In 12 years of business, and 6 years of being in the real estate industry before then, I’ve experienced a LOT of sales training. So what was the best tip I ever received?
Even now, sales coaching for small businesses is one of my most common projects, remains something that my coach works with me on, and of course I host ‘Sales Talk for Start Ups, SMEs and Corporates’ on Facebook each month.
Every week I’m using the sales knowledge I’ve learned, but among that wealth of information and experience what was the most valuable insight I ever received? It was the year 2011, and I was the passenger in a car at the time…
This was while I was living and working in London, and I had the chance to spend some time with a top sales trainer (and someone who’s still out ‘doing the doing’) so I asked him for his top tip.
He said “Thinking of your last 24 sales appointments, what do you believe you could have done differently?”
I paused. This was not the reply I was expecting.
He said, “The fact you paused tells me that you can’t immediately recall your last 24 opportunities, which means they’re spread over a long period of time. Don’t focus on top tips, just do more.”
I mean, background knowledge, he knew I’d been in business for years and had done some of his sales training etc – he knew that I knew the basics, and he probably suspected I was capable of walking out of a sales meeting and reviewing what I did well and not so well. But that key point has made me a lot of money since – there are few issues in sales that can’t be solved by doing more of them.
When I look at the small business owners who are consistently making the most money, it’s invariably the ones who prioritise doing sales as part of their week-to-week operations. For me, taking that advice on board, I immediately blocked out more time in my diary each month specifically for sales meetings. And then set myself the challenge of filling those days, learning from the experience, rinsing and repeating. Even when I’m busy, I’m still selling, and I can certainly answer the original question now.
This story came up recently in a discussion about handling rejection, which is one of the toughest parts of being responsible for sales (in your own business, or working for someone else). Last year I had a spell where I went 0 for 6 with my sales proposals … and then won 18 deals in row (I only just realised that adds up to 24, funny coincidence). But that was a 5 month period, where previously I probably didn’t create that many proposals in a year. Rejection only sucks when you’re desperate for the work and you’re not sure where the next prospect is coming from.