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The Inbound Sales and Marketing Blog

Sales Prospecting With a Positive Attitude

Consistent prospecting is essential for sales success. Without a steady stream of prospects, the funnel dries up. Then you end up taking desperation deals and flipping your base.

Effective prospecting requires a positive attitude. The challenge is that if there is one thing that can chip away at your attitude, it’s the rejection you get while prospecting. As a sales professional, you need a proactive plan to keep a positive attitude.

In today’s negative world, a positive attitude stands out. A positive attitude is contagious.

Don Hutson offers inspiration on the importance of a positive attitude in the first chapter of Selling Value:

“High performers are motivated and ready to make great things happen! If they get some motivation from their boss or significant other, or another source, that’s fine, but they understand that their PRIMARY source of motivation comes from within.”

Our responsibility as sales professionals, sales leaders, and business owners (all of us are in sales) is to maintain a positive attitude.

How can you cultivate a positive attitude to fuel your prospecting? Here are a few ideas!

What Would You Do If 100 Prospects and Customers Were Lined Up Outside Your Business Right Now?

Imagine if you had 100 people lined up outside your business right now. What would you do? Certainly, you’d send someone out to greet them. You’d ask how you could help. You’d get the prospects involved in sales situations. You’d do your best to answer customer questions and send them to support if necessary.

100 people lining up outside your business sound like a dream? What if it happened every day?

The Importance of Looking Trustworthy

“People will accept the advice of insight sellers only to the extent that they trust them.” - Mike Schultz & John Doerr, Insight Selling

Trust is a critical component to sales success. In their buyer research, the authors of Insight Selling learned what we know instinctively: trust is one of the top 10 factors separating first place from first loser in the sales process. Lack of trust pretty much guarantees you’ll lose a deal. Low trust hurts client loyalty.

Companies and sales reps need trust. This means you need to be trustworthy. It also means you need to look trustworthy. Today, I want to assume you are a trustworthy salesperson working for a trustworthy company. Let's turn our focus on the importance of looking trustworthy.

How Much Money Will Ineffective Sales Prospecting Cost You This Year?

Stephen Covey says that highly effective people put the “big rocks in first” because if you don’t do the important things first, they get crowded out by the smaller things.

The biggest rock for any sales professional is prospecting. It’s the #1 driver of success and the #1 thing that gets pushed to the bottom of the priority pile. Jeb Blount, the author of Fanatical Prospecting, famously said, "The #1 reason for an empty pipe is the failure to prospect!"

What’s The Annual Financial Impact?

What’s the annual impact of inconsistent prospecting? I think this is a worthy question for every sales professional, sales team leader, and company owner to consider.

To calculate the impact, let’s begin with some assumptions.

How 30 Years of the World Wide Web Has Improved the Sales Profession

Today is the 30th anniversary of the world wide web! Nothing has changed the sales profession more than this technology. As I reflect back over my 26 years in sales, allow me to offer some observations on how the internet has changed sales for good.

Sales Discipline Equals Financial Freedom

“Although discipline demands control and asceticism, it actually results in freedom.”
Jocko Willink

Jocko provides helpful insight for sales professionals and leaders in the final chapter of Extreme Ownership : Discipline Equals Freedom.

If you want the freedom of excellent outcomes, you need discipline. In sales, this means that if you want financial freedom, you need to establish discipline.

The extent to which you embrace discipline will determine your level of financial freedom - avoid discipline and you’ll cause frustration.

Let’s explore some ways that sales professionals and teams can integrate discipline to improve their freedom.

Flipping MIF Is Easy. Net-New Is Hard.

In the office technology industry I serve, we talk about Machines-in-Field (MIF). Every 3-5 years the leases on these machines expire or the machine wears out. Sales reps “flip the MIF” when they upgrade customers to new equipment.

MIF-flipping plays a critical role. After all, we need to maintain our customer base. However, we also work in a mature market. That means that average selling prices are dropping faster than cost of goods. Each year the delta between sales price and cost gets squeezed a little tighter.

What does that mean?

Companies and sales reps that have historically depended on MIF-flipping will suffer a slow and painful decline.

Some businesses are counteracting the revenue decline by purchasing more MIF to flip. The top line revenue of these businesses look good, but ultimately, these businesses will also feel the pain.

Five Problems With Prospecting

“The number one reason for empty pipelines is failure to prospect.”
- Jeb Blount, Fanatical Prospecting

Prospecting is the lifeblood of sales. If there are not new opportunities going into the funnel, sales will dry up. Pipelines become anemic without consistent prospecting. Weak pipelines lead to desperation deals as reps scrape the bottom of the barrel to somehow hit quota. Empty pipelines lead to low morale.

When pipelines are full of opportunities, reps approach deals with more confidence. This maximizes win rates and profits. Morale soars as the sales bell rings consistently throughout the month.

With prospecting being so critical, why does it seem to happen so inconsistently?

Four Things Sales Leaders can Learn from the New England Patriots

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

As a Ravens fan, it’s hard for me to cheer for the Patriots. But I must admit that the New England Patriots have achieved a level of success that is unmatched in my time as a fan of the NFL. They have been to 9 of the last 18 Super Bowls, winning 5 of them.

Something that makes it truly unbelievable (especially this year) is that they don’t nearly have the best personnel as many of the 31 teams they competed against, that all started out with the same goal.  

The reality is that a lot of the other teams had a wish, not a goal. Let’s look at some things that the the Patriots have in common with a sales team that turns their goals turn into reality by year-end, rather than failing at their New Year's resolutions by the third week of January.

There are 4 elements of a successful team:   

What is a Prospecting Sequence?

You need net-new business to hit your number. Net-new business requires appointments. When sales reps fail to consistently schedule appointments it shows up at the end of the month.

What does it take to get appointments? Could there be a way that is more effective, efficient, and measurable?

Salesforce.com research tells us that it takes 6-8 touches to get an appointment. When it comes to prospecting, the problem is that sales reps rarely get this many touches. Most prospecting is neither strategic nor systematic.

Fortunately there is a better way to make sure your sales reps get multiple touches with prospective clients. We call this a Prospecting Sequence. Here’s what this looks like: