Welcome to “The Tuesday Quick Tip.” Every Tuesday, I’ll be publishing, on this blog, a short, 1 to 2 paragraph tip to help you achieve success in your life, business or career. You can also receive “The Tuesday Quick Tip,” by email, along with our weekly videos and a free “Time Management Workbook,” when you sign up for a free subscription to my email list.
Successful salespeople do not sell: they help. Their attitude is: I can not help you unless I get to see you, and I certainly can’t help you unless you buy something from me. Successful salespeople really believe that what they do helps the people and clients they do it for. That’s what makes them so successful and that is also what makes them such high earners. Money is a by product of this belief system.
Top salespeople believe they are the best at what they do; they believe their company is the best at what it does; and, they believe their products and services are the best. As a result of this belief and commitment, top salespeople not only feel it is their obligation to make sure clients buy from them, but, truly believe that if they allow a client or prospect to buy from the competition, they have done that client a horrible disservice by allowing them to buy second best.
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Learning how to develop rapport and find common ground with prospects is just one of the many topics I’ll be covering in my 90 minute webinar, “Face to Face Selling: Make Great Presentations and Close More Sales,” on Thursday, March 24th, 2011 at 12 Noon EST.
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Why is it that when two companies are faced with the same dilemma, one of them comes through with flying colors while the other just drops the ball completely? To me, it has everything to do with the culture and attitude that permeates the entire organization, from the top on down.
A few weeks ago while delivering a keynote speech at a corporate sales meeting in Tampa; I spoke about the merits of Southwest Airlines. Afterwards, one of the audience members relayed to me an experience he had with Southwest that proved my point completely.
This guy lives in Chicago. At the time of the story he had a girlfriend in Baltimore, who he would visit every weekend. The story takes place during the summer, when thunderstorms always make flying out of Chicago an adventure.
One weekend he was headed to Baltimore on U.S. Air. While seated in the gate area waiting to board, an announcement came over the PA system which said, “We are expecting thunderstorms in the area. So instead of boarding now and taking the chance you’ll be stuck sitting on the plane waiting for the weather to clear, we’ll just keep you in the gate area.” The upshot: the flight arrived in Baltimore three hours late.
The very next weekend he was again heading to Baltimore, this time on Southwest Airlines. While sitting in the gate area, the same announcement came over the loudspeaker, which told the passenger about thunderstorms in the area. But this time they followed by saying, “So we’re going to speed up the process; start boarding immediately and try to beat the thunderstorms out of here. In fact, we’re going to be extremely annoying in order to get you to move quickly. Let’s see if we can get those thunderstorms chasing US all the way to Baltimore.”
Needless to say they left on time and landed on time; why is that? Culture, that’s why.
The US Air people were most concerned about “Not screwing up and making people angry.” In the back of their minds they were probably saying, “What happens if we board them and the thunderstorms hit before they take off? All those people will get stuck sitting on the plane and we’ll look like idiots.” As if sitting in the gate area for three hours was a FAR better alternative.
The people from Southwest were only concerned with succeeding, and as you know, if you’re long time reader of this blog; listen to my Monday Motivational Minute; or read my book, The Best Damn Sales Book Ever, “Not failing,” is a lot different than succeeding.
The troubling part of this story is the lack of effort put forth by the people from US Air. There was nothing stopping them from doing the same thing Southwest did; except the different attitudes and cultures of the two airlines.
At Southwest, the attitude is, “Let’s do whatever it takes to get this plane out of here on time.” At US Air (and many other companies), the attitude is, “We did what we were supposed to do. Everything would have been OK if it weren’t for the thunderstorms, which is something totally beyond our control.”
First off, you will never be successful doing just what you are supposed to do. Like the people at Southwest Airlines, success only comes to those who do MORE than they’re supposed to do.
Second, while thunderstorms are not something you can control and could be unexpected, the most successful people and companies constantly prepare for the unexpected. While we never know what’s going to happen, you can rest assured that something always will happen!
The kind of culture and attitude found at Southwest Airlines (and any other successful company), always starts at the top. While innovation is a bottom up process that starts with the people closest to the action, an outstanding culture, attitude and commitment are top down qualities that start with upper management and permeate every corner of an organization.
By the way, BAD culture, attitude and commitment do the same thing no matter how large or small your company. If you want to learn more about forming solid client relationships and delivering amazing customer service, I’m offering Make My Life Easier: What the 21st Century Customer Really Wants, plus my other video and CD packages, at a 40% discount until February 11th, 2009. Click here!
