Saturday, August 31, 2013

Axiom 39: Success in the Sales World

"A smart salesperson listens to emotions not facts." -Unkown

"Don’t sell life insurance. Sell what life insurance can do." -Ben Feldman

I've been in sales for years now and have learned a few valuable lessons on what works and what doesn't. The funny thing is that when I started out in sales I felt really uncomfortable with selling and my ability to sell. As time when by my success increased and it became much easier. Much like everything else in life after about 10,000 hours of real world sales experience things started to click.

At one point or another in life you will find yourself selling something. It may be a product, or it may be selling yourself to get a job or an opportunity. No matter what it is that you're selling, here are a few insights about sales that I have picked up over the years:

  • Have a positive, confident, "can do" attitude - Customer's want to know what you can do for them, not what you can't do. Take charge and let them know that everything will be alright when they are dealing with you.
  • Solve the customer's problem - Every customer has a problem that needs to be solved. It is your job to figure out what that problem is so you can make the sell. In some cases this can mean giving the customer what they need, not necessarily what they want.
  • Know what you are talking about - Make sure you know what you are selling. The deeper the product knowledge the more you can leverage the sell.
  • Be ethical and honest - Do what you say you are going to do. Don't risk ruining your reputation just to make a sale.
  • Streamline your process - Use the resources you have to make sure you respond to your customers quickly. Service with the least amount of effort as possible needed to maintain a strong customer relationship.
  • Identify the person with the purchasing power - This goes back to Axiom 16: Talk to the Lion. Don't waste a lot of your time with people that don't have the power to buy from you. Find out how to get to the decision makers.
  • Follow through - Always follow up on a potential sell. This separates good salespeople from great salespeople. You'd be surprised how many more sales you can make simply by following up.
  • Network - Work to build a network of connections. As your reputation builds your network will begin to sell for you by referring customers to you.
  • Every sales call has an ROI (Return on Investment) - Your time is your most valuable asset. Don't waste time with customers or sales where there is little or no return. It is okay to dump bad accounts if you can fill that time with good, profitable customer accounts. Raise the prices on the bad accounts to make them either go away, or make them worth the time and effort involved.
  • Measure your results - If you quantify and measure all aspects of your sales process then you can see patterns emerge to help you become a better salesperson.

It is interesting to note that I wrote this above blog post before I became involved in a sales training class from Sandler Sales Training. They teach many of these same concepts above. I would recommend this class for anyone that heavily relies on sales for their career. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Chocolate Soda Review: Chocolate Coke, Canfield's Chocolate Fudge Soda, and Coco Fizz

I like chocolate and I like soda. It sounded like a good idea for me to put them together and see what the end result was.

Chocolate Coke - I went to the store and got some chocolate syrup and coke. I figured that the flavor of Coke would naturally lend itself to chocolate syrup. I mean it does have the word coca in its name after all. I mixed them together and was underwhelmed by the flavor. The chocolate hits you more as an aftertaste. Overall the feeling is more like a stomach ache waiting to happen. The taste is not overtly bad but not something that I would be ever craving again.

Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda - Not ready to concede the idea of a tasty chocolate flavored soda I came across this brand on Amazon. I had gone through the whole process of ordering, receiving, and drinking and entire can of this stuff before I even realized it was diet. As you can see from the picture on the can above the word "diet" is almost invisible, and who would have guessed anyone would even make a "diet" chocolate soda anyways?

That being said I really despise the flavor of aspartame no matter what the brand. I was not a fan of this drink other than the pleasant chocolate aroma it had. I went back to order the "non-diet" version of this drink but it appears Canfield's does not offer one.

Coco Fizz Chocolate Soda - Still not ready to give up I found Coco Fizz by the Durango Soda Company. The flavor of this soda was lighter and more palletable than the first two. The ingredients tasted like they were of a high quality, which makes me curious to try the other soda flavors the company offers. Overall I reached the conclusion that this was probably the best one could hope for in combining chocolate and soda flavors. Still it's not something I would probably be craving ever again.

....but... the story doesn't end there. I was about to write this article and proclaim chocolate sodas a failure when I had the idea to make a chocolate soda ice cream float.

I'm glad I tried it because it was absolutely delicious! The flavor is very unique and was worth the time and trouble of this journey to discover. A great ending to my chocolate soda journey.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Axiom 38: How Do You Define Success?

" sing,
to dream, to smile, to walk, to be alone, be free,
with a voice that stirs and an eye that still can see!
To cock your hat to one side, when you please
at a yes, a no, to fight, or- make poetry!
To work without a thought of fame or fortune,
on that journey, that you dream of, to the moon!
Never to write a line that's not your own...
-Edmond Rostand, Cyrano De Bergerac

So why have I made it all the way to Axiom 38 before I attempted to define for you what success is?

Let me try to explain....

Your specific definition of success will vary widely depending upon your current situation and where you are on your path in life. I would argue that most people see success as being manifested in future tense as material goods only. This I think is an incorrect mindset to have.

Success is the accomplishment of one's goals in a way that allows you more control over your resources and ultimately more control over your life. This control if done correctly should result in a higher quality of life, happiness, and the ability to influence your destiny.

The Axioms I have presented until now cover a wide variety of "resource building" topics to help you increase your awareness and help you gain control of what resources you have available to you. You have to become self-aware of your own situation and resources before you can figure out how to leverage long-lasting success.

The road to success is largely different depending on if you are younger or older. If you are younger the key to success is to aggressively dive in. Travel, read, experience, and learn as much about life as possible so as to become aware enough to avoid costly potholes early on that could be detrimental to success later in life.

As a young person intelligent choices are key and have vast consequences later in life. I like to think of these choices like a ship sailing from Europe to the new world. In the beginning of the journey small directional changes require little effort and produce a big changes in your final destination. However, further into the journey it requires huge changes and lots of effort to change course and change your destination. Keep this in mind as you make decisions as a young person.

As an older person success can be achieved by using the resources your already have. If you're not sure what these resources are go back through the previous Axioms and stayed tuned for the upcoming ones. We all have more resources available to us than we might initially think. Use the resources you have and create a snowball effect by building upon them to help reach the success you want.

And no matter what, stop every once in a while and examine the successes you already have in life. Realize that success means more than the amount of money you want in your bank account tomorrow.