CONTRACTOR SALES INTRODUCTION
In years past people built their own homes with their own hands. They would get the neighbors together and build a house. It would be crude and small and drafty but they would do it. The Danish people of old would sail to a foreign land and then cut their boat in half and build two houses out of what used to be their boat. If we were to build a house today, the process is quite different. However, if we tried to build the house with just a few neighbors today, with no architects, no plans, no inspectors, our house wouldn’t end up very much better than the houses they built 300 years ago, in fact it may even come out worse. The same holds true for contractor sales.
In fact the same holds true for any endeavor. If you begin any project, whether it is of a physical nature, a business venture or even an exercise program, if you start off with no plan, no direction and no help, the venture will probably be about as successful as the house. This principle holds true in all things but is most important when it comes to sales.
To begin a sales career without any type of training, plan or help is almost absurd, even though it happens everyday in every city in every industry around the world. I would actually rather to try and build a house with no plans than try to learn how to sell and make a career of it without some type of system or plan for bringing about success.
That’s what this program is about. Specifically, this program is a plan for sales training. To take a person and create a plan whereby they can learn how to find out the things they need to know to become successful in their sales career.
There is no degree requirement to become a salesperson. There is no designation you have to strive for, or test you have to pass to get your certification. There are no continuing education requirements, or credits you have to sign off every year or so to remain a salesperson.
To make these items your own personal requirement, to take these steps of your own accord, will separate you from the mediocre salesperson masses and distinguish yourself as a true professional and successful salesperson.
By no means do the following pages guarantee ultimate sales success. Some people may become ultra successful without this sales manual. However, they will become extremely more successful if they abide by the principles and ideas taught in this manual. By no means do the following pages contain all the information needed to become a successful salesperson. But it will provide a basic plan for acquiring the knowledge you need by explaining a few basic principles, showing you the areas you need to be proficient in, act as a guide to help you find more information on how to become proficient in key areas.
As we will learn in the first section of the manual for anything to be effective it must have a purpose. Endeavors and goals are reached more effectively when bound by purpose. They are not only attained faster and with more meaning but with better understanding and more support.
We didn’t create this sales training manual because other companies have training manuals or we read in a book that it’s a good idea to have a sales training manual. This sales manual is designed with a very specific purpose and goal and that is as follows.
The purpose of this sales manual is to help the sales professional achieve more success through the following:
- To present important sales success topics to the sales professional in a systematic format.
- To have a systemized plan to add sales technique learning to the sales persons weekly schedule.
- To provide the salesperson with activities and examples the sales person can practice and use to reinforce the ideas presented.
- To give the salesperson guidance in his/her own search for sales literature and learning materials.
- To have a uniformly recognized and management approved sales training program that lends professionalism and success not only to the sales force but to the company as a whole.
Often the purpose of a training program is met with skepticism or reluctance because the purpose is understood but not the reason that purpose was chosen. Why we choose the purpose is as important as the purpose itself. The “why” of our purpose is to make our salespeople more effective. Effective salespeople are more than people who bring in more business. They are happier. Life is better for effective sales people. They achieve greater success with less effort. They are more organized and contribute to a better overall company culture. One of the most important parts of the company mission statement is to make it an awesome place to work. We feel that helping our sales force to become more effective will help us achieve that.
The ideas presented in the pages that follow are by no means 100% our own original thoughts and ideas. We do not deserve all the credit for the principles and topics taught in this manual. We have simply assembled some proven; tested and recognized sales success techniques added a few ideas of our own and put them in a format that we feel will best suit the needs of the sales force.
Your own personal learning, application and outside research on the topics listed herein, is the key to becoming a truly successful sales person. The pages that follow are simply the starting gate, to win the race is to take the topics discussed and run with them. See you at the finish line.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Sales Process
Prospecting 1 Conventional
Prospecting 2 Networking
Up Selling/Cross Selling
Advanced Selling Techniques
Lesson 1 – Purpose
Purpose – Every lesson in this sales training manual will begin with the purpose of that lesson. The purpose will be a set of goals or objectives that the lesson aspires to help the sales person to accomplish. Make sure you understand the purpose and how it applies to contractor sales before moving on to the subject material.
The purpose of this lesson will be to increase the sales professional’s effectiveness by attempting….
- To help the sales professional gain an understanding of why purpose is important.
- To help the sales professional understand why not only the company purpose is important but why it applies individually as well.
