Congratulations on finishing the Q on plan!

First, and most importantly this morning is to congratulate you on finishing the Q on plan! 

I never use the word "hopefully on plan", since "hope" has no place in today's fast-paced environment of Sales or Marketing.  It's always great, of course, to be "lucky" every once in a while, but that's like hitting Powerball last Wednesday night or hoping the Patriots win this Sunday, so I'm going to stick with congratulations for finishing the Q on plan!  

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Tags: sales coaching, sales effectiveness, closing sales, how to close sales, best sales practices;, sales success, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans

Gotta Love April!

Gotta love April !!!   

Hard to believe, but here we are, one year later in a very different spring of positive outlooks and what will become a roaring economy on the back half of this year.  Still a bit stressed, but much less so, and, as sales pros, we're always thinking through what the quarter ahead is going to look like. This is always the excitement and the challenge of being a Sales leader. Just like any  professional athlete, even with consistent training and exacting playbooks, we never exactly know what the end game or the final points on the scoreboard will be.    

Just ask either side on the women's final basketball championship last week between Arizona and Stanford.  

 

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Tags: sales coaching, sales management coach, sales enablement, closing sales, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, sales success, how to write a sales plan, planningsalestodayinacovidworld

What are you planning for tomorrow?

Every day, every week, I work through a series of mini-plans at least in my head and most often in writing.

-Days start early before the sun and begin with a fountain pen and new yellow-ruled sheet of paper.

-I bullet down in a word or two the tasks needed for the company and for Tufts in two columns

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Tags: Sales Optimization, sales effectiveness, sales planning, sales tools, closing sales, how to close sales, sales success, how to write a sales plan

just waiting for the spring this AM

With 30 years of skiing anchored firmly in my Vermont winta' roots, I've now spent the last 25 years only snowboarding gaining a new love for old trails and new woods and parks that I would have never explored on skis. I still remember the taunts and laughs from my skier buddies I left behind, but as with anything new, I've learned to find the best coaches and study harder and longer than others. 

This winta' morning, I find myself at the NH beach trading my Big Boy Ariens snowblower back in VT for shovels that fit NH winding paths and decks that overlook a very angry ocean.  It will actually be good to grab some fresh air and quick exercise today between six zooms and a board meeting. One of the benefits of WFH.

Love winta'...but cannot wait for March 20th, the official start of spring and leaving behind dark mornings and getting back out into the VT woods with my chainsaw or looking for seaglass on the NH beach.  I do love the rhythm and the variety of the NE seasons...most of the time

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Tags: sales coaching, sales effectiveness, closing sales, marketing effectiveness, sales management boot camp, business coaching, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, sales success, how to write a sales plan, planningsalestodayinacovidworld

Zen & the science of snowblowing

The interesting and good news about selling in 2021...

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Tags: Sales Optimization, closing sales, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, best sales practices;, sales success, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans

Just one word this morning...

"Connections"

I guess on the day before Christmas, I could wish for world peace, freedom from all hatred, an ability to embrace diversity at all levels and, of course the best health for you, your families, your friends and your employees...and, of course, I do hope for all of that.

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Tags: closing sales, best sales practices;, sales success, sales effectivness, connections

Accurate sales forecasting-all about the science!

This morning, with tonight's Nor'easter looming just a few hours from now, and the end of the entire sales year only eight days away, it's interesting to compare two timely forecasting scenarios:
-On one hand, we have local Boston weather forecasters guessing about snowfall.
-On the other, we have professional salespeople forecasting real revenue.

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Tags: sales coach, sales enablement, closing sales, how to close sales, sales boot camps, improving sales productivity, sales success, how to write a sales plan, sales readiness, forgetsalesstrategyfocusontactics

Today's number is 20!

a few Reasons to be thankful!

We just finished what I always consider to be "the best holiday of the year".
--no one really worked last Wednesday, and even if you did, your prospects may not have.
--definitely, no one worked Thursday, and we celebrated with whomever was safe.
--most people did not work Friday other than in retail or necessary services.
--two days of good weather on the weekend came next.
--and yesterday, we closed out November's quota...hopefully on plan!

now it's Tuesday & we have 20 selling days left 

20 days are actually a ton of time to do what we do as sales pros!

With the correctly qualified accounts, all of us, as the seasoned pros we are, have enough time to push down the field, mount play-after-play, bring together the right team and move almost any deal to a close.  That's this week, still early in the game with lots of time left on the scoreboard. 

Next week, not so much time left since we'd already be in the second half of the selling month in pre-holiday time.

The following week, we have no time at all unless we're just a few relative yards/minutes away from pulling everyone over the goal line.   

 

Here's a couple of tactics that always work...

