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Corporate Strategies | Naperville, IL

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Bill Bartlett

We all hear countless foreboding comments regarding today’s business environment. “My salespeople are anxious and procrastinating,” “they can’t get prospects to act,” and “the pandemic has shut down business” are thoughts many fellow business owners have recently expressed in my training sessions.

I believe lower performing salespeople have needed an excuse for their poor performance and the pandemic has given them a perfect one. They have created the “new normal” with the excuses they continuously share with anyone who will listen, while high performers are re-engineering their success without missing a beat.

When you look back at this period of your sales career from the future, will you be proud of the exemplary actions you took or sad that you missed an opportunity stand tall. There is a lot of business to be closed in this timeframe and the brave sales warriors are finding it.

My 25 years in business have provided me with numerous messages that appear to be cyclical in nature. They represent the ebb and flow of business growth, it’s up to me to learn from them. I started my Sandler Training professional development business in 1994, working out of shared office space and had an initial client base comprised of salespeople willing to take a chance that I might be able to help them. My business grew each year until the 2007-08 timeframe when the banking crisis brought it to a screeching halt!

Did you ever question your choice of a career in sales? We are a nation of salespeople; however, far too many in the field “default” their way into the profession and develop a comfort zone which creates mediocrity. Employers encourage this mediocrity by paying a “livable” base salary and a commission structure that is supposed to motivate their team to sell more.

In my experience, salespeople would close more sales if they would practice the same questioning skills that children have used on their unsuspecting parents forever. How many times does the salesperson find out “why” the prospect is asking certain questions or why they are reluctant to take certain action?

As we progress in the first quarter of 2020, I decided to do my annual review of our current client base to develop a better understanding the people who utilized my professional development services. I’m proud of the fact that our typical client stays with us for an average of 5 years!

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were challenged and said, “That’s not the way I like to do it” …even though you knew you should? This is the best example of a comfort zone because it serves to block to any new creative approach to the situation.

Sales results become predictable when measurables are established and tracked on a weekly basis. The metrics of success are a result of skill, knowledge, application, behavior and KPI’s (key performance indicators).

One of my favorite quotes comes from Richard Branson who said, “From my very first day as an entrepreneur, I’ve felt the only mission worth pursuing in business is to make people’s lives better”. Each day in business I have tried to touch one life which means I have affected many lives in 25 years. I wonder what adventures the next 25 will bring.