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Think a Lot
By Dave Kahle, The Growth Coach®

There was a time, just a few years ago, when it was easier. You could work hard for awhile, and then you could relax and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

It's a difficult year for a lot of salespeople. The world is changing rapidly, and every new headline contains information that seems to impact business in a significant way. The competition is more active, customers are more discriminating, and nobody has enough time.

There was a time, just a few years ago, when it was easier. You could work hard for awhile, and then you could relax and enjoy the fruits of your labors. You would reach a point where life became easy, your customers were buying from you consistently, and you had your job figured out.

That's no longer advisable. Pressures are growing on your company to reduce their costs and become more productive. The bottom line is this: You, personally, must become far more productive than you've ever been expected to be in the past. Today's performance, no matter how good, will not be sufficient tomorrow.

Easier said than done. How do you go about dramatically increasing your results? My suggestion: THINK A LOT.

I'm not suggesting that you spend your time daydreaming. Nor am I encouraging you to ponder the meaning of the universe, do a crossword puzzle or memorize the birth dates of all your relatives. All of those exercises would represent ways to think a lot, but they are not the kind of thinking I'm advocating.

Rather, I'm encouraging you to invest your greatest single resource, your mind, in focusing your mental energy on specific portions of your job. That means thinking about certain things, thinking in certain ways, and doing a lot of it.

It's easy to do your job by mindlessly going through the motions. You see the customers with whom you are comfortable, quote the products they ask you about, grumble about the paperwork, and complain about price competition.

That's easy. Unfortunately, it's also a prescription for eventual failure. The world is changing too rapidly today to do your job "mindlessly." Your customers are changing, products and vendors are changing and adapting, and new competitors and technologies are springing up. If you go through your job mindlessly, you'll soon be outdated and ineffectual.

So on one hand, you have the need to improve your productivity to keep up with the pressures on your company, and, on the other, you have the temptation to get into a rut, and go about your job "mindlessly."

The most effective strategy to battle these double temptations is to "Think A Lot". What should you think about? Here are three of the most important things.

1. Think about your customers.

Ask yourself a series of questions about your customers. As you develop the answers, write them down in your account folders, and repeat the process a few months later. Here are some questions to get you thinking:
  • What's changing for this customer?
  • What do they want to accomplish this year?
  • What can I do to help them meet their goals?
  • What is the competition doing in this account?
  • What progress have I made this past few months?
  • What can I do now to increase my sales in this account?
Thinking about these questions keeps you constantly close to the changing conditions in your accounts, keeps you insulated from the tendency to get "mindless," and provides you with a method to uncover lucrative opportunities within each account.

2. Think about each sales call.

Your face-to-face contact with your customer is the one part of your job that sets you apart from everyone else in your company. It is that aspect of what you do by which you bring value to your company.

If you honestly think about it, you'll probably observe that everything else you do can be done by other people in your company. Someone else can accept orders, train end users, check on back-orders, etc. The only thing you do that no one else in your company does is call on your customers face-to-face. So, your eyeball-to-eyeball interactions with your customers are probably the most important part of your job.

Yet, most observers estimate that the average salesperson spends only about 30% of his time face

Dave Kahle ( www.davekahle.com ) is a consultant and trainer who helps his clients increase their sales and improve their sales productivity. He speaks from real world experience, having been the number one salesperson in the country for two companies in two distinct industries. Dave has trained thousands of salespeople to be more successful in the Information Age economy. He's the author of over 500 articles, a weekly ezine, and five books. His latest is 10 Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople.

He has a gift for creating powerful training events that get audiences thinking differently about sales.  Dave Kahle's "Thinking About Sales" Ezine features content-filled motivating articles, practical tips for immediate improvements, and helpful tips to help increase sales. Join on-line at www.davekahle.com/mailinglist.html

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