Tag Archives: selling

Doing Whatever it Takes! Maybe?

7 Aug

Over my career I’ve hired, trained and managed thousands of salespeople. But I was often baffled. Why did some people who I thought would be in the top 10% of producers fail to achieve the results I expected of them, while others whom I thought of as less talented, rose up to be my best people? I came to the conclusion that the top producers in any company were those who were able to face their fears and do whatever was necessary to achieve their goals.

These were the people who overpowered their fears and outsold their colleagues by huge margins. These were the salespeople who stood-up, faced their fears, and did whatever it took to get the business.

Today, a great deal of my work is with franchisors and franchisees who sell in the B2B and B2C markets. These markets, as opposed to restaurants and other retail stores, require the franchise owner to sell. Unfortunately, the majority of franchise buyers have had very little experience in selling. Many have never sold and the thought of themselves as salespeople can literally make them physically ill.

Buying a franchise is a major life changing event. Often it will take every dollar these people have, and then some. The “then some” are often loans from family and friends and banks (if their credit is good and they’re lucky). With no salary or income until the business is profitable there is a lot riding on their ability to make the business successful.

Often, because of their fear of selling, these struggling business owners spend the majority of their time doing operational functions that really don’t matter if there are no customers. I call this make-work. The new franchisee thinks they’re busy every day and then in a matter of a year or two they have to shut their doors. Most likely they’ll blame their failure on not having enough working capital upfront. This excuse makes them feel better, but think about this. Would the income coming in from paying customers solve the lack of working capital problem? Of course it would.

The things that stop these fledgling entrepreneurs from success are the very things that stop so many salespeople from achieving their quotas. The fear of active prospecting. If franchise owners and struggling salespeople can overpower their fear of these 8 active prospecting activities they can literally double and even triple their incomes without even improving their closing ratio.

ACTIVE PROSPECTING ACTIVITIES

Networking – Five Events a Week

Drop-In Calling – After Every Sales Call

Joining Boards and Committees

Doing Free Talks – One a Month

Joining Multiple Referral Networks

Providing Seminars – Once a Quarter

Cold Calling – 25 Dials a Day

Asking for Referrals From Every Customer

Every salesperson I have ever hired or trained and every franchisee I have ever worked with always swore they would do whatever it took to succeed. But, there were always stipulations. And they always sound the same; as long as I don’t have to (blank, blank, blank).

If you are a franchisee or a salesperson and you want to succeed then you must do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make it happen! And that includes everything you see on that list above, with no excuses and no bullshit!

With Love,

Michael

How Do You Feel Fear?

11 Feb

When I was 15 years old I got a job at Mister Junior, a boy’s clothing store on Chicago’s north side. No more being paid with points. I was in the workforce. I was not only a full-fledged salesman, but I was being paid 75¢ an hour to do it. I not only loved what I was doing, but I was good at it. I was in high school and working two evenings a week (stores were only open Monday and Thursday nights then) and Saturday. Once I got over my fear of approaching customers I found that I had a genuine gift for sales, and I was having fun. I was a Mister Junior silver tongued devil.

Now how did this 15 year old kid learn to get past his fears? At that age you are somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Old enough to be working but still young enough where interactions with adults still scared me. Ringing my neighbors’ doorbells and selling them seed packets was a piece of cake compared to walking up to a complete stranger and introducing myself, and then engaging them in conversation.

Working on the floor with 3 other salespeople we would rotate turns approaching potential customers as they walked through the door. Since this was a children’s clothing store the majority of our walk-ins were parents accompanied by their children looking for new clothes.

When it was my turn to walk up to a customer I could feel the fear begin to rise through my body. Starting in my lower gut and moving up through my chest until I could hear my rapidly beating heart thundering in my ears. It took everything I had to take my first faltering steps towards the new customer and keep my voice from cracking as I said hello and asked them if I could help. Since I was the new “kid” I was still learning the inventory and the different boy’s sizes, not remembering what size I had worn at any age growing up.

I found that once the conversation started the fear I was feeling would usually dissipate to a point where I began to feel more and more comfortable in the buyer-seller relationship. But, I think it was the assistant store manager, who seeing my discomfort, took me aside one Saturday morning and asked me how I was doing. I was more than a bit embarrassed when I told him that I was scared approaching customers. His response after a short laugh was to tell me that it was perfectly natural to feel some fear. That it was almost the same as an actor walking out on stage at the beginning of a play and the butterflies they experience. He then told me something that made perfect sense. He said these people are coming into our store because they want to buy new clothes for their child. They’re here and looking for help. Your role as a salesperson is to find out why they came into our store and then provide them the help they need in picking out the right items in the right size. And he finished our little pep-talk with this touchstone; just before you approach a new customer say to yourself, “Show time!” Feel the butterflies and add, “It’s OK to feel some fear, Michael. Just go ahead and do it.”

He was right. The fear would last maybe a minute or two, and then it became fun. Yes, fun. I wouldn’t want to go back to working retail now because the thought of standing on my feet for 8 hours would be pure hell. But I miss the opportunity to meet new people and see how fast I could develop some rapport with them, and then of course, how much I could sell them.

What does fear feel like to you?

To your fearless life,

Michael

Some of My Favorite People Are Salespeople

14 Jan

Luckman’s Law: Most businesses fail due to a lack of revenue. That means a lack of sales. Your job security depends on your salespeople. Support them fully in 2013.

I’m a peddler. I have been one ever since I was a little kid. I was always finding something to sell to my neighbors. In the springtime it was flower and vegetable seed packets and as we got closer to Christmas it was greeting cards and holiday gift wrapping paper.

What’s a peddler? It’s a person who peddles. Not a good enough answer? How about one who sells a product or service. Or what we refer to today as, a salesperson.

Look around you. Do you see a computer, smartphone, iPad, telephone, lamp, mouse, pen, keyboard, desk etc? What do all these things have in common? If you answered all were bought in a retail store, you’d be correct. If you answered all were delivered to that store in a truck, you’d be right again.  If you answered, before all of the above happened, that a salesperson sat down with a buyer and sold them the product that you later liked and bought, you’d be absolutely right!

Regardless of how unique the product or service, someone called a buyer and set an appointment, sat down with that buyer and presented or demoed the product or service, and closed the sale. Without a salesperson doing that the greatest products in the world would just sit in a warehouse collecting dust.

If you work in a company that has salespeople selling for them, either company people or independent manufacturer’s representatives, you owe those people your job. If they didn’t go out day after day and fight the battle to sell your products over the competition, your company would lose sales. Lose enough sales and the business goes under.

Even if you don’t like salespeople, go up to one of your salespeople this week and thank them for all they do. That single gesture may be just enough to give that salesperson the confidence to have a banner year. And who wins if your sales team has a banner year? You do and all your co-workers as well.

Hey, you may even want to buy a salesperson lunch.

To my favorite people,

Michael