1. Focus on the 80/20 Rule!

Today, as in today-Tuesday-separate out the 20%, (maybe it's only the 10%) of what's in your pipeline that will make the biggest impact on your quota.  In fact, one or two of these opportunities may also be the most difficult and will take maximum time and effort, which is why you're focusing today on the 20% since you have a full 20 days to get to a close.  Plenty of time in fact to make a difference in almost any deal.  

 

2. Get rid of the detractors & interrupters!

The good side of being zoom-distanced is that there are fewer office-talk interruptions although your WFH time may be equally challenged by kids and pets.  The very good news is that you have 20 days.  Multiply that by 10 hours, and you have a ton of time.  The reality of that news is that you have only 20 days. 

  • My buddy, Frank Y., who excels as a BDR, works time zones following the sun across the country.
  • My neighbor, Ray, moves his office to the garage, during the kids' home-schooling hours.
  • I'm up even earlier at 4:00 AM planning out three days ahead and getting rid of the mental clutter. 

3.  Clean up your calendar! 

- Today, plan out all of your selling days for the rest of the year and just jam into those same time blocks everything you think that you will need to do between now and then. 

- Then take an expanded view of what you have just done and make sure that it makes sense balancing what time blocks you now have in your 20-day calendar and what time you have available to actually sell.  Try to view your calendar as if you were 20 feet above the view and not able to see the details other than the available time to sell. 

In some sales markets such as recruiting and real estate, these are called "the money hours", which these highly trained salespeople know from experience are the two or four optimum times during a day to connect with a prospect.
The point here is to take a hard look at what you have available to sell and simply get rid of everything else and forklift it over to January.   Yes, January!

  • I'm a fanatic about time, and I just did this exercise yesterday morning and realized I had overlapping times in two critical presentations and was not allowing enough travel time Wednesday night to prep for a critical early Thursday call.
  • Make sure that you ask your December prospects what their vacation plans are for December and also extend that question to everyone else in the purchasing approval cycle.  Nothing's worse than trying to track down someone in the legal department for a cursory review of the final approval docs when that person is on the ski slopes between Christmas and New Year's.  
  • For sales management, there's the added reality during these same 20 days of having to spend some time fine-tuning the 2021 sales plans you submitted to your boss and the finance people in November. Another reality for sure, and there's no way around that other than weekend work.  Having dealt with this at all levels for 25 plus years, if you want a few ideas as to how to compress time and focus your planning on the sales and financial KPIs that really count, just connect for a no-cost call.  

4.  Clean Body, Focused Mind!  

No, this is not another statement on what you need to do to prevent infection.  You already know more than the basics by this time.  This relates to doing whatever you need to do to stay healthy, efficient, alert and sales-effective through the balance of this month which comes down to the simple truths of exercising, getting enough sleep and eating correctly...just like Mom told us. 

We all know the basics, and, yet most of us struggle with finding enough time or dealing with the realities of not being able go to our favorite gym which we left back in March. 

 

I certainly would rather be back at my workout place in Boston which I last saw on March 9th than walking down into the basement at 4:00 and getting on the Peloton for 30 minutes. But I also know the mental impact of what 30 minutes can make in clearing out the clutter and focusing me for the day ahead. 

................................

Nothing earth-shattering or even new in the four-point outline above...other than the reality of 20 days of superb opportunities in front of us today!   

Have a great day selling today...and for the next 19! 

CONFIDENTIAL SOUNDING BOARD

If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board in business planning or for Sales or Marketing, just connect with me at any time.  Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call.  I'm a pretty good listener. 

Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.

 

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Tags: sales coach, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, closing sales, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, best sales practices;, sales success, sales readiness

Ideas for Managing Change this Fall

Change is in the air, and it's everywhere !

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Tags: closing sales, best sales practices;, sales effectivness, Tufts Entrepreneurship, sales motivation

Do You Believe that Luck Counts in Sales?

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Nov 20, 2015
Earlier, I wrote a blog about "Luck & Sales".  


No Such Thing as Luck in Sales

As we now face down the critical, last six weeks of the year, it's important for all of us as Sales Warriors to remember that... There is no such thing as luck in the profession of Sales.


The Patriots kick in the last six seconds last Sunday had nothing to do with luck.

That last precision march down the field ending in the perfectly-placed 54 yard kick was all about consistent and dedicated training, nerves of steel and a unrelenting drive of the team to win.

In the world of Sales, orders will be won and lost during these last 22 days of the year solely on the basis of our skills training, our prepping and working on the weekends, our consistent use of every account management and planning tactic that we currently have in our toolboxes, and finally on utilizing every possible connection we have in our individual networks.  Classic blocking and tackling in the game of Sales!  

Over the next 22 days, this is when everything must come together perfectly

  • All the training, the videos and the practice sessions
  • All the value propositions and the rest of your marketing tools 
  • All the embedded sales process tools and their related technologies

Luck would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen.

