Sales Lessons from the U.S. Armed Forces (Part 2)

In this three series post I will look at the positive impact that members of the U.S. Armed Forces have had on my sales career and how their leadership shaped my approach in the marketplace.

US Flag and Navy Ship

US Flag and Navy Ship

Part 2  (Go To Part 1)

“I only have Three Golden Rules to live by”

2nd Class Petty Officer, Rex Caswell, PhD.

How We Met

The 2002 National Sales Meeting was over and this was our last meeting before heading to the airport.  We were in Orlando, FL and the sun shine kept our spirits ups.  We had traveled from snowy and cold Southern Ohio to be present at the meeting and we took every 15 minute break given to enjoy the warm sunny weather.  The night before was our annual awards celebration dinner and after party.  This was my first National Sales Meeting and I was enamored with what I saw.  It was like the Emmy’s, but for our sales team.  There was over 2000+ people at the meeting and only the top reps achieved our coveted prestigious award, Circle of Excellence (COE) recognition.  That night I saw my colleague recognized as the top telephonic sales rep in our business segment.  I was a rookie, six months into my first year and I knew I wanted to earn that recognition at our next National Sales Meeting.  Our Vice President of Sales came down the hallway.  I was on the way to my meeting and I stopped him.  I walked directly to him and said, “I will be your next Sales Rep of the Year!”  He looked at me puzzled, and said, “Son, I don’t know if you can even sell.” That was the challenge and from that day forward it was game on.  Staying true to my promise, at the next National Sale Meeting, 12 months later, I was the top rep, COE winner, and Rep of The Year.

How He Encouraged Me

Rex was all about winning, having fun, and developing leaders.  He was a stickler for numbers, sales metrics, and turning every call into a sales opportunity.  He often gave me military leadership books like D. Michael Abrashoff, It’s Your Ship, and Jeff Cannon & Lt. Cmdr. Jon Cannon’s, Leadership Lessons of the Navy Seals.  He gave me these books to inspire leadership and cultivate a mindset that I could lead a sales team victoriously regardless of the quota given or the market conditions.  I would read everything he gave me overnight, and return to work eager to discuss the book with him. It became a game to me.  Go in his office and while talking to him, scan his desk for new books.  Search for the books on the web, call Barnes & Nobles to hold it, pick it up after work, and rush home to read it cover to cover.  I believe this along with crushing my numbers caught his attention.

Rex Invested in Us and Created The 3 Golden Rules (see post)

He took a risk on three young sales professional when he promoted me and two other reps to sales managers in 2005.  We were possible the youngest managers in the history of our company to earn promotion into management ranks leading sales professionals.  He wanted us to be in a position to lead and make our department the best in the company to work at.  Today, 12 years later, all three of us are still employed at the company and driving our sales teams to success.  Rex created The 3 Golden Rules (see Lessons Learned From My Business Father).

5 + 1 things He Taught Me

  1. Own and know your numbers down to the cent. 
  2. Your reps are your responsibility.  Coach, Coach, Coach, Coach and Coach!
  3. Teach your sales reps their individual metrics and educate them on how those metrics will help them have command and control of their business.
  4. Take risk, make mistakes – just don’t make too many mistakes.
  5. Laugh!  Laugh from the deepest point of your stomach and release the joy you are feeling.
  6. Celebrate your success.

Value of Metrics & Coaching

Rex taught me the value of metrics, how to calculate them, and tying them back to sales quota so can focus on bringing in the numbers.  I learned how to coach my reps individually during 1:1s, cubical phone rides, and how to motivate them collectively during team meetings.  Under Rex I developed a strong sales management knowledgebase.  Rex brought in Steve Schiffman to train on opportunity management.  This taught us how to properly conduct pipeline reviews and coach up our reps on opportunity management.  Rex also brought in Art Sobczak to train us and our reps.  As you can see we were very active and had a lot of fun while producing numbers.

Rex Caswell, PhD.

Rex Caswell, PhD.

