Sales Free Selling Preview
My name is Steve Hamburg. So you can better understand why I am writing the foreword for this book, let me provide a little background about myself and describe how Steve Fretzin changed my life. I started my first company in 2003 and then leveraged relationships I had established during my professional career to make ends meet for approximately three years.
After I completed a nine-month contract with a Fortune 10 company that originated from a very serendipitous sequence of events, I was faced with the harsh reality that I had no new contracts to deliver upon and no sales pipeline. My financial reserves were quickly becoming depleted. I was on the brink of disaster.
A colleague of mine invited me to a luncheon hosted by Steve Fretzin, who introduced me to the concept of hiring a sales coach. I quickly saw that working with a sales coach could help me turn things around for my company.
Steve and I agreed upon a seven-figure sales goal, and I entered into a contract accordingly. After the first couple of months, Steve recognized that I was not fully committing myself to his sales system. He initiated a one-on-one meeting and told me in no uncertain terms that I either needed to commit to the sales system, or we were not going to be successful. I fully committed and never looked back; five months later Steve and I hit my seven-figure sales goal.
I’m not here to impart the specific aspects of the sales system; that’s what this book is going to do for you. What I will say is if it weren’t for Steve coaching me, teaching me the sales system, and helping me tailor it to the industry I serve, I would not be a thriving business owner today. Additionally, Steve’s sales system has helped me personally with my friends and family members. The sales system is all about listening, asking better questions, and honoring commitments, which, if applied effectively, will enable you to achieve seemingly unattainable personal and professional goals.
Prior to working with Steve, I thought that only a company’s products or services could be differentiators; I never imagined that a differentiator could be the sales process itself. I’ve had a number of clients inform me that the sales process I had employed was unlike anything else they have ever experienced. They have commended me on my ability to listen and translate what they communicated into solutions that could resolve their issues.
Steve worked with me to internalize processes that I will carry with me for the remainder of my career. Today, five years after working with Steve, I still follow his teachings to the letter, and business has never been more profitable.
Reading, processing, and applying the sales methodologies conveyed in this book will help you be successful, too. Invest the time to read this book and take the leap of faith required to apply Sales- Free Selling. You will not be disappointed.
Steve Hamburg, President of Eclipsecurity, LLC.
Dan Klein’s thoughts wandered as he waited for the toast to pop up from the toaster. He’d mentioned to his wife, Theresa, the night before that three of his colleagues had been let go recently. They had been billing plenty of hours and had great relationships with the firm’s clients, but they weren’t bringing in much new business. The news had made Dan and the other lawyers at the firm very nervous.
Over the past few weeks Dan had been evaluating his own book of business, and there was definitely cause for concern. He loved practicing law, but he didn’t have any training as a business developer. He certainly didn’t enjoy the thought of having to develop new business and his mediocre numbers showed it. Even though there was cause for concern, Dan didn’t want Theresa to worry, but he wanted her to be aware of the situation. That’s why he also mentioned the sales training program he was starting today.
Dan hadn’t loved the idea of taking time away from his clients and cases, but this sales coach had been highly recommended by one of the more successful partners in the firm. Dan knew he needed to take action somehow, especially considering how quickly the industry seemed to be contracting. Law firms, like everybody else, were struggling. But Dan loved being a lawyer, and he was willing to do whatever it took to stay relevant—and employed. From conversations with more established partners at the firm, he knew that the key to having control over his future would hinge on his success in developing a strong book of business. He knew he had to work harder on developing his client base. He just hoped this training program wouldn’t turn out to be a waste of time.
His toast popped just as Theresa appeared in the kitchen. Their two boys, ages eight and five, bounded in as well.
“What’s the schedule for the sales class?” Theresa asked as she started pouring cereal for the kids.
“Every Monday for the next several weeks,” he replied through bites of toast.
“Is it only for attorneys?”
“No, I think it’s going to be a small group of people from across industries.”
“I thought only kids had to go to school,” Dan’s eight-year-old remarked.
Theresa smiled. “Adults go to school, too, sometimes,” she said, waving her hand through her son’s hair. “You’re never too old to learn new things.”
“What kind of class are you going to, Daddy?” the five-year-old asked as he climbed into his chair to join the conversation.
Dan paused to think of an easy explanation. “Well, it’s a class to learn how to sell things.”
“I thought you were a lawyer,” the eight-your-old remarked.
“I am. And this class is going to help me sell myself as a lawyer.”
“Oh,” his son replied, seemingly satisfied as he turned his attention to his cereal.
“And hopefully help me keep my job,” Dan muttered under his breath as he dropped his plate into the dishwasher.
“I’m off,” he said, checking the clock.
“Good luck today,” Theresa said, patting his arm. “Hope it goes well.”
Stacey Wilkinson woke up with a headache, regretting having overindulged in red wine at a late dinner with friends the night before. As she sluggishly rolled out of bed and started getting ready, she wished the sales program beginning today had a later start time. But she was glad for the break from her everyday routine and for a chance to escape the office and sales appointments for the day.
“Why do I go out on Sunday nights?” she asked her roommate Melissa as she joined her in the kitchen.
“I think the question is: Why do you go out so late on Sunday nights?” she laughed as she poured a cup of tea and handed it to Stacey.
Stacey eyed Melissa as she sipped the tea. “You’re bright-eyed as usual,” she said.
Melissa loved her job as a corporate accountant. Stacey hated numbers, but she was envious of Melissa for being able to work on projects in the office all day without any pressure to meet sales goals or pound the pavement looking for leads. Stacey had sort of fallen into her sales career, having lacked much direction after graduating from college with a liberal arts degree. She liked meeting and interacting with new people in her sales calls, but she’d been losing motivation over the past couple of years, and she just wasn’t closing enough business for the plumbing supplies company where she worked.
“I’m starting a new sales training program today,” she said, looking up to gauge Melissa’s reaction. She had the feeling that all her negativity had been wearing on Melissa lately.
“Really? I thought you’d given up on those.”
“I did, but this one actually sounds like it’s going to be different. A sales coach is running it. Janet, that friend of mine in hotel convention sales, referred me to him, and she said he has a unique approach to sales. He made a world of difference to her. So, I’m hopeful this one will help.”
“That’s great,” Melissa said. “What did your boss say about it?”
“He thought it was a good idea,” Stacey said, gathering her papers and purse. “Are you ready to go?” she asked, changing the subject to avoid mentioning that she had to split the fee with her boss in order to get into the program.
“Yep, let’s go,” Melissa said, upbeat as always. “You’ll have to tell me all about it tonight.”
Every morning felt like a race to Cheryl Jenkins. After getting her two toddlers settled at the kitchen table with her husband Jeff, she hustled back upstairs to quickly apply blush and mascara. Stomach rumbling, she hoped there would be some muffins at the sales class she was attending this morning. She had to make a quick stop at the IT consulting firm she owned before the class started, and she knew she was cutting it close.
“Hey Jeff,” she called downstairs. “What time are you going to be home tonight?”
“Uh, probably about seven.”
“Ok, I’ll pick up the girls tonight,” she said, knowing he wouldn’t be able to get to the daycare on time to pick up their daughters. “But that means I have to leave in a few minutes so I have time to stop at the office before my class today.”
“What class?” he asked, entering their bedroom to pick out a tie, the toddlers trailing behind him.
She rolled her eyes. “I told you about this. I’m starting that sales program today.”
He paused to think about it. “Oh, that’s right.”
She sighed as she fastened her earrings, annoyed that he didn’t remember. She’d been having a hard time securing new business lately, and her company—and her family’s bank account—was suffering.
“I really liked Scott, the sales coach, when I met him at that networking event. But this program better be good. I can’t afford to waste time away from the office.”
“You work so hard, honey. Don’t worry,” he said distractedly, watching the girls playing in the laundry basket.
“It doesn’t matter if I work hard if I don’t have anyone to work for,” she laughed, thinking back to when she first started the company and could barely keep up with all the clients she had.
