8 best practices that empowered me to 10x my results so far in 2016
This post is about the best practices which have enabled me to 10x my results so far in 2016. I´m not sure if avoiding them will lead you to failure — but evidence allows me to say that applying them consistently in the arena of business can position you for success. And you may well be astonished by how fast it can happen!
This post is divided in two parts: Part I reflects my views on 4 key best practices which I have been picking up from a mix of experience and reading. Part II reflects my views on 4 key practices specifically related to Sales and that can really help make or break your business.
Organisations can perish for many different reasons, but there are few problems which can´t be solved by Sales
With the above in mind, here are 4 best practices which I have been picking up from a mix of experience and reading and using consistently for the last 4 months.
- Develop your opportunity radar. Your success in Sales is based on your ability to identify and create new opportunities. Can you think of someone you know who is very good in the sport of business? Do you remember the most effective business person you have met? There is a great advantage that comes from those who create opportunities and capture some of the value generated by those opportunities.
- Preparing for meetings. What is the most valuable activity in which you can engage with your clients? Spending time face-to-face with your clients is ranked top of my list. Not using that time wisely is a mistake. Make sure to know all you can about the company you are meeting: research their pain points, find mutual connections who work / have worked there. Expert tip: Map the most important stakeholders (suppliers, partners, clients) and research on what they value the most and what their pain points are. You can also try to speak to competitors of the company you are meeting to gain deeper industry knowledge. People often ask me: “That sounds great. But what if you happen to fail in this process?” The answer is simple: even if you fail you are already far closer to succeeding than you would be if you stood still. You may identify new prospect companies and key elements and evidence which you were unaware of during this process.
- Active listening (with total focus!). People who succeed in business are all great listeners. People prefer doing business with those who listen, because listening shows that you care. In this world full of distractions, showing the discipline to ignore the phone and closing your laptop enables you to take notes! And yes: taking notes using good old fashion pen and paper beats using an iPad as it can lead to distractions. If you happen to be a fan of iPad just make sure you use it on flight mode. Furthermore, in very sensitive business discussions in which you will be made privy to information bear in mind that an iPad can block the flow of conversation as you may be perceived to be recording the conversation. The goal is to collect superior insights and queues about your client´s problems. When this is done particularly well you will sense the “silences” and changes in tone and phrasing which clients make while speaking to you. And these are what makes the difference — especially when solving larger, more complex problems. The other day I was asked: Does listening really pay off as a strategy? My reply: Have you ever made business with someone who doesn’t care about what you say enough to listen?
- Leading with what makes you different. Open opportunities and close business deals by making sure of the following: (1) there is a perfect understanding of the problem you are solving, (2) how long it should take for the problem to go away after starting to work together and then (3) focus on making the process as seamless as possible by driving Adoption, Engagement and Support. The cherry on top is when you successfully convey the message of how your team makes a difference…
- “We´ll take you call every day: including on weekends and holidays”
- “We provide special support for your product roll-out”
- “Our customer success team is bigger than our Sales team and this shows how committed to we are to clients”.
I operate in B2B so it works great for me to share stories of how my company has provided exceptional value to clients — especially the ones with whom we are still working today. The bottom line: never forget PEOPLE — they are your most relevant asset. I also like to briefly mention the people key positions at my company to provide assurance and strengthen the image of credibility and ability to execute. This works more effectively when you have battle tested professionals, individuals who are relentlessly focused on execution and subject matter experts who provide you with deep insights on a particular field which is key for the business. Note: all of the above are more relevant than any marketing campaign or special features your product may have as an advantage.
There is no magic pill to save your business, the same way there is no magic pill to lose weight, but if there were to be one, it would be Sales.
The sentence above brings us to Part II of this post. I will now focus on 4 best practices which specifically enabled me to 10 X (not 10%) my sales results so far in 2016. These are the results of my own experience and I have combined with observation and research of some very talented people in this field:
- Setting the right expectations. Be sure to stick to the truth and do not over sell any of your strong points just to keep attention off of where you may struggle. I previous wrote an article about the 7 lessons I have already learned in 2016 and why setting the right expectations is paramount. If you do not compete on price, price related objections should be covered by why you are different. If you compete on price “why are you different?” type of questions should be replied with “because we are the most affordable solution in the market”.
- Accountability & Follow up. Sticking to your word and honoring your commitments are proof that you care. All types of commitments matter — even the small ones. Ever heard of the saying: The small details make all the difference? Strategic partnerships take years to develop, and one of the few things they take that is more relevant than the time it takes is Accountability: How reliable are you? Can you be depended upon as a strategic partner? The consistency and quality of your follow are going to sway the answer to these questions.
- Fostering a positive mindset. Positive mindset and emotionally intelligent people view problems as challenges. They view difficulties and failure as opportunities to learn and grow. That alongside with keeping an open mind can have tremendously positive effect. Having a positive attitude and adopting this growth mindset also helps spread great atmosphere around the office — and clients feel that when you talk to them. Your results begin in your mind, and a strong mindset is the foundation of great results.
- Never giving up. As the stakes get higher those who quit become greater in number. You need to be relentlessly focused on execution: great business people deliver results and show perseverance — even when all odds are stacked up against them. This is what will set you apart from the others who quit in the process. My advice is: keep the end goal in mind and charge on. The big win is the mental toughness and fortitude that can only be developed once you are battle tested in the arena of business.
I have committed to never underestimating the importance of any of the above and to apply them consistently in the arena of business.
What about you: what are some of your best practices that enabled you to achieve most of your results so far this year? Share them on the comments section below or drop me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org