Life and Business Lessons From My Parents

Everyone learns valuable lessons from their parents.

My late mother taught me about courtesy, punctuality and about respecting other people’s time. In the world of sales, this has turned out to be brilliant advise! You can make an appointment with me for 11am on May 5 next year and you won’t need to remind me; I’ll just be there.

My late father was a doctor. An old-fashioned one at that because he genuinely cared about his patients well-being.

While I didn’t recognise it at the time, his response to the question I asked as a teenager has guided me through the world of sales and marketing to an extent he would have never believed. It rings true to this day.

I asked him what made a good doctor.

Here’s what he said…

“Remembering that prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.”

He went on to explain that if he were to make assumptions about a patient’s medical problem he could easily diagnose the wrong complaint and prescribe the wrong treatment of medication. He added that one more question never hurt anyone but too few could.

How has this helped me in business?

I never suggest a solution without first doing the best I can to understand the problem.

Unfortunately on an almost daily basis I see people blindly pitching without considering the client’s situation. It happened to me this week when someone took almost 2 hours of my time to seemingly gain my trust then without asking, pitched something to me instead of first asking some qualifying questions. I was deeply annoyed and he lost many trust points in my eyes.

If you truly want to master the skill of selling, start by learning how to ask better questions and listening to the answers before you formulate and ask your next question. This simple practice has resulted in millions of dollars in sales for me and those clients who I have taught how to do it.

Once you can truly understand the client’s situation you can look to see if it is unique to him or symptomatic of that kind of business. If it’s symptomatic, test by asking others in the niche if they have the same problem. If so, you have a powerful marketing message at your fingertips…

Three quick tips to becoming a better sales person

Most novice or untrained sales people make the same three mistakes. In brief, they are;

1. They don’t identify their target market and end up trying to sell to anyone and everyone

2. They are in too much of a hurry to show off their product

3. They try to “close” the sale without establishing if the prospect is even interested

Now we know the common mistakes, here are three quick tips anyone can use immediately to improve their sales performance…

1. Make sure that the person you’re selling to has some interest in what you offer.

The easiest way to do that is to ask “What problem does what I offer solve, and who has both the problem and the willingness to pay me to solve it for them?”

Once you’ve answered that question, approach people you suspect have that problem and ask them if they have that problem, and if so, would they spare a few minutes for you to discuss your solution with them.

You may not see as many people; nevertheless, the ones you see will be interested in talking with you so you won’t be wasting either your time or theirs.

2. Now you know that they have the problem and are open to a solution, ask them more about the problem and how it impacts on them. Get them to explain it to you in detail by asking open questions.

3. Once you understand the issues and how they impact on your prospect, you can tell them how your solution will help them move forward. Explain the costs or fees so it shows they make a financial gain by engaging you or buying your product.

All you have to do now is agree to a timeline for implementation.

Simple, isn’t it?

(c) James Yuille

Characteristics of successful salespeople

The Difference Between The Best And The Also-Rans…

As a consultant and trainer in sales and the sales process, I’m often asked the question, “What makes a top-performing salesperson?”

As with most things in life, the answer can be summarised in just two words, Attitude and Activity.

Attitude determines the difference between the best and the rest. The best don’t necessarily know more, they just do more and do it better and more frequently.

Activity is the manifestation of their desire to succeed.

Combined, they become Actitude – activity conducted with a positive attitude.

The 14 characteristics are essential reading for business owners, sales managers and salespeople…

Here they are…

1. They focus on their outcomes and don’t get distracted by trivia.

You won’t find them around the coffee pot or water cooler talking weekend sport on Monday morning at 9:30. They’re either on the phone or with a customer. They know and understand that quotas / targets are there to be exceeded, not something to aim for. They focus on achieving their target as early in the month as possible because they know that the bonuses they earn by exceeding them support their lifestyle. That’s why they go overseas on holidays when you go camping or spend a week at the beach!

2. They are determined and persistent.

They maintain a positive attitude and always stay “Up” even when the chips are down. On the occasions when it does go wrong, they bounce back quickly and ask themselves, “What did I learn from this, and how do I prevent it happening again?”

3. They always act “On Purpose”.

Every call, every letter, every visit is conducted for a reason. They know their intended outcome and fall-back position before they make contact with their prospect or customer.

4. They manage their time and guard it zealously because they understand the difference between Urgent and Important.

Important is their priority; achieving quota by providing efficient and exemplarily service to their customers. They recognise that Urgent is someone else’s priority thrust upon them. They treat other people’s time with respect. Always on time for meetings and appointments, they don’t disrupt proceedings with irrelevancies or idle chatter.

5. They perform all tasks quickly and efficiently in the minimum of time, always working to pre-agreed timelines.

It’s true that the tasks you have to perform can easily expand to fill the time available to complete them. It’s also true that if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. It’s easy for a salesperson to become bogged down in detail and paperwork. Often a cluttered desk is a display of someone trying to look busy, or at least busier than they are. The clutter acts as a block to prevent new work responsibilities and ideas entering the workspace.

6. They establish clear communication rules.

Their peers and customers know how to contact them and the need to keep messages and information exchange short and precise. Their customers know that their calls will always be returned and that phone tag is unnecessary. Likewise, top performers treat email as efficiently as they do phone calls. Their golden rule for both written and verbal communication is, “Less is More.” When handling enquiries and responses, they do not get hung up on emotion, they focus on logic.

7. They are effective networkers.

They know that when networking, they’re not selling, merely establishing and maintaining relationships with others who support them with information. When networking, they are active listeners rather than active talkers. Their positioning is that of trusted friend instead of active promoter.

8. They always keep their eyes and ears open, constantly looking out for opportunities.

They notice adverts for Companies they could become suppliers or partners to. They write down prospect’s phone numbers from their ads, vehicles and street signage and make contact with them. They are always prospecting and can never have enough prospects in their pipeline.

9. They are pro-active, especially when things are slow.

Instead of moaning and complaining that sales are down, they get on the phone and call past and existing customers as well as prospects to seek business or information.

10. They provide their upline managers with detailed, accurate and timely sales reports.

Successful sales don’t mask the truth of their calls with meaningless comments. Instead, they paint an accurate picture of the conversation, the outcome and the next step they intend to take. This means their managers can identify marketplace trends and issues without needing to waste face-to-face time with their team or with customers.

11. They never waste customers’ time with needless, irrelevant product pitches.

Indeed, they always take the time to understand their customer and their business needs before even thinking about presenting their offering as a solution or opportunity. Their mantra when presenting their product or service is, “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.”

12. They negotiate from “No” instead of from Win: Win.

Always prepared to walk away from a bad deal or a poor quality customer, the most efficient of salespeople expect the sale to be made on 100% agreeable terms rather than a compromise.

13. They look, act, think and behave as someone their customers will look to for advise.

They dress well, are careful of their personal habits, and proud to represent their Company.

14. They invest in their own education.

Every highly successful salesperson has their own library of quality self-development materials and invests time improving themselves, their skills and their product knowledge. They know that their attitude delivers their results and focus on the positives. They diligently attend sales training whenever offered and pay attention to new and different techniques and processes. They constantly seek to improve their knowledge of their own products and industry.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a top sales performer?

Take another look at this list and ask yourself the question, “How good am I really?”

If you’re not achieving the results you should be, chances are that the answer you’re looking for lies somewhere in this list.

If you’re a sales manager or an employer, and your sales people don’t exhibit the characteristics outlined in this list, we need to talk! Call me for an obligation-free discussion about what we can do to help.

Here’s the number: 1300 884 757.

(c) James Yuille