Actually, the real number is 39, but I wanted to push, extend, and stretch it to 40, but in the real world of Sales, and more importantly in the world of our customers and prospects, it's impractical to think that we will actually have 40 selling days left in the year. Definitely 39 but probably only 35 given travel and prep days before Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then no experienced salesperson would ever plan on any of those days between Christmas and New Year's as real selling days. Even if all of the decision makers were working that week, experience has taught us that the forecasted probability of getting all the required signatures from the legal, finance and purchasing departments is lower than low!
As you know, I love Vermont and spend about 30% of my time working from there with more time on the weekends doing what every Vermonter does: shovel snow, rake leaves, tend my woodlot and plant gardens. Plus, every time I'm there, including this weekend, I always take some time out to admire the unique beauty of Vermont by walking down to the river or just looking across to the now-turning leaves on the other side of the pond just up the road a piece.
Six generations of my family before me were born and lived in this same valley, and although I call myself "a Vermonter", I always leave out the fact that I was born and lived my early years in a tough neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Maybe I'm "a-kind-of Vermonter" since I've lived in this same valley for 50 years, but I do know my place in that I am not "a true Vermonter". Those are Vermont Rules!
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.
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
Rising through the ranks from Manufacturing to Engineering to Operations and then through a battlefield promotion to division president, I never stopped along that path to learn anything about Sales or Marketing. I've always been a process, tech, time-management and metrics guy, and back-in-the-day, the world of Sales seemed to revolve around travel, food, and golf, none of which I do very well. Marketing to me back then was even more confusing since it was simply expensive black magic.
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
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
With the end of the month, and my last day of selling activity for October, I'm reminded this morning of the business of every business...no matter what it is....even if it's coffee.
As I started this morning with inches of snow on the ground and what will be many cups of Keurig Sumatra Dark Roast during the day today, I'm drawn to think about the value and therefore the marketing, the selling and the pricing of coffee. I had the unique opportunity years ago to work with the Keurig team of entrepreneurs and the initial investors when they were just starting the company figuring out the market, the various sales channels and hiring their first experienced head of sales. Lots of hard work, very exciting on-the-ground and in-the-weeds entrepreneurship which led to an exceptional growth opportunity.
Mid-Point in the Semester...
As I approach the mid-term point in my classes at Tufts and MIT, once again, I realize how much of my personal time is as a professor teaching and working with my students, and how much I'm in a role of being a student myself in actually learning and applying new content.
Nowhere is this more evident than in my courses in Sales and in Marketing, which, even pre-Covid, were undergoing extraordinary rapid change every semester. It used to be that material I put together in the summer for the fall semester would be okay for the following spring semester, and I could use most of the same content for both Tufts and MIT. No longer! Last year, I changed 30% of the content going into the spring 2020, and then changed 70% of that material in prep for this fall's semester. This coming spring, I'll probably just start over from scratch again.
Now, deep into 2020, there really is only one mandatory rule that has not changed in Sales and Marketing, and that is to focus more heavily than ever before on marketing and selling customer value and not on you, your products or your services. 2019 evidenced the massive push into the strategy of "value selling" and the tools that go along with it, which has never been more critical than now when buyers are hyper-focused to the metrics of the value brought to their companies. Add to that the necessity of identifying and marketing directly to personas who today have zero time to waste with old-school salespeople and antiquated marketing tactics.
In my tiny town (pop. 735) in Vermont...called Winhall by the state and Bondville by the feds...there are only three bastions of commerce:
- the 7/11 gas station which doubles as a state liquor store
- the brand new Ace Hardware store branded "Lincoln Maples Hardware" to countrify it
- and the decades-old Winhall General Store
I've lived in this valley for a very long time with five generations before me, and over the years I've seen many owners of the general store come and go. There were a few serious Vermonters back in the day, lots of city folk who were looking to own "a little slice of Vermont" , but lasted only a couple of wicked cold winta's, and then there's Lorraine.
Like many, Lorraine came for the skiing and the beauty of Vermont and stayed to successfully build the business and support the town. She's done a remarkably consistent job of paying attention to the local Vermonters looking for coffee and a solid sandwich while knowing how to cater to the weekend flatlanders form New York and Jersey.
Tags: improved sales management, sales management training, sales management boot camp, improving sales productivity, sales management productivity, inordertoselltodayyoumustchange, planningsalestodayinacovidworld, whiteboardingmarketingsolutions, forgetsalesstrategyfocusontactics, whiteboardingsalessolutions