Category: Sales

You May Be Your Biggest Competitor

Speaking to sales teams or individual sales reps about overcoming objections, I like to casually ask this question: “Just out of curiosity, who is your biggest competitor?” Most will answer, “In my space, it is ‘X’.” They will name a specific company. Yet, every once in a while, one person will answer “It’s me, Scott, my greatest competitor is the person I have to look at in the mirror.” To that person, I give a knowing nod and smile.

Look Deep Within

It is Bill Gates who is famous for saying “I am not in competition with anyone but myself. My goal is to improve myself continuously.” He is right.

Sales, as we should know, is not a business skill, but a way of life. In effective selling I believe we must overcome objections to ourselves first, and then to our family, friends, prospects and ultimately, customers. I first learned this valuable lesson in the most unlikely of places, the hospital, after a life-changing diagnosis and in front of the toughest customer I would ever face — myself. After an accident I went from being an athlete to a quadriplegic. I learned to see myself in wellness and not as a disabled person; to not pity myself when I measured progress in quarter inches, not feet; and to overcome negativity and the hundreds of excuses I could have made for myself. I had a choice to overcome objections or give into them.

It was during my recovery that I took a sales position in the financial and insurance industry and within five years I became a member of the Million Dollar Round Table.

Don’t Invite Me to the Pity Party

In life, there are always people who will say, “I wouldn’t blame you if –” (you gave up, or quit this job, went into another field, or moved away). These are often the same types who will convince themselves that the competition is too much, or the product or service your team is selling is inadequate.

I first encountered this attitude in rehab.

They would wrap their pity in comments telling me they never thought I could have come “this far,” or to accept what couldn’t be changed. I chose not to listen. I knew there were still improvements I could make to my health challenge and to not accept that I had done all that I could. I was learning important lessons of overcoming sales objections.

Just as a lawyer never asks a court witness a question they can’t already answer, as a sales person there should be no opposition to a sale you can’t answer. In fact, before going into any presentation know exactly how you will respond to an objection.

If you don’t know information on the customer before you call on them, chances are the sale is lost before you make it. When I was in rehab, I could have defined myself as someone with a terrible back injury. Instead, I studied everything about my injury, I asked a thousand questions and I was determined to understand that no two injuries are identical. It gave me a well-spring of optimism and a commitment to always do my best. I didn’t know how far I could go; I only knew that in terms of my own life or in selling against competitors, I could do more than accept a situation; I could overcome the challenge in front of me. Of course, I learned a sense of acceptance, but the acceptance was never based on pity. If I had a bad day in rehab or lost a sale, I knew the next day would be better. It always was.

Truth is, I have had more good days than bad. I faced down the toughest competitor I ever had and sold him on the future.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Keynote Speaker on Overcoming Objections for Sales Teams through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

Anyone Can Manipulate, Top Sales Producers Sell

 

In delivering keynote presentations on sales and in helping average salespeople develop their full potential to become top sales producers, I call upon my experience and passion. When I was in the insurance and financial services industry, I was determined to have the single-minded vision to go from a being a novice sales professional to a member of the Million Dollar Round Table. What’s more, I did it within five years.

Despite my top-producing sales success, I wanted more. I wanted to speak, motivate and mentor others. If I could have the determination to rise from my chair and achieve victory over my obstacles, so can you.

Stop Wasting Your Time

Permit me for being blunt, but if you want to be a top producing salesperson, stop wasting your time. Not all that long ago, they were preaching that in order to successfully sell, you had to earn the trust and respect of every prospect. While I would never think of being rude or disrespectful, I agree with what Jacque Werth said in his article, High Probability Selling:

“Most salespeople believe that their primary function is to persuade prospects to buy their products and services.  Therefore, they utilize manipulative persuasion tactics, which most prospects resent.”

Manipulation creates sales resistance and results in low closing rates. Prospects may chomp the doughnuts you bring, but they won’t buy. I’d go further and suggest that many salespeople waste their time on people who have no intention of buying at all.

In fact, I would go even further and suggest that many salespeople fail to correctly prospect or to cultivate the customers who will potentially buy from them. This often leads to disappointment where a salesperson might say, “I thought we were friends, and in the end, I was told they couldn’t buy from me. It was a waste of time.” Don’t blame the prospect in such cases, turn the spotlight on yourself.

