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Sales Advice

How do you become a Successful Sales Manager? (Infographic)

By Comments & Opinion, Business Insights, Sales Advice, Foundations of Success No Comments

successful-sales-teamIt’s unfortunate, but there are sales managers who think that if their sales team is meeting all of their quotas, then there’s no possible way they can get any better. This, of course, couldn’t be any further from the truth. There are always steps that a sales manager can take to become more successful.

I found a great infographic (which you can find at the bottom of this post) from Level Eleven that looks at the secrets of a successful sales manager. The infographic offers valuable insights, and I was able to take three key lessons from it:

Train Your Sales Team to Manage Their Time Wisely – A large majority of sales people can dramatically increase their results with just a bit of direction on their time management skills.  Making sure that your sales team is focusing on important tasks and contacting prospects at the best times are just a few methods that you can instill within your team.

Take the Time to Mentor your Sales Team – Numerous stats on the internet show that it can take a sales person 9 to 12 months to become fully effective at their job. This means that you can’t give up on a member of your team just because they’re not as efficient as you expected they would be. If you take the time to nurture your sales team and ensure that they’re growing in the right direction, the long term pay off will be worth it.

Implement Incentive Programs – As Level Eleven shows, only 20% of sales people are organically motivated and engaged, meaning the other 80% need some kind of incentive to get them to reach their sales quota. Running an incentive program can bring out your team’s inner competitive spirit while boosting your company’s sales in the process. Keep in mind that the prizes of these programs don’t have to be anything completely over the top. Just like the infographic mentions, cash isn’t always the best option either. Tickets to an event, a special delivery of a fresh breakfast or even something as silly as an outdoor working station during nice weather are just a few ideas you could use.

Take a look at the infographic and let me know what you key lessons you took from it in the comments below.

Don’t Neglect Your Existing Customers

By Business Insights, Sales Advice, Business Growth, Business Health, Foundations of Success One Comment

There’s no doubt that your sales team is always calling, sending
e-mails, following up and doing whatever they can to capture new customers, but during this process there is one critical point that gets lost in the shuffle – your existing clients. There’s a danger of your sales team putting so much focus on attracting new customers that your existing customers will start to feel neglected.

Initially you may think that new customers should be your primary focus as you’re trying to grow your business, but there are numerous statistics that show why keeping your current customers happy is important. Bain and Co.’s research shows that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%, and Gartner Group statistics reveal that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.

The numbers sound nice, but what exactly does this mean for business owners? At the end of the day, you need to take a look at how you’re currently servicing your customers and see if there are ways you can improve the existing relationship. Here are a few tricks that I’ve learned over the years that will help make your current customers happy.

Go Above and Beyond – This first point goes without saying, but over time it’s easy to let your customer service levels drop. A lot of the time this drop is so gradual that you don’t notice it until it’s too late – which is when your customer decides to move on. Make sure that you reinforce the importance of top notch customer service to your team by sharing success stories or great examples that you’ve heard or experienced firsthand.

Appreciate Them When They Don’t Expect it – If I was to take a guess, I’d say that a majority of you send some form of appreciation to your customers during Christmas time. While that’s fine, what people don’t realize is that everyone expects something during the holidays, so in reality your gift that was supposed to make an emotional impact probably won’t be remembered for too long. Instead, why not take the gifts that you were supposed to send during the Christmas season and send them on March 24th, meaning no specific holiday or reason behind them. The gesture is sure to turn some heads, and will definitely leave a longer lasting impression.

Implement a Loyalty Program – A loyalty program is one of the best ways that you can keep your existing customers. An interesting article from Help Scout shows that if you want to get a customer heavily involved with a customer loyalty program, you should automatically get them started. Pick a relevant date (birthday, anniversary of contract, etc) and simply send them an e-mail telling them how much you appreciate their business and that you’ve enrolled them in your “VIP” program. There’s no doubt that they’ll appreciate the gesture and stay loyal to your brand.

The takeaway you should communicate to your team is that at the end of the day, keeping your current customers happy is equally as important as finding new customers, so make sure not to lack in either category. How are you currently making your current customers happy? I’d love to discuss some techniques in the comments.

Don’t Sell – Tell a Story

By Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Sales Advice, Foundations of Success 2 Comments

dont-sell-tell-a-story“I have an amazing product and I want to sell it to you!” If you ever want someone to hang-up on you immediately, just say that phrase and you’ll soon become best friends with the dial tone. Your sales team needs to understand that no one likes being sold to. In fact, it’s estimated that people are exposed to roughly 5,000 different advertisements per day, and thanks to this over-exposure of ads people will regularly tune out anything that begins to sound like a “sell” to them.

Your sales team has probably gotten comfortable telling their prospects that the product they’re selling is amazing, but probably haven’t considered using a story to back up their claims. A story will not only create a better emotional connection with your prospects, it will also leave a lasting impression with them and remind them not only of you, but of your product or service as well. Here are 3 advantages about story telling that I’ve learned over the years.

