Sales Inspiration from The World's Top Sales Leaders
Anyone who has accomplished a challenging goal (or watched House of Cards) knows that things have a way of falling into place for the truly inspired. This can make for a bumpy ride, however, as any sales person with a few war stories already knows. The thing is, nobody can win a war every day. The best salespeople know that and make sure they aren’t trying to. They channel their efforts into creating strategies and systems that increase their odds of closing while reducing financial and emotional overhead. Many of great sales leaders have shared their opinions on how to accomplish this balance. We’ve chosen three of our favorite quotes from sales visionaries, and thrown in some pointers on where to go next with all that inspirational fuel.
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar
Your time is your most important asset. If you invest it with a “wait and see” strategy, you will have a rollercoaster ride of “wait and see” results. Gambling can be fun, but don’t gamble on your sales targets. Ziglar is totally on point when he says that people need more “direction” to boost productivity, not necessarily more time. It’s crucial to invest time in systems that deliver efficiency. One of the key questions to ask yourself on a regular basis is, “how can I free up more time or work more quickly with less effort?” Don’t be afraid to invest more time up front in building new business processes, searching for new technologies, or streamlining existing systems. These changes can be complex, but they can also be extremely simple. Here are some ideas:
- Wasting time on a sporadic hiring process or hiring the wrong people to join your sales team? Build a standardized, targeted hiring strategy, like the one Nancy Bleeke describes in a previous post on this blog. It may not be easy to map out the intricate details of a particular sales role or a candidate profiling system, but once it’s done, you will make quicker decisions and waste less time on mishires in the future.
- Set up data-driven sale processes. Focus on tracking exactly how much time is spent on closing each deal––like how many visits are made to each of your retailers each season––and how that lines up with sales volume. For instance, are there ways you could spend less time on sales visits for routine re-orders by offering a B2B eCommerce platform? What could your sales reps accomplish with all of that extra time?
- Automate manual processes. If, for example, your reps are still writing orders on paper, you’re wasting time and leaving money on the table. Digitize the order writing process, and automate order submission. Eliminate the need for data entry, extraneous phone calls and faxes, and order error resolution. Again, invest time to save time.
“Selling is a Broadway play performed by a psychiatrist.” – David Sandler
Sales guru David Sandler has a theory that the decision to buy is made for emotional reasons first and rationalized with logic second––even in B2B. Whether or not you agree completely, here are some practical takeaways:
- Be a source of high value, not just low prices, for your customer. Cost will always be a factor, but focusing on it is a like playing a contact sport. You can have a great run in the big leagues, but it is likely to be short-lived. Cultivating a high value relationship, e.g. by delivering reliable service and quality, with a long-term buyer is like perfecting your golf swing. You can capitalize on it for years.
- Discover your customer’s definition of “high value” by listening, asking questions, and recommending appropriate solutions. Customers today are inundated with information, and it’s easy to tune a lot of it out. Your job as a salesperson is either to be relevant or stop wasting everyone’s time (including yours).
“Have free articles, free education, free sound bites, and free insights.” – Chet Holmes
As an author and strategist, Chet Holmes does a great job of incorporating marketing (especially content marketing) into the overall goal of increasing the bottom line. As a salesman (not a marketer) he gives this quote as a great no-nonsense definition of what content marketing actually is: publishing free information to attract new and even existing customers. There are some details to keep in mind, but for the most part, it boils down to using the tactics Holmes gives here.
- Pay close attention to the connection between content marketing and sales, i.e. how a blog post can drive engagement on your website or how product videos on your B2B eCommerce platform can spark interest in a new product. Sales discussions should be natural continuations of these interactions. These leads have pre-qualified themselves and are exponentially more likely to close (and close faster).
We hope that provided a bit of sales inspiration to your day, and that we’ll be reading your inspirational quotes soon! For more motivational quotes, check out this post.