But when the economy started to tumble, her smaller clients started dropping off. At first, she was almost grateful, because it gave her more time to focus on her largest, most demanding client, a manufacturing company that had hired her for a two-phased project. The first phase had gone well, but once they entered the second phase, everyone involved realized she didn’t have the capacity to meet the requirements. The company had to bring in another firm, and she hadn’t devoted enough time, or any time if she was being honest, to develop a solid pipeline of potential new clients.
“Oh, you’ll have new clients beating down your door in a few months,” Jeff told her.
Jeff knew about her business troubles, but he always had faith that her business would succeed. She appreciated his support, but sometimes even that felt like added pressure on her. It was like he expected her to succeed just because she always had.
“Let’s hope so. Can you get the girls dressed? I really have to run.”
“Have a good day, girls,” she called, starting down the stairs and smiling as she watched her pajama-clad daughters race off down the hall.
GETTING IN THE RIGHT
FRAME OF MIND
Arriving at his office, Scott greeted each member of his staff before sitting down at his desk to collect his class plans for the morning. The start of a new session usually followed the same structure: introducing his clients to one another and then explaining his philosophy and process. They’d be learning from and helping each other over the next few months, and Scott knew it was important that everyone be made to feel comfortable. Before jumping into the training, Scott always wanted his clients to get to know each other and the different, or very likely similar, challenges they were facing. Their situations, backgrounds and challenges were unique, but Scott knew that the solutions for each of them would be the same.
Hearing voices in the reception area, Scott headed over to the conference room to greet his new clients.
After everyone was settled in at the round table and Scott welcomed the group, he turned to Cheryl, a petite, nicely dressed woman with a brown bob and big brown eyes.
“Hi Cheryl, nice to see you again. Please take a minute and tell everyone a little bit about yourself and what brought you here today.”
“Sure. I’m Cheryl Jenkins, and I founded an IT consulting business, Acora, LLC, two years ago. I landed a big manufacturing client right out of the gate, hired two consultants, and took on business from several smaller clients as well. Things were going well at the beginning. I made sizeable investments in our website and established a series of seminars to heighten our visibility and generate leads. The work from the manufacturing client has been steady but isn’t enough to carry us. The seminars didn’t take off and we’re struggling to find more clients. I’m at the point where I either need to find a way to breathe new life into the business or call it a day and dissolve the company.”
From his previous conversations with Cheryl, Scott knew she was extremely motivated and well educated. Starting the business had been a gamble for her. She was in her thirties, had young children, and needed to stabilize the business. She had deep industry knowledge and a lot to offer her clients, but she needed more direction to build her client base and design a more detailed plan for the future. He had sensed her frustration the first time they’d talked.
Scott thanked Cheryl and moved on to Stacey, a salesperson for Blake Plumbing. Scott knew Stacey had been struggling at work, and her boss was losing patience with her poor sales performance. She had good instincts and had told him that she had read all the books and attended the key sales seminars in the area, but she was in a downward spiral. She made a quick introduction to the group.
“Hello there, my name is Stacey. I’ve worked in sales for Blake Plumbing for four years, and believe it or not, I actually like the plumbing supplies business,” she began, tucking her long, wavy blonde hair behind her ear. “I know my products, and my company has invested a lot of time and money in me. But I’m really struggling to close new deals. I feel like I’m letting my boss down and not carrying my weight. I’ve been through other sales training programs, but they haven’t helped. This time it needs to be different because I don’t think I can last much longer at Blake.”
Scott jotted down a few ideas for Stacey and then asked Dan to describe his situation at his law firm. Scott pegged Dan as a former high school linebacker. Tall and broad, Dan had an intense gaze, and Scott guessed he was a formidable adversary in any courtroom.
