Learn 8 things you need to conquer daily to become a master of sales. This is the first edition of the Master Sales Series with international sales influencer, and host of the Conquer Local Podcast: George Leith.
The 8 Elements of the Perfect Sales Day
George: Well, welcome to the “Conquer Local Podcast.” My name is George Leith, your host and a special treat for you with the next 12 episodes are all training episodes. And I’ll tell you what was the catalyst for us coming up with this content. I had a lot of feedback from various sales leaders that are listening to this podcast all around the world that they were looking for some teaching lessons, some things that they could either listen to while they’re working out or while they’re driving through traffic on their commute or they could play at their sales meetings that are just reminders of things that sales reps need to be doing on a daily basis. So Conquerors, this is for you.
Over the summer, you can be listening to what we’re calling the Master Sales Series. And I’m here with you for lesson number one today. So the first lesson is what does the perfect sales day look like? And we’ve done a ton of research and we’ve talked to a number of sales leaders. And here is what I believe constitutes the perfect sales day.
1. Attack the Shitty Things First
And what I mean by that is all the stuff that you have to do that isn’t fun, get it out of the way right out of the gate. Those really negative things you gotta deal with like writing a cancellation order or phoning a customer that owes you money or building that 20-page proposal and doing that in-depth research that you wanna do. You don’t want that hanging over your head all day long. You wanna make sure that you get those items out of the way.
And the other thing that you wanna do is to get rid of procrastination. Our biggest enemy as a salesperson is procrastination. We want to try and do things, and it’s really counterintuitive. What we wanna do is make more money, and the only way that we make more money and earn more commission is getting in front of customers and talking to those customers. But what we do is we fill our days full of a whole bunch of things that take us away from meeting with customers.
The other thing that I’ve noticed, and again, this is just basic 101, is people like to deal with salespeople that are happy and motivated and driven and that don’t have this dark cloud over their head of doom and those…the smiling, poopy emojis that are inside your day. If you’ve not dealt with those, they’re just weighing on your mind. If you’re looking for the perfect sales day, you just can’t have it if you have those stinky things. So let’s get those out of the way right out of the gate. And really, what you will do after a period of time is you’ll train yourself to not be as big of a procrastinator as you were the months and years before.
2. The Minutes Add Up
I had somebody tell me one day, “I can get more money and I can get more people in an organization. I could hire more people, but what I can’t get is more time,” and the minutes add up. One of my favorite new apps is called Moment. And I installed it on my phone after reading something online. And what Moment does is it tracks the amount of time I spend on this electronic income reducer. Now, the phone is probably one of the most amazing things because it keeps you in contact with your customers, and it also is the thing that sucks the most because it takes you away from doing your job, which is being in front of customers and speaking to them.
So what Moment has done is it’s taught me that some days, I’m spending three-and-a-half hours on my phone with the screen open. And I look back at the calls that I’ve made and I didn’t make three and a half hours’ worth of calls. And I definitely wasn’t responding to emails or writing proposals on my phone or doing research. So the minutes add up.
Now, the other thing that adds up is bloody meetings and spending time waiting for customers that don’t show up, so making sure that that day is meticulously planned out that maybe you have emailed to remind your client that you’re coming to see them at 2:00. Maybe you phone them an hour before.
Have you ever booked a dental appointment? Have you noticed something that happens when you book a dental appointment? You get like nine phone calls before the dental appointment and that’s because the dentist’s time is valuable. And what they’re looking for is schedule density. And the higher their schedule density, meaning the more paying patients that they have in the chair, the sooner they get to go on that four-month vacation to Aruba with their entire staff.
So the dental industry is teaching us something in “Conquering Local” that the minutes add up and we need to be planning a meticulous day where our time is valuable. So keep that in mind. You wanna be saying “No” to the things that are not leading to you increasing revenue and dealing with your customers.
3. Get Your Ass Out of Bed Early
I wake up at an ungodly hour, 3:55 in the morning. And it wasn’t easy for me to do that. I’ll tell you why. Three fifty five means that I beat the sun up every day, and that means that I’ve won right out of the gate. So just by getting out of bed and beating the sun up, I’m already winning. It’s a stupid thing, I know. It’s simplistic, but it really gets me in a mindset of I’m winning.
The other thing is is I get three hours… And actually, in our building, I get four hours or almost five hours before the rest of the staff even walks in the door. So imagine that. I get over half of a day’s worth of work before the other 270 people that work at Vendasta even walk in the door. And the other thing is, is I outwork a lot of my competitors because I’m just prepared to put the time in. So I’m just giving you a lesson that if you are going to be a top performer, if you are going to be a top conqueror in this space, you need to be putting the time in.
