine that you follow before every call. This will help you start with purpose and focus, and keep you on track if you encounter any challenges.
Do you have a pre-call routine? What do you do before your first cold call to focus and get in the game? I’d love to hear how you plan for your success!