You are Plenty Good Enough

It is not a matter of dressing for success or copying someone else’s style. Be yourself but understand self-discipline. Every top producer knows that there is absolutely nothing easy about sales which is why manipulation never works. It takes grit to develop the focus to get to the right prospects every day and to power through leads, calls and meetings. It is not a matter of developing a friendship with a prospect, though it sometimes happens, but learning your product, putting in the work, and being confident enough to start closing the sale the minute you walk through the door.

When I was in a hospital bed battling with quadriplegia, my toughest customer was myself. I had to convince myself that I had the ability to overcome the adversity that was in front of me, then I had to convince the medical team of what I could do to exceed their expectations.

Barry Farber, in his article for Inc. magazine entitled, 7 Reasons Sales Pros Fail, noted that salespeople who fail are typically unorganized, have negative attitudes and poor work ethics, and my “favorite,” don’t believe in themselves.

Salespeople who manipulate rather than sell, who are unorganized in how they seek out prospects, who develop a negative attitude during times when sales aren’t easy and who shy away from putting in the daily grind of selling, will fail. Don’t be one of them. Have the grit and determination to see the success of your efforts.

 

Contact Scott Burrows today, top-rated inspirational Keynote Speaker for Top Sales Producers, through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

My Longest Race was One-Eighth of an Inch

As an overcoming adversity keynote speaker, I am frequently asked who the main influence was in helping me to overcome a major cervical spine injury that determined I would be a quadriplegic. My father lent me the wisdom to deal with adversity.

What do you visualize?

When my father taught me to play golf his first lesson was that I master the art of visualization.

“Scott, be willing to see complete success in your mind’s eye first. Now imprint that outcome over and over. Do it so frequently that your mind can no longer tell the difference between what you are fighting for and what is real.”

I thought of that advice as I awakened after an accident paralyzed me from the chest down. Through the weeks of constant therapy, I had only one focus: to move something. I knew if I could move a finger, just the joint of a finger, then I could accomplish anything. After a rigorous therapy session, I again focused on moving my hand. It worked! I moved my wrist one-eighth of an inch. It was like being the first-place finisher at the Boston Marathon.

The road toward recovery was tough, I won’t kid you, but with determination I went further than anyone around me imagined. This brings to mind a quote by author Robert Heinlein, “Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.”

Most people give up before they allow themselves to succeed. This is especially true with sales professionals who shy away from adversity rather than overcoming it.

How determined are you?

Deep Patel writing for Entrepreneur magazine, “10 Ways Successful People Push Through Adversity,” reflected “How is it that some [sales] people can bounce back and find a way to overcome misfortune and defeat? They don’t allow themselves to become overwhelmed with negative emotions or thoughts. They take time to process what they’ve been through, then they resume moving forward. Their mental fortitude lifts them up to seek opportunities instead of dwelling in despair.”

When I was in the hospital, I could have easily given in to negativity but I developed the grit to find optimism in every sign I encountered.

The Harvard Business Review recently found that the annual turnover in some professional sales organizations had climbed to as high as 27 percent. The publication found that contrary to popular opinion, it wasn’t the poorest salespeople who quit, but those who were average. They lacked the ability to visualize themselves as taking it to the next level so they walked away.

Business News Daily in an article about the traits of successful salespeople said, “Top sales people while grounded in reality, focus on what they can control, stay on course with optimism about what they can achieve, and [don’t] let the rest drag them down.”

Once I knew I could move my wrist, I understood that with determination my arms and fingers and even legs could follow. I did not allow those around me to convince me to accept “just” one-eighth inch of movement as the best I’d ever achieve, nor did I ever minimize the accomplishment.

You can visualize yourself as “average,” and settle for that, or to overcome adversity to be greater than you ever imagined.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Motivational Speaker on Overcoming Adversity in Sales through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

 

 

What Does It Mean to Be a Resilient Sales Team?

          When I speak to sales teams about resiliency, it’s not difficult to feel passionate about it. As the result of an accident that landed me in a wheelchair and quickly ended a successful sports career, I had to develop the mindset to climb back into the ring of life. I was forced to push through painful and often overwhelming physical circumstances with focus and resiliency, while at the same time reinvent my life and adjust my mindset to a new career in sales as an insurance and financial advisor.

