Hunting Big Sales with Tom Searcy

There are No Guarantees on the Path to Success

Speaking with Daniel Waldschmidt, author of “EDGY Conversations” is very much like drinking from a fire hose. His high energy and direct style have given him international success as an entrepreneur, investor, adviser, and now author. I had a chance to speak with him to get his perspective on what leaders need to do to be effective. Here are a few of his key ideas:

  • The old road map to success is broken. Waldschmidt believes that the old road map to success– get a degree, work hard, and success follows–is broken. For him, this represents a model that is a false promise. The vast majority who have followed this model have fallen well short of their dreams and their potential. The core problem is the principle that “doing” is the key rather than “being.” “Doing” is a prescription of activities, while “being” is about embodying your goals and drive. For him, establishing a clearer picture of who and what you are and what your intentional life outcomes are needs to come first. The road map changes as your life changes and there are no guarantees. It is the drive from your being that gives you what is necessary to adapt and succeed.
  • There is still time to change the road you are on. For people who realize they are trapped in an activity-based mindset, they need to break that mindset through being brutally honest about who they are with themselves. One way to do that is through intentional quiet moments of reflection.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Inc.com.

How to Read Any Business Book In an Hour or Less

I want to teach you a system for rapidy reading business books. It’s something that has helped me a lot over the course of my career. I learned the basics from my great mentor and friend, Dr. Tom Hill, and have made my own modifications. By following this system, I am able to read 100 business books per year and keep current on many of the best thinkers’ ideas and approaches.

Like most people, time is a constant challenge for me. I have young children, an active social life, I workout, as well as spending time on the road building a business that is growing every year. Toss in broader family obligations and a commitment to my church and it is very difficult for me to find time to read. You probably feel the same way. Here is the key secret: Almost every business book can be read completely–and with strong comprehension–in less than one hour as long as you have a system.

A couple of guidelines:

  • Business books are often written in an easy-to-digest format. They have internal outlining, call-out boxes, diagrams, and end-of-chapter summaries to aid readers in consuming the book material quickly. This is a huge help.
  • Many business books are broken into thirds. The first third focuses on the context and core ideas, the second third provides an application, and the final third give examples and case studies.
  • Your mind will not remember more than 3-5 highly influential ideas from any business book within about a week.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Inc.com.

Weekly Tip: Playing Like You Have Nothing to Lose

Playing Like You Have Nothing to Lose

“So, I figure, I’ve got nothing to lose, so I just tell the guy….”

So many of the re-telling of winning sales calls start with a variation of the opening above as told by the sales person. We all have a story like this in our history, if not many. What happens in the shift from our initial approach to the “nothing to lose” approach?

  • We play guarded until we realize we are losing, then we drop our pretense and get to the real information, unfiltered and without its political correctness.
  • When we have nothing to lose, we become more natural and treat the other party as a peer, not as a superior.
  • We shorten up the entire conversation to its raw essence – the few things that really make a difference to that prospect from our perspective and experience.
Interesting Image

You can start your conversations like this rather than have to play come-from-behind. Here’s what to do:

Write out your, “If I were you…” statement in advance. When you start speaking from that angle, you have mentally moved yourself into a position of peer and adviser, making your commentary more valuable. You may not choose to say it in that way, but you will have the tone and terms set.

The nothing to lose approach works because it is raw, real and usually framed from what is in the buyer’s best interest. It’s easy to see why it works.

Posted by Katelyn Marando in Weekly Tips.

How One Word Can Help Change Your Life

My wife is a scrapbooker. She has done some amazing projects of our family. Thanks to her scrapbooking, we have a remarkable record of our lives and some interesting insights. As a creative person, she also takes on projects such as the One Word project.

The One Word project challenges a person to select one word and then track his or her life in relevance to that word for one year. Pictures, quotes, and events that reflect that word are then captured into a scrapbook for an entire year. What I like about the One Word project is its singularity. It causes you to choose an area of intense concentration and awareness. With that one frame of reference for performance, I believe that you can make real change in your life by awareness and practice.

For my own 2014 One Word project, I am considering a number of candidate words. My goal will be to look for examples, take pictures, and capture quotes and interactions that reflect the highest quality of that one word. Here are some candidates that I’m considering. They may be good candidates for you as well if you chose to take on the One Word project:

  • Focus–Try to limit the list of things that will receive your attention and time. So much of our work is squeezed in between the interruptions of our lives. What would a focused life look like? I see athletes, parents, inventors, and other great exemplars of focus accomplish amazing things. Focus is part exclusion and part attention.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Inc.com.

How Important Is Money to Your Sales Team?

We recently evaluated a sales team on how they felt about money by using a standardized test. A big part of the test was to determine each individual’s sense of worthiness of money and how their thinking patterns compared to the thinking patterns of people in various income brackets.

The sales people who believed themselves worthy of money had the same patterns of thinking of people in higher income brackets and were statistically kicking the heck out of their peers in sales. Combined with observations made by their direct supervisors, a picture emerged of people who discussed money, price, and value with the same natural confidence as weather, sports, and traffic.

Another group of people emerged from our study–self-saboteurs. These were people on performance plans, (HR code for “on the way out the door”), who often had a big disparity between how much they made (high), and the way they were wired to think about money (low). We noticed that if someone has the thought patterns of a $50,000/year earner and is making $100,000/year, they start to implode. Those people do not feel they deserve to be at the income level they are and so they do things that will get them back to where they believe they should be.

So, what does this mean for sales people and executives who hire sales people?

