5 reasons you're not good at following up

Comment

5 reasons you're not good at following up

Follow-up is one of the most important steps in the sales process. The simple act of calling your customer after sending a proposal will drastically increase your close rates. 

But most salespeople don't follow up. Here’s why.

You don’t know how

If you haven’t read a book or sat through a training class on how to follow up, then you probably don’t know how. There is a lot more to following up than just calling your customer back, or worse, sending an email.

Here is a follow up training article that will get you started. But there is still more to it. You need to develop your own process. 

Sit down with your team and decide what your follow up process should be. Then work it and tweak it until you hit your stride. 

You don’t have the right tools

10 years ago I was terrible at follow up. I didn’t have the right tools. I was using an excel spreadsheet to track all my deals. It was a horrific system. 

There was barely enough room to write one sentence about the progress of each job. There was no reminder system. Once a job was more than a month old, it no longer appeared on the screen. I would have to scroll up to find it, which meant it no longer existed.

Excel also doesn’t hold you accountable. You can just scroll aimlessly for 10 minutes until you finally get distracted with something else. I was making 5 follow up calls a week instead of 50.

PRO TIP: Make sure you have a sales pipeline tool you can enter all your deals into. The tool should be simple. When you enter in the data for your deal, it should only include a few pieces of information: Who is your customer. What is the job name. What is the deal size. And most importantly, a reminder for when you are going to follow up. We increased our close rate by 30% using a tool like this. What are you waiting for? (It doesn’t have be expensive either. The one we use starts at $10 per month). 

You’re afraid of rejection

I get it. We all want to be liked. We don’t want to be told no. Plus, if you don’t follow up, the deal remains open and you still "have a chance of closing". The harsh reality is if you aren’t following up because you’re afraid of rejection, sales probably isn’t the career for you. 

3 PRO TIPS: 

First, realize that 99% of rejections aren’t personal. Your solution is rejected, not you personally. When you are told no, find out why and learn from it.

Second, think of sales like your favorite MLB player. Their failure rate at the plate is 70%. Understand that you aren’t going to close every deal. Deal with it. 

Third, pick up Jia Jiang’s book, Rejection Proof. You will learn valuable lessons about rejection. And you will enjoy the book!

You find other busy work

The trigger for this could be a lot of things. You might tell yourself “I think my customer is in a meeting” or “I don’t really want to bother her again this morning”. So you find something else to do: “Oh, I will take care of this warranty issue real quick.” Or “Oh I need to take care of scanning in a few receipts for expenses.” Next thing you know you get busy and haven’t done any follow up. Don’t get distracted!

What can you do to avoid distraction?

You don’t schedule it for the right time (or it’s not scheduled at all)

For most of you, follow up calls should be done first thing in the morning. Your rule should be that you don’t look at email, or make any other non-follow up calls until your follow up calls are complete. Your willpower is at its maximum strength in the morning. Your mind is sharp early in the day. And you have the rest of the day to put out fires.

PRO TIP: Decide when you will follow up. Then put it in your calendar. A recurring appointment for the same time. Then don’t schedule other appointments during this time. 

Following up will make or break you as a salesperson. 

What is your follow up strategy?


Head Shot new.jpg

Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family



Comment

Walk a mile in your customer's shoes

Comment

Walk a mile in your customer's shoes

Always. Always. Always put yourself in your customer's shoes. Ask yourself, “what would I want if I was my customer?” And, “what would I buy if I was in my customer’s shoes?”

In addition, “What information would I need to make this decision?”

If you aren’t working directly with the OWNER or decision-maker, you have an extra step. You also have to think like the owner who is potentially buying your product through another business. 

Most owners and end users don’t have money falling out of their ears, so providing the most expensive solution, which sounds great, is typically not the right answer. 

By the way, thinking like an owner isn’t an easy thing to do, but it’s a skill you can work on and get better at. Sometimes you literally need to take a 10 minute break, close your eyes and think, “If I was the owner of this manufacturing facility, and I had this same humidity problem, what would I do?”

Putting your owner hat on, the first thing you would do is figure out how big the problem is. And understanding the IMPACT to your business.

Most salespeople don’t even ask those questions. They just try to sell whatever product they have that might get rid of humidity. 

But think about it from the owners perspective:

  • Small impact = small problem = small budget.

  • Large impact (IE costing thousands of dollars a day) = large problem = large budget. 

One more point; owners like taking calculated risks. That’s what the definition of an entrepreneur is, a calculated risk taker. 

So if the BEST solution will take care of the problem for $150k, but there is a chance that the building only needs half of the equipment, most owners will take that risk because they have nothing to lose. 

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think like an owner. 

What could go wrong?


Head Shot new.jpg

Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family


Comment

A Simple Formula for Sales Success

2 Comments

A Simple Formula for Sales Success

An easy way to measure your success as a salesperson is to calculate how many problems you are solving, and then multiply that number by the size or impact of each problem.

Your Success = The number of problems you solve x the size or impact of each problem. 

Obviously there is no way to calculate a quantifiable answer here, but I think you get the point. 

As a salesperson, you should always be SEEKING problems to fix, not avoiding them. When a customer calls you for help, don’t be annoyed that you have more work to do. Be thankful they called you and not your competitor.

Don’t be annoyed or frustrated when your email inbox is overflowing.

In “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck”, Mark Manson points out that “Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.”

