Meredith Elliot Powell:

I intimately understand my products and I understand my services. So when I get in there and I understand my clients easy for me to help them understand why they should choose me

Host:

With Mark Hunter and Meredith Elliott. Powell is brought to you by vanilla soft.

Host:

Most people refer to vanilla soft as the solution. It’s the solution to ensure sales reps make the right number of attempts for every lead across all channels, including emails, social on the phone. It’s the solution to serve the rep the next best lead. Every single time you need to get your solution@vanillasoft.com. Hey,

Meredith Elliot Powell:

This is Meredith Elliot Powell and welcome to a sales logic, a special Saturday edition, where we dive into the strategies we discussed, the steps, everything that you need to know to well sell logically. And I am here with my cohost Mark Hunter. Hey mark. Welcome on Saturday morning.

Mark Hunter:

Hey, thank you. And it’s great that we can get together because you know what? Sales is 24 7. I think that’s what we do all the time. So why not do a sales logic live on Saturday morning? Good to see you.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Yeah, I sorta thought this. I kinda, I, you know what? I think we may do this every once in a while. I sorta liked the idea of, uh, especially in the winter time in the middle of COVID come into people on a Saturday. Cause I bet there are a lot of people checking their social media spots and may just pick up a tip or two about sales.

Mark Hunter:

Okay. But we need to be honest. It’s really the only time both of our schedules lined up, we could be together. Roots comes out the truth.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

All right, well, we’ve got a great show today. I’m going to go ahead and let you tee it up, but I’ll just give a quick outline to just remind our viewers how the show works. Every single week we come on with sales logic, and we discuss four specific areas. One of which we invite you to get involved in every single week, we have a topic we’re going to discuss something that is really relevant in the sales arena. We’re going to have a question and that means you, the viewer get to get involved and active in sales logic. All you need to do. If you ever have a question about sales that you would like answered right here on this show, just either posted on social media with the hast tag sales logic, or go to our podcast on our website, even better sales, logic, podcast.com against sales, logic, podcast.com. And you’ll see there that you can submit the question right there. We’re going to discuss a book that we think that you ought to be reading that we’ve really gotten value from. And last but not least, you always need to say to the end, cause we are going to have a lightning round. Your return on investment is hanging out with us for the next 20, 25 minutes. So do you get strategies you can put into place immediately?

Mark Hunter:

I think that’s a great format and that’s why we do it. So Hey, the topic we’re going to be digging into today is how to make January 20, 21, a strong sales month. And you know what the strategy is we’re going to be talking about are gonna apply to February and March and every other month, we’re going to dive in, especially on January. But before we do that, let’s jump into the question because the question today comes from New Jersey. Chris Belknap in New Jersey writes, I’m a business owner who finds myself in the lead sales role. If I’m going to grow my business, I need to not only bring on some sales professionals, I need to ensure they are successful. What is the best process or ideas for hiring, onboarding and ensuring the investment in a sales team member yields a strong return. This is a big issue for smaller business owners. So, Hey, Mary, jump in.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

I think this is probably one of the biggest issues and probably one of the biggest challenges business owners have today because you know, mark you and I own our own businesses. We are the lead sales people. And here’s the challenge with making that transition is nobody cares about your business. As much as you do. And sales is energy. People are buying the energy and excitement and enthusiasm coming off of me. Plus I intimately understand my products and I understand my services. So when I get in there and I understand my clients, it’s easy for me to help them understand why they should choose me, but what do you need to do? Because, oh, Chris, you are so right. You have got to get out of that. Lead to sales role, your company is growing. It’s time to lead your business. The first thing that you need to do, the first place that you need to start is you need to figure out why you were successful at sales. And what I mean is that you need to build the qualifications, the skills, the knowledge in an avatar form so that you know what type of salesperson you are hiring. See so many business owners skip this step just because I was good at selling something in another business, doesn’t mean I’m going to be good at selling in your business. So you need to identify what it takes to be successful. Not only as a, as an employee, but also as a sales professional in your business.

Mark Hunter:

Oh boy, I’m going to run with that one because there’s so many pieces there. Here’s the whole thing. When you hire a salesperson, you can’t say, okay, check mark. I hired a salesperson and, and leave them alone. No, you have got to be supporting them. You’ve got to really be married to them at the hip. Here’s the whole thing. When you look to hire a salesperson, you want to make sure do they line up with your personality. Now I don’t want to mirror a clone of me, but what I do want is somebody who I’m going to be able to spend time with because there has to be an element of trust and authenticity between both of you. I had two coaching sessions yesterday with business owners. One where the owner has two salespeople and there’s very close alignment. And it works really well. Were we were talking about things that she can be doing with her two salespeople.

