sales advice

How to deal with competitors

I used to hate my competitors. I absolutely loathed them. They were taking money out of my pocket…how dare they???!?!??

A few years ago, one of my coworkers went to go work for the competition and I was stunned. How could they? They were the enemy! We talked about it and it turned out Greg got any opportunity he had been waiting years for…it just so happened it was with a different company.

Greg explained to me why he made the decision and a light bulb went off in my head.

I had prided myself on my loyalty and loved my company, but it was eye opening for a naive boy from Pittsburgh.

I realized then, that instead of looking at competitors with contempt, I should, rather, admire them for what they’ve been able to accomplish and in ways that they are better than me.

Every company has issues…it’s how you deal with those issues that sets you apart from the pack.

The next time your competition beats you…don’t get mad. Instead use it as a learning experience and work on becoming better yourself.

sales advice

To Sell More….Talk Less

Almost every sales person I’ve ever met talks a lot. I don’t just mean a lot, I mean they talk too much.

In sales, the customer wants to be the focus of the deal. The customer wants to be the focus of the conversation. The customer wants to be the focus of the relationship. When a sales person comes in and all they do is talk about themselves, it turns off the buyer. BECAUSE, it’s not about you! It’s about them!

Think about your last buying experience and think about a sales pro that really made you feel good about yourself. Was it because they told you what they had for dinner last night? Or how many countries they’ve been to? Or was it because they asked you questions and were honestly, genuinely, interested in you?

I don’t have the gift of gab. I don’t talk too much. Quite frankly, there are times when I don’t talk enough. But I’m genuinely interested in other people’s lives and experiences to where I have an easy time building and fostering relationships. It’s not because I don’t talk too much, but that helps. It’s because I want to know my customer’s likes and dislikes, cares and worries, what they do for fun, and how I can serve them.

If you want to sell more, you need to learn to talk less, listen more, and have a genuine interest in your customer’s life, goals, and company.

sales advice

How to use golf to make sales

Golf is an awesome relationship building tool and can facilitate making friends for a long time. Here’s how to use golf to make sales for the long haul.

Verify your customers coming the morning of and then get to the course early and pay for their rounds before they get there. Buy your customers either entire box of logoed of balls if you have the budget or even a sleeve of logoed balls will suffice. The logoed balls creates a memory of the course for the customers as most customers want to save the ball with a logo. Make sure you have access to their range if they have one and make sure you hit a few on the range. Keep it light and loose on the range and don’t hit too many balls. You only have so many good shots during the day.

When you start, gauge your customer’s interest on placing a wager….something like a wager on par threes, birdies are worth money, etc. This is not necessary, but usually adds an element of fun.

I’ve never purposefully lost to a customer. I’ve been beaten a bunch but I never purposefully lose. But, I’ve played with guys that beat me and had a great time watching them do it and I’ve also been beaten by guys who take a little too much pleasure in it….In other words, if you are beating your customer, try not to make it obvious and don’t do anything that will make them think you’re a jagoff like rubbing it in their face or telling them you’re the greatest golfer ever.

I never mention work/sales/business for at least the first nine holes. 100% of the time I’ve golfed with customers, they brought up business before I felt it was necessary. When they bring up your company is the time for you to explain your business, how you can help them, and then ask a few probing questions like, “what is your biggest challenge with the equipment you rent at your refinery?” or “‘if we were able to manage your inventory would that solve your problem?”

Feed your customers well at the turn and continue on the round. Make sure you give them a firm handshake at the end and offer to buy them lunch or dinner in the clubhouse if you have time. If you don’t have time to buy them lunch make sure you establish the next step whether it’s getting them a formal proposal or setting another meeting.

The most important thing about golfing with the customer is to have fun with them and develop that relationship. If they like you, they will buy from you. It might not happen at first, but don’t give up!

sales advice

On the way home from the Hospital with your new baby, open a 529 plan

A 529 plan is an investment vehicle that you can put after tax dollars in for your child’s education.

For example, you take $1,000 from your checking account and open a 529, pick a mutual fund, and that money grows TAX-FREE until your child needs it.

It was originally made to be a savings plan for college but can also be used for private school before college.

Why is this amazing? Well, your money grows TAX-FREE! When you need that money, you don’t pay any TAXES! That is the amazing part!

Here’s another amazing part….most states will give you a TAX-BREAK for opening a 529! I put $1800 in my son’s 529 in 2018 and got approximately a $200 tax break. That’s about an 11% return on my money immediately.

What if you put too money in your 529 (that would be a heluva an awesome problem to have)? Well, you can use that money for your other kids.

What if I don’t have kids? Consider yourself lucky, but the 529 doesn’t apply to you.

Trust me, your future self will thank your current self profusely if you use your commission to open a 529 plan instead of blowing it on a 40 year old boat.

sales advice

Don’t Buy A Lifted Truck with Rims!

Don’t buy a bad-ass truck with rims!!!  It’s tempting, though.  You get a nice commission check, whatever that number may be, and you want to start balling in a lifted, diesel, F250….with blacked-out rims.  Man, they’re nice.  I got a bunch of buddies with lifted trucks, leather interior, platinum edition….but most of the time, it’s a dumb-ass decision.

If you get a commission where you can buy your truck for cash is one thing, but getting a commission just to make a down payment in order to pay off your truck in 72 months is downright stupid.

Take care of your self first, and by that I mean pay off your credit cards, get a stockpile of cash for the inevitable firing/layoff/next opportunity or even start paying off your mortgage.

Some people like to think that a sales pro that has a bunch of debt and payments hanging over their head will work harder to make ends meet.  I say a sales rep with a bunch of cash who wants even more cash and doesn’t have the added worry of making too many payments is going to be your best rep.  Not having debt takes away an extra unnecessary worry.

I’ve gone both ways…I bought some stuff (boat, truck, even an airplane) I shouldn’t have and other times put the money in the bank.  That big bank statements looks a hell of a lot better than blacked-out rims.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton