23 September 2014

7 Life Hacks To Make Your Sales Team More Productive

Raise your hand if you’re happy with mediocrity.

(If you raised your hand, you’re dismissed from reading the rest of this article.)

The truth is, most of us want to be better than we are. We want to grow our customer relationships, gain more trust, compete, and make more profit. But how do we get there? If you’re relying on big changes to get started, you may never get there. Instead, think about the small, incremental changes you can make right now. These seven life hacks can make your sales team more productive and set the stage for the big opportunities you’re working toward.

1. Stop Accidentally Wasting Time

Time is the currency of achievement. One way to improve sales performance is to create time for yourself by eliminating time wasters and truly focusing. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some of us seem to accomplish more than others in that time. Here are small things you can do to create more time.

2. Read Voraciously

The average American reads one book each year—the average CEO reads 60. Reading, or more accurately, the ongoing pursuit of knowledge that reading provides, can differentiate leaders from everyone else.

“When it comes to topic of learning, it has been my experience that there are generally three types of people: those who constantly seek to acquire knowledge, those who think they already know it all, and those who just don’t care. What distinguishes members of one group from another rarely has anything to do with intellect, wealth, social pedigree, career standing, or other like pursuits… It has everything to do with desire.”
The Learning CEO

3. Put What You’ve Learned Into Practice

Reading alone isn’t enough to make you a successful person, persuader, seller, or CEO—you’ve got to take that knowledge and put it into practice to make it a valuable skill. Here’s what Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code, had to say about practicing.

“Keep the ‘Rule of Two-Thirds’ in mind. Spend only one third of your time studying. The other two-thirds of your time you want to be doing the activity. Practicing. Testing yourself.”

Coyle adds,

“You want to be successful 60-80% of the time when training. That’s the sweet spot for improvement. When learning is too hard, we quit. When it’s too easy… well, we quit then too.”

“Experience is the best teacher,” but it can also be the most expensive one. Imagine blowing a sale because you don’t know the answers to your customer’s questions about your products, services, company, or most importantly, how those things could make your customers lives easier. Most salespeople fail to realize the loss for the customer when they don’t buy.

This is why it’s imperative to train like an athlete trains. This is the beauty of sales—when a scenario comes up, you’ve already “experienced” it and know your options for reacting. When you train, you can stay one step ahead of the game, anticipate questions and rephrase scenarios that illustrate how your product saves busy business owners time, increases their revenue, and improves their operations. So, take the half-hour you’ve spent reading about how to be better at sales and spend the next hour putting what you’ve learned into practice.

4. Properly Align Your Working Hours

The idea here, from Daniel Enthoven, is that you shouldn’t be working when others (your prospects, your customers, your peers, your boss, for example) aren’t.

“Sales is about connecting with other people. When many people are on vacation (like the 4th of July week or Thanksgiving week), you’re going to be wasting a lot of energy and experiencing a lot of frustration. When your prospects are back and ready to buy, you’ll be burned out. People need time off to recharge. Take advantage of these breaks to clear your head and build your energy.”

5. Find A Mentor

Make it a priority to seek out a mentor whom you admire and want to learn from. Here’s how you can find one (bonus points if this person is someone whom you can sit down with on a regular basis). Even if you can’t set a weekly or monthly time to spend face-to-face with a mentor, you can certainly read about them, study their habits, and follow their work and that of their companies. Spend your time studying successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, managers, and leaders, and then model your results around them and watch your world change in a positive way.

6. Banish Self-Limiting Beliefs

Sometimes, our biggest drawback is that we don’t think big enough. Somewhere along the way, we’ve accepted an idea of how successful we could be, how much money we should earn, what career we should have, etc. Encourage yourself (or your sales team) to set bigger goals and dream loftier dreams. The only person responsible for your success is you. Humbly understand that other people in your life set the stage, but it is up to you to execute and turn every opportunity into dreams fulfilled. That means people may think your dreams are stupid and you may fail. That’s OK. You’ve gotten farther dreaming than you would have had you settled for something you knew you could achieve.

7. Know The Difference Between Success, Selling, and Closing

These three things are misunderstood by salespeople and the population in general. There is correlation among all three, but they also stand alone. Have you ever seen someone speak out against or “hate on” someone else’s successes? Get over that. Success isn’t a product—there is an infinite amount of it. Anyone can create success for themselves. Success takes determination, will, and being prepared to seize an opportunity when it arises.

Selling and closing are two very different things. You do not get paid to sell; you get paid to close. Many people believe closing is a part of the selling process, but that’s not true; it is an activity on its own (and a very important one at that). Instead of using the word “closing,” you might choose to call it the exchange point. What buyer or customer wants to be closed? It sounds negative, and that’s not what we try to do (we bet you’re not trying to do it, either). In the selling process, you have hopefully demonstrated to your prospective customers why your product will help improve their lives. You have mentioned pricing by this point and have identified the decision makers in the process. Closing is the part where you sit down with the prospect and decide on a win-win scenario for both parties.

Ready to boost your team’s close rates and volume? We can help! Get in touch today to see how we can help take your company to the next level.