Mark Hunter:

And I say, celebrate the wins. Every, when your new hire has she just hired a new salesperson a couple months ago, you got to celebrate that. Win, support them, help them. Don’t try to micromanage them because this is an emotional game. The other one I was coaching is a business owner who hates his salespeople. Well, guess what? They hate you because here’s the thing he’s trying to control them. He is, he is trying to control them. But then he says, if I send them the email, they should just go out and do it. No, don’t manage salespeople by way of email. You don’t manage salespeople by the way. No, actually that’s how you manage, but you want to lead. You have to lead with them face to face. I tell small business owners, when you hire somebody, you bring them on as a sales person, you want to be meeting with them every morning for 15 minutes, face to face. And if you can’t do it face to face, you’d do it by way of zoom. They’ve got it. Just like you said, we are our own best salespeople. You know, this is Chris’s issue. She finds herself in an elite sales role. Well, that chemistry, that aura, that energy has to come off onto that sales person.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Yeah. And if you want good salespeople, Chris, you got to realize you’re going to need to seal them, not hire them. In other words, they’re just like really great customers. They already have a job. Really great. Salespeople are hard to come by because most salespeople are order takers. Meaning that whenever the economy is really good, most people in sales are doing phenomenally well, but you want to pay attention to who’s doing phenomenally well when the economy isn’t doing well, because that person is a sales person and you need to realize, pay attention to vendors that are calling on. You pay attention to people you interact with on the phone. And when you come across, somebody that you think is really good, just like you do with a client. And you start the process of starting to get to know them, build relationship with them. Find out about them.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

You need to have a sales person pipeline. You need to have five, six. If you’ve got to hire one or one person, you need five or six people in your pipeline that you’re looking to bring in and you need to realize it’s going to take a while to, to hook them and to bring them in. But here’s the beauty. If you get them, you’ve got a really great salesperson. The second is when you bring them on board, there’s somebody who’s gonna stay committed and, and is going to continue to work for you. Hiring good salespeople, like getting a good customer is not easy, but work at it and identify them and realize you’re going to need to steal them.

Mark Hunter:

Yeah. And you’re hiring the person, not the position. You gotta hire the person and please don’t be afraid to pay. I see so many business owners think that, oh, I can get this guy real cheap. I can get this lady real cheap. I can get no, no, you are wasting money. Because the cost of bringing somebody on board and onboarding and more importantly, the cost of lost sales that a bad hire will do for you or against you is astronomical to get good talent. You’re going to have to pay and you’re going to pay and don’t say, well, you know what? They’re going to work. 100% commission for me. Well, guess what? Think about how long it’s going to take for them to build up their, their pipeline, how long it’s going to take them. If it takes them six months, nine months, do you think you’re going to get anybody decent?

Mark Hunter:

No, you’re not. You’re not. Don’t kid yourself. You’ve got to put on board for them. The compensation package, because as Meredith was saying, you’re stealing it from somebody else. They have options. Your goal is to hire the right person, not hire the position. Hey, we could probably talk about this one for ever, and maybe we’ll do a webinar because you know, we’re now doing monthly webinars watching be listening because we’re doing a monthly webinar. Maybe we’ll, we’ll do one on it, but let’s jump into the topic because the topic today is how to make January 20, 21, a strong sales month. Jump in.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Let me say that it was my turn this week to pick the topic. And one reason I picked this topic is because January needs to be a strong sales month. I was on with a client just the other day and we were brand new client. And we were talking about what he had done so far to kick off January. And the first week was gone and he didn’t even have his first set of sales calls made. So the first thing you need to do is to get your mindset, right? That January really matters. And so how many sales calls you make, how much effort you put out there matters, and you need to get going. So where I want you to start in making January a strong sales month is decide how many sales calls you are going to make every single day of the week, and then who you are going to call on and just take action.