“I’m a lawyer, not a salesperson,” explained Dan. “But my firm increasingly is expecting its attorneys to generate business, not just practice law. Three of my colleagues have been let go recently. They were billing hours and had great relationships with clients, but rumor has it they were released because they weren’t bringing in new clients. I’ve been looking into where I stand with my firm, and my book size is relatively small. I didn’t go into law to become a salesperson. They don’t teach business development in law school. But with all the downsizing at firms today, this isn’t a good time to be a lawyer without a strong book of business. I need to get a better handle on how to attract clients and develop a bigger book of business. From everything I had heard about Scott, he focuses on a non-salesy approach. This is one of the main reasons I chose him to help me with developing my book of business. I never want to been seen as a pandering salesperson.”
Scott glanced around the room and noticed his clients nodding. He could tell they were commiserating. It was time to brighten the mood.
“I know I’ve talked to you all individually, but I wanted to take a moment this morning to share a few things about myself and my background before we begin. In fact, I’ll go all the way back to college,” he said with a smile.
“In school, I was a classic underachiever—the solid C student.” Scott paused as a look of surprise crossed the faces of his new clients. “My teachers always said I had potential but lacked focus and needed to get serious. To be honest, I often felt like a failure because I didn’t get good grades, and I had a hard time studying. When I entered the real world, I realized I had a knack for sales, but I wasn’t anything special and I still lacked focus. I worked my way up into increasingly better positions, but I still wasn’t where I wanted to be—and I knew I could do better. That’s when I started working with a sales coach.”
Scott wanted his clients to realize that even the coach had a coach.
“Working with a sales coach was a life-altering experience for me. It not only enhanced my sales techniques, but it also helped me realize how much I love the sales process. And most importantly, the experience got me started on a path toward true success by unlocking my potential and my passion. To make this story even more interesting, in my first six months working with my coach, I made dramatically more money than I had in my best year in sales.”
Scott watched his clients’ eyes widen. “I’ve been studying this field and perfecting the methods of how to succeed in it ever since I started working with my coach. I’m truly committed to enhancing the sales performance of my clients. I got into this business to help people, and I have seen so many clients enjoy greater success after embracing and learning my methodologies.”
So they knew he was more than just talk, Scott always opened with a true success story.
“One of my favorite success stories has to do with a former client of mine named Seth. When I met Seth, his business was flailing and he wasn’t sure how long he would last, but he didn’t think it would be more than another three or four months. After getting to know him and his business fairly well, we recognized that his closing rate was hovering just under 20 percent—meaning that for every ten prospects he would meet, he would pick up two new clients. Based on his overhead expenses and margins, 20 percent wasn’t going to keep him in business.”
“Sounds like where I’m at,” Cheryl mumbled under her breath.
“After about three weeks of working together, my home phone rang one night at around 9:00 p.m. It was Seth. He had just left the home of a new client, had followed my process to the best of his ability, and wanted to tell me all about it. He had just closed a new client and the light bulbs were popping everywhere for him. The next evening around 8:30 p.m., the same thing happened—Seth sharing the news of another new client. This went on for weeks, and I couldn’t have been happier for Seth. His closing rate had shot up to over 85 percent, and his business was flourishing like never before. The interesting part of this story is that Seth wasn’t working any harder than before. In fact, he was working less. What I’m about to tell you may come as a pleasant surprise, especially to you, Dan. There is no more selling in sales.”
Scott paused to gauge the reaction of his new students before continuing. Dan was waiting expectantly. Stacey quickly looked up. Cheryl, already paying close attention, raised her eyebrows.
“Sales, as you and I know it, is dead,” Scott said. “ Think about it. No one wants to be sold to, and neither do our prospects. The traditional sales model—where the salesperson tries to convince you to buy a product or service—simply isn’t effective with buyers anymore. Not to mention that we all cringe at the thought of having to deal with a stereotypical salesperson. The truth of the matter is that I am not going to be teaching any of you how to sell in this program.”
“Well then, you certainly have my attention, Scott,” Dan commented.
“Our program is focused on the buyer’s side. What I mean by that is we will be focusing on the buyer’s problems, needs, and desires—not our own. This buyer-focused mentality is a major shift from the traditional sales models that you’re probably used to. Focusing on our potential buyers, and listening intently to their needs, will give us the best opportunity to understand and help our new clients. Think about people’s most basic needs. What are they?” Scott asked.