Nothing but experienced skills, detailed account plans, full force time-management practice and 12 hour days. Luck would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen.  My experience is that luck actually never happens when you need it, which is why we call orders that surprise you and fall out of nowwhere, "Bluebirds". They come and go and you're always amazed and thankful that they happen, but they never occur when you're up against a quota deadline. 

When I wrote the blog about luck a few months ago, my dedication to the formality of planning and, in fact, my addiction to "over-planning" was heightened by comments the blog received from a number of sales and business leaders that I have come to greatly admire over the years.

  • "One of my favorite sayings:   'you create your own luck' ”.
    Paul Frascoia, CEO
  • Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” a quote attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher. 
    Bob Flaherty, CEO
     
  • Your article reminds me of a quote from Jack Nicklaus.  Someone asked him how much luck played into winning a tournament.  He replied, "You know, it's funny.  The more I practice, the luckier I get." Arnie Greenfield, CTO
  • I'm not a big believer in getting lucky with sales. I am a big believer in good timing and sales. I suppose they might be similar in that a combination of skills plus high levels of activity will eventually lead to events that result from good timing. So not sure luck is involved when a prospect lives through an event that finally makes them think about your solution. To me it's more about good timing resulting from skillful relationship building combined with high levels of activity, leading to "hey, thanks for the call, we were just thinking about you", type of good timing responses.   
    Ray Bixler, CEO
  • Two comments came to mind while reading this post: 
    1 - Hope is not a strategy
    2 - luck is where preparedness meets opportunity. 
    Art Brault, VP Sales.
  • Luck does come in to play in a major way in sales, as in a group of factors that you have no control over. How you sell lets you control how much of an effect luck has on the outcome.
    (1) Cold calling- all luck, just a numbers game
    (2) Consultative selling increases the odds dramatically of the Luck being good.   
    Rob Turbett, CEO
  • Years ago, a fairly close friend told me that my success and good fortune in life had come from my being “lucky.” I responded that no one is simply lucky and that you have to put yourself in the path of luck, in order to benefit from it if/when it comes and that you cannot sit around and wait for the phone to ring or for luck to happen.
    Jack Gaziano, SVP
  • For 17 years I passed a stained glass window in the old H.J. Heinz HQ building in the Northside of Pittsburgh. The words: Luck helps you over the ditch if you jump well. True in late 1800s. True today. Tom Powell, CEO
  • Jack, I recently gave a talk at the Plastics News Executive Forum in Las Vegas. The title was “The Accidental Strategist” (you were mentioned a few times!) and my opening slide was “Great Thoughts on Luck”
    -“The harder I work the luckier I get” – Samuel Goldwyn
    -“Luck is the residue of design” – John Milton
    -“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” – Seneca
    Jeff Somple, President 

All very powerful reminders as we now move relentlessly down the field, play-by-play, with the clock ticking away the 22 days, setting ourselves and our team up to drive across the goal line.  

As the book, Hope is not a Strategy, (a very worthwhile read, btw), points out, take the words "hope" and "luck" totally out of your vocabulary, especially now.

At this time of year, success is now all about you during these last 22 days of the selling season 

 

Good Selling Today!  

 

 

Finally, as you move through your own 2016 Sales Planning process at this time of year, if you have specific planning questions that you want to bounce off me or the other Derby Management Coaches regarding sales plans, sales comp programs, sales tools, or any part of the sales and marketing funnels, just email me, and we can set up a time to talk with me or any of our other heavily experienced Coaches.  There's no cost, of course, for a call.

Selling today is complex enough without trying to go through this process of account, organizational and compensation planning by yourself. Just give us a call.  

 

 

 TUFTS University Marketing Projects

I'm in my third week of continuing to look for new solid marketing projects for my spring Tufts marketing class at Tufts, where I'm a professor.  A unique and highly successful opportunity for your company to wring out a new product idea or a fully developed marketing plan with Tufts' Best & Brightest from one of the leading universities in the country.  This semester-long program is designed to incorporate marketing projects from companies ranging in size from venture-funded startups to divisions of major corporations.  This current semester, we had 22 companies apply for the six positions.
 
The deadline for submissions for this spring's semester is December 15th.  Projects will be sent to the students for assessment and team creation at the end of December.   

If you're interested in finding out more, just email me at jack@derbymanagement.com.  Of course, I'm biased and, yes, more than a bit passionate about Tufts, but I must say somewhat objectively that our results, as attested to buy our customer companies, have been outstanding with many companies coming back year after year and hiring our seniors to be part of their companies.

 

   

Head Coach  

Derby Management...for 25 years
-Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
-Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
-Senior Management Coaching for CEOs & VPs

Box 171322, Boston, MA 02117
Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222 

    

 

 

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Tags: sales coaching, sales, sales coach, sales tools, selling, closing sales, Sales quota, sales training, sales plans