Mark Hunter:

That is so spot on. In fact, I’ve got a coaching call tomorrow with a person where we’re walking through with the exact number, because here’s the whole thing. January is when you start at the top of the funnel, this is when you’ve got to be prospecting and gangs, but it’s so important that you get meetings on the table. I really wish we had been doing this episode back in December, too, just as we always say, tomorrow begins today. You know, January begins in December because we’re recording this at the conclusion of the first week of January. And I find too many salespeople who didn’t have any appointments on their calendar first week. Well, I’m spending it getting prepared. No, no. It’s about getting your objective right now is to get meetings. Now here’s a suggestion that I strongly make. If you’re in a business that has maybe a little more complex sale and you have your boss and you have some existing accounts and there’s more business, we had get your boss involved.

Mark Hunter:

Here’s what I’m gonna encourage you. And I did this with a company the other day, I told the sales manager, your job, very senior position is to get out and make 10 sales calls over the next two weeks without the sales person, because you’re going to be able to have contact and communication at a level that the sales person can’t have. You’re going to find out information. You’re going to find insights outs. I tell sales managers now is the month. This is the month, month of January. And the first quarter, when it’s your obligation to bring to your salespeople incremental opportunities that they would never find otherwise, I’ve been doing this approach for years with complex sales companies with tremendous success, incremental sales opportunities. That’s what you as a sales leader, as a senior executive in an organization needs to be doing during the month of January.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Yeah, I would say also you need to really spend the month of January doing your homework and doing the research. And what I mean by that is January is a great month to revisit either really hot prospects you had in 2020, or I’m your best clients that have been with you for a couple of years and want you to reach out touch base with them, ask them what they’re focused on for 2021, where their challenges are, where their problems are, how they finished in 2020 and really focus more on listening than you’re focused on selling. We’re trying to set up 2021 for success, and you need to understand what your prospects and customers are focused on, what they’re worried about, where they feel their opportunities are and their challenges are mark. And I’ve said this a thousand times on this show that there, that you have to be relevant, you have to be selling products and services that are solving the current problems that your customers and prospects have.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

You can’t know that unless you’re doing the homework to listen. I’ve also just given you a huge softball. That’s the easiest call you’re going to make. You could make 200 of those in the month of January, but it’s going to get you out there. It’s going to get you the ball rolling as crazy as this sounds. Don’t worry so much about selling in January. Worry more about calling because we’re going to use all this information as we roll into February, March, April, and the rest of the year to really position yourself, to get doors open because you’re relevant, but really be able to solve problems and get referrals because you understand what’s going on with your customers.

Mark Hunter:

Yeah. There’s a couple things that want you to really zero in on. And we were talking about it in terms of the question in terms of the avatar. We said, you know, what’s an avatar of yourself. Think about what’s the avatar of your customer, who is your ideal customer, and really get tight as they’re who your ideal customer profile is. And what you’re zeroing in on is simply this customers are going to buy. If you’re dealing with their number one or number two priority, you gotta be at the top of the food chain. I can’t come in anytime in a year. And oh, this is a nice, nice to have nice, but you know what? It’s priority. Number 38. It’s not going to happen. I got to get to the top of the food chain. Now here’s a strategy that I want you to pick up.

Mark Hunter:

And I want you to do want you to go back and look at all of your customers that you called on in 2020, every single one. And more importantly, those that you prospect did that blew you off for one reason or another, they still fit that ideal customer profile. That’s where you start, because here’s the whole thing. You probably had people who blew you off in 2020, because timing wasn’t right the year wasn’t right. Something wasn’t right. But you created a little bit of a relationship already. Well now guess what? The calendar is turned. It’s a new fiscal year for the majority of companies. It’s time to get in and be talking because you things have changed. So suddenly all that work that you did last year can now come to fruition this year. And I can begin building on it. January is the foundation month for the entire year.

Mark Hunter:

Here’s something else I really want you to do. It is so easy for us to sit there and focus in on the easy sales. You know, the little quick wins, the easy wins, oh, if I make this call, I can do this. I can do this. January is the time. And Meredith and I have been talking about this and I hope you’re picking up on it to be focusing on the big opportunities, because here’s the whole thing. Yes. You have a monthly number. Yes. You have a quarterly number, but you have an annual number and there are probably some big opportunities that are going to take some time. They’re going to take some time. So guess what you got do what, what Meredith was talking about, do your homework, listening, great those relationships. But this is the time when I got to start working on those big opportunities.