A True Florida Seminole

Rex is a Florida Seminole to the core, loves good R&B classics, a nice glass of wine with a lit cigar.  He gave me the opportunity to lead sales professionals and taught me the lessons that made me a better professional.  He named me “The Reverend” because of my passionate sales speeches to my team.  Having read so many military leadership books on valor, courage, and pride, I had instilled a spirit of “we can do anything together as team” attitude.  I flourish under Rex and he continued to push me to grow.  He was the first person to tell me that I should look at getting an MBA and the University of Notre Dame would be a great school for me.  And that dream became a reality as well…  He practiced what he preached and earned his PhD from Florida State University, proving to us that education is essential to progress and self-improvement.

Have you experienced similar types of learning from members in the U.S. Armed Services?  Tell me about it in the comments section.  I would be interested in hearing all about it.  Thank you for sharing. (Go To Part 1)

Part three, the final part of this series is Shipman Brad Lanich of the U.S. Navy.  R.I.H.

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Sales Lessons from the U.S. Armed Forces

In this three series post, I will look at the positive impact that members of the U.S. Armed Forces have had on my sales career and how their leadership shaped my approach in the marketplace.

Sales Lessons from the U.S. Armed Forces

Sales Lessons from the U.S. Armed Forces

Part 1   Part 2

“Nobody climbs the mountain alone.  Somebody gave you the boots”

Jeff Weaver, Captain, Field Artillery, U.S. Army

It was 12 years ago when I was in Jeff Weaver’s office, interviewing for my first sales job.  It took me four attempts to get here.  Other managers said I was too green and told me I needed more development.  This time was different; I made it pass the initial interviews and this was the last step in the process.  The final step was a role play and mock call with a sales manager.  Jeff would play the customer and I was the sales rep trying to sell a comprehensive solution that would help Jeff’s law firm research needs.  Yes, I was selling content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal industry.  Jeff handed me the mock call materials which included information on the customer and sales promotions I was offering.  He stood up, gave me the five digit extension to call, and said, “you have 15 minutes to read over the materials.  After reading the materials I want you to call the number I gave you and we will begin the mock call.”  Jeff left the office and I jumped into his seat, pulling out all my notes from books I had read about sales regarding opening statements and how to ask thought provoking questions.  I was a true newbie to sales and I needed someone to take a chance on me.  I knew sales was my calling and this job would change my life.  I read the mock call materials, took notes, highlighted certain sections, grabbed the phone, and punched those five digits to connect with Jeff.  I heard the phone ring two times and then he answered, “law office” in a very stern why are you interrupting me type voice.  Jeff knew these were the type of calls I would be expected to make each day and he needed to assess my skills and potential.   What I learned from Weaver or Weave as me and others call him made me a solid sales professional and sales manager.  Jeff taught me how to be a sale professional and how to be disciplined in my approach each day.  He taught me the importance of execution and consistently delivering your numbers.  He taught me that, “your forecast is a contract between you, your manager, and the company.  It is your word, and you don’t break your word.” (see H.A.A.N.D Your Forecast)  Jeff knew how to motivate and inspire.  Jeff had the ability to see diamonds in the rough and under his tutelage he could turn you into a superstar sales professional.  He is a legend in our business winning awards and developing future leaders.    Yet he doesn’t care about the awards or the accolades.  His passion is winning and developing others.  Sales Reps that have worked under Jeff have moved on to become Sales Vice President, Director / General Manager, and Sales Managers to name a few.

When I was promoted to sales management, Jeff and I talked.  He advised me to read Daniel Goleman’s, Emotional Intelligence and Primal Leadership.  In that book I learned why Jeff was such a good manger and leader.  He fully understood how to use Emotional Intelligence to guide thinking and behavior.  What made Jeff an exceptional role model for me to mimic when I became a manager was that he had that “Dick Winter’s, Easy Company, military leadership” aura about him – if you have seen HBO’s Band of Brothers then you know what I’m talking about.  He led from the front and he focused on putting his reps into positions where they could win more deals.  I learned this during our intense team trainings.  It was in those trainings that we all left our egos, titles, rank, and awards outside.  Jeff trainings were like military simulations.  He would create the most challenging sales obstacle course for you to complete under the safety of training.  Everyone participated no matter tenure and those trainings made you battle ready on the phones.  The trainings equipped us to handle the hardest objections with ease.  Our simulations went like this.  Everyone entered the training room and you if you were selected, you would pick a scenario from a bowl.  Jeff always played the difficult prospect or customer.  After the role play the entire team would give feedback and present best practices in the areas you struggled.  Jeff gave final comments and we jumped back on the phones better than we were before the training.  Trainings were held weekly and we looked forward to meeting the challenges.  Meeting the challenges made you successful on the phone and helped you close deals.  It makes sense, right?  In a training environment you can make mistakes and be corrected without losing a sale.  I applied the same training practice to my teams and the results were the same.  My team got better and they crushed the numbers.

