Why do some sales guys excel while others hop from job-to-job, BS’ing their way through job interviews about how good they once were?
Why do some sales guys always seem to be on an upward trajectory no matter where they are in their career while many others roll from decade to decade, getting managed and schooled by sales leaders that seem to get younger and younger?
Good sales guys know where they are weak while weak sales guys have convinced themselves that they have no weaknesses.
Good sales guys have a process, track everything and know their run-rate.
Weak sales guy have no process, track nothing and just chirp about the deal that’s never coming in.
When you’re bringing on a new sales guy fresh to the profession, the first three things you need to drive into his brain are:
1. Everybody is just some guy. Work as a partner, not as an order taker.
2. Losers always lead with price. Once a price leader, always a price leader.
3. Every sales guy must know his run-rate. Only the daft do the same thing everyday without knowing if what he did yesterday worked or not.
When I hire, I want people who experiment and I want people who have the humility to tell me what they don’t know over what they do know. It’s people like this who are worth training and who will very quickly exceed me and in turn, teach me so I can teach others. I want somebody with the attitude to grind, to play, to tinker and the intelligence and patience to track everything.
A sales guy who tracks everything knows his run-rate for every step of a sale. He doesn’t only know how many widgets he’s sold in thirty days but how he sold it. He tracks every call, email and handshake. How many emails lead to a call. How many calls lead to meeting. How many meetings lead to close. How much each phone call is worth. How much each meeting is worth. He notes the effectiveness of long emails versus short ones; friendly drawn out conversions on the phone versus giving concise, time efficient directives. He tracks the number of days it takes from the first ‘yes’ to the fifth ‘yes’. He tracks the steps from the gatekeeper to the manager to the legal department to the CFO. He even tracks the gender of each contact to determine which deals close faster based on if the buyer is female or male. He’s doing this because he’s building a full picture of his own skill set. But he’s also doing what hunters, detectives and Homeland Security does – he’s profiling a guy so he can rapidly identify a real deal from a dud. He does all this on top of market, product and customer research.
Is this more work? Sure. Do you want to make more money? Ordinary people think 9 am to 5 pm. Winners think 5 pm – 9 pm. When others rest, they work.
A strong sales guy looks at his run-rate to figure out where he sucks so he can improve.
A weak sales guy has no idea why he sucks and does the same thing day after day. All he knows how to say is ‘It’s coming next week’ and blames the customer if it doesn’t.
A guy who knows his run-rate is accurate and knows what to chase.
A guy who knows his run-rate is efficient because he knows which hours of the day are most efficient for which activities.
A guy who knows his run-rate is a guy who simply works smarter than the next guy.
While others in the office are complaining about product, price and people, a guy who tracks everything is too busy closing to notice all the reasons why others are having trouble selling. Every time he hears a ‘No’, he jots down the reason why. Every time he hears a ‘Yes’, he jots down the reason why. Every time you ask him what his first-touch rate is, he knows. Every time you ask him what his accuracy rate is, he knows. Ask him how many new opportunities he creates in an average day, he knows.
Most sales managers preach knowing the competition and knowing the product. That’s fine.
But to get a guy to excel, teach the guy to know himself.