Raw Material – The Human Factor (6,024 Free Words)

5

Until you fully understand the raw material, how can you hope to build a system that works?


If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up someplace else.

– Yogi Berra


I’m a proud skeptic. That probably comes as no surprise, since I’ve been saying over and over that you shouldn’t follow the advice of an expert without questioning its validity and modifying it to meet your own style, strengths, and so forth.

I’m also an inventor and somewhat of a maverick – naturally drawn to doing things my own way, tweaking this or that, trying something new. With six companies and four nonprofits under my belt so far, and three companies and two nonprofits under way, my colleagues have come to know me as “a professional chaser of shiny objects.”

And I’m an eternal optimist. Since you’re in sales, that probably won’t surprise you much either, because salespeople can’t survive in sales very long without believing that today will be better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today.

But what might surprise you is that, based on my natural traits, I’m actually the last person you would want to hire as a salesman. If you were the president of your company and were hiring a new salesperson (someone who is supposed to produce as many closed deals as possible), whom would you rather hire:

  • Salesperson A, who questions everything, loves inventing and testing new ideas, has no problem trying 5,000 different ideas until the answer is found, and hates repeating any type of process once it works?
  • Salesperson B, who loves making 150 phone calls a day, sending 500 new cold-letters each week, writing one new article a month, and so on, provided he or she can trust that these activities will produce sales opportunities at a predictable rate?

Based on natural behavioral traits alone, Salesperson B should outsell Salesperson A every time, as long as he or she doesn’t have to invent the sales processes to be used. Fortunately for the not-so-organized salesperson, however, there are ways to avoid having natural traits negatively impact your success.

How Can I Change What Will Likely Occur?

The plot of the movie “Minority Report,” is based on three seers – individuals who combine forces to see the future – being able to warn police of any upcoming murder, even a murder of passion that is not preplanned. Having this warning gives the police time to swoop in and prevent the crime before it occurs, and arrest the would-be murderer, even though he or she didn’t actually commit the crime.

The twist in the story comes when the main cop character learns that, in upcoming days, he will commit a murder himself – a murder of someone he doesn’t even know. As the movie continues, a unique question is raised: If the seers actually saw the future, then they saw what will happen. But since the main character learned about what they saw in advance, then hasn’t something changed? Armed with this new information, shouldn’t he be able to change the future by simply choosing a different path?

Because he plays the hero in the story, the answer, of course, is “Yes.” Armed with the information, the cop had time to plan a different course of action, so, when the critical moment arrived, he did not commit the murder.

You, too, have the chance to plan a different course of action – to change what would likely occur if you were to let your natural behaviors run amok. But to accomplish that goal, you first must acquire the knowledge you will need to predict the future.

The Skeptic Becomes A Convert

Many years ago, I took a DISC behavioral profile as part of a research project to determine what makes a good salesperson. Grant Mazmanian, president of Pinnacle Group International, was conducting the study, and I was one of about 250 people he tested.

When I finished taking the exam, Grant processed it and sent me a copy, so I could learn from what it had to say. Being the skeptic that I am, as I read the report, I found myself saying, “This is just like reading a horoscope. Sure, a lot of it fits, but it would probably fit anyone.” As ironic as this may seem, one statement in the report actually summed up why I didn’t believe the report: “It may be hard to manipulate Gill.” So I read the report much like I would a daily horoscope – for the enjoyment factor alone – and promptly filed it away.

About three years later, because of a common client, I was given the opportunity to talk to Grant about my results. He and I spent about 45 minutes on the phone, during which he told me everything he could deduce from reading what my DISC evaluation had to say. Throughout the conversation, I found myself laughing at how accurate the profile was, but being naturally skeptical, I was still not entirely convinced of its value. Psychics and magicians are, after all, skilled at cold reading and manipulation. And it was possible the entire DISC evaluation had been carefully crafted with this sort of slight-of-hand involved.