Stories Simplify Complicated Ideas – During a TED talk about storytelling, Andrew Stanton from Pixar delivered a great quote that really stuck with me: “Don’t give them 4, give them 2 + 2”.  People don’t want to hear the science of how your product will make their business run more efficiently, they simply want to know the results. Don’t get bogged down by the details of your strategy, just tell them a story that delivered concrete results, and explain that you’ll do the same for them.

Stories Leave An Impression –Most business owners and decision makers receive a large number of calls from salespeople every day, so having a memorable story in your arsenal can make a large difference between a meeting and a rejection. A decision maker will always remember an emotional story that meant something to them instead of a well-formulated sales pitch.

Stories Are Sharable – The best thing about a memorable story is that if you deliver it effectively, the listener will share that story with their peers. There’s nothing better than having an advocate of your product or service tell other people about it. Even if they don’t see any value in what you’re selling, they won’t mind sharing a story that stuck out in their mind.

Once your sales team is able to share stories with their prospects, they’ll have a creative way to be in their front of mind. If your team uses the age old “but I don’t have any stories” excuse, sit down with them and talk through some positive experiences they’ve had with past clients, and see if there are stories that they can adapt from that.

Does your team regularly use stories? What has their success been like? I would love to hear your successes and discuss more about this topic in the comments section.

Are You Really Spending Your Time Selling?

By Entrepreneurial, Business Insights, Sales Advice, Foundations of Success No Comments

One of the most frustrating aspects of managing a sales force that I experienced is people not making their quotas, the same applies when I observe businesses or entrepreneurs miss their revenue targets. Ultimately when sales targets are missed it’s either a lack of activity or skill or both. In my experience for the most part it’s a lack of activity. It’s simple math actually, if you’re 70% to your target, observe the hours or amount of dials, meetings or whatever other metric leads to results and increase them respectively and math tells you that’s how you will reach your target. The problem is people in general are inherently lazy, or don’t spend their time wisely, for the most part, assuming you have two individuals with equal intelligence, skill and talent, it’s how they spend their time that differentiates them and more often than not, the person who outworks the other makes more money or succeeds more in life. We also see it in sports, countless examples of athletes with inferior talent making it up with work ethic and what you find is that more action leads to mistakes and you learn from your mistakes and that practice does in time make perfect.

Ok so where to start?

First, you need to map out how you’re spending your time now. Sit down for an hour and review your calendar over the last three months, and figure out your own blocks of time for actual selling, prep and research, prospecting, lead management, administrative and CRM, traveling, meetings-both sales and “other”. Whatever the major blocks of time are that make sense to you. What we’re focused on here is to figure out the actual time spent working opportunities in the sales funnel. “Opportunities in the funnel” are the operative words.  Not marketing, not lead gen, not prospecting, not onboarding and servicing. Actual time in the funnel

A few B2B-all industries-stats to help you think about your own mapping:

  • Average “successful” salesperson spends 57 hours a week working
  • Roughly, that’s 3,100 hours a year
  • Lose 25% for holidays, vacations, sick, & non-utilizable time
  • You now have around 2300 hours “available”
  • 37-39% spent face to face or over the phone actually selling
  • 19% spent generating leads and researching accounts
  • 17% on average spent in administrative meetings
  • 14% in handling customer service calls (not selling)
  • 11% in travel and training

How do you stack up? This doesn’t even include smokers, which studies have shown spend upwards of three weeks of sales time per year outside killing themselves as opposed to selling.


  1. Create your own time map of your approximate time as a sales professional/manager
  2. Figure out your ATS (Available Time to Sell) in hours/month
  3. Do that by month for the next quarter

I started my B2B sales career in selling audio conferencing and it changed my life. But what helped lay the foundation for my success believe it or not was a summer job I had dialing for dollars as a telemarketer selling newspaper subscriptions, it helped me overcome objections as far as skill development but the real value was that in that environment you are constantly watched and your number of calls are monitored and coffee isn’t provided and you weren’t allowed to wander around the office and breaks were scheduled and lateness wasn’t tolerated. Now although that boiler room doesn’t make for an ideal prolonged environment, it definitely taught me the discipline to be effective and spending every minute of the work day actually doing the activity that yields results and ultimately success!

8 Key Steps to a Successful Client Relationship

By Entrepreneurial, Business Insights, Sales Advice No Comments

I’ve effectively been in sales all my life, though I didn’t realize this until much later when my entrepreneurial endeavors became successful. Upon reflection of my earliest memories I realized sales and entrepreneurialism was in my DNA. It began when I was 3 years old, performing songs in front of my family for money, operating lemon aid stands on my front porch, newspaper routes, starting a grass cleaning business, snow removal, pretty much anything for a dollar through my toddler years. I was clearly looking to get a quick
start to my journey of riches!

I finally succumbed to the entrepreneur in me, during my second year of university, when I postponed my law degree to venture into a career in sales. When working as a sales professional, you are in essence in business for yourself within the safety net of the company.  You control the outcome of your income and directly impact the exponential growth. Or in short, you get out of it what you put in. Sales provides you with limitless
income opportunity, which is why I find it the best occupation on earth.

