It's possible to cut down a tree with a claw hammer … it takes about 30 days. If you trade in your hammer for a saw, a sharp saw, you get the job done in 30 minutes. The difference is the tools.
I worked at a very small HVACR shop my first two years as an apprentice. We had five construction guys and three service guys. It was a good experience. It afforded me the opportunity to deliver parts, dig ditches, carry tools, dispatch, install, run service, and even manage a job with four or five guys working under me.
Then I went to work for the largest service company in the city. It had lists for everything. When the company put a new guy in a truck, he was handed a list. You see, that list made certain he had all the tools he needed to get the job done. The list included but was not limited to:
- Business cards;
- Cell phone;
- Company policy and procedures;
- Vision, values and goals;
- Checklists for maintenance; and
- Company coat and hat.
In the same way, when a salesman goes to work, it's vital he has the right tools. "Smart Tools" improve efficiency. The following is a list of Smart Tools I highly recommend for any sales professional, and it includes but is not limited to:
- Cell phone;
- Franklin Planner (or PDA);
- Answering service;
- Product book;
- Company sales book;
- 3-by-5 cards;
- Legal pad and binder for notes
- Website information;
- Qualifying questions;
- Estimating program;
- Sufficient training and education in sales; and
- Achievable goals.
As a tech needs the minimum amount of classroom time and time in the field, a sales professional does also. It is possible to succeed without some of the items listed above, however, sales is tough enough on its own without having the things you need to succeed.
Sales have been called both an Art and a Science. The Art consists of the people skills or "soft skills" that cover a basic skill set that includes knowledge of:
- Active listening skills;
- Speaking skills;
- Common courtesy;
- Common sense (or uncommon sense!).
The Science consists of the things that can be measured:
- Activity goals;
- Close ratios;
- Suspect lists;
- Prospect lists;
- Client lists; and
- Client retention ratios.
Abe Lincoln once said, "I reckon if a fella had eight hours to cut a cord of wood, he oughta invest the first three hours sharpening his saw!"
Welcome to "Saw Sharpening 101." You can put your claw hammers away. We're gonna cut a whole lotta wood, so let's get started!
Practice is just as valuable as a sale. The sale will make you a living; the skill will make you a fortune!
Jim Rohn - Business philosopher, author, speaker