Grant is a pretty smart guy, and I’m sure he knew I wasn’t convinced – especially considering the report told him I’d be a tough tree to sway. So, as we were wrapping up, Grant asked, “Before we hang up, would you like to hear about your wife’s profile?”

“But Cindy didn’t take your test,” I said with puzzlement in my voice.

“Cindy didn’t have to take the test,” Grant confidently replied. “I know exactly who you married, because guys like you always marry girls like her.”

I wish I had a recording of my response, so you could hear my cocky tone when I said, “Okay. Let’s see what you’ve got,” completely confident that I had him. I have never been predictable in my life, so this was going to be fun!

Then again, maybe I’m glad I don’t have that recording, because the next 10 minutes were humbling, and I’m not sure I want to relive them. Even though I was laughing out loud, as Grant described dozens of behavioral traits that fit Cindy to a tee, my laughter didn’t disguise the embarrassment I felt as he described exactly how predictable I am.

Even though it kills me to admit it, I am exactly that predictable. And even if DISC, MBTI, Kolbe or other evaluation tools aren’t perfect, I am now convinced that they have immense value, because they helped me to understand my own behavioral traits. Even if I merely saw myself in the DISC results, the process helped me articulate my behaviors out loud. So I can now take steps to change the behaviors that are getting in my way and leverage the behaviors that are helping me to succeed. (For instance, if I’d have known 30 years ago that girls like Cindy always marry guys like me, perhaps it wouldn’t have taken me more than seven years to convince her to go on our first date!)

The RIPS

No, “The RIPS” is not the name of a new band; it’s the name of my perfect, fictional sales team (although they have been known to occasionally sing at parties). There are four members of this team, each of whom has been selected because of different behavioral strengths. As is the case with any good team, no single team member has more importance than the others, because they all know that, to win, they must rely on one another and function as a group.

Allow me to introduce my dream sales team:

First, there’s Rachel Robot. Rachel is a great listener, perfectly organized and an implementer extraordinaire. Give her any task, and you can bet it will get finished and be fully documented. However, Rachel isn’t very clever, and she doesn’t do well with hypothetical situations, so don’t give her anything that isn’t spelled out in detail. Also, try not to leave Rachel alone at parties, because she’s not too comfortable in a crowd.

Second, meet Ignatius Inventor – “Iggy” for short. The most common saying about Iggy is “He’s always thinking.” If you’ve got a problem to solve, especially a complicated problem with challenging obstacles, Iggy’s the guy for you. As good as Iggy is at solving problems, however, he’s equally as scatterbrained. So when it comes to following through on commitments and completing tasks, Iggy needs help. It’s also a good idea to keep Iggy’s “back against the wall” at all times, because urgency brings out the best in him, and to reign him in occasionally, because Iggy loves taking risks.

Third, I’d like to introduce you to our team captain and the ultimate knowledge leader of our group, Patricia Prophet. Patricia knows everything there is about our products and services, and believes in them 100 percent. In fact, she can go head-to-head with anyone who says our stuff isn’t great – and will win the argument every time. One thing to keep in mind about Patricia, however, is that she sometimes lets her passion get in the way, so she often talks when she should be listening. And Patricia really doesn’t care whether you agree with what she has to say, which can occasionally cause problems with prospects, customers – even the rest of our team.

And last but not least, meet Sammy Schmoozer – the life of every party. Do you remember the line from the “Cheers” theme song “Where everybody knows your name”? Well, if everyone knowing our company name is the lock, then Sammy is the key. That’s not to say Sammy doesn’t have his problems, however, because there are a couple of biggies. First, he often overpromises what our company can do, and that puts a huge burden on everyone else. Second, trying to get Sammy to fill out paperwork is like trying to get water out of a rock, which ticks off Rachel, because she’s anal-retentive about keeping track of what works and what doesn’t.

Robot, Inventor, Prophet and Schmoozer (The RIPS). Each has strengths that are required for achieving success at selling, and each has weaknesses that will get in the way. But by working together, supporting one another and keeping each other accountable, The RIPS close 10 times more sales as a team than the four members could alone.