 
5808a05cf3b85.jpg
 

If you wish for your inbox to be empty and for no problems to solve, then you will have a newly upgraded problem; you won’t have a job. 

Also notice in the formula that you will be more successful by solving larger, more complex problems for your customers. 

These problems will take more time to solve, and a lot of work and patience. But if you can help your customer be more profitable, increase their revenue, or help them fill a critical position in their company....and you do this often, for all of your customers, you will be very successful. 

The goal should be to solve so many large problems that you have way more business coming in than you can handle. Now you have an upgraded problem (remember, problems never go away, they are either changed or upgraded). 

So next time you feel frustrated or overwhelmed at work, remember....Your Success = The number of problems you solve x the size or impact of each problem. 

Now go share this with someone who complains that they are too busy :-)


Head Shot new.jpg

Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family


2 Comments

 How to maximize the ROI of your next vacation

Comment

How to maximize the ROI of your next vacation

A lot of people use vacations to escape from real life. They stay up late, sleep until noon and soak their body up in alcohol. The problem is your vacation lasts a week or two, and eventually you have to report back to real life.

Why not use this time to get better, faster, stronger? I understand that vacations should be used to unwind and get away from the daily grind. Your body needs to occasionally recharge, and if you don’t take a break, you won’t come back to work better than you left. 

However, vacations provide you time to dig deep into your mental state and to rediscover your “Why”, as Simon Sinek might suggest. It’s a great time for a fresh start. 

Here are 4 ways to invest your vacation time wisely so you come back recharged and stronger than ever. 

Test out a new exercise habit

You could start each day with 25 push-ups and a light 20-minute jog or bike ride. Usually the biggest objection to exercising is “I don’t have enough time”. That’s not usually a problem when you’re on vacation. 

Eat healthier

Just like exercise, lack of time to shop for healthy food is a huge objection here. It also costs more to eat healthier, but people are throwing money around anyway while on vacation. Try to eat some more veggies and protein and see if it sticks. If it doesn’t stick, at least you’re a little healthier when you return. 

 
Crushing It Review.jpg
 

Read a sales or business book

Once again, most people don’t read books because they can’t find the time. Use your vacation time to educate yourself so you are mentally stronger when you return. 

Think big picture

Most people like to completely shut off all thoughts and activities that are about work while on vacation. That’s fine, but this is a great time to dream about big picture ideas for work. Maybe a big problem your company or sales team is battling with. This big picture thinking time is a great companion with reading the sales book discussed earlier. Maybe you’ll have a light bulb moment and solve a problem for your team. All you need is ONE good idea!

How do you spend your free time on vacation?


Head Shot new.jpg

Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family



Comment

If your goals don’t determine your success, then what does?

Comment

If your goals don’t determine your success, then what does?

I’ve been studying the ultra-successful for a long time. Most of them preach that if you aren’t successful (yet), it means your goals aren't big enough. They tell us to keep the end in mind, and NOT to focus on the “how". 

In some cases this is true. If you can’t visualize success and don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. 

What about people that have BIG goals, but never seem to make progress?

Craig Groeschel, host of “The Leadership Podcast”, points out that we all have similar goals: Successful people and unsuccessful people; Winners and losers. We all want to be promoted in our job, make more money and to have more meaningful relationships. 

There is not a single football team that started their year hoping to finish 5th place. No one says they hope to make less money this year.

Why do some people have more success than others? It’s the systems and habits that make all the difference. It's all in the “HOW”. 

Craig notes that successful people do consistently what other people do occasionally.

 
cgleadershipaudioitunes-5b70b49c4e7dd.jpg
 

Why is this so difficult? One reason is we don’t see progress fast enough.

When we don’t see progress quickly, we start to give up.

Craig Groeschel uses a pot of boiling water to explain how habits compound. When you have pot of water on the stove and turn the heat on, the water slowly warms up…85 degF, 120 degF, 150 degF, 200 degF… Every minute that the stove is on, the water is getting hotter, but you can’t see that from the outside. Finally, at 212 degF, the water starts to boil. 

Habits are the same way. They take a long time to show results. It takes consistent action over a long period of time for results to show. In Darrin Hardy’s book, “The Compound Effect”, he says Small Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE

What are some ways to make sure your habits stick?

  • Make it a DAILY habit. It is very hard to start a habit that you do 3 or 4 times per week. This is why I run first thing in the morning every day. 

  • Make sure the habit is measurable. For example, read 5 pages of a book per day, or run 2 miles per day. If you can’t measure it, it can be easy to slip. 

  • Track it! It's fun to look back and see how much you’ve progressed which adds some much-needed motivation. 

  • Start SMALL. Don’t try to add five habits at one time. Pick ONE and try to create a habit out of it. In “The One Thing" they say it takes 66 days to form a habit. In “Principles", Ray Dalio says it takes up to 18 months. Either way it won’t happen fast. The more challenging the habit the longer it will take. Be patient and only add habits when you’re ready!

  • Have an accountability partner. I am currently in a push-up challenge (100 per day for a whole year). We have a google doc that is shared between everyone in the competition and we are holding each other accountable (also notice this this is a DAILY habit that is MEASURABLE).


What success habit will you start today? 


Head Shot Smaller Crop.jpg

Brad Telker
Vice President, Applied Systems Group at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of the Applied Systems Group, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys reading, running and spending time with his family.


Comment