You are more than words

Dr. Alia J. Crum is one of the world’s leading authorities on stress. In 2013, she co-wrote a brilliant article entitled “Rethinking Stress: The Role of Mindsets in Determining the Stress Response.” Her article focused on stress and negativity. To quote from her findings:

“Stress is [often] portrayed in a negative light…the intention of these depictions is to help prevent or stem the negative effects of stress: however, if the self-fulfilling nature of mindset exists, the result of such prophesy may be counter effective. Repetitive portrayals of stress in a negative light not increases the possibility that we form the mindset that stress-is-debilitating…”

This finding is important for sales teams who are facing challenges. What Dr. Crum is saying is that if a sales team wills itself to say, “We’re under so much stress to produce, we don’t know what to do. We might as well give up.” The team will come to believe that it can’t overcome the adversity it is facing; the team will lose its resiliency to find new solutions. It will, in fact, will itself to become crippled.

The American Psychological Association in its paper, “The Road to Resilience” gives 11 keys to overcoming major challenges. Among the more important keys to avoid seeing a crisis as an insurmountable problem is to develop resiliency, to accept that change is a part of living, to always be moving toward goals, and to not be afraid to take decisive action.

Your sales team may be confronted with major competitors, a shift in the economy, new technologies or even a shakeup in your organization. It doesn’t mean there aren’t solutions.

Resiliency is about finding a new way to take action. Your vision and mindset, combined with the determination to overcome the adversity of what is in front of the team will make you successful.

The sales professional website, Salesforce.com, sees resilience as the way to overcome negative messages. In order to overcome adversity, they advise that sales teams should build trust, build accountability, build commitment, and that you should build your team and most importantly work on building yourself.

I rose out of my bed because I trusted those around me, I made myself accountable for what I could do, I made a commitment to myself and to my therapists, I resolved to be a strong member of my sales team and I never let my mindset settle for anything less than my best. Sales people and sales teams can become more resilient.

Is your sales team ready to accept the task of becoming more resilient to the challenges you are facing? The best sales teams are the most resilient. Taking the first step may not be easy, but taking the first step never fails to lead to the next.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, World-Class Inspirational Speaker on Creating Resilient Sales Teams through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Is Your Sales Force Resisting the Changing Marketplace?

 

The increased challenge of adapting sales to online business platforms has brought heightened urgency to sales teams to meet the needs of their customers in a way that is practical and relevant. As a change management keynote speaker, I teach organizations how to adapt and move through change as opposed to resisting it. The focus and mindset I employed to overcome my physical challenges after my accident later became crucial tools for success in my corporate career as a top sales agent in the insurance and financial services industry.

Buyers are armed with more information than ever; decision making is usually a complex effort; sales platforms are often digital, and unless you’re careful, your buyers will believe they know more about your product than you. Sales reps have never worked harder to make the sale. Experts agree that if the representative lacks product knowledge in the form of hard numbers, clear-cut advantages, and the sheer determination to make the sale, the sale won’t get made.

Along with adversity in the sales climate, sales teams realize they may not have the internal support they had in the past to close the deal. Sales reps are often on their own and many organizations are unable to keep up with the changing landscape. It is up to each salesperson to be their own strongest advocate.

According to McKinsey & Company, in this period of expanding digital platforms and widespread use of online research by buyers, “up to 70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support.”

In an article for Street Savvy Sales Leadership (July 13, 2018), several factors were listed that sales reps must be aware of when overcoming the adversity of change. The article makes it quite clear that “change management is here to stay.” When confronted with sporadic or even continuous change, the sales reps who lack the mindset and the daily grit to ride out anything that comes their way can get left behind.

Business writer Paula Bauab for Heflo.com (August 14, 2018) stated: “You can expect that your sales team may be resistant to new processes, technology, team restructuring and leadership, but the right change management can address their concerns. Even a reluctant sales team will likely get on board if they’re involved in the brainstorming and decisions; they can see the benefits when the changes are made gradually.”

At the end of the day, sales reps must sell themselves on the premise that they can overcome any adversity confronting them.

While resistance to new sales processes, restructuring, and the way in which decisions are made may be one part of the equation for sales reps, the most important take-away is to not let that change define them. The most successful are those who navigate through and manage change and not let obstacles block their success.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Change Management Keynote Speaker for Sales Organizations through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169