Granted, my fictional team could be made up of different players with different character combinations spread out in different ways. But for purposes of this chapter, we’ll stick with the RIPS.

Can Anyone Become Great At Selling?

You may as well call me Iggy, because I’m the inventor at heart. As I said in the opening to this chapter, I am not a natural salesman. In fact, of the 250 people Grant tested in his study of what makes a good salesperson, I was one of the 14 anomalies who did not fit the model he identified. So, if my natural behavioral style is that of a scatterbrain, who doesn’t follow through on commitments and never finishes projects, how have I had a successful 40 years in sales?

A movie character can change his future if he learns in advance he is about to make a mistake – that knowledge arms him with the information he needs to avoid that mistake. The RIPS are an incredible sales team, because they know one another’s strengths and weaknesses and do whatever it takes to make sure weaknesses don’t cost them sales.

I’ve had a successful sales career, because I know where I’ll excel, and I know where I’ll fall flat on my face – which allows me to make conscious choices to change my future by not letting my weaknesses get in the way.

Anyone can become a top salesperson, but only by understanding himself or herself and applying what he or she learns. Much of what I know about myself comes from real-world experiences over time. But it wasn’t until my conversation with Grant that I realized how much time I had wasted. He told me in one hour what it had taken me 25 years to learn on my own.

To change your future, and achieve success at selling, face the reality of who you are. Gain an understanding of the raw material, then apply what you learn to create your own dream sales “team” – either by forming a true sales team or by outsourcing that at which you do not excel.

I Know Who I Am – Now What?

I hope you noticed that each member of The RIPS has certain strengths that are critical to sales. Specifically, those strengths are:

  • Robot: Great implementer. Listens carefully. Gets the job done. Highly organized. Anal-retentive with record-keeping and tracking results.
  • Inventor: Innovative puzzle-solver and total risk-taker. Great at figuring out new ways to penetrate markets or gather information. Views every obstacle as a challenge. Persistent at finding solutions – almost to a fault.
  • Prophet: Zealot when it comes to believing in the product or service. Never afraid to take a stand or voice an opinion. Great at debate. Has a clear grasp of the big picture while knowing all the details. 
  • Schmoozer: Glad-hander supreme and the life of every party. Gregarious and comfortable in a crowd. Remembers every face and name.

When you examine yourself closely, determine which of these descriptions fits you best, and which fits you least. If you could be absolutely natural – with no pressure from society – where would your strengths lie? Rank them in percentages, where the four numbers add up to 100 percent. For example, if I ranked my natural strengths, they would look like this:

  • Robot: 2 percent
  • Inventor: 70 percent
  • Prophet: 20 percent
  • Schmoozer: 8 percent

While natural tendencies don’t change much over time, people still adapt to situations with which they’re presented. So in analyzing yourself, bear in mind that the way you behave may be different to your natural style. As someone with a natural robot trait ranking at only 2 percent, I’m at risk for getting nothing done. However, I’ve learned the hard way that I need to keep my horns down on rote, repetitive tasks, or all my ideas for solving puzzles will go to waste. 

But keeping my horns down on those tasks goes against my natural tendencies, so I’ve implemented various techniques to ensure that the stuff I start gets finished. For instance, I sold this book as part of a training program before it was written, specifically so I’d have a deadline to meet. (I really don’t enjoy giving back money, so, by preselling the book as part of a scheduled course, I virtually guaranteed that I’d finish it.) I’ve also surrounded myself with a support team – people who hold me accountable to my commitments and who do the robotic tasks I hate.

Natural Verses Modified

After listing your natural strengths using The RIPS as a benchmark, list them again, but account for the modifications you’ve made over time. What changes have I made? I’d put my rankings as follows:

  • Robot: 10 percent
  • Inventor: 45 percent
  • Prophet: 25 percent
  • Schmoozer: 20 percent

Actually, to be fair, I’d probably lump inventor and prophet together and call it a flat 70 percent, because it’s totally situational. When I’m faced with a problem, I’m all Iggy, but once the problem is solved, I become Patricia Prophet.