Mark Hunter:

This is why I said your manager, the sales leader, the executives of your company has got to be out there talking, finding where are these big opportunities I want to get on the table as quickly as possible? What are those big opportunities that may take three, four or five months? Because here’s the whole thing. If I focus on the easy stuff now, and I come down to September, October, and I’m short, and I know I’m going to be short on the year, it’s too late to be going after those big opportunities I needed to set the ground work up in that first couple months of the year.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Yeah. I want to add to that too, that, you know, again, one reason we wanted to have an episode about how to make January a strong sales month is because a lot of salespeople don’t make it a strong sales month. So if you’re out there calling right now, it’s not as crowded a marketplace. As it typically is, I kind of find January and November, December a sort of least crowded sales month. People are slow to get out of the gate in January and they tend to take their foot off the gas in November and December. So there’s a lot of opportunity out there right now, but you need to get moving. You know, I love what mark said about, you know, doing the, doing the homework, getting yourself in, you know, setting yourself up for everything that you’re going to need and focusing on those bigger sales. Because if you, this is so much about really saying to yourself, if I make it hard, now it’s going to be easy later. At some point you are going to have to do some really heavy lifting this year. It’s better to do it at the beginning of the year, when you have the energy to do it, when you’re not weighed down with so many other responsibilities, because eventually you’re going to have to pay the Piper. It’s better to go ahead and pay him or her upfront. So that sales gets easier through the year.

Mark Hunter:

Gee, it sounds like my running and I go out, I do this hill outside, outside my house. That’s the first, that’s the first thing I do because that is the most excruciating hill I had. Well, my course, but you know what? I do it. And it sets the pace for the rest of it. So I love it. Hey, we should probably keep moving along here. I know you got a book. Yeah. Great guy. I’ll tell you what, you know, he always calls me brother. He calls, but he calls everybody brother. I don’t know. He probably doesn’t use brother to use. So anyway, but

Meredith Elliot Powell:

He said he uses wonderful endearment for me. I bet there is not a listener out there right now that has not heard of Bob Berg and the go giver. It’s incredibly successful series. One of the most powerful books when it comes to sales. But I was talking with Bob as I often do, just keeping in touch with him. And I was commenting about a book that I had gotten of his, that I really liked. And he said, well, actually, I’ve done an updated version. That is really probably my favorite book that I’ve ever written. And I was lucky enough that Bob sent me a copy and I just finished it. It’s called adversaries into allies. And to me, it is how to win friends and influence people on steroids. I mean, pretty much what Bob covers in this book. I mean, the reason I wanted to highlight this book one is it’s Bob Burg and who doesn’t want to highlight Bob Burg.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

The second is that soft skills are so important. Now that we’re living in a virtual world, how you connect with people, how you view people, the relationships that you look to form both with people that you feel are it’s an advantageous relationship with you. But just like Bob said, with his book adversarial, you need to learn to bring those people and learn to collaborate with your competition. And in this book, Bob not only lays out why you need to do that, how you need to do that, but you get specific skills on how to do it. It’s a great read. It’s it’s an older book of OBS. It’s been around for a long time, but I was really glad he suggested it to me. Was it Saturday? Just finished it. It was a great,

Mark Hunter:

I got to get the updated version. Cause I don’t think I have the updated version. So thank you for calling it to my attention. Bob Berger is just a great guy. I tell you what I mean. I, I have this vision picture of him and he does a great Zig Ziglar and personation too. Hey, in the interest of time, we got to jump to the lightning round sales strategies. You must implement in the first quarter to start 2021 strong

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Number one is you better put your content calendar in place. You need to decide what you’re going to be doing when to build your reputation in the marketplace. You’ve heard mark say a million times, your reputation, uh, rise before you do so with that, you need to decide in January, February, March, April, let’s nail down the first quarter. What are you going to be doing to build your reputation?

Mark Hunter:

I’m going to add, create good habits by what, what does your day look like? I break my day into four, two hour segments. Each two hour segment is dedicated to a specific activity. So I got to have a dedicated activity to prospecting, selling, closing, whatever it might be. But you get into these ritual of habits, right from the start.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Nice. You need to, um, go back and revisit your top customers in 2020. I think so often when we start off a new sales year, often what we do is we ignore the people. We’re already doing business with assuming that if they need something, they will come to us. And we really advocate starting your year. By talking to those people who are already your existing customers,

Mark Hunter:

I’m going to say, get your manager involved, get senior people involved. As we talked about, when we were doing the topic, get others in your company, involved out there, making sales call, uncovering opportunities that may not be available to you just because of who you are, but they can bring them to you. And then you can run with them,

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Uh, reassess your skillset. You need to really look at where you’re strong in sales, but what do you need to learn? And what do you need to add to your skillset in 2021? And where and how are you going to learn that?