Now, I know lots of people have put it in late at night. And one of the things that I like about going to New York is you can get a client call with somebody at 7:45 p.m. because people in New York work ungodly hours as well. They’re commuting three hours a day both ways. They’re working late into the night, staying at a hotel in Manhattan because they’re not gonna be able to make it home in the commute. But they are prepared to put the time in to be a winner. So if it’s waking up early or it’s working late, just be prepared to put the time in. Someone said to me, you know, if you wanna be successful in business, all you have to do is work half-days. You just have to figure out which 12 hours of the day you wanna work.
4. Become a Chemist
So the next item in this building the perfect sales day is what do you wanna measure. I’ve kind of grown into this. I’ve kind of grown into being a bit of a chemist or a scientist because what I found was I can go out there and be a cowboy with the best of them and just pitch and present and sell and talk to customers. But sometimes, I might be working with customers that don’t pay the bills and actually suck up a whole bunch of that valuable time. So you wanna make sure that you’re knowing what you measure.
One of my favorite books that I’ve been reading right now, and I thank my good friend David Little for recommending this, was “The 4 Disciplines of Execution.” It’s a really simple strategy. And what it is, is you have to have a goal. And they call it a WIG, the Wildly Important Goal. And then you have to figure out what are your lag measures. So I’ll tell you what a lag measure is. If you’re losing weight, it’s the scale. And if all you do is pay attention to the scale, you’re gonna have two things, oh, yay or oh, shit, yay, if you lose weight, oh, shit if you gained weight. So if all you’re concerned about is a lag measure, you really don’t have control over that thing. It’s other things that you did during the period leading up to the weigh-in that affected that lag measure. The same could be true of your sales performance in the month. If it’s just what revenue you generated, you’re either oh, yay or oh, shit. I was above my budget or I was below my budget.
What you should be paying attention to and what you do wanna measure are the leading measures, how many calls you’re making, how many proposals you have on the street, how many opportunities you have out there, what’s your closing ratio, because if you know your closing ratio is 20% and you want to earn $100,000 in revenue that month, do you do the math as to what you need to have out there in opportunities. I like to have about 120% of whatever the number is that you’re gonna come up with in your algorithm. So you really have to become a bit of a scientist. And this is where you’re planning that perfect sales day again, because the one thing that takes you away from a perfect sales day is being scattered and all over the place where you’re just running around. And what they call it in the book, “The 4 Disciplines of Execution,” is the whirlwind. The whirlwind is going to consume you. What you have to do is be very strategic and be very, very disciplined around the things that you’re going to measure and the things that you’re going to pay attention to or the whirlwind takes over.
5. Where is my Time Best Spent?
Now, I’m a big proponent of dividing up your book of business into A, B, and C. And here’s how I classify that. A accounts, these are the people that are feeding your kids. This is how you pay your bills. These are your biggest accounts. By the way, they’re not your biggest opportunities. They have to be an account that’s paying you frigging money and really important that that is an A account. It’s not like, “Oh, they’re gonna be an A account in three years.” That’s not how you feed your kids. You need to have those A accounts. They’re the ones that if they raise their hand and want something, you run to deal with the problem. They’re most important.
Then you’ve got your B accounts, and your B accounts are your biggest opportunities or they’re accounts that haven’t yet recognized that they’re A, meaning you’ve gotta do some more sales. You’ve gotta put some more opportunities in front of them. You need to do some more needs analysis. So you’ve got your A accounts. You’ve got your B accounts, soon-to-be A accounts, and then you’ve got your C accounts.
Here’s what makes up your C accounts. It’s the crap that was put into your account list by your sales manager that you just don’t know if there’s any opportunities around. They also are what I happen to call fallen angels. This might be a former A account where the decision maker changed or they changed their strategy or maybe you didn’t quite hit the mark on your expectations and they’ve fallen from grace. They are either leaving. You’re gonna manage them out of your book or they’re going to grow back up. But don’t really pay a lot of attention to them.
You wanna be spending 80% of your time on your A accounts and your soon-to-be A accounts, and very little time on your C accounts. And really, what a C account is is something that’s flat. It’s not growing or it’s going in the opposite direction. Those are the ones that you either need to figure out something to grow them and to make them an A account or you need to manage them out of your book.
6. The 60-30-10 Rule
How a salesperson’s day should look like is this. And you heard this in a previous episode with my good friend, Steve Nudelberg, where he said that a perfect sales day is 60-30-10. Sixty percent of your time talking to customers doing sales stuff, 30% of your time getting better at your craft or learning more about your products or services that you’re selling, or learning about your competitors that you’re facing and how you beat them. And then 10% of your time doing administration work. So what you need to do is find some tools to help you do this.
And the good news is there are a ton of tools out there. The bad news is there’s a ton of tools out there. There are so many bloody tools that you may spend all of your time looking at tools. So what I recommend is spending some time with like “The Harvard Business Review” or spending some time looking at popular blogs or podcasts because they have a tendency to identify the tools that are already proven and have been researched by sales experts. So look for things like top 10 sales tools that salespeople are hitting their budget with this quarter. Those are the things that you wanna look for online.
