What Does Guitar Playing & Sales Have In Common?

My wife and I had a few friends over the other night. My friend Jerry saw one of my guitars sitting in the corner and asked if he could play it. We players are very respectful of other people’s property and would never dream of just picking up the guitar and playing without permission. I quickly discovered that Jerry, Mick and I played and enjoyed similar music styles so in no time at all I had three guitars out and we played for hours. Most self respecting guitar player own more than one or two guitars. Now you may ask what does this have to do with sales. Bear with me for a moment.

The next day I was talking to Mick and his comment was he had not played in so long that his fingers were still burning from the workout. Now for those of you who do not play guitar I will let you in on a secret. Guitar players who practice regularly develop very strong hands and calloused finger tips. It makes holding down the strings easier and more effective. I’m sure you have heard the old saying, what’s the best way to learn guitar? Practice, practice, practice.

This brings me to how guitar playing and sales fit together. Later that same day I was on a phone call with a sales person who had just changed jobs. He was complaining that he had spent years building up his client base at this former employer and then moved to a new industry with completely new clients. He had to start from scratch, cold calls, warm calls, prospecting activities, learning new products and skills. It was not foreign to him but he was out of practice.

Good musicians will always take some time out of their routine to practice scales, cord progressions and the �technical� side of playing. You can’t always expect to play the songs; you need to constantly revisit the fundamentals. Good sales people need to do the same to stay in top form. Practice, practice, practice. Go back to the basics. Make some cold calls, knock on a few doors, and get back to the common objections your clients use. Build up the calluses so you can perform better. I like to think of prospecting in the same way I think of practicing the rudiments of music. I need to do them both regularly to keep my basic skills strong so I can work at a higher level. Fielding objections and learning about my customer concerns builds up the calluses and improves my technique.

Did you take some time out of your day to work on the most basic aspect of your selling � prospecting? Remember if you are not taking care of your customer there is always a competitor ready to do it for you. Are you prospecting for new customers or waiting for your company marketing efforts to find them for you?

Ricardo Pereira of Klout Consulting wrote; �customers don’t break a buying habit, they replace it with a new one and always with a reason�. Do you have the right reason to land that customer? It’s really quite simple; you must solve a problem, provide a solution or satisfy a need.

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What Is Your Headline?

When people read the newspaper, it is very rare they read every line of every article. There are just too many articles and too little time! In reality, people only have enough time to scan the paper, reading only the articles where the headline has caught their interest.

Similarly, it is rare for prospects to meet with every sales representative who calls. There are just far too many sales representatives and too little time! In reality, prospects will only invest their valuable time to meet those sales representatives whose headline of their prospecting approach has caught their interest.

When a prospect tells you, �I am not interested�, what they really are telling you is that you were not interesting enough! Simply put, your headline must answer the question �What’s in it for me?� If you only state what product or service you sell, you will not answer this question. However, if you also say why your product should be purchased or the benefits of it, you will.

For example, �My name is Sam Sales Rep, and I sell advertising for the Daily Press� is not a headline that would generate much interest. In fact, you lost this opportunity by the time you said, �I sell��! A better headline that generates interest would be �My name is Sam Sales Rep with the Daily Press. We have been able to help many businesses like yours acquire new customers and increase sales through the effective use of print advertising.� What business owner is not interested in finding new customers and increasing sales? Now you have my attention!

Businesses exist to make a profit. Once they make a profit, they want to make more. The only way to do that is to either increase revenues or decrease expenses. Any headline that references this is sure to answer the question �What’s in it for me?� and will generate interest.

Ask your sales manager and other sales representatives within your company for their ideas on what headlines have worked for them. However, if anyone tells you, �Hi, how are you today� is their best headline, walk away! You are the victim of the latest office practical joke! You can also review your company’s advertising and brochures to see what headlines your marketing department believes are effective. For more ideas, pay close attention to what advertisements and headlines grab your interest.

The best headlines evolve over time as experience teaches what works best. Monitor your successes and adjust as necessary. An effective headline can take some time to create, but it is time well invested.

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Sales Pipeline And Sales Performance Management Tips

The most well-recognized metaphor for sales is the metaphor of the sales pipeline, or funnel. You’ve probably heard of this before at some point in your career, since it is a very effective way to point out the fact that during the different stages of the sales process, unqualified prospects drop off or are funneled out. Tracking your sales pipeline is the best way to make sure that you are keeping track of the performance and progress of your sales team.

What should your sales pipeline managment plan include? Goals and metrics, sales orders and conversions, lists of active and inactive customers, and other related data. This way, your sales team will be able to track thier progress and stay motivated when it comes to meeting thier goals. Not having a sales plan in place is a recipe for disaster.

Sales pipeline management software can help you to manage your sales pipeline more effectively , because it actually creates a visible pipeline and provides tips in real time that are designed to help you prioritize and manage your opportunities, and identify training needs. This software can also provide an overview of lead types generated, which can be useful for your company’s marketing department. Seeing everything on the screen will help both you and your team gain a clear understanding of the areas where you excel and the areas that can use improvement.

Sales pipeline management software is designed to help you manage your sales team and your sales pipeline effectively by creating a visible, rather than metaphorical pipeline and providing real time tips to help you prioritize. Some sales management pipeline software can also generate reports comparing the types of leads generated over a specified period. Having all of the information in front of you in an easy-to-read format will help you to visualize your goals and create a more effective sales team.

Always remember to make sure that the software you choose contains the features that are most important to your sales team, the best sales people are always the ones who are the most receptive to new ideas. Sales are dynamic because so many factors are always involved and having a program to help manage the process is crucial.

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