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Category Archives: Sales Productivity


Why You Didn’t Sell Anything This Week

by on September 22, 2011  

Sales Questions?

It may seem harsh, but here is the list of what people who did not sell much (or anything) this week were saying to themselves, their co-workers, and possibly their bosses to justify lack of revenues. If you work in complex selling environments where it may take months to bring business to closure, this still applies to you – only substitute “week” for “month” or “quarter”.  Anything ring true? Post your comments – it can help other sellers.

You didn’t sell anything this week (month, quarter) because:

You were too busy to make proactive sales calls

You were putting out fires

You were doing customer service all week

You were not productive

You were doing “research”

You were at networking events

You were working on marketing materials

You were getting your pitch down

You were practicing and perfecting

You were avoiding rejection

You couldn’t find the “right” times to call anyone

You were waiting for them to get back to YOU

You hoped for sales to happen

Some other reason? We’d love to hear it, and we’ll add it to our big list of reasons.

Lori Richardson speaks, writes, and trains sellers and sales teams on tactical ideas to grow revenues. She uses an abundance and asset-based thinking way of growing business. Follow her on Twitter and be sure to sign up for our quick-read newsletter

3 Top Sales Tips for Keeping Sales Focus

by on September 19, 2011  

Grow Sales

Focus in growing sales and revenues is challenging for many small business owners and entrepreneurs, let alone actual sales professionals. It takes amazing, ongoing focus on the activities that lead to new revenues in order to grow business and ultimately thrive as a company.

Here are 3 ideas you can implement to help you stay on course.

1. MONDAY MORNING CHECKLIST – create a list, through a sort of your prospect data, to see who you need to talk with this week. Since you have prospect details in some sort of a web-based system, with next actions set, it should not be an issue to pull up a list of items to do, which will lead you to more revenues.

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WHAT? You don’t have a cloud-based CRM system? Where have you been?

CRM systems really started getting helpful for smaller businesses in the late 1990’s and early 2000. That means over the last 12 years, amazing tools and capabilities have surfaced – especially with the advent of low-cost cloud computing – to help you track sales opportunities, prospective customers, and actual customer information. To get started with this (finally?) take a look at:

Salesforce.com – the industry standard with lots of capabilities

Nimble – what we use excellent Social CRM

Batchbook – works great with Google Apps and MailChimp

Landslide – a quick and robust solution

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2. DAILY PROSPECTING TIME – If you are in growth mode for sales, you need to set time every day to prospect for new business. Mark this time right in your calendar so that you’re not deterred by common distractors like reading all of your email or surfing the web (even if you call it research). Block time everyday and honor that time to call prospective customers and to email as necessary with the intention of moving sales opportunities forward. You’ve GOT to do this! We have clients who do prospecting first, THEN have their first coffee of the day. Drastic? Maybe, but it gets the job done.

3. MAKE A SALES HIT LIST – Yep, a “hit list”. Great sales professionals don’t just work with anyone – they target a list of companies or individuals they want to do business with. This list is based on who would make a more-probable (rather than less-probable) prospective customer and who you’ve determined is the type of client you’d like to work with. For us, we look for companies that are known for being industry leaders and companies with great reputations – top tier in how they treat their own customers and their employees, with great leadership. On your list, choose some real “stretch” goal companies – ones you may think today that you have no chance at, because as you hone your presentation and value proposition, you can get closer to these dream clients. Put the list on a wall in your office or cube – look at it every day. Which company can you call on this week?

By implementing these three, simple ideas, you can help keep focus on revenue development and less on the internal issues we tend to get totally bogged down with.

What’s your strategy? Post your idea in comments – it may be the one thing that helps someone else.

Lori Richardson is The Sales Detective of Score More Sales. She coaches and trains salespeople to grow revenues, and speaks to sales teams about simple ideas that build business. Follow her at scoremoresales on Twitter. 

Start to Grow Sales – Just Start – See Revenues Climb

by on August 24, 2011  

NY Times Best Selling Author Seth Godin spoke a couple months ago on moving forward and taking action. So many entrepreneurs and small business owners – even salespeople – all do planning, planning, and more planning – then they may or may not finally execute. It is worse when they just dabble. The do a little here, and a little there with no focus or roadmap.

Seth suggests you take action and most likely you’ll make mistakes. The cost of failure is SO much smaller now than before. The new model is to grab attention, and it is not anyone’s job to help you figure out how to save your business.

A focus on moving forward makes sense to us because we don’t do well trying to help people save their businesses either. We help people move forward. Call us cheerleaders, guides, or mentors – we want your business to succeed – but don’t ask us or anyone else to resuscitate it.

