For The Joy of Sales

Find a job you like, and you will never work a day in your life.

Teachers, career counselors, and motivational speakers have shared this nugget from antiquity with students, job seekers, and dissatisfied workers. It is sage advice. Having spent four decades in the sales profession, I can attest to its validity for salespeople.

For some people, sales is a calling and then a career. For other people, sales is an entry-level position into business. After the trial period, it may become a launching pad for something else. For some people, sales is a proving ground to see if they can make it in the marketing field. For Liberal Arts Majors, Sales is a way to assimilate into a world they may not have planned to join. How people arrive in this profession doesn’t matter. Sales is an exciting career for those who want to risk the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in the business world. For most people, there is no greater challenge in business than succeeding in the role of a rainmaker.

Sales offers a way to serve others, solve problems, and build relationships. Some sales positions offers the opportunity to travel to places most people would not visit on their own. This broadens their perspectives. Sales demands that salespeople set aside their own biases to see the world in others’ terms, which results in personal growth. This transcendent quality of sales is reinforced as salespeople become part of a team that creates value for their companies and customers. Value creation is a meaningful experience for everyone. Salespeople have the privilege of experiencing this daily.

Sales allows salespeople to test their mettle. If salespeople have a compensation plan that involves an incentive for performing, they are paid what they are worth. Sales is the one true meritocracy in business. That’s why it motivates salespeople. There are no participation awards in sales. There are no third-place trophies. There is no simply going through the motions. Order-takers soon discover their companies and customers want more than a warm body in a hot territory.

The starkest reality and most exciting dynamic of sales is that salespeople are paid to make sales, not calls.

Salespeople must produce or perish. Some people are intimidated by this reality, and that’s okay. There are many other ways for those people to create value for their companies. Those people who make sales a career understand the reality of producing and are motivated by the challenge.

Whether Confucius, Mark Twain, or a Princeton Professor coined the opening quote doesn’t matter. It is sound advice. Finding something that is enjoyable to do and doing it with great pride and effectiveness is a prescription for success in any profession. It is absolutely true for salespeople.

Tom Reilly is literally the guy who wrote the book on Value-Added Selling (McGraw-Hill).

The Greatest Motivator of All

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. (Mark Twain)

Your why empowers you to sustain any what you may encounter. Why fuels your passion. The day you discover your why is the most liberating day of your life. It allows you to abandon all of the non-why stuff. This enables you to focus on your true purpose, your why.

For salespeople, your why is to create value. Selling is a function of creating value. When you solve problems for customers, you create value for them. When you create value for your customers, it generally means you create value for your company. This is your why. Everything else is noise.

Passion sells. Enthusiasm is contagious. Knowledge is power. Your knowledge of how you create value inflames your passions. Share that passion with your customers. Let them feel the excitement of the value you create. Infuse your sales conversation with this enthusiasm.

If you have chosen sales as a career path, focus on your purpose, your why. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by all of the noise that will confuse you. Your why is to create value, not just move inventory. Your why is to make a difference, not just a deal. Your why is to help the customer find solutions, not just buy products.

Your why simplifies your life. If what you are doing does not fit your why, why are you doing it?

Tom Reilly is literally the guy who wrote the book on Value-Added Selling (McGraw-Hill).

Next Value-Added Selling public seminar is December 14-15, 2016. It is presented by Paul Reilly. Call to reserve your seat. 636-537-3360 or visit www.TomReillyTraining.com.

The Perfectly Balanced Sales Pipeline

pipeline

Imagine a steady flow of new business without peaks or valleys. Imagine the effect on your sales. Imagine the impact on your income.

Whether you call it territory management, pipeline management, or opportunity management, maintaining a steady flow of new business is challenging. For most salespeople, the sales calendar is a roller-coaster ride—up one month and down the next—of euphoria and disappointment. This makes sales forecasting an impossible task. The answer to this dilemma lies in the metrics by which salespeople live.

Closing sales is a productivity metric based on achievement. Calling is a performance metric based on activity. Structured properly, performance leads to productivity. This means that salespeople must schedule activities that lead to achievement. They perform to produce. This is more an organizational versus a selling-technique challenge.

A simple formula for guaranteeing a steady flow of business is 1-2-4. This means for every short-term opportunity, there must be two intermediate, and four long-term opportunities in the works. For example, for every piece of business that you will close in the next 30 days, you need two that will close in the next 90 days, and four that will close beyond this. You may work on shorter or longer lead times, but the ratio is always the same.

The 1-2-4 ratio is based on average closing ratios, and it has been documented as a success strategy for salespeople in all industries for decades. To get the most value from this idea, study your potential book of business and evaluate how your opportunities compare to the 1-2-4 ratio. Adjust as necessary, if your goal is to have a steady flow of business.

Tom Reilly is literally the guy who wrote the book on Value-Added Selling (McGraw-Hill). Visit us online at www.TomReillyTraining.com.VAS Cover 4-10