Cheryl jumped in first. “Food and shelter.”
“Love,” Stacey added.
“Ah, the romantic in the room,” Scott teased. “Yes, love is another one. But the need that I am talking about is the need to be understood by others. Think about this. A man is standing on a bridge about to end his life. Is that a person who feels truly understood by others? Though this is an extreme example of someone who is not understood, it makes a good point about the importance of understanding others. We’re going to focus almost all of our energy on listening, questioning, and understanding our prospects. Wait and see what happens when we do,” he said with a smile. “When the focus is put on our prospects’ needs, and not our own, something magical happens. We close a lot more business. So with that, let’s take a quick break, and then we’ll get started.”
After everyone reassembled, Scott stood and rubbed his hands together. “Alright, everyone is here for a reason, and the faster we get moving, the sooner we can address your challenges and move you all on a path to success,” he said. “I have a simple but powerful formula for success that I’ll refer back to often during our time together.”
Scott went to the whiteboard at the front of the room and wrote:
Over the previous twelve years, Scott had virtually perfected the formula for successful business development. Having worked with hundreds of clients, he knew from experience that their success hinged on their buy-in, commitment and belief more than anything else. If he could get people to commit to his methods and follow the right behaviors, anything was possible for them.
“Success in life and in business is all about following the right behaviors,” he began to explain. “Whether it’s cleaning a dirty garage, making time sensitive follow-up phone calls or planning a vacation, your behaviors directly affect your attitude. Good behaviors ensure people develop healthy attitudes, while poor behaviors create negative attitudes.”
Scott introduced an example. “Think about what happens when you break a promise to someone you know,” he said. “Let’s say you commit to meeting your friend for a movie on a Saturday night. Then you just don’t show up. How would your friend react?”
“Any of my friends would be pretty annoyed,” Dan chimed in.
“Right, and in addition to it being completely unacceptable to your friend, you probably would feel badly about it as well. We don’t always think about it, but breaking a promise to ourselves is no different than breaking a promise to a friend.”
Scott paused to let the point sink in. “Breaking a promise to yourself beats down your attitude on a subconscious level and, over time, can destroy your internal attitude and feelings about yourself. Losing faith in yourself commonly follows. And once that happens, it’s nearly impossible to be successful.”
Scott saw heads nodding around the room. “On the other side of the coin,” he continued, “doing the right things and displaying the right behaviors can keep you positive and optimistic. Think about it. If you commit to cleaning the garage and actually accomplish it, how do you feel? If you make the business calls that you needed to make, how do you feel? Positive behaviors will always improve your attitude, which in turn affects your belief in yourself. Not very complicated to understand, but we all have things that hold us back. That’s why we need to challenge ourselves and step outside our comfort zones to be successful. After all, you never hear an amazing success story that begins with, ‘she just waited until it finally happened one day.’”
Scott moved on quickly to the next part of his example.
“The most successful people typically have the same attributes: optimism, commitment and belief. But those traits aren’t always easy to develop. Think about all the negativity and pessimism out there today. Fear is everywhere, which certainly doesn’t help business professionals who have so much riding on their business success. In sales, so much depends on having the right attitude. Unfortunately, many of us approach sales with a negative attitude, largely because of the negative perceptions out there about sales and salespeople. We think about a slick car salesman or a pushy telemarketer. But at one point or another, everybody needs to sell something. It keeps business moving. We need to look at sales differently to be successful at it. Most importantly, we need to enjoy it.”
Scott knew that when his clients first came to him, very few actually enjoyed selling. Most people didn’t really understand it, either. He could tell from the faces of his new clients that they weren’t any different. Scott had just the right analogy to help them better understand this.
“I’ve played golf for about the past twenty years,” Scott continued. “But recently I really wanted to focus on improving my game, so I signed up for a one-on-one lesson with Jack, a local pro. After exchanging some pleasantries, he asked me to hit a few balls so he could take a look at my swing. One by one I slapped the balls off the pad. After about ten swings, Jack stopped me. ‘You don’t really enjoy swinging the club, do you Scott?’”
