It was the end of June. The weather was very hot but the Boss had prepared a full day's sales training in the conference room. After a delicious meal, the salesmen went back to the afternoon session.
The boss did a short resume of the technical aspects of the new products shown that morning. He had always been convinced that a mastery of knowing the technical features of a product was the basis of all long term success in sales. But, in spite of their efforts, they struggled to keep their eyes open.
And then he passed it to me. (I said to myself that this was the most difficult time slot of the day, and the boss let me have it! How in the world am I going to pull these professionals out of their desire to take a nap?)
Here is what I shared:
How many of you had an appointment with a client, but who left just a couple of minutes before you arrived? Raise your hands please.
Who has had an appointment with a client, who listened to all you had to say very politely but when you started to close, he says: 'I'm sorry but I have no more budget for this year. I can't buy now'.
All the hands were raised.
How did you feel?
Mike answered, I just did an hour's drive to go and see him. He could have told me on the phone. I would have been better off going fishing that afternoon! . All the others were laughing.
I let them share some of their negative experiences about the sales they were counting on, but didn't come to pass.
That is totally frustrating, isn't it? But the worst part is what we say: "The day is off to a bad start or is finishing like it started". We start worrying. 'How will reach my objectives for the month?
"Frankly, we don't feel sure of ourselves or our products anymore. And each 'No' or client who is absent, weakens our drive to continue. And in that case, we don't try as hard to close the next potential sale that comes up.
A) My best sale ever
Who would be interested by a perfect method to resist all negative events of the day and never miss a sale?
All of a sudden no one was tired any more.
Well, according to Behavioral specialists, most people can't think about two things at the same time. (Except you, of course, Mike.) Laughter.
So it is probably better if we direct our thoughts in the direction that will produce the most sales. What do you think?
We have the tendency to create a series of events based on insufficient data. I did 4 sales demonstrations without a sale so the day is off to a bad start. Other days, right from the beginning of the day, we did 3 demonstrations, three sales!
For those days, I don't need to explain how to stay on top mentally. Smiles.
But for the days where we are struggling, what should we do? Does this interest you?
Yes! I have a lot of them, so I certainly want to know! said Mike.
You know that though I'm a Sales Director, I'm also selling on the field every day. I wouldn't want to tell you anything that I haven't gone through myself.
So I'm going to tell you about my best-ever sales day.
I'll always remember the evening of the 16th of January 1988. My oldest boy who was about 11 at the time ran to meet me with the essential question for a family who lives from sales. (The salespersons from this company sold innovative administrative products in business to business and they worked on a commission-base only).
Daddy, how much did you sell today?
That way he could proudly bring this information to his mother who was cooking in the kitchen. A good day, at that time, was 5000 euros (I lived in France).
Guess, I said to him. He knew that 5000 was good. 'Five thousand'. More! '10000'! 'More'! '20000'? 'More'! He started getting giddy. He ran to see his little brother. It's more than 20000!
His little brother continued the bidding. '30000'. 'More'! '40000'? 'More'! 'My turn', said Nathan. '50000'? 'More'! 'Mommy, Mommy, It's more than 50000'! 'Is that true'?
She immediately came, carrying our baby. '60000'?
I shook my head.
Nat continued: '70000'?
'More'! He breathed deeply and closed his eyes. '100000'?
'A little less than 93000 in three sales'. The client that bought 84000 francs from me between 10 and 12 said I would be paid in 14 days' time!
At that time, I was in big financial difficulty. I absolutely needed the money to come in so I could pay my bills. (I had about 30% pure profit on those sales!)
After three weeks our accountant said that the money was in and that he could give us a bank check if we needed an advance in commissions!
We asked him if we could come by today away because our banker was threatening us.
All right, come.
There was an hour's drive between our company and our bank. Our boys wanted absolutely to come with us. On the way back there was a MacDonald's Restaurant. We stopped there to celebrate. And we digested it very well (the money I mean).
The sales professionals gave this story a long applause because they have all been there. They have all had the big unexpected sale that saved an otherwise horrible month.
So I continued.
Who has already had a fantastic sale like that? All the hands were raised, even Mike's.
Alright, this is what I suggest. Write down on this 3 by 5 Bristol card and describe your best sale ever. Take your time. The idea is to describe your emotional state before the sale, what you felt when you saw it was going to be a mega sale, and detail the emotions that you had when you told your family and friends about it (or even your boss!).
There was a 'religious' silence as each one savored some of the memorable moments of their career.
Even the boss, sitting at the back of the room was writing away!
B) OK, tell us your story, and share with us the emotions you felt!
After some time, I asked who wanted to share their best-ever sale.
Jean-Marc told us how a transport company that he had prospected months before without success contacted our service and invited him to ask for an appointment. He said to himself that he might do a good day's sale, maybe 5-6000 euros.
He was far under! The client wanted to restructure all his archives and be able to find all his documents in 2 seconds. It just happened to be that we had a numeric filing system with folders manufactured in polypropylene in different sizes adapted to his profession. In fact, the client bought 40000 worth of this innovative filing system that Jean-Marc sold that very day! He told us that the same client, one month later sent a second order of the same amount for another department!
Mohamed told us how he drove by a company for the last 10 years hidden in a curve of the road. He really sensed that this looked like an interesting prospect. But there was no way of stopping and he couldn't see where the entry road was. But one month of December, times were so difficult, and the sales were so low, that he said he had nothing to lose to spend some time to try to find the entrance to this company.
He was warmly welcomed by the potential client and he bought everything he had to sell.
You know, I don't have time to go to town to get what I need. It doesn't bother me to pay a bit more, if someone comes to visit me. But it's been ten years that I'm here. I have ever seen a single salesman!
My colleague waived 10 years of sales because he didn't follow his intuition!
This completely unexpected sale was equivalent to 3 weeks sales in normal times and it allowed him to enjoy a good Christmas time with his family.
I suggested that they would put themselves two-by-two to share their best-ever sale with each other! (It's better than sharing your latest disaster, isn't it?)
No one saw the time fly. We were all on another planet!
Even Mike (for once) had a great sales adventure to tell the others.
Here are some of the takeaways:
- An infallible method to resist negative events during your selling day.
- How never again miss a sale and always be on top of things.
- Describe your best sale, write it down, and think of your emotions before and after.
- Even when you feel depressed, you may be only a minute away from your best sale ever. What do you think about that?
- Write several of these stories to encourage you during difficult moments. Why not describe your best weekly sale
If you don't encourage yourself, who will?