A lover of Coca-Cola soda, poker tournament jackpots, and any PGA golf course, Jeff’s personal philosophies shaped my sales career and influenced me to be the sales leader I am today.

Captain Jeff Weaver

Captain Jeff Weaver

 

Here are some of the philosophies he taught me:

– Always do what is right – even when no one is watching.
– Loyalty is a two way street.
– Know what you’re supposed to do and then do it.
– A hand-up is better than a handout.
– No matter how tough it may get, never quit.
– Don’t wring your hands – be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
– Always maintain your sense of humor

 

 

The next post will be about 2nd Class Petty Officer U.S. Navy, Rex Caswell, PhD.  (Go to Part 2)

I’m interested, how has a member of the U.S. Armed Forces positively impacted your sales career?

CJ Webster is the author of insidesalesmagic, a blog written to help sales professionals become knowledgeable about social selling and sales 2.0 strategies. He doesn’t provide smoke and mirrors, hocus pocus, or any presto chango posts. This is real writing from a sales prospective on the issues, challenges, and success we have as sales professionals. It is honest, raw, and uncut. Sales is a noble profession and one of the few professions where the playing field is equal. Insidesalesmagic will be right there giving you the secrets and tricks of the trade that will elevate your sales game.


405 Newly Made Connections In A Month…What I Learned Surrounding My Network Socially

What I learned Surrounding My Network Socially.

What I learned Surrounding My Network Socially.

April 1, 2014 I had 1390 connections on LinkedIn.  As of May 12, 2014 my network has grown to 1795 connections on LinkedIn.  That’s 30% change from April to present.  This was all strategic and it was planned.  My goal was to grow my network and connect with those who I could bring value to, and those that shared common passions.  Those 405 connections include New York Times Best Sellers, expert sales trainers, social media gurus, and sales professionals across several industries. Here’s what I learned.

When you start growing your network begin with the value you plan on bringing to your connections.  I only connect with professionals that I can bring value to their network or they can bring value to my network.  I start with this because I know that power is the ability to leverage your network and resources to achieve greater levels of mutual success. This is why you must focus on the value you bring to your connections and how you can help them achieve a new level of success.

Secondly, use your passions, common interests, and organic network (such as high school, college, job, social groups, professional groups…etc.) to begin building your network.  Here’s an example.  I belong to a large fraternity that is international in membership.  I am also a sales professional.  My fraternity’s LinkedIn Group has thousands of members.  I reached out to the Brothers of my fraternity and focused on those that were sales professionals.  Why?  We have two known commonalities.  We are both members of the fraternity and we are also sales professionals.  The same applied to alumni from the high school, and colleges I went to.  Reach out to people and state the common interests, and passions you each share.  Your network will grow.

Third, customize invites on LinkedIn work!   Generic LinkedIn invites do not work!  In fact, never ever send a person a generic invite. It’s rude to the person that you’re sending it to because if you are not willing to customize your invitation to connect, how are you able to state the value you bring to them professionally?  Don’t take your connection for granted, take a second to draft out a short message speaking to them directly and explain to them how you can bring value to their network and how you would be honored to have them in your network.

Lastly, look at your Twitter followers.  Doesn’t it make sense that those Twitter followers connect with you on LinkedIn?  The relationships that exist on Twitter could be very mutually beneficial for you and the Twitter Follower/LinkedIn Connection.  The same applies to Google+, Facebook, and other social media platforms.  This is what surrounding/embracing a person socially is all about.  It also helps you amplify your message and their message as you share, comment, and like their posts on multiple social platforms.  Tie the knot around your connections by being connecting to them on multiple social platforms and show how you are helping them amplify their message.  I have a simple rule on this.  If you are following me on Twitter and we share a common interest or passion, we connect on LinkedIn.  If you are in my Google+ Circle, and we share a common interest or passion, we connect on LinkedIn.  It goes the other way as well.  If we connect on LinkedIn, I look for you on Google+, and Twitter so we can surround each other socially.