“I was stunned by his comment and asked him what the hell he was talking about. But Jack just smiled and said: ‘Scott, I’m watching you step up to the ball and hit it, but you don’t seem to be enjoying your swing. What do you think the game of golf really is?’ I thought about it and realized that I was barely even thinking about the swing; I was just focused on where my ball was going to land. I didn’t have the right mindset to truly enjoy the swing. I only focused on the outcome. I asked myself: If golf is a sport of repeatedly swinging a golf club, and I’m not enjoying the swing, then why am I playing golf?”
Scott noticed Cheryl tilt her head with interest.
“When I went home and thought about my lesson, I couldn’t believe how closely it paralleled what I try to instill in my clients. Too often we rush through the sales process without really enjoying it. We race through meetings without really getting to know our prospects. We don’t take the time to truly listen or understand their needs. Instead, we jump too quickly to the close the sale or some pointless next step. We’re so busy trying to get to a conclusion in a business meeting that we miss out on the best part of sales—exercising the patience to nurture relationships and walk a buyer through a buying decision to see if there’s a fit.”
Tying back to his example about the golf swing, Scott posed a question to the group: “Would you all agree that in golf, a great swing typically produces a better result than a sloppy one?”
“Of course, just look at the beautiful swings of any of the golf greats,” Dan answered.
“Well, Dan, the same holds true in a proper sales process. Rushing to close a sale without enjoyment or fulfillment along the way will produce a result, but it may not be the best result possible. Instead, it might generate outcomes like buyer’s remorse, a short-term relationship or nonexistent referrals—just a few of the enemies of any business developer. To enjoy the swing in sales, it’s crucial to develop relationships. We must take the time to gather information and understand the catalysts that will drive a more positive outcome and serve our clients’ best interests. Focus your time and attention on the swing and maintain a positive attitude, and you’ll land on the green every time.”
Scott paused to let his example sink in before continuing. He knew most business development training programs typically educate people on a particular process. What made his coaching model different was that it focused on taking into account his clients’ attitudes, behaviors and ability to apply what he taught. He worked side-by-side with his clients in order to ensure that the process he was teaching would be ingrained in their business practices forever.
“Ok, I’d like to talk about another key component of our success, which is what I call the Three Ps of successful business development,” Scott said, writing on the board:
“One of the most important and neglected aspects of achieving success in developing new business is goal setting. And the first step to achieving the goals you set is to make a plan. Effectively generating more business requires a strong, yet simple plan.”
Scott cited an example. “Let’s say you’re planning a cross-continent trip through Africa from the bottom of the continent to the top. Without a plan for that trip, it might be your last. Imagine all the obstacles that could sabotage your journey—wild animals, rough terrain, renegade soldiers and many other threats. The same is true with your business development endeavors. Without a well conceived plan, your ability to be successful in developing new business can be a dangerous enterprise. Think about all of the obstacles you have to deal with every day—competition, a bad economy, difficult prospects that just want to get your lowest price. Right, Cheryl?” Scott nodded at Cheryl and she smiled back.
“I personally know hundreds of professionals who are barely getting by—in fact, are seemingly hanging on by a thread—with their businesses,” Scott added. He wanted his clients to realize they would need to develop a rock-solid plan to get from where they were now to where they wanted to be. “When I talk about plans, I’m referring to things like goal setting, marketing planning and prospecting. These are core elements that everyone in a business producer role must tackle in order to set off in the right direction and stay on course.”
Seeing that his clients were following, Scott moved on. “Alright, let’s talk about the second P: the process,” said Scott. “Who likes to cook?”
Dan’s eyes lit up. “I love making chili for my family before football games.”
Scott focused on Dan. “Do you use a recipe?”
“That chili probably wouldn’t turn out very well without a recipe,” said Scott. “Following a recipe ensures that a dish will be prepared consistently and successfully every time. Too many professionals who need to sell products or services for a living don’t establish a recipe, or process. Not doing so is the equivalent of throwing the meat, beans and tomatoes in a pot and hoping they magically combine into delicious chili.”