By the way, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that self-analysis can be very difficult, and that it’s something you should never stop doing. It wasn’t until my conversation with Grant – three months shy of my turning 44 – that I finally realized where my strengths are and come to value these types of tests. From that day forward, I knew I’d be an idiot if my primary roles were anything other than solving puzzles and announcing the solutions to the world. Looking back over my career, from residential remodeling to computer programming to sales consulting, I have always been happiest when I had a puzzle to solve and an audience that would listen. (I can’t believe it took me 25 years to solve that puzzle!)

Creating Your Perfect RIPS Sales Team

Carefully analyze any top business producer, and you’ll find all four members of The RIPS on his or her team – even if it’s a team of only one. Whether these people used behavioral analysis, or simply acquired knowledge over time, they have each leveraged their strengths and shored up their weaknesses, so their teams include traits from the robot, inventor, prophet and schmoozer.

Based on the self-analysis you’ve done to this point, you should have a clearer understanding of the traits you have and the traits you lack. Your mission then, should you choose to accept it, is to determine your available resources, so you can create a plan to improve over time.

Determine Your Resources

If you’re part of a company with a large sales team, then by default you have a host of resources into which you can tap, because everyone at the company should have basically similar goals: “to do what is best for the company so we can keep our jobs, have financial security and move forward in our careers.” (Since you want to achieve success at selling, I’m going to assume you have similar goals, and that you care about the company’s success.)

If you apply the normal curve to this statement about goals, then a few of your colleagues will share them exactly, a few will oppose them and everyone else will be in the middle.

  • On The Right End: About 10 percent of your comrades share your goals and beliefs strongly. Make it your mission in life to find these people, because they, above everyone else, will help you in your quest to achieve success at selling. I can’t tell you who they are, but I can tell you that you’ll know them when you see them. (Listen to that hair on the back of your neck, and you’ll do just fine.) Once you find these people, use the Visceral Trust interview to learn about them – their career goals, their personal goals and their behavioral traits. Then figure out a win-win scenario in which you can help them, and they can help you. Start with the people who excel at the things where you’re weak.
  • On The Left End: About 10 percent of your comrades couldn’t care less about the company or these goals. The good thing about these people is they are so consistent in their negative behavior, they are easy to spot, and it’s easy to predict how they’ll behave over time. Find them, and determine if and how they can be detrimental to your success. Create plans to minimize their negative impact, and implement the plans. In creating your plans, be certain to answer two questions: 
    1. How can I keep [Name]’s likely actions from hurting me?
    2. How can I leverage [Name]’s likely actions to improve my position?
  • In The Middle: About 80 percent of your comrades will rank from complacent to mildly enthusiastic about the company and these goals. If you can’t quickly tell that a person is on the left or right end, then it’s likely he or she is in the middle. Don’t put much effort into creating a plan to leverage relationships with these people, until you’ve finished with the folks on the other two ends, because, by the time you’re done with the others, you probably won’t need help from those in the middle.

Every person at your company, from the chairperson to the intern, is a potential resource for filling one of the roles on your sales team. Yes, even the current top business producer is a great place to start, because many top people love the ego boost they get from helping guide others to success.