There’s much more to discuss on this subject and I am willing to help you grow your network to achieve mutual success.  Reach out to me and let’s get started helping you unlock the potential in your network to bring value to others by leveraging your network and resources to achieve greater levels of mutual success.

CJ Webster is the author of insidesalesmagic, a blog written to help sales professionals become knowledgeable about social selling and sales 2.0 strategies. He doesn’t provide smoke and mirrors, hocus pocus, or any presto chango posts. This is real writing from a sales prospective on the issues, challenges, and success we have as sales professionals. It is honest, raw, and uncut. Sales is a noble profession and one of the few professions where the playing field is equal. Insidesalesmagic will be right there giving you the secrets and tricks of the trade that will elevate your sales game.


PRESS RELEASE: CJ Webster AA-ISP TOP 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals

Press Release

Top 25 2014

Christopher ‘CJ’ Webster of Insidesalemagic Receives AA-ISP’s TOP 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals in 2014 Award

CJ Webster @insidesalemagic

CJ Webster @insidesalemagic

SAN FRANCISCO, CA., April 9, 2014 — Insidesalemagic announced today that AA-ISP recognized Christopher ‘CJ’ Webster as part of American Association of Inside Sales Professionals Leadership Summit 2014 at an awards banquet held on April 9th at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago, Ill.

Started in 2010, the AA-ISP Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals Award recognizes individuals who have been instrumental in advancing inside sales.

Christopher ‘CJ’ Webster is a sales leader and creator of Insidesalemagic, a blog written to educate sales professionals about social selling and sales 2.0 strategies. Webster is a sales manager, sales coach, and speaker.

“It is an honor  to recognize Christopher ‘CJ’ Webster as this year’s recipient of The TOP 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professional Awards. Christopher ‘CJ’ Webster has proven his dedication and commitment to advancing the profession of inside sales, which is the mission of the AA-ISP,” stated Bob Perkins, Founder and CEO.  “We are confident that Christopher ‘CJ’ Webster will continue to have an impact on the inside sales community for years to come”, stated Perkins.

A complete list of companies and individuals recognized by the AA-ISP will be published on the AA-ISP website, go to www.aa-isp.org.

About Insidesalemagic

Insidesalemagic is a blog written by Christopher ‘CJ’ Webster to educate sales professionals about social selling and sales 2.0.  Posts are written from a sales professional prospective detailing the issues, challenges, and success that sales professionals face. It is honest, raw, and uncut.  Sales is a noble profession and Insidesalesmagic gives sales professionals the secrets, and tricks of the trade to elevate their sales game.

About AA-ISP

The AA-ISP is an international association dedicated exclusively to advancing the profession of Inside Sales. The association engages in research studies, organizational benchmarking and leadership round tables to better understand and analyze the trends, challenges, and key components of the growth and development of the Inside Sales industry. Our mission is to help inside sales representatives and leaders to leverage our information and resources through published content, local community chapters, national conferences, career development, and an Inside Sales Accreditation program.


99 Problems BUT Prospecting On LinkedIn Ain’t 1

99 Problems BUT Prospecting on LinkedIn Ain't 1

99 Problems BUT Prospecting on LinkedIn Ain’t 1

“Aren’t you sharp as a tack.  Are you some type of lawyer or something/ or somebody important or something?/

Nah I ain’t passed the bar but I know a little bit/ enough so you won’t illegally search my shhhhh!”

