ales mistakes, sales training, Joe GirardHave you ever had sore muscles after the gym and your arms feel like they weigh 300 pounds? That’s what it feels like when you are struggling to make sales.

If you have this heavy feeling in your days and it seems like no matter what you do, it’s not working…guess what? You’re not alone. Today I am going to show you a few simple mistakes you may be making and how to fix them. By putting your attention on these simple thoughts, you will very quickly drop that heavy feeling and get into a better state of sales flow

(Listen to the post here or click the play button below)

As a sales consultant, I am very lucky to work with sales people all over the world and in many different industries. One thing that comes up often is the conversation of being overwhelmed.

  • Targets to hit
  • Calls to make
  • Reports to send
  • Technology to learn
  • Constant changes
  • And the list goes on

When we begin to break it down, it usually is a matter of spending time on the wrong things, forcing the sale, and not having your head in the right place.

When you get back to fundamentals, selling actually becomes effortless!

Sales Mistake #1: Focusing on results rather than activity

“I’m trying to hit my targets.” 

How often do you find yourself saying something along those lines? Maybe if you just work harder, it will all be okay in the end, right? Nope.

Pushing yourself hard may work in the short term to achieve a today goal, but does massive damage to your business long term. A smart salesperson is one who understands how to take care of the TODAY business, while building a scalable long term machine. Of course you cant lose sight of the goals for this month and next month, but at the same time, do you really know what you need to do to create consistent, repeatable results?

How to consistently hit sales goals.

  1. Set those monthly, quarterly, yearly customer and revenue goals. In some cases, you will have those set for you.
  2. Determine what percentage of that target you need to be at for the weeks leading up to those dates. So one week before be at 95%, two weeks before at 75%, three weeks before at 60%, and  4 weeks before at 50% for example. And as you map it out, you will see the overlap of the next few months targets and where you should be for the next three months at a glance. Use this Sales Budget Pipeline percentage calculator spreadsheet to help you as well. I left it unlocked so you can play around with it.
  3. Now that you know your goals, look at your current conversions.
    • How many proposals does it take to get a customer?
    • How many appointments agree to a proposal?
    • How many leads turn into appointments?
    • How much time do you need to spend to get new leads?
    • What are the steps you take and cycle time for each of your leads?
  4. Take all of that information and determine what it will take for you each day, week, month to hit the targets. How many calls, appointments, and proposals do you need to do?
  5. Focus only on the activity!

By doing it in this way, you will have a much simpler time achieving your goals. Too often, no matter how hard you work, it’s easy to get discouraged because of results. That causes you to give up early and also feel like you are not in control of your sales destiny.

And when you structure your days this way, you can address your challenges well in advance of your targets. You will with know how to accelerate your performance with enough lead time to hit targets, rather than the last minute scramble. Scrambling at the last minute to hit sales targets is the equivalent of a payday loan. You are always behind. Remember that.

When my clients make this mental shift to doing the right work, they feel empowered. When you have a game plan, all you have to do is execute!

[Tweet “If you don’t know what you are supposed to do each day, how do you know you did it?”]

In selling there are really only two things that matter:

  1. Increasing your time on selling activities
  2. Getting better at your selling activities

So spend more time on the phone and in front of people. And just get good at each step. Simple!

When you take the mystery out of your sales days, you’ll feel more effortless and be able to predict your future.

Sales Mistake #2: Talking about your stuff instead of theirs

Maybe it’s because I have some wires crossed in my brain, but I LOVE listening to sales calls. I mean, like it gets me fired up. I look for the subtle nuances of the conversations, the buying signals, the emotions, the non-verbal cues, and find what others may miss.

I think it’s because I always used to record myself so I could learn and get better. Now when I work with others, it is one of the first things I try and do.

And it is very rare that I hear someone actually knock it out of the park on a sales call. The biggest mistake is simply that they don’t pay attention. I went more into detail in my webinar last month on this, so check it out. What I equate it to is that skipping rope game “double dutch” where it sounds like the person selling is just waiting for their turn to jump in and say their stuff. To do the pitch. To bombard with all the features and benefits.

I listened to a call the other day and I made notes on all the missed buying signals. I was cringing when I heard them clearly, the rep missed them, and he continued to tell her more about the great features. No!!!

Worse than that, the call was 20 minutes long and only at about the 16 minute mark did we learn anything about the prospective customer. You have to ask questions, be curious, and get them talking about themselves! Have a look at my 3 part sales conversation for more ideas.

Remember that people can only retain about 10% of what they hear, so it is far more important to make them feel something! So make sure you don’t simply talk to the logical part of the brain!

I was on a call with a sales team yesterday and through our discussion, they decided to try something fun. They are going to see how long they can go on their sales calls before they talk about product or price. And they are also going to track the ratio of how much they speak and how much the customer speaks. I’m excited to see what happens.

Remember that the first buying decision a customer makes is to buy the salesperson. It is not about product or price. So get really good at connecting with others, asking killer questions, and helping them frame the problem. Only then do you have permission to get into details.

Sales Mistake #3: Forgetting to set your intentions and mindset

I focus on three areas when working with others.

  1. Tested sales processes
  2. Behavioral Psychology of customers
  3. Personal mindset

Fundamentally I believe that mindset trumps ALL. If you don’t have your mind in the right place, everything else is BRUTALLY hard. If you feel like you are struggling in any area of your life, I would put some time in observing your mindset. And then working to get back on track.

It’s not easy though.

Before you start your next day, spend some time on YOU. Get up a bit early, remember your purpose is to help others, and be intentional with everything you do for the day. Maybe do some journalling and ask yourself how you want to be perceived that day by others.

When you get on the phone with potential customers and your mind is in the right place, you can easily get into a state of flow. You can laugh, ask amazing questions, and genuinely help them buy from you. You get to provide insights, solve problems, and be different.

If you want your results to get better, you have to get better. 

If you want some ideas mindset and intentions, check out these posts:

Sales Mistake Bonus Tip: Be prepared

As I wrote this out, I realized this was missing. You always have to be prepared. I mean… over-prepared. I read last week in an article somewhere that for top speakers, comedians, and presenters, you should remember this:

For every minute of content you speak on, you should have prepared for an hour.

Wow, that’s a 60x preparation ratio!

But ask yourself if you go in each day to just wing it, or are you serious about yourself, your business, and your accountability?

Work on these three (plus 1) areas and I guarantee you will be in a completely different place this time next year. Sales heroes are those who do the hard work to make it look easy.  No excuses.

Remember to like and share this post! And leave comments below on what mistakes you make and tips on how to get back on track.

Joe Girard
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