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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Jim Hopes

Jim Hopes

Recent Posts by Jim Hopes:

Time Management Tip: The Problem With Your To-Do List

Time Management Tip: The Problem With Your To-Do List

“Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

- Benjamin Franklin

Did you know that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down?

High-performing salespeople are intense; they typically have a long to-do list each week, and they attack that list with extreme focus. They’re dedicated, highly customer focused, competitive, and can typically accomplish more in one-week than any average Joe could in one month.

These days, life is so busy that we easily forget tasks and goals if we don’t write it down. However, writing down a to-do list is just the beginning; unless you prioritize that list, your productivity and time management is suffering.  

What does that mean?

Topics: time management priorities to-do list

Talk to Your Clients! Fostering Communication Through Service-Level Agreements

JIM_annual_contracts

We know it’s extremely important to maintain open and regular communication with clients. Each team should be consistently tracking their efforts and goals and addressing any concerns along the way. Due to time restraints and other factors, that rarely happens – and that’s where a Service-Level Agreement steps in.

As sales professionals, we love annual contracts because we know that clients are going to spend throughout the course of a year. However, we cannot become apathetic and only talk to clients once a year.

Topics: renewal service-level agreement communication

If You Want to Change the World, Make Your Bed

winning sales strategyRecently, I read a book by this title written by retired admiral William H. McRaven. He was a Navy Seal and eventually rose to the command of the worldwide Seal operation. The book is loaded with principles McRaven learned as a Navy Seal, each of which is an invaluable nugget that leads to success in about any venture.

The first principle is, if you want to change the world begin by accomplishing something first thing every morning make your bed. Now, it sounds simple, and perhaps even trivial, but he points out beginning each day with a measurable accomplishment sets the tone for a productive 24 hours ahead.

As you might imagine, a well-made bed for a Seal is one so perfect the drill sergeant can bounce a quarter six inches high off the perfectly-taught cover. Failure to deliver such a quality job can result in a hundred push ups or perhaps a two-mile run as the sun rises.

So, I began wondering what making your bed looks like for a sales professional? Beyond literally making your bed (which I happen to do everyday first thing, so I appreciate the adrenaline charge of that early accomplishment), what are the "first-thing" activities a sales pro should accomplish in order to insure a productive day ahead and improve sales performance? Here are some that come to mind for me.

Topics: sales strategy account list management

To Confirm or Not to Confirm? That is the question.

confirm appointmentsWe all know how difficult it can be to set an appointment with a prospect these days, and the last thing we would want to do is let that appointment slip away after making multiple contacts in order to secure it.

The question always seems to come up about whether a salesperson should confirm that appointment before making the call or not. I have sales professionals who argue on both sides of the question.

So, let’s compare the reasons for confirming or not confirming.

Topics: Setting Appointments sales process

Don’t Fear the Results Reaper

deliver on client results I've worked with thousands of salespeople over two decades now, and it's interesting that so many salespeople are still afraid to have candid discussions about the results a client is seeking and how well what they have sold them is working.

Many sellers wax eloquently about the features and benefits of their product, and especially why it’s a much better value than the competition. At the end of the day, whether or not you get an order, and certainly whether or not you keep your client onboard for a long time, depends on the results you delivereven if the person you sell to never mentions it.

Topics: sales strategy sales performance

Ever Feel Like Your Salespeople Are Bad at Picking Prospects?

are your salespeople bad at picking prospectsWell, you wouldn’t be alone  I hear this from sales managers all the time. Here are the reasons I see that salespeople too often select the wrong companies to pursue:

  • They are opportunistic and therefore look for low-hanging fruit where getting access to decision makers is relatively easy. Sometimes that works out, but too often it translates into prospects that do not have the resources to be a key customer in your organization.

  • They let their own preferences dictate who they pursue. There might be particular categories they are comfortable with, or types of individuals they like to deal with that prejudice their thinking about who they should pursue as a prospect.
Topics: key account growth sales performance target personas sales pipeline account list management sales accelerator

It’s OK to Say You Are Sorry

In fact, it’s better than OK. The reality is, in the course of any business relationship, something is going to go wrong at some time and it’s smart to get out front of it and to be very transparent.

Here’s a recent example of a problem we encountered in our own company we had to deal with, and an email we sent to the affected clients shortly following the incident as an apology: 

Topics: business relationships Management sales management marketing strategy company culture

Decisions Made Easy: A Sales Manager's Strategic Cheat Sheet

sales manager strategic cheat sheetHow many decisions does a sales manager make in day? 10? 25? 50? That number probably varies, but most people would agree sales managers make a lot of decisions each day as they navigate changing conditions, corporate demands, and plenty of persuasion from their salespeople about doing what they want them to do. Better sales managers make good decisions more often than mediocre sales managers. So, how do they do that?

Topics: sales strategy sales performance sales management coaching

A Sales Manager's Most Costly Mistake

target account brainstormPicture this. You are seven weeks into the quarter and pacing behind last year, and significantly behind your budget. Your manager and your manager’s manager are nosing around to find out what is going on and peppering you with questions about your plan to fix this. Your sales team is growing increasingly frustrated as orders get canceled and prospects fall through. This scenario is hypothetical, of course, but perhaps you have been there. So, how does a sales manager deal with this?

Topics: key account growth sales strategy sales performance sales management coaching account list management

The Comfort of Consistency

consistent sales managerMany of us seek new things in our lives to stay engaged and motivated, but even the most adventurous among us value certain things that are consistent. There are obvious consistencies we depend upon like gravity, the sun coming up in the east and setting in the west, or a manager who is very consistent in setting expectations. You probably didn’t see that third example coming, did you? But it’s true.

If you believe that most people want to do the right thing for their employers, the only thing that could trip them up is not knowing what the right thing is. For that reason, the best managers are boringly consistent about setting expectations their people can internalize and follow.

Topics: sales management coaching