Being candid, my experience with thousands of sales people has taught me to look for certain thought patterns in sales people. Those who have them are more likely, though not guaranteed, to be more successful.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Inc.com.

5 Tricks to Avoid Being Interrupted

Ask sales people and executives what they could use more of and most would simply ask for uninterrupted time. Time to write proposals, create strategy, read important documents, and, God forbid, THINK. The most precious of our talents, our ability to make decisions and choices, is often negatively impacted by the urgency of others. When I ask people what they like about travelling for their jobs, no one says, “The airport food is SOOOO good!” or “It’s the luxury of it all…” or “It’s relaxing.” Instead, the answer that I get is, “I get so much done because I am uninterrupted.” Of all of the ways to get time with your own mind and creativity, few are as exhausting and inefficient as travel, yet that is what is most valued. There has to be a better way to get the time needed to meet with one of your best counselors…YOU.

Here are a few recommendations for getting uninterrupted time:

  1. Go to Your Study Nook–You can’t stay uninterrupted if you leave yourself in a high-interruption zone, namely your office or cubicle. Move. When you were in school, you probably found a study nook for when you were preparing a paper or for a test. You need that nook now more than then. Some use a Starbucks or other coffee houses. The only problem is that if you become a regular, then you have a new set of interrupters. The point is, find a place that you can get heads-down work successfully completed and book yourself that time and space.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Inc.com.

Weekly Tip: Top Blogs of 2013

2013 was a year of change for many businesses and industries. To take a look back, I wanted to provide you with my top 5 most read blogs of the last year. I thought they would be helpful for you to reflect and review as you step into the New Year. Enjoy!

 

Most Viewed Blogs of 2013

1. 7 Ways to Ensure Your Emails Get Read

2. 3 Ways to Start Every Day Better

3. Does Your Business Need a Sequester?

4. 6 Ways to Reach Top Decision Makers

5. A New Approach to Annual Performance Reviews

Posted by Katelyn Marando in Weekly Tips.

Why 2014 Is Going to Be a Great Year for Sales

I am so glad to have the doom and gloom of the past 4-5 years behind us. And yes, frankly, I do believe it is behind us and that 2014 is going to be a great year for sales. Let me point to a few positive indicators:

1.    Greater Certainty=Bigger Buyers

In the marketplace, few things slow down economic growth like uncertainty. Regulatory, legislative, and policy chaos created a paralysis in the marketplace. The headlines all had businesses asking themselves questions like:

-       What will Obamacare mean to my company, costs, and employees?

-       What will the impact of Sequestration mean?

-       Will the government be able to work through budget issues or will their be a shutdown?

-       What will the Fed do?

-       How will international hot spots affect my customers, supply chain, and revenue?

-       What the heck about Europe and their economic stability?

Not all of these issues are answered, but many companies and buyers have greater clarity about how they are going to address these big influences. For that reason, they are moving out of paralysis and moving forward.

2.    Housing starts are dramatically up

No surprise to anyone, housing is a big economic driver. Predictions are that new housing starts will double from where they were in 2009 to more than one million starts. As per the Census Bureau, housing starts increased 18 percent in 2013 compared to 2012 figures. This engine gives expansive confidence to the marketplace and confidence means more likelihood to purchase.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Inc.com.

8 Traits of Great Sales People

I recently performed an audit for a mid-sized company in which I examinined their sales staff against a standardized assessment test as well as their performance data. The results may confirm some of the things you already know, but there were some surprises. Here is a brief recap of the analysis.

When you look at the qualities of the great sales representatives for non-transactional sales–those sales that are larger and more complex in nature–they tend to share the following traits:

  1. They assume parity with their customers–There is an imaginary hierarchy that average and poor-performing sales people place between themselves and their prospects. It includes head-trash like, “The customer is always right,” and “You’re the customer so you’re the boss.” The data says that the top sales representatives see themselves as problem-solvers worthy of equal respect with their customers. Respect always, deference rarely.
  2. They are comfortable talking about money–This quality often starts back in the home in which they were raised and the beliefs that were held there about money. If there was a belief that money was a rare and precious thing to be horded or feared, then it shows up with a fundamental discomfort in discussing large numbers. Individuals that look at money as a measure of value, not as a number outside of personal grasp, typically do better in sales.
  3. They challenge the decision-maker–The best sales representatives have a strong confidence in their understanding of the customer’s market and their own solution–enough so that they are comfortable challenging inaccurate statements made by the customer.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Inc.com.

How to Get People to Answer Your Call

I love Jean. She’s a salesperson extraordinaire employed by one of my great clients. Every call or email from her is a double shot of espresso to my spirit. We all have a Jean in our lives–the opposite of the “soul sucking oxygen vampires” I wrote about in a recent post. They give so much more than they take–and that’s why her call gets answered or returned no matter where I am or what I am doing. And I’m not the only one. Jean usually gets responses from whomever she contacts. Her approach is simple, but it is so effective. Over the course of dozens of contacts, I think I have figured out why. Here are the things Jean does well:

  1. Set time expectations–”Do you have just 3 minutes for a quick one, I really need your help on this.” Now I know it won’t be three minutes, but I do know that I can tell her I’m slammed and need to connect later, or I can take the call always being able to tell Jean that we have to wrap it up.
  2. Re-connect first and fast–Every call starts with an “I was thinking of you the other day when I was at…” and a very short story putting me in the picture with Jean.
  3. Give before you ask–She then gives me a boost to my spirit, “Something you said in the past stuck in my mind, and it was…..” and then she tells me why it was important and helpful.

Posted by Tom Searcy in Inc.com.