- To help the sales professional develop his own purpose and formulate it into a personal mission statement.
- To help the sales professional use his personal mission statement to develop long term goals.
- To help the sales professional develop a system of follow through to make sure the goals stay in his/her forefront of all planning and decision making.
Without purpose we would not exist, it is purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us, it is purpose that defines us, purpose that binds us.
Undertaking any task without knowing the purpose is a sure way to fail. Doing your daily activities with no understanding of purpose is to meddle through life with no accomplishments, no zeal for life, no inspiration and no fun really. People who go through life with no purpose or understanding of purpose lead what Henry David Thoreau calls “lives of quiet desperation.”
This may all seem like common sense but people do it everyday. People who have no purpose are miserable, and it just doesn’t only apply to business. Families who understand and live with purpose are more effective families. People who have a feeling or belief in their spiritual purpose lead more happy lives.
If you look at all the 7 deadly sins, they are all activities that have no purpose. If you eat without the purpose of sustaining your body it is gluttony. If you want things and wealth with no purpose it is envy. If you slumber beyond the purpose of resting your body it is sloth.
In business, to be without purpose is to set yourself up for failure, especially in sales. If you call a prospect without knowing the purpose, how likely are you to have success with that call? How do you even know what a successful call would be if you didn’t know what the purpose was? If you were a ditch digger, would it make the ditches easier and more enjoyable to dig if you knew why you were digging them? You bet it would.
Nothing is more important than purpose. Highly effective people have purpose in 4 areas of their life. The 4 areas are Family, Friends, Spiritual, and Career. The people who have and understand the purpose of their family are less likely to have dysfunctional family problems. People who see the purpose in friendship have long term relationships and still keep in contact with childhood friends.
Those who have spiritual purpose, enjoy fine literature, study philosophy, listen to uplifting music or give of themselves to their church or charity. People who have purpose in business, understand the importance of purpose in business and use that purpose to make decisions, plan and conduct their business lives, are far more likely to be successful.
Discussion Point – Do you understand the importance of purpose? If not discuss it with your manager or fellow salesperson.
Now that we understand the importance of purpose how do we apply it? How do we decide what the purpose is? How do we know if we have the right purpose?
The following section is designed to help you decide what your purpose is. Then it will help to formulate your purpose into words, and put it in a format where you can use it to help you find more success in your sales processes.
Your personal mission statement is the physical manifestation of your own personal purpose in life. It is the compilation of your values, principles and insights as to how you would define success for you in your life. It is all of those things put together in a written statement. So how do you get one? Well it’s easier than you might think.
But forget about the mission statement for right now and read through the exercise below. The exercise requires you to read a statement then stop and visualize what you have read. Read the statements listed below, then when you see this “VISUALIZE…”stop reading and take a minute to sit back, relax, close your eyes and spend a few moments visualizing the scenario you just read about. Once you have a clear concise visualization of what you just read, go on and read the next statement. Each statement builds on the next so add the following scenario to each successive visualization until the exercise is complete. Here we go. . .
Imagine yourself walking up to the entrance of a large conference room. Outside there are people gathered chatting about various subjects. People are dressed very businesslike. As you walk into the conference room you notice there are at least 2000 people there. All of the seats are taken except a few in the back.
You now see at the front of the room a stage and a podium. As you walk towards the front you see some plaques and awards sitting on a table. You begin to realize that this is some type of awards ceremony. As you walk further towards the front you begin to see a few people you recognize. Then, you notice there are a lot of people you recognize. All of your friends, your parents and extended family are sitting in the rows. People from your work, your boss, co-workers and subordinates are there. People from your church or service groups are there as well.
Eventually you come across a program and notice the date on the program is 5 years from today. You made a jump into the future. As you finally get to the front, you begin to figure out what this is all about. It is an awards ceremony and you are the guest of honor. Someone you know very well and respect a great deal as a great business leader walks to the podium and says. “It is my honor to present this award for business success to (insert your name here). But before I do that, let me take a few moments to tell you about the kind of business person (insert your name here) is”.
As he begins to speak, he utters great and commendable things about you. He tells the audience of your values, your principles and your work ethic. He tells of the goals you achieved, the struggles you overcame and the successes you’ve accomplished. Take a moment to imagine the 5-minute speech that you would most want him to give right there in front of everyone you consider important. Imagine the words you would want him to use and the things you would want to make sure he didn’t skip or forget.