I’ve followed Seth for many years – in fact I read his essay In Praise of the Purple Cow in Fast Company Magazine in January of 2003. (you should too…. or just buy the book)

Seth was fairly soft spoken – no entourage or even a photographer with him – he took the stage in the long sold-out performance hall and just started speaking. He is not a large guy, yet he really commands attention with his smart ideas and brilliant delivery. He made lots of time for questions afterward, and I was moved by his interest in talking about all the problems with education in the U.S. Everyone I talked to was encouraged as he talked about each of these things:

- The idea of forward motion is to MOVE forward.

- Revolutions don’t bring maps with them.

- Art is solving problems in interesting ways and art is always gift-based.

- Be abundant / be a lynchpin / be interesting

I kept getting stuck on the “take action” piece – it seems that everyone knows what to do – or they can look up how to do something  – but they just often fail to get started and then do regular, ongoing actions to lead them to success. It ties in with the idea of whether entrepreneurs want to just have a daily job with lots of tasks to do every day or if they really want to make a change, or build something amazing, or add value in other ways.

Next I bought one of his latest books, Poke the Box, which is a manifesto you might want to read. Now.  (hint: it’s about taking action….) Bonus is that it’s available now for under $7.

In the book, Seth states,

Excellence isn’t about working hard to do what you are told. It is about taking the initiative to do work you decide is worth doing.

Reading that book and finally seeing him in person made me a fan of Seth Godin.  It’s not that I didn’t think highly of him before, but I did not focus on it much – my entrepreneurial self read a little then moved on. Taking time to read and reflect is a great thing. Do you make time to do that? Now go find a project you REALLY want to get behind – and get to work on it.

We’d love you to share your mighty cause or big project that you are working on – here – just post it as a comment. We’ll do a follow up post about all of the projects we think are interesting, amazing, needed, or just plain cool.

Lori Richardson is a sales detective who trains, coaches, and mentors leaders of sales teams and sales people in Boston and Seattle with smart, tactical tips. Read and comment on the blog or find her on Facebook or Twitter. Call her at (978) 222-3140 if she can help you get started on more revenues.

10 Sure-Fire Ways to Build Sales for Entrepreneurs

by on August 11, 2011  

Some entrepreneurs and small business owners (and their salespeople) are talking about the stock market. Others are strategizing on and successfully growing revenues. Which camp do you fall into?

Here are ten sure-fire ways to grow revenues in your business. You don’t need to do them all to be successful, but you DO need to do a number of them. If your business is at a plateau and needs a jump start, put these sales strategies into place and then roll up your sleeves and work to make them happen.

1. Have a very clear brand promise / value proposition – how do you add value to your customers, and why should they work with you?  Can other people articulate this? DO others talk you up?

2. Clarify who it is that you serve – Niche 1 could be doctors. Niche 2 could be administrators. Each niche is different and needs special messaging.  Keep the niches you work with separate for a concise message.

3. Do you know if what you provide is something people want and/or need (and will spend money on?)  Even in a down economy, people will drive miles to get what they perceive to be a high value.

4. Have a nurture marketing strategy in place – be able to follow up with prospects not ready to buy yet. There are a dozen or so good and simple web-based programs to do this with. Stop with the sticky notes- you are losing contact information and leaving money on the table. Most people won’t buy from you the first, second, or third time you contact them.

5. Use an automated system to set next actions with clients and strategic partners too. Remember that strategic (or referral) partners can refer you many companies over time, so why are you not contacting them on a regular basis? By always setting a next action with them, you will keep in contact regularly.

6. We are not marketers, but we know that you need at least one well-done webpage. People meet you live or through social means and then go to search for your presence on the web.

7.Be an informed business builder. Work off of a business plan, a sales plan, a social strategy, a financial plan, and an exit plan (we call it the 5 Plan)

8.Show some enthusiasm! Enjoy your work – no one wants to do business with someone who is down or complaining. Next time you visit a bricks-and-mortar retailer, or restaurant, see who is excited and enthused to see you and your dollars, and who is not. It’s definitely something to be aware of.

9.Explore social tools, and – create a plan. Word of mouth is STILL the best strategy to grow sales. Social media is all about having two-way conversations, one person at a time.

10.Meet and know intentional connectors – they can refer many people / businesses your way. Intentional connectors are people who enjoy connecting you to a potential prospective customer or connecting you to a strategic partner. They LOVE it when something happens – you grow your business as a result of it. Often they don’t want any compensation – sometimes they work with referral fees.

Bonus tip: Find someone outside of your geographic area (if you do local business) who does what you do, only better. Learn from them. Remember that success leaves clues. If you do business nationally or internationally, find a mentor in your field or another one who is beyond where you are.  It really works.

Now, choose one of these and run with it. When you master one, go on to another. Make it a contest with yourself, or work each point like a project – with a start date and a finish date. If you get stuck, contact us at Score More Sales and we’ll not only champion you on, but we will offer a suggestion for your business growth.  Next up: links and resources for these ten ideas.