Tip #1: Stop working smart and get back to working hard.
Most salespeople use “working smart” as an excuse to avoid hard work, especially the traditional methods of prospecting such as cold calling. They think work smart means work easy. As a result, they look for shortcuts and safe alternatives to prospecting on the phone and in-person. They try to prospect via social media and e-mail and kill so much time looking up information on prospects, that they don’t have time to make the number of calls necessary for success. While there are times you want to look up information on a prospect, use e-mail, and be on social media, the average salesperson takes it way too far because all of these are easier than talking to a live human being and facing possible rejection. In one case a new insurance agent was spending two hours looking up information before he made his initial call on a prospect. Instead of making the necessary 25 calls a day, he was making 2. Ouch!
Stop looking for the easy button: the half-the-work, ten-times-the-leads scheme, or the next break-through prospecting method, and stick to the tried-and-true: lots of calls in-person and on the phone. Hard work. The most successful salespeople work the hardest and spend the business day talking to people who can buy from them, not working on a sales letter, their phone script, social media, cleaning their desk, or doing research. Again, there are times for social media and technology. Just don’t get in the habit of using them at the expense of talking to the number of people you need to talk to in order to make the number of sales you need to make. Also, don’t do it during prime calling hours.
Tip #2: Get your daily dosage of fear, pain, and discomfort.
Every single day you need to be stepping out of your comfort zone, doing things that scare you, and growing personally and professionally. The good news is that many of these things overlap so usually one or two activities will fit the bill when it comes to this tip. Again, for salespeople it is typically cold calling, or making that particular call that for some reason they’re afraid to make, that is the most fearful and uncomfortable. The better you get at handling fear, discomfort, and mental pain, the better and stronger you and your business will be.
Tip #2a: Cold call every day.
Okay, you saw this one coming, right? This is tip 2a because again, for most people following this tip will give you your daily dose of tip #2.
As a salesperson cold calling is more than likely the thing you dread most and the most difficult thing you do. If you get great at cold calling, most other things in you sales career will be a breeze. Also, while you may be great at getting referrals, using LinkedIn for leads, and have more business than you can handle, you should never stop cold calling. Why? Nothing keeps you as sharp as cold calling, nothing builds your intestinal fortitude like cold calling, and nothing will give you more confidence and success than being able to cold call and get the interest and attention of a complete stranger. Also, no matter how many people you know, there may be a time in life in which you can’t rely on your LinkedIn Network, Facebook friends, a center of influence, or your uncle. Like my friend who had to talk his way into a secure area reserved for executives during a mass shooting, there will be a time in life when you have to sell a stranger. Or as my first manager Don Roche Jr. used to say, a true salesperson can sell the stranger on the street first and foremost.
Tip #3: Stop wishing it was easier.
The person you become over the span of your life will pretty much be determined by the obstacles you’ve had to overcome and whether or not you overcame them. Believe me, if you want to do anything significant with your life, you don’t want the easy road. There are no challenges or growth on the easy road. The easy road does not build persistence and resilience, which you when need when life gets tough, and which you need if you’re going to be successful in business and life over the long haul. This doesn’t mean you hope for tragedy to befall you, it means that when you run into plane delays, personal issues, professional obstacles, and anything else that life throws at you, that you accept them as part of life on planet Earth. No amount of wishing will make them go away. Rise above any negative feelings, move on, and realize that you’ll probably grow and learn something in the process. What stops most people from reaching their dreams is their inability to mentally overcome everyday roadblocks and problems they encounter along the way. They simply get beaten down until they give up.
Tip #4: Get back to the basics.
• Put people first and always do what’s best for them.
• Have annual, monthly, and weekly goals, break that down to daily activity, and get those daily activities done no matter what.
• Spend 80% of prime-calling time prospecting, presenting, and closing.
• Get great at selling, knowing your product, and your solutions.
• Build relationships and your network.
• Work hard… okay, and smart, but make sure it’s intelligent work that builds your business, not easy work that has you looking for the sales version of a unicorn or Bigfoot.