Well if you can take that speech, write it down, and condense it a little bit, guess what? You have a personal business mission statement. Wasn’t that easy?
Stephen Covey in his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” uses the same exercise; except he has people imagine that the gathering is a funeral. There are 4 speakers, one from each of the four areas of influence; family, friends, church and business. I think the funeral works fine but I think for business an awards ceremony works better. However, if you see fit please go through the exercise using the funeral and develop mission statements for all 4 areas of your life, but here we are only discussing business personal mission statements.
Many sales training manuals would take a minute at this time to give you a few examples of how a mission statement would read or how it should be formatted. However, many feel it is more important for you to develop your own format for your mission statement, without reading any others because, you want to make sure all of the ideas in the statement are yours. Make sure they have originated from deep within your core system of values and that the principles are your own, not regurgitated from an example in a book.
Once you have the speech formulated in your head, try to get it down on paper. Write everything down. At this point it is better to have too much than not enough. Really spend some time on it. A good meaningful mission statement can take up to six months to complete, and might constantly undergo change and reformulation, and that’s ok. It’s far better to have a work in progress than nothing at all. Putting for the effort to develop a mission statement is sometimes a life changing event, doing something as simple as that can have a dramatic effect on your life.
Finally when you have it written down you can cut it down, cut out some of the repetition and replace the pronouns he or she with I and me. Once you have it narrowed down to less than one page, you need to put it in some type of format that makes it easy to read. Some people find it easier to read bullet points, some people like paragraphs and some people like reading in all capitals. Either way, make sure it’s appealing to your eye. And make sure the length is something you are comfortable with. Some people have a one page statement, some have a one paragraph statement, some even one sentence, whichever works for you. For a business mission statement, anything more than a paragraph is probably too much.
Opinions vary wildly as to the frequency, but they all agree that your mission statement needs to be read often. You don’t want to make it so long that you will hesitate to read it often. It should be placed somewhere easily accessible but private. You should be able to read it everyday, especially for the first few weeks, until you get it engrained in your mind.
Put it somewhere easily accessible and read it often. Apply it to your contractor sales career. To go through the exercise for a couple weeks, and to contemplate and figure out what you truly find important is a great accomplishment. Don’t let it go to waste by putting your mission statement in a drawer never to read again.
In the next lesson, you will learn that you may need to use your mission statement on a daily basis. But for now make sure it is easily accessible. Now that we know what the mission statement is, and how to get one, let’s discuss its value and importance.
If you were going to go on a 50 mile hike, you wouldn’t just get out of bed, drive the car to the forest and start hiking. If you did, chances are you would never get to where you were going. If you did luckily make it to your destination, you wouldn’t get there very efficiently. There are preparations you would have to make. You would want to pack up some supplies; you would need a map, maybe a compass and some food and water.
Well, if you compare sales success to a 50 mile hike then your personal mission statement would be like a handheld GPS. It is the one piece of equipment that will get you from where you are to where you want to go fastest. It doesn’t keep you on track 100% of the time but whenever you veer off track, it will help bring you back on course.
It’s like an air liner that travels from Los Angeles to Hawaii. They say 90% of the time the airplane is off course. The wind and currents and weather are constantly causing the plane to veer off course. But due to instrumentation the plane is constantly guided back on course until it reaches its destination. Reading your personal mission statement each day will continuously guide you back on course each day.
At times when you are faced with decisions that require you to sacrifice one thing in order to accomplish another, it will help you with decision making. When presented with two options you can choose which one would be more effective by deciding which options will lead you faster to your mission statement. Or which option contributes more to the purpose defined in your mission statement.
You now have a guide by which to live. You now know what’s important. Any task, decision, chore or project can be deemed important or not based on whether it brings you closer to the end result of your mission statement. If an arbitrary task does nothing to bring you closer to your mission statement, then it’s unimportant. It may still have to get done, but at least you can prioritize based on what’s important. We will discuss this idea further in Lesson 2.
Goals are the second area of discussion for this lesson. If your mission statement is your purpose, your guidelines, a collection of things you want to accomplish or an end result of where you want to be in your contractor sales career after several years, then goals are the stepping stones that will lead you there.
A goal is the desired outcome that you want to realize or have happen within a set period of time. The collection of your 3 to 7 business goals are the individual items that need to be accomplished for you to realize your mission statement. Goals are vital to your success. Without good goals your mission statement will not be realized.
