Start – Stop – Continue exercise observations

November 16th (not quite a month ago I sent out A Chip off the Block on Look deeper, think harder – a self-reflection exercise.

I have to share a few of observations.

personal observation:
> START – my feeling is that most of us “start” new things with ease, it is making sure we continue creating good habits from the new way that becomes more difficult.

> STOP – wow this is both difficult and feels great! Difficult with things that are completely ingrained into old habits as I have to THINK about not doing them. Feels great because not doing things that aren’t serving me anymore = time to spend on the START and CONTINUE list.

> CONTINUE – this became my favorite; I found renewed enthusiasm for the tasks/things/ideas I decided to continue with.

client comment: one of my coaching clients did a great job pulling her team into the exercises – they saw a blank page taped to her desk with START – STOP – CONTINUE on the top and asked questions. NICE right?

If you played along with the exercise let me know your observations too!

Inquiring inside sales minds want to know…

“I get 100 sales calls a day and answer maybe 5”
~ ACTUAL customer comment

No you aren’t shocked.

No you aren’t surprised.

What your inquiring inside sales mind wants to know and will find interesting his method:
1. doesn’t answer if he doesn’t know the #,
2. doesn’t bother if they don’t leave a vm,
3. deletes if it’s hard to understand them (accent or enunciation),
4. if they mispronounce his name or the company name delete.

which means:
> He isn’t answering more than 5 of 100.
> He is starting to listen to your voicemail message.
> If you don’t leave a good voicemail you’ll never get him to answer.

I don’t think my customer is all that different from yours.

Keep calling – leave effective voicemail messages – give them a reason to pick up the phone when you call!

setting objectives is fun – when…

I’ve talked about “to do” vs. priority lists for years. I find that choosing an objective for the day keeps me on track.

The key there is that I choose it, set it, pick it for myself.

This isn’t something someone ELSE finds important. Setting objectives if fun when I:
> choose why it’s important to me.
> set the specifics.
> pick what the objective will be.

Last week I started with what I believe was my objective – as I worked on it, it changed a little. Migrating and morphing; not because I wanted it to be easy… rather to create something more effective – keeping the high level goal in sight.

What about you? Have you found the fun in setting objectives?

How about with your team? Have you created an environment where people are setting objectives for themselves?

qualification clarification – Time vs. Timing

Time-frame, timing, deadlines are all part of qualification. Understanding the prospect’s view of the subject helps you, the salesperson, forecast when a deal will come in to your organization.

Sure we WANT… NEED… MUST understand when that order will be in for our own purposes. I get that – especially as someone who gets paid commission.

When we talk with our prospects to uncover the details, it needs to be all about when they WANT your product at their location – ready to be used… NEED a service performed… MUST finish whatever is prompting their purchase.

Which is why I tend to talk about time AND timing both.

Time can be directly tied to the calendar, yet conversationally I find most prospects aren’t.

More often I hear;
> sometime this year
> soon
> next quarter

Which means I have to be able to ask questions and narrow it down using their language;
> oh, are you thinking the beginning or the end of the year?
> soon enough that we’ll need to ship AM Next?
> to make sure we’re on the same page, when does your next quarter begin?

Timing is more about context than a calendar.

It is the relationship of your product or service to the THING your prospect is trying to accomplish – and needs your stuff to do it (whatever “it” is).

Are you the decorator for a building that is being built? or is it a renovation? or a big party? or they are bored with the current decor?

The when is wrapped around their why… so don’t forget to understand that as well!

Challenges #InsideSales Account Executives Face (thanks @bridgegroupinc)

I was reading The Bridge Group’s Inside Sales AE 2017 Metrics and Compensation Research Report – if you have Account Executives working for you I’d recommend it!

The Bridge Group defines an AE as an inside salesperson who is responsible for closing.

I find it interesting that although the % have changed since 2012 – the top 4 challenges remain the same (the ranking has changed slightly)
1. productivity/performance
2. recruiting & hiring
3. ramping new hires
4. forecast accuracy
… this year on-going training has tied for 4th with forecast accuracy.

Here are a few of my thoughts/observations
> if 40% of organizations find productivity/performance a challenge, how do the other 60% rate their performance?
> is the recruiting & hiring about the way we position an inside sales career or the number of people interested?
> ramping new hires has steadily become a concern for more organizations – is it the time it takes or the overall quality of work new hires produce?
> are we really better at forecast accuracy – or have people given up and reduced their expectations?
> on-going training has moved from the bottom of the list to tyied for 4th largest concern; what has changed?

I’m curious what you think!

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