Artist: Jay Z  Song: 99 Problems

On April 2, 2014 Koka Sexton, Sr. Social Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, posted an article titled, “How I Met Your Prospect on LinkedIn.”  This post grabbed the attention of several sales professionals.  Imagine if your competitor met your prospect on LinkedIn, developed a relationship, and closed them right underneath your nose?  How would you feel if your competitor started picking off your biggest customers one by one using social selling techniques?  You’re asking, how could this happen?  Why did this happen?  Who broke the sales laws?  Let me stop you right there.  No laws, ordinances, guidelines, or rules were broken when that customer decided to do business with your competition.  The competition worked smarter.  They knew that you were out cold calling, doing drop offs, having telephonic phone blitz, and offering them incentives like baseball game tickets…doing sales 1.0 strategies.  The competition 10x’d their game, and proved to the customer that they are a resource using social selling tactics that worked.  These social selling tactics allowed them to get pass the gatekeeper and develop a relationship with the decision maker.  Don’t take my words for it.  Pick up Josiane Chriqui Feigon’s book which is the 2014 AA-ISP Sales Book of the Year titled, Smart Sales Manager, and turn to page 11, chapter 1, as she quotes The DemandGen report, “Breaking out of the Funnel,” that “ 48 percent of customers followed industry conversations on the topic.”  She drops another gem quoting, “37 percent posted questions on social networking sites looking for suggestions and feedback…41 percent researched papers and postings from thought leaders.”

Think connecting with your customers and prospects is inappropriate?  Think again.  If you are not connecting with customers, you can bet your commission check that a competitor is connecting with them today. (see who’s connecting on LinkedIn by clicking here)  Don’t be afraid to include social media probes in your standard discovery process.  Asking your customer if they are on LinkedIn or any other social media platform can be the first step in developing a lifelong customer relationship.  Just ask the question, “Are you on LinkedIn or Facebook?”

Recently during a customer meeting, I witness a savvy sales professional asked the question, “Are you on LinkedIn or Facebook?”  She followed up the response letting the customer know that many people in the industry rely on her as a resource.  She informed the customer that she provides helpful insights spanning across multiple business needs that companies face in their day to day operations.  Sounds like an big bold statement?  Think again.  What insights can a sales professional have beyond the current solution they are pitching?  Ryan Maher explains these insights very well in his post, “Forget Cold Calls: 10 Ways to Make Hot Contacts.”  In his Solve a Problem section of the post he states, “tips on leadership, hiring, motivation, productivity improvement, cost control, technology, and any other topics that are relevant to the recipient’s job function.”  Sales professionals insights are not restricted to the solutions their company provides.  These insights can include knowledge of vacant office spaces if the company is planning to move, best restaurants for client meetings, and anything that could impact a business from revenue generation strategies to the most mundane yet necessary exercises that every business performs.  The action item here is take your knowledge and share it with your customers beyond the solution you are pitching.  This will prove to them that you 1) have their best interest in mind 2) you care about their business 3) you are a connector to other resources and 4) you are valuable and worthy of their time.

Include your core industry knowledge that you have and how you can Provide Actionable Communication with Knowledge (*check out the PAC(w)K post).  You can post relevant industry articles, infographics, whitepapers, and your product marketing collateral.  I like to do a 3+1 method of PAC(w)K.  This means for every three articles I share or post, I like to season in our own marketing collateral.   This shows the customers that you are not solely pushing your product 24/7 and you are sharing relevant information that is worthy of their attention.  This will make you invaluable to you customer over time.  You will be the ultimate resource and person of knowledge they seek out for assistance.  Sounds like an abundance of selling opportunities on the horizon, right? You betcha!

So how are you separating yourself from the pack? Are you THAT person customers see as a resource, industry knowledge expert, and thought leader if you are not employing social selling in your sales process? If you are a no show on social media and using outdated sales 1.0 tired baseball tickets tactics, do you think your customers see you as the “go-to person” to address their current and future business challenges?  Do you want to meet your competitors customers, build a relationship with them, and acquire them as new business?  I know I do.  You can start this process by asking the simple question to you customers, “Are you on LinkedIn or Facebook?”  NOTE: what if you customer is not on any social media platform? Craig Jamieson’s post, “What If Your Prospects Are Not Using Social Media?”  gives essential steps on how to deal with these few customers.

Need help creating more social media probes in your discovery process or want to learn more about social selling to generate leads, get to the decision maker, and close more deals?  Contact us at insidesalesmagic.com.  We can help you get started.

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PAC(w)K It Up!!!

CJ Webster @insidesalemagic

CJ Webster @insidesalemagic

What does Ben Horowitz and I have in common? We both love hip-hop and have a blog. So in Ben’s Blog style, I’m adding a lyrical quote to my blog.
Here’s the rules: chop it, bag it, stash it, stack it.
Get in, get out – that’s an O.G.’s classic.
Song: 1-900-Hustler Artist: Jay-Z

PAC(w)K It Up!

We sat at the edge of our chairs, legs locked and core engaged as if we were at the bottom movement of a squat. Our eyes were focused at center of the room, listening eagerly to one of the many messages that would change our professional and personal lives at the University of Notre Dame. Our professor addressed our EMBA class in South Bend, Indiana. On this day, his class would transcend beyond the needs of driving revenue performance, shareholder value, and blossom into a resource we could use in all aspects of our lives, both professional and personal. It was on that day, that all 60 of us learned how to create and maintain relationships with a purpose. PAC(w)K is an acronym for Providing Actionable Communication with Knowledge. Obviously with this being a sales blog, I will explain the concept with a sales slant, but you can take these same steps and use it beyond sales as it truly extends to all aspects of business and personal lives.

What is PAC(w)K?
Providing Actionable Communication with Knowledge (PAC(w)K) is a concept you can use to create, establish, maintain, strengthen, and nurture any relationship you have with another professional or person in your life. Think about that prospect you have in your current pipeline. You conducted a demo, or given a proposal to them and suddenly what you thought was a slam dunk deal forecasted for the month is now in jeopardy because the prospect/customer has gone radio silent on you. They are no longer returning your calls, and not answering your emails. You are thinking, “What’s up? I thought this was going to happen.” You start recalling your conversation with the prospect because you are questioning what could you have done better. Why are they not responding to your communication? Chances are you probably did execute the first appointment, demo, and proposal meeting well. But, did you connect with them on a professional or personal level to truly understand the needs and wants of their business as well as what motivates them? During these moments of silence, reps go crazy trying to figure out how to get the attention of prospects. They send emails with lowered pricing or extra add-ons in an attempt to sweeten the deal. They also continue to call, drop in, and leave messages with product specific information hoping the prospect looks up and responds. PAC(w)K assists in decreasing the radio silence. PAC(w)K helps you know what your prospects care about professionally and personally. PAC(w)K gives you an advantage because it gives you an overall better relationship with your customers. Having a better relationship with your customers will create more selling opportunities than you can ever imagine.

First rule of PAC(w)K is to have genuine interest in the relationship you desire to cultivate and nurture. This is important because you cannot PAC(w)K everyone. There is a limit to the people you can PAC(w)K.

Second rule of PAC(w)K is to think about the 10 – 20 relationships you want to create, establish, maintain and nurture. These are the people that you will communicate or PAC(w)K as frequently and naturally as the relationship grows. Think about those key decision makers in the key targets accounts you are trying to win.

Third rule of PAC(w)K is to recall the conversation you had with them and what needs, concerns, or interest revealed. Think beyond the sale. Go passed your product and your interest to get to what is the driving force behind their need. Apply the same thought to them as a professional. Use your tools, social media, and the internet to learn more about them. There is tons of information out there. Use it, learn from it, and apply it to your strategy when you communicate with them.

Fourth rule of PAC(w)K is to take what you learned from the third rule and support it with substantial information. This is where you want to use resources like Pulse from LinkedIn (personal favorite) , Flipboard app, news and magazine resources, and thought provoking messages like TedTalks, and Kahn’s Academy. Remember the first rule of PAC(w)K is to have genuine interest so be open to all forms of information. It can be a comic strip or a funny youtube video. Let the relationship you are developing establish the boundaries of the information you are using. As the relationship grows so will the boundaries because you are consistently learning more about your customer’s interests.

Fifth rule of PAC(w)K is to never forget the first rule. It is not about your interests. It’s about the interests and needs of the other person.
How often do you PAC(w)K? Is it once a week, monthly, or quarterly? The truly depends on the relationship and natural flow of information. I have some people I PAC(w)K weekly because our relationship has evolved to that level of communication and others I PAC(w)K quarterly. Sales professionals, I think you will need to read the situation first and then start applying the PAC(w)K rules to enhance your communication to the prospect.