Exercise: List And Analyze Your Resources

Start by thinking through the key people at your company – the ones who can have the greatest impact, positively or negatively, on your success – then follow that with a list of your peers, subordinates and support personnel:

  • Your boss 
  • C-level executives – CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, etc.
  • Vice presidents and department directors (especially for marketing, fulfillment, operations, information technology and procurement)
  • The top business producer at your company
  • Other salespeople
  • Pay-grade peers in other departments
  • Your subordinates (if you have any)
  • The receptionist
  • Gatekeepers (assistants of high-ranking executives)

I asked you to pay particular attention to the Marketing, Fulfillment, Operations and Information Technology departments, because those departments can all positively or negatively influence your success. (Think about the crappy computer you might be given, if you don’t get along with the IT director.) As for the Procurement department, use it as a resource for two things: 

  1. Procurement staff members are professional buyers, and you need to know how professional buyers think, so ask them to tell you.
  2. Have you ever considered that your top prospects might have salespeople who want to sell to your company? What do you suppose might happen if you and a salesperson from the other company set up a four-person lunch that included both company procurement directors? Or better yet, if you both sell to CFOs, how about getting the two financial wizards to join you? 

Once you have created your resource list, answer the following four questions about each person (use speed-writing techniques and your best guesses, and let the brainstorm blow):

  1. Is [Name] on the left end, right end or in the middle of the normal curve when it comes to wanting to do what is best for the company?
  2. What are [Name]’s three strongest and three weakest traits?
  3. From [Name]’s perspective, how would [he/she] benefit the most from helping me become the top business producer?
  4. From [Name]’s perspective, how would [he/she] be negatively affected if I became the top business producer?

For any person whom you don’t know well enough to answer the questions, figure out a way to get to know him or her better. Once your questions are answered, determine which of these people is most likely to assist you in your efforts to reach the number one spot. Brainstorm together on ideas for collaborating in a way that will generate wins for you and wins for that person.

You might want to start by asking several people to each have a one-hour meeting with you – maybe you could buy them lunch. Tell them that you’re trying to shore up your own weaknesses, and you’d like their advice on how to best accomplish that goal. (People love to offer advice, so asking for it is always a great way to leverage company resources to create your team.)


Mentor/Protégé

Two of the most effective ways to learn anything are to rely on a mentor you trust and respect, and find a protégé you can help. And in many cases, the latter is more effective, because mentoring requires a lot of writing – especially e-mail – and putting your opinions in writing is a powerful way to crystallize your thinking on any subject. So, to shorten your path to the number one spot, find someone you can mentor, and find someone who will mentor you.

Strategy

Here is a strategy for building the mentor/protégé relationships you can leverage to achieve success at selling. As with all preplanned strategies, you must have a sincere desire to both help and be helped, or you will be seen as manipulative in your efforts to create these relationships. Remember, it’s perfectly acceptable to have ulterior motives, provided achieving those motives does not come at the expense of one of the people who helped you along the way.

  1. Find a protégé of your own – a rookie perhaps – and see whether he or she wants a mentor.
  2. As soon as you find your protégé (“Sam”), select the highest-ranking person at your company who you believe would help you in your mission to achieve success selling.
  3. Tell your preferred mentor the truth: “As you know, Sam is a new salesperson here, and he has a long way to go to achieve his goals. He and I talked yesterday, and I’ve agreed to mentor him, so he can accomplish those goals faster. My problem is, to help Sam as much as possible, I may need some help myself. Since you’re the top salesperson here, I was wondering whether you’d be willing to mentor me, so I can be a better mentor to Sam?” (Then, with a bit of a chuckle and a gleam in my eye, I would add, “Of course, if you teach me all your tricks, you can count on my using them to try to take over the number one spot!” But humor is one of my strengths, so …)

The truly interesting and wonderful thing about highly successful people is they tend to want to help others. I’ve actually met only one or two in my life who would refuse to share all their secrets with someone who sincerely wants to learn. So don’t be afraid to be the person who requests the help your top business producer will probably be glad to give.

Teaming With Others

Other salespeople at your company have different strengths than you, so get to know them, and consider putting together a targeted prospecting and marketing campaign in which each of you performs tasks suited to your personal strengths.

