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Small Changes Can Produce Big Results

Your salespeople will not learn from their failures if they either ignore the mistakes or if they wallow in them for too long.

Mindset Training can be big and all encompassing, rewiring all your brain circuits from the past, present, and into the future. But it can also be small and incremental; what I call the 5 percent solution. Your sales team can learn to change their thoughts and thereby their feelings by enacting small, positive changes, which will lead to changes in their actions and, ultimately, their business and sales results. Let me share with you some easy-to-implement, stress-free baby steps. 

Often multimillion-dollar service companies hire me to go on sales calls with their employees to improve their percentages. One of the things I watch for is how the salesperson reacts when the sales call is NOT successful. Does she quickly put the experience behind her and focus on the next call? Does he ruminate repeatedly, asking himself over and over what he did wrong and why was he so stupid? Or does the salesperson quickly analyze the call, identify the one small change he could make and strive to improve 5 percent in that thing on the very next call? This is the most effective reaction to an error or mistake made during a sales call— the 5 percent solution.

Your salespeople will not learn from their failures if they either ignore the mistakes or if they wallow in them for too long. The most productive sales professionals I know look to the obvious areas for improvement and try to do incrementally better right away; 5 percent better. It’s not daunting, and everyone feels up to the task.

This is something you can teach your salespeople to do yourself, whether you ride with them on sales calls or talk about it in your sales meetings. The goal is to quickly identify the obvious mistake, then create a planned activity to improve that area on the next sales call by 5 percent. Now, 5 percent is not much, and the sales professional will often and easily improve by a much larger amount, but it is an achievable goal to target.

First, look for the most obvious reason the call was not successful instead of agonizing for hours or days on the cause. If you hear a clip-clop coming down the street, odds are it is horse hooves, not a flying saucer missing the landing and skipping like a stone down Main street. No matter where you live, there could be mounted police, carriage rides, or equestrians headed to a parade. So go for the obvious source of the problem.

If, for example, both homeowners were not present as agreed to, and the salesperson displayed irritation at her wasted time, and then the homeowners cancelled the bid process altogether, chances are good that that little flash of irritation is what put them off. 

On the very next call, the salesperson can have a better game plan if one spouse was called away because of an emergency. Just reschedule the call, and find some way to interact positively with the remaining spouse. If the homeowners have lush greenery indoors or landscaping, ask how they do it, because you have a black thumb. Most people like to share their expertise, and especially like it if you write down their advice. So take notes on the brand of plant food recommended and thank the homeowner on your return visit for the tip and share your improved results with your houseplants. You might have made a real connection with the homeowner and certainly improved the result 5 percent over a cancelled bid appointment. 

Maybe the salesperson ran out of brochures, his haircut or beard trim was overdue, or his truck was filled with discarded fast food containers which the homeowner saw and grimaced at. These are easy 5 percent fixes.

If the problem was more complex, say the homeowner in the tie-dye dress was interested in a new-to-your-market green energy alternative which your company does not carry, getting to a 5 percent solution may take a bit of homework until you locate a similar product you can offer your customer. Instead of complaining about tree huggers, tell her your company appreciates homeowners interested in reducing their carbon footprint and upgrading to energy efficient systems because they improve the entire community. That’s 5, maybe 10 percent better.

Whether it’s making one more cold call at the end of the day or spending ten minutes to organize your desk, files and sales materials before going home, small efforts can go a long way toward incrementally improving your employees’ positive mindset and thereby their sales percentages. Small victories lead to more positive thoughts and feelings. These internal conditions lead to better external actions and results. Bit by bit, positivity can grow and change a company’s mindset and business results. Teach your team to be on the lookout for small areas of improvement and praise even the tiniest -- the 5 percent solutions -- as they will yield bigger and greater rewards over time.

Ready to get started? Visit EGIA.org/CBS-Mindset now to download a free training package that includes established strategies, online classes, webinars and videos on using mindset to improve sales, and much more.

Weldon Long is a successful entrepreneur, sales expert and author of the NY Times Bestseller, The Power of Consistency - Prosperity Mindset Training for Sales and Business Professionals. In 2009, his business, an HVAC company, was selected by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s fastest-growing privately held companies.

 

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