The 3 C’s of Sales Success
I just left our national sales meeting in Phoenix. Those of you in sales know what these meetings feel like: lots of guest speakers, strategizing, reflecting, and building your plan to crush the year ahead. My favorite part about these annual gatherings is the fact that I get to spend quality time with the amazing people on our team. People make a sales organization, numbers don’t. Spend more time investing and studying your people, and you will learn a hell of a lot more than spending hours dissecting Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations... oh and the numbers will grow more with this approach too.
SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES.
Due to the fact that I am a senior sales trainer who is obsessed with success, and loves to study the performance habits of high achievers, I sat down and interviewed the top performers in our company. Over five days, I picked the brains of what tactics, drivers, and influences shape these President Club sales professionals, managers, and executives. During these interviews I saw a common theme emerge. While everyone I spoke to has different strengths and styles, one fact stood out, all of these high performers shared three traits that led to their success in 2018.
I call these The 3 C’s of Sales Success: Care, Courage, & Consistency.
Though I didn’t repeat my number one finish from last year (I did earn President’s Club trip to Tahiti and a Rolex watch this year... I’m grateful to work for an amazing company that takes care of our people), I was able to pick the brain of our 2018 number one rep Amy.
There are many reasons why Amy crushed the sales contest. She innovated new solutions for customers, developed a follow-up system that was adopted by many reps across the sales force, and she partnered with key decision makers to gain market share and ownership in her accounts. All of that is great, but the number one common denominator that set her apart from the competition is the fact that she sincerely CARES deeply for her customers. Amy shared with me story after story the actions she did that exuded gratitude, empathy, and service.
“My sales strategy was to care more for my customers than anybody else.” - Amy
Servant leadership will get you into more doors than salesmanship. No one likes to be sold. Yet, so many sales professionals often brag about how all they do is close, while peacocking with an ego the size of Mt. Rainier.
Spare me. Save that approach for the cast of Jersey Shore.
“I try to make everyone in that account feel important and special—no matter their title.” - Amy
Learn from the richest dude in the world, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. He shares the same view as Amy.
Amazon is crushing everyone. How are they doing it? Simple, their number one business strategy is to be obsessed (their words) with their customers and to make the user experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Sincere Service = More Value = More Trust = More Sales
When you sincerely care for your customers, you’ll naturally ask more questions. With more curiosity, you’ll be more focused on their needs and challenges. When you are more focused on their needs, you’ll be more likely to innovate a solution that solves a problem that they originally knew about or that you generated or revealed to them.
SELL THE HOLE NOT THE SHOVEL.
When you truly care, your actions will show and you’ll go above and beyond, which is the best sales strategy to grow your business.
Call to Action: Do you sincerely care about your customers? How are you showing it? I know we have quotas, but we need to look at long term partnerships instead of short term cheap wins.
How can you better serve your customers this year? What words and actions will you display to show a clear differentiation of your level of commitment and care toward the customer and their needs vs the competition? Stand out for the right reasons.
Question: do your customers light up when you enter or leave the room? Be the light. Find ways to show that you care.
...Side note, some of my customers tell me that they literally hide from certain reps because they are too pushy and all about themselves. Yuck! Is that you? Don’t be that person.
We all get nervous, but most people do not want to talk about it... except the true leaders. I believe that you can influence people more from sharing your struggles than from bragging about your strengths. Also, exceptional performers are able to lean into their fears versus run away when their self-doubt, past failures, and future fears pop up.
VICTORY GOES TO THE VULNERABLE.
According to shame and vulnerability expert, Dr. Brené Brown, she says, “You cannot display courage without being vulnerable.” No other rep displayed this “courage over comfort” mantra more than our top 3 rep Allison. Allison revealed to me that she’s had to overcome many fears in order to finally land into President’s Club. Whether it was overcoming her fears speaking to physicians early in her pharmaceutical career, from switching industries to selling medical devices, or circling back to visit accounts that have shut her out multiple times, Allison made it a habit to attack her fears.
Her year transformed when she had a conversation with herself in her car. She was about to drive past a huge account where she had zero success in the past, but made a commitment to come hell or high water to convert them. She told herself, “I have to get over this fear... I’m going for it. I’m going to land this account.” With this mindset, she changed her approach and was able to strike up a conversation with a key contact and obtain an advance to address the entire physician group. This courage and focus paid off. After her presentation several weeks later, the group voted to go all-in on her service. This single account propelled her to climb up the leader board.
COURAGE > COMFORT
Call to Action: What account or activity have you been avoiding due to a past mistake or fear? What is one action you can do to be more like Allison and attack your fear? Remember, history rewards the bold, not the timid.
Do you have the courage to innovate and try new approaches that put the customer at the center? Are you using the same old messages and selling tactics? Be brave! Try something different. Have the courage to be creative and set your product, service, and most importantly... yourself apart from the rest.
While enjoying the festivities of awards night and watching all the winners get recognized on stage, I turned to one of our first year reps and told him, “Remember this feeling right now. Store this deep into your soul. Come five months from now, on a random Wednesday at 4:30pm, don’t forget this burning desire to hear your name get called and experience your moment.”
What do the best of the best do? They keep a high level of focus, intensity, and extreme commitment to being consistent.
No one on our team exudes these consistent approach more than our Catheter Queen, Rosie. Rosie is the only rep in our division’s history to finish in the top 4, five years in a row. That consistency of excellence is unheard of! Being from the New England area, she shares the same “Do your job” mantra as her beloved five time world champion Patriots.
Aristotle once famously said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” Is Rosie the most charismatic rep? No. Is she the loudest talker? No. Does she have a new message every week? No. Her secret sauce is that she shows up with the same energy and commitment the entire day, five days a week, twelve months a year. Her customers love her, because she cares about them and never settles for “I’m going to take it easy today.”
When I’m training new reps, I teach them the “Rosie Rule.” I encourage them to be like Rosie, compete to see at least six accounts each day, everyday, no matter what. This consistent commitment will eventually pay off.
See and be seen. Hear and be heard.
Through the law of physics, an object in motion, stays in motion. I know some days are longer and harder than others, but are you truly being productive for eight hours everyday? Research shows that people in the work force average less than five full hours (out of 8) of true productivity. What about outside sales people? Are you maximizing every hour?
Call to Action: How many calls are you wasting each week? How committed are you to excellence? Do you start fast, but fade when things get hard? Do you focus on the problem or the solution?
Develop a plan that involves a consistent call structure. Who are the accounts you need to maintain, grow, and penetrate? When and how many times must you see or call these accounts?
What are distractions that knock you off your consistency? Write them down and develop a plan to stay on track. Remember, design trumps will-power.
YOU GOT THIS
Start the year off with the end in mind. Don’t just right down your goals, but connect with your vision daily by having a clear approach for this year and seeing it in your mind daily... then execute it with passion and persistence.
If you can make caring, courage, and consistency a major part of your business plan, expect to hear your name being called at the end of your sales contest as well. Be the one celebrating on stage instead of wishing it was your year. You have that control. Decide and commit to being that person today. It all comes down to the 3 C’s of Sales Success.
CARE (what is one tactic you can do consistently to show your accounts you care?)
COURAGE (what’s one account or customer you’ve been avoiding because of fear or passed failure? How can you approach them in a new innovative way?)
CONSISTENCY (what is one high performance habit you will adopt in 2019 and keep consistent?)
Share these three answers with a co-worker to hold yourself accountable and ask them to share their 3 C’s of Success plan with you.
Collin Henderson is a High Performance Coach who works with sales professionals, leaders, and athletes to improve mindset, habits, and culture. Learn more tips to improve your mental skills, process, and execution here.