Through my years of being in sales and in business, I’ve made several observations of what the philosophies, actions and attitudes of the most successful salespeople are and today I’ve outlined them for you.

Start by considering and answering these four key questions:


What are you opinions, prejudices, values, beliefs, and old baggage that may be sabotaging your sales success? A thorough and honest self-appraisal is critical if you want to successfully sell in today’s business climate.


Is it to make money, serve your clients or grow your company? What aspect of
selling do you feel passionate about? Your reasons, more than your goals, will
determine your sense of peace, balance, and fulfillment in your sales career.


How do you like to spend your career time? What else is important to you in your life besides your career? Selling is about building successful, positive, ongoing relationships.
Your overall success will be greatly affected by your willingness and ability
to establish and maintain positive relationships.


Do you regularly read books; attend seminars and network with people that can
help you? A successful selling career requires stamina, energy, and passion.

To be successful you must thoroughly know your clients’ business. Follow these key steps to develop successful client relationships and sales results:


Find out what is preventing your prospects from getting a good night’s sleep. Determine what is worrying them, and you won’t have to worry about customer loyalty, reducing prices, or over-aggressive competition. Even poor salespeople can solve a client’s problem with the right product or service.


They key to building trust is simple. Promise a lot and deliver more. Do what
you say you will do and then some. Peak performance salespeople study their
clients’ business, industries and their competition and are walking encyclopedias
on their own products and services.


When you focus on price because of poor product or client knowledge, or poor
sales skills, you will always lose in the long run. Clients want the best value
for their dollar so if you always sell value, you will never have to worry
about losing business to the competition.


It is more important than good closing techniques or presentations. The most important element of the sales process is gathering information. The best salespeople never go into a sales situation without planning their questions to gather the information they want, so focus on asking questions and listening as opposed to presenting.


Many salespeople have been trained to deliver their sales message as a programmed discussion of features and benefits and the pros don’t deliver this way. The successful salesperson customizes each sales conversation to the buying style, needs, interests, desires, and problems of each buyer.


Successful salespeople don’t try to maneuver around this resistance but get it into the open quickly; they don’t run and hide from price objections but bring up the value of working with a quality supplier early in the sales process.


Poor salespeople try to turn poor prospects into customers; good
salespeople identify good prospects early and help them get what they want.
They accomplish this with good listening skills, a lot of client or prospect
understanding, and a willingness to be flexible and compromise.


The best salespeople work as hard to keep their clients as they did to get them. They understand that clients always have new choices for the services or products they sell.
Poor salespeople take the money and run.

If you want to excel in the greatest profession on earth today and in the years ahead, refocus your attitudes and approaches, and don’t be afraid to adapt or change your

Creatures of Habit

By Entrepreneurial, Business Insights, Sales Advice No Comments

If you make something a habit it doesn’t tax your willpower constantly. Think about the last time you needed to engage your willpower… Ugh, it is draining just thinking about it. The more you create habits in your life the more you have willpower for other tasks. The good news is it only takes 21 days to create a habit, whether a good or a bad one, so choose to make them good!

First decide what task or goal you want to accomplish, maybe start with something small such as: I want to spend more time ___________.

Let’s say you chose “selling”. You get busy everyday with admin work, writing content for your blog, taking service calls, planning out marketing messages, filling in expense reports, whatever. But you still want to spend more time selling, you know you want to do this, it’s just not happening. Every day, from 9:30 – 10:30 you are now selling, no other option. Force it to become habit until it does not tax your willpower every day. It will take great discipline and willpower for the first few weeks but there will be a time where you will move from using willpower to simply, a habit. And a habit requires little to no willpower. Mark it in your calendar, using a calendar as a tool to keep you disciplined and accountable is one of the tricks I learned very early in my career and it works like a charm. You are more likely to actually complete a task or take the time to do what’s important versus urgent if you schedule it in your calendar.

As a salesperson from my experience most of us don’t want to prospect or spend time on the phones trying to schedule appointments with potential clients. To make it easier what we do at The Wish Group is schedule an hour each day where every sales associate clears their desks of everything besides their phone and call script and essentially we make a concentrated effort to schedule meetings and usually average 20 dials, we call these our “Hours of Power”. We like to make declarations to the team ahead of time of what our goals are for the hour, and twice a week we even get on a conference call with associates across all the offices throughout the province to share our results and success stories.  I’ve been trying to exercise and get in better shape for years to no avail, when I look back at why I’ve struggled to maintain consistency I realize that if I apply the good habits that I’ve done in selling to the gym I would have a much better chance at success. This is why I think cross fit is a fitness craze that might actually stick. The principles of having a clear schedule every session, the benefit of having a leader or what is essentially similar to having a personal trainer to keep you motivated, targeting all types of training and using the method of team and accountability are all proven to assist in developing consistency and creating a habit which is ultimately the secret to all success!