Applying the PAC(w)K
PAC(w)K is the easiest thing to do. You can do it with a phone call, text, an email, a letter and more. You can use LinkedIn, facebook, and other social media as well. Variety is best used when dripping. I opt for using the phone or email so I can ensure that my message is specific to the person. Social media like linkedIn and facebook are powerful because you can share articles and TedTalks. Kim Nicol, who is building a meditation business, targeted to professionals in the legal industry around mindfulness uses social media to PAC(w)K her clients. She shares articles and her blog to reach and stay connected to her clients.

Can you have two PAC(w)K list?
I have a professional PAC(w)K list and a personal one. I have ten people on each list. These are the people and relationships that I deemed valuable and ones I’m working to maintain.
Now you know the rules and how to apply it…what are you waiting on. Create your list and PAC(w)K it up!

P.S.
1. Check out the 6th Annual AA-ISP Leadership Summit happening in Chicago, April 6th – 8th. You will learn from the best experts in sales at this meeting.
2. Looking to take your financial intelligence to another level? My dear friend, Jackie Koski wrote a book, titled Money Letters 2 My Daughter. It is an excellent book that will educate you about money. It is also the perfect book for anyone graduating from high school or college.


Friday is NOT National Contract Signing Day

CJ Webster @insidesalemagic

CJ Webster @insidesalemagic

Giving a deadline to receive signed paperwork on Friday? Think again my friend. Contrary to sales professional legend, Friday is NOT National Contract Signing Day for sales professionals and customers. It’s not even a hallmark holiday! Plus, most businesses are open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and AH YES…Friday. So why narrow your window on getting back a signed contract to the last day of the work week? This also falls in line with giving deadlines at the end of the month. Why do it? Did you know that of the 260 work days in 2013, there are only 53 Fridays? That’s 20% of the work week and it’s the bottom of the work week. That narrow time frame often leads to customers leaving the office early, not coming in the office at all, increase procrastination, and easy avoidance from sales professionals. This all adds up to miss forecasts, zero weeks, and your ticket into the Chasing Customer For Signed Paperwork Marathon. Want to increase your success and take your game to the next level?

Start by setting up close appointments on Monday. Who doesn’t walk around proudly with a huge smile when they start the week off with a signed contract? It just feels good! It takes the pressure off, and gives you momentum.

Secondly, set proper expectations up front and get the customer’s buy in. Be specific and spell out when you will meet and what the purpose of the meeting will be. This puts you in a position of power and it is up to you to make sure the meeting is not on one of those 53 Fridays – keep in mind we want to avoid those days if we can. Remember, you have 80% of the work week (M – TH) that you can use to schedule a close meeting. If your service or solution involves training of any sort, provide your customer with an implementation plan with set dates and times. Doing this helps you move the sale along the funnel, and keeps your customer engaged in the sales process. In addition, it is a great strategy to show customers that you will aid them in their transition from previous solution to the new solution and that helps you find new issues that will create new opportunities for your business – it’s a continuous cycle with endless commission awaiting you.

Lastly, make a rule that you will not conduct closing appointments on Friday, unless it is absolutely necessary. This does not mean that you take every Friday off. It means that you take control of two things. The first is take control of your calendar and remain discipline to your weekly objectives. To be specific, your calendar is not always open. Plan your activity and work your closing meetings into that schedule with the agreed consensus of your customer. Don’t be foolish, if the customer can only meet you on a certain date and time, and you can make it work, then make it work. What I am stressing is managing your activity in a manner that yields the best results for your time and business. Said differently, as you are closing a deal, you will need to replace it with 2 – 3 opportunities so you must continue to move deals along and grow your funnel. It is not a one for one ratio where you close one deal and you add one new opportunity. Most opportunities to close ratios are several opportunities to one closed contract.

Here’s to getting out of the gate fast in Q2 and no longer observing every Friday as National Contract Signing Day.

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Next post coming up… state capitals and sales metrics…huh? You’ll get the connection in seven days.

Happy selling my friends.