  1. Select your teammates based on their behavioral styles and their willingness to collaborate.
  2. Assemble as a group to determine your assets. (Who excels at cold-calling? Who is the best writer? Who speaks in public well?)
  3. Brainstorm a marketing campaign that leverages individual strengths, and that will be implemented during a specified time period. Rely on your Iggy to lead this session, and on your Rachel to take notes.
  4. Outline a task list. Assign tasks to teammates based on strengths. Schedule the tasks and determine accountability guidelines.
  5. Figure out a compensation model that will work for everyone, so that every sale benefits the entire team. Get the sales manager involved in this step, because he or she may have some unique ideas. (Besides, demonstrating your leadership ability to your boss is always a great idea.) If a compensation model won’t work, consider targeting an equal number of prospects in each salesperson’s area, and letting the chips fall where they may.

Organizing a team can be a lot of work, but the right team can produce many more sales as a group than the same individuals could collectively produce on their own, so it’s usually worth the effort. And, once you’ve gone through the process from beginning to end, subsequent campaigns become much easier to organize and implement. Besides that, learning how to lead people on your team will serve you well when you find yourself in a sales situation where you’re face to face with a team of people who are deciding whether they trust you.

Creating A Virtual Team

What if you don’t have a team of salespeople to help you? How can you still achieve success at selling? Other than when it’s been part of solving a sales puzzle, I haven’t made a cold-call (an uninvited telephone call to see whether a prospect wants what I’m selling) in about three years, because forcing myself to implement a repetitive task is worse than getting a tooth pulled. That doesn’t mean, however, I don’t have cold-calling as part of my overall strategy for finding new clients, especially when I’ve created a new service or program. It simply means that I recognize this type of repetitive task is not a strength of mine, so I’ve delegated the task to others.

Literally hundreds of great salespeople have recognized that their strengths are similar to Rachel Robot’s – they’re great at implementing repetitive tasks – and have started their own telemarketing companies. Many of them have very reasonable fees, and most are willing to use whatever style of cold-calling you prefer, and whatever offers you provide. You can find them on the Internet quickly using any of the top search engines.

If you want to become the best salesperson possible, then you must think like a top business producer: No obstacle is too big to overcome, and no idea is too ludicrous to consider. I know many salespeople who would never consider paying a telemarketer to dial the phone. In fact, when I suggest the subject, I often get a response such as, “I suggested hiring telemarketers to my boss, but she refused to pay for it, because she’s already paying me to find those leads myself.”

Bottom line, your boss may be absolutely right. It is quite possible that he or she is already paying you to identify leads and close business, and paying someone else to do part of your job is not your company’s responsibility – it’s yours! So think outside the box a bit – think like a business owner instead of an employee – and create a plan to outsource your cold-calling, if that’s an area of weakness. Find someone who will help, then do the math. If paying this person to find your leads makes financial (and emotional) sense, then get to it.

Let’s face it. If you’re getting paid commissions, then you’re basically a business owner of sorts anyway, because if you don’t produce a result, you don’t get paid. So, if you’re a virtual business owner anyway, why not act like a business owner should?

What external resources can you leverage to find and close more business while producing a positive return on your investment?

Until you take the time to answer that question, you’ll never know how good the answer is. 

Acquiring That Which You Do Not Have

So you’ve learned all about yourself, and found company personnel who can help you accomplish your goals. You’ve built your internal version of The RIPS, and designed and implemented your targeted marketing campaign. And you’ve outsourced those tasks that aren’t strengths for any member of your team.

Now what?

The answer to that is simple, and is, in part, the reason I know you’ll be successful at becoming the top business producer at your company. By buying and reading this book, you’ve committed to educating yourself, and that is the most important key to accomplishing any goal you set.

That which doesn’t grow, dies, so never stop learning and never stop stretching your wings. One by one, over time, tackle your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Eventually, you’ll not only have the best sales system you could ever want, you’ll be adept and comfortable at implementing every aspect of it by yourself.

The Other Side – Understanding Your Prospects

In Chapter 2, I discussed gaining control by giving up control, where you focus on learning how your prospects are likely to behave and then changing your methods to meet what you learn. In Chapters 3 and 4, I covered interviewing prospects to better learn about them, and influencing them by communicating simply and clearly.