Mark Hunter:

Stay focused on quality, not quantity. It’s very easy in the first quarter to say, I’m going to get a thousand leads. I’m going to get five it’s quality, quality, quantity, gums up a pipeline. Then you turn your pipeline into a sewer pipe. You don’t want it quality

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Attract your behaviors almost more than you track your results. I’ll start to flip that around as we get into fourth quarter, but the activity that you’re doing on a daily basis really matters in the first month as well as the first quarter of the year. So really tracking how many sales calls you’re making, how many sales follow-up calls you’re making, how many proposals you’re writing, how many proposals you’re winning and how many proposals you’re losing, because you need to be able to see if your activities are yielding results.

Mark Hunter:

I’m going to add to that, that you do that in a five minute window, five or 10 minute window. Every morning, you get focused in on your goals and you ask yourself, what am I doing? Because if your time is not being used to either generate revenue or help you achieve your goals, you got to really question, why are you doing it? But review every morning,

Meredith Elliot Powell:

I would say that you need to think about pushing out of your comfort zone as it relates to this first quarter. I don’t know what you need to add to your repertoire, but maybe you need to learn to start shooting video. Maybe you need to publish a blog once a month. Maybe you need to reach out to some influencers on social media and see if you can get some traction and some referrals or something that way. But what’s something new you’re going to throw into the mix this year that you’re going to try to really elevate your sales process.

Mark Hunter:

Don’t go for the easy go for the heart. In other words, this is the time when you’re really getting focused in on what are those big opportunities. Now don’t fill your bucket only with big opportunities because you can starve to death, trying to close them. You got to keep a right balance. But if there’s a time to have bigger opportunities, this is the time. Yeah.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

I would say you need to go back and review your client. Avatar. Don’t assume that who you sold to in 2020 is the best person to sell to in 2021. It’s probably not going to be radically different, but you need to start the year off by really doing a deeper dive in a better understanding of what is going on in your client’s mind in 2021. And has any of that changed? I’m just going to throw in here, mark and I were talking about this the other day with our two other mastermind buddies and the conversation we were having was given the fact that there’s going to be a change in the administration. Meaning there’ll be a change in regulations. There’ll be a change in the economy. Does that impact who we need to focus our efforts on. And it does a little. So you need to review that. You need to think about what’s going on outside and where is the opportunity going to be in 2021 and make the shifts to attach yourself there.

Mark Hunter:

And I’m going to add to that now is the time to make sure that you have somebody that you’re being held accountable to who’s in your mastermind group. You just heard Meredith talk about the mastermind group. Meredith myself are in, you need one to Meredith. Why don’t you share one more? And then I’ll kind of close it down.

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Okay. I, I, you know, I hesitate to end on this one because people see it as a negative, but it’s actually, I think one of the best parts of the sales process you need to right now, schedule a time at the end of this month, the end of January, put an hour on your calendar. And it’s your time for review where you look back on the, on the month and you say, what did I do? That, that pushed me forward and yielded results. And where did I waste my time? Because the truth is every single month we waste time. We call on people. We shouldn’t have called on. We engage in social media. We shouldn’t have engaged in, but we also did things that were really effective. And you want to be aware of those. So as we get ready to plan for February, we’re able to keep doing the things that are getting you traction, and we’re able to let go of the things that are wasting your time.

Mark Hunter:

And as we wrap up the show, I’m going to add one more, make sure you subscribe and listen and review the sales logic podcast, right? Because Hey, what a great way. So with that, I want to say, thank you for listening to sales logic this week. If you like what you hear, subscribe, rate review of the show. That’s what I just said, but I’m going to reinforce it again on your favorite podcast app. If something we’ve said has earned you a single dollar, consider telling a friend about our show. It’s how we grow to help you grow. I’m Mark Hunter and I’m Meredith Elliott pal. Remember when you sell with confidence and integrity,

Meredith Elliot Powell:

Uncertainty suddenly becomes your competitive advantage

Mark Hunter:

And the sale becomes logical.

Host:

See you next week. Most people refer to vanilla soft as the solution. It’s the solution to ensure sales reps make the right number of attempts for every lead across all channels, including emails, social on the phone. It’s the solution to serve the rep the next best lead. Every single time you need to get your solution@vanillasoft.com.