If your mission statement is the GPS that will lead you to your destination, then goals are the compass, the hiking shoes, the backpack, and the lunch. They are the individual specific items that get you to the destination. While a GPS will eventually get you to the finish line, it will be much harder and take much longer if you don’t have good hiking shoes, a canteen and the like. The accumulation of several goals accomplished is the equivalent of a realized a mission statement.
Goals are a great way to keep you motivated. When things go wrong and the job gets difficult, a quick glance at your goals can re-initialize your inner computer. It’s like hitting the restart button. Henry David Thoreau said, “Motivation is the pull of anticipation and the push of discipline.” The end result of your goals is the anticipation, the great things you are going to achieve by following through with your goals. Discipline is doing the things you need to do, everyday, to achieve your goals. Goals and motivation go hand in hand.
You could literally fill huge warehouses full of articles, books and reports written on business and personal success. It would take 20 lifetimes to read, review and learn all of the things that have been researched, compiled and recorded about business success. However, the greatest minds alive today and of all time actually all agree that if you want to be successful at anything, all you have to do is write down your most important goals, make plans to achieve them and work on your plans everyday. Everything else is just commentary on this exact subject.
So as you can see, the most important thing you can do is to get some goals, write them down and make plans to achieve them. However, to be an effective goal they must have certain characteristics. We’ll discuss those characteristics now.
An effective goal will have each of the following 9 traits:
- Your goals have to be specific. Avoid broad generalizations or vague descriptions. “I want to lose weight” is not a goal it is a statement. “I will lose 20 pounds by May 1st” is a goal.
- Stretch You have to set stretch goals. They have to be big and inspiring. Every high achievement was preceded by a high expectation. Dream big and stretch yourself. You are as great as your dominant expectations. It’s better to set a far reaching goal and miss it by a little bit than to set a mediocre uninspiring goal and achieve it.
- Realistic and Attainable. Even though your goals need to be big and inspiring, they need to be realistic as well. I want to make 10 million dollars next month isn’t realistic for some people. If you stretch your goals too far you won’t believe them and you will never achieve them. Also, if your goal is too unrealistic your subconscious mind will actually sabotage your efforts and cause you to do worse than you would in absence of the goal.
- The goals have to be tangible. You have to be able to clearly tell when you’ve met the goal. I will be a successful salesperson, isn’t tangible enough. You have to be able to see it, feel it, hear it and smell it. Can you define it? Make your goals as concrete as possible. If you set a goal to be the best glass salesperson in Las Vegas, you have to define what that would be, such as “I sell 300,000 IG units a year.”
- For a goal to be effective, it must be measurable. You have to be able to track the progress with actual numbers and results, not feeling or intuition. If half of the time limit has passed that you set for achieving the goal, can you tell if you’re half way to reaching your goal? If not, re-word it so that you can get measurable results during the goal period.
- Does the goal incite enthusiasm within you? Does it inspire you to wake up a little earlier in the morning? If not, the goal won’t be effective. If you are trying to get in shape and you set a goal to run a marathon but that doesn’t inspire you, maybe you need to find something else that will inspire you, like to finish an iron man contest or a decathlon.
- Long-term. Are your goals long term? Are they going to take 6 months or longer to achieve? If not, it isn’t a goal, it is a task. Tasks are minor items or projects that need to be completed for a goal to be achieved. “I’m going to make 50 calls this week.” That is not a goal, that’s an item on a to-do list. Those things are important but don’t bog yourself down with hundreds of goals, it’s too much for your subconscious mind to process.
- Are your goals personal? Did you come up with them or are they for someone else. If your dad wants you to play college chess, that isn’t a goal. Another example is if your sales quota is $50,000 a month, it doesn’t make a very good goal. All goals need to be personal.
- Time Constraint. The goal must be bound to a time limit. You must have a date by which the goal will be achieved. This puts your subconscious mind into high gear. If you don’t have a time constraint there is no urgency to get to work doing the things that will bring the realization of the goal about.
Once you have a set of goals and they agree with the 9 success factors listed previously here are a few helpful hints that will help you achieve your goals.
- Write them down. A goal not written is a wish. Don’t just jot them down on a napkin either. Write them out clearly and precisely. Then type them up on a computer and print them out. Use a high quality bond paper, or one with an imprinted border. Dress it up, make it look as important as it is. Frame it if you have to!