“A selling process must make the end result predictable. There is something incredibly powerful about knowing that a sale is going to close for you and why. Believe it or not, even knowing that a sale isn’t going to close can be exhilarating, if you have clarity about the steps that were skipped and understand why the prospect isn’t going to buy from you. It is also critical to understand what prevented you from closing the deal and ensure it never reoccurs. Having a predictable and relevant process makes everything work better. It’s kind of like an assembly line. Pieces are assembled at one end, and the final product appears at the other.”
Scott moved to the center of the room. “In addition to having a predictable process to follow, there is one more P that is critical to our success. It’s performance improvement. Just because you have a recipe for a pot of chili doesn’t necessarily make it blue ribbon-worthy chili.”
Scott went back to the whiteboard and wrote:
“If the answer to one or both of those questions is no, then you aren’t focusing on your performance,” he said. “Think about some professions outside of the business world, like professional athletes, artists and chefs, to name just a few. These experts go through countless hours of planning, process and performance improvement to become great at their craft. Yet when it comes to business development or professional sales, many people do nothing to truly improve upon what they were originally taught.”
Scott paused and waited for his clients to glance up. He wanted their full attention on the next point. “But the idea here isn’t just about practice,” he said. “It’s about what I call perfect practice. Whether it’s practicing the violin or practicing your sales techniques, one hour or one-hundred hours of practice isn’t going to make any difference if you’re not practicing the right things. In this program, I’ll be coaching you on the right things to practice, because practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. It’s an important distinction. Let’s say you’ve been in sales for ten years, but in each of those ten years, you’ve done little to hone your skills. Couldn’t we say you actually have one year of sales experience ten times?” he asked. “Over the course of this program, we’ll talk about best practices for communicating, listening and qualifying. Regularly improving your skills in these areas will have the most dramatic effect on your sales results.”
Scott returned to his chili example. “By tasting your chili after every batch and making the appropriate adjustments, that blue-ribbon winning chili is achievable. In sales, if you practice the process and learn from each experience, you’ll see improvements. Over time, these improvements allow you to win new clients almost at will. And the process becomes easier and less intensive, which is what we are all striving for in the end. Having a great plan, a solid process and the ability to practice and improve your performance will allow you to achieve your goals year after year.”
Scott glanced at the clock. He was wrapping up right on time.
“Ok, we’re almost done for today. I’d like you all to take some time this week to really reflect on your behaviors, attitudes and beliefs. Think about what’s holding you back and what you need to improve on in order to get the results you want. Review the 3 ‘P’s—planning, process and performance—too. I want you all to have a firm understanding of those three principles because we’ll refer back to them again and again over the next few months.”
Scott paused as his clients took notes, waiting until they all looked up to begin again. “One last thing,” he said. “I like to conclude these weekly sessions with what I call ‘AHA moments’ which are takeaways from the material we cover. Would anyone like to share their AHA moment from today’s class?”
Cheryl responded first. “The formula showing how much our behavior, beliefs and attitudes affect our results is definitely a key takeaway for me.”
“That was a big one for me too,” Dan added. “I could really relate to your example about enjoying the golf swing. Hopefully, with your coaching, I’ll be able to enjoy developing new business more.”
Scott smiled. “We’ll get there,” he responded. “What about you, Stacey?”
“The three ‘P’s were a big takeaway for me—especially the idea about perfect practice and its impact on our performance,” she said. “I’ve always felt like my sales should automatically improve with each year of experience, but it never occurred to me that I might not be learning and improving on the right things to really enhance my skills.”
“Excellent AHA moments,” Scott responded. “It sounds like everyone is taking home a lot of food for thought. I can say from experience that by developing positive habits, taking this coaching seriously, putting in the effort and correctly implementing the three ‘P’s methodology, your sales will dramatically increase. Remember, the three ‘P’s make selling predictable and put you on a path to success. Alright, everyone, have a great week and I’ll see you back here next week.”