A few days ago, a poll at SellingPower.com caught my eye, where it asked “What is your best strategy for this economy?” Here were the results:
- Focus on better prospects: 33%
- Make more calls: 25%
- Improve sales process: 29%
- Reduce risk of buying 8%
- Lower price: 2%
- Get better technology: 2%
I find these results interesting. First off, on a positive note, I’m glad to see only 2% responded by stating they’d lower their price. Though the skeptic in me wonders if they just don’t want to admit that’s one of the things they’re doing. In a previous entry, a commenter pointed out the special discount this past week on my products as an example of cutting price (by the way the 50% discount ends Friday night). Again, thank you for your comments Chris! However, the engine of my business for nearly 25 years has been speaking engagements, and in fact my fee went up in 2008 by 20%! Offering an aggressive discount on product means they get into more hands and my message gets out to more people, some of which have the ability to hire me!
I’m also thrilled to see that 25% said they’d make more calls, because many salespeople don’t make enough calls.
If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written on prospecting, listened to my audio program, Don’t Count the Yes’s, Count the No’s, or watched my prospecting DVD, Prospecting Skills that Work, you know how important it is to specifically quantify the amount of calls you need to make. Anytime you leave something vague or open ended, it makes it way too easy to stop doing it! Without a plan, “Make More Calls” can be a recipe for disaster.
As far as “improve sales process” and “focus on better prospects,” they both seem pretty vague. I mean so many elements can fall under “sales process.” As far as “better prospects,” some of my least qualified prospects have gone on to be some of my biggest winners, and many times salespeople use “we need better prospects” as an excuse not to sell.
But the good news is: Salespeople and companies are recognizing the crucial need to adapt.
Which brings me to you; I’d like to know: What are some of the strategies you’re using?
If you’re improving your sales process, give specific examples how. If you’re focusing on better prospects, let us know what kind and how you came to that decision. Even if you’re not in sales, any type of personal or professional strategy is welcome!
We need to talk about the importance of creating a sales mentality throughout your entire organization.
But before I start, this Monday, I will be releasing my first Motivational Minute Podcast. This is exclusive to email subscribers. Each week, you’ll be getting one of these motivational minutes to supercharge you for the week. Also, I’ll be releasing details about my new keynote speech for 2009 “Beat The Recession With Warren Greshes,” a 90 minute hard-hitting, no-holds-barred presentation guaranteed to transform your organization. Now back to the topic at hand…
I don’t know about you, but many companies with services I need seem to have dropped off the face of the earth. Are they out of business, or just hiding because they’re afraid to sell, or, maybe don’t know how? It has forced me to give my business to people I wouldn’t normally deal with. Sure it might be tougher out there today, but everyone needs to know that when prospects say “NO” today it only means “NO” today. It’s not “NO” tomorrow, the next day, week or month.
I want to tell you a story about the first experience I had with an organization where there was no sales mentality, and why to this day I speak about ensuring that the sales process permeates your entire business culture.
Around 1987 or ‘88, not long after I had started my speaking business, I landed a new client in Connecticut named Science Park. Science Park was an incubator whose purpose was to bring together, under one roof, entrepreneurs and small business owners who were trying to get their fledgling companies off the ground.
Science Park not only provided them with office space, but also with administrative and consulting support. Most of these small new companies were high tech startups. Each and every one of them was started and owned by highly intelligent people who believed they had come up with the next great product or idea. And, in fact, many of them had come up with outstanding ideas.
Their one big problem was: while they all had a certain amount of technical knowledge and tremendous expertise, not a single one of them knew how to sell. On top of that, they thought selling was beneath them and they weren’t quite sure it was necessary.
These would-be entrepreneurs honestly believed, if you build a better mouse trap the world will beat a path to your door. Unfortunately, many of them ended up sitting in their tiny little offices waiting for that door to open and guess what: that’s right; it never did.
My job was to teach these business owners not only how to sell, but the importance of having a sales mentality, how critical it is for business owners to always be involved in the sales process, even if you have salespeople working for you.
As the economy continues to unravel, it becomes absolutely critical for business owners, and executives, who distance themselves from the sales process, to get involved; quickly.
Clients need to be hearing from the top dog on a regular basis. If you don’t know how to sell; learn! If you think selling is something dirty that’s beneath you, here’s your choice: sell or go out of business!
If you think you can’t sell or are afraid to sell, but still want to learn how, let me recommend two of my DVD’s that can get you started. One of them, Prospecting Skills That Work, will teach you how to bring in new business and the other, Make My Life Easier will teach you how to keep it and grow it. And remember, you still have one day to buy them at a 50% discount!