- Read them often. A goal not read is a wish that is written. Develop some type of program for reading your goals often. Some experts argue you should read them everyday when you wake up. Others argue you should read them every night before you go to bed. Some argue that you should do both. Find something that works for you and stick to it.
- Take action. Every single day take some type of action towards your goals. Usually it will be something relatively minor. But everyday some type of action needs to be taken, even if it’s just sitting down and writing out a plan for achievement or re-organizing your game plan or sharing a goal with someone who can help you to achieve it. This single idea will bring you closer to your goals much faster than you thought.
Often when setting a goal you will have no idea of how you are going to achieve it. You know what the end result will be, but the process eludes you. Researching ways to achieve your goal is a minor action you can take each day.
- See yourself achieving your goals. Visualize yourself already having achieved the goal. Your subconscious mind is programmable. You can program your mind to take action towards our goals without your conscious mind even knowing about it. If you read your goals often and visualize them with passion as you read them, and you do that often enough, your subconscious mind will begin to take steps towards those goals without any willpower or decision on your part.
- Keep your goals personal. Do not share your goals with anyone unless they can help you achieve them, especially when it comes to contractor sales. The people who care about you the most will sometimes sabotage your efforts without really intending to. They think they are helping you when really they are hurting you. You’re the one who has to answer to yourself if the goals aren’t achieved, so you’re the only one who has a right to know what they are. Keep them confidential.
- Keep your goals in mind. The worst thing is to spend a week or two developing some important life changing goals and then to let them collect dust in a desk drawer, while you get sidetracked by unimportant projects and time wasting activities. If you have a weakness for a specific time-wasting activity make an agreement with yourself that before you begin that activity you have to take one small step towards achieving your goal before you can partake in that activity.
Example – A now famous author, years ago, had decided to write his first book. He had a full time job and family commitments, so he had to write his book in his spare time. He set a goal to finish his book before the end of the year. He noticed once baseball season started his progress began to seriously lack and his hopes of achieving his goal began to fade.
His ritual was when a baseball game was coming on TV he would get a bag of chips, make a huge submarine sandwich and sit on the couch and watch the game. His wife would tell him, “You’re never gonna finish that book if all you do is watch baseball all night!”
He thought, “what’s the point of writing this book if I can’t even enjoy the game every once in awhile?” Giving up baseball wasn’t an option it was one of the few things that gave him some time to relax and enjoy himself. He thought he’d rather not finish the book than give up baseball.
So he made a compromise with himself. He decided that before watching any baseball game he would work on his book for one hour. If he couldn’t get that hour in before the game started, that hour would run into the start of the game. He usually got into the game by the 2nd or 3rd inning, but noticed that his progress towards finishing his book was coming along famously and he met his goal. He used a “time-wasting” normal alternative to working on his book to keep his goal in the forefront of his mind and help him achieve his goal.
Example 2 – A life insurance salesman kept his contact list with him and every time he went to play golf, before he teed off, he would return all of his calls and make 5 new calls before teeing off. He knew he would never forget to play golf, so he used that to help him achieve his goals.
Having a set of effective goals will make all the difference in your selling career. If you stopped the sales manual now and worked on no other sections but just focused on this one chapter, your success rate would increase ten-fold. This section is the most important section of the manual and that is why it’s first. Make sure you go through the exercises and the end of the section and spend time completing those exercises.
__________1. Go through the visualization exercise found in the text and write down the speech that the speaker at the awards ceremony gave, in a notebook or on a yellow pad.
__________2. Reword the speech into a few paragraphs or less and begin to develop your own personal business mission statement. It may take a few months to complete it but start a rough draft, you need to at least have a rough draft to move forward in the lessons.
__________3. Develop 3 to 5 business goals for your career. Write them down in your notebook. Its easiest to write down 20 or 30, then go back and choose the most important 3 to 5 goals.
__________4. Take each goal one by one and walk them through the 9 steps to effective goals listed in the text. Rewrite and rework your goals until they concur with the 9 steps mentioned.
__________5. Write your new goals somewhere easily accessible and develop a system that will remind you to read them everyday, and take action towards them everyday. Implement a plan to keep your goals in your mind’s forefront.
__________6. Visualize yourself already having achieved your goals, as they pertain to your contractor sales career. See, hear, feel and taste the results of those achievements in your mind’s eye. Repeat those visualizations as you read your goals. Try to do this as often as possible.
Secrets of Effective Goal Setting, Albert Mensah
Goals!, Brian Tracy