Over the past 42 years I’ve worked with 3,100 different clients around the world and, in all the new calls I get, the number one sales challenge worldwide is still: Getting the sales person to do what is needed.
I’m not saying people don’t work, nor that they don’t work hard. I’m just saying that despite putting in the hours and having the best tools, data and opportunities, the biggest challenge of all is getting people to make new calls on new or existing clients.
To paraphrase Larry Wilson’s definition of Maturity, I’ve coined a definition of Self-Leadership.
Self-Leadership is the ability to get yourself to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, whether you feel like it or not, and still do it well.
At Cathcart Institute we have a slogan, “If you can’t lead YOU, please don’t lead others.”
The main job is getting people, including yourself, to do the job beyond the obvious tasks of today. We need to be constantly thinking about cultivating our next customers and referral partners.
Now I get it that many organizations do not have “sales people” in the traditional sense. They don’t hire folks who go out and make sales calls or sit at the phone and only prospect for new business. But there is still a vital sales function going on in every business every day. People are inquiring about your prices, services, etc. Other businesses are moving into your area. Existing neighbors, business and residential, are seeing your place of business or your online presence every day. People are seeing your ads and signage daily. The world knows that you exist and opportunities to make a sale are awaiting you.
You might challenge this by saying, “Jim, if they don’t need (name your product) then they aren’t prospects for us.” That’s true, they aren’t a live prospect…today. But I wonder how many of them will ultimately have a need for you? Sooner or later they’re going to need you and so will the people they know. Who will they think of and trust when the needs arise?
In today’s marketplace you will find virtually every sales resource known to man. There are systems, strategies, tips, tactics, slogans, checklists, blogposts, articles, teleconferences, live conferences, webinars, prospect lists, CRM systems, teams of experts and more. But none of these create sales. None.
The only time a sale is created is when you or I pick up the phone or reach out to connect with someone who might need our services.
So, if you’d like to put into place a Metric for 2019 that will make ALL the difference, try this one.
Measure the number of times each day that someone from your organization asks someone who can buy from you if you can help them.
That’s it. Put everything else on the shelf for the moment and just start checking the new contacts, the actual outreach to ask for an order.
If you’d like a second measure, start tracking how many people you ask to refer others to you.
The more you take an interest in others and let them know that you’d like to connect with them, the more business you’ll see heading your way.
When I was in the life insurance field long ago, I was taught to keep records of the number of calls, contacts, interviews, asks, sales and the value of each sale. Those numbers were tremendously helpful, but not all of us need all those numbers. If we would just start with the one metric that trumps all the rest, we would make more sales. Measure how many times each day, you or someone on your team, asks a qualified prospect to do business with you. That’s it. Do that and all the rest will follow. “Things that are measured tend to improve” said, Peter Drucker.
Pogo once told us, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Let’s change that to, “We have become our own best asset.”