7. Master the Line-By-Line
So next up in our perfect sales day, and it is amazing to me how many people do not know about this skill. I call it a line-by-line. One of the most used pieces of software in any business is a bloody spreadsheet. And what you wanna do is take your list of accounts and put them into a spreadsheet, divide them up into A, B, and C accounts, and then memorize every nuance of those clients. And what I do to test salespeople, and I train sales managers to do this is if you really wanna know how engaged your rep is in their book of business, ask them to do a line-by-line, and don’t let them use their computer or a notebook. If they can dictate everything that’s happening with that client, and you can ask them probing questions and they have the answers, they really understand their book of business. So the spreadsheet just puts it into, probably into an order based on revenue. And it also gets it into maybe based on when your regular appointment is. So it’s my highest revenue opportunities that I can meet with on a Tuesday. But the line-by-line is just a tool that allows you to go account by account through your book of business to really understand the nuances.
Well, those are a few things that we have recognized inside the perfect sales day, but I wouldn’t be a sales manager if I didn’t talk about one more thing, and that is what is your biggest opportunity?
8. What is Your Biggest Opportunity?
And the thing about the biggest opportunity is it pretty much changes on a monthly basis. And in some industries like the software business, it could change on every two weeks because the rate of innovation in the tech space is growing at a hockey stick growth, meaning it is straight up in the air. There are new solutions being developed all the time. There’s new innovations around existing solutions. All you have to do is look at the updates to your apps that you have in your phone. They’re pretty much coming on a weekly basis.
So the biggest opportunity, what I mean by that, is you need to be pivoting your set of solutions and your set of products and understanding the nuances of your clients, the needs of your customers, and then pursuing those biggest opportunities. And what I actually wanna say, not just pursuing them. You wanna pounce on them immediately because it is an incredibly competitive landscape out there, especially when it comes to conquering local. There’s all sorts of people trying to eat your lunch.
And one thing Conquerors that you need to be doing is improving yourself pretty much on a daily basis. So you need to identify what the biggest opportunity is. And I think that I’ve said this before. I have very strong convictions loosely held. So I believe very strongly in something until something else comes along that I believe even more strongly in. So that’s what you need to be like as a salesperson because there could be a new opportunity that comes along. And what’s really going to block you from being successful is the, “That’s the way that we’ve always done it,” type of thinking. You need to drop that crap. That’s old-school sales and you’re gonna get your lunch eaten by somebody that’s newer, younger, and hungrier that is identifying bigger opportunities and pouncing on those biggest opportunities faster.
The next big idea could be right around the corner. Make sure that you keep your mind open to it. And as you get older like myself, we’re kind of blocked from that. We’re not thinking about the next big idea. We’ve got some, sort of, a regiment. We wanna get discipline, discipline. I’m doing the same thing over and over again. Well, that’s great, but you need to be constantly evolving that discipline so that you’re constantly improving.
Success is a destination, and guess what, we’re never gonna get there. It always has to be something that we’re reaching for. So you set a goal, you need to set one higher the next day. So that’s a really important part of the perfect sales day because I think that a lot of sales days are ruined by somebody that’s not adopting the next big idea and is not looking for the next big opportunity. And what this really boils down to is, and somebody told me this 30 years ago, a moving salesman attracts business. You always need to be moving. You always need to be talking to new people. You always need to be networking. You always need to be looking for that next person.
And I’ve got a few people that I’ve met over the past couple of years that I just phone every two weeks. I go through my phone I’m like, “Hey, I haven’t talked to Gary in a while.” And I give him a call because he motivates me and he talks about new things that he’s found. And I’ve got a couple things that I wanna talk to him about, and he happens to know so-and-so. And it just happens. You need to have some people like that in your life if you’re going to have that perfect sales day, and you’ll be able to find those next opportunities.
So that is episode number one of what we are calling The Master Series for Salespeople. And it’s just some little points that we have gathered up into these episodes. I’m gonna try and keep them short so you can play them at a sales meeting or you could play them on your commute, or you could play them while you’re doing cardio, and just remind you of things that you need to be doing on a day-to-day basis.
So coming up next week, we’re gonna be talking about Prospecting 101. It really is the lifeblood of any sales person. I’m really excited about this series. I would love for you to get your friends to subscribe. So make sure you’re spreading the word about the “Conquer Local Podcast.” You can subscribe on iTunes or Google Play. We’re on SoundCloud. We’re on Overcast. And I’m always looking for feedback on my LinkedIn profile, over 15,100 people following me on LinkedIn. I appreciate all those people who’ve reached out and all the messages that I get and even the sales people. I get lots of in mails from sales people. I answer about 1 in 10 because I believe in karma. But thanks to everybody that’s reaching out to me. And maybe we’ll do a podcast one day of the things you shouldn’t do in LinkedIn in-mail messages. But that’s for another day. We’re coming up next week with Prospecting 101. My name is George Leith. This is the “Conquer Local Podcast.” I’ll see you when I see you.