So far in this chapter, you’ve learned how to analyze yourself to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and how to use what you learn to change your future for the better.

The final piece of the puzzle is to apply what you’ve learned about human behavior to better predict your prospects’ behavior, and be more successful than ever at securing appointments and closing deals.

Getting In: Why So Many Experts Disagree

Alan Weiss, author of “Million Dollar Consulting,” claims that writing articles and books, as well as speaking in public, is the absolute best way to make millions, and that “hunter” methods, like cold-calling and cold-letter writing, simply will not work.

Anthony Parinello, author of “Selling To VITO,” says the surefire way to reach decision-makers is to send cold-letters, then follow up with phone calls and voice-mail messages that mention your letters. He also says that cold-calling executives without first sending the letters is a waste of time.

Jacques Werth, author of “High Probability Selling,” claims that cold-calling is the lifeblood of sales, that you are wasting your time leaving voice-mail messages, and that you should never mention previously sent material when following up on the phone.

Each of these guys is an authority in his field. Each has achieved great levels of success using his methods. All have my admiration for what they’ve achieved and my respect for their insights. But because of the conflicting opinions, I’m left wondering who is right.

Your Prospects Are Right

Your prospects hold the answer to that question. And, just as the experts have a wide variety of opinions, so shall your prospects have a wide variety of answers.

From Fortune 100 decision-makers to one-horse entrepreneurs:

  • Some of your prospects will refuse to take unscreened phone calls, won’t open their own mail, won’t have time to attend speaking gigs and will leave the reading of how-to stuff to their subordinates. (Try the country club golf course if you want to talk with these executives.)
  • Some of your prospects will answer their own phones but won’t open their own mail, and haven’t attended a speaking gig or read a how-to article in 30 years.
  • Some of your prospects will have their gatekeepers screen all phone calls and voice-mail, will enjoy opening their own mail and wouldn’t attend a speaking gig or read a how-to article if you paid them.
  • Some of your prospects won’t accept a phone call or letter from anyone they don’t know, but will read like maniacs and will love listening to experts at association meetings, conferences and company events. 
  • Some of your prospects will love getting cold-calls, will love opening mail, will read everything they can get their hands on and will attend every expert speech they can find. (I call them “tire kickers,” because their failing is they never buy anything.) 

My point is, no one thing works with all prospects, and no one thing fails with all prospects either. Getting appointments with the highest number of decision-makers possible is not about choosing one method and following it ad nauseam, it’s about implementing multiple methods and figuring out which method works best for each prospect or group.

To achieve maximum prospect response, your marketing plan must incorporate strategies that appeal to the variety of prospects to whom you are trying to sell. I chose the three experts above, because, by combining their methods into one integrated plan, anyone can achieve maximum prospect response.

The [Your Name Here] Sales System: Raw Material

In your mission to improve yourself, you must understand the raw material – yours and everyone else’s – then leverage what you learn to change your future. Key steps to creating The [Your Name Here] Sales System are:

  • Learn About Yourself: Use the many behavioral profiling systems available.
  • The RIPS: Determine your strengths and weaknesses as they pertain to the many aspects of marketing and sales.
  • Mentor/Protégé: Learn from experts, and learn by being the expert.
  • Internal Teams: Leverage the power of coworkers to produce more sales.
  • Virtual Team: Outsource that which you do poorly.
  • Educate Yourself: Never stop learning.
  • Getting In: Match your marketing methods to the desires of your prospects.

Three great tools for coming to understand yourself and others are: DISC, MBTI and Kolbe. (The skeptic in me understands that none of these have enough evidence to create scientific consensus of their effectiveness. But the utilitarian in me also understands that there is value in taking the tests and discussing them with experts, because you will put into words what you already know about yourself.)

Everything you need to become the best salesperson possible is available within you or within others. If you study the raw material, you can learn how to use it to its fullest and learn how to keep it from hindering your success.

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